Game of Thrones entertains us with a baby being torn apart by vicious dogs

Tonight I tried to give the HBO series Game of Thrones another chance--but when they entertained us by having a pack of vicious dogs tear apart a baby, they crossed a line, and I have ceased watching again.

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Follow the bleater: Donald Trump and the power of the subconscious

A worrying trend of young folk increasingly drawn to the Trump campaign--is not so unexpected. Essentially, what is going on is a psychological parallel to so-called prosperity Christianity: The superstitious idea that a magical mediator will somehow transmit money to you, and will protect you from harm. And there are deeper drives taking over, here, too...

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Police procedural 2015: Kill all suspects

American Policing 101, for the year 2015: Principles to memorize.

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A science fiction author ponders the dystopic landscape of the sovereign citizen mind

John Shirley is the author of numerous novels, story collections, screenplays ("THE CROW"), teleplays and articles. A futurologist and social critic, John was a featured speaker at TED-x in Brussels in 2011. We asked him to to examine the record of behavior of sovereign citizens and wonder about the mentality behind it.

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The secret life of TV commercials

TV commercials that reveal a sickness

A couple of dandelions force their way up through cracks in the sidewalk—just two yellow wildflowers looking for the sun. A tall, rawboned white guy stalks up; he’s armed with the weed killer Round Up, instead of a six-gun. He spots the dandelions—and turns toward them. The dandelions shrink back in fear, they recoil in horror, seeing the big sprayer for Round Up. They seem to be screaming in fear. They try to draw away…but he fires his sprayer unerringly, the toxin soaking the two small wildflowers, so that they wither, choking, shivering, turning brown…dying before our eyes.

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What good is Twitter? How a telltale tic is twitching us into twits

It's now thought that the reason CNN and Fox mistakenly reported, at first, that the ACA mandate had been struck down by the Supreme Court… was simply because some chucklehead pseudo-reporter in the room TWEETED the wrong information. (CNN et al may deny this—I don’t believe them, as the indications are strong.)

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Me and you and Ray Bradbury

In recent years, following his stroke, Ray Bradbury continued to write stories, which appeared in national publications, by talking to his daughter over the phone. He'd call her up, long distance, and, in essence, talk the story to her; she would transcribe it. He'd go over the result with her later. His hands no longer worked well enough to type, but he was still a storyteller. He said being a writer, telling stories, kept him alive—and he lived to be 91. Vitality was a key component of Bradbury's writing, so it's no surprise he turned to writing to shore up his vitality. His stories hummed with life—they always did.

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'Sir, would you like your food poisoned or non-poisoned?'

Why is that cashier wearing gloves? That nice young fellow with the tattoo on his forearm and the earring;  that smiling, “Hi how are you today, beautiful day out, I like your shirt” cashier—why is he wearing gloves as he handles my groceries? The others aren’t wearing gloves. I ask him why the gloves, suspecting I know and hoping I’m not embarrassing him over some phobia. He looks uncomfortable and I lower my voice and prompt, “Is it the receipt?” He looks furtively around to be sure management’s not listening, and then nods.

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PBS/NPR become annoying beggars

Start with PBS, and NPR. I'm a guy who loves good nonprofit public television, and radio, and I'm herewith disgusted with it. PBS has its Masterpiece series, its documentaries; it has Bill Moyers and those beloved British comedies; NPR has great shows like Fresh Air and Prairie Home Companion and Snap Judgement. I've given both institutions money in the past...and currently I regret it.  There's still a lot of good programming at both, but they are making us, the viewing and listening public, suffer for it. They're making us squirm for their programming, more, and more... and more often. They hound us for it.

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Presidential culture is more powerful than presidential promises

“There is no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats, so the choice is meaningless.” This claim is trumpeted about by many political lefties, and by those crypto-righties, Libertarians.

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'Forward' -- that frightening word

In the past, President Obama was criticized by Standard Political Pundits for supposedly failing to articulate his thinking on Health Reform, and other items on his agenda. They said he was overly complex; he was too remote; he didn't offer cunning soundbites. Possibly this was the impetus for his committee's choice of a new campaign slogan --the slogan is simply the word "FORWARD". The one-word slogan has been ridiculed by Republicans, of course. "That's the best he can come up with? How vague is that?" But it may well be that what really bothers them about the slogan is that it handily embodies the clear choice between a Republican Candidate and the DNC's candidate, President Barack Obama.

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