Wal-mart critics and the lessons of the Renaissance

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Wal-mart critics still seem focussed on social and moral pressure, while the Renaissance scholastics teach us to trust to institutions, not the virtues of men. Nevertheless, recent victories against Wal-mart bode well for activists who would like to see health care divorced from employment.

Turtle Index, January 2006

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In the tradition of the Harper’s Index, here’s the first ever Turtle Index, a compendium of numerical one-liners mostly based on polls. What percentage of American cell phone users have stopped having sex to answer the phone? How does that compare to Italians? It’s all in here as well as a few odd facts about […]

Intelligent Design Smokescreen

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Intelligent Design is a smokescreen that purports to be based on rigorous science, but is simply an attempt to squeeze neo-creationism in the back door. In fact, NPR reported that according to evidence presented as part of the case that was settled today in Pennsylvania prohibiting the teaching of Intelligent Design in school, the original manuscript […]

The Great Catchphrases of Presidential Administrations

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It seems that every great president says or provokes a succinct quote or two that somehow define his administration for years to come, catchphrase that “tag” their time in power and their era. My memory only goes back so far, and I’m a European not American history, so I’m sketchy on pre-Nixon examples. But I’ve […]

Lost Lessons from the War on Communism

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One would think that, having spent the second half of the twentieth century fighting one protractrated struggle against an implacable ideological enemy, we might have learned something. The Bush administration’s actions would seem to indicate that we did not. What should we have learned? That in a war of ideals, ideals that are not practiced […]

John Calvin Joins The Ranter in the War on Christmas

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NEWSFLASH: The Ranter has declared war on Christmas! Or at least Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson and the other genius right-wingers at Faux News believe that liberal, left, secularists like The Ranter have declared war on Christmas. I hate to disappoint, so I have created a “Make war on Christmas, not Iraq” bumper sticker. Joining […]

"The people just do not understand the war"

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No, that’s not a quote from The Ranter’s close friends Dubya or Rummy. That’s from David Maraniss’ book They Marched Into Sunlight (Simon & Schuster, 2003). Maraniss follows two parallel stories, that of a battle in Vietnam and that of a student protest in Madison, Wisconsin. The two stories converge on October 19, 1967, when […]

The Mini Office Gym

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This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Office Drone Workout Plan

So you like the idea of microbreaks and microworkouts, and you’ve got some pretty hard office workouts going, but you want to bump it up a bit more with some weights and other toys? Well, with a bit of equipment, you can add some additional exercises and with this stuff, you’re actually on your way […]