Thursday, April 19, 2018

Einstein's activism

Einstein's activism against lynching apparently takes up 20 pages of his FBI "Treason File #61". There's nothing treasonous in it.

Einstein's FBI file is available on the FBI website.

Its implications are discussed in the newly updated _The Einstein File: The FBI's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist_ by Fred Jerome. I went to the book launch tonight.

Apparently, Einstein didn't just sign a letter. He actively co-chaired an anti-lynching organization, in shock and anger at the wave of lynchings in 1946 after black soldiers returned from World War II. His co-chair was noted singer and activist Paul Robeson, who was also a friend. When a singer was not allowed to stay in a local hotel --solely due to her race--- Einstein let her stay at his house. In her memoir, she recalled him fondly.

Einstein was also active ---beyond writing--- on other issues. Free speech and nuclear weapons are still debated today. But on anti-semitism and race, Einstein's opinions, while radical in their day, are common sense now.

I like knowing this side of Einstein. For me, it humanizes him.

Monday, April 2, 2018

"Local" news

I was surprised that much of "local" TV news stations is not locally owned.

Is "local" commentary local?

If I choose to watch Fox, I know it's the same regardless of where I am. That's a fair choice.

If I watch a local news station, and the local anchor makes a commentary, I assumed that commentary was hers or his.

Apparently, Sinclair Broadcast Group gives local news anchors scripts that they must use --without telling that it is centrally scripted. Why do they hide this?

Thursday, February 8, 2018


I'm wondering if many atheists overlook the good of religion. Maybe atheists would do better to look for common ground with the religious. Prayer, for example, might be helpful, even significantly so, even if God doesn't exist. My hope is that the religious and non-religious will look for more common ground. Hopefully, I'll write more about this in the future.

Friday, November 17, 2017

When showing why

Confederate statues constructed decades, or even close to a century, after the US Civil War? As much as I love reading about history, I sometimes wonder the point. But the mysterious case of the Confederate Statues almost feels like a mystery story. If the south wanted to honor its dead, I felt that perhaps it was right to keep the statues up.

Then I heard when the statues were erected.

Many of the statues honoring the Confederate leaders and fighters were erected half a century after the Civil War, concurrent with renewed or challenged segregation. More compelling, some confederate statues were put up during the Civil Rights movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, almost a century after the end of the Civil War.

A half a century after the civil war? That timing makes it seem less like honoring the dead, and more about celebrating the cause. What cause? "Negro" inferiority. In other words, celebrating or supporting the tremendous suffering of human beings.

Excuse me while I vomit.

Because segregation wasn't "separate but equal"or a benign "southern culture":  it was murder. Lynching was used brutally to support a system in which skin color trumped ability and character. Segregation was daily humiliation, the insulting of children, the permitted abuse of every African American. And before that, slavery : legal kidnapping in chains, the separation by ownership of parents from children, whipping.

I might be able too support a few confederate monuments IF they were constructed when white southerners were mourning their dead shortly after the Civil War. Even then, it is offensive, but I'm willing to compromise that much.

Challenge me: look up for yourself when Confederate statues and monuments were put up. Then ask yourself what it was like to be black at the time.

The study of history can be relevant to the present.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

More Evidence?

There are climate change skeptics, but the publisher of Skeptic flipped on the issue. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, used to believe that climate change was not happening or, at least not human caused. He's changed his mind on this.

Katrina and the superdome. Sandy, with New York City streets under feet of water.

And I'm published in Skeptic, again, with vol22, n2. Reviewing books about fraud and cons. Obviously unrelated. One of the points, in one of the books: the most successful con is the one that is undiscovered.

And I've flipped over Skeptic.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wondering War Woman

Are people who do evil things necessarily evil themselves?
Are all people who do evil things beyond the reach of change?

I liked the movie Wonder Woman --as fiction. In the film, there is evil which cannot be redeemed. Made for a more entertaining story if there's clear heroes & villains.

But, in real life, is it ever the same as it is in a superhero fantasy?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Damaged Care

What if the US Congress had the same health insurance as the rest of us? (They don't).