Announcing The Speckled Axe

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We are proud to announce that we have launched an exciting new site devoted to politics, economics and culture: Speckled Axe. Getting its name from a passage in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography on the pursuit of self-betterment, Speckled Axe is about providing the most relevant, compelling and shareworthy commentary and journalism to the internet’s most active participants.

We all know that the internet is full of opinions and perspectives, so what makes Speckled Axe special? We provide intelligence on what matters to an audience that knows the difference between meaningful and menial. Speckled Axe is about you, for you and its pieces are written by people like you. Read our articles, follow us on Tumblr and Twitter and engage with us on Facebook!

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Winning The Drug War By Creating A Caste System?

The Article: How We Created A Massive Racial Caste System In America by Michelle Alexander in AlterNet.

The Text: Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, pledging to serve the United States as its 44th president, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race.” Obama’s election has been touted as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow, the bookend placed on the history of racial caste in America.

Obama’s mere presence in the Oval Office is offered as proof that “the land of the free” has finally made good on its promise of equality. There’s an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalized, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you. Trust us. Trust our rules, laws, customs, and wars. You, too, can get to the promised land.

Perhaps greater lies have been told in the past century, but they can be counted on one hand. Racial caste is alive and well in America.

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Islam And The Future Of Liberalism

The Article: Islam and the Future of Islam by author Sam Harris.

The Text: I recently had a very enjoyable three-hour conversation with Joe Rogan on his podcast, where the topics ranged from jihad to probability theory to psychedelics. But I subsequently received a fair amount of abuse online for a few things I said about Islam and our adventures in the war on terror.

For instance, I appear to have left many viewers with the impression that I believe we invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of rescuing its women from the Taliban. However, the points I was actually making were rather different: I think that abandoning these women to the Taliban is one of the things that make our inevitable retreat from Afghanistan ethically problematic. I also believe that wherever we can feasibly stop the abuse of women and girls, we should. An ability to do this in places like Afghanistan, and throughout the world, would be one of the benefits of having a global civil society and a genuine regime of international law. Needless to say, this is not the world we are living in (yet).

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An Emergency In America

US Emergency

Foreign wars, we just can’t quit you.

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How Conservatives Lost Their Faith In Science

The Article: Study Tracks How Conservatives Lost Their Faith In Science by Alan Boyle on MSNBC.com.

The Text: An analysis of 36 years’ worth of polling data indicates that confidence in science as an institution has steadily declined among Americans who consider themselves conservatives, while confidence levels have been at steadier levels for other ideological groups.

The study, published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, provides fresh ammunition for those who complain that conservative views on issues such as climate change are at odds with the scientific consensus.

“You can see this distrust in science among conservatives reflected in the current Republican primary campaign,” Gordon Gauchat, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Sheps Center for Health Services Research, said in a news release from the American Sociological Association. “When people want to define themselves as conservatives relative to moderates and liberals, you often hear them raising questions about the validity of global warming and evolution, and talking about how ‘intellectual elites’ and scientists don’t necessarily have the whole truth.”

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