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To Mike Huckabee, Parts Of North Korea Are “More Free” Than The US

Mike Huckabee

The Article: Mike Huckabee: North Korea Sometimes Has ‘More Freedom’ Than The US by Paul Zsoldra in Yahoo! Finance.

The Text: Speaking at the conservative “Freedom Summit” in New Hampshire on Saturday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he’s beginning to believe that there’s “more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States.”

The quote — which the audience did not laugh at and didn’t appear to be a joke — was in reference to TSA patdowns and security procedures at the airport.

“When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position,” Huckabee said while holding up his hands. “People put hands all over me. And I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane.”

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At Least 22 Veterans Kill Themselves Every Day And No One Gives A Shit

Veterans Suicide

The Article: No One Cares About Suicidal Vets by Alice Speri in VICE News.

The Text: That’s 1,892 former soldiers who have killed themselves since the beginning of 2014, according the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization (IAVA). But even that is a conservative number, some say, as there is no centralized system to track veteran suicides.

A recent poll found that more than half of post-9/11 veterans know at least one colleague who attempted or managed to kill themselves. For many, the list of friends lost to suicide is much longer.

Mental health is one of the greatest challenges facing returning soldiers, but a deadly combination of indifference, stigma, red tape, and government dysfunction are to blame for the sobering numbers. Citing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) statistics, the IAVA claims that 22 ex-service members die by suicide every single day.

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Life In The Post-Employment Economy

Post Employment

The Article: Surviving the post-employment economy by Sarah Kendzior in Al Jazeera.

The Text: A lawyer. A computer scientist. A military analyst. A teacher.

What do these people have in common? They are trained professionals who cannot find full-time jobs. Since 2008, they have been tenuously employed – working one-year contracts, consulting on the side, hustling to survive. They spent thousands on undergraduate and graduate training to avoid that hustle. They eschewed dreams – journalism, art, entertainment – for safer bets, only to discover that the safest bet is that your job will be contingent and disposable.

Unemployed graduates are told that their predicament is their own fault. They should have chosen a more “practical” major, like science or engineering, and stayed away from the fickle and loathsome humanities. The reality is that, in the “jobless recovery”, nearly every sector of the economy has been decimated. Companies have turned permanent jobs into contingency labour, and entry-level positions into unpaid internships.

Changing your major will not change a broken economy.

People devalued

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Why Stephen Colbert Was Great For Science

Colbert Tyson

The Article: Stephen Colbert Is the Best Source of Science on TV by David Schiffman in Slate.

The Text: David Letterman announced last week that he will soon be retiring from The Late Show after hosting for more than 30 years, and CBS has confirmed that Stephen Colbert will replace him. While switching from The Colbert Report to The Late Show will be a huge career advancement for the comedian and TV show host, it could be a big loss for television coverage of science.

Stephen Colbert is one of the only news or faux-news anchors to regularly cover scientific discoveries and interview scientists. “The Colbert Report has certainly been one of the best television programs ever for showcasing scientists—and I don’t just mean ‘for a comedy talk show,’” says science comedian Brian Malow. He points out that the guest who has made the most appearances is Neil deGrasse Tyson. “More than any movie star! And Tyson isn’t even the only physicist he’s featured!”

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Is Gay Marriage Opposition Really Like Racism?

Gay Marriage

The Article: Why Gay-Marriage Opponents Should Not Be Treated Like Racists by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.

The Text: Liberals generally think of themselves as proponents of tolerance, pluralism, and diversity. Some liberals are also eager to stigmatize and punish opponents of gay marriage. Is that a betrayal of their values? If so, these liberals tend to argue, it is no more problematic than the decision to exclude white supremacists from polite society. As an email correspondent put it, if you object to a boycott against a tech company whose CEO gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign, “I guess you find the Montgomery Bus Boycott objectionable as well. If not, you might want to come up with a better rationalization for why you’ve chosen to give aid and comfort to those who would deprive gay people of basic rights available to others.”

In Slate, Will Oremus made a stronger version of the argument. “The notion that your political views shouldn’t affect your employment is a persuasive one. Where would we be as a democracy if Republicans were barred from jobs at Democrat-led companies, or vice versa?” he wrote. “But this is different. Opposing gay marriage in America today is not akin to opposing tax hikes or even the war in Afghanistan. It’s more akin to opposing interracial marriage: It bespeaks a conviction that some people do not deserve the same basic rights as others.”

Oremus and I agree on the following:

A person’s political views generally shouldn’t be held against them in other realms.
The general wisdom of that standard doesn’t mean that it holds in every case. (If someone sponsored a ballot measure to expel all Jews or Muslims or blacks or whites or gays from California, for example, stigma would be justified and I’d object to putting that person into a position of societal power.)

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