Christian Science Monitor

Great. Plurality of Americans don't like the 1st amendment

This should scare everyone. A recent poll published by the Christian Science Monitor reveals that a plurality (almost a majority) of Americans think that the 1st amendment doesn’t apply to those who engage in speech that is “offensive and harmful.” America, what have we become?

From a seemingly approving CSM:

Donald Sterling. Paula Deen. Juan Williams. Cliven Bundy. Phil Robertson.

Each of these individuals has landed in hot water thanks to controversial comments that unleashed similar responses – public outrage, a media blitz, and professional sacking or suspension. Along with scores of others, they represent a treadmill of inflammatory speech scandals that have tripped up America for decades.

Yet for all the attention devoted to the off-color comments – even President Obama weighed in on the Sterling scandal – Americans’ collective reaction to controversial speech may be far more revealing than the headline-making remarks themselves. Society’s reaction is more about style than substance, commentators say, suggesting Americans haven’t made as much progress as they think they have on issues of race, religion, gender, and sexuality.

Furthermore, incidents of inflammatory speech force Americans to confront the fine line between protecting free speech and fostering a tolerant, pluralistic society.

Read the Rest

This is frightening. The mere fact that we are at the point where we are taking polls about what people should and shouldn’t be allowed to say in America shows us just how far we’ve wandered from the founding principles of liberty.

The very wording of the question creates a perfect teachable moment. The 1st Amendment exists for the sole purpose of protecting speech deemed offensive, harmful or dangerous. If speech is not threatening or offensive to anyone, then there is no reason to protect it. Put another way, if we do not protect all speech, what’s the point of the first amendment?

Why so few women in tech? Seven challenges and potential solutions.

In middle school, 74 percent of girls express interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), but only 0.3 percent of high school girls select computer science as a potential college major.

In 1984, 37 percent of computer science graduates were women. Today, women represent 12 percent of all computer science graduates.

Women make up half the US workforce, but only 25 percent of jobs in technical or computing fields.

A look at organizations fighting back against these odds, including Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, she ++, and more, plus an update on Julie Ann Horvath’s Github event series, “Passion Projects.”

Check out the article here.

In three US cities, three longtime mayors prepare exits. What legacies?

Call them the hipster, the billionaire, and the boss.

Three mayors of three cities, each having served at least three terms, are now preparing to exit the municipal stage after more than a decade shaping major metropolitan hubs – and perhaps the American urban landscape, too.

There’s R.T. Rybak in Minneapolis, the mayor known for crowd-surfing at an alt-rock venue made famous by Prince, and leading 30,000 zombies on a city-sanctioned pub crawl – and hosting its contest to see who could eat the most brains (pork brains in tacos, that is).

There’s Michael Bloomberg in New York, the media mogul and world’s 13th-richest man, the mayor of the nation’s financial central server, ticking off the secrets of his success with a simple Wall Street mantra: Arrive early, leave late, eat lunch at your desk.

Then there’s Thomas Menino in Boston, the five-term septuagenarian mayor cut from a sepia-toned era of backroom power brokers, a politician who has shaken so many hands, attended so many ribbon-cuttings, and sat with so many parents at Little League games that today almost half of Boston’s residents say they have met him personally.

Come Nov. 5, voters will elect successors to the men who have practically become the public faces of their respective cities. It will mark the first time this century that three mayors who’ve served at least 12 years in major cities will leave office at the same time.

Read the rest of the article at Christian Science Monitor.

The son of Ridha Mohammed cries during his father’s funeral in Malkiya, Bahrain. Mohammed’s family say he was shot by security forces while attending a memorial march for one of six people killed in unprecedented anti-government protests that have rattled the small kingdom’s leaders over the past week.

Photos of the Day 02/22 - The Christian Science Monitor -

This tears my heart out.

These titles are the very best of new middle grade novels released so far this year.

"Here’s a literary post-apocalyptic thriller with something new and interesting to say about friendship, home, love, and community … This is a timeless story that deserves to become a children’s classic for decades to come."


Descriptions of the supposed rapture reminded me of scenes from this movie. In the movie though, the human beings, instead of being “elevated” into heaven, are sucked by alien ships.

And oh, saw this just a few minutes ago from the Christian Science Monitor:

Apocalypse Not: Harold Camping wrong – again – about ‘The Rapture’

Mr. Camping had prophesied that at 6 p.m. Saturday (local time around the world) the “saved” would ascend to heaven and the rest of you – OK, the rest of us – would be wiped out by October in earthquakes, floods, and war.

But that fateful hour has come and gone in the Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia, and on through east Asia, and it’s turned out to be “Apocalypse Not.” Either that or nobody in that part of the world was worthy of ascension.

I must say though, Mr. Camping gave the world something to poke fun about over this weekend. I wonder though when he’d make another admission of miscalculation and re-adjust the date of the rapture (again).


The first article in this week’s issue (Oct. 31) has a letter from CSM editor John Yemma, EXPLICITLY ADVOCATING FOR POLITICAL ANARCHISM. Yemma talks about how movements like Occupy Everything are part of a growing trend towards anarchism, “[a political system that] envisions individuals being purely self-governed… an entire society can be built without central command, including everything from national defense to food and drug standards.”


Cycling's prima donnas add melodrama to Tour de France

Sprinters are professional cycling’s prima donnas – riders with egos as big as their bulging quadriceps. In a sport known for its soap opera headlines, these easily maligned riders have a special penchant for melodramatics, on and off the bike.

My story on sprinters — and the art of a sprint finish — ran today in The Christian Science Monitor. Just in time for Mark Cavendish (above) to take his second stage of this year’s Tour.

'Star Trek' actor Simon Pegg to co-write the script for third film - Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor

'Star Trek' actor Simon Pegg to co-write the script for third filmChristian Science MonitorPegg stars in the rebooted 'Star Trek' franchise with actors Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana, among others. Pegg has previously co-written such films as the 2013 movie 'The


American cycling team fights doping, one Tour de France stage win at a time

In the post-Lance Armstrong era, Garmin-Cervélo is emerging as a new sort of American champion — one that can win at cycling’s marquee event without the cloud of doping doubts that has hovered over everyone from seven-time Tour de France victor Armstrong to this year’s favorite, Spaniard Alberto Contador.

My story about Jonathan Vaughters and his Garmin squad ran in The Christian Science Monitor earlier this week.

To read more of my coverage from this year’s Tour, follow me on Twitter.