NMAAHC Addresses Timothy Anne Burnside’s Hip-Hop Exhibit Appointment Debate

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Source: ullstein bild Dtl. / Getty

The National African American History and Culture Museum found itself in the middle of an explosive Twitter debate regarding cultural historian and museum specialist Timothy Anne Burnside, who happens to be white. With critique cropping up that a white person was the lead for an ongoing Hip-Hop exhibit at the museum, the NMAAHC has issued a statement addressing the controversy while noting Black leadership is indeed behind its larger curation efforts.

By way of a new release titled “Real African American History: A Story Told by Many Voices,” the NMAAHC expressed sensitivity to the concerns raised by @DJChubbESwagg and others surrounding Burnside’s appointment and her race. In its own words, the NMAAHC missive hammered home that Black voices are indeed shaping the cultural and historical landscape of the popular Smithsonian destination.

From the news release:

The museum is shaped and led by a leadership team that is largely African American — and the staff is firmly grounded in African American history and committed to the mission of the museum. We value that diversity and also recognize the importance of diversity of thought, perspectives and opinions. It has helped make the museum what it is today.

Out of a deep commitment, Ms. Timothy Anne Burnside launched the Smithsonian’s first hip-hop collecting initiative 12 years ago while at the National Museum of American History. Since joining the Museum in 2009, she has also played a key role in building the hip-hop collection as part of a larger curatorial team. Dr. Dwandalyn Reece, the curator of music and performing arts, leads that effort. We are proud of their work.

In the flurry of tweets last week, it may have been missed by some that Dr. Reece is a Black woman and highly respected in her field.

The museum adds in the release that it will work with the Association of African American Museums and other related groups to bring people of color into the institution and train them in the varying levels of approaches made in the museum space.

Via Twitter, veteran journalist and activist Harry Allen retweeted the NMAAHC’s release, writing in its caption, “This is, essentially, a non-statement.”

This morning shortly after the tweet went out, Twitter user @Spacehuntress wrote, “This entire ugly episode has greatly diminished my excitement about visiting the museum” – echoing what appeared to be a growing sentiment.

Twitter user @Cherry_LA adds, “You recognize the lack of diversity in museum senior management but still didn’t hire an African American to curate Hip & Hop a artform we created? Shame on you and your empty words and promises.”

A solution was presented by Twitter user @IamJoshImmanuel which read as such: “They could’ve just had legends come in once a month to talk hip hop culture or found a black person. It’s really not that difficult to find and if it is, wait for one.”

There will surely be new conversations to crop up from this latest development.

Photo: Getty

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Drake Drops ‘Scorpion’, Rap Debate Twitter Is Lit

Drake Scorpion cover

Source: OVO / OVO

Right on schedule, Drake dropped his new album, Scorpion. Of course, rap debate Twitter is lit with commentary, slander, conspiracy theories and all types of trolling. 

You knew it was going to be crazy when the Boy was trending just off the strength of sharing his track list.

He even got Plies trending.

Also, Spotify diehards are getting clowned.

Check out some of the craziest reactions to Drake’s Scorpion so far in the gallery.

[ione_media_gallery id=”756388″ overlay=”true”]

 

The Latest Hip-Hop News, Music and Media | Hip-Hop Wired

Episode 116: Facts are not Influencing the Immigration Debate

Topics: 

  • Crime rate by illegal immigrants, just illegal immigrants…
    • Is it higher or lower than for legal immigrants?
    • Conflating legal immigrants with illegal immigrants
  • Defining “Open borders”
  • Persuasion value of hypocrisy claims
  • Facts only matter to outcomes, but we don’t use them for decisions 

 

 

The post Episode 116: Facts are not Influencing the Immigration Debate appeared first on Dilbert Blog.


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The Fake Gun Control Debate

The most common view of the gun debate in the United States is that one side is sensible and factual — and quite attractive — while the other side is a pile of meat that has been sitting in the sun too long. The main source of disagreement about guns has been narrowed-down to this key question: “Which side is the rotting meat side?” But I think most people agree on the big picture — that one side is completely batsh*t crazy while the other team is brilliant, well-informed, and inexplicably sexy. You’re lucky you’re on the good team! Pity the people on the other side. Losers!

But that’s not how the Persuasion Filter sees it. The Persuasion Filter sees nothing remotely like rational debate happening on either side. The persuasion filter sees individuals with different risk profiles favoring policies they feel will keep them safer even if it makes someone else less safe.

If you’re new to the concept of the Persuasion Filter, I use the term to explain how a person trained in the art of persuasion sees the world. The main distinction is that trained persuaders see humans as fundamentally irrational, yet hardwired at birth to believe we have common sense.

The Persuasion Filter describes a world in which no one involved in the gun debate, on either side, is engaged in honest, rational debate. But we sure FEEL as if we’re being honest and rational. And therefore, logically, if the folks on the other side of the issue don’t see things the same way, they must be lying, hallucinating, stupid, or mentally ill. But they sure can’t be thinking as smartly as we are. If they were, they’d be agreeing with us so hard it would hurt.

If you look at the gun debate through the Persuasion Filter, you see people who are pursuing their own self-interest as they see it at the expense of other people. But humans can’t say that directly. To do so would make us appear to be bad people in the eyes of society.

For example, anti-gun people know that some people would be safer with guns in the house for self-defense. I know a single mom with two teenage daughters who gunned-down a documented sex offender who broke into her home in the middle of the night. No charges were filed. She was safer with a gun, and she knew it. That’s why she had one. So the anti-gun folks (the most extreme of them anyway) would accept a world in which my friend and her daughters were sexually assaulted in their own home so long as it makes their own risk a bit lower. But they can’t say that. So instead, they point to England and say whatever works there would totally work here. That might be true. But it isn’t rational. There are too many differences to be confident we’d have the same outcome.

Many pro-gun folks feel safer owning guns. Or they might simply enjoy guns for sporting purposes. They might also prefer gun ownership to lower the risk of a despot taking over, or simply because gun ownership is a freedom granted in the Constitution. But the unspoken part of those preferences includes the knowledge that some number of innocent people, including children, will die because of current gun laws. To be fair, guns will save some people as well. But no doubt about it, some innocent people will die whenever guns are easy to obtain.

We humans can’t say aloud that we prefer our position on guns (either pro or con) even though we know that getting our way will mean certain death to innocent people. So instead, we concoct irrational arguments about how places such as Chicago or Tokyo tell us all we need to know about the effectiveness of gun control. They don’t.

Personally, I judge my gun risk to be similar to that of my friend who shot the sex offender in her house. As a public figure, my risk is higher than average. So if I want a right to own a gun for self-defense, I have to accept the fact that innocent people will die should the laws of the land go my way.

One of the reasons I respect advocates on both sides of the gun debate is that we live in a political system that allows (and maybe encourages) people to vote for their self-interest, as they see it, even if the outcome would lead to the death of other citizens. I would prefer an option in which no one ever dies for the preferences of others, but for some types of political decisions, people will die no matter which direction you go. And that means people will vote in a way that makes it less likely they will be the ones dying and more likely it will be some other class of people doing the dying.

If you see a gun debate in which both sides claim their preferred laws would save lives, you’re watching a fake debate. A real debate would sound more like this:

Honest Pro-gun argument: “I realize the right to own guns will result in the death of thousands of innocent people. But owning a gun lowers the risk for my family, in my opinion, because of my specific situation, and so I favor gun rights.”

or…

Honest Anti-gun argument: “I realize that some forms of gun control could result in the deaths of people who would otherwise be able to defend themselves, but I’m okay with that because my family’s risk would be lower if there were fewer guns in circulation.”

Those are examples of honest opinions about guns. If you can’t say your preferred laws about guns are guaranteed to result in the deaths of innocent people — albeit different classes of people depending on the laws — you aren’t part of a real debate. You’re part of a fake debate that feels real.

Personally, I’m pro-gun, with a preference for a national no-buy list. I believe my preferences, if they were the law of the land, would make me safer in my situation, while definitely leading to a greater risk of other people dying. I also accept the risk of people ending up on the no-buy list who shouldn’t be there. Some of those people might die because they can’t defend themselves, and I accept that tradeoff for purely selfish reasons because I think it is unlikely I would end up on the no-buy list.

I also believe gun ownership makes the United States slightly more dictator-proof than it would otherwise be. Private gun owners stand no chance against a professional military, but they wouldn’t be facing a military. They would be kidnapping the family members of anyone involved in the dictator’s overthrow. While it would still be possible for a dictator to take control of the United States, that dictator would end up ruling a country that he or she wouldn’t want to live in. Gun owners would see to that. And that’s worth something.

For more of my opinions on gun control, see my prior blog post on the topic in which I attempt to be rational but probably fail.


I started a Patreon account so my audience can influence my content — via micro-donations as low as one dollar.

Writing about persuasion and politics reduced my income by about 30-40% because of tribal effects. (See Laura Ingraham’s experience). I took that risk with full understanding of the outcome because I thought it was worth educating the public on what they were witnessing.

Patreon funding will persuade me to express my opinions as often as practical without worrying about the sensibilities of sponsors, advertisers, or corporate bosses. I appreciate all of you who are making this happen.

The post The Fake Gun Control Debate appeared first on Dilbert Blog.


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“It’s so spectacular, imagine working here every day,” marveled Julianne Moore making her way down the marble-floored corridor to the show space, set in a cavernous hall with rose windows. “How great is Clare, right? This is really, really exciting, the first woman to head a major couture house. It’s pretty impressive to see,” added the actress. When asked if she was into cats, which feature in Waight Keller’s recently released teaser of her vision for the house, Moore replied: “I have dogs.”
On her heels, Fergie revealed she was a cat woman. “My first pet was a cat, his name was Sneaky — and I’m always a fan of a cat eye,” purred the singer.
“Apparently a lot of the series that we’re watching at the moment were shot here,” marveled Natalia Vodianova, who also weighed in on the pet talk. “Antoine [Arnault] wanted to offer me a kitten two years ago, but I chickened out because I have young children.”
Rooney Mara looked a little overwhelmed. “This is my first time at Paris Fashion Week and I’m very excited and anxious to

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DJ Akademiks Sparks Furious Debate Over Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III

Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne‘s sixth studio album, propelled him to superstar status with chart-topping singles and debuting at the top of the Billboard 200 charters in its first week with over 1 million in sales. While some consider the record a classic, DJ Akademiks sparked a furious Twitter debate by shouting out that designation.

“Carter 3 aint no f*cking classic. Carter 2 is. the 2 mixtapes he dropped right before Carter 3 were better than Carter 3..,”Akademiks wrote in response to a fan calling the media personality out on deeming Tha Carter III unworthy of classic status.

He added, “I cant call Carter 3 no classic when songs that got LEAKED or left Off the album were better than songs that ended up making the album. FOH.”

Fans began chiming in with their counter-arguments, but Akademiks was having none of it. We’ve collected the best of the back and forth with DJ Akademiks going to war with Lil Wayne fans over Tha Carter III’s classic or not status.

What do you think? Was the record a classic to you? Sound off in the comments. And follow the “Carter 3” discussion on Twitter.

Photo: WENN.com

The post DJ Akademiks Sparks Furious Debate Over Lil Wayne’s <i>Tha Carter III</i> appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

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Winners

  • Ted Cruz: Emitted his policies toward the audience at an impressive 105 dB
  • Chris Christie: Found a good, firm grip on his podium that he really liked
  • Lindsey Graham: Home from early debate in time for American Pickers marathon
  • Mike Huckabee: Won over audience with stirring, heartfelt story about everyday presidential candidates struggling to evade basic questions
  • Debate Moderators: Somehow able to get under the skin of notoriously calm, reasonable group of GOP candidates
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  • Jeb Bush: Only has to endure a couple more weeks of this

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Vince Staples & Noreaga Clash In Age-Old 90s Hip-Hop Debate

Two key components of Def Jam’s past and present in Noreaga and Vince Staples exchanged barbs on the disagreeable end thanks to a recently conducted interview the latter artist did with TIME.

Born on July 2, 1993, the 22-year-old MC from Long Beach City doesn’t hold a staunch allegiance to the 90s era of Hip-Hop and he’s not shy about revealing that.

“The 90s gets a lot a credit…I don’t know why,” he replied with a shrug. “Biggie and Tupac, [those artists] were the staples of the 90s. That’s why they get the Golden Era credit. There wasn’t a 50 Cent in the 90s.” [Editor’s Note: Wait, what?]

Staples went on to champion the Hip-Hop culture of the early 2000s after pointing out that current megastars Jay Z and Kanye West were biggest following that period.

Aside from get his Hip-Hop eras confused, the Summertime ’06 creator did go on to point out the one fact that can be pulled from arguably the culture’s most opinionated debate. He noted that practically every living mortal believes the music they grew up listening to is superior to that of other generations. Which is why Lil Bow Wow’s “Bounce With Me” ranks so high on his personal list. [Editor’s Note: Columbus, OH native here, so no shade, but negro please, Vince.]

After headlines of “Vince Staples Says The 90s is Overrated” rang from every corner of the urban Internet, the question was posed which “old head” would take young Vince to task for proverbially taking a squat on the beaten path that allowed him to have a career. That guy would be Noreaga who called the LBC youngster’s comments “idiotic” which caused a rift of a response.

“You a grown man,” Staples wrote. “If you got a problem call Corey Blacksmith for a conversation I thought you was a super thug ni**a.”

The good news is the disagreement ended peaceful yet not without its fair share of entertainment, however.

Flip through the gallery to what was said.

By the way, both Summertime ’06 and N.O.R.E. are currently available on iTunes. It is never too late to get hip to great music.


Photo: TIME

The post Vince Staples & Noreaga Clash In Age-Old 90s Hip-Hop Debate appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

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Little Democrats: 1st Democratic Debate

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Master Wizard Filter on the Democratic Debate

The Washington Post’s Stephen Stromberg says Hillary Clinton won the first Democratic debate with her line about being a progressive who likes to get things done. Personally, that line didn’t register with me at all. It has no visual or emotional content. The Master Wizard filter says that line was irrelevant.

According to the Master Wizard filter, the moment Hillary Clinton eliminated her chance of winning in the general election was by repeatedly saying a big part of her appeal is her gender.

Did President Obama ever say he should get elected because he is black? No. It would have cost him the election. 

It appears that CNN can’t report on that career-ending gaffe because it goes against the CNN narrative that the Democrats are talking substance and the Republicans are doing name-calling. CNN pundits are calling Clinton’s gender play a good move.

Update: In the field of persuasion, the name for Clinton’s mistake is called “selling past the close.” One assumes that her gender had already made all the impact on voters it was likely to make. The sale was already closed. Reopening a closed sale can only give the buyer a new reason to say no. That reason was provided when Clinton suggested her gender was a selling point FOR A FUCKING JOB.

I like to make predictions using the Master Wizard Hypothesis so you can hold me to them. I predict that Clinton’s poll numbers (for the general election versus Trump) will start dropping after a post-debate uptick, and never recover. The consensus prediction by others is that her debate was strong, and should keep Biden out of the race as she cruises to nomination victory and then the presidency.


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News in Brief: Bernie Sanders Repeatedly Scolded For Attempting To Unionize Debate Moderators

LAS VEGAS—Saying his repeated efforts to collectively organize the panel were inexcusable, representatives from CNN told reporters Tuesday night that they had to scold Bernie Sanders on numerous occasions for attempting to unionize the moderators of the Democratic presidential debate. “So far during this debate, we’ve sent producers on stage during every commercial break to remind him that this is not the forum to demand fair wages and safe working conditions for moderators,” said CNN official Tara Ramirez, adding that Sanders had spent an entire rebuttal attempting to coax moderator Don Lemon into calling a unionization election right then and there. “We thought he understood, but then he was right back at it, telling Anderson Cooper that if he stood up against the machine now, moderators from Fox and other networks would follow and generations of future moderators would benefit.” Ramirez went on to say that network representatives …




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Anderson Cooper Earns High Marks As Democratic Debate Moderator

Depending on who you ask, the big winner in Tuesday night’s Democratic showdown was either Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, both or racial equality (for finally being discussed in a 2016 debate). One result was widely accepted though: CNN’s Anderson Cooper absolutely crushed it as a moderator.

“Anderson Cooper won the debate,” wrote Red State’s Erick Erickson.

“He asserted himself as the strongest figure of the presentation, candidates included,” wrote Mediaite’s Joe Concha. ”In the end, Cooper showed why he’s one of the top journalists in the game: He was impeccably prepared, wasn’t hesitant to ask follow-up questions when warranted and didn’t offer up one question – not one — that could be considered frivolous or fluffy… A solid A.”

Cooper hammered each candidate with questions about their biggest weak spots. He asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee about their wavering political stances. He grilled Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Virginia Sen. Jim Webb for their high marks with the NRA. He questioned former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s record as mayor of Baltimore, a city plagued by recent unrest. And he asked all of the candidates about their electability, putting the three Democrats who are polling in the single digits in a tough spot.

Cooper repeatedly refused to let candidates dodge questions or give non-answers:

“Senator Sanders, you have to give a response,” he said.

“Senator Sanders, you didn’t answer the question,” he said later.

“You agreed to these rules and you’re wasting time,” he told Webb. “So if you would finish your answer, we’ll move on.”

Cooper’s performance was well-received on Twitter:

 As Slate’s Justin Peters wrote, “I wish he could moderate all the debates.”

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Infographic: How Democrats Are Preparing For Their First Debate

The first Democratic presidential debate will be held Tuesday, and the candidates are expected to battle it out over issues as wide-ranging as gun control, climate change, and wealth inequality in America. Here’s how the candidates are preparing for the debate:

  • Bernie Sanders repeatedly reminded not to point scolding finger directly into camera
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  • Advisers submitting Jim Webb to a session of rapid-fire, hard-hitting questions about where he came from and why he’s here
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The Onion

Hillary Clinton’s Debate Prep Rituals: Mock Debates, Nervous Energy, Secret Handshakes, And More Inside Scoop

By this time in the 2008 presidential primary cycle, Neera Tanden, (below, left) who was Hillary Clinton's policy director and debate coach, had already prepped Clinton through about half of the 25 Democratic debates. (That’s…


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Sheryl Crow set to perform at CNN Democratic Primary Debate

Grammy-award winning singer Sheryl Crow is scheduled to sing the National Anthem at the first Democratic primary debate being held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 13.



CNN.com – Entertainment

GamersGate: The World's Largest Online Game Store

Too much too young? Teen sparks model age debate

Fourteen-year-old Israeli model Sofia Mechetner sparks debate over whether modelling under the age of eighteen is too much too young. Edward Baran reports.


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Amber Rose’s SlutWalk sparks debate

Amber Rose, an actress and model known for her personal style and steady position on the gossip pages, staged a “SlutWalk” in Los Angeles on Saturday that has folks debating the usefulness of the term and what it represents.



CNN.com – Entertainment

GamersGate: The World's Largest Online Game Store

Little Republicans: 2nd GOP Debate

Little Republicans: 2nd GOP Debate

Little Republicans: 2nd GOP Debate 3:25
The actors are shorter, but the words all come from the candidates themselves.
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Funny Or Die Crashed The Republican Debate

Funny Or Die Crashed The Republican Debate

Funny Or Die Crashed The Republican D… 2:34
Despite having zero political-reporting experience, Funny Or Die crashed the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We probably won’t be invited back.
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CNN Debate: What celebs want to ask

CNN Opinion asked celebrities, writers, political thinkers and other newsmakers to tell us what they’d ask the candidates at the CNN Republican debate.



CNN.com – Entertainment

GamersGate: The World's Largest Online Game Store

Alyssa Milano talks breast-feeding pics, says debate ‘needed to happen’

It seems there’s not much a mom can do that won’t spark some sort of criticism or debate these days.


TODAY Pop Culture

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News in Brief: GOP Debate Stage Manager Pulls Ladies’ Podium Out Of Storage For Carly Fiorina

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Having rummaged through a cluttered backstage closet for nearly half an hour in an effort to locate its elegantly curved lavender form, stage manager Paul Guzman is said to have finally pulled the GOP’s official ladies’ podium out of storage for Carly Fiorina ahead of Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate. “This thing was way back there jammed behind some sound equipment—I honestly didn’t think we’d be using it this year,” said Guzman as he brushed dust away from the floral-patterned carvings on the front of the lectern, which stands several inches shorter than the other podiums and features a lift-up vanity mirror, four delicate finials, and an upholstered velvet work surface for holding debate notes and personal accessories. “It’s always kind of a pain to drag this out, but at least we only need one of them. Plus, this is probably …




The Onion

Critic’s Notebook: GOP Debate or Trump-Fiorina Rom-Com?

Watching the second Republican Candidates debate, it was hard to ignore the — pardon the expression — elephant in the room.
Of course, I’m referring…
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Critic’s Notebook: GOP Debate or Trump-Fiorina Rom-Com?


The tension between Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina Wednesday night felt like the animosity between the lead characters in a Hollywood film who eventually realize that they’re made for each other.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

News in Brief: Shirtless Mike Huckabee Spends Entire Debate Seated In Rickety Rocking Chair

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Reckoning it was dern near hotter on the stage than a $ 2 pistol, a shirtless Mike Huckabee reportedly spent the entire Republican primary debate Wednesday seated in a rickety rocking chair. “This economy’s been done ruined on account of President Obama getting too big for his britches and making a whole mess of new laws that feared away all them small business owners,” said Huckabee, pausing to take a drink from a ladle in a rusty copper bucket while wiping sweat from his brow with a rag pulled from the back pocket of his filthy blue jeans. “This country’s gone all out of kilter and I’m nearbout more ornery than a possum that got stuck in a barrel and rolled down a hill. Hear tell, a whole heap of y’all out there are a-fussin’ and frettin’ about what kind of future we’re …




The Onion

Recap: The Second Republican Debate of The 2016 Presidential Election

Things are a little different the second time around. Carly Fiorina is up on the main stage. The backdrop is Ronald Reagan's retired Air Force One. (Yes, the actual plane.) Trump is no longer hoarding…


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American Voices: Planned Parenthood Debate Threatens Government Shutdown

With only seven legislative days to go until a budget decision must be reached for the new fiscal year beginning on October 1, Republicans continue to reject further federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a stalemate that could trigger another government shutdown to the detriment of financial markets. What do you think?




The Onion

What We’d Ask The GOP Candidates In A Debate

Thank God Labor Day has come and gone. After such a sleepy summer, maybe we’ll finally have some political news to cover in this boring, routine presidential race. 

The two sentences above are examples of what we ultra-professional writers call “facetious humor.” 

In truth, the first furlong of the race has been INSANE. As in: SECRET GEFILTE FISH EMAIL! FEEL THE “BERN!” HE’S BIDEN HIS TIME. AN APOCALYPTIC NEUROSURGEON. A CEO WHO NEARLY SANK BOTH HEWLETT AND PACKARD. AND OF COURSE: DONALD TRUMP! DONALD TRUMP! DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP!

Now we enter an inescapable garden maze of televised debates, starting with CNN’s Republican one on Wednesday of next week at the Reagan Library in California. They’ll have a panel of media inquisitors. But why wait? And why them? HuffPost First to Last has its own questions for each of the top 10 candidates. (If you have more, dear readers, serious or not quite, email them to us at openreporting@huffingtonpost.com. We’ll run some of them in a separate piece. Gefilte fish news also welcome.) 

Here’s a start:

RANK CANDIDATE
1
DONALD TRUMP
“You got a great photo-op out of the pledge you signed. But given your golf exploits, and your pride at having stiffed past business partners, why should anyone believe you when you say you’ve signed a pledge?”
2
BEN CARSON
“You recently told Fox News that you’ve ‘learned how to phrase things in a way that people actually hear what [you’re] saying.’ Does that mean you were wrong when you compared Obamacare to slavery?”
3
JEB BUSH
“You signed a pledge vowing to support the eventual GOP nominee. You also recently put out an ad describing your party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, as being insincere in his conservatism. How do you resolve this contradiction?”
4
TED CRUZ
“Why are you palling around with Donald Trump? Are his coattails that luxurious?”
5
MARCO RUBIO
“You came into this race as the young, fresh optimist. How exactly are you going to survive this bitter slugfest you’ve gotten yourself sucked into?”
6
MIKE HUCKABEE
“With Ben Carson carting off such a huge chunk of your evangelical base, what’s your path in Iowa?”
7
CARLY FIORINA
“You’ve styled yourself as a candidate who’s come from outside the world of politics. But is a mediocre business career really better than a successful electoral career? If so, explain how.”
8
SCOTT WALKER
“Are you starting to feel that a presidential race is maybe a level of difficulty higher than you thought it would be?”
9
JOHN KASICH
“You’ve been a career politician and you’ve worked for Lehman Brothers — which one is the bigger albatross around your neck right now?”
10
RAND PAUL
“What happened, dude?”

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press

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WIRED Live – What’s a Robot in 2014? Rodney Brooks and Andrew McAfee Debate

What is a robot in 2014? Founder, chairman, and CTO of Rethink Robotics Rodney Brooks and co-author of The Second Machine Age, Andrew McAfee, sit down to discuss the past, present, and future of robotics.
WIRED Videos – The Scene

Petition Calls For Jon Stewart To Moderate A Presidential Debate

Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” retirement is barely two weeks old, but there’s already a push to bring him back to the airwaves next year — this time as moderator of one of the upcoming presidential debates

“Over the last 16 years, Jon Stewart has played an influential and iconic role in covering U.S. politics and media,” the petition on Change.org reads. “We believe he should continue that tradition as a moderator at one of the 2016 Presidential Debates.”

The petition notes that Stewart has interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the Cabinet, 32 U.S. Senators and seven members of the House of Representatives, as well as “scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world while establishing himself as the most trusted person in (satirical) news.”

In addition, the petition points out that with Stewart serving as host, “The Daily Show” won Peabody Awards for its coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. 

So far, more than 120,000 people have signed the petition addressed to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that sets the locations and chooses the moderators for each debate. 

Neither the CPD nor Stewart have commented on the petition. However, the organization spells out the qualifications on its website: 

“The moderators are selected by the CPD. The CPD uses three criteria to select its moderators: a) familiarity with the candidates and the major issues of the presidential campaign; b) extensive experience in live television broadcast news; and c) an understanding that the debate should focus maximum time and attention on the candidates and their views. The moderators alone select the questions to be asked, which are not known to the CPD or to the candidates. They do not meet with the campaigns, nor do the campaigns have a role in moderator selection.”

 

At least one presidential hopeful has signed the petition:

Stewart has said little about his post-“Daily Show” plans, but his next big public appearance will be as host of WWE’s SummerSlam on Sunday.

He also reportedly intends to be active in animal rescues. Earlier this year, Farm Sanctuary announced that Stewart and his wife, Tracey Stewart, “bought a farm in New Jersey with the intention of providing a home for farm animals rescued from cruelty.”

But the creators of the petition are hoping to bring him back to television at least one more time. 

“(S)orry for pestering you so early in your retirement, Mr. Stewart!” an update to the petition reads. “I hope you take all of this as a compliment and see how grateful these supporters are for your work.”

 

Earlier on HuffPost:

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100K Want Stewart To Host A Debate

Jon Stewart may have left "The Daily Show," but fans want him back on the air, this time as host of a 2016 presidential debate.


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Here’s Why Jon Stewart SHOULD Host A 2016 Presidential Debate

A popular Change.org petition asks for Jon Stewart to host a 2016 Presidential Debate and here’s why we think it’s a good idea.
News

Petition Calls For Jon Stewart To Moderate A Presidential Debate

Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” retirement is barely two weeks old, but there’s already a push to bring him back to the airwaves next year — this time as moderator of one of the upcoming presidential debates

“Over the last 16 years, Jon Stewart has played an influential and iconic role in covering U.S. politics and media,” the petition on Change.org reads. “We believe he should continue that tradition as a moderator at one of the 2016 Presidential Debates.”

The petition notes that Stewart has interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the Cabinet, 32 U.S. Senators and seven members of the House of Representatives, as well as “scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world while establishing himself as the most trusted person in (satirical) news.”

In addition, the petition points out that with Stewart serving as host, “The Daily Show” won Peabody Awards for its coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. 

So far, more than 120,000 people have signed the petition addressed to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that sets the locations and chooses the moderators for each debate. 

Neither the CPD nor Stewart have commented on the petition. However, the organization spells out the qualifications on its website: 

“The moderators are selected by the CPD. The CPD uses three criteria to select its moderators: a) familiarity with the candidates and the major issues of the presidential campaign; b) extensive experience in live television broadcast news; and c) an understanding that the debate should focus maximum time and attention on the candidates and their views. The moderators alone select the questions to be asked, which are not known to the CPD or to the candidates. They do not meet with the campaigns, nor do the campaigns have a role in moderator selection.”

 

At least one presidential hopeful has signed the petition:

Stewart has said little about his post-“Daily Show” plans, but his next big public appearance will be as host of WWE’s SummerSlam on Sunday.

He also reportedly intends to be active in animal rescues. Earlier this year, Farm Sanctuary announced that Stewart and his wife, Tracey Stewart, “bought a farm in New Jersey with the intention of providing a home for farm animals rescued from cruelty.”

But the creators of the petition are hoping to bring him back to television at least one more time. 

“(S)orry for pestering you so early in your retirement, Mr. Stewart!” an update to the petition reads. “I hope you take all of this as a compliment and see how grateful these supporters are for your work.”

 

Earlier on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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Next Republican Debate To Use American Ninja Warrior Format

Next Republican Debate To Use American Ninja Warrior Format

Next Republican Debate To Use America…
CNN has decided to go all in and pit the Republican candidates against each other in a series of physical challenges.
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If You Think Politicians Are Childish, This Is the GOP Debate For You

Sick of immature, quarrelsome politicians?

Then this is the debate re-enactment for you. Not because it improves upon the Republican candidates, but because it pulls back the curtain on their true nature.

It’s a surprisingly accurate rundown of this year’s first GOP presidential debate — from Donald Trump’s refusal to rule out a third-party run; to Rand Paul’s defense of the Fourth Amendment; to Mike Huckabee’s belief that, in certain corners of the nonprofit world, babies’ organs are sold like parts of a Buick.  

Plenty of other highlights also made the cut. And the only real adults look to be the moderators.

H/T Digg

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Top 10 Moments from the GOP Debate!

The GOP Debate. It came, we watched, it blew our minds! Donald Trump is like teflon…nothing sticks to that guy. Marco Rubio was a surprise standout. Jeb Bush looked pretty old. Scott Walker was boring. John Kasich came out of nowhere to become America’s favorite dad. Rand Paul and Chris Christie were entertaining side shows. Ted Cruz was just a snooze. Mike Huckabee…decent joke at the end. But Ben Carson…that guy’s a standup comedian! No real policy discussions but well played Megyn Kelly for actually asking some tough questions. Did you care? Jay and Jackie certainly did:)

@jackiekoppell
@tweetsby_Jay

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Mike Huckabee’s Military Comments at the GOP Debate: Women Veterans Respond

This week’s first GOP debate in Cleveland was an eventful one, with the Republican hopefuls laying bare their views on hot topics like terrorism, Planned Parenthood, and gay marriage. When asked about his thoughts on…


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These Are The Exact Debate Moments When Candidates Got The Most Attention On Google

During Thursday night’s primary debate of the top 10 Republican candidates, Google tracked searches for each person on the stage. Not surprisingly, businessman Donald Trump was the most-searched candidate, followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.).

Searches for each candidate ebbed and flowed throughout the debate, generally increasing when the candidate was speaking. Now, thanks to Google, we know what the candidates were saying when the greatest number of people were searching their names. 

Searches for Trump had several major spikes, four of which corresponded to specific statements he made. The largest jump occurred during his closing statement — most candidates saw an increase in searches during their final remarks — and during his response to moderator Chris Wallace’s question about his past business bankruptcies. Trump claimed he had never gone bankrupt, then clarified that he had “taken advantage of the [bankruptcy] laws of this country” in four business deals in the past. Perhaps viewers were fact-checking him.

Carson’s largest spike seems to have come when he stated that “there is no such thing as a politically correct war.” He was briefly interrupted by applause from the crowd at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena before he continued, praising the intellect of military leaders and saying they could carry out any mission a commander in chief gives them “if we don’t tie their hands behind their back.”

Cruz’s most-Googled moment was during his opening statement. He was the third-most searched candidate, but didn’t have as many ups and downs as the other top-searched candidates. His immigration and foreign policy comments got some attention, but not as much as his opening remarks.

Bush, on the other hand, saw several spikes in Google searches — some not necessarily related to anything he said. The first occurred when he attempted to make his habit of vetoing budget line items as governor of Florida into a Godfather joke. Another was when he referred to the Iraq invasion, led by his brother then-President George W. Bush in 2003, as a mistake. And later, Bush denied a report that he had called Trump a “clown” and a “buffoon,” but did grab attention by saying Trump’s language is divisive. 

Rounding out the top five in Google search traffic, Rubio first caught attention defending his relative youth and inexperience by saying the election “cannot be a resume competition.” If it is, he warned, “Hillary Clinton’s gonna be the next president.” Rubio also gained attention for his statements on immigration and education, but his largest spike was when he called for lowering the tax rate for all small businesses to 25 percent, limiting regulations and repealing Obamacare all in one breath. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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Steven Tyler Attends GOP Debate: Was It As Donald Trump’s Guest?

Steven Tyler attended Thursday night’s Republican debate, possibly as a personal guest of Donald Trump’s. 
GOP Debate: We Give Each Republican…
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I Witness News: On the Ground at the GOP Debate

2015-08-08-1438992681-9052058-FullSizeRender2.jpg

When I think of summer destination spots, Cleveland is not usually high on my list. But for the initial GOP Presidential Debate, I made my pilgrimage to the Rock & Roll Capital of the World to see the Republican Party’s most popular acts perform individual solos, as they began the first set of national auditions to be chosen as the leader of the band.

I was in town as a guest of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who was hosting the network’s coverage from outside Quicken Loans Arena. While my original plan was to watch the debate inside, I was so intrigued by the all the energy and activity on the set that I decided to stay nearby (see tall guy in blue suit). If you think of the debate as a kind of sporting event, it was like watching a pre-game show up-close and then, having a courtside seat to observe the play-by-play announcer and a host of color analysts watch the game action and interact.

Being that close to the broadcast area, I also had the chance to meet political analysts such as Howard Fineman, global editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group, Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and Kathleen Parker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist from the Washington Post. It was a rare opportunity for a concerned citizen to casually converse with people who actually shape the news and they each seemed greatly enthused to see the debate process begin. And I was very encouraged to find that the concept of a Practical Republican is a welcome idea.

Some random observations from watching the debate:

It was fascinating to observe a FOX telecast through an MSNBC lens — I always watch the Republican Convention on MSNBC and the Democratic Convention on FOX to get a more balanced perspective (as a pragmatist, I also think it’s important to read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard and The New Republic because you need to hear from all sides of the political spectrum). I not only thought that FOX did a good job, but may have been the real star of the night.

FOX realized that when broadcasting their first debate, they had to be a news network, not an opinion channel. In selecting their three most serious reporters, Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace (rather than Sean Hannity and some of their other fluff masters), FOX picked journalists who would pose tough, objective questions, giving both the questions and the network more creditability.

Naturally, Donald Trump’s presence dominated the debate and he almost doubled the airtime of the other candidates. But I wonder if Trump’s Teflon image will survive the rude exchange with Megyn Kelly and I also wonder if by refusing to take the pledge not to run as an independent, he let Republican supporters know up front that what he really wants is what’s best for him, not the country. My theory with Trump is soon he has to get serious or get out. The reality of what he’s doing is going to sink in and he’s going to say, “OK, I’ve gotten my ego boost, now, to whom do I give my support and votes?”

The one candidate who really impressed me in terms of delivering a message that is going to help the Party win was John Kasich, because he talked about inclusion. He spoke about coming from a modest background. He talked about personally supporting marriage between a man and a woman, but that he went to a wedding of a gay friend and would love his children if they were gay. He said, “Once you have economic growth, it is important that we reach out to folks who live in the shadows. … America is a miracle country, and we have to restore the sense that the American miracle will apply to you.”

Kasich spoke like a compassionate conservative, which despite what some people might think, is not an oxymoron. For example, he defended the Ohio’s controversial Medicaid expansion by saying that it benefited mentally ill prison inmates, getting them on medications to help reduce recidivism and offer them a chance for a decent life. While, it’s early in the race, if there was a dark horse who broke out of the pack, it was Kasich.

Picking Cleveland was a good idea for the first debate because it’s also the host of the 2016 Republican Convention. So the campaign starts and ends here, which added a subtle undertone to the debate, that things will come full circle in Cleveland. It’s also a city that’s undergone an incredible transformation. I hadn’t been here in 38 years and I walked all around the town and was astonished by all the improvements and changes. And the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is not to be missed; I just couldn’t get enough of the incredible Beatles exhibit.

That’s it from C-Town, where it was truly invigorating to be a part of this historic event. I just hope the good news is that when the GOP comes back here next July to nominate our candidate, he’s the kind of Practical Republican who will lead the party on the long and winding road back to the Oval Office.

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Infographic: What To Expect From Tonight’s GOP Debate

The first Republican primary debate will air Thursday evening on Fox News and will feature the top 10 polling candidates, with Donald Trump in a strong lead, as they field questions from moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace. Here’s what to expect during tonight’s debate:

  • Debate to begin with each candidate escorted through arena and presented onstage by father
  • Few softball questions about stripping millions of Americans of health insurance and right to marry
  • Moderators to enforce rules giving candidates equal time to talk over each other
  • The complete implosion of at least one human being’s hopes and dreams
  • Koch brothers to outfit Scott Walker with tracking bracelet to ensure he doesn’t wander far from talking points
  • To provide warning to candidates, Fox News moderators will sound a chime whenever ratings drop below acceptable threshold
  • Honest and level-headed back-and-forth about Planned Parenthood and the …



The Onion

GOP Debate: Rosie O’Donnell Responds to Donald Trump’s Dig


Trump took a stab at O’Donnell during the GOP debate Thursday night.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

Critic’s Notebook: No Knockouts, but Trump Brings Drama — and Comedy — to GOP Debate


Donald Trump was the main draw as he trashed, slashed and burned his way through an otherwise lackluster night of political theater.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

Closed Captioning At GOP Debate Actually Cat Walking On Keyboard

The closed captioning was the real frontrunner of the first GOP debate. Participants included the candidates who couldn’t make the main debate — the triple A players, if you will.

It was as if the closed caption technician had used the restroom, and a wayward cat had wandered in and decided to take a nap on the keyboard.

 

Also on HuffPost:

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GOP Debate: Donald Trump Doubles Down on Mexico Comments, Mocks Rosie O’Donnell


Trump also explained donating to Hillary Clinton in the past.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

GOP Debate: Donald Trump Doubles Down on Mexico Comments, Mocks Rosie O’Donnell

Ten men were onstage, but Donald Trump was the center of attention during Thursday’s Republican presidential debate. 
Fox News Channel’s Megyn…
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News in Brief: Frustrated Debate Moderator Reminds Audience To Refrain From John Kasich Chants While Other Candidates Speaking

CLEVELAND—After the fourth such interruption of the night forced him to pause Thursday’s Republican presidential debate, frustrated moderator Chris Wallace sternly reminded attendees to refrain from any John Kasich chants while other candidates were speaking. “Please, ladies and gentlemen, let’s keep this debate respectful,” said Wallace over the din of the effusive crowd, admonishing audience members for cutting into Chris Christie’s time by erupting into loud impromptu chants of “Ka-Sich! Ka-Sich! Ka-Sich!” “I don’t want to have to call security, but if you continue to chant loudly and hiss at the other participants, I will have each person in the audience removed. Aw, for Christ’s sake, not again.” At press time, half the crowd was shouting “John” while the other half responded with “Kasich.”



The Onion

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Was the Real Winner of the First GOP Primary Debate

Megyn Kelly wins.

At least that was the consensus a bold swath of the internet came to while watching the Fox News host co-moderate the first of about 80 Republican primary debates,…


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The GOP Debate Class Will Meet at 5 PM

It was the “I get no respect” debate, featuring seven sad sack GOP presidential candidates who were relegated to the “Lower Tier Debate,” at 5 PM ET on Thursday.

These candidates had the lowest poll numbers– they were like the unpopular kids in high school. They were all dressed up, but no one invited them to the prom. I swear they all looked so humiliated and rejected that I felt sorry for them. None of them wanted to be there, but were required to attend– exactly how I felt in gym class.

Take a look at their sad little faces in this video when they are introduced by the substitute teachers. If this doesn’t tug at your heart strings, you don’t have one. I always have had a soft spot for the underdogs.

They had only 1 hour to make their pitch– although it seemed much longer. Again, as in high school, everyone was waiting for the final bell to ring so we could all go home.

I suppose if you wanted to put a positive spin on it, at least it was a Trump-free zone. The class bully got to play with the popular kids at 9 PM ET.

The highlight of this entire pity party was this exchange, where all (except Rick Perry), demonstrated that they had flunked math class.

MODERATOR BILL HEMMER: I need a two-word answer to the following query. In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama described Hillary Clinton as, quote, “likable enough,” end quote. What two words would you use to describe the Democratic frontrunner? Governor Pataki to start.
PATAKI: Divisive and with no vision. No vision at all. (9 words)
FIORINA: Not trustworthy. No accomplishment. (4 words)
SANTORUM (Presumably; heard but not seen on camera): Secretive and untrustworthy. (3 words)
PERRY: Well, let’s go with three. Good at email. (3 words, but at least he stated he wanted the extra word.)
MODERATOR BILL HEMMER: Governor Jindal?
JINDAL: Socialist and government dependent. (4 words)
GRAHAM: Not the change we need at a time we need it. (11 words)
MODERATOR BILL HEMMER: Governor?
GILMORE: Professional politician that can’t be trusted. (6 words)

My two-word thoughts on this: Politicians can’t be brief, count, or follow instructions.

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Recap: The First Republican Debate of Election 2016

Tonight at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, 10 Republicans who've declared their candidacy for the office of president gathered for the first primary debate of the 2016 election season. Here's who took to…


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The GOP Debate Season Is Upon Us – Let the Games Begin

If you couldn’t sit through the two hours of the 2016 Republican Presidential Debate ‘Voters First’ Forum on CSPAN, not only do I understand, but I’ve got you covered. The event was organized by New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper and took place on the campus of St. Anselm College in Manchester.

The Union Leader announced in June that it would be hosting their own Republican primary forum and the original plan was to host it on the same night as the Fox News debate. That’s not exactly what happened, as FOX changed the way in which they were accepting candidates. The issue the Union Leader had was just that: the way in which FOX was running the debate. The plan was to allow only those candidates who make up the top 10 slots in the polls. FOX wouldn’t divulge what polls they were going to use. though. The entire ordeal seemed, for a while to be a secret.

The Union Leader’s publisher, Joseph McQuaid, wrote:

What Fox is attempting to do, and is actually bragging about doing, is a real threat to the first-in-the-nation primary. Fox boasts that it will ‘winnow’ the field of candidates before New Hampshire gets to do so. That isn’t just bad for New Hampshire, it’s bad for the presidential selection process by limiting the field to only the best-known few with the biggest bankrolls.

McQuaid also penned an open letter, signed by 56 prominent New Hampshire Republicans, urging FOX and the Republican National Committee (RNC) to change the debate criteria. A move, he said, that should be a wake-up call.

“Voters here have an independent streak,” he said, “and they might well be disposed to vote for a so-called ‘also-ran’ who didn’t meet the Fox criteria but who has spent the time and effort here to meet them and answer their questions.”

Per RNC rules, any candidates who participate in an unsanctioned debate are barred from future RNC debates. But McQuaid said in an email that he is not concerned. And as long as the forum stays a forum and does not feature multiple candidates on stage interacting with one another, candidates are free to participate in further RNC debates. “Perhaps some of the Fox eligible will prefer a N.H. forum. And, no, I’m unconcerned. Candidates will make their own decisions,” he said.

Neither former governor Mike Huckabee nor billionaire Donald Trump were at the forum. Huckabee’s Communications Director, Alice Stewart, said he was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. There was, unsurprisingly, no elaboration on what the conflict was. Trump on the other hand, wasn’t so vague and responded in the usual Trump way we’ve become accustomed to, saying,

I feel it is unlikely I will be getting the endorsement from you and the Union Leader. I have made a great fortune based on instinct and that, unfortunately, is my view. Therefore, and for other reasons including the fact that I feel there are too many people onstage to have a proper forum, I will not be attending.

There was also some word going around that Trump was unhappy with some of the coverage he received from the paper and was snubbing them, which may be the case; but based on his statement, it was his usual inability to handle not being center stage, adored and considered the most important person in the room. On Thursday, FOX has him center stage with all of the other candidates flanking him, so there’s a pretty good chance he’ll show up.

The forum went on as scheduled and proved to be a cordial event with little infighting among the candidates. It was organized into two rounds. The first consisted of candidates answering questions on the issues within five minute allotted slots. The second round, also constrained to five minutes, consisted of shorter questions, with an additional 30 seconds allowed for the candidate to make his or her pitch to voters. Rather than lining up the 14 candidates on stage, a logistical and camera operator’s nightmare, each candidate took their turn sitting with the moderator.

The candidates, in no particular order, were Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham onstage, while Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio were on a televised link from D.C., where they were probably fervently trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

Liberals Unite’s Ann Werner has a good run down of the topics in her post.

In a nut shell, the candidates as a whole, agreed that Hillary Clinton and President Obama are evil incarnate and pathological liars; Bernie Sanders is a Socialist, so equally evil; Liberals like to be viewed as victims and are what’s wrong with this country; just about every social program including but not limited to Social Security, Medicare, Planned Parenthood and Obamacare should be abolished or, at the very least, privatized; regulations in general and any attempt to address climate change are job killers; screw the minimum wage and raise the retirement age; and immigration was a free for all of ridiculous claims and, alas, no solutions.

With that out of the way, Thursday on FOX should be quite a show and the Donald will be center stage, so popcorn sales should be through the roof. It’s hard to imagine that it’ll be any different as far as questions go and I’d expect that most of them are going to be softballs.

It’s not difficult to speculate what’s going to be covered as most of the questions are already teed up. Trump has managed to put immigration on the lips of every politician, voter, and reporter in the country. The Republican assault on Planned Parenthood will no doubt come up. The Iran deal will be unanimously trashed. And there will be the requisite cries to repeal Obamacare.

Here’s what won’t be covered: Inequality and stagnant wages; trade strategy; rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure; student debt; climate change; fair taxes; police brutality; campaign finance; and the nation’s incarceration rate. All topics that are on the minds of voters — and all topics that are kryptonite to the GOP. And since it’s being held and moderated and controlled by FOX, none of these issues will addressed.

So here’s my advice for Thursday: get comfortable, grab your favorite bottle of liquor, and pretend it’s just another prime time sitcom. Matt Taibbi over at “Rolling Stone” put together a GOP drinking game for the event.

Here’s the list:

Suggested drinkable comments such as, “Anyone mentions Hitler, Nazis or Neville Chamberlain. Includes related imagery, e.g. ‘ovens'” and “Claims a positive relationship with a minority. Also known as the, “Some of my best friends are…”rule.'” Or the more obvious and sure to get you really drunk, “Anyone invokes St. Ronald Reagan” and “Someone promises to ‘take America back.'”

If you’re playing or seriously considering playing this game on Thursday night, it might be a good idea to call in sick and have the number to the closest detox — it’s going to be a long night.

Richard Zombeck is a freelance writer for hire at Zombeck.com and a contributor to Liberals Unite and Now it Counts

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Jimmy Fallon Predicts Clinton Will Win Upcoming Republican Debate

Jimmy Fallon spent his “Pros and Cons” segment Tuesday night on “The Tonight Show” making fun of Fox News’ upcoming Republican debate.

The debate with the 10 leading angry men will take place Thursday, Aug. 6, at 9 p.m. 

In the segment, Fallon jokes that it may be a pro that voters can finally be formally introduced to the candidates, but the downside is that these viewers will then say, “Crap, isn’t there anybody else?”

The last part leads with Fallon claiming that at least there will only be one clear winner of the night, but the con — at least for Republicans — is that the winner will be Hillary Clinton.

 

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Here’s All You Need to Know About the Candidates in Thursday’s GOP Debate

Ten of the Republican Party candidates for president will participate in the first debate of the 2016 Presidential Campaign on Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio.

Fox News, the official network of the GOP, has announced the names of nine of the candidates in the debate. The tenth will either be Ohio Gov. John Kasich or former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. What is it going to be, Fox, beets or liverwurst?

The GOP’s remaining candidates will sit on folding chairs at the back of the auditorium, with forlorn looks on their faces, wondering why they’re not one of the popular kids.

And we’re left to wonder: Why is there a debate in August 2015 for an election that’s 15 months way?

With so many candidates, where can you find the distinctive qualities of each one in a way that gives them the seriousness they deserve?

Right here:

Donald Trump said he would tab Sarah Palin for a top cabinet post if he was elected president. In response, Trump’s candidacy was immediately endorsed by the nation’s comedians, comedy writers, and editorial cartoonists.

Ben Carson said he doesn’t “really want to run” for president. We really don’t want you to run for president either.

Rand Paul said he supported his family’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it meant — and this was his quote — people couldn’t “have cigar bars anymore.” He really said that.

Rick Perry called the murders of nine blacks inside a Charleston, S.C., church an “accident.” This was a massacre. Perry is an accident.

Mike Huckabee does not accept evolution as a science. This is not surprising for someone who has spent so many years in GOP politics.

Mike Huckabee says that rapes, though “horrible tragedies,” have produced admirable human beings. He calls this “compassionate conservatism.”

Chris Christie puts the bully in bully pulpit.

Ted Cruz was not born in the United States. How can he run for president? Has anyone seen his birth certificate? What’s he hiding? He must be Kenyan and a Muslim. And a Socialist. And maybe even a Kardashian.

Marco Rubio gave up a promising career as a ventriloquist after learning while making a nationally televised speech that he could not talk and drink water at the same time.

Donald Trump says that global warming is real, but that it’s untouched by human hands. Like his hair.

As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush reportedly invested $ 1 million in state pension money to fund pornography films. Bush defended himself by saying he wanted to see people do to each other what his family has been doing to the American people for generations.

Rick Perry started wearing glasses to look smart. It hasn’t worked. He just looks like Rick Perry wearing glasses.

Jeb Bush told Fox News that, given the information he now has, he would have supported the invasion of Iraq. This means that George W. isn’t the dumbest Bush, and Rick Perry isn’t the dumbest person running for president.

Scott Walker is the only college dropout among the GOP candidates for president. Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee all graduated from college. How hard can it be?

John Kasich and Scott Walker hope to get elected president by attacking teachers. Why not? It worked so well in China, Iran, and Afghanistan.

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Candidates For GOP Debate Announced!

Candidates For GOP Debate Announced!

Candidates For GOP Debate Announced! 1:21
Fox News made the first Republican debate a popularity contest, and here’s who came out on top.
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This Gay Pride Adaptation Of An Iconic War Photo Has Sparked A Fierce Debate

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As the Grateful Dead prepares for its last of its 50th anniversary “Fare Thee Well” concerts, some Deadheads, among the most ardent of music fans, contend that attendance is not necessary.
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‘Humans’ breathes new life into robot debate

The new sci-fi TV series comes to the U.S. after a sucessful run in the UK. Alicia Powell reports.


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Referee Debate

As two NBA basketball referees walked through the countryside, they noticed some tracks.

First said, “Deer tracks?”

Second said, “No, bear tracks.”

However, the conversation ended abruptly when a train hit them.

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European immigration debate comes Cannes in ‘Mediterranea’

‘Mediterranea’, which highlights the human story behind the recent European immigration debate and even features scenes with migrants dying when their boat is shipwrecked, creates debate in Cannes. Rough cut (no reporter narration)


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The Matte Vs. Dewy Skin Debate: Which Side Are You On This Season?

Photo: (from left) Mario Testino, Vogue, July 2007; Mario Testino, Vogue, June 2007

Blame it on fashion’s ongoing love affair with athleticism, which has moved well past wearing sneakers in the front row. Backstage at spring shows from Alexander Wang to Bottega Veneta and Marc Jacobs, makeup prescriptions ranged from well-moisturized to post-gym flush to sweaty. The real-life translation? Humidity-embracing foundations, blushes that ensure radiance, and highlighters that fake a post-facial glow. “[A dewy finish says] you’re confident about your skin,” explains makeup artist Daniel Martin of the phenomenon.

Of course, not everyone wants to steer their appearance toward shine. For every luminous face walking the spring runways, there was a clean, fresh, velvety-skinned counterpart sitting front row who had taken care to camouflage even the slightest hint of oil. For those genetically predisposed to unwanted luster, nothing communicates defying-the-elements poise like a perfectly matte face. “You don’t have to worry about touch-ups—once you’re done [with your makeup], you’re done,” says Martin, who has been applying Dior’s Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation on clients walking the red carpet for a full day of shine-free photos.

Whichever camp you’re in, with temperatures rising steadily from now until September, it’s time to stock up on eight of the season’s best matte and dewy finish foundations, blushes, and eye shadows.

The post The Matte Vs. Dewy Skin Debate: Which Side Are You On This Season? appeared first on Vogue.

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Assisted Dying Debate – Jimmy Akins’ Opinion

Background: A few weeks ago I made a public call for a qualified person to explain to my readers why assisted dying should NOT be legal. I asked because I had never met anyone who held that opinion and I wondered if such a person even existed. (Seriously.)

Jimmy Akins (see his website) volunteered, as did some readers of this blog. Jimmy has experience explaining this very topic, he’s a skilled communicator, and several readers suggested him. He also has a deep personal connection to the topic as you will read in his answers.

What follows is Jimmy’s unedited (long!) responses to my questions on assisted dying. Based on your comments and my own reactions, I will send a few follow-up questions to Jimmy before putting this debate through what I have been calling the Rationality Engine, described in my earlier post.

At this point in my exchanges with Jimmy you will see our biases on full display. The point of the Rationality Engine is to use public scrutiny (you folks) to scrub our bias out of the topic over time. Once I publish the Rationality Engine it becomes a living document that gets updated when anyone has a better argument or new data. 

You should be skeptical of the Rationality Engine, for lots of reasons. This will be the third test of it. I believe it worked on the first two topics I ran through it. See here and here. But we are still in the test phase. Let’s see what happens.

I would love to see your comments. And I apologize if this is not entertaining for you. Sometimes the point is just to make the world a little better. 


Jimmy Akins’ Responses on Assisted Dying

1. What standard would you use to deny me the right to a painless death at the time of my choosing?

Denying people rights to painless deaths is not something I’m interested in.

Hopefully, as medical science progresses, deaths will be fewer and farther between, but, when people do die, I would love for their deaths to be painless, and I support greater efforts toward pain relief.

As phrased, the question is not relevant to the discussion at hand and needs to be framed in a more relevant way.

I hate trying to do that on my own, because a partner in dialogue could say that I have reformulated it in a way that does not reflect his view, but rather than throwing the question back without interacting with it, I’ll make a good faith effort in this direction.

The first problem is that this question confuses the issue of physician-assisted suicide with the issue of painless death. They are not the same thing. Many people have painless deaths without physician-assisted suicide, and other people may commit physician-assisted suicide without it being painless.

The second problem is the idea that one has or should have a right to a painless death “at the time of my choosing.” This description leaves out the relevant medical circumstances described in the proposed California legislation. As phrased, the question would appear to assert a right to pain-free suicide under any and all circumstances.

If that’s the intent then this should not be a debate about physician-assisted suicide but about assistance for suicide in general.

At present, California law does not prohibit suicide but it does prohibit helping someone commit it:

Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of a felony [California Penal Code, section 401].

Since the purpose of civil legislation is to promote the common good, the legislature of the state of California appears to believe that this provision promotes the common good—and I agree.

Since the topic for this discussion is physician-assisted suicide in cases of terminal disease (as described in the text of the proposed law, online here), I’ll assume that you support the requirement that people not aid, advise, or encourage others to commit suicide in general. Otherwise, we’d be having a much broader discussion.

The present question thus is not whether you should have a legal right to kill yourself at any time but whether you should have the right to medical assistance in killing yourself upon contracting a terminal disease.

The third problem with the question is the language of “denying” someone “the right” to this assistance. This language is emotionally and conceptually charged in a way that distorts the discussion. In particular, this language attempts to slip in the assumption that a person has a right to a particular thing.

Since the law of the state of California does not provide a legal right to the thing in question, the right would presumably be a moral right.

I would then turn the question around and ask: What makes you think you have a moral right to medical assistance to kill yourself upon contracting a terminal disease?

What theory of morality and rights do you propose that supports this?

Why that right in particular and not some other?

For my part, I don’t think such a moral right exists, and, for the reasons which will be explained below, I don’t think that such a legal right should be created.

2. Explain what you mean by the “common good” in the case of assisted dying. And can you give an example from real life (as opposed to a thought experiment) where you see the common good standard applied to the satisfaction of society’s majority?

Let’s deal with the second question first, because the answer is shorter.

It seems to me that there are any number of examples where the majority of society believes that a particular policy promotes the common good better than the alternative.

To take a few examples from the U.S. Constitution, it seems to me that most Americans think that the fact that slavery is illegal promotes the common good better than having it be legal (13th Amendment). Similarly, most think that allowing women the right to vote is better for the common good than a male-only vote (19th Amendment). And most American seem to think that allowing the sale of alcohol is better for the common good than Prohibition was (21st Amendment).

As to the first question, as I am using the term, the common good includes both the good of individuals, considered as individuals, and the good of individuals considered as a group.

If only the first element is considered, the result would be individualism (giving the good of the individual primacy over the good of the group). If only the second element is considered, the result would be collectivism (giving the good of the collective primacy over the good of the individual).

Neither individualism nor collectivism promotes the common good of society. Both the good of the individual and the good of the group must be taken into account.

This is one reason why U.S. law recognizes that individuals possess rights that are not to be infringed, even when doing so would be popular with the majority.

The common good is violated in multiple ways by physician-assisted suicide:

1) In the first place, it involves a violation of the innate human dignity of the individuals who commit suicide.

This may not be obvious to everyone today. Our culture has been affected by a view that downplays or rejects the dignity of human beings. Sometimes we are considered merely collections of chemicals (“ugly bags of mostly water”) that have no intrinsic dignity.

The historic view, of course, is that we do possess innate dignity. Our present purposes do not require us to determine whether this dignity is the product of a soul or an emergent property of a complex physical system. The important thing is that the dignity is real, and so it has consequences for how people must be treated.

Ultimately, one must make a choice between the two views. We’re either ugly bags of mostly water or we’re human beings with intrinsic dignity.

If the former view is chosen then it abolishes all moral values. Objectively speaking, we would have no dignity, no rights, and it would be no more immoral to kill a human being than it would be to pop a water balloon. On this view, our lives are meaningless, and so is the debate over physician-assisted suicide. There is no right or wrong on this issue, because there is no right or wrong to begin with, and life and death mean nothing.

If the former view is chosen then human beings require respect that water balloons do not. By virtue of their intrinsic dignity, their lives mean something, and they must be respected. It becomes wrong to kill an innocent human being.

That applies to all innocent human beings, regardless of how close or far they are from their natural deaths. Just because you are older or in poorer health doesn’t mean that you have any less a right to life. You still have your innate human dignity, and so your life must still be respected.

The fact that we have intrinsic dignity has implications for our behavior toward ourselves. Just as we must respect the dignity that others have, we must respect our own dignity. This is the just love of self. It is the basis of the universal ethic of reciprocity: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Yet we can fail to show ourselves this love. It is possible to disrespect ourselves, to debase ourselves, to degrade ourselves. All of these are ways of failing to show ourselves the love and respect that we deserve on account of our innate dignity. When we do these things, people may say, “Show yourself some respect. That’s unworthy of you. Don’t settle for this. You deserve better than that.”

This principle, combined with the former one, leads to the conclusion that we need to respect our own lives, and thus in every human society, both historically and today, there is a stigma against suicide—a recognition that when suicide occurs, something is wrong, something bad has happened.

This applies when a person in good health is tempted to commit suicide, and it applies when a person in poor health is tempted to do so.

A person killing himself is not a desirable outcome. The innate human dignity that we possess demands that we seek another solution, such as treating the cause of the situation.

If a person has a disease that is causing the person physical or psychological pain that makes them want to commit suicide then the thing to do is not to get a doctor to help them commit suicide. The thing to do is to treat the causes of their situation.

Either the pain that is causing their desire to die should be treated or—better yet—the underlying condition causing this anguish should be treated.

Given the limitations of medical science at any particular time, the latter may or may not be possible, but we have arrived at a point where we have effective pain management (see below). There may be various barriers preventing it from being used in particular cases, but there again the solution is to remove the barriers, not kill the patient.

Helping patients find the relief they need better corresponds to the requirements of human dignity than helping them kill themselves. The common good is thus promoted on the individual level by helping the patient find relief.

2) Because physician-assisted suicide involves others in suicide—doctors, pharmacists, nurses, etc.—it also involves a violation of their dignity.

This is true regardless of whether they favor physician-assisted suicide. A person who becomes complicit in the killing of an innocent person—either by directly performing the killing or by assisting in it—debases himself. He violates his own dignity by violating the dignity of another.

It does not matter if the person wants him to do this. Just as torturing another person is wrong even if the other person wants to be tortured, so killing (or helping kill) another person is wrong even if the person wants to be killed.

Violating the dignity of another entails a violation of one’s own dignity.

This violation is particularly acute when the person in question is professionally charged with being a healer.

Thus the American Medical Association opposes physician-assisted suicide. Its policy on the subject states:

It is understandable, though tragic, that some patients in extreme duress—such as those suffering from a terminal, painful, debilitating illness—may come to decide that death is preferable to life. However, allowing physicians to participate in physician-assisted suicide would cause more harm than good. Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.

Instead of participating in physician-assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Patients should not be abandoned once it is determined that cure is impossible. Multidisciplinary interventions should be sought including specialty consultation, hospice care, pastoral support, family counseling, and other modalities. Patients near the end of life must continue to receive emotional support, comfort care, adequate pain control, respect for patient autonomy, and good communication [SOURCE, emphasis added].

Physician-assisted suicide thus directly harms the common good on the individual level regarding physicians as well as patients.

3) In addition to the direct violations of human dignity involved in the acts of suicide and the assisting of suicide, legalizing physician-assisted suicide would produce various other problems which would further damage the common good. These would include:

  • Pressure being put on patients to kill themselves.
  • Abandonment of patients once it is determined that cure is impossible.
  • Denial of insurance payments for medical treatments when physician-assisted suicide is an option.
  • Slowing of medical progress.
  • Further damage to the ethic of life in our society.
  • Pressure being put on patients to kill themselves.
  • Abandonment of patients once it is determined that cure is impossible.
  • Denial of insurance payments for medical treatments when physician-assisted suicide is an option.
  • Slowing of medical progress.

We will explore some of these in greater depth as the discussion proceeds, but it is important to note that the argument does not depend on these factors.

Physician-assisted suicide is principally wrong because of the direct violation it involves of the dignity of patients and medical professionals, as discussed above.

3. Explain how the common good is achieved by making my grandmother suffer, against her will, for an extra month before death. How did that make things better for others?

I’m not in favor of making your grandmother suffer, against her will or otherwise.

I’m in favor of getting your grandmother the pain relief she needs in her last month of life. That will make things better for her.

Which would you prefer: A grandmother who is suffering so much that she wants to kill herself? Or a grandmother who is getting enough pain relief that she doesn’t want to kill herself?

Which situation better promotes the dignity of your grandmother?

I know what I’d want for my grandmother.

As far as how having a culture that promotes pain relief over physician-assisted suicide benefits society, we’ve already covered that in brief and will explore it further below.

4. Oregon already has an assisted dying law. What problems have you seen with Oregon’s experience?

[Note: I assume a California law would be essentially similar to Oregon, maybe with some upgrades.]

This question is better left to those who specialize in this area. The following link from the Patients Rights Council may be helpful:

http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/oregon-ten-years/

Regardless of particular problems with the Oregon law, the fundamental problem with it is that it leads to people killing themselves and it makes others complicit in this act.

For the proposed text of the California law, see here:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB128

For a critique of the California law, see here:

http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Analysis-SB-128-End-of-Life-Option-Act-02-15.pdf

5. Do you think the folks in Oregon would agree with you that their law allowing assisted dying has not worked for their common good? If not, what can you point to as an example of why they don’t understand their situation?

In regard to the first question, I’m sure that many of them would agree with me that their law has not promoted the common good. I am sure others would disagree. How many would fall into which group, I do not know. I have not conducted a poll. I suppose that you have not as well.

Even if either of us had conducted a poll, its results would be of questionable value since (a) the results of polls can be dramatically affected by the way the questions are asked and (b) I imagine that most Oregonians have not closely monitored their law or the effects that it has had. Ordinary folks in every state rarely make a close, longitudinal study of the effects of particular laws. They are too busy living their lives and trying to make ends meet.

Further, as the Patients Rights Council points out, there are significant problems with data collection regarding the Oregon law, making it difficult to determine precisely how it is functioning. Thus even people trying to follow the situation closely have difficulty obtaining the needed data.

6. Do you believe psychological anguish is “pain” in the context of end-of-life decisions about reducing pain? For example, if you are trapped in a broken body that will never improve, slowly going mad, strapped to a hospital bed, with no end in sight, do you consider this pain?

Of course. Only a monster would think otherwise.

But if I may ask, what’s with the lurid, tendentious phrasing of these questions?

I could paint the plight of the victims of such laws in similar terms (e.g., “Why do you favor a policy that would lead heartless doctors and greedy insurance companies to deny my grandmother the pain relief that she desperately needs and instead pressure her to kill herself against her will?”).

I would prefer to have a calm and deliberative discussion that sheds light rather than simply generating heat.

You mentioned in your preface having bias on both sides stripped out of the discussion as it progresses. It seems to me that such phrasing is a prime candidate for that.

7. There is legitimate concern that some elderly and disabled folks will be pushed into making an assisted death decision by caretakers seeking their own convenience, or an inheritance. Given that concern, if the law said you could include in your Health Directive an absolute ban on assisted dying options, would that reduce your concerns?

For example, I would gladly accept the risk of my family encouraging me to die early because once my family wants me dead it is time to go anyway. You, on the other hand, could put in your Health Directive that no assisted dying option can be contemplated should you become mentally feeble. You would have nearly zero risk of an unwanted assisted death at that point.

[Note: My assumption is that even if the new law in California is silent about your Health Directive, the current law would let you ban assisted dying in that document.]

I very much appreciate you saying that it is a legitimate concern that elderly and disabled folks would be pushed toward physician-assisted suicide. I think a variety of factors, including economic ones, would conspire to do just that.

The possibility of advanced medical directives prohibiting this course of action would reduce some of my concerns, but it would by no means eliminate them.

In the first place, a huge number of people would fail to even consider the question because a huge number of people do not like making end-of-life decisions. They procrastinate making them, and they either don’t make them at all or simply give someone power of attorney to make decisions for them at the last minute.

In the second place, as long as a person is not in a mentally incapacitated condition then they could change what’s in their healthcare directive, and thus pressure could be brought on them to do so when they are weak and vulnerable but still able to change the document.

In the third place, the question of whether they are incapacitated—and to what degree—would become a bone of contention. Unscrupulous individuals might thus claim that they were not sufficiently incapacitated when they were pressured to change their healthcare directive, when in fact they were.

In the fourth place, the law would continue the devaluation of the life of the individual. The degree to which the life of the individual has been devalued already is illustrated by the statement, “once my family wants me dead it is time to go anyway.” This statement is very alarming. The value of the individual is not the subject of a collectivist determination, even of one’s own family.

It is also not clear why such a determination should be limited to the proximity of natural death. Why not let them take a vote at any time and urge the person to commit physician-assisted suicide regardless of their medical condition?

If we are agreed that aiding, advising, or encouraging people to commit suicide should not be legal in general (per the California Penal Code, section 401) then there needs to be a specific reason—related to one’s medical condition, not the patience or goodwill of one’s family—why it should be legal in the proximity of natural death.

Finally, and most fundamentally, I am not concerned simply about the people who don’t want to die. I am concerned about the people who do want to die and how the act of physician-assisted suicide deprives them of their dignity and represents a failure of human compassion. These people deserve better, and we need to get them the pain relief they need.

8. Do you believe physical pain can be nearly eliminated by drugs at the end of life, and that doing so is already the common practice?

Today, pain can be eliminated by drugs, for it is possible to place someone in a medically induced coma. The fact that it is possible to anesthetize a person and then cut them open and perform major surgery on them also demonstrates this fact.

It does not appear that it is common, at this point, to place patients in medically induced comas.

This may be due to a number of factors. One of these is that many people feel that their pain is adequately relieved without this step.

It is important to bear in mind that there is a tradeoff of benefits here, and a completely pain-free existence is not necessarily what is most desirable. We all experience pain as we age, and it is easy for younger people who are still in the prime of life to imagine any future degree of pain as intolerable. And yet, as the pains associated with age and/or disease occur, we find that we can deal with them better than we thought.

Thus many individuals who could end all pain by a medically induced coma may rationally decide that they would prefer to remain conscious and experience the benefits of consciousness, even if it means living with a certain level of pain.

The fact that the vast majority of people do not commit suicide as the pains of old age come on illustrates this fact.

Another consideration that likely reduces the use of medically induced comas is hesitation on the part of physicians to prescribe them and insurance companies to fund them for purposes of pain relief.

This raises questions about whether our medical system has focused enough attention on and willingness to perform this procedure when it is the only way to bring a person’s pain level down to what that person considers tolerable.

Indeed, many have faulted our medical system for being too focused on curing the patient, irrespective of pain, and not providing adequate pain management (whether by medically induced coma or otherwise).

I saw this firsthand when my wife was dying of cancer. The nurses who were in charge of her morphine initially undermedicated her. It was only after they were informed that her condition was terminal and that she was within a few months of death (actually, it turned out to be days) that they began to give her the level of morphine that she needed to keep her pain level down. They thus, out of a false hope of a cure, failed to provide the kind of pain relief that was needed.

Rather than the two of us simply trading personal observations about the possibilities and challenges of pain management, however, let’s listen to what the American Medical Association has to say on this matter. According to the report “Physician-Assisted Suicide” (CEJA Report 8—I-93; online here; free registration req.):

Inadequate pain relief is only rarely due to the unavailability of effective pain control medications; more often, it may be caused by reluctance on the part of physicians to use these medications aggressively enough to sufficiently alleviate the patient’s pain. Further efforts to educate physicians about advanced pain management techniques, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, are necessary to overcome any shortcomings in this area.

Pain control medications should be employed in whatever dose necessary, and by whatever route necessary, to fully relieve the patient’s pain. The patient’s treatment plan should be tailored to meet the particular patient’s needs. Some patients will request less pain control in order to remain mentally lucid; others may need to be sedated to the point of unconsciousness. Ongoing discussions with the patient, if possible, or with the patient’s family or surrogate decision maker will be helpful in identifying the level of pain control necessary to relieve the patient’s suffering in accordance with the patient’s treatment goals. Techniques of patient controlled analgesia (PCA) enhance the sense of control of terminally ill patients, and, for this reason, are particularly effective. Often, it is the loss of control, rather than physical pain, that causes the most suffering for dying patients.

The first priority for the care of patients facing severe pain as a result of a terminal illness or chronic condition should be the relief of their pain. Fear of addiction to pain medications should not be a barrier to the adequate relief of pain. Nor should physicians be concerned about legal repercussions or sanctions by licensing boards. The courts and regulatory bodies readily distinguish between use of narcotic drugs to relieve pain in dying patients and use in other situations. Indeed, it is well accepted both ethically and legally that pain medications may be administered in whatever dose necessary to relieve the patient’s suffering, even if the medication has the side effect of causing addiction or of causing death through respiratory depression.

Relieving the patient’s psychosocial and other suffering is as important as relieving the patient’s pain. When the treatment goals for a patient in the end stages of a terminal illness shift from curative efforts to comfort care, the level of physician involvement in the patient’s care should in no way decrease. Patients in these circumstances must be managed “in a setting of [the patient’s] own choosing, as free as possible from pain and other burdensome symptoms, and with the optimal psychological and spiritual support of family and friends.” Because the loss of control may be the greatest fear of dying patients, all efforts should be made to maximize the patient’s sense of control.

Accomplishing these goals requires renewed efforts from physicians, nurses, family members and other sources of psychological and spiritual support. Often, the patient’s despair with his or her quality of life can be relieved by psychiatric intervention. Seriously ill patients contemplating suicide may develop a renewed desire to live as a result of counseling and/or anti-depressant medications. When requests for assisted suicide occur, it is important to provide the patient with an evaluation by a health professional with expertise in psychiatric aspects of terminal illness.

The hospice movement has made great strides in providing comfort care to patients at the end of life. In hospice care, the patient’s symptoms, including pain, are aggressively treated to make the patient as comfortable as possible, but efforts to extend the patient’s life are usually not pursued. Hospice patients are often cared for at home, or, if their condition requires care to be delivered in an institutional setting, intrusive medical technology is kept to a minimum. The provision of a humane, low technology environment in which to spend their final days can go far in alleviating patients’ fears of an undignified, lonely, technologically dependent death [pp. 3-4, emphasis added].

9. In the United States alone, and in your lifetime, how many people do you think will be in terrible pain and wishing they had an assisted dying option?

[Note: My estimate is 100 million people over my remaining lifetime.]

We’re straying from the question of California, but that’s okay. I don’t see how it’s possible to answer this question without doing a survey that neither one of us has done.

There would need to be several preliminaries to be considered in doing such a study. Among them would be defining our terms.

Many people experience terrible pain—physical or otherwise—at points in their lives and momentarily consider suicide or at least wish they were dead.

Indeed, this is particularly common during the stresses that often accompany being a teenager, a young adult, or at a major traumatic event in life, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, long-term unemployment, serious illness, or the midlife crisis.

Fortunately, such moments usually pass, and the person afterwards decides that it was a good thing that they did not kill themselves and that they prefer living, even if it means living through such moments.

I could see 100 million being too low a number if we’re counting people who have a brief flirtation with the idea of suicide.

I could see 100 million being far too high if we are talking about the number of people who are in a terminal condition and who would seriously pursue physician-assisted suicide.

10. In the United States alone, and in your lifetime, how many people do you think would choose an assisted death only to learn their disease has a cure just around the corner?

[Note: My estimate is 100 people.]

At least in the next few years, extraordinarily few people would fall into this category, and I wouldn’t base an argument against physician-assisted suicide on this.

For the time being, the rate at which new, dramatic cures will continue to be discovered and deployed will remain slow and thus will not impact a large number of people.

If, under an ideal scenario, medical science experiences a dramatic rise in the rate of such cures—say twenty to thirty years from now—then more people might be impacted, but it is not certain that such a rise will take place, particularly if the socialization of medicine proceeds apace in the United States and if physician-assisted suicide becomes commonplace—both of these having the effect of disincentivizing the discovery of new cures.

11. In the United States alone, and in your lifetime, how many disabled people do you think would be successfully persuaded to end their lives early for the sake of someone else’s convenience should assisted dying be the law everywhere?

[Note: My estimate is nearly zero. Too many eyes watching. I would be interested in Oregon’s experience, if known.]

We don’t know Oregon’s experience because data is not collected on this question.

I’m not sure if this question is meant to refer to people who are physically disabled on an ongoing basis and who are not terminally ill, whether it includes those who are mentally disabled in some degree but not terminally ill, or whether it includes those who are physically or mentally disabled due to terminal illness.

My answer would be the same in any case: Lots of people.

The idea that there are too many eyes watching is not accurate. I’ve seen the pressure to bring about early patient death even in situations when physician-assisted suicide was not legal.

My own wife had pressure put on her not to avail herself of the potentially lifesaving treatment options that were available to her.

I saw the way the medical professionals around her shook their heads and rolled their eyes—behind her back—when they heard that she did want to pursue them.

When confronted with the question of whether she wanted to pursue these techniques or forego them and simply die, she replied firmly: “I. Want. To. Live.”

She had the strength to say that, but how many people in a weak and vulnerable position would have the strength to stand up for themselves in that way, and how many—discouraged by those around them, with some even thinking “once my family wants me dead it is time to go anyway”—would simply give in to the death wish others have for them?

The fact is that, for all the good they do, medical professionals providing end-of-life care are not strongly emotionally invested in the survival of the patient. They can’t be, or it would tear them apart emotionally. They maintain professional detachment, and at some point they conclude that the patient isn’t going to be getting better and may start feeling that it would be better for the patient to just die.

And it isn’t just medical professionals who think this way. The patient’s own family members feel the pressure of seeing their loved one suffering and wishing that the person was no longer in pain.

I know what that’s like. I’ve been there.

In my case, I was absolutely determined to make sure that my wife got all the medical care she wanted to have, and I made sure she did.

But I know the pressure that people are under as they watch their loved one suffer, and I know how human frailty can cause people to falter and even put pressure on a loved one to go ahead and die, even if that’s not what the loved one wants.

Incidentally, my wife’s experience occurred in the early 1990s, when the culture of death was far less advanced and when physician-assisted suicide was not legal anywhere in the United States.

It also occurred in Arkansas, a state not known for being pro-euthanasia.

If my wife could have pressure put on her in early 1990s Arkansas to allow her life to end earlier than it otherwise would have then you can bet that the same psychological dynamics among medical professionals and family members would cause pressure to be put on lots of people were physician-assisted suicide legal.

And many, at their most weak and vulnerable, would give in.

Personally, I prefer living in a world where the AMA, the Catholic Church, and disabled rights groups fight for the value of life. That creates a powerful counter-force against slipping toward a culture that is casual about life and death matters.

Agreed! And heartily so!

That said, would you be comfortable with the law allowing assisted dying as an option while the major opposition groups hold to their legitimate concerns about the process?

No, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that, for the reasons given above.

And let’s say the groups I mentioned encourage people to opt out of the assisted dying option in their Health Directives. One could further imagine the law in California requiring Health Directive instructions to include opposition opinions from the mentioned groups.

Would that scenario meet the common good standard, given that everyone gets heard, everyone gets the option they want, and the value of human life is always put center stage in the process?

The proposed scenario—which amounts to a kind of informed consent for physician-assisted suicide—would be better than a situation that did not require informed consent, but it would not be sufficient to ensure the common good.

It is not a sufficient condition for the common good to offer everyone the option they want in a particular situation, whether it’s physician-assisted suicide or anything else. Many people want options that would harm themselves, other specific individuals, or society as a whole. In fact, most of us probably want such options at different times.

The whole point of having legal prohibitions on things is to prevent such options from being exercised.

Consider the regulations that exist on the purchase of weapons. Regardless of what one might think about gun control, given the amazing destructive power of some weapons (nuclear, chemical, biological, kinetic kill, etc.), I think virtually everyone would agree that certain, highly destructive weapons simply should not be available for purchase by the general public, even with informed consent, training requirements, etc. Having those weapons commercially available to the general public would not promote the common good. Yet some people (e.g., terrorists, or people who just think it would be cool to own a nuke) might want to purchase these weapons. Thus, giving everyone the option they want, plus informed consent, is not a sufficient condition for promoting the common good.

I pick this example because it’s a clear one that I expect we can both agree on, and it illustrates the principle that informed consent is not sufficient for the common good.

The proposed scenario for informed consent before physician-assisted suicide thus would be slightly less bad than a scenario without informed consent, but neither would promote the common good.

12. Some have argued the slippery slope case. If you share that view, can you give examples in which the slippery slope actually happened for the worse?

[Note: I will be arguing that the slippery slope argument is not credible in any debate.]

If you’re claiming that slippery slope arguments are never credible in debates then I will be very curious to see how you argue this.

There are slippery slope situations in life. Sometimes they are engineered deliberately. Several decades ago, anti-smoking advocates wanted to exclude smoking from public life (and private life, too, though we aren’t there yet). They knew that society would never tolerate the kind of smoking bans that we live with today, and so they began by advocating only what they proposed to be sensible smoking bans in certain areas (e.g., hospitals). They did this with an eye to gradually increasing the scope of these zones and the strength of the bans, and they’ve been very successful.

Similarly, gun control advocates know that there is no chance of enacting a nationwide gun control ban any time in the near future. As a result, they have sought to pass what they propose to be sensible gun regulations (e.g., “assault weapon” bans) with an eye toward gradually expanding these and hopefully one day passing a more general, nationwide ban.

Also, pro-life advocates do not presently have the ability to pass a nationwide ban on abortion. They therefore attempt to protect what children they can with an eye to gradually protecting more and more.

One can see the kind of efforts described above as good or bad things, but they are attempts to engineer slippery slope situations.

And these are not secret attempts. Various advocates of these positions have indicated what their long term, desired goal is and that their current efforts are meant to be interim, incremental measures that will hopefully bring about a gradual change in public opinion, allowing their longer-term goals to be achieved.

This is not to say that all advocates of the present restrictions on these topics have such long-term goals. Some may want to stop with present restrictions or not go much further, but the point is that there are people attempting to engineer slippery slope situations, and sometimes they achieve significant success (as in the case of anti-smoking advocates).

Since this is a known phenomenon that is admitted by different types of activists, it would seem difficult to claim that slippery slope argumentation is always irrelevant in any debate.

It is thus worth asking whether such a situation might apply in the present debate: Is physician-assisted suicide meant to be an incremental measure leading to something else?

An obvious thing that it might be meant to lead to is full-blown euthanasia, whereby doctors wouldn’t just provide the means of suicide to others but would actually perform mercy killings.

It also might be meant to lead to a broader social and legal acceptance of suicide, to the development of a right to a painless suicide—perhaps one taxpayers would be expected to pay for.

Or there could be a desire on the part of some advocates to lead to a situation in which euthanasia would be used for eugenic purposes.

In fact, some advocates of physician-assisted suicide probably do have such broader goals in mind. Whether a substantial number do, or whether they would be successful in achieving such goals, longer term, is another matter.

In its report on physician-assisted suicide, the American Medical Association has this to say about slippery slope concerns:

Permitting physician-assisted suicide opens the door to policies that carry far greater risks. For example, if physician-assisted suicide is permitted, then there is a strong argument for allowing euthanasia. It would be arbitrary to permit patients who have the physical ability to take a pill to end their lives, but not let similarly suffering patients die if they require the lethal drug to be administered by another person. Once euthanasia is permitted, however, there is a serious risk of involuntary deaths. Given the acceptance of withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment by proxies for incompetent patients, it would be easy for society to permit euthanasia for incompetent patients by proxy.

The Dutch experience with euthanasia demonstrates the risks of sanctioning physician-assisted suicide. In the Netherlands, there are strict criteria for the use of euthanasia that are similar to the criteria proposed for physician-assisted suicide in the United States. In the leading study of euthanasia in the Netherlands, however, researchers found that, in about 28% of cases of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, the strict criteria were not fulfilled, suggesting that some patients’ lives were ended prematurely or involuntarily. In a number of cases, the decision to end the patient’s life was made by a surrogate decision maker since the patient had lost decision-making capacity by the time the decision to employ euthanasia was made [p. 4].

I think these concerns are reasonable. However, my argument against physician-assisted suicide does not depend on there being slippery slope considerations.

My point is that physician-assisted suicide is wrong in and of itself and should not be legal because of the harm it would do directly and immediately to patients and medical professionals, not merely because it might lead to worse situations in the future.

[Update: The following questions added from comments.]

13. How do you weigh the elements of “common good”? When something is good for one and bad for another, how do you compare?

This question is of a general nature, so I’ll keep the answer on the level of general principles. Additional details would need to be specified to relate it directly to physician-assisted suicide.

As we’ve noted, the common good requires more than just providing good things for the multitude. It also requires respecting the dignity and rights of individuals.

As a matter of principle, every person is equal and has equal dignity and equal innate rights. Nobody is intrinsically more important than anyone else.

How what’s good for one is to be weighted and compared with what’s bad for another will depend on what good and what harm we’re talking about.

If performing a specific act would, let’s say, provide a modest economic gain to Person A but violate the right to life of Person B then the action would be immoral. One person’s modest economic gain does not trump another person’s right to life.

Even if a modest economic gain were to be given to many people, it would not trump a fundamental right like the right to life. Thus, you could not deliberately murder an innocent person in order to economically advantage a large number of people.

It is only after the intrinsic rights of individuals have been respected that extrinsic goods (like money) come into play.

The situation described above is not a direct parallel to the situation of physician-assisted suicide, but it illustrates some of the principles involved in relating the good of one to the harm of another.

14. What does “Do no harm” mean in an era when medical science can keep you alive and imprisoned in your own body indefinitely? Is that not harm?

We’re not yet in an era when medical science can keep you alive indefinitely. There are still firm limits on the human lifespan, though there are situations in which people can be kept alive for a long time while experiencing a serious medical condition.

I assume that it’s this kind of situation that the inquirer refers to, since normally we don’t feel imprisoned in our bodies. Having a body is simply what it means to be alive. It isn’t a matter of being imprisoned.

But there are situations when we are suffering to the point that we might feel imprisoned. In this case, it is the suffering that causes this experience.

Living while suffering is not a new and separate form of harm, independent of the suffering itself. If the suffering were removed then the sensation of imprisonment would be removed as well. Living while suffering minus the suffering is simply living.

The question thus reduces to the issue of suffering and pain management. If someone is suffering such that they feel imprisoned—whether this suffering is physical or psychological—then the thing that needs to be fixed is the suffering. The patient doesn’t need to be killed.

As the American Medical Association points out:

Requests for physician-assisted suicide should be a signal to the physician that the patient’s needs are unmet and further evaluation to identify the elements contributing to the patient’s suffering is necessary. Multidisciplinary intervention, including specialty consultation, pastoral care, family counseling and other modalities, should be sought as clinically indicated [op. cit., p. 5].

15. If someone is brain-dead, would you keep them alive for the common good?

The subject of brain death is problematic. If a person really had a dead brain—one in which there is no metabolic activity and thus one decaying in their skull—then no, I wouldn’t use artificial means to keep the rest of their body functioning metabolically.

However, the term “brain death” is not used to refer to this literal state of affairs. Instead, it has been used metaphorically to refer to states of affairs that fall short of this. As such, it is a prejudicial term that has a tendency to skew the discussion by making it sound as though a form of death has occurred when this is not clear.

At present, the subject of “brain death” is too subjective and ill-defined to be philosophically or legally useful. What the term means and how we can know when its conditions are fulfilled needs to be further explored.

As a result, the question would be answered differently, depending on the way brain death is defined. If it is defined in some ways then the dignity of the person, and thus the common good, might require supplying them the things needed for life (at a minimum, nutrition and hydration—i.e., food and water).

On the other hand, if brain death is defined in such a way that the brain is not maintaining the life functions of the rest of the body then it would not be necessary to preserve those functions. Allowing them to cease would be morally permissible.

16. My personal observation, and that of others, is that pain management at the end of life is a myth unless you want the patient unconscious. Old people are not good at advocating for their own pain relief. Do you believe pain relief is achievable for all people in the real world?

Please see the discussion of pain management above for a general treatment of the subject.

In terms of the present question, I can’t speak to the personal experience of the inquirer, but the idea that pain relief is a myth at the end of life unless unconsciousness is induced seems clearly false. Many people die with little or no pain (e.g., the classical case of “dying peacefully in one’s sleep”).

Others experience greater degrees of pain, but still degrees that can be successfully treated by modern pain management techniques.

It is true that some individuals experience pain that can only be satisfactorily treated by inducing unconsciousness, but this is far from the universal experience, and dismissing other forms of end-of-life pain management as “a myth” seems patently false.

As to whether pain relief is achievable for all people in the real world, this question could be taken in a way that falls into an absolutist, “if even one person” position.

Politicians may like to demagogue issues by saying “If X happens to even one person, that’s too many,” and such claims may even be true. For example, it’s true that if even one person is murdered, that’s too many. However, “if even one person” arguments famously lead to bad policies that do more harm than good.

For example, suppose someone argued, “If even one person is murdered by a knife, that’s one too many, therefore, we must ban all knives.” This argument ignores all the good that knives do.

The same would be true if someone argued, “If even one person dies in a car crash, that’s too many, so we must ban all cars.” This argument ignores all the good that cars do.

In both cases, the proposed policies would do great harm to society. They would, in fact, cost more lives than they saved, because knives and cars are often essential to saving lives (think: surgery and ambulances).

“If even one person” arguments allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good, and thus they tend to cause more harm than good.

This would be the case if one were to argue that if pain relief isn’t achievable for all people in the real world—i.e., if even one person doesn’t get the pain relief that is desired—then we should have a society-wide policy of allowing physician-assisted suicide.

Such an argument would miss the various ways that such a policy would harm society, both directly and indirectly. As always, it would harm society most directly by violating the dignity of the individuals so killed.

Finally, if—as the inquirer says—“old people are not good at advocating for their own pain relief,” then the solution is to provide better pain-management advocates for them. Not point them toward suicide.

Further, if they aren’t good at advocating for the pain management they need then how do you expect them to stand up to pressure from medical professionals and loved ones who want them to quietly kill themselves?

If this argument proves anything, it proves too much. If old people are already in danger of those around them not providing them the pain relief that they need because they aren’t good at standing up for themselves then we should not create a situation where those around them may pressure them to commit suicide.

17. Does the Catholic Church teach the sanctity of life or reverence for life? The latter would suggest that you could end your life in a dignified fashion. The former does not.

I haven’t argued anything in this discussion on religious grounds, since not everybody is religious—much less Catholic. People of multiple faith perspectives, or no faith perspective, can be opposed to physician-assisted suicide, as illustrated by the opposition of the American Medical Association to the practice (the AMA not being a group with any faith position, and one composed of members who have all kinds of faiths—or none).

That being said, the Catholic Church teaches both the sanctity of human life and reverence for human life. The two are not in opposition. If human life is sacred then it must be revered. Reverence is the natural response to the sacred.

I gather that the inquirer is using the terms somewhat differently. It seems clear, though, that the inquirer wishes to draw a distinction between two ways of treating life, one of which would allow one to “end your life in a dignified fashion” and the other of which would not.

This raises the question of what ending one’s life in a dignified fashion means. In the present context, the language could be seen as euphemistic and misleading.

Nobody is interested in depriving people of dignity as they die. We all want to do whatever we can to protect and enhance the dignity of the dying.

The phrase “ending your life in a dignified manner” appears to mean killing oneself as an alternative to dying naturally, with suffering depriving the natural death of dignity.

From a Catholic perspective, this has matters backwards. Suffering does not deprive one of dignity. However, killing oneself violates the innate dignity that a person has. It is contrary to the just love of self. People who are driven to kill themselves by intense suffering deserve better.

Compassion and respect for human dignity demand that we address their suffering and, to the extent possible, its causes.

Killing oneself is always a tragedy, and especially so when there is an alternative, such as the one provided by modern methods of pain management.

As a society, we shouldn’t settle for suicide as a solution to this problem. We can do better, and that is true from any faith perspective—or none.

18. If people choose assisted death often enough, could it reduce the amount of efforts that go into curing those problems?

Absolutely! It not only could reduce them, it would reduce them.

The advancement of medicine is driven by the need to treat and cure people of their health problems. If you eliminate the people who have the health problems, you thereby eliminate the incentive to improve medicine.

Why bother going to the difficult work of finding and developing a cure if there is the simple alternative of getting rid of the patient?

Just imagine all of the medical treatments we have today that would not exist if we had simply used euthanasia on all the people who suffered from them in the past.

If we were, today, to simply euthanize everyone in certain medical situations then there would be no further research on treating or curing those conditions.

Thus, to the extent that physician-assisted suicide becomes popular, it will have a corresponding and diminishing effect on the progress of medicine. We may still get medical progress, but it will be less than it otherwise would be.

This highlights one of the ways in which physician-assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia are harmful: They put the emphasis on killing the patient rather than curing the disease.

However, while physician-assisted suicide would harm the progress of medical science, this is not the principal reason that it is wrong. It is principally wrong because it directly violates the dignity of the individual and thus the common good.

—- End of Jimmy Akins’ comments —

What do you think? And be nice. Jimmy is gutsy to be part of this and his intentions seem exactly right to me. I hope you respect that.

Scott

@Scottadamssays


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Madeline Poole Manicure

When snow clouds are looming and even public fountains are freezing around us (did anyone see Bryant Park this week?), it’s understandable that we’d be drawn to anything—anything—that attracts the sun. It seems, this winter, even women most loyal to bare nails are tempted by the glint of glitter polish. Adding a touch of sparkle will make you smile as you move your freezing fingertip to your phone, or reach across your windshield to wipe away a layer of fresh ice. But aside from the psychological benefits, there are ways to do a twinkling manicure without it looking childish or tacky.

 

 

“Chic glitter does exist!” asserts Rescue Beauty Lounge founder Ji Baek, who suggests wearing it on the tips of your nails to create a [shimmering] gradient effect.” Another way to keep a shiny manicure looking sophisticated is to stick to a monochromatic palette, instead of dipping into multicolored confetti style polishes. Our favorite lacquers are rooted in more natural metallic tones like cobalt, rose gold, silver, and copper. And the best among them also evoke warmer times: NARS’s Night Breed is a micro blend of slate colored flecks that remind you of a black sand beach, Jinsoon’s Gala has coppery foil circles that gleam like their own tiny sun, and Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Small, Dim, Summer Stars has the perfect name to transport you to a big front porch in June, when your nails will shine bright in the evening light.

The post The Great Glitter Debate: Can Sparkly Polish Be Sophisticated? appeared first on Vogue.

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