The Diplomat: On Buddhist Extremism

Southeast Asia is not particularly a major interest of mine.  What I found amusing about this article from the Asian news magazine The Diplomat is how it refutes the idea commonly heard among Westerners that Buddhism is somehow this uniquely peaceful religion.

The reality is that Buddhism in the West and Buddhism in Asia have about as much in common as Chinese food here in America and real Chinese food.

Ideology is making America stupid

Citing Mr. Schindler once again on the powerful and corrupting effects of ideology

The XX Committee

That there is something wrong with the United States – its politics, its economy, its culture, its interactions with the rest of the world – seems to be widely acknowledged by most Americans today. Poll after poll indicates a profound discomfort with the direction of American society, for myriad reasons. While people on the Left and Right will disagree about what exactly is wrong, and particularly what might be done about it, there’s a lot of consensus that the United States has hit a rather rocky patch, and that our venerable two-party system isn’t doing a very good job of ameliorating what’s going wrong. Indeed, our political system seems to many Americans, including this one, to be one of the larger aspects of the problem.

My colleague Tom Nichols has highlighted how the spreading disdain for actual experts and their expertise undermines public efforts at debating knotty problems, where the…

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An interesting idea: Floating Nuclear Power Plants?

The difficulty of building nuclear power plants is well-known: the concerns about their safety, however well or ill founded they may be, have  led to their gradual decline across the world.  Just yesterday, Taiwanese protestors attacked the construction of a new nuclear plant.  They argued that Taiwan is far too vulnerable to tsunamis and earthquakes to make nuclear power safe, and that the small size of the island means that a disaster would be truly catastrophic.

But what if nuclear power plants could be taken out to sea?  They would in fact be safer from tsunamis out in the ocean, as a tsunami occurs when a large amount of water disturbed by some event hits land.  They could keep cool with a limitless supply of ocean water, and could send electricity to the land with electric cables.

That is what the Economist has been reporting recently, and it’s an interesting thought.

“You are illegitimate!”: The constant cries of astroturfing and how it hurts our democracy.

I realize this is off-topic from my normal thoughts, but I do believe it should be discussed.

With the recent McCutcheon decision, and the outcry of concern about the rich buying every election in the country, I’ve noticed a particular claim about grassroots organizations, the Tea Party in particular, that I think should be addressed. There are many on the Left who argue that Tea Party beliefs are not just wrong, but that the Tea Party as a whole is an artificial “astroturfed” creation which does not in fact represent the beliefs of a significant group of Americans. Paul Krugman, Nancy Pelosi, and others conjure up boogeyman like the Koch brothers or FreedomWorks to show that the Tea Party is somehow illegitimate.