Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 48: Dr. Mehdi Aminrazavi

From April 2017: “He and Colin talk about Islam: how it developed, its central beliefs and practices, and how it has evolved since the time of Mohammad.”

Mehdi Aminrazavi is Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Co-Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. A native of Iran, he received his education in the United States and has lived and taught in Virginia for decades.

via Podcast 48: Dr. Mehdi Aminrazavi — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The myth of Robert E. Lee / The liberalism of Islam / Comey’s intellectual history / Trump’s credibility / Writing in a library

This week: The myth of Robert E. Lee / The liberalism of Islam / Comey’s intellectual history / Trump’s credibility / Writing in a library

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. The Myth of the Kindly General Lee
By Adam Serwer | The Atlantic | June 4
“Lee had beaten or ordered his own slaves to be beaten for the crime of wanting to be free, he fought for the preservation of slavery, his army kidnapped free blacks at gunpoint and made them unfree — but all of this, he insisted, had occurred only because of the great Christian love the South held for blacks.”

2. There Is No Better Place to Write than the Library
By Joe Kanon | Atria :: LitHub | June 8
“For over twenty years I have been writing in the New York Public Library — eight novels and a ninth underway — and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

3. In defense of ‘The Skimm’
By Kaitlin Ugolik | Columbia Journalism Review | June 6
“Yes, the news is often complicated. Yes, we should encourage readers to pay attention for more than a few minutes each day. But when we imply that there is only one ‘right’ way to consume the news, or to be informed, we exclude people who don’t — or can’t — fit that mold.”

4. NASA Jobs: The Application, Selection Process For How To Become An Astronaut
By Nina Godlewski | International Business Times | June 7
“There’s no set schedule for how frequently NASA puts out a call for applicants. Since 2000 it has announced classes in 2004, 2009, 2013 and now 2017. … So if you’ve been dreaming of space, you may have to wait a few more years to get your next shot at the stars.”

5. James Comey’s Intellectual History
By Nicholas Schmidle | The New Yorker | June 7
“After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, in 1985, Comey clerked for Judge John Walker, Jr., George H. W. Bush’s cousin, in the Southern District of New York. Comey became a Republican. In public, however, he portrayed himself as nonpartisan.”

6. ‘The Leftovers,’ Life, Death, Einstein and Time Travel
By Maureen Ryan | Variety | May 2017
“‘The Leftovers’ is about quantum mechanics. Don’t let the sex cults and post-death karaoke distract you. It is essentially a showcase for physics.”

7. The 35 words you’re (probably) getting wrong
By Harold Evans | The Guardian | June 5
“Have you made a flagrant error, in confusing your alternative choices? The legendary Fleet Street editor Harold Evans proscribes this glossary to solve your language dilemmas”

8. AP FACT CHECK: Trump contradicts homeland security secretary
By Calvin Woodward and Jim Drinkard | Associated Press | June 5
“President Donald Trump can’t be counted on to give accurate information to Americans when violent acts are unfolding abroad.”

9. Trump’s dangerous delusions about Islam
By Christopher de Bellaigue | The Guardian | February 2017
“The president and his advisers paint Muslims as enemies of modernity. The neglected history of an age of Middle Eastern liberalism proves them wrong”

10. Governor Struggles to Lead as Texas Republicans Splinter Into Factions
By Manny Fernandez and David Montgomery | The New York Times | June 5
“Mr. Abbott is facing a fundamental question: How conservative is conservative enough for the governor of a state that defines the right in America as much as California defines the left?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Democrats’ future / James Webb Telescope / The Internet Archive / Lincoln’s legacy in Mexico / 10 Arab philosophers we need

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This week: The Democrats’ future / James Webb Telescope / The Internet Archive / Lincoln’s legacy in Mexico / 10 Arab philosophers we need

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Liberal activists, new DNC chief face a Trump-era reckoning
By Bill Barrow | Associated Press | Feb. 26
“Perez has embraced the idea of a more aggressive, populist identity for the party, even if he hasn’t convinced activists he can deliver on it. He said throughout the three-day DNC meeting ahead of the vote that he would work to align party resources with the energy of groups from Black Lives Matter and Swing Left to Indivisible, Resist Trump Tuesdays, Knock Every Door, Rise Stronger and Sister District.”

2. How the baby boomers destroyed everything
By Bruce Cannon Gibney | The Boston Globe | Feb. 26
“In 1971, Alan Shepard was playing golf on the moon. Today, America can’t put a man into orbit (or, allegedly, the Oval Office) without Russian assistance. Something changed, and that something was the boomers and the sociopathic agenda they emplaced.”

3. What will the James Webb Space Telescope reveal about the newly discovered exoplanets?
By Nick Lavars | New Atlas | Feb. 23
“Poised to take the reins from Hubble as NASA’s premier orbiting telescope in 2018, it will boast seven times the light-collecting capacity of its predecessor and will be sensitive enough to spot a single firefly one million kilometers away.”

4. Where to find what’s disappeared online, and a whole lot more: the Internet Archive
By Mary Kay Magistad | Who’s Century Is It? :: PRI | Feb. 23
” Since the Internet Archive started in 1996, its staff — now, about 140 people — have digitized almost 3 million books, and are aiming for 10 million.”

5. When A Woman Deletes A Man’s Comment Online
By Ijeoma Oluo | The Establishment | Feb. 22
“I’m not debating those who show up wedded to bigotry”

6. Could Pluto Regain Its Planethood?
By Mike Wall | Space.com :: Scientific American | Feb. 23
“A proposed new definition for what constitutes a ‘planet’ could reinstate the demoted icy world”

7. Why Abraham Lincoln Was Revered in Mexico
By Jamie Katz | Smithsonian Magazine | Feb. 23
“As a young Congressman and later as the nation’s leader, the first Republican president proved to be a true friend to America’s neighbor to the south”

8. 10 Arabic Philosophers, and Why You Should Know Them
By Scotty Hendricks | Big Think | November 2016
“Of the stars that have proper names in common usage, most of them have the names given to them by Arabic astronomers. We use the numeral system they devised, including the zero. They set the standard for the scientific method for hundreds of years. It is impossible to fully understand western thought without understanding the ideas of these thinkers.”

9. What a Kansas professor learned after interviewing a ‘lost generation’ of journalists
By Deron Lee | Columbia Journalism Review | September 2016
“When Scott Reinardy began studying the state of morale in newspaper newsrooms more than 10 years ago … [he] didn’t know the industry was about to enter a traumatic period of upheaval that would deplete the ranks of journalists around the country and force newspapers to reassess their mission.”

10. The Gang That Always Liked Ike
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | November 2014
“The Gang played bridge, golfed and shot skeet together, ate steaks barbecued by the president, offered advice on politics and the economy and chuckled at his private aphorisms. (He maintained, for example, that the ‘two professions in which amateurs excel’ are ‘prostitution and the military.’)”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Tracking whale sharks / How Nixon chased women / Dead vice presidents / Man-made eggs, woman-made sperm / Chronicling Syria’s bloodshed / Friday’s blues

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For this week:
Tracking whale sharks / How Nixon chased women / Dead vice presidents / Man-made eggs, woman-made sperm / Chronicling Syria’s bloodshed / Friday’s blues

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Where the Whale Sharks Go
By Christopher Joyce | Morning Edition :: NPR | Aug. 22
“After tagging more than 800 whale sharks over nine years, the team discovered that after feeding, the sharks head off in seemingly random directions. Some travel thousands of miles, and they can dive a mile deep.”

2. How the Nixon Administration Tried to Woo Women
By Emma Green | The Atlantic | Aug. 22
“It turns out that the Republican strategy on women in the 1970s was about as nimble as ‘binders full of women’ ”

3. Have any vice presidents died in office?
By Anthony Bergen | Dead Presidents | August 2013
“Yes, quite a few of our Vice Presidents have died in office, actually — SEVEN out of 47 total, so about 15% of the VPs didn’t survive their term.”

4. Lab-Made Egg and Sperm Precursors Raise Prospect for Infertility Treatment
By David Cyranoski | Nature / Scientific American | Aug. 21
“A technical tour de force, which involved creating primordial germ cells from mouse skin cells, is prompting scientists to consider attempting this experiment with human cells”

5. Syria’s civil war: A chronicle of bloodshed
By Emily Lodish | GlobalPost | Aug. 21
“News of a possible chemical weapons attack in Syria follows a chain of deadly events. Here’s a look at the worst of the worst.”

6. The Latinos turning to Islam
By Katy Watson | Newshour :: BBC World News | August 2013
“With more than 50 million Hispanics living in the US, the Latino community is now the country’s biggest minority. ”

7. Covering Nixon
The New York Review of Books | Aug. 9
“The sheer number, variety, and viciousness of David Levine’s drawings of Nixon provide some sense of his place in The New York Review’s pages during the five and a half years of his presidency.”

8. Bezos, Heraclitus and the Hybrid Future of Journalism
By Arianna Huffington | LinkedIn | Aug. 14
“The future will definitely be a hybrid one, combining the best practices of traditional journalism — fairness, accuracy, storytelling, deep investigations — with the best tools available to the digital world — speed, transparency, and, above all, engagement.”

9. The Man Who Knew Too Much
By Marie Brenner | Vanity Fair | May 1996
“Angrily, painfully, Jeffrey Wigand emerged from the sealed world of Big Tobacco to confront the nation’s third-largest cigarette company, Brown & Williamson. Hailed as a hero by anti-smoking forces and vilified by the tobacco industry, Wigand is at the center of an epic multibillion-dollar struggle that reaches from Capitol Hill to the hallowed journalistic halls of CBS’s 60 Minutes.”

10. Are Apostrophes Necessary?
By Matthew J.X. Malady | Slate | May 2013
“Not really, no.”

******************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Gary Moore — Texas Strut
2. Paul Rodgers & Gary Moore — She Moves Me
3. Dr. Wu — Storm Watch Warning
4. Needtobreathe — Prisoner
5. Rick Huckaby — Can’t Miss Kid
6. The Mark Knoll Band — High Time
7. Preacherstone — Old Fashioned Ass Whoopin’
8. Brian Burns & Ray Wylie Hubbard — Little Angel Comes A-Walkin
9. Cody Gill Band — Crazy
10. Ramblin Dawgs — Worse Without You
11. Pat Green & Cory Morrow — Stuck In The Middle With You
12. Bobby Manriquez — How We Started
13. WSNB — True Love
14. Shane Dwight — Boogie King

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Islam and freedom / Happiness and church / Military families struggle financially / Looming asteroid strike / Santorum’s past defeats

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Prominent Kuwaiti Muslim scholar says ‘freedom comes before Shariah’
Al Arabiya | March 25
“The scholar who said that it is liberals who eradicated slavery in Islam and not the Islamists, added, ‘A human being is free in his movements and where he wants to belong, and convictions are what move people, and not force. …’ ”

2. On-screen literary characters that worked, and ones that didn’t
By Mark Caro and Christopher Borrelli | Printers Row :: Chicago Tribune | March 25
“Here are some of our choices for on-screen literary characters that hit the mark, and others that definitely missed.”

3. Going To Church Linked With Better Mood, Study Finds
By Amanda L. Chan | The Huffington Post | March 25
“The researchers found that people who frequently attend church had 3.36 positive emotions a day, on average. However, the positive emotions among people who never go to church numbered 3.08 per day, on average.”

4. Chechen first lady unveils Islamic fashion in Dubai
AFP :: Al Arabiya | March 25
“Chechnya’s first lady, Medni Kadyrova, has displayed her Islamic fashion collection to a captivated audience in Dubai, faithful to the politics of her husband who has sought to impose Islamic dress codes in the Caucasus republic.”

5. Financial struggles common among military families
By Donna Gordon Blankinship | Associated Press | March 25
“While laws give active-duty soldiers extra combat pay, provide housing allowances and exempt them from taxes, experts say, families are straining under multiple deployments, frequent relocations and the difficulty spouses have in getting and keeping jobs in new cities.”

6. Mariana Trench: James Cameron completes record-breaking mission
By Ben Child | The Guardian | March 26
“Titanic director becomes first person to perform solo voyage to floor of seven-mile-deep canyon — the oceans’ deepest point.”

7. Low credit, no problem: Americans pile into junk
By Matthew Craft | Associated Press | March 25
“Stock prices have doubled in the past three years, and everyday investors keep pulling money out of stocks. But they’re happy to lend billions of dollars to companies with deep debts and embarrassing credit scores.”

8. Asteroid 2012 DA14 Won’t Kill Us (Yet), But Ought to Scare Us Into Action
By Daniel Honan | Big Think | March 7
“And yet, it will still be coming in way too close for comfort (17,000 miles away–closer than many orbiting satellites), and may hit us the next time around, in 2020, or on another orbit in the more distant future.”

9. A Passionate Persona Forged in a Brutal Defeat
By Katherine Q. Seelye | The Long Run :: The New York Times | March 16
“Rick Santorum’s prospects for re-election to the Senate were not rosy when friends and advisers urged him in 2005 not to risk making things worse.”

10. It’s a twice in a lifetime moment: the transit of Venus across the Sun
By Robin McKie | The Observer :: The Guardian | March 24
“On 6 June, an event that takes place only four times every two centuries will enthral the world’s astronomers, as it has ever since the 1600s – but now it can provide priceless data in the hunt for habitable planets in deep space.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Romney’s tax returns / Why we love Picasso / Appreciate the introvert / Love and Islam / Final JFK tapes unveiled

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Mitt Romney’s tax returns shed some light on his investment wealth
By Lori Montgomery | PostPolitics :: The Washington Post | Jan. 23
“Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments.”

2. The Rude Welcome That Awaits Rick Perry Back in Texas
By Erica Grieder | The New Republic | Jan. 21
“According to Public Policy Polling, his approval rating in the state now stands at 42 percent. Surprisingly, that is lower than Barack Obama’s, at 44 percent.”

3. JFK library to release last of his secret tapes
By Bridget Murphy | Associated Press | Jan. 24
“The tapes include discussions of conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention and re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children.”

4. Nerve Endings: Female, 19, New York
Nerve | Jan. 24
“He was taking it well, until he showed up at my door, drunk and sobbing into the buzzer …”

5. Obama can win big with FDR formula
By Robert S. McElvaine | Politico | Jan. 23
“No president for more than 70 years has been reelected with unemployment above 7.5 percent — as it is likely to be in November. If we go a little further back, however, unemployment was at 16.9 percent in 1936.”

6. Lifting Veil on Love and Islam
Ny Neil MacFarquhar | The International Herald Tribune | Jan. 23
“Even as the editors, both American-born daughters of immigrants, sought to fight society’s tendency to consider all Muslims extremists, they also struggled with the cultural proscription against describing private lives in public.”

7. Time for introverts to get some appreciation
By Sharon Jayson | USA Today | Jan. 23
“Because introverts tend to be more socially aloof … introversion is related to certain types of disorders, such as social anxiety or depression.”

8. Why we love Picasso
By Blake Gopnik | Newsweek | Jan. 23
“Pablo Picasso was the most inventive artist the West has ever known, and his drawings let us watch him inventing.”

9. This much I know: Kazuo Ishiguro
By Chris Sullivan | The Observer | February 2011
“As the film adaptation of his bestselling novel Never Let Me Go hits the screens, the author reflects on past passions, fatherhood and critical abuse”

10. What Makes Teeth Chatter
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | July 2011
“What might cause teeth to chatter other than the cold?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Loving Moscato / Stephen Hawking at 70 / Manscaping / Our desire / The blues

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Sweet, sparkly Moscato pops with celebrity props
By Lisa Baertlein | Reuters | December 2011
“Hip-hop artists sing about it, a famous housewife sells it and the wine world is abuzz about Moscato, a sweet, lightly fizzy drink that is the biggest thing to hit the wine business since White Zinfandel.”

2. Stephen Hawking at 70: still the brightest star in the scientific universe
The Observer | December 2011
“As the author of A Brief History of Time approaches 70, eminent former students celebrate an awe-inspiring intellect still pushing at the frontiers of physics”

3. Why ‘Manscaping’ Isn’t Just for Porn Stars Anymore
By Lizzie Crocker | The Daily Beast | December 2011
“The Atlantic recently reported that female pubic hair is on the fast track to extinction. But grooming experts say the latest hair-removal trend isn’t targeted at women. Lizzie Crocker on the ‘manscaping’ boom.”

4. Fearful, Iraq’s Sunnis leave mixed neighborhoods
By Rebecca Santana | Associated Press | Jan. 1
“Baghdad and the rest of Iraq are already highly segregated places. Running from bombs, death squads and their own neighbors at the height of violence in 2006 and 2007, Sunnis and Shiites fled neighborhoods that were once mixed.”

5. Revolutionary Daughters
Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“[T]hey seek to challenge perceptions of women and revolutionise their role in Indian society.”

6. 7 Days to Our Heart’s Desire
By Rita Watson | Psychology Today | December 2011
“Our inner voice is leading us to our heart’s desire.”

7. If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?
By Daniel Honan | Big Think | December 2011
“Warren Buffet is fond of saying that the first rule of investing is never lose money and rule number two is never forget rule number one.”

8. Picky Palates
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | August 2011
“Why am I such a fussy eater? Does each person have a distinct set of taste buds, or is my fussiness just in my head?”

9. Are Campus Police Like Regular Cops?
By Daniel Engber | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“How much power do they really have?”

10. The Gotti trial
Witness :: BBC News | April 4
“John Gotti was a mafia boss who had escaped prison for years. In April 1992 he was finally convicted on several counts of murder – and was jailed for life.”

**************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Rick Fowler — Preacher
2. Mississippi Heat — Say Something Good
3. Delta Moon — Money Changes Everything
4. Driving Wheel — Southern Bell Blues
5. Rocky Jackson — Blues For Texas
6. Robert Allen — Rainbow Blues
7. Aerosmith — Eyesight To The Blind
8. Super Stack — High Again
9. Mick Fleetwood Blues Band — Rattle Snake Shake
10. Aunt Kizzy’s Boys — Thrill Is Gone
11. Cliff Temple — Miss You Crazy
12. Los Super Seven — Heard It On The X

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Grinding teeth / Anglicans in Catholic Church / Islamic life in France / Spanking kids

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Bloomberg Kissed Lady Gaga and the World Didn’t End
By Connor Simpson | The Atlantic Wire | Jan. 1
“New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with drinks, Chinese food, noise makers and confetti and sealed with a kiss at midnight, but some celebrate differently, like by kissing Lady Gaga, clashing with the cops, burning cars in Hollywood and stripping on CNN. Welcome to 2012.”

2. Some Anglicans apply to join the Catholic Church
By Michelle Boostein | The Washington Post | December 2011
“The Vatican [was] set to launch a structure … that will allow Anglican parishes in the United States — and their married priests — to join the Catholic Church in a small but symbolically potent effort to reunite Protestants and Catholics, who split almost 500 years ago.”

3. Emily Dickinson
Civil War Women Blog | December 2011
“She was a deeply sensitive woman who explored her own spirituality, in poignant, deeply personal poetry, revealing her keen insight into the human condition.”

4. Muslims of France: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Al Jazeera World | December 2011
“Many Muslims would die for France during the First and Second World Wars, but did France recognise their sacrifices? How a generation of Muslims abandoned their parents’ dreams of returning home and began building their lives in France. What challenges face the young Muslims who grew up in France and entered adulthood at a time of economic crisis?”

5. Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself?
By Carlin Fiora | Psychology Today | December 2011
“To navigate the social universe, you need to know what others think of you — although the clearest view depends on how you see yourself.”

6. Will We One Day Stop Evolving?
By Michio Kaku | Big Think | October 2011
“Can evolution go on forever, or will we one day stop evolving?”

7. Beware of presidential nostalgia
By Fareed Zakaria | Global Public Square :: CNN | December 2011
“[W]e cannot really tell the quality of a leader judged from the noise of the present. We need time and perspective.”

8. Pro/Con: Spanking
By Jessica Pauline Ogilvie | Los Angeles Times | December 2011
“Pro: Studies show that spanking, properly utilized, can lead to well-adjusted children. Con: Spanking is harmful and can hinder kids later in life.”

9. The Nightly Grind
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2009
“Why do some people grind their teeth at night?”

10. Can an Airline Pilot Really ‘Make Up’ Time During a Flight?
By J. Bryan Lowder | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Is it just a way of calming passengers?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Abolition in D.C. … Muslims and evolution … Pets celebrating Christmas … GOP candidates on the issues … Sex talk vocabulary.

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Doolittle’s raid recalled almost 70 years later
By Mary Foster | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Coming just four months after the Imperial Japanese Navy savaged the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, and with U.S. defense of the Philippines crumbling, the April 18, 1942, raid on Japan’s home islands electrified a world at war.”

2. Earth’s wild ride: Our voyage through the Milky Way
By Stephen Battersby | New Scientist | Dec. 5
“Weaving our way through the disc of the Milky Way, we have drifted through brilliant spiral arms, braved the Stygian darkness of dense nebulae, and witnessed the spectacular death of giant stars.”

3. Panama’s jailed former ruler Noriega to be sent home
BBC News | Dec. 7
“Noriega, aged 77, is also wanted in Panama for other crimes allegedly committed during his 1983-89 rule.”

4. Riding in PopPop’s Vulva
By Joanna Schroeder | The Good Men Project | Dec. 7
“While I agree that children should learn the proper names for their body parts, I don’t believe there is any magic to vagina, vulva, penis, clitoris or testicles aside from their accuracy”

5. Positions of the Republican candidates, in brief
By Calvin Woodward | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“A look at where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.”

6. Q&A: Creating a Queue of YouTube Clips
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Sept. 5
“Q: When I’m on the computer, how can I watch a bunch of YouTube videos all at once without having to select the next one each time?”

7. For pet-owners, holiday plans revolve around pets
By Sue Manning | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“Dexter’s social calendar this holiday season is chock-full of travel plans, party invites, new clothes, special meals and trips to see Santa Claus.”

8. Securing US border impossible
By Will Wissert | Associated Press | Dec. 6
“The U.S. Border Patrol says 873 miles of the border, about 44 percent, have been brought under operational control. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that ‘the border is better now than it ever has been.’ Still, that means full control isn’t even half met.”

9. Are evolution and religion compatible?
The Stream :: Al Jazeera | Dec. 7
“A growing number of Muslim biology students are walking out of lectures on evolution, according to a genetics professor in the United Kingdom. The students claim the course material is incompatible with their religious beliefs in creationism.”

10. Washington’s Black Codes
By Kate Masur | Disunion :: The New York Times | Dec. 7
“The messages at the heart of the abolitionist indictment of the Washington jail were threefold: Slavery was morally wrong, all free people had a right to equal treatment before the law, and the government should stand for freedom and equality, not slavery and oppression.”