You are browsing the archive for 2013 February 21.

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10 Celebs You Didn't Know Were Atheists

February 21, 2013 in Blogs

By Laura Gottesdiener, AlterNet



It’s almost Oscar season, and we all know what that means: a parade of well-dressed, trophy-clutching men and women thanking their friends, family, spouses, and above all, God. As I watch the Academy Awards each year, I’m always left wondering: Aren’t there any atheist celebrities?

Sure, there are a few famous ones who are essentially defined by their lack of adherence to organized religion. Woody Allen, for example, is the quintessential Jewish-atheist. In his autobiographical film, Stardust Memories, Allen's character explains that his atheism is not simply an aspect of his identity; it’s a cosmic act of resistance: “To you, I'm an atheist,” he says. “To God, I'm the loyal opposition.”

In fact, the iconic Allen is actually only one member of a growing club: high-profile celebrities who are finally coming out about their atheism. Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s awards (I’m still pulling for Quvenzhané Wallis) the presence of many of these performers on the red carpet is certainly something to celebrate. 

1. Angelina Jolie

From her stint as Lara Croft to her 180-degree shift to being a UN ambassador, Jolie has never been one to follow conventions or expectations. So it’s no surprise that she’d be up front about her atheism. In an interview with the A.V. Club, she answered the question, “Is there a God?” with the conciliatory yet firm answer:

“Hmm… For some people. I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.”

As to whether they're going to raise their six children to be atheists, Jolie and partner Brad Pitt (see #5) haven't yet said.

2. Ani DiFranco

Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Ani DiFranco is not one to shy away from political causes. A feminist and anti-war activist, DiFranco …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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A Satisfied Student

February 21, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Sanchez

A Mises Academy student emails Joseph Salerno:

AUSTRIAN MACRO COURSE-WELL DONE!

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this course! It was my first offering from the LvMI and I look forward to many more. I also liked the title you chose….very clever….it peaked my curiosity!

I feel much better armed to define/defend Austrian concepts as I deal with the statists around me. You have helped to “deprogram” me from some of the undergraduate econ courses I have taken. Thanks again for such a wonderful learning experience. I look forward to future offerings. Well done.

…read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Oh, Jesus! Bill O' Reilly's Next Book Is Going to Be About the Killing of a Carpenter from Nazareth

February 21, 2013 in Blogs

By Prachi Gupta, AlterNet



Fox star and makeshift historian Bill O’Reilly has unveiled the subject of his next book, “Killing Jesus: A History,” which in December he teased would be “a blockbuster of epic proportions.” O’Reilly, who has clearly developed a formula for his best-selling historical “thrillers,” will follow up his “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy.”

But both came under serious fire. As former Salon politics editor Jefferson Morley pointed out, O’Reilly fabricated a story in “Killing Kennedy,” saying he heard an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald commit suicide when, in fact, O’Reilly did not. And Justin Elliott has noted that O’Reilly’s Lincoln assassination account was so grossly inaccurate that the historic site, the Ford Theater, refused to sell the book on its premises “because of the lack of documentation and the factual errors within the publication.”

It remains to be seen how O’Reilly will spin what publisher Henry Holt and Co. describes as the retelling of “the story of Jesus of Nazareth as a beloved and controversial young revolutionary brutally killed by Roman soldiers,” adding that “O’Reilly will recount the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable, and the changes his life brought upon the world for the centuries to follow.”

The book is due to hit shelves on Sept. 24.


Thu, 02/21/2013 – 13:23

…read more
Source: ALTERNET

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America's Spiritual Death: It's Time to Learn the Dark History of the U.S. You Were Robbed of … and Oliver Stone Will Help

February 21, 2013 in Blogs

By Fred Branfman, AlterNet



“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” –Martin Luther King Jr. “Beyond Vietnam” speech, April 4, 1967

I recently watched all 10 episodes of Oliver Stone's “Untold History of the United States” (on Showtime). I strongly recommend it to everyone, but particularly to America's young people who have been robbed of a most precious legacy: an understanding of their true history, and thus their future. I can't think of a more meaningful gift to young people for, as Stone says, “history must be remembered or it will be remembered until the meanings are clear.” The same U.S. Executive Branch mentality that produced Vietnam is today illegally and inhumanly murdering and weakening U.S. national security interests throughout the Muslim world, and threatening its own citizens as never before. It has never been more urgent to learn from America’s real history.

I am not ashamed to say this series moved me to tears. First, by its depiction of the millions of lives the U.S. Executive Branch has ruined all over the world. This includes over 21 million — officially estimated — killed, wounded and made homeless in Indochina and Iraq alone, bring back the most painful memories of my life: my interviews with over 1,000 Lao refugees who reported seeing beloved parents, spouses and children burned alive, buried alive, and shredded to pieces by years of secret, illegal and inhuman U.S. Executive Branch bombing. [Showtime has made available some of the episodes free to watch over the internet.]

Second, I was touched by the awful beauty of simply seeing the truth told so clearly and vividly. The combination of the information, the imagery and Stone’s narration touched levels far deeper than the mind.

I was most moved by Episode 7, on the war in Indochina, whose closing words below constitute not only an epitaph for the Vietnam War, but for America itself. I thought of Martin Luther King Jr.'s warning as I watched this segment, which chronicles how U.S. leaders waged aggressive war, killing over 3.4 million Vietnamese according to former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and hundreds of thousands more …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Ron Paul on the Libertarian Future, at the recent Mises Circle in Houston

February 21, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Sanchez

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Vikings: Meet the Cast

February 21, 2013 in History

By History.com Staff Here at History.com, we’re busy getting ready for the premiere of Vikings, our new scripted series, on 3.3.13 at 10/9c. To give you a taste of this engrossing saga, check out this slideshow featuring the show’s major characters. Find out more about Vikings here, and be sure to tune in on March 3! …read more
Source: HISTORY

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The Case for Modernizing America’s Crude Oil and Natural Gas Export Licensing Systems

February 21, 2013 in Economics

Revolutionary extraction technologies have helped increase the supply of fossil fuels in the United States, driving down prices, spurring economic activity, and potentially reversing the longtime status of the United States as a net energy importer to a significant exporter. Impeding that transition are outdated federal regulations—in particular discretionary export licensing systems for natural gas and crude oil—that restrict exports, distort domestic energy prices, deter investment, and encourage graft. In a new paper, Cato scholar Scott Lincicome provides a basic roadmap for reforming our disjointed, anachronistic, export license systems to properly reflect the new energy landscape.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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“Murray’s Dream Come True”

February 21, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Sanchez

Ralph_raico

That is what the great Ralph Raico called the Mises Institute, as he was interviewed by David Gordon for our Oral History Project.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Armen Alchian, RIP

February 21, 2013 in Economics

By Gary North

Armen Alchian died on February 19 at the age of 98.

I learned this on February 20. At the end of the day on February 19, I was working on a book I am writing on the structure of economic thought. I try to write two pages a day. I wrote this:

There is a long tradition for economics textbooks to begin with scarcity. The most rigorous of the textbooks in the Chicago School tradition, Allen and Alchian’s University Economics (3rd ed., 1972), may be the only textbook ever written that begins with Chapter 0: “How Much Mathematics and Graphs?” Chapter 1 is titled “Scarcity, Competitive Behavior, and Economics.” It begins: “Ever since the fiasco in the Garden of Eden, most of what we get is by sweat, strain, and anxiety. Two villains – nature and other people – prevent us from getting what we want. Nature is niggardly: it provides fewer resources than we could use, and much of what is available is made useful only by hard work. As for other people, the problem stems not from malevolence: their wants and ours simply exceed what is available.”

When I wrote it, I thought: “I wonder if Alchian is still alive.” I thought I would check Wikipedia, but I got sidetracked. Now I know.

I first met him at a conference at what was then called Claremont Men’s College in the summer of 1969. It was a conference of free market economists sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies. The organizer was F. A. “Baldy” Harper, who had founded the IHS after he was dismissed in 1962 as the director of the William Volker Fund. Also in attendance were Sam Peltzman, Douglas Adie, Tibor Machan, Anne Wortham, and Alchian’s daughter, who was working on her Ph.D. Henry Manne was one of the instructors. So was Murray Rothbard. The meeting was dominated by Chicago School economists and grad students.

He devoted much of his career to studying property rights. This was surely a positive endeavor. At that conference, I decided on a new topic for my Ph.D. dissertation. I was had planned to write on the New England Puritans’ views on eschatology: the …read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Two Amazingly Interesting New Courses Starting in March

February 21, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Sanchez

From the Mises Academy, our online learning platform:

Human Action: Part II with David Gordon, covering Mises’ most profound insights into the nature of society.

American Bankster: Money, Banking, and the Power Elite in US History with Thomas DiLorenzo, covering Rothbard’s groundbreaking analysis of the American oligarchy.

Sign up and get ready to have your mental horizons enjoyably expanded!

…read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE