Echidne looks at how extremist Islam became so popular—basically, big Saudi funding and the political complications of the Middle East. Slacktivist discusses how people can look at the current Mideast situation and forget how much we’ve contributed to instability with the Iraq invasion.

•Speaking of fundamentalists, Slacktivist studies an article on Isis that presents it as the True Face of Islam and the problems with dismissing Muslims who oppose ISIS as “politically correct.” The blog also looks at how fundamentalists of any faith convince themselves that everyone else has betrayed the True Path (more liberal versions of the faith are less likely to scream “heretic” so they can’t ostracize fundamentalists in the same way).

•In another post, Echidne imagines how sexism can constantly wear away at us and shape us into what we’re “supposed” to be. I think this is something people really underestimate. For example when parents talk about how they raised their girls gender-free, yet they love playing with makeup, so obviously it’s genetic—seriously now? There’s a sex-linked gene for wanting to wear makeup?

•A Southern Baptist college president makes some racist remarks. The guy who reports them gets fired. Over in North Carolina, Republicans are trying to stop the UNC Law School’s poverty center from writing about poverty and income inequality.

•Virginia lawmakers admit they wouldn’t have passed ethics reform if not for media pressure.

•True, Christians in the Middle East have it much worse than American Christians, Rod Dreher says. But should that excuse discrimination against Christians in the United States? Well, no… but the article doesn’t actually describe any, it only says that some of those liberal elites dislike Christians. Which is not the same thing.

•Yelp sues a business website that claims it can remove bad Yelp reviews and game the system to make them all positive.

•Silicon Valley is the home of disruptive tech, but this article suggests the community should disrupt its own hiring standards and culture. The image the article paints reflects stuff I’ve heard about other industries: you look around, see everyone is (say) a white, Ivy League man in his twenties and you automatically assume that’s what “fits” and who you should look to hire.

•Once again, Repubs are freaking out that US history courses don’t flatter America enough.

•Israel suffers, but it also dishes out suffering.

•I used to believe free trade lifted everyone (or most everyone’s) boats. Now I see things more this way.

•The Justice Department may sue Ferguson Miss. for its police tactics.

•A Comcast customer tells the company he’s canceling his Internet over data caps. The Comcast rep insists that data caps are a legal mandate so every company has them.

•This is an annoying argument I’ve seen before, that liberals can’t tackle racial/gender discrimination and generalized issues (minimum wage, income inequality) at the same time. And if they can, they shouldn’t.

•Obama has designated three new national monuments including one important to the labor and civil rights movements. Republicans, as usual, freak out that Obama is using his authority as president because, tyranny!
I have a strong feeling we wouldn’t have seen the Pullman monument under a Romney administration.

•From last year, we have Bill Kristol bemoaning that Americans aren’t ready to wage more wars so soon after Iraq. Apparently like most warhawks (such as his father), Kristol is still eager to see people other than himself put their lives on the line for his entertainment. Oh, he’s also hoping war will prevent a Clinton victory in 2016.

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