Why Megan Phelps-Roper Left Westboro Baptist Church

WBC_20051202_sacco-topeka5Young, attractive and intelligent, Megan Phelps-Roper was the future of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. But then she came to her senses … her story portrayed in the New Yorker:

On December 1, 2009, to commemorate World AIDS Day, Twitter announced a promotion: if users employed the hashtag #red, their tweets would appear highlighted in red. Megan Phelps-Roper, a twenty-three-year-old legal assistant, seized the opportunity. “Thank God for AIDS!” she tweeted that morning. “You won’t repent of your rebellion that brought His wrath on you in this incurable scourge, so expect more & worse! #red.”

As a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, Phelps-Roper believed that AIDS was a curse sent by God. She believed that all manner of other tragedies—war, natural disaster, mass shootings—were warnings from God to a doomed nation, and that it was her duty to spread the news of His righteous judgments.

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Twin Peaks Tarot

I’ve got good news. Those Tarot Cards you like are going to come back in style. Benjamin Mackey, the co-creator and artist of the ongoing series SAINTS from Image Comics, has stepped through the gateway between two worlds and brought back a treasure like no other. He has beautifully placed the characters and mythology of Twin Peaks in a re-imagined Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck.

Artwork by Benjamin Mackey. Used by permission.



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Meet the activist leading the lonely ‘smokers’ rights’ movement

Audrey Silk photographed at her home in Marine Park, Brooklyn, NY, on November 13, 2015.Photo: Cole Wilson

Audrey Silk photographed at her home in Marine Park, Brooklyn, NY, on November 13, 2015.
Photo: Cole Wilson

Daniel Kolitz via Hopes&Fears:

Audrey Silk, the founder of CLASH, is fighting for her right to smoke… anywhere she wants.

Plenty of people like to smoke. At last count, about 42.1 millionAmericans were still getting their daily nicotine intake from old-fashioned paper-wrapped tobacco. But how many of those people, at the end of the day, are truly committed to the cause? My unscientific estimate suggests about 1,300. That, at least, is the number of people currently enlisted in the NYC CLASH Facebook group—CLASH being the combative acronym for New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment. From challenging bans on smoking in public parks to protesting raising the cigarette sales age to 21, the organization has made its case known at every smoking-related hearing of the last decade, speaking up for those too scared or throat-sore to speak for themselves.

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The Left and Right Must Stop the Establishment’s Perpetual War Machine

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, some of us tried to raise questions of U.S. foreign policy. I got my mic cut on O’Reilly’s show. Others got far worse — a friend basically felt he had to move out of his neighborhood he was so reviled for criticizing the U.S.’s militarism. Oh, yeah, and hundreds of thousands of people got killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Syrian Refugees crossing Hungarian border. Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed (CC)

Syrian Refugees crossing Hungarian border. Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed (CC)


The root causes of the 9/11 attacks were hardly discussed — unless it was people deriding Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell for blaming gay folks.

Now, there’s no meaningful peace movement. Party as a result of that, we’re not having a serious discussion we should be about foreign policy after the Paris attacks: How U.S. — and Western — foreign policy manifests hatred and all that brings.

One might have thought that would be possible — the target of this attack was not the U.S., though it could be the next target.… Read the rest

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A warmer embrace of Muslims could stop homegrown terrorism

Sarah Lyons-Padilla, Stanford University and Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

The discovery that several of the Paris attackers were European nationals has fueled concern about Muslim immigrants becoming radicalized in the West.

Some politicians have expressed views that the best way to avoid homegrown terrorists is to shut the door.

The refugee migration debate turned even more contentious after authorities found a Syrian passport at the scene of the attack. Poland is now turning back refugees, more than half of American governors have vowed to refuse Middle Easterners seeking a new beginning, and US House Speaker Ryan has asked for a “pause” on the federal Syrian refugee program.

Fearful reactions to terrorist violence are nothing new. Incidents of extremist activity are often followed by anti-Islam protests or hate crimes. Reports of ISIS luring Western Muslims abroad are followed by a tightening of homeland security policy. Just after the attacks in Paris, presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that he would be willing to close mosques in the US.… Read the rest

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Energy Revolution Is Possible… And It Would Only Take 782 Rich People To Pay For It

"It is a gross injustice that .000015% of the global population hold the kind of wealth that could halt a climate disaster, but instead often exacerbate the problem." (Image: FOEI)

“It is a gross injustice that .000015% of the global population hold the kind of wealth that could halt a climate disaster, but instead often exacerbate the problem.” (Image: FOEI)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

The personal fortunes of just 782 of the world’s wealthiest people could power half the world—Africa, Latin America, and “most of Asia”—with 100 percent renewable energy within 15 years, according to a new report to be published Monday.

Broken down by continent, it would take the wealth of just 53 rich people to power all of Africa, and a mere 32 prosperous people could plug in the vast majority of Latin America.

Though the analysis from Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), a copy of which was shared withCommon Dreams ahead of its release next week, does not argue “that the wealth of these particular individuals can or should be directly used to drive the needed energy transformation,” the figures do reveal “a gross injustice” when it comes to global inequality that should serve as “a shocking and stark reminder that the finance for an energy transformation is certainly available.”

However, the report points out: “The political will to drive the transformation is, on the other hand, shockingly absent,” as evidenced by “weak pledges of emission reductions”issued ahead of COP21 climate change negotiations scheduled to begin later this month.… Read the rest

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Can you think yourself into a different person?

Allan Ajifo (CC BY 2.0)

Allan Ajifo (CC BY 2.0)

We used to believe our brains couldn’t be changed. Now we believe they can – if we want it enough. But is that true? Will Storr wades through the facts and fiction.

For years she had tried to be the perfect wife and mother but now, divorced, with two sons, having gone through another break-up and in despair about her future, she felt as if she’d failed at it all, and she was tired of it. On 6 June 2007 Debbie Hampton, of Greensboro, North Carolina, took an overdose of more than 90 pills – a combination of ten different prescription drugs, some of which she’d stolen from a neighbour’s bedside cabinet. That afternoon, she’d written a note on her computer: “I’ve screwed up this life so bad that there is no place here for me and nothing I can contribute.” Then, in tears, she went upstairs, sat on her bed, swallowed her pills with some cheap Shiraz and put on a Dido CD to listen to as she died.… Read the rest

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Jar Jar Binks is a Sith Lord

Jar Jar Binks was a trained Force user, knowing Sith collaborator, and will play a central role in The Force Awakens.

Original Darth Darth Treatise via Reddit

Via tickld:

The following mind-blowing theory comes from genius Reddit user Lampawarroo, whose careful research and masterful insight brings us what may be the greatest Star Wars theory ever conceived. Here I will seek to establish that Jar Jar Binks, far from being simply the bumbling idiot he portrays himself as, is in fact a highly skilled force user in terms of martial ability and mind control. Furthermore, I assert that he was not, as many people assume, just an unwitting political tool manipulated by Palpatine- rather, he and Palpatine were likely in collaboration from the very beginning. It’s entirely possible that Palpatine was a subordinate underling to Jar Jar Binks throughout both trilogies.

Read more on tickld.

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An Ode to Day Drinking

Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

As of late I have been drinking a lot again. Not at home of course, that just shows a lack of imagination, which no one has ever accused me of lacking. No, I have been drinking at a particular place, where I know the bartender, as well as 90 percent of the boozers around the bar.

I do this in the day for the most part, when I get tired of sitting around my place and writing. It gets isolating. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. The woman I live with comes home around 4:30 or so. I usually leave here around 3. She thinks I leave and go drinking because I don’t want to hang out with her. I have not decided whether or not this is true.

The bar I frequent most often is not far from where I live, it’s just up the hill in fact.… Read the rest

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Magicians of the Gods: Survivors of an advanced civilization destroyed by global cataclysms 


Randall Carlson and Graham Hancock joined Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast to discuss Magicians of the Gods, Hancock’s sequel to his multi-million bestseller, Fingerprints of the Gods. Magicians of the Gods further investigates the mysteries of our past and the evidence of an advanced civilization destroyed by global cataclysms.

Approaching the end of the last Ice Age, about 12,800 years ago, a massive comet entered our solar system from the depths of space. The comet broke into various fragments and some of those fragments smashed into our planet causing a global cataclysm that parallels the extinction of the dinosaurs.

A portion of these comet fragments hit the North American ice cap and other fragments hit the European ice cap. The impacts of these fragments approaching Earth at 60,000 miles an hour generated massive amounts of heat that instantly melted millions of square kilometers of ice, which destabilized the Earth’s crust and caused a global deluge. … Read the rest

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