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Leah Anthony Libresco
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Leah writes about ethics, epistemology, and religion (and sometimes math) for Patheos at By day, she's an educator at a non-profit in San Francisco.

Entries by Leah Anthony Libresco

Chemical War at an Inhuman Remove

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 11:02 AM

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea,...

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'Binders Full of Women' Is Actually a Great Approach

(224) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 9:26 AM

Mitt Romney's comment about "binders full of women" got a lot of snark during the debate last night (and instantly spawned a contemptuous tumblr, Twitter and Facebook page).  Here's exactly what he said in reply to a question about the pay gap for women:

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Ross Douthat's Uncharitable Choice

(28) Comments | Posted May 2, 2011 | 3:40 PM

When I read Ross Douthat's "A Case for Hell" in The New York Times, I assumed that, as an atheist, my major disagreements would be with his Catholic theology. Instead, his ideas about human choices and freedom to act are a reminder of the chasm between conservative...

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To Save the Times, Abandon Timeliness

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2011 | 12:58 PM

The day after the Oscars, I couldn't help chuckling when I opened the Arts section of The New York Times and saw the headline "'Fighter' Wins for 2 Supporting Roles."

I live in Connecticut, so our version of the Times went to bed before the best picture award...

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A Non-Trivial Advantage for Watson

(6) Comments | Posted February 21, 2011 | 12:00 PM

Watching the three-day Jeopardy match between Watson the IBM supercomputer, and former Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, I couldn't help but feel bad for humankind. As a former Jeopardy contestant myself, I knew Watson was beating them where it hurt, not with...

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In Defense of Shame

(1) Comments | Posted February 15, 2011 | 10:29 AM

This speech is adapted from a speech given at the Yale Political Union's annual Gardner-White Prize debate. This year's resolution was "Resolved: Bring Back the Stocks" and most speeches focused on the interaction between shame and justice. I delivered the speech below against the resolution and took first place.


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Planned Parenthood Slammed for Telling the Truth

(14) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 6:24 PM

Lila Rose's pro-choice group, Live Action, continues to release videos from their 'sting operations against Planned Parenthood. They're trying to position the videos as exposés, and the allegedly damning material has turned out to be a revelation... about the tactics and anti-rule of law mindset behind many pro-life groups.


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Women Are Casualties in High Profile Abortion Fight

(154) Comments | Posted February 2, 2011 | 4:55 PM

The year has gotten off to a bad start for everyone with a stake in the fight over abortion rights. Instead of focusing efforts to repeal Roe v. Wade on political solutions and lobbying, the pro-life movement continues to adopt the tactics of obstruction at all costs, dragging medical professionals...

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Remembering Ingratitude on Thanksgiving

(1) Comments | Posted November 25, 2010 | 7:57 AM

Early this week, The New York Times gave front page coverage to a tragic death. Target, a stray dog that had saved the lives of military personnel in Afghanistan, had been mistakenly euthanized after running away from his new family. Target's death was covered on every major news channel, a...

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Glee's Gay Suicide PSA: It Got Worse

(16) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 3:40 PM

Popular TV show Glee has had a tendency to go off the rails when it tackles serious issues. The show's irreverent, ironic tone had led them to strike occasional false notes when they address issues of disability and discrimination in the past. Last night's episode, framed as...

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Yale Daily News Wrong to Condemn Outrage in Response to Sexism

(2) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 1:37 PM

Last week, as part of the pledge process, members of the Yale chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (DKE) led prospective members across campus chanting, among other obscenities "No means YES! Yes means ANAL!" under the windows of freshman dormitories. That night, members of the Yale Women's Center helped...

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Democrats Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Lead

(11) Comments | Posted September 24, 2010 | 3:46 PM

Like 75 percent of Americans, I was profoundly disappointed this week when the Senate failed to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. As an American, I'm ashamed that my nation not only refuses to let gay people serve openly, but also conducts a cruel witch-hunt...

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Are Koran-burners just keepin' the faith?

(16) Comments | Posted September 10, 2010 | 12:57 PM

Coverage of memorials on the ninth anniversary of September 11th have been eclipsed by the will-he-or-won't-he drama of Pastor Terry Jones's threats to establish 9/11 as "International Burn a Koran Day" and to inaugurate it appropriately.

The national consensus (barring perpetual hatemonger Fred...

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The Real Threat Posed by the Cordoba Mosque

(37) Comments | Posted August 23, 2010 | 8:50 AM

The Republican rhetoric on the Park51 mosque and community center seems to have settled into a steady chant of blame the victim. Now, Imam Rauf and the other backers of the center are being blamed for provoking the anti-Muslim backlash that is spreading across the country. Although they are within...

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Censoring Moderates Fuels Radicals

(3) Comments | Posted August 20, 2010 | 6:16 PM

Even though the legal options to block the Cordoba House mosque from being constructed two blocks from Ground Zero have dwindled away to nothing, conservatives are still using the issue to stir up the base. Currently, Gingrich and others are trying to figure out how to brand their inevitable defeat,...

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The Left is Wrong about Why Palin is Wrong

(40) Comments | Posted August 11, 2010 | 12:16 PM

So far, it seems impossible for Sarah Palin to err badly enough to upset her base. And she's certainly been thorough in her experimentation.

When Alaska resident Kathleen Gustafson found out her former Governor was coming to Homer Alaska with a Discovery Channel film crew, she unfurled a giant "Worst...

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All the News that's Fit to Leak

(3) Comments | Posted July 30, 2010 | 1:02 PM

The coverage of the WikiLeaks controversy has become a debate over the precise shade of morally gray to assign to WikiLeaks's possible endangerment of Afghan informants. The discussion of WikiLeaks's moral responsibility with regard to disclosure threatens to obscure another journalistic ethics problem brewing, and this one...

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The Law of Facebook

(1) Comments | Posted July 16, 2010 | 10:35 AM

Apparently England should have tried death threats.

Prime Minister David Cameron is upset that Facebook refuses to take down a group that honors a murderer. The group, titled "R.I.P. Raoul Moat You Legend!," honors Raoul Moat, a criminal who shot several people, including a police officer, and...

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A Tale of Phrenologists and Predatory Lenders

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2010 | 12:08 PM

In Tennessee, defendants won a court case in which prosecutors had attempted to stop them from marketing a service that was to be "inherently fraudulent."

No, the above is not the latest update on the battle over overdraft fees and payday loans. The embattled businessmen were not part of...

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Dalai Lama Wrong on Religious Tolerance

(66) Comments | Posted June 1, 2010 | 2:28 PM

The Dalai Lama's recent editorial in The New York Times rebukes "radical atheists" and others for being intolerant of many religions. As disproof of these hateful attitudes, the Dalai Lama offers a personal story of finding common ground with a Trappist monk in 1968.

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