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Defining the political lie

Houyhnhnms, the noble talking horses in Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels,” had no word for “lie.” They did not engage in the petty subterfuge of politics and didn’t need a word to signify it. The closest they could come is the locution “to say the thing which is not.” But lying is much more complex than saying something that isn’t the case. A genuine lie — a lie in the moral sense — must be intended to deceive, and must be expressed to someone to whom the truth is owed. You aren’t lying if you misstate a statistic without intending to, or if you give a fake name to a prying stranger on the subway.

The NRA’s America

Even before the horrific attack in Orlando earlier this month, life in 21st century America had become intolerably, pervasively fearful. Our mad proliferation of guns, and the obscene loopholes that allow dangerous people to access them freely, are the most consistent engines of terror in our society today.

A killer for God

Here is the plain and dangerous truth facing the cosmopolitan world: In the opinion of many millions of Jews and Christians and Muslims, the Abrahamic God of the desert is a homophobe.
 

Doyle McManus: Forecasting in the age of Trump

Ray Fair of Yale University says that if his election-forecasting model is correct, the Republican nominee is likely to win the presidency by a convincing margin. John Sides of George Washington University agrees; the “fundamentals,” he says, give the Republican about a 60 percent chance of winning. Alan Abramowitz of Emory University gives Republicans a solid shot at the White House too; his model gives the GOP the edge — but in “a very close election.”

Vegans bite the hand that feeds

If Steve Martin made a reboot of “L.A. Story,” the 1991 send-up of the city’s cultural absurdities, there would have to be a scene at Cafe Gratitude. The mini-chain of vegan restaurants offers patrons sandwiches on gluten-free amaranth and millet buns, a $25 probiotic shot, and an array of entrees and smoothies with names that are already parodies of themselves. On my first visit to one location, I felt silly ordering I Am Incredible, a smoothie made with kale, coconut milk, hempseeds, almond butter, maca, banana and vanilla bean. The server returned with the concoction, placed it before me, and said, “You Are Incredible” as he looked earnestly into my eyes.