Monthly Archives: August 2010

This Is Exactly Why I Have No Use for Politicians and Lobbyists

Unofficial seal of the United States Congress

The 10 banks that received the most bailout aid during the financial crisis spent over $16 million on lobbying efforts in the first half of 2010, as the debate over financial regulatory reform reached its height. Disclosure reports show that the banks that got the most government help in late 2008 and early 2009 also invested the most to influence members of Congress, the White House, the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and a long list of federal agencies as new rules were enacted governing Wall Street and the nation’s financial system. “I’m not shocked that they spent that much money because I saw them every day,” said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, who said more than 2,000 lobbyists worked on the financial reform bill.

So see, there’s no point in voting, in supporting politicians who say they’ll change things, or in believing corporate America when it laments regulation. Politicians are for sale and lobbyists make sure that corporate America always comes out on top when it comes to legislation- even when the ‘Democrats’ control the Executive and Legislative branches.

Don’t you see what the lobbyists have done?  They used bailout money- taxpayer money- to buy off Congress (and let’s face it, that’s what lobbyists do; let’s not delude ourselves into thinking otherwise).  And Congress let them.  Gleefully.  Your elected officials took your money as it was funneled through lobbyists for the banking industry and shafted you.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

Still Another Reason Not to be A Republican

A major same-sex marriage fundraiser hosted by former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman and other Republicans provides one of the sharpest illustrations of how gay rights is becoming a cause among more elite, establishment members of the GOP. In addition to Mehlman, who recently announced that he was gay, the list of attendees includes several surprises, such as Ben Ginsburg, one of the Republican Party’s top lawyers, and Henry Kravis and Paul Singer, two of the biggest donors to the GOP. According to one gay-rights activist involved in similar efforts, the fundraising pool goes even deeper.

The Republicans will apparently do anything for votes– even more than the Democrats. Including but not limited to abandoning any connection to being the party of values. Such is the nature of politics- it defiles everyone who swims in its cesspool.  Welcome to the strange world of pandering.

Finally, After Many Requests, A Photo of Me Mowing…

You asked, I respond…

Chris Tilling Goes To Church

Quote of the Day

Gain in subtlety is loss in understanding.  — Steven Ozment

Twitter Might Be the Death of Your Career

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbrgh Steelers d...

The Washington Post has suspended veteran sports columnist Mike Wise for publishing fabricated information on Twitter. He announced the one-month suspension on his radio show Tuesday. Wise claimed Monday that he wanted to prove a point about how reporters will run stories in today’s fast-moving news environment without independently verifying the information. So Wise tweeted that Pittsburgh Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student, would get a five-game suspension. Of course, since Wise is a respected sportswriter, other news outlets went with the apparent scoop and cited his reporting.

Yup- Twitter is to news what Wikipedia is to information.

This is Why Roger Federer is My Favorite Player…

Via Stephen Smuts.

Another Church That’s Lost the Plot…

A senior pastor at a mega-church in central Kentucky says leaders have signed a letter of intent to purchase a defunct mall and reopen it as a religious facility. Southland Christian Church senior executive pastor Chris Hahn said the letter was sent to the owner of the former Lexington Mall, which has been in disrepair since Dillard’s closed in 2005. If the Lexington Planning Commission approves Southland’s development plan for the 30-acre site, Hahn says the church would like to close on the purchase Oct. 1.

Churches are free to buy whatever they want and put that property to whatever purpose they want. I don’t care about that (though I find it absurd that these mega-churches really feel impelled to be bigger and more bloated- as if their pastors can actually know or minister to their ‘herd’).

No, what annoys me here is that the pastor is titled the ‘senior executive’. What that sort of language demonstrates is that the Church sees itself as a business and the pastor himself as the CEO.  The aforementioned Church isn’t moving into the mall, it’s opening another ‘satellite campus’…   Do you know what that used to be called?  A mission Church that had its own pastor and didn’t need the mother ship beaming sermons to it.

Yet the true church isn’t a business with multiple outlets- it is a body. In fact, it is the body of Christ, the community of faith. It has no ‘executives’, it only has servants.

Churches which wish to be viewed as businesses because they see themselves that way have lost the plot. And probably don’t even know it.

Total Depravity: The Murderous Palestinians

Map of Israel, the Palestinian territories (We...

There’s just simply no excuse for murderous behavior.  By anyone.

Palestinian gunmen opened fire Tuesday on an Israeli car in the West Bank and killed four passengers on the eve of a new round of Mideast peace talks in Washington. The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility. Assailants firing from a passing car riddled the vehicle with bullets as it traveled near Hebron — a volatile city that has been a flash point of violence in the past. Some 500 ultranationalist Jewish settlers live in heavily fortified enclaves in the city amid more than 100,000 Palestinians. One of the victims was pregnant, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Israel’s national rescue service said the victims were two men and two women, and Israeli media said everyone in the car was killed.

Totally depraved and completely barbaric.  Peace will never come as long as persons like this walk the streets.

At Least Some Recognize the Danger of Oversexualizing Children and Teens

American propaganda poster targeted at World W...

Parents, it’s time to parent. Too many of you just aren’t doing your job. Or this wouldn’t be true:

“The media represents arguably the leading sex educator in America today,” said Dr. Victor Strasburger, the lead author of the paper. “We do such a poor job of educating kids about sex in sex education classes in school, and parents are notoriously shy about talking to kids about sex. The media picks up the slack.” Seventy percent of teen shows contain sexual content, Strasburger added, “and less than 10 percent of that content involves what anyone would classify as being responsible content. There’s no mention of contracting an STD [sexually transmitted disease] or the need to wait to have sex until later.” The United States leads the western world in teen pregnancy rates and American teens have an alarmingly high rate of STDs — one in four children.

What’s the principle cause of teen pregnancy and STD’s? Parents who aren’t involved, who aren’t teaching their children morals, and who are allowing them to do as they please when they please. Parents are letting their children down. And children are paying the price.

[Yes, I know, some parents are doing their job and kids still choose poorly- because they want to. That doesn’t excuse parents from parenting however].

When Mark Stevens Preaches…

Norman Golb on the NatGeo Dead Sea Scrolls Special

Remains of living quarters at Qumran.

Vi avevo detto del documentario del National Geographic sulla paternità dei Rotoli di Qumran. Risponde Norman Golb con diverse criticità. Ho scritto più volte, ma lo ripeto per la cronaca, che Golb è uno dei pochi studiosi convinti che i manoscritti siano stati completati a Gerusalemme e successivamente portati a Qumran.

The PDF of Golb’s rejoinder can be accessed here.

I can’t wait to see how Bob responds.

Wikipedia: The Latest Propaganda Tool

A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestini...

No surprise here– Wikipedia is the most easily manipulated ‘source’ of misinformation available today.

Joel reports

The next battle in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be fought on the pages of the internet site Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia which anyone can edit. Abed A-Nassar, chairman of the Association of Palestinian Journalists, has already begun preparing for the conflict, calling on Palestinian institutions to make Wikipedia pages more pro-Palestinian. His call follows a recent article in Haaretz on a class organized by settlers to teach supporters how to register and edit Wikipedia pages, in order to make them more representative of the ‘Zionist’ viewpoint. — Palestinians prepare to battle ‘Zionist editing’ on Wikipedia – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Then Joel observes

This is in response to a concerted effort by Israel to ‘correct’ Wikipedia. If anyone wants a crash course on the methods of revising history and media intimidation, just watch…

When truth and Wikipedia collide, the truth usually loses.

Robert Cargill on Peer Review

Bob has a fine essay at Bible and Interpretation on the subject of peer review and how that aspect of academic life is being transformed.  For the better.

The Man Who Has His Mind Made Up…

A green version of http://commons.wikimedia.or...

Well I wonder how many copies of this guy are already around? I think an awful lot. See if you do.

Local man Scott Gentries told reporters Wednesday that his deliberately limited grasp of Islamic history and culture was still more than sufficient to shape his views of the entire Muslim world. Gentries, 48, said he had absolutely no interest in exposing himself to further knowledge of Islamic civilization or putting his sweeping opinions into a broader context of any kind, and confirmed he was “perfectly happy” to make a handful of emotionally charged words the basis of his mistrust toward all members of the world’s second-largest religion. “I learned all that really matters about the Muslim faith on 9/11,” Gentries said in reference to the terrorist attacks on the United States undertaken by 19 of Islam’s approximately 1.6 billion practitioners. “What more do I need to know to stigmatize Muslims everywhere as inherently violent radicals?”

If you change Scott’s name to Robert or Bill or Sally you will discover that there are a lot of people who have done exactly the same as Scott.

Smoking’s Bad For More Than Your Lungs…

Cigarettes, papierosy

Doing it can burn you in more than one way.

A man overcome with smoke this morning after catching his mattress on fire was given the option by his living companions of going to the hospital or with the police. He opted to take a ride in an ambulance. Knoxville firefighters were alerted at 4:15 a.m. of a fire at 2349 E. Fifth Ave., according to Knoxville Fire Department spokesman Capt. D.J. Corcoran. Firefighters arrived to find a smoke-filled home and a man unconscious on a smoldering mattress. Corcoran said when firefighters pulled the unidentified man off the mattress, it erupted in flames. Firefighters doused the flames apparently ignited by a cigarette and carried the smoking bedding outside. Corcoran said firefighters revived the man in the driveway. The man became combative and refused medical treatment, Corcoran said. He wanted to stay at the home, but the two women and three elementary-age children in the home didn’t want him to return because of the fire he had started.

I wouldn’t want him to stay around either. If you almost burn down a house and potentially kill everyone in it, along with yourself, because nicotine matters that much to you, you shouldn’t live with other people or in flammable surroundings.  Or maybe, just maybe, you should quit smoking!

Zwingli and Luther at Marburg

Not because it’s the anniversary of that debate or anything- but just because I love the huge iron door at the Grossmunster whose panels feature scenes from Zwingli’s life- including, of course, his meeting with Luther.   On the left are Luther and Melanchthon, on the right Zwingli and Oecolampadius, and in the middle, Philipp of Hesse.  Zwingli isn’t mimicking a gun with his fingers… they didn’t have guns then.  Though I’m sure if he had owned a gun he would have been tempted…

Nigeria? Eden??

Garden of Eden

From the ‘more rank speculation’ category-

In 2005, Afro-centric scholar, Prof. Catherine Acholonu, rattled the imagination of a bemused global academic community, when she claimed that the biblical Adam, the progenitor of the human race, was an African, in all probability a Nigerian. Her book, Gram Code of African Adam, chronicles what she described as the hidden contributions of ancient Africans to world civilization. Acholonu, a former presidential aide on culture, had, in that work, challenged those who are intent on unraveling the mystery of the lost Garden of Eden to zero in their searchlight on the African continent because of what she considers compelling evidence in that direction. Acholonu was even more audacious last year with the publication of the second book in her Adam series, entitled, They Lived Before Adam. In that book, she had rubbished the belief held by many for so long that the Igbo people of South-East Nigeria might have descended from the Hebrews. Rather, he said, it was the Jewish culture that had been enriched by Igbo traditions, as a result of earlier interface between the two peoples thousands of years earlier. In deed, Acholonu had questioned the veracity of the creation story, as recorded in the Bible and said the origin of the Igbo race pre-dates Adam! And if anything, she said, Adam, and ipso facto, his descendants, owed their ancestry to the Igbo. Now, with her forth-coming book, The Lost Testament of the Ancestors of Adam, Acholonu, a professor of African History and Philosophy, is sure to ruffle no fewer feathers than she had done in her two recent books. Predictably, the present book completes the Adam trilogy, and Acholonu tells Saturday Sun that the book serves as a logical conclusion to the arguments that were advanced in the Gram Code concerning the pre-eminence of Africa, and particularly Nigeria, in the origins of man. “The Gram Code touched on a lot of things, but when we wrote They Lived Before Adam, we put more flesh and details to some of the things we hinted at in the previous one. When we said that Eden is in Nigeria, we substantiated it; now the evidence is mounting,” she says.

What nonsense. Why dilettantes insist on polluting the world with rank ignorance is one of the greatest of all mysteries, second only to the mystery of iniquity.  She may be an ‘afro-centric’ scholar (whatever that’s supposed to be) – but when it comes to understanding the meaning and purpose of the Bible, she hasn’t a clue.

Troy Polamalu’s Hair is Worth More Than Your Life

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in ac...

I find such things absurd beyond words.

American football star Troy Polamalu has a price on his head — with an anti-dandruff shampoo brand taking out a $1 million insurance policy on his trademark mane of black ringlets. Head & Shoulders said on Monday it had taken a $1 million Lloyd’s of London policy on the locks of Pittsburgh Steelers’ Polamalu, the Super Bowl-winning safety. Polamalu, 29, who was born in the United States but is of Samoan descent, says he has not cut his hair since 2000. He has been a spokesman for the Procter & Gamble Co brand for two years.

Absurd.

The Biblical Studies Carnival Goes Live at Midnight

That’s midnight Eastern time.  9 pm for you Left coasters.  So it’s your last chance to send along recommendations.

If you recommend something and you don’t see it- don’t get mad, just volunteer to host an upcoming Carnival.