Daily Archives: 17 Sep 2010

The Only Thing The Stimulus Has Stimulated is Politician’s Egos

Take, for example, the pure absurdity of the $70,000,000 spent in Los Angeles to create a whopping 7.76 jobs.  That’s right 7 jobs with .76 more.  I’m not sure what a .76 job is unless it’s some part time gig at McDonalds.

A new piece of evidence has emerged in the debate over the effectiveness of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, and it’s not good for Democrats. According to two newly released audits performed by the Los Angeles controller, L.A. spent enormous portions of the $594 million in stimulus funds it received on projects that created or saved just a handful of jobs. All told, the audits … examined $111 million in stimulus spending by the city’s Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works, and found that the money went to projects that created or retained just 54 jobs. That works out to roughly $2 million per job.

Stupid government. Stupid, stupid, stupid. What a profane and wicked utter waste of taxpayer money. I believe the government wants to kill me. They do things that bring me to the verge of an aneurysm almost every day. I can feel the vein in my forehead pulsating right now. In the words of Fred Sanford, ‘this is the big one…’

We should all be super proud that our elected officials and their appointed lackeys are so willing to throw our money down the toilet.

Wikipedia and Limbaugh Belong Together

Rush Limbaugh at CPAC in February 2009.

Rush Limbaugh fell for a hoax about a federal judge based on an erroneous Wikipedia entry, according to the New York Times. The paper reports that, on his Tuesday show, Limbaugh spent some time discussing Roger Vinson, a District Court judge for the Northern District of Florida. Vinson had recently announced that he was likely to allow a full hearing for a challenge to the federal health care bill. Limbaugh told his listeners that the judge was a longtime hunter and amateur taxidermist, and that he had once killed three brown bears and mounted their heads above the entrance to his courtroom–in order, Limbaugh said, to “instill the fear of God into the accused.” “This would not be good news” for supporters of the health care law, he added. Unfortunately, none of that information is true. It came from a Wikipedia user called Pensacolian–Vinson’s court sits in Pensacola, Florida–who, on Sep. 13, updated Vinson’s page to include these sentences: “Vinson is an avid hunter and amateur taxidermist. After a 2002 hunting trip during which he killed three brown bears, Vinson had their heads mounted over the door through which defendants must pass to enter the courtroom. The heads were later removed following complaints by local defendants’ rights groups.” The information was removed on Tuesday afternoon. Pensacolian named as the source for this information a news article which the Times found did not exist. The paper also spoke to Vinson, who corrected the record.

I guess that just shows that the people who believe Limbaugh are also likely to believe wikipedia, like their mentor does.  Even if what wikipedia peddles is a pile of rubbish and articles can be altered by aluminum foil hat wearing Floridians.

Or maybe I’m being too hard on Limbaugh.  Maybe it wasn’t really Wikipedia’s fault.  Maybe all the drugs he took while an addict destroyed the part of the brain that makes reasoning possible.

Those Rabbis Talked About Everything… And I Mean Everything…

Onan, in the background walking off, afterwards...

Stuff I never talk about, they talked about. See, for instance, m.Nid. 2.1-

R. Eleazar stated: Who are referred to in the Scriptural text, Your hands are full of blood? Those that commit masturbation with their hands. It was taught at the school of R. Ishmael, Thou shalt not commit adultery implies, Thou shalt not practise masturbation either with hand or with foot.

Steady there Rabbi!

[I ran across this tidbit of Rabbinic forthrightness whilst doing a bit of editing. The things those Rabbis discussed… heavens].

Perhaps we could learn a thing or two in the Church from the Rabbis about discussing things that should be discussed- especially those most common of experiences that do in fact trouble gentle souls.  Christian young people wonder if masturbation is a sin.  When I was a lad I asked my Pastor and I still remember his reply- ‘As long as you don’t think about someone it’s ok but if you think about someone it’s a sin because it’s lust’.  Needless to say, I didn’t have a clue as to what he meant or how such a methodology might be put into practice.

And over the years I think it fair to say that I’ve seen most clerics steer so widely away from the topic that there’s a greater gulf between clerical responses to the question than between Abraham and the dead rich guy Lazarus.

So even though the issue (no pun intended, really) causes a bit of discomfort, maybe we can learn from the Rabbis (if not from their answer) to face it head on.  Again, no pun intended.

So I propose that persons offer their own answer to the question- is masturbation a sin- either here in comments or on their own blogs.  And I’d like very much to hear what my friends Chris Tilling, Bob Cargill, Christian Brady, and Mark Goodacre think.  And anyone else who care to chime in.

Anthropology and the Bible: Critical Perspectives

Edited by my friend and yours, Emanuel Pfoh, and published by Gorgias Press.

The papers in this anthology represent the proceedings of the Anthropology and the Bible session from the European Association of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting held in Lincoln, UK (July 2009). The main aim of the session is to foster critical uses of social anthropology for reading biblical scholarship and ancient Near Eastern studies related to the Bible as well. The papers of this volume reflect all these perspectives and stand as a critical renewal of the uses of anthropology and sociology in biblical scholarship in distinction to social-science approaches. Contributors include: David Chalcraft, Anne Katrine Gudme, Niels Peter Lemche, Philippe Guillaume, Eveline van der Steen, Philippe Wajdenbaum, and Emanuel Pfoh.

The full details and table of contents as well as ordering information are available here.  It looks fascinating.

Biblical Studies Carnival Call for Submissions

Steven Demmler of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is hosting the September 30 Carnival and he asks for your help in assembling the best of the best.  Help him out.  And try not to send him rubbishy suggestions.  He’s new.  He’s not as grizzled and mean-spirited as some of you and may be tempted to post nonsense just to be nice.  [Rejecting people and their suggestions takes years of practice!]


Seriously, help the kid out.

Blogging: The Bulletin for the Study of Religion

The current issue of BSR arrived today loaded with fantastic essays by such luminaries as Jim West, James McGrath, Robert Cargill, Roland Boer, and James Crossley.  It seems the issue is devoted to the subject of blogging and the academy.

You’ll enjoy it.  Especially Cargill, Boer, and Crossley’s contributions (though the others are good too).

Head For the Hills, Cartoonist, Before the Radical Muslims Try to Kill You…

Oh look, it's a Muslim depiction of Muhammed!

Once again, a picture of Mohammed has engendered threats of death.  Which threats are just so unseemly in their absurdity.

A Seattle cartoonist who stirred up a religious storm with a tongue-in-cheek encouragement to draw images of the Muslim prophet Mohammed has gone into hiding after a threat to her safety. According to Seattle Weekly, which originally published an illustration by cartoonist Molly Norris entitled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” Norris was told by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to “go ghost.” “On the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI,” Norris is “moving, changing her name and essentially wiping away her identity,” a Seattle Weekly report said on Thursday. The Seattle office of the FBI did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Muslim cleric linked to al Qaeda and thought to be hiding in Yemen, said this summer on a website that social satirist Norris was a “prime target.”

Absurd.  Muslims of the sane sort need to point out to the radical loons that Mohammed has been depicted in art for centuries.  So they need to get over themselves and their unending quest for reasons to hate and kill.

Zwingli Was Wrong About That

On the 17th of September, 1522, Huldrych Zwingli published a greatly expanded version of a sermon he had preached earlier that year on the perpetual virginity of Mary.  In something of a true rarity, Zwingli was simply wrong about that.  But his reasons for preaching the sermon and then publishing it are fairly easy to discern.  Zwingli was by 1522 being widely accused of heterodoxy.  Rumors were even being spread by his Catholic foes that he was demeaning Mary, even going so far as calling her ein andre trüll, a trollop!  Nothing could have been further from the truth of course, so something clearly had to be said, and published.  Perhaps he overstated his case in self defense and so for that he can be forgiven.

Zwingli’s sermon is still quite interesting to read, especially considering the fact the published edition was dedicated to his relatives (who had heard the rumors and were a little disturbed by them).  It is also noteworthy because in spite of Zwingli’s belief in Mary’s perpetual chastity (chastity is the proper rendering of the Schweizerdeutsch term Zwingli used), he asserts that she has absolutely no role to play in salvation.  So whereas he’s mistaken about her chastity he is right on target concerning the doctrine of salvation since salvation is through Christ alone.

You can read his sermon here.  And it’s very much worth reading, as I suggested previously.

How Do You Persuade High School Boys to Play Ball For Your College Team?

Send ‘hostesses’ to visit them.  Just like the University of Tennessee did.

The NCAA investigation into the Tennessee football program involves former quarterbacks coach David Reaves not alerting the school to improper contact with recruits, the Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting. Reaves, now the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at New Mexico, was made aware of the presence of two members of the UT hostess group known as Orange Pride at a high school football game in Duncan, S.C., on Sept. 25, 2009. The hostesses, Dahra Johnson and team captain Lacey Pearl Earps, posed for photos with two players who had given UT verbal commitments.

Who are these ‘hostesses’? And what is this investigation? The second question first- here’s the backstory.  And here’s some of the ‘hostesses’

Ah College football… you’re just all about academics aren’t you?  ‘Student athletes’ right?

Here’s the whole gaggle called, I suppose with a straight face- ‘Orange Pride’, the group of ‘hostesses’ which show grand hospitality to potential players.

UT is a very welcoming institution.