Daily Archives: 3 Oct 2010

Who’s Buying the Mid-Term Election This Year?

Or to put it more politely, what special interest groups are pouring money into candidates laps this cycle?

For the week ending September 26, groups spent a total of $15,495,362, with $10,620,174 on behalf of Republicans and $4,875,188 on behalf of Democrats.

The charts will make you sick to your stomach.  The United States Congress is for sale.  Just like always.  But myself, I wouldn’t give one cent for the entire US Government, from top to bottom, national, state and local.  All I see when I look at government is corruption and greed (just like I see in Afghanistan and Iraq).  In fact, if anything, the US Government is more corrupt than the Afghani simply by virtue of the fact that it’s bigger.

It’s all just so absurd.  Our government for, by, and of the people hasn’t been for decades and certainly isn’t now.

Deane Galbraith on Job

In a paper titled Would You Condemn Me That You May be Justified? Why yes, Deane, I certainly would! But that’s not what the paper is about.

In this essay, Galbraith examines Jean-Francois Lyotard’s concept of the differend and its potential to provide new insights into the curiously unsatisfying nature of the book of Job. For Lyotard, a differend occurs in a situation where a victim, seeking justice for a wrong, is ‘divested of the means to argue’ with their accuser due to a lack of a single idiom which both parties can agree upon as a standard of justice. When we read the story of Job in the light of the differend, we uncover, in addition to the more visible injustice of God’s physically excessive and arbitrary mistreatment of Job, a radical or absolute injustice operating at the heart of the narrative.

Come on, can you trust a Frenchman speaking about leotards? Anyway, my snark aside, take a look. Deane’s a relatively clever chap (for a Kiwi). 😉

Don’t Let Drunks Babysit

This is what they do to manage children:

Now that’s depraved.

In an especially disturbing case of child abuse, a teenaged mother near Lincoln, Nebraska after a night of intoxication taped her 22-month-old baby boy to the wall with her boyfriend acting as an accomplice – and then took photographs. When the photos were shared with a friend, police arrested the couple.

And stupid.  Stupid, stupid stupid.  Teenage drunk momma and idiot boyfriend deserve to be thrown in jail.  And most certainly mother needs to lose custody.  That baby, every baby, deserves better parents.  Via.

People who get drunk do the dumbest things.

Dying For a Job: The Palestinian Killed on His Way to Work

So sad.  What’s with the ‘shoot them dead first and then find out what they’re doing’ attitude?

Israeli police shot and killed a construction worker from this West Bank village Sunday after he used a rope to scale a towering wall meant to keep Palestinians from sneaking into Israel, police and a witness said. The victim, Izzedine Kawazbeh, a 35-year-old father of five, was part of a group of Palestinian construction workers trying to enter Israel without permits when he was killed in east Jerusalem near the West Bank separation barrier.

Let’s face it friends, who among us wouldn’t hop a fence in order to get to a job so our families wouldn’t starve? Border walls are meaningless when lives are at stake. Oh, well, I guess not though. I suppose John Hagee and his kindred are throwing an ‘I’m glad he’s dead because he was just a lowly Palestinian and he doesn’t deserve to provide for his family’ party at this very moment.

The victim’s cousin, Mohammed, 22, said his relative was shot from close range and without provocation. He said about 100 workers from villages near the West Bank city of Hebron climb over the separation barrier at a particular spot once a week, head for jobs on Israeli construction sites and return to their villages for the weekend. “We climb on each other’s shoulders to the top of the wall, and we tie the rope, then descend to the other side,” Kawazbeh said. “We usually choose (Saturday) midnight, because there are no soldiers and security. We move to a nearby place, a hill, where we stay until the morning,” then travel by bus and on foot for several more hours to various construction sites.

So much for ‘let justice roll down like waters…’ – a summons by one of those pesky Old Testament prophets who clearly didn’t have any idea of political necessities.  Meanwhile, settlers in the West Bank continue to build against UN mandate, making those actions illegal (not to mention immoral and unethical).

Gosh Tim, If You Want a Copy of Mine All You Have to do is Ask…

You don’t have to go all conspiracy theory postal!   😉

The Casey Colloquium: Excerpt One

Our discussion with Maurice Casey on his very soon to be published volume commences in a week so this week I’m going to begin posting excerpts- so participants (and others) can get a sense of where Casey is coming from and where he’s going.

I’m also doing something of a ‘double posting’- offering the excerpts here and on the List.  I’ll not comment on the excerpts (at this point) but will just let them speak for themselves.

Excerpt One-

The purpose of this book is to engage with the historical Jesus from the perspective of an independent historian. I do not belong to any religious or antireligious group. I try to use evidence and argument to establish historically valid conclusions. I depend on the best work done by many other scholars, regardless of their ideological affiliation. I also make abundant use of one relatively recent discovery which should help us to go further than ever before in reconstructing the Jesus of history in his original cultural context. That is the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and above all the eventual publication of all those which are written in Aramaic, the language which Jesus himself spoke. In two complex technical books, I have shown how genuine sayings of Jesus, and the earliest narrative reports of his deeds, can be reconstructed in their original Aramaic versions in a manner unthinkable before the publication of the Aramaic scrolls.2 As all students of language and culture in general are very well aware, language is a central part of culture. Accordingly, the reconstruction of the Aramaic sources of the synoptic Gospels is an essential step in understanding him against the background of his own culture, that of first- century Judaism. All the details of this technical work cannot be presented in this book, but it lies behind it, and I present Aramaic reconstructions of the Lord’s Prayer and of Jesus’ words interpreting the bread and wine at the Last Supper, so that everyone can see what this work looks like, and experience something of what he really said. I also refer to this kind of work at other crucial points (p. 2).

I’m Always Vigilant When I’m in Europe

Satellite image of Great Britain and Northern ...

And I’m not about to stop going just because cowardly terrorists plan slimy attacks.  I refuse to give them the one thing they want most- fear.  So I’ll return to Britain in January for SOTS (DV) and if something happens, something happens.  Believe me, I feel safer in Sheffield than I do in East Knoxville.

So I’ll keep my eyes open and my head clear and avoid the same sorts of situations I always avoid anyway…. people… as much as possible.  Let’s face it, terrorists aren’t very effective at all if they can’t bother people.

Today With Zwingli

On 3 October, 1529 the Marburg Colloquy ended and the attendees signed the 15 Marburg Articles.  On 14 there was decisive agreement.  On the 15th, hardly any.  Naturally the 15th was the article on the Lord’s Supper.  You can download a copy of the Articles (which I’ve been unable to locate anywhere online, surprisingly) at the link above.

By the way- Zwingli was right about the meaning of the Supper and Luther and his partisans were wrong.  Still are.

Well George Clooney, You’re Dead to Me

A shocking allegation has been made by American movie actor, George Clooney, which is sure to upset millions of religious believers around the world. In a film written and directed by Clooney, he claims that the Roman Catholic Church and the figurehead of Jesus were knowing inventions of the Roman government in the first century B.C.E., part of a hoax designed to produce a passive, orderly society.

George is pandering to the mythicist loons like Doherty and his ilk and the fringe atheists who delight in historical ignorance. So, George, I’ve seen your last film and supported you for the last time monetarily. Fiscally, you’re dead to me.  Besides, he’s obviously a gross dilettante.  Jesus… 1st c. BCE?  Either he or the reporter should keep quiet about such matters.  Probably both.

Oh Look, It’s the Actual Tree Zacchaeus Was In!

Tourists, visit Jericho and see the very tree that Zacchaeus was in!   No kidding…  Z. must have carved his initials in one of the branches.  Otherwise how would they know it was the right tree?  Unless…  that is…. they’re just pimping the Bible again…  Nah.  People wouldn’t do that.

With a giant trunk and boughs towering 60 feet high, a gnarled sycamore near Jericho’s main square has long been touted as the very tree that the hated tax collector climbed to get a glimpse of Jesus. Now it’s taking center stage in a plan to transform this ancient desert backwater into a tourism hub. The tree, once tucked obscurely away on a side street, is a featured attraction of a Russian-funded museum complex to be unveiled this month as part of Jericho’s 10,000th birthday celebrations.

Yeah, I guess they would.

Sceletium Tortuosum? Well Sign Me Up!

For hundreds of years, indigenous South Africans have chewed a plant they say reduces stress, relieves hunger, sedates and elevates moods. Now they have a license to study and market it, and plan to sell it over-the-counter worldwide. Researchers say the plant, called sceletium tortuosum, has great potential and could also help boost the local economy. Still, the American pharmaceutical company working on the project says it doesn’t know whether the plant has been approved by U.S. regulators or how soon it may be available to consumers.

I can’t think of a single person who knows me who thinks my Kierkegaardian moodiness doesn’t need some elevating and my stress reducing. So as soon as they market this stuff, sign me up. It looks disgusting, but I hope it tastes like licorice tea.

The plant – known within South Africa as Kanna, Channa or Kougoed – has been used by the San people to reduce hunger, thirst and fatigue and is said to have sedative, hypnotic and mood-elevating effects. It is commonly chewed, but also can be made into tea or smoked.

I’ll take mine in tea please.

Ben-Erik Van Wyk, a professor of botany and plant biotechnology at the University of Johannesburg, said he’s extensively researched the plant and found no ill effects or evidence of dependency.

Sounds like a winner.   Especially since an elevated mood and reduced stress will certainly be useful in my apparently one man war on atheism (takin’ it to ya, atheists, ain’t sittin’ back and takin’ it no more!)