Our Failed Congress: Millionaires Protecting Millionaires

CNN emails

Democrats in the Senate fail to get the 60 votes they need to move forward with a measure that would set a minimum 30% tax on millionaires and billionaires.  The so-called Buffett Rule, proposed last year by President Barack Obama, grew out of the argument that wealthy people should pay a higher share of their income in taxes than those in the middle class. Its name comes from the fact that billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

Should you still, for some bizarre reason, believe that Congress works for the American people, here’s the proof it doesn’t.  Here’s the proof that millionaires in Washington are just watching out for the interests of millionaires elsewhere.  The wealthy as slaves of the wealthy.  Moral cowards and disingenuous sycophants the lot of them.  And you have no one to blame but yourself for sending them there.

And I know, and so do you, that you’ll send them back.

Has Joshua’s Altar Been Discovered on Mt. Ebal?

Adam Zertal thinks it well might have been.  And since he’s an actual archaeologist, he has to be taken more seriously than the discoveries displayed on Discovery.  Zertal has 6 interesting pages in which he discusses the possibility.  With thanks to Jack Sasson for pointing it out.

I’d be very interested to hear what Aren Maeir and Israel Finkelstein think of it.

Circumcision Greed

File this one in the ‘people are suit happy in America‘ category:  [And bewarned, scornful derision laced with contemptuous loathing ahead]

A South Dakota prison inmate is suing the hospital where he was circumcised as a newborn, saying he only recently became aware that he’d undergone the procedure and that it robbed him of his sexual prowess.

Ok first off he’s in prison.  He shouldn’t have any rights at all except to eat once a day and live in a small cage akin to what dogs are kept in at the pound.

Dean Cochrun, 28, is asking for $1,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks in the lawsuit that his foreskin be restored “in the hopes I could feel whole again,” though he acknowledged that he didn’t expect such a restoration to be anything more than aesthetic.

Insane?  Greedy?  Both.

Cochrun, who is imprisoned in Sioux Falls on a kidnapping conviction, filed the federal lawsuit Friday against Sanford Hospital. Cochrun claims that an “unknown doctor” at the then-named Sioux Valley Hospital misled his mother to believe that the procedure was medically necessary. Cochrun argues that the procedure was unnecessary, unethical and without medical benefit.

Then sue your momma.

“I was recently made aware of the fact that I had been (circumcised) and that … I was robbed of sensitivity during sexual intercourse as well as the sense of security and well-being I am entitled to in my person,” he argued in the lawsuit, adding that neither he nor his partners would “have that sensitivity during sexual intercourse and have a normal sex life.”

Apparently prison sex isn’t as satisfying as it could be for Mr Cochrun…  I wonder who told him he was circumcised?  America, your judicial system is totally bankrupt if this guy gets so much as a hearing.

Adolf Schlatter’s ‘Faith’ In the New Testament

Logos is apparently considering undertaking a translation of Adolf Schlatter’s classic ‘Glaube im Neuen Testament‘.  This book has, astonishingly, never been rendered into English (a fact that continues to appall).  So I hope they do.  It’s brilliant.  Even the opening preface is a delight (because Schlatter tells the story of a little old lady who thanked him for his work- it had helped her understand what faith was better than anything else).

Schlatter was an awesome scholar.  Really a polymath.  He’s not read widely enough because of two factors:  biblical scholars in America can scarcely manage to bother with Hebrew and Greek.  Forget about learning German.  And second, Schlatter wrote so much it would take an army of translators working for years to finish his corpus.

So hooray for Logos for at least trying to get a remarkable volume out to a larger public.

Freedom in the Choice of Food: Or, Breaking With Tradition

On 16 April, 1522 Huldrych Zwingli’s sermon titled Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen was published in Zurich at the printing house of Froschauer. It was a greatly expanded version of the actual sermon preached shortly after the Lenten Fast was broken, with his approval. Unlike Barth’s Romans, this book really did fall on the playground of the theologians like a bomb.

Zwingli’s point was simple- the Church wasn’t authorized to heft upon souls requirement foreign to the requirements of the Bible. Its tradition wasn’t superior to Scripture; Scripture takes precedence over tradition.

Consequently, he remarks

Und sölichs anzuozeygen habend ir etlichtütsche gedicht lassen ußgon, etliche früntlichen uff stuben unnd by geselschafften disputiert und geredt, etliche ietz zum letsten in diser vasten (als sy gemeint haben, es mög sich niemans mer verbösren) in iren hüsren und so sy by einander gsin sind, fleisch geessen und eyer, käß und ander spysen, so byßhar ungebrucht sind in der vasten. Weliche aber meinung ein andren weg, denn sy gemeint, ußgeschlagen ist, dann ein teil sich daran übel verböseret, und das uß guoter einfaltiger meinung. Der ander teil nit uß liebe gottes noch siner gebotten (als ze besorgen ist), sunder das sy möchtend niderlegen das, so den gemeinen menschen leert und verhuet, das sy nit mithellen wellen iren anschlegen, haben gethon, als ob sy verletzt syen oder verbösret, damit sy die unruow meertind. Der dritt teil der glychßneren eins falschen geists hat ouch derglichen gethon unnd heimlich zuogeschürt, das der gewalt sölichs nit welte noch sölte lassen liggen, es wurde die vasten abtilcken, glich als ob sy nimme vasten köndend, wenn der noturfftig arbeiter, der in diser zyt des glentzes am schwäresten die burde und hitz des tages tragen muoß, zuo uffenthalt des lybs und der arbeit sölich spysen ässe. Ja dise alle habend die sach also beschwärt unnd verüblet, das ein ersamer rat unser statt genöt worden ist, darinnen zuo handlen.

Border Police in Israel are Unhinged: They Beat and Detained a 9 Year Old Jewish Boy!

Alrighty then- so things are SO BAD in Israel and the police are SO terrified of the possibility that someone somewhere may be potentially a threat that they do this?

Israel Border Police detained and beat a nine-year-old Jewish resident of Hebron on Saturday, after he entered a closed military zone near the house that was recently occupied by settlers.  The event occurred around 7 A.M., after a group of Jewish children began playing in the lot between the house and a nearby closed military zone. According to eyewitnesses, at a certain point, the boy entered the closed military zone.

Paranoia- behold thy homeland.

A Border Police officer choked the boy, and held him in the air for approximately 10 minutes. Residents who were praying at the nearby Tomb of the Patriarchs were able to release the child from the officer’s hands. Two were arrested on suspicion of attacking the officer. The child’s parents lodged a complaint with the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers on Sunday.

The whole sorry event is just sick and sickening.  If the police beat my nine year old they’d have to arrest me too, for attempted murder.  Do what you wish to me, but hurt a child, for no reason?  That’s satanic.

Worst of all, this isn’t unusual in that paranoid place.

The Green Biblical Manuscript Collection: A Photo Gallery

Thanks to Joseph Lauer for mentioning this slideshow.  I rather like this one a lot-

Biblia Pauperum

The pages from this near-complete blockbook were printed from single carved blocks containing the first edition of this popular work, written in Latin. This method of printing was before Gutenberg’s moveable typeset printing and  even continued to be used  after Gutenberg’s innovation. Blockbooks allowed for the first printing on demand, because the page did not need to be composited and they allowed printers to combine the text and image.

There are 25 in all.  Take a look.

Anders Behring Breivik Went to the George Zimmerman School of Law

The man who slaughtered 77 Norwegian children claims- wait for it… – self defense!

A right-wing fanatic admitted Monday to unleashing a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway but pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, saying he was acting in self-defense.  On the first day of his long-awaited trial, Anders Behring Breivik defiantly rejected the authority of the court as it sought to assign responsibility for the July 22 attacks that shocked Norway and jolted the image of terrorism in Europe.

Breivik is beneath contempt.   Hell has just finished constructing a special compartment / torture chamber in anticipation of his arrival.

Stop Hijacking Jesus For Your Economic Theories

Jesus wasn’t a Liberal Catholic nor a Conservative Protestant when he walked the dusty roads of Galilee.  He was a first century Jewish man who lived in a world where the very notion of ‘capitalism’ as presently practiced was unheard of.  So stop hijacking Jesus and making him your poster boy for your liberal Catholicism or moribund conservative Protestantism.

Leave Jesus out of your ridiculous debates.  He doesn’t care!  He says so!

Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε, εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου μερίσασθαι μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν. 14 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἄνθρωπε, τίς με κατέστησεν κριτὴν ἢ μεριστὴν ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς; 15 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς Ὁρᾶτε καὶ φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ πάσης πλεονεξίας, ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστὶν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ. (Luke 12:13-15)

So just stop making Jesus in your own image. It’s sickening.

The Myth of the ‘Reagan Republican’: They Don’t Exist

Every time some Republican dimwit blathers on about how they’re ‘a Reagan Republican’ I want to toss a brick through the tv.  Truth is, today’s batch of sorry Republican politicians are nothing at all like Reagan.  Need proof?  Ok, how about this snippet – Reagan on taxing the wealthy:

Admit it, if anyone said such a thing today they’d be booted from the Republican party. The Republicans have lost their minds- being taken over by the loony tea baggers and other fringe nutters who are simply hell bent on destroying American democracy.