In the News 11/17/17

Antarctica was once covered in forest, so that’s pretty cool.

Another ‘responsible gun owner’ accidentally shoots himself and wife, at church, will explaining how he would protect himself and others should someone attack the church. It is ironic, but it isn’t funny, almost like guns aren’t toys and this wanna-be hero complex might be dangerous. Hopefully, he and his wife will cover quickly.

FCC again trying to ban net neutrality. As a reminder, this means that companies like AT&T and Comcast could slow your internet down if you use things like Google or Netflix.

House passes a tax bill that along with ballooning the deficit that they supposedly care about will also repeal state and local tax deductions and limit the mortgage interest deductions.

As the article points out, “Repeals many other deductions: These include those for medical expenses, tax preparation fees, alimony payments, student loan interest and moving expenses.”

Not mentioned in the article, and just in time for National Adoption Month, the bill would also repeal tax credits that help offset adoption cost. Natalie has a good run down of why adoption is so expensive.

Hannity calls for a boycott of the sponsors that pulled their adds from his show after he should support for Roy Moore, who apparently likes underage girls.

Related, this article. The Evangelical response to Moore is going to be a huge point in our political history, I think. Then again, we screwed it up with Trump, so who knows? It has been well documented what Evangelicals thought about Bill Clinton in the 90’s and why he wasn’t fit for office. As the article points out, we’ve already given up ground on morality so that we could claim it was alright for ‘our guy’

 Between 2011 and last year, the percentage of Americans who say politicians who commit immoral acts in their private lives can still behave ethically in public office jumped to 61 percent from 44 percent, according to a Public Religion Research Institute/Brookings poll. During the same period, the shift among evangelicals was even more dramatic, moving from to 72 percent from 30 percent, the survey found.

Think about that, the number of people that basically said, ‘never mind, morality doesn’t matter’ went up almost 150%. Trump is the only reason. If we take the correct stance with Moore, maybe we can regain whatever little credibly is left of Christians to have in society.

Quickly, on Moore, he has done nothing illegal, it appears. I want to make that clear to start with, because there are people accusing him of being a molester or pedophile, and that is incorrect. The age of consent in most states, including Alabama, is 16, so the girls that he did interact with were of age. It just make him creepy and weird as man in his early 30’s dating high school girls. As a man in his early 30’s, this is really unimaginable, when I see high schoolers or even college students at church, I can’t believe how young they look. We just hired a guy in his early 20’s at work and another 30 year old and I swear we didn’t look that young. So, that is a bit repugnant and anyone violating the half plus seven rule is creepy to me.

Now, if he did have sexual contact with the 14 year old, then he is, in fact, either a child molester or statutory rapist, depending on how the law is in Alabama. Either way, if convicted (hypothetically, as the statue of limitations has run out), he would be a registered sex offender. Since he cannot be tried, you have to seriously ask yourself, do you believe that his plan was to hold this girls hand for a few years until she was old enough? To me, the answer is clearly no. So, is a potential sex offender who we want representing ‘evangelical morality’? Again, we have Trump, so what is the difference?

Two more thoughts, then I’ll wrap it up. I appreciate that a few people are at least willing to admit, that it is all still just about abortion. I disagree we should be single issue voters, especially when it means supporting a possible sex offender. I’d appreciate if some more people were even more honest and just say they only care about low taxes, drop the whole morality charade completely. That would at least be consistent.

My other, and final, thought is really more of a fisk of this quote by a Moore supporter (and Bill Clinton detractor) from the article:
“All of us have sinned and need a savior,” Floyd said.
Sadly, pastors discussing sin in public now only seem to happen when they are dismissing a sin.
“Of course, moral character is still important.
Obliviously moral character doesn’t matter, we have Trump (81% of Evangelical voters) and you are literally being interviewed about your support for someone who attempted statutory rape. 
But with Bill Clinton or Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby, we’re talking about something completely different.
In what way? 
You have to look at the totality of the man.
Exactly, he has a long history of dating teenage girls as a man in his 30’s. He attempted to date a girl that, had he been successful, would make him a sex offender. This is why people are saying he is unfit for office, the totality of the man. Speaking of which, he is also a man who said Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office. 
That’s why I support Judge Moore.
Why again? I missed any actual reason.
I’ve prayed with him.
Oh, sure, that’s a legit reason.
I know his heart.”
No, no you don’t. No one knows anyone’s heart. You don’t even know your own. Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

Texas Church Shooting

As always, we wonder if there was any way to prevent this.

Once again, we have a mass shooting in this country. Unsurprisingly, Trump calls this a mental health issue.  Of course, earlier this year, he signed a bill into law that rolled back Obama-era regulations that made it harder for people with mental health issues to purchase guns. If we needed extreme vetting after the NYC attack, does this mean we will have extreme focus on mental health care in this country now? Some sort of ‘extreme’ funding for social services.

I don’t really know what to say. I saw on the news this morning that there was a memorial in Atl yesterday for the Las Vegas shooting. So, we didn’t even have time between the largest mass shooting in modern history and the memorial before another mass shooting. I’m not a very emotional guy, but I feel like crying watching the news stories. Mostly because nothing will happen. Some think that if we can’t talk about gun control now, we never will; but I’m not convinced. I think the ultimate nail in the coffin was 20 first graders being murdered, along with seven others (and the shooter). Just think about that over and over again. There were 20 first graders shot one morning. As a country we did absolutely nothing. If anything, by some accounts, gun control was weakened since then.

It was only 10 years ago that we thought we’d hit an unsurpassable number of 33 at Virginia Tech. We easily passed that just a year ago in Orlando, then set a new record just last month in Vegas. So, two of the five deadliest in modern history have happened over the past 35 days. I was in high school when Columbine happened, and that was a big deal then. I’m sure people thought the same thing, that if we couldn’t talk about it now…. Of course now, Columbine doesn’t even rank in the top 10 deadliest shootings anymore. If you sort that table by year, you’ll see that 12 double digit body count mass shootings have occurred since then.

I have no hope that anything will change. The NRA has an inexplicable amount of power over congress. If you wanted to be very generous and say that some of the congress members who blame mental health aren’t lying through there teeth, still nothing will change, because none of them are proposing to fund mental health counseling in this country or even adequate social services. As always, Christians remain silent and useless. We don’t want to step on anyone’s ‘rights’ regardless of the body count. I guess every couple of months they’ll be a mass shooting with 20 plus dead and we all sit around with our thumbs up our asses and wonder how we could prevent this.

 

In the News

Historical view on whether Trump is actually unprecedented in his actions.

A brief history on the social impact of front porches.

I guess Kelly is technically correct (the best kind of correct), but not in the way he might think – The north tried compromise.

The 2017 APA Stress in America survey is out, with 63% of Americans stressed about the future of our country. This is slightly higher than the two other main causes, money and work. The number one reason for the concern for our future is healthcare.

On Tuesday, we celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. It is a good time to reflect on the impact and importance of those events and remember how far we’ve fallen. You can check out Christianity Today’s write-up or read the study itself, but the worst part is only 46% of American Protestants believe that faith alone (Sola Fide) saves you.

Other notes include less Protestants (70%) knowing the ‘The Reformation’ is the name of the event in which we broke from the Catholic Church than Atheists( 85%), with 18% believing it was the Crusade. Similarly, only 71% correctly identified Martin Luther with the Reformation, with John Wesley coming in second with 17%.

This is another sad reminder of how little we know in our American version of Christianity, maybe if we spent more time actually reading and studying the Bible instead of fighting for political power, we’d all be better off.

Trump vows ‘extreme vetting‘ after terrorist attack. However, talking about guns after the Las Vegas shooting, which killed 58 people, is ‘politicizing’ the event.

Not sure really what to think of this yet. It appears I will either get a slight advantage or be neutral. Seems like a little bit more tax on the very wealthy, but also cutting deductions for the pretty wealthy in high tax states. Also, will blow up our deficit to unprecedented levels, which, supposedly, Republicans care about.

A write-up from November 1, 1913 on Notre Dame’s use of the forward pass. Not only is the style of writing awesome, but the imagery of the early use of the pass is hilarious. I imagine the guys running down the field and just standing there.

Dorais shot forward passes with accuracy into the outstretched arms of his ends, Captain Knute Rockne, and Gus Hurst, as they stood poised for the ball, often as far as 35 yards away.

Finally, as Mrs. MMT is successful and her mom reads this, I’ll leave this here with no further comment.

In the News 10/26/17

More anti-intellectualism, not surprising about Climate Change. If you don’t like something, just ignore it, what could go wrong.

I guess someone at WHO finally realized who Mugabe is.

American’s health continues to decline, but at least we are working longer in life. Not sure what to do with this sentence – “Declining health and life expectancy are good news for one constituency: Pension plans, which must send a monthly check to retirees for as long as they live.”

We’ll have a warmer, dryer than usual winter in the South. Most of the rest of the country for that matter. Wetter in the north, cool in Pacific northwest.

James Comey officially outed as Reinhold Niebuhr on Twitter. Lots of interesting speculation as to what that means, if anything.

Interesting thoughts on Trump’s political impact on the view of presidents for future generations.

I hope someone appreciates the irony of paying $1.5 million for a note about a ‘modest life’.

I hope this trend continues, not enough people know whether something is actually an add or not.

Flake is out, likely on fear he can’t win a primary. I guess this is good if you don’t like Republicans, but that also makes it easier for people like Roy Moore (quoted below) to get into the Senate.

His long record of political extremism includes suggesting that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress, advocating making homosexuality illegal and refusing to rule out the idea that LGBT people who transgress against his idea of God’s law should face the death penalty.

Gun laws the Founders actually supported.

Good job Georgia, not at all suspicious or confirming of our shady reputation.

In other state news, Massachusetts may leave the Eastern Time zone.

In the News 10/20/17

I’m bringing back my news wrap up that I used to do. It is mostly politics, but I try to tie in anything related to Christianity or things I’ve written about.

 

School name to change from Jeff Davis to Obama:

“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” Davis Magnet IB PTA President Janelle Jefferson said.

Related, a county in Kentucky is moving their Confederate monuments.
As I’ve written before, I’m not a fan of Confederate monuments or flags and think they should be removed. However, it is stupid and painfully ironic that someone would ban a book due to the offense of the language, as Mississippi did with To Kill A Mockingbird.  Banning books is never acceptable, and banning them for this reason is literally the plot to Fahrenheit 451.

Speaking of monuments, this cross, owned and maintained by a government agency, was ruled unconstitutional, a ruling that will stand should the Supreme Court not take up the case. As a Christian this bothers me on some level, but on in some ways it makes sense. I don’t think it would have popular support if it were a monument to another religion. However, the point isn’t to memorialize Christianity, but WWI veterans, so I feel this might be a bit much. It is quite old and clearly was constructed to make offense, the way that many of the Confederate monuments were used.

Wrapping up the monument/flag/anthem trend – Oklahoma is requiring people to stand during the Anthem, because nothing says freedom like denying someone the right to protest and forcing patriotism.

Apparently hookworm is still an issue. A parasite that devastate the South in the past, is inexplicably still around

“Our billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates fund water treatment around the world, but they don’t fund it here in the US because no one acknowledges that this level of poverty exists in the richest nation in the world.”

Unsurprisingly, most pastors don’t support the Johnson Amendment. Now, to be clear, the Government is not saying they can’t preach politics from the pulpit, the IRS is just saying you can’t do it and still receive special treatment (tax-exempt status). Also, the amendment doesn’t apply only to churches, but all non-profits. I support it as one way to help keep (some) money out of politics, even if it was proposed only so Johnson could shut down part of his opponents funding. Only one church has ever lost their status due to a violation.

W. says in a speech nationalism is a growing problem.  He is obviously on to something with an Alabama senator is main funding comes from a white nationalist and the man himself is described like this:

Moore is “much closer to our ideal Alt-South candidate: Southern, Christian, populist and nationalist, slashing and willing to defy the federal government,” Shannan, the 9/11 truther who sat on the board of the Foundation to Defend the First Amendment when it donated to Moore’s nonprofit, wrote in an endorsement of Moore published last month. “The White vote in the South, which was splintered during the late 20th century, has reconsolidated like it was in the Jim Crow South.”

Surprisingly, the university of florida did the right thing when another white nationalist came to town. Which led to this whiny quote, “You think that you shut me down? Well, you didn’t.” He said this as he ‘abruptly’ ended his speech and stormed off stage.

What exactly is the point of prison?  This guy thinks it is for free labor, and opposes releasing low level offenders.