BEST U.S. PRESIDENT IN HISTORY AND WHY OPEN THREAD

Monday, May 18th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Have fun, y’all.

WORST U.S. PRESIDENT IN HISTORY AND WHY OPEN THREAD

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 74 Comments

Have at it.

AT THE BUZZER…GOOOOOOOOOOD!!

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Hill’s found an issue she can run on next year.  Gutting the First Amendment:

Hillary Clinton told a group of her top fundraisers Thursday that if she is elected president, her nominees to the Supreme Court will have to share her belief that the court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be overturned, according to people who heard her remarks.

Clinton’s emphatic opposition to the ruling, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums on independent political activity, garnered the strongest applause of the afternoon from the more than 200 party financiers gathered in Brooklyn for a closed-door briefing from the Democratic candidate and her senior aides, according to some of those present.

“She got major applause when she said would not name anybody to the Supreme Court unless she has assurances that they would overturn” the decision, said one attendee, who, like others, requested anonymity to describe the private session.

The problem, as John Hinderaker points out, is that the case originally involved a movie that was critical of her and that the Citizens United SC decision contains this section:

The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations—including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.

Which essentially means that Hill’s come out in favor of censoring political speech since we all know that that a Hill Justice Department will be all over the NRA like white on rice regardless of when their ads come out while not finding a single thing wrong with any ads produced by Planned Parenthood, say, whenever they air.

GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, YOUR HUDDLED MASSES YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE

Friday, May 15th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Unless they’re Christians in which case screw ‘em:

Writing in April in USA Today about the murder of 12 Christian migrants thrown into the sea by Muslims for praying to Jesus instead of Allah, columnist Kirsten Powers stated that President Barack Obama “just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace.”

The president’s response appears to be United States policy. Evidence suggests that within the administration not only is there no passion for persecuted Christians under threat of genocide from the Islamic State, there is no room for them, period. In fact, despite ISIS’ targeting of Iraqi Christians specifically because they are Christians, and, as such, stand in the way of a pure, Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East (and beyond), the U.S. State Department has made it clear that “there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation.”

The serious nature of the threat against these Assyrian Christians is evident because not only do they have permission from their own bishop to leave the country, they have his blessing and urging, as well. Until recently, church leaders have almost uniformly asked the people to remain, fearing that the Middle East will be emptied of Christians. But many church leaders have now concluded that the only way for Middle Eastern Christians to survive is to actually leave.

But the tents need to be transported from Afghanistan to Iraq. Unfortunately, neither the British nor American government was willing to provide transportation. The State Department told Dobbs, “We would have to refigure an entire military aircraft” to move the tents. So instead, the group is working to raise some $778,000 to transport the tents to Iraq by land. Dobbs revealed that the State Department advised him against setting up emergency housing for Christians in the region, saying it was “totally inappropriate.”

Also inappropriate, it seems, is the resettling of the most vulnerable Assyrian Christians in the United States. Donors in the private sector have offered complete funding for the airfare and the resettlement in the United States of these Iraqi Christians that are sleeping in public buildings, on school floors, or worse. But the State Department – while admitting 4,425 Somalis to the United States in just the first six months of FY2015, and possibly even accepting members of ISIS through the Syrian and Iraqi refugee program, all paid for by tax dollars, told Dobbs that they “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States.”

The United States government has made it clear that there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation, even though it is exactly that – their religious affiliation – that makes them candidates for asylum based on a credible fear of persecution from ISIS. The State Department, the wider administration, some in Congress and much of the media and other liberal elites insist that Christians cannot be given preferential treatment. Even within the churches, some Christians are so afraid of appearing to give preferential treatment to their fellow Christians that they are reluctant to plead the case of their Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters.

In my life, I don’t have much about which to brag but I do have this.  I never cast a vote for the appalling current resident of the White House, the single worst president the United States of America has ever known.

SEPPUKU

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 79 Comments

The Methodists begin sharpening their swords:

The world’s lone Jewish state must be singled out for punitive divestment campaigns, while we should at the same time promote economic investment in North Korea, whose government has done absolutely nothing in the area of human rights worthy of specific criticism. And we should take our broad support for sex outside of marriage one step further by advocating to legalize prostitution.

This was the moral vision offered by our United Methodist Church’s apportionment-funded D.C. lobby office, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) at its Spring 2015 board of directors meeting.

But the GBCS’s choice to avoid acknowledging the Stalinist nature of the North Korean regime serves as a foundation for some ill-informed policy agendas. In this resolution, the GBCS calls “for the removal economic of sanctions against” North Korea and encourages foreign investment to economically help that nation. One of the few stated reasons offered for this GBCS goal is that it is “a high priority” of the Communist leadership.

GREAT BRITAIN?

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments

Giles Fraser wants you to know that he is very, VERY disappointed in you:

Right now I feel ashamed to be English. Ashamed to belong to a country that has clearly identified itself as insular, self-absorbed and apparently caring so little for the most vulnerable people among us. Why did a million people visiting food banks make such a minimal difference? Did we just vote for our own narrow concerns and sod the rest? Maybe that’s why the pollsters got it so badly wrong: we are not so much a nation of shy voters as of ashamed voters, people who want to present to the nice polling man as socially inclusive, but who, in the privacy of the booth, tick the box of our own self-interest.

Gosh.  That’s never happened before in the entire history of the world.

Rewind 24 hours and it felt so different. Thursday morning was lovely in London, full of the promise of spring. Even the spat I had with the man outside my polling station shouting at “[effing] immigrants” didn’t disrupt an overall feeling of optimism. Were people walking just a little bit more purposefully? Was I mistaken in detecting some calm excitement, almost an unspoken communal bonhomie? Perhaps also a feeling of empowerment, a sense that it was “the people” that could now make a difference. But by bedtime the spell had been broken. Things were going to stay the same. No real difference had been made.

Welcome to the United States of America in November, 2012.

The utterly miserable thought strikes me that Russell Brand just might have been right. What difference did my vote make? Why indeed do people vote, and care so passionately about voting, particularly in constituencies in which voting one way or the other won’t make a blind bit of difference? And why do the poor vote when, by voting, they merely give legitimacy to a system that connives with their oppression and alienation?

I’ve got news for you, Fraze That Paze.  I’m considered poor.  Right now, I basically barely get by on $1,200 a month (that’s going up slightly soon) thanks to the fact that my father invested well a long time ago.  But I’m not alienated (well, I am from the secular culture but that’s a different question) and I don’t consider myself “oppressed.”

Suck on that for a while, G.

ALLIES

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Here’s a fascinating article from the BBC about one of the last World War II battles in Europe, a battle in which Germans and Americans fought side-by-side.

ANARCHY IN THE UK

Friday, May 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Great Britain had its general election yesterday.  A few observations:

(1) The Conservatives won a smashing victory.

With all 650 seats declared, the Conservatives have ended up with 331 seats in the House of Commons, 24 more than in 2010. Labour have 232, the Lib Dems 8, the SNP 56, Plaid Cymru 3, UKIP 1, the Greens 1 and others 19.

(2) With the Scottish National Party’s obliteration of Scottish Labour, Scotland has essentially become a one-party state which is not a good thing.  Will there be another Scottish independence referendum?  Or will the next British independence referendum originate south of the Tweed and propose kicking the Scots out of Westminster?

(3) Does the United Kingdom have a future?

Has the Conservative prime minister sacrificed the union for another five years of power?

These are the questions many people are asking today after a party which fought for independence for 80 years swept to victory in Scotland.

The answer from the jubilant leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, is “no”, this does not advance her cause.

She insisted that her MPs would speak for all of Scotland — not just for the 45% who voted for the country to leave the United Kingdom last September. 

“This changes nothing,” Ms Sturgeon told me when I asked her about independence at the count in Glasgow, in a brief moment of calm during the nationalist avalanche.

Of course she hopes that the real answer to the question “does this result herald the end of the union” is “not yet”.

CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE

Friday, May 8th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Justin Welby jacks one into the seats:

Religious leaders risk fuelling extremism by pretending that all faiths are basically the same, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said faith leaders seemed desperate to hide behind “bland” and “anaemic” statements about what they have in common rather than facing up to the “profound differences” between them.

But he warned that the pretence that mainstream religions agree on everything is simply “dishonest” and risks leaving them impotent to halt the spread of extremism.

He added: “We need to move beyond inter-religious interaction in which we the usual suspects issue bland statements of anaemic intent with which you could paper the walls of Lambeth Palace – and much good would it do you – all desperate to agree with one another so that the very worst outcome could possibly be that we end up acknowledging our differences.

“It is disingenuous and ultimately dishonest because alongside all that we hold in common and all that we share there are profound differences between what we believe and the outworking of our faith.”

MEET-’N'-GREET

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Representatives from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Diocese of South Carolina knocked back a few the other day:

Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and the Anglican Church in North America, led by Bishop Mark Lawrence and Archbishop Foley Beach, came together at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, South Carolina on April 28-29, 2015 for prayer, fellowship, and conversation.

There were some pretty high-level folks there from both institutions.

The Diocese of South Carolina was represented by Bishop Mark Lawrence, Mr. Wade Logan, Mr. Alan Runyan, The Rev. Craige Borrett, The Rev. Kendall Harmon, The Rev. Jeffrey Miller, Mrs. Boo Pennewill, and The Rev. Jim Lewis.

The Anglican Church in North America was represented by Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop Ray Sutton, Bishop John Guernsey, Bishop Bill Atwood, Bishop Terrell Glenn, The Rev. Phil Ashey, The Rev. Jack Lumanog, Mr. Scott Ward, and Mr. Tad Brenner.

Despite that, these seem to have been VERY preliminary conversations.

Our conversations reflected the mutual respect and sincere affection that we share as fellow Anglicans, and we appreciated the opportunity to speak candidly together about topics that affect our common life.

We had frank exchanges that examined the possible compatibility of the ecclesiologies of the Anglican Church in North America and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Together we openly addressed the challenges posed by the overlapping jurisdictions in South Carolina.  In some cases the reasons for this overlap extend from circumstances that are less than a couple decades old, and in other circumstances the reasons reach back over a hundred years.  All expressed a desire to take steps towards addressing these relational barriers with the recognition that this work is a necessary precursor to ecclesial order.

These guys are bent, of course (oh, and the folks who run Jim’s old place?  Those giant pictures of yours just aren’t working for me).  But despite all the high-level folks involved, these talks sound VERY preliminary, as if any possibility of South Carolina officially joining ACNA is a great many years away.

Which is as it should be.  As long as ACNA continues to pursue the chimera of “official” Lambeth Palace recognition, South Carolina ought to keep its distance.  Charleston was Anglican before just about everybody else in North America was and it already has all the “official” recognition it needs (the GAFCON primates will take Communion with Mark Lawrence; they won’t take it with Mrs. Schori).

ROUGH STRETCH

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Price is Right, which I believe is America’s longest-running game show, has had an interesting few months.  Not long ago, it basically gave a woman a car because one of its models accidentally revealed the winning price too early.  Then there’s this:

Any “Price is Right” fan has probably dreamed of one day going on the show and being summoned to “Come on down!” while simultaneously fearing the worst-case scenario of never making it on stage to meet host Drew Carey, or going over on the showcase showdown.

Or worse: not spinning the wheel hard enough to make a complete rotation.

Danielle Perez’s trip to “The Price is Right” looked like the dream scenario in an episode that aired Tuesday. She made it on stage and met Carey. She even won her pricing game, sending her home with a sauna and a treadmill.

Which would’ve been great, except that Perez has no legs and she uses a wheelchair.

Perez, who is a comedian, has been in a wheelchair since 2004 after losing her legs in an accident.

REPENTANCE

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments

or, Rethinking the Nineteenth Amendment:

Me, I intend to vote with my vagina. Unapologetically. Enthusiastically. (Metaphorically, for those concerned about ending up in line behind me.) And I intend to talk about it.

Kate Harding, the author of this piece, elaborates.

There has never been a president who knows what it’s like to menstruate, be pregnant, or give birth. There has never been a president who knows what it’s like to be the target of subtle and categorically unsubtle sexism. There has never been a president who was criticized widely for his political ambition, or forced into a bake-off to prove he’s not too career-oriented to cook for his family. There has never been a president who was forced to take his spouse’s last name for appearances’ sake. There has never been a president criticized for showing too much cleavage, or having “cankles,” or wearing unflattering headbands or colorful pantsuits. There has never been a president who was presumed to be mentally and emotionally unstable because of naturally occurring hormones.

So Katie’s va-jay-jay will call the shots next year.

I won’t tell anyone how to vote. But I am telling you, this time, I refuse to shut up when people act as though it’s not enormously important, from a progressive politics perspective, that Hillary Clinton is a woman. I refuse to listen to anyone who warns against “vagina voting,” when I’m 40 years old and have still never had the opportunity to vote with my damned vagina in a general election. American women have been bleeding for over 200 years while men tell us it’s no big deal, and a lot of us have arrived at the point where we just want someone with a visceral, not abstract, concept of what that means.

So I guess if I touch the screen for the Rubio-Cruz ticket next year, I’ll be accused of voting with my HK 9-mil, if you know what I mean.  Which is probably really bad or criminally sexist or something.

HISTORY’S GREATEST MONSTER

Monday, May 4th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 39 Comments

Can we just go ahead and officially declare Jimmy Carter to be an anti-Semite?

Former US president Jimmy Carter called Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal a strong proponent of the peace process Saturday, and said he wasn’t meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because it would be “a waste of time.”

Hamas, by the way, are those people who indiscriminately lob rockets into Israel on a regular basis.  But Benjamin Netanyahu?  That guy sucks royally.

[Carter] told reporters that he didn’t ask to meet with Netanyahu or his government, and never has, because it would be a “waste of time.”

Israel has the old fraud pretty much figured out.

He told Channel 2 in an interview broadcast Saturday that he requested to meet Rivlin, but the president’s office declined.

Then the senile old fool said this.

Carter, who cancelled a planned visit to Gaza on this trip, said Saturday he “deplored” criminal acts by members of Hamas, but said he was looking to support moderate members of the group, which he said wasn’t a terrorist organization.

“I don’t believe that he’s a terrorist. He’s strongly in favor of the peace process,” Carter said of Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal.

I mean, look at all the ground-level fireworks displays with which the Hammies try to entertain the Israelis.  Boy, you try to please some people.

He said Mashaal expressed interest in the Saudis hosting a “peace meeting” and that the Doha-based Hamas leader would recognize Israel’s right to exist based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

Jim?  This is the seal of Hamas.  Know what that thing at the very top is?  It’s a map of “Palestine” including what is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  And the inclusion of the Dome of the Rock there suggests that that’s what the Hammies consider the ultimate version of “Palestine.”

Judenrein.

Dumbass.

EARLY BETTING LINE

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 57 Comments

The nominees for the Episcopal Organization’s next Presiding Bishop to be elected at GenCon 2015 are out.  There are only four of them, none of them are women and none of them is Mary Glasspool.  There is, or soon will be, a process to possibly add more horses to this race (so I’ve still got my fingers crossed, Bonnie “It’s A Lug Wrench, Not A Halibut It’s A River, Not A Pie” Perry) but I’m fairly certain that the next Peeb will come from this list.  So let’s assess the field:

(1) Mike Curry, North Carolina  EVEN

As I see it, Mike has three HUGE advantages.

(A) He’s black.
(B) He’s not Gene Sutton.
(C) TEO gets at least nine years of secular American cultural street cred.

Since Mike’s 62, his only disadvantage is age.  But he’s not the oldest candidate so right now, Mike starts out as the prohibitive favorite.

(2) Ian Douglas, Connecticut  5-1

Like Curry, Douglas has a lot going for him.  He’s the youngest contender in the field, he’s reliably hard-left, he’s well-connected in the Anglican Communion and he seems to be the most Schorian horse in this race.  But considering everything that’s happened in this country over the last year or so, I don’t see TEO picking this guy over Mike Curry.

(3) Tom Breidenthal, Southern Ohio  20-1

When your first reaction to a horse is “Meh,” you need to find another horse.  Although I can envision a scenario where Curry and Douglas split the radical-hard-left vote enabling Tom to slip through, I seriously doubt that it’s going to happen.

(4) Dab Smith, Southwest Florida  100-1

Word on the street is that Dab’s a bit of a squish on The Single Most Important Moral Issue In The History Of The Universe so you can safely write off this candidacy.

VACATIONING IN EUROPE?

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Fantastic!  Why not consider a trip to London, England, one of the most fascinating cities in the world?  London has it all.  You can spend one day at the British Museum, perhaps the world’s greatest collection of ancient artistic treasures, and the next day at the Tate Modern, one of the finest modern art galleries anywhere.

Some Premier League football clubs call London home so experience the excitement of a live Premier League match and have yourself a pint of British ale at a pub afterwards.  And don’t forget such international institutions as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and, of course, Westminster Mosque:

“Peace be upon all auspicious prophets of God, from Adam, Noah and Abraham to Moses, Jesus and Mohammed Mustafa..”

It’s hard to be offended by something one cannot understand. And there can be no offence at all caused by any exhortation of God in Turkish, for God is not an Englishman. But in the translated succession of prophets is a comprehensible assertion of Islamic theology which errs (to put it mildly), and may cause some theological disquiet (putting it milder still). The succession of prophets “from Adam, Noah and Abraham to Moses, Jesus and Mohammed Mustafa” is chronological: the first four are common to the prophetology of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Jesus as a prophet is common to Christianity and Islam (with disparity over priest and king); and Mohammed is a prophet of Islam alone (indeed, ‘The Prophet’). ‘Mustafa’ is an epithet ascribed by Muslims to Mohammed: it means ‘The Chosen One’ (and note that the Abbey did not offer a translation of this term, which, rendered in English during a Christian service, would have caused undoubted offence).

For Christians, of course, it is Jesus who is the Anointed of God; the Christ; the Messiah; the Chosen One. ‘Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles‘ (Isa 42:1 cf Mt 12:18). When He was baptised, ‘..the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased‘ (Lk 3:22).

In Islamic theology, Mohammed was ‘The Prophet’ who came to fulfil and complete the partial revelations of all preceding prophets. Muslims believe that his coming was prophesied by Jesus: ‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father..‘ (Jn 15:26). The ‘Comforter’ or ‘Advocate’ (NIV) whom Christians believe to be the Holy Spirit is, for Muslims, Mohammed. So when he is declared in Westminster Abbey to be ‘The Chosen One’, it is not simply a benign multifaith expression of ecumenical respect in a commemorative service of reconciliation: it is a dogmatic affirmation of a perfected prophethood to which Jesus is subordinate, and His divinity thereby denied.

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