SERIOUSLY, CANADA?

Friday, June 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 43 Comments

So much for emigrating north:

Grammar teachers may need to amend their lesson plans after the Vancouver school board approved Monday a policy change that welcomes a brand-new string of pronouns into Vancouver public schools: “xe, xem, and xyr.”

The pronouns are touted as alternatives to he/she, him/her, and his/hers, and come as last-minute amendments to the board’s new policy aimed at better accommodating transgender students in schools.

The vote came after a brief debate that sparked unrest among opponents of the policy who shouted “dictator” and “liar” at trustees, as security guards and police officers watched from their posts at council doors. But supporters waved pink and blue-coloured flags and drowned out the detractors with their cheers once the policy passed. Three previous public meetings were similarly rowdy.

ICK

Friday, June 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Please stop:

Friends Fun Wine®, The New Lifestyle Drink™, continues to pioneer the “Fun Wine” category with the introduction of two new additions to its growing collection of low-alcohol, low calorie wines.  Easy-to-drink Wine In A Can, Friends Fun Wine® is combining the world’s most popular Day Drink with the world’s most popular Night Drink, creating the world’s first Cabernet Coffee Espresso and Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino

Of the two new varieties, Cabernet Coffee Espresso features a rich flavor of fresh cabernet grapes, espresso coffee, and a hint of chocolate while Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino features sweet, refreshing Chardonnay grapes with vanilla cappuccino coffee and smooth hints of chocolate. These new flavors are sold in Friends Fun Wine’s 250mL slim cans, which are convenient, portable, quick chilling and recyclable, containing two servings per can.  At just 6% alcohol, Friends Fun Wine Coffee Wines offer consumers a great alternative to high-alcohol beverages, making it the perfect refreshing complement to summer parties, BBQs, sporting events, brunch, at-home consumption and more.

I’m going to need one of my Marmite, Swiss cheese, dill pickle and yellow mustard sandwiches just to get that thought out of my head.

THE SMOKE BOMB AT THE DINNER PARTY

Friday, June 27th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments

DISCLAIMER: Your Editor will never be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Ever.  The Mormon foundation story is too ridiculous for any thinking person to believe.  Consequently, the idea that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is “scripture” is unmitigated rubbish.

That said, I can’t help but admire the Mormon ability to piss people off.  Case in point: reaction to this New York Times story is all over the Internet and still coming:

Kate Kelly, who unsettled the Mormon Church by founding a movement to advocate opening the male-only priesthood to women, was excommunicated by her bishop and his two counselors in Virginia on Monday.

Ms. Kelly, who once served as a Mormon missionary in Spain, organized the group Ordain Women in 2013 and quickly became the face of a new feminist uprising in the church. She gained national attention by leading demonstrations at the church’s semiannual conferences at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, lining up with Mormon women of all ages outside priesthood meetings, aware that they would be barred from entering.

“I am not an apostate, unless every single person who has questions to ask out loud is an apostate,” Ms. Kelly said in a telephone interview on Sunday, just before her disciplinary council met. “I am a faithful, active Mormon woman who has never spoken anything against the leaders of the church, and that’s not my definition of an apostate.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is formally known, depends on women to hold many leadership roles throughout the church. But the Mormon priesthood, which is made up of laymen who are ordained as early as the age of 12, is closed to women because, the church says, Jesus had only male apostles.

Emily Shire at the Daily Tina Brown’s Ego suggests that Miss Kelly is angling to become the Mormon Sandra Fluke.

Kelly was unable to attend the trial Sunday, but held a rally with her supporters in Utah, instead. “The court isn’t really about listening to what I’ve had to say,” she said shortly after she was threatened with excommunication. “It’s about punishing me. If it was about listening to what I had to say, they had ample opportunity to listen to me when I lived in the congregation.”

People (even non-Mormons) seem genuinely shocked that a church would still do this sort of thing, Shire among them.  This was, Emily claims, obviously motivated by the fact that Mormons hate women.

It seemed fitting that her trial not only occurred in her absence, but that her future as a Mormon was decided by a group of men. Proving her point that women are treated disproportionately worse in the church, Dehlin’s fate will be decided June 29 in a meeting with his stake president.

Kelly knew she was up against gender-biased odds. She explained that as a woman in the LDS church, only thee people—a local bishop and his two council members—are needed to approve of excommunication. If you are a man, and therefore a priesthood holder, it takes a council of 15 men to agree on excommunication. In that situation. “there is much less of a chance for individual bias,” she said. “For me, it’s an individual leader who is making a decision about my eternal salvation.”

Or stifling dissent from church teachings.  Take your pick.

The LDS Church’s expulsion efforts speak to the intellectual crisis the Mormon community is currently facing. Church spokeswoman Ally Isom said, “In the Church, we want everyone to feel welcome, safe and valued, and of course, there is room to ask questions. But how we ask is just as important as what we ask. We should not try to dictate to God what is right for his Church.”

Those two themes are going to appear again and again.  Arianna’s Clubhouse opts for “stifling dissent.”

The decision by the Mormon church to excommunicate the founder of a prominent women’s group marks a stern statement at a time when the church is under pressure to recognize gay rights and allow women into the priesthood.

Experts believe the move essentially draws a line in the sand to show church members how far they can go in publicly questioning church practices.

The ousting of Kate Kelly is rare and brings down the harshest punishment available on a church member who created an organization and staged demonstrations in a push to permit women to join the faith’s lay clergy.

“It does more than excommunicate Kelly,” said Jan Shipps, a retired religion professor from Indiana who is a non-Mormon expert on the church. “It warns everybody.”

Shipps said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is implementing “boundary maintenance,” using Kelly as an example to show people how far they can go in questioning church practices.

Fellow Mormon leftist Joanna Brooks agrees.

And we have been waiting for this moment—waiting to see whether our religion could survive the insularity, militancy, and suspiciousness engendered by its nineteenth-century persecutions, and outgrow as well the highly centralized and controlling corporate-bureaucratic style of the twentieth-century LDS Church, to adapt to the new realities of the internet era, including greater openness among Mormons with doubts or concerns about controversial aspects of our history and doctrine.

We were so hopeful it wouldn’t turn out this way. Maybe it still won’t. Maybe the highest profile excommunication court—that scheduled this Sunday in Virginia for Kate Kelly, a believing Mormon woman and one of the founders of the web-based Ordain Women campaign—will end without Sister Kelly having her baptism and marriage nullified, her membership in a Church she served as a full-time missionary expunged.

Mormon progressives have found reason for hope in the fact that after a wave of excommunications directed at high profile feminists in the 1990s, there were no such courts for more than a decade. We used the internet to regroup and grow in numbers. The Church even developed its own web-based resources to acknowledge and address its own controversies—historic and contemporary.

This, we thought, was a good sign. A sign that might not need to fear losing our membership, our place, in a cherished tradition, just for having and voicing questions, doubts, and differences. We told ourselves to not to be afraid.

CNN’s Randal Jelks goes the misogyny route, making this repulsive comparison.

There is a direct link between Kate Kelly, a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter day-Saints, who was excommunicated on charges of apostasy, and Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for her supposed apostasy.

And the link is deeper than the charge of abandoning one’s faith.

Patriarchy comes in all forms, but religious patriarchy seems particularly pernicious because it assumes that male rule is constituent of God or the gods.

Let’s see.  A woman sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.  A woman told to leave a church when she publicly repudiated its doctrines.  Yeah, both are pretty much the same thing.  Dumbass.  Brian Pellot mindlessly echoes Jelks.

On the same day news broke  Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim had been cleared of apostasy charges, the Mormon Church excommunicated Kate Kelly for the same offense. The church’s obsession with controlling its image amounts to short-sighted censorship.

Don’t get Bri-Bri wrong.  He’s just Gravely Concerned For The Future Of The Mormon ChurchTM, is all.

The threat of excommunication has become reality. Fear of speaking freely and questioning church doctrine has only been heightened.

The Mormon Church’s obsession with silencing critics is short-sighted and surely a sign of weakness. How else are we to interpret a situation in which leaders fear criticism, questions and demands?

Okay, here’s the deal.  If you believe that the doctrines of your church are from God, then dissent from them should never be permitted unless there is a pillar of fire and/or cloud somewhere nearby and a really loud and scary voice telling you that it’s okay.

Otherwise, you claim to believe in a deity that can or should change His mind if the times demand it and needs an Earthly Congress/Parliament to run the universe.  Which means that you don’t believe in a deity worth worshipping.  Or that you really don’t believe in God at all.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

No wonder I’m unemployed.  A Denver office of the Environmental Protection Agency seems to be staffed entirely by eleven-year-old boys:

It appears, however, that a regional [EPA] office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.

In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk.

Really?  Why?

He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

“The individuals responsible would ‘probably escalate’ their actions.”  ‘Kay.  Sorry about planting that thought in your heads.  If it’s any consolation, I estimate that it’ll be at least Saturday before I eat anything again.

SEPPUKU

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Even though its ritual disembowelment won’t take place for quite some time, the United Methodist Church begins polishing its wakizashi swords:

In a surprising reversal, a Pennsylvania pastor who was defrocked last year for violating United Methodist law after he officiated at his son’s same-sex wedding has been reinstated.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer learned Tuesday (June 24) his ministerial credentials will be restored after the church’s Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals voted 8-1 in his favor.

The committee, which held a hearing June 20 near Baltimore, found that “errors of Church law” had been used in imposing the penalty against Schaefer.

coughWALTERRIGHTERcough

“I was wrongfully punished for standing with those who are discriminated against,” Schaefer said in a statement. “Today’s decision is a sign that the church is starting to listen.”

Schaefer said he and his family will move to California as early as next week to accept an invitation to serve in the church’s California-Pacific Conference.

That conference recently passed a resolution calling for an end to trials in cases of clergy violating policy connected with gay rights.

You already know how this one’s going to end up.  As I understand the situation, the Methodists mostly stack up much like the Anglicans do.  The church is dying the West but growing in far more conservative Africa and elsewhere in the Third World.

So in two years, the next General Conference will issue some kind of “anti-gay” statement (to use the Western leftist libel) which, of course, the Americans will completely ignore.  “Brave” and “prophetic” Methodist bishops will ordain homosexual clergy and perform homosexual marriages here and there.

Eventually, somebody will elect an openly-gay Methodist bishop, it’ll be 2003 all over again and everything will be on the table.  Parishes will hive off here and there and something like a Methodist ACNA may organize itself.  I don’t think that the Methodists are as wealthy as the Episcopalians so hopefully they’ll be less litigious.

And let’s not forget all those “conservative” American Methodists who will love the institution more than the Gospel and will stay where they are no matter what happens.  How do I know these will show up?  Because they already have.  They’ve dusted off the via media over at the UMC.

And there is some discussion within the church of a possible compromise, under which every congregation could decide whether to allow same-sex weddings, and every region could decide whether to ordain noncelibate gay clergy members.

Sigh.

FROM: MCJ CORPORATE

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 64 Comments

TO: All MCJ users

RE: Revised St. Louis Post Dispatch policy

Like most intelligent St. Louisians, this office stopped subscribing to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a long time ago.  But recently the Post published the following notice from little girl scared coward sniveling douchebag editorial page editor Tony Messenger:

Starting today, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson replaces George Will on Thursdays and Sundays.

The change has been under consideration for several months, but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.

The Huffington Post and Think Maoism Progress both applauded the move. But what exactly did George Will say that got leftist panties in a bunch?  This, among other things.

Education Department lawyers disregard pesky arithmetic and elementary due process. Threatening to withdraw federal funding, the department mandates adoption of a minimal “preponderance of the evidence” standard when adjudicating sexual assault charges between males and the female “survivors” — note the language of prejudgment. Combine this with capacious definitions of sexual assault that can include not only forcible sexual penetration but also nonconsensual touching. Then add the doctrine that the consent of a female who has been drinking might not protect a male from being found guilty of rape. Then comes costly litigation against institutions that have denied due process to males they accuse of what society considers serious felonies.

Can you say Duke lacrosse team?

Meanwhile, the newest campus idea for preventing victimizations — an idea certain to multiply claims of them — is “trigger warnings.” They would be placed on assigned readings or announced before lectures. Otherwise, traumas could be triggered in students whose tender sensibilities would be lacerated by unexpected encounters with racism, sexism, violence (dammit, Hamlet, put down that sword!) or any other facet of reality that might violate a student’s entitlement to serenity. This entitlement has already bred campus speech codes that punish unpopular speech. Now the codes are begetting the soft censorship of trigger warnings to swaddle students in a “safe,” “supportive,” “unthreatening” environment, intellectual comfort for the intellectually dormant.

Read the rest of it.  And if you find anything in that column offensive, you’re either lying or the word “offensive” has just joined the word “racist” on the list of Meaningless Terms That The Left Throws Around Every Chance It Gets.

Effective immediately after this post goes up, this site will no longer link to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in any way.  We don’t even want to see Post links in the comments so if you see something there that you think might interest the Editor, leave a comment summarizing what the piece is about and when it appeared; all Post links will be removed whenever and wherever they are noticed.

The MCJ will still quote from the Post assuming it has anything useful to report or particularly stupid to argue with but it will no longer provide a link back to the story or to the particularly stupid editorial.  We will not dignify the Post-Dispatch’s censorship with any traffic from this site.

LET THEM EAT SPAM…………

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 91 Comments

Michelle Obama is, IMHO, the “perfect FISK target.” She has no concept of what putting one’s foot in one’s mouth means, and she is supremely confident as to her superiority over everyone reading anything she has written.

The following item has already been addressed quite well by other bloggers, but there’s a big, empty spot on my office wall that I thought would be a good place to mount a trophy from bagging a wild FLOTUS.

In an interview with MSN.com, First Lady Michelle Obama explained she used to struggle to feed her kids right – even though she received an education from Harvard and Princeton. “Before coming to the White House, I struggled, as a working parent with a traveling, busy husband, to figure out how to feed my kids healthy, and I didn’t get it right,” she explained, sharing a story about her children’s doctor who pulled her aside to talk about her family diet. “I thought to myself, if a Princeton and Harvard-educated professional woman doesn’t know how to adequately feed her kids, then what are other parents going through who don’t have access to the information I have?” she recalled.

Right from the top, the difference between Michelle and *everyone else* is highlighted. She has not one, but TWO Ivy-league degrees. Whoop-de-doodly-doodly-do! This places her in a position of being able to look down on 99.999% of Americans since she knows more, by virtue of her magnificent education, than any family who doesn’t have at least one parent with 2 Ivy League degrees.

Let’s consider, for a moment, what is quite possibly a truly equivalent situation. In the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, (dialogue and director’s instructions edited together)

SCARECROW: You promised us real things — a real……brain!

TIN MAN: A real heart!

LION: Real courage. That’s what we want.

WIZARD: You do? boys, you’re aiming low. You not only surprise, but you grieve me. Why, anybody can have a brain. (editor I’m not sure if that applies to politicians….) That’s a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain! From the rock-bound coast of Maine to the Sun…. oh, oh, no, ah- Well, be that as it may. Back where I come from we have universities, seats of great learning where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts – and with no more brains than you have…. But! They have one thing you haven’t got! A diploma!

The Wizard reaches back and picks up several diplomas — selects one and presents it to the Scarecrow as Dorothy, Tin Man and the Lion look on –

WIZARD : Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitatus Committeeatum e plurbis unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D.

SCARECROW: Th.D.?

WIZARD: Yeah — that…that’s Dr. of Thinkology!

SCARECROW: (reacting with joy) – The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh joy, rapture! I’ve got a brain!

For some reason, the last two sentences of the Scarecrow’s closing line sound so much like “I’ve got two Ivy League degrees…..”

But I digress………….

Her personal struggle helped her launch her mission to address childhood obesity, she explains, especially passing a law requiring schools to provide healthier meals for kids. The First Lady recommended that schools make decisions for children because their parents struggle to feed their children well. “It’s so important for our schools to make the hard calls for our kids, because parents are struggling enough at home,” she said, pointing out that schools would simply feed children sweet cereal, chocolate milk, donuts, burgers, and fries.

Under the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some photos of “Michelle school lunches” sent in from kids around the nation:

Lunch #1
Lunch #2
   
 Lunch #3
 Lunch #4

I attended public schools from K-12, with time spent at 4 different facilities – each with its own cafeteria, and its own set of rules for method of preparation and content of lunches (in addition to a variety of federal and local rules about meal content). I cannot recall ever seeing food that scared me placed upon my tray (although the gravy on the mashed potatoes was more useful as adhesive to stick straw wrappers to the ceiling than as a flavoring for the potatoes). The 2nd and 3rd of these pictures have left me shaking and wanting to, as the folks in Monty Python would say, “run away, run away”.

Obama added that parents and school administrators needed to stop worrying about what their kids want to eat and encourage them to act like adults. “It is our job as adults to make sure that our kids eat what they need, not what they want,” she said. “I struggle with that in my own life, and I tell you, if I let my kids dictate what we have for dinner every day, it would be French fries, chips, and candy, but we don’t run our households like that, and we can’t run our schools like that.”
Instead of rolling back the national school mandates, the First Lady explained that schools just needed more help making healthy food taste better. “What we need to do is lend a hand to the schools that are struggling, not roll back the standards and say, ‘Oh, well. The kids don’t like it so let them eat cake,’” she insisted. “We can’t afford to do that.”

And yet apparently Michelle thinks that every public school district CAN afford to serve its students:

  • Crusted Tilapia
  • Herb roasted chicken
  • Strawberries and chevre salad
  • Freshly baked muffins
  • Pesto cream & garden fresh marinara sauce
  • Cheese tortellini
  • All natural house-made chicken fingers
  • Scallion rice
  • Roasted edamame & Shitake mushrooms
  • Jicama mango slaw
  • BBQ sliders
  • Pesto pasta
  • All natural rosemary chicken
  • Fresh herb risotto
  • All natural beef nachos
  • Vegetarian stuffed Portobello mushrooms
  • Baked lemon herb tilapia
  • Arugula, fennel and parmesan salad
  • Baked organic French fries
  • Baked three-cheese lasagna
  • Pepperoni flatbread pizza
  • These are all items which are available in the cafeteria of the school the Obama girls attend. “First Lady Michelle Obama’s daughters attend Sidwell Friends, and their meals include hot lunches that are prepared every day fresh-from-scratch. The company that caters the food, Meriwether-Godsey, uses chefs to prepare the food on-site – from scratch – with local and organic foods where possible.”

    Surely, FLOTUS wouldn’t think that those attending a public school would expect anything less than what her own offspring get? No, that’s just plain impossible.

    Michelle seems to be quite comfortable with having the school her children attend make decisions regarding their nutritional needs. However, any other school clearly lacks the vision, education and experience to know that a cheeseburger and Twinkies doesn’t make for a nutritious meal. And yet, if the photographic evidence of “Michelle meals” is any indicator, the public school children would do better to hit the vending machines every day; the content and apparent lack of freshness that is displayed on those lunch trays is reprehensible.

    And, I’d also like to know – before Obama scored his place in the White House, did Michelle cook meals at home that would compare to those her daughters get at their current school? Was Michelle able to live up to her own high expectations? Has she got a family recipe for ‘Roasted edamame & Shitake mushrooms’, ‘Jicama mango slaw’, or ‘Vegetarian stuffed Portobello mushrooms’?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Bill (Not IB) Do I get my trophy?

    BLOGGING BASICS

    Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

    I don’t think that it’s any secret that the addition of Bill (not IB) to the MCJ writing staff has been a tremendous success.  My man can flat out bring it and he proves something that I’ve thought for a long time.  Lots of you should be running these things yourselves.

    But if you don’t want the trouble, there are other options.  I heard just the other day that the MCJ Board of Directors wants to add more writers.  I’ve got four candidates in mind to come on board once the Mac gets here, I get up to speed on it and hopefully find a new ISP.

    In the meantime, here’s another blogging tip (I would have titled this post Blogging One-Oh-One except that, as you recall, the one key doesn’t work on my temp lapper doohickey).  Rush Limbaugh once said something to the effect that one of the first rules of talk radio is that if someone wants to make a public jackass of himself, let him.

    Same goes for blogging.  Quite a number of posts are so stupid that they don’t require much if anything in the way of argument or refutation.  Case in point: commenting on some possible excommunications in the Mormon Church, someone named Jana Riess figures she’ll get cute:

    So I searched the scriptures and prepared this exhaustive list of all the people Jesus excommunicated from full church fellowship, along with the specific reasons for those disciplinary actions.

    A blank screen follows.  Clever, huh?  By way of response, I guess you can cite the Judas Iscariot precedent or wonder what Matthew 18:15-17 is doing in the Bible.  But that would harsh Jana’s buzz or something.

    THIS JUST IN

    Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

    Seems that the faculty and a fair number of students at Episcopal Divinity Whatever The Hell That Word Means School are not happy campers these days.  Why?  Katie Rags:

    The scheduled evaluation of the President and Dean was completed in 2013. Various constituencies were surveyed and all of the data and comments were reviewed.  As incoming Chair, I was privy to all of the information – confidential and communal – and then voted with the Board to renewal Katherine Ragsdale’s contract.  The surveys contained overwhelmingly positive feedback.  The Board took note of some faculty who expressed concerns about aspects of the President and Dean’s style of leadership.  Based on those surveys and our own experience, however, we affirmed her leadership and expressed our gratitude for her smart, passionate and dedicated service.  We renewed her contract. 

    Days after commencement in 2013, the Faculty informed me and the Board that days before commencement they had taken a vote of “no confidence.”  They requested a meeting with the Board, without the President and Dean.  Such a meeting would have restarted an already completed and thorough evaluation process and would have undermined a chief responsibility of a Board – the evaluating and contracting of the School’s chief executive.  We all know too well the dangers of triangulation.  Based on best practices articulated by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), to have the faculty speak directly to Dr. Ragsdale, with an open door policy put in place by the President and Dean to further communication, was the chosen course to follow.  Despite various Board communications in correspondence, in small meetings and in one-on-one conversations, and despite several meetings or attempts to meet by the President and Dean, the Faculty persisted in saying they had not been heard. (See various communications with the Faculty Representative to the Board identified in the attached timeline.)

    According to EDWTHTWMS alum and friend of this site Tom Ehrich, things at EDWTHTWMS are way nastier than this e-mail makes them out to be.

    SEPPUKU

    Saturday, June 21st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 45 Comments

    The Presbypalians* drink the societal Kool-Aid:

    The 221st General Assembly passed two measures on Thursday afternoon to allow same-sex marriages in the Presbyterian Church (USA), one of which goes into effect immediately.

    The General Assembly voted first to approve an Authoritative Interpretation (AI) of the constitution that would give Presbyterian pastors discretion to conduct same-sex ceremonies in states where the practice is legal. The vote on business item 10-03 was 61 percent (317) in favor and 39 percent (238) against. It goes into effect immediately.

    Not long after, the assembly also voted to approve an amendment to the Book of Order that would change the definition of marriage from “a woman and a man” to “two people.” The vote on business item 10-02 was 429 (71 percent) to 175 (29 percent).

    It will now be sent to the denomination’s 172 presbyteries for ratification, and if approved by 87 of the presbyteries, it could be part of the PCUSA constitution by this time next year (2015).

    Mr. Fischler can hopefully enlighten me about the dynamics involved here but these votes seem to constitute the TNT that will blow the PCUSA into a million pieces.  I can’t see how a presbytery that votes against all this can possibly remain connected to the POUSA and still look at itself in the mirror.

    *must credit Underground Pewster

    ON A PERSONAL NOTE

    Thursday, June 19th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 70 Comments

    So how’s the lapper working out, Chris?  Meh.  It’s an old Dell Latitude D620.  I don’t know how old the thing is but it’s got one of those rubber things in the middle of the keyboard that laptops used to have to control the cursor and it’s also got a touchpad and two sets of keys.

    It’s actually a bit faster than the last one but it’s got its idiosyncrasies.  The one key doesn’t work except when it wants to.  Then it starts typing itself over and over, putting a long stream of ones where I don’t want them, until I get it to stop which sometimes makes posting rather dicey on this end.

    You get what you pay for.

    But that’s not going to last much longer thanks to the (not IB) Fundraising Consultants Group (Bill, you have got the touch, my man). I took a look at my PayPal account a while back and discovered to my considerable shock that there was almost $2,800 sitting in that thing.

    Serious interlude.  English is a great language.  Shakespeare and the translators of the King James Bible worked magic with it.  But there are times when it can’t even begin to communicate what a person wants to express.

    When I saw that total, I knew that terms like “thank you” or “grateful” were obscenely inadequate ways to express what I felt.  But they’re all I have.  Since my regular e-mail is hosed and I can’t respond individually at the moment, I can only say thank you to all who contributed, all who wanted to contribute but couldn’t for whatever reason and all the rest of you.

    And not just for the money.  I guess you all have probably figured out by now that my last year and a half has basically been emotional hell.  Unemployment can isolate you far more than you who still have jobs realize (so if you know anybody in your church or parish that’s unemployed, make a special effort to reach out to them).  If I didn’t have you guys, I don’t know where I’d be.

    Or even if I’d be.

    Moving on.  Your INCOMPREHENSIBLY generous gift will finally allow me to make a major life change that I’ve never had the ability to make before.  When I bought this refurb, I began receiving messages about activating Windows 7 by this date.

    Okay, I’m game.  What do I do?  I had to type in the product key.  So I found the product key on the bottom of the unit, typed the key exactly as it appeared and was informed by Redmond that they had no idea what I had just typed.

    I tried it again; same result.   I tried it a few days later; ditto.  The deadline passed and I still kept getting these messages about activating Windows 7.  Then I found out that since my old product key didn’t work, I could buy a new one.

    For one hundred and nine dollars.

    Eff it, Gates.  You have pissed me off for the LAST time.

    I’m buying a Mac.  Since I’m a total Mac virgin, do you guys have any recommendations?

    UPDATE: I tried the validation process again.  This time, Redmond believed me and validated this here copy of Windows 7 that I have on this here lapper that I have here.  But it won’t work, Gates.  I’ll be ordering a Mac in a few days and this here lapper that I’m typing this here update on will probably become a Linux box down the road a piece.

    STRAWS, GRASPING AT

    Thursday, June 19th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

    Do you know what would be fascinating, at least to me?  I would really love for some Catholic or Catholics (and only Catholics should be involved) to start a web site or a blog or a Facebook page announcing the formation of a Catholic group dedicated to convincing Pope Francis to declare an end to the idea of papal primacy.

    Your group should be small, no more than five members.  By way of explanation, you might say something along the lines of papal primacy hurting relations with other churches, impairing Christian witness in the world, that sort of thing.  Or anything else you can come up with.  Be creative.

    It doesn’t matter whether you believe any of it or not (in fact, it’s probably better if you don’t) because that’s not the goal of my research.  What I’m trying to find out is how long it would take the American news media to discover your group’s existence and declare your group a Vitally Important Religion Story, well worth allotting pixels to:

    Last month, a group of 25 Italian women wrote to Pope Francis to ask him to lift the ban on priestly celibacy so that they can live openly with the priests they love. The women found each other on Facebook; Ferretti is not officially part of that group.

    “We love these men, they love us, and in most cases, despite all efforts to renounce it, one cannot manage to give up such a solid and beautiful bond,” they wrote to Francis. “We humbly place our suffering at your feet in the hope that something may change, not just for us, but for the good of the entire Church.”

    So far, their campaign has fallen flat.

    Let me get this straight.  Twenty-five Italian women wrote a letter to Francis asking the Catholic Church to abandon clerical celibacy just so they would no longer feel guilty about letting priests tap them on a regular basis.

    And this is important news why?  I know I’m in GetReligion’s territory here but does Religion News Service even have editors?  Was there no one who asked, “Why are we giving column space to these broads?”

    There’s a job possibility for me.

    But it’s not just RNS.  The Washington Post, for crying out loud, recently let some whiny little gay douchebag claim that some Orthodox minister wouldn’t give him Communion just because he was gay.  He who has ears to hear and all that.

    They hate us, folks, so they’re never ever going to try to understand us or to get it right.  Which I guess means that it’s useless to complain about them.

    CHANGES

    Thursday, June 19th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments


    SOURCE: American Medical Association
    June 09, 2014 20:29 ET
    (Marketwired – June 09, 2014)

    AMA Calls for Modernizing Birth Certificate Policies

    The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate.

    Isn’t that amazing! 50 years after having been born with the physical and genetic traits of a female, it’s now possible to become a male by a flick of the wand and a few strokes of the pen! Isn’t modern technology just amazing?

    Across the country, state laws governing changes to gender makers on birth certificates are granted to applicants who change their sex by “surgical procedure” and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of “clinically appropriate treatment,” as opposed to surgery.

    Common sense, wouldn’t you think? Someone who claims to be male should be able to present *some* kind of physical proof thereof. A person walking into a women’s bathroom doesn’t seem to be dealing fairly with life if they wonder where the urinals are………………

    “For many transgender people, a needless operation should not be a government requirement to amend a sex designation on a birth certificate,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “State laws must acknowledge that the correct course of treatment for any given individual is a decision that rests with the patient and the treating physicians.”

    So, if on Monday you wake up as a male and decide that you’re actually a female, no problem – just think of yourself as a woman, and *SHAZAM!* you are one! Remember how Peter Pan could fly, Superman could leap tall buildings with a single bound, and Wonder Woman could force the truth out of anyone? You don’t have to settle for the ignominy of being a woman on Monday, or a man on Tuesday – just wish upon a star and presto! your dreams will come true, and your gender will change.

    The AMA rejected “gender affirmation surgery” as the guiding requirement for changing birth certificates as inconsistent with current medical standards. The medical protocol for persons whose gender identity does not always align with one’s anatomical birth sex recommends a medically appropriate combination of mental health care, social transition, hormone therapy, in addition to the option of sex reassignment surgery.

    Ladies, if you notice that someone in the women’s locker room at the health club has a 5:00 o’clock shadow, is staring lasciviously at everyone, and sports what is rudely referred to as a b*ner, never fear – it’s just Louise (formerly Lou) who’s never gotten around to any kind of actual sexual change, but is certain that *he* is a *she* – and feels very comfortable in the women’s locker room. (Wink-wink)

    The new AMA policy also supports that any change of sex determination on an individual’s birth certificate must not hinder access to medically appropriate preventive care. “Depending on what gender is recorded in these records, certain treatments, screening and procedures may be disallowed, despite the fact that the best practice requires adequate screening and treatment of a person, regardless of the person’s gender identity or gender transition,” said Dr. Hoven. “The AMA seeks to ensure that transgender patients always receive appropriate preventive care regardless of whether or not it matches with the gender on the birth certificate.” The new policy was adopted at AMA Annual Meeting during the first business session of the House of Delegates, the primary policy-making body of the nation’s largest physician organization.

    This takes matters from the merely strange to the truly disturbing. It means that the information included on an individual’s birth certificate, driver’s license, health insurance card, passport, etc. can no longer be considered a reliable source of information for medical treatment. In an emergency, a genetic analysis of every person must be done to determine if they are physically male or female. Since “gender identity” can be changed at will, any and all documentation must be considered untrustworthy. And even visual physical evidence may be unreliable, in the event of gender reassignment surgery. Doctors will need to determine via x-ray and genetic analysis whether a patient is XX or XY, and if they bear traces of current/previous male/female reproductive organs.

    I truly don’t understand “transgender”, “gender questioning”, and all the variants. It seems to be somewhat along the lines of “I was born an Asian, with Asian physical traits, but I feel that I’m an African, and should have the appearance of an African.” We are who we are, and no matter how much we may imagine we’d like to be someone else, we are who we are. I find it much more laudable to deal with one’s birth status than to try and become a different person. If everyone could transform into someone else, well – imagine a world with 2 billion copies of Jim Jones?…………………

    Bill (not IB)

    GREAT EXPECTATIONS

    Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 64 Comments

    The Left is still giddy about Michael Sam:

    Michael Sam has taken another historic step toward realizing his dream of playing in the NFL. The first openly gay player ever to be selected in the NFL Draft, Sam has signed a rookie contract with the St. Louis Rams.

    The Rams announced on Thursday that they had signed all 11 players selected by the team in the 2014 NFL draft, including Sam. A first-team All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, Sam signed a four-year, $2.65 million contract, with $46,000 of it guaranteed, reported Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. All of the Rams’ rookie signees went through some financial education before signing their deals.

    Sam, who came out during interviews 1 and The New York Times in February following a stellar season at Missouri, was the selected by the Rams with the 249th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    While many believed that Sam, who had been named the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, fell in the draft because he had announced that he was gay, he did not seem deterred by being the eighth-to-last selection of the 2014 NFL Draft in April.

    Once again, lefties, three words of advice.  Dial it down.

    Mike didn’t fall in the draft because he declared himself gay.  If anything, Mike fell in the draft when scouts realized that he wasn’t all that he was cracked up to be.

    As the above link indicates, Mike had his best games against weaker teams.  Sam was an absolute felon against Florida but Florida sucked last year.  But in the SEC title game, Mike didn’t show up against Auburn and he barely showed up at all in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State.

    And if he makes an NFL roster, Auburns and Oklahoma States are all Michael Sam will face for the rest of his career.

    Can Mike make the team? Of course he can.  But he’s not going to start so get that thought out of your heads right now.  He’s too light for defensive tackle and he’s not going to start at defensive end for the Rams.  Robert Quinn is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL while Chris Long, his counterpart, is also in that conversation and both have years to go.

    IF Sam makes the team, a gigantic if, he’ll mostly play special teams or perhaps a spot defensive play here and there.  And if Mike’s not good enough to make the roster, Head Coach Jeff Fisher has already indicated that he’ll not hesitate to cut him.

    Does Michael Sam have any reason to be encouraged?  Sure.  The fact that he was drafted at all (far from passing on him because he was gay, I think a lot of teams who had expressed an interest in him before the draft were hoping that he wouldn’t get drafted so that they could swoop in and sign him until my Rams screwed everything up).

    Jeff Fisher was a defensive back with DAAAAAH Bearsssss while Gregg Williams, his defensive coordinator, is one of the best defensive minds in the league.  And Fisher is not the kind of person to waste a draft pick just to make a Profound Political Statement.

    So both men saw something that they liked.  I just hope it’s enough for Mike to make the roster.  The guy’s a good kid.  And if you strain at Michael Sam but swallow Pacman Jones, you’re kind of a hypocrite.

    WOW

    Monday, June 16th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

    Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn has died.

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