Submitted without comment.
This sounds remarkably like the formula for all the political campaign emails I've been receiving lately.
I think what amuses me is that people think Fox News, CNN, and the New York Times are "reliable."
Have you watched CNN coverage lately? They spend more time talking about pop culture than world news. It's a joke. Better reporting of real events (Ferguson, MO comes to mind) is coming from Twitter than the major news sources.
From Marketing Technology Blog:
The Senate has passed a media shield law that defined journalism and where the only protected class of journalist are those involved in legitimate news-gathering activities.
From a 10,000 foot view, the bill seems like a great idea. The LA Times even calls it a “Bill to protect journalists”. The problem is the underlying language that allows the government to define what a journalist is, who a journalist is, or what legitimate news-gathering is.
This is troubling. Historically, there was a very low - virtually nonexistent - threshold of what constituted journalism.
Back when the Constitution was written, any average person on the street who could borrow or afford a printing press was a journalist. If you go back and review some of the single page papers that were printed back then, they were atrocious. Politicians were smeared with absolute lies to misrepresent them to the public in order to bury their political aspirations. Being a journalist didn’t require a degree… you didn’t even have to spell or use proper grammar! And news organizations didn’t appear until decades later as newspapers began to buy up the smaller circulations. This led to the news media moguls we have today.
The first journalists were very much just citizens getting the word out. There was zero legitimacy to who they targeted, how they acquired the information, or where they published it. And yet… our leaders of our country… who were often the target of these attacks… chose to protect the rights of free speech and journalism. They chose, intentionally, not to define what the press was, how news was gathered, or by whom.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats really care about freedom - they just want power. There's not much distinction between the parties now.
I read this in a manuscript I'm working on. A Korean War Vet who had no interest in fighting, but went because his country asked him to, said of patriotism in modern American culture:
I fear that people are getting so caught up in ... personal freedom to do anything they want at any time, that the love for their fellow man and their country has fallen by the wayside.
Well said, sir. God bless you, and thank you for serving.
On the death of bin Laden
This made it even more obvious that Jesus’ words, while being ignored, remain true: “He who lives by the sword dies by it.” Osama bin Laden lived a life of violence and such was his ending.
Some thoughts on 'celebrating' bin Laden's death. Don't get me wrong - I'm not mourning the guy. But this passage echoes my own sentiments:
When I saw that folks were celebrating in the streets at the news of bin Laden’s death, my first reaction was a cringe. Remember how we all felt watching videos of those al-Qaeda guys dancing on Sept. 11?
Are we simply creating star-spangled recruitment tapes for a new generation of terrorists killing in the name of their new martyr?
So if you’re a serious Keynesian, you’re for maintaining and even increasing spending when the economy is depressed, even though revenue has plunged; but you’re for fiscal restraint when the economy is booming, even though revenue has increased.
More and more, I'm embracing Keynesian economic theories. They seem to be the most rational. (NOTE: Mitch Daniels' insistence on maintaining a surplus and not resorting to tax refunds for political gain is evidence of his real maturity and nuance in economic matters.)
This is a subject I've wanted to get more into, because the idea of it crushes my heart. Sex trafficking isn't something that happens in Thailand or some other third-world country - it happens here, in the United States, all the time. And there's not nearly enough being done about it. Terrific article in the New York Times this past week by Nicholas Kristoff. In his companion blog, he offers a suggestion to resolving this epidemic:
The approach that seems to be gathering steam is the Swedish model, in which johns are prosecuted but the women/girls themselves are treated as victims and are given social services but are not prosecuted. The advantage of this is that it cracks down on demand, which in turn reduces the incentive for trafficking girls in Sweden. A growing number of countries are moving to adopt that approach, and police officials in New York City are studying it as well.
Another great story by NPR about prostitution in the United States (warning - this is a straightforward report. Not for the uber-sensitive).
I'm against it. There are people on both sides of the argument in the Christian community, and basically, I err on this side - it's not a sin to keep a guy in prison forever, and it may be sinful to kill someone, even if they commit murder. Sort of a variation on Pascal's Wager, perhaps, but it's where I land.
In Indianapolis, we recently had a tragedy - a criminal who had been in and out of prison for most of his adult life was released from prison early by error, and shot a police officer during a routine traffic stop. That officer ultimately passed away.
My emotional response is, "This guy should be dead." But I struggle with that, because its vengeful and from a place of anger and hatred. I don't know how to process it. A political voice in Indianapolis, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, posted a blog on this issue:
Let's be honest, some people are just evil and have reneged on their membership to the human race and it's time for their privileges to be revoked. You may say the death penalty is wrong and two wrongs don't make a right, but it sure as hell makes it even.
Sadly, I can at least identify with this mindset. I don't fully agree, but the argument is compelling. So I ask this question - is there ever a time where someone is so evil, so wicked, that it is simply better for them to be dead?
G. K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton, a metaphorical and literal giant of his day (in addition to writing hundreds of books, poems, and essays, Chesterton stood at 6'4" and weighed 300 pounds) is still one of the most influential Christian writers of modern times. His book The Everlasting Man was key to the conversion of C. S. Lewis:
I read Chesterton's Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense. Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken. You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive "apart from his Christianity." Now, I veritably believe, I thought - I didn't of course say; words would have revealed the nonsense - that Christianity itself was very sensible.
This book, The Quotable Chesterton, is a collection of Chesterton's quotes, organized by topic and complete with reference to the original source. This, of course, isn't meant to replace reading Chesterton's works, but rather, to provide the Chesterton fan with quotes and references to Chesterton's thoughts on a broad set of topics and themes. Some brief excerpts:
Atheism: Rossetti makes the remark somewhere, bitterly but with great truth, that the worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.
Beer: Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.
Bigotry: Bigotry is an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.
Cheese: Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
Cleverness: Cleverness kills wisdom: that is one of the few sad and certain things.
Education: Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.
Politics: It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.
Political Theory: That is my political theory: that we should make England worthy copying instead of telling everybody to copy her.
Of course, I could go on and on, but that would defeat the purpose. This is a fun book for the Chesterton fan, and a terrific reference for when you just need that quote, or a reference, or a one-liner to bring the point home. If you're interested in this book, please purchase through my Amazon Associate's link.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Imagine the following scenario: General Motors - the car company - owns several construction companies in the Midwest, and finances the building of roads and highways across Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky. They receive tax incentives to build, maintain, and improve these roadways, are granted exclusive rights to the roadways (so no one else can build a competing roadway), and they charge anyone who wishes to use these roads an access fee.
In an effort to bolster car sales, GM proposes the following rules: anyone who drives a GM car or truck (Chevy, GMC, Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, or Saturn) is allowed to use the roadway for free. People who drive cars made by Ford or Dodge pay the same nominal fee, and anyone who drives a foreign car pays an additional "domestic roadway compatibility tax" that is a percentage of the value of the car being driven.
Because Toyota has been such an frustrating competitor to GM, all cars manufactured by Toyota are prohibited from being driven on the GM roadways. Anyone who owns a Toyota vehicle must instead purchase a "GM Roadway Authorized Vehicle."
Ridiculous, right? I'm sure most people would agree that this sort of scenario would be completely unacceptable. Even though GM did build the roadways, they did so while collecting kickbacks from the government (also known as your tax dollars), and then they turned around and charged you an access fee to be able to use the roads. There is no reason why GM should be allowed to limit what brand of automobile can be driven on the roadways. However, this is the same thing that is happening with Net Neutrality rules.
On Tuesday, the FCC announced new Net Neutrality rules that are so toothless, so vague, and so full of loopholes that the Internet Service Providers shouted with glee. Now, Comcast, AT&T, and other ISPs can dictate what you do on the internet, where you can go, and how quickly you can do it. What does this mean now?
It means that sites such as Netflix and Hulu - sites that ISPs hate because they use bandwidth - could be severely limited or even banned by an ISP. Or, they could instead promote their own video subscription site to the exclusion of other sites.
Another aspect of the failed Net Neutrality rules is that it doesn't offer consumer protection for wireless Internet access. What this means is that AT&T could prevent iPhone owners from browsing sales on Verizon's website, or that Sprint could prevent users from visiting ESPN.com, requiring them to use Sprint's services to check sports scores and news. You think that's far-fetched? How eager do you suppose AT&T is for iPhone users to watch Netflix over their 3g network?
Finally, changing these rules gives improved access to rich, established companies who can afford to pay higher access fees, leaving other sites to battle through a bottleneck to reach the end user. This means the next Internet start up, won't.
For more information about Net Neutrality, including commentary from industry experts, see the links below:
- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: "Keep The Internet Free"
- Ryan Singel: "Mobile Carriers Dream of Charging Per Page"
- Craig Aaron: "The FCC's Guide to Losing Net Neutrality Without Really Trying"
Net Neutrality is just the start of it. What's to stop a company from limiting access to anything critical of a bill that they like, or a politician that they endorse? The internet is about the free exchange of ideas, no matter how wacky or ridiculous. Letting business dictate what we can do online is dangerous, unAmerican, and just plain wrong.
Obesity is epidemic in America, and First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a campaign to fight against it. Critics of the Obama administration have criticized her, calling it "liberal overreaching," but a terrific essay by Dr. Mark Hyman demonstrates that obesity is a result of addiction, and can't be resolved with a simple "just say no" approach.Read More
Merry Christmas*. Tonight, we had our Christmas concert at church. There were some scripture readings, which was nice. When the congregation read Luke 2 together, I was struck by one verse in particular:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
- Luke 2:14, KJV
My initial response was to post something snarky on Twitter about how the RepubliChristians no longer offer good will toward all men - only to those with whom they agree. But as the service continued, and I spent a good hour or so thinking about Jesus, and the season, and what He came to earth to accomplish, I realized that I can be as ill-willed toward my conservative brothers and sisters as I accuse them of being towards our secular friends.
I don't want to do that.
Merry Christmas. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. I offer that to everyone. My wish this holiday season is that everyone can spend some quality time with friends and family, finding the joy of the season and the blessings of God in your lives.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
*If you don't observe Christmas, then I offer to you Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings with all grace and love.