Sunday, November 12, 2017

Everybody Must Get Stoned

I put this up on Facebook, so I'll just link to it on my poor neglected blog, too. Milbank has a great collection of Bible passages that at least the sane among us would not follow literally or any other way. I'd like to think they never were.

Cutting off the hand of a woman if she grabs the penis of a man who is fighting with her husband (Deuteronomy 25:11-12).

Can't imagine that being a big issue. Think we could find a verse justifying cutting off something on Roy Moore if we look hard enough. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ode to Hannity

An ode to Sean Hannity.
by John Cleese

Aping urbanity,
Oozing with vanity,
Plump as a manatee,
Faking humanity,
Journalistic calamity,
Intellectual inanity,
Fox News insanity,
You're a profanity, Hannity.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Russian Trolls Live

Just wanted to put up a post with this nonsense that I referred to in my LTTE.

Image may contain: 1 person, hat and text

If that's not the work of Russian trolls then imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Love When Churches Do the Right Thing

I know it's easy to point out when they don't. And this is a Baptist church in Georgia you should bear in mind as you read.

So it was front-page news in the Telegraph, Macon’s daily newspaper, when First Baptist called an Aug. 27 meeting of its membership to decide whether its stated policy of welcome and inclusion should extend to the celebration of same-sex marriages.

Two thousand out of 49,000 is a start. Respect and civility are nice, too.

After paying a visit, I think there’s something more to learn from this story: how to foster respect and civility even amid disagreement.

The news that hit driveways in Macon that Sunday morning had, in fact, been brewing a long time inside the church. First Baptist is one of about 2,000 congregations that have chosen to leave the conservative Southern Baptist Convention over the past 25 years. For the roughly 47,000 churches that remain in the SBC, same-sex marriage is a nonstarter; no church that condones such unions can participate.

Can you find a better use for the scriptures than supporting bigotry? Or who would Jesus shun?

And a discussion of Scripture focused on the Bible passages most cherished by church members. The same verses came up again and again, and none dealt with sexuality. “We reminded ourselves why we listen to Scripture in the first place: not to be a battleground, but to bring us together,” Dickison recalled.

Baby steps or giant leaps? Depends on how you want to look at it. 

Useful Idiots for the 21st Century

I seems like the only posts I've been putting up are LTTEs and I haven't been writing many of those. In any case, a letter to the editor in rough draft and associated links.

UPDATED: And new and improved(?)

     The Russians took actions to influence last November's election. That is a fact. Today I saw this posted on Facebook. "If liberal politicians treat the people this poorly when we're armed to the teeth, just imagine what they'll do once they've taken away your guns." In basic training, I was warned to beware of rumors and propaganda. I don't know the source of this meme, but it looks exactly like the products of Russian trolls recently released. Leaving aside the not so subtle threat to liberal politicians, are there folks "sharing" this who can't recognize propaganda when they see it?
     "What we're talking about is the beginning of cyber warfare. What we're talking about is a major foreign power with sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sow conflict and discontent all over this country" (Sen. Dianne Feinstein). "The strategy is to take a crack in our society and turn it into a chasm" (Sen. Angus King). They're both on Senate Intelligence and are investigating an adversary attacking us. Is it really necessary to help spread divisive material on the internet? I've struggled, but can't find a more appropriate term than the classic useful idiot.
     House Intelligence feels their time better served examining the sale of Uranium One to a company owned by Russians. Naturally, this conspiracy theory involves Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Lately, I've seen iterations that work in Robert Mueller. When nothing is found, we the people deserve a full report. The president should get one too so he can move onto another flight of fancy. 

WP Editorial 

David Ignatius 

Craig Timberg 

House Uranium 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Maybe They're Just Big Fans

Apparently some scoundrel is registering domain names in hopes of, I don't know, cashing in on my rep running for senate or president? Of course, in the Age of Trump speculation takes precedent over any actual facts. This is Stefanik spokesman Lenny Alcivar.

“Desperate attempts from desperate candidates and their partisan allies to smear Elise with false political attacks are not new,” he said. “Congresswoman Stefanik ran on always placing the people of the 21st District first. That is why, in the face of similarly false attacks from previous political opponents, our district has overwhelmingly supported the congresswoman’s bipartisan record of real results, it is why she recently won re-election by over 30 points, and it is why she will continue her fight for every family and every small business across the North Country.”

First, what happened to Tom Flanagin or how many spokesmen does a representative to Congress need? A few, I suppose, if you never actually say anything yourself. In the spirit of random hypothesizing I left this comment.

Alcivar has no evidence at all that Democrats registered those names yet he goes on a riff slamming them in true Trump style. Just make stuff up.

Since that's the way he wants to play. Maybe Russian trolls registered those domain names since they're so closely allied with the Republican Party now. Could be.

Another possibility that occurs to me is that her camp or fans of hers are registering these domain names in order to stir up talk of her running for these offices. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Representative Cheerleader

So here's Rep Stefanik giving an attaboy to burning more coal.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose northern New York district includes the Adirondack Park, has a nuanced response to the Trump administration canceling the Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The Republican from Willsboro never supported the Clean Power Plan because it was started on President Barack Obama’s executive authority rather than by Congress.

“When Congress is circumvented in the process, the policy can easily be undone from one administration to the other,” Stefanik’s spokesman, Tom Flanagin, wrote in an email Thursday. “Congress, not federal bureaucrats, should set our national energy policy.”

Now Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency plans to scrap the Clean Power Plan to protect coal production, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this week. The plan was never enacted; a court blocked it shortly after Obama announced it.

A nuanced response is a lot more than we normally get from her. Apparently, laws passed and signed by the president are also easily undone from one administration to another

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, issued the following statement on Thursday supporting President Trump’s executive order to expand choice in health care for families and businesses:

“Families and businesses in my district, deserve more choice in healthcare, and I applaud these efforts to lower costs,” Stefanik said. “Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage. I will continue to work in Congress on bipartisan healthcare solutions to help lower costs, increase access and improve quality.”

So, the last letter ended up in the "letters I've written never meaning to send category." This one is sent. 

    It's not surprising to see Rep. Stefanik praising President Trump for ridding us of President Obama's evil executive order attempting to regulate coal burning. While Obama wasn't able to get that passed in Congress, he was able to get ACA passed. It seems a little hypocritical for our congresswoman to then extol Trump for an executive order undermining this established law. Having failed to "repeal and replace," the GOP is embracing the Samson option. Steve Bannon, a few days ago, "Not gonna make the CSR payments. Gonna blow that thing up, gonna blow those exchanges up, right?"
     "Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage," from Stefanik statement. That means loosening laws on association health plans that will allow the skirting of the essential health benefits required under ACA. Commonsense is enabling insurers to choose the states with the most lenient regulations, I suppose. The insurance market won't work when the healthy and the sick self-select into their own respective niches and policies are not subject to regulation. That's the beginning of the race to the bottom.
     In 1992, there were plans such as these, referred to as multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs).  They "left at least 398,000 participants and their beneficiaries with more than $123 million in unpaid claims between January 1988 and June 1991" (Washington Post). "MEWAs have proven to be a source of regulatory confusion, enforcement problems and, in some instances, fraud." (GAO). It's not much of a shock to see them promulgated 25 years later by the man who was successfully sued for Trump University. It is disheartening to see our representative giving him thumbs up for doing so, though.