April 5, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: September 20, 2015

1959 Rambler American sedan

1959 Rambler American sedan

It is the final weekend of the summer, and time for one last summer ramble. Ready?

baseballThis is the kind of weekend the boys of summer love. And this year, it even includes Chicago Cubs fans like me! The Cubs are in the best division in baseball and holding their own. This past week they took 3 out of 4 games from the Pirates to edge closer to the first wild card spot, and yesterday they took game one of a weekend series from the mighty Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Things could get very interesting for these three teams if the Cubs can get the better of the Birds all weekend. MBR, like you said: this is gonna be fun.

Here’s one of the great plays in the Pirates series, by Cubs’ second baseman Starlin Castro:

 

And here is the second of Castro’s two homers, which sealed the win against the Cards on Friday:

 

The standings, as of Friday night:

Central          W  L     PCT     GB
St. Louis       92  55   .626     –
Pittsburgh     87  60   .596    5.0
Chi Cubs       86  61   .585    6.0

baseballLutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber got airtime on NPR’s Fresh Air program this week in an interview they titled, “Lutheran Minister Preaches A Gospel Of Love To Junkies, Drag Queens And Outsiders.”

You can listen to the entire program or read an excerpted transcript HERE.

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On the program, Bolz-Weber clearly stated the message she preaches: “My job is to point to Christ and to preach the Gospel and to remind people that they’re absolutely loved … and all of their mess-ups are not more powerful than God’s mercy and God’s ability to sort of redeem us and to bring good out of bad.”

Why are people surprised when they find out she’s a pastor?

Other than the fact that I tend to swear like a truck driver? … I don’t look like a pastor, I’m very heavily tattooed, I have sleeve tattoos, basically, and very short hair, and I’m, like, 6-feet-1-inch [tall]. I don’t actually act like a pastor either. I don’t have that sweet, nurturing, “come to me; I’ll co-sign on all of your BS problems,” like, I just don’t have that warm, cozy personality, and I’m kind of cranky and a little bit sarcastic, I guess.

Nobody ever meets me and guesses. The best thing is on airplanes. … Eventually if you talk to [people], which I try not to do, but if it has to happen, then they’ll say, “What do you do?” and I’ll invite them to guess, and never once have they guessed. I did get “burlesque dancer” once, which pleased me to no end. If you’re a middle-aged Lutheran pastor and someone guesses you’re a burlesque dancer, that feels like a win for the day.

Nadia Bolz-Weber has a new memoir called Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People.

 

baseballIf I wasn’t worried about climate change before, I sure am now. Look at the size of these dang mosquitoes!

ABC News reports: “The Arctic mosquito, a larger, furrier version of the ubiquitous pests, is getting a longer breeding season as Arctic ponds warmed earlier in the year, researchers from Dartmouth have found.” In other words, these mosquitoes are moving to higher elevations and colder climates as those regions become warmer.

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These monsters are big enough and fierce enough to drive whole herds of caribou to the mountains, where there is inadequate food supplies to sustain them. The article warns that caribou are not the only ones in danger: we humans could see record levels of West Nile virus as mosquitoes move to higher and higher elevations, as well as new outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever in various places throughout the world where these diseases have never been present before.

These are not your grandfather’s mosquitoes, apparently.

Yikes.

 

baseballSpeaking of dangerous pests. Apparently some Republicans got together and had a debate this week. Word on the street is that the Democrats won. But that may only be because they haven’t held any of their own debates yet.

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baseballI guess I should say something about at least one of the Democrats. Bernie Sanders spoke at evangelical/fundamentalist Liberty University. Can you say “odd couple”? Here is the full transcript of what he said.

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And here is one of the most interesting reactions — from a Liberty grad.

When I heard Bernie speaking in that way, when I saw that guy on stage at Liberty University, I saw John the Baptist. . . .crying out to the religious leaders, the Pharisees of his day,” said the graduate, calling himself Jim, “calling them corrupt and complicit with those who have all the power and all the money and all the wealth, and abandoning the people that God loves, that God cares about…

And lightning hit my heart at that moment. And I realized that we are evangelical Christians. We believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absoutely shun those who would attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretations of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things, and yet somehow we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison.

I listened to Bernie Sanders as he said he wanted to welcome the immigrants and give them dignity, as he said he wanted to care for the sick children and mothers and fathers who do not have health care, as he said he wanted to decrease the amount of human beings who are corralled like cattle in the prisons, as he said he wanted to do justice for those who have nothing and live homeless. And I remembered the words of Jesus who warned his disciples that there will be judgment, and on that day he will look to his friends, and he will say, “Blessed are you for you cared for me, for I was naked and you cothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was in prison and you came to visit me, I was homeless and you gave me shelter.” And his disciples said, “When did we do any of those things for you?” And He said, “If you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me.”

I wouldn’t be much of a Christian if I didn’t stand on the side of gospel for the poor, because, the last time I checked, that’s where my master Jesus stood, and I’ll stand with Him. And, for now, that means I stand with Bernie Sanders.

Other students interviewed were quick to point out their differences with Sanders on various issues, but most were complimentary, expressing respect for his clear statements about his views.

 

baseballThe plight of many thousands of refugees from the Middle East streaming into Europe has been prominent in the news these past few weeks. Don’t tell Naguib Sawiris nothing can be done about it. CNN Money reports that the Egyptian billionaire is negotiating to buy an island in the Mediterranean where up to 200,000 of them could find a new life.

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His idea to create a safe haven for the refugees was first branded as ridiculous by some, but Sawiris said he has received “tons of expressions of interest” from potential donors.

“I’ll make a small port or marina for the boats to land there. I’ll employ the people to build their own homes, their schools, a hospital, a university, a hotel,” he said, adding he could employ between 100,000 and 200,000 refugees.

Sawiris, the chief executive of telecom group Orascom TMT, said he would name the place “Aylan Island,” in the memory of the Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, who drowned earlier this month trying to reach Europe with his family.

The businessman said it was the picture of the young boy washed up on shore that “woke him up” and convinced him to do something bold to help in the crisis.

 

baseballFinally, here are a few things that took place on his week in history . . . that is, some of the more strange or memorable things (thanks to Buzzfeed):

  1. 1982: The first emoticon was published at Carnegie Mellon.
  2. 1959: Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev was denied entry to Disneyland because of security concerns.
  3. 2010: They finally declared the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well leak sealed. (It was still found to be leaking in 2012)
  4. 1846: Two French children were on a hilltop and received a vision of the Virgin Mary.
  5. 1995: The Washington Post and NY Times published the Unabomber’s manifesto.
  6. 1991: The body of a 5000 year old man was found frozen in a glacier by two German tourists.
  7. 1981: Simon & Garfunkel played a free reunion concert in Central Park.

Gotta go with the 1981 S&G video now, don’t we? Take us off, boys . . .

 

Comments

  1. Daniel Jepsen says

    FIRST!

    (always wanted to do that)

  2. “If you’re a middle-aged Lutheran pastor and someone guesses you’re a burlesque dancer, that feels like a win for the day.”

    . . . this would even make God smile 🙂

    I was just admiring this pastor because we Christians have to have someone among us who can go and be accepted by those who live alternative life-styles,

    and I imagine that Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber has the kind of persona that can gain entry among them what needs the reassurance that someone has come among them with understanding instead of contempt.

    Christ-bearers come in all manner of folks sent out to serve a diverse humanity. This is as it should be.

    • I agree with you to a certain extent. Statements like this give me pause, though:

      “I don’t have that sweet, nurturing, “come to me; I’ll co-sign on all of your BS problems,” like, I just don’t have that warm, cozy personality”

      I think id be scared to go to her church lol.

    • My dear gentlemen, I am convinced that we often judge people too much on how they look and on how they observe the ‘rules’ of the comforting code language in Christianese.

      But I look at Pastor Nadia and I read her words, these:
      ““My job is to point to Christ and to preach the Gospel and to remind people that they’re absolutely loved … and all of their mess-ups are not more powerful than God’s mercy and God’s ability to sort of redeem us and to bring good out of bad.”” and all I can think about is that this woman has set aside ‘code’ and failed to dress ‘the part’ that we, in our comfort zones expect (Jan Crouch, anyone?) . . . and she has instead, for the sake of the gospel, come to the place where she is needed without pretense . . . let’s be honest, she may not be able to help those she makes ‘uncomfortable’, but we all know that there are those who, having been so terribly injured by this world, will not allow many to help them . . . so it is there that people like Nadia have a place . . . to go to the place of the ‘outcasts’ and there, her tats and peircings, and gruff manor will be accepted, and maybe, just maybe, so will the Lord of Life she brings to these who need to know they too are beloved of Him. Think about it. There IS a place for Nadia. God Bless her work. Likely very few of us Christians would do so. But there it is. God uses us as we are and where He sends us. He’s not proud, you know, like we are.

      • I have nothing against Pastor Nadia; I’m only saying that we shouldn’t stereotype the needs and preferences of all people who live in that “outcast world” (I lived there once myself, and may end up back there before this life is over), or assume that her gruff manner, piercings and tats speak to everybody there. Some there need another kind of voice and presence. She has a place, and it may be just as much to ministered to by that world as to minister to it. God bless her.

        • One of the best parts of the interview is listening to her tell about how she had to learn to welcome “normal” people with the same Christ-centered welcome.

          • That is an AWESOME interview, Chaplain Mike. I think she is a very unique servant of Our Lord, and I love the part where she teaches her congregation about Christ coming to them what received Him not, so the congregation will accept the ‘normals’ . . . so moving this part. Thanks for providing this interview. It has a lot of meaning for me, as I have grown to understand that those who ‘exclude’ others are often excluding the Lord Who loves them too. Maybe that’s why Pope Francis resonates with people. They need to know that it’s okay to ‘welcome the stranger’, and he is humble enough to actually show them how this can be done. It’s a new day in the Church. Alleluia. 🙂

      • Pastor Nadia is very unique and I get her appeal. God is using her, bless her heart. She is a living testament of the Gospel. As one who has the opportunity to spend time with “outcasts” in downtown Portland, Oregon, I echo Robert in that there’s such a wide variety of personalities. “Gruffness” is obviously one part of living on the streets, but softness, kindness and a listening ear also goes a long way in building trusting relationships with those “on the margins.”

  3. (SIGH…) 🙁

  4. Bernie Sanders is like a breath of fresh air in this political season, i used to believe strongly in this kind of liberalism when i was young. It is so different from the way Obama and Clinton approach things, they seem to be concerned with putting their agenda through no matter what the cost but Sanders brings it down to a basic level of taking care of the least. So good to hear, the republicans have become ridiculous.

    • The remarks from the Liberty grad about Bernie Sanders illustrates why the Republicans have lost the younger generation—and why evangelicals, too will lose that generation if we don’t smarten up.

    • I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton; if it comes down to it, I will not vote for either her or Donald Trump. I would vote Bernie Sanders.

      • David Cornwell says

        Yes. Other than Bernie we have a disgusting group of candidates. This is the first time in all my years of voting I’m tempted to sit it out.

        • Trump is the revenge candidate. He appeals to that group of Americans who feel that in the last generation they’ve lost their social influence, and been edged to the side by groups with other interests. His blustering, bullying tone, his implied promise that he will “take back America” for them, is what they like, never mind the policy specifics. He also has a knack for manipulating the media class, though many of them hate him, because he evokes the atmosphere of professional wrestling, and his is exactly the type of personality that the tabloid journalism of CNN and FOX alike is shaped to frame; even those who hate his politics love having the perfect character to fit their melodrama: it makes their job easy and fun.

          Hillary is an inept Machiavellian Prince. The e-mail/home server scandal put the nail in the coffin of my willingness to ignore my long-developing distrust of her. If she were to be elected President I wouldn’t be surprised if, by the end of her term in office, she furtively has a nuclear missile installed in a basement silo of one of her homes. In the last weeks when her groomers have made great efforts to depict her as more human and approachable, they’ve only succeeded in making her appear more and more like a wax image of herself. Even when she was criticizing Trump for not correcting the Birther question asked of him the other day, she sounded and looked like a bad actor mouthing written lines, and affecting a chiding tone, unconvincingly, though she said all the right things.

          If it comes to the alternatives of Trump or Clinton, I’ll sit this one out, or cast a protest vote.

          • David Cornwell says

            “a nuclear missile installed in a basement silo of one of her homes. ”

            With the trigger/controls in her bathroom next to the email server.

          • Burro [Mule] says

            A recurring dream that I had back in the late 90s and early 00s was of waking up as a Jew in Poland sometime prior to the Holocaust with full knowledge of future events. I would try to convince my compatriots of the horror that was awaiting them, but they would just shake their heads and tell me I was being unduly alarmist.

            The problem is not Trump and his minions, of whom a wiser man than I said “their very demeanor is a big part of the problem: crowds of overfed tattooed clowns in nursery togs clamoring for a return to 1956. Good luck with that.. The rubes out in the heartland know in their heart of hearts that their government no longer exists for their benefit. This is no longer a country for which I would send my son to fight or die. It is a shell of its former self.

            The seeming inevitability of Hillary as the Democratic nominee, ” gliding above the election arena like Rodan the Flying Reptile“, merely underscores their intuition that ‘the whole disgusting circus parade of identity politics, and PC witch-hunting, and trans-sex-people-of-color drum-beating, and girl-lugging-a-mattress-around-campus idiocy, and blame-it-all-on-White-privilege whining, and drone-strike-du-jour warfare, and out-of-control NSA surveillance monkey business, the increasing drumbeats throbbing with the menace of war against Russia or China, or both, does not benefit them in any way.

            They see a system that inhales resources both natural and human, and spews forth an endless stream of Applebees, Bed-Bath-And-Beyonds, KFCs and useless university degrees. That is in its more favored precincts. The less favored districts get block after block of pawn shops, Payday loan shops, contract labor jobbers, and police that pass by them in what amount to armored troop carriers ready at a moment’s notice to spirit them away to even less favored precincts. This is a feature, not a bug. It is coded into the algorithm of which Hillary Rodham Clinton is a living, breathing manifestation.

            As the industrial party winds down, and it is winding down, we will find sooner rather than later that our debt structure is not sustainable. Russia, China, and India may get their collective acts together and the dollar lose its position as reserve currency. If this happens before the 2016 elections, Donald Trump will look like Harry Truman compared to the demagogues that will come bobbing to the surface after such a rough disturbance of the septic tank our nation has become.

            And you know what? A lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief when what Dostoevsky referred to as “a little sweet bloodshedding” comes around.

            Going back to my dream, I’ve thought a lot about it. If it is 1908, then there is no cause for alarm. I can go my way, go to shul, marry, have a family, plant a business, etc, but if its 1936, I need to get out now, no matter what the cost.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            If this happens before the 2016 elections, Donald Trump will look like Harry Truman compared to the demagogues that will come bobbing to the surface after such a rough disturbance of the septic tank our nation has become.

            “EINS VOLK! EINS REICH! EINS FUEHRER!
            EINS VOLK! EINS REICH! EINS FUEHRER!
            EINS VOLK! EINS REICH! EINS FUEHRER!”

            And you know what? A lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief when what Dostoevsky referred to as “a little sweet bloodshedding” comes around.

            Like the knitting ladies cheering around the scaffold in La Place de la Revolution?
            “IT’S PAYBACK TIME!”

          • Mule,
            Define the “they” you are referring to in your comment. I’m not clear who it is that you’re describing.

            In my opinion, it’s many of the inheritors of the folks who were willing to send their sons to die for the US in the 1950s, but not now, who make up the ranks of the Birthers and those like them. Although Trump may not be the worst we’ll see in this nation, he has been one of the principal feeders, or the principal feeder, of the Birther fire. The segment of Americans that he appeals to is analogous to the one that Putin appeals to in Russia: jingoistic, xenophobic, and yearning to restore the glories of earlier times, never mind that these glories included things like Jim Crow in the case of the US, and an iron fist clamping down at home and abroad in the case of Russia.

            If all you’re saying is that this group will be become more radicalized in the future, and possibly powerful enough to politically and socially enact their ressentiment, I’m inclined to agree with you. If you’re saying that they’re somehow right, that their loss is of some good that was actually possessed by their national ancestors, and to which they have a right, then I disagree with you.

        • I don’t find Sanders a “disgusting” candidate. Rather, I find him to be the only sane person in the entire race.

          • It’s his generation . . . my father’s generation still had a sense of ‘honor’ and decency that doesn’t translate very well into our media-soaked, politically-correct parlance . . . so when we hear Bernie, it’s a little bit like me remembering the good Pepere (grandfather) who was once a lumberjack in Canada, and built his own house, and raised his family in the Church, and who stood six foot one even on his wooden leg. He didn’t say anything that was trivial or meaningless or foolish . . . he had an honest integrity you just don’t see much of today, but in his day, it must have been easier to find people of their word who sealed the deal with a handshake and slept well at night, knowing they were not conning everyone to make a buck.

            I idealize. But the truth is, I have to, because Bernie is like the grandpa many of us had and we KNOW the difference between a generation that bred such men and women, and what we have now in Congress, God help us.

            Yes, Bernie is sane. And he has integrity. And he says what he says without seeing which way the wind is blowing out in voter land. His generation will be missed when they leave us. The days of the honorable old gentlemen in Congress have gone by, and Bernie stands out because we know from him what we have lost.

  5. Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
    Going to the candidates debate.
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    when you’ve got to choose.
    Every way you look at it you lose.

    • Meet the new boss… Same as the old boss…

      • God save the Queen
        We mean it, man
        And there is no future
        in England’s dreaming

        • Anarchy for the U.K.
          It’s coming sometime and maybe
          I give a wrong time, stop a traffic line.
          Your future dream is a shopping scheme

          ‘Cause I want to be anarchy,
          In the city

          • And I wanna be anarchist!
            I get pissed! DE-STROY!!

          • Ah, heck. Here’s a little taste:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBojbjoMttI

          • I was there at the advent of the Punk movement. The music, the energy, the anti-fashion fashion. It was a heady time, though to fully participate in its social implications I would have had to be in England.

            The spirit of rebellion expressed in Punk is a perennial quality of the human spirit. Much that needed to change would never have been changed in society and politics if that spirit hadn’t spearheaded the way. But the danger is this: that same rebellious energy can be manipulated, and turned toward the burning of books and ethnic cleansing. In the words of another Punk band:

            You grow up and you calm down,
            and start working for the Clampdown.
            You start wearing blue and brown,
            and working for the Clampdown.
            So you’ve got someone to boss around,
            it makes you feel big now.
            You drift until you brutalize,
            you make your first kill now…

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4t4iCe-bK0

          • I love and hate punk. I find endless anger fairly dumb. Anger without love is boring. Try evoking rage, that’s something I don’t think punk can do.

            It’s funny. I watch that Sex Pistols video and thats the music and scene and vibe and life I want, and yet have no idea how to be that, because vanilla white bread suburban overweight male. Yet…the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Green Day, Offspring, that was my high school music, yet I never had a punk scene to be a part of, surrounded by either hip hop or country fans. The one lone guy who loved rock music with a passion and never found a community to connect to.

            Feels like I missed out on a lot. On who I was. On who I was supposed to be. And now…now i’m beginning to discover things. Misfits. Black Flag. The Adicts. And I’m loving it a lot even if it’s so distant from who I was way back when.

            Sigh. “It gets better”, as frequent internet commenters tell me. And I know it does. My life today is better than it was a year ago, and 100x better htan it was a few years ago. It’s getting better all the time.

            But it still feels like I missed out on life. I had my chance. I lost it. It’s over. I’ll never get it back. etc.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7R9maeRwFQ

          • Although I will argue all day that the best thing that came out of the punk movement was a little band called U2. They ARE punk and continue to be while others have faded.

          • Stuart, I just put on some old U2 this past week – Boy and War – and it struck me how punkish they were in the beginning. In fact, it reminded me why I wasn’t so sure about them at first, because it was too “punkish” for me.

          • Hey, Stuart, it’s all just a day in the life of funky Western civilization:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qddWJ_eJOvU

          • The put Jesus on a cross,
            they put a hole in JFK,
            they put Hitler in the driver’s seat
            and looked the other way

            Now they’ve got poison in the water
            and the whole world in a trance,
            but just because we’re hypnotized
            that don’t mean we can’t dance

            –Tonio K

        • Patrick Kyle says

          Was into the punk scene in LA in the late 80’s and early 90’s Saw all the classic acts, mostly at the Palladium in Hollywood.
          One of my favorites..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l42KS0MRgTg

      • And the walls came down

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kX8lqXAONg

    • “Don’t wanna be an American idiot.
      Don’t want a nation under the new mania
      And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
      The subliminal mind f_ck America.”
      – Green Day.

  6. Kudos to Liberty Univ.

    Maybe the Harvards and Berkelys could pay attention. If you actually believe in diversity, try listening to other voices. Liberty did.

    • Look at who gets shouted down and driven away from most college campuses and you will see how different Liberty really is!

      • David Cornwell says

        This same person is a graduate of Liberty. He said if he were still a student, his opinion would not be tolerated as they sign some type of oath promising to uphold Liberty teachings, etc.

        • As an alumni of Liberty, I guess I missed the oath signing day. I think I did sign the illuminati pledge with my blood.

          • David Cornwell says

            I’d have to look for the exact quote he gave. I told about it from memory and could have it slightly wrong.

          • David Cornwell says

            Here is his exact quote:

            “So a little bit about me. I am not a current student at Liberty. If I was, I actually wouldn’t have been able to post onto that Reddit board and say that I’m supporting Bernie. There is an Honor Code at Liberty University, and while it’s not always enforced, if you support a candidate who is pro-choice or pro-gay marriage, you can be punished by the University, up to and including expulsion from the school. So as a graduate of Liberty University, I’m in a good position to represent folks that might go there and people from the Evangelical tradition, but not be within the world that they can, you know, punish me for my opinion.”

            He has both his undergrad and Masters degrees from Liberty. And I do not get the sense that he has turned against his alma mater, just that he was convicted in a special way by Bernie’s speech.

          • Jazziscoolithink says

            You don’t remember the Liberty Way?? How old are you?

          • ” . . . if you support a candidate who is pro-choice or pro-gay marriage, you can be punished by the University, up to and including expulsion from the school . . . ”

            Liberty may be many things, but it is not a ‘classic’ university . . . oh, it may be ‘accredited’ (?), but when a school demands control over the conformity of its students to one particular political agenda, it violates the principles of what a real university is all about

            granted, it’s ‘private’ . . . but it’s just not what it claims to be as ‘university’ in the classic sense, no

          • Liberty may be many things, but it is not a ‘classic’ university . . . oh, it may be ‘accredited’ (?), but when a school demands control over the conformity of its students to one particular political agenda, it violates the principles of what a real university is all about
            Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

        • Most schools like that also have a clause that they can revoke your diploma if you start disagreeing with them.

          Christianity is just the best.

      • Even UC Berkeley has a Berkeley College Republicans group. No Young Democrats at Liberty.

  7. Even though the Lord is partial to the National League, (a purist I guess) potentially making things that much more difficult, my Texas Rangers have gone from 9.5 games back to 2.5 games in front to take over the American League West after a 4 game sweep of the previously division leading Astros. As I’ve told my wife over and over when she has thanked Him for a win, it’s only until we get to the World Series. At that point we will find ourselves fighting against Him but hey, Jacob did it. Job did it. We’ll do what we have to do. Whatever it takes.

    • Congrats to you and your Rangers, who The Lord has favored. As a Mariner fan – a fan of a team in your division – your run this last month has been fairly impressive, and evidence of the Lord’s will, and evidence that He Who Deemed It was not particularly fond of the Mariners this year.

      • You got me crackin up over here Rick! Very generous words under the circumstances. You guys did beat us last night.

  8. That billionaire businessman buying an island for refugees strikes me as the most hopeful thing I have heard coming out of that part of the world for a very long time if he can pull it off. Sounds to me like he has the smarts to turn it into a self-sustaining community rather than just another refugee dump. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, are you listening? John Kerry with your generous offer on behalf of the richest, most powerful nation in the west to take five thousand refugees, are you listening? Five thousand? Five? Really?

    • Five-freaking-thousand. A mere five thousand, when it was our policy in Iraq that > created the power vacuum that > gave rise to ISIS/ISIL that > created the chaos and violence in Iraq and Syria that > generated the hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Five-freaking-thousand.

    • There is a sobering historical irony in tens of thousands of Semitic people fleeing to Germany.

      • At least our offer of five thousand is five thousand better than the first time around seventy some years ago. Those five thousand amount to 100 per state, but I’ll bet the whole shebang could be dropped into Dearborn without undue commotion, and I’ll bet their upkeep per person while they’re getting on their feet would cost less than housing a prison inmate, of which we have upwards of four hundred times 5,000. If that billionaire can’t swing the island, maybe he could buy Detroit. Oh wait, not in my back yard.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Pope Francis has called upon every Catholic parish, monastery, and convent in Europe to take in at least one refugee family, starting with the Vatican itself.

        Maybe American parishes could do the same. How many of them are there in the US, Canada, and Europe?

      • makes ‘never again’ even more important

        . . . it’s like another chance for the redemption of the soul of a people has been given . . . goodness, I hope this time ‘the story’ in Germany ends in beauty instead of ashes . . . my husband’s family is German . . . my children are of German descent and I want the beauty to happen for their sake as well

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      John Kerry with your generous offer on behalf of the richest, most powerful nation in the west to take five thousand refugees, are you listening? Five thousand? Five? Really?

      “WHEN I SERVED IN VIETNAAAAAM…”

    • To be honest, I don’t see ANY easy solutions to the problem. Accept too few and you’re in danger of being inhumane. Accept too many and your country will suffer. It’s just an awful problem to figure out, and I’m not interested in shout-downs from either camp.

      I do think this businessman’s solution – buy and island, populate it, put the refugees to work – is one of the best, most out-of-the-box ideas I’ve ever heard. Like you said, it gives hope.

      • “…put the refugees to work…”

        That part scares me a little bit. That could be good, and it could go bad…very bad.

        The US should have a major part in helping resolve this problem, since we had the biggest hand in creating it. If they raise my taxes to help with this, I promise not to protest.

    • Chobani yogurt’s founder is also giving a ton of money to help refugees: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/28/chobani-ceo-giving-pledge_n_7460734.html

      Last trip to the grocery, I bought Chobani!

    • That billionaire businessman buying an island for refugees strikes me as the most hopeful thing I have heard coming out of that part of the world for a very long time if he can pull it off.

      Yes. As long as it doesn’t become a refugee island with no economic base. If you really want to settle 100,000 people on a currently empty island you really need to figure out a way for them to at a minimum feed themselves.

  9. As a Torontonian, I would like to see some love for the Blue Jays this September. We are on our way to the playoffs for the first time in a long, long time…

  10. CM, that’s one classy automobile top o’ page. The post-war curve of gauche and fin-philia peaked in 1959, but that car could be parked in between a Lexus and a Daimler and hold its head up. Strange that back in the day it could provoke snickers.

  11. I see Sanders appearance at Liberty as a good challenge for many institutions. I work for a religiously-affiliated college and was thinking recently about the interview with Charles Featherstone. I wondered whether our institution would be interested in inviting him to speak as part of our “interfaith dialog” series. My current view is that the folks whose task is related to campus diversity would probably find an ex-Muslim too disturbing — doesn’t that suggest that it’s bad to be a Muslim? And the Christian groups would find him too critical — he talks about the culture of Christian churches in the U.S. and compares them unfavorably to Muslim groups, isn’t that knocking Christianity?
    And besides, where’s his peppy little success story of overcoming hardship and going on to happiness and financial success?
    What we like (in our little campus community, at least) are cheerful people who tell us that they used to be just like us, then they went out and discovered that there was a Bad Thing happening, and it made them sad. So they wrote a book/ made a video/ created a workshop / founded a non-profit, and made the Bad Thing better. And if we’re nice people, we’ll buy the book/ watch the video/ attend the workshop / donate to the nonprofit, and some day the Bad Thing will disappear forever.
    To paraphrase Randy Newman, don’t tell us stuff that makes us depressed, because we care.