February 27, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: October 10, 2015

1960 AMC Rambler Super 4-door Sedan

1960 AMC Rambler Super 4-door Sedan

Your Head Rambler is feeling a bit down this morning after the Cubs’ loss to the Cardinals last night, but I’m not going to let it keep me down. I prescribe . . . rambling!

So let’s get to it, okay?

john_kasich_ap_328

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Ooh, this should get the action going . . .

According to an article in the Christian Post, John Kasich wants to buy you a new Bible. That is, if you oppose the expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). Kasich bases his support for expanding healthcare to the poor on his Christian faith. And if you don’t agree, he wants you to read the source where he says he got his position.

Kasich said that Medicaid expansion is a perfect example of politicians not leading in Washington and around the country and noted that he has been yelled at for supporting the measure, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”

“Look at Medicaid expansion, you know how many people are yelling at me?” Kasich asked. “You know what I tell them, God bless them … there’s a book it’s got a new part and an old part, it’s a remarkable book.”

“If you don’t have one, I’ll buy you one, and it talks about how we treat the poor,” Kasich declared.

But one conservative blogger disagrees vehemently:

A post authored by Leon H. Wolf at the conservative blog Red State heavily criticized Kasich’s remarks Tuesday, going so far as to call the presidential candidate “a walking, talking joke.”

“Since John Kasich knows so much about the Bible, maybe he can point to the passage that says that being a Christian means that you should support the government forcibly confiscating the tax money of other people to help the poor,” wrote Wolf.

Oh, you mean like all those passages commanding the Israelites to pay their tithes (which were the taxes in their theocratic nation), leave the corners of their fields so that the poor could glean from them (cutting into their productivity and profits), and absolving all debts at various times, such as Jubilee? Sounds like, in at least one government in this world, God did want them to “forcibly confiscate the tax money of other people to help the poor.”

But that’s just how I read it. How about you?

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 Then, on the other hand, there’s this guy . . .

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I’ve been critical of Tim Challies at times, but I’m intrigued by an interesting decision he just made and announced.

IMG_2207-600x420For the past five years, my time and attention has been divided between writing and serving as associate pastor at Grace Fellowship Church. I love to do both of these things and have wanted to give them each my full-out effort. For several years I was able to maintain that balance and still have lots of time to be a husband and father. But over the past couple of years both the church and my web site have grown substantially. I came to the growing realization that I was no longer giving the best of my time and attention to either one. At least, not unless I was willing to steal it from my family.

I consulted with friends, Aileen and the kids, and my fellow elders at Grace Fellowship Church. We thought a lot and prayed a lot. And together we decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign my full-time position as associate pastor so I could dedicate the bulk of my attention to this web site and to writing projects. My resignation was effective as of September 30. To be clear, there is no scandal or sin that pushed me here. I am still a pastor/elder at Grace Fellowship Church; it’s just that I am now doing this on a volunteer basis instead of being on staff.

What do you think, iMonks?

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Here are 5 little-known animal facts from Funny or Die . . .

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NVGbi4LUQlCyK12yfPTt_unnamed

4WBpFjQFSIEej2hhWTTg_Snacks_AnimalFacts_Cheetah

nJ5dfwfSd2fcHK170fva_Snacks_AnimalFacts_Gecko

d5HCbzuTSaFL23Xy58xB_Snacks_AnimalFacts_Ants

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Now here’s an interesting take on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
. . .

Rev. Christopher Benek, an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL., thinks AI will actually “lead people to new levels of holiness.” He bases this opinion on his own view of Christian eschatology.

There are basically two schools of eschatological thought, Benek says. The first is pessimistic: the world will continue to get worse until Christ returns to fix it. On the other hand, he holds to a second, more optimistic perspective:

hal-2001-a-space-odyssey1The other main type of eschatological thinking is that Christ invites us to participate in his redemptive purposes right now — helping to redeem humanity and interlock heaven and earth as a new creation. So slowly, as we participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes, we are helping to make the world a better place and, through God’s grace the world, things will get better on the whole until they ultimately reach a redemptive state. This thinking doe not necessarily deny evil’s activity or growth in the world. It just recognizes that Christ has already secured the victory and that our current efforts are bearing fruit in ways that have authentic meaning.

I see AI technology as part of this eschatological process. If we, at some point, are able to create an autonomous, sentient being that is at least as intelligent as we are, if not exponentially more intelligent, then there is no reason to think that such a being would not be able to participate in the aforementioned redemptive process.

Benek is banking on “strong AI,” which he defines as “sentient, autonomous and actually far more intelligent than us.” Here are some examples he gives of what strong AI might contribute to a better world:

  • Strong AI “might reasonably determine that it’s not helpful or productive to participate in war or human destruction.”
  • Strong AI will “be able to perceive more ethical nuances to any given problem,” do it faster, and make decisions that could lead to advanced spiritual formation and betterment.

Benek urges us, however, that we must beware of so-called “weak AI,” which is non-autonomous and dependent upon those who program it, and who may do so with unholy intentions.

He ends with this counsel: “As Christians, who hold hope in the promises of Jesus, we should welcome with humility anything in creation that helps us to draw closer to God. For we believe that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ can use the full potential of Creation to help to reconcile humanity and the entire world to God.”

In other words, as HAL said to Dave, “This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.”

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This week in music history . . .

Paul McCartney’s ballad “Yesterday” marks its first of four weeks at the top of the U.S. singles chart. It’s the Beatles tenth No. 1 hit. In today’s video, we feature Paul on the Ed Sullivan Show singing this classic.

I vividly remember watching this performance at my grandfather’s house when I was nine years old. When Paul sang the line, “I’m not half the man I used to be, there’s a shadow hanging over me,” my grandfather, expressing the older generation’s angst about long hair on males at that time, said, “Well maybe if you got your hair cut, you’d be a man again!”

Comments

  1. #1!!!

  2. Everything is going extremely well.

  3. It is probably a great sacrifice to give up pastoring to people in real life in order to sell books and tell people what to think online…

    And I think Kasich is better on the issue than Dollar. I wonder what foreign policy would look like under such guidance… More international conflicts or less?

    (Ok maybe I’m being too harsh on Challies give that I only hear about him when people complain about something he’s said…)

    • I’m no fan of Challies, but in fairness, he did say this in his announcement:

      “I am still a pastor/elder at Grace Fellowship Church; it’s just that I am now doing this on a volunteer basis instead of being on staff.”

      And also:

      “I resigned from Grace Fellowship Church with a nagging sense of failure. I have seen others succeed at local church and wider ministry. Why couldn’t I? I resigned with a frustrating lack of clarity. I wanted to have more facts at my disposal, and especially more facts about what the future holds. I resigned with more than a little regret, regretting my inability and limitations.”

    • Kasich? John Kasich, my own governor, whom I’ve blamed for leading the state I love further down the path of rust and decay, supports Obamacare because of Christian charity??? I have judged this man unfairly.

  4. Wow, this has to be one of the most deeply thought-provoking Ramblings ever. The combination of the win in Pittsburgh and the loss to the Cards has clearly done a number on you. 🙂 As an aside, Reverend Benek is clearly has gone beyond mere postmillennialism…is there such a word as “hypermillennialism” yet?

    Having followed both Challies and this blog closely over the years (eclectic that I am), his decision took me by surprise. Considering that the natural progression is to give up on one’s blog when other things intervene, the fact that he has decided to go the other way is notable.

    Yesterday is undoubtedly one of the most poetic rock songs of all time. Thanks for the memory, that for better or worse makes it that much less serious. 🙂

    • “has clearly gone beyond,” not ‘is clearly has gone beyond.” Dangnabit!

    • Burro [Mule] says

      Yesterday never pushed my buttons.

      I had a transistor radio glued to my right ear in those days, tuned to WLS in Chicago, much to my parents’ dismay. The primary memory that Yesterday provokes is an unseasonably cold overcast day. I was in the eighth grade, a budding Lester Bangs, and I caught a lot of crap because I preferred the Animals, the Beach Boys, the Kinks, and the Rolling Stones to the Beatles. I still do.

      Here are some other songs that you may remember charting at the same time as Yesterday fifty years ago:

      Eve Of Destruction by Brother Barry Macguire
      Little Girl I Once Knew The Beach Boys. I could do a whole post on the Beach Boys.
      Do You Believe In Magic The Lovin’ Spoonful. Everybody called the Byrds America’s Beatles. America had two “The Beatles”, an East Coast One and a West Coast one. The Spoonful were the East Coast one.
      It Ain’t Me Babe The Turtles
      Like A Rolling Stone Bob Dylan I actually heard this on WLS one time. I wonder who got fired for playing it.
      We Gotta Get Out Of This Place The Animals
      See My Friends The Kinks

      All of these were much more indicative of what was to come than Yesterday. Even the Beatles never put out another Yesterday, unless you want to count Someething, which I think is a superior song.

      • I was more influenced in that period by the Stone’s Their Satanic Majesties Request. I would lay on the carpet front and center between the stereo console speakers…the phasing was intoxicating.

      • Then, in ’69 I discovered the GratefulDead. Deadicated ever since.

        • Burro [Mule] says

          “She’s a neon whirl-whirliwoo’n she can live on the street”

        • I didn’t really discover the Dead until about 10 years ago; they weren’t played on the radio, and none of my dorm-mates were into them. The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, all the usual, but not the Dead. I feel cheated.

          We forgot to pay homage to John Lennon—he would have been 75 (that’s SEVENTY-FIVE) years old yesterday (not exactly the “yesterday” in McCartney’s song, but yesterday nevertheless).

          Here is a tribute to Lennon that I picked up, uh, today:
          https://stepwithme.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/screen-shot-2012-05-08-at-3-37-51-pm2.png

          “Imagine” evolving into John Lennon.

      • I was born after Nintendo, so I obviously wasn’t there for any of it, but I think you’re dead on Burro. The Beatles were great, but the Kinks were -prescient-. “You Really Got Me” is a song that could have been played by Jack White and gotten airplay today, except that it predates him by 40 years. “Beast of Burden” sounds like a indie rock song that could have come from any number of artists I listen to. Bob Dylan is singular in the reach that his influence has had across culture and music.

        The Beatles sound like big bands, or dixie jazz, or power ballads… just stuck in time. Which doesn’t mean they’re not great (although I do like their early stuff more than their post-Revolver stuff), its just strange as someone who lives in the future to look back and realize that the Animals and the Kinks were second to the Beatles. Or that Dylan never had a #1 hit! The past is weird man.

        • Ray Davies was a tremendously creative songwriter (not just talking about the power chord hits, now), and he has been vastly underrated by posterity. At it’s height, his creativeness was not only a match for the Beatles, but was more innovative. The Beatles, however, were the first to make the recording studio as integral to their music as writing and performing. This is the real heart of their creativity.

        • Do none of you listen to the Beatles post-Shea Stadium? There early stuff can’t handle a candle to their later stuff.

          Sgt Peppers is where it’s at. The White Album. Revolution. There’s some awesome stuff there, but people just remember the Yesterdays and Love Me Do’s…meh.

          • You’re right, of course, Stuart. Actually the main reason I chose this tidbit from music history today was so I could tell on my grandpa!

          • I agree with Robert and Stuart.

            Yes, there were other groups just as or more talented and innovative than the Beatles: no doubt about it. They lucked out, being in the right place at the right time, and clearly benefitting from a talented marketing and production team. Their studio and recording techniques were innovative, and as time went by, their musical style became increasingly eclectic.

            And like Stuart said, their later albums are something else entirely. Abbey Road is another one, where half of the B side is basically several successive songs strung into a single track.

          • I’d even go so far as to say the Love album had some of the best versions of their songs, lol

            The new mix of Walrus in particular. It becomes actually trippy, but also threatening. Love it.

          • Well, when I talk about the Beatles studio innovation, I’m talking about later Beatles, after they had stopped touring and worked solely in studio.

          • Here, for the benefit of Mr Kite

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Lhwx9jRhGc

          • Robert: Yes, marketing in the early years; studio production in the later years.

            Stuart: Interesting mix!

      • I’m second-generation. I only really discovered the Beatles in 1988, when there was a minor hooplah over the 20th anniversary of Sergeant Pepper (“It was 20 years ago today” and all that). Of course I’d heard their music before, but that’s when I started getting into “classic rock.” From the Beatles to the Who, Floyd, Zeppelin, Hendrix, leading me in two directions: funk and early metal. Fortuitously, an AM “classic rock” station launched where I live that autumn, and it was my go-to radio station for a year or two. Then I “discovered” country, bluegrass, and soul; Korean-style country music after I met my wife; and eventually, hymns and spirituals.

        But getting back (heh) to the Beatles, I’m a sucker for the ballads The Long and Winding Road and Hey Jude are other ones.

        • Korean-style country-blues. It’s what people listened to before K-pop came along. Now it’s “old people’s” music.

  5. Richard Hershberger says

    Kasich is the only Republican candidate who interests me. I disagree with him in a lot of other areas, but he has a better understanding of Christianity than any of the others, and he is serious enough about it to take a political hit for his faith. In the meantime, I am everlastingly fascinated by how conservative Christians argue vehemently that it is vital to use the power of the state to advance what they perceive as some aspects of Christianity, yet it is tyranny to use the power of the state to advance others. A cynic might suggest a correlation between this split and their personal prejudices and economic interests.

    As for Creflo Dollar, if I didn’t know better I would assume this to be an Opinion parody of a religious grifter. Come to think of it, given the name he uses, I’m not sure he isn’t a monetized parody. In any case, the Prosperity Gospel is pretty much a self-parody, like Donald Trump.

    • You mean when Jesus said ‘it is finished’ he didn’t mean my new Cadillac?

    • Brianthedad says

      Interesting observation re: state power and Christians. I’ll have to mull that over a bit and remind my friends of it next time they are in a rage of moral busybodyism. Or myself for that matter.

    • Kasich has no chance at all. He’s sensible and intelligent.

  6. flatrocker says

    CM,
    > like all those passages commanding the Israelites to pay their tithes (which were the taxes in their theocratic nation)

    While all of us should stand convicted concerning our systemic problems with poverty and treatment of the poor, are you saying our tax dollars are actually tithes and are thusly justified because we also live in a theocracy?

    • Not speaking for CM, but I didn’t draw that understanding FlatRocker.

      When I read/hear things like what Wolf wrote, “… maybe he can point to the passage that says that being a Christian means that you should support the government forcibly confiscating the tax money of other people to help the poor,” what I’m hearing is an argument against any kind of welfare/assistance programs. However, the same people will call for an increase in military and infrastructure spending. If they want to be consistent maybe they should call for elimination of ALL taxation, or, just admit that their political ideology has nothing to do with their religion.

    • While I don’t think that a taxation is the same thing as a tithe in ancient Israel, I think that the general point stands about the need to craft legislation that doesn’t stick it to the poor. We can debate the details, of course, and we should.

      More generally, however, “taxation = confiscation” is a terrible meme conservatives promote nowadays. Whereas once we were content with “no taxation without representation” we now are told that taxation of any sort is, effectively, illegitimate. This short-circuits ANY meaningful discussion about how taxes receipts are to be spent — whether that’s for aid to the poor, more infrastructure, national security, or whatever.

      It’s deeply anti-civic when you think about it. It’s also ideologically comical: f we also don’t want the government to own the means of production (neither do I), then where else are they supposed to get the funds needed to run the country except by taxing us all?

      • Government, by its very nature, is coercive, and any laws it passes, regulations it imposes, or requirements it institutes are always imposed against someone’s will. There will always be two groups of people, those who object to shelling out money for the “shiftless” poor, and the poor themselves.

        “Obamacare” is coercive, all taxes are coercive, but so what? That is government’s role, to ensure that the nation is protected and prospers (federal) and to provide protection for the weakest among us (state and local). I may not like paying 25% of my hard earned money to government, but I sure DO like having my borders secured (in a manner of speaking) and the roads paved (poorly as they are maintained), and order maintained (by a REACTIVE police, not a PROACTIVE one). I absolutely HATE “Obamacare” because it requires me to purchase something which I STILL cannot afford and must pay a penalty for BECAUSE I cannot afford it (another story in itself!), but it HAS had desirable effects for a large part of the population.

        Are “the poor” any better off? No. We will ALWAYS have “the poor” among us, as Jesus even said, but that does not mean we should ignore them. It also does not mean that we should USE them to score political points, either. Kasich is right. Too bad he will not get the nomination…

        • I wish we could ban the words/phrase “my hard earned money”. For most people, it’s not in the slightest. And it always follows by a rant about someone ‘stealing’, why must I give up my money, why don’t you.

          And this is why my heroes are men who give millions of dollars of their own money each year…before going to others and asking them to give too. Put up or shut up.

          From the brightest star
          Comes the blackest hole
          You had so much to offer
          Why did you offer your soul
          I was there for you baby
          When you needed my help
          Would you deny for others
          What you demand for yourself

          You speak of signs and wonders
          I need something other
          I would believe if I was able
          But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

          • I’m sorry you didn’t “work hard” for your income, but I worked at my craft for many years and have earned the respect AND the money that I earn. Never the less, I do not begrudge government doing their part in keeping society rolling. I also give a portion to causes that help the less fortunate. It may not equal what the big boys give in dollars, but it IS a larger percentage.

          • The trick is the big boys don’t give much of anything. Taxable income? Pretty sure Zuckerberg makes $1 a month, and is one of the richest people in America. It’s funny how these so-called “job creators” can get away with so much so little.

            And yes, I’ve worked hard. I’m underpaid at my job and do the work of three people easily. The first four years out of college, I made less than $1000 a month because of constant networking and internships and “budget issues” and promises to be hired full time after x months of work. The next few years will be interesting as I flex my resume and skill set and can potentially start asking for six figures.

            No, the problem is the phrase. It’s code for a lot of other things. Just like you’ll hear “he’s got some good ideas” when people start talking about Trump, and underneath all of them is nothing short of pure evil racism.

          • It’s funny how Zuckerberg’s millions have done next to nothing to help the school district of Newark.

        • Yes, government is inevitably coercive; but big business has become big enough to be nearly as coercive. Once they start fielding their own armies, as they do in their growing support role for our military, for example in the Iraq wars, the distinctions become even fewer.

      • Yes, this is most reasonable. The idea that we should not tax people for the purpose of jumpstarting the wasted human capital in our midst, but we should tax people in order to keep the roads in good repair is two-faced.

        I’ve met precisely 1 hyper-libertarian conservative who is consistent on this. He actually believes that there should be no government, and that no central body should provide anything- not roads, firetrucks, law enforcement, welfare…nothing.

        And while I don’t necessarily agree with him, I do have a much deeper respect for this position than the vast majority, who pick and choose what they think is ok to tax for.

        • This reminds me of a cartoon where a man is standing in front of his burning house, the firemen are racing up with hoses, and the man is waving them away, saying, “No, no, I’m a libertarian.”

          • I’m starting to wonder who the real “libtards” are. Seems like it’s those people lock in step with the GOP platform but don’t want to call themselves Republican because it’s not “cool”.

            “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship…”

    • “Oh, you mean like all those passages commanding the Israelites to pay their tithes (which were the taxes in their theocratic nation), leave the corners of their fields so that the poor could glean from them (cutting into their productivity and profits), and absolving all debts at various times, such as Jubilee?”

      So:
      A 10% flat tax
      A method of helping people gainfully work for themselves via my capital
      Debt forgiveness at strategic times.

      Count me in! But the majority of it sounds like a more Republican than Democratic platform.

  7. Why, when pastors have a conflict of attention/time/interests/etc., does God seldom seem to tell them to step out of the spotlight and focus on the congregation he called them to? He always seems to be more interested in growing their fame and fortune than them practically serving in His church… weird.

  8. Love the animal facts…especially the ant one.

    • I remember a stand-up comic postulating that only three things were tough enough to survive nuclear war – cockroaches, Twinkies, and Keith Richards.

  9. I have much the same reaction to “skinny jeans” that your grandfather had to long hair…

  10. It’s a slow morning here…what gives?

  11. At least Credo is honest about it, I prefer that to the implied prosperity gospel taught by most every large church in my area.

  12. Tim Challies – He really did quit his job to blog full time. I believe that’s called “living the dream.”

    • but I thought he belongs to the cult where women stay in the home and do not go out to work and help support the family . . . (?)

      • I think he subscribes to what one might call “soft” complementarianism: that men and women have equal but distinctive (“complementary” roles) within marriage and the church. I don’t recall reading him taking a position against women working outside of the home!

    • Well he Also runs his own publishing company.

  13. Strong AI: Worst case scenario leads to Terminator or The Matrix. Best case scenario leads to I Robot. The Rev. Christopher Benek doesn’t watch enough movies.

    • Brianthedad says

      +1.
      Job-related hazard. A Pastor at the movies? What if the someone from the congregation saw him at the multiplex? At the evil Hollywood media machine? I don’t think an excuse he was seeking data on his theory of strong AI’s influence on eschatology and redemption would cut it. Then again, maybe Presbyterians don’t treat their pastors like that and he’s just a hopeless optimist when it comes to Matrix and Terminator.

    • Strong AI: mankind’s dream that we will never have to make the “hard” decisions so we can spend more time on ourselves. We get to return to “The Garden”, so to speak.

      Weak AI: “Dammit! Why don’t they just leave me alone!?” Just a more complicated life (THINK: How have smart phones changed our lives?)

    • I love this Hollywood prediction metric 😀

      We make it into space. Best case? Communist Space Utopia (Star Trek). Worst Case? We get eaten (Aliens).
      We drop a few atomic bombs. Best case? Giant Lizard battles (Godzilla). Worst Case? Dust bowl car chases with Australian accents (Mad Max).
      Aliens invade earth. Best case? They land and open fire moments before catching the flu and dying (War of the Worlds). Worst case? Its all behind the scenes and doesn’t happen several times due to bureaucratic delays. David Duchoveny is the only man who knows the truth (X-Files).

      • Great post! And possibly the best of the morning!!!

      • Love it!. And don’t forget SOSO (same old same old): Star Wars: bar fights, slavery, tyranny, back-stabbing friends, war without end, PLUS beautiful princess, knight in shining laser-sword, wise old wizards, and rogues who have a heart of gold.

  14. “Well maybe if you got your hair cut, you’d be a man again!”

    That provokes nearly as much anger and antipathy in me today as it did fifty years ago. Yes, you won World War II and made it possible for us to live in relative freedom today, and yes, you were totally clueless about many crucial matters, denying that freedom to anyone slightly different from yourselves, and most of you just had to die so things could proceed. The revolution of the sixties, for all of its excesses and wrong turns, really was a revolution that was necessary for human evolution. We’re still working on it today.

    Looking back from a supposedly mature position, yes, what we accomplished was worth it in the big picture. In the little picture, I’m living in a community today that in many ways resembles life back in the Ozzie and Harriet fifties, but I can walk down the street today without anyone hurling insults or beer bottles at me from passing cars, and so can any kids who appear different from the norm. That was hard won and priceless.

    As to the Beatles, they showed up a few years after I was taking the heavy hits, but they made a huge difference. I agree with the Georgia Mule as to their musical talent, and that haircut truly was dorky. I would have been listening to Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, Jr. Walker, and Smokey Robinson, but the Beatles really did turn things around in Whitebread America.

    • Burro [Mule] says

      Out in white-bread land, we were listening to, and dancing to, some great R&B.

      Not just Motown, but Stax and Philly stuff; Booker T, Otis Redding, Bar-Kays, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, the incomparable Isaac Hayes, Ernie Andrews.

      My first girlfriend turned me on to Sam & Dave, Aretha, and Cliff Nobles. Red-headed girl with a great ear for R&B.

      Music lays down so many bridges.

      • Yes to all that, particularly red-headed girls. Not to bypass jazz, which is still alive today, tho the Golden Age is gone but not forgotten. Ya hadda been there. I missed Ernie Andrews along the way. Thanks for pulling my coat.

  15. Re: AI: Is it believed that only human sentience is capable of evil? If “strong AI” is possible, and machines may become as “autonomous”, sentient and intelligent as (or more intelligent than) human beings, then why is is presumed that they would be incapable of doing both good and evil? Does not the act of creating a being free from oneself also free that being to choose either good or evil (see Genesis)? Even though I’m a “progressive” Christian in many respects, I’ve always believed that if there are angelic beings (and I believe there are), intelligent and sentient, they must be capable of choosing both good and evil; the same would hold true for “strong AI”.

    • Doesn’t strong AI = Gort? In that movie… daggone it! I can remember “Klatu barada nikto,” but not the name of the movie! Anyway, you know the one I mean.

      • The Day the Earth Stood Still.

        I’m not sure Gort was “stong AI”. He, and his robot colleagues, were programmed by a humanoid race to patrol the star and keep things in line. They had been programmed to do so independently of humanoid oversight, but they operated within the parameters of their programming.

      • But these robots are definitely operating beyond the parameters of all humanoid programming:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFadzy-qNN8

        Exterminate, annihilate, destroy…

  16. CM,

    Love the pictures, especially the info about the cheetahs. Can’t roar, eh? Can their Cubs roar? (ducking and running).

  17. I don’t like the ACA because it continues and deepens the pathological relationship between medical providers and the insurance industry. It’s this sick relationship that has generated a sub-economy in the world of medical care, wherein a single aspirin costs hundreds or thousands of times what it would otherwise be worth in the retail market, as the billing departments of hospitals and other medical providers play their billing game with the insurance companies to get paid what they think their services are worth.

    Get rid of the insurance companies. Single payer nationalized healthcare, paid for by our taxes and provided with the rest of the necessary infrastructure. We’re headed there anyway, but we’re taking a painful, costly route, and the insurance companies are profiting more than ever.

    • That makes too much sense, Robert.

    • do insurance companies really profit so much because they are corrupt, or because they are ginormous? I am not naive enough to think anything that large can be without corruption, but neither can such size able ventures be without obscene profits.

      • I didn’t venture into the subject of corruption; I lack any substantial knowledge of how virtuous or corrupt the insurance industry may be. I spoke only of the pathological inflated economy that exists in the relationship between insurance industry and medical providers, because I believe that pathology has a hugely deleterious effect on the entire nation. I don’t see how it’s possible to know what medical care really costs when all the figures pass through the inflationary equations that are used by medical providers when making claims that they know will only be paid in part.

        I do know this: medical care is not like other commodities, that can be apportioned by a more-or-less free marketplace through the mechanism of capitalism. Providing medical care for all is a moral imperative, as far as I’m concerned.

  18. Old Buzard says

    Tim Challies wrote: “To be clear, there is no scandal or sin that pushed me here.”

    Why did feel the need to mention this? And why did he feel the need to be “clear”? Was there something not clear about that?

    • Christiane says

      well, if there is ‘scandal and/or sin’ we can count on Wartburg Watch to find out about it . . . I love that blog, as it puts the jerks out there for everyone to see . . . and I am always amazed at how many of the jerks there are and how they have managed to keep holds over their ‘flocks’ by all the various and devious methods they use . . . I think I love WW most because they expose the hypocrisy that these jerks have tried to hide from their worshippers

      • It used to be the IRS audit; then 60 Minutes. Now it’s The Wartburg Watch to put the fear into wrongdoers.

      • I think I love WW most because they expose the hypocrisy that these jerks have tried to hide from their worshippers

        Ahem. It’s TWW. 🙂

  19. Re: Your story, CM, about your hair-hating Grandpa: A song about how keeping your hair back then required cojones (at least if you had grass in your car):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Lk2KHajp4Y

    (Ah, back when Neil Young’s angry guitar was driving CSN&Y.)

  20. Did the Kinks never get sued for the tune?

    “Girl—I want—you here with me—”

    sounds like the Doors’
    “Hello—I love you—won’t you tell me your name.”

    George Harrison got in trouble for “My Sweet Lord” sounding like “She’s So Fine.”

    • That was meant for Robert F, above.

      • Actually, the lyric that you quoted,”Girl, I want you here with me”, from the song “Destroyer” (1981), was an allusion to the fact that the Kinks had earlier been paid royalties by the Doors for taking the melody of “Hello, I Love You” (1965) from “All Day and All of the Night” (1964).