The Real Reason That Rocket Exploded
Heads, Fox Wins; Tails, NASA Loses
These guys really are too much:
When Orbital Science’s latest launch of the Antares rocket was preparing to lift off of the pad for the ISS resupply mission, Fox News had a colorful title promoting how the launch vehicle was being managed by a private company.
When the rocket failed a few seconds after liftoff, they immediately turned on their heels, and called it a “NASA Cargo Rocket.”
Private industry cannot fail, it can only be failed.
Learning The Alphabetimus Spell From Harry Potter
Ah yes, American Exceptionalism seizes the moral high ground:
Keith Ablow, a doctor and Fox News analyst, thinks that the United States should aggressively export its system of government to every single country on earth. What could go wrong?
In a comically unhinged column posted to Fox News' website on Tuesday, Ablow calls for an "American jihad" in which the U.S. would aggressively move to America-ify the entire world, which totally makes sense because "the Constitution is a sacred document that better defines and preserves the liberty and autonomy of human beings than the charter of any other nation on earth."
How would this ambitious plan work? Well, Ablow explains, "we would tie American aid to incremental changes not just in the attitudes, but in the fundamental structures, of countries. These changes would move those countries, slowly but inexorably, toward reflecting our Constitution in their own charters." The plan would also involve doubling the budget for the CIA and Special Forces, presumably to counter any foolhardy resistance to American domination. There's more, but you get the idea.
It's like the Marshall Plan with just a touch of Mein Kampf and total cray...
Maybe It Is The Climate Channel
I'm sure Fox will give this all the fair and balanced attention it deserves:
The Weather Channel has released an official position statement on global warming, just two days after the channel’s co-founder told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that climate change is based on “bad science” and does not exist.
In the statement, The Weather Channel said the planet is “indeed warming,” with temperatures increasing 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. The statement acknowledged that humans are helping make the planet warmer due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. It says the future effects of climate change will be more negative than positive.
“The bottom line is that with the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increasing, a significant warming trend is expected to also continue,” the Weather Channel’s statement reads.
Dewey Defeats Clinton!
Um, yeah, okay:
Many Democrats in the first-in-the-nation caucus state who rejected Hillary Clinton seven years ago say they’re keeping their options open and aren’t quite ready to crown the former secretary of State in 2016.
This is shocking news on the eve of the 2014 election. How do Iowa Dems feel about Michelle Obama in 2024?
Saint Francis and the Sow
By Galway Kinnell:
The budstands for all things,even for those things that don’t flower,for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;though sometimes it is necessaryto reteach a thing its loveliness,to put a hand on its browof the flowerand retell it in words and in touchit is lovelyuntil it flowers again from within, of self-blessing...
Social Justice, Schmocial Justice
RMJ noticed something:
The Pope drew a lot of internet attention for saying evolution is not antithetical to Christianity.
He drew far less attention for saying the teachings of the gospels are not antithetical to Communism. Or rather, that "love for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel". I had to work to find that quote. Maybe because it's old news by now for this pope...
Maybe because news really is all about tittle-tattle, gossip, what is interesting now, and what isn't interesting now because it was interesting a few months ago, but we've moved on? Or maybe it's because we'd rather fight over abstractions like the theory of evolution, than do the gritty work of enacting social justice in our own backyards.
I take a slightly different tack, and see our fight over evolution as the tip of an iceberg. It shows that we can't even agree on scientific facts so it's difficult to expect us to agree on anything with a deeper moral, social component (let alone the clear factual case that inequality is bad for society itself).
What Would Staff Sergeant Gorman Say?
Goddamn army panic train:
CNN has an interview: Army major general speaks to CNN from inside Ebola quarantine. That’s right, the US Army has ‘imprisoned’ the commander of Africa Command and the inspection team he headed to West Africa.
None of these people dealt with patient care and none of them have any symptoms of anything, but they are in an isolation building on their home base in Italy for three weeks. I have a feeling that the local Italian officials had a lot to do with this. The Department of Defense has always done a lot of stupid things that were listed as ‘community relations’.
Stupidity is epidemic.
Senate Rules Is As Senate Rules Does
Lyle Denniston over at the National Constitution Center:
From time to time, critics of Senate filibusters – the prolonged debate by one or more members to keep that chamber from reaching a vote on a controversial measure – have been trying to persuade the courts that the power can be abused and, when it is, flatly contradicts the Constitution’s embrace of action by a majority in each house (an idea that gets mentioned specifically in Article I).
In nearly all of those cases, the courts have turned aside the constitutional challenge for procedural reasons, finding that no challenger was in a position, legally, to raise the issue in court. The Supreme Court has not disturbed that kind of result.
The most recent court ruling on such a challenge, however, has led a new group of challengers to try again, and they are now attempting to persuade the Supreme Court to finally rule on the complaint. They believe that the way they lost the case in the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., actually makes their case fundamentally different, and thus a better test of Senate filibusters than any previous challenge.
Instead of turning aside the challenge of four members of the House, three young individuals, and the advocacy group Common Cause on the premise that each lacked a sufficient interest to justify their challenge, the D.C. Circuit Court issued a more sweeping ruling.
If bills that the House had passed — bills that the four lawmakers had voted for, and that would have benefitted the three individuals and Common Cause – never came to a vote in the Senate, the blame lay with those senators who refused to vote to cut off debate and allow a final vote on passage, the Circuit Court ruled.
In other words, any frustration of the challengers’ interests, the Circuit Court said, came from those senators, or from the Senate itself. But, of course, the individual senators and the Senate itself cannot be sued for anything they do in the legislative realm, because that is flatly forbidden by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. Article I, Section 6, says that members of Congress “shall not be questioned in any other place” for any speech or debate, and that is understood to mean any legislative activity.
That ruling, the new appeal argued in Supreme Court filings, goes so far that no one could ever sue to challenge a legislative rule and that, as a result, Congress could even adopt a rule that flatly discriminated in the legislative process on the basis of race, and yet there would be no one who could go to court with a challenge.
The rules can be convoluted and annoying, but this dog really will not do the constitutional hunting dealio on filibusters. Don't like how that works? Elect better people. Change the Constitution. You know, follow the rules.
Get A Hold Of Yourself!
Everybody Gotta Die Some Time, Red
Something about Kardashians and Americans infected with Ebola:
While the Ebola virus has infected more than 10,000 people — nearly half of whom have died — in West Africa, it has been a different story in the United States and other regions with a stable infrastructure and an abundance of medical personnel and supplies. After six domestic cases, the survival rate here currently stands at 83 percent, compared to that of 30 to 40 percent at the virus’ epicenter.
Actually, the survival rate of caregivers after exposure in the United States is currently 100%. Only reason Duncan died is because we don't have universal healthcare, so he was turned away at the ER and lost precious treatment time.
Weather Is Not Climate
It ain't the Climate Channel:
Fox News host Megyn Kelly gave a platform Monday night to John Coleman, a retired TV weatherman and a co-founder of the Weather Channel who firmly believes climate change is a myth.
After thanking Kelly for giving airtime to a climate change "skeptic" like himself, which he said was hard to come by "ever since Al Gore made it a plank of the Democratic Party," Coleman slammed the scientific community's focus on man-made climate change.
"It's very difficult for anybody to be against it because the media has told the nation over and over again, day after day for 20 years, that the oceans are rising, the polar bears are dying, the ice is melting, that storms are going to sweep the Earth and that we're all going to die of a heat wave," he said. "I mean, this is an incredible bad, bad science."
Kelly repeatedly asked what data Coleman had to show to the contrary.
"Well, there are 9,000 Ph.D.s and 31 scientists who have signed a petition that says [carbon dioxide] is not a significant greenhouse gas. Oh it's a teeny, itsy-bitsy greenhouse gas, but it's not in any way significant," Coleman said. "And we are sure of it. It's not like something I just made up or just thought of. I've studied and studied and studied."
There is consensus among the scientific community that global warming is caused by human activity -- 97.1 percent of studies expressing a position on climate change agree on that fact, to be precise -- but Coleman went on to argue that despite what Al Gore may say, the polar ice caps are doing just fine.
Fuck consensus, we've got PhDs like Jack Schmitt, who learned geology not climatology: HE WAS AN ASTRONAUT, FFS!
Drones Are No Match For My Walther PPK
The Man can never keep US Senators down:
[I]f Ernst is talking about some hypothetical situation in which government’s disregard for her rights may necessitate an armed response it’s fair to ask her: What exactly is it? Is she saying that when law enforcement officers come to arrest her on some trumped-up charge, instead of submitting and fighting the charges in court she’ll shoot those officers? Who else is an appropriate target here? Members of Congress who pass laws taking away her rights? FBI agents? Who?
Oh, hold on, here's me:
[T]he biggest problem with the insurrectionist theory of militias: if they are given free rein to fight whatever they view as tyranny, then no political compact can ever last for long (just look at threats of rebellion and secession over healthcare, of all things) and we'd be almost constantly devolving into civil war as England had done. We didn't overthrow British tyranny in favor of anarchy with armed warlords (hello, Somalia). No, we exercised extra-constitutional rights to sever ties to an unrepresentative regime, then established a popular government whose republican structure and institutional stability would preserve our liberties.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, etc. Oh, and the human right of self-defense is sacrosanct, and the Wild Wild West is freedom, amirite? An Army of One, and Government of One, men are all angels, bitches! But I'm talking to myself and my Precious...
The Years Of Rice And Salt
Because learning about something is worshipping it:
An angry father has been banned from a Maryland high school’s campus after he made vague but ominous threats against the school because his daughter’s history homework mentioned the Islamic faith.
Charles County School District Superintendent Kimberly Hill met with Wood and his wife to discuss their concerns on Monday. The couple reportedly asked the school to excuse their daughter from world history class for the duration of the segment studying Islam.
After the meeting, Wood told reporters that his daughter, a junior at La Plata High, should not be forced to study a faith that she “does not believe in.”
Morris told the Woods that an alternate curriculum could be created for their daughter, and that any assignments she refused to complete would be given a failing grade.
“I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive],” Wood said on Monday. “If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.”
Wood told Superintendent Morris that the school is violating his daughter’s “constitutional rights” and threatened to “bring down a shit-storm on them like they’ve never seen.”
But hey, I'm sure nobody would ever ever ever ever ever force non-Christians to study a faith they don't believe in...
Check It And See
They Don't Seem To Ever Learn
Thin red lines on a
child's small fingers: hard teachers
are the kitty's claws.
"Discover the force of the heavens O Men."
I swear, this guy is Kepler and Galileo reincarnated:
“He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality, and so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things,” the pope said.
“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” the pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
This Halloween Is Something To Be Sure
By Sylvia Plath:
Pure? What does it mean?The tongues of hellAre dull, dull as the tripleTongues of dull, fat CerberusWho wheezes at the gate. IncapableOf licking cleanThe tinder cries.The indelible smellOf a snuffed candle!Love, love, the low smokes rollFrom me like Isadora’s scarves, I’m in a frightOne scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel,Such yellow sullen smokesMake their own element. They will not rise,But trundle round the globeChoking the aged and the meek,The weakHothouse baby in its crib,The ghastly orchidHanging its hanging garden in the air,Devilish leopard!Radiation turned it whiteAnd killed it in an hour.Greasing the bodies of adulterersLike Hiroshima ash and eating in.The sin. The sin.
Somehow seemed apt.
Roman Sunset: They Hate Us For Our Force Projection
Steve Benen, who perhaps is having second thoughts about urban Vermont and considering moving to the boonies if we have Internet services not offered over barbed wire:
As we discussed this morning, Christie’s administration pointed to a shift in posture overnight, and this morning, the governor agreed to allow Hickox to leave.One day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he had “no second thoughts” about forcing a quarantine on a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who had tested negative for Ebola, the Republican loosened his grip and agreed to transfer her to Maine where she lives.The governor’s office announced Monday morning in a statement that the nurse – after being symptom-free for the last 24 hours – would adhere to her request to be moved to the state. At that point, Maine can “make a determination under their own laws” on whether to continue the quarantine, the statement read.A spokesperson for Christie insisted that New Jersey’s protocol “is not changing,” and Hickox’s release technically isn’t a shift since she’ll be leaving the state to return to Maine.It’s worth emphasizing that the nurse, who has treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone as part of her work with Doctors Without Borders, has not displayed any symptoms. Christie said over the weekend that Hickox was “obviously ill,” but this was apparently only obvious to Christie – who has no medical background and who wasn’t even in New Jersey when the nurse was detained against her will.Hickox has secured legal counsel. Whether the threat of litigation prompted Christie’s change of heart is unclear.
Christie is obviously ill and should be quarantined.
Platonic Ideals In Space!
This is a reasonably stunning piece of information: You Can Fit Every Planet In The Solar System Between Earth And The Moon.
For some reason that reminded me of Kepler's solids.
The Great Disappearing
“It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the Capitol to the federal courthouse just down the hill,” Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported last Friday, “but House Republicans haven’t managed to make that trip in the four months since they announced they’d be suing the president.”
Boehner’s slow-foot approach to the lawsuit is a bit puzzling, given that he justified the lawsuit in part by arguing that the Constitution was under imminent threat from Obama’s “lawlessness” and action had to be taken immediately. “The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people,” Boehner wrote in an Op-Ed for CNN, “and America’s constitutional balance of powers — before it is too late.” Now Boehner’s people are telling Politico that they’ll get around to it when they get around to it: “A spokesman for Boehner said the date for filing the litigation remains up in the air. ‘No decisions on timing at this point,’ spokesman Kevin Smith said Friday.”
[T]he suit was considered a wild longshot even before the House voted to authorize it, and since then it’s only faced more and more setbacks. The most recent was turned up by Constitutional Accountability Center attorneys Simon Lazarus and Elisabeth Stein, who found a Congressional Research Service report from September that, in their view, leaves zero doubt that Boehner’s suit has no legal merit:
Although shrouded in twelve pages of fine print and protectively bureaucratic phraseology, the report’s bottom line is clear: not merely are the legal underpinnings of the Republicans’ planned lawsuit weak; the report turns up no legal basis – no “there” there – at all.
Per Lazarus and Stein, the report “bears the earmarks of an inquiry, requested by the Speaker or his allies, to give some color of legitimacy to their charges of rampant presidential illegality. Instead, the result validates the lawyers’ maxim not to ask a question when unsure of the likely answer.”
Perhaps I Should Start A Write-in Campaign
A drive through Downtown Fletcher reminds me there's an election coming up. Feel like Scrooge at Christmas right now--complete political malaise.
Reading Fucking Rainbow
Dead Pets Society
A Lament for the Dead Pets of Our Childhood by AE Stallings:
After the death of pets, dolls lay too still
And wooden in the cradle, sister, after
We learned death: not hell, no ghosts or angels,
But a cold thing in the image of a warm thing,
Limp as sleep without the twitch of dreams.
Been thinking about companions, recently lost and long dead...
Queen Fucking Elsa Agrees
I'm sure one day our children will accidentally use "at-home words" in public. Hardly a sin compared to the societal obstacles our daughter faces as she grows up (and influences that, despite our best intentions, compelled her to choose a queen costume for Halloween). Fuck that sexist shit.
It Was A Slow Day
Health Security Theater
Following up on my previous quarantine post, Bryan notes:
Kaci Hickox is a nurse who has been part of an MSF [Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières] team helping Ebola patients in West Africa. Upon her return to the US she was given a 21 day jail sentence in a New Jersey hospital isolation ward for that apparent offense, and she makes it clear that she isn’t happy.
Christie tried to slam the CDC and hinted that they'd try the quarantine route eventually (Federal action that I'm sure states' rightists would vocally support), despite the rather prevalent expert opinion that it's unneccessary and possibly dangerous. Interestingly, he didn't make any mention of the MSF protocols that don't require people to go to jail for 3 weeks regardlss of infection status.
Anyway, it is certainly within the states' police power to quarantine. Just as it's in the states' power to cut taxes for the rich and gut the social safety net, or to impose confiscatory tax rates and give everybody free cigarettes. That doesn't make it a good idea.
I would personally hate putting my life on the line to stem the tide of epidemic at its source, only to come back and be locked away from my life for 3 weeks when I don't even show signs of a disease that's only communicable when I'm symptomatic. Sure the type of person who does that type of volunteer work already is motivated to sacrifice, but does seem cruel and counterproductive.
We're All Rebels Now
King George III, 1775:
Those who have long too successfully laboured to inflame my people in America by gross misrepresentations, and to infuse into their minds a system of opinions, repugnant to the true constitution of the colonies, and to their subordinate relation to Great-Britain, now openly avow their revolt, hostility and rebellion.
They have raised troops, and are collecting a naval force; they have seized the public revenue, and assumed to themselves legislative, executive and judicial powers, which they already exercise in the most arbitrary manner, over the persons and property of their fellow-subjects: And altho' many of these unhappy people may still retain their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of this usurpation, and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient force shall appear to support them.
The rebellious war now levied is become more general, and is manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent empire. I need not dwell upon the fatal effects of the success of such a plan. The object is too important, the spirit of the British nation too high, the resources with which God hath blessed her too numerous, to give up so many colonies which she has planted with great industry, nursed with great tenderness, encouraged with many commercial advantages, and protected and defended at much expence of blood and treasure.
Within a few months, Washington's soldiers were in New York after driving the British from Boston. Isaac Bangs describes a scene in April, not long after the Continental Army arrived:
[N]ear the Fort, is the Equestrian Statue of King George 3rd, a Present from himself to this City. The design was in imitation of one of the Roman Emperors on Horseback. The Man George is represented about 1/3 larger than a Natural Man ; the Horse, in proportion, both neatly constructed of Lead guilt with Gold, raised on a Pedestral of white Marble, about 15 Feet high, enclosed with a very elegant Fence about 10 feet high, the 2 lower feet Stone, the remainder of open worked Iron ; the inclosure was oval, containing about 1/4 of an acre of beautifull green.
And then after the Declaration is read to the troops:
Last Night the Statue on the Bowling Green representing George Ghwelph alias George Rex...was pulled down by the Populace. In it were 4,000 Pounds of Lead, & a Man undertook to take of 10 oz of Gold from the Superficies, as both Man & Horse were covered with Gold Leaf.
The Lead, we hear, is to be run up into Musquet Balls for the use of the Yankies, when it is hoped that the Emanations of the Leaden George will make as deep impressions in the Bodies of some of his red Coated & Torie Subjects, & that they will do the same execution in poisoning & destroying them, as the superabundant Emanations of the Folly & pretended Goodness of the real George have made upon their Minds, which have effectually poisoned & destroyed their Souls, that they are not worthy to be ranked with any Beings who have any Pretensions to the Principles of Virtue & Justice ; but would to God that the unhappy contest might be ended without puting us to the disagreeable Necessity of sending them to dwell with those beings for the Company of whom alone their Tempers & dispositions are now suitable.
Indeed, part of it was made into precisely 42,088 balls (perhaps half of what could've been). As Ebenezer Howard wrote to General Gates: [The king's] troops will probably have melted Majesty fired at them.
At least George didn't appoint an Ebola Czar...
Kosher Is As Kosher Does
Quarantines Is As Quarantines Does
A Republican admits the government has a responsibility to the public good when it comes to health matters:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday defended the mandatory quarantines in New Jersey and New York for all health workers who return from treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
"I think this is a policy that will become a national policy sooner rather than later," Christie said on "Fox News Sunday." "We have taken this action, and I have no second thoughts about it."
Christie said that Centers for Disease Control protocol on Ebola was a "moving target" and that he thinks the CDC will eventually adopt the mandatory quarantine.
The governor said he doesn't have confidence in the CDC's "voluntary system with folks who may or may not comply."
"I don’t think, when you’re dealing with something as serious as this, that you can count on a voluntary system. This is government’s job," he said.
Still not sure it's a necessary step (let alone a potentially bad step) as opposed to "health security theater," but it's well within state police power, upheld by SCOTUS over a century ago. And as the CDC has noted, quarantine has a long, rich history in America.
Centrism Is As Centrism Does
It’s an amazing thing: Obama is essentially what we used to call a liberal Republican, who faces implacable opposition from a very hard right. But Obama’s moderation is hidden in plain sight, apparently invisible to the commentariat.
This is also why I don't buy critiques from the likes of Cornell West: Obama never posed as a progressive, and no progressive who actually paid attention would've been fooled.
Yeah, he's relatively left compared to the GOP and even Blue Dogs, but he's still way far to the right for my taste. Which is why I didn't support him during the primaries.
Speaking Of Golden Staircases
PS--I think I've bitched about disabled embeds before. This is the one I wanted. YouTube fascists suck.
What Would Negativland Do?
For decades, Led Zeppelin has faced claims that they plagiarized their iconic 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” from the rock band Spirit. Now it looks like Zeppelin is headed for a difficult legal battle.
Back in May, family members of Spirit frontman Randy Craig Wolfe (a.k.a Randy California) filed the suit against Zeppelin, seeking monetary damages and a writing credit for the now-deceased Wolfe, NBC Philadelphiareports. Wolfe’s family claims that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page ripped off the chords for “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s 1968 tune “Taurus.” (The two bands at one point toured together and had thus become familiar with each other’s music.)
Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, I hear tell...
Speaking Of Ba‘al Zəbûl
Via a monastic friend of mine, here's a fun story (the mental illness thing notwithstanding):
The man who drove his car into the controversial Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol building claims to have had divine inspiration, of sorts, for his actions: The devil made him do it.
Michael Tate Reed, 29, told investigators that Satan told him to urinate on the stone display, which he did, then destroy it, which he did. After he crashed a car through the building, he allegedly went inside the federal building and threatened the President of the United States...
Crystal Tucker, Reed's mother, says that her son is very ill, and he should not be judged by his actions. "He would never deface something that meant so much to him. He takes the Ten Commandments very seriously," Tucker said. Reed has been suffering breakdowns for years since a work-related injury, but she says he is a very devout Christian.
Lucien Greaves of the Satanic Temple said that, unless the Ten Commandments monument is restored, they will not seek to erect the Baphomet statue.
The Satanic Temple was appalled to learn of the act of destructive vandalism laid upon the 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma today. As many are aware, we are seeking to have a Satanic monument erected alongside the 10 Commandments - and only alongside the 10 Commandments. We do not want our monument to stand alone. If our monument stands at the state Capitol, we want it to compliment and contrast the 10 Commandments, with both standing unmolested as a testament to American religious freedom and tolerance. We hope that by respecting religious liberty in allowing our monument to be displayed, Oklahoma will help ameliorate any animosity between differing perspectives, not cultivate them."
I find it quite interesting that the Satanists don't want to have their religious display be the only one on public property. The whole dealio is stuntish, of course, but they continue to prove their point.
"Oxford and Cambridge were not necessary to fit men to preach."
[T]he true preaching and ministry are to be in the spirit [1 Cor 14:15]; for the saints were made able ministers of the spirit, and not of the letter [2 Cor 3:6].
- George Fox, Epistle CCCXII
Suffice to say I have reasons to despise the institutional Church; far better reasons than Chris Hedges sums up in his article on the occasion of his ordination.
Ordination is a tricky thing. It is determined by each denomination, based on its own determination of what validates an ordination. I understand that in some Baptist denominations, for example, the congregation can ordain those they deem fit, and the deed is done. The UCC is supposed to require a seminary education, but that's not the rigid requirement you might expect it to be. I don't know what standards other denominations impose, but the idea is to determine that you have a calling to ministry and a reason to be set aside as a pastor or priest. It is not automatic, granted upon your graduation from the right school, or based on your winning personality. Most churches require some call to ministry; not just the mysterious "inner" call, but an actual offer of employment in what the denomination recognizes as a ministry. A call to pastor a church is the obvious choice (it was how I was ordained; I couldn't even ask for ordination until a church wanted me to be their pastor), but there can be other calls. There is always a lot of discernment involved, and a lot of consideration as to whether the candidate can simply handle the job of being a priest or pastor.
It ain't no golden staircase.
I'm not one who gets institutional religion generally, particularly the concept of ordination. Probably due in large part to my Quaker upbringing, but perhaps also because I'm not one who feels compelled to listen to authority when I can just as easily have my own ideas about such matters.
Anyway, it brought to mind George Fox's distrust of the priestly class and overall thoughts on ministry, which he wrote about in his Journal. From The First Years of Ministry (1648-1649):
The earthly spirit of the priests wounded my life; and when I heard the bell toll to call people together to the steeple-house, it struck at my life; for it was just like a market-bell, to gather people together, that the priest might set forth his ware for sale. Oh, the vast sums of money that are gotten by the trade they make of selling the Scriptures, and by their preaching, from the highest bishop to the lowest priest! What one trade else in the world is comparable to it? notwithstanding the Scriptures were given forth freely, and Christ commanded His ministers to preach freely, and the prophets and apostles denounced judgment against all covetous hirelings and diviners for money.
But in this free Spirit of the Lord Jesus was I sent forth to declare the Word of life and reconciliation freely...
[C]oming to Derby, I lay at the house of a doctor, whose wife was convinced; and so were several more in the town. As I was walking in my chamber, the [steeple-house] bell rang, and it struck at my life at the very hearing of it; so I asked the woman of the house what the bell rang for. She said there was to be a great lecture there that day, and many of the officers of the army, and priests, and preachers were to be there, and a colonel, that was a preacher.
Then was I moved of the Lord to go up to them; and when they had done I spoke to them what the Lord commanded me, and they were pretty quiet. But there came an officer and took me by the hand, and said that I and the other two that were with me must go before the magistrates. It was about the first hour after noon that we came before them.
They asked me why we came thither. I said God moved us so to do; and I told them, "God dwells not in temples made with hands." I told them also that all their preaching, baptism and sacrifices would never sanctify them, and bade them look unto Christ within them, and not unto men; for it is Christ that sanctifies. Then they ran into many words; but I told them they were not to dispute of God and Christ, but to obey Him.
I went to a steeple-house hard by, where the priest and people were in a great rage. This priest had threatened Friends what he would do; but when I came he fled; for the Lord's power came over him and them...
I was sent of the Lord God of heaven and earth to preach freely, and to bring people off from these outward temples made with hands, which God dwelleth not in; that they might know their bodies to become the temples of God and of Christ; and to draw people off from all...the world's hireling teachers, that take tithes and great wages, preaching for hire, and divining for money, whom God and Christ never sent...I exhorted the people to come off from all these things, directing them to the Spirit and grace of God in themselves, and to the Light of Jesus in their own hearts; that they might come to know Christ, their free teacher, to bring them salvation, and to open the Scriptures to them.
Thus the Lord gave me a good opportunity to open things largely unto them. All was quiet, and many were convinced; blessed be the Lord.
[W]e passed to a province meeting, which lasted two days, there being one about the poor, and another meeting more general; in which a mighty power of the Lord appeared. Truth was livingly declared, and Friends were much refreshed therein.
Passing thence about four and twenty miles, we came to another place, where we had a very good, refreshing meeting; but after it some Papists that were there were angry, and raged very much. When I heard of it, I sent for one of them, who was a schoolmaster; but he would not come.
Thereupon I sent a challenge to him, with all the friars and monks, priests and Jesuits, to come forth, and "try their God and their Christ, which they had made of bread and wine," but no answer could I get from them. I told them they were worse than the priests of Baal; for Baal's priests tried their wooden god, but these durst not try their god of bread and wine; and Baal's priests and people did not eat their god as these did, and then make another.
Friends can be a harsh toke.
Why so grim? Bumblebee might be worried about losing the Cake Walk. Seriously, there was great angst. Then the boy won a bunch of yummy cupcakes.
Last one to the party doesn't get any sugar!
Treason In Defense Of The Constitution Is Treason
Plainly, the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy.
- Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
And now Digby on our modern treasonous secesh:
[W]hat amuses me about these scenarios is the fact that Ronald Reagan was the biggest flag-waving American patriot around. As were pretty much all Republicans not ten years ago. "These colors don't run" blah, blah, blah. And today they seem to hate it, mostly because they hate so many Americans.
It's fine with me if they hate America. Everyone has the right to do that if they choose. But it would be nice if they could be the tiniest bit consistent about this. When the left complains about American policy it is accused of being UnAmerican and called traitors to their country by these same people. And yet when theydon't like American policies they can call for secession and maintain their reputations as All American patriots at the same time.
Yeah, all of that.
Wealthy And Disfigured
Plutocrats, Just Admit It
My only comment is that Loomis missed a real alliteration opportunity: Plutocrats Poo-poo Poor People's Political Participation. Otherwise, he and Krugman are spot on.
What Practice Have You Had In War?
On October 8, 1812, the United States sailed for a second cruise in the squadron of Commodore Rodgers. On October 12th, Captain Decatur fortunately separated from the fleet and stood to the eastward. On the 25th, in latitude 29° N., longitude 29° 30' W., while close-hauled on the port tack, with the wind fresh S.S.E., a sail was sighted about twelve miles to windward. This vessel afterward proved to be the British frigate Macedonian, 38, Captain John S. Garden, a noted martinet, and an officer who prided himself on having his ship in the highest state of efficiency.
The Macedonian, having sighted the American ship, made all sail in chase and bore down with topmast and topgallant-studdingsails set until almost within range, when she hauled by the wind to keep the weather-gage. Decatur kept his luff and began the action with a broadside, which fell short; but the next time his long 245 reached home, while the fire of the Macedonian did little or no damage.
At 10.10 Captain Carden, determining to close, bore up and came down on the American ship with the wind on his port quarter. Captain Decatur, meanwhile, laid his maintopsail to the mast and kept up a terrific fire as the Macedonian approached, and she, hauling up, replied with her starboard battery, but the United States fired twice to the Englishman's once, dismounting the guns of her starboard battery and cutting her crew down with grape and canister like sheep.
At 10.45 a shot carried away the mizzenmast, and the men on it were lost. Captain Carden now called away his boarders, and, putting his helm hard aport, prepared to board, but a shot carried away the fore-brace, and the yard swung round, throwing the ship up in the wind and exposing her to a raking fire from the United States.
By eleven, the Macedonian's fore- and maintopmast and main-yard had been shot away all of her boats were smashed, two guns of the main battery and all but two of the forecastle and quarter-deck guns were disabled, and she had received over one hundred shot in her hull, while the carnage among the crew was frightful. In short, the ship was a dismasted wreck, rolling her maindeck battery under water in the long swell of the Atlantic Ocean. Decatur, observing her disabled condition, hauled off to reeve new rigging and secure his masts, and at twelve o'clock the United States bore down under easy sail across the stern of the English frigate, prepared to renew the action, when her colors were hauled down and she surrendered.
Lieutenant John B. Nicholson, who was sent to receive the surrender of the Macedonian, found her decks littered with dead and the ship little better than a wreck. Captain Carden went back to the United States in her boat and tendered his sword to Decatur, who declined to receive it, saying. "Sir, I cannot receive the sword of a man who has so bravely defended his ship."
A few months before this meeting, the United States and the Macedonian had been together at Norfolk, and Captain Carden had dined with Decatur on board his ship. In conversation the English captain remarked, "Decatur, though your ships may be good enough and you are a clever set of fellows, what practice have you had in war? There is the rub!"
Turns out that Decatur had a bit of previous experience. In your face, Limey!
Ensemble Of Passionate Feeling And Sensuous Warmth
I Could Tell You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You With A Death Panel
Glad he cleared that up:
Insider Louisville asked McConnell after the event if he would make a push for [Social Security privatization] if he was elected Senate Majority Leader and could set the agenda, but he declined to reveal if he would do so.
“I’m not announcing what the agenda would be in advance,” said McConnell. “We’re not in the majority yet. We’ll have more to say about that later,” assumedly meaning at some point after the election in 12 days.
Dog knows you wouldn't want to tell voters what to expect before the election!
American Epidemiological History
The coolest and firmest minds, even among the Quakers in Philadelphia, have given their Opinions to me that nothing but the Yellow Fever could have saved the United States from the total Revolution of Government.
- John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, June 30, 1813
Oddly enough, I've blogged on occassion about disease and epidemics in history. So naturally I found this Mother Jones article interesting: 5 New York Epidemics That Were Way Worse Than Ebola Will Be.
- Yellow fever (1795-1803)
- Cholera (mid-1800s)
- Polio (1916)
- Influenza (1918)
- HIV/AIDS (1981-present)
Germs had a big role in our history. Heck, back in the day Congressional recess was less about going home to fundraise and more about avoiding yellow fever. And in a related vein, plague made it easier for the Pilgrims to steal land from the locals (and made them kinda scary).
Bipartisan! Dignity! Sexy!
Apes In Space
On October 24, 1946, not long after the end of World War II and years before the Sputnik satellite opened the space age, a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert saw something new and wonderful—the first pictures of Earth as seen from space.
The grainy, black-and-white photos were taken from an altitude of 65 miles by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera riding on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range. Snapping a new frame every second and a half, the rocket-borne camera climbed straight up, then fell back to Earth minutes later, slamming into the ground at 500 feet per second. The camera itself was smashed, but the film, protected in a steel cassette, was unharmed.
Fred Rulli was a 19-year-old enlisted man assigned to the recovery team that drove into the desert to retrieve film from those early V-2 shots. When the scientists found the cassette in good shape, he recalls, "They were ecstatic, they were jumping up and down like kids." Later, back at the launch site, "when they first projected [the photos] onto the screen, the scientists just went nuts."
Before 1946, the highest pictures ever taken of the Earth’s surface were from the Explorer II balloon, which had ascended 13.7 miles in 1935, high enough to discern the curvature of the Earth. The V-2 cameras reached more than five times that altitude, where they clearly showed the planet set against the blackness of space.
And yet, we still haven't found a monolith on the Moon yet.
*throws bone into the air*
Full Faith And Credit