October 22, 2014

Saturday Ramblings, May 31, 2004

Welcome to the weekend, fellow imonkers. If any of you even thinks of mentioning the Pacers-Heat series I will look up your ISP and hunt you down. And do …  really bad things.  As soon as I can think of what they are.  You have been warned.

Did you know that 33 cities have implemented (or are considering) laws prohibiting people from feeding the homeless?  Daytona Beach, Florida, for example, recently fined a married couple and their friends  2,000 dollars for setting up a feeding station in a local park.  Daytona Beach leaders argue that the couple’s work worsens homelessness by coaxing impoverished people away from centralized, city-run programs, and they complain that during the couple’s feedings some homeless people mistreated the park and frightened other patrons. what do you think? Do city officials have a point, or are they just playing Scrooge?

472004-01-main-278x433“Honoring predator Harvey Milk on a U.S. postage stamp is disturbing to say the least. Harvey Milk was a very disreputable man and used his charm and power to prey on young boys with emotional problems and drug addiction. He is the last person we should be featuring on a stamp.” This from the American Family Association, speaking out against the new stamp honoring the former San Francisco mayor.  But since the deed is done, what can be done: “Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write ‘Return to Sender” on the envelope and tell your postman you won’t accept it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis appeared to have a momentary disagreement. “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,” Netanyahu told the Pope at a public meeting in Jerusalem. “Aramaic,” interjected the Pope. “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” Netanyahu shot back. Francis then poked Netanyahu in the eye and put him in a headlock, igniting a hilarious slap-stick bout of fisticuffs, culminating in the two of them wrestling in a large vat of kosher jello.  I may have made that last sentence up…

People seeking sex-reassignment surgeries may now be able to have the procedure covered by Medicare, following a groundbreaking decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board on Friday. The ruling in question came in favor of 74-year-old Army veteran Denee Mallon, of Albuquerque, who was born as a man but now identifies as a woman.

“Celibacy is not a dogma. It is a rule of life that I appreciate very much and I think it is a gift for the Church but since it is not a dogma, the door is always open.” This was Pope Francis’ answer to whether Roman Catholic  priests will ever be able to marry.

Pope Francis left a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  It was the Lord’s prayer.  Extra points if you can guess the language without the link.

The Southern Baptists, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, saw membership decline for the seventh straight year in 2013, according to an annual report released Wednesday. Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has said recently that Southern Baptists can no longer pretend to be the moral majority and should instead seek to be a “prophetic minority.”

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/05/28/5854811/southern-baptist-membership-declines.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

We have all heard about the growth of the “nones”:  those who did not belong to any religious group, never attended church, and said religion wasn’t important in their lives. Interestingly, less than one out of five “nones” call themselves an atheist:nones2Also, does atheism have a gender gap?  The percentage of men in the above graph who call themselves atheist is almost double the percentage of women.  The recent sexual harassment scandals  in the more prominent atheist groups probably falls into play here as well.

“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it.” These are the words of Pakistani Mohammad Azeem, who along with his sons and about a dozen other male relatives, used bricks and clubs to murder  his pregnant daughter, 25-year-old Farzana Parveen, outside a courthouse. The woman had refused to marry the cousin the family had picked out for her.  While the public nature of the stoning was unusual, the honor killings are not. Last month, the private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 869 women were victims of honor killings in 2013. Another Pakistani rights group estimates that about 1,000 Pakistani women are killed each year by their families. But the true figure is probably many times higher because the census is based only on newspaper accounts of honor killings.

Update on the above:  It is now being reported that the groom of the murdered woman confessed to killing his former wife so he could marry Farzana. “I wanted to send a proposal to Farzana, so I killed my wife,” he said. The man had been arrested in 2009 for this crime, but the charges were dropped when the woman’s family “forgave” him. As the AP notes: “Under Pakistani law, those charged with a slaying can see their criminal case dropped if family members of the deceased forgive them or accept so-called ‘blood money’ offerings over the crime.”

“After accounting for cardiovascular risk factors, people with the highest level of cynical distrust had 2.54 times greater risk of incident dementia, compared with the people with low cynical distrust.”  That is the result of a large study published in the journal Neurology, which found that highly cynical people were much more likely to develop dementia.

rsz_mg1church28z-m“People go to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee, not because it’s the best coffee, but because it’s the most convenient. In a similar way, this is a port of entry for somebody to begin to connect with God in an intentional kind of way.” This was the argument put forth by Jeff Bills, Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Voorhees, Pennsylvania.  He was describing why the church purchased a defunct bank building and began advertising drive-through prayers.   The cars drive up, roll down the window, and describe a worry or concern. The volunteer offers a prayer on the spot. The whole process takes a minute or two, and patrons remain anonymous. Christian Piatt, a Christian author, is not a fan: “It emphasizes the individual, which is counter to the fundamental message of Christianity. It also reinforces this idea of prayer being more like a vending machine. We drive up to the window, make our selection, put in our order, and get our request fulfilled. That’s a self-serving distortion of the Christian experience.”  I believe Piatt hits the nail on the head.  Your thoughts?

Sheriff James Voutour sent his deputy  to investigate reports of vandalized flags at a New York cemetery.  31 American flags were missing from veteran’s graves.  The deputy caught the culprit in the act. It was a groundhog.  The deputy watched the animal take the flags, break them with its front paws, and take them into its den. No word on if charges were filed.

Oh, and Darth Vader is running for mayor of Kiev. He had lost his presidential campaign, strangely. Vader tells reporters if elected, he won’t remove his helmet, keeping his anonymity a secret.

We are approaching wedding season, which also means anniversary season.  So we will close with a friendly PSA for all our married male readers:

Comments

  1. dumb ox says:

    “What do you think? Do city officials have a point, or are they just playing Scrooge?”

    Sounds like city officials don’t like competition cutting in on their action.

    • Since San Francisco has accommodated the homeless by allowing public camping on city streets, non aggressive panhandling and open voter registration with no known address THAT city has had an explosion of homelessness. So, does that other city have a point? Well, YES, it DOES! But is it right to punish charity so stringently? Now THAT is another question.

      • Juniper says:

        San Francisco has always resembled Janus in its policies and treatment of the homeless. I recall in the 1980s when the city passed laws against feeding the homeless and arrested a bunch of people from Food not Bombs who regularly fed people in public areas. In 2009 it was the 7th worst city to be homeless. I don’t know that things have gotten any better since then.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Activist Marching for Homeless Rights as long as those filthy homeless stay away from MY neighborhood?

      • Robert F says:

        ” But is it right to punish charity so stringently? ”

        Is it right to prohibit charity in the form of personally and directly helping the homeless? They should call this the Anti-Good Samaritan Law. I think it hampers the practice of Christianity, and other religions, and is a suitable target for inter-religious civil disobedience. From the perspective of the homeless, those centralized, city-run programs no doubt seem highly impersonal and alienating, lacking humanity; some homeless people avoid such programs like the plague, and their reasons, including the not too uncommon outbreak of violent episodes, are not always ungrounded.

        • Danielle says:

          I lean this direction.

          I can understand the logic of discouraging food distribution in some locales, when a city has reasonable laws about homelessness and when sufficient resources targeted at the homeless exist elsewhere. And I can see the value of trying to shift where people are congregating away from some area where it has become problematic.

          However, this logic doesn’t seem like it can go anywhere good. Where do we prohibit it? Everywhere that citizens are cranky enough and have enough money to get the city government to “protect” their neighborhood? (And isn’t San Francisco real estate getting very pricey these days?) How do we know the existing services are adequate? Because the city says they are? Perhaps some homeless people and charities think otherwise.

          Whatever the specific rules, I sense a loss of opportunity for collaboration.

          • Danielle says:

            Quick sidenote:

            I mentioned San Francisco above, as did a couple of other people. The article discusses developments in Daytona Beach. Raleigh, Myrtle Beach, and Birmingham.

          • Robert F says:

            No doubt municipalities have the right to prohibit unauthorized groups from setting up food stands in public parks and spaces. But no municipality should have the right to prohibit me or any group from taking a bag full of sandwiches, or whatever, and sharing them with whomever I please.

            Does this solve the problem of homelessness or hunger in America? Of course not. But part of our faith involves tearing down walls of separation between us and others, whoever the others may be, especially those in need, and affirming our commonality with them in personal encounter, even when there is some risk that our offering may be wasted in some way, even when there is some risk to ourselves personally. Government cannot do this for us, nor should it have the right to restrict the practice of our faith in this area.

            Jesus is among the hungry and the poor.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Where I work, we’ve had dealings with San Fran.

            Only way I can describe it is that city is straight out of South Park — imagine a city run by Kyle’s Moms deeply in love with the smell of their Progressive Inclusive Compassionate farts.

          • I see this as a failure of leadership by city officials. If they had concerns, they should have arranged meetings with those involved in charity work to build a consensus and create a collaborative solution.

      • dumb ox says:

        The city govt. here did the same thing. Camping on public property was always illegal but never enforced. Squalid homeless camps sprouted up everywhere. They finally were shut down. Aggressive pan-handling is still a problem here. Just giving food to the homeless is not the answer; they also need drug treatment, access to medical treatment, jobs, and homes. Some want to live on the street. I think substance abuse and mental illness are significant reasons many are there.

        i was commenting to the city’s concern about other assistance leading homeless away from their feeding program. I doubt bureaucracy cares about the ultimate plight of the homeless.

        • Robert F says:

          ” Some want to live on the street. I think substance abuse and mental illness are significant reasons many are there.”

          Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?. Perhaps for some homeless, or many, living on the street is the reason they have mental illness and/or are engaging in substance abuse.

          • dumb ox says:

            In many cases, untreated mental illness or substance abuse leads to loss of job, loss of family, loss of home. Yes, many lose their job and then their home. In my opinion, no one has the right answer – right or left. As long as the right views the cause of homelessness as laziness and the left views it as wealth inequality, the problem won’t be solved.

          • Robert F says:

            dumb ox,

            This is what I’m saying: I don’t live on the street, but if I ever did end up there (and my wife and I probably have a greater chance of ending up there than most here at imonk, so I’m not just speculating in an abstract way: it could easily happen), then I wouldn’t be surprised if I started drinking and/or abusing substances, though I do neither now. My wife and I both struggle with psychological issues, and have been getting treatment for years, but that hasn’t made things much better for us over the long haul: we’re merely going into a scary future with eyes that see more clearly, but we haven’t been able to stop heading toward the edge. I don’t self medicate now, but if things got that bad, I might start, just to escape reality for a little while.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > I doubt bureaucracy cares about the ultimate plight of the homeless.

          This is *ridiculously* unfair. “bureaucracy” is how humans do things at scale – and this is the 21st century in a nation of 300+ MILLION people on a planet surging past 8 BILLION people. It should never be forgotten that “bureaucracy” is made of *people* – many of whom care deeply, are far more informed and involved than those constantly nattering about them, doing more effective good than those grandstanding and making noise, and those people in “bureaucracy” are probably much more aware of *legitimate* *competing* concerns. There are likely plenty of people in that “bureaucracy” who could make more money and get more respect elsewhere doing something else; they are in that “bureaucracy” precisely because they care.

          Someone handing out food or money in a park is not automatically heroic – often they are very misguided. There are systems and schemes for addressing these problems, and many many established [and thus experienced] organization willing to accept their help – often times these go-it-alone-saviors are actually guilty of arrogance – they feel don’t need to bother with the established systems and schemes, they simply assume they know-better or care-more.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Bureaucracy by nature is Lawful Neutral — Follow the Rules while marking time for Retirement.

            However, when Entropy sets in over time, Lawful Neutral drifts through Lawful Stupid into Lawful Evil.

          • dumb ox says:

            When an organization makes its own power, sustainability and growth its goal, it becomes a bureaucracy.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And thus Entropy sets in.
            Lawful Neutral –> Lawful Stupid –> Lawful Evil.

          • Suzanne says:

            Agree, Adam. I know a number of people who work for state or municipality run social services and they are mostly compassionate and caring. And believe me, from their stories, they see and hear a lot more of the bad side of life in a month than most of us see in a lifetime.
            I’m sure there are some uncaring people doing these jobs. There are uncaring people behind the counter at the grocery, at the doctor’s office, and, yes, even in churches. It happens. But without these bureaucracies, there would be more homeless on the street and much more suffering.

          • SottoVoce says:

            These people believe that it doesn’t “count” unless you do it yourself. Simply giving money is a good thing, but it’s “too easy”. It is better to get your hands dirty in order to prove that you are a sufficiently awesome and humble Christian rather than a lazy, selfish, carnal Christian. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing and might actually be making the problem worse. This is how churches get their parishioners to spend thousands of dollars sending their inexperienced teenage children (and some adults) on mission trips to teach them to be grateful for their American privilege when the same amount of money, donated to an organization of trained people who know what they are doing, could accomplish much more. I get the impression that a lot of people have (probably unknowingly) gotten caught up in prioritizing the cultivation of personal virtue and its attendant good feelings over the pursuit of the most efficient and effective means of charity, even if those means involve acting from a distance.

            Caveat: that’s not to say that mission trips are worthless, especially for kids who are interested in going into that kind of work full time or to get people interested in types of volunteer work that they can keep doing over time and become experienced in. However, drawing on my own teenage experiences, I definitely had the impression that the trips were more for us than for the people we were helping. We really did want to help people, but we didn’t accomplish very much by going–and we kind of also went on them to prove that we weren’t spoiled brats who couldn’t live without air conditioning. I think the same principle might be in operation when people disparage training and organizational work. “If it makes you uncomfortable, it must be the right thing to do.”

            . . . I’m probably going to develop extremely early-onset dementia, aren’t I?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I get the impression that a lot of people have (probably unknowingly) gotten caught up in prioritizing the cultivation of personal virtue and its attendant good feelings over the pursuit of the most efficient and effective means of charity, even if those means involve acting from a distance.

            That WOULD be consistent with a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation, where MY personal piety and personal virtue trumps all else.

          • Robert F says:

            SottoVoce,
            Valid points. Especially about the mission trips mentality. The Mennonites I associated with a few years ago made sure to send their kids of mission trips all over the world. After a while, it all came to seem like a version of adventure vacationing for the missionally minded, a kind of rite-of-passage to build memories and fellowship on.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Or they are representing their citizens who do not enjoy being harassed.

      • Robert F says:

        Adam, I’m sometimes surprised that, although I think you’ve described yourself as a Marxist or socialist, you sound like an establishmentarian. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised: I once watched a televised interview of Abbie Hoffman (at a famous New York deli, where he ate heartily on the interviewer’s tab) in which he said he never personally gave charity, money or help to those in need, because that is society’s responsibility to do through government. I guess socialists believe that institutions, not individuals, should be responsible for addressing social problems like hunger and homelessness.

        I go along with that to a degree and in the main. But the problem is that when government isn’t doing so well at addressing these issues, laws are sometimes enacted and enforced with the purpose of hiding the problem, for instance, making the homeless become invisible. In the meantime, the problem grows and people suffer in the shadows.

        Until there aren’t enough shadows anymore, and then it’s possible that we end like India, where the ill and indigent die on the streets with nearly nobody helping or caring, and their corpses are left for hours or days until somebody finally gets around to disposing of them like so much trash. And given the fact that, after the recession a few years ago we still have an intractably high unemployment rate, I don’t think India is as far away from the US as it used to be.

        Perhaps we need to see what goes on in the shadows, and how many people are crowded into them, so that maybe we’ll care a little bit more and give a damn personally.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          My point is that automatically reading into this nefarious or callous motive is unjustified. That it automatically becomes “Oh, terrible beuracracy strikes again” is a sign of culutural myopia.

          > Adam, I’m sometimes surprised that, although I think you’ve described
          > yourself as a Marxist

          I have never described myself as a Marxist.

          > or socialist,

          Yes.

          > you sound like an establishmentarian.

          You can call be that an I won’t object. I am deeply skeptical of the American anti-institutionalism. It that makes me “establishmentarian”, then so be it. Anyone who believes that, in the modern west, that they can operation outside the establishment, or revolt against the establishment, is catastrophically deluded, at best woefully uninformed, and possibly mentally ill. The 21st century western establishment is *massive* and *pervasive*. But it also contains many institutions which are the envy of the world, and they are filled with dedicated and sober people. The “faceless beauracrat” is a human being who goes home every day, sleeps in on weekends, falls in love, experiences loss, etc…

          > I guess socialists believe that institutions, not individuals,
          > should be responsible for addressing social problems like hunger
          > and homelessness.

          For addessing “social problems” yes. I am 110% an institutionalist. This does not in anyway remove the role of the individual – in addressing individual problems. But ad-hoc solutions are not sustainable and generally go nowhere – I’ve watched so so many attempts at such things go nowhere, or fall apart once the cult-of-personality implodes. Building institutions is what humans do, they are how a group of individuals expresses itself in society. A church is an institution, as is a homeless shelter, as is the Social Security Administration.

          Working within the establishment is the only thing that *works*. We don’t need Heros, we need citizens.

          > I go along with that to a degree and in the main. But
          > the problem is that when government isn’t doing so well at
          > addressing these issues, laws are sometimes enacted and
          > enforced with the purpose of hiding the problem,

          I agree completely. But there is an *ugly* and *self-destructive* impulse in the American psyche to pull-away when this happens to throw up ones hands, say “ah, it is all broken”, rather than to engage, listen, and participate. We start throwing labels at people. I am Left, but I don’t have any problem finding lots of things I agree with when talking to “fiscal conservatives” [aside we have lots of very socialist policies in the United States - our entire transpiration infrastructure is essentially Socialist (plains, trains, and automobiles) is possibly the largest - and almost problematically successful - socialist project in human history].

          I can’t get what-I-want, but that is not what the civic space is about, taking my ball home and sulking is not the adult response.

          This meme is both self destructive – and I’ll use the word – it is also UnChristian. It is slanderous to lots of hard working sincere and caring people. It throws them under the bus – they are just evil bureaucrats. The US representative for the district over from where I live is considered the most conservative representative in the house – he and I would agree on pretty much nothing – but you know what… he really sincerely believes in his positions. He is not a corporate operative or a stooge of the local power families – both are common claims concerning him by people who disagree with him [which is a *lot* of people]. But it isn’t true. Nobody who has interacted with would, I believe, say that. We *NEED TO STOP THIS*, it is not a way forward.

          > for instance, making the homeless become invisible. In the meantime,
          > the problem grows and people suffer in the shadows.

          I don’t believe anyone here suggested this. This is a radical interpretation. Homelessness is a problem and the homeless need assistance. But citizens also have the reasonable expectation to walk in their communities and use their parks without being harassed. The is a classic example of a competing concern. If citizens cannot utilize their community then commerce suffers, people loose there jobs, etc…. which is certainly not an answer to homelessness. People will just leave, if they have the means – which helps who?

          > Until there aren’t enough shadows anymore, and
          > then it’s possible that we end like India, where
          > the ill and indigent die on the streets with nearly
          > nobody helping or caring,

          I once believed that was a much more likely end then I do now. [consider please that the United States is a *BIG* place, so this could (and likely dones) happen in one place and not another, under the big umbrella, and that it happening some places does not mean the entire system is hopeless corrupt]. There are many many many people working arduously – from a variety of political perspectives and various professional disciplines – to make that end not the reality. Most of them are sincere and caring people – not to mention many are also gifted and brilliant. And next to nobody wants the end you describe. Not the lefty socialists and not the Chamber of Commerce.

          > given the fact that, after the recession a few years ago
          > we still have an intractably high unemployment rate

          The unemployment rate nationally is nearly a fiction, it varies immensely county-by-county. County-by-county, in Michigan, we have everything from nearly 14% to 5% unemployment [5% was considered quite healthy pre-crash]. The crash was devastating, but the solution takes a long time to sort out – and probably will involve a fair amount of relocation. The crash revealed some fundamental systemic problems. But this level of unemployment is not “intractable”, because it has been `intracted` in many places.

          > Perhaps we need to see what goes on in the shadows,
          > and how many people are crowded into them, so that maybe

          We have that data. We know where the corners are.

          > we’ll care a little bit more and give a damn personally.

          I object to the notion that I and millions of other people of every political disposition, profession, and religion, do not care. If all those people did not care we would not have the array of organizations he have dedicated to helping people. Maybe if we stopping grousing and throwing up our hands but instead presented more of what we are FOR rather than what we are AGAINST more of that care would be expressed.

          • SottoVoce says:

            *standing ovation*

          • Robert F says:

            Well, Adam, you certainly gave me a dressing down. It’s okay, though: whatever doesn’t kill me makes me humbler. I’ll think about and consider what you’ve said. Thanks. Are you sure that what you said about the unemployment rate is correct? That surprises me….

          • Brianthedad says:

            From a pretty conservative guy in Alabama: kudos ATW. I would so enjoy having a beer with you while you tell me where I got it I all wrong. Really, no sarcasm. Most of the left-leaning folks I know can’t or won’t engage in a conversation about why we believe what we believe, and I really am curious. Helps me understand why I believe certain things. I always enjoy your take on things.

          • Adam, you are so right!

          • Daniel Jepsen says:

            Robert, I love your humility and grace. Thank you for your irenic spirit.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            RobertF:
            > you certainly gave me a dressing down.

            My apologies if it came across that way. I always enjoy reading your thoughts here.

            > Are you sure that what you said about the unemployment
            > rate is correct? That surprises me….

            Which statistic specifically?

          • Robert F says:

            Adam, I misread what you said about unemployment; on re-reading, my question disappeared.

            Apologies unnecessary, Adam. I appreciate your no-nonsense candor in discussion, and your careful responses when responding to other commentators. Sometimes I need a little dressing down, because I speak whereof I do not know, against Wittgenstein’s advice.

        • Robert F, are you sure you want to paint all socialists with an Abbie Hoffman brush?

          • Robert F says:

            No. I was just looking for family resemblances. I’m not sure that Adam and Abbie would be recognized as members of the same family, if they didn’t both identify as socialists. Adam is obviously a gradualist, whereas Abbie was a revolutionary (though very muted after his 15 minutes of fame).

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            >Adam is obviously a gradualist

            Thank you, I take that as a complement. Big systems can only be built, changed, or corrected incrementally – as frustrating and slow and tedious as that may be.

            Revolution, secession, and all that – is demonstrably a road to failure – nobody controls the outcome of such things; thoughts of controlling such things are always delusional. And given modern technology [including military] these are things that should be avoided at almost all costs.

          • I think his 15 minutes ended when he turned 30 (as in, “Never trust anyone over 30″).

          • Abbie, that is, not Adam. His 15 are still pending.

  2. I was in Nashville about 12 years ago and they had something that looked like a parking meter but it was for money used to buy food for the city’s homeless. They had signs on them encouraging people to not give money directly to the homeless…but to put it in the meter (to cut down the panhandling).

    I thought it was a good idea. I don’t know if it worked or if they still do it.

    • Christiane says:

      my daughter had a good idea . . . was a homeless man used to panhandle just outside of the Panera’s she frequents in her neighborhood . . .

      she began by giving him money, but then thought about it and decided to feed him instead . . . so she would go into Panera’s and buy him a sandwich, and in winter, a hot coffee; and in warm whether, a soda . . .

      I’m proud of that child. :)

      (she rescues dogs, too . . . her fourth ‘baby’ was scheduled to be ‘euthanized’ as no one had adopted him at a kill-shelter, and his time was running out . . . so my daughter brought him home . . . her OWN place . . . not ‘practical’ of course, no . . . but is that always what matters ? apparently not to her, and I am strangely glad about it in my old age)

  3. dumb ox says:

    “Highly cynical people were much more likely to develop dementia.”

    Well, I find that completely unbelievable…what were we talking about?

    • Nice!

      I think…

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      It makes sense. Those with thinner social networks are more prone to development mental illness. Do the chronically cynical have fewer friends? It is hard to believe that isn’t true.

      • Daniel Jepsen says:

        Good point. I was wondering about possible causation; this seems most likely.

      • Robert F says:

        My wife and I have very thin social networks. I’m not stating this to complain or get sympathy. It’s just a fact. We both had problem childhoods, some them big problems, and neither of us have developed the social skills to deal well with the pain that comes with friendship, or family for that matter. For various reasons, we don’t fit very well into any socio-economic niche either, so the people we associate with most through work are more affluent and/or more stable socially than we are, meaning that its very hard to connect socially with them, and it’s hard for them to understand us as anything but outsiders (this includes church associations). Add to this the fact that our emotional issues tend to isolate us, and we are caught in the grip of the thin social network/mental illness/health issues/poverty maelstrom, wherein each facet of the problem seems to deepen the others. And it’s like quicksand: the harder you push against it, the harder it sucks you down.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Robert, I can never understand where you are in life, or the circumstances through which you have arrived there. However I do know that you are a man of deep intelligence, thoughtfulness, and concern for others. You arrive at insights that others have missed. You are willing to admit doubts, of which you must have many. So– I think God is using you right here, doing what you are doing.

          Doing the work of God comes in many forms, through many gifts. And I think that you are a gift to us.

    • I totally read this the opposite way at first, until my wife corrected me. Perhaps I am a very optimistic cynic?

      • Suzanne says:

        I have a large social network, but am definitely on the cynical side. Great. Now, that I find I have a great chance of dementia, I’ll be even more cynical, and the downward cycle will continue!

  4. Re: Harvey Milk. The ONLY reason that he is a “hero” is because he was homosexual. Where are the Moscone stamps? Why wan’t there a movie made called “Moscone”, played by some outspoken Hollywood star? Last I heard he was also killed by Dan White.

    • Oscar, perhaps you might want to do some fact-checking.

      Did you know that Milk was a Korean War vet and active in Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign? That he was murdered by an angry co-city supervisor… I think there’s no question that the man who killed both Moscone and Milk was jealous as well as politically motivated. That he was let off with a sentence of voluntary manslaughter of both men is beyond belief.

      • Yes, I DID know that! But that begs my comment about why Harvey Milk is the “hero” and George Moscone is forgotten.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          It’s San Fran. Besides the usual reason (The Castro, anyone?), showing how Tolerant and Inclusive they are. (All proles bow before Our Compassion…)

        • Given that the Moscone center is the major conference center in San Francisco, I think people in this area have regular reminders of Mayor Moscone everytime an event there is advertised.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I do not know [or really care] if he was a “hero” or not. But the text is essentially an accusation that he was a pedophile. Unless there is evidence to that – and none is presented – that is a disgusting accusation; if you have a disagreement with someone’s positions make your point, but that type of slander is utterly unacceptable.

      • My comment had nothing to do with the accusation. Just the fact that only Milk is honored while Moscone is forgotten.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Was Milk a sexual predator?
        And if so, has the evidence ceased to exist?
        The USSR also liked its heroes safely dead so they couldn’t embarrass The Party’s Official version of them.

        “When reality and legend contradict, Print the Legend.”
        — The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

      • Daniel Jepsen says:

        The linked article later on backed up the accusation in this way:

        “Randy Shilts, a homosexual San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote a favorable and sordid biography of Milk in “The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. According to Shilts, Milk repeatedly engaged in adult-child sex and advocated for multiple homosexual relationships at the same time.”

        I have not read this bio myself; This is AFA’s take on it.

        • Somehow I doubt that anyone at the AFA has read enough of Shilts’ bio to actually have a legitimate take on it, or on Milk himself.

          • Daniel Jepsen says:

            Fair point

          • Daniel – are you aware that the AFA is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups? If you’re not familiar w/the SPLC, I’d encourage you to check out their website. They have a venerable history dating from their early days as a Civil Rights movement organization, but they’re fair – thyve got a list of all-black hate groups and their reporting on their activities is balanced, imo.

        • Daniel Jepsen says:

          numo, I don’t think I’m on the same page as you on this. The SPLC’s list is, in my opinion, unhelpful in the extreme. It’s hate map lists violent white supremacy groups next to groups that simply have a traditional view of homosexuality. It’s not only false equivalence, but seems like a deliberate attempt to silence and marginalize those they disagree with.

          Here is a fuller take: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/king-fearmongers_714573.html

          And here is a quote from a more liberal columnist for the Washington post, commenting on the shooting at the Family Research Council (in which the shooter was motivated by seeing the FRC on the SPLC’s hate list):

          “Human Rights Campaign isn’t responsible for the shooting. Neither should the organization that deemed the FRC a “hate group,” the Southern Poverty Law Center, be blamed for a madman’s act. But both are reckless in labeling as a “hate group” a policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.”

          “I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. The center says the FRC “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Exhibit A in its dossier is a quote by an FRC official from 1999 (!) saying that “gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”

          “Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?”

          Full editorial here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-hateful-speech-on-hate-groups/2012/08/16/70a60ac6-e7e8-11e1-8487-64e4b2a79ba8_story.html

          • Daniel – the AFA isn’t just a traditional group; they have ties to Scott Lively, the Holocaust revisionists whose infamous book, The Pink Swastika, claims that Hilted and all high-ranking Nazi Party and SS officials/commanders were gay. I’ve read most of the book, and Lively is unequivocal in stating that the Holocaust is a direct result of the innate depravity of having a gay orientation. He further claims that gay men were especially selected for key positions as torturers because gay men are innately sadistic and violent.

            I know this sounds ridiculous, but Wildmon and co. (@the AFA) are very much on board with this. Lively also was one of the key speakers in Uganda about five years back, at the conference that gave birth to Martin Ssempa’s bill (now law) making homosexuality a potential capital crime. That law also prohibits “association with” gay people – ironically, the organizations that most wanted to get a foot in the door over there (like Exodus International) would, by default, be illegal under that very broad “association” standard.

            I’m fine if you don’t like Harvey Milk. But making the AFA sound good, when they have it in for people who are gay regardless of those peoples’, views, actions and sexual ethics is another thing entirely.

            Fwiw, I spent quite a few years as an active supporter of an Exodus ministry, because I really believed it was possible for peoples’ sexual orientation to change. And that particular ministry was, at the time, heavily influenced by Livelys’s ideas about gay people as sadists and (basically) sociopaths. In fact, huge chunks of text from his book were available on the main Exodus US site for years. The heads of the specific ministry that I supported referred to Lively’s ideas in conversation with me in the early 90s. Later (in 1999), I found the book excerpts on the Exodus site.

            I have known/currently know gay, lesbian and trans people who have suffered extreme rejection, loss of employment and more for simply stating that they’re gay. This includes people who are committed to living as life long celibates.

            Maybe you might want to do a bit more background research before taking some of these xtian organizations claims at face value? I guess I feel really fed up with the way that so many gay people are treated bylarge portions of the church – not only as people who can be kicked around, but as surrogates for all the people who lie, cheat on their taxes, steal (slumlords plus anyone who exploits workers), is a pedophiles who has actively used a church environment to prey on children but is protected by the big dogs (too many instances to count), and then there are unmarried pregnant women/girls who are vilified while the guys who got them pregnant are let off with a “boys will be boys” attitude, people who physically and/or sexually abuse their spouses (and maybe others)…. I could go on.

            I used to worry that my gay friends would end up in hell. Now, I’m more inclined to believe that those who actively persecute them for simply being (not talking about sexual activity her, but existing) are far more likely to end up in that kind of place, should it exist. (I no longer believe in eternal conscious torment, can’t square annihilationism with a loving, merciful God, either, so I guess that makes me some variety of xtian universalist.)

            Apologies for such a long reply, but I hope it helps you to understand where I’m coming from and some of what I came across during the years that I was a straight ally of an “ex-gay” group.

          • Apologies for typos in the comment that’s currently in moderation – blamed autocorrect!

          • Also fwiw, the SPLC has no qualms about labelling the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam (Farrakhan’s organization) as hate groups, along with others that have similar ideologies/belief systems.

          • Brianthedad says:

            I’m with Daniel. There is no moral equivalency.

            AFA is a bunch of Chicken Little blowhards. I cringe when my Christian friends quote them as some sort of authority. I know some folks at SPLC; they are good folks. But lumping the AFA in with the blank panthers and Farrakhan? Way off base.

          • Daniel Jepsen says:

            numo, thanks for you long response. I see your point.

            I really don’t have much of a take on Milk, nor am I a fan of the AFA. Somehow I ended up on their email list some years ago. They struck me as alarmist and extremely one-sided, but I don’t recall them advocating anything other than legislative actions in line with their views. That is why I felt it odd to lump them in with groups advocating and practicing violence.

            I had not heard of the connection with Lively, so thanks for that. What was the exact connection? Did he have an official position there?

          • Daniel – AFAIK, it is high-ranking people at the AFA who agree w/Lively. There’s an “interesting” segment from one of their blog posts that quotes Lively’s book; you can find it on the SPLC’s site. I think the SPLC is carefully monitoring many of these groups because of connections to people like Lively. Conservative evangelical blogger Warren Throckmorton is one of the people who pulled together all kinds of documentation on the connections between Lively, Lou Engel and others and the movement to make homosexuality/gay sex a capital crime in Uganda. Throckmorton is far more conservative on many things than I am, but I love his human rights advocacy *and* his thorough debunking of David Barton’s claims re. Thomas Jefferson.

            I think there is a *lot* of underground support for Lively and also for dominionist theology/political leanings in many of the big “pro-family” orgs, but they know not to talk about it publicly. Now, this is an educated guess, based on the reading I’ve done plus time spent uncomfortably close to some people who were also involved in what I can only characterize as dominionist activity in Uganda. Long story; for another time and place.

            As for Milk, I haven’t read Shilts’ book and so cannot comment on whether he was involved w/teenagers or guys who were, at least, considerably younger than he was. I don’t really know all that much about Milk per we, but do remember news coverage from when he and Moscvone were killed. Am vague on the trial – it was a long time ago! I think Milk became a martyr in the eyes of many, due to his tragic death. There are up obably folks who’ve done more in the way of lgbtq advocacy than Milk, but they’ll likely never get the kind of attention he does, due to how he died.

          • Also, I don’t think there has to be across the board equivalency for the SPLC (or anyone else) to credibly say that an organization is a hate group. They do way too much research for me to be able to write off what they say; if anything, what I’ve read there has made me want to dig for more info. on my own. I think one of their main goals is to get people reading and evaluating for themselves.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Re: Harvey Milk. The ONLY reason that he is a “hero” is because he was homosexual.

      And now we know who are todays’ Herrenvolk and who are the Untermenschen.

      “We’s the Winning Sexual Orientation Now!”
      And when you’re on top, you Throw Your Weight Around. HARD.

  5. Willie Moscone was a great pool shooter…but a stamp for that?

  6. Christiane says:

    ” . . . 31 American flags were missing from veteran’s graves.
    The deputy caught the culprit in the act.
    It was a groundhog.
    The deputy watched the animal take the flags, break them with its front paws, and take them into its den.
    No word on if charges were filed. ”

    a new DANIEL JEPSEN classic . . .

    I’m still laughing! That was fun.

  7. “highly cynical people were much more likely to develop dementia.”

    So I have a middling chance of getting dementia, then? I’m not highly cynical. Somewhat cynical yes, but I wouldn’t categorize myself as “highly.”

  8. Robert F says:

    “Interestingly, less than one out of five ‘nones’ call themselves an atheist…”

    No surprise there. Sociologist Peter Berger has said it’s a mistake to read a rejection of religious beliefs into the recent growth in the number of people who do not identify with any particular religious institution or tradition. Humanity has an innate tendency driving it toward religious belief; where there is no coercion in the other direction, self-proclaimed atheists will always be a tiny minority.

    • Robert F says:

      Of course, among the nones a vague sort of deism may prevail, which from the perspective of Christianity may amount to a kind of practical atheism. I, doubt, for instance, that most west Europeans would identify themselves as atheist; nevertheless, in the public sphere, they seem to have reached a consensus that religious subjects will not be discussed or allowed to shape society in any significant way.

      • Robert F says:

        On a tangentially connected thought, I see that in Quebec French Canadian voters rejected a proposed new law that would have prohibited government employees from wearing “conspicuous” religious garb or symbols on the job. I’d be interested in hearing what Canadian (as well as other) imonkers have to say about this turn of events.

        • Although Québec voters largely rejected the party pushing the values charter (Parti Québécois), I believe the charter was just one of many reasons – and likely not the primary one). If your news source portrayed things as you have presented them, I suspect it has an agenda that goes beyond simply reporting the news. The charter was also about much more than just religious garb/symbols – although that is where the debate centred. The Parti Québécois is the party that has long advocated for Québec independence. I would suggest that the results of the election had more to do with that than the charter. I’m not a Francophone, but I work with many and speak/read French reasonably well. I follow the French media in Québec fairly closely to help keep my reading skills in good form.

          • Robert F says:

            “If your news source portrayed things as you have presented them, I suspect it has an agenda that goes beyond simply reporting the news. ”

            Is there a news source that simply reports the news? I haven’t come across it yet. But I didn’t get my info from a “news source.” And I have no reason to believe the source of my info was unusually biased in any direction. They acknowledged the context you provided; I think where they might differ from you is the degree to which you both weigh the centrality of the debate around values charter: you obviously though it was a more surface issue covering the rejection of a particular political party, they did not. A high degree of subjectivity necessarily comes into play when assessing the relative weight of various influences.

            And in the interest of being clear: my source was conservative (with significant caveats) in politics, liberal in theology, and called the defeated proposed charter a feature of radical secularism advanced by Kemalists.

        • You’re right – every source has a bias. I read a lot of articles/editorials in French, from multiple sources, and watched the two leader debates prior to the election. The charter was very controversial (before the election was even announced), but I’ll stick by my opinion that the results of the election are incorrectly characterized as “voters rejecting a proposed new law”. You said you were interested in hearing from Canadians. Now you’ve heard from one. Other opinions will doubtlessly vary. Short of opinions offered by multiple Québecois, we’re probably all blowing smoke.

          As a Canadian who has also spend five years in the US courtesy of the RCAF (upstate New York, and, more recently, Colorado), I’ll also offer an unsolicited opinion. The attitude of those Québecois who are strongly pro-charter, remind me greatly of an element of American conservatives. I think they’re peas in a pod.

          Wow, is this ever off topic.

          • “I believe the charter was just one of many reasons – and likely not the primary one”

            As another Canadian who was following the election closely I have to agree with Warren here.

      • What the heck IS a “none”? The recent trend of people not identifying with a religious denomination places them in the “none” category. I suspect that many, if not MOST, of those in this slot actually DO have some sort of commitment to a denomination/sect/belief system but are unwilling to identify with it because they want to be “free agents”. Also, the “spiritual” description is a very poor descriptor when trying to categorize a segment of the population. It is just too vague to mean ANYTHING. In fact, it CAN mean ANYTHING! What kind of methodology is this? I’m not a trained statitician, nor have I studied the science, but even I can see the weakness in this survey.

        • A ‘none’ is someone the survey writer hasn’t gotten a category for. Unaffiliated is probably a better word (and also have ‘none of the above’ for members of very small groups). Actual beliefs are a different matter.

          A Pew survey a few years ago did, in a very long survey, a sort of cross-check asking for religion and also about belief in god or a universal spirit. Of the ‘unaffiliated’ about 22% did not believe in god or a universal spirit and another 10% weren’t too certain (8% refused to answer or said they didn’t know). However those who said they did have a religion also sometimes didn’t believe in god (Jews at 10% with another 11% unsure; Buddhists at 19%; Orthodox Christians at 4%; Catholics and Mainline at 1%; though no Evangelicals surveyed said they didn’t believe (at least after rounding) 1% weren’t sure and another 1% said don’t know or refused to answer). Overall 5% said they didn’t believe in god or a universal spirit.

          See http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons

          • Robert F says:

            ” However those who said they did have a religion also sometimes didn’t believe in god….. Buddhists at 19%..”

            Wha…?? Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. Yes, Tibetan Buddhism has a pantheon, but these gods are in no way like the God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam; they are merely powerful co-occupants with humanity and other beings of an uncreated reality that has no origin or destination. To even ask a Buddhist if they believe in “god” as part of a survey is to be asking an entirely different question from asking a Christian or Western atheist. Wha….??

          • True, Robert, but I know plenty of Buddhists who are also religious (including Christian). The temples I’ve visited all encourage people to keep their religion, as it is a path to enlightenment. So, I suspect that some of the theistic Buddhists may be of this type.

          • Robert F says:

            Good point, Dr.

          • How many of you believe in the Middle Way?

          • Robert F says:

            “How many of you believe in the Middle Way?”

            Samsara is Nirvana? “The Kingdom of God is among you.”

  9. Robert F says:

    I”m skeptical about the ability of scientists to measure and quantify “cynical distrust” with any accuracy. And, isn’t that a very small study to base sweeping generalizations on?

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      I’m a scientist, and I have just discovered a candidated for early dementia :)

      • Robert F says:

        Just like a scientist: mistaking skepticism for “cynical distrust” (I’d make the smiley face thing back at you, but I’m either too techno-idiotic or too in the grip of early onset dementia to do so). But if skepticism is equivalent to “cynical distrust,” then you scientists are in big trouble.

  10. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > laws prohibiting people from feeding the homeless..
    > Do city officials have a point, or are they just playing Scrooge?

    They have an *excellent* point. Whether it needs to be a law or not – I don’t know. Where i live businesses have just taken to putting up signs like “Do not give panhandlers money; there is food and shelter three blocks west”. This makes a lot of sense; at least here where we have numerous very reputable secular and Christian assistance organizations right in our downtown. The beggers are a security risk and a nuisance [they produce an immense portion of the city's liter].

    • Joseph (the original) says:

      there is town I used to live in that has decided its quaint downtown area should be a pleasant shopping experience for locals and tourists/visitors (college town) as the very visible element of homeless or transients in the city business core was driving customer traffic away. there is a problem with homeless that do take advantage of the kindness shown them by getting too comfortable with their situation and then panhandling, sitting outside businesses, sitting in coffee shops most of the day, curbsides, etc. the local businesses decided to hire a private security firm to clear the business core area of any homeless presence that was in violation of local ordinances prohibiting loitering, panhandling, bothering customers, blocking entrances, etc. it has made the downtown area much more comfortable for the locals and those visitors that like to shop there. and the increased business+foot traffic has been more than enough to pay for the added security.

      this town also has a very large homeless center/aid center about 1 mile from the town’s center and it is just one of the more active/progressive centers for those in need. since that one center is supported by a group of churches in the area, this doesn’t eliminate the efforts other churches do independently, or the state/county efforts or even individual efforts at showing simple kindness to the needy. there also is a drug problem that the police are constantly having to battle and the petty theft issues that occur to support the habits of some of the users. I think there is a point where the outpouring of kindness can indeed be taken advantage by some that use it to supplement their living situation by choice, not by need. word spreads quickly throughout the permanent homeless crowd that moves from city to town to city getting by sufficiently to remain in the lifestyle they are quite comfortable with. but thank God there are the civil/church agencies and organizations that actually are there to provide assistance to those that do need it temporarily and want to get back to work, settle down, provide for themselves and their families, etc. I think it is those success stories that remain unknown that is the motivation for those working in such social services/humanitarian aid efforts. there are real success stories that do make it worthwhile to maintain such efforts in spite of those that do take advantage of such help or abuse the kindness extended to them as a way to keep under the radar of law enforcement.

  11. I’m surprised no one has yet commented on the drive-through prayer initiative. I’m normally cynical about such things (and so at a higher risk for dementia!) but I do like this.

    It’s not replacing the congregation’s regular worship or prayer life but is an outreach to the community. The church found a way to make people feel comfortable receiving prayer for the congregation. As a result, more people are being prayed for (and prayer is the first step in caring for someone) and hopefully some will find their way to Christ as a result of being prayed for in a non-threatening way by a Christian.

    • Final Anonymous says:

      Not to mention all the good it does for the pray-ers. I don’t generally like gimmicky stuff, but I agree, this seems like it has the potential for good in multiple ways.

  12. I don’t have a specific percentage, but the overwhelming percentage of what we now call the “homeless” are simply bums who will not work. Nothing in my faith says I should indulge or congratulate them. In many cases they are predators of one kind or another. And where I live , these are the most over-fed, over-evangelized people ever, because every church wants some “feeding the homeless” action. Feeding people without offering counseling, treatment, job training, or jobs — well, that’s all about you, your good works, and how incredibly righteous and “faithful” you are. You’re just working for brownie points from Jesus.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Really? Where is the research? If you have no research, have at least anecdotal evidence? How many homeless people have you got to know on a personal basis to be able to make this assessment?

    • I heartily recommend the narrative book The Weight of Mercy about a church who comes to grips with the realities of people living in the margins of society. Practical and deeply challenging to the way we perceive “charity.” Beyond that Toxic Charity discusses how we have created a monster within our churches that provides mercy without understanding the justice issues that underly the margins and providing the dignity and tertiary networks that allow social mobility.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And makes charity and mercy just the latest way for The Morally Superior to admire themselves in the mirror for their Charity and Mercy and Godliness.

        Poot! Sniff! Ahhhhhhhh…

    • Robert F says:

      Do you know that an enormous percentage of homeless are women and their children? They tend to reside in shelters, so you may not see them on the streets, but they are homeless nevertheless. Are you calling these homeless children “bums”? Do you know that most homeless people are inconspicuous, and the ones you notice on the street are the ones are are unable, or unwilling, to hide their homelessness? Did you leave your heart on Ruby Ridge?

    • Suzanne says:

      Clark, statistically, there are more job seekers out there than there are jobs. That is a fact. Pair that with many employers wanting only superstar employees and/or refusing to hire anyone who has been out of work for more than six months, it is no wonder there are homeless. I think few people who are not severely mentally ill would choose to live on the street, cold, hungry, vulnerable to crime.
      The unemployment problem won’t be solved anytime soon as long as people assume that everyone who is out of work is lazy. Unemployment in my area was at 15% a few years ago. Funny, all the people I knew who were out of work sure didn’t seem lazy…

      • Robert F says:

        Suzanne,
        I’m afraid those who permanently lost work in the last recession have been more-or-less written off by society at large, by all those who survived the cut. Now we of course know that they’re either lazy bums, or have mental illness/substance abuse issues, or all of the above, because we all know that no one could possibly be afflicted with protracted poverty or homelessness, in our society unless they have diminished capacity or are unwilling to help themselves. It’s just a matter of willingness and ability, and we of course are safe because we are willing and able.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And if we get away from the homeless and cast Wards against them, their Curse of Homelesseness won’t transfer to Us.

          (Didn’t South Park do something similar, except using Zombie Apocalypse Movie symbology?)

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Let’s not forget the number of veterans who are a significant percentage of the homeless population. Do we call them lazy bums who won’t work, too?

      And so what if our donations/tax dollars help people who don’t deserve it? Our mandate as redeemed children of God is not to give to the homeless as some sort of a quid pro quo transaction. We are called to give because Jesus gave to us when we were undeserving. Or are you unaware of/ungrateful for the gift that you were given, Clark?

      • Robert F says:

        But don’t you know, Marcus, many Americans believe that they have gotten where they are in their affluent well-being primarily by their own efforts and prudence, and that anybody who wasn’t incapable or unwilling could do the same thing if they are enabled and willing. Ragged Dick lives in the American middle-classes.

      • A few years ago a group of sociologists published Divided by Faith where they looked at the perceptions of race by evangelicals. It was a painful read as I discovered many of my own subtle perceptions that I absorbed in my evangelical world that not accurate.

  13. Somewhere I read that George Moscone was not only a crook but responsible for encouraging the People’s Temple (James Jones,)!in their fights with the city.

    • Ok, so we have a predator and a crook who are both heroes in San Francisco!

      • Ok. I checked the wikipedia article on Harvey Milk. According to it his relationships were usually with younger men in their 20s but had one partner who was 16, Jack Galen McKinley, when the relationship started (McKinley had runaway from home in Maryland to Greenwich Village and was living independently; there is some evidence that Milk thought he was 18 not that that is a justification). They worked together on the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign; Milk was working on Wall Street. So it would have been legal in quite a few states (except for the fact that it was same sex which at that time would have put both of them behind bars) but not New York where they lived where age of consent is 17 (Maryland it is 16) (at least now, not sure what it was in 1964).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Ok, so we have a predator and a crook who are both heroes in San Francisco!

        “It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sumbitch or another. Ain’t about you, Jayne. About what they need.”
        — Captain Mal Reynolds, Free Trader Serenity

  14. 150 years ago, New Americans butchered the Native Americans, calling them “savages”. It is some kind of oddness to me that the Native American cultures I have studied all had better morality, cooperative civic engagement, and social structures than what we see in “modern day” Pakistan. Can we even engage in a culture that simultaneously believes women to be property and to be culpable for “moral failure” like refusing to marry a cousin. I would like to think we have evolved past the “just kill them all” solution, but do we actually have a solution, or should we just leave them alone and wait for them to die out?

    • Robert F says:

      Can’t go along with “just kill them all” solution, but the “wait for them to die out” gambit won’t work, because we have a lot fewer children than they do; demographically, they (meaning radical Islamists) have the advantage. They’re in it for the long haul.

      • Yeah, but their many children, once exposed to western ideas and freedoms, usually progress beyond such primitivism. Third generation immigrants to this country are nearly all completely white-washed.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          There’s been a longstanding three-generation pattern in American immigration:
          1) First Generation is all Old Country.
          2) Second Generation has one foot in the Old and one in the New.
          3) Third Generation are fully American with ethnic names, foods, and festivals.

          21st Century easy transportation to/from and communications with the Old Country/Old Culture have worked against this pattern, but the dynamic nature of American culture still works for it.

          Multicultural Diversity(TM) is not a stable situation. Cultures are not all equal or identical; when they come into Multicultural contact, the most dynamic culture will absorb the others or the most aggressive culture will destroy the others.

          • As a third generation Mexican, most of what I see follows your three stages. There are always exceptions, but I sure as hell ain’t one of them. I don’t even speak Spanish (fluently, anyways) and I grew up walking distance (literally) from Mexico. A part of me regrets not being more in touch with my roots, and I’m appreciative of the fact that this country gives us every right to, but there’s just something about the melting pot that tends to erode the beautiful distinctives of different cultures.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Problem with Mexican immigration is because the two countries are right next door, there’s a constant influx of First Generation/Old Country types which might be throwing the three-generation pattern off. And since a LOT of this immigration is under-the-table (uncodumented/illegal), that further confuses the issue and adds to the resentment among Anglos and other non-Hispanics. (As in “there’s so many that we’re not assimilating them, they’re assimilating us.”) Plus the civil rights activism angle, black/brown hostility, and Mexican racism against Central Americans; it feels like a zero-sum game of “I can be as Mexican-Supremacist Racist as I want against YOU gabachos, but don’t you dare be towards me. Viva La Reconquista!” Yeah, loud crazies, but loud crazies have a way of defining and dominating a movement.

            It’s insane out here in SoCal; those living in other parts of the country have no idea how high feelings run here on the immigration issue.

    • Robert F says:

      Pakistan is the sixth most populous nation in the world, with a current population of 180 million, expected to grow to 210 million by by 2020. Birth rates are burgeoning there, so they won’t “die out” anytime soon. Birth rates are up in the US compared to other very technologically developed nations, but the only reason we can depend on significant population growth here is because of liberal immigration policies coupled with illegal immigration, and it is among these newcomers that birth rates are highest. Pakistan is just one nation among many with a large contingent of radical Islamists, an indigenous culture with values extraordinarily different from ours, and a high birth rate. Time is not on our side.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Which is why the Quiverfulls are so into “Outbreed the Heathen”.

        And they have their mirror reflection in Islam, with “We conquer the lands of the Infidel! Our wombs shall be our weapons!”

        • Robert F says:

          Yes. And here I am without a single child to my credit.

          But I think it’s okay, and we don’t have to “just kill them all,” “wait for them to die out,” or find some other strategy, because I don’t believe that God is in the numbers game, that line in Genesis about being fruitful and multiplying notwithstanding.

          • Daniel Jepsen says:

            Agreed. God’s not an alarmist or alarmed.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Wasn’t one of the paradigm shifts between Judaism and Christianity was that Christianity redefined the People of God not as bloodlines and legacy but all believers? That the Kingdom of God was no longer determined by bloodlines and breeding and clan? That henceforth God’s People would grow by adoption/conversion instead of breeding descendants, Evangelism instead of Bedroom Evangelism?

            Many other blogs have compared Bedroom Evangelism/Outbreed the Heathen to going back under the OT Law instead of the New Kingdom.

        • Only the radical Islamists, HUG.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Yes, the Islamic equivalent of Quiverfull.

            Like Josef Stalin and Ayn Rand, funhouse mirror reflections of the Other.

      • The number of radical Islamists in Pakistan is growing, but it’s worth keeping in mind that many Pakistanis do *not* espouse those beliefs.

        I think US media *loves* playing up the very worst things/people in many predominantly Muslim countries, while remaking conspicuously silent about positive stories/portrayals from the Muslim world.

        • Robert F says:

          numo, I think there is truth to what you are saying, and paranoia is never good policy. But I also think the radicals are motivated in a way that others aren’t, and they are on the move, while the others have assumed a defensive posture, and one in which they actually seem to feel they have to justify themselves to the radicals.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Because the radicals will KILL anyone who differs with them. Or offends them in any way, real or imagined. They are the DARK SIDE of the Muslim world and they are doing the Will of God.

            Kill one and a hundred will fall right into line.

        • Yes, numb, but my concern is less with individuals (I am amazed at how extraordinarily normal most common folk are in the various countries I have visited), and more with the power structures. Notice how the actual legal system empowers those sociopaths who murder “uppity” women.

        • Danielle says:

          Pakistan and Afghanistan are both diverse countries, with significant differences between regions and particularly between the cities and tribal areas.

          A fun aside: Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” isn’t a bad introduction to some of the cross-section of people in the region, and he criss-crosses some of the recent history.

          On another note: Honor killings are phenomenon that cultural and regional, and it is not limited to muslim communities. There are Christian honor killings.

          • “Honor killings are phenomenon that cultural and regional, and it is not limited to muslim communities. There are Christian honor killings.”

            I forget precisely which book I’d heard reviewed that made this very point. In Pakistan or Bangladesh, honor killings were part of the cultural landscape millennia before Islam came to dominate those areas. And, yes, similar phenomena have existed in parts of Christendom in the past as well (Balkans? Georgia? Sicily?).

            This is actually very good news, as it means one can hope to stamp out the practice without Islam first being abandoned entirely (which ain’t gonna happen). It’s a cultural practice that in the case of Pakistan isn’t really, at the end of the day, a fundamentally Muslim one, however much its advocates assume it to be.

          • Robert F says:

            Yes, actually, now I’m remembering that it was the tribal culture before Islam arrived on the scene. In fact, Islam may have tried to exert some control over the more egregiously violent and oppressive cultural expressions, until it was co-opted in many places by the strength of local traditions.

          • Danielle + 1 many times over!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Honor Killings seem to be one of those universal customs of Semitic tribal societies.

            A Jewish friend once told me that Honor Killings were also part of ancient Jewish culture (Semitic tribe) and that Torah regulated them in such as way as to defeat their purpose and make them impractical — what he called “Subversive Wisdom”. Went something like thist:

            Honor Killings were what was normal. A fish doesn’t know it’s wet. If Torah had just outlawed Honor Killings, they would have just blown it off and kept on doing them. Instead, Torah said you could have your Honor Killings, just you have to go before the Elders at the city gate to get permission to honor-kill your randy daughter. As the very idea of Honor Killing was to take care of it privately and secretly with nobody finding out, having to get permission from the Elders at the gate — in PUBLIC — defeated the whole purpose.

        • The more forceful the subgroup the more they control their environment. How many true believing Nazis were there in Germany, and how many “dyed in the wool” Communists were there in Russia, yet the small minority led to one of the greatest death sprees in history, numerically speaking.

          It rarely matters how many “peace loving” people there are if they are not willing to take on the violent or radical elements in society. It leads to thinking that avoids any violence, even in self defense, like we see in the “Zero Tolerance” attitudes in schools today where defending yourself gets you expelled.

          Pakistan is in crisis, but thankfully those opposing the radicals are not “lotus eaters” and are willing to face up to, and face down the bullies. We have to pray for that nation and its people, nothing less.

          http://youtu.be/rGIY5Vyj4YM

    • The Comanche massacred and/or gang-raped women and children. They didn’t treat their own women much better. Thank God we put an end to their wretched culture.

      • Specifially regarding the Comanches, U.S. troops butchered women and children and gang raped them as well. In fact, I read an autobiography by George Custer’s wife that detailed this; of course there are many other historical documents that attest to these crimes. I personally believe that such behavior is evil no matter who is perpetrating it. And I am a Christian, so I believe that conquering and killing people, some of whom may be immoral, is not a solution.

        • Dr. Fundystan – reading about the atrocities committed by he US army against Indians is VERY grim indeed. It was/is genocide, done in the name of vengeance/Manifest Testing/god/whatever. (Small-g in “god” is intentional.)

    • Good news! The All Pakistani Ulema Council has issued a taws against honor killings, calling them “un-islamic” and “signs of ignorance”, and will hold a council on June 5 to address the issue. Maybe if a majority of religious leaders get behind this, it will be a step in the right direction.

  15. Drena (@DrenaBlanc) says:

    “Pacers heart Series” whatever that means…

    ;P

  16. Harvey Milk Stamped “Out” Forever !

    The Obama Cabal is behind universal GAYety with a “forever” postage stamp issued by the US Pederastal Service which idolizes Harvey Milk, a Jewish pederast “attracted to boys aged 15-19,” according to WikiAnswers! (Also see Wikipedia.)
    Global gaydom was even predicted by Jesus (see “days of Lot” in Luke 17 and compare with Genesis 19).
    And the Hebrew prophet Zechariah (14th chapter) says that during the same end-time gay “days” ALL nations will come against Israel and fulfill the “days of Noah” at the same time (see Luke 17 again) – a short time of anti-Jewish genocide found in Zechariah 13:8 when two-thirds of all Jews will die.
    In other words, when “gay days” have become universal, all hell will break loose!
    The same “days” will cause worldwide human government to collapse in just a few short years! For the first time ever there won’t be enough time for anyone to attend college, have a family, enjoy retirement, etc. It will also be the last time anyone like ObabaBlackSheep will be able to keep pulling the wool over our eyes!
    One final thought. The more we see gays “coming out,” the sooner Jesus will be “coming down”!
    For more, Google or Yahoo “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up,” “Jesus Never Mentioned Homosexuality. When gays have birthdays…,” “FOR GAYS ONLY: Jesus Predicted…,” “USA – from Puritans to Impure-itans!” and “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”
    (PS: HOMOgenized Milk has been honored by Gov. Schwarzenaggravator as well as ObabaBlackSheep.)

    / Hope you enjoyed the foregoing piece which I ran into on the WWW. /