Archive for April, 2012

04/28/2012

Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget and the GOP in general are antithetical to Christ’s teachings.

“Your budget,” a group of Jesuit scholars and other Georgetown University faculty members wrote to Ryan last week, “appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.”

via Paul Ryan’s faith-based lesson – The Washington Post.

Jesuit scholars and I agree on something: Republicans don’t care about the poor, and they are the farthest thing from a political party which wants to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Christ washing the feet of his disciples. He served them, and he expected them to serve the poor as servants of God.

Christ told his disciples to serve and feed the poor because he understood that the poor are not poor because they choose to be. The GOP wants to cut the aid to these sons and daughters of God and calls them lazy for not being rich.

Christ told his disciples to cure and help the sick. And depending upon how you want to read it, he says to do it for free (Matthew 10:8). The GOP has no desire to do this. They hate the idea that the poor obtain healthcare without paying for it. According to the GOP, only the people who have money to pay for healthcare deserve it; the rest are too lazy and should lose everything just to stay alive.

Many conservatives even point out that if more people go to doctors who did not go before (poor people), doctors and the healthcare system will be overburdened, causing other people (the non-poor) to suffer. We can’t have that, now can we? We can’t have those with money burdened by the struggles of the poor, right? Jesus would have hated that. Oh wait. Maybe there’s something that says discriminating against the poor is a problem?

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”you are doing right.But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. [emphasis mine]

Why, that sounds like socialism! Class warfare! Class Warfare! CLASS WARFARE!

Nope. It’s just the Bible. James 2:1-10.

 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Communism! Communism! COMMUN—Wait Jesus said that? Sure. Matthew 19:21-24.

Christ told his disciples to turn the other cheek when someone strikes them in the face (Matthew 5:39). The GOP’s doctrine is to punch the other guy first when you’re afraid he might punch you.

Christ told his disciples not to judge other people (Matthew 7:1), but the GOP has judged for themselves who has the right to marry whom. And in the case of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, the GOP supported giving governments the right to criminalize the sex people can have in their bedrooms (they dissented in the SCOTUS decision in Lawrence v Texas)—because that’s why Christ saved that poor prostitute from being stoned and quickly sent her to jail. Oh wait. No he didn’t. He said he did not condemn her. No, really. He did (John 8:9-11).

Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” This is known as Jesus’ “golden rule.” I wonder how a GOP audience would respond to that.

Oh.

Christ said “woe unto the rich” and “blessed are you the poor” (Luke 6:20-26) which the GOP has apparently translated as: “Give the rich more money so that they might have more money to hire the poor, but only if it makes them more rich in the process (because, you know, that’s how capitalism works)—so that it’s even harder for them to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Blame the poor and desperate. Defend the rich and powerful. Just like Jesus did.

Paul Ryan.

In short, the ideals of the GOP and Paul Ryan are the farthest thing from the best and greatest teachings of Christ. Maybe the GOP agrees with me on something: Christ never existed so we don’t need to follow his rules.

I believe in these teachings anyways, though; not because Jesus was real or the son of a god, but because these teachings understand that the people who need help most are those who are the weakest. You don’t tell the weak to stop being weak like the GOP does. You reach out and offer help.

And honestly, all of these Republican positions would be well and good with me if the GOP didn’t cloak itself as the party of Christ. If they took a hardline stance saying that it’s good macroeconomics and is the way to make our nation stronger, then all right. I can see the argument there. But, they take it a step farther and suggest that cutting aid to the poor coincides with Christ’s vision. That’s just insane. It’s the opposite of his teachings, like many other GOP positions, and it’s an insult to the New Testament.

The insult to Christ and his “Word” doesn’t bother me very much, but the hypocrisy does. And it should bother all Christians more than it bothers me.

The Republican party is not the party of Christ, and that should be pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever read the New Testament.

Advertisements
04/27/2012

A post for those complaining about Obama’s “official trips.”

From 2004:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush is using Air Force One for re-election travel more heavily than any predecessor, wringing maximum political mileage from a perk of office paid for by taxpayers.

While Democratic rival John Kerry digs into his campaign bank account to charter a plane to roam the country, Bush often travels at no cost to his campaign simply by declaring a trip “official” travel rather than “political.”

The 68,000 miles Bush has logged this year on Air Force One include five trips to Pennsylvania.

With rare exceptions, he confines his travels to the more than a dozen states he and Kerry are fighting hardest for, and to places where he is raising campaign money.

Even when the White House deems a trip as political, the cost to Bush’s campaign is minimal. In such instances, the campaign must only pay the government the equivalent of a comparable first-class fare for each political traveler on each leg, Federal Election Commission guidelines say.

Usually, that means paying a few hundred or a few thousand dollars for the president and a handful of aides. It’s a minuscule sum, compared to the $56,800-per-hour the Air Force estimates it costs to run Air Force One.

It is an advantage that Bush and other presidents before him have enjoyed. President Clinton frequently was criticized by Republicans for his record-setting use of Air Force One in the campaign season, and Bush is exceeding Clinton’s pace…

Is it wrong for presidents to do this? Yeah, I think it is. I think it’s a waste of taxpayer money, and I think Obama is wrong for doing it. Just because previous presidents have abused this power doesn’t mean Obama should.

But let’s not make this out to be something that only Obama has done. There’s a time-honored tradition of presidents wasting the taxpayer’s money in this way—Obama is just continuing it.

USATODAY.com – Bush enjoys travel advantage on taxpayer-financed Air Force One.

Mediaite.com – Juan Williams: Obama’s Official Trips To Battleground States ‘Looks Purely Political’

04/09/2012

Why white people need to stop complaining about George Zimmerman being described as white.

I received the following response to my post about Phil Taylor’s take on the Miami Heat and Trayvon Martin. I started to respond, but when I got to over 700 words, I figured I should make a post for it on its own.

Nice article by Taylor but I noticed he described the person that did the shooting as “caucasian and latino descent”. That is so typical. If the shooter had developed the cure for cancer he would have been described as being of “latino descent” and nothing else but since he was involved in shooting an African American they mentioned the “caucasian” part. How often is our President described as “caucasian and african american descent”. – Matt, commenter

I’m not entirely certain what the point you’re trying to make is, but I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities. One, you’re trying to talk about how stupid it is to refer to people by their race in the first place. Two, you’re upset about how white people are being treated unfairly when it comes to their race. One of these points is good, and the other is insignificant at best and insulting at worst.  I’ll respond to both, just in case.

To your first potential point, yes. It is awfully stupid to bring up race at all. It doesn’t matter in objective space, but the world is not objective. If there were no racists, then there would never be a need to bring it up. The problem is that there are still racists, and from what I can tell, their number is significant.

Zimmerman, the caucasian hispanic white latino dude. Or something like that.

Ultimately, you’re right. The president isn’t black. He’s mixed, and I certainly think of him that way. But, in this country, there has been a long history of institutionalizing the idea that people can be racially “impure.” If a person had seven great grandparents who were white, if the final one was black, that person could be made a slave in the 1830’s (look up the term octoroon). If that same person lived in the 1930’s and had the appearance of a black person, he or she would have had to drink from a different water fountain. So, for centuries, referring to mixed race peoples as non-white, not white, or something OTHER than white was built into this country’s culture by racist white people. They disowned the racially impure, putting people of mixed race into a weird kind of identity limbo. Barack Obama could have been a slave, and he wouldn’t have been in class with my grandparents. So, the cultural practice of disowning the whiteness of mixed people was created by racist white people in the first place. And, since whites in this country set up that kind of cultural norm, and since whites have set and continue to set the norms for America, it became accepted by just about everyone.

Does everyone know what races mixed in order to produce Tiger Woods? Nope. Does everyone know he's "not white"? Yup.

Now that we’re less openly racist and hostile to minorities, it seems silly for whites to not embrace biracial or multi-racial people into their own race. Tiger Woods isn’t black, he’s a bunch of different races. Derek Jeter isn’t black. He’s both black and white. But, biracial or multi-racial people in this country have been treated as “not white” for decades past and still today in the present. If they’ve been told that they are “not white” for that long, how will they racially self-identify? When that biracial person was just a random guy on the street, he was black. When a biracial person was riding a bus, she had to be in the back. When a biracial person wanted to drink at a fountain, she had to use the one that said “colored.” When a biracial person wanted to date a white person, most parents in the 50’s definitely weren’t saying, “Oh, that’s not a problem he’s half-black.” My parents didn’t tell me (as a white kid) that it wasn’t okay to date black girls, but biracial girls were fine. The racist paradigm in this culture was quite clear: you’re only white if you’re “purely” white. There are white people, and everyone else is a minority.

So, when a biracial person contributes positively (as in Obama or other biracial people), and white people try to claim half of him or her, you can bet that minorities aren’t exactly thrilled. They’re insulted, and they should be. All this time being biracial has meant “not white,” and now that this biracial person is a success, he or she gets welcomed into whitedom? Before their success they were anonymous and a minority, but now they’re part of the family? It’s like white people trying to say the only reason the biracial person (who was previously just a black dude) succeeded was because of the whiteness in him. That may not be what the white people are trying to say, but that’s certainly the way it comes out.

This all seems rather stupid, right? It should be simpler than this. But it’s not. It’s as complicated as the context it is in. Race is a weird thing in this country, and it’s great when people are willing to speak honestly and openly about it without jumping behind the “HEY THAT OFFENDS ME” rhetoric. We’re not going to get past this racist nonsense unless we talk about it seriously, and that’s why I think you’re making a good point if you’re trying to point out that this whole “race” thing is just stupid on its face. It shouldn’t matter if someone is 1/8th or 7/8ths black, or 1/2th white and 1/2 latino. It’s all objectively irrelevant.

But, the same reason you’re right in the first scenario is the same reason you’re wrong if you meant something different. Considering that white people created, fostered, nurtured, and (at least in small part) went to war with each other to protect the exact kind of racism and racial social norms that you’re condemning, you’re making a rather insignificant and feckless point.

White people were never treated this way just because of the color of their skin.

The racial inequality you’re complaining about was put into place by white people. People who are half latino and half white identify themselves as “latino” because for the last four hundred years of this country’s history, white people have been telling these biracial folks that they aren’t white. They’re something else. So, when they succeed (cure cancer, as you suggest), if they self-identify as latino and not white, I totally get that. And you should, too. It’s the system white people have created.

Now can this at times backfire against white people, as in this case where white people don’t want Zimmerman associated with them? Sure. Is it fair to white people? Not really. Should we stop it with this racist nonsense because it only divides America instead of unifying it? Absolutely. But suggesting that white people are equally, with all other races, the victims of racism in this country is just ridiculous. The only people who make that argument, from what I can tell, are just racist white people cloaking their racism under the term “reverse-racism.” Of course racism against whites exists. It would be stupid to deny that, and it’s not something we should ignore. But, complaints about it aren’t very compelling considering the inordinate racism against blacks and other minorities that still exists today. Complaining about racism against white people is like complaining about a paper cut on your finger when the guy next to you just had his arm blown off. There’s no equivalence, and you look rather silly to a doctor.

So yeah, if that was the point you were trying to make, you’ve got a lot of work still ahead of you.

In the case of Phil Taylor’s piece, though, and thinking about the journalistic aspect of it, Zimmerman was originally referred to in police reports as white. That meant that initial media reports were that he was white, and white only. Once it became clear that this was not the case, it’s good journalism to be as clear as possible when discussing Zimmerman’s race. Taylor couldn’t have just said he was “latino” because technically that’s just not true, and there’s already confusion about it since the police made an error in their preliminary reports. So, considering the general confusion that already surrounded the situation, setting the record straight and being as accurate as possible is necessary—especially considering how people are so sensitive to the issue of race, as evidenced by you yourself.

Thanks for reading, Matt! Hope to see you back here!

-Keane.

04/08/2012

Doug Stanhope eviscerates British colmunist.

Doug Stanhope – Stand-Up Comedian – Who Reads These Turkeys?

04/07/2012

Four year old child laying down some beats, improvising like a BOSS.

Absolutely love the change in octaves, change in pace, change in delivery. Just awesome.

Via Skrillex on Facebook.

Update: The video was removed by its uploader, and that’s a god damn shame. But, on the internet, nothing ever disappears. I’ll leave the original link just because. Here’s a new one.

04/06/2012

This Texts from Hillary meme is actually pretty funny.

Plenty more over at Texts from Hillary.

04/06/2012

Job totals disappoint, but still on the right side of the graph.

Not exactly the kind of growth we’ll need in order to keep the unemployment rate from rising again, but considering how Congress has done absolutely nothing to help businesses create jobs since last January, it could be much, much worse.

The Maddow Blog – Job totals disappoint, unemployment rate dips.

04/05/2012

Augusta National and The Masters are a disgrace. (Update)

Update: Augusta has allowed its first two female members. It only took 79 years. Progress is slow.

Tradition is an unacceptable excuse for prejudice.

Since 1933, Augusta National Golf Club has been a place where rich men could get together and play golf. The Masters Tournament has been held at Augusta ever since 1934, and the two are virtually interchangeable. They are a brand. They have carefully orchestrated every single aspect of that brand for years. It’s always been an absolutely beautiful course, and that beauty has either been preserved or enhanced over the decades. When those iconic visuals are combined with its stature as the only location to see a “major” tournament every single year, Augusta National is not just a golf course: it’s a monolith. It’s the most famous and most revered and, in golf circles, most respected course or club in America—and likely the entire world.

And women are not allowed to be a part of it.

Millions and millions of Americans tune in every year to watch the Masters on television. The Masters and Augusta National are privatized and monetized; they make tens of millions of dollars a year. I looked into it, and the only thing I could find was this link from 2004 saying that the Masters generates $44m in revenue. I’m surprised even that number is public, as they are a private club with an incentive to keep such information hidden. They’re a for-profit, multimillion dollar business operating right here in America:

And women are not allowed to be a part of it.

It’s a classic “boy’s club.” They pick and choose who they would like to have in, and up until the 90’s, this excluded minorities. It’s a remnant of an American past where it was perfectly acceptable for a bunch of rich white men to get together and tell the women and the negroes to get the hell out.

As part of this historic tradition, each year the Masters bestows their iconic “green jackets” on the winner of the tournament as well as a few others they deem worthy. Well, who is more worthy than their corporate sponsor overlords? The CEOs of their corporate sponsors every year, historically 100% men, have also been given green jackets: a sign of acceptance and membership in the Augusta National Club.

Cue 2012. Cue IBM. Cue a potential snag.

But IBM, the technology corporation and longtime Masters sponsor, broke from a tradition like no other and hired a woman, Ginni Rometty, to head its company. Now, Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the Masters each year, is in a pickle.
“Could Ginni Rometty Finally Force Augusta  to Change?” – Jane Mcmanus, espnW

So did that snag actually cause a change in policy and allow a woman to be treated equally alongside men?

Well, that’s not clear just yet. I guess we’ll have to wait for Sunday.  (Update: they didn’t) Even though the tournament has already begun, The Masters and Augusta National will not comment on the issue. And, while their formerly racist (though former might not even be appropriate) and thoroughly sexist history has done more than enough to stain and tarnish the esteem of the Masters and Augusta National in the eyes of any thinking, egalitarian, and non-bigoted person, Augusta clings to their prejudice in the name of tradition.

A tradition of bigotry used as an excuse to continue its bigotry.

The voices speaking about this are simply too impotent to impact the situation. The only way it might change is if people stop watching and caring. And, since it’s the biggest tournament of the year, as long as golf is still popular in America and the world, this will continue. As long as people still watch on television, and as long as those corporate sponsorships still want to reach those millions, there’s no pressure which can be exerted.

Even back about 10 years ago when sponsors completely pulled their support, the Masters went ahead anyways commercial free. These guys have enough money to do it. And they have the dedication to their bigotry, as well.

And, let’s say that this year Augusta relents and allows Rometty to become a member, it would only be seen as being done solely for corporate ties. Changing their bigoted tradition over a few million dollars: how… appropriate? How… classy?

So, regardless of the outcome of this particular story, one thing will still be true:

Augusta and the Masters are a disgrace to American civil and social progress—a vestigial marking of historical American patriarchy.

04/05/2012

Phil Taylor’s awesome take on the Miami Heat and Trayvon Martin.

“…this killing, overlaid with its possible racial motivations, strikes a chord with African-American athletes. They have been that kid in the hoodie, automatically judged as suspicious, and not that long ago. When they say that they are Trayvon, they mean exactly that.”

BOOM.

Under The Hoodies, A Deeper Truth – 04.02.12 – SI Vault.

04/05/2012

A Pakistani “park.” You’re lucky to live where you do.

Pakistani children enjoy swings in the slums of Karachi, Pakistan on March 14. (Fareed Khan/Associated Press) #

Pakistani children enjoy swings in the slums of Karachi, Pakistan on March 14. (Fareed Khan/Associated Press) #

Via  Daily life: March 2012 – The Big Picture – Boston.com.