Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy Violence and the UUA, Rev Morales, and Peter Bowden

Since UUA, Rev Morales, and folks like Peter Bowden climbed onto this wagon, I think they have a special obligation and duty to speak out, one way or the other, as Occupy takes a nasty turn towards violence: Occupy Oakland protesters split over violence
Even within the cities, there is a deepening split between those who accept violence as a tactic and those who oppose it.

The conflict is turning into a wrestling match for the soul of the Occupy movement in the Bay Area. And it's become so pronounced that many who started out calling themselves Occupiers now refer to themselves as "99 percenters" instead.

"When I started to see what was happening Saturday, my heart just broke," Michele Horaney of Alameda, a member of the 99 Percent Solution activist group in the East Bay, said of the Occupy Oakland protest that devolved into an hours-long street battle with police. "There is so much good to be gotten, earned and kept from really solid, sincere efforts to make things change for the better.

"But now," Horaney said, "we've got this group that pretty much just wants to destroy things and make trouble."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/30/MN7E1N0JU1.DTL#ixzz1l3qxxGXj
I see a repeat of Chicago's Days of Rage coming and a rump group that's headed underground. This will not end well. Those who sparked it, better get out front and show some leadership.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Marathon Pundit: Video: Chicago Teachers Union organizer welcomes Occupy Chicago to new home

Marathon Pundit: Video: Chicago Teachers Union organizer welcomes Occupy Chicago to new home

Hold ‘em to his endorsement.  Play it back in a few months.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

300 arrested at Occupy protests in Oakland - latimes.com

Oakland’s Mayor Quan,
Quan said that at one point, many protesters forced their way into City Hall, where they burned flags, broke an electrical box and damaged several art structures, including a recycled art exhibit created by children.
She blamed the destruction on a small "very radical, violent" splinter group within Occupy Oakland.

"This is not a situation where we had 1,000 peaceful people and a few violent people. If you look at what's happening today in terms of destructing property, throwing at and charging the police, it's almost like they are begging for attention and hoping that the police will make an error."
300 arrested at Occupy protests in Oakland - latimes.com
Won’t have to beg long with Chicago PD for a fight, come May and the G8.  Going to be a hot spring.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lysenko and Warmism

Scientists, debunking Warmism today in WSJ, recall Lysenko (photo at left) who did science the Proletarian Way.
This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word "incontrovertible" from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.
Words like incontrovertible usually means science's gone unfalsifiable.  Leaving the world of science for theology (or worse): the profoundly existential world of money.

Follow the path indeed, for it ends with Mike Ryoko's Ubi Est Mea which the Illinois General Assembly included in a tribute, WHEREAS, Mike Royko was Chicago; he created the unofficial motto for Chicago "Ubi Est Mea-Where's Mine?";

Warmism is what it is and don't try and prove it otherwise 'cause there's big bucks at stake. Better instead look for your take.

State Senator Ricky Hendon Resigns! But, Who Knew Obama Was An Ass-Kicking Stud? | Chicago Political Commentary

Obama’s famous in Illinois for his thin skin.  Below from the Sun Times in Chicago Political Commentary recalling one of the more famous incidents. 

Afterward, Hendon wrote, Obama came to his desk and "told me in an eerie, dark voice that came from some secret place within the ugly side of him, 'You embarrassed me on the Senate floor and if you ever do it again, I will kick your ass!'"

Hendon said Obama then challenged him to go to the rear of the Senate chamber out of the eyesight of reporters for a fight, and Hendon did so. "A little pushing and shoving occurred, laced with profanity too vulgar to write, from both of us, until Sen. Donne Trotter and others separated us," Hendon wrote.The incident, Hendon wrote, showed that Obama "will not hesitate to fight on behalf of the United States if it comes down to it, just as he tried to fight me because of his personal beliefs."

State Senator Ricky Hendon Resigns! But, Who Knew Obama Was An Ass-Kicking Stud? | Chicago Political Commentary

I recall Hendon suggesting Obama was Irish instead of African American by ridiculing the Obama as O’Bama and asking what kind of black name was that.  It wasn’t about kids.

Showdown in Chicago: Occupy Chicago Tactical Briefing #25

Tactical Briefing #25: Showdown in Chicago

via Adbusters, [H/T] Rebel Pundit
And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear.

Jammers, pack your tents, muster up your courage and prepare for a big bang in Chicago this Spring. If we don’t stand up now and fight now for a different kind of future we may not have much of a future … so let’s live without dead time for a month in May and see what happens …
Chicago's a town if you're looking for a fight, you'll usually get it. This one's going to get ugly. Big bang for sure.... SDS used to sing Lay, Elrod, lay || Lay in the street for a while || Stay, Elrod, stay || Stay in your bed for a while, about Richard Elrod. They'll be a few left permanently crippled after this fiasco too. The left will sing songs about another big bang.
Jammers, pack your tents, muster up your courage and prepare for a big bang in Chicago this Spring. If we don’t stand up now and fight now for a different kind of future we may not have much of a future … so let’s live without dead time for a month in May and see what happens …

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top Catholic bishop feels betrayed by Obama

Bishop Dolan doesn’t know the Prez like we in Chicago do if he felt blindsided on this one.

Last November, amid deepening tensions between the bishops and the administration over the pending contraception mandate and other issues, Obama invited Dolan to the Oval Office, where the two men shared what Dolan called a productive and "extraordinarily friendly" meeting. 

"The president seemed very earnest, he said he considered the protection of conscience sacred, that he didn't want anything his administration would do to impede the work of the church that he claimed he held in high regard," Dolan recalled on Tuesday. "So I did leave a little buoyant."

That optimism ended last Friday, however, when Obama phoned Dolan to tell him that he was not expanding the conscience exemption to include religious institutions -- such as Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies. In a bid to appease critics like Dolan, the White House gave church organizations an extra year to find a way to comply with the mandate that all health insurance plans provide free contraceptive coverage.

"I had to share with him that I was terribly let down, disappointed and disturbed, and it seemed the news he had given me was difficult to square with the confidence I had felt in November," Dolan said.

Religion News Service | Ethics | Faith | Top Catholic bishop feels betrayed by Obama

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why not reach out to those who already say they are part of us?

Held in the Light asks: Why not reach out to those who already say they are part of us?

I'd like to see some research on these folks, but knowing a few, I'd say forget the reach out.  They identify, but don't expect them to commit.  They've already decided not too.  Identity's the extent of their effort.

You can't build Churches (or a Movement) with folks who will not commit to do the hard work of building either.

Is Liberalism Islamic?: An Interview with Mustafa Akyol

Limits the Powers of the State……

Can you explain what you mean by liberalism?

By liberalism, I mean a political and economic system which limits the powers of the state, and gives individuals, and their voluntary associations, the freedom to shape their destinies. I think liberty has been a value throughout history, but liberalism became a full-fledged ideology in the modern age, for the modern state threatened liberty in unprecedented levels.

I also think that today liberalism presents the best medium for Muslims to live Islam in the various ways that they understand it.

Is Liberalism Islamic?: An Interview with Mustafa Akyol | Politics | Religion Dispatches

The United Methodist response to decline

And a response to the response that the problem’s lackluster clergy.
No doubt some clergy are more gifted, dedicated, resourceful—even faithful—than others. So are many officers, agencies, laity and yes, episcopal leaders. The malaise is American mainline, however. It cuts across denominational lines, hierarchies and polities. Meanwhile, the same Book of Discipline guides the United Methodist Church in parts of the world where there is no malaise. Whatever is wrong with clergy in America may be just as wrong with episcopal leaders, boards, agencies, officers and laity. None are above binding scrutiny, and none has earned the right to decide by itself the validity of ministry among the others.
via The United Methodist Portal
Centralization’s not the answer.  I suspect neither is movement which seems code word for centralization to me.

The Once and Future Liberalism - Walter Russell Mead - The American Interest Magazine

One of the few Liberals I know who understands the Liberal notion that Liberalism’s dead because change’s inevitable.  Technology drives change, ideologies collapse, and new frames rise.  We’re in the midst of a revolution and the professed revolutionary vanguards can’t quite figure it out.  Would they only for once read their Marx!
Writing about the onset of the Great Depression, John Kenneth Galbraith famously said that the end had come but was not yet in sight. The past was crumbling under their feet, but people could not imagine how the future would play out. Their social imagination had hit a wall.

The same thing is happening today: The core institutions, ideas and expectations that shaped American life for the sixty years after the New Deal don’t work anymore. The gaps between the social system we inhabit and the one we now need are becoming so wide that we can no longer paper over them. But even as the failures of the old system become more inescapable and more damaging, our national discourse remains stuck in a bygone age. The end is here, but we can’t quite take it in.
The Once and Future Liberalism - Walter Russell Mead - The American Interest Magazine
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What is a Religous Movement?

Any sociologists of religion out there?

Somehow this does not sound like UUism,

DEFINITIONS OF:religious movement


na movement intended to bring about religious reforms

show 12 types...
Type of:
frontmovementsocial movement
a group of people with a common ideology who try together to achieve certain general goals

Rep. Walsh Questions National Park Service Director About Occupy DC

[H/T] Marathon Pundit.

Murf's take on Morales

Patrick Murfins take on the Rev Morales's letter. Murf (and I've known him since my Dad took me down to the IWW hall about 1971 or so) quotes me
The reactions to Morales’s proposals have been predictable. A leading conservative UU blogger, Bill Baar writing as Pfaffer Streccius took Morales’s proposal as a full on assault on congressional life. I believe a dispassionate reading will show that it is not. But that view will undoubtedly gain traction and be amplified by others.
The first time I've ever been leading about much which shows what blogging in a very small pond can do. But is conservative important here? 'Cause yes I'm a politically conservative UU (visit our Facebook page), but is the Congregation versus Movement issue Rev Morales presented: an issue with politically Conservative and Liberal sides?

At first blush, I thought not. As I think about it though, with Sojourners the first model of a Movement that came to my mind, I wonder if Patrick isn't more right than wrong here.

The tradtional model of Congregations anchors UUs a bit. The Movement Model (which is pretty old itself, if one thinks of Evangelicals as the model of a Religous Movement; save for the original early Christians) lacks the authority of a convenanted body to keep the flock and minister steady. A Movement may well dive right into secular Progressivism simply because the people in charge of the Movement's center are firmly stuck in political Liberalism (with blinders)!

Political Liberalism not a characteristic of Movements in general, but it will be the outcome of this movement in particular. A Liberalism of a rather thin sort too as one Politically Liberal and polity concerned UU told me not so very long ago.

Trabants and Volts

Chevy Volts well on their way to becoming our version of the German Democratic Republic's Trabant: a product worth less than the materials and labor used to build it. A product with negative value. The act of building it destroys value.
Some Chevrolet dealers are turning down Volts that General Motors wants to ship to them, a potential stumbling block as GM looks to accelerate sales of the plug-in hybrid.

For example, consider the New York City market. Last month, GM allocated 104 Volts to 14 dealerships in the area, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Dealers took just 31 of them, the lowest take rate for any Chevy model in that market last month. That group of dealers ordered more than 90 percent of the other vehicles they were eligible to take, the source said.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120123/RETAIL07/301239977#ixzz1kOL8s61a

McGurn: Obama Offends the Catholic Left

McGurn today at WSJ: McGurn: Obama Offends the Catholic Left - WSJ.com and then yesterday’s piece by Winter’s : J'ACCUSE! Why Obama is wrong on the HHS conscience regulations

As Americans grow more conservative, Liberalism grows more authoritarian.  Enforcing visions fewer are buying.  That authoritarianism a sign of a defeated and desperate ideology.  Liberalis chucking a once proud heritage of civil libertarianism (see William O. Douglas on the right to unfettered campaign contributions) rather than engage modernity and its growing diversity.

Liberals so blind they couldn’t even see how Healthcare Reform and Medical technology would bring the increasingly complex issues of ethics into the political forum, and naively express surprise that abortion would come front and center in the debate.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rev Morales: Churches or Movement?

Surprised there's not more talk of this on the UU blogosphere or Facebook.

It's a talk way over due.

Where have you been Rev Morales? A bit like King Richard, off fighting the crusade in Arizona while we Peasants toiled in the Congregations; harassed by that ruthless King John known as the great recession.

This epistle, from a man I voted for in hopes of a plan to grow our Churches a bit, must be the prelude to another set of dismal membership numbers

My Church just started it's kick-off for our pledge drive. A father testified yesterday about searching for a spiritual home during his son's severe illness. It was powerful stuff.  He left me proud of our Church and the work so many members do, to be just the place this father and mother were searching for. Yeah, we'll pledge for this.

They could only have found this at a Church. Sojourners (or any movement) can't provide a Spiritual Home in the way a Congregation does.

I have hopes for technology, but sadly, Rev Morales's vision here is doomed. I'm not sure it's even going to spark the discussion and reformation the UUA desperately needs.

Protesters Throw Bricks and Bibles at Police in San Francisco

Via ABC,
Occupy San Francisco’s “Day of Action” turned violent Friday night when protesters occupied an abandoned hotel and began throwing objects at police officers from the roof, police said.

“Once they gained access [to the hotel], some of them made it to the top of the roof and they then began to throw bibles down at the officers,” San Francisco Police Department spokesman Carlos Manfredi said.

“One of officers was struck with a brick to the chest and one of our lieutenants was struck in the hand with an object and may have damaged or even broken his hand,” he said.

Protesters began the day Friday by targeting San Francisco’s financial institutions like the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, the SEC, Citibank, Chase, and Bechtel.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Also at Weasel Zippers. No good comes of this...

(01-22-12) (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) Free Syrian Army Warns Assad Forces from Storming Douma,

Sometimes Speed beats Mass (Money) in politics

A take away from Byron York for UUs concerned about money in politics. Sometimes all that money gives you big organization to trip over. Something the Obama folks on Michigan Ave ought to be thinking about today.
Gingrich's campaign was also faster and more nimble than the Romney battleship. "There is a very strong contrast between the two campaign organizations," said Gingrich adviser (and former George W. Bush administration official) Kevin Kellems. "In military terms, it's speed versus mass. Newt Gingrich's operation, and Newt Gingrich as a man, has a great deal of speed -- intellectual speed, decisiveness. The Romney campaign is much more about money and size, having hired half of Washington D.C. And sometimes, speed beats mass."

Maureen Dowd: Showtime at the Apollo

Obama's sound odd to Dowd, but we're familiar with it in Illinois. Our first African-American Prez sounds just like Illinois's first Blue-Collar Gov in his famous I gave your grandma free rides on the CTA wiretap. Chicago Pols about as self-centered as a guy (and they're mostly guys) get.
The portrait of the first couple in Jodi Kantor’s new book, “The Obamas,” bristles with aggrievement and the rational president’s disdain for the irrational nature of politics, the press and Republicans. Despite what his rivals say, the president and the first lady do believe in American exceptionalism — their own, and they feel overassaulted and underappreciated.

We disappointed them.

As Michelle said to Oprah in an interview she did with the president last May: “I always told the voters, the question isn’t whether Barack Obama is ready to be president. The question is whether we’re ready. And that continues to be the question we have to ask ourselves.”

They still believed, as their friend Valerie Jarrett once said, that Obama was “just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”
Showtime at the Apollo - NYTimes.com

تقرير صحفي من داخل درعــــا المحتلة - مترجم -

CNN in Dar'a. Video is in English.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It’s Marriage Stupid (not Income)

A twist on marriage inequality.  Murray in a column I haven’t fully absorbed yet, but he’s peeling away at the real problems dividing Americans.

Charles Murray on the New American Divide - WSJ.com

This Is America's Moment, If Washington Doesn't Blow It - Forbes

Must read by Joel Kotkin.  Only thing standing in America’s way our Americans themselves.

A confluence of largely unnoticed economic, demographic and political trends has put the U.S. in a far more favorable position than its rivals. Rather than the end of preeminence, America may well be entering  a renaissance.

If we  have the guts and sense to seize this moment.

This Is America's Moment, If Washington Doesn't Blow It - Forbes

Time to Leave Afghanistan

Time to Leave Afghanistan

Michael Yon quits Afghanistan.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Valerie Jarrett Business Partner Dan Mahru is Disbarred

A quick link on Jarret’s public housing partner getting disbarred based on his guilty plea on a swindle.

Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Valerie Jarrett Business Partner Dan Mahru is Disbarred

Corporate Personhood and Media Corporations

My favorite Ron Paul response from last night's debate,
REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL (R-TX): I think too often all of us are on the receiving ends of attacks from the media, and it's very disturbing, because sometimes they're not based on facts and we suffer the consequences. You know, sometimes it reminds me of this idea of getting corporations out of running campaigns -- (chuckles) -- but what about the corporations that run the media? (Cheers, applause.) I mean, they're always (in politics ?).
As your Social Justice Committees climb on the bandwagon to amend constitutions on Corporatations and Personhood, consider what-we-should-pay-taxes GE, Obama's Economics Czar: GE's Immelt, and the GE owned MSNBC you watch.

Schakowsky from Peoples' Church Pulpit: "Pay your fair share!"

[H/T] RebelPundit who writes,
What didn’t occur to me during my post event interview with Jan, which will soon be released was, why or how was Bank of America abusing her? Overdraft fees maybe? Surely she wouldn’t be writing bad checks, like her husband Bob Creamer who went to federal prison in the past for tax evasion and bank fraud, would she?

I heard Schakowsky fumble in response to the question what's a fair share on WLS talk radio with Don & Roma. She couldn't say.

The really important question though is who would she empower to decide what's fair for Americans to earn and keep, and earn and share? Which Government agency's going to make that call?

Update: More of the players at Peoples. Jackson shows real crust here considering how he's getting slammed on the southside, and getting investigated by the Senate on the offer to buy Obama's Senate Side.

RealClearPolitics - Keystone Madness

Good column from Samuelson. A guy not usually given to calling decisions Madness but Keysone’s rightfully pushed him over an edge.

President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn't often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and -- beyond the symbolism -- won't even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his re-election that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances.

RealClearPolitics - Keystone Madness

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Obama's recess appointments might not hold up in court - TheHill.com

Obama's recess appointments might not hold up in court - TheHill.com

The appointments had all the marks of a loser. Politics as smart as hiring a new head of OMB who had worked at Baine Capital.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., attacked Mitt Romney over his Bain Capital career rather than answer a question about President Obama's decision to make a former Bain & Company consultant the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Who's running this campaign?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

William McGurn: Obama Brings Back the Constitution - WSJ.com

Obama’s three years turning out pretty much as expected.  Maybe I thought the economy would have turned around a bit faster, but the left’s silence on the war has been the one big surprise for me.  Well, small surprise maybe.

Yes, in the Bush years the air was also thick with accusations that the Constitution was being "shredded." We now know that the professed concern for the Constitution was fake. We know it was fake because the same Bush claims of executive authority in war that provoked such apoplexy in our pundits, professors and politicos have for the most part been embraced by Mr. Obama—all to the distinct sound of silence.

And these excellent para from McGurn and the common person as dopes frame. We’re not, and can see through these “reforms”.

We are learning, however, that ordinary Americans who never before heard of the Commerce Clause are perfectly capable of grasping the argument that if the federal government can require a citizen to buy a product in the market, there's nothing he can't be forced to do. As Republicans head into their South Carolina primary, the preferred press narrative appears to be of a party riven by differences that are intractable. What this misses is the larger constitutional point on which Republicans are mostly united and by which so many are driven: that what's at stake in the 2012 election is the process our founders gave us for resolving these debates.

William McGurn: Obama Brings Back the Constitution - WSJ.com

Solar-panel company lays off 40 employees - Toledo Blade

More Green financial fiascos…. at our expense.

The start-up company has been plagued by a series of production and staffing delays since it was formed in 2008. It has received millions of dollars in government loans and tax breaks and has been toured by high-profile officials such as Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

Mr. Cicak said last week that the facility was to reopen Monday after a period of adjusting its inventory. A voice mail message on the company's main phone line said the same thing.

Only 15 cars were in the parking lot at 1:30 p.m. Monday. The office was devoid of activity, and the rows of desks were empty.

Solar-panel company lays off 40 employees - Toledo Blade

Keep It Simple - NYTimes.com

Solutions are the problem a boss once told me.  Jamie Dimon’s no nope. My bet’s he’s right.

What if the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase is not just blowing smoke when he complains that the country — and, indeed, the world — has imposed so many new rules on the banking industry, some of them overlapping, others seeming to contradict each other, yet others whose sole purpose seems to be to weigh down the industry, that they threaten to do as much harm as good? Last summer, you’ll recall, Dimon confronted Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, at a conference and asked him: “Has anyone bothered to study the cumulative effect of these things?” Just last week, during JPMorgan’s earnings call with analysts, Dimon complained that Europe’s “regulatory policy, government policy, central bank policy — it’s not coordinated. It’s making the situation worse, not better.”

Keep It Simple - NYTimes.com

Marathon Pundit: While bodies pile up at Cook County morgue, Preckwinkle praises Occupy crowd (VIDEO)

Cook County Board Chair Preckwinkle at Occupy Chicago while the indigent bodies pile up over at the morgue for lack of funds to burry them.  Tony Rezko was once Preckwinkle’s Finance Chair… maybe she ought to send him a letter in prison for some advice on how to bail Cook County out of the mess it’s in.

[H/T] John M who’s been covering Occupy, Marathon Pundit: While bodies pile up at Cook County morgue, Preckwinkle praises Occupy crowd (VIDEO)

Why are Barack Obama’s critics so smart? – Telegraph Blogs

Niles Gardiner deconstructs Andrew Sullivan's News Week piece: the conservatives as dummies frame; which is a variant of the conservatives as psychologically impaired frame.

Why are Barack Obama’s critics so smart? – Telegraph Blogs#

Sullivan's Dx says far more about his lack of horse-sense and intellectual health than about we patients. His a nasty habit that explains much of the last century.

Via C.S. Lewis's God in the Dock.
You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it "Bulverism". Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father — who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third — "Oh you say that because you are a man." "At that moment", E. Bulver assures us, "there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall." That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.

Monday, January 16, 2012

1% Elizabeth Warren can’t have it both ways - BostonHerald.com


Lizzy has suggested she believes it takes a village to get rich. Her experience indicates it actually takes a part-time job at Harvard. In 2009, her salary was $350,000 and she earned $429,000 for 2010 and 2011.

She also raked in $136,000 in royalties from her books, $10,000 for lecturing at a Boston law firm, $90,000 for consulting for a Florida law firm and $43,000 for working for Traveler’s Insurance.


There is nothing wrong with being financially well-off. The problem is that Lizzy wants everyone in the 1 percent to feel guilty about their success while she lands another six-figure part-time gig.

Some nice six figure gov gigs too.

1% Elizabeth Warren can’t have it both ways - BostonHerald.com

California Rail Fail: Captain Brown and the Great White Train | Via Meadia

Walter Russell Mead on more hight speed rail fiascos,

California’s bullet train is going off the rails, and the overseers are running for cover. The WSJ reports that Roelof van Ark, the chief executive, and Thomas Umberg, the chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority, announced they will step down from their posts as the odds against the project grow longer.

California Rail Fail: Captain Brown and the Great White Train | Via Meadia

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Poll Results: Should your bylaws hold your Church to calling only a UUMA Minister?

Nine out of ten voted No to the question: Should your bylaws hold your Church to calling only a UUMA Minister?

I was surprized.

Iranian Official Reportedly Threatens Retaliation After Nuclear Expert Killed | Here & Now

Let’s hope the SecDef knows what he’s doing when he says stuff like this:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “we have some idea as to who might be involved.”

Iranian Official Reportedly Threatens Retaliation After Nuclear Expert Killed | Here & Now

Message to Canada by actor Fadwa Soliman from inside Syria.

If Fadwa Suleiman not a familiar name to you, she's Syria's Jennifer Aniston. Her story at fellow Chicagoan's blog Rebel Pundit. One of her videos below,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Comes After Hosanna-Tabor | First Things

What Comes After Hosanna-Tabor | First Things:

It looks like a very bad over-reach by the Administration, and a very solid slap down by a unanimous SCOTUS.
The first thing to note is that Chief Justice Roberts and the other justices who wrote opinions were kinder to the Obama administration than it deserved. The administration came out entirely against the concept of the “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination statutes, a legal principle that has been commonplace in the courts of appeals for nearly four decades. The Obama Department of Justice, representing the EEOC, took the position that some protection might be afforded to religious organizations on “freedom of association” grounds, which are only implicit in the First Amendment, but rejected any recourse to what the text of the amendment says about religious freedom. This, the chief justice mildly said, was “untenable.”

UNITED STATES V. AUTO WORKERS, 352 U. S. 567 :: Volume 352 :: 1957 :: Full Text :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez

Update: Worth noting Douglas applies this dissent to Religous associations too.

People forget... Douglas in 1957 on UAW campaign contributions.

UNITED STATES V. AUTO WORKERS, 352 U. S. 567 :: Volume 352 :: 1957 :: Full Text :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez


We deal here with a problem that is fundamental to the electoral process and to the operation of our democratic society. It is whether a union can express its views on the issues of an election and on the merits of the candidates, unrestrained and unfettered by the Congress. The principle at stake is not peculiar to unions. It is applicable as well to associations of manufacturers, retail and wholesale trade groups, consumers' leagues, farmers' unions, religious groups, and every other association representing a segment of American life and taking an active part in our political campaigns and discussions. It is as important an issue as has come before the Court, for it reaches the very vitals of our system of government.

Under our Constitution, it is We The People who are sovereign. The people have the final say. The legislators are their spokesmen. The people determine through their votes the destiny of the nation. It is therefore important -- vitally important -- that all channels of communication be open to them during every election, that no point of view be restrained or barred, and that the people have access to the views of every group in the community.

خبرآنلاین - تمرین تیراندازی روحانیون/گزارش تصویریKhbranlayn - Clergymen skeet / VIDEO

Iran’s Mullahs are second amendment guys.



خبرآنلاین - تمرین تیراندازی روحانیون/گزارش تصویری

What would your Investment Banker do?

Watch your back of course.  And gather up some friends to kick in donations.

In Kenwood, Daily Herald's Ray Garcia reports, Bears Stearn Executive Stuart Taylor told the President, 'Our message to you on behalf of everyone gathered here is very simple and that is: We’ve got your back, despite what you might hear or read.'"

Illinois Review: Obama raises $2 million in hometown visit

Wonder who are the We?

What is Ministry?

A Free Faith Writes,

I can’t imagine there won’t be a sudden surge in churches calling employees “ministers.”

It’s free discrimination day! « A Free Faith

I have been told by a UU Minister that blogging is a Ministry.  I’ve been told by a UU Minister that my membership on the Social Justice committee is a Ministry.  Whether doing Ministry makes me Minister, I’d like to know.

Also, read Alito and Kagan’s concurring opinion explaining the limits of Ministry applied to non-Protestant Churches and Faiths, and expanding the notion.

Marathon Pundit: Occupy Obama in Chicago; Big Labor AWOL (Photos)

MP covers #Occupy Chicago’s smallish intervention at Obama’s fundraisers at UIC: Marathon Pundit: Occupy Obama in Chicago; Big Labor AWOL (Photos)

Looks like Labor opted out of this protest.

Hosanna-Tabor: U.S. Supreme Court Church-State Decision Protects the Church

Via Catholic Times.... whow, unanimous with Alito and Kagan joining together on a concurring opinon; so much for America's polarization and a huge embarresement for the EEOC.
On January 11, 2012 the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion entitled Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, issued one of the most important Religion Clause cases of the last fifty years.

This was a unanimous opinion. The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Roberts. Two concurring opinions were filed; one by Justice Thomas and a second by Justice Alito who was joined by Justice Kagan.
Update: ScotusBlog's recap of the case here. ....and more

Now We Will See The Real Obama

A guy who seems to know the varieties of Chicago Democrats pretty well,

Then there are the Democrats that are the connectors. David Axelrod is a true believer that is a connector. He is good with the turn of a phrase to mask what they truly want and turn it into something saleable to the American public. The Clinton’s had their own machine which some Chicago folks were a part of. But their idea of political combat was a scorched earth policy. Chicago operators are much more pragmatic than that.

Obama’s mission was to ingrain that sort of crony capitalist machine into the fabric of national politics. One look at all the waivers given to his cronies for Obamacare shows you where he is headed. If Obama and his compatriots get there way, every business, man, woman and child will have to bow their head and kiss a ring to get anything done.

Read all of him to get the full panoply of Dems in this town, Now We Will See The Real Obama | Points and Figures

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We all have a sacred text « A Free Faith

Below  is simply false in my experience.  Most of us guided by habit.  Now read on further and you’ll see the author lands finally upon tradition, which is a lot like habit, and while a people can certainly have collective traditions and habits, there’s no requirement anyone examine them.  Many don’t and manage quite well on auto-pilot. 

We all have beliefs. Anyone who says they don’t have a sacred text, no collection of wisdom and ideals they hold dear is either lying or unaware. Saying you don’t just means you aren’t being upfront about what guides your life.

We all have a sacred text « A Free Faith

French journalist killed in Syria – USATODAY.com

French journalist killed in Syria – USATODAY.com

Gilles Jacquier RIP

[H/T] Jesse Queen

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The New Authoritarianism by Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin - City Journal

The New Authoritarianism by Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin - City Journal

Regarding the administration's reaction to the 2010 election,
Much of the administration’s approach has to do with a change in the nature of liberal politics. Today’s progressives cannot be viewed primarily as pragmatic Truman- or Clinton-style majoritarians. Rather, they resemble the medieval clerical class. Their goal is governmental control over everything from what sort of climate science is permissible to how we choose to live our lives. Many of today’s progressives can be as dogmatic in their beliefs as the most strident evangelical minister or mullah. Like Al Gore declaring the debate over climate change closed, despite the Climategate e-mails and widespread skepticism, the clerisy takes its beliefs as based on absolute truth. Critics lie beyond the pale.

The problem for the clerisy lies in political reality. The country’s largely suburban and increasingly Southern electorate does not see big government as its friend or wise liberal mandarins as the source of its salvation. This sets up a potential political crisis between those who know what’s good and a presumptively ignorant majority. Obama is burdened, says Joe Klein of Time, by governing a “nation of dodos” that is “too dumb to thrive,” as the title of his story puts it, without the guidance of our president. But if the people are too deluded to cooperate, elements in the progressive tradition have a solution: European-style governance by a largely unelected bureaucratic class.
...speaking as a critic beyond the pale, Siegel and Kotkin absolutely on mark here. This isn't going to end well either. Reality's going to crash down hard.

High-speed rail in Britain: Full steam ahead | The Economist

Saves all of 45 minutes on a trip from London to Birmingham.  This has got to be a disaster.

The government says the line could carry up to 26,000 people an hour and deliver benefits of £47 billion over the course of 60 years. But The Economist has not been impressed and editorialised against the plans back in September on the grounds that high-speed railways benefits rich regions and individuals at the expense of poorer ones, and their costs sap funding from humbler but more efficient schemes.

High-speed rail in Britain: Full steam ahead | The Economist

Monday, January 09, 2012

Government: The redistributionist behemoth - The Washington Post

Government: The redistributionist behemoth - The Washington Post:

Read all of Will's column above, but it's odd UU's so accustomed to discerning the power in human relations, overlook this whopper.
Liberals have a rendezvous with regret. Their largest achievement is today’s redistributionist government. But such government is inherently regressive: It tends to distribute power and money to the strong, including itself.

Government becomes big by having big ambitions for supplanting markets as society’s primary allocator of wealth and opportunity. Therefore it becomes a magnet for factions muscular enough, in money or numbers or both, to bend government to their advantage.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Liberation, Marcuse, and Rugged Individualism

A quick thought, but one that's been on my mind since reading John Ruskin Clark, D.D. , What's Wrong with Marcuse's One Dimensional Man? is the Liberationists won in post 1968 Unitarian Universalism and that notions of obligation and duty became to us quaint conservative nostrums; part of a Father Frame we pasted on political conservatism.

Liberationist succeeded beyond expectations convincing Americans to free themselves, which they've done (some to self-destruction), and now UU's left with an stagnating Institution, failing to attract members, and renewed calls about duties to the collective.

The collective-duty boat's left (and sunk). No matter how loving or welcoming our Congregations may become, we'll still be confusing and unintelligible until we can explain and reconcile 1968 with today.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Love Is More Important Than Freedom | PeaceBang

I’m not a great fan of building your own theology classes, and PB makes some good points here, but never in the whole post does she mention truth.

Thereau wrote, Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.  A UU Church, at its best, simply offers a supportive home to seek truth.  Maybe not love; certainly not fame or fortune, not even truth; just support along our paths towards truth.

That’s simply it, and if we bungle that task of supportive home, than we’re no more.

Love Is More Important Than Freedom | PeaceBang

The Escapist : News : Sweden Formally Recognizes Piracy as Religion

H/T Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof

The act of peer to peer file-sharing is a holy act and information is sacred, according to the tenets of the Missionary Church of Kopimism. An offshoot of Sweden's Pirate Party, the 3,000 members of the church have been attempting to be recognized as an official religion since 2010.

The Escapist : News : Sweden Formally Recognizes Piracy as Religion

Unitarian Universalism as One Big Codependent System–disagreement as pathology

Treating disagreements pathologically as disease -as SC does below- rather than just plain old disagreements strikes me a bit of an insult. A break with our covenants to gather not in agreement, but simply paper-overing disagreement as your disease, without our responsibility for taking you seriously at all.  Your not worthy of debunking or argument; you’re just sort of sick, even though we might seem kindly in our nursing.

I am exploring in which the anti-Christian sentiments found throughout Unitarian Universalism can be seen and understood as aversion addiction.

Unitarian Universalism as One Big Codependent System | Sunflower Chalice

A Missional Church?

Since this is a work popping about in UU blogs of late, it might be nice to sort out what it means.

For starters here. A list which I think excludes us, but hey, I'm open. Educate me.

And Wikipedia on Missio Dei and the German Theologian (of course!) who coined the word,
In 1934, Karl Hartenstein, a German missiologist, coined the phrase in response to Karl Barth and his emphasis on actio Dei (Latin for “the action of God”).

When kept in the context of the Scriptures, missio Dei correctly emphasizes that God is the initiator of His mission to redeem through the Church a special people for Himself from all of the peoples (τα εθνη) of the world. He sent His Son for this purpose and He sends the Church into the world with the message of the gospel for the same purpose.[1]

According to David J. Bosch, "mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God."[2] Jurgen Moltmann says, "It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church."[3] There is church because there is mission, not vice versa. The Church must not think its role is identical to the missio Dei; the Church is participating in the mission of God. The church's mission is a subset of a larger whole mission. That is, it is part of God's mission to the world and not the entirety of God's work in the world.
I'm usually left perplexed by God's actions. If someone's blind to God's hand too, I perfectly understand. A UU should be left to believe in nothing for sometimes nothing's all we can make out.

While our UU History important, and sadly unexamined by most save the Boston Unitarian, we're no longer a Christian Church and welcome not only unbelievers, but even those of thin or wishy-washy faith.

If that's the label an Evangelical slaps upon us, maybe we should respond, one can indeed be a UU of very wishy-washy faith. We are not ashamed.

We are at our best perhaps when offering a home to just that sort of thin, wishy-washy, believer, changing belief at whim,  not because our mood's vary, but because Creation does. We're just trying to find what fits, and as BU tells us that's often, and maybe must be, a very lonely task: ....from William Alger's "The Solitudes of Nature and of Man: or the Loneliness of Human Life"

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Aside From The Obvious: 'We're going to take back America'


Isn’t that we are always hearing?  Ok, not always, but often enough to be recognizable.  According to the the Dubuque Telegraph Herald the razor thin victor, Gov. Mitt Romney: says 'We're going to take back America.’

From whom or what? 

Aside From The Obvious: 'We're going to take back America' -

hmmm…  well, I heard it first in 2006 from Obama in what I thought a rather famous speech to a group named Take Back America:

Take Back America Speech

TOPIC: Our Past, Our Future & Vision for America
June 14, 2006
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Take Back America

Faster, Please! » Iran in Convulsion (the death spiral continues)

Ledeen in today’s PJ Media,

Big news today from Iran, confirming once again that the hapless regime in Tehran proceeds down its death spiral. The first is the spectacular collapse of the national currency, which has lost 35% of its value since September. The second headline, in an extraordinary press conference by the effective commander of the revolutionary guards, is the admission that the incarcerated leaders of the green movement have so much powerful support that the regime dares not prosecute them.

Faster, Please! » Iran in Convulsion (the death spiral continues)

Ayatollahs backed into a corner a dangerous things. 

The meaning of Mohamed Bouaziz; the weariness of Dr. Marylin Sewell

She writes,
I am weary of hearing well-meaning friends question the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. They ask, "What do they want? They don't have any clear goals -- how can they hope to bring about change?"
I want to ask:
"What was the meaning of Gandhi's fasts? "
"What was the meaning of the Watts riots?"
"What is the meaning of the young Syrian who set himself on fire because he could find no job, and started the Arab Spring?"
The Meaning of Occupy Wall Street - Marilyn Sewell

The Syrian was really a Tunisian.  He had a name.  A quick google would have told you he was Mohamed Bouaziz. His picture at left.

I’m tired of UUs who conflate rich American kids disrupting free elections in Iowa ( They heckled and interrupted candidates on several occasions, often to chant a prepared script.) with brave people who give their lives for the right to have elections and vote.

I’m weary of UU leaders too lazy to get their facts right.  Too seek the truth and a then honor the name of a Martyr for Democracy: Mohamed Bouaziz

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Iowa’s ‘uneducated Jesus freaks’

Iowa’s ‘uneducated Jesus freaks’

Also, Iowa Hawk's parody of Bloom's piece in the Atlantic.

Iowa's a fine place. I'd move there without hesitation.

Occupy protesters unable to meet with Democratic official | The Des Moines Register | DesMoinesRegister.com

Rep Wasserman-Schultz strikes me as the last sort of Politician any self-respecting Socialist much less Anarcho-Syndicalist would care to parley with.  Where’s Big Bill Haywood when you need him?

Occupy Des Moines demonstrators went to the Democratic National Committee’s “war room” in downtown Des Moines twice on Sunday to try to meet with the committee’s chairwoman, but the party says she won’t be in town until late tonight.

A day after police made 18 arrests at sometimes-heated rallies at political offices in the metro area, protesters carried out several more subdued actions Sunday. One man was arrested at Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign offices in Des Moines.

More events are expected Monday and Tuesday, before the Iowa caucuses officially kick off the presidential campaign. Spokesman Stephen Toothman said new plans won’t be made until a meeting Monday morning. Protesters have repeatedly emphasized that they do not intend to cause any disruptions to voting Tuesday night.

Occupy protesters unable to meet with Democratic official | The Des Moines Register | DesMoinesRegister.com

پیام حشمت الله طبرزدی از زندان رجایی شهر _ دیماه ۱۳۹

via Radio Liberty,
A well-known Iranian political activist, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, has managed to send out an unprecedented video message from the Rajayishahr prison in which he dismisses Iran's repressive measures aimed at silencing dissent and predicts they will fail.

"Freedom is the essence of human being I believe, in fact without freedom no choice has a meaning," he says in the 15-minute-plus video.

The video was recorded recently on a mobile phone and posted on YouTube. It was then quickly shared on Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites.

Update: via Nasrin Sotoudeh's fan page,
Tabarzadi says the Iranian leadership fears individuals like him who have resorted to nonviolent means to bring change in the country.

He says the harsh methods Iran uses against political activists, students, and human rights advocates are doomed to failure:

"We are not terrorists; we are not promoting violence; we have said certain things based on our basic rights; we've expressed our views. The establishment issues heavy prison sentences against us out of fear, it fears what we have to say -- the things we're saying here between us. I don't believe the crackdown, violent measures, prison and other things will stop us. We're determined, we have paid a price, and we're [ready] to pay an even higher price, we know our rights, and we will definitely reach our demands. "

Andy Kessler: The Rise of Consumption Equality - WSJ.com

Kessler’s conclusion on our growing equality of consumption,

Just about every product or service that makes our lives better requires a mass market or it's not economic to bother offering. Those who invent and produce for the mass market get rich. And the more these innovators better the rest of our lives, the richer they get but the less they can differentiate themselves from the masses whose wants they serve. It's the Pages and Bransons and Zuckerbergs who have made the unequal equal: So, sure, income equality may widen, but consumption equality will become more the norm.

To me, being rich means covering the basic necessities, and then having a challenging career, fun and fulfilling leisure time, and the love of family and friends. Compared to 20 years ago, or even five years ago, chances are that you're richer. Try to enjoy it.

Andy Kessler: The Rise of Consumption Equality - WSJ.com

The other argument I suppose that wealth confers political power, but my experience that’s not quite true… consider sitting in the old Meadville-Lombard listening to jibber-jabber on determining the power structure (it’s not self-evident, you gotta figure it out with an algorithim) yet knowing after dark in this neigborhood, the bad guys run things: escort me to my car please Mr. Baar? 

Brotherhood endorses Coptic candidate over Salafi one, Salafis enraged | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

Why elections and Democracy are good things.

Brotherhood endorses Coptic candidate over Salafi one, Salafis enraged | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

What’s a UU Church Program offer the now pretty standard single-mom household?

Rev Dan Harper wrote,
Bill — You write: “What’s a UU Church Program offer the now pretty standard single-mom household?”

Exactly the question to ask. All too often the answer is — nothing.
So ok, I'm asking, and betting if you visit you local big-box Church you'll find strong youth programming and support groups targeting single mothers.

A thought that's be chewing at me since hearing Doug Muder's Red Family Blue Family sermon which I thought would go over badly with the single, divorced, never married, of either gender.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Poll: Should your bylaws say only UUMA Ministers?

Should your Church’s bylaws hold the Congregation to only calling Ministers who are members of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association?

Poll at the upper right of the blog.  Please explain your vote in comments.

uuworld.org : Board may nominate only one moderator candidate

If you’re lucky enough to have more than one person volunteer for a job like this, you ought to at least put them all on the ballot. People can endorse whomever, but a bigger selection the better.

Qualifying a decision it made in October 2011 to nominate at least two candidates for moderator, the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees voted in December to adopt a policy that could allow it to nominate only one person for the position.

Following lengthy debate during its monthly conference call on Dec. 15, the board narrowly agreed that if members of the board vote overwhelmingly for one person for moderator, then the board will nominate only that person.

uuworld.org : board may nominate only one moderator candidate

Poll Results: a lackluster UUA

Not much of a sample, but here's the results from the poll: UUA leading from behind?

Showing Leadership we need! 0 (0%)
As good as UUs can expect. 1 (25%)
UUA's reacting, not leading 3 (75%)
What's UUA? 0

If the sample size no good, the objective evidence may be more telling. Per Rev Dan Harper,
This year, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) reported the fourth year of decline in religious education enrollment in congregations. This decline came after a couple of decades of steady growth. Worse yet, 2007 marked the highest number of births since 1961, at the height of the Baby Boom, which means we should be seeing an increase in the number of kids in our congregations.
Dan spins the upside on this stat as indisputable wake up call for congregations and leadership. However I wouldn't underestimate UU drowsiness. The heady narcotic of reliving the 60s with #Occupy may well divert many from the essential task of tending our youth.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

How Islam Began

A lecture at the Oriental Institute... I'll try and be there. Say hello if you're there too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Time: 7:00pm until 10:00pm
Where: Oriental Institute, Breasted Hall, 1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL
Description: Fred Donner, of the University of Chicago, will give a lecture entitled, 'How Islam Began: New Views'.

Muslim tradition offers a very clear vision of how Islam began, centering on the life of the prophet Muhammad in Arabia, his receiving of revelations from God that became the text of the Qur'an, and a rapid expansion of his followers after his death to form a new Islamic empire that dominated most of the Near East. Western scholarship followed this traditional story, but over the past forty years revisionist scholarship has offered a variety of new interpretations, many of which depart in striking ways from the traditional narrative. Evidence now suggests that there was a much more flexible sense of communal identity among the earliest followers of Muhammad, so that the distinction between "Muslim," "Christian," and "Jew" may have been less clear-cut than it subsequently became. This lecture explores these issues and discusses how Islam, as it is classically defined, emerged from this more ecumenical environment.