Archive for May 22nd, 2011

May 22, 2011

Rapture Wrap: Anti-Smugness and Secular Rapturists

by Vince

Some interesting reads just came my way in regards to the rapture.

Would any secular person be a believer in the apocalypse? Yes:

But a person does not have to be a hard-core believer to sense that things like the environment, the economy, and the political system are appallingly broken. From there, it is only a short step to the view that the entire system is verging on a catastrophic collapse or must be completely swept away, or that any solution to these problems requires something outside normal human agency, such as an idealized or divinized form of humanity, a mysterious, hidden-hand “force” or “law” (such as the “forces” of history or the market), or a human figure of whom extraordinary deeds are expected. This is the “Daddy” complex: a belief in or need for something or someone greater than ourselves, who will solve our problems for us.

Also, Andrew Sullivan doesn’t agree with the smug mentality towards those unfortunately taken advantage of by Harold Camping:

Laughing at religious fanatics is nothing new. And, at some level, there’s nothing wrong with it. But this story didn’t just take off in popularity because people wanted a quick laugh or some insight into a quirky subset of our country. There’s a cruelty underlying our desire to laugh at this story—a desire to see people humiliated and to revel in our own superiority and rationality—even though the people in question are pretty tragic characters, who either have serious problems themselves or perhaps are being taken advantage of, or both.

I agree on two points. There has been something a little smug about how eager so many are to humiliate the end-timers; and there is a poignancy in the evangelical nuttery. But to ask a country not to laugh at such idiocies seems more than a little quixotic to me. And the Rapture nutters are not orthodox Christians – but rather Book of Revelations crackpots. They are not examples of religious faith but of marginal nutballism. Such nutballism begs to be made fun of.

(Pictured: James Warren Jones, known as cult leader Jim Jones).

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May 22, 2011

Obama’s Speech at AIPAC

by Vince

Obama spoke this weekend to the pro-Israel Lobby The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Watch it.

Obama, in my opinion, came hard out of the gates in this pep-rally type speech showing total support of Israel. Granted, he was speaking to a pro-Israel lobby group, but can anyone after watching this say he is anti-Israel?

May 22, 2011

Failed Rapture Details

by Vince

All of them and more here.

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May 22, 2011

To Be A POTUS

by Vince

Paul Waldman describes the lifestyle of a presidential candidate:

Running for any office, particularly president, requires putting part of your natural humanity aside. On the trail, you’re not allowed to have a range of emotions, or good days and bad days. You can’t be surly, or impatient, or bummed out, as all of us are every now and then.

The ability to sustain a particular kind of upbeat mood all the time on the trail can be a function of sheer will, or it can be a function of monomania. Either way, the trail reveals whether the candidates have it. A presidential campaign is a brutal slog. Try to imagine that for the next year and a half, you almost never got a day off (and that means you work weekends, too), you had to meet thousands of people and give hundreds of speeches, and everywhere you went, even when you were just talking to one or two people on a street corner, someone was videotaping you, with your every word being recorded. Also, people felt perfectly free to come up to you and tell you what a jerk they think you are. And you had to smile and act like you like it.

This was in response to an interaction Newt Gingrich had with a voter:

Dubuque, Ia. — Newt Gingrich got a not-so-nice welcome here today.

As he was getting ready to leave a speaking engagement Dubuque resident Russell Fuhrman approached him in the lobby of the Holiday Inn:

“Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself,” Fuhrman said directly to Gingrich.

Gingrich, visibly stunned, quickly moved forward to talk with other guests.

May 22, 2011

A Poem For Sunday

by Vince

Are we in the inside only to leave?
Leaving is just for the masks,
for pulpits and conventions.
Leaving is just
for the siege-that-comes-from-within,
the siege that comes from the Bedouin’s loins,
the siege of the brethren
tarnished by the taste of the blade
and the stink of crows.
We will not leave!
Outside they’re blocking the exits
and offering their blessings to the impostor,
praying, petitioning
Almighty God for our deaths.
Exodus” by Taha Muhammad Ali. Photo of the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on May 13, 2011 by Flickr user Omar Robert Hamilton.
May 22, 2011

Higher Taxes and Growth

by Vince

Tax cutters may find this graph helpful (also: include in your conversation why the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich, which is seen as a panacea, has not helped the economy as predicted but in the end it is all the presidents fault).

Ezra Klein:

The causal story off that graph is something like “in the ’90s, bringing down the deficit through a balanced mix of tax increases and spending cuts was a net positive for growth.” The correlation story off that graph is “the ’90s were a good time for the global economy, and Clinton’s economic management was, at best, a small part of the decade’s successes.” The obviously wrong stories are “tax increases are incompatible with growth” and “Bush’s management of the economy was successful.”

And yet those are the stories that best fit the policies both parties are proposing today. At least when it comes to taxes, both the Obama White House and the GOP are closer to George W. Bush’s approach than to Bill Clinton’s. The GOP thinks all of the Clinton-era tax rates were too high and all of the Bush tax cuts should be made permanent while the Obama administration says that most of the Clinton-era tax rates were too high and the vast majority of the Bush tax cuts should be made permanent, the exception being the cuts for income over $250,000.

May 22, 2011

25,000th Big Mac Consumed By One Man

by Vince
May 22, 2011

The Secret Service Tweets?!

by Vince

I suppose they would have an account to track “secret” things, but this guy working one night screwed up big time:

TDW:

The Twitter feed handler for the Secret Service’s verified account inadvertently tweets a personal post critical of Fox News, promptly deletes it, his employment.

The Secret Service released a statement apologizing for the “unapproved and inappropriate tweet,” saying it “did not reflect the views of the U.S. Secret Service,” and the individual responsible — “who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account” — has had their access to the official Twitter account revoked.

May 22, 2011

Mitch Daniels Out of 2012 Runnings

by Vince

Breaking news.

May 22, 2011

Boarding a Bus in Russia

by Vince

Where else could this happen?

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May 22, 2011

And The Results…

by Vince

Voters on Bill O’Reilly’s website voted on who they thought won after their two segments on GOP candidates et al.

May 22, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

by Vince

Gah, it’s coming, and I can’t wait.

May 22, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince