Archive for May 23rd, 2011

May 23, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day II

by Vince

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May 23, 2011

POTUS in Dublin

by Vince

Obama ran into a little issue at the U.S. Embasy in Dublin, Ireland:

On its way out of the US Embassy in Dublin, President Obama’s heavily armored limo, Cadillac One (AKA “The Beast”), struck a ramp and subsequently got stuck, forcing POTUS to abandon car.

Obama arrived in Ireland this morning to kick off a six-day tour of Europe, which will include stops in the UK, France, and Poland.

May 23, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

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May 23, 2011

A Spoiled, Technocratic Generation

by Vince

Louis CK and Conan O’Brien expound:

May 23, 2011

Mitt vs. Barack

by Vince

Robert Reich explains how the hypothetical presidential match-up between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama has dwindled from a 13 point lead for Barack to just 1 point:

Why is Mitt doing so well? Partly because Obama’s positions are by now well known, while voters can project anything they want onto Mitt. It’s also because much of the public continues to worry about the economy, jobs, and the price of gas at the pump, and they inevitably blame the president.

But I suspect something else is at work here, too. To many voters, President Obama sounds and acts presidential, but he doesn’t look it. Mitt Romney is the perfect candidate for people uncomfortable that their president is black. Mitt is their great white hope.

I wouldn’t take it so far with the race card. Mitt is somewhat ambiguous when it comes to policy, yes. However, he seems to be the same, plain candidate that was around in 2008:

I say this not because Mitt’s mind is the sharpest of the likely contenders (Newt Gingrich is far more nimble intellectually). Nor because his record of public service is particularly impressive (Tim Pawlenty took his governorship seriously, while Mitt as governor seemed more intent on burnishing his Republican credentials outside Massachusetts). Nor because Mitt is the most experienced at running a business (Donald Trump has actually managed a major company, while Mitt made his money buying and selling companies). Nor, finally, because he’s especially charismatic or entertaining (Sarah Palin can work up audiences, and Mike Huckabee is genuinely funny and folksy, while Mitt delivers a speech so deliberately he seems to be driving a large truck).

May 23, 2011

P90X Nation

by Vince

P90X is really catching on with ESPN personalities. I knew Jim Rome was down with the X routine. Now some more are in the mix and bringing it!

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May 23, 2011

The Budget Crisis View Of Pennsylvanian Schools

by Vince

The impacts are stark:

  • About 31 percent of districts are considering cutting full-day kindergarten next year, compared with 1 percent that eliminated it this year.
  • About 86 percent of districts anticipate seeing class sizes increase next year, compared with 17 percent increasing this year.
  • 91 percent of districts don’t plan to fill empty positions next year, and about two-thirds plan to lay off instructional staff.
The full report (pdf) is worth a read.
May 23, 2011

Newt Gingrich Humor of the Day

by Vince

Funny things that no one else could make up (or live out).

May 23, 2011

Tim Pawlenty’s In For 2012

by Vince

His video:

May 23, 2011

Herman Cain’s In For 2012

by Vince

His video:

May 23, 2011

The $1 Billion Bully

by Vince

That would be Barack Obama in the 2012 campaign. Who can stand up against that giant sum of money and subsequent campaign power?

May 23, 2011

America and It’s Bride, Israel

by Vince

Senator Marco Rubio writes the love letter.

In Rubio’s letter, he sees it as America’s duty to make decisions every time with Israel’s safety first (and by default everyone else’s safety as secondary). Next, he does not mention land grabs as acts of injustice towards Palestinians but gladly highlights Hamas’s terrorist  behavior. Why is one form of violence and unfairness essentially better than another form? Taking peoples land is not terrorism but isn’t just. Why is the former always blindly justified?

May 23, 2011

Joe Biden in 2016

by Vince

He has put himself out there.

May 23, 2011

Job Creation Chart of the Day

by Vince

Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg

May 23, 2011

To Engage or Not Engage With Terrorists, Ctd.

by Vince

Peter Kirsanow asks another good slew of questions in related to this discussion.

May 23, 2011

1 John 4: 7-21 // God’s Love And Ours

by Vince

To engage in this post, read the cited Holy Scripture (bold emphasis by me):

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Let’s point out a few things.
When I read this part of 1 John, I thought it spoke in polar extremes.
One side (If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God) can almost suggest a form of exclusivity for who “knows” God.
The other path (Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God, God is love…Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them) can promote an open and free way for those outside the Protestant Christian fold to seek God.

A few other thoughts. Most likely Jesus’ followers attributed to him the title “Way, Truth, and Life”. Yes, Jesus said this in the Gospel of John. However, John’s Gospel, mind you, is filled with plethora metaphorical terminologies. Jesus said, for instances, that he is the bread of life and the word made flesh. Was he literally a loaf of bread or a letter on a page? Obviously not. Many Christians will agree on this: Jesus was the only way made flesh, in that no other religion had their God in the flesh live a way or follow a path. Other religions have a prophet or mouthpiece for their God but were not their actual God in the flesh. That doesn’t diminish other religions or smugishly elevate Christianity but separates the latter from the former in content. For more on this specific topic, read some of Marcus Borg’s books.

In the end, I come away with a more ambiguous understanding of what John means about who can know God than before. Then again, are we meant to come away from reading The Bible with more answers than questions or vice versa? Your thoughts are always welcome – vgiordano at gmail dot com.

May 23, 2011

To Engage or Not To Engage With Terrorists

by Vince

Many will say that there is little rational reason for dealing with Hamas. They are a terrorist group that cannot be reasoned with when it comes to a two-state solution for Palestine/Israel. The question I have is this: how much of American/Israeli behavior or ideology has polarized this issue and turned many to extremist stances? In a way, Benjamin Netayanhu needs Hamas to continue to act like lunatics to prop up his stance that there is no need for a two state solution. Land grabs by Israel do much to anger, frustrate, and radicalize Palestinians:

Of course Hamas is a problem, and I have no sympathy either for its terror tactics or for the rabid anti-Semitism and primitive, fundamentalist language of its charter. But research shows that peace can never be achieved by leaving out a major player. Whether we like it or not, Hamas is an integral part of Palestinian society.

The smart way to deal with Hamas is to force it to change its position by strengthening Fatah’s moderate line. Hamas is already under great pressure because of the ongoing changes in the Arab world: they may soon be bereft of any power-base outside the Palestinian territories, hence their hurry for reconciliation with Fatah.

International recognition of Palestine will be credited to Fatah; and if Israel dramatically expands the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, this will further convince Palestinians, that Hamas’ hard-line policies are opposed to their interests.

The problem is that Netanyahu has no motivation to maneuver Hamas into moderation, because an extremist Hamas is really Netanyahu’s best friend. A Hamas that moderates its stance and takes the way of the IRA from a terror organization to a legitimate party in a peace process is an existential threat to Netanyahu’s political future. Without a hard-line Hamas, he would be left with no case against a Palestinian state, and he would have to face open conflict with the hard-line right-wingers in his own party and in his coalition in actual moves towards peace.

Expect Netanyahu to do everything to torpedo recognition of Palestine; expect him to try to weaken Fatah, Abu Mazen and Fayyad, and thus to strengthen Hamas’ extremist wing. As a result, Israel’s legitimacy will indeed come under ever more fire. But let’s face it: this is good for Netanyahu. No right-wing politician ever stayed in power if he didn’t succeed in frightening his electorate to death.

May 23, 2011

Strange Signs

by Vince

Lots of them here.

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May 23, 2011

Deliberate Practice vs. Repetition

by Vince

This topic can apply to many fields. I will mention “quiet time” as seen in the Christian traditions and in today’s world of education.

Quiet Time is known as time each day a Christian spends intentionally with God. This may include Bible reading, prayer, reflective reading, writing, written or thought out reflections, and more. In education, much of our school days are made up of repetition. We repeat our times tables, look over and over our Spanish vocab, or try to memorize dates or formulas.

An alternative to some (I see it as a complimentary approach) is deliberate practice:

Deliberate practice requires careful reflection on what worked and what didn’t work. A budding concert pianist may practice a particularly troublesome passage listening for places where his fingers do not flow smoothly. A chess student may spend hours analyzing one move of a world-championship chess match trying to see what the grandmasters saw. This kind of practice demands time for reflection and intense concentration, so intense that it is difficult to sustain for longer than 3 hours per day.

This topic has been expounded on by others, but the general point is that basic subjects and foundations of knowledge are vital for one to creatively and reflectively learn. Without that base, we cannot reflect on our spiritual direction or cognitive processes in learning.

May 23, 2011

eBooks Are Surging

by Vince

There are the obvious defenses for traditional books, but what the downsides, which can play into pro-defenses for eBooks? eBooks, by the way, are outselling traditional books in some markets.

Stray bits of paper fall out of books, and then you’ve lost your place. You can’t access your highlighted passages when you’re at the office and your book is at home. You can’t read your matchstick etchings two months after they were written. A ripped out page gets quickly lost. The natural shield against distraction means that if you do want a quick distraction, you have to put the book down entirely — and then you may not pick it back up.

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