Resistance
Stayin' Alive
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3d ago
Yes, politicians adopt policies to please their wealthy donors. That's my point. I think it's bad. I had a serious poison ivy infestation right up against my house in a garden bed, and all along the south wall of an outbuilding -- places that the lawn mower can't get to, basically. I'm very sensitive to it so I didn't want to try manual extirpation (see, I have a big vocabulary), so I broke down and bought an herbicidal preparation containing glyphosate (not wanting to mention the brand name). Yeah, it's not my usual choice but it was a difficult situation. Well, I sprayed it three times. It ..read more
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Sunday Sermonette: The paradox of religion
Stayin' Alive
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6d ago
Psalm 113 is pretty weird if you think about it for one second. It's the usual praise for the Big Guy in the Sky, but then it gets specific: he makes poor people sit with princes, and he makes infertile women pregnant. Err, why were they infertile in the first place? And what if they never do get pregnant? This is like the people who thank God for saving their lives when a tornado kills their neighbors. Psalm 114 is one of innumerable nods to the Exodus story, but as do some others, it seems to include an earthquake, which isn't in the canonical version. 115 mocks the impotence of idols, but a ..read more
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The Golden Rule of Politics
Stayin' Alive
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6d ago
l "He who has the gold, rules." The Supreme Court validated that principle in Citizens United, although it's been true for most of our history, with meaningful exceptions in the FDR and LBJ administrations. Most politicians, however, try to hide it. Not the Dumpster. (I'm giving you Scott Lemieux's reposting so I don't have to use a gift link.) Former President Donald J. Trump told a group of oil executives and lobbyists gathered at a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort last month that they should donate $1 billion to his presidential campaign because, if elected, he would roll back environmenta ..read more
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Wednesday Bible Study: Short and not to the point
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
Today we have three mercifully brief psalms, but they manage to be confusing. Psalm 110 is actually very important to Christians because it is taken as a prophecy of the Messiah, although looking at it literally that is difficult to see. The idea is that "The Lord says to my lord" refers to God talking to the Son, or something like that -- it foresees the plural godhead in Christian theology. However, it is much more likely that this is supposed to be God talking to a secular king, presumably David. The prophecy is for the military success of the warrior king, which, as usual, includes genocid ..read more
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FreeDumb
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
This essay by Krugthulu is getting a lot of attention. (Gift link.) It seems that Ron DeSantis, having flamed out as a presidential candidate, isn't hanging up his combat boots in the culture wars. He's banned the production or sale of lab grown meat in the libertarian paradise of Florida.   To be clear, such a product is a long way from commercial availability. We aren't talking about the plant-based meat substitutes you can buy today, but rather actual animal cells cultured in a laboratory, i.e. real meat without having to raise or kill an animal. That might strike you as weird or gross ..read more
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Sunday Sermonette: David as egomaniac
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
Note: The reason Von Shitzinpantz didn't have a jury trial in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case is that his lawyers asked for a bench trial. I don't publish comments that are objectively false.   Psalms 108 and 109 are attributed to David, but Psalm 108 is actually a pastiche of psalms 57 and 60. In it, David purportedly wakes up in the morning and looks forward to conquering the surrounding nations. After all, God gave the land to the Israelites.  Psalm 109 is another of those laments in which the singer begs God to torture his enemies and their children. The good Christians of t ..read more
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Wednesday Bible Study: Alternate History
Stayin' Alive
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2w ago
Psalm 107 is one of the most famous, and also the longest. It contains some familiar quotations. It is particularly important to religious Zionists. Therein lies an irony, because it appears to describe an ingathering of exiles from various locations and oppressive conditions, which is obviously not the story of the Torah and the Deuteronomistic history.  I would suppose that the writer's intent is allegorical or metaphorical, to depict God's mercy to the faithful and abandonment of the wicked, but the applicability to the modern Zionist mythos is inescapable. When this was actually compo ..read more
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I got nothing to add
Stayin' Alive
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2w ago
I direct your attention to Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern, and also to Digby. It appears that six of the so-called Justices of the Supreme Court intend to end the American experiment in democratic governance. You should read both of them -- they say pretty much the same thing but with significant stylistic differences. I'm not going to elaborate much, but here are a couple of pull quotes just so you know what were talking about here. From L&S: For three long years, Supreme Court watchers mollified themselves (and others) with vague promises that when the rubber hit the road, even t ..read more
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The Myth of the Free Market in Pharmaceuticals
Stayin' Alive
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3w ago
Actually no, I didn't write that title, although I could have. In fact I could have written this entire article, but it was written by  Rena M. Conti, Ph.D., Richard G. Frank, Ph.D., and David M. Cutler, Ph.D. Unfortunately it's paywalled, and there's no abstract, but here's the link so you can read the first sentence, and you can register to read it for free. (You get two free articles per month.)   Since I'm giving them a referral, I don't feel terribly guilty about raiding this piece fairly extensively. It begins: Critics of U.S. policy aiming to reduce spending on prescription dr ..read more
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Wednesday Bible Study: Rehashing
Stayin' Alive
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3w ago
Psalm 105 is a lengthy song of praise that recounts God's faithfulness to the Israelites, mostly reciting purported events in Exodus. The introduction is adapted -- largely copied actually -- from 1 Chronicles 16, in which David sets up the Ark and commissions a song of praise by Asaph.  Note verse 35 -- there are no caterpillars in the canonical version of Exodus. The caterpillars have come up before, which presumably means that they were working from an alternative version of the story. I don't need to harp on the moral depravity of the story -- the 7 year famine God causes, the murder ..read more
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