In my very first post in blog 1.0 I spoke about my desire the read the Holy Bible cover to cover. Several years on I’ve mostly accomplished that goal. And while in blog 1.0 I used several posts to dissect and parse biblical passages–basically nitpick, I’m now going to give my “overall impression”, a macro view instead of the micro.
Here it is: boiled down to its very essence the bible is top notch. The key messages of loving thy neighbors, forgiving trespasses, and treating others as you’d like to be treated really resonate. Some of the rest is dangerous tribal hogwash, but I’m supremely happy to try to follow much of the heart of old testament teachings and Jesus Christ’s new covenant.
Much of what I’ve come to believe in religion and Christianity was reinforced reading The Man Who Quit Money (hereafter TMWQM) by Mark Sundeen. TMWQM chronicles the lifelong struggles of Daniel Suelo, a gay man raised as a fundamentalist Christian who tried to literally live Christ’s teachings. He renounced all worldly possessions, “squatted” on public land and lived on charity and forage. He denied any monetary benefit from his good works and struggled with his faith and his homosexuality.
But Suelo’s biggest battles lately involve defending his sexuality and spirituality against narrow minded evangelical Christians. When asked by one if he (Suelo) thought he could “live like Jesus?”, Suelo responded: “Wasn’t that what Jesus said: do what I do? He was here as an example for us to follow. Same with all prophets. Didn’t the prophets tell us to be like them? That’s what’s wrong with Christianity. They make Jesus and the prophets into icons, take them off of earth, and put them in heaven to worship them, so they’re no longer accessible. You’ve taken a reality and made it into a worthless idol. Christians talk about the idolatry of other religions, but when they no longer live principles and just worship the people who taught them, that’s exactly what they’re doing.” (TMWQM, p. 246)
You can learn more about Daniel Suelo, The Man Who Quit Money, at his blog. You can learn more about Mark Sundeen and his book, The Man Who Quit Money, at his blog.
Hi there. Long time no talk. It’s been awhile. So long, in fact, that if anyone was faithfully reading this blog (doubt it), they probably gave up on it by now.
Nonetheless, I’m back. I spent the last few days puzzling out my half-forgotten passwords and re-reading some of my old posts, trying to get a feel for whether I was a decent blogger or a worthless hack. I’m of two minds on the answer. Overall I’m pretty proud of my body of work thus far, though there were a large number of clunker posts–and catty posts–and whiny posts. But there were some real gems too, if I don’t say so myself.
Anyways, past is prologue and all that. So, without further ado, let the blogging re-begin…
Here we go again. The country, we are told, is broke. Worse yet, it’s broke and borrowing massive amounts of cash from foreign nations so it can pass fiscally unsound tax cuts for the rich, finance foreign occupations in the middle east and SW Asia, and buy lots of unnecessary weapon systems. For 8 years of the Bush presidency, when the national debt went from about 3 trillion to over 10 trillion dollars, few people who mattered noticed. Now that a democrat is president, the sky is falling.
And how do we keep the sky from falling? Gut Social Security. Really, that’s the plan. Even though Social Security is deficit neutral–meaning it doesn’t use tax dollars to fund itself–and only needs some minor tweeking to stay deficit neutral, it has become in the eyes of the DC crowd Public Enemy Number One.
Wall Street lusts for more public money to play with. If SS is privatized, Wall Street gets to do lots and lots more gambling, this time with your SS retirement. And much like in any casino, the house always wins. If you think privatized SS is a good idea, research what happened in Chile when Pinochet and Milton Friedman’s “Chicago Boys” tried it. It failed big time and the Chileans are still paying the price.
Get a little more informed by watching this video and joining the fight to save Social Security.
Today the Postal Service exists in a netherworld where it must provide universal service–a classic public good–and at the same time break even; it must “compete” with private parcel services while providing them with platforms to expand their nonunionized and nonuniversal businesses; it must meet the demands of Congress while getting by without tax dollars.
Instead of entertaining ill-thought-out discussions about how to squeeze the Postal Service even more than it has already been squeezed, Congress needs a precise picture of what is threatened when we talk of going to five-day delivery, shuttering post offices, laying off experienced postal workers, hiking rates for newspapers and magazines (including, it should be noted, publications such as The Nation) and privatizing pieces of what is supposed to be a ubiquitous public service.
These “efficiencies” threaten more than just the Postal Service. They pose direct and indirect threats to democracy.
Bravo. Finally someone who “gets” it. John Nichols of The Nation (here) riffs on a lot of stuff I’m usually ranting about and asks a question all Americans need to grok: what is the USPS mission–universal service or making money? The news shows and pundits would have you believe its the latter, and that all the USPS has to do to make money is dismember its unions and get lean and mean, i.e gut its workforce and close up shop in rural America. Wrong Answer, exclaims Nichols, who points to a PO that bound together the colonies and early Republic by cheaply circulating the various newspapers and opinion journals that stoked a revolutionary zeal in 18th century America.
Nichols pines for a renaissance in the post office that will transform it for the better while returning it more to its original mission. Since the internet is such a vital part of 21st century communication and information gathering, perhaps an internet cafe in every post office lobby, especially in poorer and rural neighborhoods without broadband, would be a home run for the post office and the American public.
From the recent diary by MinistryofTruth (DailyKos)
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”
— U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)
Are these people legitimately protesting, or is the 2010 Tea Party just the same folks who had those Dixie Chicks CD bulldozing parties after Natalie Maines badmouthed Bush in 2003? The answer is both. There are alot of people mad about the debt burden and spending (which according to them just started happening in January of 2009), but I’d say just as many are just nattering nabobs and tools who believe everything Fox News tells them. Here’s the latter in action:
No wonder his daughter doesn’t talk to him. J. Voight’s like the stereotypical crazy uncle who chugs 2 quarts of the special eggnog at Christmas, rants for 20 minutes, then passes out for the rest of the night. Except Voight is a decent actor, so he gets a large soapbox from which to shout his inane mutterings. Oh yeah, and Mike Huckabee’s a fat, phony televangelist who’s 15 minutes are way up.
Vodpod videos no longer available.