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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,801

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Finishing up Testament: The Bible and History by John Romer

What an extraordinary work of scholarship.

John Romer is a reknowned archeologist specializing in Egyptian excavations (check out his several BBC videos on Youtube -- they're all remarkable), but this book focuses on the origins of both Old and New Testaments, beginning with correlating ancient Mesopotamian myths with Biblical stories through the development and inclusion of latter works into the Bible.

It's both a fascinating and enjoyable read, densely packed with a tremendous number of details. It's also loaded with many examples of Romer's dry wit. For instance:

"A splendid Christian legend tells of St. Peter's combat with another of these eastern prophets who was preaching salvation at a price to the people of Rome. Magnificent Simon Magus, 'the Power of God', was a Samaritan magician among other things and was said to fly about through the air with the greatest of ease...One day when he was flitting around the Roman forum in a display of religious aerobatics he was gunned down by St. Peter's prayers and suffered a broken ankle..."

It's a real treat of a read and highly recommended for anyone interested in learning how the Bible came about.

You can also find his BBC documentary "Testament" on Youtube to get a flavor of what's in store for readers of this book.

New Evidence Suggests President George Washington Sent Woodcut Of Penis To Secretary

PHILADELPHIA—Saying the discovery shed new light on the father of our country, a team of University of Pennsylvania archivists announced Monday that new evidence suggests George Washington sent a woodcut of his penis to his secretary.

“After uncovering a well-preserved, remarkably graphic woodcut dating from the American revolutionary period, and establishing the provenance of both the woodcut and the image from such contemporaneous descriptions as exist, we believe we have conclusive proof that this image is indeed of President Washington’s erect penis and was in fact sent to Tobiana Lear, Washington’s personal secretary,” lead researcher Joyce Carrick said of the block print, which was discovered in the National Archives late last year tucked into a secretary’s desk drawer along with a note outlining her presence in the first president’s lewd sexual fantasies.

“We suspect this was not the only woodcut, as many other printing blocks depicting what we now know to be Washington’s penis carved at different angles and shadings have also been found. It even appears that after the original woodcut was not met with a response, several oil portraits of his genitals were couriered to the secretary’s home.”

Carrick’s team also discovered the official complaint that Tobiana Lear submitted to Congress concerning the suggestive woodcut, as well as the corresponding Presidential order immediately terminating Lear from her position and deporting her to England.

https://www.theonion.com/new-evidence-suggests-president-george-washington-sent-1823275416

Gotta love The Onion.

Panicked Billy Graham Realizes He Took Wrong Turn Into Heaven's Largest Gay Neighborhood

THE HEAVENS—As he entered the Pearly Gates and walked the gold-paved streets of God’s Eternal Kingdom, the late Rev. Billy Graham was reportedly so overwhelmed Wednesday by the great majesty before him that he did not at first notice he had taken a turn leading him down the main thoroughfare of heaven’s largest gay enclave.

“Oh no, oh—Where am I, exactly?” said the celebrated evangelist, who witnessed numerous same-sex couples making out upon Heaven’s lush green pastures and became disoriented when a crowd of shirtless, muscular homosexual men poured out of a nearby nightclub and streamed past him on every side. “This can’t possibly be right. I am in Heaven, aren’t I?”

According to heavenly sources, Graham, who during his life referred to homosexuality as “a sinister form of perversion,” shrugged, smiled, and continued walking straight into the neighborhood’s largest bath house.

https://www.theonion.com/panicked-billy-graham-realizes-he-took-wrong-turn-into-1823199623

Study: 90% Of Americans Strongly Opposed To Each Other

WASHINGTON—In a new study published Tuesday that surveyed U.S. residents about their attitudes toward current events, the Pew Research Center found that approximately 90 percent of Americans described themselves as strongly opposed to each other.

“In the questionnaire we administered, nine out of 10 participants indicated they fundamentally disapproved of the actions currently being taken by their fellow citizens,” said polling analyst Babette Randolph, noting that the rate of opposition remained consistent across all 50 states and virtually every demographic regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or political identification.

“The vast majority of poll respondents signaled they were dead set against the U.S. populace, condemning in forceful terms the way others have handled things over the past year and giving the people of their nation historically low ratings.”

Randolph went on to note that the 10 percent of survey participants who indicated otherwise did so because they didn’t consider those they disagreed with to actually be Americans.

https://www.theonion.com/study-90-of-americans-strongly-opposed-to-each-other-1823168096

Time for a new Ecuador?

The vote is over, and the winners are celebrating. As expected, and for once correctly predicted by the polls, the pro Lenin Moreno YES vote achieved a substantial majority (approximately 2:1) in all seven questions posed.

The bigger question is whether the latest Ecuadorian referendum, the eleventh since electoral democracy returned 40 years ago, represents a watershed moment, or simply a consolidation of power within an already known structure.

The motive for the vote was undoubtedly the need to strengthen what at the beginning of President Moreno’s mandate appeared to be a weak hold on power. Since barely scraping across the line in the presidential elections of March 2017, the objective was always consolidation, and the political scenario has in fact undergone a radical change over the last year.

Moreno’s approval ratings presently hover around the 60% or 70% mark, depending on who you believe. The President’s new found popularity is due to two factors: a charm offensive channeled through a broad consultation process over policy and future direction, trying hard to offend no-one, and the almost unbelievable hostility of former President Rafael Correa and his group of loyal followers, who often give the impression that they would not be out of place in a revival meeting.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/gerard-coffey/time-for-new-ecuador

Insightful writeup on the recent referendum.

New data shows Republicans on verge of falling to third-party status in California

On Friday, the office of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla posted updated voter registration statistics in advance of the state’s June 5 primary, and the data shows a continuation of the same bleak trend line for Golden State Republicans that we’ve written about in prior cycles: The GOP is simply hemorrhaging voters, both in raw numbers and as a percentage of registered voters.

Overall, just over 4.8 million Californians are currently registered as Republicans, representing 25.4 percent of the total electorate. That’s a loss of almost half a million voters—and a huge drop from the party’s 36 percent share—since the end of 1997, the first year for which statistics are available. And that drop comes despite the fact that California’s population has jumped from 32.5 million to 39.3 million over the last two decades.

During that same 20-year time period, meanwhile, Democrats gained nearly 1.7 million new registered voters, bringing their tally to 8.5 million. Despite that growth, though, Democratic voter registration as a share of the electorate has mostly flatlined over that time period, settling from 46.8 percent in 1997 to 44.6 percent this year.

The reason? An explosion of voters—an increase of nearly 3 million—who have elected to register as independents (or what the state calls “no party preference”). Independents now make up an even 25.0 percent of all California voters. That’s more than double their 11.9 percent share in 1997, and just a hair behind where the GOP stands.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/19/1742517/-New-data-shows-Republicans-on-verge-of-falling-to-third-party-status-in-California

Robert Mueller Has Trump Cornered

Special counsel Robert Mueller is methodically, brilliantly filling in pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When complete, the puzzle will depict a president who is ripe ― overripe ― for impeachment.

Mueller’s indictment on Friday of Russia’s cyberwarfare against the 2016 election was a tactical and investigative masterstroke. President Donald Trump is now cornered. Mueller’s report makes a total liar out of Trump for his repeated claims that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when Putin says Russia had nothing to do with it, that the hacking could have been “some guy in New Jersey.”

The indictments do not quite connect the Russian operation to Putin personally, but that’s beside the point. No serious person believes that an operation as sensitive as deliberate disruption of the U.S. election could go forward without Putin’s full knowledge and support in a state as authoritarian as his.

Trump, having repeatedly denied Russian involvement, has now shifted gears and is insisting that the proper test of wrongdoing is “collusion.” But this is a straw man.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/robert-mueller-trump-cornered-130900469.html?.tsrc=jtc_news_index

"Oh God, What Happened Last Night?" Says Groggy Mike Pence After Waking Up In Same Bed As Wife



WASHINGTON—Experiencing a rising sense of dread as he opened his eyes Friday morning and noticed the woman asleep beside him, a groggy and confused Vice President Mike Pence reportedly muttered, “Oh God, what happened last night?” upon waking up in the same bed as his wife.

“This is Karen’s bed—what have I done?” said a visibly panicked Pence, his fear increasing as he discovered that he was completely naked except for his underwear and pajama pants, while second lady Karen Pence wore no socks or nightcap, her feet and head completely nude.

“We didn’t, did we? I mean, I don’t think we did, but I’m not a hundred percent sure. Oh, no, no, no. C’mon, Mike, what’s gotten into you? How could you be so reckless? What on earth were you thinking having that second glass of milk last night? You idiot! You better just hope you didn’t do anything you’ll regret.”

At press time, sources reported the vice president was praying that no one would see him as he quietly snuck out of his wife’s bedroom and stumbled back to his own quarters, where he immediately showered in a futile attempt to wash away his shame.

https://politics.theonion.com/oh-god-what-happened-last-night-says-groggy-mike-pe-1823070030

I drove the Model 3 for a couple of hours and it's now my favorite Tesla

I've driven every car Tesla has ever made, from the original Roadster to the Model X SUV. I've sampled Ludicrous Mode acceleration, experimented with Autopilot self-driving tech, and even once "run out of gas" in a Model S.

And while it's true that I'm very much looking forward to the bonkers-fast next-generation Roadster, ever since last July I've been salivating about some more seat time in the Model 3.

The Model 3 is Tesla's car for the masses, with a base price of $35,000 and range of over 200 miles. It has been touted for years, finally arriving in 2017 — and is now roasting in what CEO Elon Musk calls "production hell." Tesla has something like half a million advance orders for the car. Thus far, it has officially delivered about 3,000.

But does being bad at making the Model 3 mean that the car itself has problems?

http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-model-3-first-drive-impressions-pictures-2018-2

After Florida shooting, Trump offers comfort -- to gun owners

WASHINGTON — The day after a shooter killed 17 people at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump offered comforting words — for gun owners.

"We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health," Trump said in brief remarks at the White House. "It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference."

Translation: Your guns are safe.

"That's very encouraging that he's not mounting up with the anti-Second Amendment posse," said Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus of the Gun Owners of America, an advocacy group based in Virginia. "The response from gun owners will be principally that he didn't say the kind of things Hillary Clinton would have said had she been president and the way Barack Obama reacted to other situations like this."

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/after-florida-shooting-trump-offers-comfort-gun-owners-n848306
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