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Member since: Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:21 PM
Number of posts: 16,104

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A Sunday story.

Do we all have a choice? Speaker Ryan - or Speaker Pelosi?

Infamous Republican incumbent Martha Roby:

Democratic challenger Tabitha Isner:

Why I’m Running

"In the 4th chapter of Ephesians, Paul begs his listener to live a life worthy of the calling to which he’s been called. Since childhood, I have known that God called me to serve, and I have and will continue to spend my life trying to live up to that call. That’s why I am running for Alabama’s Second Congressional District. My political views are firmly tied to my faith, the idea that we are called to feed the hungry and care for the sick and liberate the captive. I believe that we do better by our children and families when we support abundant life for all rather than fearing that there isn’t enough to go around. In these United States of America, we can all enjoy abundant life, but it’s going to require courage and faithfulness to our ideals. We can restore unity and strengthen the bonds of peace, but It’s going to require humility and gentleness, patience and bearing with one another in love."

I therefore a prisoner in the Lord beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all gentleness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:1-3


Trump concocted a story about a border agent's death. The truth won't catch up.

Source: Washington Post, by Dana Milbank

This is the autopsy of a lie.

On the night of Nov. 18, Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was found dying on the side of an interstate in West Texas. There were immediate signs it had been an accident. Martinez’s partner, Stephen Garland (who suffered a head injury and doesn’t recall the incident), had radioed for help, saying he thought he ran into a culvert.

But President Trump and his allies saw an opportunity to whip up anti-immigrant fervor. At a Cabinet meeting Nov. 20, Trump announced, with cameras rolling, that “we lost a Border Patrol officer just yesterday, and another one was brutally beaten and badly, badly hurt. . . . We’re going to have the wall.” He also issued a similar tweet.


The FBI swung into action, mobilizing 37 field offices, and this week it announced its findings. Although the investigation “has not conclusively determined” what happened, “none of the more than 650 interviews completed, locations searched, or evidence collected and analyzed have produced evidence that would support the existence of a scuffle, altercation, or attack on November 18, 2017.”

Compared with the original allegations, the findings got little attention. There was no corrective tweet from Trump or the others and no retraction by Fox News, which buried the FBI’s findings with brief mention. Fox News, which had previously reported immigrants to be guilty of rape allegations that were later dropped, continued to report the border union’s claim of assault “despite FBI finding no scuffle.”

It has been more than 300 years since Jonathan Swift wrote about the utility of falsehood: “If a lie be believed only for an hour, it hath done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect . . . like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.”

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-lied-about-a-border-agents-death-the-truth-wont-catch-up/2018/02/09/02941b9a-0db7-11e8-95a5-c396801049ef_story.html

Alabama Congressional races 2018: Here's who is running

Alabama 2018 election qualifying ended yesterday!

For reference: http://www.al.com/expo/ERRY-2018/02/8c2c505bba/alabama_congressional_races_20.html

Of note: Roy Moore is not running for anything!

Former US House Rep. Blue Dog Democrat Bobby Bright is running against his nemesis Rep. Martha Roby (R) in the Republican Primary - he just switched parties.

No Democrat is running for Lieutenant Governor, even though present Governor was Lt. Governor when "LuvGuv Bentley" resigned. There is no Lt. Governor in place today, no incumbent. If you wanted proof of how screwed up the Alabama Democratic Party is, look no further.

*UPDATED CORRECTION*: Democratic candidate Dr. Will Boyd IS running in the Lt. Governor's race!


On the other hand...

5 qualifying Democratic candidates are women running for US House!

"The primary election is June 5 with a July 17 runoff date. The statewide general election is Nov. 6."


70,000 Alabama jobs said at risk if NAFTA talks crash

Source: AL.com, by Lee Roop

President Trump has threatened to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) now up for renewal, but north Alabama business leaders were warned Thursday that he may also tear up 70,000 Alabama jobs if he does.

Jobs. They are why Alabama citizens should care about the negotiations under way to renew the deal among the U.S., Canada and Mexico originally signed 24 years ago, the business leaders were told. When the deal was made to cut or end duties on most products and parts moving between the three countries, all three wanted it.

"Now, we have two countries that really want it and another one that's saying they probably don't want it," Mexican Consul General F. Javier Diaz told reporters afterward. "That's a very different thing."


"A lot of people think that what we are trading with each other is finished goods," Diaz said. "Yes, we sell avocados and you sell bourbon. That's great."

But the real relationship is more complex, he said. "For example, every car that is done in North America, the cars are actually (made) partly in Mexico and partly in the United States. Out of every Mexican product that is exported to the world, 40 percent of that product is American content. If you compare that to China, the percentage of American content in a Chinese product is 2 percent."


Read it all at: http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2018/02/70000_alabama_jobs_said_at_ris.html

No, Atheist Friends, The Bible Isn't Just "Fairy Tale."

Just another perspective!

Source: Patheos, by Benjamin L. Corey


For example, in the Hebrew scriptures we find a wide array of genres that all center around a theme: the birth and development of a people group that came to be known as ancient Israel. Most of it was written in hindsight (I believe most was written in the post-exilic period) as they looked back at where they had come from. From this literature we see how they viewed government, what bronze age nomads considered good laws, how they viewed the divine, which surrounding cultures they clearly hated, and which ones they were happy to borrow from as they grew in their individual identity.

Within that, do they also include some myths (sacred stories that aren’t literally true)? Some legends (popular stories that can’t be historically authenticated)? Yeah, of course. That’s the kind of stuff we expect to find in ancient literature like this.

As we move forward we find them writing about their wars, and see that just like those around them, they grossly exaggerated their victories (as I demonstrate in this 2 minute video of an artifact I stumbled upon in Amman, Jordan). We also see them write beautiful poetry and wisdom, two more literary genres found in the 66 book library. We find them talking about their national problems, their struggles with leadership and how establishing a monarchy backfired on them, and even have an entire book dedicated to things they complained about.

Then we move into another interesting genre – the prophets. No, these weren’t exactly future tellers, but more like the social justice advocates of their day. After the wars, their culture became like ours- the rich grew richer and the poor grew poorer, so ancient “prophets” came along to tell them that such selfishness actually pisses God off. One of them even told people that God hates religious people who mistreat the poor and vulnerable, and that they make God want to vomit. (These guys often got killed, FWIW.)

And, of course, we have the Greek Scriptures, where some Jews started a new religion that became known as Christianity. In here we see fans of Jesus who wrote about his life and teachings, followed by a collection of letters written to different churches around the world– each one addressing different cultural struggles and issues they were having as they began to establish this new religion. The Bible even ends with a truly strange genre – Jewish apocalyptic literature – which was a specific genre that was geared towards giving people hope when struggling through rough times, but is notoriously complicated to interpret in modern times.


Read it all at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/is-the-bible-just-a-fairy-tale-and-do-atheists-have-an-unsophisticated-approach-to-literature/

And the movie genre!

How the National Prayer Breakfast sparked an unusual meeting between Muslims and evangelicals

Source: Washington Post, by Michelle Boorstein


Roberts and Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah are attending the Thursday breakfast following an unusual gathering that was held during the previous three days: 400 faith leaders coming together to forge interreligious ties, work that has been common for many U.S. faith groups for decades but often has eluded one particular pair: Muslims and evangelicals. White evangelicals have the most anti-Muslim views of any American faith group, polls show, and the meeting — timed so Bayyah could attend the huge prayer breakfast in Northwest Washington — reflects the urgency an increasing number of imams and pastors feel at a time when the world seems especially tribal and explosive.


Of course they want to bring others to Christ, said Roberts and other pastors who have been trained through his program. But among evangelicals there has been a mobilizing, a growing — if still relatively small — number of leaders who are investing in learning more about Islam, making personal relationships and working to bring their congregations together.

Some of the reason for what conference attendees described as this quiet shift is cultural, some political — and some theological. The idea that Christians shouldn’t wait for some future heavenly kingdom but instead view current life as the kingdom of God changes the willingness — and in fact eagerness — to work with a broader circle of humanity.

“Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer — ‘Thy kingdom come’ — and when Jesus is defining that kingdom — ‘on Earth as it is in heaven.’ The guiding principle for Christian life is: How would I live my life if this was heaven today? I’d love my Muslim neighbor, my Jewish neighbor,” said Steve Bezner, pastor of Houston NW megachurch in Houston. Bezner did a retreat with Roberts in Abu Dhabi last year and another one with local clergy this month. He was among the dozens of evangelical pastors at the D.C. conference this week.


“The first time I met an imam in my neighborhood, we’re five minutes into the conversation and he said: ‘Do you think I’m going to hell?’ I said: ‘That’s what my tradition teaches, yes.’ He said: ‘Good, I think you’re going to hell, too, so now we can have an honest conversation.’ ”


Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/02/08/how-the-national-prayer-breakfast-sparked-an-unusual-meeting-between-muslims-and-evangelicals/

Congress has another government shutdown deadline this week

Congress gave itself two weeks before another shutdown deadline and did nothing.

Source: Vox, by Tara Golshan

The federal spending bill, which Congress passed to end the three-day government shutdown two weeks ago, runs out again this Thursday, and Congress hasn’t made any progress toward reaching a permanent funding deal or dealing with the immigration issue — the problems that brought them to a shutdown in the first place.

Congress has to pass a spending bill by midnight Thursday, February 8, or the government will shut down again.


Meanwhile, DACA negotiations have completely stalled, stuck between the moderate-but-passable proposals that the White House won’t support, and conservative Trump-endorsed proposals that won’t see the light of day in the Senate. At some point, lawmakers will also have to address the debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says it will hit by early March — earlier than expected, the New York Times reported, because of the debt taken on by the GOP tax bill passed late last year.


Now only three days before the shutdown deadline, House and Senate leaders are expected to inform their members of a plan to pass yet another short-term government spending bill to keep the government open for a few more weeks, giving lawmakers additional time to strike a more permanent 2018 spending agreement.

If it passes, it will be the fifth short-term spending bill Congress has installed since the start of the fiscal year last September, a trend that has increasingly angered lawmakers who are eager to permanently fund domestic programs and defense spending.


Read it all at: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/5/16973924/congress-government-shutdown-spending-daca

The Nunes memo wasn't meant to win over everyone - just 34 senators

US Constitution: The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds (67 out of 100) of the members present.

Source: Washington Post, by Max Boot


The case against the FBI that’s being assembled by Trump and his minions is not designed to convince dispassionate observers. It’s only supposed to give the thinnest of cover to true believers — and at least 34 senators — to do what they are predisposed to do anyway, i.e., protect the president at all costs.

The Nunes memo is a modern-day version of the jury nullification that O.J. Simpson’s legal team sought to inspire. (I’m grateful to Eric Felten of the Weekly Standard for the analogy.) Johnnie Cochran and company spun an elaborate conspiracy theory about how the Los Angeles Police Department supposedly framed their client. They were helped by minor procedural errors in the handling of evidence and by previous racist remarks from one of the detectives, just as Trump is helped by minor FBI missteps such as the Strzok texts and the alleged failure to alert a judge about Steele’s Democratic Party funding.

It was never clear why the LAPD would be eager to frame a local celebrity for murder, just as it’s not clear why the FBI — full of white, middle-age, conservative agents — would want to frame a Republican president. And, of course, the supposed police conspiracy could not possibly account for the mountain of evidence against Simpson, just as the supposed FBI conspiracy cannot possibly account for the undeniable reality that the Russians really did intervene in the election to help elect Trump and that there are numerous documented links between the campaign and the Kremlin.

But in Simpson’s case, it didn’t matter: The overwhelmingly African American jury bought the argument because jurors knew the experience of police brutality and sympathized with the defendant. Likewise, today it doesn’t matter to the president’s acolytes that the case for an anti-Trump conspiracy is so flimsy. They are simply looking for an excuse to exonerate him, evidence be damned. Sadly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders may have been wrong: Attacking the FBI could turn out to be a winning (if reprehensible) strategy for Trump.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-nunes-memo-wasnt-meant-to-win-over-everyone--just-34-senators/2018/02/03/607531d6-085d-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html

"Annihilation" Feb 23 release.

Looks like in the vein of original Solaris, Event Horizon, Sunshine, maybe even Arrival - with great actresses! Thought-provoking alien mystery?

Based on the first book of the "Southern Reach Trilogy," by Jeff VanderMeer. File under "New Weird fiction - fantasy, science fiction and supernatural horror (Wiki)."

I never heard of the books, but this looks like something I could sit through!

Trump has picked a fight with the FBI. He'll be sorry.

Source: Washington Post, by Eugene Robinson

Presidents don’t win fights with the FBI. Donald Trump apparently wants to learn this lesson the hard way.

Most presidents have had the sense not to bully the FBI by defaming its leaders and — ridiculously — painting its agents as leftist political hacks. Most members of Congress have also understood how unwise it would be to pull such stunts. But Trump and his hapless henchmen on Capitol Hill, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have chosen the wrong enemy. History strongly suggests they will be sorry.

I’m old enough to remember the days when J. Edgar Hoover ran the place like his own private Stasi — wiretapping civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., infiltrating anti-Vietnam War groups with informers and provocateurs, seeking or manufacturing damaging “evidence” against those he targeted, keeping copious files on the peccadilloes of the politicians who were theoretically his masters. Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt through Richard Nixon coexisted warily with Hoover, afraid to fire him for fear of all the beans he might spill.

It was another FBI man — Mark Felt, then an assistant director — who became the famous source Deep Throat, secretly meeting Post reporter Bob Woodward in a parking garage to guide the paper’s illumination of the president’s crimes.

Now comes Trump. His oafish attempts to neutralize the FBI director he inherited, James B. Comey — trying to extract a Godfather-style loyalty pledge, asking him to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn, ultimately firing him — are potential fodder for what may be an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump being assembled by Mueller.

Comey wrote everything down. The FBI always writes everything down.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/messing-with-the-fbi-trump-doesnt-know-history/2018/02/01/53f94f62-0788-11e8-94e8-e8b8600ade23_story.html
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