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The Day God Died

By 4.3.15

I missed Maundy Thursday services this year, which is a shame because of how the events of one day run right into the next in the life of Christ. For Jesus of Nazareth, there was no going to sleep that night. It was all one long ordeal, ending in death.

Late Thursday night found Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of Mount Olivet, just outside of Jerusalem. His closest disciples nodded off while their leader prayed fervently. He dreaded what was coming so much that the Gospel of Luke tells us he was sweating blood.

With good reason. A detachment of Romans soldiers in the service of the Jewish temple authorities showed up. Turncoat disciple Judas, whose feet Jesus had stooped to wash only hours earlier, singled the rabbi out with a kiss on the cheek.

Simon Peter has been damned for his cowardice in the events that followed. He denied knowing Jesus again and again before a rooster brought in the morning and is thus called craven. Confused beyond belief is probably a better way of putting it.

Any time Romans laid hands on a would-be messiah, there tended to be buckets of blood shed. In this case, the only bloodletting was comical.

Car Guy

No More ‘Speeding’ For You!

By 4.3.15

Someday — and that day might be closer than you want to know — we’ll look back fondly on speed traps.

Because at least you could speed. Give the finger — via the accelerator pedal — to ridiculous, dumbed-down/one-size-fits-all velocity maximums laid down by bureaucrats whose prime directive always seems to be to suck the joy out of everything, especially driving.

Sometimes, of course, you’d get caught — and fined.

But most of the time you could “get away” with it. (Kind of like the way people used to be able to “get away” with not buying health insurance, if they decided it wasn’t something they needed.)

Tomorrow, you may not be able to “speed” even if you wanted to.

Because your car will not allow you to.

The uber governor — Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter — will see to that.

Special Report

Verdict in Atlanta Cheating Scandal Proves Lord Acton Right

By 4.3.15

British historian Lord Acton’s view that “All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” first uttered in 1887, was vindicated on April 1, 2015, when a jury found that 11 Atlanta educators were guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) arising out of the cheating scandal which engulfed the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) in 2010. The question now is whether or not Atlanta, as well as the entire country, learns the correct solution from the cheating scandal.

Contrary to the views of many, the verdict should not end the discussion about what’s wrong with America’s public education system. Instead, I believe Atlanta and the entire country must take radical steps to heed Lord Acton’s words, reducing the chance that the absolute power of relatively few individuals over $660 billion annually and 50 million children continues to corrupt absolutely. We can make sure there are no repeats of the Atlanta cheating scandal by distributing the power to millions of parents.

Among the Intellectualoids

The Internet and Its Enemies

By 4.3.15

Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet. The Internet Is Not the Answer makes the case that Erich Mielke, head of the East German Stasi, did.

The “Ministry of Propaganda,” author Andrew Keen notes, “was supposed to have gone out of business in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. But, like other failed twentieth-century institutions, the ministry has relocated its operations to the west coast of America.”

That Google, Facebook, and Amazon wield a more effective, and perhaps creepier, intelligence apparatus than the NSA stands as one of the reasons Keen remains not so keen on the Internet after writing several books critical of the digital phenomenon’s effect on life offline. Whereas East Germans sought to avoid surveillance, Americans increasingly feel validated by publicizing the private.   

Foremost among the sins of St. Internet are replacing quality with efficiency and perversely disincentivizing the pursuit of talents valued by the market.  

Another Perspective

Seize the High Ground for 2016

By and 4.3.15

March 7 marked 50 years since 1965’s “Bloody Sunday,” when millions watched on television as state and local police fired tear gas at the crowd and attacked marchers in Selma, Alabama. The national outrage that followed led to a speech by President Lyndon Johnson to a joint meeting of Congress — appealing for Voting Rights legislation. On March 17, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen introduced the bill.

Although the Democrats held two-thirds of the seats in both houses, these events gave it the momentum to pass, for Republican votes would counterbalance the worry that segregationist Southern Democrats would vote against it.

The bill passed and was signed into law on August 6 by President Johnson.

Forgotten by many, this followed in the tradition of Republicans pushing through the passage of the constitutional amendments —the 13th, 14th, and 15th — between 1865 and 1870 that outlawed slavery, clarified and protected citizenship rights, and prohibited denial of voting “on the basis of race, or previous condition of servitude.”

Another Perspective

Killing Innocents—For A Good Reason: Today’s Herod, Caiaphas, and Pilate

By 4.3.15

You have most probably heard the haunting “Coventry Carol” sung principally during the Christmas season. It recounts King Herod the Great’s massacre of all males under the age of two in Bethlehem described in the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-18. Herod had been outwitted by the three Magi who had not returned to Jerusalem, as he had requested, to inform him of the location of the child-king they had been seeking. Herod had told the Magi he wanted to worship the child. In fact, he wanted to kill any pretender to the throne Herod occupied. Human history has been filled with Herods.

The Pursuit of Knowledge

Science, Properly Understood at Heritage

By 4.3.15

One of the most profound things about the move to silence critics of scientific orthodoxy or those open to questioning it publicly is how anti-enlightenment the notion is.

As John G. West, vice president of the Discovery Institute, pointed out last week in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, thinkers such as atheist John Stuart Mill, the 19th-century utilitarian philosopher and author of On Liberty and “Utilitarianism,” argued for the freedom to question science in his day.

Mill’s logic and West’s application of it is one that can be applied not only to the physical sciences, where global warming is sacrosanct under the Obama administration, but also the social sciences, where Keynesian economics reigns supreme in Washington, whenever politicians wave the authority of science over our heads to persuade us to move in the direction of their policy priorities.

After all, the policies could be based on bad science.

West quoted the following passage from Mill’s On Liberty: 

Up In Arms

Ted Cruz’s Mission Improbable

By 4.2.15

SEATTLE — Tom Cruise is seeking box office dominance at theaters with his upcoming Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Ted Cruz is seeking dominance of a difference sort in a campaign to correct a nation gone rogue.

While Tom Cruise’s domestic star was diminished by exuberant couch-jumping and finger-wagging Matt Lauer, Ted Cruz’s star became brighter while lecturing Americans on the virtues of Green Eggs and Ham. Despite their respective astrological trajectories, it is Tom Cruise who likely has the easier task.

Cruz asked the American people to imagine a conservative president correcting the wrongs of the Obama administration, reasserting America’s proper influence in the world, and simplifying an all-too-complex government. Implicit in this exercise was the idea that in order to make it a reality, Cruz would need to be president. He would “stand with” grassroots America, but in the front.

Special Report

The Return of the General

By 4.2.15

In what surely has been the most hotly anticipated vote in an African country in many years, General (ret.) Muhammadu Buhari, who some thirty years ago ruled Nigeria with an iron fist as head of a military regime, decisively defeated the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. The large and populous (175 million) West African country voted, and expects to see a peaceful transition of power, in difficult conditions — an Islamic terror campaign in the north and an abysmal economic crisis — which should be cause for at least some bitter-sweet satisfaction. The only words from the U.S., however, through the mouth of its highest diplomatic officials, are to the effect it better stay on the free-and-fair straight and narrow, or else. This rather sanctimonious — to put it mildly — attitude is reflected in U.S. press coverage, which has concentrated on General Buhari’s severe 20-month period at the helm in the early 1980s, while largely ignoring the lousy performance of Jonathan’s administration (and practically all its predecessors, democratic or military).

Political Hay

Pistols At Dawn

By 4.2.15

Have you seen it?

The outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid, whose pitiful lie about being severely beaten in a vicious attack by an elastic exercise band continues largely unchallenged by our lugubrious mainstream media, said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that he had no regrets about another pitiful lie he told back in 2012.

Asked whether he felt any regret for defaming then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 by accusing him of tax evasion, in no less a venue than the floor of the U.S. Senate where he would be immune from suit, Reid’s answer was haughty and dismissive.

In the interview, Bash asked Reid if it bothered him that his tactics in telling that lie (disproven as it was when Romney later released his tax returns) were reminiscent to some of McCarthyism, Reid said, “They can call it whatever they want. Romney didn’t win, did he?”

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