So which stories / issues / topics have grabbed your attention this weekend?
No question that Beau Biden's declaration of his intention to run for Delaware Governor in 2016 - and forego another run for Delaware Attorney General in 2014 - has rocked this state's political establishment.
Some are saying Beau Biden chose this course to address both his physical and political health. Consider this argument: Perhaps Beau Biden is drained, but has reason to believe he can build his strength. Giving up his current office would give him the chance to do precisely that. But if he announced his decision against seeking re-election WITHOUT noting his interest in the governor's office, folks would assume the worst about Beau Biden's health. Meanwhile, doubtless Beau Biden hopes memories of some of the missteps of his office will fade.
To some extent, announcing his gubernatorial intentions now clears the field. No primary challenges from other prominent Delaware Dems, notably Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, Congressman John Carney, nor New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon, still presumed to be a close Biden ally. If Beau Biden later decided against a gubernatorial bid, he could hand the baton to someone like Gordon.
In any event, Beau Biden seems to have a habit of upending the conventional wisdom. Remember when he turned down the prospect of then-Governor Ruth Ann Minner APPOINTING him to A.G.? Later, Biden confounded the conventional wisdom by not running for United States Senate. Remember when then-Senator Ted Kaufman was supposed to be the placeholder for the younger Biden?
Anyway, Beau Biden's decision sets up a very interesting race for state Attorney General. Both D's and R's have tantalizing possible candidates.
Meanwhile, Beau Biden's dad has been no slouch in creating buzz in the media. Example: Vice President Biden's "selfie" this week with President Obama.
Never a dull moment in the City of Wilmington. While the pace of street shootings has quickened along with the milder temperatures, as WDEL reported, the police union registered a vote of "no confidence" with the acting police chief, even as Mayor Dennis Williams seemed to be very close to announcing his choice for permanent chief -- and the interim chief was thought to be high on that list.
The NEWS JOURNAL reports the interim president of the new Fisker Automotive rates the chances as "50-50" that the company would use the old G.M. plant at Boxwood Road to manufacture vehicles.
From The NEW YORK TIMES:
COST of TREATMENT MAY INFLUENCE DOCTORS
"Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care.
The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients, to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent..."
Later in the article:
"In practical terms, new guidelines developed by the medical groups could result in doctors choosing one drug over another for cost reasons or even deciding that a particular treatment - at the end of life, for example - is too expensive. In the extreme, some critics have said that making treatment decisions based on cost is a form of rationing..."
What do you think? Isn't this kind of thinking the inevitable result of the collision between the desire to treat someone no matter what vs. the ability of any of us, or society, to pay for that treatment? (Just this week, another survey came out showing U.S. health-care costs are exponentially greater than in any other country.)
From The WASHINGTON POST:
POLL: HILLARY CLINTON's NUMBERS WORST SINCE 2008, as G.O.P. BRAND SURGES
"A new poll shows former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's (D) numbers hitting their lowest point in six years.
Meanwhile, it finds that the Republican Party is experiencing something of a renaissance.
The FOX NEWS poll, from Democratic pollster Anderson Robbins Research and G.O.P. pollster Shaw & Company, shows Clinton's favorable rating dropping to 49 percent, compared to 45 percent unfavorable.
The last time her numbers were in that ballpark was during the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary race. After she ended her campaign, her favorable/unfavorable split was 47/46.
Other polls have shown Clinton's numbers - which were stellar during her time as secretary of state - steadily dropping since she left her post last year.
The more surprising part of the Fox poll, though, might be how people view the Republican Party. It shows Americans are now evenly split -- 45 percent to 45 percent -- on the G.O.P. As recently as October, the same poll showed just 30 percent of Americans viewed the G.O.P. favorably, compared to 63 percent unfavorable..."
Speaking at an impromptu news conference, President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under his health-care overhaul. Mr. Obama called it a success story that Dems should "forcefully defend and be proud of" against Republican attacks.
A Catholic, Franciscan high school in South Huntington (Long Island), New York, has expelled four students for sending racially charged messages. Two senior boys were booted for bringing the Confederate battle flag to a sporting event, and two sophomore girls were punished for posting racially inflammatory images and comments on social media. South Huntington principal Brother Gary Cregan told CBS: "I find it just very hard to even imagine why any student in 2014 would even consider, or think, that a Confederate flag would be anything other than a symbol of hate." The two students who brought the Dixie flag into the gymnasium were first suspended for ten days. But tensions escalated, as the girls posted racially inflammatory images or comments in social media. Some parents declared the punishment to be too harsh. One mother told PIX11: "I don't think it's necessary. I think sometimes kids are just kids. And sometimes a conversation is all you need." Sounds like a rather naive parent unaware of the very definition of the word catholic (universal); the history of the Ku Klux Klan (utilizing the Confederate battle flag) persecuting Catholics; and the very notion that a religious or private school preserves its status by not tolerating troublemakers. (Although I suppose the argument could be made for the school using this for a teachable moment, seizing on this to recount America's history.) But, fueled by social media, apparently the tensions were escalating too quickly...
From The Associated Press:
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey woman claims she was denied a license plate proclaiming herself to be an atheist because it might be considered offensive.
Shannon Morgan said in a Federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading "8THEIST".
The Maurice River Township woman says she also asked for a plate reading "BAPTIST" as a test. The website accepted it.
Messages and e-mails left for the Motor Vehicle Commission were not immediately returned. A recorded message said the offices were closed because of Good Friday.
New Jersey previously, after a brief flap, approved a request from an atheist group's president for a license plate with the word, "atheist." His plate had the number one in place of the letter 'i'."
One article I intended to feature on this blog Thursday, but then the Beau Biden story broke:
How U-S diplomats in many key capitals pale in comparison to their Russian counterparts - hindering the U.S. position during this current Ukrainian crisis - because of our unfortunate tradition of appointing political hacks as U.S. Ambassadors, only exacerbated by the current Administration. And these ambassadors often don't know the language of the countries to which they're posted, let alone have any real understanding of the culture and undercurrents. It's a shame, and just like so many other things, it seems the U.S. political system is utterly incapable of reforming this sorry practice. (Note the author - below - does identify some Russian shortcomings. And while condemning many of the Administration's ambassadorial and State Department picks, the author does commend Secretary of State John Kerry.)
AllanLoudell: And what's so wrong with considering cost in making medical decisions? Why all this hand-wringing, Dude, from somebody noted for penny-pinching?
I wish the docs would think more about cost - because it doesn't come out of their pockets, it comes out of mine.
I have a prescription plan now. I didn't always, and at one time, I paid for everything out of pocket.
Prescription plans don't pay for everything. Neither does medical insurance.
Docs get brainwashed by the drug reps and often as not write scripts for the newest brand name drugs. And they get "generous" incentives from the big pharma drug companies to do it.
Me, I do some on-line research on drug options and costs and I insist that the doc start with the low-cost option (I call it "titration by cost"). If the doc has good reasons for a brand name drug, I'll listen. If the generic doesn't work, I'll try the high-priced pills. But, damn right, I think about cost.
My doc drives a Beemer. I have a Saturn that gets me where I want to do just fine. At least he buys his own car. But the mindset that puts docs in Beemers seems to apply when they write scripts.
The question should be: Why is it so difficult - even impossible - for us to price shop for drugs, surgical procedures, hospital treatments and even for docs? Why is there no alternative to medical sticker-shock?
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 12:49pm
Bill Smith makes a good point about the cost of health care. For the people who have prescription coverage by an insurance company, doctors often think there is no limit to what they can prescribe. Thus the cost of insurance can go sky high. People need to exercise restraint in the medications they actually purchase. Even if they are not paying the full cost, they are paying through their premiums.
The high school controversy regarding the Confederate battle flag is a case of people going over the top. It is referred to as the Rebel flag for a reason. A section of the country was rebelling against the Federal government. They were “rebels.” What are teenagers? If they are normal for their age, they are “rebels.” Thus that is their flag. If these particular teens were also writing racist messages, that is another issue. But displaying the “rebel” flag is not in and of itself racist. Yes, it can be used in that manner. But the Stars and Bars served as the battle flag of both Whites and Blacks.
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 6:58pm
"Rebels" were only "rebels" to "Yankees."
Just like the Continental Army was "the rebels" to the Brits and to those who remained loyalists.
"Rebels" only exist in the third person; never the first person.
The right of secession is established in the UN Charter and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The US signed both. It was one of Wilson's 14 Points. It was generally accepted by the members of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Both New York and Virginia, in their legislation adopting the constitution, stipulated their right to secede. Funny, how the US treats secession as a matter of convenience. OK, sometimes. Not others (like Crimea).
The idea that the Civil War was about slavery is an after the fact myth. At the time, it was about economic independence - just like the Revolutionary War. Maybe those high school kids would be better off with that flag with a snake on it ("don't tread on me").
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 7:43pm
Welcome back, Billsmith. It's been a long time since I've had a formidable opponent to pick on. For the past several however long it's been, I've had to settle for Dunmore, who basically just does hit and runs.
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 9:11pm
JimH: I'm fortunate enough to have a doctor who is not prescription happy, in fact the opposite is true. Of course, he also tries to respect the wishes of the patient. In my case, I prefer to use natural supplements even though insurance doesn't cover them for the simple reason that it's better not to take anymore chemicals than you have to. If you can lower cholestrol with omega 3's and yeast rice supplements, it's better for your health as opposed to statins. Of course, some people such as my wife don't respond well to some natural stuff. She breaks out in a rash when she takes fish oil, hence in a case like that drugs may be the only solution, but they should always be a last resort.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 9:49pm
Bill smith: welcome back.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 6:41am
Hey all you TEA party haters out there (yeah, that includes YOU, Mike from Delaware)! Here's a link to a video which you should all gloat over:
The question is: Will you still be gloating when they come after you?
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 6:56am
Dear Pizza: Chemicals are chemicals. Some are synthesized. Some occur naturally. Anything you ingest has effects and side-effects - either synthetic or natural. But since you are in favor of natural supplements, I guess you've changed your mind about legal weed.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 8:36am
Mrpizza: I listened to the Dick Morris video and it sounds like there are some rules or laws that limit how much money such groups like them can spend on certain political activities. If they are indeed violating the law then they should be prosecuted or would you only have the law apply to DEMS?
I don't totally understand these laws, and Morris didn't explain it very well, but it seems to me that Morris is only concerned because TEA groups are being targeted. Apparently the TEA groups are claiming to only spend something like 49% of their funds on this activity and apparently are spending far more, so that means they lied to the IRS, not a smart thing to do. So there may be more to this story than either of us knows or understands.
I'll reserve making a solid judgment until I know far more than I know from that one sided video.
Billsmith is correct in his statement above: "Chemicals are chemicals. Some are synthesized. Some occur naturally. Anything you ingest has effects and side-effects - either synthetic or natural."
My employer based health insurance requires us to use Generic prescription meds unless the doctor states that there a medical reason the Brand name version must be used.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 8:42am
Mrpizza: the difference between us quite often is you seem to want to overlook the negative stuff the TEA/GOP do while being very focused on the negative stuff the DEMS do.
I try to see both positive and negative that both TEA/GOP and DEMS do and they weigh them out as best as I can then decide who I'll vote for in a given election.
So I don't gloat over the TEA party being investigated by the IRS any more than I'd gloat over the DEMS being investigated by the IRS. I think you'd be doing cartwheels in celebration of the DEMS being in this same situation as your TEA pals though, thus the difference between us.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 9:44am
MFD: I do concede there are times when a Democrat will do something good. And believe it or not, it's usually talk radio, and not the top-of-the-hour newscast where I hear about it. As far as TEA/GOP is concerned, the entrenched GOP establishment is just as bad or worse than than the Democrats.
The problem with the TEA party is the inability of candidates to communicate the message without saying something stupid like "legitimate rape" or "happy birthday Elvis" on August 16th. Some "Reagan 101" training would be in order.
Billsmith: Sorry, but I've never smoked weed and I think legalizing it makes it a worse menace to society than it already is. As for natural supplements vs. drugs, I settle for the lesser evil just as I do with politicians.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 10:07am
MFD: Once again: Single standard or double standard.
Pizza: There is a considerable body of evidence that booze is a worse menace than weed. And that prohibition is (was) a far worse menace than either one. Tobacco is a still worse menace. So is refined sugar. Once again we see the double standard at work. All the above are chemicals. You say what you don't do is a menace and should be illegal. But if anybody suggests regulating what you do do and you start crying "nanny state."
Apparently Dick Morris and WPHT don't provide bulletin boards for you to comment. Are we to understand that you listen to Morris instead of Loudell? And that you aren't bothered that Morris bumped Hannity?
Thank you for acknowledging the TP propensity of saying "something stupid." Even more than either Bush or either Biden. Maybe even more than Frank and Nancy Sinatra. Reagan was probably even dumber than any of the aforementioned but Jack Warner had trained him to follow his script.
- "No, no. Jimmy Stewart for governor. Ronald Reagan for best friend." - Jack Warner
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:25pm
Billsmith: Basically I hold both parties to the same standard, so I applaud either when I agree with their positions and bash them when I disagree with their position on an issue. I'm not a cheerleader for either.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 1:16pm
MFD: Yes, I know. You and I are in a very small minority. None the less, I am amazed at the mental and ethic gymnastics the double standard crowd goes through.
And for them it's not just about agreement, it's about what group somebody belongs to (only Whites are racist, only men are sexist) or who somebody is (Biden can do no wrong).
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 1:57pm
Bill: My definition of menace to society may be different from most people's. To clarify, I consider it a menace if it carries the potential to harm people other than the one using the substance. For example, booze and pot cause car accidents and kill whoever may be in the path of the drunk or high driver. On the other hand, I've never heard any evidence of tobacco causing motor vehicle accidents, although I guess it's possible in rare instances.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 2:51pm
Billsmith: I agree.
Mrpizza: Having drunk or stoned drivers is a concern, but prohibition doesn't work, so why not legalize it, get the tax revenue, make it harder for the under world to make money. Simply make the fines for drunk/stoned driving very steep so that if caught, they'd be having their wages tapped for a couple of years [like happens with child support]. In other words make the penalty not worth the gamble of getting caught. Have the media give plenty of coverage when someone gets busted and the garnishing of his/her wages, etc. I believe this will promote less drunk/stoned driving than outlawing either booze or pot.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 6:20pm
MFD: Agreed. Impaired driving causes accidents. Booze impairs more than grass. Recent research shows cell phone use or texting while driving impairs more than either one. I wonder if Pizza wants to make smartphones illegal, too.
Look at all the people killed by "law-abiding" people with guns but try to pass sensible regulations on fire-arms and some TP "double-standard" kicks in (yet again) and they start crying "2nd amendment."
TP types only care about their own "freedom." They are happy to take away freedom from others oblivious to the fact that when you start restricting other people's freedom, you end up losing your own. Pizza keeps complaining that they don't say (Christian) prayers in public schools but I suspect he'd scream louder than anyone if some public school started having Islamic prayers, or Jewish prayers, even Catholic prayers (to Mary or saints), let alone Buddhist prayers. He tells himself that could never happen because there are only a few scattered non-Christian outliers in what he considers a "Christian nation." He's wrong.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 8:12pm
Hey Bill: You have quite an imagination about me, and it's about 99% inaccurate. But it's still good exercise for the brain, so I'm glad I can provide some for you.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 10:29pm
Bill smith: sounds like you described Mrpizza quite well, 99% according to the man himself.
Sadly many of the TEA folks see the world that same way as Mrpizza.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 2:25am
MFD: That's right. We see the world as it is and not according to some left-wing fantasy while at the same time we see it's untapped potential. If elected, we will free the American people to be the best they can be just as Reagan did from 1981 to 1989.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 6:35am
Pizza: Just curious here: You say you are not as I "imagine." How are you, exactly? And the world is not as the "left-wing" fantasizes. How is it, exactly?
Speaking of fantasies: Ronnie talked a lot and talked well but apparently you haven't bothered to look at what he (more accurately, his backers) actually did for those eight years. You need to start paying attention to all those rich guys and establishment Republicans behind the curtain.
Here you are a government employee who hates the government. That's got to be pretty stressful.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 11:35am
Bill: Nope. No stress at all. God put me in this government job 34 years ago because he knew back then and even from the beginning of time what would happen in 2008 and where I'd need to be in order to be safe from it. Surprised?
Now let's clarify about my "hatred" for government. The founders of this country knew that government was and still is inherently evil, which is why the constitution was written. Of course, Obama, the "constitutional lawyer" considers the very thing he's a "scholar" of to be an obstacle to his communist agenda.
The fantasy of the left is that there's no evil in the world. Why do you think they're dismantling the military and abandoning our allies abroad? After all, evil was conquered once and for all with World War II so what do we need a fighting force for? If we just "be nice" to the terrorists they'll love us and leave us alone. Of course, part of "being nice" is allowing them into our cultural and government systems to do whatever they want, like impose Sharia law. Think I'm exaggerating? Take a look at Great Britain. What starts there always has a way of making it across the water.
Now to answer your question of how exactly am I. Well, I'm somebody who believes this country was built on a Christian spiritual foundation and that the current political establishment is and has been chipping away at that foundation for the past century. In fact, there is no foundation left and the country is teetering on collapsing just like those towers did on September 11th. A nation that turns its back on God and makes deals with the devil cannot stand for long.
We at the TEA party want to remove the evil rulers and institute a righteous form of government which serves the people rather than turning them into slaves. Did you know that 86-million people are working and paying taxes while 108-million are dependent on some type of taxpayer subsidy?
That's totally nuts! But the fact is that Obama and his cronies, many of who are rich (do the names Soros and Buffet ring a bell?), want even more people to be dependent. In fact, these people are communists and would like 100% of the people completely dependent on them so they can continue the practice of buying votes with public money. In fact, at that point, they could just get rid of elections and install themselves permanently, then they could do like Stalin and just take those who disagree with them out to the tool shed and shoot 'em all.
Let me remind you that the acronym TEA stands for "taxed enough already". Don't you think you pay enough taxes? Or are you one of these types that think if you just give all your money to the government that all your troubles will be over? Don't fall for it. That would only be the beginning of your troubles.
And if you think this government is looking out for you, then why does Obama continue to "postpone a decision" on the Keystone Pipeline and all the related jobs it would create? Will there's a simple answer. Obama doesn't want jobs. He pays lip service to it, but the truth is he wants as many people subservient to the government as he can exploit. Furthermore, he want the automobile to no longer be affordable for the average American. He wants gas to go to $10 or even $20 a gallon so as to render the internal combustion engine obsolete, then he can trot out his electric dune buggies which the government will have to fully provide to every citizen because they cost $40,000 and up. What a great excuse for full-blown communism.
And make no mistake about this health care scam. As with everything else, follow the money. There's a direct correlation between Obamacare and homosexual marriage. Now that homosexuals can "marry", they can now get free government goodies at the expense of the rest of us. When the rubber meets the road, homosexuals with AIDS and anal cancer will be bumped to the front of the line while decent ordinary Americans will be denied heart surgery or even diabetes treatment in order to make sure the majority remains enslaved to the misfits of society.
We at the TEA party, if elected, plan to put a stop to all this nonsense and return America to its former greatness. If that scares you, then continue voting for the communists.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 12:26pm
Pizza: Let me get this straight. You say the framers of the constitution thought government is inherently evil, so they started a government. Makes a lot of sense.
I am not of "the left," so I won't speak for them but it seems like they see lots of evil in the world. Much of it practiced by TP'ers.
You don't trust the government but you want to give it weapons and turn it loose killing people and blowing up things. That makes a lot of sense, too.
As I've said before, I'm less concerned with how much taxes are than with what taxes buy. You complain about taxes but you want to throw money at the military and all their contractors. But not at healthcare, which might benefit you. So, after you've paid your taxes, you still have to pay premiums to insurance companies with their fancy buildings, golden parachutes, and fancy buildings - companies which collect premiums and then try to weasel out of providing the benefits you thought you'd paid for.
God got you a job in the post office? Here I thought it was civil service. You must have done something really bad that god sent you to the post office.
If your taxes are too high, you might consider to blame the rich people you so admire who - with their lobbyists and tax accountants - have rigged the tax code so they don't pay (and even collect refunds while racking up huge profits and paying nothing).
Maybe that pipeline will create jobs - cleaning up after leaks and ruptures. Of course, a lot of farm land will get destroyed but it's more important that Kochs get even more money (they won't pay taxes on).
Anybody who obsesses so much about homosexuality must be facing a really powerful temptation.
Former greatness? Like when the top tax rate was 91 per cent and unemployment was at three per cent?
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 1:04pm
Hey Bill: BULLETIN! When the top tax rate was 91% unemployment and inflation was in the double digits. Apparently you weren't born yet when Jimmy Carter was president.
Part of the TEA party agenda is to clean up the things that both you AND I complain about. That's right. All the above.
And yeah, I want (and the country desperately needs) a military buildup. BULLETIN! Our enemies only respect force. As long as we "just be nice" to them, they'll play us like a fiddle. It's time we put people in authority who understand that.
Now again Bill, if that scares you, then vote for the communists.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 1:23pm
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 3:33pm
Pizza: You in "saying something stupid" mode.
No, the tax rate was not that high when Jimmy Carter was president. I'm talking about when Ike was president.
Thomas Paine was not one of the framers of the constitution. By the time of the constitutional convention, he was agitating in France (and ultimately put in jail). The framers of the constitution were not anti-government. They wanted more government and more centralized government - not less. There were the predecessors of establishment Republicans and they wanted more government to promote business. That's why they wanted to scrap the Articles of Confederation. I guess you weren't paying attention in US history class.
There's one thing Paine opposed even more than government: Christianity, which he called a "human invention, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
So, are you willing to reinstate the draft? Of course, you're probably too old to get called up yourself, so it doesn't matter much. You want to kill people but you don't want to get your own hands dirty, or to put yourself at risk. There's a name for that.
The US deserves the enemies it has. If the US minded its own business and didn't overthrow democratically elected governments, spy on allies and put in dictatorships friendly to US business interests, there wouldn't be all those enemies.
Mike from Delaware
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 3:50pm
Mrpizza: sorry I misread your post you said Bill was 99% inaccurate, I thought it said 99% accurate. To be honest with you, I think you mistyped. I think Bill was spot on.
We need a strong military, but not to Cold War levels or WWII levels. That 91% tax rate on the wealthy was during the 1940's-60's, the most prosperous time for the US, when we were a truly great nation. Those were the Dividend years from the New Deal. Public schools were great places for kids to get a decent education. Free polio shots for everyone's kids, we eliminated polio in the US because of that government program. I'm not saying that was a perfect world, but the nation seemed to work together better then for the benefit of all (that New Deal philosophy). Today the attitude is I got mine, too bad so sad for you that you didn't.
As I said to you before, you hate any & all government programs other than the military & your government worker pension. You don't seem to care that many other decent folks who've worked their entire lives will need their Social Security checks & Medicare coverage. You'd literally take food out of poor people's mouths by ending Food Stamps & stopping the School breakfast / lunch programs; yet defend with your last breathe that the wealthy shouldn't pay an extra penny in taxes even though their taxes are at historic lows while their pay / dividends / benefits are at historic highs. Sorry, but I believe Bill nailed you & the TEA folks philosophy quite well. What totally boggles my mind though is how you can believe such a philosophy remotely resembles the heart of Christ. I encourage you to do a Bible study on the red lettered words in the Bible ( the actual words of Jesus). This would be a perfect study to do in this Easter season. I think you'll better understand why I can't support most TEA party ideals, because frankly they are not what Jesus would do or advocate.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 4:45pm
MikeFromDelaware: Thanks. Problem with those double standard folks, they pick and choose only what they want to hear. TP'ers will take something from Ronnie or Dick Morris or Tom Paine or Rush that says what he wants said, and act like those professional opinionators are authorities. They do the same with scripture. They head right for the hate and anger from St. Paul or Jeremiah and completely skip love and compassion from Jesus (and others).
In all fairness, it's the neo-cons who want a big military. True libertarians (which the tea party claims to be) do not. True libertarians also don't believe in policing bedrooms or other presumed "menaces" in people's personal lives.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 5:07pm
Ah, the fantasy lives on!
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 6:08pm
So much more important than politics/politicians...
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."~John 3:16
Interesting article I read on Drudge...China is on pace to be the "most Christian nation" in the not-so-distant future.
Earl: That's a really sick idea of love. Threaten everybody with eternal torment to get them to love you. Remain invisible and leave people to imagine all sorts of different religions. If they guess wrong, they get tormented. If they guess right, they get to spend eternity telling you how wonderful you are - not matter how evil their lives have been. Your god considers original sin wanting knowledge. Your god gives people free will and condemns them if they use it. A sick god imagined by hate-filled, angry people.
Thor can beat up your god and I wish he would.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 7:38pm
Bill: You scoff at God now, but you won't be laughing when you stand before him. Repent now - while there's still time.
After death - it's too late.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 8:35pm
And now, time for another "TV Theme Trivia"! I'll paint the picture of the song - you see if you can guess what it is. I'll give you one clue - it's a crime show theme from the 70's.
de de de de de
de de de de de de de de
de de de de de
de de de
de de de
de de de de de de
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 9:02pm
do be do be do.
Repent: from Latin "reptāre" - to creep.
Creep: v. To move slowly with the body close to the ground, as a reptile or an insect, or a person on hands and knees. To act in a servile way; fawn; cringe. n. A person considered to be obnoxious or servile.
No, thanks, Pizza. Creeps me out.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 9:17pm
Bill: Clearly we will never agree on God... He sent His Son to save us FROM the eternal torment, not the opposite.
We will each find out who was right after we die (as all humans do)... until then I guess we shall each continue to believe what we believe and live our lives accordingly. Pax.
Mike from Delaware
Sun, Apr 20, 2014 10:31pm
EarlGrey: I think you said it well in your last post. We've beaten that subject to death & I concur with that post. There's really nothing else to say on it; you expressed it well, thanks.
Mrpizza: Your lack of reply suggests you won't consider reading the red-lettered parts of the Bible as a study ? I remember doing a Bible Study a few years ago called " The tough sayings of Jesus". This was essentially a red-letter study. The master's words challenge even the most devout follower of Jesus. He sets a high standard, but with Christ all things are possible, as you know. So why not do a study or time of devotion on the actual words of Jesus ?
Hopefully you're not allowing your politics to steer your faith beliefs. We're not supposed to read into scripture to validate our personal views, but are to read scripture to hear what God's view is. His view is the one that counts. So that may mean that some of your views or beliefs could be challenged by Christ's words & actions.
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 6:43am
Earl: It was supposedly your god who created eternal torment in the first place. Add to that the lack of contemporary evidence that Jesus ever existed, and the fact that the synoptic gospels indicate "Jesus" never considered himself either god or the son of god.
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 9:08am
bill: As I said in my earlier post...you have clearly made your decision and I have made mine.
The place of torment (known as Hell/Lake of Fire) was originally designed/built for the Diablo (deceiver/slanderer/accuser) and the other angels/demons who revolted against God (not a good idea).
And, there is more historic evidence to support the existence/life of Jesus than almost any other figure in history.
You clearly don't believe in the God I do, and that is your choice...so I am "washing my hands" of the matter and "shaking the dust from my feet"...Pax.
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 10:24am
"And, there is more historic evidence to support the existence/life of Jesus than almost any other figure in history."
Oh, c'mon! Like what, exactly?
More than "almost any other figure in history?" Now, that is why over the top. Fact is there is almost no independent corroboration of any Biblical characters. The Bible does mention some real people - known real people - but so do a lot of novels. Jesus is as real as King Arthur (who also is supposed to come back).
PS: No evidence of Moses. No evidence St. Peter ever went to Rome (even in scripture).
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 1:45pm
Earl: It was you who brought up religion, not I. You want to intrude your primitive myths and superstitions into discussions but you object when anyone presents other views. Just shows what bigots you people are, how you only want freedom of religion for yourselves - and how you feel that entitles you to shove your religion down other people's throats. You don't want me to bring it up, then you don't bring it up.
I saw a couple of weeks ago some church was building attendance by giving anyone who attends a chance to win a semi-automatic assault rifle (the same one used in Newtown). So, looks like Christians are packing. Maybe the rest of us need to invoke our second amendment rights and "stand our ground."
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 8:28pm
bill: I wished a Happy Easter to all here on (gasp) EASTER SUNDAY...
I didn't think something so simple would get anyone riled up. Sorry you hate Christians/Christianity...we don't hate you. Peace.
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 8:57pm
MFD: My politics don't steer my faith beliefs. My faith beliefs steer my politics.
As for the words of Jesus, this is why I attend a FULL GOSPEL church. I believe in the WHOLE Bible. In other words, the red letters and all the other letters in all 66 books are relevant.
The following statement is not directed at you, because I don't know that you think this, but there seems to be a mindset out there that the new testament makes the old testament obsolete. The truth is that the new testament is the completion of the old. Jesus said he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.
From listening to some Christians, and again I'm not saying this is you necessarily, but the message I get is that all the wealth was in the old testament, which got replaced by the new, then all the gifts were in the new testament, but that ended with the apostles. Conclusion: That leaves nothing for any of us, so why are we studying the Bible in the first place, other than for the sake of history?
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 4:45am
I should also add that there are some who would give the impression that Jesus is still on the cross, or even worse, that he's still in the manger. Truth is, He is risen, and we're supposed to be risen with Him.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 8:09am
Mrpizza: As a Lutheran we're all about the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Martin Luther was solid on Sola Scriptura [Scripture Alone] vs. following tradition [just one of his problems with the Catholic Church] and the study of Law and Gospel. The Law shows us how we fail to meet the standard. The Gospel shows us God's Unconditional love through Jesus Christ so that we can be made righteous in God's eyes in spite of what we truly deserve. Lutherans also know this isn't "heaven on earth", so we know that each day we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Our treasure is up in heaven, not earthly treasure that rust and mold can destroy.
Some Christians, usually very conservative Christians [not saying you], but some get hung up on the Old Testament especially the Eye-for-an-Eye stuff vs. turn-the-other-cheek, Unconditional Love, you without sin may cast the first stone, etc. Sadly, many seem to NOT give much weight to those Red-Lettered words of Jesus [Westboro Baptists come to mind]. Jesus' words challenge us, because on our own, we cannot meet his standard, but through Christ all things are possible.
I find it a great mini-retreat to take some time and read and reflect on those Red-Lettered words of Jesus. They help me to step back and refocus.
I wonder how many people who hear or see each of us [who call Jesus, Lord] in our daily lives see some form of Jesus? Sadly, I believe they don't or our churches would be bursting at the seams. So again, no matter how great any of our "walks with Jesus" are [at least in our own minds] we really should remind ourselves of HIS words. After all Jesus is what it's all about. So while we believe the Bible cover-to-cover, we shouldn't put on the back seat the Words of Christ. Be at Peace.
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 7:40pm
Earl: You did not just write "Happy Easter." If you'd stopped with that, I would not have responded.
Family sues N.J. district over 'under God' in pledge
FREEHOLD, N.J. — A family is suing the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District and its superintendent, seeking to have the phrase "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance that students recite every day.
A lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Monmouth County on behalf of the family, who wish to remain unidentified, and the American Humanist Association claims that the practice of acknowledging God in the pledge of allegiance discriminates against atheists, in violation of New Jersey's constitution.
For the record, "under god" was not originally part of the PoA. It was added during the McCarthy era, 1954, pushed by the Knights of Columbus, as part of their church's campaign against "godless, atheistic communism." Just one more example of Christianity trying to force its doctrine on everybody else.
PS: Anybody notice that many states and localities force everything (including businesses) to close on Easter - not on Passover. Talk about "establishment of (one) religion."
MFD: If more Christians thought like you, Christianity might have been a more positive force. Unfortunately, most don't.
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 10:16pm
MFD: Can't argue with you one bit on that one. What you've described is how Jesus came to give us life more abundantly. It's often difficult to reconcile that with the eye-for-eye stuff, but that's why we must prayerfully consider every situation on its own merits. In my case, it's easier to have a lot more compassion for the victim than the perpetrator whereas Jesus would probably treat both more objectively. Nevertheless, I have at times been involved in prison ministry because the bad guys need to meet the lifegiver as much as the people they hurt.
I think what drives Westboro is the inability to separate sin from the sinner. Instead of protesting at gay weddings and soldiers' funerals, they should be going after the devil and all his dark forces and take any protests to the state capitals and Washington. Imagine what they could do if they would take some advice from an old hymn known as "Rescue the Perishing".
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 5:51am
Pizza: I thought you liked Westboro! Funny how you Christian hate-mongers like to take eye-for-an-eye out of context. The phrase comes from the Code of Hammurabi, estimated to have been written several hundred years before Moses, and approximately 1,000 years before the Torah was assembled (after Jews had spent time in Babylon). The next verse makes it clear that judgment is reserved for god, not anybody with an ax to grind (as you TP'ers and Westboro types seem to think). Hammurabi's code was a breakthrough in that it said punishment should fit the crime (something else you wingnuts seem to miss) and not be draconian or arbitrary. It was the forerunner to no cruel and unusual punishment.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 8:00am
Billsmith: Thanks for the history of that old Jewish Law, interesting.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 1:56pm
MFD: You're welcome. Here's the "red letter" quote.
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
And here is what Leviticus actually says...
"Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury."
I suppose today, people would rather collect a legal settlement in cash than have themselves and other guy walking around wearing eye patches. That woman who sued McDonald's when she was scalded by their coffee wouldn't collect big bucks. She'd just get to throw a cup of hot coffee at the manager.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 3:30pm
Thanks Bill. The Red-Lettered quote vs. the Old Testament quote you provided are an excellent example of Jesus' standard being quite higher than probably most of us can do in the "flesh". However, with Christ all things are possible. Thank the Lord for Law and Gospel. We fail miserably to keep the law, even the old Jewish Law; we don't want tooth-for-tooth, we want them to get a far worse punishment, that was MY tooth, so tooth-for-tooth isn't good enough. So we even fall far shorter trying to keep Jesus' standard, which is why the Gospel part of Law and Gospel is so important. NONE of us can keep the law, not even Mother Teresa, Reverend Billy Graham, Pope Francis, etc. We all need God's love, grace, and forgiveness. We are also supposed to pass on that same love, grace, and forgiveness to others, not be little judges; that's God's job on the end times where He'll seperate the sheep from the goats.
THAT's really the message of Jesus' Red-Lettered Sayings. He gives us the example in how he lived his life as a reminder of what mankind prior to the fall should have been.
The Gospel of Christ saves and is there for ALL who want it.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 6:26am
MFD: A bit of an inconsistency here. Either the 613 commandments of the Torah are an impossible standard, or they are mostly obsolete and don't apply any more. You have said both. Which is it?
You say Jesus was perfect? Including that assault, battery, destruction of property, and disturbing the peace incident with the money changers? And if any of us face temptation, we supposedly have sinned just by thought (if not yet word or deed) - as in committing adultery in our hearts. But Jesus gets tempted, and he's still perfect? Sounds like Jesus is by definition perfect so anything he does, or thinks about doing, is therefore OK. Makes perfection a pretty easy standard for him but not for the rest of us.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 8:13am
The Jewish Law was an impossible standard to meet certainly - Jesus's disciples picked a few pieces of barley to eat and violated the no-work-on-the-Sabbath law is an example, but so was the standard Jesus set. If you look at a woman with lust in your heart, you've committed sex with her in your heart, rather tough. No one comes to the Father, but through me. Implies that Jesus is the only path for eternal life, another rather tough saying, that I'm sure you have issue with, but it is what Jesus said in those red-lettered parts.
Jesus was fully man and yet God. He was tempted as we, but didn't commit sin.
We've discussed this numerous times in the past. I accept you don't believe or agree with any or most of this, especially that Jesus was perfect, didn't sin or is God's Son. That is fine.
I, on the other hand, do believe. This is where the faith thing kicks in. I have the faith, and can accept the mysteries of God that I can't explain. Based on my Science understanding, I tend to believe that Creation wasn't six 24-hour days, but Millions of year-days, but I can also accept and believe that if God had chosen, he could have done the whole thing in six 24-hour days [the 6-millions-of-years days doesn't affect my faith or belief - no matter how creation was accomplished, God did it.]
I try to read the Bible to understand God's point of view, rather than defend my point-of-view [God's view is what counts], and my understanding of what the Bible is saying may have to be adjusted as I learn more [that Galileo thing]. So there's much I cannot explain using logic or science; that's where faith comes in. There are many mysteries of God we'll not know until we're with Christ in eternity, so I tend not to worry about them; so I'm probably not the person you'd want to ask these quetions to, sorry.
As you know, I'm not a learned man; I have studied God's word during my life, but surely am not any sort of theologian, much less any sort of a "Saint". You really should seek out someone with better creds than me for this discussion. Someone who can read the actual Greek and Hebrew; they'd be the best folks to give you the answers you seek. I'm really just a follower of the Risen Christ, who does read a lot, but not any sort of an expert. So let's just leave it there.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 10:56am
MFD: I just find it curious that you are so dismissive of the Torah (which you call "Jewish Law") yet Jesus was a Jew, his apostles were Jews, the people who heard him preach were Jews and they all kept Torah.
Here's another "red letter quote" for you:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 3:50pm
Billsmith: I know where you want to go with this, many Christians want to follow the Torah [Old Testament teachings] in terms of the anti-homosexuality stuff, but ignore not eating pork, or even touching pork [a football], etc. The food stuff was changed with St. Peter's vision, as you know. The Homosexual stuff wasn't [ I realize you're not a fan of St. Paul so you won't accept what he says in the New Testament on that subject]. I know you have issues with this as we've been round and round on these points a few times in the past.
I know you believe that because Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality that he had no opinion on it. As I've said before, he seemed to speak out on offering clarification on existing law, from an eye for an eye to turn the other cheek. The fact Jesus said nothing at all about homosexuality, beastiality, incest, sleeping with your mother, sister, etc, etc, means he agreed with the Law and saw no need to offer clarification or raise the standard. But we've discussed this a number of times. You don't see it this way.
I can only offer you what I understand, but truly can not offer you any real scholarship on this as to why some parts of the Old Testament are no longer followed and other parts are. For that sort of discussion, you need to talk to a Bible scholar. Paul Meyer at Western Michigan University might be able to offer you some solid discussion on this sort of stuff. You can find some of his stuff on the Lutheran Men's Network [ a part of Lutheran Hour ministries]. I don't know if he has his own web site or if you could actually contact him via W. Mich. U.
The other thing you might consider is go visit a local church, doesn't have to be Lutheran [ELCA or LCMS] there are plenty of other denominations here to choose from [I know you have some issues with Lutheranism], and ask these sorts of questions to the pastor. I truly wish I could offer you more, but I've given you all I have to give on these topics. My knowledge doesn't go further. Sorry.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 4:46pm
MFD: No, you don't know where I want to go. I am trying to suggest that "the law" - a more accurate translation would be "the teaching" - does not mean to Jews (including Jesus) what you think it means. You see it as an impossible standard you can never meet and Jews see it as a guide to help people. Luther was a disturbed man, overcome with guilt and his writings, which are not scripture but have shaped how Protestants understand scripture, have been warped by his guilt.
Maybe you should go to Temple. If you really want to understand Jesus, you should know what it means to live as a Jew.
Note: Original sin is not in the Bible; it's from St. Augustine. The dual nature of Jesus is not in the Bible; it's from the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century (and was rejected then and since by the Oriental Catholic Churches).
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 6:52pm
Billsmith: That's not a bad idea. It would be interesting to visit a Orthodox Jewish Synagogue [that would probably closer mirror the Jewish teachings and traditions Jesus might have received than in the Conservative or Reform versions.
I found this, thought you'd find this of interest:
" There are actually several different terms for a Jewish "church," and you can tell a lot about people by the terms they use.
The Hebrew term is beit k'nesset (literally, House of Assembly), although you will rarely hear this term used in conversation in English.
The Orthodox and Chasidim typically use the word "shul," which is Yiddish. The word is derived from a German word meaning "school," and emphasizes the synagogue's role as a place of study.
Conservative Jews usually use the word "synagogue," which is actually a Greek translation of Beit K'nesset and means "place of assembly" (it's related to the word "synod").
Reform Jews use the word "temple," because they consider every one of their meeting places to be equivalent to, or a replacement for, The Temple in Jerusalem."
"In Orthodox synagogues, you will also find a separate section where the women sit. This may be on an upper floor balcony, or in the back of the room, or on the side of the room, separated from the men's section by a wall or curtain called a mechitzah. Men are not permitted to pray in the presence of women, because they are supposed to have their minds on their prayers, not on pretty girls."
Found an Orthodox congregation in North Wilmington. They are called: Adas Kodesh Shel Emeth. Below describes their Shabbat service. It's 3 hours long, but they provide dinner on the grounds [so maybe the Baptists weren't the first with that concept]. From their website it says:
"The Shabbat morning service at AKSE follows the Orthodox davening structure. Our service begins at 9:00 a.m. with pesukei d’zimrah followed by shacharit and the Torah service. We read the full parsha and haftorah. The Rabbi’s sermon follows the haftorah. We continue with musaf and the concluding prayers. Everyone is encouraged to join in prayerful singing. All children are invited to the bimah to join in Adon Olam and kiddush. Services usually conclude before noon – in time to adjourn to the social hall for a lovely kiddush prepared by our Sisterhood. "
I'll have to give them a call and see if they allow Gentile visitors, dress code, etc. I'd enjoy discussing some of the Hebrew Bible [Old Testament] with the Rabbi and hear his perspective vs the Lutheran, United Methodist, Assembly of God, and Catholic perspectives I've learned over the years.
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 11:57am
MFD: Interesting. I lived in New York and got to know a lot of Jews, even picked up a smattering of Yiddish. I think it's fair to say that they have as great a misconception of Christianity as Christians have of Judaism. It would be interesting if a minister and a rabbi could get together and create parallel courses for each other's congregation: Judaism for Christians and Christianity for Judaism - with some joint class discussions.
There are also groups in Messianic Judaism who have accepted Yeshua (the Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus) as the Jewish messiah but continue to practice Judaism. And there are some groups of gentile Christians who want to restore the practice of Judaism to Christianity (as described in the Book of Acts).
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 1:15pm
Bill: A Messianic Jewish group called The Liberated Wailing Wall [part of Jews for Jesus organization], recorded a bunch of great songs [circa 1974] I have one LP album with songs like Passover Lamb, Wait Upon the Lord, etc., that link the Hebrew Scriptures to Christ. Beautiful Music, Powerful Lyrics. You can find some of their music on line at You Tube.
Our choir did "Passover Lamb" for our Maundy Thursday Service last week.
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 3:12pm
MFD: A few years ago I attended a Passover Seder. The Seder is what Jesus was observing at the "last supper." It's too late this year but if you ever get a chance to attend a Seder, I strongly recommend it. It will give you a whole new appreciation for and understanding of the Eucharist.
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 3:24pm
Bill: I attended a Seder done by a Catholic priest many years ago [Come to think of it, that was about 40 years ago - man, does time fly by!].
However, it would be great to attend an actual Jewish Passover Seder. That would be a great opportunity to better understand both the Passover and the Eucharist. Great idea, thanks !
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 7:15pm
MFD: I found it a very moving experience. It was something different my experiences but at the same time very familiar. Got to warn you about Kosher wine, though. Most of it is terrible. The REAL miracle at the wedding at Cana: That they ran out of wine in the first place. And that people wanted more.
Like many Jewish practices, the Seder is a family affair and not performed by a rabbi (unless that's what dad does for a living). The same with Friday night Sabbath observance. Many religious historians have concluded that communion, likewise, was originally celebrated in homes and that women (not men) performed the sacrament.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 26, 2014 12:14am
Bill: that's interesting. Do you remember where you found that info about the communion?
Sat, Apr 26, 2014 11:36am
MFD: It's been a while since I read it. It may have been Elaine Pagels or Karen Armstrong. I don't see a specific reference right now. If/when I come across it, I'll post it for you.
I did come across an image of first century engraving in the wall of a catacomb showing women celebrating communion (which had beards put on the figures a few centuries later).
Since St. Paul was a clear woman-hater, women leading a home communion may have been groups that stayed within Judaism (like St. James and others) and/or gnostics, whose writings were much more open to female leadership and participation.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Apr 26, 2014 1:27pm
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