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

Journal Archives

CNN: Trees planted where our cameras caught Trump golfing

Source: The Hill, by Mallory Shelbourne

A CNN host said in a Saturday broadcast that trees have been placed where the network’s cameras once filmed President Trump playing golf at his Florida club.

“Yet today, CNN news cameras did not get any video of President Trump playing golf. And here’s why: where CNN cameras were once positioned, trees appear,” CNN host Ana Cabrera said during a newscast. “Yes, new trees are being planted there.”

The network charged a white truck appeared to have deliberately blocked their camera's view at the club earlier in the week. The Secret Service and the local sheriff's office denied use of the truck to hide Trump's golfing.

Trump has publicly feuded with CNN during the first year of his presidency, often denouncing the network as "fake news."

Trump has spent the holidays in Palm Beach, Fla., at his Mar-a-Lago resort, which he has dubbed the "winter White House.”

The president traveled to his Florida golf course on Sunday for the sixth day in a row.


"Making America grate again!"

'Old Man' Brady is lookin' pretty hot in sub-freezing New England!

He's makin' old fahts "Baston Proud" today!

Do you think it's too cold to check how firm his balls are today?

'Alabama' and SEC domination.

Monday, Alabama returns for the rubber match against Clemson.

Alabama's 2017 program was designed and dedicated to winning THIS ONE GAME!

Instead of running out of gas in the last quarter of the last game, two things are now in Alabama's favor to beat Clemson.

No. 1 - They are deeper in the roster on defense and have good players alternating in and out all game long!

No. 2 - This isn't the last game! This is the first game after a long, relaxing, needed break! January 1, their tank is full!

2 out of the final 4 are SEC teams. Another SEC team is playing undefeated UCF the same day!

In the big bowl games so far, SEC-style defense in the QB's face has won the day!

We can expect an all SEC-championship game this year!

It's almost inevitable!

Oh, yes. One more thing.

"Roll Tide!!!"

"World's Most Enlightening Region"

What are our best qualities? Very interesting documentary.

Source: AL.com, by Greg Garrison


Dr. N.S. Xavier believes the world would have less religious strife if people of all faiths learned the lessons of a region in India where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jews co-existed peacefully for centuries.


He points to Kerala, near the southern tip of India, as a model of religious peace.

"It's the only historical example of interfaith peace and harmony for 2,000 years," Xavier said. "Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism co-existed from the First Century, and Islam from its beginning."


"There was a belief that all good people can achieve heaven," he said. "There were several influences that promoted conscience. That really helped to maintain the peace."

Mystics in all the faiths have inspired better behavior, he said.

"That area has had an amazing number of mystics, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish mystics, people who have had some kind of divine experience and promote peace, promote developing the inner spirit of compassion. They had a mystical worldview, not a materialistic worldview."


Read it all at: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2017/12/can_different_faiths_live_in_p_1.html#incart_river_home

"We were talking
About the love that's gone so cold
And the people who gain the world
And lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see
Are you one of them?

When you've seen beyond yourself
Then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come
When you see we're all one
And life flows on within you and without you."

2017: The Year of Peak Alabamafication

Source: AL.com, by Kyle Whitmire

Familiar faces: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, "Luv Guv" Bentley, Roy Moore, and "Big Luther" Strange


Alabamafication is a political doom loop (to borrow from "Good to Great" author Jim Collins), a vicious, self-sustaining, self-reinforcing cycle of destruction.

Stage One is the anxiety, insecurity and self-loathing that comes from seeing your state near the bottom of nearly every objective measurement of quality of life.

Stage Two is exploitation
-- political, religious and economic. Too many preachers here have learned that it's easier to tell their flocks that they're better than other people than it is to help them become better people. Too many politicians scapegoat minorities and blame Washington for our state's failures when, without federal dollars, we'd be left to eat pine cones and dirt. And too many business elites support those fools in the hopes that their followers won't notice who's picking their pockets.

Stage Three is ridicule and stereotyping
, when late night talk show hosts, popular culture and Sunday morning TV pundits give our tinhorn demagogues the kindling they need to keep our resentment burning.


If Alabama's political influence seems to be outgrowing its borders, it's because a lot of America is beginning to look more like Alabama. Manufacturing moves overseas. Agriculture is gobbled up by corporations. White collar, STEM and "knowledge economy" jobs crowd into a dozen or so major cities where most folks can't afford to move.


What's left behind are people -- people who are scared, people who are angry, people who are ripe for exploitation.

But if you're a corporate executive, a public official or a minister of faith, beware. Take a good look at the sad dermatologist in Tuscaloosa, the once- and the almost-Senators in DC, and the rotten old jurist in Alabama. If you're not any of those, you look, too.


Read it all at: http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/12/2017_the_year_of_peak_alabamaf.html#incart_river_home

1969's "The Damned."

Looks and feels so familiar. For the "It can't happen here" crowd. (English w/ Spanish subtitles)

A few years later, Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling went on to make another movie together - "The Night Porter."

GOD: A Human History

Source: Medium, by Reza Aslan


It turns out that this compulsion to humanize the divine is hardwired in our brains, which is why it has become a central feature in almost every religious tradition the world has known. The very process through which the concept of God arose in human evolution compels us, consciously or not, to fashion God in our own image. In fact, the entire history of human spirituality can be viewed as one long, interconnected, ever-evolving, and remarkably cohesive effort to make sense of the divine by giving it our emotions and our personalities, by ascribing to it our traits and our desires, by providing it with our strengths and our weaknesses, even our own bodies — in short, by making God us. What I mean to say is that, more often than not, whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves: a human being but with superhuman powers.

This is not to claim that there is no such thing as God, or that what we call God is wholly a human invention. Both of these statements may very well be true. I have no interest in trying to prove the existence or nonexistence of God for the simple reason that no proof exists either way. Faith is a choice; anyone who says otherwise is trying to convert you. You either choose to believe that there is something beyond the material realm — something real, something knowable — or you don’t. If, like me, you do, then you must ask yourself another question: Do you wish to experience this thing? Do you wish to commune with it? To know it? If so, then it may help to have a language with which to express what is fundamentally an inexpressible experience.

That is where religion comes in. Beyond the myths and rituals, the temples and cathedrals, the dos and don’ts that have, for millennia, separated humanity into different and often competing camps of belief, religion is little more than a “language” made up of symbols and metaphors that allows believers to communicate, to one another and to themselves, the ineffable experience of faith. It’s just that, throughout the history of religions, there has been one symbol that has stood out as universal and supreme — one grand metaphor for God from which practically every other symbol and metaphor in nearly all the world’s religions has been derived: us; the human being.


Think about the way believers so often describe God as good or loving, cruel or jealous, forgiving or kind. These are, of course, human attributes. Yet this insistence on using human emotions to describe something that is — whatever else it is — utterly nonhuman only further demonstrates our existential need to project our humanity onto God, to bestow upon God not just all that is worthy in human nature — our capacity for boundless love, our empathy and eagerness to show compassion, our thirst for justice — but all that is vile in it: our aggression and greed, our bias and bigotry, our penchant for extreme acts of violence.


Read it all at: https://medium.com/@rezaaslan/god-a-human-history-ba5e62e401e1

How Can I Possibly Believe That Faith Is Better Than Doubt?

Source: New York Times Opinion Page, by Peter Wehner


This question is compounded during periods like this one, when faith seems to distort reality rather than clarify it, when it’s easily manipulated for low rather than high purpose and when some of those who claim to be people of faith act in ways that bring dishonor to it and themselves.


But faith itself, while not the converse of reason, is still distinct from it. If it seems like that’s asking too much — if you think leaps of faith are for children rather than adults — consider this: Materialists, rationalists and atheists ultimately place their trust in certain propositions that require faith. To say that truth is only intelligible through reason is itself a statement of faith. Denying the existence of God is as much a leap of faith as asserting it. As the pastor Tim Keller told me, “Most of the things we most deeply believe in — for example, human rights and human equality — are not empirically provable.”

“The supreme function of reason is to show man that some things are beyond reason,” is how Blaise Pascal put it. Something would not require faith if the proof of it was absolute. According to Philip Yancey, the author of “The Jesus I Never Knew,” “Faith requires the possibility of rejection, or it is not faith.”


There’s one other difference between faith and reason. The latter can analyze things like quantum physics and modern cosmology. But what faith can do is to put our lives in an unfolding narrative in ways reason cannot. It gives us a role in a gripping drama, of which the Christmas story is one defining scene. It’s a drama that includes sin and betrayal, redemption and grace; and ultimately it gives purpose to our lives despite the brokenness and pain we experience. This may mean nothing to you, but to people of faith, it can mean everything. If God is real, perhaps it should.


Read it all at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/25/opinion/faith-christmas-religion.html

Christmas turned the world upside down

Source: Washington Post Opinion Page, by E.J. Dionne, Jr.


Everything about the Christmas account portrays a world turned upside down. A new king heralded as the Son of God comes into the world quite inauspiciously, born in a manger surrounded by farm animals as part of a working-class family. This is a radical inversion of how God or gods were typically understood at the time: mighty and all-powerful beings, lording it over often hapless humans. The Christmas story is about God becoming one of us, and a particularly humble member of our company at that.

This is why Christmas has always been a fundamentally subversive holiday, and why Christianity, an organic outgrowth of prophetic Judaism, has always been at root a radical faith.


Christmas is the day for those who have been knocked for a dozen loops. Its good tidings are that the bad tidings about them are wrong. This is their world, too.


He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor

To heal the broken-hearted

To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.


You don’t have to be Jewish to experience the liberating message of the Exodus story. And you don’t have to be a Christian to feel elation over the idea that a fallen world can be redeemed. The poor, the broken-hearted, the captives and the prisoners do not have to be left to their fate and their suffering. Every year at this time, we are called to renew our hope that cold indifference and smug complacency can be overcome by a humble and gentle love powerful enough to inspire wise men, shepherds and even angels.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/christmas-turned-the-world-upside-down/2017/12/24/5cb62cea-e69c-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html

Favorite Christmas story from a remarkable film.


Auggie owns a smoke shop - and has been taking the same photo on the same Brooklyn corner everyday for years and years.

And then, Tom Waits! "It's memories that I'm stealing, but you're innocent when you dream."

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