Link Roundup, 3/31/2016

From The Verge: Corporate Plutocrats are rescuing America…again.

From GQ: Lawyer defending Trump’s campaign manager once bit a stripper. I mean, who hasn’t?

From Quanta: Why Alpha Go is such a big deal.

From Quartz: Antarctic ice melt is a lot worse than we thought.

From Gizmodo: An MIT innovation that might replace passwords.

From the Texas Tribune: Texas counties struggle to survive the oil bust.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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82 comments on “Link Roundup, 3/31/2016
  1. 1mime says:

    A little good news “explained” for your weekend review. Most market analysts state that earnings in the second quarter will be poor, that productivity is low, and that there are fundamental weaknesses in our economy, BUT – in comparison to the rest of the world? Right now, the U.S. is the place to put your money to work. (Watch it carefully, though (-:

    • johngalt says:

      And just imagine how good it could be if our do-nothing Congress got off their collective rear ends and passed some sensible reforms to taxes and entitlements, invested in infrastructure and R&D, and negotiated a medium-term spending plan. None of this would be hard.

      • flypusher says:

        They’re too busy trying to make Obama a 1-term President.

      • 1mime says:

        No kidding! I listened to Charlie Rose interview Jack Lew, US Treasury Secretary, for an hour. (I dvr Rose as his guests are always interesting). Lew commented on the “state” of the US economy as being solidly on the right track but had plenty of room for growth and improvement. He didn’t get into the fact that the budget he and Obama developed was not allowed the courtesy of a hearing by the House of Reps, but, that’s SOP right now. He noted that the rest of the world’s economic conditions were essentially impacting US GDP by a half point. We are doing so well comparatively but globalization does impact all economies.

        It was a fascinating, very insightful discussion which ranged from ISIL economic efforts to trade, jobs and infrastructure relationship, economic sanctions, without getting into politics overtly. We are lucky to have someone of Lew’s background and personal strength serving to advise our President. Very smart man. If you’re interested, here’s a link:

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Looks like the jury has spoken on the Tesla 3: almost 200k ordered in the last 24 hours.
    This could be a game changer. If this takes off, the budgets of all the major companies will focus almost exclusively on the developments of their electric cars. That’s a lot of billions.

    Also, you’ll see a huge increase in the infrastructure necessary to enable a large-scale shift (mostly charging stations all over the place).

    When all is said and done, I don’t think it’s hyperbole that to say that if we avoid the worst projections of CC, Elon Musk will be looked at as one of the major figures who helped avert it.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      For context, the quick and dirty math on 198,000 units sold @ $35,000 is just shy of $7 billion .

      In 24 hours.

      My guess is the CEO of every major auto maker in the world has their chief of development in their office right now, discussing how much new money will be diverted to electric.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        More context:

        In 2015, 115,000 electric car IN TOTAL were sold in the US. Tesla sold 200,000 in 24 hours.

      • 1mime says:

        Wonder when the PayPal guy (Musk) will open his own financing arm to handle the significant dollars for pre-paid reservations? The next logical step, right? Control the whole process…..

    • 1mime says:

      One of the aspects of the TESLA development that I find interesting is their abandonment of the dealer. I am not sure where this will go but I do recall that TX dealers had petitioned the Legislature to make it impossible for TESLA to sell here unless they went through dealers. The article intimated that TESLA was selling direct through its reservation program. If so, yet another commercial institution will have sprung a leak, further reinforcing Lifer’s theory of change that puts the individual more in charge. I don’t know to what extent this is happening with other car manufacturers – but if I had to guess, I’d say they are locked up pretty tight with dealers. Will it always be this way for car purchasing?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Dealers should have started years ago to turn their locations into ‘third places’ for car lovers, a destination for trustworthy service, a delivery site for the car I design via the manufacturer’s website. If I had good experiences there, I’d likely go back to get top-notch service for the car I so lovingly designed.

        I think many states have laws that protect auto dealers from competition by more direct methods of getting a car. To me it seems like they’re doing themselves in.

      • 1mime says:

        They’d better or they will all convert to used car lots.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’m not convinced that these early numbers are all that meaningful other than it buys Tesla a year of saying it is a success. The folks putting in an order today would have bought it regardless.

      The proof will be in 2018 when someone is trying to decide between a $30k fully loaded Camry or a $35k Tesla. With subsidies, the costs are a bit lower, and per/year usage costs should be lower with electric.

      It is targeted for “the masses”, and $35k feels a bit high for “the masses”. He’s targeting low end Audi, BWM, Mercedes drivers, and that is a fine market, but not exactly producing the next Corolla.

      Plus, the interior has no dials or gauges. The flat screen is huge and likely a fun toy that will be appealing to many, but it also will make it harder for some (many) people to make the transition from gas to electric.

      The electric car that makes folks go, “Well this is just like driving a regular car” is probably going to be a big seller.

      If Tesla can ever figure out a way to make a cool $25k car that everyone sends their kids off to high school/college in, then he’ll rule the world.

      While the high-end apartment complexes will (and some already do) have charging stations, folks living in non-high end or non-new apartments are not likely to have the infrastructure for this.

      I’m really hopeful about Tesla and electric cars in general. I started my last car search looking at electric cars, but nothing really fit what I wanted (then we bought a huge SUV that would hold all the kids and I inherited my wife’s smaller SUV) The Model 3 would have fit perfectly.

      I’m hoping it is a motivational tool to push others to make them better, faster, cleaner, and cheaper.

    • Stephen says:

      Be careful investing in new industries. Yes there will be winners but plenty more losers. And like the Tech boom and bust you really do not know yet who they are. Investment in industries that support electric cars might be safer right now. We are gong to have an internet type tidal wave of change with energy and with that a new order in the economy and a reordering of the international scene.

      • 1mime says:

        Our son graduated in (that soft science), Sustainable Engineering. He is all in on alternative energy and products and processes that utilize sustainable practices and his investments track your comment. Keep us posted about promising areas, Stephen. I’m very interested in the market (I am not a day trader! nor an expert, just very motivated) and try to find promising areas outside the mainstream. I believe that “water”, it’s management and any equipment or innovations that support it will be tremendously important in the future. With your background, I know you agree. There are some fascinating developments in this area, both from simple potable devices for third world countries (and combat zones) to more sophisticated efforts. In South America, one enterprising hydraulics engineer developed billboard which could support a visual display and become hydration creators which product, water, was collected, and sanitized and distributed. Fascinating world we live in, right!

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Yup, I’m definitely going to look into getting one in a couple of years. Still wanna give them some time to see if a better car comes out and to work the kinks out of this one.

    • renae anderson says:

      Hi all. First comment although have been reading (and learning) here for some time. This caught my attention because we jumped in and ordered this (3)yesterday. The crazy part is that we are in N. Dakota. No chargers . I’m guessing we have plenty of time to figure it out.
      I keep Lifer on my desktop . The only sane place in a sea of crazy.

      • 1mime says:

        Welcome, Renae. We look forward to your participation. It’s a nice group, civil in discourse and diverse in opinion. You’ll learn from those who hail from far away and close by whose lives have taken them in some interesting directions – personally and professionally. Everyone is great about posting comments that are rationally supported and with links as appropriate. Most manage this feat concisely; others, not so much (-: We look forward to a ND point of view and will be interested in your charger challenge!

  3. Rob Ambrose says:

    Seriously, the best thing to ever happen to the so called progressive agenda was that weird little blip of history that saw the Tea Party gain a semblance of power.

    I can’t imagine a better tool to turn the masses away from the current dysfunctional conservatism then letting a few of these morons actually govern.

    Brownback, Lepage, Jindal et al are truly doing the Lord’s Work

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      “the best thing….” unless you happen to be a woman with an unplanned pregnancy who doesn’t want to be pregnant or a kid reading a text book about how well most slaves were treated because slave owners really wanted to protect their investments.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I know, I was mostly being tongue in cheek.

        I mean, I do think this kind of behaviour will turn moderates against conservatism (especially this toxic, dysfunctional brand of conservatism that permeates today) more then anything liberals could ever do. But obviously, for those being hurt today, its not a “good” thing that these nutjobs got a hold of power.

        Taking the long view though, I’m convinced it is this intransigence that has massively accelerated the long term liberalisation trend over the past decade or so.

    • 1mime says:

      Can we start a list of conservatives who are doing the Lord’s work? I have some names to add……

    • 1mime says:

      On a sober note, this offers Democrats a real opportunity to develop more coherent policy and a better outreach effort to sell it. It’s not enough to turn Republican moderates away from the extremists within their party; I would like them to find the Democratic Party a viable alternative. We need to grow our base, as well, but we also need to clean up our own act.

    • 1mime says:

      Not to be outdone by the best the Republicans can throw at us, Maine Governor Warren LePage has really stepped in it this time. He is refusing to certify an election where his nominee was defeated by 16 points by a democrat….Says just in case there is a request for a recount…with a 16 point margin?!!!!

  4. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Now this is very interesting. Low-income subsidy for broadband access. Internet treated like utility. I like this. I tend to think our economy would expand if we all — that’s everyone — had reliable high-speed internet.

    (Working from home today, I am well aware of ‘my’ internet’s lack of reliability. Dropped more times than I can count. And I pay for this privilege.)

    Personally, I think Apple’s recent moves are partially motivated by a desire to not be treated like a telecom, just another utility.

    • Crogged says:

      Broadband will be an interesting test of how to get competitive market pressures in a regulated market to create the lowest clearing price. It absolutely worked in the natural gas markets, somewhat successful in electricity, but much more a work in progress.

  5. 1mime says:

    I simply cannot believe that the Republican Party continues to double down on stupid. Knowing the tough road ahead, one would think they would “temper” their attacks on issues which add more fuel to the fire raging around them. Does the GOP really believe that fanning extremist positions will rally “more”!!! people to their side? Two relevant articles for your indigestion:

    Since the PP video scam didn’t get the job done, Repubs are taking the fight to “their” court where they control the process. Shame….

    And, this opinion that makes a lot of sense on the related subject of why Trump’s comments about punishment of women who have abortions is really just a Repub speaking point….inconvenient to admit to right now, but very much historically true.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Unbelievable Mime.

      That said, in a similar vein to my above post, this is probably the best thing that can happen forbthe pro choice movement.

      Americans have been remarkably consistent in their views about abortion in R v Wade . when you take this doomed strategy bybthe GOP combined with the inexorable trend towards a more secular and liberal America, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that deadlock starts to move in the coming years.

      The problem with the GOP is they think everyone is as gullible as their base.

  6. texan5142 says:

    Any wonder why the people it that region hate us.

    “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”

    Within one or two years, grotesque birth defects spiraled—such as babies with two heads. Or missing eyes, hands, and legs. Or stomachs and brains inside out.

    • 1mime says:

      Looks like the weapons of mass destruction have been those we fired. Horrible and I agree, we have created much of the toxicity in the region.

  7. stephen says:

    I can relate to struggling Texas counties who were dependent on the oil boom. Florida is too dependent on tourism. And in down turns the state budget does not fair well. Especially since most revenue is from a state sales tax. Fortunately because of it’s ideal location to South and Latin America, good ports , roads and rails is becoming more and more a trade centre. So the economy is getting more decentralize and not just be tourism and agriculture.

    • 1mime says:

      We lived in the panhandle of FL for several years before moving to TX. We downsized by half in the cost of our TX home yet our property taxes here were/are almost double, even with a senior exemption. FL is trying to have it both ways by keeping property taxes low to encourage people to buy homes (many – second homes) and let tourism pick up the tab via sales taxes on the cost of providing services. Since FL’s tourism comes from all over, it is not as vulnerable to industry specific recessions, but it is impossible to provide the quality of life and services that the working class need and the privileged (even if they are part-timers) demand. As with everything else, you have to have courage and keeping taxes artificially low is not a good or fair business plan. More GOP crap about “low” taxes. One day, the piper will come.

      • vikinghou says:

        The piper has already come to Kansas and apparently the natives love it. By the way, the NYT has a sobering article concerning the Kansas Supreme Court and GOP efforts to impeach justices who rule against their agenda.

      • 1mime says:

        Viking, the Republican majority – old white men and women – are losing raw numbers. The United States is moving towards not against diversity and equality in a broad range of issues. Their efforts to control the courts to support their agenda vs respect for impartial, non-partisan centers of justice, is another new low for a party which cannot win on its platform. America’s courts should be off-limits for any political manuevering by anyone, even though the temptation and reality is undoubtedly regularly impugned. The KS court fiiasco is a really ugly example of raw power run amock. icans,Americans and those who value our system of justice need to speak out. KS is becoming a poster child for political abuse. How very sad.

        I noted in the article that efforts in 38 states were currently engaged in the same activity to influence the court composition and predispose outcomes. Want to guess which states those might be?

        Lifer, as an attorney, is there any movement to counter this effort by the Republican Party more broadly?

  8. Griffin says:

    Someone please tell me this is a parody of the extreme left. Please, somebody.

    Worth a read for the sheer insanity of it. I know the far-left types are not nearly as significant as the far-right, and that every couple years since the mid-60’s people wrongfully predict that they’ll suddenly have widespread influence in politics or the Democratic Party (outside of social studies departments in universities they still don’t, which is where they’ve always been stuck anyways) but I still think it’s always good to remind yourself of the madness on your own fringes so that you know how to A) combat it IF it becomes more popular and B) so you never succumb to it yourself.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      You want insanity?

      Well check out what is happening on the conservative side of the pond, like the National Review. I just read the comment section some hours ago for their article “Why White Nationalists Thugs Thrill to Trump”.

      It has been cleaned up (a little) since I went through it but among the content I read/viewed included these lovely things:

      1. Dick pictures and Klan hoods made from punctuation marks.
      2. Anti-semitic jokes like “How do you pick up a Jewish girl? With a dustpan!”
      3. Accusations that the writer of the article is a fudge packing kike.
      4. Frequent comments about “white genocide”… whatever that is.
      5. Insults to other commenters about how they are fa**ots. Or Trannies.
      6. And lastly how everyone now on the National Review who is not down for Team Trump or for something like RAWOWA (Racial Holy War) is a cuckservative.

      A dirty filthy, race traitorous, Rino who would serve up their pure blond wives to thugish BLM activists… sexually.

      You get my idea.

      It was perhaps for me a profound, unprecedented heap of hatorade. It was a garbage dump pile of 300 barely coherent comments. The vapors of pure noxious intra-party/movement contempt that I would have never expected to see on the National Review. I suspect that the moderators of the comments were probably overwhelmed at that point.

      If there was an independent minority voter who would came across that verbal freakshow they would probably think incredulously “Why would I want to have anything to do with those miserable a**holes?”

      If you were a long standing conservative reader or activist with any semblance of a moral center you have to wonder “How in the hell are we going to win in the fall?”

      And if you are me you would probably ask “Since when did National Review become a glorified VDARE message board?”

      I got the distinct feeling that the only thing that would mollify most of the readers on that site would be if John Derbyshire was rehired and crowned Grand Nagus/editor in chief of the National Review.

      Yeah, that guy.

      • vikinghou says:

        I went to the NR article to see the comments for myself. The editors have performed a massive delete job.

      • 1mime says:

        “If you were a long standing conservative reader or activist with any semblance of a moral center you have to wonder “How in the hell are we going to win in the fall?”

        No, my question would be: “WHY SHOULD WE win in the fall?”

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Crogged, are you trying to evict your kids? Because that’s interesting! 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, for every “out there” Leftie, there are “these” people. Left extremism when compared with the right? Not.even.close. Agree.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Well according to Vikinghou the comment section on a National Review site had gone through a massive delete job.

        Checked it out myself and it was more of a delete typhoon.

        But there are still nuggets of “real conservative” on “cuckservative” on “Trumpkin” vulgarity. Mostly in the form of homophopbic based slurs and insults.

        “You sniveling pile of parrot droppings. I’d wave my private parts in your face, but you’d enjoy it.”

        Plus, continuous accusations that the other guy is a troll. I think about this disturbing state of affairs and I think about how the son of William F. Buckley was exiled from the hallowed halls of the National Review for coming out of the closet by admitting he voted for Barack Obama.

        That lucky b*stard.

        I personally think this is all just a small snippet of the Marvel’s Civil War-esque political violence that is consuming that alternative universe that I refer to as ConservativeWorld. Where all black men look like Allen West, or Ben Carson, or Hermain Cain, etc.

        An eerie place. Glasses.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Griffen, I think it’s worthwhile to look into rationalism as a philosophy. Practitioners may want to substitute rational thought for experience.

      I think recent articles about eviction reveal problems with what appears to be a rational process. On the surface, eviction is rational.

      Tenant can’t pay to live in landlord’s property. Maybe there’s a legal process to resolve the issue and maybe not. If the tenant cannot gather enough resources, landlord makes tenant leave so landlord can find someone who can pay. Legal system supports this rational process.

      But some researchers say that that eviction causes poverty, that kids suffer greatly in school and at home, and may end up in worse neighborhoods. Their whole lives can be affected.

      Perhaps their experience is telling us to find another solution for too-high rents and low-paying jobs.

      I think Rump’s recent foray into punishment for women who have abortions is extremely rational. If you don’t want women to have abortions, you should punish them when they do.

      Rational. But apparently not acceptable to wide swaths of the politically active.

      • Crogged says:

        Bobo I think a minimum income is fairly good tool for dealing with this and if you want to visit the perspective of a landlord regarding evictions and legal processes, have a teenager in your home.

      • 1mime says:

        Heck, these day, Crogged, “have a college grad” in your home! Don’t forget, they can get health insurance (which is a good thing) under mom and dad’s policy until they’re 26….which is not a bad thing for young people who are struggling to find a job post degree while dealing with loans. Still, not exactly how we all thought it was going to be, right?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Crogged, are you attempting to evict your kids? (wrong place earlier :-/ )

      • Crogged says:

        Depends on the hour of the day……….

    • Crogged says:

      Your hetero-normative and colonial arrogance is showing. All the badges of my youth and rebellion don’t work anymore, I’m glad it was a lot easier when I was in college.

    • 1mime says:

      I think you have found a very unhappy, angry and hurt person. Her/his solutions of abolition of the institutional symbols of oppression speak to not being able to find a safe place in the world. While I agree about the native Americans being horribly abused in the name of “White” imperialism, and the abuses we all know exist within law enforcement, and the terrible problems existing right now and for a long time within immigration, the solutions are to improve all, not eliminate any.

      Yes, there are angry people left and right. And there are a whole lot of stupid ones in the center. Don’t ever forget that. Sometimes we need to hear from the fringe to wake up to a reality that is flawed and needing our attention. We can become too “safe and snug” in our little worlds, forgetting or becoming oblivious to the problems many face. Even as I found the post disturbing, it was well written, and as long as the author is speaking out and not acting out, that’s probably healthy – even if we disagree.

      • Griffin says:

        Oh yes it’s important to keep in mind that these views come from a place of real hurt and to try to reform the system so people don’t get this desperate. Nonetheless if this person’s views were more widespread, that rationalism is just a tool of oppression, the damage to the real world would be immense. So you can criticize the views while acknowledging the actual problems that led to someone espousing those views.

      • 1mime says:

        No, Griffin, that is not what I said at all. Reforming the system if it “needs” reform is something we should do for its own sake, not “just because” one person advocates it. Admittedly, it’s easy to pile on to the problems within law enforcement and immigration, but we should be able to agree that the problems exist while disagreeing on extreme solutions.

      • Griffin says:

        I fully agree with you. Maybe I didn’t phrase it properly because I feel like we’re going in a circle even though we’re in full agreement already and are basically repeating each other 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, good. I was confused with your response.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I know you’re not suggesting both sides are equally foolish, but I still feel the need to respond.

      If you grab 1000 progressives and 1000 Conservatives and ask the progs if they agree with this, anen ask the cons if they agree that, for example, the President is a Kenyan born Muslims, I think you’d see the difference.

      I can’t imagine more the. 5% of progressives would agree with the former. I can’t imagine less then 50% of cons would agree with the latter.

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      Reading the screeds of the insane is no longer amusing to me. Frankly, it is unhealthy for me; I know these people are idiots, and getting angry is unhealthy.They aren’t going to listen to anything. They’re crazy people.

      These loonies are, fortunately, very much out of the mainstream. But they have a very obnoxious readership.

  9. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Wow. Beach front property in Spring Branch. I’m so excited.

  10. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    The plutocrats rescuing the country is a bit of a double edged sword.

    In this case, we can praise big business for pressuring a state to do something on the side of the angels, but on a dozen different issues, we would be lamenting how big business is pressuring a state to do something that lets them skirt typical tax rules or slow down or weaken environmental regulations.

    Were the issue not something with which we would agree, you would hear people grousing about how businesses are running the country.

    • goplifer says:

      ***The plutocrats rescuing the country is a bit of a double edged sword.***

      Oh, it’s kind of terrifying. Let’s be clear, it’s a mark of failure. The irony, though, is kind of amusing. Our corporate overlords are the last firewall preventing right-wing insanity from consuming whole swaths of the country.

      • 1mime says:

        At least the business plutocrats are operating in full public view. None of the GOP “stealth” attacks. The deceit and subterfuge from the right is insulting.

      • Griffin says:

        Corporate plutocrats have an investment in making sure the economy is at least functional and care about their public image, especially since most of their business is in socially liberal cities. They’re doing it for mostly selfish reasons and shouldn’t be trusted but they’re at least rationally self-interested. Angry religious fundamentalists don’t care as much about the economy or their public image in “Blue States”, they are much more emotionally satisfied by implementing ineffective authoritarian laws than anything.

    • 1mime says:

      I”m cautiously optimistic, Homer….Gotta take what you can get while still pressing on the bad stuff.

      Here’s the value on this particular issue. As you are aware, the GOP pushes a specific controversial agenda simultaneously in several “red” states. What this achieves is to divide the opposing group’s ability to effectively spread resources to defeat a multi-state agenda. It’s all a “test” of the water…see what will fly and what won’t. Too often, these insane laws pass the legislatures and are signed into law by their red governors. There is no coincidence of timing, this is all orchestrated. This can force the issue up through the courts where they may have a friendly majority, with the long-term goal being to establish precedent. Pretty slick. Except people are starting to pay attention and get tired of their attempt to legislate morality.

      What is interesting to me is that big business is more broadly speaking out, even if the issue is selective. That is new, and that is important. What is says to me is that business can and will confront extremism now and in the future. Some sort of line has been crossed by the Republican Party and big business isn’t going to give them a wholesale pass anymore. Their bottom lines are being affected and this is helping tweak their business consciences. Will business continue their dastardly deeds (pollute, seek tax law favors, get involved in referendums that benefit them? Certainly. But at the very least, big business is speaking out and filling the vacuum for a Republican Party that is refusing to confront the extremists within their party. Whether their effort is complicit (they carry the burden for the GOP) or totally bottom line driven isn’t really important. What is important is that when over 100 companies (NC) speak loudly to Republican government, that is highly persuasive to quash the next red state from pursuing the agenda item of the season. Thus the benefits can be far larger than one state and that is something I’ll take.

      It’s all a big game. Isn’t that a sad way to conduct the “business” of our nation?

  11. Stephen says:

    In reference to “Corporate Plutocrats are rescuing America…again” I really cannot understand why people cannot separate civil liberty and religion. To me homosexuality is a sexual sin just like adultery or fornication. You are not going to ever stop affairs of the groin. And is not my mine or the government’s business what consenting adults do. You can disagree with some one’s choice without being harsh and uncivil. Mature adults do not expect 100% agreement with others but can be civil and work together despite differences of opinion. The central tenet of Christianity is after all love. I do not see any love in this law.

    There was a big fight in Florida about gay people adopting children. They were allowed to be foster parents though. The state was trying to pull a child away from two gay men ( foster parents) who wanted to adopt. It was ludicrous as there is a shortage of people willing to adopt kids, especially special need children like this kid. And the child had bonded with these men. Moral choices are often grey like this. But I would weigh in with the child’s needs here which eventual is what happen and this family was not busted up. And now sexual orientation is not used in this way.

    Jesus had harsh words for religious leaders who were self righteous. But compassion for sinners and wanted them to change their ways but never compelled them. As a Christian you cannot agree that homosexuality is OK, scripture is pretty clear here, but also you have to behave with love and respect. You have to treat ALL people as you would want to be treated. This is the golden rule of Jesus. This view will not please the Religious Right or those who think that homosexuality is an attractive alternate life style but I think the right view.

    • 1mime says:

      Stephen, I respect your personal views and know they are rooted in your faith. I do not agree that homosexuality is a sin, rather, I hew to the belief that this is a congenital predisposition. Of course I also don’t believe in a strict reading of the Bible, so there is that different starting point. Given how much social stigma is generally attached to homosexuality, why would anyone consciously choose that as a lifestyle? Where we completely agree is that we all need to live and let live – not punishing those who make different choices than our own when those choices have no impact on our lives. We need to respect our differences and love our neighbor (sometimes that’s haaarrd). Some of the nicest people I have known have been gay. I don’t think less of them, I value their friendship.

    • Griffin says:

      In the New Testtament there are at most three references to der gayz, and if you wanted to you could take it into historical context that it’s references to the sexual slavery of young boys that was common at the time, not to homosexuality per se. In fact I’ve heard that someone being “homosexual” would be a foreign concept to someone who alive at the time, as was being “heterosexual”.

      Is it a sin for women to speak in church? The New Testament, if taken literally in modern translations, says they can’t. What about planting more than one kind of seed in the same field? Wearing clothing woven of more than one kind of cloth? Why is it just homosexality that literalist Christians focus on as one of the more arbitrary “sins”? Why are so few of the other religious laws followed or even mentioned?

      • Rob Ambrose says:


        Its funny how Christians always use the Bible to justify homophobia, even though the only passages against it are in the OT. But when you ask them if they’re cool with raping women (as long as you marry her and pay her father 50 shekels), slavery (as long as you don’t enslave Jews) and killing kids (as long as they’re disrespectful to their parents) they say “of course not, that’s part of the OT. Jesus death on the cross meant that’s no longer the Law”.

        to be clear, Im not saying Stephens opinion that homosexuality is wrong is homophobia, just in general. I disagree with Stephan, but I wish all Christians had his non judgmental outlook on social issues. If Christians wernt trying to legislate their beliefs onto the rest of us, there wouldn’t be much of a culture war in the first place.

      • 1mime says:

        A big fat AMEN to that, Rob!

      • Griffin says:

        Stephen’s opinion is definitely better than the fundamentalists who think that homosexuality and/or gay marriage should be illegal but if he thinks that homosexuality is a “sin” because of a literal reading of those parts of the Bible but he doesn’t think the other stuff is a sin (such as Women talking in church or slaves disobeying their masters) than, by the law of noncontradiction, he is wrong. You can’t use a literal reading to denounce some stuff and ignore others.

        There are two logical paths a Christian could take. One is to apply a literal reading to the other moral laws as well and apply it consistantly (under this view runaway slaves are sinners) or you could have more nuanced, matephorical interpretations of the Bible. You can’t have it one way for the shit you like and have it the other for the stuff you don’t like. Not without basically admitting the Bible is an ad hoc justification for cultural prejudices.

        “Jesus had harsh words for religious leaders who were self righteous. But compassion for sinners and wanted them to change their ways but never compelled them”

        How woud homosexuals even change the way you want them to? Do they become chaste? Do they (pretend to) “convert” to being straight? I understand that you mean well but if so that’s an incredibly dangerous and unhealthy idea to promote.

      • Crogged says:

        When I hear, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” all I can think is “F*ck you”. The arrogance and condescension is breathtaking.

        And when many of the anti birth control crowd tried to distance themselves from Mr. Trump’s declaration of punishing women who seek birth control-LIARS.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      >] “To me homosexuality is a sexual sin just like adultery or fornication.”

      With respect to adultery, the Bible actually plays pretty fast and loose with that one. King Solomon, of particular note, had about 700 wives and around 300 concubines, iirc, and the Christian God didn’t have much to say about that. King David himself, while obviously no Solomon, married six women during his time.

      The reason why I bring all that up, and how it plays into the the broader issue of homosexuality, depends in great measure on whether or not you take the Bible as the literal Word of God or, as I and many others do, as a historical document. With respect to the latter, a lot of the views expressed in the Bible come across as all but natural when, of course, you bear in mind that they came from a time far removed from where we are today.

    • stephen says:

      Guys I have found it fruitless to argue the Bible. But get a Strong Concordance and with it read and search 1 Corinthians chapter six. In this chapter Paul speaks out about sexual sin, what it is and why Christians are to flee it. One reason I visit this blog is to get educated. Maybe now I can return the favour. The more things change the more they stay the same. Same issue different times. The Concordance will tell you what the original Greek word meant.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        With all respect, Stephen, that is still the viewpoint of an age that is far, far behind us. That’s not to say that you still can’t believe it. All I’m saying is that the world is going to continue to leave that viewpoint behind more and more.

        Frankly, I don’t even buy into the idea of sin at all, but all that matters to me when talking about homosexuality can be summed up in a few questions:

        1.) Is it a naturally occurring phenomenon? Yes.

        2.) Is there any respectable reason to believe that a homosexual couple is causing undue harm, either to children or to society at large? No.

        3.) Do they themselves feel comfortable with who they are and happy as people? Very much yes.

        That said, I will check out what you said, if only to try and see where you’re coming from on this. I certainly don’t expect it to change the answers to any of those questions though.

      • 1mime says:

        To your point #3 – do gay people feel happy….I think they want to but there must be this tightrope of fear they walk outside their immediate circle. That’s not right, but until our society is accepting of their sexuality, I think it will be very difficult for them to be securely happy. For those who have found that place within their lives, that is great, but I don’t think that is the experience of the broader gay society.

      • 1mime says:

        I think all of us appreciate the Bible as an important document, although not all of us believe it is the literal word of God or Jesus. That important difference makes it hard to agree on this particular issue. For one thing, science has progressed to the point that we know things today that couldn’t have been known in the days of the OT. That important point aside, I would be the first to agree that avoidance of improper sexual behavior is a good thing while clearly stating that what is improper to me and to you may be completely different and clearly falls within the domain of personal privacy and personal preferences. In the case of those who I believe are born gay, my fundamental disagreement is that their physiology and their mental and emotional sexuality are wired wrong from conception, therefore, who am I to judge what is right for them? Their lives are going to be tough enough without my disapproval.

        Please know that I appreciate and respect where you are coming from. I’ll go back to the place where we do agree: live and let live. Do not punish people because of their sexuality, accept it and live within your own moral and religious beliefs. Now those who perpetrate harm through sex – that’s a whole different subject on which I am certain you and I completely agree.

      • johngalt says:

        1 Corinthians defines a variety of things as wrong because they are wrong. There is no reason given other than a person who does these things cannot inherit the kingdom of God. To understand this it is necessary to understand the time in which they were written (as Ryan said). We no longer find ourselves needing to populate the earth as fast as possible so we are not wiped out by Philistines. We no longer have to assume that any act of copulation will lead to a baby. Times change and morality changes with it. You do eat shellfish, don’t you Stephen?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Stephan, I believe it’s pronounced ‘One Corinthians’ 😉

      • Crogged says:

        I’m Augustinian myself (not Catholic). Evil (sin) is the absence of good. Don’t worry about what we all have, concern yourself with what you need.

      • Stephen says:

        Ryan, Corinth in the first century BC, was a multicultural conglomerate of people of different religions who made their living on trade. It is similar to our time and country. Many of the things Paul wrote about was how to not betray your Christian faith and still live with your neighbours in peace. A lot of those verses are taken out of context. It is a mistake to think the ancients were somehow inferior to modern people. When you read ancient books like the Bible you have to understand the culture and traditions of the times where the writings were done. To quote a verse out of the Bible “nothing is new under the sun.” Things have been done and debated many times. And people do not change although their Technology does. I really am not trying to change your mind as much as to open it up to other possibilities and view points.

      • flypusher says:

        There may be nothing new in human nature since Paul’s time, but there’s an enormous amount of new information since then. We know far more about the human brain and how it is wired, and our knowledge points to sexual preference not being a choice. That has important moral implications, as for someone to sin, one must have free will and one must decide. Most of the people would have condemned homosexuality are/were acting on the assumption (whether they say it or even think it, or not) that same sex attraction is voluntary. As our friend Homer has pointed out, this should make no difference in the LEGAL arguments. But it means big changes in any moral/spiritual/ethical/religious arguments. Seriously, how just is it for God to create people who are gay, but then demand that they either stay celibate, or be dishonest about their true feelings and enter into an opposite sex relationship just to appease others?

        The closet is not healthy for anyone. A friend of mine recently had a marriage end because of that lie that some gay people have been pressured into.

      • 1mime says:

        Wonderful response, Fly. A lot of hurt is dispensed in the name of religion and “morality”.

  12. 1mime says:

    The latest PEW survey touches upon the divide within parties and within our country. I think it is telling that President Obama’s popularity rating is the highest it’s ever been. If the economy doesn’t go in the tank due to earnings reports in the second quarter, his popularity will help Democrats. With job loss in TX and other energy dependent states drawing down more pink slips, people may be less tolerant of political stunts in D.C. and it could impact their votes in the general election. It’s hard to say which party will pay a price for the challenges facing the energy sector, especially if other areas of the economy don’t balance things out.

  13. 1mime says:

    Sorry I wasn’t more patient, Lifer. My double post on the prior link round up about the melting ice cap would be perfect here as are the political positions of the two GOP presidential front-runners on the environment.

    Global warming deniers are hurting our world’s capacity to respond responsibly and timely.

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