Category: History

Myths of Authority in Practice

| August 22, 2014 | 2 Replies
Myths of Authority in Practice

I’ve been trying to come to terms with Ferguson since it began. The shooting of Michael Browne sparked a response that surprised many people and the counter responses have been equally surprising among certain people, not so much among certain others. Every time I start to write something I find what I intended to say had already been said better elsewhere. [More . . . ]

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The tortured history of the Senate’s report on U.S. torture

| August 5, 2014 | Reply

Propublica has published this astonishing history of the Senate’s attempt to not get to the truth.

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Short history of the NRA and the Second Amendment

| May 24, 2014 | 1 Reply

The Brennan Center for Justice recently published this history of the Second Amendment and the NRA. The Second Amendment was construed entirely differently in years past than it is now. The NRA was an entirely benign organization until a few decades ago. It’s amazing to see how something can evolve into its opposite, but that is par for the course for a symbolic species like human animals.

In the end, it was neither the NRA nor the Bush administration that pressed the Supreme Court to reverse its centuries-old approach, but a small group of libertarian lawyers who believed other gun advocates were too timid. They targeted a gun law passed by the local government in Washington, D.C., in 1976—perhaps the nation’s strictest—that barred individuals from keeping a loaded handgun at home without a trigger lock. They recruited an appealing plaintiff: Dick Heller, a security guard at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, who wanted to bring his work revolver home to his high-crime neighborhood. The NRA worried it lacked the five votes necessary to win. The organization tried to sideswipe the effort, filing what Heller’s lawyers called “sham litigation” to give courts an excuse to avoid a constitutional ruling. But the momentum that the NRA itself had set in motion proved unstoppable, and the big case made its way to the Supreme Court.

The argument presented in District of Columbia v. Heller showed just how far the gun rights crusade had come. Nearly all the questions focused on arcane matters of colonial history. Few dealt with preventing gun violence, social science findings or the effectiveness of today’s gun laws—the kinds of things judges might once have considered. On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to own a weapon “in common use” to protect “hearth and home.” Scalia wrote the opinion, which he later called the “vindication” of his judicial philosophy.

After the decision was announced, Heller stood on the steps of the court for a triumphant press conference. Held aloft behind him was a poster bearing that quote from Patrick Henry, unearthed by the scholars who had proven so important for the successful drive: “Let every man be armed.”

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Ronald Reagan’s Law and Order Administration

| April 24, 2014 | Reply

George Carlin summarized the issues back in 1988. Almost 200 criminal and ethics investigations.

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Birther movement regarding Jesus

| April 21, 2014 | 2 Replies

This Tumblr website has launched a Birther movement regarding Jesus. It’s actually a challenge.

Please provide ONE single person, along with their authentic writing, that can prove the simple living-human, historical existence of the claimed, christian New Testament jesus the christ of Nazareth, that meets both (A & B) of our 2 simple requirements listed below:

A.) A contemporary 1st century person that lived between the years of 1-36 CE, who was a first-hand eye-witness, who actually saw, met, spoke to, and knew jesus personally.

B.) Provide this person’s original and authentic: secular, non-christian, non-religious, unbiased, non-bible, non-gospel, and non-scripture writing, that is directly about jesus (with references/citations to prove that this person actually wrote the work in question), officially dated by science, between the years of 1-53 CE. Additional religious or christian writings that can’t be used: papyri, uncials, minuscules, lectionaries, didache, apocrypha, gnostic, catechism, and pseudepigrapha.

In case some folks are tempted to reach for some of the classic “proofs,” the site offers this scorecard:

Jesus Chart

 

The site also offers links to many other sites that challenge the existence (not merely the divinity) of Jesus, including:

Bible Scholar: Robert M Price – Extrabiblical evidence for Jesus ► 8:44

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3zuMeNPgDQ

Debunking the Fraudulent christian Apologist List of Extra-biblical but non-contemporary, claimed “sources” used as jesus “evidence.” (Jewish, “Pagan,” Non-christian, “Secular”)

http://tmblr.co/ZkpfQtmt2ygH

The jesus Birther Movement (jBM) Research Database Directory

http://tmblr.co/ZkpfQtaKiFCa

Research Articles, Evidence and Videos that Prove a Historical jesus, NEVER Existed

http://tmblr.co/ZkpfQtmSTwHN

66 Famous Historians and Writers From The 1st and 2nd Century, Who Never Mentioned Fictional jesus – The Screaming Silence of Real History

http://tmblr.co/ZkpfQtnCiu1a

 

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Ken Ham’s Lack of Wonder

| February 7, 2014 | 1 Reply
Ken Ham’s Lack of Wonder

By now, I’m sure, many people know about the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.  Only 9% of respondents apparently saw Ham as the winner.  Of course that won’t be the end of it. 

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Riding A Hobby Horse

| January 28, 2014 | 1 Reply
Riding A Hobby Horse

Hobby Lobby is suing to be exempted from certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case . . . The question at the heart of this is, should a company be forced to pay for things with which it has a moral objection? [More . . . ]

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Exploring an old steam/electrical power plant in St. Louis

| January 14, 2014 | Reply

I recently had the privilege of touring the Ashley Power plant on the north side of the St. Louis Riverfront. Fascinating place. It was originally built in 1903 as a coal-burning plant to provide electricity to the 1904 World’s Fair, which was located six miles away in Forest Park. After the Fair, the plant was used for producing steam and electricity.

IMG_7660Power Plant

IMG_7721Power Plant

The plant manager pointed to the many coal burning boilers that can still be seen in the plant. He indicated that it would have been miserably hot in the plant, and that much of the labor was muscle power. The plant went through an oil burning phase, but now runs off of natural gas. That gas is pumped through a pipeline all the way from the Gulf Coast, running up along the Mississippi River. I small pipe runs off of the main gas pipe (on the Illinois side of the River), then runs under the river over to the St. Louis Plant.

IMG_7680Power Plant

This 12″ pipe enters the plant, where it feeds two gas turbines that only take up a tiny fraction of this huge plant. This huge space was originally needed when the plant was filled with hundreds of laborers burning coal. Much of the machinery seen in these photos was necessary in the old days, but has not been removed–it would not be cost efficient to remove it, and there’s plenty of space for the two gas turbines, each of which is less than 100 feet long.

Out of one side of the turbines, electricity is produced. Using a heat-exchanger, the other side of each turbine produces steam. Lots of it. Even today, the plant provides steam to more than 50 industrial customers, who use it for heat. Busch Stadium is on this list. The steam exits the plant through a pip that is about 3 feet in diameter, then travels through 17 miles of pipe through the city, providing this steam heat. The customers have “steam meters” and are charged for the amount of steam heat they use. The Plant Manager indicated that it is 15% more cost efficient to produce steam at a central location and distribute it than to produce it at the individual locations. Sometimes, the steam pipe network has leaks, and you can see these in the cold weather, when steam from underground rises above street level.

IMG_7705Power Plant IMG_7693Power Plant IMG_7667Power Plant IMG_7625Power Plant

This huge building holds lots of old machinery, evoking memories of what it must have been once upon a time, including the time that it was the state of the art provider of electricity to the 1904 World’s Fair.

Enjoy the photos . . .

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Duck (And Cover…)

| January 4, 2014 | Reply
Duck (And Cover…)

By now those who don’t know about Phil Robertson and the debacle at A & E are most likely among those who have no access to any kind of media.  They have no idea what the world is doing, because they have no way of knowing what to pay attention to.  [More ... ]

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