Kindness by Christians A Bad Thing – Who Knew

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Feb 292016

DahliLamaI’ve talked before about a conservative United Methodist page I follow. I recently posted a Facebook meme merely because I found the sentiment somewhat heartwarming and thoughtful, but boy did I get taken to the woodshed.

Just let me start by saying that I certainly understand that the sentiment is not necessarily true to the letter of Christian theology, but I thought the sentiment ought to be a nice way to think about the world and ourselves. It’s a quote from the Dalai Lama saying, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for Temples; No need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our Temple; The philosophy is kindness.” Simple enough you’d think.

Well, for conservative Christians, not so much. A few of them just flew into a rage that I should dare call on conservative United Methodists to express kindness…well, at least of the variety they seem to believe the Dalai Lama expresses. (More on that.)

So below are extensive excerpts from the discussion thread, with most being from one main protagonist (JM is me obviously, and note when the comment is from someone else other than mre or the main protagonist): Continue reading »

The Martian – A Movie Review

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Feb 292016

The_Martian_PosterDuring a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crew-mates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard (screenplay), Andy Weir (book)
Stars: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Vincent Kapoor, Benedict Wong
Runtime: 144 min; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi; Released: 02 Oct 2015

We watched this Saturday evening. I’d been wanting to see it for a while. Overall impressions, it was OK at best, but not nearly as good as I expected. Lay didn’t like it at all, but he’s never very keen on sci-fi. Continue reading »

Utah Tea Party Falls Off The Deep End

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Feb 272016

AlJacksonJust in case you’ve forgotten, U.S. Senators were not always elected by the people. The Constitution allowed the state legislatures to decide how their states’ Senators would be chosen. In the early days after the Constitution was ratified, legislatures often chose the Senators themselves. However, as people began to demand it, many legislatures gave the voters the right to choose their Senators even before the federal Constitution required them to do so. This was changed in 1913, by the 17th Amendment, which provided that Senators would be chosen by the people in the same way the Representatives were.

Well, those good Mormon Republicans in Utah have decided the 17th Amendment was a bad idea, and wait ’til you hear the explanation offered by Senator Al “I hate representative Government” Jackson (R-Idiot). It might be important to note that being “appointed” to representative government has a special place in Al’s life, as he wasn’t elected to his seat, but appointed to fill an unexpired term of someone else.

According to Jackson, no branch of the federal government represents the interests of the states. Funny thing about that though, I thought our government was formed to represent the interests of the citizens, but Al looks at this way, “Today, senators are more beholden to special interest groups than to their states because those interests give them money for reelection. It’s time for our senators to come home every weekend and take direction from this body and from the House and the governor on how they should vote in the upcoming week.” Continue reading »

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Feb 272016

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Feb 202016

Lady in The Van – A Movie Review

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Feb 202016

The Lady In The Van Movie PosterAn eccentric (and decidedly grubby) aged lady parks her decrepit old van (which appears to contain her entire world goods) outside writer Alan Bennett’s house in Camden. When the Council threatens to have it towed away, Bennett’s diffidence leads to it being parked in his drive, to the consternation of his neighbors, where it – and she – stay for 15 years. As time passes, an odd relationship develops between them, and he begins to discover elements of her past.

Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Alan Bennett
Stars: Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Clare Hammond, George Fenton
Runtime: 104 min; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama; Released: 15 Jan 2016

Based on a 1970s biographical drama of the same name by noted British playwright Alan Bennett, The Lady in the Van is a “mostly true story” as mentioned at the beginning of the film. That’s because Bennett had to put up with an old homeless woman for 15 years by allowing her to live in her van in his driveway. Then in 1999, Bennett cast Maggie Smith as the titular hobo in his own play. Ironically, Smith plays the same character on screen little over 15 years later. Continue reading »

Feb 172016

DSC_0120There, I said it. Back in late August I traded in my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder for a supposedly new 2015 Rogue. I based it on test drives and comparisons with a variety of similar crossovers, and reading reviews on several auto websites, combined with the price I got it for. I was fairly pleased, but in the past two months a number of critical components have failed, and Nissan and the dealership are unconcerned and actually fairly rude about it.

I was very happy with my Pathfinder. I purchased it used in about 2008, and by the time I traded it in, it had nearly 180,000 miles. I’d experienced one failure of some sort of electrical system box, and a transmission failure at about 90,000 miles caused by a design flaw in the radiator. I spoke with the regional manager for Nissan, and in the end he made good on that, and later Nissan issued an extended warranty to cover the issue, so that had given some confidence in Nissan. Other than those few issues, it had been little more than routine maintenance and stuff that wears out. The interior was certainly not in perfect shape, but was not in terrible shape, and the exterior showed some of nicks and dings you’d expect from a 10-year-old vehicle with that kind of mileage.

Things kind of started off bad when Nissan issued a major update to the navigation system, but wanted to charge $150 for the update. I did get customer service to agree to reimburse me for the update, and they did do that. Continue reading »

Cruz Goes Even More Crazy

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Feb 152016
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series 2016 Elections

I may just have to give Ted Cruz his own series here at Deep, but the guy sure is shoveling some deep shit. Since Scalia’s death, he’s lost whatever bit of mind he had.

It’s no surprise that Ted Cruz wants an ultra-conservative justice to replace Antonin Scalia. What is surprising is how much he’s willing to lie about the consequences if that doesn’t happen. (But then again, he’s been lying for Jesus for a while now.) On Meet the Press Sunday, Cruz told host Chuck Todd that a liberal justice would mean the end of religious liberty — adding that religious symbols would be “sandblasted off of the tombstones of our fallen veterans”:

Todd: Okay, I understand that. But why not go through the process? Shouldn’t the United States Senate do its duty and go through the process? Reject it, Senator, but go through the process.

Cruz: By the way, the Senate’s duty is to advise and consent. You know what? The Senate is advising right now. We’re advising that a lame-duck president in an election year is not going to be able to tip the balance of the Supreme Court.

That we’re going to have an election, and if liberals are so confident that the American people want unlimited abortion on demand, want religious liberty torn down, want the Second Amendment taken away, want veterans’ memorials torn down, want the crosses and stars of David sandblasted off of the tombstones of our fallen veterans, then go and make the case to the people.

I don’t think the American people want that…

Apparently, Cruz and the other Republicans think a President only gets 75% of their second term, and then aren’t allowed to be President during the 4th year. Let’s use some of his hero, Antonin Scalia’s Constitutional reasoning here. The Constitution doesn’t say that Presidents are to appoint a Supreme Court Justice with the exception of election years.” That wasn’t the original intent of the founders when they laid out the Supreme Court Justice appointment process.

Also, he keeps saying the people should decide. the people did decide. We went to the ballot box in 2012 and elected Obama over a Republican Challenger. I think most people who voted knew that one of the powers of the presidency is the power to appoint Supreme Court Justices in the event of a vacancy…so that’s who we picked to appoint any needed justices over the next four years. Also, to help Cruz understand the Constitution a little better. The Senate is expected to give their advice and consent. They are not expected to delay the vote or filibuster (which is no where in the Constitution…just to be clear).

It’s even a bit worse on ABC. Here he claims the 2nd Amendment will go away:

Come on people. This guy is seriously deranged. Why is he a serious contender for the nomination of a major political party for one of the most powerful positions on the planet?

Feb 152016
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivers his keynote address at Utah State University's conference called "Freedom and the Rule of Law" on September 15, 2008 in Logan. Photo: Kristin Murphy.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivers his keynote address at Utah State University’s conference called “Freedom and the Rule of Law” on September 15, 2008 in Logan. Photo: Kristin Murphy.

So, by now everyone knows that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died over the weekend. As is usual, everyone is rushing to the airwaves to talk about what a nice and brilliant person he was. Of course I don’t know him personally, but certainly his public personae were not so nice, and I don’t think his legal reasoning, considered by many to be smart and original (pun intended), was all that brilliant. It was merely partisan and theocratic.

A friend texted me the news, and about my third text back to her was, it’ll be just a matter of time before Obama is accused of killing, and it took no time at all for Alex Jones to get the ball rolling. Let’s be clear; the guy was at a hunting ranch/resort in Texas when he died. We have only one government official that has the modus operandi (MO) of trying to take someone out in those circumstances, and I’m not aware of Dick Cheney being seen in public during the time this could have occurred…I’m just saying.

Seriously, Scalia was 79 years old, and while the average age of death is getting higher, plenty of 79 year olds die each year of natural causes. Scalia was overweight, and my understanding is he was a smoker. The guy just died. Continue reading »

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Feb 132016
Feb 122016

Recently, a person posted on a conservative Methodist Facebook page about the words used at a Communion Service he had recently attended. Apparently, this set him into a real tizzy, because the Officiant didn’t follow the exact words of the Liturgy from the Hymnal. And you wouldn’t believe the discussion that followed.

So here’s the original post:

So, at a Cluster service last night, the Elder leading Communion said something to the effect of “on the night before he gave himself up to be crucified, and when all of the disciples, women and children were gathered in the Upper Room, Jesus took bread….” I was told not to sweat the “small stuff”, but really!?!? To me it’s a total abuse of the Sacrament and a rewriting of the Gospel but God forbid I would make an issue of it as an LP [lay person]….

Now, let’s keep a few things in mind about the Last Supper. It was NOT a Christian event. It was a Jewish Sadar meal. Jesus was, despite what modern-day Christians seem to think, not a Christian. He was born, lived, and died as an observant Jew. The Sadar meal actually includes a part for a child. There was bread, and I’m betting it wasn’t baked by any of the male Disciples. There were almost always women in Jesus’ entourage. There were female Disciples, and women who supported the group financially and in logistical ways. So, despite Da Vinci’s rendering (and pretty much all others), being devoid of women, it’s almost impossible to believe that there were not women and children present. eucharist Continue reading »