Patterico's Pontifications

12/25/2014

Merry Christmas!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:03 am

[guest post by Dana]

(Trigger Warnings: Jesus, God and turkey are mentioned in this post, because, you know, Christmas…)

Merry Christmas to all Patterico readers! Well, I’ve already wrestled the turkey (and won!) and it’s now in the oven (rubbed with cranberry-orange balsamic and stuffed with fresh oranges and herbs), the gifts are wrapped and Christmas music fills the house. What are your plans for today? I hope your day will be wreathed in the love of family and those who care for you most. If you are alone today, may your soul sense the whispering nearness of God and be joyously overwhelmed. Due to his military service, one of my kids will not be making it home for the holidays. And as he’s missing home, “home” is certainly missing him, too. Yet this is his job and what an honorable job it is. That assurance eases the ache in this parent’s heart. Anyway, Christmas:

At Christmas, we celebrate the great occasion when the infinite Word became a finite baby. Not surprisingly, Christmas time is therefore a time to reflect on this staggering paradox—the one who spoke the galaxies into being is the same one who was held by a woman, cooing at her, not knowing how to speak at all. That is what happened.

Christmas was the beginning of the great offer, where God comes down, not to demand service, but to offer service. Jesus Christ took on a human body that was capable of dying so that He could give His life as a ransom for many. He came to give Himself away; He did not come to seize or grab anything.

Now there is glorious good news in this, but something still sounds wrong. Something is off. If God is our servant, then what is to prevent us from demanding obeisance from Him like so many selfish graspers? The answer to this puzzler is found in the fact that God did not just reverse who the master is and who the servants are, but rather He completely transforms the nature of authority and the nature of service. The question is not just who is in authority?, but also what is authority like?

Jesus did not come because He was in need of our service. “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 50:12). He does not call us into His service so that we might fill up something that He was lacking. He lacks nothing—He is the everlasting and triune overflow. At the same time, He does transform us into His servants, so that we might be privileged to become part of His overflow. This is why, in the verse just prior, Jesus said of us that “whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:44, ESV).

In His everlasting wisdom, God determined—according to the good counsel of His will—that He would be most glorified if a ragged band of sinners were transformed into a multitude of saints, so that we might join Him in His surplus. And this is what true servanthood is—flowing into His overflow. We become servants in imitation of Him, facing outward, facing those who truly do need service, so that all things in heaven and on earth might come to be inundated by His torrential glory.

The extraordinary Glorious Impossible happened. For us. Merry Christmas.

–Dana

Merry Christmas!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:56 am

Merry Christmas to all Patterico readers. Thanks for being out there, and have a great day.

12/24/2014

Santa Claus: Republican Or Democrat?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Between shopping, wrapping gifts and baking goodies, a few politicians and consultants took time to answer the most pressing question of the season: Is Santa Claus a Republican or a Democrat?

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker:

Santa Claus is clearly a Republican. He actually delivers what he promises. He and the elves believe in hard work. He helps children for free, he doesn’t put them deeper in debt. He unites all of us in a love of Christmas. He isn’t a divider.

Paul Begala, Democratic media consultant:

Santa is definitely a Democrat. Rather than cater to the wealthiest one percent he rewards people who work hard and play by the rules. And while he’s not a participant in the first lady’s anti-obesity campaign he’s very concerned about climate change. After all, Rudolph can fly but he can’t swim.

Bruce Mehlman, Republican lobbyist:

He’s a straight, white, older male running a rural, non-unionized, faith-based small business premised on accountability (naughty/nice list), meritocracy (Rudolph in front) and absence of government intervention. It don’t get much more Republican than that!

Jim Margolis, Obama media consultant:

Republican… out of shape, obsessed with red, employees required to work day and night, addicted to coal.

Alex Castellanos, Republican media consultant:

He knows if you’ve been bad or good, which makes him an advocate of meritocracy and, most likely, a Republican. On the other hand, he only works one day a year, which could make him, not only a Democrat, but a federal employee.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I don’t know if Santa is a Republican or a Democrat, but I believe him to be a conservative, for reasons I expressed in this 2013 post. Summary: he makes a payroll and locates in a remote area to avoid excessive regulation. Conservative.

You do realize conservatives are more charitable than so-called liberals, don’t you?

Christmas Eve Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:04 am

It’s Christmas Eve.

Another Police Shooting In Missouri

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:25 am

[guest post by Dana]

When a suspect pulled out a gun and pointed it at him, a Berkeley police officer fired at least three shots in return killing the 18-yeard old black male named Antonio Martin. This just two miles from Ferguson:

Police Chief Jon Belmar said the officer was doing a business check at a Mobil on the run station about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday when the shooting happened.

The officer saw two people on the parking lot in the 6800 block of North Hanley Road and began talking with them.

Belmar said one of the people approached the driver’s side of the vehicle.

One of the individuals “produced a pistol with his arm straight out, pointing it straight at the officer kind of from across the hood,” Belmar said.

At that point, the chief said, the officer got his service revolver “and fired what we think is three shots.”

The officer, who is 34 and white, is a 6-year veteran of the department, Belmar said. He was placed on investigative leave, which is standard.

Belmar said one round struck the suspect, an 18-year-old black male, and one struck a tire of the police car. Police said they did not immediately know where the third round went.

The suspect was known to police and had a lengthy record, including multiple charges of assault, armed robbery, armed criminal action and multiple uses of weapons since he was 17.

Further, according to Belmar:

“He also said the 9 mm gun found on the suspect had five rounds in the chamber and one round in the magazine. He also said the gun’s serial number had been filed off.”

A crowd of 200-300 protesters quickly gathered and began yelling at police, throwing bricks at them, and setting off fire works. Several protesters were handcuffed and led away.

Belmar also addressed the officer’s decision to use his service revolver:

As to suggestions that the officer should have used a Taser instead of his gun, Belmar said: “Frankly that’s unreasonable.”

The suspect could have complied with the officer, but “bad choices were made” by him instead, Belmar said.

It should be noted that the officer was not wearing his department issued body camera and the car’s dash-camera was not turned on.

Protesters are claiming that a “throw down weapon” was conveniently placed at the scene.

Video of Martin drawing his gun and pointing it:

–Dana

12/23/2014

Former President George H.W. Bush Hospitalized

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:34 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized tonight due to experiencing shortness of breath. According to a Houston Methodist Hospital spokesman, Bush “will be held for observation, again as a precaution.” The senior Bush is 90 years old.

And, showing an utter lack of class, an activist with #BlackLivesMatter mocked:

Untitled-1
(via Weasel Zippers)

–Dana

Sony Will Release ‘The Interview’ On Christmas Day

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:53 am

[guest post by Dana]

According to this report, Sony has reversed its previous decision not to release The Interview and will now screen it at select theaters and through video demand on Christmas day:

“We have never given up on releasing ‘The Interview’ and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment in a statement. “At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”

“I want to thank our talent on ‘The Interview’ and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month. While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”

No explanation was given as to why the reversal was made. Some of the possible influencing factors cited: Sony stood to lose a lot more money releasing it online than in the theaters; Sony decided not to cave to vague and anonymous threats; if the film was released and there was an attack, it would be seen as an act of war and would NK be willing to risk that? Or, could it possibly be that Sony examined its collective conscience and took George Clooney’s protests to heart as well as president’s admonition: “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States…That’s not who we are.”? Uh-huh.

Anyway, from the White House today regarding the decision to release the film:

“[T]he president applauds Sony’s decision to authorize screenings of the film. As the president made clear, we’re a country that believes in free speech and the right of artistic expression.

p.s. One can’t help but wonder how the close relationship between President Obama and frequent White House visitors, Sony CEO Michael Lynton and his Obama fundraising wife Jamie Alter Lynton factored into the decision.

-Dana

Exploiting Kids: It’s Okay Because It’s To Stop Gun Violence

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

A new PSA is making the rounds in an effort to stop gun violence:

Either the makers of this awful PSA are just plain ignorant or have conveniently ignored critical issues for the sake of pushing their message. Part of that message also appears to pit parents against their kids as schools become the go-to safety net for young people.

Interestingly, the main character is not a clueless small child who might sneak into his parent’s drawers to play with the gun, nor a mentally off-balance son who might be tempted to commit mayhem, but to the contrary, the makers of the video have intentionally drawn a well-rounded young man with a working conscience, sensitivity and big sense of responsibility. As such, it would be natural for that same young man to approach his parents about the gun being kept (unsafely) in the house. Likely he did, and the viewer is to infer that his parents are bitter-clinger types who love their guns more than their son and wouldn’t listen to him. That would not only be convenient but also leave the responsible and conscientious son with no other choice but to take the gun out of the drawer, and not knowing if it’s loaded or if the safety is on (and not checking), put it in his backpack to take to school and give it to a responsible adult. But what if the gun accidentally discharged en route? What if other students were injured or killed as a result? This doesn’t seem to be a concern for the video makers. Also, if he is so troubled by the gun and everything surrounding it, why not have him hand it off to the first adult he sees when he walks into the school’s front doors instead of waiting until the end of a class? That would immediately relieve him of his heavy burden while not continuing to put others at risk.

The makers of this shameful video don’t even see how ridiculous this all is: They created a level-headed, responsible and conscientious character and have him behaving utterly irresponsibly just to be able to push their message.

Further, as others have pointed out, a number of laws were broken in the video:

He takes a gun out of his house (not only is this felony burglary, but he’s not old enough to carry a firearm in public); he then takes that gun into a school (that’s against federal and state law); and, finally, he transfers it to a teacher without a background check, thereby breaking the very rule that progressives tell us is necessary to keep us all safe from gun violence.

But apparently it’s okay because it’s in the name of anti-gun violence. Any exploitation of kids, any disregard for safety, any law breaking, and any gross negligence and irresponsibility is all justified if it’s for the right cause.

–Dana

12/22/2014

A Proportional Response Happening Now?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Coincidentally – or not coincidentally – North Korea seems to be experiencing widespread internet outages today:

It’s not yet known whether the United States is responsible for the downtime. But according to Dyn Research — which earlier this year bought the respected network analysis firm Renesys — North Korea’s Internet is currently showing unusual amounts of instability.

Further:

“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”

–Dana

Cuba: Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:59 am

[guest post by Dana]

President Obama:

To those who oppose the steps I’m announcing today, let me say that I respect your passion and share your commitment to liberty and democracy. The question is how we uphold that commitment. I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result. Moreover, it does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. Even if that worked — and it hasn’t for 50 years — we know from hard-earned experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos. We are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities. In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens that we seek to help.

Raul Castro:

“In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours,” the president said in a televised speech.

Of course the president would never be honest about what’s really at play: closing Guantanamo:

I think Obama restored relations with Cuba because he wants to close Guantanamo. This way he can leave the prisoners in Cuba without violating US laws that prevent him from returning the dangerous prisoners to their home nations. Instead, he can leave them in Cuba and let the Castro regime deport them. –DRJ

As President Obama told Candy Crowley last night regarding Guantanamo:

“I’m going to be doing everything I can to close it,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.”

“It is something that continues to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact that these folks are being held,” Obama said. “It is contrary to our values.”

Until then, the president can continue to release prisoners:

Those released this year included five Taliban to temporary custody in Qatar in exchange for the release of POW Bowe Bergdahl, the year’s most controversial release; six Arabs to Uruguay, the first to South America in the history of the detention center; the first former forever prisoner whose status was downgraded by a parole board and returned to his native Kuwait; and five men resettled in Europe.

–Dana

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