American Christians are flocking to the movie theaters to watch the latest in Christian pop culture. This year, three overtly Christian films flashed across our movie screens: Son of God, God is not dead, and the upcoming film Heaven is for real. They exhaust contemporary American Christian metanarratives, i.e. penal substitution, God is our friend, the desire for an afterlife over the present one. Moreover, these films are apologetic tools for Christians to witness to their family and friends. But some questions come to mind: Are the producers of these films, knowing that Christian subculture is plentiful in the US, motivated by money (manna) or the gospel? Are they using capitalism to subvert it for God’s kin-dom or merely perpetuating capitalism to keep the subculture afloat to eventually make more money later?
I assume the producers, directors, and all those in the films really just want the money. Sure, if it has a positive message, that’s good too; but it is really about the bottom line. Here we could use Nietzsche’s parable of the madman to help us understand how American Christianity is more of a marketplace, than a religion. Nietzsche famously pens, “God is dead.” Sadly, too often, this line is taken out of context and quoted on church signs saying things like “”God is dead” – Nietzsche” then underneath reading “Nietzsche is dead” – God.” Kinda funny, but not entirely true.
In Nietzsche’s parable, the madman runs into the market-place in the early morning. He carries only a lantern to light his path. He cries out that he is looking for God. The people, who have no regard for God, ask him mockingly, whether God is taking a vacation or maybe in the bathroom. The madman eventually declares in a long speech that God is dead and that we are God’s murderers. Once the speech ended, the madman throws his lantern on the ground, and declares,
“I have come too early, my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves.”
The madman’s words resound truer today than ever: what should shock us is not the phrase “God is dead,” but that we are the ones responsible.
We drag out God at gunpoint to the middle of the woods with our Christian subculture that speaks to fashion more than any kind of reflective theology.
We murder God when communities are built on trigger points rather than grace.
We put a nail in God’s coffin every time we financially support a subculture than actually caring for those in our community.
We are God’s coffin bearers and spit on God’s grave when we forsake our call to love without distinction to only find strength in our ideology.
Thankfully, we have a chance to abandon the giant sinking ship of subculture and ideology for something more authentic–where we can get our hands dirty, understand the world as chaotic, yet beautiful, and ride in small boats, really toughing out the waves. Christianity, or for that matter any religion, should not be simple. Faith should not be only one prayer, or a ten-step program, or a sermon series that solves it all; it’s about the journey with the Divine and one another. We need to take responsibility for who we are in our neighborhoods and our family. Let’s not bury God with our pitiful ideologies, but participate in a life imagined by God through our rituals, Sacred Texts and experiences together.
Happy Birthday to one of America’s Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson For those who need an update on Mr. Jefferson, below is a brief bio taken from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello website. I share this because I am amazed at how many American’s do not know that Jefferson was the third U.S. President and the author of the Declaration of Independence. If we are to EVER restore the liberties and freedoms of this great nation, it will only come by knowing our history and those who were instrumental in it. Thomas Jefferson — author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia — voiced the aspirations of a new America as no other individual of his era. As public official, historian, philosopher, and plantation owner, he served his country for over five decades.
His father Peter Jefferson was a successful planter and surveyor and his mother Jane Randolph a member of one of Virginia’s most distinguished families. Having inherited a considerable landed estate from his father, Jefferson began building Monticello when he was twenty-six years old. Three years later, he married Martha Wayles Skelton, with whom he lived happily for ten years until her death. Their marriage produced six children, but only two survived to adulthood. Jefferson, who never remarried, maintained Monticello as his home throughout his life, always expanding and changing the house.
Jefferson inherited slaves from both his father and father-in-law. In a typical year, he owned about 200, almost half of them under the age of sixteen. About eighty of these lived at Monticello; the others lived on adjacent Albemarle County plantations, and on his Poplar Forest estate in Bedford County, Virginia. Jefferson freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will and chose not to pursue two others who ran away. All were members of the Hemings family; the seven he eventually freed were skilled tradesmen.
Having attended the College of William and Mary, Jefferson practiced law and served in local government as a magistrate, county lieutenant, and member of the House of Burgesses in his early professional life. As a member of the Continental Congress, he was chosen in 1776 to draft the Declaration of Independence, which has been regarded ever since as a charter of American and universal liberties. The document proclaims that all men are equal in rights, regardless of birth, wealth, or status, and that the government is the servant, not the master, of the people.
After Jefferson left Congress in 1776, he returned to Virginia and served in the legislature. Elected governor from 1779 to 1781, he suffered an inquiry into his conduct during his last year in office that, although finally fully repudiated, left him with a life-long pricklishness in the face of criticism.
During the brief private interval in his life following his governorship, Jefferson wrote Notes on the State of Virginia. In 1784, he entered public service again, in France, first as trade commissioner and then as Benjamin Franklin’s successor as minister. During this period, he avidly studied European culture, sending home to Monticello, books, seeds and plants, statues and architectural drawings, scientific instruments, and information.
In 1790 he accepted the post of secretary of state under his friend George Washington. His tenure was marked by his opposition to the pro-British policies of Alexander Hamilton. In 1796, as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Republicans, he became vice-president after losing to John Adams by three electoral votes.
Four years later, he defeated Adams and became president, the first peaceful transfer of authority from one party to another in the history of the young nation. Perhaps the most notable achievements of his first term were the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and his support of the Lewis and Clark expedition. His second term, a time when he encountered more difficulties on both the domestic and foreign fronts, is most remembered for his efforts to maintain neutrality in the midst of the conflict between Britain and France; his efforts did not avert war with Britain in 1812.
Jefferson was succeeded as president in 1809 by his friend James Madison, and during the last seventeen years of his life, he remained at Monticello. During this period, he sold his collection of books to the government to form the nucleus of the Library of Congress. Jefferson embarked on his last great public service at the age of seventy-six, with the founding of the University of Virginia. He spearheaded the legislative campaign for its charter, secured its location, designed its buildings, planned its curriculum, and served as the first rector.
Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, just hours before his close friend John Adams, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He was eighty-three years old, the holder of large debts, but according to all evidence a very optimistic man.
It was Jefferson’s wish that his tomb stone reflect the things that he had given the people, not the things that the people had given to him. It is for this reason that Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph reads:
HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE OF THE
STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2, 1743 O.S.
DIED JULY 4. 1826
We must study the lives of our Founders and the things that they believed if we are ever to understand the charters they established to build this nation.
Until next time.
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PMLN’s government very successfully managed to see through the critical issues like installing big 3 i.e. The President, Chief Justice of the apex court and the Chief of the Army Staff. Moreover the economic issues are put on the right track , the World Banks, Asian Development Banks, IMF and other donor agencies are appreciating the efforts of the government on the economic front. The recent Pakistan development update launched by the World Bank on April 10th says, “#Pakistan’s economy is gradually improving. GDP growth is expected to reach 4% this year driven by dynamic manufacturing and service sectors.”
It is very encouraging and Nawaz government deserves a pat on back but it was quite disheartening to see the recent exchange of the statements between ISPR and the Politicians and how media added fuel to the fire. Now the debate has been picked up by the social media and one can imagine how things can shape up in societies where tolerance level is negative.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in this tenure appears to be a changed man and it has been observed that all major and critical issues are handled exclusively by him. This is good because ultimately, he is the leader and face of the PMLN and responsible for good, bad and the ugly.
It is very important that the perception of Government –Army rift should be dispelled by PM Nawaz Sharif himself and he should pay a ceremonial visit to the GHQ on his return from Boao, China.
Our political leadership should understand that Pakistan is passing through a critical phase on one hand the talks with Talibans is underway and on the other hand economic development has shown positive signs of recovery and at this moment opening of another front could be disastrous specially with army.
It is quite evident that important circle in Pakistan Army are not happy the way political leaders are handling the Musharraf case and Taliban talks, in recent television interviews General (Retired) Athar Abbas former DG ISPR in ‘Aaj Kamran Khan kay Shat “ at Geo TV on April 10th 2014 and Air Marshal (Retired) Shahid Latif in ARY program on April 11th 2014 clearly expressed their concerns, moreover Pakistan Army Retired Officers Association has just issue the press release pin pointing the General Musharraf trail. The situation is not that simple as it looks and must be dealt carefully.
Let’s look at the example of the Egypt, how Arab spring swept away everything and then the way Morsi has been treated later. We have to evaluate where Morsi went wrong and its repercussions.
It has been believed that social media was the catalyst in shaping up the Arab spring and now keeping in view the present situation in Egypt, where the Army Chief has become the President – how is not important here – where is the social media now, as well as free independent local and international media. Has anyone noticed this, has this situation been discussed in TV talk shows globally. These are the serious questions one must take note of.
We all love democracy and support the rule of law, we also love our brothers and sisters in armed forces let’s show respect to all institutions and avoid confrontation for cheep publicity.
The onslaught on Musharraf by the political leadership of PMLN may be right from their or political point of view but why PPP, PTI, JI etc are not supporting this argument and hence the perception derived from this situation is that PMLN politicians want to target the army and ensure that they never ever think of taking over.
Army takeovers can be stopped forever in a very simple way, that is if the political government can ensure good governance, economic stability, rule of law, respect for the institutions and sincere love for the country.
Prime Minister Nawas Sharif is heading on the same path and sooner or later it will be achieved, so no need for insecurities especially by the courtiers.
It will be heart breaking to see if the system fails just because of insecurities and nothing else.
This is a seriously wonkish post, but it is important because it goes to the heart of what the SCOTUS is doing with campaign spending limits and informs every aspect of First Amendment-protected speech.
In the last ice age, when WC was a law student at a Certain Midwestern University, one of his professors was Marty Redish. Intelligent, articulate and charming, Marty Redish was quite a good law professor. WC even clerked for him for a while.
Redish has gone on to become a First Amendment scholar of some notoriety. WC almost said fame, but that might not be the right word. And the notoriety is because his views of First Amendment-protected speech, and commercial speech, in particular, are controversial.
“Commercial speech” is a fuzzy concept, but includes advertising, speech that has been paid for or has a profit motive, and paid political speech. Redish describes his views this way:
I argue that there is nothing inherently wrong with political selfishness – we all may use expression as a means of trying to influence others to accept positions that advance our interests. Our system has been built on a form of interest group advancement, whether those groups are the NAACP, NOW, or the National Association of Manufacturers. And that, I believe, is really the core of American democracy. But adversary democracy controls and regulates the adversary battle in important ways by setting ground rules prohibiting the winner from suppressing the loser. I then apply those theories to concrete doctrinal areas, including commercial speech, campaign finance and the right of anonymity.
The difficulty arises when Redish’s theory treats all speech, including commercial speech, the same. Because commercial speech is defined by access to money. Buckets and buckets of money. It’s “unfree” speech. So unequal access to money means unequal amounts of commercial speech. Redish also says,
[O]ne’s political values shouldn’t have anything to do with how one determines the scope of the free expression guarantee. I like to think I have devoted all of my First Amendment scholarship to that simple but central proposition.
It’s a fine principle in the abstract. But when that position is carried over to commercial speech, and it is WC’s voice against the voice of the Koch Brothers, the principle founders on the rocks of unequal wealth. Consider the following chart:
Sure, correlation is not causation, but 91% is a sigma 5 correlation. Redish fails to address inequality of spending – inequality of resources, really – in the context of commercial speech.
And as the SCOTUS continues to remove restraints and limits on campaign spending, on that branch of commercial speech called paid political speech, Marty Redish’s theories are likely to worsen the problem the chart shows. All of which is why you hsould care about Marty Redish’s ideas.
NSA used Heartbleed exploit for 'years' ; "the NSA intentionally inserted a security "backdoor" into a widely used data encryption system (RSA)." : Bloomburg News.
http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/11/nsa-heartbleed/?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000589 Bloomberg: NSA used Heartbleed exploit for ‘years’ without alerting affected websites, the public (update: NSA response) Heartbleed” security exploit to access information, Bloomberg reports. According to two unnamed sources, the NSA exploited the flawed security standard for the past two years without alerting affected companies and the public at large. It’s unclear what the exploit was used to access, but the flaw affects a huge portion of the web: “something like two-thirds.” Major services like Google are already acting, updating services and patching the issue. For those services, we suggest updating your passwords ASAP. For the still affected sites? Sadly, your best option is to wait it out. Update: The NSA insists that it only became aware of Heartbleed at the same time as everyone else. This answer isn’t going to satisfy everyone given the many contradictory claims about the agency’s activities, but hey — at least it’s on top of the situation. Regarding the alleged NSA action — if true — the security community has yet another reason to mistrust the US government agency most well-known as of late for massively overreaching surveillance tactics. It’s also far from the first accusation that the NSA intentionally overlooked security flaws affecting millions of people: late last year, documents revealed that the NSA intentionally inserted a security “backdoor“ into a widely used “data encryption system (RSA).”
“Heartbleed affects a similarly huge group of people (including my computer activities? even my printer is hooked up with someone else’s printer; and i am not allowed to disconnect it.), and works (at a high level, at least) in a similar way.” One of the internet’s most widely used security systems — OpenSSL — has a flaw in it that enables hackers (and allegedly the NSA) to access private information.
Worse, the flaw exposes security keys that enable continued access for the illicit user in question. The good news is that there’s an update to the OpenSSL system which patches the flaw. The bad news is that many websites still haven’t updated (Mashable has a list here).
Release Notes: Introduces pre-set compression profiles, improved inclusion/exclusion filters, and a new synthetic archive information function. Compiled with Lazarus 1.2.0. Qt bindings were updated, and now support Qt libraries 4.5 through 4.8.
Release Tags: Major
Tags: Archiving, Security, Cryptography, backup, Compression, Packaging, Zip, rar, tar
It has been 5 weeks since MH370 vanished. The story is leaving the front pages. I have just spent a week in Malaysia and have been listening to much fascinating speculation (and speculation because there is no evidence). There was a growing feeling that the lack of evidence itself was intended and was critical.
A modern airliner with all it’s crew, passengers and cargo has vanished from the face of this earth. Five weeks after the event there is still no trace of anything. No debris of any kind. Even the supposed pings from the black-box are suspect and could be anything and even these are now fading.
All this in an age where satellite images have a resolution of better than 1m; where communications between anybody to anybody anywhere in the world can be – and are – routinely tapped by the NSA and it’s counterparts in Germany, the UK, Russia, China and even Australia; and where computers with communication facilities can be hacked into by all security agencies and especially when such computer hardware or software are pre-enabled for such hacking. It has become apparent that auto-pilots and flight computers fitted on Boeing aircraft have the capability of being programmed remotely and the auto-pilot can be switched into an “uninterruptible” mode.
This was no accident!
The most parsimonious explanation is that this vanishing trick was the deliberate and intended result of an operation which was spectacularly and successfully implemented.
Who then and why?
There were 20 Chinese software experts on board. They had been working for Freescale Technology in Texas on technology which could convert ordinary aircraft into “stealth” aircraft. Patents had been applied for but have not yet been granted. MH 370 was carrying a “large” package as a Chinese diplomatic package and was therefore not subject to any search or security procedures. The speculative, uncorroborated but plausible and most parsimonious explanation becomes:
- The Chinese software engineers “stole” technology on behalf of the Chinese government from Freescale.
- Freescale was slow in picking up the theft and alerting the authorities.
- US intelligence and security agencies were unable to prevent the engineers and their package from reaching Malaysia.
- They were also unable to prevent the engineers boarding MH370 bound for Beijing or the precious cargo from being loaded as diplomatic cargo.
- The operational arm of a US Security Agency took the decision – without recourse to their political masters – to prevent the engineers and their cargo from reaching Beijing, at any cost.
- Since collateral damage would be high it was imperative that all evidence be obliterated.
- With the probable assistance of Boeing, and soon after take-off, the in-flight computer was remotely re-programmed.
- The auto-pilot was remotely put into uninterruptible mode.
- The Malaysian military was “persuaded” – without the knowledge of their political masters – to ignore the plane’s turn-back and flight westwards over Malaysia for a few critical hours.
- The passengers and crew were all “executed” by the excursion up to 45,000 feet implemented by the autopilot.
- The remainder of the flight path was to get the plane and it’s cargo into an as inaccessible a location as possible.
- The aircraft was allowed to run out of fuel such that the auto-pilot made as soft a ditching as possible in as remote a place as possible. This increased the probability of the plane sinking intact with little or no debris.
- The location was deliberately chosen to be over deep ocean so that any black-box evidence would be almost impossible to come by.
I am becoming convinced that this was all deliberate and a highly successful operation with a very high level of collateral damage – 239 dead.
Who should be blamed? The Chinese government for its industrial espionage which provoked the over-kill response? The US Agency which carried out the action to protect sensitive technology? Freescale for being lax? The political establishments in China and the US which exercise little oversight or control over their intelligence and security agencies?
“Collateral damage” has become the euphemism to use as a cloak whenever the ends are used to justify the means and where the means always lead to the death of many innocents.
Friends, I now have come to see the US is become a surveillance society where the poor or powerless are policed by organizations like the DMV because they can.
Read this report and watch the video from PBS
This young married couple unable to pay the fines for a violation that was thrown out of court were put into jail; then they were charged monthly high interest by the organization given the power to monitor their activities and report them to the police. They have paid in the thousands of dollars far more than the original ticket or fines and yet are not free of debt to this far from disinterested company. The company is empowered by Alabama (and others in other southern and western states) who give a percentage o the take to these states who are wresting money from the most vulnerable people of their states in this way. Among the reasons for their failure to not-pay is the death of their young son (died!) in a hospital, which left enormous debts. The PBS Reports told of this and could not get any of the agencies to talk to them. The reporter finally cornered one official in a county meeting: the man would not get up to speak to him, would only say the courts allowed this treatment of this couple.
If you want to get many ordinary needed things done, you find you are confronted with an official who has access to all sorts of records about you — from medical, to prescription, to financial.
The deep anxiety and unease from awareness of the power of this surveillance state we now live in the US silences people — they are ashamed, they fear retaliation in the form of more punishment. Without the ability to drive a car (a necessity not a right), many people lose their jobs, itself a sine qua non in the US for basic survival
Colorado looks to clear a cool 98 million bucks this year on taxes and associated profits from legalized marijuana sales (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/11/us-colorado-marijuana-idUSBREA3A1X720140411). The state will use the money to maintain roads, schools, health and family programs and other good things.
How long can it be before other states get the clue? (Ahem, Arizona–where such programs are perennially unfunded–are you watching?) Other states that lie next to Colorado, particularly Nebraska and Wyoming, must also be wondering why they are allowing all that revenue to go to a neighboring state.
Release Notes: SportsTracker is now based on Java 8 (must be installed first), and uses all the new features (e.g. Lambdas and the new Date and Time API). The included libraries have been updated to their recent versions; EasyMock for unit tests has been replaced by Mockito. Some translations (French and German) were updated.
Tags: Database, Information Management, Records Management, Sport, Training
EN: PH Based Singer, Lamili To Take The Industry …: http://youtu.be/mJfmkH2Xegc
None. They're not small enough to fit.
FAN KISSES ORITSE FEMI ON THE STREET (WATCH VIDEO…: http://youtu.be/jIyfRSYe4lQ
Willian in the middle: http://youtu.be/XBnyIWykOUc
Release Notes: Bugfixes. Should now compile and run with SuSE. Can now take a list of files to process from stdin.
Release Notes: Duplicate error message strings were adapted for SQLite 3.8.
Release Tags: Stable, Minor feature enhancements
Tags: Database, Software Development, Libraries, Python Modules
Release Notes: Feeds are now retrieved in a separated process with the Gevent library. This offers the best performance on Heroku.
Release Tags: Major feature enhancements
Tags: RSS, Python, feedreader, aggregator, aggregate, news, news aggregator, heroku
Licenses: Affero GPL v3 or more recent
Release Notes: The main features in this release are antivirus protection (Clam AntiVirus 0.98.1 with ClamWin), system backup (4MLinux Backup Scripts 8.2), data recovery (GNU ddrescue 1.17, TestDisk 6.14 with QPhotoRec), disk partitioning (cfdisk 2.24.1, cgdisk 0.8.8, GNU Parted 3.1), and partition imaging (Partimage 0.6.9, Partclone 0.2.69). Many archive formats can be managed via 7-Zip 9.20, FreeArc 0.666, and PeaZip 5.2.2. File managers (Midnight Commander 4.8.11, X File Explorer 1.37), CD/DVD burners (cdw 0.7.1, InfraRecorder 0.53), and UNetbootin 585 are also included.
Tags: Linux distribution, Live-CD, system, rescue, Console, Server, multimedia, Games - Linux, X windows
Release Notes: Fixes in btree recovery.
Tags: Database, Front-Ends, Database Engines/Servers