Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Week's Shocker

WWJD, indeed?

Out in leafy, lakeside Davidson, N.C., an affluent college town 20 miles north of Charlotte, a sculpture of Jesus as a homeless man has sparked some local uproar. Lying blanketed and forlorn on a bench, "Homeless Jesus" has inspired a conversation about homelessness in general, appropriate depictions of Christ and at least one call for his arrest.
The life-size statue is the work of Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz who in his artist statement says he's "devoted to creating artwork that glorifies Christ." His "Homeless Jesus" is controversial for many reasons; most importantly because of the pose. The figure depicts Jesus as a man under a blanket, with only his exposed feet, wounded by crucifixation, to give away his identity — a starkly different image than the images Christ on the cross, Christ at the nativity or Chris the redeemer that we are used to seeing.
Textually, this a-traditional depiciton of Jesus is true to his story — one of poverty, charity and asceticism. Though millions may worship him, the realities of what that life would have looked like are an unsettling juxtaposition with our contemporary experience of poverty, as pointedly expressed in Davidson. 
Driving by the figure of "Homeless Jesus" one local woman's first reaction was unease; she later called the police. "She thought it was an actual homeless person," David Boraks, editor of the local DavidsonNews.nettold NPR.
Others residents have spoken out against "Homeless Jesus," calling it creepy or insulting or just plain bad for the neighborhood. As one resident put it in a letter to DavidsonNews.net, "My complaint is not about art-worthiness or the meaning behind the sculpture. It is about people driving into our beautiful, reasonably upscale neighborhood and seeing an ugly homeless person sleeping on a park bench." 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Now I'm a man without a dream/ I've got a heart that has no home/ All my senses are numb/ Losing you I've become/ A man without a dream"



11. Clarence Thomas resents the fact that as a black man he is not supposed to listen to Carole King.
For the first ten things you didn't know about our silent Supreme Court justice, click here.

-which must prove it's a choice, and the kid had somehow already made it?

TIGARD, Ore. – The mother of a murdered 4-year-old Tigard boy was sentenced Friday to life in prison. 
During Jessica Dutro’s trial, prosecutors argued that she killed her son, Zachary, in part because she believed he was gay.

It's another great day in South Carolina


"Well, some more than others..."

“I would much rather have — and I will say this to anybody’s face — somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children. … I’m not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I’m not going to see them do it with two men neither.”

     -Latta, South Carolina Mayor Earl Bullard, after he fired the town police chief.

Just in it for the swag bags


 


Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue (R), whose campaign has focused on the need to cut federal spending, is on the board of a company that received millions of dollars from the federal stimulus program. 
Perdue has been on the Alliant Energy Corporation's board of directors since 2001. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009, the company received $3.4 million in stimulus funding. 
That includes a $3.2 million grant to one of its subsidiaries, Wisconsin Power, for smart grid investment. 
Perdue has touted his business record and understanding of the international economy as a key reason to elect him, highlighting his successes heading Dollar General and Reebok. The personal wealth he's amassed in business has helped fill his campaign coffers, letting him run early ads that have propelled him to the top in many polls.
But the details of some of his business dealings could prove problematic as he fights for one of two slots in Georgia's crowded Senate race, and the stimulus is deeply unpopular with Republican primary voters. 
Perdue has been fiercely critical of government overspending, and his call to rein in deficit spending is a cornerstone of his campaign. His website prominently features a national debt clock, and the deficit is the first issue he discusses on both his website and in most campaign speeches. 
"We have a crushing $17 trillion national debt that is growing larger and larger every day," Perdue says on his website. "And the debt keeps growing because the politicians keep spending."
He has rarely mentioned the stimulus package itself in his campaign, though a spokesman says he opposes the spending package. 
"David believes that overall, like most spending by Washington politicians, the stimulus was a waste of taxpayer money that missed its mark while piling on even more debt," Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey told The Hill. 
Perdue's campaign says he was aware of the stimulus grant to Wisconsin Power, but wasn't involved in seeking the funds or in the company's day-to-day management. 
"A board of directors at a company that size is not involved in granular level operational decision making," Dickey said in an email. "Of course the board has a general awareness of the company's activities, most of which are highlighted in annual and quarterly public reports; however, it does not direct the day-to-day operational decisions."
As a non-employee director, Perdue earns $145,000 per year not to know what the company is doing. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oopsie!

Protect Marriage attorney Charles Cooper, who last year argued against the overturn of Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court, says his opinion on gay marriage is "evolving" now that his own daughter is planning to marry a woman. 
The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country's rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favour of allowing the unions. Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle.

And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process. "My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people's do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago," Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker's book "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality." 

Electoral Sadz



The Kentucky legislature has adjourned for the year without voting on a bill that would have allowed Sen. Rand Paul to appear twice on the 2016 ballot. Paul requested a change in state law so that he could retain his Senate seat while running for president. 
"In Kentucky, you ought to run for one office at a time," Brian Wilkerson, a spokesman for Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, told CNN on Thursday. "The speaker's thoughts haven't changed on that." 

You knew this was coming, didn't you...?



Newsmax host Steve Malzberg on Thursday speculated that Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy was no accident, and that Hillary Clinton's grandchild would arrive just in time to serve as a "prop" for a widely expected 2016 presidential run.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It makes your head hurt, doesn't it?


Good Lord, Self-Parody Much?

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Scott Brown, carpetbagger from Massachusetts trying to get his job back via New Hampshire, is claiming his opponent would be a third "Senator from Massachusetts."

Somewhere, Joe Stalin is laughing

Here's the original image featuring the Romney "real change on day one" sign, via the Dispatch:

And here's the image sans the Romney placard:

The Dispatch also noted that Kasich's reelection campaign wants to make sure it protects itself from criticism on economic inequality issues that hurt Romney's 2012 campaign.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

-see, Teabaggers, it could be worse

Stazione di Metaponto
Metaponto Stazione has its own Facebook page, too

Marginal Revolution:


Italy fact of the day

by  on April 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm
The Italian Tourist Board spends an astounding 98 percent of its budget on salaries, with basically nothing left for its actual job of tourism promotion.
The point of the article is that hardly anyone visits southern Italy any more, thus making it one of the world’s best arbitrage opportunities. It is one of my favorite regions.
By the way:
There are trains in the Mezzogiorno that travel at an average speed of 8.7 miles an hour.
And:
Metaponto, in the Basilicata region east of Naples, has a five-track, marble-clad rail station, paid for by $25 million in European Union funds. But the last train out is an 8:21 a.m. express to Rome. If you want to go anywhere else, you have to take a bus.
In the 1970s, Italy was the world’s #1 tourist destination but now it has slipped to number five.  There has never been a better time to go.

It's another great day in Governor Nikki Haley's South Carolina

Losing at the polls poles?
A group of strippers says several South Carolina nightclubs didn't pay them according to federal standards, and the women have filed a federal lawsuit against them. 
The lawsuit, filed earlier this year, accuses clubs in Columbia and Greenville of violating minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 
In court papers, the dancers say the clubs — Heart Breakers in Columbia and Platinum Plus locations in Columbia and Greenville — paid them no direct compensation. The dancers say their only pay resulted from customers' tips. 
On top of that, the lawsuit alleges, for dancers to perform, they were required to pay "house fees" ranging from $15 to $35 per shift to the clubs and give some of their tips to bouncers, managers and other employees.




Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/11/4834040/strippers-sue-south-carolina-clubs.html#.U0suHlVdWSo#storylink=cpy

Canadian seniors demand more exercise; Conservative government obliges


In an attempt to cut costs, Canada Post has announced plans to scrap all home deliveries, making Canada the first country in the G20 to be without a door-to-door service. Once the cuts are implemented, only some business addresses will get post through the letter box – not even residents of cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal will receive mail at home.
Already a significant proportion of Canadians have to collect their post from communal collection points, often quite far from their homes in parks or on the streets. Beginning this autumn, Canada Post will roll out a five-year plan to institute community mailboxes across the country...
The boss of Canada Post, Deepak Chopra, defended the move, saying the boxes would give senior citizens some exercise. "Seniors are telling me that 'I want to be healthy, I want to be active in my life,'" Chopra said, brushing off the criticisms.

Mrs. Schlafly's record suggests otherwise



Republicans aren't unsympathetic to women in the workplace, Tennessee Rep. Marcia Blackburn said Sunday. In fact, she said, her party has "led the fight for women's equality."

Water-carrier calls out water-carrier

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"Just sayin'..."
A Republican senator on Sunday suggested he may oppose the nomination of Sylvia Burwell for federal health secretary despite supporting her nomination for White House budget director. 
The comments from Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) signal what is likely to be a more divided confirmation vote for Burwell when Congress returns from recess.While Democrats have the necessary votes to confirm Burwell, Scott suggested that Republicans may treat the vote as a chance to voice their opposition to the healthcare law. 
Burwell, a former Gates foundation official, was confirmed last year as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by a rare vote of 96-0.But support for Burwell as head of OMB "doesn't necessarily make her a good choice for HHS," Scott told "Fox News Sunday." 
"When you look at the upcoming confirmation hearing, will the next secretary [put] Americans first? Or will they have … carrying water for the president as their primary responsibility?" he asked.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Coming soon, a new reality series: Sanford & Fun

"Say what, God?"

The complaint was filed Thursday. But, because their original divorce agreement is sealed, Jenny Sanford's complaint released by the family court was redacted and the sections of the divorce agreement he is accused of violating was blacked out.
Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press on Friday she had no comment.
But Jon Kohan, a spokesman for the congressman, called it an attempt to attract unnecessary attention to a private family real estate matter concerning a family farm in Beaufort County.




Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/11/3382350/mark-sanford-accused-of-violating.html#storylink=cpy

So far he's been right about one thing.

"I see....changes coming."

-In 2012 North Carolinians voted by a 22 point margin to ban gay marriage in the state. Now less than 2 years later voters say they oppose gay marriage by only 13 points, mirroring the kind of movement we've seen on the issue across the country. 40% say they think it should be legal to 53% who continue to think it should be illegal. Showing the direction things are headed in on the issue, 62% of young voters support it to only 33% who believe it should be illegal. 
There is increasingly little division among voters in the state about whether gay couples should at least have some sort of legal rights in the form of civil unions. 62% support either marriage or civil unions for same sex couples to only 34% who think they should have no legal recognition at all. 68% of both Democrats and independents support at least civil unions, and even Republicans narrowly do by a 50/48 spread.
No comment so far by NC House Speaker and GOP US Senate candidate Thom Tillis, who urged votes to pass the 2012 measure out of one side of his mouth while predicting out of the other side that it would be overturned within a generation. 

BOMC will now be known as Bible of the Month Club


Joe.My.God:

By a vote of 8-5 a committee of the Louisiana House today advanced a bill that would make the bible the official state book
Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, said he sponsored the proposal after a constituent made the request. But Carmody insisted the bill wasn't designed to be a state-endorsement of Christianity or a specific religion. "It's not to the exclusion of anyone else's sacred literature," he told the House committee. Again, later he said, "This is not about establishing an official religion of the state of Louisiana." Lawmakers who voted against the measure said it raises questions about whether Louisiana would be violating the separation of church and state. Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, said as a preacher's son, he loved the concept. But he said as a lawyer, he thinks the bill has problems. He voted against the measure. "I think we're going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit. You can't adopt the Bible and not adopt Christianity," he said.

Partisan, so-called comedian, inexplicably attacks partisan, so-called comedian

"CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values [and] conservatives. Now, it's just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy, and there’s blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise that the world’s changing. It’s media planting a flag here. Maybe even media’s last stand. It’s a declaration. They've hired a partisan, so-called comedian, to run a comedy show." - Rush Limbaugh, speaking yesterday on his radio show.

As Mitt Romney grinds his teeth in frustration

In the wake of a major campaign finance ruling from the Supreme Court last week, the three major Republican Party committees have formed a new joint fundraising effort that will allow them to collect big checks from major donors. 
According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the newly formed Republican Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee composed of the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. 
The new entity will allow Republicans to host fundraising events soliciting checks of nearly $100,000 from wealthy donors.

Shoe fly? Don't bother me

The She-Clinton dodges a Manolo

He's running

 Pyongyang Airport departures board
Not content to make just one questionable quote in the last 24 hours, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee decided Saturday to suggest that North Koreans living under an oppressive regime might have more freedom at times than Americans. 
According to reporters at the New Hampshire conservative summit where Huckabee spoke, the potential 2016 candidate cited airport security measures by the Transportation Safety Administration as proof.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy, happy, happy, as the old duck man would say

Not Just the NSA

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People worry about the NSA but members of Congress just need to remember where their Radio Shack-bought surveillance cameras are located before they start making out with a staffer. It looks like newly elected Rep. McAllister (R-LA), who came to office on the wave of Duck Dynasty-maniamay have a problem.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Buncha weepie girls running foreign policy..."



Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden indicated on Sunday that a critical report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs might not be entirely objective. 
“That sense that the motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of (Sen. Dianne Feinstein), but I don’t think it leads you to an objective report,” Hayden said on "Fox News Sunday."
The late Christopher Hitchens got himself waterboarded once to see what it was really like. The results indicate it's not just women who can be highly emotional about the topic. For more, check this interesting New Yorker piece.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Truly, 'tis a dog's life


Bush said he learned some of Putin’s character when he introduced the Russian leader to another one of his favorite painting subjects: his dog Barney.
“Our dear dog Barney, who has a special spot in my heart. I introduced him to Putin: Putin kind of dissed him,” Bush told his daughter. “‘You call that a dog?’
Here's the story of another Scottish terrier dissed on the world stage:




These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him - at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Uproarious fun in the Holy City

Members of the College of Charleston community are not happy with the choice of a Republican politician with ties to neo-Confederates to be the next president of the college. Donors are complaining. Students are protesting. And on Tuesday, the Faculty Senate held a unanimous vote expressing no-confidence in the school's Board of Trustees.
Back story here. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ya dig? (Archaeologists' joke)


No, not him.

"I'll always have Tara..."

Old Tara

JMG notes a trend akin to the 1990s federal courts' binge on lavish new courthouses:

ATLANTA: Catholic Archbishop Apologizes For Building Himself A $2.2M Mansion

Archdiocese of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory has apologized after local Catholics expressed anger over his construction of a $2.2M mansion.
"I am disappointed that, while my advisors (sic) and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia," Gregory said in a column posted on the website of the archdiocesan newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin. "I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the Archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services," he added. The Catholic leader said he will discuss the situation with several diocesan councils, including a special meeting of its finance council. If church representatives want the bishop to sell the home, Gregory said he will do so and move elsewhere.
The mansion was built with money bequeathed "for general and religious charitable purposes" by Joseph Mitchell, the nephew of Gone With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell. Using funds from the $15M bequest, Archbishop Gregory demolished the nephew's home and built himself a 6400 square foot Tudor-style estate in its place.

RELATED: Pope Francis last month accepted the resignationof Germany's "bling bishop," who had constructed an opulent estate for himself. Also last month, New Jersey Catholicsloudly protested the construction of a 7500 square foot mansion for Newark Archbishop John Myers. (Tipped by JMG reader Seth)
New Tara