Saturday, December 01, 2007

In comic book news,

the New York Times claims that Judas Iscariot was not a hero for murdering Jesus, aka Son of God.

It was a great story. Unfortunately, after re-translating the society’s transcription of the Coptic text, I have found that the actual meaning is vastly different. While National Geographic’s translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon.

Yes, a demon, with horns and everything.

The back story is that the National Geographic Society translated the Gospel of Judas, an apocryphal Gnostic gospel from the 3rd century and found that Judas didn't betray Jesus and that he didn't go to hell.

The Times argues that National Geographic made key, and obvious, errors in the translation and implies they had nefarious reasons for doing so. Goddamned liberal media, always attacking God's Holy Word!!! And for what? Shock value? An entertaining lede? To deliver the world into the hands of Satan? It's all a bit unclear why they would do such a thing.

Nevertheless, I find these early Christian writings interesting because they illuminate just how wacky people were back then and how wacky so many people still are today. The content of the writings have little, if any, more connection to reality than the origin of Professor X. Yet people argue about them as if they a) are factual and b) matter outside of the arcane, intellectual realm of New Testament studies.

But what's funny about this little controversy is that while Christians are all upset that the Gnostic gospels might possibly portray Judas as a hero, it doesn't seem to bother them at all that the very same writings portray their Christian God as evil.
So what does the Gospel of Judas really say? It says that Judas is a specific demon called the “Thirteenth.” In certain Gnostic traditions, this is the given name of the king of demons — an entity known as Ialdabaoth who lives in the 13th realm above the earth. Judas is his human alter ego, his undercover agent in the world. These Gnostics equated Ialdabaoth with the Hebrew Yahweh, whom they saw as a jealous and wrathful deity and an opponent of the supreme God whom Jesus came to earth to reveal.

I find it amazing that we're in the 21st century and people argue about demons and their place in this demon haunted world. In the first century, they had an excuse. Today, not so much.

When the levee breaks...

If you were unaware, or had any doubts, that we are facing an immanent economic tragedy, read this tease from the New York Times and tremble.


Wall St. Sees Silver Lining in Economy

Investors appear to be taking comfort in the notion that the economy is so imperiled that it is forcing the government to mount an aggressive rescue effort.

Wall Street believes that the economy is so imperiled that only massive government intervention can save us? And the Bush administration is on the case?

Me? I'm putting all my money in Ron Paul Dollars. How could that go wrong?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bring in the belly dancers

I had planned to make a comment about the Arab investment in CitiCorp, something along the lines of how the xenophobic, particularly Islamo-hating Bush dead-enders continue to slavishly support Him while He sells the country to terrorist-supporting Arabs, Chinese, and other less-than-Norman-Rockwellish-folk from around the globe. Yea, yea, them so stoooopid. Tell me something I don't know.

More and more it looks like things are going the way Vonnegut foresaw in Hocus Pocus:

Mr. Vonnegut still finds abundant metaphors for our current situation. Hartke compares the land of the free and the home of the brave to a vast plantation, the soil and labor of which has been exhausted. The owners, whites of European descent, are selling it off, dispossessing the laborers.

As that comes to pass, those poor conservatives will be learning to love Allah in the vain hope of getting a job while Bush’s real buddies and the bozos on the Washington Post editorial page will retire en masse to the beaches of Bahrain, or perhaps the Arab Emirates. In fact, that's already happening (see below).

But on my way to bashing the boneheads about CitiCorp, I got sidetracked by the supporting evidence. Recently General Electric sold their plastics division to a state owned Saudi Arabian company. One of their largest plants, which is also an insanely dangerous chemical factory, is located in southern Indiana, a hotbed of right wing ignorance, hate and stupidity. This is the place where, a few years back, the local conservatives blew a gasket because the highway signs had inventory code on their backsides which the right wing geniuses interpreted as secret directions for the UN invaders when they came to take all of America’s guns.

A lot of the comments are what you would expect:
Posted by gdubord on May 22, 2007 at 4:36 a.m

Boy! What A bonehead move that is. All in the name of Money!! It's not good enough to be at war with them...Now we sell our souls to them!

Posted by SGT_SHLITZ on May 22, 2007 at 5:50 a.m.

Fools! Now we will have tent people here. You are right, gdubord. We should be at war with the Saud's.

Posted by tonkaboy on May 22, 2007 at 5:50 a.m.

What happens when they hire thier extremist countrymen to come in as "consultants", and they turn out to be suicidal? Most people know (I think) what kind of large tanks of volitile chemicals they store on site. Not a very good idea for our area!!!!

Posted by 81VETT on May 22, 2007 at 6:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We just sold the potential for the biggest "Dirty Bomb" in the world to the people who brought you 9/11?

Posted by Anonymous on May 22, 2007 at 6:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Does anyone know what the nationality was for the majority of the 9/11 homicide hijackers?
Take a guess.

Posted by SGT_SHLITZ on May 22, 2007 at 6:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

They were Saudi's, Anon. Guess who else was a Saudi citizen? Osama Bin-Ladin.

Posted by hardestnose on May 22, 2007 at 7:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And George Soros, billionaire liberal Dem, bought Halliburton and moved the company to Dubai after thousands of his minions bad-mouthed the company and drove down the price of the stock.

Interesting? Aside from the enlightening Soros info, no so much. We've seen this kind of thing all too often. But it gets deeper. Southern Indiana is one of the last blue collar/union strongholds:
Posted by toeped on May 22, 2007 at 6:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When the cutbacks and layoffs start these GE employee's who have been getting all the benefits with none of the cost of the union plants will find out why they should have been union instead of coat tail riders. Bring out the ax, its time to downsize and consolidate.

Posted by Blackstone on May 22, 2007 at 7:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"There are products that are made in the USA that would be just as good. Check the products you buy, lets support our neighbors and buy American owned and made products. Shop around and save a job for an American."
Looks like you won't be shopping at Target, WalMart, TJ Maxx, Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy or Circuit City anytime soon.
I never knew this board hosted so many Ph.D.s and MBAs. Wow.

Posted by kmalongway3 on May 22, 2007 at 8:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

cat,no i never applyed at GE,i haul coal down there,now what?

A few have a sense of humor:
Posted by moogoogaipan on May 24, 2007 at 1:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The town can make up the any losses with car sales, and by the looks of the people on the ads, food and beverage sales have great futures.

Posted by imanidiot on May 24, 2007 at 3:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As a long time resident of Mt. Vernon and a 25yr employee of GE, I can honestly say that this could mean some great opportunities for the community. After SABIC takes control, I plan to re-open Gundi's restaurant. It will of course be renamed Gandhi's and will be a full service mosque and drive-thru kufta establishment. Peerless will have to bring in some belly dancers. The ones there now on 185lb. night don't count. Everyone will prosper until the first plant accident wipes out 250 square miles.

Posted by courier_studio_audience on May 22, 2007 at 12:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Message Board Posting Concepts:

The Law of Human Homogeny: 
This is the concept that all people are CREATED in GOD’S image which, of course, is white, Christian, heterosexual, American, and politically conservative. Anyone who doesn’t fit that image has made the conscious decision to deviate from God’s plan. The only way for these freaks, perverts, and sinners to avoid eternal damnation in Hell is to act white, Christian, heterosexual, and politically conservative – in a word, ‘merican - because that’s the way God intended. It is clearly spelled out in the Bible, which God has translated into English for us.

And those who have those high paying jobs and want to keep them? Or just want to get one? Somehow they are a bit more rational:
Posted by sodapop on May 22, 2007 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have been employed by GE for over 20 years of shift work.The last 10 yrs I have made over $110,000 per year.Not bad for someone with just a high school diploma. I will continue do the best job for whomever owns the Plastics division. After reading Sabics financial report from last year.I actually can't wait to start investing in thier company. GE stock has been virtually flat for 5 yrs. Sabic' stock has doubled in the last 3 years. 
Most of the bashing I have read is probably from people that really don't know what the heck is going on. Sabic is a premeir employer.
If I may dispell a few myths..not all rednecks are racists..not all Catholics preists are molestors and not all Saudi's are terrorists.Hope this helps out the narrow minded.

Posted by rileysmom on May 23, 2007 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am ashamed to be from southern Indiana right now. I work at GE right now, and I can say that without them, I wouldn't have half of what I do. I think it is safe to say, that there are some people who work there that are scared....not because of the SABIC but because of the sale in general. Who knows what is going to happen. I do believe that SABIC wouldn't pay almost 12 billion dollars to turn around a bvlow it up. Come on now people, lets get realistic. Yes we do have very dangerous chemical, but we also have very well trained people to deal with these chemicals. I believe we need to be looking within our own country too for so called terriorists. Its seems that we tend to forget the Timothy Mcveighs. He was an american citizen, that killed hundreds of innocent people. We need to stop hating. What is that teaching our children? I bet haf of the people who are saying negative things have never even worked witha a muslim person. If you try and boycott GE, the only thing you will end up doing is hurting your own family, and friends that work there now. What I suggest is people grow up and stop being biggots.

Posted by cjworks on May 31, 2007 at 7:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The union didn't save my job at Whirlpool. It's hard to find a job in this area with equal pay. I have an interview with GE. I'm a single parent looking to support my family. This is the best way to accomplish that. If offered a job, I have no qualms accepting. Just think how devastating the Whirlpool layoff has been to this community. We don't need another big employer packing up shop. If nothing else, be supportive of those of us who are desperate for decent jobs.

To me, that’s all a great example of the beauty of the internet. It’s like a good literary work, filled with different characters with different points of view. There’s drama, pathos and bathos, humor and human suffering. It gives us insight into both current events and the timeless human condition.

This type of thing will have to be outlawed, of course, or at least priced out of the reach of normal people, but for now there are still opportunities for enlightenment.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Leaves fall in brooklyn

That's a Brooklyn tree, huh? I think it's fifty something. Vain, it tried to lighten its leaves and they turned orange. It's wearing leather pants. And maybe a silver chain.

I've been working on this technique for quite awhile now. Much as I dislike nature photography in general, it is good practice. Someday I'll take that same shot in a crowd of angry people and it might be great art. Leaves, unfortunately, are decorative at best and not the greatest challenge. On the positive side, though they often move but rarely attack.

As mentioned in a short article a few days ago, these days I'm kind of into busy photos with no particular point of focus. More of an intellectual challenge than anything.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A strange, vulnerable place

Today’s New York Times Magazine has an interesting article about a new breed of scientists who firmly believe that the earth is eight thousand years (or so) old. They believe this because they have read the bible and added up the lives of the biblical characters. It’s not as easy as it sounds since some of those ancients lived as long as 900 years. You see? Honest scientists may disagree. The planet could be 7990 years old. It could be 8010. More research is needed. All reasonable people agree.

According to the Times, this new breed of scientists are a heroic bunch. Like cowboys, “laconic but certain” and “deeply committed.” these intellectual outlaws, outlaws in a good outlaw kinda way of course, are “taking on the central tenets of the field” by “resisting mainstream science.“ Beyond that, they are hung like Harvard: “a gathering of elites, with an impressive wall of diplomas... master’s or Ph.D.’s in the sciences from respectable universities.”

You know the type. Total dumbasses.

And like total dumbasses in all walks of life, they have a total dumbass answer to every question. Unlike your average dumbass, however, these folk are scientists, so they have higher standards. They must use fancy words such as ”hypothesis.“

“Among available hypotheses, creation by God is the most reasonable hypothesis,” writes Kurt Wise, who got his Ph.D. in paleontology from Harvard.

Wise shows off his Harvard-trained mind elsewhere. “The evidence from Scripture is by far the best evidence for creation. No better evidence can be imagined than that provided from Him who is not only the only eyewitness observer, but who also is the embodiment of all truth.”

Unlike evolution, Creation isn't a theory, he says. “The fact that God created the universe is not a theory—it's true.”

“Even if it’s wrong, it’s a starting point,” he tells the Times.

Me, I’m thinking maybe Harvard isn’t the best place to send the kids to college and I’m not so sure they should be reading the New York Times. Oh well. Ivy Tech and the Daily News for them. We ain’t no stinkin elitists, but that’s a different story.

What really caught my attention in the Times article was the reference to Kentucky's Creation Museum. Longtime readers may recall that I took the kids there on a family outing last year, but the less said about that little adventure the better.

The Times was impressed with the museum, if not my visit to it:

With its wide-open spaces and interactive exhibits, the place feels like a slick museum of natural history, updated for the Hollywood age.... Lifelike models of Adam and Eve (who looks like the Brazilian supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen) frolic in a lush garden among the animals, including several dinosaurs.

The museum expected about 250,000 visitors in the first year. Instead, despite its $20 entry fee, it has had that many in six months, according to Michael Matthews, the museum’s content manager. Almost every day, minivans and buses from Christian schools fill the parking lot, sometimes after 10-hour road trips. The museum’s target group is the 45 percent of Americans who, for 25 years, have consistently agreed with the statement in a Gallup poll that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”

The museum sends the message that belief in a young earth is the only way to salvation. The failure to understand Genesis is literally “undermining the entire word of God,” Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, says in a video. The collapse of Christianity believed to result from that failure is drawn out in a series of exhibits: school shootings, gay marriage, drugs, porn and pregnant teens.

Funny how they always come back to that. If people only believed more fervently in verifiable stupid religious nonsense, then they would give up all forms of intoxicants and most pleasures and the world would be a happy place. Humans and dinosaurs on Noah’s ark? That’s your ship to salvation Bub. Forget about beer and sex. Forty-five percent of Americans agree. And the number is growing.

But we're talking about scientists not priests. It’s okay to ask the difficult questions. How did (600 year old) Noah round up the entire animal kingdom wand stuff it in a big wooden boat? How is radioisotope dating flawed? How was the Grand Canyon formed? And if all those animals died in one cataclysmic event, why do their fossils appear in such distinct order?

Difficult questions but the intrepid Creation Scientists are on the case. Of course the answer is always God and it all happened in the last 8000 years, but there's still a lot of work to be done on the details.
We don’t subscribe to this idea of the ‘God of gaps,’ meaning if you can’t explain something, then blame God,” Whitmore told me before describing a method that hardly seemed more scientific. “Instead, we think: ‘Here’s what the Bible says. Now let’s go to the rocks and see if we find the evidence for it.

But don’t get the wrong impression. These noble idiots suffer for their beliefs. They suffer the torture of the martyrs (if not the damned). And it’s not just their failure to get laid when they were teens or their exclusion from the cool crowd:
But as he told a friend, he couldn’t reconcile the geologic ages with what he read in his Bible. So he set about figuring this out: every night, for months, he cut out every verse of the Bible he’d have to reject to believe in evolution. “I dreaded the impending end,” he writes in a collection of essays called “In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation.” “All that I loved to do was involved with some aspect of science.”

When he was done, he tried to pick up what was left. But he found it impossible to do that without the Bible being “rent in two,” he writes. “Either the Scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible.” In the end, he kept his Bible and achieved his unattainable dream. But it left him in a strange, vulnerable place. “If all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

The circle always closes. They’ll believe what they believe because the Bible says so. And if it doesn’t, well, that’s just your interpretation.

And if the Bible is no more accurate than the Illiad as a historical document? Don’t even go there.