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ChairmanAgnostic

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Name: Rak
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Illinois
Home country: USA
Member since: Wed Jul 13, 2005, 07:56 PM
Number of posts: 24,549

Journal Archives

fascinating article by Juan Cole

what a joy it is to read a historian write about something he/she knows. Especially when the topic is christianity - muslim religions (and how their early days were so murky).

Here's a sample:

First of all, we know very little about the lives of Jesus (d. circa 30-33 CE) or Muhammad (d. 632 CE). As a historian, I’m looking for early sources and diverse sources. The earliest manuscripts of the New Testament are second century, and in Greek rather than in the original Aramaic (some ideas may have changed radically with the translation– the Aramaic almost certainly did not have the phrase ‘son of God.’) There are many variants among the manuscripts and among the Gospels. Did Mark even know about a resurrection? There are even questions about what sources early Christians accepted (is the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas a Gospel?) All of the extant accounts of Jesus obviously come from a small number of early Christian communities. There is no early outside source. We historians want accounts coming from several different sources.

Amazingly, 600+ years later, there were outside sources discussing Muhammed, something the christians sorely lack.

Here's the cite. http://www.juancole.com/
A very interesting read. Especially how growing numbers of ".....istan" peoples are doing without religion.

I just hope his conclusion, that 200 yrs from now both those religions will be dead. They've caused enough pain and suffering by now, haven't they?
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Thu Apr 25, 2013, 07:28 AM (8 replies)

At what point does Congress reach its "USE BY" date?

The incredible show of spine by yesterday's Congress was probably the greatest display of what goes on in DC that we have ever witnessed. In the face of almost unheard of uniformity within the American Public, 80% or more, Congress sat, laid down, rolled over, and on command, fetched the NRA from potential doom.

Doom? you may ask? Doom, indeed!

Teh Horrors! The idea that we may want to have background checks for anyone who wants to buy a gun is so revolting, so unconstitutional, so against our American Values, that our congress is will to stand up, take a difficult position, stand up to the mere masses, the angry plebes, the mourning know nothings. No, Congress was extraordinarily brave in protecting a small group of gun manufacturers against the vast majority of the people.

What courage. What moral fortitude. What an ethical, honorable stance Congress took.

So how did we come to this? At what point did Congress feel brave enough to drop even the pretense of honest governing?

Ever shop at a sneaky grocer, who would pack beautiful looking fruit or veggies in a plastic wrap, go home to cook, only find that he hid all the rotting parts inside? Yeah, me too. But that is what this Congress reminds me of.

They no longer govern for us. They do not represent us (despite their chest-pounding public statements to the contrary). They do not lead us, except astray.

This is a Congress that is part and parcel owned by lobbyists, by a few incredibly rich benefactors, and by those who do not you and my best interests at heart. They were bought, paid for, and are totally beholden to a limited few, precisely the opposite of what our founding fathers intended.

Now that I think about it, (as much as it pains me to say it) some of the ideas that drove folks to Tea Parties begin to make sense. I do not agree with LESS GOVERNMENT and NO TAXES, which crowd out their other messages. But, every Tea Bagger I have talked to wants medical marijuana. Now. Every one I spoke with thinks that lobbyists have too much control. And except for one, who is with the sheriff's police, every one of them thinks that the military budget is too big.

For many months I have poured scorn on the Tea Baggers, denouncing them, their ideas, and gleefully laughing at their idiotic hats and signs. Now, I may have to reconsider my tactics. Perhaps working with them would offer something good. So long as they leave Michelle and Sarah at home.

I suspect another thing they would accept? Removal of today's congress. They are so ripe that their "USE BY" has expired.
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Thu Apr 18, 2013, 11:01 AM (22 replies)

The Boston Feeding Frenzy Begins

Without a hint of regret, concern for accuracy, or substantive research, the nation's least substantive paper, the USaToday, announced that an article published by Al Qaida two years ago was entitled, "HOw to make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom." It included shrapnel and an explosive substance. "Would be bombers, the article said, should use gloves to prevent their fingerprints from being found on the bomb fragments. . ."

Gee, USA, nice job. Convict a group, make people worry about a threat that probably does not exist, and ignore any research into WHY those folks may not like us very much. They hate us for our freedoms? Hardly. After Patriot, most of our rights are now MIA.

But, it gets worse. I have collected a odd group of books in my studies for writing a novel. One of them came from the US Army, circa 1963. In the section on how to create improvised explosives, it also recommends using a pressure cooker, "where lethality can be maximized by gluing ball bearings, sharp metal, and similar objects to the side, before adding" the explosive.

1963

US Army

Pressure cooker

Improvised explosives

Let's review the public facts as to who, why, how:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Except for the how - a kitchen pressure cooker.

Ergo,

It HAS to be Al Qaida!


it may be. It may NOT be. Let's rely on our experts, on investigators, and on the need for people to brag after a successful criminal event. Then, we can talk about who did what and why.
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Wed Apr 17, 2013, 10:01 AM (7 replies)

FCC dropping nudity ban for radio

and TV. Oh, and now you can say "fuck", too.

heh.
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Mon Apr 8, 2013, 10:52 AM (7 replies)

As most of society seems to be getting saner, are the loonies

growing more strident, more obscene, in their religious based demands?

North Carolina wants to pass some official religion. They have pending legislation to ban sharia law, while they are fully willing to accept the more crazy parts of christian law and punishment.

Kansas? Too much to list here.

Texas? Let's just say that Perry is the sane and smart one from that state's roll of pols.

Michigan? 3 days for abortion after conception? The mind boggles.

Actually, the list is growing day by day. Does anyone else detect a note of fear underlying the recent growth of crazy legislative ideas from the ultra-right?
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Wed Apr 3, 2013, 10:20 AM (23 replies)

How will YOU celebate the new infallible, inerrant prince of Rome?

I plan on attending the local Freedom from Religion Foundation meeting. That seems fitting enough.
There might be a little consumption of spirits, rather the blessing from spirits, involved.
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Wed Mar 13, 2013, 04:59 PM (20 replies)

scanners for the Mac

I've had flat scanners (slow, cumbersome, did not translate into language well), and some all-in-one printers/faxes/scanners. For the last year, I have been trying to go paperless (and succeeding about 75% of the time) and realized that a dedicated scanner was a must, especially for large documents.

Fujitsu S1500 works great. Never had a problem talking to my mac. The very few jams I get were usually caused by a staple I missed. About 1 in 50 scans, it eats several sheets at a time, and always, the problem is one particular firm that sends all their stuff on really cheap, shiny, and slippery paper. If I bend and mutilate the pages a bit, I usually solve the problem. For everything else, even thick bond, no problems at all.

The Brother 9320 all in the family scanner also takes multiple pages. It scans just fine, but not as fast or as clearly as the Fujitsu.

Canon has a couple of nice models, but their portable does not compare to Fujistu's.
Actually, for portable scanning, I keep forgetting that the best machine is already in my hands - the iPad. Scanning with the iPad is easy, fast, and I can even email the results to my office computer.
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:03 PM (11 replies)

snow's are heavy, voter turn out is more voter tune out.

GOTV will be the only thing that matters. It also makes this election ripe for a surprise.

Experts have seen low mailed ballots, and even lower actual hoof on the ground turn out. They predict low teens, which would be one of the lowest turnouts in recent history.

Considering that some elections in the past had 110% turnouts, I guess this is evening things out.
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:53 PM (8 replies)

There were two winners today in the Senate Hearings:

Hilary Clinton
Susan Rice

Mrs. Clinton has earned even more kudos for managing to get McCain to wet his pants and embarrass himself.

Oh, by the way, Rand Paul is a complete and utter asshole.

Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:13 AM (3 replies)

a book war hath begun

mi padre, who makes some Huns look like flaming liberals, and I exchange a bag of books at every meeting. I have to admit that I began it by including H L Mencken, and a collection of Robert Ingersoll, that so impressed me, that I was shocked that I had no chance to have read them before.

Dad, in his response, began including Brad Thor books, moved on to one O'Reilly POS, and now, some book from Glenn Beck. the Overton Window.

how can i respond in kind?
Posted by ChairmanAgnostic | Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:25 PM (15 replies)
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