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arely staircase

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Member since: Sun Dec 11, 2011, 06:54 PM
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SEAL Team 6 veteran comes out as transgender

The 2011 repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” ended the military’s official policy of discriminating against gays and lesbians in the armed services, but a ban on transgender service members remains in place, meaning that trans men and women are still barred from serving.

But some advocates say that may change, or may come closer than ever before to changing, with the release of a new memoir from a former Navy SEAL. Kristen Beck (formerly Chris Beck) was a SEAL for 20 years — and a member of SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden — before retiring, coming out as transgender and beginning her transition from male to female in 2011.

Beck’s honest discussion of her gender identity, which she grappled with for years while in the military, is a major first, and could clear the way for others to come out with their own stories. And, as J.K. Trotter at the Atlantic Wire notes, Beck’s fellow SEALs were supportive of her transition:

Posted by arely staircase | Tue Jun 4, 2013, 01:37 PM (1 replies)

the question libertarians cant answer; where are the libertarian countries?

If your ideas are so great then why hasn't any country in the world ever applied them?

When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve: Chile, with its experiment in privatized Social Security, for example, and Sweden, a big-government nation which, however, gives a role to vouchers in schooling.

But this isn’t an adequate response. Libertarian theorists have the luxury of mixing and matching policies to create an imaginary utopia. A real country must function simultaneously in different realms—defense and the economy, law enforcement and some kind of system of support for the poor. Being able to point to one truly libertarian country would provide at least some evidence that libertarianism can work in the real world.

Some political philosophies pass this test. For much of the global center-left, the ideal for several generations has been Nordic social democracy—what the late liberal economist Robert Heilbroner described as “a slightly idealized Sweden.” Other political philosophies pass the test, even if their exemplars flunk other tests. Until a few decades ago, supporters of communism in the West could point to the Soviet Union and other Marxist-Leninist dictatorships as examples of “really-existing socialism.” They argued that, while communist regimes fell short in the areas of democracy and civil rights, they proved that socialism can succeed in a large-scale modern industrial society.


Posted by arely staircase | Tue Jun 4, 2013, 12:48 PM (3 replies)

Here is to progress - Wash. State Police Dogs Must Unlearn How To Smell Pot

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — When Dusty, a 19-month-old black Labrador, walked past a pipe full of marijuana during a recent police search of a house, he was doing exactly what his handler hoped.

The newest drug-sniffing dog on the police force in Bremerton, near Seattle, is one of a few police dogs in Washington state that are not trained to point out pot during searches. Other police departments are considering or in the midst of re-training their dogs to ignore pot as well, part of the new reality in a state where voters last fall legalized marijuana use.

“We wanted to train our dog on what was truly illegal substances, that would be heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine,” said Dusty’s handler, Officer Duke Roessel, who added that Dusty nabbed five pounds of meth during that recent search.

Posted by arely staircase | Sat Jun 1, 2013, 09:57 PM (6 replies)

An apology to atheists of good will from a liberal Christian

I started a thread and GD that, rightfully, was locked. In it I stated that atheists and fundamentalists shared the same flaw of insisting the Bible be interpreted literally - the former for the purposes of discrediting Christians and the latter for the purposes of claiming they were the only ones doing it right.

By doing so, I was engaging in the same type of behavior I was decrying - lumping all atheists into a monolithic category. Some of the people I admire most in this world are atheists or agnostics.

Please accept my apology.

arely staircase
Posted by arely staircase | Fri May 31, 2013, 03:46 PM (21 replies)

On Christian fundamentalism

It would seem that only two groups of people interpret the Bible literally;

fundamentalists and atheist.

how ironic
Posted by arely staircase | Thu May 30, 2013, 11:42 PM (35 replies)

"we might as well go home and get our guns out" says crazy man

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) sounded a dire note of caution Wednesday about the dangers of curtailing the First Amendment, warning ominously that any limits to free speech should serve as a call to arms. LePage was still fuming over an incident at a state Appropriations Committee meeting on May 19, when his request to speak about the state budget was denied by a Democratic legislator.

"It’s freedom of speech. You folks should understand that better than I," LePage told reporters, as quoted by the Portland Press Herald. "It is the First Amendment, then there is the Second and I love ‘em both." The outspoken governor added, "The minute we start stifling our speech, we might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out."

Posted by arely staircase | Wed May 29, 2013, 09:41 PM (0 replies)

Best Iraq/Afghanistan War Movie

What is the Iraq/Afghanistan war movie you have seen?
Posted by arely staircase | Mon May 27, 2013, 02:50 PM (27 replies)

Louis CK nails the banking system: funny because it is true

“I’m broke, is anyone else broke? {cheers} You ever get so broke that the bank starts charging you money…for not having enough money? {laughs} I’m fuckin’ broke, man.

The bank called me up, they said ‘Hi, we’re calling you because you don’t have enough money.’ I said, I know! They said ‘You have insufficient funds,’ and I said, well, I agree with that. I find my funds to be grossly insufficient! Thanks for calling… {shrugs, audience laughs}

Why are you mad at me? I don’t understand what…How is this something I’m doing to you? She was like, ‘Sir, you only have $20, that’s not enough. You can’t only have $20!’ I was like, look, I’m not being broke just to fuck with you, I really don’t have any money! I’m not trying to be a dick, I just…my life is shitty! {laughs}

So they charged me $15, that’s how much it costs to only have $20. {laughs} But here is the fucked-up part, now I only have $5! What am I paying the $15 for if I don’t get to have the $20…that I paid to have! I paid the fuckin’ money, where is my $20? That’s like going to the movies, you pay for your ticket and they say ‘Get the fuck outta here, go home!’ …But I paid for the movie? ‘No, you paid for a ticket, motherfucker, you didn’t pay for a movie!’

You ever have negative money? That’s depressing, isn’t it? You look in your bank account and it says ‘negative $10,’ that’s how much I have now. Negative $10. That means I don’t even have no money now. I wish I did! I wish I didn’t have anything, I wish I just had nothing, but I have less than that! I don’t have none. I have not $10. {laughs} If it’s free, I can’t fucking afford it!

Someone could come up to me, ‘Hey, this is free!’ Fuck, that costs nothing! I can’t afford that, that’s more than I have! I gotta raise $10 to be broke! That’s not good. That’s bad! {laughs}

Apparently some of you are in the same fuckin’ position. {cheers, laughs} How’s your economy doin’? Shit! I’m glad you appreciate that story, not everyone appreciates that story. I told that story about a week ago in Orange County, California with all these rich motherfuckers lookin’ at me they’re all lookin’ at me like, ‘Well, yeah. You were financially irresponsible and had to pay the price. I don’t frankly see why you’re angry about it. The bank had the right to approve a fee, clearly.’

That’s how different it is to be rich than it is to be poor! ‘Cause when you’re rich, the bank pays you for being rich! If you have a lot of money, they give you money! Because you have a lot of money! You have so much money that we should give you some! Because you have a lot, you should have more! Here, take more money! Take this guy’s $15, fuck him, you should have it! {laughs} He doesn’t have enough, but you have a lot. {shrugs}

Fine, take it all you motherfuckers, I don’t give a shit! You ever get so broke it just becomes funny to you after a while? You’re like, ‘Jesus Christ! I have no fuckin’ money! Jesus!’ {laughs}

People call you, ‘Hi, we’re gonna turn off the….” Fuck it! Turn it off, man! Turn it off, I don’t give a shit!

‘When can you make a payment?’ I ain’t payin’ anything, what am I gonna fuckin’ pay you with? I fuckin’ sold the phone, I don’t need it now. Damn it, man. Shit’s brutal.”
Posted by arely staircase | Sat May 25, 2013, 07:19 PM (9 replies)

When were you saved?

That is a question I am asked by fundamentalist friends who don't understand my Episcopal faith. Here is the best answer I have found:

"Can a person get 'saved' in the Episcopal Church?"

The answer is an absolute "YES!" Often, there is the follow up question, "When were you saved?" My response is "I was saved in the year 33AD by a man hanging on a cross between heaven and earth on a filthy hillside just outside of Jerusalem, and I am being saved as this same man, who rose in victory over the grave and death, lives to interceed for me at the right hand of God. And more, I will be saved when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead--pick one, but I live in all three catogories according to the Scriptures..."

Here are four aspects of an Anglican understanding of salvation, from A sermon given at The Episcopal Church at Princeton University,
The Rev. Dr. Stephen L. White, Chaplain

1. We believe salvation begins with baptism. In baptism we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. (So, if anyone asks you if you are born again, the answer can always be “yes” if you are baptized.

Baptism is the rite by which we are initiated as Christians. In it we turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as our Savior an we are sealed and marked as Christ’s own forever. But far from completing the process of becoming a Christian, in baptism we are just beginning the journey.

2. The salvation process is nurtured by the Eucharist – that great rehearsal and celebration of our salvation. The consecrated bread and wine are the food for the Christian traveler. Eucharist is central to our lives as Christian pilgrims because in it:
•we hear the scriptures read and rehearse the history of our salvation
•we hear the Gospel proclaimed
•we pray for the church, the world, others, ourselves
•we are reminded that our sins are forgiven if we ask for forgiveness
•we celebrate the real presence of the risen Christ among us and we are fed with spiritual food in communion
•we dedicate ourselves to serving Christ in the world as we prepare to depart.

In other words, we pray – implicitly and explicitly – “Lord Jesus, be known to us as you were known to your disciples in the breaking of the bread.”

3. As already mentioned there is continual growth. We stumble and fall, and then pick ourselves up again and keep on going. We stray and we return. As we receive communion we should say: “Out with self, out with envy, out with anger and self-centeredness, out with greed. In with Jesus, in with love, in with compassion, in with patience, in with understanding, in with love.” Our goal is to be able to say with Saint Paul: “It is not I, but Christ who is within me.”

4. Finally, honesty with ourselves is paramount. If life is a continuing process toward salvation, then continual repentance is key. And there is no true repentance without brutal honesty with oneself. You can’t fake repentance.

We come now to the four steps of repentance:

To repent we 1.) We acknowledge our sins to ourselves; 2.) We confess our sins to God; 3.) We ask those whom we have harmed or offended for forgiveness and we make restitution or reparations where necessary and where possible; 4.) We resolve to amend our lives, asking God’s help.

Rather than asking if others are saved, Christians would be much better off to embrace that God's love is unconditional---Jesus never asked anyone if they were saved, but in his life and ministry he did ask those he encoutered "How can i help you?"
Posted by arely staircase | Sat May 25, 2013, 05:54 PM (19 replies)

RIP Lee Rigby

Woolwich attack: murdered soldier Drummer Lee Rigby 'would do anything for anybody’

Drummer Lee Rigby was a loving father who only ever wanted to be a soldier and “live life and enjoy himself”, his family said.

The 25-year-old soldier, from Crumpsall, Manchester, was walking towards the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, on Wednesday when he was run down by a car and murdered by two terrorists.

A moving tribute from his family described how he was always there to protect his loved ones and played the “big brother” role to his sisters.

Posted by arely staircase | Thu May 23, 2013, 06:16 PM (14 replies)
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