38 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-29-16

  1. Actual Christian pastors need to stop associating with and start shunning charlatans like Paula White.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/28/shady-pastor-to-pray-with-trump-at-inauguration.html

    White is about as “Christian” as Jeremiah Wright.

    You can’t blame Trump for associating with White. He clearly has no understanding of Christianity. If actual Christian leaders agree to serve on “Christian” boards or committees with White and other heretics, how is Trump (or the rest of Lost America) going to distinguish between the two?

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  2. This is the type of article that demonstrates why the NYT is still important.

    My son has observed that the top economic 20% now are extremely likely to marry within their economic group. This was less common 50 years ago when that top 20% were more likely to live, go to school and go to church with the rest of the people.

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  3. Paula White isn’t just a charlatan, she’s a heretic, along with her colleague T.D. Jakes – they teach modalism, a false view of the Trinity which has been condemned as heresy since the days of the early church. She is apparently, according to Dobson’s report, the one who ‘converted’ Trump, so not surprised that she would be at the Inauguration.

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  4. Ricky, one of my classes talked about the widening gap between rich and poor – it ties into nursing studies because statistically, those with lower incomes have poorer health and shorter lifespans. It is really quite a dramatic shift in the past couple of decades.

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  5. Which raises several questions:

    1. Do Dobson, Jeffress, Little Falwell and others know that White is a charlatan and a heretic?

    2. Why would Dobson repeat a heretic’s version of a conversion story?

    3. Did Dobson have any confidence that White ever shared the actual Gospel with Trump?
    A. If so, was there any good reason for that confidence?

    4. Did any of the actual Christian leaders who have met with Trump actually share the Gospel with him? I would hope the answer is “Yes”, and it doesn’t bother me that none have gone public with that story.

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  6. Roscuro, Is the dramatic shift weight related? I ask because whenever my wife and I go to a shopping center in a particularly affluent suburb of Fort Worth, we are amazed that everyone is:

    A. Skinny; and

    B. Dressed in expensive workout clothes.

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  7. Ricky, here is the story: http://www.christianpost.com/news/james-dobson-says-paula-white-led-donald-trump-to-jesus-christ-165844/
    One tragic thing about the cultural Christianity of the past century is that important doctrines, such as the Trinity, have fallen by the wayside as Christians strive to keep their cultural and political influence by allying themselves with anyone who shares, or claims to share the same cultural values. I can think of another Trinitarian debate occurring among evangelicals which arose out of a faulty and historically heretical analogy of the Trinity to marriage as an attempted response to feminism. Dobson, who has always been most about maintaining family values, is among the number of those who will ally themselves with anyone who claims Jesus’ name and certain core family values. Growing up, my mother subscribed to the monthly Focus on the Family magazine, and I remember the people featured in the magazine were quite ecumenical.

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  8. Ricky, according to the material I was reading for class, the popular theory that there is higher obesity among the poor is not borne out by actual statistics. In other words, while there is a rise in obesity, that phenomenon is spread out (no pun intended) over the income brackets. Wealthier people do tend to be healthier, but that is related to the fact that they have more control over their life, such as access to quality food, clean water, and adequate housing. The person who can drive to a high-end grocery store to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and who lives in their own house will naturally have better health than the person who doesn’t have a car and must walk or take transit to the nearest store* which may be just a convenience store where there are no fresh fruits or vegetables available and who lives in a rundown apartment with mold or lead paint.
    *Ever heard the term food desert? It refers to a phenomenon found in large cities where there are no grocery stores within walking distance of a residential area. I live in a bit of a food desert where I am in the city – in order to buy bottled water (since city water makes me sick) I have to walk fifteen minutes to the nearest grocery store because there are no buses which would take me directly. I had to get a wheeled cart, because the bottles are too heavy to carry. Those with low incomes get a lot of exercise, but not at the gym.

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  9. Roscuro, We have recently sold one house and our new house isn’t finished yet, so we are in an apartment for three months. This has allowed me to visit grocery stores and shopping centers all over North Tarrant County with customers who range from lower middle class to upper class. I would make the following observations.

    1. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available everywhere, but the rich are much more likely to buy them and even pay more for them.

    2. The stores (other than the grocery stores) in the upper class areas sell no necessities. Everything for sale there is an expensive luxury.

    3. You are probably correct that the poor may not be heavier than average. However, the rich are definitely skinnier than average. Here is why:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rich-women-like-rich-men-and-rich-men-like-slender-women-2015-09-28

    4. Everything I need I can buy at Walmart. They may not have quite the selection as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and their eggplant, watermelon and blackberries may not have been organically grown, but they all taste good to me.

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  10. Roscuro, I hope you will get a Walmart in your neighborhood. They are amazing.

    Twenty five years ago, my father worked at the Federal Aviation Administration. He and several other FAA engineers hosted a group of 12 aeronautical engineers from China. The leader of the Chinese delegation was the only one who had a car. The rest rode bicycles to work.

    The other FAA engineers took the Chinese to The Galleria, which was then the most exclusive shopping center in Dallas. The Chinese (and Dad) were shocked and appalled at the ridiculous amounts of money that skinny, rich Dallasites were spending on frivolous luxury items. Dad then took the Chinese to a Walmart. They were amazed at the selection of items available at low prices to chubby, ordinary Americans and they all went on a shopping spree to buy gifts for relatives back in China.

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  11. Self-segergation is occurring for many reasons.

    Urbanization creates large similar groups from which to choose friends and partners. The larger the urban group the more segregated a person can be. In smaller urban centres, the poor, the middle class, and the rich all know each other and to a certain degree socialize together in school, church, shopping, politics, etc. As the US continues to urbanize the more opportunities there will be to self-segregate.

    The disappearance of the middle class leads to self segregation. Without a middle class, the rich will remove themselves away from the poor and there will be no group to bridge the divide. The decline in income mobility and the rise in inequality are also part of this reasoning — as middle class incomes stagnate and decline, they are identified more with the bottom half than the top 20 percent.

    Finally, divorce laws make the idea of marrying within one’s class a practical necessity. Alimony for both genders is not an appealing future. The young may marry for love but parents will remind them to marry within or above their class. I’m as open-minded as they come but I’m also very open in my relief that my daughter’s present boyfriend comes from old money (he may be a musician but there’s money waiting for him) whereas her past boyfriend was from a “lumpenproletariat” family. ( and even a Marxists doesn’t like the lumpen proletariat).

    Thus increased urbanization, a perilous class structure (its easy to fall lower), and practicality leads to self segregation.

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  12. Sheen isn’t alone, I’ve seen this exact sentiment, in so many words, on FB (one from someone who loves animals so much she’s a strident vegan). I almost responded but thought better of it and scrolled on by. …

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/12/29/charlie-sheen-tweets-for-god-to-take-trump-next.html

    _______________________
    Charlie Sheen is facing a lot of heat for a tweet he wrote Wednesday night where he asked God to take President-elect Donald Trump next.
    _________________________

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  13. All good points, AJ.

    I like to think that Texas has traditionally had more social mobility than most places. Both my father and my wife went from the bottom 20% in income to the top 20% in income in less than 40 years. I have known many people who were poor, became rich, then became poor again, and kept the same friends through the whole process.

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  14. I think the “who’s next” has reached satire level. Although Charlie Sheen is probably serious as he is Charlie Sheen. As for me, my money is on it not being Keith Richards.

    I live in the most densely populated area of the city yet the nearest chain grocery store is about 20-30 minutes walk away. An international (mainly Asian) grocery opened two blocks from my house — they stock just about any type of fruit, vegetable, meat, cheese, etc. Why the chains don’t see the potential of the inner city is beyond me. As for Walmart its a 20 minute drive to an inner suburb store. Thus I shop with Korean, Caribbean, Somalis, and the growing group of bearded hipsters. I’m usually the only middle aged white guy.

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  15. HRW, Yes. I did mistake you for AJ.

    The Pew report is interesting. East Texas is like the Old South where people generally marry within their own class and often follow their parents’ career path. The Rio Grande Valley is like Northern Mexico.

    West Texas is like the Wild West. A poor boy may marry a rich girl because that girl’s father was formerly a poor boy himself. A rich boy may marry a poor girl and take her to Dallas where he becomes a successful professional and she becomes a socialite. That stuff used to happen all the time.

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  16. I’m glad for the style moving back to beards (though my husband, being Swedish, can’t grow one); it’s more masculine than a revolt against them–and WAY more masculine than the trend I only hear about for men to shave every bit of their body hair.

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  17. When the people at the top ignore the law and do as they please, they set the standard.

    http://nypost.com/2016/12/28/federal-agents-took-bribes-to-let-drugs-illegal-immigrants-into-us/

    “Federal agents took bribes of up to $215,000 and even egg rolls to smuggle marijuana and cocaine, provide critical information to drug cartels so they could bypass border security, falsify documents for illegal immigrants and just make some cases “go away,” according to a report.

    In one case, Johnny Acosta, a Customs and Border Protection officer in Douglas, Ariz., where he screened individuals and vehicles, said he was contacted by a group Mexican drug dealers in September 2013 and agreed to allow them to drive vans packed full of marijuana across the US border.

    Acosta said the smugglers from Agua Prieta, Mexico, would describe the vehicles carrying the illegal load of pot and Acosta would allow them to cross the border without inspection, according to the New York Times. Court documents said Acosta took more than $70,000 in bribes to help the traffickers move over a ton of marijuana.

    Mai Nhu Nguyen, an Immigration Service officer in Santa Ana, Calif., approved or denied citizenship applications for immigrants until she started taking bribes of money and food. In November 2011, according to the court documents, she approved a citizenship application in return for 100 egg rolls.

    Then there’s the case of Joohoon David Lee. A federal Homeland Security agent working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles, Lee interviewed a woman who said she came to the US to become a sex slave for a Korean businessman identified as HS in the court papers cited by the Times.

    A year later, Lee contacted the businessman’s lawyer and said if he received an all-expenses-paid trip to Korea, where he would interview HS, he would write a favorable report clearing the accused man.

    In 2013, Lee traveled to Seoul, where HS picked up the tab for his hotel and entertainment expenses. While there, Lee asked HG for a “large sum of money” to make “any immigration issue go away.”
    ———————

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  18. Kim,

    I’ve had my rabbit’s butt on my chin for way longer than some of today’s hipsters have been alive. I remember when it was mostly still dark brown 15 years ago. I rarely shave it. I did for a family portrait, and a few more times because Cheryl likes it. But it is usually there, in varying lengths.

    But I do agree that it makes most young men today look like they’re skinny little rat faced weasels who are wearing their sister’s skinny jeans. Not a good look, as I’ve told numerous neighborhood boys, and friends of my son. 🙂

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  19. I like beards though I read something recently that gave me pause (regarding bacteria tests that had been done on the average beard).

    One of our church members is a young seminary student who seriously looks Amish — both in dress (button-to-the-neck shirts w/suit pants and jacket and a very long beard). Just missing the hat.

    We also have a young guy who wears kilts, very good looking and apparently popular with our large group of very attractive young college-age women in the church (at least from what I noticed at the Christmas party). I think he also has a beard but it’s hard to look past the kilt and boots, to be honest.

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  20. My friend terms the beard of the hipster the ‘ironic beard’. I encounter quite a few hipsters in the old part of town in which I live – they seem to like to buy the century homes and restore them.
    A middle aged gentleman at our city church wears a kilt with sporran. But then, we also have several African immigrants who wear their colourful shirts and dresses, so there is a multi-cultural expression of Sunday goin’-to-meetin’ clothes.

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  21. My husband has a full beard & mustache, both neatly trimmed. What I don’t like is the stubble look. Either grow the beard or don’t grow the beard, but don’t just shave down to stubble.

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