Saturday Ramblings: May 28, 2016 – Race Version


Ain’t no ramblin’ Rambler today, friends. This is Race Weekend here in Indy, and a special one at that. This Memorial Day Sunday will mark the 100th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500.

Your chaplain won’t be going anywhere near 16th and Georgetown tomorrow, however. Officials announced the first sellout in the history of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, which means that an estimated 350,000 people will crowd into the track on the west side of the city to watch the race and participate in the general revelry. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not release official attendance numbers, but it is said that the Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event on the planet. And this year, for the 100th race, all kinds of records are being set.

indy500Let’s get a bit of historical perspective: when the first 500 Mile Race was run:

  • A first-class stamp cost 2 cents
  • A Hershey chocolate bar cost 2 cents
  • A bottle of Coca-Cola cost 5 cents
  • A gallon of gas cost 6 cents
  • A box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes went for under 10 cents
  • The average cost of a new car was $1,280, and a new home, $2,650

And, oh yeah, Wrigley Field would open in 2 years, and the Cubs hadn’t won a World Series for 3 years (I’m still waiting).

Should be wild around here for the next couple of days. Here are some links for those of you who would like to learn more about this racing institution, celebrating 100 years this weekend.

It’s a great weekend to live in Indy! So, come on everybody, start your engines, and let’s ramble at 225 mph today!

aieBx4ei4Hillary Clinton Speaks At Event At Center For American ProgressIs Hillary in big trouble?

The former First Lady and current presidential candidate found the temperature rising with regard to her email controversy. CNN reports:

While an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server continues, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General has raised the stakes with the release of a remarkable report finding that Clinton’s actions violated State Department policies and were inconsistent with federal record-keeping laws.

…the inspector general directly contradicts Clinton’s repeated assertions that she complied both with federal law and State Department policies. “At a minimum,” the report finds, “Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

Clinton’s defense has basically been, “Others did it too!” which sounds kind of like my kids when they were seven years old. I didn’t buy it then — will the public buy it now? The report does point out that Colin Powell also used private email and failed to protect correspondence, but is that going to be enough to protect Ms. Clinton?

Despite the inspector general’s report, criminal charges against Clinton remain highly unlikely. While the report provides previously nonpublic information relevant to Clinton’s motivations, the available public evidence remains insufficient to illustrate two facts needed for a criminal charge — that she knew that emails on her private server were classified and that she intentionally mishandled classified information.

No doubt this will constitute a major theme of discussion for some time in the run-up to the election.

aieBx4ei4gettyimages-534639990_wide-da016006eaa62e638de91dc8340350e39289a7ef-s1800-c85President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima this week.

Have you ever wondered how the U.S. military decided that Hiroshima was the city on which to unleash the atomic bomb? A fascinating article by Paul Ham at The Atlantic tells us.

A group in Los Alamos, New Mexico gathered in May, 1945 to discuss options. They were known as the Target Group, and this was the question before them: Which of the preserved Japanese cities would best demonstrate the destructive power of the atomic bomb?

General Leslie Groves, the Army engineer in charge of the Manhattan Project, had been ruminating on targets since late 1944; at a preliminary meeting two weeks earlier, he had laid down his criteria. The target should: possess sentimental value to the Japanese so its destruction would “adversely affect” the will of the people to continue the war; have some military significance—munitions factories, troop concentrations, and so on; be mostly intact, to demonstrate the awesome destructive power of an atomic bomb; and be big enough for a weapon of the atomic bomb’s magnitude.

Tokyo, Ham reports, had been eliminated from consideration because it had already been devastated and was in a state of rubble. The group narrowed down their choices to four: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura. As they considered Hiroshima, they observed that it

…was “an important army depot and port of embarkation,” …situated in the middle of an urban area “of such a size that a large part of the city could be extensively damaged.” Hiroshima, the biggest of the “unattacked” targets, was surrounded by hills that were “likely to produce a focusing effect which would considerably increase the blast damage.” On top of this, the Ota River made it “not a good” incendiary target, raising the likelihood of its preservation for the atomic bomb. Hiroshima met the criteria — “a large urban center, the psychological impact of which should be “spectacular” to ensure “international recognition” of the new weapon.”

Ham’s article painstakingly describes the process as the discussion went through several committees. In one of his most troubling paragraphs, he writes

…not one of the committee men raised the ethical, moral, or religious case against the use of an atomic bomb without warning on an undefended city. The businesslike tone, the strict adherence to form, the cool pragmatism, did not admit humanitarian arguments, however vibrantly they lived in the minds and diaries of several of the men present.

The debate continued until it was finally decided that Hiroshima would be the site. Weather forecasts promised clear weather for August 6, 1945.

aieBx4ei4It is graduation season of course, and time for loads of boring speeches.

However, one of the better endings to a speech came from Hank Azaria, as he congratulated the students at Tufts University using his Simpsons’ voices.

aieBx4ei4The newest Rapture theory

…comes from Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famous evangelist Billy Graham.

Lotz, who has previously said that she believes the Rapture will occur during her lifetime, reasoned that the fact that her father is still alive might have something to do with the return of Christ.

“I thought it had to do with the Return of Jesus and I won’t go there right now, but I wonder also if [my father] is here … to be an encouragement to you — that there is a man that is still faithful, still has a heart for the Gospel, heart for God, heart for the lost and still prays,” she continued. “In fact, he prays in his preaching voice. He is still kicking. Maybe that will encourage you to be faithful through persevering in the ministry to which God has called you.”

In an interview with The Christian Post following her speech, Lotz clarified what she meant when she said her father’s aliveness could possibly have something to do with the coming of Christ.

“My father’s life is very unique. His life in ministry will never be equalled. The fact that he is still on this planet at 97 years of age, that is not an accident,” she explained. “God is not whimsical and he does everything intentionally. The fact that my father is still here, God is holding him for a reason.”

“One of the things that I thought possibly — only God would know — when my father goes to Heaven, one more time, the Gospel will be preached to the whole world,” Lotz continued.

She cited Matthew 24:14, which states: “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

“Every news outlet, I would think, they won’t be able to talk about Billy Graham without talking about the Gospel, I wouldn’t think unless they do contortions,” she stated. “So, maybe God is holding him for that particular moment in time, in timing for things that will happen at the very end of this age.”

In another prediction, Ms. Lotz said, “I believe America is in the last stage of this downward spiral into the abyss of God’s judgment.”

In a scintillating display of exegetical skill with Romans 1, she was somehow able to find how abandoning Creationism and embracing evolution leads to sexual immorality and ultimately judgment.

What is it with Billy Graham’s kids these days?

aieBx4ei4amish-voting-featuredNow, who saw this coming?

Reports are that there is a new Republican Super PAC that is focusing on getting a specific population of previously untapped voters to vote for Donald Trump.

You guessed it. Let me introduce you to “Amish PAC” — “the first Super PAC dedicated to getting plain voters to the polls.”

Amish PAC’s co-founder, Ben Walters, said his group’s goal is to mobilize a previously untapped bloc of conservative voters for a general election fight against Hillary Clinton. The group is focused on the key swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are each home to about 60,000 Amish people.

…Walters said in an interview that he and others started Amish PAC to reach out to this culturally isolated community, basically because no one else had tried it yet.

“It became clear that Republicans were doing a bad job of reaching out to probably one of the most deeply conservative pockets of potential voters in the country,” he said.

Word also has it that Bernie Sanders is making a last minute push to get out the Zoroastrian vote in his efforts to surpass Hillary Clinton.

aieBx4ei4Let’s not forget the real reason for Memorial Day.

Chris McGonigal, the photo editor at Huffington Post, has put together a remarkable and moving series of photos to remind us of those whose service and sacrifice we recall this weekend. I hope you’ll follow the link and spend some time reflecting on the toll war takes, not only on the fallen we remember on Memorial Day, but also on those they leave behind.

May these pictures be constant reminders for us all to pray and work for peace.

Nathaniel Marley, 4, salutes the graves of service men and women as well as his grandpa as he is taught to pay respect and say thank you by his father, U.S. Army veteran Bruce Marley, of San Diego, not pictured, on a Memorial Day weekend at Rosecrans National Cemetery overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Point Loma, San Diego. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Nathaniel Marley, 4, salutes the graves of service men and women as well as his grandpa as he is taught to pay respect and say thank you by his father, U.S. Army veteran Bruce Marley, of San Diego, not pictured, on a Memorial Day weekend at Rosecrans National Cemetery overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Point Loma, San Diego. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

aieBx4ei4Finally, there’s only one song to play today. Two years ago, Jim Nabors sang his last rendition of “Back Home Again in Indiana” before joining with Mary Hulman George to say the iconic words, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

Here it is, with wishes for a safe, happy, and reflective Memorial Day weekend.

126 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: May 28, 2016 – Race Version

  1. Fat Man Mk.1 #s 3 and 4 were already being assembled on Tinian when the surrender came through. And I’m sure additional plutonium pits were being refined and cast at Oak Ridge.

    For a look at the last days of WW2 from the Japanese POV, I found a used paperback years ago titled “Japan’s Longest Day” by the “Pacific War Research Society”. If you can scare up a copy, DO SO. It catalogs those two weeks in August in detail — the unprecedented appeal to the Emperor, the coups, the counter-coups, the assassinations, the infighting by the Army (the lynchpin of Japanese Fascism) to continue the war literally to the last Japanese in a nationwide mass seppuku.

    Suprisingly, a major focus in keeping Japan from forcing its own extermination was General Anami, War Minister and biggest advocate of mass seppuku — Until the word came from the Emperor himself. At that point, Anami bowed to the Emperor’s decision and found himself in the middle of Army conspiracies to kidnap or even assassinate the Emperor (in the Name of the Emperor, of course) and restart the war. Anami played a bluff, appearing indecisive and neutral to stall the plottersl; if he showed favor, they’d launch the coup, and if he came out against it they’d write him off (probably with a katana like they did one general) and go ahead anyway. Anami stalled them for days, then committed formal seppuku on the last day before surrender, after leaving a final statement (and death poem) that his suicide was for all, that no one else was to follow him that way, they would be needed to rebuild Japan.


  2. While I’ve not followed her closely I did attend the same church for a while and my wife has attended some of her talks. We both feel that to a large degree she operate more as an evangelical superstar than someone spreading the Word. Which is different from her father who a great evangelical preacher who at times got caught up in the superstar hype.


  3. Every day Trump sounds more and more like the raving lunatic that he is; today is no exception. I expect him to start foaming at the mouth sometime around the Republican national convention. That people continue to support him, large numbers of people, is a testament to the vitality of nihilism in the American body politic. I pray that he will be defeated.


  4. Yes, I was thinking of thst ehen i wrote the comment… gender roles are a ptidon in those vhurches, even in the more libersl wings.


  5. I guess my thought was that you probably didn’t have to write, “What is it with Billy Graham’s kids these days?” The implication is that there is, indeed, something wrong with them. Regardless of where Mrs. Lotz stands on evolution, creation, sexual depravity, the rapture, the state of our nation, etc., her bottom line is sharing the gospel and encouraging folks to trust Christ as Savior. I find that mission quite admirable! Personally, I think dedicated Christians get enough grief from non-believers, and could probably get a little slack from their fellow-Christians. But that’s just me… Have a GREAT Lord’s Day!


  6. Reading this morning of the six major media conglomerates, I discover that Fox owns Harper, who publish stars like NT Wright, and Zondervan, probably the premiere Evangelical book publisher. Public Broadcasting was nowhere to be found amongst the bought and paid for, at least on this list. You might find my name on their own list of owners somewhere down toward the bottom.


  7. “If you put all the miracles ever wrought into one pile, they would look like a grain of sand compared to the galaxiesful of noninterventionist, luck-of-the-draw operations by which God normally lets the world run itself. And do you see what that means? People always talk as if miracles were the holy thing and ordinary events were simply profane. But if God’s all-but-total way of managing the universe is simply chance (which, even in the Bible, it certainly is—biblical grass grew mostly by luck or by gorry, and biblical rain fell the same way), then luck is just as holy as miracle because it’s just as much God’s way of doing business. Maybe it’s even holier, because he seems to like working by it a lot more of the time. And you don’t even have to single out good luck for the accolade: as Charles Williams was fond of saying, “All luck is holy” —for the simple reason that all luck, good or bad, is God’s chosen métier.”

    – Robert Farrar Capon


  8. The House Committee on Natural Resources says that the California drought is man made. I think many of their points are sound, although the report is filled with partisan code words which make me more skeptical than usual. Unfortunately, it sounds like the Donald has confused “man made drought” with “no drought at all”.


  9. I thought your response was pretty measured, CM.
    If we wanted to ridicule Anne there is plenty of other material we could go through.


  10. numo,
    Sadly, the patriarchal violence which you mention can be seen even in the life of perhaps the most preeminent and renowned Mennonite theologian, John Howard Yoder, who is now known to have regularly sexually harassed and even assaulted his female colleagues.


  11. Oh no, Christiane, if anyone did the “corrupting,” it’s them – cooking for 10-12 or even more daily = shortcuts so less prep timr. The Smidh in places like Lancaster Vounty aren’t living jn some pastoral vision ofloveliness; they are very much in the here snd now. A lot are not farmers anymore, either. Amish contractors drive bulldozers snd build subdivisions there, among other things. Still others can furnish your house for you, or do custom cabinetry, or build your patio.


  12. I think leaving is a complicated process, emotionally and psychologically. It doesn’t surprise me thst many who leave get caught up in the whole God and Country thing. I don’t think pacificism is so important to them, except as an adpect of their separateness and collective identity. There certainly is a lot of domestic violence in Amish, Mennonite and Church of the Brethren virvles, which is, according to a former CoftheB person i know, an active example of how they pick and choose where and how pacifism applies. Basically, patriarchy trumps peace in a lot of these folks’ lives, in no uncertain terms. (Child sexual abuse is slso far too common…)

    And yeah, there were people out actively canvassing Amish, Mennonites etc. where i live. The Defense of Marriage legislation was one of their big selling points.


  13. Putin would make mincemeat out of Trump. Trump has a pathological need for the admiration of macho male figures, which makes him vulnerable to the canny and flattering depredations of someone like Putin, who would play him like no tomorrow.


  14. Yes, I lost my head there for a moment; Bernie would be fine as the Democratic opponent of Clinton. But unless she is indicted, he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance of being nominated, and even if Clinton is indicted, Bernie has perhaps made too many powerful enemies in the Democratic Party.


  15. I agree! Given the alternative, I’ll certainly vote for her.

    But as for your second point, no, if she’s indicted it’s Bernie, and I think he has a better chance against Trump.


  16. Win the election, she must.

    In all seriousness, she needs to remind people that they’re electing someone to have talks with Putin.

    Then again, half the current problem is that some people are under the impression that some wise cracks and a little bravado are going to make Russia, China, or Mexico roll over like obedient little puppies.


  17. Well, the good one was not spoken at my graduation, sadly. But I figure everyone who got a poor one is allowed to adopt one of the good ones.


  18. You need to publish a calendar or something. One for every day. That was beautiful. You may already have enough material.


  19. Not sure I exactly “ridiculed” her. I said her exegesis was bad and I questioned her perspective when she speculated that God may be keeping her dad around as part of his divine timetable for the end times.

    If you don’t find her words a bit fringe-y, well, we differ.


  20. Given a choice between Crooked Hillary and Crazy Trump, I choose the former.

    This is beginning to sound like a Dickens novel.


  21. Ted, Even if she intentionally destroyed those emails, even if she stole US Government property by moving them to her private email server in her home, even if it’s a federal crime to destroy said federal property, I still have to vote for her, because the man she’s likely to run against is perverse and as good as insane, and must be kept away from the corridors of official power.

    If she’s indicted, the country is doomed.


  22. Oh, hallelujah! Donald Trump has pronounced that there is no drought problem in California! Let the spigots flow, let the wall be built, it’s gonna be big, and he’ll pay for the lawyers, he promises!


  23. One problem, it seems to me, is that large numbers of Evangelical leaders/preachers, Anne Graham Lotz among them, spend an awful lot of time screaming about God “removing His hand of protection,” or some such, from the US over every scientific or social development they don’t like, and yelling that they are being persecuted whenever someone points out that they are free to follow whatever they believe that the Bible says, just as other people are free to ignore it.

    To quote the original IMonk, “Nobody likes a religion with people screaming.”

    Chaplain Mike’s mileage may vary, of course.


  24. Okay, I see. I was given to understand, from what I’ve read, that having a server installed at home was unique for a person in her, or a similarly powerful, office, and had not been done before. But I do get what you’re saying about privacy; that does make sense.


  25. I can recall nothing from either of the commencement speeches I’ve been present for while sitting under a mortarboard. I was too distracted. As for the speeches where I was a guest, watching a son or family friend’s graduation, I can recall only one, and vaguely. It was a young woman who was an alumna of the high school where she was speaking. She had ‘made good’ and had been asked to return to speak. She spent 20 minutes talking about how awesome she was now that she was out of med school on her first rotation. You’d have thought she’d cured ‘natural causes’ or something. Insufferable. A memorable and worthwhile commencement speech is a rare thing. I’m glad you were able to hear a good one.


  26. You Dems in the room crack me up. There is no way you would be letting Hillary off the hook if she was a Republican instead of a Democrat. So get off your high horses and admit what she did was borderline bad, or at least admit to your hypocrisy.


  27. Chaplain Mike – Is there a particular reason you feel it necessary to ridicule Anne Graham Lotz? I get the impression she was speculating, rather than “predicting.” Also, MANY Christ-followers believe our country is going to “hell in a handbasket,” so to speak. If you don’t think there’s a possibility we could suffer the “judgment of God,” I can give you some Biblical references for others who thought the same.


  28. I grew up listening to Billy Graham and hearing about him (a close friend of our family knew Billy Graham when
    Billy was in college). His ministry and example continue to be an inspiration to me. I have also been impressed with his daughter Anne. She has boldly ministered in and to a church culture in which women doing ministry are not always appreciated, and has not always been received kindly. Yet she has followed God’s call on her life.


  29. Richard, you might want to fact check your assertions that there was no illegal activity on the part of Sec. Clinton; by that I mean look to others beside the Clinton campaign or the DNC for those facts. Those emails were property of the US Govt. She had no legal right to destroy US Govt. property. When she moved those emails to her private server in Chautauqua, NY that was also theft of govt. property. Those are real legal issues, not simply a matter of State Dept. procedure. Her cavalier behavior does call into question her judgment concerning the handling sensitive government documents and does not speak well of her qualifications to serve as the POTUS. I’m sure if a low level employee of the State Dept., or the CIA, or the NSA was found to have done the same they would have been indicted.

    Just because previous administrations may or may not have done the same is, of course, no excuse. She certainly has placed herself in a precarious situation.


  30. Agree. If I were her, my strategy would be to simply talk about the day to day, run of the mill government stuff she has done. Stuff that the Donald knows nothing about.


  31. Well, I doubt that a State Dept email would have been required to be surrendered, but deleting sure was a no-no. Point is, she was either incompetently sloppy or she was hiding something.


  32. Robert, during that period I was on the school board of a very small town, and our email protocol was far stricter than what Hillary followed.

    Independently of the law, we became very careful of what we could or should say in an email, and we were made to understand by our superintendent that anything school-related, even on a personal account, was legally available under the Freedom of Information Act and, if requested, must be surrendered and not deleted. I find it hard to believe that somebody in the State Department couldn’t have clued her in on that.


  33. For another look at “why Hiroshima” and not other cities, read Chaim Potok’s novel The Book of Lights. It’s about a young man whose father was one of the scientists who designed the bomb—which had been planned for Kyoto, the ancient capital—and and whose mother was a renowned artist who fought to preserve Kyoto at the expense of another city.

    And I still think we nuked Japan in order to keep the Soviets out. Remember, we were allied with them and let them have a large share of Europe in the bargain. Not Japan, though.


  34. I’m sure Amish food fresh from the garden is healthy. Hamburger Helper? Oh no, we’ve corrupted the gentle Amish people with our Walmarts!!! God forgive us.

    BTW, if anyone is traveling up north and wants a really good meal, the best places are all the Greek diners where food is cheaper and more plentiful and GOOD!!!! Lots of salads, veggies, fresh-cooked meals, and desserts to die for. I’m in another part of the country now . . . no Greek diners. Our restaurants, even the better ones, don’t compare. Ask for anything ‘eggplant’ and they look at you like you’re crazy. (sigh)


  35. I think the full-on attack strategy would fail for her. That’s not her style, the other two do it much better; it’d be like an amateur boxer going against Ali (back in the day).

    I think her best approach is to play the wisened sage.


  36. So you get faux news AND Petroleum Broadcasting Network? Be careful your set doesn’t topple over on it’s right side. 🙂


  37. Yes, I do. For two reasons. First, Hillary’s communications are not easily classified as “truth” or “falsehood”, so even if she told the gospel, everyone would still question it. Second, this isn’t about emails or telling the truth. It never has been. It is about folks who desperately want Hillary to be as bad as their candidate. If telling the truth were the issue, the conversation wouldn’t be so partisan.


  38. This is absolutely normal. If you are concerned about privacy but do not control physical access to the server/storage then you do not care about privacy. Any server located on the property of a public corporation is ‘easily’ open to legal discovery and audit. US law is very clear on this – you have no protections on the premises of a public corporation. So many private servers are intentionally located on private property; then someone needs to serve YOU with a warrant – so you at least know it is happening AND have to opportunity to contest it.


  39. “Slow Joe” Biden does have some things in his favor. Tends to speak direct (though not as in-your-face as Sanders or Trump), and is an old-school politico who knows the ins & outs of Congress. I’ve heard it said that on some of his speeches before he became Veep, he’d start with the standard talking points as if reading off a checklist, then go “That’s what my handlers said I had to tell you. Now here’s what I want to tell you…” and go off onto the real speech.

    Unfortunately, Hillary is the kind of Pointy-Haired Boss Candidate to whom NO ONE else can be allowed to shine. Until this election, the Vice-President of the previous administration has always made a bid for the White House, at least in the Primary season.


  40. The man behind “10,000 tons of napalm, every night”, General Curtis LeMay (probably the most aggressive general in US history, and that includes George Patton & Bedford Forrest) wanted to expand this for the final assault on Japan. Literally covering the entire Japanese Home Islands with a rolling barrage of napalm, dropped by a never-ending stream of B-29s, B-32s, and B-36s.

    LeMay went on to command Strategic Air Command (the BIG nukes) during the early Cold War, and lost none of his aggressiveness. He was said to have had a shouting match after the Cuban Missile Crisis with that coward Kennedy who backed away from LeMay’s opportunity to eliminate the USSR forever; JFK had to pull rank on him as Commander-in-Chief. THAT”s how aggressive LeMay was; in the words of Jerry Pournelle, “The type of general you freeze in stasis when the war’s over and DON’T unfreeze him until you’re in the next war”.

    After LeMay’s retirement, NOBODY in the Pentagon ever put four stars on the shoulder of anyone that aggressive again. Or wanted to.

    In Fiction, however…
    Do you remember the Military Establishment characters in movies & TV since Vietnam, genocidally aggressive? Heading the Pentagon Establishment behind weapons such as the Blob (in the Remake) or the unstoppable Zombiemaker bioweapon in Resident Evil? They are exaggerated fictionalizations (minus the trademark cigar) of General LeMay.


  41. Ah, commencements speeches. Mine was unimpressive, and downright wrong: it summed up the challenges of adult life as a being like finding a pornographic magazine on the back steps of a hotel, and deciding whether or not to pick it up. Apparently all decisions in life are questions of personal moral purity and tests of that purity. Sigh.

    But I love the one novelist David Foster Wallace gave:

    Money Quotes:

    “As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master. . . .”

    ” This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship. . . .

    “Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

    “They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

    “And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and [unintelligible — sounds like “displayal”]. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

    “That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”


  42. Yeah, she’s DOA, the opposite of her husband, who is a natural and genial politician, which means very close to a natural and genial used car salesman.


  43. David,
    If total war doctrine is correct, and no one is innocent in a conflict, and therefore civilians are a legitimate target, then there is no ethical argument to be made against the methods that terrorists use, including bombing civilian airports, cutting off people’s heads for broadcast on Youtube, torture, etc., or against the means that would-be President Trump supports when talks about targeting the families of terrorists, water-boarding-and-more, etc. All we have is our feeble argument that such methods are illegitimate for non-state actors, and arguing that the ends of our opponents are illegitimate; but if the ends are good, and the initiator is “legitimate state” (an argument heavily advantaging those that already have power, and so transparently self-serving and unconvincing to the opponents we call terrorists, especially since some of them now claim to be a state), then all means are morally acceptable. Is that what you’re saying? If not, could you please spell out the difference between terrorism and total war for me; I’m a slow learner.


  44. Yes, everytime that someone says, “Well, it’ll just be interesting to see what he does. How bad can it be…”

    … all I can think is, “Well, I don’t know, but you are talking about giving someone whose judgement is highly suspect the nuclear codes, access to the world’s best military, the police power of the FBI. This is to say nothing of the CIA and NSA. So you’d better hope it’s boring.”

    Corruption is one kind of the problem; insanity and the will to cross over the usual conventions that govern and tame our political life is another kind of the problem to have.


  45. Peter Enns’ The Sin of Certainty – concerning Job:
    “God is just, after all, and does not punish on a flaky whim (like taking a bet?!).”
    I just happened to read that at this moment. That sounds like the whimsy you’re not so pleased at the thought of.


  46. David, the article points out that the people who made this decision intentionally chose to look away from military targets and to pinpoint specifically urban and civilian areas. Most of the factories and military installations were at the outskirts of the cities; the group wanted city center, to do the most damage to the civilian population and to reduce the city to rubble. Their goal was not at all unlike modern terrorists, who seek to destroy symbolic and civilian targets to send a message beyond the “mere” loss of life and to literally terrorize the enemy into submission.


  47. The whole premise behind nuclear deterrence is really a form of terrorism, state sponsored terrorism. The strategic bombing of whole cities; the targeting of civilian populations, populations that are said to support the enemy war effort and therefore considered legitimate targets; the intentional infliction of mass civilian casualties in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the intention to inflict mass civilian casualties involved in the nuclear war theory behind deterrence, not as “collateral damage” but for intended “strategic” purposes, is terrorism. The whole idea behind total war leads inevitably to state sponsored terrorism.

    Once the industrial revolution got going, total war was inevitable. A non trivial part of winning a war, NO MATTER WHO STARTED IT, means bringing the most industrial capacity to bear. One of many factors in WWII with Germany which led to their losing was not going fully industrial in their war efforts until it was too late. Japan starting running short of stuff early on and held on mostly via huge sacrifices of men after they could no longer build the stuff you fight with.[1]

    While targeting cities is a terrible thing, as long as the civilians are building the stuff used to fight the war and the factories are in the cities, they will be targets.

    [1] No matter what people wish was true; Japan’s military was determined to defend the homeland to the bitter end. Their offerings for ending the war in the summer of 1945 involved them just to stop fighting and pull back to their islands with their military intact. Oh, and also keep Manchuria. And before the bombs were dropped they had 7 or more divisions getting ready to defend the homeland plus were training up the “innocent” civilians to fight.


  48. As always, (this could probably be said about every topic and every comment on every post) reality is multifaceted. How could God not also be circumspect and intentional? It just caught me when she said that, that we often make these one sided assumptions that serve to contain things for us in an easy and manageable way when God is anything but easy and manageable. He is also Awesome and greatly to be feared; not to be trifled with. She is exasperating and confounding and infuriating and scary. Still They (as in, “We will make them in our image and our likeness”) are our loving Lord and we can approach confidently. It’s everything you said. I reacted to the thin ice we walk on and regularly accept when we say God is this and never does that.


  49. We do have to remember that e-mail is a recently developed and developing communication technology, and the regulations for it are still developing, and have not bee exhaustively codified. We should Clinton at least that much slack.

    The placement of the server in her private home still makes me highly suspicious of her motivations, even if no crime was committed.


  50. Watch him really start to spin out conspiracy theories then. And his followers will claim that all of the paranoia is warranted, because their man, who is now in the know, says, “Believe me!”


  51. He will soon start to receive intelligence briefings from the federal government, as one of two candidates likely to become President.


  52. I watched a video of her speaking at a recent event, and it seemed as though I was observing an animated corpse.


  53. Yes, I recently read about that, too. According to the article that I read, they were motivated by his identity as an evangelical. Not surprisingly, when Amish/Mennonites leave the Plain, they often become evangelicals; but they also often become big supporters of the American militarism which is surprising.


  54. Auto racing and football: two ‘Murican pastimes, the dislike (and dislike is too weak a word) of which makes me doubt my own bona fides as an ‘Murican.


  55. Or the firebombing of Tokyo, Kobe and other Japanese cities. As in Vietnam, Curtis LeMay was more yhan ready to dump nspslm on civilians.


  56. If God is whimsical, how could evolution have produced lions that hunt, kill and eat the weakest and youngest of the gazelle herd? I’m not arguing against the necessity of it, given the imperfection of the world as it exists, but I don’t see any whimsy there.

    It’s seems more like God has her whimsical moments, and then there are other moments not so whimsical. Perhaps in creating God is up against necessities (apologies to those who insist that Christian orthodoxy is bound to a voluntarist view of God, in which God’s will and its efficacy are the indispensable to God’s being) that we don’t understand.


  57. I go along with that to a certain extent, but it gets difficult for me personally when God’s whimsy plays rough; at that point, I feel like the scrawny kid being used as a prop in the bully’s schoolyard game.


  58. If God is not whimsical, how could evolution have produced the giraffe, the platypus, or the creatures found in the Burgess Shale?


  59. Bully Graham’s daughter made the common observation, “God is not whimsical and he does everything intentionally.” I beg to differ. I think whimsy is the secret spark of heaven and the Angels. It’s the seed of creativity. It is God’s joy to spontaneously give and accept love. His working through formulaic restriction is our tool to keep Him under wraps. ‘Well Gaud would never….’ Oh really? Never? So we are all sure about that? No need to remain open to the unexpected? Jesus was unexpected in every way though he had been announced for millennia.
    On a lighter note, Hank Azaria was brilliant!


  60. Just got a refurbished TV, a forty incher so I can read who people are. Figured if the world is going to come to an end here soon, I want to watch. It picks up both PBS and Fox, so that should keep it from tipping over to either side. In the meantime I can offer to let my Amish neighbors come over to watch the political ads directed at them. Speaking of political ads, I saw something intriguing last night in the hour I tested it out after hooking it up to the air waves.

    On Charlie Rose’s weekly review, he ran a five minute spot almost without comment. It was a highly polished and professionally produced piece about Joe Biden writing a letter to himself at twelve years old, telling him to hang in there in spite of a speech impediment and bullies, for important things were ahead that he would be part of. This might have been considered a diversionary fluff job by most who saw it, but the only way it made sense to me was as the initial presentation of his resume for Democrat presidential candidate as endorsed by our sitting president.

    Don’t want to spoil the fun for those wringing their hands over the current programmed scenario, and don’t mean to say this one is bound to replace it, but every day there is a new salvo launched at the Billary and this was a huge one, sort of like an aircraft carrier or battleship dropping anchor just off your coast. And for those who would not be able to vote for genial Joe either, the Libertarian party is now starting to make noise. Stay tuned.


  61. An orgy of death and destruction, unleashed by a nation full of Christians. It must have made the gods happy.


  62. you would think with Billy Graham’s humility, these ‘kids’ might have absorbed a bit . . . it’s Franklin and his politics that horrify me, when I think that he is trading on the family name in pursuit of political power

    Billy Graham is iconic in our country. His children? They have not earned their own fame apart from that of their father. He still carries them. I wish Franklin was more like his father instead of the opportunist he has become.


  63. Would anyone give the nuclear codes to a Donald Trump?????
    Good grief, what have people done?


  64. On morning drive-time yesterday, they were interviewing a political campaign manager for an analysis of the possible campaign strategies. I heard the part with “If you were managing Hillary’s campaign, how would you run it?”

    His answer was to forget Sanders, immediately go into full attack mode on Trump, and keep attacking without letup. That this was her best shot with all the negatives against her. And that she needs to get “more real” — Trump and Sanders have a big advantage in that they speak directly, regardless of the reaction or fallout; Hillary sounds like every word out of her mouth was pre-scripted by attorneys, spinmeisters, yes-men and focus groups. She doesn’t have Bill’s charisma (which led the analyst to remark “Bill Clinton is the most skilled politician in the country. She’s not.”). And that she could have defused the email server scandal by being direct as in “The Republicans have been digging for dirt on me for twenty years; I don’t want Bill watching Dancing with the Stars dug up and thrown into the headlines.”


  65. Hmm. It was mentioned in all the news reports I read. Maybe you need to re-think your news sources.

    Party Line, Comrades.
    Party First, Comrades.


  66. People keep acting like what was done by “conventional” bombings was different. It wasn’t. Nuclear weapons just made it possible for a few planes[1} to do what a 1000 had been doing previously.

    1000 B-29s a night, each B-29 loaded with over ten tons of napalm and coming in low. B-29’s stripped of their defensive armament to increase the bomb load tonnage (i.e. More Napalm).
    Ten Thousand Tons of Napalm a night.
    Every night.


  67. Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, of which Amish cooking is a variant, is not so good. Something I’ve learned from living in south central PA for the last decade.


  68. Many do, mostly when it comes to local issues, although some do vote in national elections.


  69. I wonder if anyone has told her that it’s becoming more and more common for people to live well into their 90’s, and even to crack the 100 barrier these days? (53,364 in the US alone, per 2010 census.)


  70. Let’s not forget that the quickest genocide in history, the Rwandan genocide, was largely perpetrated without any “modern” weapons.


  71. In the time frame of the nuclear age, if we total up the number of casualties due to nuclear weapons, direct and indirect, instant and delayed, and compare them to the total number of casualties worldwide due to conventional weapons in the same time period, we’ll see many many more were caused by plain ole regular weapons like rifles, mines and bombs. Nuclear weapons are the bogeyman, but war continues on in its traditional means like always before, unstopped.


  72. But Adam, she had the server installed in her home. According to what I’ve read, this was unique, and it meant that in order for those investigating this matter to access the communications on that server, Clinton had to hand them over herself; no one else in federal government had direct access to the e-mails. Everything came to the investigators filtered through her control, and editing.

    Is this incorrect? I’d like to know if it is, since I’d like to have more faith in the presidential candidate that I have no choice but to vote for in November, rather than feeling compelled to believe that she did something tantamount to a Nixonian manipulation.


  73. No, you are right about the emails. It is part of the pattern of the past quarter century of Republicans trying everything they can think of to mire the Democrats in general, and Clintons in particular, in scandal. The problem they have is that they mostly can’t find anything real. The best they have managed in all that time is that Bill got a BJ and was not entirely forthright about it. So instead we get stuff like Benghazi: a screw-up, but a tiny one compared with the epic screw-ups of Bush or Reagan. But they talk about it endlessly because what else are they going to do? At the very least, they have manged to use their smoke machine to convince a lot of people that Hillary is untrustworthy, on the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” principle.


  74. If she wouldn’t have lied, evaded and obfuscated when questioned do you think it would still be an issue? Powell hasn’t questioned, and neither was Bush. THEY aren’t running for president, are they…


  75. The take-away is that stopping for lunch at a restaurant promising Amish food might not be as good an idea as one might imagine.


  76. This is much less clear than you imagine. She violated department policy, which isn’t quite the same thing.

    That RNC server during the Bush administration, on the other hand, is a far more clear violation. Yet you pass over that unmentioned in your righteous outrage. Why is that?


  77. An Amish PAC. What a great idea! I can see it now, TV ads and radio spots talking about which “English” to vote for. A Amish actor “drives” up in the one-horse buggy with his wife and children. Looking into the camera, he says “I don’t always vote, but when I vote I vote for Trump. Stay humble my friends.”


  78. The whole premise behind nuclear deterrence is really a form of terrorism, state sponsored terrorism. The strategic bombing of whole cities; the targeting of civilian populations, populations that are said to support the enemy war effort and therefore considered legitimate targets; the intentional infliction of mass civilian casualties in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the intention to inflict mass civilian casualties involved in the nuclear war theory behind deterrence, not as “collateral damage” but for intended “strategic” purposes, is terrorism. The whole idea behind total war leads inevitably to state sponsored terrorism.

    We should not be surprised when others, who have no state base, emulate the terrorism practiced by states: they’ve learned the “necessity” and “legitimacy” of doing so from the states. That’s why the twentieth century became the womb of the age of terrorism, which continues into the present, and will not end any time soon, if ever. ISIL adds another wrinkle, by taking territory and claiming statehood, and then practicing terrorism in service of the objectives and values of its own concept of legitimate state interest. You can draw all the theoretical distinctions between total war and terrorism based on the presence or absence of a “legitimate” state actor that you want, but ISIL and many others are not listening to the theory, which they view as the self-serving and self-legitimating ploy of those who already have power; however many other things they may be wrong about (and there are many), are they wrong about this?


  79. What’s interesting about bombing cities _at all_ is that up until the eve of WWII, it was considered an atrocity to indiscriminately bomb civilians, period. When the Japanese did so in Nanjing in the 1930s, it was considered beyond the pale, an act of barbarism. But just a few years later, whether in Dresden or Hiroshima, it wasn’t. Massive Allied air raids over Tokyo were touted as heroic. Jacques Ellul’s contention that technology has its own logic and momentum are on full display here.

    Did it save lives to drop the bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Almost certainly. Would a series of “demo” bombs have had the same effect with minimal loss of life? Perhaps, but given the fact Japan didn’t surrender immediately after the first, I’m not sure how many “demos” would have been required.

    In any case, the unavoidable fact is that it was almost entirely civilian lives that were sacrificed to save our soldier’s lives. While it’s likely that even more civilians would have died in a full-blown allied invasion, the decision to use the bombs should never be accepted casually. May we always wrestle with it.


  80. > And as I recall he did it with low level things that were not classified.

    No way.

    Except that one time when he forwarded an e-mail, forgetting about the attachment….

    E-mail systems leak, that is what they do. Honestly, that is sorta the point – ***easy*** point-to-multipoint messaging of any kind about anything.

    It is excruciatingly hard when moving all those messages around not to inadvertently move content from here to there. If you have a regulated job of any kind – and you use e-mail – I would pretty much guarantee you’ve done it. Perhaps you just don’t know you did, because you were busy doing your job.

    You can always use S/MIME or PGP/GPG, which really does solve the problem. But it works if pretty much everyone you communicate with does the same … and even knows what those things are. As that is never the case….


  81. The county in which I live is about 20% Amish. No, they do not vote. They do, however, load up on Mountain Dew, Hamburger Helper, cake mix, and disposable diapers at Walmart!


  82. Again, lamentable, but by the logic of modern warfare at that time, necessary. It’s better to prevent a war than to fight it.


  83. I always enjoy it in movies when someone ‘hacks’ – always using a colorful graphical interface – a system that dates back to the ’70s and has no idea what a “packet” or “GUI” even is, as those things did not exist when it was installed…. and it has never been replaced or upgraded.

    The number of critical systems in our lives where “networking” involves an RS-232 port and the CPU has “Zilog” printed on it…. And there are lots of radio frequency and direct wire systems. If you want to ‘hack’ those you need a screw driver.

    But at least almost all the first and second generation VSAT systems are gone – man, those were horrible. Not need to hack them as they worked so infrequently. 🙂


  84. Anyone want to talk about Colin Powell’s email procedures when he was Secretary of State? No? Funny that. It was discussed in the report as well, but you don’t hear about it.

    Hmm. It was mentioned in all the news reports I read. Maybe you need to re-think your news sources.

    Anyway CP’s practices were mentioned and apparently he purposely did what he did to force the department to start using emails. He broke the rules and knew it and admitted it. And as I recall he did it with low level things that were not classified.


  85. Well now this is interesting. I am a whisker away from invoking conspiracy theory, and this coming from a guy who believes that conspiracy theories are the intellectual stomping ground of non-intellectuals. But when you think about it, this report is the best possible thing that could have happened to Hillary. Consider the following:
    1) The report implicates so many people that nothing can actually be done about the findings.
    2) It gets everything out in the open for Hillary.
    3) It doesn’t really matter because Trump.
    4) It distracts from issues that might actually matter to voters, like Benghazi.
    5) It creates a narrative where Hillary is just following the status quo, not instigating anything.

    Personally, I agree Bernie on this one. No one who cares about politics cares about HIllary’s emails. This is a distraction. Or am I turning into 7 of 9 now?


  86. “these days”. She’s been this way for at least 20 years.

    I suspect a lot of it has to do with no one in her circle willing to tell her that maybe, just maybe she’s substituting her wishes for God’s plans.

    I was in a Sunday school class with her and her husband for a while 15 years ago or so and she was treated so much like royalty that some of us wondered just who we were there to study and worship.


  87. Pretty much it. This as a story is a dog that just won’t hunt, survey after survey has found that people don’t care.

    I don’t care.

    And I both operate a private e-mail server, and have helped other people setup private e-mail servers. They are all over the place. And the amount of government, confidential, corporate, etc… documents on “cloud” [more correctly “SaaS”] e-mail services like hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc… is ***IMMENSE*** [is anyone crazy enough to actually trust them?]. Violations of terms-of-use, HIPPA, FERPA, confidentiality, classification, …. are pretty much as common as water in the ocean. This is as common as the use of profanity around children.

    Being upset about this while not as upset about a whole lot of more significant issues can be nothing but partisan rhetoric. Or demonstrating that the terribly upset person has no idea what-so-ever what is actually going on.

    > But the pretense that her actions were in any way unusual is outright deception.

    Correct. It is far far more common than “unusual” describes.

    > If this is what you have been told, you were lied to.



  88. …not one of the committee men raised the ethical, moral, or religious case against the use of an atomic bomb without warning on an undefended city. The businesslike tone, the strict adherence to form, the cool pragmatism, did not admit humanitarian arguments, however vibrantly they lived in the minds and diaries of several of the men present.

    People keep acting like what was done by “conventional” bombings was different. It wasn’t. Nuclear weapons just made it possible for a few planes[1} to do what a 1000 had been doing previously. Fire bombing a major city had the same effect. We didn’t put out bulletins the night before so people could leave for those. Neither did the British, Soviets, Germans, Japanese, etc…

    [1] There were a few planes on the mission to lead the way and do follow up analysis.


  89. Uh, Ben Walters should have done some research before he started his Amish PAC. The Amish don’t participate in the American political system; like driving a car or having zippers on their clothes, it’s a violation of their particular religious practice. Like trying to convince Gandhi to get in the ring for a few rounds, trying to convince the Amish to vote would be a gross insult to their basic moral convictions.


  90. At least 1) they work, and 2) it is physically impossible for the Chinese to hack them 😉


  91. Hillary or Donald…

    Now THERE’S evidence of divine judgment against America for you. “CHOOSE! CHOOSE THE FORM OF THE DESTRUCTOR!!!’


  92. I read it as the kids taking the basic premises they were taught and always believed to their logical conclusions, w/o Dad’s moderating influence to check them. YMMV.


  93. I was struck by Graham’s daughter’s belief that her dad is still at the top of the evangelical heap and has enough clout with God to impact when the end comes. My first thought on reading her words were “Oh. I guess I didn’t realize Rev Graham was still alive!” I am fairly certain my children’s generation would have only a scant idea who he even is. I sense from his daughter that nostalgia for a time when life was good because everybody knew their place in society and weren’t being uppity.


  94. A lot MORE people would have died if we hadn’t dropped them. War is like that. We shouldn’t crow triumphantly about it, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the ugly alternatives either.

    Sometimes in life, all we can do is choose between the *least sinful* of the possible choices.


  95. “What is it with Billy Graham’s kids these days?”

    Possibly perhaps it has something to do with daddy Billy being gone from home much of the time, the inculcation of Premillennial Dispensationalism combined with a soteriology that believes that Divine Violence (PSA) is normative and that those who don’t say the Majik Incantation™ will abide an eternity of conscious torment?

    But maybe I’m way off base…


  96. Re Hillary emails: How the press will play this is one thing The “liberal media” is not as a class fond of her. But in the real world, this is nothing new or unusual. Yes, she was sloppy about email procedures. Apparently the State Department’s email system is (or at least was: they might have corrected this since) absolutely dire, so she worked around this. Have you ever worked for a company where the IT department was worse than useless, and you had to work around it? No? Lucky you. So what bad things happened because of her email procedures? Um…. *crickets chirping* None. Unless she loses to the Donald because of this. That would be a disaster to the entire nation, and indeed the entire world.

    Anyone want to talk about Colin Powell’s email procedures when he was Secretary of State? No? Funny that. It was discussed in the report as well, but you don’t hear about it.

    Anyone want to talk about how under the Bush administration many presidential emails were run on a Republican National Committee server, and how they were mysteriously deleted? No? Funny that.

    The point here isn’t just a game of “gotcha,” though that is always fun. The point is that Hillary was following the de facto standard procedures of high government officials, even though these were counter to the de jure procedures. Yes, this is a bad thing, and should be stopped. But the pretense that her actions were in any way unusual is outright deception. If this is what you have been told, you were lied to. When you talk to others about this, you have a decision. Are you going to lie, too?


  97. I would say that when we decided to count some people as 3/5 of other people would be a good place to look.


  98. Surely I’m not first?… Anyway, we hear often from a certain sector of christianity, how america began to lose its soul around the 60’s-70’s… In my opinion we lost it (or never had one) before then, maybe way before then. To me it’s always felt like we got away with something unspeakably evil/horrible when we dropped those bombs and prospered greatly soon after (the Psalmists lament, “Lord how long shall the wicked prosper…” comes to mind) If there’s a just God, and “you reap what you sow” is still in play, then I wonder how surprised and embittered we should act if things go badly for this republic… seems we deserve something (and of course there’s our other asian atrocity and our middle east atrocities as well)


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