The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 11, 2018

Chicago Skyline (2014)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 11, 2018

Greetings from Chicago!

Gail and I are taking a few days to get away and enjoy some of Chicago’s treats, including an evening at Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the U.S. This was a classical music night, featuring one of the world’s greatest orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of James Conlon. We heard Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto, No. 20. Rain forced us off of the wonderful picnicking grounds and into the pavilion, but that just put us closer to a sublime performance of a perfect summer music program.

We also took in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field on Friday and saw them beat the Washington Nationals 3-2, coming back after having been no-hit for the first six innings.

Today, we’ll do some walking through the Chicago Botanic Garden and then take an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River before heading home.

With all this activity, I’m hungry for some brunch, how about you?

Let’s start the day off with a smile…

From NPR:

The rapper Drake probably never dreamed that his song, “In My Feelings,” would inspire two Indian farmers to dance in the mud — with their oxen.

The song is addressed to a woman named Kiki: “Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me, ’cause I want you and I need you and I’m down for you always.”

In July, Instagram comedian and social media influencer Shiggy issued what he called the Kiki challenge. Dancing exuberantly, he asked his followers to shoot videos of themselves dancing to the lyrics.

His dance set social media feeds on fire, as people all over the world offered their version of the jig…

…Sriram Srikanth, 27, Anil Geela, 24, and Pilli Tirupati, 28, have lived most of their lives in the village of Lambadipally in the southern Indian state of Telangana. “Feelings” was the first English song Geela ever heard; he says he instantly fell in love with the lyrics. And his and his fellow farmers were definitely up for the Kiki challenge.

Say What? Running out of sand?

If you get a chance to tune in to the podcast from the NPR show 1A, make sure you listen to the one from this past week called, “The Battle for the Beach.”

Apart from water and air, humble sand is the natural resource most consumed by human beings. People use more than 40 billion tons of sand and gravel every year. There’s so much demand that riverbeds and beaches around the world are being stripped bare. (Desert sand generally doesn’t work for construction; shaped by wind rather than water, desert grains are too round to bind together well.) And the amount of sand being mined is increasing exponentially.

Though the supply might seem endless, sand is a finite resource like any other. The worldwide construction boom of recent years — all those mushrooming megacities, from Lagos to Beijing — is devouring unprecedented quantities; extracting it is a $70 billion industry. In Dubai enormous land-reclamation projects and breakneck skyscraper-building have exhausted all the nearby sources. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs.

Beiser’s book is called, The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization, and I’m curious to read it. Who’d a thunk that sand might become an endangered resource?

Italy joining the anti-vaxxers?

From CNN:

An amendment from Italy’s anti-establishment government that removes mandatory vaccination for schoolchildren is sending shock waves through the country’s scientific and medical community.

It suspends for a year a law that requires parents to provide proof of 10 routine vaccinations when enrolling their children in nurseries or preschools. The amendment was approved by Italy’s upper house of parliament on Friday by 148 to 110 votes and still has to pass the lower house.
How countries around the world try to encourage vaccination

The law had originally been introduced by the Democratic Party in July 2017 amid an ongoing outbreak of measles that saw 5,004 cases reported in 2017 — the second-highest figure in Europe after Romania — according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Italy accounted for 34% of all measles cases reported by countries in the European Economic Area, the center said.

Italy’s Five Star movement and its coalition partner, the far-right League, both voiced their opposition to compulsory vaccinations, claiming they discourage school inclusion.

League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in June that the 10 obligatory vaccinations, which include measles, tetanus and polio, “are useless and in many cases dangerous, if not harmful,” according to ANSA news agency.

“I confirm the commitment to allow all children to go to school,” he added. “The priority is that they don’t get expelled from the classes.”

Health Minister Giulia Grillo, a Five Star member, said the government wants to “spur school inclusion and simplify rules for parents.”

Bill Hybels’ and Willow Creek’s troubles escalate:

I was a pastor in the Chicago area and attending seminary when Willow Creek Community Church started hitting its stride as the model “seeker-sensitive” church in a new generation of the church growth movement. Many of us remained skeptical of their corporate ethos and mentality, as well as their distinctly non-theological ministry approach, feeling that they might be overly compromising the message of the gospel.

But it could not be denied that the church attracted people, and when I attended one Willow Creek conference, I too gained somewhat of an appreciation of their missional heart, their sincere desire to bring people to Christ, and their desire to build a community that provided for the needs of others.

Nevertheless, I never became a cheerleader for Willow Creek or the model it embodied. In many ways I have viewed it as the epitome of the juvenilization of American evangelical Christianity.

Well, it’s looking more and more like one of the juvenile traits founding pastor Bill Hybels never outgrew was his adolescent lust for the girls. This is ironic given Willow’s history of including women in ministry and leadership in a most commendable fashion. Well, Willow Creek’s troubles dramatically escalated this week, with new and more damning sexual misconduct accusations brought against Hybels. This led to the resignations of the lead pastors and board of elders.

Here are four articles from the NY Times detailing WC’s difficult week”

Some fun facts about Chicago…

  • First Ferris Wheel – Chicago World’s Fair 1893

    Chicago’s most well known nickname, the Windy City, was thought to be created by newspapers in rival cities. Several publications used the nickname as a reference not only to the weather, but also to Chicago’s politicians and the bragging habits of its citizens.

  • A few notables born in Chicago: Dorothy Hamill, Robin Williams, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Harrison Ford, Walt Disney, Mandy Patinkin, James Belushi, Jennifer Hudson, Hugh Hefner, Terrence Howard, Michael Clarke Duncan, Dwayne Wade, Mr. T, and Shel Silverstein.
  • Things invented in Chicago: the zipper, the Ferris Wheel, the Twinkie, the vacuum cleaner, spray paint, the first cell phone, roller skates, pinball, the remote control.
  • A few other Chicago firsts: the first skyscraper (the Home Insurance Bldg.), the first automobile race (1895), the first all-color TV station, the first televised presidential debate (Kennedy v. Nixon) was broadcast from here, the first elevated railway (1892), the first blood bank, the first gay rights organization, the first McDonalds restaurant. Chicago is the home of our first African-American president, Barack Obama.
  • Jean Baptiste Point duSable

    Chicago’s first permanent settler — and businessman — was Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, an African-American from what is now Haiti, in 1779. In DuSable’s home, which he shared with his Indian wife, the first marriage in Chicago was performed, the first election was held, and the first court handed down justice.

  • Chicago’s Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House, which was opened in 1889 to aid immigrants, was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
  • The first published use of the word “Jazz” was by a baseball pitcher, Ben Henderson, in 1912.
  • Historic Route 66 begins its westward journey in Chicago.
  • The game of 16-inch softball, played without gloves, was invented in Chicago.
  • In the 1920s, Chicago was home to the largest membership of the Ku Klux Klan in the US at 50,000 members.
  • Prohibition, or the outlaw of the sale and consumption of alcohol, began on July 1, 1919 in Chicago. This led to a rise in organized crime, and to the career of Chicago’s most famous mobster, Al Capone. Capone is thought to be behind one of the city’s most infamous crimes: the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1929).
  • Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. He studied drawing at Chicago’s McKinley High School and the Institute of Fine Arts.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago (my favorite museum) is home to the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris.
  • Cracker Jacks were first introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair.
  • In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project — reversing the flow of the Chicago River so that it emptied into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan.
  • Chicago was where the first fission reaction was created by a group of scientists working with physicist Enrico Fermi, under the football stands of the University of Chicago’s stadium.

And how could we talk about Chicago without hearing some blues?

A dozen dramatic photos from the California fires…

Lake Elsinore, CA. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty
Near Lodoga, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Near Clearlake Oaks, California. NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Satellite image of smoke over the Ranch Fire on Aug. 6, 2018. NASA Earth Observatory
Whiskeytown, CA. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Whiskeytown Lake. JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
Redding, CA. AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Carr Fire. Drone view from Hangar.
Clearlake Oaks, CA. Noah Berger/AFP/Getty Images
Redding, CA. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
West of Redding, CA. Fred Greaves/Reuters
San Bernadino National Forest. Mario Tama/Getty Images

A Quote from Jon Meacham’s The Soul of America…

I’ve just finished Jon Meacham’s wonderful book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. It provides a compelling meditation upon the history of our country from the viewpoint of the divisions that have so often and regularly beset us. It also focuses on the leadership of our presidents in particular and their role in helping us more fully achieve the ideals of our founding principles.

I hope to be reviewing this book soon, but here is an insightful excerpt:

In his farewell address in January 1989 [President Ronald] Reagan addressed himself to America’s generosity of spirit in his evocation of John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” — an image, in a sign of some consistency of thought among those who have led the nation, that John Kennedy had cited in his 1961 speech to the Massachusetts legislature as he prepared to leave for his inauguration in Washington. “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life,” Reagan said, “but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.” He went on:

“But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than the oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still….And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home.” (p. 261)

110 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 11, 2018

  1. EVERYTHING today Ees Political Matter, Comrades.

    Comes from the Righteous Activist mentality, where everything that happens is nothing more than An Opportunity to Advance MY Agenda.

    “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
    — Rahm Emmanuel, Mayor of Chicago and Daley Machine Hatchetman


  2. “Orr” IS the most common spelling of the name.

    And as for the Vast Deep State Conspiracy, these days that’s become Salvation-Level Dogma everywhere. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.


  3. WW I was a body blow to the Western consciousness that is still to be fully reckoned with.

    Anyone remember the short-lived TV show around the Nineties, Lucasfilm’s Young Indiana Jones?

    The most depressing episode?
    Versailles, 1919


  4. And I thought getting from Atlanta Georgia to Texarkana Texas and back in 28 hours was impressive…

    Sounds like getting across Los Angeles any time between 6 Ayem and Midnight.


  5. Check out Herbert Asbury’s Gem of the Prairie (retitled Gangs of Chicago in its latest printing) sometime.

    Around the turn of the 20th, organized crime in Chi-town was dominated by “Big Jim” Colosimo. But when Prohibition went into effect, he refused to go into bootlegging (as pressured by his underboss Johnny Torrio) and Torrio had him whacked.

    Torrio then took over the Outfit and ruled the Chi-town rackets as an underworld politician and diplomat — diplomacy, negotiation, drawing of territory borders, and only the occasional “disciplinary murder”. (Irish mobs still ran territories outside Torrio’s actual rule, but there was relative peace.) And Capone was Torrio’s underboss and Enforcer, such as when Torrio’s organization partnered with the Dem political machine as “pollwatchers” to “get out the vote” in the Cicero elections of 1924. (With making sure “the RIGHT vote got out” delegated to Capone. Let’s just say things got very lively.)

    Well, Torrio survived an assassination attempt and had to leave for New York, leaving his underboss in charge of the Outfit. And Capone was as different from Torrio as was possible. Whereas Torrio had run the Chi-town underworld with political skill and diplomacy (backed up by force), Capone was a flat-out street thug in the later tradition of Stalin & Saddam: “WHACK ‘EM! WHACK ‘EM ALL!”, always going to war after war with the other mobs in what got known as “The Beer Wars”. Capone’s enforcers invented the Tommy-gun Drive-By (which often involved additional gun positions in a crossfired “kill zone/fire sack”). He inherited Torrio’s political connections, i.e. the entire city government and authorities worked for Capone, directly or indirectly (including administering a near-fatal public beating to an uppity Mayor).


  6. While all the Christians chorus “HAYYYYY-MENNNNNN!”

    If not marking up their End Times Prophecy checklists and rejoicing as Rapture draweth nigh” as everything wears out and breaks down. “It’s All Gonna Burn.”


  7. And unlike the current Messiah figure, Reagan DIDN’T step directly from entertainment CELEBRITY into the Presidency. He retired from showbiz and built a “second vocation” political career over 12 years or so.


  8. I believe this statement is disingenuous. John is talking about illegal immigration, not to be lumped with legal immigration. Yes- immigration is positive for the country as it infuses new blood. But throughout our country’s history we always had rules regarding illegal immigration and at times we even had quotas. Allowing unfettered access across the border taxes our infrastructure, risks security, disease outbreak etc, all those thing that Castle Gardens and Ellis Island was established to prevent.

    As I have mentioned before our current immigration process is strained, even broken and this must be addressed before considering opening the borders. Let’s not over-simplify the current situation be simply stating we have an evil president. That is very naïve.

    I apologize for the strong emotion on this one…


  9. Love the “Smokey and the Bandit” reference. In a snowstorm, people have spent 28 hours stuck in Atlanta traffic.


  10. Nevertheless, I never became a cheerleader for Willow Creek or the model it embodied. In many ways I have viewed it as the epitome of the juvenilization of American evangelical Christianity.

    i.e. Triumph of the Fluffbunnies.

    “Despite weeping statues and flying houses, Catholicisim is at its heart a serious religion.”
    So is Wahabi Islam (DEAD Serious).
    And what you call “the juvenilization ” is most definitely NOT.

    Well, it’s looking more and more like one of the juvenile traits founding pastor Bill Hybels never outgrew was his adolescent lust for the girls.

    Which these days has become a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.

    “Bait a trap with pussy and you’ll catch a Preacher every time.”
    — one of JMJ/Christian Monist’s uncles


  11. That is because all the storm drain construction for 30-40 years concentrated on FLOOD CONTROL, i.e. getting those floodwaters from heavy winter storms out to sea before they could flood the populated areas.

    Originally (like the LA River) these were concrete channels, flushing those waters out to sea as quick as possible. This was the bulk of flood control construction, along with earth-fill dams upstream to hold and control the releases.

    Later (like the Santa Ana River), they used concrete levees with sand-bottomed channels (sculpted into a winding maze to slow flow during all but peak flow) and spreading basins to replenish aquifers beneath that region of the city.

    Result: Most of SoCal has to ration water (with much Righteous Virtue Signalling) while all those winter storms flush out to sea immediately. Conditions have changed, and the Santa Ana River model is needed while the established infrastructure is mostly LA River.


  12. I remember hearing a sermon on Christianese radio many-many years ago which claimed that “Multicultural Diversity(TM)” is an unstable transition state between One True Ways.

    The sermon’s One True Ways in transition were Christian Nation (yay!) and Secular Humanism (boo! hiss!), but taken more generically when you have a lot of cultures stirring in a multi-culti mix, some of them are going to dominate the mix. Either the most dynamic culture absorbs the others (“America! Whisky! Sexy!”) or the most aggressive culture crushes the others.

    “This is the Ultimate Showdown
    Of Ultimate Destiny;
    Good Guys, Bad Guys and Explosions
    As far as the eye can see;
    And only One will surivive
    I wonder who it will be?”

    And with Celebrating MultiCulti Diversity being dogma for a generation or two, the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny blender is plugged in and turned on.


  13. Does an America where Whites aren’t in control and in majority really scare you so much? You really can’t imagine that turning out well, j.b?

    In an America of rampant polarization and tribalism like we have today?
    Each group in its own ethnic echo chamber, with its own supremacists and Conspiracy Theories?

    Remember Yugoslavia? Rwanda?


  14. Robert F. My wife just informed me I spelled Orr wrong , Believe it OR not , it is spelled Ohr. Has the deep state once again misdirected my attention by allowing me to misspell the name? I operate from the state of confusion which is above California. In any way you are right, there is no deep state just a confluence of events and coincidences.

    Nellie Orh worked for ? and gave ? to ? who gave it to ?. I cannot mention names as I cannot spell them, that is pretty evident.


  15. Yes, CA is making the rivers empty into the ocean! Those Commies! But, don’t worry, the Pres is onto them!


  16. That’s a reference to the Atlanta airport, which has surpassed O’hare as the busiest in the world.


  17. And POTUS said that CA is dumping it’s fresh water into the ocean when they could be using it to fight the fires!


  18. Robert F. never any need to apologize, we are having a discussion. I know what I mean, even if no one else does, so I fully understand. I never take offense with honest disagreement or different views. I do appreciate your concern that you might have offended inconsequential me but you did not. You are at heart, a gentleman.


  19. Adam T.W. , Robert F. I was responding to the very specific point in Adam T.W. 845 am post. How about this for analysis , if John Barry, king of political correctness and truth wrote “So, dear non working government dependent, fiscally irresponsible (black, red, brown, white, pick your color) baby boomer you are full of s______,” Would that perhaps be worthy of a comment?

    I think the point is on the top of my head , by the way.

    Robert F. I cannot find where I advocated for the current 45 President of the USA, as wise as he is and so historically attuned to remedy governmental abuses but he should within the scope of his constitutional authority or we cold leave it up to Bruce Orr and his wife.


  20. Dana, I think your comments are very much on point. Personally I believe the title of greatest generation should be given to the generation of our revolution and nations founding. I am not talking about the Founding Father but the average citizen who did set the foundation of our country and worked hard t make it work.

    I think your two cents worth makes a lot of sense. One way to sum up a baby boomer life too much, too soon , too little personal effort.


  21. j.b. If I misinterpreted and mischaracterized your comments below as involving inappropriate racial concerns, I apologize. I’m too quick to think I know what everyone I disagree with is saying. Again, I apologize.


  22. Robert F. I was not clear , I was including my limited lifetime and perhaps the life span of my children, perhaps my grandchildren. Of course , the “future” Americans will like what they know as America, they will know nothing else.

    Never thought I would see any real debate especially on college campus about “free speech” and where we are headed on that 1st Amendment issue. America on course for government and big high tech gatekeepers to determine what is acceptable speech. this just one example of the change that will I think is highly probable. I could be wrong, I bought a used Rambler once so I am not infallible.


  23. If I misinterpreted j.b.’s comments to have a racial implication, when what he meant to say is as you just interpreted them, then I need to apologize to him.

    But looking to the current POTUS and administration to remedy governmental abuses of power and corruption, as j.b. does, is like looking to the fox to safeguard the hen house.


  24. five years seems a short time for a ‘Church’ to fail, though

    what ever is causing the whole ‘evangelical collapse’ must have been super-concentrated at these five-year ‘Churches’


  25. Robert, when our light went out, maybe other countries were also let down . . . we WERE something to countries that wanted freedom from tyranny


  26. I think perhaps his point is that regardless of the race/ethnicity/culture of the majority in power, that the pursuit of power/graft/advantage will continue on with whoever is in power and for whomever they represent. Yet most regular people will just continue on with their lives, trying to make a living and raising their families.


  27. Not trying to cast blame, only to offer another pov.

    Who was it that gave us Boomers the wherewithal to remain “juvenalized” long past the point that in earlier times denoted and conferred adult responsibility? It was our parents, those of “the greatest generation”, who worked incredibly hard and suffered through the Depression. They wanted to make it easier for us so that we wouldn’t have to go through what they went through. The booming post-WW II economy made it possible for middle-class folks to have things their parents and grandparents only saw the very wealthy having, and to have the time to enjoy those things. Our GG parents had the best of intentions – many of them gave us much too much in the way of material goods and free time.

    Boomers (rightly or wrongly) perceived the things their parents were doing to make life better for their children as being “plastic” and inauthentic. Some of them, particularly the men, and particularly those who served in the war, due to their own trauma and sufferings, were not emotionally available, and that trauma sometimes got passed on. It was the GG parents who began to divorce more often; divorce became less of an offense to the social fabric, and men in the middle class, not only the wealthy (who were always able to manage to divorce somehow) made enough money to pay alimony and child support, so that the ex-wives and children weren’t automatically thrown into poverty.

    My parents spoiled me much less than I observed in many of my contemporaries; they didn’t have the financial resources, and even if they did, I think their expectations of me would have been pretty much the same. But from what I observed even as a teenager, my contemporaries and I were given so much more in terms of free time and material goods, than our grandparents were able to give our parents. And in thinking about it as an adult, I see the seeds of the unrest of the Boomer generation stretching back, like so much of the troubles of our current society, to the post-WW I generation. WW I was a body blow to the Western consciousness that is still to be fully reckoned with.

    My two cents.



  28. Why are all these foundation Churches imploding ? What is the current wisdom behind these failures? And if anything is learned from failing, can not the new ‘plants’ use that info to keep from going belly up?


  29. > I no longer believe that most Americans ever shared the

    I had the good fortune to be raised outside the propaganda bubble.

    It’s all ahistorical. There was no initial vision of a welcoming home for all; that has to be peaced together using selected snipped of speeches hear and there, ignoring the backdrop of savagely indifferent policies.

    We should HOPE TO BE such a city. Step #1 is to stop pretending our predecessors had that as a goal. Reagan’s nostalgic lies create a dishonest foundation.

    The problem for using Reagan as an avatar of a kinder gentler America, or GOP, is listening to his public speeches, and televised speeches, . .. and then taking the time to listen to his convention speeches, his party speeches, and the speeches he gave as lobbyist for industry. He was a true master of flipping the script.


  30. > I find it incomprehensible to make any but a token offering to
    > any church whose finances aren’t transparent.


    After my experiences, I certainly to not trust any church enough to get them General Fund contributions.


  31. Does not affect me personally but I do think someday , maybe, Americans will realize what the real game was and they lost

    Your comment implies that future American citizens will not like where the country has gone.


  32. Does an America where Whites aren’t in control and in majority really scare you so much? You really can’t imagine that turning out well, j.b? Is the country really inextricably bound to its Euro-White past (of course, even to imagine it this way is to exclude the significant majority of Blacks whose ancestors were here long before many of the White’s ancestors)? A Christian acquaintance of mine who knows my antipathy for Trump sometimes asks me, “But have you prayed for him, to be a good president and man?”; I’ll ask you, j.b., to do the same for the demographically altered America of the future, to pray that it is successful, good, and blessed by God, notwithstanding the color of its leaders and population.


  33. The reality in my own family is changing.

    My new daughter-in-law-to-be speaks four languages, including fluent Russian.
    My brother’s new daughter-in-law-to-be speaks Mandarin Chinese, being from mainland China.

    My husband’s family included seven brothers, my husband the youngest of seven, who married ladies from different countries: Nelda from Trieste, Italy; Carmen (Nancy) from Spain, and Toshiko from Japan.

    We are an American family, but my father’s people in Canada still speak French, as did the old people in the family in New England, but their voices are stilled now.

    I’m not sure what the ‘typical’ American family is. My niece was for a time married to a man who was of part Italian heritage and part African American heritage. My cousin Pat married a man whose Polish mother still spoke her old language at home. And my mom’s family: Virgina and North Carolina, with a history that comes right out of the beginnings of the colonies, and has roots in England and Scotland.

    So, what makes an American family? Appearances? My nephew David is six-three, as is my son, and both are blondes. Are they ‘American’ enough for someone like a Laura Ingraham? They wear the uniform of our armed forces, but does that cut it for the far right these days?

    My own theory is this:
    that, if by the third generation, a family has produced young who have ASSIMILATED and who ‘look the part’, then ‘acceptance’ comes;
    but for those who don’t pass muster, it’s an uphill struggle all the way for some kind of acceptance, and even then, the ‘acceptance’ doesn’t extend to the country club or the board room.

    Is MONEY the great equalizer? Well, it seems to have replaced education, training, and professional skills as meaningful in the present day, and buying (or lending) your way to a powerful position in government seems to be more likely than being appointed because of you can do the job.

    Good ole Mayberry. Sure, I want to go ‘home’ too. But I can’t find my way back there anymore. 🙂


  34. Immigration is exactly what made us a “vibrant nation-state,” John. In my view, President Obama struck the right balance — deport the criminals, welcome everyone else and help them become contributing members of society.


  35. And Governor Moonbeam actually held off for a whole WEEK before Scolding us all with wagging finger about Global Warming! Global Warming! Global Warming!


  36. AdamT. Williams, Well, Adam soon the “white” baby boomers and all their influence politically, socially, economically and culturally will be gone as the process is accelarating and non stoppable.. Things will be better as inherently non white , non baby boomers will be more productive, more just and add more to the world thatn the white baby boomers.

    It will be a brave , new world and hope ti turns out well for everyone. Good luck


  37. The Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986 is coupled with the 1965 Immigration Act is exactly why people are distrustful and wary of immigration reform. The voters were lied to in 1986 and no one cared. The 1986 Act gave legal status, citizenship to the three million , I repeat three million illegal aliens that were suspose to be in the country at that time. Many of the illegal aliens did not even apply as they did not want to pay the taxes and be on the books, as they say.
    The “deal” for the “one” time , every body is legal deal was strict border enforcement including visa overstay and e verify for workers to show their legal status. This never happened as it was not inot in the interest of the wealthy , business owners, establishment , who want cheap labor and Democrats who wanted the votes, how we got “blue” California.

    The Koch Brothers and the liberals are completely on the side of open borders and free flow of people and money. If I were the Koch Brothers I would be on that side too. To you who are wishing for the demise of the USA as a vibrant nation state, you are on the right side of history.

    Burro/Mule speaks reality on this issue . Does not affect me personally but I do think someday , maybe, Americans will realize what the real game was and they lost .


  38. Financial accountability as well. Coming from the Lutheran tradition, I find it incomprehensible to make any but a token offering to any church whose finances aren’t transparent. There needs to be a real budget, and it needs to be available to anyone who wants to see it. And by “available” I don’t me reluctantly, to anyone who manages to get past the bureaucratic barriers who set up. It should be on a bulletin board in plain view. Ideally, the congregation should vote on it. Next we can discuss what controls are in place for cash before it gets onto the books.


  39. I no longer believe that most Americans ever shared the aspirational image or ideals with regard to immigration that Reagan’s words invoke; that is, I don’t believe it’s ever been the consensus, though I wish it were.


  40. Thanks for this Socrates quote. I first saw it when in high school in the sixties. It was so much like what the older generations we’re saying about us. It has been a big disappointment to me that we boomers have continued the sordid tradition of dissing the younger generations, unjustifiably.


  41. Those photos of the CA fires are impactful.
    Our sky been covered in the cloud/haze from the Riverside (Holy Fire) fires most of the week, even this AM.
    I’m driving into it tomorrow for a conference…Aauugghh …will take the long way around to get there.
    What we’ve learned is, CA crazies haven’t let us log, or control burn, or clear out dead stuff….so this is what we get.
    Also learned that most of our forestry lands are federal, and a small part is state land. Interesting.
    But, it’s still a great place to live.


  42. Indeed. “a shining cityl” is a lovely, aspirational image, which Ronald Reagan used to great effect. It’s a pity that he, and some other presidents who have followed him, didn’t do more to make it a reality..


  43. You’re welcome. When we die we are going leave you TRILLIONS of dollars. Thankfully we won’t be around to see what you do with it.


  44. Unfortunately, I suspect that Boomers are very much like all the generations that came before them:

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.”

    –Socrates (469-399 BC)


  45. Perhaps President Reagan did not interfere directly; but he resolutely ignored the HIV/AIDS crisis that arose during his administration, allowing the spread of the disease and the deaths of thousands of people before the government took it seriously.


  46. Does anyone know if all this – which I haven’t been paying much attention to, admittadly – has had an impact of Willow’s attendance|congregation?

    Everything I do see is talking about the leadership people.


  47. Also, for anyone frustrated with you much younger people or minorities talk about “privilege”, read the above slowly ten times.


  48. > of self-justifying relief in your responses

    We’re cool. 🙂 You are not standing up in public hearings and telling people they are ungrateful lazy bums.

    I mean we should be SOOOOooo grateful for mountains of debt to pay for economically unproductive infrastructure which only benefited a handful of people [who like to define “normal” as themselves, of course].

    > imbibe fully in the “celebratory” aspects of Boomer youth culture

    Meh, we were all fools when we where young. The point of growing up is to acknowledge that.

    > received a pretty much fully government underwritten higher education

    Recognition of that is always appreciated. Much preferred to telling someone in their twenties – who had to purchase their degree for $80,000 – to go buy a house and two cars like a good American. By the way, you should have some babies too, and no, don’t expect your employers insurance to cover that [pfftt, free-loaders].


  49. Unfortunately, when Lovecraft was talking about the “black seas of infinity”, he was partly articulating his culturally acquired fear of the other, “darker” races that were immigrating onto his native soil. There is lots of evidence in Lovecraft’s biography that he was very xenophobic, and that the evil forces that permeate his stories were inspired by his fear of immigrants from southern Europe, like my Italian forbears.


  50. I stand corrected. I guess I’m too biased by my antipathy to his covert-operation meddling in Central America to be fair to him in other areas.


  51. Maybe you’re right, but I do think the situations in Hungary and Poland are moving quickly in the wrong direction, and Italy is poised to follow suit. I do hope roadblocks stop the downward tendency, and that there are more defeats ahead for regressive movements. But I don’t really have great confidence in Europe’s tendency generally to resist a backward and downward slide, nor in the competence of liberal EU government to stop it.


  52. Hey everyone, Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform Act, also known as the Reagan Amnesty Act. On this issue he began the ball rolling on immigration reform, a ball that has been dropped again and again since.


  53. “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

    H.P. Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu”


  54. I despise Reagan, but this is somewhat too far. Reagan kept his promises, like them or nor. Also, such as in the case of the Chinese Christians, he did quietly – without political pomp – resettle persecuted populations I cannot imagine the current administration doing that. The worst interpretation is that at least Reagan did not interfere with well intentioned people trying to do the right thing,.


  55. At least Reagan had some gubernatorial experience and was sometimes willing to learn from his mistakes.


  56. Are they? Far-Right parties have failed electorally in many instances, and hit a variety of roadblocks. I am not despairing; but despair is easy when only evil’s triumphs get headlines, and its defeats are ignored.


  57. Thanks for your reply. I confess to feeling a certain amount of self-justifying relief in your responses, since, even though I’m a Boomer, I haven’t participated in a majority of the cultural phenomena you enumerate. But then, I’m a self-confessed failure in terms of my generation’s expectations, and would never claim that I’m “self-made”, but self-undone. I did, however, imbibe fully in the “celebratory” aspects of Boomer youth culture, you know, “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll”, and received a pretty much fully government underwritten higher education at a Big Ten university — MSU (though I can honestly assert that I didn’t subsequently benefit financially in any way from getting that education!).


  58. I was part of a WillocCreek copycat church in the 1990s. It was a special time in my life, but mostly I was young and small groups were perfect for me. Interesting, our church collapsed for almost identical reasons, and I was left as an elder cleaning up the mess.

    I have spent some time listening and watching the #metoo movement. There is a lot of noise, but I realize the fundamental problem is one of unchecked power, and Willowcreek is a perfect example, and it is a perfect example of what happened in my church. A CEO type pastor whose only accountability is an ‘elder board’ who he personally appointed.

    Everyone in an organization must have checks, and it is even more important when led by a strong personality or charismatic leader. The more charismatic and stronger the personality, the stronger the checks.

    Interesting, Willowcreek copycat churches are still popping up like weeds in my town, 2-3 in the past few years. I laugh because most of them are started by Southern Baptist Seminary dropouts. We have one about every year or two. In 25 years, not one has ever made it past the 5 year mark, most make it less than 24 months.


  59. I didn’t use the term “juvenilization”, I tend more towards the “fiscally irresponsible and short-sighted” critique.

    But I do hear the “juvenilization” a lot – the “youth culture” and be-young-and-care-free forever can be rooted in the 1960s. Much of that relates to FREE-OR-CHEAP education [see MY critique] and a corresponding abundance of leisure time.

    1.) This only applies to a particular class of Boomers. But that is the class of Boomers who currently own the stage, and from whom we hear endless critiques.
    2.) Who wouldn’t want abundant leisure time, vacations, cottages, etc… All of which hit their peak for that class at that time. So I don’t blame them for that – – – but some self-awareness would be a nice touch.
    3.) At the same time of all this largess the civic sector, and all manner of institutions of voluntary association, withered away. So, please stop lecturing people, from your armchair in your home on the cul de sac.

    My critique is the “self-made” BS when they are a generation where the government said “lean back, open wide” and poured money down their throats. But they are “self made”, what they have is the result of their “hard work” . . . you know, the hard work of a government guaranteed mortgage, at artificially low interest rates, for a too-big house on a new street, attached to a new sewer, and new power lines, all paid for with government debt, and sporting a tax rate WHICH WILL NEVER EVER EVER pay off the cost of that infrastructure.

    The white baby boomers are some of the highest graft Welfare Queens the world has ever seen.

    In 1949 there were 2.5 fire hydrants per 1,000 Americans. In 2015 there are 51.3 fire hydrants per 1,000 Americans. In 1949 there were FIVE ft of municipal or state owned plumbing per 1,000 Americans. In 2015 that number was FIFTY feet per 1,000 Americans. And in 2015 we face an infrastructure maintenance dept in the TRILLIONS. So, dear hard working self-sufficient earnest fiscally prudent [white] Baby Boobers: you are full of s____.


  60. It’s as if at certain intervals the human race finds the burden of awareness too much and gives itself permission to get stupid. Unfortunate in the current circumstances when the human race needs all the brains it can muster and even then we’ll probably fail. Here’s the solution! The smart people take over and drive out the stupid people! When I figure out how to do that I’ll get back you.


  61. Nice speech but ironical since it was Reagan’s policies that are largely responsible for the conditions that led us to where we find ourselves. After Reagan somebody like Trump became an inevitability. Trump is just Reagan without the acting classes and the media savvy handlers.


  62. I do not want to be Negative Guy, but they did not describe us when they were written. I will give Reagan very few points, but a good share of points he gets are for great moralizing speeches [carefully never attached to any substance]. The man knew how to hire a speach writer [coming from Hollywood probably helps].


  63. I’m a Boomer, and I have a question(or questions), but I’ll try not to be defensive in framing it (I do think, however, that every person, and every member of any particular generation, rankles at being having critical charges leveled at them on the basis of guilt by association): What specifically do you mean, what cultural phenomena, are you referring to when you talk about “the juvenilization of American culture in general” that my generation is responsible for? I have some ideas about what they might be, but I’m more interested in what you think they are; I have a feeling that my own are likely not the ones you would indict us for. For instance, I think much popular music has been juvenilized, starting in the 1960s, and I think that coordinates with and is related to more widespread cultural juvenilization. But again, I’m more interested in your answers, as a member and representative of another generation.


  64. Yep.

    Be careful, they do not take critisism well. Not that they will hesitate for a moment to shred on the younger generations who have to live in their mess.


  65. Auto races hold no interest for me – except those racing OLD automobiles [old being pre-1930, after which auto design rapidly converged]. Racing those old vehicles requires ingenuity and a deep understanding of your ride.

    Full Disclosure: I am probably biased as I own a 1919 automobile. Yet I will still say it is the wild diversity of designs and approaches one finds before 1930 that makes it interesting.


  66. Eeyore, I sometimes think just driving though Atlanta takes 28 hours. “They ” and they are never wrong,say,,that if you die in the south , you are going though Atlanta to get where you are going.


  67. And he too liked baseball. Out of respect to CM I won’t link the video here, but plug “untouchables Capone baseball bat” into YouTube…


  68. And I thought getting from Atlanta Georgia to Texarkana Texas and back in 28 hours was impressive… 😉


  69. Book news: As I have mentioned before, I have a book coming out on the evolution of the rules of baseball. The manuscript is at the copy editor now. My publisher is looking at a release date of next March.


  70. “I never became a cheerleader for Willow Creek or the model it embodied. In many ways I have viewed it as the epitome of the juvenilization of American evangelical Christianity.”

    Which in itself is but a symptom of the juvenilization of American culture in general. Thank you, Boomers. :-/


  71. It started here first, if it’s any consolation. :-/

    Stuff like this really makes me think that Western civilization has a death wish.


  72. “saw them beat the Washington Nationals 3-2, coming back after having been no-hit for the first six innings.”

    If there’s one thing that the Nats can be counted on for, it’s snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. :-/


  73. Wow! This is amazing.
    It hasn’t hit the news headlines tonight.
    This is wonderful.
    I will say thank you on their behalf.
    There have been so many fund raising activities throughout the country.
    Gentle rain now but nothing to write home about.
    Still the possibility of light snow.
    We can only keep praying.


  74. I think there were some earlier auto races in France.

    Personally I have fond memories of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run first held in 1896 (to celebrate the raising of the maximum speed limit from 4mph to 14mph) and held annually since 1927 (except during World War II). All vehicles have to be pre-1905. My grandparents’ house was a short distance away from the course so we could watch the cars go by (at least the one time I was visiting my grandparents in November). My grandmother had fond memories of dressing up in period clothing and riding in one of the vehicles one year.


  75. Interior Minister Salvini sounds like a real ignoramus. Just the kind of leader Europe is currently cultivating to guide it back into a past of ignorance and early mortality. Anti-vaccination is foolishness of the highest order, that will literally lead to death. It’s a damned shame, makes me embarrassed to be Italian.


  76. I remember ‘Morning Joe’ had a reading of Meacham’s quote of Ronald Reagan’s words, these:

    ““But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than the oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still….And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home.”

    don’t know if a speech writer composed those words or not? doesn’t matter, those words don’t suit us anymore

    maybe they will again someday, but now they seem to have been written for another time, another country when there there wasn’t so much fear of, and contempt for, those seeking asylum


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