The most popular reality show in cable television history has sparked a heated national debate, laying bare a national rift over gay rights and free speech and prompting politicians, entertainers and ordinary folks to enter the cultural fray.
What's that, may I ask? After all, it's perfectly ok to demand that Americans not only tolerate but embrace both homosexuality and hard-core Muslims.
Never mind that the latter at least in theory proscribes the former and threatens to murder anyone practicing same.
(We won't talk about the fact that over in Afghanistan, where most native folks are hard-core Muslims, they seem to have this sport known as bugger little boys despite that religious prohibition, will we? Think I'm kidding or being "unreasonable" in my criticism? Go ask someone who's served a tour or two over there.)
But now we have a real interesting problem here, because suddenly it's considered worthy of international public excoriation -- or is it execution -- to read 1 Romans. You know, from that book called The Bible?
Yes, that book. It's considered utterly outrageous should I burn a Quoran, to the point that pressure was brought on a minister who intended to do exactly that with a copy he bought with his own money and thus owned (because, as he believed, it is "filth") and yet that very same act, in effect, is being demanded of the Duck Dynasty folks because Phil dared to read a piece of it in public in 2010 and cited it for an interview in GQ!
I thought the entire point of religious freedom was that I get to choose how to worship, or whether to worship at all. I get to choose between the many thousand-year+ old books to read and believe in, or to choose none of them. If I want to choose to worship the divine spaghetti monster that's my business, not yours. You don't have to agree with me; indeed, public debate on whether I'm an idiot or a prophet is perfectly fair, and choosing not to associate with me because you think I'm stupid is fair too. You could (and some have) in the past argued that my personal religious election, commonly known as Catholicism, celebrates ritual cannibalism every Sunday! So be it; you're free to think I'm crazy to ingest something handed to me with the words "the body of Christ" if you wish and I'm free to find communion in the same act.
That's what religious freedom is.
I will note for the peanut gallery that are several thousand different religions in active practice, counting various sects and rites, and thouands more that have died out over the years for lack of practitioners. Most claim to be "right" and that all the others are "wrong" and it is clear that if that is true then your odds of picking the right one suck. And since nobody seems to come back after death in a verifiable form and tell us which was the correct choice it all comes down to faith without proof or even anything that can be considered scientific evidence, doesn't it?
But in this case A&E, and the Gaystapo, was perfectly fine with Phil and rest of the clan being Christian right up to and until they actually recited from the very Bible that everyone knew damn well they believed was their inspiration. Indeed, they not only thought it was fine they intentionally profited from the family's faith as displayed in each and every episode -- or are you going to conveniently forget that Duck Dynasty closes every episode with a prayer?
As soon as an actual citation from the Bible came out of Phil's mouth then, and only then, was it time to get out the noose.
Note what Phil did not do. He didn't call for anyone else to suffer a legal or illegal consequence as a result of choosing behavior that his religion calls "sin." He didn't tell anyone else they can't be homosexual, or that they should be locked up, or that they have to become straight in order to avoid some sanction. He simply observed what he believes is "right" and not as expressed by a religious path he and his family have chosen to follow of their own free will. Indeed, from the GQ article he makes clear that he neither expects or sanctions any sort of bad act toward someone who believes differently -- or doesn't believe at all:
As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus —whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
So how do you declare that as hate, folks? Is Phil saying that if you choose to be a boozer you should be fired and excoriated for being drunk on your own time?
In fact, quite the opposite.
To those on this bandwagon perhaps you can square your "outrage" with Iran locking up a Christian and threatening to behead him with what you're doing here. After all, isn't it really about the same thing? You demand that a family denounce that which they have faith in lest they suffer your wrath, while over in Iran, North Korea and elsewhere statist *******s do exactly the same thing and demand the same tribute -- renouncement of belief.
So what does that make you, America-in-faux-outrage? How do you separate yourself from Kim Jung-Un and Iran's clerics, both of whom have recently been rather punitive simply because of what someone believes is a Holy Book and is willing to live by?
Tolerance, eh? Rainbows, eh, you know, "every color under the sun?"
Yeah, every color except those you disagree with, right?
Those folks get tied up and burnt at the stake as you dance with glee.
Meanwhile Phil and his family are perfectly content to call it as they see it, but when it comes to whether or not actual punishment is due in their view it's not their call.
Who's really the bigot here?
A teacher’s union in Michigan is fighting to get a $10,000 severance package for a convicted child molester whose case that drew outrage earlier this year when his former school colleagues pleaded with a judge to sentence him lightly.
Do you need any reason beyond this to condemn teacher's unions and demand that they are all destroyed? No, you do not.
The facts are that this man pled guilty to raping a boy over the course of three years. Not a single incident, not once, but rather over three year's time and he wasn't found guilty, he pled guilty.
That is, he admitted it.
He also drew 15-30 in prison (not enough, if you ask me) over his and fellow teachers' pleas for lenience (thank God the Judge was having none of it.)
But after said teachers "supported" him the district saw what is reported to be an 87% decline in enrollment (!!)
Betcha the residents didn't get a nickel off their property taxes though. One has to wonder why they haven't taken their tax money back by force, given what happened here and the continuing lack of penitence by those very same "teachers" -- who apparently remain employed.
I know where West Branch is; it's a fairly-rural area about halfway between the 127 split off I-75 and Bay City. I am utterly stunned that a relatively small community's "teachers" would come to the defense of such crap. I'm less-stunned that the state teacher's union would do so, however, as this is exactly the sort of mental derangement I expect from public-employee unions in general.
Remember my writing about how I didn't believe, given the facts, that Jobs got his liver by pure "luck" (being registered in more than one place, for openers) and that his getting one likely meant someone else didn't -- and may have died as a consequence.
Now there's always luck of the draw, and with a limited supply of livers (after all, we can't wave a wand and make more of them) this is how it's going to happen. And if it happens via random draw and thus luck, well, that's how it is.
But -- did you know that the doctor who performed the transplant moved into a palatial mansion Jobs bought to recover in just a few months after the operation, lived in it for two years, paid the same price for it that Jobs did (no appreciation) when he bought it from Jobs and it is not clear if he rented it for those two years prior (at a market rate or otherwise) or if he literally was gifted living in the house!
Yeah, that all apparently did happen. Oh, and apparently the utility bills and property taxes were paid for by Jobs' San Francisco lawyer too, so maybe -- just maybe -- it was a complete free ride.
May I ask an impolite question of the fair doctor: In compensation for exactly what?
The system for transplants is fair and transparent, and nobody jumps the line, ever, right?
Go right on believing that if you wish.
As I've repeatedly pointed out, I didn't buy that line of crap then and don't buy it now. I revoked my organ donor card a few years ago (writing on it when I did) and in my opinion you should too.
Nobody, and I do mean nobody, is going to have the opportunity to play profiteer off my death in that fashion and until I am convinced that this not only can't occur in the future but any previous occurrences have been punished with forfeiture and prison I'm not changing my position either.
If you remember I wrote a Ticker a while back about a gay activist who uncovered what he alleges is a monstrous fraud related to the Matthew Shepard killing -- that there was in fact no gender bias involved, but rather that Mr. Shepard got involved with some drug deals that went bad.
A few days ago there was a huge furor over an alleged incident in New Jersey where a couple supposedly left no tip -- and a nasty note -- for a gay server in a restaurant.
Now the couple is alleging that the server made it up, and they appear to have pretty hard-core evidence that they're right, including their copy of the bill and an exact match on their credit card statement.
As I'm sure you know it's pretty easy to take your copy of a charge slip and fill it in later. But you can't change what the card company has on your statement and that number came from the merchant and what they actually charged you.
That either matches your slip or it doesn't, and in this case it apparently does.
Now let's add that the restaurant has allegedly claims to have the original ticket but would not produce it for NBC News when challenged to do so. Why not, if the charge slip and reconciliation from the credit-card terminal match?
Finally, the server apparently has been getting "gifts" from people based on this alleged "slur." That the server is claiming to be donating the receipts doesn't matter if the pretense under which the donations are made is known to be false.
This one's pretty easy to prove up -- the restaurant has both the batch and the detail item from their Visa run for the day plus the merchant copy of the ticket. It's either on the Xon terminal receipt batch tape showing the transaction or their computer equivalent and those have to match the merchant copies which the merchant is supposed to retain. I've held a merchant account for a long time and every single transaction is able to be retrieved and proved via this route -- it has to be able to be done in the case of a card dispute -- and in addition the batch status has to balance against the detail items because you must be able to balance the corporate checking account into which the funds flow. Part of your closing procedure every day is to balance the charge terminal's tape (whether computer-generated or printed) against the merchant copies of the tickets -- this is a nightly function and if it doesn't match hell is immediately raised as someone got screwed (either the merchant or the customer.)
Let's see it folks -- someone's lying and the evidence, as of this point, points to the alleged incident being invented out of whole cloth.
Update 11/27: There's a follow-up article that appears to show the so-called complaining party has a history of this sort of crap. The article is behind a paywall but should let you in for a single viewing or two. My original point stands: The restaurant has the batch settlement report out of their credit card terminal and it either matches the diner's receipt and alleged card statement print-out or it does not. This is black-and-white; the waitress' story of "no tip" is trivially easy to prove true or false with that settlement report and whether it matches the customer's receipt and statement or not. If the restaurant has proof that the couple in question is lying and doctored both the receipt and card statement then they need to produce said proof. If the restaurant wants to stand behind a scam then they deserve to be driven out of business. If the manager was duped by his employee then it's time for the firm and him personally to stand up, apologize for being duped and for participating in this scheme, and, since money is involved here with bogus donations predicated on a lie it is also time for prosecutors to get involved as well.
I have written a few times over the years in the Ticker about the gross abuse rendered upon our children via psychotropic medication and have opined many more times about how we create Frankenstein monsters (that then go on to shoot up schools, movie theatres and other venues.)
In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. How come the epidemic of ADHD—which has become firmly established in the United States—has almost completely passed over children in France?
The author goes on to opine that it's a treatment modality and cause difference. That is, we coddle children and often let them make the rules, where the French don't see it that way. Screaming at a French parent as a kid for some desired treat is likely to get you spanked if you don't cut it out, where such a temper tantrum is more-likely to be a self-reinforcing behavior (right after you get your goodie) over here.
France also doesn't see these things as chemical imbalances (and I have long argued they are not in the general case) where we do. Of course that doesn't have anything to do with the tens of billions of dollars that pharma makes peddling drugs that amount to amphetamines to kids, right?
Never mind that the use of such drugs are documented to produce permanent chemical changes in the brain. That's always a good idea when the brain is not yet fully-formed and what's worse, the person given the drug is not of age or ability to give informed consent, right?
As a therapist who works with children, it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives.
I bet they also don't eat a diet full of junk carbs either. In fact, I know they don't. They also favor full-fat cooking and the use of butter rather than engineered crap in their dishes. And finally, they savor their food instead of gorge on it.
The problem with our approach is that it not only doesn't work it creates monsters. Yes, statistically, it doesn't create very many monsters. But it does create some of them and in fact the clinical trial data discloses quite-clearly that these risks and their percentage of outcome numbers are known.
A 0.01% chance of a disaster doesn't sound all that bad. In fact it sounds downright safe.
But if you give that drug to a million kids you create 100 homicidal Frankenstein monsters.
How many school shootings did you say you wanted again?
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