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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Well, radio broadcaster and religious wing nut Harold Camping almost had egg on his face. Not so fast! He’s whipping it up into an omelet.

“I can tell you very candidly that when May 21 came and went it was a very difficult time for me, a very difficult time,” said Mr. Camping, 89, a former civil engineer. “I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind, I went back through all of the promises God has made, all of the proofs, all of the signs and everything was fitting perfectly, so what in the world happened? I really was praying and praying and praying, oh Lord, what happened?”

What he decided, apparently, was that May 21 had been “an invisible judgment day,” of the spiritual variety, rather than his original vision of earthquakes and other disasters leading to five months of hell on earth, culminating in a spectacular doomsday on Oct. 21 — something he had repeatedly guaranteed. On Monday, however, Mr. Camping seemed satisfied with his new interpretation, which apparently spared humankind its months of torture for a single day of destruction.

But his shifting soothsaying led to a barrage of questions from reporters, something Mr. Camping seemed to wave off with a wan smile and occasional flashes of emotion.

“The world has been warned,” said Mr. Camping, who said this would be his last interview. He added that his company — which had bought billboard space nationwide to promote the May 21 date — would not promote his new prediction, Oct. 21.

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Harold Camping just knew Jesus was coming back yesterday. Just like he knew that the Holy Spirit had checked out of the institutional churches. Just like he knew that all true Christians were to stop taking communion and form fellowships around his whacked out teachings. But Harold Camping, once again, was dead wrong. And hopefully his disillusioned disciples won’t find those passages in the Bible  that tell us what to do to false prophets. But hey, Harold, cheer up. After all, it’s not the end of the world.

That’s summary of Obama’s foreign policy speech. At least according to the conservative shock jocks. So if Obama hates Israel, what does that say about George W. Bush? Walter Mead explains:

His policy on Israel-Palestine is also looking Bushesque.  Like Bush, he wants a sovereign but demilitarized Palestinian state.  Like Bush, he believes that the 1967 lines with minor and mutually agreed changes should be the basis for the permanent boundaries between the two countries — and like Bush he set Jerusalem and the refugees to one side.

Periodically, for two millennia, fervent Bible-believing Christians have ignored their Bibles and listened to one whack job or another who claims to have formulated the exact hour and date of Christ’s Second Coming. Well, it’s that time again. And, as always, Jesus gets the last word:

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Well, a $1.8 million study has concluded that those child-abusing priests that the Catholic hierarchy aided and abetted for lo, these many years are simply put: victims. That’s right. A religion that is predicated on “All have sinned and fall short…” is pointing it’s accusing finger at the drug-addled, sexual revolutionary culture of the sixties for why these men of the cloth felt up little girls and bugger teenage boys. Funny, but Jesus had a totally different take on this sort of thing. It’s not the exterior things (that mean old culture) that trip us up, it’s are own wicked hearts. “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.” Wow, Jesus, nailed it! This from the New York Times:

A five-year study commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to provide a definitive answer to what caused the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame.

Instead, the report says, the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s.

Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

The “blame Woodstock” explanation has been floated by bishops since the church was engulfed by scandal in the United States in 2002 and by Pope Benedict XVI after it erupted in Europe in 2010.

But this study is likely to be regarded as the most authoritative analysis of the scandal in the Catholic Church in America. The study, initiated in 2006, was conducted by a team of researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City at a cost of $1.8 million. About half was provided by the bishops, with additional money contributed by Catholic organizations and foundations. The National Institute of Justice, the research agency of the United States Department of Justice, supplied about $280,000.

Porn in the bin Laden’s compound? Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Remember where the 9-11 Saudi terrorists spent their last night on earth? A strip club. These are the blokes who promise seventy-two brown-eyed virgins as a reward for blowing up your neighbors and yourself. And, is it just me, but isn’t there something inherently pornographic about a view of God who eggs on his followers to incinerate the infidels? Or is it just my cultural myopia that expects the Almighty to encourage to love our enemies? The latest:

The pornography recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive, according to the officials, who discussed the discovery with Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The officials said they were not yet sure precisely where in the compound the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Specifically, the officials said they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials.

Reports from Abbottabad have said that bin Laden’s compound was cut off from the Internet or other hard-wired communications networks. It is unclear how compound residents would have acquired the pornography.

But a video released by the Obama administration confiscated from the compound showed bin Laden watching pictures of himself on a TV screen, indicating that the compound was equipped with video playback equipment.

Materials carted away from the compound by the U.S. commandos included digital thumb drives, which U.S. officials believe may have been a principal means by which couriers carried electronic messages to and from the late al Qaeda leader.

Three other U.S. officials familiar with evidence gathered during investigations of other Islamic militants said the discovery of pornography is not uncommon in such cases.

So while the right wing talk show jockeys are arguing that we got the drop on Bin Laden thanks to the miracle of water boarding, Andrew Sullivan‘s blog reveals a much different take on the matter:

Al-Libbi told interrogators that the courier would carry messages from bin Laden to the outside world only every two months or so. “I realized that bin Laden was not really running his organization. You can’t run an organization and have a courier who makes the rounds every two months,” Rodriguez says. “So I became convinced then that this was a person who was just a figurehead and was not calling the shots, the tactical shots, of the organization. So that was significant.”

And later that same year, the CIA shut down its dedicated hunt for OBL.

So the torture of Al-Libi led to the Bush administration’s abandonment of the hunt for bin Laden, a grotesque abdication of responsibility which president Obama rectified as soon as he became president. Why? because tortured information is often misleading – and led us away from finding OBL. The only other cases of torture in searching for bin Laden produced admitted lies about his couriers. And the use of torture, far from disabling terrorists, has, according to those in the front line, been the biggest source of Jihadist recruitment.

So, once again, the truth about torture: drowning men will tell you anything to stop the drowning. Usually, it’s a lie.

Andrew Sullivan takes stock of the Obama presidency in the wake of Bin Laden’s killing.

Obama avoided a plunge into the second Great Depression. He saved the auto industry. His bank bailout may make a profit. He has withdrawn most troops from Iraq. He has ended the ban on openly gay servicemembers. He has appointed two women to the Supreme Court. He muscled universal healthcare through the Congress into law. He ended torture as the law of the land.

Abroad, since his Cairo speech, democratic revolution after revolution has occurred. From Tehran to Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, the march of freedom George W Bush imagined has actually swept the region under his successor. Where Obama has failed – Israel/Palestine – he may still prevail.

But the capture and killing of bin Laden eclipses these. It does two things instantly: it tells us that an American named Barack Hussein Obama ordered the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. A man who symbolizes an integrative, tolerant, multicultural future defeated the symbol of a twisted, dark, fundamentalist past. A man who represents the human continuum of the developing and developed worlds defeated a man who seeks only one world and Shariah rule over all of it. And it also tells those who have been bombarded with lies and rumors and disgusting smears that this president, whatever they have been told, is no weakling, no terror-lover, no alien. He is as American as every new passport holder and every ancient Southern or Yankee family.

He found and killed the man Red and Blue America equally wanted found and captured or killed. And in that specific fact, a certain narrative – the narrative the degenerate right has been trying to fix to him for years – must now die. And it must die in the heart of the red states as well as in the mind of the blue ones.

Far from being somehow un-American, this president is only conceivable in America. Which makes this moment so rich with meaning and justice and, yes, hope.

What else is Obama going to produce this week? Low unemployment? After all, these things come in threes.

We need a President and a congress with the fiscal aptitude and conservative values of Ronald Reagan. We need leadership that will do something bold and responsible just like Reagan did in 1982: raise taxes. That’s right. That icon of conservatism and smaller government raised our taxes. See, the right wing of the GOP has always been idealistic. It’s just been the last few years that it has been brain-dead.