Live from Golgotha: The Gospel according to Gore Vidal

St. Paul freely improvises his tales as he evangelizes. “‘All things are contained within the single mind of Onespc_vidal True God in His three aspects.’ Saint Paul could dispense this sort of smooth bullshit while taking apart and reassembling a Holy Rolodex machine,” Timothy relates as he witnesses St. Paul in action. Paul speaks in “ye olde” when he quotes the voluminous Christ. Timothy remarks that when Saul of Tarsus meets the Christ vidal-cover-live from golgothaghost, he converts to a religion that Saul/Paul himself had not yet founded. People are consistently disappointed to learn that Christ weighed 400 lbs. and spoke with a lisp. “Why doth thou persecute-eth me-th?” There is an interesting plot twist when Judas is mistaken for Christ and almost crucified. It seems that the “real Christ” was a militant Zionist, and Paul’s golden-rule Christianity an improvisation. Paul journeys from town to town raising money and founding churches, adding to his Holy rolodex, and tap-dancing. Cameos from celebrities such as Nero, Petronius, and Shirley MacLaine are interspersed throughout Timothy’s odyssey from CE 33 to CE 96.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_from_Golgotha:_The_Gospel_according_to_Gore_Vidal

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South Dakota – The Suzerainty of Teananderthalia

where drooling morans rule…

So. Dakota Bill Protects Teaching Intelligent Design in Schools
by John Timmer / Senior Science Editor / Ars Technica

Once again, state legislatures have been turned into battlegrounds by lawmakers who seem intent on slipping religion into the science classroom. As in years past, most of these bills simply seek to protect teachers who introduce spurious criticisms of evolution into their lesson plans. But South Dakota has the distinction of attempting to specifically protect the teaching of intelligent design, something that has already been determined to be unconstitutional following a bruising court defeat.

As tracked by the National Center for Science Education, four states are considering a total of five bills; Missouri has the honor of having two bills going at once, while Virginia and Oklahoma have one. The Virginia bill is fairly typical of these. It would prevent local school boards and administrations from punishing teachers who help students “analyze, critique, and review” scientific theories in their classrooms. In the past, these bills have singled out evolution as a topic that’s meant to be critiquedone Missouri bill still doesbut lately that’s often been dropped in favor of generic language like “scientific controversies” (see, for example, the Oklahoma bill).

Based on the evolutionary history of these bills, it’s clear that they were originally intended to encourage teachers who wished to introduce spurious criticisms of evolution, many of which have been published by the creationist and intelligent design movements. However, in an attempt to avoid legal scrutiny, the bills’ authors have been turning to increasingly generic language.

That said, this year’s bills include two distinct variations on the theme. One is the second Missouri bill, which would require schools to develop “a mechanism where a parent can choose to remove the student from any part of the district’s or school’s instruction on evolution.” And the second is the South Dakota bill, which would see any teacher that introduced intelligent design into their science classroom protected from disciplinary action, even though that instruction has been declared an unconstitutional imposition of religion. “[This bill] is a recipe for disaster,” said NCSE Executive Director Ann Reid. “If enacted, school districts are going to find themselves caught between a rock and a hard placeand they’ll wind up in court.”

If the long-running battle over evolution interests you, stay tuned to Ars. Next Tuesday, we’ll have two reporters at the Creation Museum to watch its founder debate Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Oh, tell us what you REALLY think… MoA Comment Classic…

“If it is still not apparent to the rest of the world, the US is run by a collection of out-of-control psychopathic Zionist war criminals that have to be treated as such if there is going to be any semblance of peace. Sure, we here can discuss how their actions conform to this or that plan – e.g., the Yinon Plan – etc but taken as a whole and with an large unforgiving eye to the needless murder/maiming/displacement/destruction of millions that the US has been directly responsible for for decades there is in my mind just no sense in even pretending that any rational and humanistic leader/people should countenance much less negotiate/partner with the US and its depraved and sickening representatives as it continues apace on its campaign of terror.

“Everyone should reflexively know that The Global War on Terror is very real but in an – oh so amusing I’m sure to TPTB – twist it’s not AQ or any of the other chimerical villains that are perpetrating it but the US itself and it’s grotesque assortment of hideous war criminals.

“With a massive propaganda battery at their disposal to take the “edge” off of the murder and mayhem until the next round begins, there is no hell hole deep enough for these monsters. I know that bevin and others may disagree but when does the world move beyond the realpolitik and start talking about such quaint terms as justice for those millions of people who have had their lives needlessly destroyed by these subhumans?

“In an amazing Dorian Gray moment at the SOTU address Peace Laureate Obama looked into the shattered monstrous visage of his own soul in regards to the GWOT and everyone in attendance clapped like the bloodthirsty murderers they are without a thought to the millions of people we’ve wrecked beyond the point of being stitched back together. Such spectacles should be enough to signal to the world what type of people are leading the United States of America and they should begin to act/plan accordingly.”

Posted by: JSorrentine | Feb 1, 2014 10:57:18 AM
Moon of Alabama re West sponsoring fascists in Ukraine. Wait for the Sochi games to end cuz Putin’s gonna have a Valentine to deliver…
http://www.moonofalabama.org/

Pope Denounces Trickle-Down Economics

POPE FRANCIS SMILE WEARING GLASSES-170x112From TPM…Pope Denounces Trickle-Down Economics ‘Which Has Never Been Confirmed By The Facts’

Igor Bobic – November 26, 2013, 12:48 PM EST278

In his first encyclical released on Tuesday, Pope Francis laid out a broad mission statement which restated the church’s opposition to abortion but also emphasized what it can do for the poor and oppressed trapped in a world of growing income inequality.

“It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new,” the pontiff wrote in the 85-page document. “Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’.

The pope also denounced “trickle-down” theories of economics promoted by many conservatives and politicians who espouse an unregulated free market.

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” he said. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

Eben Alexander Westminster Town Hall Nature of Consciousness

Eben-Alexander small edged from Wikipedia “Alexander is the author of the 2012 autobiographical book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeons Journey into the Afterlife, in which he asserts that his out of body and near death experience (NDE) while in a meningitis-induced coma in 2008 proves that consciousness is independent of the brain, that death is an illusion, and that an eternity of perfect splendor awaits us beyond the grave complete with angels, clouds, and departed relatives, but also including butterflies and a beautiful girl in peasant dress who Alexander finds out later was his departed sister. According to him, the current understanding of the mind now lies broken at our feet for What happened to me destroyed it, and I intend to spend the rest of my life investigating the true nature of consciousness and making the fact that we are more, much more, than our physical brains as clear as I can, both to my fellow scientists and to people at large.

MPR recorded this and then put it on their website in a way few people could audit… I found a way to play it and record it and post it here so others can now get at it and listen. 52 minutes.

Since the modern world is all about me, me, me,

Have computers taken away our power? | The Guardian
Link

In his films, Adam Curtis draws on recent attempts to overthrow power in autocratic countries, describing the spontaneous revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan as a “triumph of the visions of computer utopians of the 1960s, with their vision of computers allowing individuals to create new, non-hierarchical societies” just like in that mass game of Pong. “The internet played a key role in guiding revolutions that had no guiding ideology, except a desire for self-determination and freedom.” But the desire for freedom itself was not enough, he says. “In all those revolutions, that sense of freedom lasted only for a moment. The people were brilliant at overturning the power but then what? Democracy needs proper politics, but people have given up on saying that they’re going to change the world.” The Arab uprisings began after he finished making the films, but he sees these in the same way. “It’s as if these people assembled spontaneously on Twitter and they just want freedom. But what kind of society do they want?”

He does not deny that Twitter and Facebook had some impact at least organisationally. But he has strong views on social networking for anything beyond straightforward organisation; he considers the sharing of emotions online to be the “Soviet realism of the age”.

He quotes Carmen Hermosillo, a West Coast geek and early adopter of online chatrooms who in 1994 argued that, although the internet is a wonderful thing, your emotions become commodified. “It is fashionable to suggest that cyberspace is some island of the blessed where people are free to indulge and express their individuality,” she wrote. “This is not true. I have seen many people spill out their emotions their guts online and I did so myself until I began to see that I had commodified myself.” Says Curtis, “On Facebook and Twitter, you are performing to attract people you are dancing emotionally, on a platform created by a large corporation. People’s feelings bounce back and forth happy Stakhanovites, ignoring and denying the system of power. It’s like Stalin’s socialist realism. Both Twitter and socialist realism are innocent expressions of the ideology of the time, which don’t pull back and show the wider thing they are part of. We look back on socialist realism not as innocent but as a dramatic expression of power; it expresses the superiority of the state, which was the guiding belief at the time. I think sometime in the future people will look back at the millions and millions of descriptions of personal feelings on the internet and see them in similar ways. This is the driving belief of our time: that ‘me’ and what I feel minute by minute is the natural centre of the world. Far from revealing that this is an ideology and that there are other ways of looking at human society what Twitter and Facebook do is reinforce the feeling that this is the natural way to be.”

Curtis doesn’t tweet or Facebook send him to the gulag! but he has an excellent blog, “which isn’t about me or my feelings, because I don’t think I’m as interesting as the stories I’m telling”.

Where will the next big idea come from? He wonders about China. “Is it a stable system? Or a mercantilist economy that’s gone too far?” Or closer to home. “If things go really bad, they change. If things get really bad, they say, can we have a dramatically different, better kind of society?”

Since the modern world is all about me, me, me, here’s a confession: Curtis’s ideas have made me run for my life. In 2009, in the course of It Felt Like A Kiss, the sublime theatre event Curtis put on with Punchdrunk about the birth of hyper-consumerism, I was separated from the audience and sent down a long, dark corridor, which I took to represent the apotheosis of individualism. I remember thinking, I must run because my life depends on it I knew it wasn’t real, but I couldn’t help myself. It was terrifying. The ideas in All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace are similarly mesmerising and disturbing, but they’re also a provocation: have we really given up on the hope of changing the world in our lifetimes? Or is that in itself an idea worth fighting for?

Link to video: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2011/may/06/adam-curtis-computers-documentary

A Room of My Own – Emilio DeGrazia

Whenever the house gets messy enough I like to retreat to a favorite little space where I hope everyone will just let me be. There, in that small room, I find some quiet ways to come to terms with all the messy troubles in the world. I’m suspicious of the way the word spiritual is used, so I tell myself it’s where I make my separate peace.

In that room there’s a window looking out. So I also call it a room with a view.

That window is small enough to provide me some dense impressions of how human beings tend to behave. Yesterday, after turning off the TV news and its steady stream of talk about wars and the horror potential of four-hour erections, I imagined myself somewhere in the Mideast right after a fellow named Jesus, like many others, was crucified. The region I’m in is teeming with religious cults, rituals, prophets, seers, and devotees. Some of these cults come from Persia and beyond, others from what we now call Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, and beyond. And all these cults compete for attention with the devotees of the various Greek and Roman deities.

The region is, religiously speaking, untidy, and messy if we disapprove. The Romans, who rule the scene, think it best to let people believe what they want as long as they pay their taxes and behave. A few of the Roman emperors think of themselves as gods, but because there are so many gods all around the emperors secretly know they’re not the only ones in a crowded field of minor league god-players.

Anybody with teenagers in the house knows this much: Untidiness gets on the nerves. So many cults, so many deities, so many important things to believe, this way or that. The urge for neatness kicks in, for the sake of order and clarity and purity. Throw a bunch of stuff out, finally. Get rid of all the cults and gods that clutter the temples, streets and minds. Get back to basics, the god I like.

So polytheism officially lost out, and the great monotheistic religions took over. The woman devoted to chastity no longer has her own special goddess, Artemis, to call her own, and the drunken lecher no longer calls on Bacchus to juice him up. The Gnostics, who believe themselves in the special know about most things divine, have to join the Roman church or play dumb, and the Manichaens, with their rival kingdoms of evil and good, become just one more designated minority heretic group. The One God, Jewish, Christian, and eventually, Muslim too, becomes the acceptable, invariable and eventually required only God.

So why don’t we get along? Why all the trouble and fuss in the Mideast and here at home? The troubles are not just about oil and jobs. They’re also about dignity and belief and the right to believe and be left alone to get on with the daily chores of life. Trapped by these troubles are ordinary and reasonable people who want zealot politicians and preachers to go mum for a change. These good folk don’t like others trying to mind their spiritual business.

The monotheistic leaders agree that they all worship the same God. one, absolute, an invariable. Meanwhile, the other invariables persist – the chaste woman, the lecherous drunk, the mystic knower, the saint who thinks he’s living in a black and white, evil and good, world with other believers who look at all things spirituality, morality, abortion, gay marriage, big corporations, and religion’s role in politics this way and that.

But now there are not countless sacred cults to choose from and to find comfort and community in. So here we are, stuck either inside the umbrella, or somewhere outside. If we’re inside the One God umbrella it’s easy to take potshots at everyone outside, and vice versa.

Things get much worse when those inside the umbrella multiply and divide. Then they begin taking potshots at each other too. Various types of Catholics and Protestants come to mind, and Sunni and Shia, with many local variations. Things get much worse when the uncivil comments the zealots hurl at each other turn into civil wars. While people stuck in civil wars crucify each other, they also live in the same town, and sometimes next door.

There’s usually no backing down, especially when zealots begin making speeches and when the basic response that results from thinking of the world as good and evil gets on the roll called revenge. You killed my son? Then I’ll rape your daughter. That kind of thing.

And when there’s no Rome to collect taxes and keep the calm, that is, when people require government to take only one side, things are likely to get worse.

It makes a lot of people wonder where they can find a decent cult to join. They’d probably do much better by clearing space for a little room of their own, but please, everyone, don’t bring your messes into my little room.