Saturday, March 31, 2018
I grew up in a Christian home, where a photo of Jesus hung on my bedroom wall. I still have it. It is schmaltzy and rather tacky in that 1970s kind of way, but as a little girl I loved it. In this picture, Jesus looks kind and gentle, he gazes down at me lovingly. He is also light-haired, blue-eyed, and very white.
The problem is, Jesus was not white. You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you’ve ever entered a Western church or visited an art gallery. But while there is no physical description of him in the Bible, there is also no doubt that the historical Jesus, the man who was executed by the Roman State in the first century CE, was a brown-skinned, Middle Eastern Jew.
Everybody knows this.
“In 1969, the Year of the Pig, participants in what is known as (descriptively) youth culture or (smugly) hip culture or (incompletely) pop culture or (longingly) the cultural revolution are going through big changes,” Ellen Willis begins, writing at the end of that year on Dennis Hopper’s film Easy Rider and Arthur Penn’s Alice’s Restaurant. Willis identifies “a pervasive feeling that everything is disintegrating, including the counter-culture itself.” Her essay is at once a contemporary report on the state of American culture and a retrospective look at the Sixties, grappling with what she calls “the overpowering sense of loss, the anguish of What went wrong? We blew it—how?”
History, from one POV.
Hawa, a Hindi word for wind or air, carries a subtler meaning in Indian politics. A politician’s hawa is the tailwind that propels him to victory; it is the superior momentum that comes with being on a roll.
For the past five years in the world’s biggest democracy, one man, one party, and one ideological current have pretty much cornered all the hawa. A puffing guardian spirit tangibly energizes Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister; despite his modest stature, the bearded sixty-seven-year-old can fill a room with a swirling air of quiet purpose or, some would say, menace. All across the country hawa can be felt ruffling the ubiquitous orange flags of his Bharatiya Janata, or Indian People’s Party (BJP), and stirring the long-suppressed ambitions of the Sangh Parivar, the “family” of Hindu nationalist groups that is the party’s ideological home.
India's politics are at least semi-fascinating. If you have the time.
John Arnold, however, has made little secret of his views on the pharmaceutical industry. On Twitter, he has scoffed at the notion that high drug prices are critical to funding research (“garbage11”), expressed skepticism about a single-payer health system (it “introduces other problems12”), and weighed in on pharmacy benefit managers13 (they “create some perverse incentives14” but “create negotiating leverage against the monopolies and oligopolies of the drug makers”).
In a TV interview with CNBC in October, John Arnold cast the drug industry as “example No. 1” of an area “where there is a market failure.” In his view, despite bipartisan agreement the “pricing mechanism is messed up,” the drug industry’s formidable political power ensures that the system persists.
The result, he said: “really bad public policy.”
PROVIDENCE — A Rhode Island lawmaker has ripped the scab off the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal with legislation born out of her older sister’s repeated abuse, as a child, by their family’s parish priest.
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would remove the seven-year statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against perpetrators of sex abuse. The statute of limitations derailed a lawsuit by two former victims of an infamous pedophile priest in 2016.
A late-night hearing on her bill earlier this week drew pained personal recollections from her sister, now a 65-year-old psychologist a well-known doctor talking about his abuse publicly for the first time; and Jim Scanlan, a R.I. man whose account of sex-abuse by a Boston College High School priest in the late 1970s figured in the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”
If you can stomach this article.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Before President Donald Trump’s promises of an “impenetrable” wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, there was America’s wall.
As it stands today, the wall is imperfect. It is a hodgepodge of steel gates, concrete pillars, hip-high vehicle barricades and other materials. It is marred with cuts and patches; bypassed beneath by tunnels and overhead by drug-delivering catapults and drones; interrupted by long stretches of desert where thousands of people have died trying to enter the U.S. illegally on foot; and cradled on the east and the west by vast expanses of water where people swim, scuba dive and sail around the border.
Your San Diego public radio station!
That's the real argument over The Passion Of The Christ. It's not between Christians and Jews, but between believing Christians and the broader post-Christian culture, a term that covers a large swathe from the media to your average Anglican vicar. Some in this post-Christian culture don't believe anything, some are riddled with doubts, but even the ones with only a vague residual memory of the fluffier Sunday School stories are agreed that there's little harm in a Jesus figure who's a "gentle teacher". In this environment, if Jesus came back today he'd most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in a hybrid with an "Arms Are For Hugging" sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams. If that's your boy, Mel Gibson's movie is not for you.
It's a good movie in some respects but I still think it's excessively violent. I mean pruriently violent. I stood in line for tickets behind a biker (I talked to him about his chopper) who was there to see the suffering but not, I'm pretty sure, get the religion.
Federal Court Delivers the Coup de Gras to Contraception Mandate - The American SpectatorThe American Spectator
Most Americans probably believed that the notorious HHS contraception mandate had been effectively nullified after the Supreme Court ruled against the Obama administration in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell and Zubik v. Burwell. But deep state holdovers at the Justice Department, like those Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender for decades after the end of WWII, continued to pursue the lost cause even after the Trump administration took office. On Wednesday, however, Judge David Russell of the United States District Court for Western Oklahoma flushed the last of these dead-enders out of their caves and forced them lay down their briefcases.