...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stanley Hauerwas

Consider Trump’s use of the phrase “the people” in his inaugural address. “The people” have borne the cost. “The people” now own, rule and control the government. “The people” have not shared in the wealth of the country but now they will. “The people” will have their jobs restored. 
To which one can only wonder: Who are these people? The answer must be that they are Trump’s people who now wait for his call to action, that is, to make America great again. Trump, in his mind, is not just the president of the United States. He is the savior.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I have better things to do

than to read articles this depressing, but I teach critical thinking and writing for a living, and I need to be on top of my game. Ick. Here's another one. TAL covered some of this phenomenon, too.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2 Corinthians 3:6b

"...the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."


Pruitt’s close ties with energy companies were repeatedly brought up by Democrats as the hearing got underway. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon presented a letter Pruitt sent to the EPA protesting its enforcement of methane rules. 
The letter was written almost entirely by Devon Energy. Pruitt had changed just a few words. 
“A public office is about serving the public,” Merkley said. “You used your office as a direct extension of an oil company rather than a direct extension of the public health of the people of Oklahoma." 
Pruitt said sending the letter written almost entirely by an oil firm was appropriate. 
“The letter sent to the EPA was not sent on behalf of any one company; it was particular to an industry,” he said. “There was concern expressed by many in the industry about the overestimating that occurred in relation to that methane rule.”


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Thought experiment

I don't know if this thought experiment holds up, but I've been formulating it in my mind the past couple of days:

First and most important to this thought experiment: Imagine if Hillary Clinton had been elected.

Now, imagine if there were widespread, if unsubstantiated, reports that she had close ties to the Chinese government, that these ties were based mainly on shared monetary interests, and that she also stated, openly and roughly during the same time as these reports surfaced, she wanted to repeal (potential) actions taken against China for the incursions into the South China Sea.

Next, imagine if there were other widespread (if unsubstantiated) rumors that the Chinese government had actively tampered with her opponent's (i.e., Trump's) campaign in order to help get Clinton elected. Further, in these same reports, imagine that the Chinese government claimed to have dirt on Clinton that would make it politically and personally embarrassing for her to risk crossing China and having that dirt come to light. In this scenario, then, it would seem that Clinton had both financial and reputation-based reasons for why she might say that the U.S. should soften its stance towards China.

Next, imagine that President-Elect Clinton publicly denigrated intelligence agencies that suggested Chinese influence in helping undermine her opponent's credibility, despite the fact that the head of one of those agencies (let's just say the CIA) also, the week before the election, sent to congress an enigmatic, suggestive, and damaging letter about an ongoing investigation of her opponent, Donald Trump.

Finally, imagine if the press reporting some of these reports, including Fox News, were ignored or publicly denigrated at a news conference President-Elect Clinton held, a week before taking office. And then, soon after, a widely respected Republican questioned the President-Elect's legitimacy. (It couldn't be someone like Donald Trump himself, who questioned--openly and with little reproach from his own side--Barack Obama's legitimacy--for five plus years.) Let's say the person questioning Clinton's legitimacy is John McCain. And after McCain questions Clinton's legitimacy, imagine Clinton saying publicly that McCain has "done nothing" and is "all talk and no action."

Would you, my dear Trump-loving readers (of whom I'm sure I have many), be outraged or restrained in your response? Don't answer out loud. It's a thought experiment.

[The above has been revised for clarity.]

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yvor Winters

"The poet's first job of work is to put bread on the table."

Andy Warhol

"If everyone's not a beauty, then no one is."

Thursday, January 5, 2017