June 20, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 9:45 PM

THE NOMINEE FOR BEST TEEN COMEDY:


Posted by orrinj at 5:57 PM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

Trumpworld Fears Its 'Nightmare Scenario' Is Coming True (Asawin Suebsaeng & Sam Stein, Jun. 20, 2020, Daily Beast)

Early this month, one senior White House official told The Daily Beast that their "nightmare scenario" would be for the president to slip beneath 40 percent support in a sustained string of public and private surveys--thus signaling that a previously unshakable base was starting to grow a bit disillusioned. Trump's consistent--though perhaps unenviable--standing in the low 40s had for years remained an illustration of his enduring base and iron Republican support. 

"Until then, I'm not a doomsayer," this official said, referring to the nerve-racking 30s in national, and some state, polling.

In the time since that comment, multiple polls have shown Trump sliding into the 30s. Asked this week about the change, the same White House official simply responded, "This is not where any of us wanted to be at this point...

Posted by orrinj at 10:25 AM

VAST AND TRUNKLESS LEGS:

Should Christians Support Removal of Confederate Memorials? (JOE CARTER, 6/19/20, Gospel Coalition)

In 2017, pastor-theologian John Piper offered three questions we should ask when deciding if a public memorial is good for a community or a nation. To his list, I'd add a couple more.

What is our intention in desiring to keep/remove a memorial? -- Paul tells us to "do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). Our ultimate decision about memorials should be determined by which course of action we truly believe would bring the most glory to God. While not every Christian will agree on what that means, it should be our guiding principle.

What reality is being memorialized? -- Because history is overseen by our sovereign God, Christians should agree that reality is objective. We do not have the same access to historical knowledge as God, though, so our interpretations of history are often subjective. However, subjectivity should not be confused with willful ignorance or concession to historical propaganda. Christians should strive to uncover historical truth.

A prime example is the historical truth about the Confederate flag. It's shocking how many Americans are willing to defend the flag and yet don't know basic facts about the symbol, such as that it was never the official flag of the Confederate States of America and that it only became popular in the mid-20th century when it was adopted as a symbol by several segregationist and white supremacists groups.

It is also baffling how Christians can claim the Civil War was about "state's rights" despite the fact that the Confederacy made it clear the primary right the states wanted was to protect the institution of slavery. We should be honest about history and strive to understand the reality we're memorializing.

Is this reality worthy of public admiration and emulation? -- For certain memorials, particularly those celebrating a cause, this question is easy enough to answer. The Confederate flag was a symbol adopted by white supremacists because it celebrated the "heritage" of those who betrayed their country and fought to defend the enslavement of black Americans. That is not a cause worthy of admiration or emulation.

When the memorial is of a person, though, the issue becomes more complex, which is why we need to consider the next question.

Is the person who is symbolically embodying this reality so compromised with evil that regardless of the reality being memorialized, the person is too tarnished even to be used to memorialize something worthy? -- In answering this question, we should consider both the person's character and the reason they are being memorialized. Consider, for example, two military leaders, George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Both men are frequently remembered for being of noble character. And yet both men owned enslaved people. Does that make them equally tarnished?

While reasonable Christians may disagree, I don't think the memorials of the two men are equivalent. Washington is remembered despite his support of the evil cause of slavery, while Lee is primarily known only because he fought to defend slavery. Washington helped to establish the flawed U.S. Constitution (a document that would later outlaw slavery when amended) while Lee broke his oath to defend that Constitution to support the cause of keeping black Americans forever in chains. Washington's legacy is compromised by his support of slavery, but Lee's is inexplicably linked with this racist sin.

Posted by orrinj at 6:26 AM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

US Justice Department tries to oust New York prosecutor probing Trump allies (MICHAEL BALSAMO and COLLEEN LONG, 6/20/20, AP)

The Justice Department moved abruptly Friday to oust Geoffrey S. Berman, the US attorney in Manhattan overseeing key prosecutions of US President Donald Trump's allies and an investigation of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. But Berman said he was refusing to leave his post and his ongoing investigations would continue.

"I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position," Berman said. His statement came hours Attorney General William Barr said Berman was stepping down from his position.

The standoff set off an extraordinary clash between the Justice Department and one of the nation's top districts, which has tried major mob and terror cases over the years. It is also likely to deepen tensions between the Justice Department and congressional Democrats who have pointedly accused Barr of politicizing the agency and acting more like Trump's personal lawyer than the nation's chief law enforcement officer.

The move to oust Berman came days after allegations surfaced from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton that the president sought to interfere in an Southern District investigation into the state-owned Turkish bank in an effort to cut deals with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan.

AG is the plum job in the Biden Administration, as you'll get to make your bones convicting Donald and his flunkies.