Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Morning Twitter Messages -- April 23

Am I the only one who thinks that during Barack Obama's presidency we have seen more interfaith religious services than any other administration in our lifetime?  How many times have we read "Comforter-in-chief"?
For those who argue for faith-based politics, the poll is likely to fuel their warnings of a secular conspiracy. However, for those of us who believe in a high wall of separation, the poll shows that people could be finally moving away from the use of faith by politicians to secure votes and to obscure their record. This is not a trend to reject faith. This remains a deeply faithful country. Rather, it is a slow recognition that civic leadership does not depend on leaders necessarily believing in your God or any God. Notably, there are also many secular leaders who are deeply religious but believe in strong separation of church and state principles. We have many leaders of faith who are deserving of support and this poll suggests that more Americans are willing to consider leaders who are agnostic or atheist rather than impose a religious litmus test. Yet, with 43 percent still saying that they will vote on the basis of religious prejudice, there remains work to be done.
I had to look it up.
PMI is "Purchasing Managers Index." 
In other words, if purchasing managers ain't ordering stuff, the economy is about to take a really big hit cuz they know what they need and more importantly what they don't need. Inventories are not moving. Not a good sign.
I refer the reader to my little screed yesterday about Austerity and Deficits (and Minimum Wages)
It's been a busy morning. Two sentences from Dave Lutz at Stifel, Nicolaus are all you need though to sum it up . 
The DAX (Germany) is up almost 1% as the € is getting hit on rate-cut speculation as the German PMI print falls to a 5M low. EU Fins having another banner day, popping 2.5% on the back of Portuguese and French banks. 
Basically, the expectation is that the data is now bad enough, such that the ECB will spring into action. In addition to the Germany/Euro story, the other big event was the China PMI miss, which helps underline the global growth slowdown story.

Don't miss the last two paragraphs which are scarry as hell.
Any readers naive enough to think the US is not ahead of Israel? Seriously?
Israel is also looking to develop small tactical satellites that warplanes could launch into the earth's orbit, the officer said. 
Unlike satellites in permanent orbit which are more easily monitored by other leading armies in the world, the tactical satellites Israel hopes to develop would be cheaper to build and less susceptible to interception because they would be launched during wartime and there would be less time for foreign armies to track their orbit, Israeli military officials said.
This is too good not to pass on.
In case anyone missed it... 

The tiger had been performing in the Isis Shrine Circus and had escaped briefly, wandering into the bathroom. Staff blocked off all of the entrances to the bathroom except one, which Ms Krehbiel walked into. 
Chris Bird, the manager at the Bicentennial Center, explained that the bathroom was only 25 feet long. He said: "Once she saw the tiger, I'm sure she knew to go the other way. Overall, it was a scary, surreal moment. I am glad no one was hurt or injured."

The recipes, which include both food and medical ointment concoctions, were compiled and written in Latin. Someone jotted them down at Durham Cathedral’s monastery in the year 1140. 
It was essentially a health book, so the meals were meant to improve a person’s health or to cure certain afflictions. The other earliest known such recipes dated to 1290. 
Many of the dishes sound like they would work on a modern restaurant menu. Faith Wallis, an expert in medical history and science based at McGill University, translated a few for Discovery News: 
“For “hen in winter’: heat garlic, pepper and sage with water.” 
“For ‘tiny little fish’: juice of coriander and garlic, mixed with pepper and garlic.” 
For preserved ginger, it should kept in “pure water” and then “sliced lengthwise into very thin slices, and mixed thoroughly with prepared honey that has been cooked down to a sticky thickness and skimmed. It should be rubbed well in the honey with the hands, and left a whole day and night.”

This next link was RT by Nouriel Roubini. If he sez it's important, it's important. 
The part that jumped out at me was about GOLD.
Gold is not an investment. It is a commodity. 
Anybody need to hear that again?
The price of gold has been declining for some time now. 
Repeat after me: "Gold is not an investment. Gold is a commodity." 


A lengthy essay in Haaretz should be obligatory reading for everyone, especially those advancing the notion that this or that religious faith is the answer to all our social and political challenges. For those of us who believe in Jefferson's wall of separation between church and state, this is yet another testimony to the power of that principle. 

If last week's events in Boston and the backlash seen in many quarters from otherwise intelligent and well-meaning people of various faiths illustrate nothing else, they show how easily society and politics can be torn apart by beliefs (which, as we all know, always trump facts).

Our refusal to predefine our son’s convictions have made me so far reluctant to register Iskander’s birth in Egypt, in the hopes that one day the religion field will disappear from birth certificates and ID cards, or until I find a legal means to keep it blank. 
However, even if the state becomes more amenable to diversity – which seems unlikely under the current Islamist stewardship but is conceivable under new management given the protection of personal freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution – society as a whole will not necessarily follow suit. 
In Egypt, especially in traditional and conservative circles, the idea that religious identity is inherited runs deep, both among Muslims and Christians, and the traditional model of tolerance is to live as good neighbours and friends but not generally to intermarry. That said, I have met a number of conservative Muslims who accept the rights of other Muslims to convert and even to become atheists. 
More troublingly, the increasing marginalization of Christians in society and their targeting by Islamic extremists bodes ill if the country fails to rediscover its pluralism. For Iskander, this could be problematic if he decides to pursue his Christian identity or, worse, in the eyes of society, abandons religion altogether. And even if he chooses to become a Muslim, it would cause him to feel shame toward an integral part of his personal heritage. 
But our son’s mixed heritage is not just potentially problematic in the Middle East; it can also cause him difficulty in Europe. Although European society has evolved into a multicultural kaleidoscope which, at its best, is incredibly tolerant and accepting of diversity, there are numerous worrying undercurrents. 
Here in Belgium, the law guarantees equality regardless of background and people possess the legal freedom – both nationally and at the EU level – to choose the belief system that suits them. Moreover, the apparent unceremonious death of organised religion has left questions of faith almost completely in the private and personal sphere. 
But even if Christianity has to a large extent fallen by the wayside, Christian rituals have been secularized, as reflected in the enduring popularity of Catholic sacraments, such as baptism and confirmation. Moreover, for some, old Christian prejudices have combined with secular distrust of religion or old-fashioned racism, to stigmatize Muslims. This manifests itself in the increasing mainstreaming of Islamophobia, as well as xenophobia in general.
This video is not from my Twitter timeline but it will be after I post this. 
Bill Maher is on a roll. If you go to You Tube there is also a transcript. 

This next message links to a  PEW Research piece with a quiz. 
By all means take the quiz before you read the content. I am proud to report that I got twelve of the thirteen questions (T/F & Multiple Choice) correct. 

More Roubini RTs here.  Clearly several people haven't read the memo. 
Experience is a bitch, isn't it? 
Good judgment comes from experience. 
Unfortunately, experience comes from bad judgment.


David Corn is the editor of Mother Jones. Need I say more? This is unbelievable. 

Great question. 
Great column. 
Unhappy ending. 

So, will the “Fix the Debt” austerity claque, the Republican Tea Party Caucus and McConnell get out of the way so the president and Democrats can pass jobs programs to put people to work? 
Don’t count on it. As the case for austerity was eviscerated, Simpson and Bowles came out with yet another austerity plan, once more calling for urgent reforms to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in order to avoid economic collapse. 
Sadly, austerity’s reign of misery continues, even as it has been demolished in theory and practice. President Obama has ceded ground to the austerity hawks, proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare as means to reduce government debt. On the other side of the Atlantic, austerity is spreading economic contraction across Britain and the continent. The Federal Reserve is even under pressure to roll back its expansionist monetary policy. We will be freed of austerity’s grip only when those in power return to common sense, fact-based politics and when we hear much more from the unemployed and the immiserated and much less from bankers and their favored economists.
This is why I follow Jay Rosen. He puts more into 140 characters than most commentators do in a column. 
"It’s all yet another case study in how the Republicans too often comport themselves in the wake of a disaster — these self-proclaimed “patriots” are merely selective, fair-weather patriots, only willing to lend their unified support when the president is from their own party and prepared to bomb the hell out of brown people somewhere. They will not give an inch on anything. They will contradict themselves, ignore their own records, jump to paranoid conclusions, risk embarrassment and generally do whatever it takes to disrupt and sabotage the Obama presidency. And they’re willing to brazenly and unapologetically exploit these tragedies as a means of doing so."

Jamelle Bouie isn't talking about the article at the link. Trolls are in the comments, and they are legion. Any wonder that Bush may be the only living president who served two terms and was never mentioned or make an appearance at his party's next convention?
Top quality journalism listed here. 
Bet you didn't know God has a Twitter account. 

Marriage equality is fast becoming a global phenomenon. 
Following this next Twitter message (about France) I have posted the New Zealand parliamentary event which was greeted with a spontaneous outpouring of singing from the gallery that brings tears to the eyes. 

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