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To: Brumar89 who wrote (3775)7/19/2010 10:04:16 PM
From: TimF
   of 3816
Results from that link for some recent posts I made

Cory Doctorow (3 posts or parts of posts)
Margaret Atwood
Stephen King
J. R. R. Tolkien
Raymond Chandler
Dan Brown
David Foster Wallace

To the extent that I've read these people I'm not so sure I see the connection to my writing style.

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To: TimF who wrote (3777)7/19/2010 10:22:36 PM
From: Brumar89
   of 3816
I'm questioning the value of that site ... I got Dan Brown for something I posted too, and on another attempt got someone name Lovecroft .... a horror writer.

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From: Brumar897/20/2010 7:36:59 AM
   of 3816
Amish teen arrested after buggy chase


By Kellie Mazur - WIVB 4 | Published: 12:40 PM 07/19/2010

After an investigation performed by the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, 17 year old Amish boy, Levi Detweiler, was arrested on counts of underage possession of alcohol, overdriving an animal, reckless endangerment and failure to stop at a stop sign.

The investigation found that Detweiler ran through a stop sign in the presence of Sheriff Deputies, an attempt was made to stop the buggy by Deputies and the suspect refused to stop.

Full story: Amish teen arrested after buggy chase |

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From: Brumar897/20/2010 12:40:40 PM
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According to a study carried out by a Chicago sociologist in 2003, women with big breasts had ten point higher I.Q’s. on average than their less well endowed counterparts. This sociologist conducting the study, who admitted to being a 32A in breast size, looked at 1200 women of various breast sizes. She divided the women into five categories based on their breast measurements. These included extra-large, large, medium, small, and extra-small breast sizes.

The women were then given an I.Q. test to objectively measure their intelligence levels To the researcher’s surprise, women in the extra-large and large categories scored an average of ten points higher than women in the groups with the smallest breast sizes. Even women with medium sized breasts beat out the small breasted women by several I.Q. points.

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From: TimF7/26/2010 5:13:13 PM
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Did Greed Cause the Recession

June 15, 2010 by yunesj

Since I’m a rotation student, I’m new in my lab. I just had my first political conversation with my office mate, and it was about the role greed played in the recession. Here are some of my thoughts on that.

“Greed” is vogue, just as “hope,” “WMD,” and “flip-flop” were. It doesn’t have much meaning.

“Greed” is a scapegoat. Politicians are blaming the economic collapse on “bad people,” without bothering to be more specific. These greedy people already had enough, but they wanted more, just so you couldn’t have it. (But don’t worry, the government can protect you from “greed.”)

How does greed manifest itself in a company? As people working harder, longer, and smarter than what is expected of them. Working harder makes their product better, their customers happier, and their company profit more, and it is therefore greed. Bankers were making a killing for their company, the government was incentivizing them to do it (by aggressively buying up the subprime securities), and they were increasing home ownership for Americans. Sounds like a win-win-win.

Well, is there a better explanation for the recession? How about the central bank’s policy, the laws that demanded banks “meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities (ref: wiki),” and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

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From: Peter Dierks8/3/2010 10:20:34 AM
2 Recommendations   of 3816
The Truth About Tibetan Buddhism
There’s more to this ancient religion than Hollywood celebrities would have you believe
Brendan O'Neill | July 28, 2010

Many Westerners before me have visited Tibet, popped into some monastery on a mountainside, and decided to stay there forever, won over by the brutally frugal existence eked out by Tibetan Buddhists.

I have exactly the opposite reaction. I couldn’t wait to leave the temples and monasteries I visited during my recent sojourn to Shangri-La, with their garish statues of dancing demons, fat golden Buddhas surrounded by wads of cash, walls and ceilings painted in super-lavish colours, and such a stench of incense that it’s like being in a hippy student’s dorm room.

I know I’m not supposed to say this, but Tibetan Buddhism really freaked me out.

The most striking thing is how different real Tibetan Buddhism is from the re-branded, part-time version imported over here by the Dalai Lama’s army of celebrities.

Listening to Richard Gere, the first incarnation of the Hollywood Lama, you could be forgiven for thinking that Tibetan Buddhism involves sitting in the lotus position for 20 hours a day and thinking Bambi-style thoughts. Tibetan Buddhism has a “resonance and a sense of mystery,” says Gere, through which you can find “beingness” (whatever that means).

Watching Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel read a collection of the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Central Perk on Friends a few years ago, you might also think that Tibetan Buddhism is something you can ingest while sipping on a skinny-milk, no-cream, hazelnut latte.

Or consider the answer given by one of Frank J. Korom’s students at Boston University when he asked her why she was wearing a Tibetan Buddhist necklace. “It keeps me healthy and happy,” she said, reducing Tibetan Buddhism, as so many Dalai Lama-loving undergrads do, to the religious equivalent of knocking back a vitamin pill.

The reality couldn’t be more different. The first devout Buddhists I encountered looked neither healthy nor happy. They were walking from their villages in southern Tibet to Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest site, and the journey had taken them nearly three months. Which isn’t surprising considering that with every third or fourth step they took, they got down on their knees and then fully prostrated themselves on the ground, lying flat on their bellies and burying their faces in the dirt, before getting back up, taking a few more steps, and doing the painful prostration thing again.

It looked life-zappingly exhausting. They moved at a snail’s pace. Their foreheads were stained grey from such frequent, unforgiving contact with the bruising earth. They wore wooden planks on their hands, which made a deathly clatter every time they hurled themselves downwards. I’d like to see Jennifer Aniston try this. Tibetan Buddhism sans latte.

You soon realize that no Tibetan Buddhist sits cross-legged on cushions all day long while staring into space and thinking about the universe. No, worshipping Buddha is a full-on physical workout. At the Lamaling Temple on a hillside in Nyingchi County in south-east Tibet, I saw women in their 50s doing the prostration thing, like an archaic version of a Jane Fonda workout.

The temple itself is packed with weird statues. Red demons with contorted faces. Smug-looking Buddhas smiling patronizingly at the poor, exhausted worshippers. There’s a statue of the “Living Buddha” (now deceased) who administered this temple in the 1950s and 60s and it is wearing sunglasses. Terrifyingly, it looks like a cross between the Buddha and Bono.

The Lamaling Temple, like others I visited, is painted in the most obscene colors. No inch of wall or centimeter of roof beam has been left untouched by the possibly colorblind decorators of Tibetan Buddhism’s sites of worship. Everywhere you look there’s a lashing of red or green or bright blue paint, a weirdly fitting backdrop to the frequently violent imagery of this religion: the statues of sword-wielding demons, the fiery paintings, the images of androgynous Buddhas, some with breasts, others with balls. “Peace” and “calm” are the last words that come to mind when you’re inside one of these senses-assaulting places.

The Lamaling Temple also brings home the fact that Tibetan Buddhism, like every other religion on Earth, is made up of various, sometimes horn-locking sects.??I excitedly lined up an interview with one of the monks and asked if he’s looking forward to the day when the Dalai Lama returns from exile in northern India. He patiently told me—dumb Westerner that I am—that he doesn’t worship the Dalai Lama, because he is a member of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism while the Dalai Lama is head of the Gelug school. Then there’s the Kagyu school and the Sakya school—making four in total—which have hot-headed disagreements and have even come to blows in recent years over which deities should be worshipped and which should not. Religion of peace? Yeah, right.

Tibetan Buddhism has a whole lotta hang-ups about gays and girls, too. It says gay sex is “unnatural.” The Dalai Lama declared in a talk in Seattle in 1993, during one of his whistle stop, U2-style world tours, that “nature arranged male and female organs in such a manner that is very suitable… same-sex organs cannot manage well.” (Someone needs to explain to His Holiness how gay people get it on.)

And as Bernard Faure of Columbia University says: “Like most clerical discourses, Buddhism is… relentlessly misogynist.” So while Tibetan women can become nuns, they can’t advance nearly as far as men. Because according to Buddhist teachings it is impossible for women to become “the perfectly rightfully Enlightened One,” “the Universal Monarch,” “the King of Gods,” “the King of Death,” or “Brahmaa”—the five highest, holiest positions in Buddhism.

Of course, this only means that Tibetan Buddhism is the same as loads of other religions. Yet it is striking how much the backward elements of Tibetan Buddhism are forgiven or glossed over by its hippyish, celebrity, and middle-class followers over here. So if you’re a Catholic in Hollywood it is immediately assumed you’re a grumpy old git with demented views, but if you’re a “Tibetan” Buddhist you are looked upon as a super-cool, enlightened creature of good manners and taste. (Admittedly, Mel Gibson doesn’t help in this regard.)

I am well aware of the fact that I am not the first Westerner to be thrown by Tibet’s religious quirkiness. A snobby British visitor in 1895 denounced Tibetan Buddhism as “deep-rooted devil-worship and sorcery.” It’s no such thing. But what is striking, and what caused me to be so startled by the weirdness, is the way in which this religion has come to be viewed in Western New Age circles as a peaceful, pure, happy-clappy cult of softly-smiling, Buddha-like beings. Again, it’s no such thing. The modern view of Tibetan Buddhism as wondrous is at least as patronizingly reductive as the older view of Tibetan Buddhism as devil-worship.

Frank J. Korom describes it as “New Age orientalism,” where Westerners in search of some cheap and easy purpose in their empty lives “appropriate Tibet and portions of its religious culture for their own purposes.” They treat a very old, complex religion as a kind of buffet of ideas that they can pick morsels from, jettisoning the stranger, more demanding stuff—like the dancing demons and the prostration workout—but picking up the shiny things, like the sacred necklaces and bracelets and the BS about reincarnation.

It is all about them. They have bent and warped a religion to suit their own needs. As the Tibetan lama Dagyab Kyabgon Rinpoche puts it, “The concept of ‘Tibet’ becomes a symbol for all those qualities that Westerners feel lacking: joie de vivre, harmony, warmth and spirituality… Tibet thus becomes a utopia, and Tibetans become noble savages.” Western losers have ransacked Tibetan Buddhism in search of the holy grail of self-meaning.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked in London.

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To: Peter Dierks who wrote (3782)8/7/2010 6:36:21 PM
From: Brumar89
2 Recommendations   of 3816
Faux Buddhism is fashionable with Western progressives who have no idea what the real varieties of the religion are like.

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From: Brumar898/7/2010 6:39:03 PM
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Martin Luther King, Trekkie

Nichelle Nichols, who famously played Lt. Uhura on the original "Star Trek," credits Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for persuading her to stay on the TV show.

At a television press tour panel for the second season of PBS's "Pioneers of Television" series, which will air in 2011, Nichols shared that she had wanted to leave the show after the first season. Not because she didn't like Gene Roddenberry's visionary show, but because her heart belonged to Broadway: "I took 'Star Trek' because I thought it might be a nice adjunct to my resume and I'd get to Broadway faster. ... I thought it was going nowhere for me."

But then Nichols met King at a NAACP dinner, where he was introduced as her "biggest fan." King urged her to continue her role. "He said what Gene Roddenberry had done was to establish who we were in the 23rd century," she said. Nichols' role as Uhura, first a bridge officer and later promoted to lieutenant, was one of the first non-servant roles played by an African-American woman on TV.

King told Nichols that not only was he an admirer of Roddenberry's groundbreaking show, but it was the only show he and his wife would allow their three young children to watch.
And more important, it was helping to change the world. Nichols says he told her: "You are part of history, and it's your responsibility, even though it wasn't your career choice."


That old show seems really hokey now. Though as a high school kid, I liked it at the time.

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From: TimF8/8/2010 12:03:59 AM
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Affirmative action only hurts racial harmony
By: Linda Chavez
Examiner Columnist
August 8, 2010

Calls to end affirmative action gained a new proponent this week - and from an unlikely candidate. Gregory Rodriguez, a Los Angeles Times columnist and fellow at the progressive-leaning New America Foundation, wrote this week, "We need to find new, less divisive ways to fight inequality."

I couldn't agree more with Rodriguez's conclusion but not entirely with the analysis that leads him there. Rodriguez's opposition stems from his fear that white racial anxiety is rising and that affirmative action could lead to a destructive white backlash.

"The combination of changing demographics and symbolic political victories on the part of nonwhites will inspire in whites a greater racial consciousness, a growing sense of beleagurement and louder calls to end affirmative or to be included in it," he writes.

Rodriguez's fears about white racial anxiety seem a bit overblown. Americans have shown themselves increasingly oblivious to racial considerations.

Not only did Americans elect the first black president just two years ago, but this year, the GOP has nominated Hispanics for two U.S. Senate seats and two gubernatorial races. In addition, the Republican nominee for governor of South Carolina is an Indian-American female, who, if elected, would join Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal as the party's second major elected official of Indian ancestry.

Nonetheless, Rodriguez's point about changing demographics is an important one. As he correctly notes, affirmative action was initially intended to benefit a small minority, mainly African-Americans who had suffered more than a century of state-sponsored racial discrimination.

But the program expanded in rationale - from making up for past discrimination to promoting diversity - and in scope, to include Hispanic and Asian immigrants as well as blacks. It's hard to argue that newcomers should be entitled to affirmative action benefits, especially when they have no historical claim to have suffered past discrimination in this society.

Since white women also benefit from many affirmative action programs, these preferences now apply to a majority of the population. Clearly, set-asides that apply to that many people, many of whom are not economically or educationally disadvantaged, are a mockery of the original intent of affirmative action.

Ironically, Rodriguez barely addresses what I've always believed is one of the strongest arguments against affirmative action: its detrimental effects on the very people it's meant to help by turning them into perpetual victims.

In passing, Rodriguez warns that whites, too, might fall prey to "the siren song of victimology that has captivated other groups." Victimology and affirmative action go hand in hand. Without claiming to be a victim, you can't make a case that you're entitled to special treatment.

But thinking you're a victim is a lousy way to get ahead in a society as competitive as this one, no matter what your skin color. It's a defeatist attitude that encourages failure, not success.

And even when adopting victim status ensures preferential treatment, it leads to resentment and anger in the beneficiary and a sense of patronizing superiority in the benefactor. Such attitudes are hardly a recipe for greater racial harmony, much less success.

In the end, however, the best argument against affirmative action is a moral one. Making choices based on race or ethnicity is simply wrong.

You know almost nothing about a person solely because of his or her skin color. It doesn't tell you whether the person is competent, reliable, or trustworthy. It doesn't give you useful information about the person's past performance or potential, any more than knowing the person's shoe size does.

When you're making a decision about hiring someone or admitting a person to school, what's relevant is the individual's performance, not his group identity.

It's time to end affirmative action not because it makes whites anxious but because it perpetuates race obsession that harms all Americans, regardless of color. We've got to get beyond thinking of ourselves in terms of racial or ethnic origins if we are ever to live up to our ideals as Americans.

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From: Brumar898/10/2010 11:27:19 AM
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Are Evangelicals the New Mainline?

Monday, August 9, 2010, 9:00 AM
Joe Carter

Patheos has an excellent interview with sociologist and historian of religion Rodney Stark. As with anything from Stark, it’s difficult to choose just one section to quote. But here’s the core of his claim:

When I was very young, there was a Protestant mainline and they were the Congregationalists, the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, American Baptists, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and more recently the media would include the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Once in a while they would even stretch things far enough to include the Unitarians and Quakers. These were the high prestige denominations, and when people became prominent and successful they would shed their old denomination and join one of these.

Now, the belief that these are the mainline denominations simply won’t go away. Everyone keeps pretending that these are the folks that count. But the fact is: that’s ancient history.

. . . Yet one keeps hearing about the “mainline” denominations and this “periphery” called evangelicalism. Well, the periphery is now the mainline, and the mainline is the sideline.

I also decided to write [How Denominations Die: The Continuing Self-Destruction of the Protestant "Mainline] partly because of the misperception that this transformation began in the 1960s. The 1760s may be more accurate, and certainly the 1860s, but it didn’t start in the 1960s. The 1960s is just when it began to be noticed.

Exactly. No offense to my mainline friends, but I’ve never understood why they continue to be considered mainstream by the the mainstream media. The Southern Baptist Convention has as many members as all mainline denominations combined.

[ And they seem to have stalled. Though that may be due to over-counting in the past. ]

Yet the dying denominations get all the attention.

I suspect that within my lifetime the only mainline denominations that will continue to exist will be those that, as Stark notes, are led by clergy who are “generally evangelical in their convictions.”

Anyway, back to the interview. With Stark, I can’t ever stick to just one excerpt so here are a few more quotable passages:

I’ve had people tell me: “I quit that mainline church because, in the whole year, the minister didn’t say the words Jesus Christ.”

[. . .]

What if you went to a baseball game, and nobody brought a ball? The players just stir around for two hours. I don’t think you’d go back, would you? Likewise, when you go to church, but the minister doesn’t bother to hold church because he wants to talk about Medicare or something, why go back? Well, people don’t.

[. . .]

The denominational leaders would pass resolutions that “everybody in prison is a political prisoner,” for example, or that “everybody commits crimes but only the poor are sent to prison for it.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have many friends who engage in drive-by shootings and stick up liquor stores. I just don’t. (Granted, they’re a bunch of cowardly professors, but still.)

Read more . . .

Comments (9)

August 9th, 2010 | 10:02 am The Assemblies of God has 2,899,702 members, while the Episcopal Church has 2,057,292, according to the NCC. Given our British heritage and the influence of the Episcopal Church, I find this fascinating.

[ The AoG number is probably understated. I went from Southern Baptist to nothing to Methodist to nothing to General Baptist and unaffiliated to defacto AoG (recently). And the AoG church I go to hardly ever mentions AoG or even keeps a church roll. The only people they keep track of are the little kids - they print out a little sticker and you need it to pick them up. ]

Your post deals largely with numbers, with quantity. Working as I do at an evangelical institution, I see another, qualitative, indication that evangelicals are becoming the mainline: We’re often given over to a more experiential pietism than an intellectual, cognitive-propositional orthodoxy. (This shift happened, I think, in the 70s and 80s.) And, as pietism is wont to do, evangelicalism is devolving into a sort of theological liberalism. I see my students regularly embracing ideas that are essentially classical liberal Protestant ideas. This qualitative shift should be something sociologists pay attention to…

August 9th, 2010 | 10:21 am I am Catholic but have had significant interaction with mainline Protestant institutions (mainly schools). The Episcopal church I know is barely a church anymore – it is a social institution and performance space that caters to the rich while it works very hard to become diverse, mostly by reaching out to the very poor. The school attached to it will do anything to boost its diversity numbers – as long as it keeps test scores up and donor funding flowing. The one subject everyone can discuss amicably is sports – a “safe space” where discussions of character are attached to achievement by people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Mike Melendez
August 9th, 2010 | 11:50 am I wonder if “mainline” applies to any church anymore. The old mainline used to be source of the powerful in the U.S. The evangelicals are not in that position. I suggest that it is good for a religion not to be in that position. Power seems to corrupt religion disproportionately. Much better to be influential with the ideas and beliefs that form the faith.

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