Category Archives: History

America’s Religious Affiliates Are On a Steady Decline

By: Jean Hopfensperger of Star Tribune

The men and women relaxing on yoga mats recently at a Minneapolis meditation center didn’t know it, but most belonged to the fastest-growing religion in America — none at all.

They included a former Lutheran who left the church because the Bible clashed with science, a former Catholic who became leery of its teachings, a former Baptist uninspired by Sunday services, a young man raised with no religion.

They reveal a major force behind the empty pews in churches across Minnesota and the nation. Nearly one in four Americans now declare themselves unaffiliated with any organized religion. An estimated 56 million strong, and growing, there are more of them than all mainline Protestants combined.

The church experience that was central to many of their parents’ lives has lost relevance and credibility.

“I can’t imagine that only one religion has access to the pearly gates,” said Lisa Pool, explaining her church breakup after class ended. “I realized there are all kinds of different paths to being a good person.”

The surge has Minnesota religious leaders wrestling with implications for the future of their churches, the future of Christianity. More than half of U.S. churches now see fewer than 100 worshipers on weekends, and they’re getting older, reports the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Particularly alarming is the plunge in church membership by people in their 20s and 30s. One in three are now churchless, according to the Pew Research Center. Faith leaders are racking their brains over how to reach these adults who may never step under a steeple.

“We are [all] worried,” said the Rev. John Bauer, pastor at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. “We all know it’s an issue, but don’t know what to do about it. It’s clear we can’t rely on the old ways of doing things for this next generation.”

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Stan Lee Marvel Creator Passes At 95

By: Mike Barnes of Hollywood Reporter

Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor and publisher of Marvel Comics whose fantabulous but flawed creations made him a real-life superhero to comic book lovers everywhere, has died. He was 95.

Lee, who began in the business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a family representative told The Hollywood Reporter.

Kirk Schenck, an attorney for Lee’s daughter, J.C. Lee, also confirmed his death to the Associated Press.

Lee’s final few years were tumultuous. After Joan, his wife of 69 years, died in July 2017, he sued executives at POW! Entertainment — a company he founded in 2001 to develop film, TV and video game properties — for $1 billion alleging fraud, then abruptly dropped the suit weeks later. He also sued his ex-business manager and filed for a restraining order against a man who had been handling his affairs. (Lee’s estate is estimated to be worth as much as $70 million.) And in June 2018, it was revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department had been investigating reports of elder abuse against him.

On his own and through his work with frequent artist-writer collaborators Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others, Lee catapulted Marvel from a tiny venture into the world’s No. 1 publisher of comic books and, later, a multimedia giant.

In 2009, The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, and most of the top-grossing superhero films of all time — led by Avengers: Infinity War‘s $2.05 billion worldwide take earlier this year — have featured Marvel characters.

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Is Gerrymandering Killing Democracy?

By: Zachery Roth of Daily Beast

Thousands of would-be voters at risk of being disenfranchised by ultra-strict registration rules. A draconian ID law that could keep Native Americans from the polls en masse. New measures targeting voting by college students. A Hispanic-majority city that moved its lone polling place out of town. 

As the 2018 campaign nears its end, experts who track voter suppression saythis is the worst it’s been in the modern era. In fact, making it harder to vote, especially for racial minorities, now appears to be—with the possible exception of stoking fear over a group of desperate migrants still about 700 miles from the Texas border—the single most important plank of the GOP’s strategy.

Aside from likely giving Republicans an undeserved boost in several key races, the drive to restrict voting has reached a scale that should raise serious questions about the democratic legitimacy of our elections. And alongside the extreme Republican gerrymander—currently the only reason why the party has even an outside shot at holding onto the House—it represents a massive structural obstacle to Democrats ever achieving the power their popular support deserves. In other words, Republicans can only win by rigging the game. 

Georgia has grabbed many of the headlines. Secretary of State Brian Kemp reportedly put around 53,000 registrations—70 percent of them from African-Americans—on pending status because of minor discrepancies with the information on state records.

The difference could be as trivial as a misplaced hyphen or a missing middle initial. Those on pending status are supposed to still be able to vote by showing ID, and two late-breaking court rulings softening some of the rules may help. But given the likely level of confusion that’s been kicked up, how it all will play out is anyone’s guess.

Kemp also has aggressively purged Georgia’s voter rolls, raising serious concerns that eligible voters have been wrongly removed. Since 2016, he has scrapped over one in 10 names. And in the four years before that, he purged 1.5 million, twice as many as in the previous four years.

The likely chief beneficiary of these strict policies? That would be Kemp himself, the Republican locked in that super-tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams, who’s bidding to be the nation’s first ever female African-American governor. Oh, and just for good measure, back in 2014 Kemp, on flimsy evidence, launched an aggressive investigation into a voter registration group serving mostly minority voters that Abrams had founded, significantly stymieing the group’s work.

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Pipe Bombs Are Sent To Clinton, Obama, and CNN

By: William K. Rashbaum

Pipe bombs were sent to a number of prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sparking an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether a bomber is going after people who have often been the subject of right-wing ire.

CNN received a similar bomb, addressed to Mr. Obama’s C.I.A. director John Brennan, touching off a mass evacuation of the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, where the network is located.

A law enforcement official said the devices were similar to one found Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor.

None of the devices harmed anyone. Law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether all the devices were sent by the same person or persons.

Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Soros and CNN have all figured prominently in conservative political attacks — many of which have been led by President Trump. He has often referred to major news organizations as “the enemy of the people,” and has had a particular animus for CNN.

The device sent to CNN was in a manila envelope addressed to Mr. Brennan, a harsh critic of Mr. Trump. The president revoked Mr. Brennan’s security clearance in what was seen as an act of retribution.

The envelope’s return address bore the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman and a former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, according to a person who saw a photograph of the envelope. The device sent to Mr. Soros was in a similar envelope also with a printed return address label with her name.

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Millennials Have The Power But Are not Using It In The Polls

By : Eric Levitz of Intelligencer

The United States, circa 2018, looks like a place run by people who know they’re going to die soon.

As “once in a lifetime” storms crash overour coasts five times a year — and the White House’s own climate researchsuggests that human civilization is on pace to perish before Barron Trump — our government is subsidizing carbon emissions like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, America’s infrastructure is already “below standard,”and set to further deteriorate, absent hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Many of our public schools can’t afford to stock their classrooms with basic supplies, pay their teachers a living wage, or keep their doors open five days a week. Child-care costs are skyrocketing,the birth rate is plunging, and the baby-boomers, retiring. And, amid it all, our congressional representatives recently decided that the best thing they could possibly do with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money was to give large tax breaks to people like themselves.

There are many plausible explanations for why America has embraced “carpe diem” as its governing philosophy. Our ruling political party is dominated by geriatric billionaires and millenarian Christians; our electoral system gives politicians little incentive to prioritize the nation’s long-term well-being over their constituents’ immediate gratification; and the conservative movement’s decades-long assault on “big government” has constrained the public sector’s capacity to invest in the future. But all these causes of American misrule are informed and exacerbated by this overriding fact: Young people vote much less than those who aren’t long for this Earth.

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Americans Ruled by a Minority

By: Anne Applebaum

Now that the predictable result has been achieved, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the longer-term impact of the bizarre, emotional events of the past two weeks in Washington. Reasonable people can still disagree about what happened in a house in suburban Maryland in the summer of 1982; reasonable people can even disagree about whether now, more than three decades later, those events should matter. But reasonable people cannot disagree about the political orientation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. In his testimony, he revealed himself to be an extreme partisan, a Republican Party activist and a man at least willing to bend the truth in public.

He did not reveal himself to be a man dedicated to upholding a neutral idea of the rule of law. On this point, Kavanaugh’s opponents and supporters are in total agreement. Just after he was sworn in to the job he might hold for many decades, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, tweeted: “Congratulations Judge Kavanaugh! Instead of a 6-3 liberal Supreme Court under Hillary Clinton, we now have a 5-4 conservative Supreme Court under President @realDonaldTrump, cementing a tremendous legacy for the President and a better future for America.” Note the expression “under President @realDonaldTrump”: This was a partisan contest, and the winning side is crowing in triumph that one of the partisan faithful has been victorious.

But what now? Thanks to the quirks of our Constitution and the vagaries of our politics, the result is that all three branches of the U.S. government are dominated by minorities. In the White House, we have, for the second time in less than two decades, a president who did not win the popular vote. He was elected thanks to the electoral college, a system originally designed to block demagogues, but which no longer does. Electoral college delegates are not independent, as they once were; instead, they vote as their state party chairman decides. The effect is to skew the result.

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR JEFF FLAKE DELAYS KAVANAUGH VOTE FOR JUSTICE

Amidst the controversial and political divides in Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Justice appointment, Republican Senator Jeff Flake took a brave and honorable stand to delay the Senate Judiciary Committee vote and allow the FBI to investigate the sexual assault claims made by Dr. Christine Ford.  This opportunity for due diligence is viewed by many as a civil way to appease both sides and reveal the truth about Dr. Ford’s claims that Judge Kavanaugh assaulted her in High School.

Senator Flake’s decision to take a stand for justice was motivated by two young women who confronted him in an elevator about Kavanaugh’s credibility and the crowds’ request for an FBI investigation.   Voting for Kavanaugh without the FBI’s due diligence implied that achieving political agendas are more important than Dr. Ford’s assault and women’s rights, in general.

The FBI investigation should help to clear Judge Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford’s name as the facts are investigated.  Although, many of Dr. Ford’s alleged witnesses are already saying that they do not remember the incident.

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

KAVANAUGH HEARINGS MARK AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN US HISTORY

Millions of Americans watched the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearing as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about being sexually assaulted by him during High School.

Although the incident happened a long time ago, it challenges Judge Kavanaugh’s character and questions if he is the appropriate person to be appointed to the highest court in our country for life.  Dr. Ford tried to make her allegations known when it was publicized that Judge Kavanaugh was on President Trump’s short list of candidates.  She stated in her testimony that she felt it was her civic duty to let her truth about his character be known as she tried to remain anonymous.  By the time she made it through the necessary channels to be heard, President Trump had already announced that Judge Kavanaugh was the Supreme Court nominee.

Supreme Court decisions are upheld by laws that impact future generations.  That is why composed, fair, honorable, and unbiased people are sought after for this lifetime position.  We have to wonder why Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment was being rushed through to confirmation with these outstanding accusations that were not fully investigated.  One of the greatest privileges of a US President is to appoint a Supreme Court Justice for life.  President Obama was blocked from doing this for over a year and never got the opportunity before he left office.  Yet, President Trump, amidst personal controversy over his own election, leadership, and sexual misconduct, has appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch and now pushes the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh amidst more controversy.

Beyond the sexual assault charges by Dr. Ford that Judge Kavanaugh vehemently denies, his composure under pressure was clearly broken, his position was partisan and accusatory in an appointment that must uphold the law for all people regardless of political party, and his portrayal as a spoiled white privileged brat that is entitled to such an honor regardless of his behavior, leaves many questions about him being an appropriate Supreme Court Justice for the United States of America.

Moreover, the lives of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are forever changed.  Dr. Ford is a highly educated and credible witness who gave a believable testimony that won the hearts and sympathy of viewers around the world.  She is being called a hero for her courage to come forward with her truth about someone whose position of power would affect the lives of Americans for generations to come.   However, she has received death threats and had to move her family twice since coming forward.  Judge Kavanaugh maintains that he was never at the parties, never drank in excess, was a model student, and his good name has been ruined with these accusations.  Regardless of the outcome in his Supreme Court appointment, and regardless if the accusations are true, Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation, integrity, and truth is now questionable.

This is a moment in our American history that we will not forget.  Are political agendas ruining a perfectly innocent man’s career and life?  Or are political agendas overlooking a woman’s sexual assault and deeming such violations as insignificant?  Either outcome has a historical impact on the current women’s movement that has vindicated many women who have experienced sexual misconduct by men in power positions.

A successful nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court amidst these accusations without proper investigation will tell every woman in America that crimes against her do not matter.  Politics are more important than any women’s rights and male white privilege rules in America regardless of justice.   The only way to show that this is not so is to postpone the vote and have a proper investigation for this type of allegation.  Meanwhile, even if he is found innocent of the accusations by Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh’s arrogant, biased, and angry disposition during his testimony is concerning and definitely a questionable disposition for an Honorable Supreme Court Justice.

More women are coming forward with their truth about being sexually violated.   The  #MeToo movement and accusations of sexual misconduct have brought down the careers of many seemingly untouchable and powerful men, bringing them into accountability.   While some accusations are true,  some men have been accused and lives destroyed in the court of public opinion before proper investigation.   Therefore, is it possible that some men are being brought down unjustly?  The proper investigation goes both ways; to confirm the victim’s truth or to vindicate the accused for a crime they did not commit.

The future outcomes and historical accounts will reside in the conversations we have today with our children.  What will we tell our daughters in America, the land of the free, about their country, their worth, their potential, our leaders, our values, our morals, and trust in the American judicial system?  What will we tell our sons about appropriate behavior, respect, and justice?

This historic appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, or not, will mark who we are as a country at this date in time because of the statement it will make to all women and the men who respect women.  It is a historic stand that we will take for our daughters and their liberation from having to endure inappropriate sexual behavior without recourse.  It is a historic moment for us to seek justice and truth over achieving political agendas.  This truth must not be ignored if we are to ever take our country’s judicial system seriously.

 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

TRUMP REMARKS AT 2018 UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY DRAWS LAUGHTER FROM WORLD LEADERS

President Trump addressed the 2018 United Nations General Assembly, and once again, boasted about all of his accomplishments that, according to Trump, have far exceeded other Presidents in US history:

Fortunately, according to President Trump, the leaders were laughing with him, and not at him:

For the record – according to President Trump, this was meant to be funny.2018 Un General Assembly

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa To Be First Private Citizen To Fly Around The Moon With Space X

By: Michael Sheetz of CNBC

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next generation rocket, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.

Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.

The trip is expected to launch in 2023.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,” said Maezawa, one of the richest people in Japan, who made his fortune as the founder of online retailers Start Today and Zozotown.

SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead and on Monday confirmed that Maezawa is “the same person” who was announced before, just with a larger group now onboard.

BFR is a massive, 35-story tall rocket designed to launch and land like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but also carrying dozens of people on board instead of just satellites. Musk confirmed BFR’s “design has been changed,” after receiving questions about new renders of the rocket posted online.

Read More 🤔

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome