Five things Bill O’Reilly flubs in ‘Killing Jesus’

12 Jan

Casual critique and a reminder that simply because a book hits #1 doesn’t mean it is historically accurate. Or even good for that matter.

CNN Belief Blog

Opinion by Candida Moss, Special to CNN

(CNN)--Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus: A History” is the best-selling book in the world right now. But it’s far from flawless.

The Holy Spirit may have inspired “Killing Jesus,” but he didn’t fact-check it.

Here are five ways it shows: 

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“Obamacare Driving Me Drink”

5 Jan

This week I’ve noticed a rather interesting television ad going after Sen. Kay Hagan and Obamacare, previously known as the Affordable Care Act, previously the wild-eyed scheme of a group of people who thought certain bankruptcy for medical attention in a country that touts their Christianity was both ironic and immoral. The ad features a real live person and North Carolinian, Sheila Salter, who is a businesswoman in the medical field. Yes. Really.

After watching it I immediately decided to search the internet for her to see what information turned up. Thankfully, tastefully, the first result was her LinkedIn, but shortly thereafter the search results turned to her appearance on CSPAN3 where she was giving testimony concerning how Obamacare was going to cost her business $4,584. I truly tried to empathize with her and, while recognizing that small businesses budget within strict margins, quickly found the empathy evaporating. Was this the first time she’s ever had a government, state or federal, guideline change her balance sheet and possibly force the business to adjust its pricing? Evidently so. While getting in a few laughs for her drinking joke, she appears to completely miss the point of risk pools. In a pool of people who sign up for a policy, there will be provisions you will never use. Ever. What’s more is you don’t pay for those provisions under the potential risk of having to use them solely, but that it drives the cost down for everyone in that pool. It’s one of the numerous ways health insurance is different than any other kind of insurance. I have no issue paying for maternity because it drives down the premium potentially expectant mothers pay. It’s really as simple as that. No. Really.

The ad in question appears to have numerous spots and funding and was well-produced in a kitchen bigger than my first apartment. That isn’t even hyperbole. The fact that the counter tops are granite actually made me cross my arms with consternation. Through the course of the commercial she laments that she has lost her doctor, her health plan, and will now have to pay more for health insurance. While the entire “you can keep your health plan and doctor” line of assault against really President Obama was effective concluding 2013, it appears to be the only assault now that the website is improved. Not even the President is excusing his choice of words and the fact they were misleading. Furthermore, this is what you’re going to get with a public/private partnership, especially with insurance companies that do not care about your health, insomuch as it never forces them to pay out more than your premiums and out-of-pocket expense annually. The President should have never had said it, but haranguing him only wins temporary political points. It doesn’t actually solve problems, like Ms. Salter losing her doctor and plan.(And she really hasn’t lost them down a rabbit hole in space on a deserted island.)

So what does she do? How does recoup? She purchases a new plan on the exchanges, a more comprehensive plan and through BCBSNC. (NC Governor Pat McCrory, in what really feels like a betrayal of conservative business values, abandoned the free market and BCBSNC is the only provider through the exchange, happy to compete with itself. This is on top of the Governor not expanding Medicaid.) Despite implying that the change in premium rate is a huge disservice, I see she has those granite counter tops and lose all sympathy. It’s entirely judgmental of me, agreed, but she didn’t say she couldn’t afford the rise in premium. She also didn’t say she wouldn’t be able to see actual doctors. So she’s inconvenienced at best and at worst dosed with the level of uncertainty and confusion anyone uninsured or under-insured has had to live with for decades. The ad isn’t plausible to invoke sympathy. 

Within the trail of crocodile tears a pattern unfolds more stark than subtle. The people who absolutely despise Obamacare and want to invest time and money into seeing it dismantled are only ever just slightly inconvenienced by it. They’re not being denied care or access to care. They’re not being subjected to a premium completely out of their ability to pay. They’re not even being disallowed a lollipop at the end of the visit. Rolls of people who object to Obamacare and present their numbers have been time and time again proven either hyper-political against the policy or bad at signing up for a policy through the exchanges. The general tone these discussions take consistently revolve around people of means being inconvenienced and the fake outrage that ensues, like a child who was told there would be cake at dinner but then cries foul with a bait and switch when presented with broccoli and meatloaf first.

It’s time to pass the gravy.

Duck Call Politics

24 Dec

Duck CallsOver the course of the past few days I’ve been listening to all the different arguments concerning the Duck Dynasty personality Phil Robertson and his indefinite suspension from A&E. I’ve listened to pundits, family, friends, Facebook, and Twitter. People have quoted everything from the First Amendment to the Bible in asserting their point of view with his paraphrasing of Christian philosophy. So, I wonder: Is hiding behind theology to assert a controversial religious opinion “duck call politics”?

His “freedom of speech” wasn’t violated by being suspended.

Freedom of Speech is a guarantee that government will not infringe your ability to state fringe, crazy things. Well, most crazy things. If his employer wants to say, “That out of line. Go sit in time-out.” they can. It’s their network.

The controversy isn’t really about  Robertson saying what he said. It’s because A&E indefinitely suspended him.

They’re a private company who knew exactly who they had hired, but still had to take a stand on the issue. Part of it was a moral position, part of it was public relations, and I wouldn’t be surprised if was partially a publicity stunt.

The “he was just quoting scripture” or “it’s his religion” is moot because: bestiality.

A lot of people have a lot of religious beliefs and good for them. However, you can’t just go and compare something to raping an animal and not expect the people who are being compared to be just the tiniest bit offended.

Referring to this as “hate speech” in a mocking tone.

Let’s say it’s not hate speech. Would you like it if you were compared to a goat fucker? Is that slightly offensive? What about if the person you loved was called a goat fucker? Your brother? Sister? Aunt, uncle, best friend, MOM or DAD.

Saying liberals or anyone who is criticizing him is intolerant.

Is being intolerant of intolerant speech redundant, repetitive, ironic, or just a lousy observation? The entire idea or statement that being ridiculed for saying something ridiculous is showing “intolerance” is purely a simple answer or tagline for people who think “critical thinking skills” are what’s used to fill out a 1040EZ form on April 14th.

The arguments become more specious and ludicrous the further they span out from the actual heart of the story. While we realize that this country and this world views LGBT as some monolithic group with the same set of values, proclivities, and tastes it couldn’t be farther from the truth. What Phil Robertson said, the patriarch–a title that is almost implied to mean he has no ability to comprehend feminism–of the duck dynasty, is a common sentiment among a wide swath of Americans who view homosexuality as immoral and curable, however, it overlooks the individuality of each member of both communities by forcing the same stupid tribalism that has haunted every single social movement in the history of our nation.

Finally: Nobody cares about your thoughts on the morality of homosexuality or if you “agree with that lifestyle”. It’s a social issue and it’s not just one lifestyle.

Lifestyles you are allowed to disagree with:

  • Violent criminals
  • Sex offenders
  • Bigots
  • Men who grow beards they choose not to trim

Lifestyles you cannot disagree with:

  • Homosexuality
  • Watching all of “Sherlock” in one day on Netflix
  • Eating a box of cereal in one sitting, especially Fruity Pebbles

Facebook Wants to Know Little Known Things About Me

15 Nov

Things you may not know about me:
1. Twelve is an unholy number.
2. The prophet sees all of time and does not like cheese dip.
3. Some people would do well to ascend to African apes.
4. Spilling Hawaiian Punch is an unforgivable sin before age 6.
5. Groucho Marx misquoted me.
6. Three-hundred and four minus two-hundred and ninety-eight.
7. Your imagination doesn’t exist. It was replaced three years ago with an emphatic, white noise random numbers generators that hums binary. You hear the hum when it is completely silent, and you secretly fear it has already proven you like frozen Twizzlers in cheap whisky, even though you haven’t ever tried it.
8. There is no 8. The numbers 9 and 7 were over-achievers and created a number to eliminate being shamed by cube roots and those exiled to the Island of Lonely Integers.
9. Redacted, due to inducing impromptu kissing and aggregate supply of emotional commodities.

Flag on the Play: A quick criticism of the NFL bullying discussion

10 Nov

So I’ve been rather perplexed in the myriad of perspectives and discussions revolving around the Miami Dolphins and adult bullying, otherwise known as bullying. The parts of this conversation that leave me puzzled are the assertions that people who are large, muscular and physically intimidating are less likely to be bullied, and the bully and bullied appeared to be the best of friends (according to teammates).


First, when everyone in the room is physically intimidating it’s harder to be used as a gauge of dominance. In fact, it’s a rather negligible factor. I’m not sure why this has eluded those mentioning it, as though a 300lb muscular athlete is any less susceptible to the vices of small group dynamics, especially in a hyper-machismo, bro-tastic hazing microcosm.


Second, in patriarchal structure the idea that men aren’t bullied in friendships is quite frankly bullshit. The only thing smells worse is the suggestion that these men are “elites” in anything. The locker room model can breed camaraderie, teamwork, and interdependence. That is not to be confused with trust. Bullies exist in many forms, for many reasons. Even from personal experience, I can attest that sometimes friendship is an environment where bullying can thrive, like a functional, yet destructive relationship. The guise of friendship reduces the level of bullying, but much like this story and others teach: there is no way to ease out of such torment. You have to leave.


A culture of bullying is never acceptable.

An Economy of Bad Ideas

10 Mar

Can we talk for a moment about bad ideas? Some ideas are brilliant, some are profound, some are neutral, and the rest should fall into a metal bin labeled “BAD”. Then that bin should be taken out back and the contents lit on fire. Or should it? I’m not completely certain, with regard to how popular so many of them are, that people can  identify a bad idea when they see, hear, or come up with one. So, to more clearly define the lines between an idea that’s good, neutral, or HORRIBLY WRONG here are some things to consider:

How do these people become so damn relevant?

Being elected into a political office appears to have an effect on the psychology of a person that propels into believing their victory equals infallibility. The level of over-confidence is startling, especially when it’s coming from the leadership, i.e. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. Raising revenues (taxes) will raise spending…on unimportant bloat that some of us like to call the Federal Deficit. The more election wins, the more solidly that politician thinks their ideas and actions are secure. We can recognize that that level of security can garner several benefits in any organizational framework—that is until it turns into friends-with-benefits or any other aptly provocative scandal. Suddenly they’re hoisted by their own petard. People in office, especially at the national level, continually view their success as validation, however, far too often elected officials take this way to far. It’s not enough to say “I’ve been elected to take my ideas into the discussion.” The method that’s used is, “My ideas are the only ones valid for discussing and if we don’t I’m taking my ball and going home.” For example, there are those who have sought to stranglehold progress as of late with Presidential nominees. While questions should be asked, points should be debated, etc. why does the Bad Idea Fairy visit them? Threatening filibuster for Jack Lew for the Treasury, Chuck Hagel for Defense, John Brennan for the CIA, or attacking Ambassador Susan Rice for her role in messaging after the 9/11/12 attacks in Benghazi to show she is incapable of being Secretary of State takes the powers of someone either really well-versed or really inept at being a logician. It’s almost impossible to figure out which. This is why Congress has a lower approval rating than Chris Brown.

Lemme get an attitude about not having any sense.

Ain’t nobody got time for
domestic violence.

Some arguments do not have the two sides we’re presented.

Let’s agree to disagree! Or not. Because some ideas do not have two sides. Evolution, climate change, birth certificates do not have controversies that need to be taught. All ideas will have dissenters, but at what point do “dissenters” become “truthers”, “birthers”, or Crazy Uncle Bill who always smells like black powder and has a YouTube video YOU HAVE TO SEE? The sell-ability of the idea of “two sides” is based largely in our ability of convergent thinking. We, as humans, tend to first look at just a simple list of set possibilities based around causation. However, we live in a free cosmos, so there can be more than one wrong answer—and that’s usually the ones people are most noted with going with. If a conspiracy can be suggested because we don’t agree with facts, then it’s more valid. Sometimes the crazier the conspiracy sounds the more plausible people will see it. To put questions to rest: We evolved from ape-like creatures hundreds of thousands of years ago into homo sapiens. The Earth is getting warmer in part due to how well we haven’t taken care of the planet. The President was born in Hawaii (HI)—It’s the Aloha State! We were attacked by a terrorist plot on 9/11/2011. Women using birth control allows to them to have control over their animal cycle of reproduction, improve their upward mobility, and overall increases the quality of society. Facts. They can be verified.

Let’s just say something indefensible and point out how it can’t be rebutted.

So when you don’t have a valid counter argument to a fact you dislike it’s time to pour some crazy on it. Ted Cruz was recently guilty of this when he wanted Chuck Hagel, nominated to be Secretary of Defense, to prove he hadn’t donated money to an organization named “Friends of Hamas”. The first issue is proving a negative. Prove you haven’t picked a book off a shelf, The second issue: “Friends of Hamas” doesn’t exist. There’s no such organization…officially. And now you start thinking: Well what if there is a secret organization tha—STAHP. Just stop right there. Powers of the Universe: COMBINE in form of Critical Thinking Skills…in shape of Common Sense. There was no group. Brennan didn’t donate money to the non-group. It’s not a conspiracy to cover up anything, unless you think the conspiracy is covering up Ted Cruz’s ability to do something rationally productive.

The only thing we manufacture here are crises.

“Crises are our business and business is good” should become the unofficial motto of Washington, D.C. There are other organizations, governments, NGOs, etc. that use the similar methods. However, if you have a sizable portion of responsibility, and then use that to act capricious, destructive, and then manipulative in regard to proving that you’re needed, then you’re an abusive significant other. Not Congress. The debt ceiling fiasco, fiscal cliff, and sequestration started with the Tea Party garnering enough support based on the ineffectiveness of government. Once in power, Senators like Rand Paul and Representatives like Michele Bachmann, did not seek to improve the quality of government through any review or process analysis. They sought entirely to use the grassroots movement (still debated based on the Koch Brothers involvement) to bash government and essentially operate as obstructionists. Elected officials and those who support them in Tea Party have been widely labeled as the “American Taliban”, but it’s not their Christianity they evangelize as gospel. It’s the good news of specific parts of the Constitution that are their religion. Selective reasoning has pushed them into focusing on the Second Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, and other philosophical teachings based in the notion that they have edge on what the Founding Fathers really meant. The intention of the Founding Fathers was that we didn’t have be beholden to the intention of the Founding Fathers. There was absolutely no reason for Congress to let itself be obstructed by ne’er-do-wells identifying themselves as purists. The Tea Party isn’t the American Tea Party—they’re the American Hipster Party.

Where are the donuts?

Oh great. The CEO is going to speak.