Opinion | She’s Evangelical, ‘Pro-Life’ and Voting for Biden – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

“A granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, Jerushah Duford is a committed evangelical Christian who describes herself as “pro-life.”

For most of her life, she voted Republican. Yet this year, she is voting for Joe Biden and is encouraging fellow Christians to distance themselves from a president who she says is trying “to hijack our faith for votes.”

“The Jesus we serve promotes kindness, dignity, humility, and this president doesn’t represent our faith,” Duford said.

She made clear to me that she is not speaking for her grandfather, the famous evangelist who died in 2018. But she added: “I think he would be sad. I think his greatest desire had nothing to do with policies but to introduce people to a loving Jesus, and the division this administration has caused I believe has hurt this effort.”

In one sense, Duford is an outlier. About 8 of 10 white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and polling suggests that the great majority will vote for him again in 2020. But Duford is part of a broader movement among some evangelical leaders to distance their faith from Trump, which in turn means interpreting “pro-life” in a broader way. In a sign that some evangelical voters are in play this year, the Biden campaign is advertising heavily on Christian radio stations.

“Mr. President, the days of using our faith for your benefit are over,” declares a video from a Christian group called Not Our Faith. “We know you need the support of Christians like us to win this election. But you can’t have it. Not our vote. Not our faith.”

The Rev. John Huffman, who once was President Richard Nixon’s pastor, said he has voted Republican all his life but has now joined a group called Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden. He said he prays for Trump but sees him as “an immoral, amoral sociopathic liar who functions from a core of insecure malignant narcissism.”

Huffman and others say they are speaking up partly because they fear that Christianity is tarnished and losing ground in the United States because of the strong support Trump receives from many evangelical leaders. (One of them is Duford’s uncle, Franklin Graham, who has claimed that Billy Graham voted for Trump in 2016.) Duford told me her message to the public is, “I’m sorry you have witnessed the same greed and hypocrisy in the church that you see in the world, but this is not what Jesus is about.”

The Gates Foundation has developed a cleaner, safer nuclear power plant and reactor – by David Lindsay Jr – InconvenientNews.Net

Yesterday was a wonderful day full of good news for environmentalists. And I’m not thinking about Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobushar, but of Bill and Melinda Gates. Someone at a recent  CT League of Conservation Voters meeting recently suggested to Kathleen Schomaker that she watch the new Netflix documentary, “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, who won an Academy award for “An Inconvenient Truth.”

There are three episodes, each about an hour. Part One, while describing Bill Gate’s blessed childhood in Seattle, bounces up to the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The short segments on the foundation, tell the story of it improving  sewage conditions in third world countries, especially by starting an international competition to invent a new toilet: a stand alone, recomposting toilet. The foundation also developed a new power plant that runs on fecal waste, creates electricity, and produces clean potable water. I have posted three reviews of the series at my blog, and one of them said that the reporting was full of technical “wonky” details on revolutionary toilet ideas!

Episode Two covered Bill’s high school years and getting to Microsoft, and how the Gates Foundation set about to eradicate polio from the planet. They were nearly successful in some of the worst places for polio in the world, like Nigeria, until the rise of Boko Haran. The terrorists started killing the vaccinators, and polio hasn’t been eradicated in Boko Haran territory.

But it is part three than got us wildly excited. The personal details of Bill and Melinda’s courtship and marriage, and the anti-trust cases against Microsoft were informative, but the big news was the third project of the Gates Foundation—developing a cleaner, safer nuclear power plant and reactor. A team of teams led by Bill came up with a new and radically different nuclear reactor design that they are quite confident will not be able to have a meltdown during even a missile strike. It will not run as hot, or need water for cooling, and it will run on nuclear waste–used and depleted uranium–so it will not create much more waste, and will give a use to all the nuclear waste dumps in the world today and use the waste up. If it works, it is a game changer. They decided the best place to build the first one was in China, since the Chinese were still actively building nuclear power plants, but when Trump came to office, he began tariffs and cancelled the carefully arranged partnership. The episode ended without more info. We just know that the Gates Foundation still has to build and test their first prototype somewhere, to see if the simulations in their labs and on their computers are accurate.

I’m for the men in the middle – By David Lindsay, Jr. – InconvenientNews.Net

For the lasrt six months, and still today, my first candidate is Joe Biden. It is telling that Ross Douthat, one of the new right wing conservatives opinion writers at the NYT, has chosen to write the essay endorsing Joe Biden. Douthat ends his op-ed:

“You lose any immediate chance at sweeping change, in other words, but you gain some room for incrementalism that greater ideological ambition might foreclose.

“Finally, the strongest argument for Biden is nonideological: More than the other candidates, he offers the possibility of a calmer presidency, where politics fades a bit from the daily headlines, where the average American is less bombarded by social-media swarms and cable-news freakouts, where gridlock and polarization persist but their stakes feel modestly reduced.  I’ll be honest: It wouldn’t be good news for political columnists, but as a citizen it doesn’t sound that bad.”

But I am also excited about either Michael Bloomberg or Pete Buttigieg.  Any of these three men in the middle of the political spectrum, and on the right side of the Democratic Party,  are the most likely, according to the polls that I am aware of and have studied, to beat Donald Trump where it matters, in the swing states that tilt the electoral college. Biden and Bloomberg are certainly more likely to attract swing voters, conservative independents and disgruntled Republicans, than either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeeth Warren.  These concerns largely explain why Trump has been calling the Ukraine for investigations into Biden, while quietly supporting, along with Russia, Bernie Sanders.

While I should possibly consider Amy Klobushar in this group of moderates, I don’t think many voters in the mid-west and red states will vote for a female for president, and I am turned off by the story in the NYT of how she mistreated minorities and immigrants when a prosecutor, and she has not impressed the voters in the causcuses and primaries we have had to date.

The United States and the world face some daunting challenges, climate change and the sixth extinction, growing income inequality, voter suppression, hate-based populism, pollution and overpopulation, to name some big ones. With Donald Trump and the current Republican Party on the wrong side of each one of these major issues, the outcome of the next election takes on special importance.

 

Opinion | Mike Bloomberg: Fixing Inequality Is My Priority – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, is a Democratic candidate for president.

Credit…Mario Tama/Getty Images

“Every Democrat running for president agrees that income inequality is one of the great problems of our time. And we all agree that the wealthy should pay more in taxes.

But only one of us has actually raised taxes on the wealthy by persuading a Republican legislature to vote for them: Me.

When I was elected mayor of New York City, seven weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, we faced a budget crisis and a recession. I had a choice: slash budgets and conduct mass layoffs, which would especially hurt the young, the elderly and low-income communities — or raise taxes.

So I took the politically difficult step of proposing tax increases, including one on those making more than $500,000 a year (about $700,000 in today’s dollars). I persuaded a Republican-led State Senate and a Democratic-led State Assembly to pass the bill, and a Republican governor to sign it. The extra revenue — roughly $400 million per year — allowed us to invest in our future and create jobs and opportunity in the neighborhoods where they were needed most.”

Fireflies are disappearing – CNN

This photo taken on August 18, 2015 shows fireflies kept in jars during in Guangzhou in China's southern Guangdong province.

(CNN)  “Around the world, fireflies light up the night with their shimmering bodies. But scientists say this magical display is under threat — with the loss of their natural habitats, pesticide use and artificial light putting some of the 2,000 or so species at risk of extinction.

Habitat loss is leading to the decline of many wildlife species, with some fireflies suffering because they need certain environmental conditions to complete their life cycle, said Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University, who led the research published Monday in the journal Bioscience.
For example, she said, one Malaysian firefly (Pteroptyx tener), famous for its synchronized flashing displays, needs mangroves and the plants they contain to breed but across Malaysia mangrove swamps have been converted into palm oil plantations and aquaculture farms.
More surprisingly, the researchers found that the use of artificial light at night, something that has grown exponentially over the past century, was the second most serious threat to the creatures.”

Outsmart the scammers – from People’s United Bank

Outsmart the scammers – from People’s United Bank
Outsmart the scammers
Recognize signs of a phone scam and
stop a fraudulent caller in their tracks.
Have you ever answered a call that goes something like this:
“Hello, [Your Name]. I’m calling from [the Name of Your Real Bank].”

(You see the name of your bank displayed on Caller ID.)

“We are calling to alert you to unusual charges on your debit card ending in 1234 at several retailers in recent days. I need to verify your SSN ending in 4321, and confirm your User ID and account number in order to stop this unauthorized activity on your card.”

Is this call legit?

No, it’s a scam.

Why? Because People’s United Bank will never contact a customer either by phone or email to request sensitive personal information such as account numbers, PINs, usernames, passwords, security codes or other personal and account information.

People’s United Bank will also never call and ask a customer to respond to a text message, or share a texted security code.

Know the signs of a phone scam

Scammers are getting more difficult to spot by using the following tactics:

Manipulating or spoofing caller IDs to make calls appear to be from someone you trust, such as your bank.
Conveying a sense of urgency or that pressures you into acting too quickly.
Providing partial but factual information about you or your account and requesting you to confirm that information on-the-spot.
Requesting that you immediately disclose additional personal or account information so that they can help you.
Tips to avoid getting scammed

Don’t assume your caller ID is actually who’s calling.
Don’t confirm private personal or account information over the phone, or by email.
If texted a security code, do not share that security code with anyone over the phone—it should only ever be used by you to access your account.
We will never call and ask to share a texted security code.
We will never call you and ask you to respond to a text message.
If any of these things happens to you, hang up and dial the listed number of your bank.
Your security is our priority
If you have any questions or
concerns please call us.
1-800-894-0300
 
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Famous story of Mayor Pete Buttigieg from Donald Zimmer MD

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage

from a post by Gary Rouillier on Facebook

From Donald Zimmer, an ER doctor in South Bend, which is right across the river from Mayor Pete’s house.

“Here is the story again of how I met Mayor Pete: happy to share if it convinces people to support to his campaign:

The first time I met Mayor Pete I was working in the ER, very shortly after finishing my residency and moving back to South Bend. I was caring for a little Somali boy who had nearly to hanged himself. We had no Arabic translator immediately available that could help me talk with his mother, and we were working on getting one of the phone translation services when a young man in a suit showed up and just started translating. I assumed the hospital had found and sent down an official translator because translators at the hospital where I did my residency training always wore suits. The boy was gravely ill, and I did not bother to ask who the new translator was, but he spent about an hour with the mother and I, just helping me talk with her about his treatment and his prognosis. Then he followed her and her son up to the ICU when the boy was admitted. During the whole event he never mentioned who he was or said anything to take the focus away from caring for this little boy and his family.

About an hour later he came down from the ICU and shook my hand before he left. I asked him how long he had been a translator with the hospital, and he very casually replied, “I don’t work for the hospital, I’m Mayor Pete.” He shook my hand and left without another word He had come and done what he needed to do and was on his way either home or back to work.

I learned later that he had simply heard over the police scanner that we needed an Arabic translator at the hospital for this tragic situation and just wanted to help. In addition to studying at Harvard, being a Rhodes scholar, working as a McKenzie consultant, he speaks fluent Arabic and worked for Navy intelligence in the Middle East. He is a pretty amazing guy, has done incredible work here in South Bend, and will do great things for the country I hope.”

David Lindsay:

From Peggy Bekeny from Trinity Church on the Green on Facebook.
I must confess, I’ve read this story about Pete Buttigieg before, and do not remember if I posted it last year. A critical limitation of Facebook, is that it doesn’t let you categorize and search your posts, like my blog InconvenientNews.net at wordpress does.

I did a search here, on Pete Buttigieg, and found all my posts, but couldn’t tell if this story was stuck in one of them or not. At any rate, its an old story from last year, but a good one.

Opinion | From the Ashes of Notre-Dame – The New York Times

Quote

David Lindsay:

I read Ross Douthat for the same reason I floss, to practice fighting plaque. I love the power of his prose, and can get mesmerized by it.
Here is a commenter, that explains my beef with many Christians.

R Calhoun
Oxford UK2h ago
“…liberal Christianities usually end up resembling a post-inferno cathedral, with the still-grand exterior concealing emptiness within.”

My goodness. If that is how you describe your fellow believers I shudder to think of how you would describe my family—married 25 years, two daughters, supporters of our community and institutions, but devout atheists—“a vast void of emptiness within”? “a supermassive black hole of emptiness within”?

Notre Dame is a monument to the glory of God, but also to the shear audacity of a human society willing to embark on a construction project taking generations to complete. It embodies an ability to work on long-term goals that is sorely needed to address the problems we face as a human culture—economic inequality, climate change, extirpation of species beyond those we raise for food. This is why the burning of Notre Dame is a calamity for all of us; our medieval forebears built this cathedral not as a momument to themselves but to their culture, and they built it to last.

In your columns you frequently and, in my opinion, unfairly, decry the spiritual vacuum of all but the most conservative believers. One can have meaning in one’s life without the supernatural. Consider if you will Earth as the most beautiful cathedral of them all; it too is on fire, albeit a slow smoldering one. As with Notre Dame we must quench those fires, and like Notre Dame we must rebuild, carving and setting each stone for the benefit of generations yet to come.

4 Replies152 Recommended

I read Ross Douthat for the same reason I floss, to practice fighting plaque. I love the power of his prose, and can get mesmerized by it.
Here is a commenter, that explains my beef with many Christians.

R Calhoun
Oxford UK2h ago
“…liberal Christianities usually end up resembling a post-inferno cathedral, with the still-grand exterior concealing emptiness within.”

My goodness. If that is how you describe your fellow believers I shudder to think of how you would describe my family—married 25 years, two daughters, supporters of our community and institutions, but devout atheists—“a vast void of emptiness within”? “a supermassive black hole of emptiness within”?

Notre Dame is a monument to the glory of God, but also to the shear audacity of a human society willing to embark on a construction project taking generations to complete. It embodies an ability to work on long-term goals that is sorely needed to address the problems we face as a human culture—economic inequality, climate change, extirpation of species beyond those we raise for food. This is why the burning of Notre Dame is a calamity for all of us; our medieval forebears built this cathedral not as a momument to themselves but to their culture, and they built it to last.

In your columns you frequently and, in my opinion, unfairly, decry the spiritual vacuum of all but the most conservative believers. One can have meaning in one’s life without the supernatural. Consider if you will Earth as the most beautiful cathedral of them all; it too is on fire, albeit a slow smoldering one. As with Notre Dame we must quench those fires, and like Notre Dame we must rebuild, carving and setting each stone for the benefit of generations yet to come.

4 Replies152 Recommended

 

A first draft of this column was written before flames engulfed the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, before its spire fell in one of the most dreadful live images since Sept. 11, 2001, before a blazing fire went further than any of France’s anticlerical revolutionaries ever dared.

My original subject was the latest controversy in Catholicism’s now-years-long Lent, in which conflicts over theology and sex abuse have merged into one festering, suppurating mess. The instigator of controversy, this time, was the former pope, the 92-year-old Benedict XVI, who late last week surprised the Catholic intelligentsia with a 6,000-word reflection on the sex abuse crisis.

Portions of the document were edifying, but there was little edifying in its reception. It was passed first to conservative Catholic outlets, whose palpable Benedict nostalgia was soon matched by fierce criticism from Francis partisans, plus sneers from the secular press at the retired pope’s insistence that the sex abuse epidemic was linked to the cultural revolution of the 1960s and the 1970s.

The column I was writing before the fire was mostly a lament for what the document’s reception betokened: A general inability, Catholic and secular, to recognize that both the “conservative” and “liberal” accounts of the sex abuse crisis are partially correct, that the spirits of liberation and clericalism each contributed their part, that the abuse problem dramatically worsened during the sexual revolution (a boring empirical fact if you spend any time with the data or the history) even as it also had roots in more traditional patterns of clerical chauvinism, hierarchical arrogance, institutional self-protection.

via Opinion | From the Ashes of Notre-Dame – The New York Times

Melinda Gates on Tech Innovation- Global Health and Her Own Privilege – By David Marchese – The New York Times

Quote

I’m curious about how you decide which strategies you use to try to accomplish your goals. You’re a huge supporter of family planning, but you never explicitly work to get politicians who, say, want to repeal Roe v. Wade voted out of office. Why not?

I have to think about where my voice will help the conversation and where will it hurt. So for today, I have chosen to raise my voice in favor of contraceptives. There are over 200 million women who don’t have them, and it would change their life to have them. They are the greatest antipoverty tool that exists. The minute I speak out, which I may do someday, about where I am on Roe v. Wade, I will be cast into one bucket, and if people disagree with me on that issue, it will be harder for me to build this global coalition for women and their families who don’t have access to contraceptives. I don’t want to damage that. I’m not sure I need to step into the zeitgeist of what’s going on in the United States. I am looking at the long game.

via Melinda Gates on Tech Innovation, Global Health and Her Own Privilege – The New York Times

In a Poor Kenyan Community Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections – The New York Times

Quote

By Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel
April 7, 2019,  11


NAIROBI, Kenya — Four days after her toddler’s health took a turn for the worse, his tiny body wracked by fever, diarrhea and vomiting, Sharon Mbone decided it was time to try yet another medicine.

With no money to see a doctor, she carried him to the local pharmacy stall, a corrugated shack near her home in Kibera, a sprawling impoverished community here in Nairobi. The shop’s owner, John Otieno, listened as she described her 22-month-old son’s symptoms and rattled off the pharmacological buffet of medicines he had dispensed to her over the previous two weeks. None of them, including four types of antibiotics, were working, she said in despair.

Like most of the small shopkeepers who provide on-the-spot diagnosis and treatment here and across Africa and Asia, Mr. Otieno does not have a pharmacist’s degree or any medical training at all. Still, he confidently reached for two antibiotics that he had yet to sell to Ms. Mbone.

“See if these work,” he said as she handed him 1,500 shillings for both, about $15.

via In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Thank you Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel for a disturbing look at drug abuse. There is a temptation to give in to despair. One can take comfort from the fact that our descendents probably will not die from climate change and rapid species extinction, since long before we get to that gloomy future, we will all die from the super bugs we are carelessly creating. The saddest part is that we probably could fix these problems with a Marshall plan for family planning and basic medical and educational services. The superbugs are here, and more are coming. One could look at this looming disaster as a solution, rather than a problem. The biosphere is fighting back to save the world’s species from human over population. If humans don’t come to their senses, we will die off like an algae bloom in a lake, that kills itself by a dumb overpopulaiton that takes away all the oxygen. x David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.