Archive for October, 2010

No amount of money can buy love for the Satanic New York Yankees, who Jesus himself would loathe.

More on that thought below . . . .

This is from the New York Times story on the satanic New York Yankees getting overpowered and eliminated from yet another World Series appearance by the once-lowly Texas Rangers last night:

“As always, the Yankees will restock, relying on their deep pockets to try to fix their problems and squash the competition. That means pursuing [Rangers star pitcher Cliff] Lee and trying to pry him from the Rangers.”

That is so why we hate the evil Yankees and love the upstart Rangers, isn’t it? Whatever it takes to buy the best players in Major League baseball is what the arrogant, obnoxious, rancid Yankees will pay to obtain the best players.

But all the best and most high-priced talent in the sport could not overcome the heart and character of an extremely under-paid Texas Rangers team that so convincingly dominated the evil, satanic Yankees to advance to the World Series.

If Jesus were capable of hatred, Jesus himself would hate the New York Yankees as much as I do, and as much as so many outside of the Bronx do.

But the good of Jesus always triumphs, and has triumphed, over evil, including the evil bent of the Yankees.

And anyway, there’s no question but that Jesus has especially warm feelings for this Rangers team.

The Rangers have moved and overcome enormous mountains of adversity this year to reach this pinnacle that now has them advancing to the World Series for the first time in their mostly dreadful 40-year history. They’ve always produced their share of stars and occasional flashes of brilliance, but the Rangers for the most part have been one of Major League Baseball’s floormats.

The evil Yankees–who I loved and watched on black and white TV screens as a kid growing up in the fifties and sixties, BTW–thought that once again they’d wipe their feet on this Rangers team to advance to the World’s biggest baseball series.

I can’t imagine how good this must feel for those few diehard and devoted Rangers fans as opposed to us fairweather fans who’ve jumped on the winners’ bandwagon.

Forgive us, yaw, for falling in love with your Rangers, but these Rangers remind us all of what sports is supposed to be about.

And that would be heart and character and grit and determination and all those wonderful, American, mom and apple-pie values–the stuff that money can’t buy.

The stuff that even the satanic New York Yankees with their deep pockets can’t buy.

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ARLINGTON, Texas (Reuters) – The Texas Rangers reached the World Series for the first time in their 50 years as a franchise by beating the New York Yankees 6-1 on Friday to win the American League Championship Series.

The win gave them a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven series and put them into the Fall Classic against the winner of the National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants, who lead it 3-2.

Rookie closer Neftali Feliz struck out former Ranger Alex Rodriguez for the final out, igniting wild celebrations on the diamond and among the crowd of more than 51,000 at Rangers Ballpark.

Starting pitcher Colby Lewis won his second game of the series by throwing eight sterling innings and giving up three hits, and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero drove in the first three runs to lead the Rangers to victory.

The Rangers rejoiced in the middle of the diamond after winning the American League pennant for a first time and eliminating last year’s World Series winners, hugging each other and falling into a massive pileup near the mound.

After more hugs, they sprayed ginger ale in glee and poured the soda over each other’s heads in deference to slugger Josh Hamilton, who has overcome drug and alcohol abuse.

Hamilton, who batted .350 with four home runs and seven runs batted in, was named Most Valuable Player of the series.

“This group is here because they don’t know how to fail,” said Hamilton, choked with emotion. “The chemistry of this team is like something I’ve never known anywhere.”

Guerrero, who had been ice cold at the bat without a single RBI, made up for lost time on Friday as the Yankees walked Hamilton intentionally three times to take their chances with the designated hitter.

His groundball out in the first brought home the first run, but it was his ringing two-out, two-run double to dead center that really set the Rangers on their way.

The blast off Yankees starter Phil Hughes snapped a 1-1 tie and was followed by a two-run homer by Nelson Cruz off reliever David Robertson that gave Texas a four-run lead and broke the game open.

Lewis, meanwhile, mowed down the vaunted New York attack, which had led the league in runs scored. The right-hander did not give up his first hit until a fifth-inning double by Rodriguez, who scored on a wild pitch to tie the game 1-1.

The Texas pitcher kept the pressure on even after getting some breathing room thanks to the Rangers rally, striking out the side in the eighth inning before giving way to Feliz.

“I’m speechless,” Lewis, a former Texas top draft pick who played the previous two seasons in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp, told a TV interviewer. “I never thought I’d be in this position.

“To get an opportunity to go to Japan, I’m very grateful for that. And for the Texas Rangers organization to bring me back, I’m very grateful.”

The defeat ended the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. “They beat us. They out-hit us, they out-pitched us, out-played us,” said New York skipper Joe Girardi.

Rangers manager Ron Washington was bursting with pride in his players.

“They show up every single day and they leave their hearts on the field,” he said. “Tonight you’ve seen exactly what they’ve worked hard for since February.”

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Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them . . . well, I have others.

—- Groucho Marx

I’m a total Marxist because the Marx Brothers still, at the very least, amuse me to no end, and at times, still make me LOL. There’s also a nostalgia piece to this Marx love–how many Saturday nights in the sixties did I attend midnight showings of old Marx Brothers movie. They, and the Three Stooges as well, enjoyed a revival in the counter-cultural sixties.

Harpo’s still my main man . . . .

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IN THE PHOTO: Michele Bachmann: “I continue to oppose the so-called stimulus package because it has been a failure.”

The issue here is that Bachmann, the notorious founder of the “House Tea Party Caucus,” quietly sent at least six letters to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging stimulus funding for transportation projects in her district.

In one of them, in support of $300 million in spending for the $700 milliion replacement-bridge project crossing the St. Croix River, Bachmann cited a MnDOT estimate that the project would create nearly 3,000 jobs. In others, she noted that the projects would have economic benefits beyond just the projects in question, spurring development and private sector hiring in the communities surrounding the proposed stimulus projects.

But Texas’s own political hypocrites are not to be outdone by such blatant two-faced politics. They all take the stimulus money that they rail against “quietly,” in secret letters to the people in federal government handing out the stimulus checks.

We all want lower taxes and we all want wasteful federal spending reined in, but who has the political will, really, to do it. Who’s willing to put absolutely everything–including the kazillions of dollars going to defense contractors with the retired Generals making kazillions in charge of defense contracts for private defense companies–on the table.

Just sayin’, Jitterbuggers . . . .

Stimulus, Texas Republicans, and playing it both ways: new report offers yet more examples
Todd J. Gillman
Dallas Morning News

The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity has dug out more evidence of Republican lawmakers from Texas and across the country quietly prodding the federal government to release stimulus money for pet projects — even as they hammered Democrats for the stimulus as wasteful or even an illegitimate use of federal authority.

Back in February, the Dallas Morning News looked at the issue and came away with the same findings in an article titled “Even stimulus opponents sought funds for Texas” — many Dallas-area lawmakers who derided the stimulus (and continue to do so now) themselves advocated for stimulus funds on behalf of projects in their districts and beyond.

The Center’s report, “Stimulating Hypocrisy ” (you’ll find a useful state-by-state search tool) focuses extra attention on Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions , chairman of the Republican congressional campaign effort, for assailing the “trillion dollar spending spree” that was “more about stimulating the government and rewarding political allies than growing the economy and creating jobs.” There’s a letter referred to in The News report from February, for instance, in which Sessions urges the Transportation Department for $81 million for a “shovel ready” project in Carrollton that, his letter argued, would “create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve regional mobility and reduce pollution.”

Sessions offered the Center the same explanation he offered eight months ago: he didn’t want his “strong, principled objection to the bill” to preclude a fair share of spending from flowing to Texas.

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Oh wait: let’s look at that scripture about us being stuck with the poor a little closer:

The TED video from Jessica Jackley (click on the link at bottom) is well worth the few minutes of viewing. This amazing young woman has a heart for the poor and has found a way to serve them with passion and efficiency.

It’s interesting to this preacher, though, that she cites some gospel scriptures including Matt. 26: 11 (“The poor you will have with you always”).

All too often I’ll encounter someone who cherry-picks that scripture as a way of justifying their belief that even Jesus said we’re always going to have the poor with us and therefore it’s a waste of time and money to try to reach out to them–the implication being that they all are just lazy and shiftless and no-count anyway and let’s all get rich as we can and be nice people and have a good time. In fact, this is a theological thread that runs through the whole of the misguided “prosperity theology” so popular in megachurches where the preachers are feathering their own nests and jetting to their palaces to think about their next sermon on God’s will for us all to be filthy rich.

And never mind Matthew 25 a few lines ahead of Matt. 26: 11, where Jesus asserts that the “goats”–those who ignore and neglect the hungry and the thirsty and the prisoners and the rest of the needy–are asking for a hellacious portion in return.

Christians tends to lose sight of the extremely significant fact that Jesus was a Jew and a Jewish rabbi and prophet to-boot. Everything he spoke or represented came out of his Jewishness and his mission that he carried on in the tradition of the great prophets such as Jeremiah, Isaiah and all the others. And that’s why Jesus was all about calling us to reach out and serve the poor and the marginalized.

Yes, Jesus said we’ll always be stuck with the poor, but he didn’t say it as a way of dismissing the poor and enabling us to wash our hands of our obligations toward them. He was, as always, thinking of his own Jewish tradition, where God called on his chosen people at every turn to do everything possible to help and relieve the misery of the poor.

When he said we’ll always have the poor with us, maybe Jesus was thinking of this scripture from his Jewish faith:

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

—- Deuteronomy 15: 11


photo of Jessica by:
Michael Dayah”

Jessica Jackley on microfinance and the poor.

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While campaigns trade shouts of witchcraft, socialism, greed, radicalism (on both sides), warriors and their families have a right to ask, “What about us?” If this is an election about a new direction for the country, why doesn’t some candidate speak up for equal sacrifice on the home front as well as the front lines?

With political hackery and quackery at an all-time high in the most bizarre political season I, for one, have ever seen, the always sober Tom Brokaw is the sobering voice of reason, as usual:

McLeod, Montana
Commentary from the New York Times

In what promises to be the most contentious midterm election since 1994, there is no shortage of passion about big issues facing the country: the place and nature of the federal government in America’s future; public debt; jobs; health care; the influence of special interests; and the role of populist movements like the Tea Party.
In nearly every Congressional and Senate race, these are the issues that explode into attack ads, score points in debates and light up cable talk shows. In poll after poll, these are the issues that voters say are most important to them this year.
Notice anything missing on the campaign landscape?
How about war? The United States is now in its ninth year of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest wars in American history. Almost 5,000 men and women have been killed. More than 30,000 have been wounded, some so gravely they’re returning home to become, effectively, wards of their families and communities.
In those nine years, the United States has spent more than $1 trillion on combat operations and other parts of the war effort, including foreign aid, reconstruction projects, embassy costs and veterans’ health care. And the end is not in sight.
So why aren’t the wars and their human and economic consequences front and center in this campaign, right up there with jobs and taxes?
The answer is very likely that the vast majority of Americans wake up every day worrying, with good reason, about their economic security, but they can opt out of the call to arms. Unless they are enlisted in the armed services — or have a family member who has stepped forward — nothing much is asked of them in the war effort.
The all-volunteer uniformed services now represent less than 1 percent of the American population, but they’re carrying 100 percent of the battle. It’s not unusual to meet an Army infantryman or Marine who has served multiple tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
Moreover, the majority of those in uniform come from working-class or middle-class backgrounds. The National Guard units and reserve forces that have been called up, some for more than one tour, draw heavily on first responders, as well as farm, factory and service workers.
Their families live in their own war zone. At a recent Minnesota event for military families, I heard Annette Kuyper, the mother of a National Guardsman who had an extended deployment in Iraq, describe how she and other Guard mothers changed their lives while their children were in harm’s way. “We close the blinds on the windows overlooking the driveway,” she said, “so we don’t see the Army vehicle arriving with a chaplain bearing the unbearable news.”
This woman’s son returned safely, but too many do not. As the campaign season careens to an end, military funerals will be held in country burial grounds, big city graveyards and at Arlington National Cemetery. Military families will keep the blinds closed on the windows facing the driveway.
While campaigns trade shouts of witchcraft, socialism, greed, radicalism (on both sides), warriors and their families have a right to ask, “What about us?” If this is an election about a new direction for the country, why doesn’t some candidate speak up for equal sacrifice on the home front as well as the front lines?
This is not just about military families, as important as they are. We all would benefit from a campaign that engaged the vexing question of what happens next in the long and so far unresolved effort to deal with Islamic rage.
No decision is more important than committing a nation to war. It is, as politicians like to say, about our blood and treasure. Surely blood and treasure are worthy of more attention than they’ve been getting in this campaign.
Tom Brokaw, a special correspondent for NBC News, is the author, most recently, of “Boom! Talking About the ’60s.”

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In which we see children allowed to get in touch with their inner children, from where creativity is nurtured.

What is so wonderful about these kids, they are in this environment that we have created together, that allows them to express themselves and totally be wacky and silly and not worry that they will be made fun of — to be able to sing a solo, make a mistake, and know that it is a safe place and a place they can go to and express themselves.”

—– Gregg Breinberg

The kids of PS22 chorus are always having a rocking good time and are always good for a pick-me-up.

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Rangers beat satanic Yankees to stay alive!
As we were saying— this Rangers team has character that won’t quit.

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Call me Pollyanna Paul, Texas Rangers fans, but I’m not ready to surrender the home team to the Yankees–the best ball team money always buys— till the series is over.
As an admittedly fairweather Rangers fan, I’ve been swept away by the character of this hometown team, which has bounced back from adversity time after time this year. One can’t even keep count of all the issues off and on the field.
And yeah, maybe I have given in to the triumph of hope over the reality of the Ranger meltdown last night, but I’m sure not with the doomsayers who are ready to stick a fork in the local team and declare them done.
Looking forward to this game 2 coming up on this gorgeous October day in Dallas, Texas.
And wondering how we could get some of the character dust sprinkled onto the embarrassing pro football team.

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It occurred to me in doing some journaling the other day that October, in which we get such blessed and healiing relief from the furnace-like months of summer here in Texas, is the month in which I feel most energized and alive. There’s a lot to love about a month such as this one because of all the sports and fairs and festivals of so many sorts, and the beauty of the leaves and all the rest.

Alyce McKenzie, a preaching prof at Perkins School of Theology and one of my colleagues in ministry in the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, has a wonderful take on “the spiritual message of October.” Here’s an excerpt of it and click on here for the whole enchilada:

“The spiritual message of October is that, within each dying leaf lies the hidden reality of life. I believe the presence of death in the midst of life is the best disguised blessing there is. The experience of life, God’s sustaining, eternal presence, is what we get when we don’t get what we asked for- good luck, good health, and good fortune this side of the grave.”

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