We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, April 12. 2017
Why not go to the church which is closest to your house?
Makes sense to me, but it's not what we do
Peanut-Free School Zones Don't Work
Peanut allergies are caused by avoiding peanuts. I love peanuts, and especially Thai peanut sauce.
13,000-Year-Old Fillings Prove Ancient Dentistry Was Brutal
The Third Sex in India
Towns which have outlived their purpose: Cairo, Ill
Toyota shows robotic leg brace to help paralyzed people walk
What's Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?
Is Tesla worth more than GM?
More Reminders That Global Warming Is Good
Boys Don’t Need Books That ‘Put Them in Touch with Their Feelings
Arizona Scored a Big Win With School Choice. Here’s How It Will Help Children.
Female Student Shaves Head to Fight 'Gender Norms'
How today’s liberal kids are going to ruin college
How Colleges Try to Get Rid of Inconvenient Professors
LA Times Editorial Board: Dear Colleges, Stop Squeezing Free Speech
The US rolls out the Unwelcome Mat
Sessions Announces Illegal Aliens Who Illegally Re-Enter The U.S. Will Be Charged With a Felony
"What If?" Ron Paul Asks The Two Most Important Words
Who will pay California's bills?
The Authoritarian Impulse: Getting What We Really Don’t Want
Hillary Criticizes Obama's Syria Policy, Says "We Should've Done More"
Turns out Obama was the real Russian stooge
Migrants are being sold at open slave markets in Libya
Sweden: The Silence of the Feminists
France: Migrants Torch New Migrant Camp 34 Days After Torching Last Migrant Camp
China Threatens To Bomb North Korea's Nuclear Facilities If It Crosses Beijing's "Bottom Line"
North Korean Ships Head Home After China Orders Coal Returned
Cuba after Fidel Castro: Full of life, but it is life on the brink of death
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I suspect another contribution to the decline of retail is the switch developers have made from all-in-one climate-controlled malls to open-air "big box" malls. If I'm indoors walking store to store, I'll browse and occasionally make a "wish list" purchase over and above what I went to the mall for. But I park next to my destination store in Big Box Land, make my purchase, and I'm back in my car and gone.
All that said, here in South Texas we're totally overbuilt with malls of every kind, and no easy way to get rid of the empties. All too often, going to ANY mall is depressing as you stroll (or drive) by shuttered stores. Online shopping is cheaper and lots more fun.
I agree with just about everything you said above. In my city the city counsel voted to put not one but two outlet malls right down the road from the older enclosed mall. Needless to say the enclosed mall is going bust and the city counsel is rubbing their hands together planning what to do with all that land once they bulldoze the old enclosed mall. I expect the same thing will happen to the two outlet malls they allowed down the road. Few cars are around the malls if it isn't some big holiday or sale.
JC, I suppose AVI was correct when he indicated I may be a "usage vigilante" or a word nazi. But counsel vs council is as follows:“Members of the council are appointed for a period of three years.” The term counsel can be used as a noun or a verb. The noun denotes a legal advisor or advisors who commonly conduct(s) a case in court (the noun can be used in both the singular and plural forms).
If this offends anyone here, my abject apologies and it won't happen again.
I live relatively close to Cairo and visit it from time to time.
There are beautiful areas in Cairo with well maintained homes, trimmed lawns, flower gardens and sculptured shrubs. Too bad the photo essayist chose not to show them. Probably would have debunked his narrative .... and we couldn't have that.
Send some parkas to Hell. It's freezing over. Dogs and cats are lying peacefully together.
I agree with Piers Morgan on something! Yes, the genocide declared on Christians SHOULD be news, Piers. But it doesn't fit the Islamophobia narrative that the Obama-fawning media has peddled since 2001.
If Piers sees this, there might be hope. Well there should be, anyway. Shame that Piers is a such a jerk about pretty much every other issue. If you had just said THIS instead of attacking us on the 2nd Amendment, Piers, you might have been here longer.
I've been to Cairo and in 1967 I got caught up in the race riots in a large city in Ohio. There are more places like Cairo that committed suicide back in 1967. My impression of the rioters back then was that they were just having fun and burning and looting. No forethought or prescience of how that would play out once the riots ended. Most of the good people, the working people, left Cairo as quickly as they could just as they left other cities and parts of cities prone to this kind of violence. The riot is long gone but why would any company choose to build a business in a place like this? I challenge you to go to downtown Cincinnati, East St Louis or Baltimore on a Friday or Saturday night and walk around for a few hours. Then, if you survive, write the story about how sad it is that people are fleeing these cities for safer places.
"Open slave markets in Libya"
The little known story of slavery over the last 1400 years is that it was for the most part driven by Islam. When Dutch and British ship captains went to Africa to buy slaves to be sold in the new lands they bought them from Muslims. Northern Africa had more white slaves then America ever had black slaves. These white slaves were taken from coastal towns from the Mediterranean up into Ireland and England. The Muslims needed those slaves to build those beautiful mosques and to fill the harems. This is Islam. This is not some perversion of Islam this IS Islam, this is what it has always been about; conquest, genocide and slavery.
The word "slave" comes from "Slav,'' referring to the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia. Much of the history of that area is one of constantly being attacked by Muslim raiders who captured people to become slaves in Muslim countries.
"Why not go to the church which is closest to your house?"
I'm a Roman Catholic. The nearest church to my house is a United Church of Canada one.
There's just no chance I'll attend a Protestant church simply on the basis of convenience.
I agree. The sentiment gives the impression that all churches have equal theology and tenets. They do not. I am Lutheran. I would never go to a Pentecostal church or another church without a foundation in what I consider to be fundamental Biblically-based theology.
Not only do people want to attend a church that conducts services in a way they prefer, they also want to attend a church where the beliefs match their own.
I don't think they understand that there are large differences between denominations that cannot be erased. I would not attend a church with a female pastor, nor where gay marriage was accepted, etc.
These are not in line with my beliefs. I will drive way out of my way to attend a church that fits my Christian principles and beliefs.
Well, exactly. And my remarks were not meant to slight either the United Church or Protestantism, just to underline that those practices simply would not suit my own dearly held beliefs.
This does not mean I would never enter or attend a service in a non-Catholic church - far from it. I have no issue with meeting on common ground where it concerns the core Christian beliefs.
However, I can respect other churches' beliefs and customs only up to a point: while I might well attend a marriage conducted by a female minister, I would not attend not a same-sex marriage conducted by any minister, male or female.
I would agree with you. Wedding by a female pastor is not my issue...that is for the couple to decide on their preference. I just don't want a church with a female pastor and would never take communion in such a church.
People who study this stuff would tell you that that the "neighborhood church" was the model of the Fifties, and totally failed. Back then, when everyone went to church, the thought was each suburb should have denominational churches for each denomination, plus the local Catholic parish, each church accommodating perhaps 300-400 people. So the American landscape is dotted with small churches, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Congregational, often almost next to each other, most of which are empty, closed or closing.
Why? First, the neighborhoods aged out or declined economically with resulting flight, so the local population going to church there no longer existed. Second, no effort was made to recruit new attenders to the churches, so the neighborhood churches essentially became small social clubs which sent out the message, either intentionally or unintentionally, that they weren't welcoming to newcomers. Three, the economics of trying to support a small church, with increasing building expenses, maintenance, salaries, etc. no longer worked. Four, most of these churches were designed with inadequate parking, assuming that people came from nearby or could easily find parking on the street. Families would all come together in one car. Lack of parking has been the cause of death for many churches, since most people today are not willing to go somewhere if they cannot be assured of promply finding a parking space. Five, the small neighborhood church presumes a Christian culture, where you can have a single pastor/counselor who can handle Sunday services and spend the rest of the week engaging in genteel exercises such as women's teas, Bible studies in the pastor's study, etc. All the families come every Sunday and every family tithes. Those days are long gone, with families torn apart, drugs, crime and violence becoming more and more the norm. The pastors more and more are on the "front lines" of an increasingly hostile society. Small fractionated denominational churches are no longer a model that can work in such circumstances.
And this is all before you get to the liberalism and cynicism of the Sixties to the present which have driven so many people from the mainline denominations.
Now, the model is to create larger non-denominational churches which can support more pastors, programs and teaching/counseling, and site them where they are easily accessible by car and with sufficient parking, usually near an intersection of freeways or main routes. More of a drive, but the fact is people who go to the those churches want to be there and hopefully will be engaged. That's a big difference from going to your local "neighborhood" church these days, and seeing 10 people in the congregation, all in their eighties or older, with their hired caregivers sitting behind them.
I remember my own church, which in the early Sixties used to be full every Sunday, with everyone in suit and tie or a nice dress. Now if they can get 20 on a Sunday that's a good day. I haven't set foot there since sometime in the Nineties, although the real reason I left was because they no longer believed in the authority of Scripture.
"I haven't set foot there since sometime in the Nineties, although the real reason I left was because they no longer believed in the authority of Scripture."
Here in Canada, I've watched mainstream Protestant denominations latch on to all manner of highly politicized "social justice" causes. Hasn't helped slow their decline. If anything, it seems to be accelerating that decline; for some reason, most Christian families prefer not getting enmeshed in pride parades and transgender issues.
Meanwhile the evangelicals are just packing them in. Why? Seems they insist on a fairly simple and straightforward message: belief in the One True God, the Risen Jesus Christ and the community of the Holy Spirit.
Church attendance peaked in the late mid 60's and like all institutions, they have been going downhill ever since. It makes no difference if you look at education, wall street, finance, military, boy or girl scouts, academia, politics, or government; they are all laying in the gutter for being SJW converged. The SJW is the new heaven on earth and that religion is diseased.
I said nothing about convenience. It makes me suspect you didn't actual read.
As for doctrinal differences, those are sometimes of legitimate over-ruling importance. I get that, and have made church decisions on that basis myself. However, I find they are more often excuses for cultural decisions, and I disapprove of that strongly.
MissT's comment on Lutherans having fundamental Biblically-based theology is a case in point. That hasn't been true for decades (I was Lutheran and left) and they certainly ordain women. What in the world are you talking about?
"13,000-Year-Old Fillings Prove Ancient Dentistry Was Brutal"
Dentistry was brutal right up into the early 20th Century. As P.J. O'Rourke once put it:
"When you think of the good old days, think one word: dentistry."
Agreed. I'm old enough to remember getting fillings without freezing. It wasn't fun.
"Towns which have outlived their purpose: Cairo, Ill"
Mention of the American Cairo always makes me think of Huck and Jim on the Mississippi.
"Cuba after Fidel Castro: Full of life, but it is life on the brink of death"
Raúl Castro is 85; I doubt much useful will happen until Cuba is completely Castro-free.
"We look back and criticize the major powers in 1914 for getting involved in the constant squabbles in the Balkans but do the same thing in the Middle East, the 21st century's Balkans."
The Middle East is hardly the 21st century's Balkans.
"Why Isn't Christian Genocide 'Dominating' Mainstream Media?"
A question that almost answers itself.
The murders of our Coptic brothers and sisters at the outset of Holy Week was an outrage.
(And that should have been worded "Genocide against Christians" for more clarity.)
Given the islamophile stance of the MSM, they're probably quietly cheering the demise of more Christians.
Peanut-Free: No point in reacting if you can't OVERreact, so that's what's done.
LATimes in favor of free speech on campus? Why not in their own paper? How about releasing the Khalidi tape?
Cuba after Fidel: Same as before Fidel died. Anyone surprised? Anyone? Buehller? Zachary?
Ron Paul: What if it is finally realized that war and military spending is always destructive to the economy?
Wasnt WWII very good for our economy
Yes, and it was a big economic boost for my country (Canada) too for almost identical reasons.
Because war is so awful, there's an entirely understandable tendency to want to somehow "prove" it is without benefit. But sometimes anti-war aphorisms fly in the face of the evidence.
For example, the favoured cry of political pacifists: "War solves nothing!"
Well, not necessarily so at all. WWII certainly solved the problem of Hitler and Nazism. Your Revolutionary War solved whether you would remain a collection of British colonies or not. And your Civil War solved a number of issues.
A doctor in trauma medicine once told me that the majority of advances in emergency medical treatment were the result of wartime experiences (and, notably, the Vietnam War in particular). He stated that many people who might otherwise have died in car accidents owed their survival to procedures developed during the Vietnam War in particular).
It was good for us partly because we were the last ones left standing. We lost men, but other than Pearl Harbor and a few random submarine shellings of California and some fighting in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska Territory, we suffered almost no damage in the war, unlike most of the other combatants who were devastated to some extent or other. And we had an economic plant revved up and ready to go because of manufacturing for the war effort, instead of having to rebuild destroyed factories from scratch like many of the other combatants.