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Chuck Bearden
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Chuck Bearden

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“I was speaking with a friend the other night, and I made the point that the meta-narrative of the 2016 election is learned helplessness as a political value. We’re no longer a country that believes in human agency, and as a formerly poor person, I find it incredibly insulting. To hear Trump or Clinton talk about the poor, one would draw the conclusion that they have no power to affect their own lives. Things have been done to them, from bad trade deals to Chinese labor competition, and they need help. And without that help, they’re doomed to lives of misery they didn’t choose.”
– J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance explains what America doesn't understand about the outsiders elites despise
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Chuck Bearden

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“Every republic eventually faces what might be called the Weimar problem. Has the national culture, popular and elite, deteriorated so much that the virtues necessary to sustain republican government are no longer viable? America is not there yet, though when 40% of children are born out of wedlock it is not too early to wonder. What about when Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president? Many conservatives think that’s also sufficient reason to worry the end is near.”
– Charles Kesler
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“The situation is complex precisely because such injustices are so longstanding and are often hidden from majority populations, who don’t pay attention to such questions, since they rarely have to think about them. My oldest two sons are learning to drive. I have many fears, but I’ve never worried about one of my sons being shot after being pulled over. My perspective is thus radically different from my African-American neighbor or colleague or fellow church member. Notice the differences even on social media over the past couple of days. An African-American colleague of mine noted that the divide is glaring, with black evangelicals interacting with this set of news while many white evangelicals continue discussing the presidential race or the upcoming Olympics, with no reference to these shootings. That divide ought to cause us to reflect on how we’re experiencing the culture differently, and what implications that has for our unity and our witness.” – Russell Moore
When the videos are no longer viral, our witness must still be Christian.
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On this day in History, Burr slays Hamilton in duel on Jul 11, 1804. Learn more about what happened today on History.
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Can you imagine, in today’s climate, two important people who disagree with one another being as gracious to one another as Wiesel & Reagan were re Bitburg?

I can’t, and until we are able do this once more, America will not be great again.


Time and again, the Holocaust survivor showed great courage, but in his last years he was saddened by how little the world had changed.
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Here's a poem to read aloud & think on for your Friday afternoon, via the estimable Prufrock News.
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Chuck Bearden

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“Ehrman overplays the quality of the variants while underscoring their quantity. He says, ‘There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.’ Elsewhere he states that the number of variants is as high as 400,000. That is true enough, but by itself is misleading. Anyone who teaches NT textual criticism knows that this fact is only part of the picture and that, if left dangling in front of the reader without explanation, is a distorted view. Once it is revealed that the great majority of these variants are inconsequential—involving spelling differences that cannot even be translated, articles with proper nouns, word order changes, and the like—and that only a very small minority of the variants alter the meaning of the text, the whole picture begins to come into focus. Indeed, only about 1% of the textual variants are both meaningful and viable. The impression Ehrman sometimes gives throughout the book—and repeats in interviews—is that of wholesale uncertainty about the original wording, a view that is far more radical than he actually embraces.”
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Review by Matt Kirschenbaum of Thomas Rid's new book Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History . Oh, if only I had world enough, and time, to read ALL THE BOOKS.
Thomas Rid, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History (W.W. Norton, 2016). Alexander the Great had Bucephalus, from whose back he could survey his phalanx
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Chuck Bearden

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“When Obama calls for unity (you’ll recall this was a big part of his first campaign), he’s not talking about a nation that maximizes its freedom so that there is space for an array of cultural outlooks and ideas. He means a nation of diverse people who can all agree that progressivism is right for the nation.

“This administration has made a habit of using the power of the state to coerce and compel others to accept its cultural attitudes. For him, unity means little dissent. In his last State of the Union, for example, Obama laid out a progressive agenda, then implored us to embrace ‘American ideals’ as if they were the same. (He offered Trumpism as the only other choice. It’s not.)”
One man can neither unify us nor break us apart on his own. But it’s been a long time since we’ve had a president as divisive as Barack Obama.
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“We should by all means defend cops against unjust accusations and tendentious political statements. We should be zealous about publicly exonerating individuals who are unfairly maligned by politically-interested parties. Ferguson’s Officer Darren Wilson is the obvious example, and he deserves whatever amends can now be made to him after the firestorm of criticism that sent him and his family into hiding, following what now definitely seems to have been a reasonable and justified shooting.

“Still, before we accustom ourselves to tendentious phrases like ‘Ferguson effect’, we should make a concerted effort to understand the situation. Most importantly, we should always be looking for ways to make things better. Don’t we want to halt the evident deterioration of relations between citizens and the police in many of America’s higher-crime neighborhoods. It’s bad for all concerned when residents and cops feel like mutual enemies. Our interest in addressing that problem should outweigh our anxiousness to insist that liberals and their constituents bear the full blame.”
An ugly news story breaks, and many people’s immediate impulse is to run interference for the cops. Yet police are people, too.
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“Michael Herr was just like the Fat Boy in Dickens who wants to make your flesh creep—except that he had a political motive for the mischief, which was to flatter the post-Vietnam intellectual mood of utopian pacifism. His success in doing so is demonstrated each time the anti-war crowd turns out with its comparisons to Vietnam (or Hitler) whenever the use of military force is mooted today. Dispatches, it could also be argued, was the beginning of what is now called virtue signaling. Those who didn’t go to Vietnam were only too eager to find a retrospective justification in depictions of the war’s insanity, and they could even cast themselves in a heroic mold for having doubted the war in their tender consciences all along.”
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Chuck Bearden

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A project to collect swab samples for investigating the human virome & microbiome.
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Have him in circles
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We engaged Volcano Concrete to pour a new patio for us in our back yard. Our primary goal for this project was to improve the bad drainage situation in our back yard, which had several times allowed water into the back room. The new patio was tested by a hard rain soon after its completion and functioned just as we had hoped. The project was completed in a timely fashion and at a reasonable cost. The crew was hard-working and polite. The patio looks good, and we will enjoy it. Our only suggestion to Volcano Concrete would be mask the siding on the house when pouring the concrete in order keep splatter off of the siding.
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