Saturday, September 09, 2017

The Ocean Disappeared

video

from a meteorologist:
Basically, Hurricane Irma is so strong and its pressure is so low, it’s sucking water from its surroundings into the core of the storm.
‘The wind on Long Island in the Bahamas is from the southeast to the northwest on Saturday. On the northwest side of the island, it would be blowing the water away from the shoreline.’
‘In the center of the storm, where there is extreme low pressure, water is drawn upward. Low pressure is basically a sucking mechanism — it sucks the air into it, and when it’s really low, it can change the shape of the surface of the ocean. As the storm draws water toward the center, it gets pulled away from the surroundings.’

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Ever wonder what happened to......

DACA response

Here's the lengthy statement former President Barack Obama released on his Facebook page regarding the President's decision to end DACA:

"Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.
But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.
Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.

That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.

But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?

Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.

It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.
Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.

What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union."

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Friday, September 01, 2017

An Open Letter to Joel Osteen


BycpowellPublished on September 1, 2017 SHARE TWEET


Texas Mega-church Pastor Joel Osteen has come under a lot of fire this week for at first not opening the church as a shelter for his fellow Houston residents and then for how long it took him to do it after the internet put pressure on him to help his neighbors in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Harvey.

North Carolina progressive Pastor John Pavlovitz, one of our favorites, has penned an open letter to Osteen, and suggesting that his behavior surrounding Harvey is not surprising in light of the phony baloney “Christian” life Osteen has been living.

Here is the whole letter:

Dear Joel Osteen,

Over the past few days you’ve faced an unrelenting wave of Internet shaming, and you’ve experienced the wrath of millions of people who watched the week unfold and determined they were witnessing in you and your megachurch’s response to the hurricane—everything they believe is wrong about organized Christianity; its self-serving greed, its callousness, its tone-deafness in the face of a hurting multitude, its lack of something that looks like Jesus.

They questioned your initial silence and your closed doors.

They watched with disdain as local Mosques and furniture stores rushed to receive newly homeless victims while you waited.

They shook their heads at the conflicting stories of a flooded church and impassable roads.
They lamented you tweeting out that “God was still on his Throne,” while thousands of your neighbors were literally under water.

They saw your social media expressions of “thoughts and prayers” as hollow and disingenuous, knowing the stockpile of other resources at your disposal.

They witnessed with disgust what they deemed as your late and underwhelming act of kindness performed under duress.

They raged at your excuse that Houston didn’t ask you to receive victims—because (whether Christian or not) they realized that Jesus’ life was marked by an overflow of generosity and compassion and sacrifice that rarely required official invitation.

As a result of the pushback and condemnation you received, I imagine you feel like this has been a rough week. It hasn’t. You’ve had the week you probably should have had, all this considered. You’ve had the week that was coming long before rain ever started falling in Houston.

For quite a while, Pastor, many people have rightly concluded that the kind of opulence you sit nestled in no way resembles the homeless, itinerant street preacher Jesus who relied on the goodness of ordinary people to provide his daily needs. They rightly recognized that mansions are not places that servant leaders emulating this humble, foot-washing Jesus occupy. They correctly saw the massive chasm between the ever-grinning, your ship is coming in, name it and claim it prosperity promise that is your bread and butter—and the difficult, painful, sacrificial “you will have trouble” life that Jesus and those who followed him lived in the Gospels.

They also see the great disparity between your coddled, cozy, stock photo existence—and the sleep-deprived, paycheck to paycheck, perpetually behind struggle that is their daily life.

And yet despite their difficulties and their deficits and their lack (the kind you have been well insulated from for a long, long time), these same folks understand that when people around you are in peril—you respond. You don’t wait for an invitation, you don’t wait to be shamed by strangers, and you don’t make excuses.

That’s why many of these ordinary, exhausted, pressed to the edge people, lined up as human chains in filthy, rushing, waist-high water to pull people out of submerged vehicles. It’s why they came from hundreds of miles with boats and at their own expense and using vacation days, to pluck strangers from rooftops. It’s why they gave money and clothing and food and blood (and some of them like Officer Steve Perez)—their very lives acting in the way Jesus said was the tangible fruit of their faith.

Many of the people whose very dollars helped build the massive, tricked out arena you call home every week, showed you how decent people respond to need. I hope you were paying attention. I hope you’re different today than you were a week ago. I really hope something penetrated that seemingly disconnected exterior and found a home in your heart.

Because someday, Pastor, the waters in Houston will recede and homes will be rebuilt and normalcy will eventually return there. And to a large degree the attention and the pressure you’ve received this week will find other places to reside, and you will return to the work and the life you’ve had before, relatively unaffected.

It’s then that I hope you’ll remember this week. It’s then I hope you’ll recall the parable Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan, who though a despised pariah in the place he found myself, responded to a stranger’s need with immediacy and vigor while the religious people walked right by. This Samaritan showed mercy, not because he was guilted into it or because he was asked—but simply because he knew that we are one another’s keepers; that we each have resources we are entrusted with, and the way we share or hoard those resources reflect our hearts.

I hope you’ll remember Jesus on the hillside feeding the multitude, not because they petitioned him and not because it was in his job description—but because they were hungry and he wasn’t okay with that.

I don’t know you. I don’t believe you’re a bad person. You’re quite likely a good, loving, and decent man—but good, loving, and decent people lose the plot, they get distracted, they get it wrong, they need to recover their why.

You had a difficult week, but you are safe and dry, and despite the criticism and pushback, blessed with more abundance than most people will ever know. That’s good news for you. I don’t hold any of that against you.

The even better news, Pastor Osteen, is that you are alive. You are still here and you have a chance now to show people that Christianity is far more than their greatest fears about it, much better than the worst they’ve seen of Christians, and more beautiful than the ugliness they’ve experienced in the Church.

You have the chance to leverage your resources and your platform and your influence to show a watching world something that truly resembles Jesus.

Don’t wait for an invitation.

Jesus already gave you one.

That is a mic-drop moment if there ever was one. Well done, Pastor. Well done indeed.