SocraticGadfly: 4/5/09 - 4/12/09

April 11, 2009

Protesting AIG and its Obama enablers in Dallas

I was one of about 30 people in front of what used to be AIG's Dallas office this afternoon. (The building nameplate, on floor 30 or whatever, still says AIG but I think they've vamoosed.

Unfortunately among the 30 were at least 2 9/11 "truthers" falsers, going by bumper stickers. One of them had a megaphone with a "9/11 was an inside job" sticker on the megaphone. He was also a Ron Paulhead. Yuccck.

The other 9/11 "truthers" falser bumper sticker was on a car that also had an ACLU sticker. That ought be be revoked on grounds of insufficient intelligence to have earned it.

As you can see, I was killing plenty of birds with one stone, er, sign. I won't fight the duopoly with Mr. Megaphone Ron Paulhead, but, I told a couple of people who said they were still Democrats that Obama really hadn't made that much difference.

Barack Bush – ‘Torture on my mind’

No, President Barack Obama ain’t thinking of Georgia, he’s thinking of Gitmo East, otherwise known as Bagram Air Base, as his administration has officially announced it will appeal a federal district court ruling allowing prisoners at Bagram to sue for habeas corpus rights. The Justice Department also asked District Judge John D. Bates not to proceed with the habeas-corpus cases of three detainees at Bagram.

Coming on top of Glenn Greenwald’s great roundup of Obama imitating Bush on the issue of state secrets, this isn’t surprising, while it’s still certainly disgusting.

U.S. torturing – a ‘perpless crime’?

Ted Rall, in smacking down the reasons President Barack Obama, CIA Director Leon Panetta, et al offer for not criminally investigating BushCo torturers and their legal justifiers, says that, in a reverse of a victimless crime, Team Obama is claiming torture at Gitmo was “a perpless crime..”

April 10, 2009

TPM joining Obama castigation on ‘state secrets’

Glenn Greenwald’s got a great roundup of Obama imitating Bush on the issue of state secrets.

As part of the roundup, Glenn notes that Talking Points Memo is a great roundup of Obama imitating Bush picking up the drumbeat on this issue. With a side order of snark, no less. Zachary Roth:
(It) looks like a pretty broad consensus in opposition to the Obama administration's position. And it's the opposite of change we can believe in.

And, beyond that?

To top this with a Hypocrisy alert, Obama still has his proclaimed opposition to BushCo state secrets policy on his campaign website, as Jim White informs us.

After capitalism, after socialism …

Eric Hobsbawm says a new paradigm needs to start by treating money as a means not an end..

Agreed on both that basic observation and the much larger ones, plus the related thoughts that traditional tools of all angles of 20th-century economics, such as Keynesian deficit spending, may just not work here in the 21st century.

So, in addition to not hiring G. Sachs alums, Obama is at fault for not hiring outside-the-box economists in general.

Obama commits to failed ‘banksters’

And Bloomberg’s Jonathan Weil, along with many others doesn’t get why. I do, Jonathan.

It’s called Democratic Party neoliberalism. It’s called soul-selling. It’s called the two-party duopoly.

CDC lied about DC lead

Apparently without any sort of science politicization push from BushCo, the Centers for Disease Control decided to lie big-time about thousands of Washington D.C. children’s exposure to lead via old water pipes.

Israel cries wolf on Iran for the Nth time

As Roger Cohen succinctly puts it, Bibi Netanyahu is Israel’s third prime minister to say that Iranian nuclear weapons were “just around the corner.”

Cohen gives a nice little slap to Jeffrey Goldberg while he’s at it, and rejects Bibi’s claim, made unfiltered via Steno Jeff, that Iran’s led by a bunch of wide-eyed nutbars.

(Of course, if we got rid of some of those military bases, this would all be easier.)

If y ou look at page 2 of Kamiya’s story, you’ll see how Churchill became an almost comedic stereotypical interest group advocacy liberal.

GM is at the stock Mendoza line, the $2 exacta window now. That all said, a bankruptcy, if not structured by Team Obama, would let a bankruptcy judge have control over large swaths of the company’s operations.

And, the bankruptcy reform bill of 2005 toughened corporate as well as individual filing standards. That’s why a lot of retailers that have filed in the last year or so haven’t come out on the far side.

April 09, 2009

The Masters Day 1

Well, my pick of Retief Goosen to win Augusta ain’t looking so hot with him sitting at +3 after day one at Augusta National.

That said, people thinking Philly Mick would finally shake off the 2006 U.S. Open need to rethink, with him at +1. And Jason Sobel from ESPN needs to rethink calling my man Vijay as a cut likelihood, before the tourney started, as Singh came in –1 today.

Other news? Hotshot rookie Rory McIlroy posted even part, Padraig Harrington is at –3 and some guy named Woods is at –2.

Besides being off on my Goose prediction, I think the winning score prediction of 8-10 under is, if anything, conservative.

The future of gay marriage approval looks decent

Per Ezra Klein, gay marriage may get approved by half the nation. Despite that fact, and the fact that support for gay marriage is growing, National Review farcically claims it isn’t.

Good news Cards fans

Chris Carpenter opens the season quite well.

Duncanville city councilman embarrasses self more than city

Paul Ford, a first-term city councilman in Duncanville, Texas, a Dallas suburb, is opposed to the city’s use of red-light cameras. He’s pretty much right on that, given the amount of money the city clears on citations and its zero-tolerance policy on not stopping at the white stop line.

But, he badly undercuts himself, with his conspiracy theory thinking, his belligerence in city council meetings, and his refusal to follow protocol and procedure there. (Ford was one of the biggest reasons Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued his opinion that councilmembers, city managers, etc., must itemize issues they plan to discuss in pre-council meeting briefings, vis-à-vis the Open Meetings Act.

Well, he wouldn’t shut his yap Tuesday night in the face of new DV council strictures. Mayor David Green warned him he was in danger of being removed from the meeting, by police escort if necessary, if he didn’t stay on topic. Soon thereafter, Green whistled in the cops, and out went Ford.

Also, Paul, if your back is that bad, don't you need a cane?

Kathleen Parker in danger of losing winger magic decoder ring

Wingnut columnists and talk radio hosts have been riding Kathleen Parker’s case for a few months about not wearing a tinfoil hat when talking about President Barack Obama.

Well, citing his “testosterone under control” diplomacy in his first major trip abroad, Parker says he acquitted himself well. The nutgraf is down at the bottom, re wingnuts:
Playground wisdom holds that showoffs are usually overcompensating, and the strongest one has nothing to prove. When you're the big dog, you can afford to smile. The saber is understood.

V(ictor) D(avis) Hanson and even shriller foreign policy bloviators, take note.

Google shows where to build for alt-energy in California

The Mojave Desert is an ideal place to think about alternative energy. Not only does it have huge solar power potential, but the thermals from the mix of desert and mountains make it a great place for wind power as well. And, it has geothermal potential too.

Problem, though. A fair amount of the desert, and of the similar southern, lower-elevation Great Basin Desert in Nevada is federally locked up in national parks and monuments, or else in military bases.

Enter Google.

Google Earth is working with the National Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council, to plot where to site renewable energy facilities and where to run their power lines.

(Of course, if we got rid of some of those military bases, this would all be easier.)

Rick Warren stereotypes atheists

If I had a dollar for every time some self-anointed atheism psychologist of Christian leadership like Rick Warren claimed atheists are haters I’d be able to bail out AIG myself.

Of course, the author of the Prickhead Driven Life claims we’re angry because we’ve been “hurt.” What about the anger of you and your fellow conservative preachers, Rick?

He then repeats the other lies, like about atheist killings in the 20th century, and including Hitler as an atheist. The reason Christian or other killings of the past are less is because we didn’t have weapons of mass murder 500 years ago, and because the world’s population was one-tenth of today’s.

Kamiya examines Ward Churchill martyrdom

While not disputing Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado, Kamiya says that, due to his various lies, he never should have had his tenured position in the first place.

If y ou look at page 2 of Kamiya’s story, you’ll see how Churchill became an almost comedic stereotypical interest group advocacy liberal.

GM is at the stock Mendoza line, the $2 exacta window now. That all said, a bankruptcy, if not structured by Team Obama, would let a bankruptcy judge have control over large swaths of the company’s operations.

And, the bankruptcy reform bill of 2005 toughened corporate as well as individual filing standards. That’s why a lot of retailers that have filed in the last year or so haven’t come out on the far side.

April 08, 2009

Thanks TXI & TCEQ – we’ll keep coughing in Southern Dallas County

TXI gets its mercury-spewing emissions permit renewed for 10 years, with no public input.

My predictions for The Masters

The full list of Masters tee times is now out. A few morsels:

Tiger with Stewart Cink. Jeev Singh, the "other" Singh, the third there.

Best threesome? Singh, Els, Ogilvy, followed by Mickelson with Jim Furyk and Camilo Villegas. Plus, those two threesomes are just two groups apart on the course. Would be great to be live for that.

Weather? Looking pretty decent, per Weather Underground (best online weather source you can find).

Chance of rain Friday, but not too high of one. And, that's most likely Friday evening/night, softening greens Saturday. Temps in 70s all four days and no serious winds.

Should be a low-scoring tournament. I say the winner comes in at 8-10 under.

And, who will post that? I have to agree it's Tiger vs. the field. As for "the field"?

Phil? Feh? After Winged Foot 2006, I'll believe he's going to win another major after he actually does it. Just like I'll believe he's on a new strength and conditioning program until after he does it for a full season.

The Big Easy? Rides off into the sunset.

Rory McIlory? Top-16 finish.

Compadre Padraig Harrington? Ditto.

My man Vijay is still laboring from his knee surgery.

If it's Tiger, cue me up on the Tiger-vs-Jack issue of competition or lack thereof. At Augusta, the top three majors winners after Tiger are all in the seniors division.

But, I opt for someone else.

The Goose will lay a golden egg and South Africa gets a second straight green jacket.

Obamiacs opening eyes on Obama civil liberties issues

Glenn Greenwald has the details on how Keith Olbermann, and even a lot of Kossacks (albeit 9 months too late) are finally getting a clue.

PUMA – GM & Segway plan joint accident with joint vehicle

No, they’re not building a personal mobility SUV, but General Motors and Segway, who have proved that the one thing they have in common is lack of knowledge about transportation issues, are jointly building what could best be described as “something.”

PUMA, or Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility, will probably be as being a laughingstock as the Hillary Clinton-inspired PUMA.


If it involves GM, as a new vehicle, it will come in behind schedule. If it involves Segway, it will be overpriced. Third, a U.S.-legal version of the Tata Nano will likely be out by then.

Mazel tov to President Obama for Passover

President Barack Obama reportedly will be the first president ever to attend a Passover seder, celebrating at the White House with staffers.

Besides the Jewish ethnicity of David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, Obama also has a black Jewish rabbinical connection from Chicago.

AEI wingnuts boo-hoo about defense budget

The United States spends more on national “defense” than the rest of the world combined, and so two American Enterprise Institute wingnuts worry that Defense Secretary Robert Gates F-22 cuts and other defense cuts mean the end of the free world is nigh.

Masters tee times now out - weather for scoring low

The full list of Masters tee times is now out. A few morsels:

Tiger with Stewart Cink. Jeev Singh, the "other" Singh, the third there.

Best threesome? Singh, Els, Ogilvy, followed by Mickelson with Jim Furyk and Camilo Villegas. Plus, those two threesomes are just two groups apart on the course. Would be great to be live for that.

Weather? Looking pretty decent, per Weather Underground (best online weather source you can find).

Chance of rain Friday, but not too high of one. And, that's most likely Friday evening/night, softening greens Saturday. Temps in 70s all four days and no serious winds.

Should be a low-scoring tournament. I say the winner comes in at 8-10 under.

Prius 3.0 ready for rollout

It DOES get 50mpg per official EPA estimate. And can easily get 70mpg in town if you practice pulse and glide.

Also, being built on a Camry frame, stretched slightly and other things, it’s supposed to be a better ride than the second-gen Prius.

Prices? Not officially announced yet, but allegedly targeted to start at less than $23K. Stand by in May.

Give that chimp a steak!

Well, if you’re a male chimp, give that female a steak if you want to chimp around later.

The findings will surely be studies more by evolutionary psychologists, and probably indiscriminately trumpeted without further study by pop evolutionary psychologists.

Global warming beating 2C hike prediction?

Early models of global warming focused on the likelihood that the earth’s temperature would grow more than 2 degrees Celsius, or stop right about there. Well, nine of 11 experts, who were among authors of the final summary by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 global warming report, think 2C is on the low side. In fact, 10 of 11 think we have a less than one-in-three chance of keeping temperatures below that. And, a slim majority thinks we’ll break the global records of 1998 by 2015; almost all said by 2020.

Read the full story for more of their dire warnings.

April 07, 2009

GM bankruptcy nearing?

Reportedly, the General is in “intense … earnest preparations” for bankruptcy.

GM is at the stock Mendoza line, the $2 exacta window now. That all said, a bankruptcy, if not structured by Team Obama, would let a bankruptcy judge have control over large swaths of the company’s operations.

And, the bankruptcy reform bill of 2005 toughened corporate as well as individual filing standards. That’s why a lot of retailers that have filed in the last year or so haven’t come out on the far side.

OTOH, GM could be floating trial balloons to push the buttons of the Street, bondholders or whomever.

Smithsonian publishing pseudohistory again – Peary & Cook at Pole

It’s to the point that when a new issue of Smithsonian magazine comes out (I have a gift subscription), I expect a major error of either fact or interpretation in a major story.

And, I also expect the magazine not to do anything about it.

April’s entry? Excerpts from Bruce Henderson’s book, “Who Discovered the North Pole,” insinuating Frederick Cook beat Commodore Robert Peary to the North Pole.

Henderson, both in the excerpts and the full book, stacks the deck in favor of Cook, without explicitly saying he beat Peary.

That said, he willfully ignores the painstaking work done by people BESIDES Peary backers showing that, four years before his claimed trek to the Pole, he faked the alleged first ascent of Mout McKinley, and faked it by more than 10,000 feet of altitude.

That said, do I think Peary got to the Pole 100 years ago this month?

Not likely. Probably neither one did. Neither did Admiral Byrd in his plane from Spitzbergen in 1926, per his own mechanic. And, since the Peary and Byrd had eliminated further claimants to going North 90 those two ways, at least until further handicapping like solo voyages, voyages without dogs, etc., probably the first person or people to visit the North Pole, if not from 20,000 leagues deep, in all likelihood popped up from below …

The USS Nautilus in 1958.

However, if it’s the battle of the two by-land claimants for first there, Peary is much more likely than Cook. And, albeit with modern synthetic clothing, gear, etc., his 1909 per-day mileage claims have been met and even exceeded in recent years.

Peary’s claim is plausible. (So, too is fraud; having announced this would be his last journey, he had good motive for fraud.)

Then again, so did Cook; it seems to have been part and parcel of his personality, something that Henderson also ignored.

George Will called liar in own paper

About time, too, that somebody inside the Washington Post detailed in writing his global warming denialism lies And, that’s exactly what the Post’s Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan do in a piece on the continued thinning of Arctic ice.
The new evidence … contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington Post columnist George F. Will that sea ice in the Arctic has not significantly declined since 1979.

I can’t wait to see what horseshit Will has in his next column.

Time to cut Israeli foreign aid

If Israel’s new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman truly believes Israel is at a dead end vis-à-vis the Palestinians, it’s a dead end of his and similar-minded Israelis own making, and cutting the U.S. gravy train to Tel Aviv is the only appropriate answer.

Dallas journalism crumbles

The Dallas Morning News has axed 200 people in its latest round of layoffs; names and details coming at the linked blog. That, in turn, means that the freelance and PR markets in job seeking are officially filled to overflowing.

Alt media?

Well, the Observer has news the News doesn’t cover, but its parent isn’t necessarily in the greatest shape itself. (Alt-weeklies have been losing classifieds to Craigslist faster, in some areas, than metro dailies.)

Suburban papers? Can’t speak about others in our area. Mine continues to muddle, as far as I know any details from above. But, muddling is still employed. I empathize with the stress levels.

Trinity levees, Calatrava bridge in Dallas have serious problems

What The Dallas Morning News won’t tell you, but the Dallas Observer has, is that the Trinity River levees appear to have some serious problems.

Serious problems with drilling a pier for the Calatrava bridge. Serious problems with pouring the concrete for it.

The full Corps of Engineers report has details. Here’s something pulled out by an Observer reader:
"During the drilling of piers for Bent 6 (located 300' from the wet side toe of the west levee), the contractor reported that large quantities of sand in the formation liquefied even though slurry was being used to hold the excavation open. The liquefaction was so extensive that it destabilized the area within a 20' radius of the 7-foot diameter pier. This area had to be backfilled in order to be able to support the drill. When drilling resumed, a casing was used to support the excavation. However, the bottom of the pier heaved and blew out. The pier excavation was finally completed using both casing and slurry. During concrete placement, the contractor was unable to remove the casing with a 200-ton crane, so it remains a permanent fixture within the Floodway."

The story gets worse from there. Can they even place piers properly to build the bridge at all?

Former Mayor Ron Kirk is hopping mad about the delays. Hey Ron, try looking at the report first. Remember levees in a place called New Orleans four years ago?

VT Lege OKs gay marriage, slaps gov in face

After Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas decided to – coyly and lyingly – play politics with the Vermont Legislature’s legalization of gay marriage, through his veto, the state House overrode him by the bare margin needed. (The state Senate had easily overridden the veto.)

Meanwhile, Douglas is still lying, buck-passing, blame-shifting and more:
"What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs," the governor said Tuesday. "We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work.”

Well, doofus, it only took a couple of days to override YOUR veto, by which action YOU slowed down the Legislature’s agenda. Nice try, but not even close to a cigar.

I hope he gets swamped in the next election.

Positive side? Little Vermont is the first state to do this by legislative action.

Positive No. 2? The state House passed the initial bill by less than a two-thirds margin. Five representatives

Was Obama irresponsible on Iraq before election?

Perhaps so, if you follow Just.Another.Politician.™ to the logical conclusion of a statement he made during his surprise visit to Iraq today.

President Obama was asked if, now that he’s in office, he isn’t more like his predecessor, former President George Bush, than he’d care to admit. His response:
“I have a responsibility to make sure that as we bring troops out, that we do so in a careful enough way that we don’t see a complete collapse into violence,” Mr. Obama said. “So some people might say, wait, I thought you were opposed to the war, why don’t you just get them all out right away? Well, just because I was opposed at the outset, it doesn’t’ mean that I don’t have now responsibilities to make sure that we do things in a responsible fashion.”

In other words, the die-hard Obamiacs who are still drinking the Kool-Aid, your man admitted that he is, indeed, Just.Another.Politician.™

The computer as baseball GM

Don’t laugh.

Right now, they’re being used more and more as either assistant general manager or assistant bench manager.

On the other hand, some of the actual numbers crunching indicates they’re not being used enough. And, some folks are fine with that, like Mr. Baseball Lawyer, Tony La Russa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals:
“There’s way too much importance given to what you can produce from a machine,” he said. “These are human beings, and I don’t think any computer is going to model that close to what we deal with at this level.”

(Tony, the puter probably doesn’t care for pitchers batting in the eight spot. Or Khalil Greene batting cleanup.)

Talk radio kills

And no, not in the ratings.

Right-wing talk radio, the type that starts at Limbaugh and goes right from there, arguable had a hand in the winger nutbar conspiracy thinking of Pittsburgh cop-killer Richard Andrew Poplawski, though judging by his own mom’s fears, he was probably actually mentally ill in some way, not just nuts in a nutbar way.

Gary Kamiya has more on this idea at Salon.

April 06, 2009

Obama IS the new Bush on state secrets

The Obama Administration has filed its first response (PDF) to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Jewel lawsuit on AT&T’s telephone wiretapping at government behest.

As Greenwald notes, there’s not a shred of difference between Obama and Bush now on state secrets issues.

This is at the point where real progressives note, with allowance for inflation, there’s not a quarter’s worth of difference between the two on civil liberties overall.

1. Obama renames “enemy combatants” but keeps the idea;
2. Obama closes Gitmo only to expand Bagram.
3. Obama has the same idea on state secrets.
That’s just for starters.

AP tries to shut Google barn door years after horses ran out

I’m not going to knock the effort of the Associated Press to get Google, Yahoo, et al, ask before using any AP work, or even at the effort behind the effort – getting a slice of Google ad money.

But, the reality?

Not gonna happen.

First, Reuters and AFP have both expanded their U.S. presence in the past few years to a degree that Google could largely ignore the AP, or at least bargain for lower prices with the other providers.

If the three try to force a unified bid? Oh, you’re way into antitrust land there, and, even with the current newspaper climate, I’m not sure Justice would smile on that too much.

Second, why the hell did the AP not have a broader-ranging sourcing agreement with Google et al in the first place? WTF?

If Dean Singleton wants to talk about the problems, Problem No. 1 is probably staring him in the mirror.

The ‘intelligence satellite gap’

So, now that North Korea has launched whatever it launched, the Pentagon says we need more spy satellites.

Sure we do.

And you, of course, expect Congress to sign the blank check.

Memory 2.0?

Or, just what can neuroscience do to alter human memory?

I agree with Thomas J. Carew. Other than limited efforts to soften PTSD-inducing effects of recent traumas, a skilled attempt to edit memory is decades in the future, because scientists still have a quasi-20th-century-genetics understanding of neurotransmitters, etc.
“There is not going to be one, single memory molecule, the system is just not that simple,” said Carew, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, and president of the Society for Neuroscience. “There are going to be many molecules involved, in different kinds of memories, all along the process of learning, storage and retrieval.”

And, there’s still the 1984, or Brave New World, factor, involved.

EPA releases ‘Most Wanted List’

Similar to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, this Environmental Protection Agency list aims to nail top individual polluters.

With this type of crime, we have a chance for the shame factor to work, too.

The myths of Columbine exploded

From Dylan Klebold not being a psycho, through Cassie Bernall most definitely not being shot for confessing her Christian belief and so, not being a martyr (no matter what her mom claims. Dave Cullen plays whack-a-mole, and excellently so, with myths about Columbine.

That said, I strongly disagree with Cullen’s “sensitivity,” as Joan Walsh puts it, in not removing the aura of martyrdom from Cassie sooner, especially given this:
her youth minister, Dave McPherson, said something like, "You'll never change the story. The church, you know, we've got our story and we're sticking to it."

Also give than Misty wrote a book extolling her daughter as a martyr.

April 05, 2009

Geithner on the ‘pull the trigger on CEOs’ hot seat

After President Barack Obama canned GM CEO Rick Waggoner a week ago, everybody wondered why Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wasn’t doing the same in the financial sector, with Bank of America CEO Kim Lewis, the focus of shareholder lawsuits, mentioned as Target No. 1. Well, Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Congressional committee overseeing TARP and TARP 2.0 is calling for exactly that, except her ire is focused on Edward Liddy at AIG and Vikram Pandit at Citigroup.

Now let us see how Timmy G responds.

America inching toward secular openness; so?

We certainly have a long ways to go, but the 16 percent of Americans who self-identify as irreligious certainly sounds good, right?

Well, not necessarily. While it may mean a decline in power of fundamentalist Christianity, it doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in ignorance, especially ignorance of scientific matters.

Many of those “irreligious” also self-identify as “spiritual but not religious.” Some would be quasi-Christian unitarians. (I avoid the capital “U” because many of them would not agree with the denomination’s social stances.) Even more are likely New Agers of some sort, not known for scientific-type critical reasoning skills by any means.

So, those of us who do support critical thinking shouldn’t yet read too much into the idea of a “post-Christian America.” That country could be even more populated than ours is today by psychics, ghost talkers, alt-med practitioners and worse.

TARP bailout cost to taxpayers raised

What was going to cost you and I “just” $189 billion is now estimated to have a government cost of $356 billion.

How many more things will Tim Geithner be repricing the in future? And, will it be covering up for Goldman Sachs-type buds or will it be tax-return type stupidity?

Ward Churchill wins wrongful firing suit; did gov perjure self?

While I don’t agree with everything he’s said over the past several years, Churchill getting a reinstatement hearing, and legal bills paid by the state of Colorado, says more than University of Colorado spokesman Ken McConnellogue attempting to diss the $1 in actual damages awarded Churchill.

And, can we try Colorado Gov. Bill Owens for perjury? I don’t believe one word of his claim that he didn’t pressure the university and then-president Betsy Hoffman to fire Churchill.

And, the U should take note: Five of six jurors wanted to hit it up for $100K or more in damages. I’m sure that will be brought up in Churchill’s rehire hearing.

Juror Bethany Newill, on the other hand, has the right take:
“One thing I kind of admired or respected was that, even though the world may disagree with what Ward Churchill said, even though it was very painful to people, I do respect that he can stand up for what he believes in. . . . He never issued an apology because he doesn’t feel one was needed.”

The sixth juror didn’t even want to rule in his favor in the firing itself, so, the compromise to avoid a hung jury was what we got.

Paul, Passover, Jesus, Gnosticism

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul gives us the first extant written account of the Lord’s Supper.

He starts with the well-known phrase, “On the night our Lord Jesus was betrayed…”

But, “betrayed” may well not be the right translation.

Many Greek verbs have three voices — the active and passive ones we know in English, and a “middle” voice, a sort of reflexive voice.

Now, the Greek verb παραδίδωμι looks the same in middle and passive voice. But, it has different meanings. looks the same in middle and passive voice. But, it has different meanings.

In the passive, it does mean “betray.” But, in the middle, it normally means “hand over,” as in hand over someone to authorities. A similar meaning is “hand up.”

Critical New Testament scholarship believe this is what Paul means. He never, in the epistles he clearly wrote, talks about a Passion Plot, a Roman arrest, or the melodramatic literary angle of a turncoat named Judas.

That gets us to the first “pseudo-Paul.” In addition to it being quite certain that Paul never wrote the “Pastoral Epistles” of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus, which weren’t written until the end of the first century CE, or even early in the second, an earlier pseudo-Paul (or two) is believed to have written Colossians and Ephesians. Relations between these two books are unclear, but both likely were written no later than 30 years after Paul’s genuine books, by someone closer to the Pauline mileau than the Pastoralist of another 20-40 years later.

Well, both Colossians and Ephesians discuss what can certainly be called “esoterica,” whether they are talking about issues that can clearly be labeled Gnostic or not.

In Colossians 2:20, “Paul” tells his readers, “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world….” The word in Greek, στοιχειον, is a word with plenty of use in Gnosticism, although it has plenty of pre-Gnostic use as well. As an “elemental principle,” it can be understood as a stage to be overcome by the Gnostic initiate’s battle to return to the All.

So, tying together Colossians and 1 Corinthans, did Paul mean that Jesus was actually “handed up” to the “elemental powers”? In other words rather than the soteriology of the Pastoral Epistles, themselves connected with similar soteriology stances of dying-and-rising eastern Mediterranean savior gods, was Paul instead talking about Jesus as a sacrifice to Gnostic powers?

How, then, did we get to Mark,. the first Gospeller, creating the "betrayal" story?

A combination of misreading Paul plus creative reading of the Old Testament, namely something like Psalm 69:22-28, and Psalm 109:6-12.

Peter allegedly took these verses that way in Acts 1.

In Gnostic and semi-Gnostic Christianity, the idea of Judas as Jesus' twin, as in Judas Thomas (Aramaic for "twin") certainly added to Gnosticizing takes on the idea of Jesus' betrayal.

It seems likely. Mystery religions, after all, we know had their own mystery-fellowship dinners, from which it is believed Paul borrowed ideas that he fused into Passover concepts to produce his “Last Supper.”

If that’s the case, the genuine Paul was more a proto-Gnostic than later followers, let alone conservative Christians today, might want to accept.

Also, if that’s the case, pseudo-Paul of Colossians either didn’t understand the genuine article that well, or else thought that others’ interpretation of him had gone too far, or else did understand him well and deliberately reinterpreted him.

As for "who was Judas"? Well, his second name, "Iscariot," has caused critical scholars puzzlement as well. It has sometimes been considered to be "Ish Kerioth," or "man of Kerioth." Problem — that is a village in what is today the Kingdom of Jordan, or biblical Transjordan, and all of Jesus' other disciples are described as coming from Galilee. Others claim it derives from the Latin "sicarius," which in the plural came to be used for dirk-wielding Jews knocking off Romans and collaborators and hoping to start the revolution. After all, all three Synoptics have Simon the Zealot as a follower, one of the Twelve. ("Cananaean" in Mark is simply the Aramaic word for the Greek "Zealot," and either an indication that Mark was trying to hide something, or, along with some of his geographical befuddlement, an indication of how clueless he was.) Problem — Josephus says the Sicarii didn't arise until the late 50s CE. However, Mark could have used it anachronistically.

In any case, it should also be noted that Paul created the Eucharist. And, he had no Judas in it. And, Jesus likely wasn't betrayed.