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Ascension of Jesus – Wikipedia

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm

The Ascension of Jesus (anglicized from the Vulgate Latin Acts 1:9-11 section title: Ascensio Iesu) is the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God. The well-known narrative in Acts 1 it takes place 40 days after the Resurrection: Jesus, in the company of the disciples, is taken up in their sight after warning them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit; as he ascends a cloud hides him from their view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return “in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Heavenly ascents were fairly common in the time of Jesus, signifying divine approval or the deification of an exceptional man. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, the ascension is connected with the exultation of Jesus, meaning that through his ascension Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God: “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday; the Orthodox tradition has a different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition, and while the Anglican communion continues to observe the feast, most Protestant churches have abandoned it. The Ascension of Jesus is an important theme in Christian art, the ascending Jesus often shown blessing an earthly group below him to signify his blessing the entire Church.

The world of the Ascension is a three-part universe with the heavens above, a flat earth centered on Jerusalem in the middle, and the underworld below. Heaven was separated from the earth by the firmament, the visible sky, a solid inverted bowl where God’s throne sat “on the vaulted roof of earth.”(Isaiah 40:22). Humans looking up from earth saw the floor of heaven, made of clear blue lapis-lazuli (Exodus 24:9-10), as was God’s throne (Ezekiel 1:26).

Heavenly ascents were fairly common in the time of Jesus, signifying the means whereby a prophet could attain access to divine secrets, or divine approval granted to an exceptionally righteous individual, or the deification of an exceptional man. Figures familiar to Jews would have included Enoch (from the Book of Genesis and a popular non-Biblical work called 1 Enoch), the 5th century sage Ezra, Baruch the companion of the prophet Jeremiah (from a work called 2 Baruch, in which Baruch is promised he will ascend to heaven after 40 days)), Levi the ancestor of priests, the Teacher of Righteousness from the Qumran community, as well as Elijah and Moses, who was deified on entering heaven, and the children of Job, who according to the Testament of Job ascended heaven following their resurrection from the dead. Non-Jewish readers would have been familiar with the case of the emperor Augustus, whose ascent was witnessed by Senators, Romulus the founder of Rome, who, like Jesus, was taken to heaven in a cloud, the Greek hero Heracles (Hercules), and many others.

There is a broad consensus among scholars that the brief Ascension account in the Gospel of Mark is a later addition to the original version of that gospel.Luke-Acts, a single work from the same anonymous author, provides the only detailed account of the Ascension.Luke 24 tells how Jesus leads the eleven disciples to Bethany, a village on the Mount of Olives not far from Jerusalem, where he instructs them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit and blesses them. “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”

Acts 1 describes a meal on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus commands the disciples to await the coming of the Holy Spirit, a cloud takes him upward from sight, and two men in white appear to tell them (the disciples) that he will return “in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Luke and Acts appear to describe the same event, but present quite different chronologies, Luke placing it on the same day as the Resurrection and Acts forty days afterwards;[20] various proposals have been put forward to resolve the contradiction, but the question remains open.

The Gospel of John has three references to ascension in Jesus’ own words: “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the son of man” (John 3:13); “What if you (the disciples) were to to see the son of man ascending where he was before?” (John 6:62); and to Mary Magdalene after his Resurrection, “Do not hold me, for I not yet ascended to my father…” (John20:17). In the first and second Jesus is claiming to be the apocalyptic “one like a son of man” of Daniel 7; the last has mystified commentators what should Mary be prohibited from touching the risen but not yet ascended Christ, while Thomas is later invited to do so?

Various epistles (Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:19-20, Colossians 3:1, Philippians 2:9-11, 1 Timothy 3:16, and 1 Peter 3:21-22) also refer to an Ascension, seeming, like Luke-Acts and John, to equate it with the post-resurrection “exultation” of Jesus to the right hand of God.

The common thread linking all the New Testament Ascension references, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, is the exultation of Jesus, meaning that through his ascension Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God in Heaven: “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” It is interpreted more broadly as the culmination of the Mystery of the Incarnation, marking the completion of Jesus’ physical presence among his apostles and consummating the union of God and man, as expressed in the Second Helvetic Confession:

Despite this, the Ascension itself has become an embarrassment. As expressed in a famous statement by theologian Rudolf Bultmann in his essay The New Testament and Mythology: “We no longer believe in the three-storied universe which the creeds take for granted… No one who is old enough to think for himself supposes that God lives in a local heaven … And if this is so, the story of Christ’s … ascension into heaven is done with.” Modern theologians have therefore de-mythologised their theology, abandoning a God who sits enthroned above Jerusalem for a heaven which is “the endless, self-sustaining life of God” and the Ascension “an emblem in space and time of God’s eternal life.”

The Feast of the Ascension is one of the ecumenical (i.e., universally celebrated) feasts of the Christian liturgical year, along with the Passion, Easter, and Pentecost. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday, the fortieth day from Easter day, although some Roman Catholic provinces have moved the observance to the following Sunday to facilitate the obligation to take Mass. Saint Jerome held that it was of Apostolic origin, but in fact the Ascension was originally part of Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit, and developed as a separate celebration only slowly from the late 4th century onward. In the Catholic tradition it begins with a three-day “rogation” to ask for God’s mercy, and the feast itself includes a procession of torches and banners symbolising Christ’s journey to the Mount of Olives and entry into heaven, the extinguishing of the Paschal candle, and an all-night vigil; white is the liturgical colour. The orthodox tradition has a slightly different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition; the Anglican communion continues to observe the feast, but most Protestant churches have abandoned the traditional Christian calendar of feasts.

The Ascension has been a frequent subject in Christian art. By the 6th century the iconography of the Ascension had been established and by the 9th century Ascension scenes were being depicted on domes of churches. The Rabbula Gospels (c. 586) include some of the earliest images of the Ascension. Many ascension scenes have two parts, an upper (Heavenly) part and a lower (earthly) part. The ascending Christ may be carrying a resurrection banner or make a sign of benediction with his right hand. The blessing gesture by Christ with his right hand is directed towards the earthly group below him and signifies that he is blessing the entire Church. In the left hand, he may be holding a Gospel or a scroll, signifying teaching and preaching.

The Eastern Orthodox portrayal of the Ascension is a major metaphor for the mystical nature of the Church. In many Eastern icons the Virgin Mary is placed at the center of the scene in the earthly part of the depiction, with her hands raised towards Heaven, often accompanied by various Apostles. The upwards-looking depiction of the earthly group matches the Eastern liturgy on the Feast of the Ascension: “Come, let us rise and turn our eyes and thoughts high…”

The traditional site of the Ascension is Mount Olivet (the “Mount of Olives”, on which the village of Bethany sits. Before the conversion of Constantine in 312 AD, early Christians honored the Ascension of Christ in a cave on the Mount, and by 384 the Ascension was venerated on the present site, uphill from the cave.[33]

Around the year 390 a wealthy Roman woman named Poimenia financed construction of the original church called “Eleona Basilica” (elaion in Greek means “olive garden”, from elaia “olive tree,” and has an oft-mentioned similarity to eleos meaning “mercy”). This church was destroyed by Sassanid Persians in 614. It was subsequently rebuilt, destroyed, and rebuilt again by the Crusaders. This final church was later destroyed by Muslims, leaving only a 12×12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium”memorial”or “Edicule”) that remains to this day.[34] The site was ultimately acquired by two emissaries of Saladin in the year 1198 and has remained in the possession of the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem ever since.

The Chapel of the Ascension today is a Christian and Muslim holy site now believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven; in the small round church/mosque is a stone imprinted with the footprints of Jesus.[33] The Russian Orthodox Church also maintains a Convent of the Ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives.

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Ascension of Jesus – Wikipedia

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Finally, Politically Incorrect Women Are Coming Out of the …

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 10:56 am

Finally, Politically Incorrect Women Are Coming Out of the Closet

I feel a strange sort of kinship with Donald Trump: my entire writing career has been built on people who support me privately, but not in public.

Ill never forget the time I found a Southwest Airlines stewardess reading one of my books. I had walked to the bathroom in the back of the plane, only to find it occupied. So I found myself standing in the aisle, sandwiched between two flight attendants on my right who were busying themselves with drinks, and one on my left who was crouched down in a corner.

I happened to look down, and I could see the distinct green outline of The Flipside of Feminism.

I smiled, and asked her: Is that a good book?

She looked up as though shed been caught doing something wrong. When I told her I am the author of the book, she looked at me for a few moments and then checked the photo on the book jacket. Then she smiled from ear to ear and instantly relaxed. She told me:

So she reads it in private, she said.

That exchange is a perfect example of political correctness — the idea that theres a right way to think and a wrong way to think — run amok. And last week Donald J. Trump blasted this phenomenon wide open.

The 2016 election proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our country is divided into two groups: the elite, most of whom are liberal-minded and thus think the right way, and everyday folks, most of whom are right-leaning and thus think the wrong way.

This narrative has been used to silence women.

In The misogyny apocalypse, Amanda Marcotte wrote the following in response to the election results:

Marcotte’s rhetoric, which is promulgated throughout the country on a regular basis, is precisely the reason that attendant was reading my book in private. If she dared show the world she doesnt subscribe to Marcottes feminist ideology, shed be shamed.

https://pjmedia.com/blog/finally-politically-incorrect-women-are-coming-out-of-the-closet/

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Should there be restrictions on freedom of speech? | Debate.org

Posted: October 15, 2016 at 5:23 am

People have a right to say what ever they want to say. No one has the right to stop them. You may not like some of the opinions people voice, or the words that they use, but this is absolutely no reason to have the government trample people’s natural rights.

Arresting those protesting on private “no trespassing” property is not a denial of free speech. I really get irked about that kind of misrepresentation and people crying over first amendment rights. Death threats are not a form of free speech. They are a threat. Calling a soldier that has never done anything but served his country in good faith a “baby killer” is defamation of character. You say that to someone that is being tried or investigated, that is a gray area. You say that to someone that has been convicted it is free speech. Protest that the government should give amnesty to illegals? It’s an opinion, and free speech as long as you don’t do it on my private property.

It’s when freedom of speech isn’t freedom of speech that the problem arises. “Hate Speech” is freedom of speech to the extent that the language used does not incite or encourage violence or violation of the law. There is a huge difference in toting a sign that says “No more (fill in the blank) and “Yes, send us more dead (fill in the blank)”. One shows your lack of tolerance and opinion that there should be no more whatever. The second shows distinct encouragement for the acceptance of violence against the group being protested.

Freedom of speech is NOT the ability to say whatever you feel like when you feel like it where you feel like it. Yelling BOMB in a theater is not freedom of speech. Advertising or protesting you wish someone dead or are looking forward to seeing a group of people dead is not freedom of speech. Reporting that gets people killed is not freedom of speech. Profanity & Sexual suggestions are not free speech.

When the government censors certain “unallowable” opnions, and at the same times pretends to protect “freedom of speech”, it is essentially saying “you are free to say whatever you want, as long as you don’t say this.” This is the same principle that exists in even the most totalitarian societies; saying that that society has “free speech” becomes meaningless.

Freedom of speech helps the world to change. Without this kind of expression, the world wouldn’t be aware of all the problems we have, and wouldn’t help to change them. For example, with the Charlie Hebdo problem going around, the world and France got aware of the problem of religion, as well as malala or nelson mandela. Those kind of person broke the limit of speech and it helped to change life positively.

Freedom of speech is not the same as promoting violence. Freedom of speech is not violating the law, promoting violence or ‘waiting (fill in blank) dead’. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions and believes. If the government takes away that right, then that is the starting point for being able to neglect other human rights.

In the United States, where I live, we allow citizens to be free from government interference for speaking. This is one of our cherished rights, so much so that it’s the very first amendment to our Constitution. However, this right does not extend to private businesses or individuals, who are free to penalize you all they want for saying stupid, damaging, or inflammatory things. This is a public-private balance that is appropriate, and additional restrictions are not required.

I disagree with a lot of people on a lot things either being religion, politics, hate speech, and so on they should not be silenced. They have just as much of a right, to say what they believe. That’s we have the right to free speech. Just because I don’t like or agree means it should be restricted. This also goes into if you say what you mean freely, you’re going to have to deal with the backlash. The thing is free speech either get’s people on your side and look smart, or have everyone hate you.

Free speech is the corner stone of a free society. All ideas must be heard no matter how crazy and all ideas must be criticized. If we start burning books because we find them offensive; it means anyone can shout down dissent by saying they are offended. Tell me this when has an idea which is exempt from criticism been good. It is important that we realize that saying this can be censorship should never be used to combat bad ideas. If our ideology is so much better then the person we wish to censor; we should have no such problem debunking there theories; because even if we believe that the person we want censored is a complete monster. Denying anyone there basic human rights turns us into monsters.

It’s people’s freedom. Most of us living in America take for granted this privilege. Corrupt countries have taken away this privilege, and that’s why they won’t change. A person’s voice can be the difference of life and death for a person, so that’s why I think it’s necessary. Two words

I don’t think so that there should be restriction because what is going in the mind of an individual we don’t know, if he suffering from any deficiency and he speaks so that the thing on which we can secure him we can at-least guide. There should b freedom of speech.

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Trump and the Second Amendment – The Washington Post

Posted: October 1, 2016 at 1:43 am

At last nights presidential debate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made all kinds of attacks on each other. But on one notable issue, they were in complete agreement: they both think people on the federal governments no fly list should be categorically denied their right to buy guns under the Second Amendment. Both candidates have repeatedly said so for months. Trumps stance on this issue should be deeply troubling to those who care about gun rights and also to people concerned about constitutional rights generally, even if they dont care much about this one.

As both the ACLU and conservative commentators point out, the no fly list is notoriously inaccurate. It is also provides little or no due process protections. The process is secret, people are not told the reasons why they were placed on the list, and they are not given any advance opportunity to challenge the designation. And, once on the list, even a completely innocent person might find it difficult and time-consuming to get off it.

If Trump is committed to the idea that your Second Amendment rights can be stripped on such a flimsy basis, with so little due process, then virtually any other politically feasible limitation on gun rights is also acceptable. The sort of reasoning that would uphold this restriction on gun ownership would permit pretty much any other. That should give pause to people supporting Trump because they think he is going to protect Second Amendment rights. It is also yet another reason to doubt that he would appoint originalist judges committed to protecting important constitutional rights generally. Most such judges are unlikely to uphold these kinds of gun regulations (as well as many other items on his political agenda).

Trumps disdain for Second Amendment rights is not limited to the no fly list. At last nights debate, he also said he wants police to use stop and frisk searches to take away guns from bad people. Its not entirely clear what he means by this remark (it could be interpreted as being limited to people the police believe to be felons or gang members whom he also mentioned in the same part of the debate). But, at the very least, its another example of him advocating gun confiscation without due process. It also indicates a disturbing level of confidence that the government can identify bad people and take away their guns without victimizing the innocent.

Even people who do not care much about gun rights and the Second Amendment have reason to be concerned about Trumps position on this issue. As liberal legal commentator Mark Joseph Stern (who is no fan of gun rights), points out, if this constitutional right can be taken away with so little due process, others can be as well:

If the government can revoke your right to access firearms simply because it has decided to place you on a secret, notoriously inaccurate list, it could presumably restrict your other rights in a similar manner. You could be forbidden from advocating for causes you believe in, or associating with like-minded activists; your right against intrusive, unreasonable searches could be suspended. And you would have no recourse: The government could simply declare that, as a name on a covert list, you are owed no due process at all.

Stern believes that the Second Amendment should not be interpreted as protecting an individual right to bear arms. But so long as the Supreme Court continues to hold otherwise, revoking this right on the basis of a secret list with no due process sets a dangerous precedent for other constitutional rights.

In fairness to Trump, Hillary Clinton is no better than he is on the no fly issue. It is, as already noted, one of the few things they agreed on last night. While I believe that she is, on balance, a lesser evil than Trump, this is not one of the issues that makes her so. On other gun control issues, she almost certainly favors more extensive regulation than he does.

But there is this difference: Hillary Clinton and many other liberals make no bones about the fact that they believe either that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to bear arms at all, or that the right in question is an unimportant one that should be relegated to second-class status compared to what they see as more significant parts of the Bill of Rights. I think theyre badly wrong about that. But their reasoning at least creates the possibility that they and the judges they pick could approve the no-fly list gun ban without creating too much of a dangerous precedent for other constitutional rights. Like Stern, I believe that many liberals seriously underrate the risk of dangerous slippery slope effects in this area. But at least they are making some effort to contain them.

By contrast, Trump repeatedly claims that hes a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. If hes nonetheless willing to undermine it so blatantly, that does not bode well for the many constitutional rights for which he has (even) less regard.

UPDATE: Commenters on Twitter point to Trumps seeming support of a GOP bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn that would allow the government to ban people on the no fly list from buying guns for only 72 hours, after which they would have to go to court to provide evidence of links to terrorism, in order to extend the ban. Its a fair point, and one I should have addressed in the original post. But I dont think it much changes the bottom line on the dangerous implications of Trumps position on this issue.

While it is entirely possibly that Trump would sign the Cornyn bill if it passes, he has never clearly stated that he supports it. Much more significantly he has never said that he will only support the no fly, no buy policy if it includes a right to a judicial hearing. And, in the debate last night, he suggested the contrary by emphasizing his essential agreement with Hillary Clinton on the issue. He even said he quite strongly agrees with her. This implies he would be just as happy to sign a bill with no such judicial safeguards (which is the approach Clinton advocates). Trump did indicate that there should be a legal way for people to get off the no fly list if they should not be there. But, of course, that is no different from the status quo. People can already entirely legally get off the no fly list by asking the federal government to remove them. It just often takes many months or even years to happen.

The important broader issue here is not whether Trump would sign the Cornyn bill. It is Trumps cavalier approach even towards those constitutional rights, such as the Second Amendment, that he claims to strongly support.

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First child dies by legal euthanasia in Belgium – CBS News

Posted: September 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm

In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo, Belgian doctor Marc Van Hoey, a general practitioner who is president of the Right to Die Association in the region of Flanders, speaks with the Associated Press at his practice in Antwerp, Belgium.

Yves Logghe, AP

A terminally ill minor has been helped to die in Belgium for the first time since the country did away with age restrictions on euthanasia two years ago, according to the senator who wrote the law.

Liberal Senator Jean-Jacques De Gucht confirmed the death of the sick juvenile to The Associated Press Saturday.

He said the minor was from Belgiums Flemish region, but declined to provide any further details about the patient to protect the privacy of the grieving family.

Belgium is the only country that allows minors of any age assistance in dying, De Gucht said. In Holland, the lower age limit for euthanasia is 12 years.

Its terrible when a youngster suffers, but it gives me some comfort to know that now there is a choice out there for children in the final terminal stages, De Gucht said. Its important that society doesnt neglect people in such pain.

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29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer tells CBS News’ Jan Crawford about the emotional toll her illness has taken and how she’s coming to …

The Belgian law has very strict rules for the euthanasia to be approved. It requires the minor to be in the final stages of a terminal illness, to understand the difference between life and death rationally and to have asked to end his or her life on repeated occasions. It also requires parental consent and finally the approval of two doctors, including a psychiatrist.

The law -one of the most far-reaching in the Western world – had wide public support when it was introduced in 2014, but was opposed by some pediatricians and the countrys Roman Catholic clergy.

Catholic teaching forbids euthanasia and the president of the Italian bishops conference on Saturday described the news of the euthanasia of a child as painful and worrisome.

It pains us as Christians but it also pains us as persons, Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco told Italian news agency ANSA.

As House of Representative members in Belgium cast their ballots in 2014 and an electronic tally board lit up with enough green lights to indicate the measure would carry, a lone protester in the chamber shouted assassins!

Socialist Hans Bonte at the time said no member of the House hoped the law would ever be used. But he said all Belgians, including minors, deserved the right to bid farewell to life in humane circumstances without having to fear they were breaking the law.

Some have questioned whether children should be allowed to make the choice between life and death. In 2014, a group of doctors – including pediatricians – signed a group letter to voice opposition to the measure.

A lot of people – in whatever profession – still have a problem coping with the idea that people can choose when they end their own life, De Gucht said.

2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Belgium euthanasia: First child dies – CNN.com

Posted: at 8:02 pm

A Belgian lawmaker told CNN affiliate VTM that the physician-assisted suicide happened within the past week.

The child, who was suffering from an incurable disease, had asked for euthanasia, Sen. Jean-Jacques De Gucht told VTM. The identity of the child and age are unknown.

“I think it’s very important that we, as a society, have given the opportunity to those people to decide for themselves in what manner they cope with that situation,” said Gucht, a supporter of euthanasia legislation.

Wim Distelmans, who chairs Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, told state broadcaster RTBF that fortunately few children had demanded mercy killing but “that does not mean we should deny them the right to a dignified death.”

In 2014, the bill extended the “right to die” to those under the age of 18. But there were additional strict conditions, including that the child was judged to be able to understand what euthanasia means.

Consent of parents or guardians must also be given.

“This can only be in cases of serious and incurable diseases, which is the same thing for adults … but for minors an additional condition is that the death must be expected in the near future,” Jacqueline Herremans told RTBF. Herremans is the president of Belgium’s Association for the Right to Die with Dignity and also a member of the federal committee on euthanasia.

Belgium is the only country that allows euthanasia for children of any age.

The Netherlands also allows mercy killings for children, but only for those 12 and over. It became the first country to legalize euthanasia in April 2002.

CNN’s Margot Haddad contributed to this report.

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Second Amendment: How Does It Work? Left Has No Idea

Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:21 am

I genuinely want to be done with defending the Second Amendment from theregular barrage of its historically illiterate and inept detractorsthe people who say this amendment protects only the right of the militia to own weapons.

One friend and fellow gun rights activist said its best to just ignore such people, in the same way that you might ignore people who say triangles have four sides or that the Sun orbits the Earth. It is tempting to just stop engaging the dopeswho simply refuse to consider basic, objective historical facts.

But I actually think this might be a bad strategy, as it may allow the debunked and nonsensical militia reading of the Second Amendment to gain ground. With a Hillary Clinton presidency and Supreme Court on the way, we need an American population that is historically knowledgeable. That means fighting back against the corruption of American knowledge.

Anti-gun folks will cheerfully exploit (and in many cases encourage) the ignorance of the American body politic to get what they want. It is important to push back against that wherever and whenever possible. By way of example: at the Huffington Post this week, Daryl Sneath, a recreational grammarian, is trying very hard totake advantage of American historical ignorance:

One of those things [the Framers]knew about is the comma, the only purpose of which is clarity. Doubtless the writers were acutely aware of this grammatical truism (despite their apparent affinity for complex diction) when they drew their collective stylus southward (certainly aware too of that symbolic direction) making the little mark immediately following the phrasethe right of the people to keep and bear arms. As such, the subject of the predicateshall not be infringedis clearly notthe right of the people. No subject is ever separated from its predicate by a comma alone. Put more plainly, the principal clause (or declaration) of the whole amendment is this:A well regulated militia shall not be infringed.The middle bit modifies the main.

Leaving aside the dubious grammatical reading, as well as the utter travesty of ahistorical non-engagement with contemporaneous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century primary sources, just marvel at this: A well regulated militia shall not be infringed. What would such a right evenmeanin the context of extant constitutional structure and precedent? It would actually meannothing.

Sneath seems to suggest that the Second Amendment provides some sort of bulwark to protect state militias against congressional infringement. But this is objectively, factually false: Congress hascompletecontrol over state militiasthe federal governmentcan organize and abolish the militiawhenever itfeels like it, and for whatever reasonand no serious historical scholar has ever suggested that the Second Amendment somehow circumscribes this congressional power in any way. Put another way: Sneath is implying that the Second Amendment prohibits Congress from doingthe very thing Congress is fully empowered to do.

I am genuinely curious: is there any other constitutional right, or any other constitutional amendment, that is so consistently and so aggressively handled with such base and inexcusable stupidity, on so regular a basis, and on such an industrial scale?I am not sure. You dont usually see arguments of this idiotic magnitude when it comes to, say, the Fourth Amendment, or the Sixth. You certainly see dumb interpretations of the First Amendment, but thats usually a matter ofdegree, notkind:you will have people arguing that the First Amendment doesnt protect hate speech, for instance, but nobody ever argues that the First Amendment only applies to state governments, say, rather than to individual members of the body politic.

Only the Second Amendment is subject to such illiterate and ahistorical analyses. Onceyou realizethat, you can fully graspwhy: many people simply do not like guns, and they will lieor else keep themselves deliberately ignorantto prevent other people from having them.

This is not an isolated incident: anti-gun folks are very happy to resort to falsehoods to advance their cause. Recently the National Rifle Association put out an ad that claims Hillary Clinton doesnt believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. This is entirely true, but Glenn Kessler over at the Washington Post calls it false:

Clinton has said that she disagreed with the Supreme Courts decision inHeller, but she has made no proposals that would strip Americans of the right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. Clinton is certainly in favor of more gun regulations and tougher background checks, and a more nuanced ad could have made this case.Conjuring up a hypothetical Supreme Court justice ruling in a hypothetical case is simply not enough for such a sweeping claim.That tips the ads claim into the Four-Pinocchio category.

This is just a shameless mess.As I have argued before, Clintons disagreement with the Supreme Courts ruling inHelleris anunequivocal rejection of the right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.That is the very rightHellerdecided in favor of!To be againstHelleris to be against the individual right to own firearms. This is not up for debate.

Now, Clinton claims she merely disagrees withHellerinsofar as she believes cities and states should have the power to craft common-sense laws to keep their residents safe. But this is nonsense:Hellernot onlyallows for such laws, itexplicitly authorizes them.Given that Hillarys justification for opposingHelleris meaningless, we must assume she opposes it for its core substancenamely, that it affirms the individual right codified in the Second Amendment.

In other words, Hillary Clinton wants to take your guns away. Shes been honest about it; why cant our fact checkers?

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UK offshore becoming safer, report finds – Offshore

Posted: August 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Offshore staff

LONDON There were no reported fatalities on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) last year, according to the 2016 Oil & Gas UK Health & Safety Report.

Reportable injury rates for the offshore oil and gas industry were also lower than other industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail and education, while the lost time injury frequency rate on the UKCS was below the European average and lower than in Norway, Denmark, and Ireland.

Also down was the number of dangerous occurrences, including fires or explosions, dropped objects and weather damage, with incidents down by 30% between 2013 and 2015.

One exception was oil and gas releases which rose slightly – the majority were minor, while major releases remained the same.

The increase in minor releases may be down to the fact that operators are increasingly using technology that helps detect the smallest of escapes. In addition, new reporting criteria came into effect during the second half of 2015 that included releases not deemed reportable under previous legislation.

The report said the industry has worked hard to reverse the increase in its safety-critical maintenance backlog.

Mick Borwell, health, safety and environment policy director at Oil & Gas UK, said: This is a testing time for the industry and our commitment to safety has at times been questioned. However, our report demonstrates that safe operations continue to be intrinsic to how we go about our activities on the UK continental shelf, regardless of the oil price.

It shows that the UK sector is focusing in the right areas and overall is heading in the right direction. The report is also a reminder that there is no place for compromise or complacency and that safety must remain at the top of our agenda.

08/08/2016

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Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson: A vote for Clinton or …

Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:55 am

Thomas Vogel, Special for USA TODAY 11:58 p.m. EDT July 28, 2016

Gary Johnson came to Philadelphia on Thursday in the hopes of picking up more support.(Photo: Raquel Zaldivar/Special for USA TODAY)

PHILADELPHIALibertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, hoping to capitalize on those who are disenfranchised with the major party nominees, showed up here Thursday to make his case in the shadows of the Democratic National Convention on its final day.

He gathered with nearly 100 supporters at a restaurant close to theWells Fargo Center, where the convention was being held, to continue his pitch as a third-party alternative for dissatisfied voters on both the right and left.

Johnson, who appeared hours before Hillary Clinton took the stage, is hoping to reach the 15 percent threshold needed to participate in national general electiondebates. Several national polls in recent weeks have Johnson as high as 11 percent.

Johnson,the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, mostly stuck to typical libertarian calls for lower taxes, a non-interventionist foreign policy and fewer business regulations when he spoke Thursday. At times, Johnson seemed to struggle with questions on union jobs,minimum wage and voter fraud from left-leaning folks in attendance, revealing the difficulty in bridging the ideological divide.

Gary Johnson appeared at a local bar on Thursday, hoping to generate some new support near the DNC.(Photo: Raquel Zaldivar/Special for USA TODAY)

I think a wasted vote is a vote for Trump or Clinton, Johnsonsaid. The future is small government, the future is no one dying in foreign interventions.

Johnson, whose appearance was delayed by several hours, openedby thanking attendees for sticking around and then took questions from an enthusiastic audienceon healthcare, net neutrality and terrorism.

Johnson, who also ran in 2012, stressed that he would honor all internationaltreaties, support the Trans-Pacific Partnership and sign any legislation that simplified the tax code. While admitting his platform, which fuses issues championed by the right and left, might alienate voters on both sides, Johnson remained confident.

USA TODAY

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson on guns, debates and pot

Its not something I lose sleep over, Johnson said.

Brett Stevens, a lawyer and mother of three, came outto hear what Johnson had to say. The Philadelphia native grew up supporting Republican candidates but switched in the last election cycle after hearing Johnsons appeals for a balanced budget and greater personal freedoms.

I balance the budget every month, the 34-year-old said. I thinkthe government should do the same.

Johnsons call for a balanced budget also attracted Joe Portz.

The 22-year-old electrician acknowledged Johnson’s candidacy faces significant obstacles, but he remained committed.

USA TODAY

Seen at #DNCinPHL: Lone Gary Johnson supporter, rain-soaked protesters

I think Clinton will win, Portz said. [But] that doesnt meanI have to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Young men dominated the crowd, many holding campaign signsand homemade posters. They were joined by assorted others, includingafew curious Bernie Sanders supporters who trickled in.

Alisah Holland, a self-described progressive, traveled from Portland,Oregon, to protest Clintons nomination. She said she felt it important to come Thursday evening to hear what Johnson had to say.

The 33-year-old, who teaches specialeducation, has not decided who shell vote for this November.

I dont agree with him on every issue, Holland said. “But I want himon the debate stage.

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The Right to Bear Arms

Posted: July 12, 2016 at 6:19 am

Miller was subject to two possible interpretations. One, that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but that the right only extends to weapons commonly used in militias (the defendants in Miller were transporting sawed-off shotguns). The second–broader–view of Miller is that the Amendment guarantees no rights to individuals at all, and the defendants lost the case as soon as it was obvious that they were not members of a state militia.

In 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court, in District of Columbia vs. Heller, struck down a Washington, D.C. ban on individuals having handguns in their homes. Writing for a 5 to 4 majority, Justice Scalia found the right to bear arms to be an individual right consistent with the overriding purpose of the 2nd Amendment, to maintain strong state militias. Scalia wrote that it was essential that the operative clause be consistent with the prefatory clause, but that the prefatory clause did not limit the operative clause. The Court easily found the D. C. law to violate the 2nd Amendment’s command, but refused to announce a standard of review to apply in future challenges to gun regulations. The Court did say that its decision should not “cast doubt” on laws restricting gun ownership of felons or the mentally ill, and that bands on especially dangerous or unusual weapons would most likely also be upheld. In the 2008 presidential campaign, both major candidates said that they approved of the Court’s decision.

Heller left open the question of whether the right to bear arms was enforceable against state regulation as well as against federal regulation? In 1876, the Supreme Court said the right–if it existed–was enforceable only against the federal government, but there was a wholesale incorporation of Bill of Rights provisions into the 14th Amendment since then. In 2010, in the case of McDonald v Chicago, the U. S. Supreme Court held (5 to 4) that the 2nd Amendment right has been incorporated through the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and is fully enforceable against the states. The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Alito, proceeded to strike down Chicago’s gun regulation insofar as it prohibited the private possession in the home of handguns for self-defense. Justice Thomas, concurring, would have held the right to bear arms to be a right protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment, an approach to applying Bill of Rights protections against the states first rejected in the 19th-century Slaughter-House Cases and never used since.

Cases United States vs. Miller (U.S. 1939) District of Columbia vs Heller (U.S. 2008) McDonald v Chicago (U.S. 2010)

Justice Antonin Scalia, for the majority in District of Columbia v Heller (U. S. Supreme Court 2008)

The Supreme Court votes 5 to 4 to strike down a Washington, D. C. ban on the private possession of handguns. Justice Scalia authors majority opinion.

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The Right to Bear Arms

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