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Messages - James S. Rustad

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Your Turn / Re: Meanwhile, back at the Supreme Court
« on: December 07, 2022, 03:47:31 PM »
I've also read the argument: could emergency room doctors refuse to care for someone they personally object to, e.g., wrong religion, wrong skin color, wrong sexual identity, impoverished (i.e., unable to pay), etc.?

ER docs are required to provide emergency care to those who are "unable to pay".  However, they are not required to provide more than that.

How much of an emergency is it when someone needs a web site for their wedding?  If it is, maybe the web designer can provide a page that has only the text below:

"John Smith and Richard Roe announce their wedding to be held on such and such a date."

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 07, 2022, 10:33:08 AM »
The best part of that excerpt was the phrase "highly successful Covid jabs".

I guess success is measured by how many people were bullied into getting the shots.

On the level of "stops the disease" or "prevents infection" there was little success.

If the shots prevented hospitalizations and deaths, they were a success. As I recall, once the vaccines were given, most of the people who died from COVID were unvaccinated.

Not any more.

Yes, the article says what you say it does.  It also goes further to explain why that happened.  One piece is that most Americans are now vaccinated, so even a low percentage of them dying of COVID drives up the share of deaths.  The other important section of the explanation is below.

Let?s take a look at deaths in August, when the highly contagious BA.5 variant reached its peak:
  • That month, unvaccinated people aged 6 months and older died at about six times the rate of those who had received their primary series of shots.
  • People with one booster dose were even better protected. Unvaccinated people over the age of 5 had about 8 times the risk of dying from a coronavirus infection than those who received a booster shot.
  • Among individuals who were eligible to receive additional booster shots, the gap is even more striking. Unvaccinated people 50 and up had 12 times the risk of dying from covid-19 than adults the same age with two or more booster doses.

Given that some mutated forms of the virus are able to partially overcome the immunity from the vaccine, it's important to keep up on the boosters.  If you don't, you're going to be at higher risk of infection.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: November 27, 2022, 06:02:35 PM »
Earlier in this thread I mentioned in passing that mRNA technology would likely be used in other vaccines.  Well, here comes the first one.

A universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains of the virus could be available in the next two years, according to a leading scientist.

An experimental vaccine based on the same mRNA technology used in the highly successful Covid jabs was found to protect mice and ferrets against severe influenza, paving the way for clinical trials in humans.

Prof John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary University in London, who was not involved in the work, said the vaccine developed at the University of Pennsylvania could be ready for use the winter after next.

Your Turn / Re: Christian Nationalism? No
« on: November 20, 2022, 01:45:32 PM »
And thank you for making light of the deaths of at least five people and the wounding and many others. Your first response was to project your own hostility toward someone you don’t like and an institution you don’t like.
We are a nation. What is preached in Texas (or even in Minnesota) can easily affect Colorado or where you live.
People died. But they did give you a chance to post your usual complaints.

I do not read his response to you as "making light of the deaths of at least five people and the wounding and many others."  I do see him criticizing the coverage from the AP as poorly written and speculative.  But his response did give you the chance to post your usual complaints.

How about we wait for the police and FBI to do their jobs before we start laying blame?

Your Turn / Re: Christian Nationalism? No
« on: November 16, 2022, 07:23:55 PM »
Rev. Austin, do you believe it is wack-a-doodle to claim that one's religion forbids him from making a wedding cake designed specifically to celebrate a same sex "marriage"?

Not wack-a-doodle, but contrary to laws against discrimination. Also, baking cakes is not a religious activity.

And there the other half of the tag team jumps in.

Hmm...  Maybe I should try to get a kosher butcher to cut me up some nice pork roasts.  After all, meat cutting is not a religious activity.

Your Turn / Re: Christian Nationalism? No
« on: November 16, 2022, 07:17:20 PM »
…being forced to participate in gay weddings on religious freedom grounds.

BS alert, unless you really think that selling a cake or renting a room makes one “participate” in a gay wedding.

I remember it said of Greg Boyington by those who served under him when asked if the stories really happened, "Pappy exaggerates."

Charles exaggerates.  The baker said repeatedly that he would sell a premade cake or other baked goods to a gay couple.  What he would not do was decorate a cake specifically for a same-sex wedding.

Your Turn / Re: Christian Nationalism? No
« on: November 07, 2022, 07:21:39 PM »
Your argument is that mail ballots that don't comply with the law should be counted anyway?

If the voter can easily make a change (put the correct date) or add something (the date or a signature or SSN) so that it does comply with the law, why shouldn't they be given the chance? American citizens have the right and responsibility to vote. That should not be denied by petty laws or honest mistakes.

The dispute in the two cases was whether or not the ballot should be counted without the information required by the law.  The laws governing elections are not perfect.  The question is whether the law should be followed, or should officials be able to decide on their own not to follow the law?  The answer is that ours is "a government of laws, and not of men."

But all is not lost for you.  You're getting exactly what you asked for in your response to me.

In the Pennsylvania case, voters can correct ballots with errors by contacting their local election officials.  I'm assuming that local election officials will contact voters with ballots having errors (I've seen news coverage indicating that at least some are doing so).

In the Wisconsin case, Rise, Inc. filed suit demanding that local election officials be instructed that they must accept ballots with missing witness information.  This is in spite of the law requiring that information.  The Wisconsin Election Commission had told local election officials that they could fix ("cure") errors on the ballot envelope without contacting the voter.  The judge did not tell them that they could not contact the voter to have the voter and their witness fix the errors.

Your Turn / Re: Christian Nationalism? No
« on: November 07, 2022, 03:58:27 PM »
Washington Post today:
Republican officials and candidates in at least three battleground states are pushing to disqualify thousands of mail ballots after urging their own supporters to vote on Election Day, in what critics are calling a concerted attempt at partisan voter suppression.

In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court has agreed with the Republican National Committee that election officials should not count ballots on which the voter neglected to put a date on the outer envelope — even in cases when the ballots arrive before Election Day. Thousands of ballots have been set aside as a result, enough to swing a close race.

Your argument is that mail ballots that don't comply with the law should be counted anyway?

In Michigan, Kristina Karamo, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, sued the top election official in Detroit last month, seeking to toss absentee ballots not cast in person with an ID, even though that runs contrary to state requirements. When asked in a recent court hearing, Karamo’s lawyer declined to say why the suit targets Detroit, a heavily Democratic, majority-Black city, and not the entire state.

I certainly hope that the absentee ballots cast in compliance with the law are counted.  If the suit is asking for something contrary to the law, I further hope that the petitioner loses the election.

In 2000, Al Gore requested manual recounts in four Florida counties: Volusia, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade.  I don't recall anyone demanding to know why those four counties only.  Most news coverage gave the reason that these are heavily Democratic areas.  In case you miss the parallel to Karamo, three of the four counties also had higher black populations than most other counties.  But the news coverage didn't throw the same shade on Gore as on Karamo.

And in Wisconsin, Republicans won a court ruling that will prevent some mail ballots from being counted when the required witness address is not complete.

Again, if the mail-in ballots are not cast in accordance with the law, they should not be counted.

Over the past two years, Republicans have waged a sustained campaign against alleged voter fraud. Experts say the litigation — which could significantly affect Tuesday’s vote — represents a parallel strategy of suing to disqualify mail ballots based on technicalities. While the rejections may have some basis in state law, experts say they appear to go against a principle, enshrined in federal law, of not disenfranchising voters for minor errors.

The suits coincide with a systematic attempt by Republicans — led by former president Donald Trump — to persuade GOP voters to cast their ballots only on Election Day. Critics argue that the overall purpose is to separate Republicans and Democrats by method of voting and then to use lawsuits to void mail ballots that are disproportionately Democratic.
   ‘They’re looking for every advantage they can get, and they’ve calculated that this is a way that they can win more seats,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for Common Cause, a nonpartisan democracy advocacy organization. “Research has shown that absentee ballots are more likely to be discarded if they are voted by young people and people of color, which are not generally seen as the Republican base.”

   Albert said legal battles over mail ballot eligibility have the potential to delay results and even change outcomes. In some cases, the disputes could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The potential for chaos is especially high in Pennsylvania, where the legal fight is ongoing and could influence or postpone the outcome in some of the state’s tightest races, including a contest that could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

The law may not say what you or I prefer, but it is the law.  Unless those opposing its application can come up with a convincing constitutional argument or a federal law that overrides it, it needs to be applied as written.

Your Turn / First Amendment Agreement
« on: October 28, 2022, 10:40:36 PM »
An aphorism has it that "Politics is the art of compromise."  Another is that "A really good compromise is the one that leaves both sides equally dissatisfied."  What does it mean when two parody sites, one that skews to the right and one to the left, agree that something is wrong?

Note that the first two briefs are linked from the SCOTUS web site.  These are actual amicus briefs, both arguing that the court should protect the art of parody as being protected by the First Amendment.

The Onion is the world’s leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events. Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1756, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.

The Babylon Bee is a “dangerous,” “far-right misinformation site” that typically peddles “fake news” but, when its writers are up for more of a challenge, occasionally uses satire to “draw on and reinforce actual misinformation and conspiracy.” The Bee is part of the “conservative media ecosystem,” famed for its “conspiratorialism and questionable reporting.”

On their own site, the Bee indulges in one last dose of parody and takes a shot at the Onion:
The Babylon Bee is the world’s most popular news site, bringing deadly serious, 100% accurate stories to the public’s attention since 2016. The Bee has inspired many imitators such as The Borowitz Report, Mad Magazine, and a rival news organization that unfortunately filed in support of the petitioner in this case—The Onion—often described as a less popular, secular knock-off of The Babylon Bee.

The Onion has not replied as yet.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 26, 2022, 10:36:03 AM »
First you ridicule Pastor Fienen for claiming that some of the COVID deaths were not really COVID deaths, claiming that he is trying to minimize the pandemic.

Your set-up on the allegedly "predicted failure," Pastor Fienen, is erroneous.
In the Woodward/Trump tapes, when asked why didn’t take more preemptive measures based on his understanding of the virus before the disease spread in the U.S., Trump said: “You didn’t really think it was going to be to the point where it was.”
But no matter. If The Ex had personally gone into the labs and swizzled test tubes, it would not counter the rest of the lies, greed, idiocies, and crimes of that administration.
BTW, Given the magnitude of the pandemic, the extent of the suffering, the damage to lives, and the impact on our society, it seems extraordinarily petty to ask how many were "really" Corona virus deaths. So what if ten percent, or 20 percent or even 25 percent of the one million deaths reported as Covid were not "really" Covid. We still have a lot of suffering and loss.
   "That was a terrible pandemic; a million people died."
   "Well, some of those deaths were from other things; actually only 750,000 died from Covid."
   "OK, then, so it wasn't so bad."

Then you use the same kind of argument to minimize the problems caused by school shutdowns.

In terms of the bigger issues, in the grand scheme of troubles in the world and what we have gone through the last three years, the harms “inflicted upon our young“ are present and we should worry about them. But they are not the whole deal.
Our children do not have bombs falling around them; they are not starving because of famine; they are not living in refugee camps. if they fall behind a year in math skills, that is not a fatal situation. It can be fixed. But maybe this is an inspiration to strengthen our educational systems. to do more for the mental health of young people. To make sure that our schools are adequately equipped and our teachers properly paid.

I'm not buying into this or your other TDS symptoms.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 23, 2022, 06:07:16 PM »
The Bivalent Shot Might Lay You Out

Yep.  The latest booster was just as bad for me as the earlier COVID shots.  I had the Shingrix vaccine (mentioned in the article as having high reactivity) and only had a sore arm from both doses.  It appears that my immune system just doesn't like COVID vaccine.

Your Turn / Re: Christian Nationalism? No
« on: October 20, 2022, 12:43:32 PM »
Once again, Mr. Garner, for the umpteenth time, the issue is whether or not we can decide how public funds, that is, our taxes are spent.
If we say they should not be spent at an agency that refuses to allow same sex adoption, then that’s OK.
Does one’s “religious doctrine“ require a church to run an adoption agency? I don’t think so.
If catholic relief services states it will not use public funds in a certain way inconsistent with Catholic teaching, then that is indeed imposing Catholicism on the use of public funds.

If "the issue is whether or not we can decide how public funds, that is, our taxes are spent", can we decide to NOT spend public funds on:
- adoption agencies that refuse to allow adoption by religious parents?
- adoption agencies that refuse to allow adoption of White children by Black parents?
- adoption agencies that refuse to allow adoption of Black children by White parents?
- adoption agencies that refuse to allow adoption of Native American children by White parents?

Your Turn / Re: Real dollar amount reasonable clergy salary
« on: October 12, 2022, 01:00:31 PM »

An easy "rule of thumb" for calculating criterion #3 is assessed valuation (for property tax purposes) divided by 100 for monthly fair market value, then multiplied by 12 for annual figure.

I don't have any formula for calculating the "furnished" valuation.

And totally wrong. Assessed valuation is not the same as fair market value, often just 1/4 to 1/2 of market value.
Much better to use or (for example) for market value or for furnished values.

Depends on where you are.  In Wisconsin, state law requires properties to be assessed at full value at least every five years.  There are other requirements intended to prevent assessments from deviating from full value by more than 10%.

Your Turn / Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« on: October 06, 2022, 06:05:32 PM »
Say what you want the Danes DO make better pastry!

A former manager (now retired) was of Danish descent.  One year I brought treats for my birthday.  I was careful to point out that they were called wienerbrød because we Norwegians refused to say danish.

She picked one up and said, "I'm Danish."  I said "I know.  Gotcha."

Your Turn / Re: Members' "Whiteness"
« on: October 06, 2022, 01:17:37 PM »
As I've said before, I believe we are too wedded to our ethnic heritage.  One of the churches in our area is having a German dinner to celebrate Reformation Sunday.  I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a lutefisk dinner going on somewhere the same day.  I attended a baptism in Kansas a few years ago in what had been an Augustana congregation.  The signs in the parking lot were in Swedish.  I know these seem like little things, but for people who don't have our backgrounds, they just seem odd.

It would also be could if there could be a Lutheran centered version of Ligonier Ministries, with teaching by book and internet available to the general public. If we try to stay in our own little circles we will become something more like the Mennonites than like the our Reformed brethren.
Because our ethnic heritage is white and Germanic or Swedish, etc., our heritage, culture, foods, etc. is something for us to be ashamed of, hide, discard as trash? The congregation I served in Danville, IL every year had a Taste of Deutschland brat and kraut dinner, disgraceful, no? Other ethnicities are encouraged to remember their heritage and celebrate it, especially if it originated from Africa or South of Texas, but northern or Central Europe? Should be considered as excess baggage for disposal? Some goes for the Germanic or Scandinavian music that liturgy is set to?

A local congregation held "Ethnic Sunday" several times.  It was a German Lutheran congregation so there was plenty of German food.  However, there were also Norwegian and Mexican foods as well as several other varieties that I forget (it was a while ago).

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