Weekend Reading: August 13, 2016

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful morning here in Dublin Ohio, and there’s lots to convey – lots of articles and videos and books that I enjoyed this week. For those of you who are newer to this email/post, I’m not attempting to cover everything in the news or culture. I’m just passing on what I (or what you who sent stuff my way) enjoyed most.  So here goes…

We can start with a story that folks sent my way, re: the media bias against Donald Trump.  This was posted on Drudge for a while, and makes some really good points. The most important is this:

These companies are engaging in activity that can quickly lead down a very dangerous slippery slope and this should concern all freedom-loving Americans—not just conservatives.

More Presidential – and this is crazy: Hillary Clinton has seizure when talking to reporters. There is some dispute from an AP reporter whose saying that, no way, it’s not a seizure. This event looks to have happened a month ago – which leads me to doubt why anyone would just now be looking at it.  Snopes says its unlikely she had a seizure. Regardless, of whether she’s just reacting in bobble-head fashion or not…its just weird…the whole thing is just weird. Judge for yourself.

If you watch Fox News, then you would have seen this story: Parents of 2 Benghazi victims sue Hillary Clinton for wrongful death, defamation.  But its worth watching the interview with ‘The Judge’ because he quickly dismisses this, and gives some good legal (and personnel) background. I’m reposting it here, because its pretty interesting stuff, and it caused my mind to think a bit about the kinds of headlines that peak my interest – human interest stories combined with politics. Those are going to get my attention!  Yet there’s nothing here – no substantive story. It’s the kind of thing you want to be on the lookout for and not allow the headlines of any news group to shape your viewpoint until you’ve read or watched the actual stories and weighed things for yourself.  Too often we’re quick to form opinions based on the scantiest of information!

Earlier in the week this story broke: WikiLeaks offers reward for help finding DNC staffer’s killer. The immediate assumption was that the Clintons were in some nefarious way connected with the death of this young (but rather prominent) staffer. Aside from the merits of this kind of speculation, ask yourself this question: Would President Obama, or Bush ever have faced this kind of speculation? My opinion is NO.  Over the years the Clintons have been involved in or just a few degrees separated from so many scandals (including ones involving untimely deaths), that this kind of speculation immediately crops up.

So that’s something to meditate on – especially when you think about certain Republicans endorsing Hillary Clinton.  It’s one thing to disagree with Donald Trump, or not want to vote for him, its another to endorse someone who has a pedigree of corruption.

The other angle on all of this is WikiLeaks, and its’ founder Julian Assange. They are offering a reward of $20k for anyone with information about the murder. What?!!  Of course this leads people to wonder if the murdered staffer was the one who sent all those DNC emails to WikiLeaks (the obvious conclusion), or whether the Russians are pressuring Assange to submarine Clinton’s campaign, or if there’s some other crazy agenda. It’s likely more complex that we’ll ever know. It’s bizarre – and worth keeping an eye on.

MEDIA WATCH: Wall Street Journal writer Bret Stephens absolutely pilloried Sean Hannity this week. I think its worth posting this here because in recent years Hannity has become more and more odious.  I can’t even watch those Fox or MSNBC shows anymore because its just a bunch of former C-level staffers turned “experts” yelling over each other (or getting yelled at by guys like Hannity).  I might agree with Hannity on 90% of his propositional statements (assuming he was speaking coherently enough to understand them, and you could make them out over all the shouting), but I simply can’t take the way in which those shows are conducted. Maybe its just me (probably is, given the ratings!).

Speaking of noise…check this audio clip out: Roger Scruton – The Tyranny of Pop Music. It’s not what I thought it was, he really spends a lot of time talking about the noise of music in the background of our life, and makes some startling good points.  Just this week I was at a diner which had indiscernible pop music in the background playing just loud enough so that I had trouble hearing the guy across from me. I was constantly leaning in, and asked him to repeat himself several times. This wasn’t a trendy place, it wasn’t normally known for its music. It was just a lot of people, and then this underlying noise of music that made everything very difficult. How can we have conversations this way? It really IS tyranny, and this Roger Scruton has some great points. NOTE: there are some explicit comparisons he makes between pornography and music that you’ll want to have discretion with if little ones are around. 

COOL: Tour the London of Yore With a Gigantic New Photo Map

Exciting: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer (h/t Alex W.)

Funny! NYPD arrests man who scaled Trump Tower with suction cups

BOOKS!  Popular Stoic (yes, Stoic with caps, you read that right) writer Ryan Holiday has compiled a list of his top 58 books (h/t Nicole S!). Not every book is one I’m endorsing, but there are some good ones. FROM THE LIST: This week I listened to The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh, and really enjoyed it. 

Speaking of books, here’s what I read/finished reading this week (they’re all in chronological order and most have reviews attached – feel free to message me with specific questions about books).

HAHAHAHA: POLICE: TRAIN CAR DERAILS IN IOWA, HITS BAR CALLED DERAILED

Head Shaker: Money flows to man who ‘beat up Dylann Roof’ in Charleston jail shower ‘for job well done’

Eye Roll: France’s Socialist President Pays Nearly $11,000 A Month For Haircuts.  The waft of socialist hypocrisy is what you might be smelling here…

Speaking of hypocrisy, I don’t agree with everything this writer is saying, but the topic is interesting (and a little frustrating!): San Francisco Progressives Declare War on Affordable Housing

FASCINATING STUFF: Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here

MORE Interesting stuff….The chip card transition in the US has been a disaster – no kidding!  This was interesting because of some of the economic pressures behind the movement that I was unaware of.

SCIENCE (some interesting food for thought): The Ice Age and the Scattering of Nations.  I especially had thought this was interesting because a few weeks ago I finished reading Thomas Sowell’s ‘Conquests and Cultures’ and he alludes to some of the mysteries surrounding Indian habitation of N/S America.

Finishing Well: we don’t often talk about this kind of thing, but what is the environment going to be when you die? You going to sit and watch TV until you expire?  John Piper has an interesting post about this – and I can see why he’s stirred up over it. Anyone whose visited the hospital or longer term care facility can probably agree with some of his assessments.

Along similar, and very sad, lines: John Piper’s Funeral Prayer for a Family of Five (h/t KTW).

CULTURE: This is long article, but I thought there were a ton of good points: All of Us Sinners, None of Us Freaks: Christian Convictions for the Transgender Age.  From the article:

God could have designed human propagation in countless other ways, but he chose one way: two physically matured humans of complementing genders, each with unique DNA, forming a new family unity, and beget a child of the same human likeness — who will, upon conception, be given his or her own unique DNA and one of two genders, while still carrying the characteristics and likenesses of both parents.

One couple, following the pattern of millions of other couples in history, creates a family unit. Guided by a natural pattern, marriage calls men and women away from the immaturity of selfishly motivated casual sex and welcomes them into the selfless maturity of life as sexual beings living a story inside God’s natural pattern.

Now compare with WaPO: Do transgender athletes have an unfair advantage at the Olympics?  The obvious answer is YES.  Of course they seek to take you in another direction, and there’s some interesting science to back them up.  But note the phrase “science is science” in their article.  As if one study, or one experiment is sacrosanct. The general mindset of journalists is that scientists are the priests of our day, representing the god of science – they speak for the deity. And anything they say, no matter how preliminary, contrived, or speculative, is to be taken as sacred and absolute truth – just something to note as you read articles that intersect with science. Ask yourself “what kind of worldview would lead to writing that sentence?”

THEOLOGY: For the New Christian, the Christian looking for answers on a specific topic, or simply the curious observer wanting to understand Christianity better: Crucial Questions: 25 Free eBooks from R.C. Sproul.  These are very helpful. The one on Prayer was a foundational help to me personally several years back.

Daily Christian life stuff – this is Jon Bloom at his best: Lay Aside the Weight of Moodiness. 

…we are never “just” in a bad mood. Moods never come from nowhere. We may not always be conscious of what’s fueling our mood, but we can be sure something is.

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy your weekend – happy reading!

PJW

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