Trump on Bible: The whole thing is good

I don't know why you have to Photoshop the sign in this perfectly good picture of Donald Trump buying a Guatemalan.

Someone photoshopped the sign in this perfectly good picture of Donald Trump buying a Guatemalan.

Now that Donald Trump is a Republican candidate for president, he has to lie about how often he reads the Bible. Last week, he told interviewers from the Bloomberg program With All Due Respect that it was his favorite book. They asked him to cite a favorite verse. Instead of just saying “Jesus wept” and staring at the hosts until they fell silent, he ad libbed:

Trump: I wouldn’t want to get into it, because to me that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible, it’s very personal, so I don’t want to get into verses…The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.

Interviewer: Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?

Trump: Uh, probably equal. I think it’s just an incredible…the whole Bible is an incredible…I joke, very much so, they always hold up The Art of the Deal, I say “my second favorite book of all time.”

It tells us something about our present politics that the man who called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists during his announcement speech won’t just say he doesn’t read the Bible. Video and close reading after the jump.

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The case against secret government

Guy Fawkes

My grandfather once said that you know you’re doing something wrong when you don’t want to tell anyone about it. Unless the NSA is using our phone records and social media data to plan an awesome surprise party, there is something suspect in the claim that domestic surveillance was kept secret for our own good. Secrecy is antithetical to democracy. Tim Weiner argues as much at Bloomberg, where he points out that presidents from LBJ to GWB have demonstrated that you can’t trust the executive. At Esquire, Charles Pierce puts a simultaneously finer and more vulgar point on it when he asks that the federal government please tell him what it is doing in his name.

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Bloomberg soda ban struck down


Judge Milton A. Tingling, if that is his real name, has invalidated New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large, sugary beverages, calling the law “arbitrary and capricious.” Capricious, yes: milkshakes were exempted; 20-ounce coffees maybe became illegal once you put sugar in them; 7-11 didn’t count because it’s a grocery store, while bodegas did. But arbitrary? Approximately one million studies have linked soft drink consumption to obesity, diabetes and a raft of other health problems afflicting Americans in increasing numbers. Sugary drinks are bad for you. We just can’t go making laws about them.

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Friday links! Apocalypse nowish edition

The four horsemen of the apocalypse: war, famine, disease, and tweets as sources

I’m not saying that the apocalyptic destruction of goodness and the unraveling of sense are in the near future, but what are the odds that they’re in the recent past? The anthropic principle dictates that the apocalypse is coming, because if it had already happened we wouldn’t be here. Ergo, pretty much every event is a sign of the coming apocalypse, or at least a link in the causal chain. We just have to figure out how to read them. Today is Friday, it’s pretty gray outside, and there seem to be an inordinate number of cannibal stories floating around. One need only check the news to find ample evidence—or at least some pre-schizoid pattern recognition—for the end of days. Come scry with me, won’t you?

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NYC police clear Zuccotti Park

Occupy Wall Street protestors return to Zucotti Park on Tuesday afternoon. Photo from the Guardian, where they are not afraid to put other journalists front and center.

“I’m calling you to update you on what we did,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told the chair of the Lower Manhattan Community Board. “We came in the middle of the night.” Thus ended the occupation of Wall Street, after police executed Mayor Bloomberg’s order to clear Zuccotti Park of tents and protestors around 1am Tuesday morning. After a series of temporary injunctions and contradictory judicial rulings, protestors are no longer camping at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. They trickled back into the park during the day, but no one is allowed to lie down. As winter sets in, more than one person is probably relieved not to have to do the sleeping on the cold ground part of civil disobedience. Yet the clearing of the park feels undeniably like the end of something, and it raises plenty of questions. “Is it over?” is not the only one.

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