22 July 2014

New Week, New Hope

Greetings, Reader!

Last week I talked a lot about our current border and immigration issues here in the US, and that is important, but you know what else is important?  The Internet!

Not only does the internet allow you to do super awesome things like read this blog or CRASHING THE FCC Website – TWICE – in order to defend Net Neutrality, but the internet also allows you to discover up and coming artists like the inimitably talented Jana Pochop.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of listening to Jana Pochop's newest EP Throats Are Quarries. (Take the 18 minutes to listen to all 5 songs, you'll be glad you did).  Besides featuring songs that have a raw minimalism to them and haunting minor-key vocals, the songs are also immaculately well written.  Pochop pulls out the stops in her poetry.  The use of enjambment in "Adore You," "the spin on the needle, making love-/ly, lovely sounds..." Adds a visceral sense of yearning while the song discusses love and seemingly inevitable loss.

Throats Are Quarries - EP, Jana Pochop
Throats Are Quarries EP Cover, JanaPochop.com
Perhaps my favorite song on Throats Are Quarries is "Deepest Fear."  Jana Pochop writes from a place of extreme vulnerability.  But her vulnerability is her strength and reveals the truth about our shared human existence.  "My deepest fear is that my fears aren't all that deep."  We live in a time of constant inundation about the atrocities across the globe: over 170,000 dead in the Syrian civil war, mass hangings in Iran.  In the face of all of that, how can we even begin to feel that our own lives, our own suffering, our own fears can even matter?  The answer to the question of our individual importance actually lays in the title of the EP itself.  If our Throats Are Quarries, then what we say lasts forever.  Time and circumstance may wear away the edges of our words, may scrape off the author, but in the end, the shape of our words remains.

In the end, we matter.

Thanks for reading.

18 July 2014

What's Actually Trending Pt.2: #FearIsBetterThanFacts

Well, ladies and gentlemen,

I have some wonderful – and I do mean wonderful – news for you all in this session of "What's Actually Trending:"  Obama has indeed ruined our border with Mexico.  That's right, I said it.  Obama has ruined our border.  Are you happy yet?  Can you dance with glee?

Great!  Now, I'll explain how our border is ruined.  Did you know that under Stephen Colbert's Great or Greatest President, President G. W. Bush, the yearly average for illegal alien apprehension at our Southern Border from 2000-2008 was just over 1 Million?  Now, as a country that has a total prison population of just over 2 Million as of year end 2012, apprehending 1 Million people a year is HUGE!  So good job securing our borders, President Bush.

Except... there's no guarantee that those people we apprehended intended harm to the US, a claim that backed President Bush's policies on border enforcement.  By contrast, the annual rates of illegal alien apprehension under President Barack Obama have hovered around only half a million. There are many factors to consider why the number dropped so dramatically (weakened American economy, huge increase in spending on border patrol under Obama's administration, improved technology), but the really impressive thing is that the Border Patrol seized almost 3 Million Pounds of narcotics through their efforts in 2013 alone from under 420,000 illegal aliens.  By contrast, in 2006, Border Patrol seized 2.2 Million pounds of narcotics, but they apprehended nearly 1.1 Million illegal aliens.  So either the news of legalization of marijuana dramatically increased black market demand for marijuana and other drugs, or thanks to better training and technology the Border Patrol now is much better at identifying drug mules and stopping them.

The truth is that our borders are safer than they've ever been, but we don't get to arrest as many people crossing the border seeking work.  On the bright-side, not only do we get to arrest a record number of unaccompanied minors (over 10% of all apprehended aliens) as they flee horrendous violence and crushing poverty, but now we might get to ship them right back into those conditions!  And that's a great thing, because the children are the future, and now we've taught them that if they find American Border Patrol agents and turn themselves in seeking refugee status, that we don't care.  Because in America, we do the right thing.  Whether it be a mother and her children trying to escape an abusive relationship, or unaccompanied children making thousand-mile treks to seek relief, we'll put them right back where they belong.

Given that our southern border is safer than ever (except from children who turn themselves over to American authorities), why do I say that Obama has ruined our border?  Because now, facts don't actually support the claims that Obama has weakened our border security!  How frustrating is that?  But don't worry, despite the facts about why these children are coming here, we still have our GOP Vanguards like Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to trot out the old "Obama is weakening America" spiel.

Now, why would we believe our elected representatives to use facts to support arguments?  Because

And that's what's actually trending.

As always, thanks for reading.

14 July 2014

New Series: What's ACTUALLY Trending Pt.1

Hey all, thanks for coming back or thanks for coming to read this for the first time.  Given the huge and never-waning popularity of the microblogging tool Twitter, and also given the beautiful amounts of news and opinions that are instantly at our fingertips, I've decided it's time to start a new series on what trends are ACTUALLY happening.  

This first post relates to what's happening with our current southern border control issues in the USA.  In case you live under a rock, the main thrust of things is this: children from Central and South America have been travelling thousands of miles, alone, in order to plead for asylum within the USA and possibly have a more vibrant future. This could be a story of great hope and compassion on the part of a Global Superpower, except it isn't.
Image Copyright of Matt Comer, Mattcomer.net

Given the shouts and the opinions of many of the anti-immigration protesters, and then the argument that God Himself established our borders thus crossing into a different country is a sin (the same underlying logic that established the Divine Right to Rule of monarchs, so I hope you don't like voting), I think the best article capturing the heart of the issue from a Christian standpoint is this post found on Wonkette, particularly this passage:
As Jesus said, when I was hungry, you screamed in my face and chanted USA, when I was thirsty, you screamed in my face and chanted USA, and when I was a child thousands of miles from her mother or father trying to escape a failed state, you said
“Who’s going to pay for them?” he asked. “What kind of criminality will happen?”
“The Democrats are making it easy for them to come here so they can produce more Democratic voters,” he said
and then you blocked my bus until it was turned around and sent to a different baby jail, because we don’t want yer kind in Murrietta, and NOBAMA better stop luring disease-ridden children to our glorious land with a promise of super-cush prison cells before they are deported.
-- <http://wonkette.com/553398/california-gets-in-on-hot-fun-screaming-at-brown-babies-action#o3yb3EUWzK8tZbZm.99>
So in light of all of this Hypocrisy and the incredibly poor representation of Christ that we American Christians are showing, I propose this new hashtag:

And that's what's ACTUALLY trending.

Thanks for reading.