Showing posts from August, 2012

The problem with Ryan's Medicare Plan....

is that no one can make money selling health insurance to elderly people.  They get sick too often.  Every year a bunch of them die after running up big medical bills.  Just to keep a 75 year old person healthy costs a lot of money in doctor's visits, drugs and preventative maintenance.

The Ryan plan gives seniors a voucher to buy insurance on the open market.  It is a massive government intervention in the health insurance product.  It creates a market for an inherently unprofitable product.

Every insurance company is going to want to collect as many of these voucher checks as possible.  Every senior is going to have one and it will be worth thousands of dollar.  But once the insurance company has the customer, the only way to make money is to minimize the care that senior gets.  The result will be empty shell insurance plans:  the best thing about the plan is the advertisements.  It turns out that all sorts of unexpected things are not covered, and that the reimbursement rates a…

Romney's Taxes and Occupy

Everyone asks how Romney could be so unprepared to release his tax returns when he has been aiming at the Presidency for years and years and years.  How could he be willing to give McCain 23 years of tax returns in 2008, and unwilling to reveal more than a fraction of that in 2012?

(Let's leave aside the suspicion that no one in McCain campaign higher than an intern did anything more with Romney's tax returns than put them in a box on the shelf.  Romney was never seriously considered as McCain's running mate.)

What happened?

Occupy happened.

In 2008, the real question was: "Was it legal?"  Did the candidate pay the amount of taxes that the law required?  At the end of the Bush administration, it was assumed, even admirable, that one would take advantage of every possible legal means to minimize paying income taxes. 

In 2012, we are much more tuned in to the question of the inequality of wealth and income.  Occupy brought the 99:1 ratio into popular consciousness.…

Peacebang and Perils of Reformation

The Perils of the Reformation.

Peacebangs latest post about "Transformation" in Liberal Religion demonstrates the endless circularity in which liberal religion talks to itself.  And it shows that our never evolving circular discussion among ourselves about what is wrong with ourselves traps us. 

Now everyone who knows me knows that I love Peacebang, so I am not hating on her.

Go read her post and come back.

She begins by responding to the talk about the language of "transformation" now attached to the Unitarian Universalist Justice GA in Phoenix.  This establishes the target or the strawman of the piece: the notion of liberal religion whose work is to transform people into political activists. 

Time out: someone wise once distinguished between reformationist talk and revelatory talk in religious dialogue.  Peacebang, for the most part talks a reformationist discourse. 

So does most Unitarian Universalist theological inquiry and talk. 

Reformationist discourse is tal…

Behind the Man with the Gun Lies the Apocalypse

If God made all the world and all the world's people, when and why would God unmake us all?  The question is inevitable  for all the cosmic monotheists of the world.

All the world, or maybe just all the world's institutions, will someday be destroyed in a cosmic cleansing fire.  The end of the world.

Really, when you think about it, it is hard to imagine as a real prospect.  The Earth is a watery rock floating in space with a 25,000 mile circumference.  It will endure.  Humanity itself will hard to wipe out.  The world is so large, with so many micro-environmental niches, that it is likely some humans would survive even the most devastating environmental disaster. 

No, the end of the world, the apocalypse does not arise from any concrete reality, but as the logical consequence of the thought of a single-creator God. It is a mental construction.

Not that the apocalypse has not captured the human imagination.  As a meme, it has jumped out of theology and religion and entered int…

Learning about Immigration

My sermon today, reflecting on some of what I learned at Justice GA.

Learning About Immigration

The story from “The Death of Josseline”

I am a big picture kind of guy.  When I engage a social and political issue, I want to get the big picture about it -- set it into its overall historical and political context.  How did it come to pass that we are in the situation we are in.  How did we come to the place where hundreds of people are dying in the deserts of Arizona, trying to sneak into the United States of America to work, by trying to walk through some of the most dangerous unfriendly terrain possible?  How did we get to the point where it is controversial, and perhaps illegal, to leave water in the desert for those thirsty travelers?

This year’s General Assembly was held in Phoenix, Arizona and was dedicated to learning about immigration, especially immigration from Mexico and Central America in the Southwest.  There is a story there of how that came to be in itself. 

Briefly: in 2010,…

Writing off Christianity?

DairystateDad writes in a comment to an older post:

I question how sweepingly you write off the Mainline churches here & in your other talk/post, the one on secularism. Similarly, I question how sweepingly you seem to write off Christianity in general, especially in that post. Individual Mainline congregations are thriving, as far as I can see -- and often they have a strong and decidedly progressive social justice mission. (DairyStateMom attends one, & it's not the only one by far.) And there's a lot of what I see as positive ferment in pockets of Christianity, in movements like the Emergent Church, which is similarly engaged with missional work that often aligns well with our values as UU s. I wonder what your take is on these developments is... on UU's Living Their Mission
Good ministry is good ministry, whoever does it, and it doesn't much matter what I think of it.

Understand that my basic theological approach is Christian.  I do think that Chris…