The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

I would like to congratulate the 500 million citizens of the European Union for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.  The same people who awarded one of the world’s greatest honors to Barack Obama upon entering office–before his Afghanistan escalation and his drone assassinations–this time gave the prize to a whole country.  Or, perhaps better, to a whole alliance of different countries.  Even though the union isn’t doing so well right now, what with the economic crisis and the common currency in jeopardy.

If the Norwegian committee that made this decision wanted to honor the European Union as a major achievement in world peace, why wouldn’t it instead honor the people who first had the idea or who implemented the alliance?  I dislike collective entities winning prizes like this, including when Time Magazine gives its “Person of the Year” award to abstractions and non-persons.  But if Norway (which is not even a member of the European Union) wants to award the $1.5 million prize in this way, that’s fine.   But that means the public could offer new kinds of nominees.   For next year, I nominate the following:

(1)  The world’s beaches (for making possible so many peaceful vacations)

(2)  The pharmaceutical industry (for inventing tranquilizers)

(3)  The United States of America (for its role in World Wars I, II, & the Cold War)

Any other nominees?  How about for the other prizes–economics, medicine, literature, etc.–which have arguably gone to individuals for far too long?


Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union –

The agony and the ecstasy of playoffs

The baseball playoffs are on another level of sports enjoyment.  These games are not relaxing, as baseball usually is, at least if you have a favorite team in the mix.  You find yourselves fixating on every pitch.  The games are intense, suspenseful, stressful.  To be sure, they are great fun, but they are draining and exhausting.  This year, in the first round, every one of the best-of-five contests went to five games, the first time that has ever happened.

I stayed up until well after midnight watching the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Nationals, my new home team, jumped to a 6-0 lead after three innings.  But the Cardinals chipped away.  In the 9th inning, the Nationals led by two points, 7-5.   With two outs, the reliable closer Drew Storen on the mound, though with the bases loaded, the team and its fans could taste victory, especially after two strikes to low-in-the-batting-order Daniel Descalso.  But then he hit a two-run single!  The score was tied!  Once again, Storen, letting Descalso steal a base so with runners on 1st & 3rd, had the next batter, Pete Kozma, down to the last strike.  And he got a hit, putting the Cardinals ahead 9-7 for the win!

It could have gone so many different ways.  The Cardinals had two last-bat, last-strike miracles in a row.  But then again, this is exactly the kind of things that the Cardinals did last year, over and over again, in the playoffs and then in winning the World Series.  So now I’m going to pull for the Cardinals, though I’m not sure how many games I can take.

So who won the VP debate?

Be sure to read our live blog of the Vice Presidential debate, below.  We’ve got some good punditry here.  Who do you think won the debate?   Will this turn the tide back to Obama, keep up Romney’s new momentum, have no effect, or what?

Accurate language for abortion

This “Life Quote” from Lutherans For Life was in our bulletin Sunday, strong words from apologist John Stott:

“How can we speak of the termination of a pregnancy when what we really mean is the destruction of a human life? How can we talk of therapeutic abortion when pregnancy is not a disease needing therapy and what abortion effects is not a cure but a killing? How can we talk of abortion as a kind of retroactive contraception when what it does is not prevent conception but destroy the conceptus? We need to have the courage to use accurate language. Abortion is feticide: the destruction of an unborn child. It is the shedding of innocent blood, and any society that can tolerate this, let alone legislate for it, has ceased to be civilized.”

John Stott, English Christian leader and Anglican cleric

via Lutherans For Life | Life Quotes.

The "Jesus' wife" fragment is from the internet?

One of my favorite courses in grad school was “Bibliography and Methods,” in which we learned about the scholarship of studying manuscripts, variant texts, printing evidence, textual editing, and other kinds of hard-core old-school literary research.  One of the things you can do with this knowledge is detect forgeries.

Scholars have found that the much-hyped manuscript fragment that refers to Jesus having a wife consists basically of phrases from the already-known gnostic text known as the Gospel of Thomas.  Not only that, it replicates a mistake in the transcription that is found only in a version posted on the internet!

See Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Forgery Confirmed? » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

Live blogging the VP debate

As we watch and comment upon the Vice Presidential debate, let’s add a drinking game.  Everyone have at hand a beverage of your choice.  (I recommend WATER.  Anything alcoholic and you might not make it to the closing statements.  Anything caffeinated and you may not get to sleep tonight.  Remember that you have to get up in the morning.)  Every time you hear one of the candidates say the following words, take a drink:

(1)  47%

(2)  $5 trillion

(3)  Big Bird

OK.  Let’s get started.  Make your comments as the debate goes along and I’ll do the same.  (Remember to keep refreshing the page so you can follow the thread.)  Gentlemen, start your engines.