1. Goldman Sachs may be in trouble for running some kind of aluminum-hoarding commodities trading scheme. (In the case of Goldman Sachs, of course, “in trouble” doesn’t refer to criminal or civil penalties — those don’t apply to the Too Big to Jail firm. But if it can be proved that Goldman is doing something illegal, then lawmakers may crack down hard with several uncomfortable questions for the next Goldman exec nominated to a state or federal cabinet post. And that could be briefly awkward.)
Izabella Kaminska explains how this scheme works (free registration required) using a familiar story:
This is Joseph. He is a well-known commodity forecaster. This is Pharaoh. Pharaoh is worried about future scarcity of commodities …
Another reminder that the biblical Joseph is a pretty despicable character. Preying on the desperation of starving people to steal their land and enslave the entire world doesn’t make you a Good Guy. (Alas, my old post on this — “Joseph and the Appalling Tyrannical Despot” — got lost in the move to Patheos.)
Meanwhile, Consumerist’s Laura Northrup explains commodities trading by using a different set of familiar characters: Billy Ray Valentine and Louis Winthorpe III.
Turns out the insider-trading at the heart of Trading Places wasn’t illegal back in 1983 when that movie came out. It’s illegal now thanks to a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. That provision is called “The Eddie Murphy Rule.”
Wonder’s boycott calls for the repeal of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. I think that’s a more constructive long-term challenge than the call for a retrial of George Zimmerman on civil rights grounds. It’s a specific and measurable demand, which could make this boycott an effective strategy — particularly if it broadens from entertainers refusing to perform there to include tourists refusing to go there. If attendance drops off at Disney and Florida’s beaches, that could really start to pinch.
4. Checks for the $40 million settlement over Skechers “Shape Ups” are on their way to consumers who bought the sneakers based on the misleading ad campaign that promised fitness results the shoes don’t deliver. I think of the brief, weird popularity of Shape Ups and its various, equally ineffective competitors whenever I see one of those ads for Lumosity.com. “It’s like a personal trainer for your brain,” the ads say, “improving your performance with the science of neuroplasticity.” I suspect that’s pretty much the same thing as neurophlebotinum.
“With shape-ups you can finally get in shape without going to the gym,” the old Skechers ads promised. Now Lumosity promises you can finally get smarter without going to the library.
5. This is what the actual Bible actually says in Ezekiel 16:49-50:
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.
I repeat that a lot. But I’ll keep on repeating it so long as there are biblically illiterate Christians out there pretending that the story of Sodom justifies the condemnation of gay people.
Future generations will look at the horrifically mangled exegesis that gave us the ugly misnomer of “sodomy” precisely the same way we now view the vile twisting of scripture that gave us all that racist “curse of Ham” crap.
6. Real Clear Religion offers a couple of link-sucking photo galleries: “The Ugliest Churches in the World” and “Even More Ugly Churches.” I suppose ugly is in the eye of the beholder, because some of these look beautiful to me.
7. Update your bookmarks and RSS feeds: Addie Zierman’s “How to Talk Evangelical” blog is now just AddieZierman.com. Jamelle Bouie has left The American Prospect to become a staff writer for the Daily Beast. If you’re not familiar with either of them, follow those links and check them out.