A different kind of secession for CA

We’ve heard the talk of Cal-exit, where some folks want the whole state of California to leave the Union, but have you heard about “New California”?  Apparently, the rural parts of the state want to stay in the USA, but separate from the more-liberal urban, coastal areas.

 

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood.

To be clear, they don’t want to leave the United States, just California.

“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California,” said founder Robert Paul Preston.

The state of New California would incorporate most of the state’s rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.

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But unlike other separation movements in the past the state of New California wants to do things by the book, citing Article 4, Section 3 of the US Constitution and working with the state legislature to get it done, similar to the way West Virginia was formed.

“Yes. We have to demonstrate that we can govern ourselves before we are allowed to govern,” said founder Tom Reed.

And despite obstacles, doubters, and obvious long odds the group stands united in their statehood dream.

The group is organized with committees and a council of county representatives, but say it will take 10 to 18 months before they are ready to fully engage with the state legislature.

One wonders if these attempts will be just as successful as the those of the Catalan in Spain.  Or will it even get that far?

Image result for image of proposed new california

 

Also, even the rural parts of California are probably too liberal to be able to actually succeed at this or govern themselves any better than the current state of California is.  Remember this map?  I’m seeing way too many blue counties even in the “rural” parts of the state.

2016 US Presidential Election Map By County & Vote Share

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Book Club from Hell?

I ran across an invitation for an “online community book club” and it sounds like more fun than… maybe a root canal?  The book club proclaims that it is:

focused on self-education surrounding issues of historical and modern enslavement, racial injustice and white privilege, and other similar topics that lead to a better understanding for the purpose of transforming race-relations. We will be reading “The Warmth of Other Suns,” the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Isabel Wilkerson about the epic story of America’s Great Migration from the perspective of three unique African American citizens.

I know nothing about their choice of book, but after a lead-up like that I have no interest in doing even a quick search about it.  The person behind posting about this book club is… wait for it… a white “Christian” woman.  And I thought Christianity had moved away from self-flagellation as a spiritual practice.  Oh how wrong I was.  It’s just taken another less-physical form (that’s probably a lot less healthy and spiritually rewarding).

The Black Conservative who isn’t

Joy Villa made quite a splash when she wore a MAGA dress.

joyvilla2

Now, not only is she accusing Corey Lewandowski of “sexual assault” but she’s going to run for congress!  Oh, and she was also caught on tape sexually assaulting a man in the same way she accused Lewandowski.

Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Joy Villa slapped MY butt – she’s an opportunist playing loose with the truth.’ Pro-Trump singer accusing campaign chief of sex assault seen on video hitting man on rear – and he says she lied that it was consensual 

A pro-Trump signer who claims she was sexually assaulted by his campaign manager who ‘slapped her a**’ did the same to a businessman while drinking at a party, the man has told DailyMail.com.

Joy Villa was caught on video slapping George Harris’s rear after saying that she ‘wasn’t afraid to grab them by the p***y’.

The slap was videoed in Las Vegas in September, months before she alleged to police that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, sexually assaulted her in the same way.

On Friday Harris, who owns a tequila brand, told DailyMail.com that he had not consented to the attack and accused her of lying that he had when a short clip of the video was published by The Wrap.

In addition to being a hypocrite, she’s apparently a Scientologist too.

INTERVIEW: Former Scientologists Speak Out Against Joy Villa, ‘She Lies!’

Following massive controversy surrounding Scientologist Joy Villa accusing Corey Lewandowski of sexual assault — former members are blasting the singer for not standing up against the abuse within the organization. They also spoke to the Gateway Pundit to debunk claims that she has publicly made about Christianity being compatible with Scientology.
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Melissa Paris, a former high-level member turned outspoken advocate against the organization, publicly blasted the singer.

“Does that include all of us Scientologists that were sexually abused in the cadet and sea org? I’m one of those survivors, as is @ChrissieBixler. So do you have our backs or does it not apply to us because you’re a scientologist?” Paris demanded to know, which lead to her being blocked by the potential Congressional candidate.
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Villa, a member of the church of Scientology for seven years, has repeatedly claimed that she is Christian and that you can hold that religion while also being a Scientologist. She has explained that this works because Scientology is a philosophy, not a religion, and therefore the two do not interfere.

Leah Remini says no.

joyvilla1

Villa’s not the first black/POC “conservative” to turn out to be a fake.  Maybe people shouldn’t be so quick to jump to support these people simply because they’re not white.

More Trouble for Mouse Wars

Not a good sign when Hollywood is relying more and more on global box offices.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi trounced at the Chinese box office by a local romcom

In what could indicate a slight decline in the profit-making capabilities of the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi has underperformed in its opening week in China, where a local romantic comedy has beaten it to the top of the box office.

In its first week of midnight previews, The Last Jedi grossed a not unimpressive $560,000 (or 3.65 million RMB), but it marks a significant drop in gross compared to the first midnight previews for 2015’s The Force Awakens, which earned $2.5 million (or 16 million RMB).

Rather Chinese audiences have flocked to see The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes, a romantic comedy about three party boys who dump their girlfriends in order to live the single life, but then must face comic retribution when their exes team up to exact revenge.

Trouble at Mouse Wars

The Last Jedi was awful, not that that would put a damper on the House of Mouse’s enthusiasm for churning out Star Wars movies once a year.  But this will:

Why Aren’t Star Wars Toys Selling As Well This Year?

It’s not necessarily the allegedly divisive nature of The Last Jedi‘s plot (which hasn’t kept it from making over half a billion dollars worldwide already), but something has caused retail orders to decrease by about 47 per cent from last year. The Hollywood Reporter suggests Toys R Us’ filing for bankruptcy may be a factor, though you’d think they’d still invest heavily in Star Wars if it were a surefire sales generator. They also suggest “retailers are trying to gain a sense of ‘what the steady state’ of Star Wars product is,” though looking at the numbers isn’t hard: Star Wars toys were the top brand of 2016 with nearly $760 million in sales, and they were also the #1 property in 2015, with similar numbers. This year? Bested by Nerf and Pokemon.

The author has some theories about why this may be but it doesn’t matter.  47%.  That’s huge.  And if that drop off continues after the Han Solo movie, maybe Episode IX will be the real last for the Jedi.

Christmas; it never was a pagan holiday

Recently,  a Christian acquaintance told me that her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all.  How sad.  I felt sorry for her children.  I can understand trying to celebrate differently than the secular materialistic way that is typical in our culture (my family certainly does), but to skip it entirely seems almost disrespectful of our Lord.  This family does celebrate their kids’ birthdays; why not the birth of their Savior?  Along with Easter, it is a crucial Christian event.  The incarnation is vital to our Faith, a pivotal moment that changes everything.  We didn’t get into the why of their decision not to celebrate, but I suspect it’s similar to what I’ve heard before: Christmas is really pagan in origin.  But is that true?

I’ve never been bothered by this idea that the date for Christmas and several of its holiday traditions were, or might have been, co-opted from various pagan traditions.  Christ surely has the power to redeem and baptize anything.  Unless you’re Jewish, your ancestors were once pagan.  I don’t think the “it was once pagan, has its origins in paganism, therefore it is still evil and Christians should have nothing to do with it!” argument matters much.  I’d never bothered to do much reading up about it, but since it seems to matter a lot to some people, I thought I’d do a little research.  Just a little turns up some interesting answers, like this: maybe it was the pagans who were co-opting celebration ideas from the Christians, not the other way around.  It turns out that Christmas Isn’t Secretly Pagan at all.

The point is, it’s Christmas… The time of the year when we celebrate the miracle of the God of the universe being born as a tiny child! When we marvel at the incarnation and prepare for the glorious Second Coming! When we meditate on the mystery of God becoming man so that man can become like God! Or, actually, none of that. Since, as you’ve probably heard, CHRISTMAS IS SECRETLY A PAGAN HOLIDAY.

…or, at least, this is what you frequently hear from a strange, motley, seasonal coalition of atheists, Neo-Pagans, and fundamentalist Christians who seem intent on making sure that nobody (except maybe them) has any fun in December. The 25th isn’t actually Jesus’s birthday, it’s the Saturnalia! Or the Sol Invictus! Or… something (you can choose from a cornucopia of completely made-up December 25 celebrations if you’re one of the enlightened few who’ve seen the faux-documentary Zeitgeist)! When you put up a tree, you’re not worshiping Jesus, YOU’RE SECRETLY WORSHIPING SATURN OR WODEN OR THE SUN OR SATAN OR WOOD GNOMES OR LIKE THE BUBBLE GUPPIES OR SOMETHING.

Your entire religion is founded on a pile of LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIES!

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If you actually dig into the primary sources from the era of early Christianity, you’ll find no evidence at all that Christmas was “stolen” from pagan solstice festivals, and at least some evidence that the exact opposite occurred. Everyone living today may think Christmas is the ripoff, but it’s actually the original…

There are two pagan festivals that are usually pointed to as the origin of Christmas, but the evidence for both is pretty thin. The first choice is usually the Saturnaliathe Roman celebration of the god Saturn, which does pre-date Christmas, but leaves one big, gaping hole in the plot: the Saturnalia kicked off on December 17 every year, and only went up to the 23rd—so if Christmas began as an attempt by Christians to co-opt the Saturnalia, they were literally two days late to the party. Telling people to fast when their friends are partying and then party when their friends are nursing hangovers makes for a lousy way to ease the transition from paganism to Christianity, if that was the intent.

The other usual suspect is the Sol Invictusthe “Feast of the Unconquered Sun,” which looks like a better choice at first, since it did actually take place on December 25. The problem with the Sol Invictus, though, is that literally no one celebrated it until Roman emperor Aurelian instituted it in A.D. 274, and Christian references to Christ’s birth falling on December 25 date all the way back to the early A.D. 200s. So if anyone was stealing holidays from anyone, you pretty much have to conclude the pagans were stealing them from the Christians.

The reality is… there is plenty of evidence that the selection of the date was nothing other than a good-faith attempt by early Christians to discern the actual date of his birth. Sources from the early Christian era show a great deal of debate among Christian thinkers over the most likely day for the nativity, and while a lot of the reasoning is fairly convoluted, none of it acknowledges anything the pagans may or may not have been doing. In brief, the reasoning that appears to have won the day goes like this:

  1. It was generally agreed that Jesus died on March 25. (Because there were half a dozen competing calendars in the first century A.D., it’s hard to say that with a lot of certainty, but there it is. The second-most-popular choice for the date was April 6.)
  2. There was a popular belief in first-century Christianity and Judaism that all true prophets died on the same day they were conceived. This meant that March 25 was also the date of Christ’s conception. (This is why, for those of you following the liturgical calendar, the Feast of the Anunciation falls on March 25, unless March 25 falls in Holy Week, in which case… never mind.)
  3. Adding nine months to March 25 gets you December 25. (Then, mostly because of the March 25 / April 6 controversy, Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of the magi, was set nine months after April 6, on January 6, as a sort of compromise…)

So there it is. Convoluted, sure, but not “stolen from the pagans…” And even if you don’t buy that particular explanation for the date, you still have to contend with the fact that there’s no evidence at all of early Christians plotting to co-opt pagan holidays. So, if that’s the case, how did we arrive at the “everybody-knows” factoid of Christmas being a re-purposed pagan festival?

As usual with questions like this, the answer turns out to be “Englightenment-era Protestants just making stuff up.”

The idea that Christmas is OMG SECRETLY PAGAN comes not from first-millennium sources, but from Paul Ernst Jablonski, an 18th-century Calvinist theologian and amateur historian who (like all good Calvinists) was looking to discredit the Catholic Church. Without citing any real evidence, he just sort of asserted the stuff about Christmas being a re-skin of the Sol Invictus and called it a day. A lot of people—including some Catholics—just took him at face value on this, and the rest, as they say, is pseudo-history. But, as popular as Jablonski’s ideas managed to get, no one has ever been able to cite any real evidence for them.

None of that is to say that Christmas didn’t absorb any pagan customs (of course it did—just like Hanukkah has absorbed some Christmas-y customs), or that Christians were the first people in history to bring trees inside and cover them in sparkly things…

There are even more reasons to be found as to why Dec. 25 was set as the date to celebrate Christ’s Mass such as how the date can be tied to Zechariah’s serving in the Temple and the subsequent conception of St. John the Baptist, and that early church fathers such as St. John Chrysostom (c.344-407) were certain that Dec. 25 was the date of the Nativity and referred to historical records in Rome as proof (since destroyed by barbarian invasions of Rome).  See more here and here and here.