Matt Damon says 2011 film ‘Contagion’ predicted pandemic as he reveals stepdaughter had COVID-19

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Matt Damon revealed that his stepdaughter got the coronavirus while going to school in New York City at the onset of the worldwide pandemic.

The actor, 49, appeared for an interview on Ireland’s Spin 1038 “Fully Charged” radio show where he revealed the news of his kid’s illness. The actor has been stuck in Ireland, specifically the small Dublin suburb of Dalkey, for several weeks after travel restrictions took effect while he was there to shoot a movie.

Speaking to hosts Graham O’Toole and Nathan O’Reilly, Damon revealed that his stepdaughter Alexia, 21, was at school in New York City and had the coronavirus along with her roommates a few weeks ago. Alexia is the daughter of Damon’s wife, Luciana Barroso, from a previous relationship.

“Our oldest daughter is in college. Obviously that’s been shut down. But she’s in NYC and she had COVID really early on along with her roommates and got through it fine,” he revealed to the hosts. “So… I shouldn’t say our whole family is together. Of our four kids, we’ve got the three younger ones and our oldest one, we’ll reunite with her at the end of the month. But everybody’s OK.”

Matt Damon revealed that his stepdaughter had the coronavirus.
(Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Damon’s stepdaughter appears to be out of the woods in terms of her battle with COVID-19. As a result, the actor noted that he’s relieved to be able to reunite with her in Los Angeles in an environment where people finally understand what they’re dealing with.

“Obviously for Luci’s mom and my mom, it’s scary for that generation,” he told the hosts. “I think we’ve all got the message now. Everybody is doing the isolation and social distancing and hand washing and kind of everything we can to mitigate this but it’s frightening, certainly, for our parents.”

The hosts couldn’t help but bring up the parallels of the coronavirus pandemic to a 2011 movie Damon starred in called “Contagion” in that depicted what turned out to be a surprisingly accurate response to a global pandemic. In the movie, Damon plays a father who loses his wife to the illness and must protect his only daughter from it at all costs.

“Anybody who said you couldn’t predict this, I mean, just look at ‘Contagion.’ Ten years ago we made a movie just talking to experts and asking them how this would look and kind of how this would go down,” Damon said.

The actor concluded by noting that he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will prepare the world for similar outbreaks that may come in the future and be more severe.

“It’s upsetting, the whole thing is just… it’s tragic, you know? And sad,” he told the hosts. “I hope some good can come out of it. I hope that. Luckily, this isn’t as lethal as it might have been, so maybe this is a really good dry run for the big one that might come. Because these things do come along every few decades… best to be ready for it.”

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Illinois woman mauled to death by her French Bulldog: police

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An Illinois woman was likely viciously mauled to death inside her home by her own pet French Bulldog, according to authorities.

Lisa Urso, 52, was found dead at her home in Ingleside, located in the northern part of the state about 60 miles from both Chicago and Milwaukee in opposite directions.

Officers who responded to the scene after 4:43 p.m. Saturday found her mutilated body on the back porch, Fox Lake Police Chief Jimmy Lee said.

An autopsy confirmed she died from injuries sustained when her pet French Bulldog attacked her. The coroner’s office said the attack began inside the home but Urso managed to make it out to the porch, where she died, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

This 2011 Facebook photos shows Lisa Urso with one of her French Bulldogs.

“You don’t really think about it happening with a smaller dog breed but we forget animals can be powerful,” Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper told WGN. “This animal has a lot of jaw strength.”

The French Bulldog that fatally attacked Urso was a rescue and had previously been used to fight, Cooper said.

That animal, as well as a second French Bulldog and a Border Collie, were removed from the home and are in the custody of Lake County Animal Care and Control.

Cooper said most of the bite marks were not on the woman’s neck, but, instead, on her legs and arms.

“Some on her torso as well. Just a lot of bites. A lot of scratching,” he said. “I hate to say it but unfortunately it was a vicious attack.”

An investigation is ongoing. Chief Lee said there were signs of a struggle within the home. Blood was found on at least one other dog. It was unclear if her other pets were involved or intervened.

“We have been in close contact with Ms. Urso’s family and our deepest condolences go out to them during this difficult time,” Cooper said in a statement, according to the Sun-Times. “This is truly a tragedy.”

Police said that the woman was supposed to meet up with co-workers Saturday. When she didn’t show, they came to check on her.

Urso lived with her boyfriend, who was not at home at the time of the fatal attack. He himself had been attacked by the same French Bulldog last month, and the animal was taken away, Lee said. Urso had gone to the Lake County Animal Care and Control to retrieve the dog, which was returned to her, the Daily Herald reported.

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Fire rips through pensioner’s house and burns it to the ground – with three beloved dogs still inside – Lincolnshire Live

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A pensioner has been left with just ‘the clothes on his back’ after the uninsured home he built with his own hands was burned to the ground – destroying everything he owned and burning three beloved dogs alive.

Grandad Shaun Maguire, from Boston, built his three-bedroom lodge by himself ten years ago after being forced to retire due to a heart attack.

He had spent his entire life savings on the building but was unable to insure it as it was made from wood.

When he returned home on Sunday, he discovered that it had burned down completely. Not only that, but his best friend, his pet Labrador Molly, had also died in the blaze – which had been caused by a faulty fridge freezer.

All

To make matters worse, his son Jake’s dogs French bulldog Millie, two, and pug-beagle cross Bertie, four, also died in the fire along with Shaun’s pet parrot Red.

Shaun said: “It was my forever home – just for me and the dog.

“I lost everything in the fire, including all my clothes.

“I always dreamt of living in the countryside in a nice log cabin and I thought before I got any older, because my health was going, I’d have to do it then.

“My main concern was getting the dog out. My son and his wife were down for the weekend with their two dogs too.

amazing

“We’d nipped to the next village to a steam fair and it was too hot for the dogs, so we left them in there.

“As soon as we saw the fire we rushed in there, tried to get into the property, threw a big rock through the patio window but we couldn’t get in there because of the flames and smoke.

“The firefighters said the smoke would have got to them before anything else and they were found in the sleeping position.

Read More

Since the blaze, the local community have rallied round Shaun and donated clothes, bedding and money to help him get back on his feet.

By aiming to raise £20,000 with their JustGiving page, they plan on buying tools and skips to empty the land then rebuild the home.

Shaun said: “It’s amazing what people do in a crisis. It’s so nice of them.

Boston

“The community have been absolutely amazing with their support.

“We’ve had a skip company donate skips for the weekend, a bathroom company called to say I can pick whatever I like, companies saying they’ll decorate, rewire, fit with CCTV and alarms when we rebuild.

“People have been out spending their hard earned cash to buy me clothes and bedding.

“Someone has even donated a caravan for me so I can live onsite near my dog.

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The dogs had been left inside as it was a warm day. Jake and Shaun were horrified to return to the lodge and discover that the animals were still inside.

Jake desperately tried to run into the house but was pushed back by the ferocious fire.

When the fire was extinguished, firefighters broke the news that all four animals had passed away – with the dogs being found in their beds in a sleeping position.

Jake, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: “When we drove back, we saw the smoke in the sky from the next village and thought ‘bloody hell. Someone’s got a fire going again’.

burns

“As we pulled down the road, we saw the fire engines outside the house. We rushed down to find the house well ablaze.

“We’d left the dogs at home and when we got back, there was nothing we could do. We lost all three of them. My dad also had a parrot and unfortunately that didn’t survive.

“When we left, my dad just had the clothes on his back. He lost everything in the fire.

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Jake continued: “We’ve set up the fundraiser to pay for the house to be demolished and removed.

Cash

“We had a quote for someone to remove it but it was quite a lot, so I said if I get my friends round we can all get in there with saws, wheelbarrows and shovels.

“I’m sure whatever is left we can hire a skip and get it all gone. We’ve got no money to hire skips and tools at the moment.

“On Saturday morning we’ve got friends, family and locals of the community coming together. Many hands make light work.

Read More

You can donate to the cause through Facebook Fundraisers by clicking here.

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Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising

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Wow, there is good news for people in countries supported by Facebook who have not yet use the Facebook ad to advertise before. Basically, most people want to know how to create Facebook ad account. Particularly, set up for manual payments. Therefore the manual ad account is one that uses a manual payment method.

Create Facebook Ad Account - Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments - Facebook Advertising
Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising

Furthermore, if you are Facebook users and you want to make use of Facebook Advertising then you need to know how the create a Facebook ad account set up for manual payments work. More so, this will help you not to make mistakes that you may not be able to change later in the future.

How the Facebook Ad Works – Create Facebook Ad Account 

Basically, when a user wants to advertise on Facebook, you must set up an Ad account. This account will propel the user to create the Facebook Ad and as well show all the features of Facebook Advertising. However, after setting up the account you can pay for the ads by your credit or debit card.

Furthermore, a user can set the Facebook Ad to run whichever way they choose. Also, they can adjust the time period they want the Ad to run on Facebook. Besides that, users can as well choose a referred location of people that the Ad will reach or that are more likely to see the Ad.

Therefore, this is a great feeling to know that you can create content for a particular location of people and as well the whole world. Not only that you can still set the about you want to use in showing ads or boost your post, website link on Facebook. Also, you still have the option to pause an ad that is running and resume it to run again.

About Creating Facebook Ads 

Particularly, when you create Facebook Ad account, you can set it up to manual payments option. However, the option of automatic payment is the default one. Therefore, you can as well it to the manual option.

Furthermore, this enables you to add money to your prepaid account balance using your Ad account. However, without this process of adding funds to your account, your Ad will fail to run. Basically, when the Ad starts to run, Facebook will then start to deduct money from your account balance. More so, this deduction is carried out the way you want as they will follow the funds’ range which you choose.

Things to Put into Consideration

There are certain things users need to consider before creating Facebook Ads. Therefore, below are most of the things users should put into consideration

  • However, if you are already running ads on Facebook using the automatic payment option you will not be able to switch it to manual payments. Therefore, this is just the direct opposite of the first instance.

How to Create New Ad Account with Manual Payments

The first thing you need to do is to enter your Ad Facebook account.

  1. Therefore, while entering your account info always ensures that the currency and account country u choose matches with the manual payment you’re using.
  2. After confirming your Ad purchase, you will need to pick a payment method. Furthermore, you can then select manual payments and hit on the Continue
  3. Always do reviews of the confirmation screen page before clicking the Continue
  4. Therefore, there are instructions to follow on the page, in order to add money to your account. Mind you these instructions chances depending on the payment method you choose.

After all this process your Ad will then be set for manual payments. Therefore, when adding money to your account, it will go through immediately. However, this depends on the payment method you choose as well.

The post Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising appeared first on Bingdroid.

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“Make America Great Again”: Will the Seventh-day Adventist Church in America Survive the Storm?

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It’s a global village now.

The term “global village” was invented when the global reality was much less apparent. Today, I can read the The New York Times in real time in Oslo and Ottawa and Osaka just as easily as in the city of its publication. CNN brings the world to a global audience of viewers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I have digital subscriptions to The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and a Norwegian newspaper, and I sometimes read German or British newspapers online. This makes me an exception: newspapers and magazines compete for a shrinking audience. Visual news, by contrast, like CNN or Fox, is ubiquitous. We cannot avoid them even if we try.

And the subject — in print or on the television screen? There is more than one, but the main subject is President Donald J. Trump. He is the new chief in the global village; he attracts an audience; he keeps it up, tweet after tireless tweet. For the last four years, in outlets like CNN or Fox, there has not been one twenty-four-hour news cycle that failed to mention candidate Trump and later President Trump. Indeed, for the last four years, there has hardly been a twenty-four-hour news cycle when he was not the main subject.

I do not plan to engage this subject broadly. My focus will be narrow, announced in the headline. “Will the Seventh-day Adventist Church in America Survive the Storm?”

Why do I ask the question, why do I pose it as a matter of survival, and why do I ask it now? 

I have wondered about the impact of the political climate on the church on many occasions. A broad approach to my question would not be a waste of time, thinking particularly about the connection between the Sabbath and care for the world or the social conscience of the seventh day.[1] Here, my focus will be narrow; it will have one issue only. While some issues can be discussed dispassionately as matters belonging to gray zones, my concern cannot be discussed dispassionately, and it does not belong to a zone where there are varying shades of gray. Some things are black or white. This is one of those things.

On October 10, 2019, the President of the United States of America traveled to Minneapolis to give a speech. The stands were filled with people, twenty thousand in all. Many were dressed in the colors signifying support for the president’s aspiration to “Make America Great Again.” The president’s speech lasted one hour and thirty minutes. About one hour into the speech, the president turned to talk about the Somali-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and the immigration and refugee resettlement programs that brought many Somalis to Minnesota.[2]

Donald Trump: (54:16)
So in desperate attempt to attack our movement. Nancy and Chuck, two beauties, have given control of the Democrat party entirely over to the radical left, including Minnesota’s own representative Ilhan Omar. I know you people. I know you people. I know the people of Minnesota, and I want to tell you, and I also, at the same time, it’s both a question and a statement, how’d the hell did that ever happen? How did it happen? How did it happen? Congresswoman Omar is an America-hating socialist.

Donald Trump: (01:21:05)
Thank you very much. Thank you. Great people. Thank you. What a group. I think your very weak mayor made a mistake when he took them on. As you know, for many years, leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers. I promised you that as president, I would give local communities a greater say in refugee policy, and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls.

Donald Trump: (01:22:13)
And I’ve done that. Since coming into office, I have reduced refugee resettlement by 85%, and as you know, maybe especially in Minnesota, I kept another promise. I issued an executive action, making clear that no refugees will be resettled in any city or any state without the express written consent of that city or that state. So speak to your mayor. You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods, and that’s what you have the right to do right now.

Donald Trump: (01:23:12)
If Democrats were ever to seize power, they would open the floodgates to unvetted, uncontrolled migration at levels you have never seen before. Do you think you have it bad now? You would never have seen anything like what they want to do. But in the Trump administration, we will always protect American families first, and that has not been done in Minnesota.

What is the problem? The president is speaking about foreign-born generally non-White people who are already in the country, many of them by now American citizens, including Ilhan Omar. The speech was given in her district, in the same area where some fifty thousand Somali refugees are settled. They came there, the refugees have said, because they were well received and felt safe. And now? The President of the United States of America tracks them down in their neighborhood. He vilified one of them by name, twisting things she has said in the most negative manner. He accused her for minimizing the September 11 tragedy, charged to her “a history of launching virulent anti-Semitic screeds” before delving into her marital history. At the mention of “Somalis,” the president’s mostly white crowd broke out in boos — “in effect jeering their neighbors,” as one person present put it.

In better days, Ilhan Omar would be proof that America is a great country, the greatest there is. How she, a Somali-born refugee found a home in the United States, how she got an education, how she overcame obstacles to make herself into a person who exemplifies the best there is of diversity and opportunity in the U.S. In the president’s world, however, Omar is repeatedly thrashed. She has become one of the members of Congress targeted by the Trump-inspired chant, “Send her back!”

Let us leave Omar out, if need be, for the conversation to proceed without allowing allegations about her to distract us. Let us not leave out the other more than fifty thousand refugees of Somali descent now living in Minnesota. The president had a special line for the mayor of Minneapolis, saying that he showed weakness when he took the refugees in. (33:57) “Minneapolis, Minneapolis, you’ve got a rotten man. You’ve got to change your mayor. You’ve got a bad mayor. You’ve got a bad mayor.” And now the Somali refugees, who fled one of the most broken countries in the world. They are there, in Minnesota, on October 10 the target of a viscerally hostile speech by the president of their new homeland.

Others are there, too. I am now referring to the people in the stands. Let the president do the vilification of the Somalis by himself. It is not necessary to become his accomplice in disparaging a vulnerable group. It is not necessary to attend the rally. It is not necessary to cheer.

This is where the question of survival comes in. Will the Seventh-day Adventist Church in America survive this storm? Eighty percent of evangelical Christians support this man and his policies. Fifty percent of Catholic white males are said to support him. How high is the percentage among Seventh-day Adventists? Were Adventists in the audience in Minneapolis? Did Adventists cheer the part of the speech that singled out the refugees? One journal, secular, of course, had a fitting headline afterwards. “Trump’s Minneapolis Rally Was a Demonstration of the Moral Suicide Pact He’s Made with His Supporters.”[3] The author, Jack Holmes, the political editor of Esquire magazine, does not want to be in on the moral suicide pact. 

This is a virulently racist tirade aimed at ginning up the worst instincts of the people in the crowd. It is not a coincidence Trump chose to come here, or to target a refugee community that is black and Muslim. This is how he thinks he can win reelection: by continuing to pull his base of support towards more vitriolic expressions of this vision of America as a country for and by white people; by scaring other constituencies away from speaking out; by using the Republican Party’s machinations to stop inconvenient voters from voting; by smearing his opponents as Just As Bad As Him, They Just Pretend to Be Prim and Proper; by soliciting foreign meddling that will benefit him in exchange for favors when he is reelected.

“I know you people. I know you people,” the president said as he began the part about the refugees. What does he know about them? Does he seek to unleash some hidden, inner hostility that resonates with his sentiment, knowing that it is there? What does he know? One of Adolf Hitler’s critics in the German Reichstag said before voices like his fell silent — before the Reichstag went into a twelve-year de facto hibernation — that Hitler had an uncanny ability to spot and stir to life a person’s “inner swine.” Surely, the talk about the Somali refugees in Minnesota, in public, before a cheering audience, some of whom are next-door neighbors to the Somalis, could be an example of inner swines cut loose from moral restraint.

Moral Suicide

In what sense does this qualify as moral suicide, a term that is well chosen? I will offer three reasons.

First is the biblical perspective. In the Old Testament, the refugee has special status as an object of God’s protection. Who will not be inspired and humbled by a walk-through of some of these texts? Their thrust is not only an obligation to treat refugees and immigrants with respect. It goes deeper than that. Believers are called to see themselves in the other person — to remember that we are in the same boat: what they are, we used to be. This should be easy to do for people in Minnesota. The ancestors of many in that state were not refugees but economic migrants from Scandinavia and Germany, but they came as aliens.

You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt (Exod. 22:21).

You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt (Exod. 23:9).

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien (Lev. 19:33).

Does it count as oppression when the president of your adopted country seeks you out in your back yard, there to call your mayor “a rotten person” for letting you in, there to make you be his foil for a vision of America that uses disdain for you to inspire them to be his supporters? Does it count as oppression when the speaker clearly intends to outsource to his audience to change the terms of the alien’s existence?

The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God (Lev. 19:34).

You and the alien who resides with you shall have the same law and the same ordinance (Num. 15:16).

What is most impressive in these texts is the insistent, unprecedented, vociferous call to remember. Historical amnesia is a dangerous and ever-present risk. To counter the risk, Deuteronomy inscribes the memory of past oppression as a constituent of the believer’s present identity.

Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; for this reason I lay this command upon you today (Deut. 15:15). 

Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes (Deut. 16:12).

You shall not abhor any of the Edomites, for they are your kin. You shall not abhor any of the Egyptians, because you were an alien residing in their land (Deut. 23:7).

Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this (Deut. 24:18).

There they are, the Edomites and the Egyptians. They are there, in the text, but they are here, too, in the neighborhood. Just look on the map to see how little has changed even though the world has expanded. Lucky ones, are they not, to have a verbal footprint left for them in the Bible, the people who are now coming from where the Edomites used to live (Syria, Iraq, Palestine) or from Egypt (close enough to Somalia to count).

It was part of the liturgy of these believers to rehearse their story over and over in assembly, to say the following out loud:

You shall make this response before the LORD your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous” (Deut. 26:5).

The wandering Aramean, of course, is Abraham. In the New Testament, he is the role model for believers in Jesus (Rom. 4:16). In one New Testament iteration, Abraham never ceases to be an itinerant. For such a person and for such an itinerant faith-identity, understanding and empathy for those on the outside will only be stronger.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:8-10).

For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come (Heb. 13:14).

For anyone working with refugees and seeing their plight first-hand, it helps to ponder such a faith identity. To be a migrant or a resident alien, as a believer, is not a stage left behind, a distant chapter to remember. It is a stage — even a state — of present existence.

Second, we have a historical reason not to be part of the moral collapse playing out with respect to refugees and resident aliens. Now as then, at issue is not refugee status only. It is also minority status, ethnic, racial, or religious. Two immense historical realities obligate and inform us, the history of slavery and the Holocaust. Fifteen million Africans were brought to the New World against their will (not all of them to the US); six million Jews were gassed and cremated in the Nazi era. Might it be possible to see in the face of the Somalis seeking entrance the face of Africans who were forced to come against their will? Now they come willingly, in a state of need. Is this a time to shut the doors — or ever to shut them? Is there not still an unpaid debt from us to them, “us” the enslavers of European descent and “them” the enslaved?

And the Holocaust? It was “Not Long Ago, Not Far Away,” as an exhibit now on display in New York puts it. What happened had a toxic rhetorical antecedent. I am not suggesting that something on that scale is in the making today. But I am saying that there is a family resemblance at the level of rhetoric. I do not envision that today’s rhetoric will become tomorrow’s genocide. But yesterday’s genocide makes today’s rhetoric indecent, dangerous, and unconscionable even if it is only rhetoric. For a Somali minority in the US to be disparaged by the nation’s president with a crowd of mostly white Americans cheering him on is immoral because of what happened “Not Far Away, Not Long Ago.” We cannot go near it again; we cannot cheer except to put our souls in the gravest peril. Think of it this way, too: he speaks that way not to show us what he is like but because he thinks he knows what we are like.

I find sobering support for the unfinished work history teaches us to do in the recent book by the philosopher I admire the most. Susan Neiman says that “I began life as a white girl in the segregated South, and I am likely to end it as a Jewish woman in Berlin.”[4] Her remarkable geographic, intellectual, and professional journey is as compelling as her message: the need for Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, as they say it in German: the need for “working-off-the-past.” The spectacle in Minneapolis and other spectacles like it result, in Neiman’s story, “from America’s failure to confront its own history.”[5]

Third, we have a special Seventh-day Adventist reason not to condone, participate in, or in any way engage in the conduct on display in Minneapolis on October 10, 2019. This has to do with our history and self-understanding. Early Adventists saw themselves called to proclaim a message of everlasting good news or, as I propose to translate it, “an eternally valid message” (Rev. 14:6). The target audience is broadly specified in Revelation. The message is to be proclaimed “to those who live on the earth — to every nation and tribe and language and people” (Rev. 14:6). There are no favorites here, no national or ethnic or tribal preference. The first angel in Revelation takes the stage with an equal opportunity proposition with respect to “those who live on the earth.”

When Adventist pioneers contemplated the scope of this commission, they took comfort in how they saw Providence at work in the American experience. Human beings from “every nation and tribe and language and people” had come to the United States! The mission could be accomplished here, in the New World, because God had raised up a nation of migrants and immigrants, of refugees and fortune seekers, in the New World. It would not be necessary to go to them. God had brought them to us; God brought them here.

This vision has since undergone a much-needed correction. They did not all come here; it was necessary to go there to be faithful to the commission. But the early perception should not be abandoned without a trace. Seventh-day Adventists have a special reason to be welcoming to people from other nations and tribes. Not so long ago it was a settled Adventist conviction that God had brought them here as an element in God’s eschatological vision for the nations. God — not simply destitution or need or hope or opportunity.

It is a global village now. We are all in on this. “Immigrants and refugees are welcome in Minneapolis,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey after the president’s visit. I am glad he did. According to the transcript, verbatim, people chanted, “Four more years. Four more years. Four more years. Four more years. Four more years. Four more years. Four more years. Four more years. Four more years” even though the visitors had told them that they have “a rotten mayor.”

Moses wasn’t there, but he gave a different speech to his migrant congregation before they took possession of the Promised Land. Then, too, there was a big crowd. Then, too, there was a pact. It was not a moral suicide pact but a moral pact meant to bring security to the most vulnerable. “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice,” said Moses.

And the people, back then, what did they say?

“All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’” (Deut. 27:19)

Notes & References:

Sigve K. Tonstad is Research Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Loma Linda University.

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The Disgusting Matt Lauer News, and Vindicating Ann Curry

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This week:

  • Were still thinking about Ann Curry.
  • Go see Parasite.
  • The wildest detail of the Rihanna Vogue story.
  • Dont be jealous of my pumpkins.
  • Goodenough.
Once Again, Vindication for Ann Curry

In light of the disgusting revelations that surfaced this week, there are many things I wish for Matt Lauer. Because of those revelations, among many other reasons, I wish to know how NBC News bosses Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim still have jobs. And because of all the horseshit Ive witnessed covering TV news and morning television over the last decade, there are many things, as always, I wish for Ann Curry.

I wish for her to rise each morning, well-rested, to a breath of crisp, invigorating air. Maybe theres a whiff of warm croissants coming in through the window, stoking an appetite for the knowledge she will immerse herself in that day. I wish for her curiosity about the world to be satiated, but I wish for her to have found the balance between being activated by the news without being too traumatized by the horror of it all. I wish for her to feel things, but not so deeply it hurts.

I wish for her to be greeted every day at 4:30 p.m. with a healthy pour of white wine. I wish for a non-stop parade of knowing, warm smiles from passersby on the streets. I wish for her to stumble on a $20 bill on the street, though I know she will do something saintly with it, rather than indulge in spending it on herself. I wish for her weekends to be spent at the beach, a relaxing convalescence from this crazy thing we call life, energizing her to return to her journalistic pursuits when Monday morning calls.

I wish for her to see, as it already appears she has, the Matt Lauer news, breaking seven years after his role in forcing her exit from the Today show, as a call to continue to mentor and galvanize female journalists.

And for everyone who, in response to the grotesque Lauer news, has called for Curry to get her own show, I wish for you to know that she hasChasing the Cure Liveand I wish for you to watch it.

Over a decade ago when I first started my career, I interviewed Curry at an event. The conversation turned personal, for both of us, and in the middle of it she reflexively gripped my hand and stared deeply into my eyes, forging an electric, compassionate connection as she spoke.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will never understand what the hell TV executives and, presumably, audiences value in hosts and journalists; what, really, did Matt Lauer bring all those years to justify tolerance of his behavior? But the way Curry led her thirst for facts and truth with empathy always struck me and still does. (For what its worth, those same traits are why I think Hoda Kotb is so good in her new role at Today.)

Anyway, these developments are heinous and pathetically emblematic of a broken system in television. Every time things like this come out, I think about Ann Curry and how she was treated. And then I wish the world for her.

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Parasite Is the Best Movie of the Year

I dont think Ive ever experienced a movie quite like Parasite. In the time since I first screened the new film, out Friday, that is what has stuck with me, that watching it is an experience. It sounds like such hooey cinephile nonsensean experience that I am rolling my eyes at myself while typing the words. But it is so true.

It is the best movie Ive seen this year. I implore you to see it! I can also tell you nothing about it!! Sorry!!!

The film is written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, best known for his English-language titles Snowpiercer and Okja. It is about an unemployed, impoverished family who infiltrate the lives of a wealthy and glamorous upper-class clan. I refuse to tell you anything else about it, and beg you not to seek out much more information than that.

Maybe youre a spoiler-phobe or maybe your entire 90s wasnt ruined by knowing that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time before you saw The Sixth Sense. Wherever you are on that spectrum, I truly, deeply believe that knowing what happens in this movie is a significant detriment to your viewing experience.

I dont want to overhype it, or make you think youre in for twists so unbelievably good that the wig is going to leap right off your head. But the film is one of the most stressful cinematic experiences Ive had. It drives up your heart rate to lethal levels, and once youve come to terms with the fact that your heart just lives in your throat now, it changes gears completely. Now all of a sudden your heart is over there in your forehead, and then exploding out your back, and then making its way to your left pinky. I dont know how it happens, I just know that it is what Bong Joon-ho does!

The film has been called a black comedy, which it sort of is. Its been ruled a horror film, which it sort of is, too, as well as a thriller, which, yeah, that fits. But its also really none of those things either. I am very aware that none of this information is helpful but I hope you take the spirit of itGO SEE PARASITE, YOU GUYS!!!and run with that all the way to the theater.

The Rihanna Vogue Detail That Shocked Me

There were a lot of details in the new Vogue profile of Rihanna that made headlines. Theres just how much money shes made by injecting long-overdue diversity and inclusivity into the worlds of beauty and fashion, tapping into a traditionally ignored market: actual people. Her next album is being worked on and it will be reggae-inspired, though there is still no time frame for its release.

The juiciest bits, of course, are about politics: She confirms that she turned down the Super Bowl Halftime Show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, and she called Donald Trump, in specific reference to his response to the mass-shooting epidemic, the most mentally ill human being in America right now.

But there was a passage in the profile that has rattled me so viscerally that my bones shook and heart moaned when I read it. It is when writer Abby Aguirre says this: Normally I bring a list of questions, but I didnt have time to prepare one, which I make a split-second decision to confess.

A person showed up to interview Rihanna for Vogue without having prepared.

Everyone has different reporting styles. Staying awake at night poring through everything thats ever been written about an interview subject, scripting questions, ordering and reordering them, strategizing, and even pre-planning small talk and icebreakers isnt for everyone. And the writer is candid about the fact that the interview snuck up on her after Rihanna moved the appointment several times.

Would I have still scribbled down an outline, a handful of questions, or some mantras of encouragement before I even put presumed to put pants on for this interview? Yes. But hey, as Rihanna herself says in response, were all winging it, I guess.

The Only Good Thing About Halloween Are My Pumpkins

I do not like Halloween. I do not like people who like Halloween. But cranky as I get anytime someone uses the word spooky or tries to tell me about their costume, there are two traditions I partake in: eating candy cornscrew you, its deliciousand having an absolutely ridiculous jack-o-lantern carved.

I do not know if Brent Heuser, pumpkin carver extraordinaire, is delighted or embarrassed each year when I assign him an uber-gay design to craft during his residency at the High Line Hotel. This year, he carved me a fabulous rendering of Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler during the You Dont Own Me finale of The First Wives Club, which I very much look forward to my boyfriend rolling his eyes at as it rots on our dining room table for the next three weeks.

Last year, he carved me Ryan Phillippes butt scene from Cruel Intentions, a photo of which made its way to the actor himself, who appeared good-naturedly baffled by it.

If Im being honest, it was a tough call to go with The First Wives Club this year over my second choice, Andrew Scott as the Hot Priest cradling a guinea pig in Fleabag. But Brent will be at the High Line Hotel for a few more weeks should any of you be looking for some gourd-eous temporary art.

More Than Goodenough

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded this year to a man named John B. Goodenough. I read this news on Wednesday and havent stopped laughing since.

What to Watch This Week:

Parasite: Duh!

The Addams Family: Charlize Theron as Morticia Addams? Sure!

Looking for Alaska: Finally, a good teen drama this fall.

What to Skip This Week:

Gemini Man: Will Smith is in this movie and Im not kidding when I say I only found it existed five minutes ago.

Insatiable: I cannot BELIEVE this show is coming back.

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The Politician, God Help Us, May Be the Future of TV

NEWSLETTERS
The Daily Beasts Obsessed
Everything we cant stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
By Clicking "Subscribe" you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

This week:

  • Wrapping our heads around The Politician
  • Living for the J. Lo moment. (J. Loment)
  • Employing our fashion expertise.
  • The best Emmys photos.
  • Wendy Williams has not seen Fleabag.
The Politician Is a Wild Binge… but Is That Good?

The Politician, the new Ryan Murphy series that hits Netflix on Friday, is a simple show. A boy named Payton, played by Ben Platt, wants to be class president and, one day, president of the United States.

Well, theres that. Theres also a bisexual love triangle, a suicide, a staged kidnapping, a murder investigation, Gwyneth Paltrow having an affair with Martina Navratilova, a deaf school principal, a whistleblower with cerebral palsy, a poisoning through cupcakes, a poisoning via BB gun, a staging of the musical Assassins, January Jones as a pill-popping former hooker, a performance of Joni Mitchells The River, a throuple featuring Judith Light, and a ghost mentor/therapist.

And thats all not to mention Jessica Langes role as a grandmother with Munchausen-by-proxy who poisons her granddaughter and tells her she has cancer.

That The Politician does SO MUCH is its fatal flaw, because scaled back to its core, to that simple logline, it is legitimately fascinating and provocative. Given the state of the world and the kind of behavior that isnt just excused, but rewardedand given who is, ahem, sitting in the White Housewhat kind of person would want to be a politician? What kind of ambition does that take? What does ambition mean, or require, in 2019? And what about us: What moral compromises are we willing to justify so that we dont have to be leaders ourselves? Its cynical and optimistic in warring ways that feel just about right given the mood of today.

Its a shame thats essentially drowned in the flood of constant lunacy. Its tonally all over the place. Respective elements of it are intriguing and occasionally fantastic. Platt is a captivating actor, capable of both Election-like camp and emotional rawness in equal measure. The storyline between him and Paltrow, who plays his mother, is remarkably tender, elevated all the more by the Oscar-winners stirring performance. And no one does big comedy with dame-like flair more skillfully than Jessica Lange.

But that the show doesnt seem to know what it is becomes clearer as the episodes continue and actors whose plot lines never meetlike Paltrow and Langeseem to think they are in entirely different shows. Paltrow is acting with the grounded sincerity of someone on a Murphy show like American Crime Story. Lange is doing broad, satirical work straight out of Glee. The large ensemble falls on the spectrum in between.

The truly remarkable thing, however, is that for how mixed and meh I feel about the series, I could not be more excited for a Season Two. The standout final episode of the show sets up a Season Two featuring Platt, Light, and Bette Midler. Other critics have wondered why the series didnt just start there.

And thats what makes this show such a captivating test case. Of the many reasons Im obsessed with the serieshello, did you catch that part about Paltrow and Martina Navratilova?the biggest is that its existence provides a window into what may be the next stage of television, at a time when the medium is in a curious stage of transition.

The Politician is Ryan Murphys first Netflix series, and he now has a massive $300 million deal with the streamer. The series is the first example of how a slew of celebrated TV auteurs will take advantage of the seemingly free rein and bottomless bank accounts they have access to while transitioning from networks to streaming services. (Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris first shows under their respective, massive Netflix deals have yet to air.)

With the streaming service apocalypse nighApple TV+, HBO Max, and Disney+, oh my!the ways in which these major names adapt to the new landscape is fascinating in its own right. And with The Politician especially, imperfect as it is, every decision, from the casting to the camera work to the tone and the themes merit dissection. From that standpoint, the show is as addicting as series get; its interesting to see what Murphy produces when the intention is to binge.

Is messy the new norm? Will people watch anyway? With so much content racing toward us, and as expensive and expensive-looking as that content is, is a series mere ambition and the promise of an interesting season two enough to merit endorsement? In the case of The Politician, were surprising even ourselves by voting yes.

The Jennifer Lopezaissance Is Here and Its Real

I cannot express to you how thrilling the Jennifer Lopez MOMENT we are having is for me. Her accolades for Hustlers? As moving to me as when I met my baby nephews for the first time. That she could win an Oscar? Sweet, sweet vindication for someone who loved every batshit second of The Boy Next Door and watched it twice in theaters, accounting for two of the three film screenings I bought tickets to that year. That, somehow, the news about her has somehow gotten even more exciting? I could cry.

First came the iconic moment that was her walking the runway at a Versace show in Milan in a replica of the jungle-print gown she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. It wasnt even that she looked so jaw-droppingly stunning in the dress, at age 50, or that she had the showbiz wisdom to celebrate the anniversary in that way. Its the way she wore it. (Watch it here.)

What I cant stop swooning over in the video is that not only did she wear the dress, but she also worked the runway like that. She didnt just come out with a knowing smile and wave at the audience while teetering around getting applause. She treated that runway walk like a job. Perfection.

And if you think Im being histrionic about any of this, well, gird your loins, babe, youre not ready for my ecstatic mania over the news that Lopez will be performing the Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Shakira. That is how you book a show, football people in charge of such things, whoever you are. I am not overselling it when I say that Lopez ranks among the most dynamic live performers in the business, whatever you may think about her music. (Want proof? Watch this video.)

That this will be taking place two days before Oscars voting ends is just *chefs kiss* magnificent. When her Best Supporting Actress competition is out shaking hands and answering bland questions at screening Q&As, Lopez will be setting the stage on fire on the biggest entertainment event of the year. Will such a blazing reminder of her breadth of talents win her an Oscar? Well, it wont hurt

Best Dressed at the Emmys!

I am not a fashion reporter, know nothing about labels and designers, and abjectly have no sense of style. But I am gay!!! So take it with that authority that I pronounce Mandy Moores red-carpet look at this years Emmys to be Best Dressed. I love it! She looks great! Sexy high-fashion first lady is a sensational look on her. Good for you, Mandy!

Speaking of the Emmys

The combination of these two photos taken after Fleabag swept the night, the first of creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the second of co-star Andrew Scott partying with A Very English Scandal winner Ben Whishaw, just about killed me.

And Speaking of Fleabag

Wendy Williams does not know what that is. Hey, not everyone has Amazon Prime. I dont know why, but this video makes me laugh so much. (Watch it here.)

What to watch this week:

Judy: What Rene Zellweger does in this film is astonishing.

Sorry for Your Loss: I bet you didnt know Facebook had an original series, or that its this good.

Abominable: It looks cute!

Transparent Musicale Finale: Judith Light sings a song called Your Boundary Is My Trigger. Out of its mind.

What to skip this week:

Transparent Musicale Finale: On the other hand, sometimes out of its mind is just out of its mind.

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Lizzo Is 100 Percent That Bitch: Todays Best Pop Star

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The Daily Beasts Obsessed
Everything we cant stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
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This week:

  • Living for Lizzo
  • John Travolta, LOL
  • Turns out: I love puppets!
  • If you thought Id ever shut up about Designing Women
  • I laughed so hard at this. You may not find it funny at all.
Worshipping at the Church of Lizzo

I had another great check-in this week with my therapist, Lizzo.

Yes, it was in part because of her songs, which play on constant loop through big-ass headphones I wear at the office all day so that no one will approach me. Her music doubles as aural antidepressantsinstantaneous mood lifterscarrying me through the most difficult parts of the week. (I spent all Wednesday thinking it was Thursday.)

But theres something about Lizzo, her music, her celebrity, her success, her specific talents, her humor, her style, her messageher entiretythat makes her the perfect pop star for this moment in time. That much was more clarifying than ever this week at the MTV Video Music Awards, where she performed and delivered a sermon in front of a massive inflatable twerking ass. (Watch it here.)

She began by singing her hit single, Truth Hurts, a capella, before melting into a dance move I can only describe as feeling yourself. Soon she was making her ass clap in unison with her background dancers, before exploding into a particularly ebullient rendition of Good as Hell. As the anthemic joy threatened to shatter the arena roof, she mounted a hot pink platform and, with her ensemble of fabulous, inclusive dancers flanking her and the 17-foot-tall butt looming behind her, preached to the people.

Let me talk to you all for a second, she said. Im tired of the bullshit. And I dont have to know your story to know that youre tired of the bullshit, too. Its so hard to love yourself in a world that doesnt love you back, am I right? So I want to take this opportunity right now to just feel good as hell. Because you deserve to feel good as hell!

At that moment, I did. I did feel good as hell. Ive felt that way again the 47 times Ive watched the performance this week.

I dont know if it will rank among all the gimmicky, shock-value VMA performances of legendthough, what with the assless costumes, house-sized billowing booty, and expletives, it would still have fallen squarely in the all-important category of things on MTV my mother would not have allowed me to watch as a kid. But it is a spectacular, important performance, and one of the most rewatchable award show sets Ive seen in recent memory.

After the show, Lizzo posted a clip of the performance on Instagram with a caption that summed up its importance better than I could:

Every woman on that stage had a story of either why they shouldnt have been on that stage or why they didnt believe they deserved to be on that stage, including myself. Imposter syndrome is a privilege to the most marginalized group in America. Not only were we taught to believe we didnt belong in the spotlight, but when we finally get to a place [of] self-worth the world tries to knock us down. Not this time. The world smiled with us. The world sang us. The world saw our beauty last night. The world saw black women feeling Good As Hell and cheered us on.

I dont know about other people, but Lizzo resonates with me, yes, because of her message of self-love and positivity, and the refreshing humor and vulgarity with which she wields her affirmations. (My favorite tweet on the subject: Im so done with being insecure I cannot be letting Lizzo down like this anymore.) But its not a tunnel-vision mindset.

Shes not saying that the things about her, about ourselves, that we are insecure about or feel dismissed because of, dont matter. Shes acknowledging that they do, that it registers constantly what people say, think, or judge about us, and overcoming that is a daily, moment by moment decision. That we make that decision is worth celebrating, because we deserve to make that decision.

Whats so great about Lizzo and her songs being so cheeky and playful is that she has the indisputable talent to back it up. Her lyrics are genius wordplay. (Why men great until they gotta be great is *chefs kiss* brilliant.) Her vocals are fantastic. She has exceptional instincts for stage presence and wit. (Calling it the Tiny-ass Desk Concert, I mean) Oh, and shes a classically trained flautist. (If you dont follow her flute, Sasha, on Instagram, you are missing out.)

Im not sure that, in a vacuum, I could have known, or certainly not articulated, that the pop star I would want most in 2019 is one able to pause a dance break to riff on her flute while twerking. But, oh my, is it that exact thing.

Speaking of the VMAs…

John Travolta, for some reason, presented at the awards this year. Gen Z: Huge fans of Welcome Back, Kotter. In any case, He Who Birthed Adele Dazeem continues to be the most tragic celebrity award presenter whenand this is so good you just cant make it upTaylor Swift won an award for her You Need to Calm Down music video and he tried to give the trophy to the drag queen that plays her in the video instead.

Its just the most wonderfully embarrassing thing ever, but also the most uplifting. Good for you, Jade Jolie! Swift reportedly laughed it all off. I mean, with such CONFIDENCE, Danny Zuko tries to give this drag queen the award. He is so certain that it is Taylor Swift. Or, as he likes to refer to her, The talented and lover-ly, Trudy Schrump!

Im Shocked By How Much I Like Netflixs The Dark Crystal

I have never seen The Dark Crystal, the cult 1982 film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz that takes place in some dark fantasy Lord of the Rings-meets-aliens world and stars a bunch of puppets. When Netflix announced a new prequel series to the film that sees the Jim Henson Company revisiting The Dark Crystal universe but this time with all the modern advancements in puppet and CGI technology that 2019 affords, I thought, Hm. Sounds great. Not for me though!

Well, based on word of mouth from critics I respect, I watched advanced screeners of the first half of the new show. It turns out: Very much for me!

Im gonna use some hyperbolic words now. Know that I recognize this. That said, it is one of the most astonishing technical achievements and most visually wondrous television series I have ever seen. The puppets, people, the puppets! There is gorgeous CGI, of course, for the scenery. But the characters, the puppets, are all real and practical. The world-building is so smart and creative that it made no difference at all that I had never seen the movie and had no idea what the hell I was getting into when I started watching.

More, this prequel, titled The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance, boasts a stirring, resonant story, one with themes of oppression, fascism, the hubris of power, gaslighting, and the abuse of the marginalized that are, ahem, PRETTY TIMELY. That something this whimsical could still be so dark without losing an ounce of tenderness or spectacle is admirable. Then again, thats Jim Henson for you.

Watch Designing Women, You Jerks!

Everyone keeps asking me what my Labor Day plans are and Im offended, taken aback that not only are my plans not obvious, but that everyone else does not have the same. I will not be moving from my couch until I have finished bingeing every single episode of the seminal 90s sitcom Designing Women, which has finally been made available for streaming on Hulu.

If you have not seen this show beforeHOMOPHOBIA!!!it stars Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Jean Smart, and Annie Potts (aka the four women who will be meeting me when I cross through the pearly gates of heaven) as headstrong steel magnolias working at the fictional Sugarbaker design firm in Georgia.

You have not lived until you have seen Dixie Carter torpedo her way through a righteous, hyper-feminist monologue; or marveled at how Delta Burke humanizes a ditzy pageant queen; or lost your breath laughing at Jean Smarts beleagured line deliveries; or felt seen, regardless of age, gender, or the thickness of your southern accent, as Annie Potts triumphs through life as a hardworking, fast-talking working mom.

The show is responsible for two of my favorite episodes of television ever, Killing All the Right People and The Beauty Contest. If youre not sure if the show is for you, start there. Happy Labor Day.

This Is the Funniest Thing Ive Seen All Week

Youre either going to die laughing and rewatch 100 times, or have no clue what the hell anyone who made this Twitter video go viral is thinking. (Watch here.)

What to watch this week:

The Dark Crystal: Did you not read my review?

Wu-Tang: An American Saga: The story of the greatest rap group ever, now available for your bingeing desires.

What to skip this week:

Carnival Row: Great fairy wings, beautiful wings.

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