Tesla shares have soared 300% in six months, hitting an all-time high of over $900 on Tuesday.
Investors, analysts, and politicians are warning investors the rally won’t last.
“I have no doubt it will end in tears for many people,” one investor said.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Tesla shares have surged about 300% in the past six months, hitting an all-time high of over $900 on Tuesday. Traders, analysts, and politicians are lining up to warn investors that the run up won’t last.
“This is obviously a computer-generated rally, it’s not a reflection on the company, or on valuation. It’s just a trade,” Andrew Left, the activist short seller behind Citron Research, told MarketWatch this week.
“Yes, I’m shorting it … whoever bought it at these prices has to flush it out, and when it flushes, it’s going to flush hard,” he added.
Left’s comments came after Citron blasted the stock rally as unsustainable.
“We believe even Elon would short the stock here if he was a fund manager,” the equity-research publisher tweeted on Tuesday. “This is no longer about the technology, it has become the new Wall St casino.”
Others have warned Tesla’s rally will hurt those left holding the stock when the music stops.
“This is an incredibly dangerous place to be buying the stock and I have no doubt it will end in tears for many people,” trader and analyst Jani Ziedins wrote in a recent post on his Cracked Market blog.
“Owning a stock that’s tripled over the last few months is great, but don’t mistake serendipity for skill,” he continued. “While the fools are spending all of their time daydreaming about what they will buy when the stock breaks $1,200, smart money is selling their stock to those greedy dreamers.”
Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, echoed those sentiments in a CNBC interview this week.
“This is taking Tesla well above a level that would be supported by its current fundamentals,” he said. “The stock is going to get absolutely clobbered at some point before long.”
Even former presidential candidate Ralph Nader sounded the alarm, warning Tesla could take down the entire stock market.
“When the stock market bubble implodes, it will have been started by the surge in Tesla shares beyond speculative zeal,” he tweeted.
“Watch out Tesla believers,” he added in a follow-up tweet.
Join the conversation about this story »
NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the ‘3rd wave’ firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption
Because of pressure mostly from Senate Democrats but also from some of his colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed late Friday to postpone President Donald Trump’s acquittal vote until next Wednesday.
The decision provoked frustration in some, though for different reasons.
Here is the McConnell-Schumer Senate deal which extends impeachment to next Wednesday. Story first reported by @OANN pic.twitter.com/b2pKhBma2i
— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 1, 2020
Chris Wallace, one of Fox News’ most vocal Democrats, responded by blasting the Democrats for being so “petty” and “spiteful.” The remarks came after fellow FNC contributor Dana Perino opined about the Democrats’ motivation for pushing for a delay.
“I think one of the things that the Democrats want, and I don’t know why they think this would be helpful, is to be able to have the headline say, ‘An impeached president gives State of the Union,’” she said.
The president’s SOTU address is scheduled for Tuesday, a day before Trump is to be formally acquitted.
“I think it is so petty on the part of the Democrats and spiteful,” Wallace promptly chimed in. “End this. Land the plane!”
(Source: Fox News)
Others aimed their criticism at McConnell instead, including Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs and frequent FBN guest Ed Rollins, the co-chairman of the Donald Trump Great America PAC.
“Why in the world would the majority leader agree to run this thing through the state of the union address?” Dobbs asked in exasperation late Friday.
“He won, and the bottom line is that he should have shut it down tonight. And who cares if it’s in the middle fo the night? The whole thing is in the middle of the night,” Rollins replied.
“So what’s the profit in him doing this?” Dobbs pressed.
“There’s not,” Rollins replied. “There’s a danger to it because you have another whole weekend of the co-conspirators — The New York Times — leaking more Bolton stories and raising more hell. He’ll be on all the talk shows.”
(Source: Fox Business Network)
Shortly before the Senate began the process of voting on whether or not to allow witnesses to testify in the president’s trial, the Times dropped yet another Bolton “bombshell.”
This one alleged that the “president asked his national security adviser last spring in front of other senior advisers to pave the way for a meeting between Rudolph Giuliani and Ukraine’s new leader.”
Within an hour of the “bombshell” dropping, the Democrat impeachment managers began making closing arguments that reportedly contained quotes from that very story.
“[T]he House managers begin their closing arguments, and guess what? They’ve got charts, they got graphs, they got quotes from the New York Times leak!” conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh noted at the time.
“It’s the playbook, and it is now so obvious, it’s become a joke. Every senator in that room knows exactly what’s going on here. We’re listening to closing arguments that are a coordinated, last-gasp, hail Mary for witnesses or what have you, that the New York Times found somebody to leak ’em something else from the manuscript of Bolton’s book.”
Dovetailing back to Dobbs, he shared his concerns on Twitter, as did other notable conservatives.
Why in the world would Senate Majority Leader McConnell allow this Radical Dem assault on @realDonaldTrump and the nation to run through the State of the Union and go on Wednesday when he could wrap it up tonight or at least tomorrow? #MAGA #AmericaFirst #Dobbs
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) January 31, 2020
Get the vote done Tuesday.
Exonerate the President BEFORE the State of the Union Address Tuesday so America can officially and symbolically turn the page from this duplicitous impeachment.
Tuesday night needs to be @realdonaldtrump‘s. https://t.co/koYyhxOQOv
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) February 1, 2020
Why is McConnell pushing this now to Wednesday?
— Jeremy Frankel (@FrankelJeremy) January 31, 2020
Someone needs to ask all those ‘muh Cocaine Mitch’ people why McConnell is cutting deals with Schumer to extend the impeachment trial. Weird!
— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 31, 2020
Reports have emerged suggesting that “Cocaine Mitch” may have delayed the acquittal vote for his own personal benefit.
“A joint fundraising committee allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is hosting a fundraiser in the Miami area over Super Bowl weekend,” The Hill has confirmed.
“McConnell for Majority Leader, a joint fundraising committee, has scheduled a fundraiser at 4 p.m. Saturday at a ‘South Beach Miami Location Provided Upon RSVP,’ according to an invite obtained by The Hill.”
While it’s not clear whether the majority leader will attend the event, some have speculated that his scheduled presence at the event would certainly explain his inexplicable decision to delay the president’s acquittal vote.
So is this why McConnell didn’t force a vote tonight or tomorrow? Cause that would be bad https://t.co/n19AMOVDYg
— jim manley (@jamespmanley) February 1, 2020
To be fair, however, the president himself reportedly signed off on the delay.
“Before agreeing to the delay, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) phoned Trump to get the president’s approval, according to a source familiar with the conversation. Trump then signed off on the decision,” Politico reported.
It’s not clear what the strategy here is, though knowing the president, there is indeed most likely some sort of strategy at play.
Senior Staff Writer
V. Saxena is a staff writer for BizPac Review with a decade of experience as a professional writer, and a lifetime of experience as an avid news junkie. He holds a degree in computer technology from Purdue University.
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For fans of the Cotswold based hit TV show ‘This Country’ you could be in for a treat.
BBC Three is bringing the series back to its Cotswolds roots on January 23 – and tickets are completely free.
Fans will get to see the first two episodes of the new series followed by a Q&A with sibling stars Daisy and Charlie Cooper, producer Simon Mayhew-Archer and director Tom George.
Coming back to its Gloucestershire roots on January 23 in Cirencester the special screening will be hosted by BBC Points West Gloucestershire reporter Steve Knibbs.
Tickets to the event at Bingham Hall, Cirencester , will be allocated though a random ballot.
You can apply for tickets from 10am on January 3 to 10am on January 10.
Charlie Cooper otherwise known as ‘Lee “Kurtan” Mucklowe’ said: “We are so excited to have the screening of series three here in our hometown Cirencester , where the show was created.
“Some would call it a homecoming but the problem is we’ve never left. Big up the Cotswolds !”
This Country follows cousins Kerry and Lee ‘Kurtan’ Mucklowe through their quiet country lives.
The video will start in 8Cancel
At the 2018 BAFTAs This Country won the award for Best Scripted Comedy and Daisy won Best Female Comedy Performance. More than 33 million people have requested the show on iPlayer.
The new series airs in early 2020.
Stephanie Marshall, Head of the BBC in the West and South West, said: “We love bringing national series like This Country back to where they were made. It’s a way of thanking people in the area by giving them a sneak peek before the rest of the UK.
“Amazingly more than 4,000 people applied for tickets to the This Country screening last year.
“The BBC is committed to make more and more of its TV, radio and online content outside of London. In fact, more than 50 per cent of all our shows are now made outside of the capital.”
To apply go to the BBC Shows and Tours website here .
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Last November, thousands of Lagosians including hundreds of UBA Bank employees attended what was billed as the ‘party of the year’ at the Lekki Special Events Centre on Admiralty Way.
The UBA RedTV Rave had everyone from Wizkid to Olamide to Jidenna to Burna Boy thrilling the festive crowd as UBA chairman Tony Elumelu and CEO Kennedy Uzoka mingled with the artists and guests.
On the surface, this was the best of times, as a bank that was clearly in rude health celebrated a successful year with thousands of employees, friends and family. The bank had also recently concluded a recruitment exercise that would add nearly 4,000 new employees to its staff strength, so the year ahead looked to be a promising one for most employees present.
Unknown to them, while senior executives danced with Wizkid in the VIP area, one of the most brutal staff layoffs in Nigerian banking history was just around the corner. They partied well into the night and then showed up for work the following week as usual. A week went by. Two weeks. Four weeks. Then right at the start of the new year – a shocker.
Closed at 5.30PM, Terminated at 10.30PM
Ifunanya (name has been changed) was asked to wait behind at work on Friday January 3. As a 12-year UBA veteran including a long stint in her role as a Branch Operations Manager at a branch in Ojodu, Lagos, this was not an unusual request to receive. She was even used to working weekends so that the ATMs could remain functional and she could troubleshoot other onsite customer-facing issues. This time however, was different.
Along with other staff members at the branch, she was asked to wait for a board meeting. By 10.30PM, the assembled staff were informed that their services were no longer required. They were then told verbally to write out their resignation letters on the spot and leave voluntarily or be forced out. At this point, her security pass was taken, and along with the other affected staff, her profile was unceremoniously deactivated from the bank’s internal system. She was reminded to drop her work ID on the way out, and thus ended a 12-year association with the bank.
When a relative of hers reached out to tell the story, he was keen to make the point that she was not an agency employee, but a full UBA employee on a monthly salary of N153,000. He could not understand why the bank would treat her that way. I heard similar stories from two other sources who insisted that they were coerced into resigning after being told that their services were no longer required right at the start of the new year.
Shocking and callous as these stories may have sounded, one of the first things you are taught in any professional journalism program is to always balance the story. So I sought an alternate account of what transpired, with the goal of putting the picture together to tell a complete story. There were conflicting accounts of the events of January 3 flying around, with some accounts describing a recruitment and promotion exercise without mentioning any firings, while others reported a purported “restructuring” at UBA, which is a well-known euphemism for “mass sack.”
I managed to establish contact with a current senior employee at UBA who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorised to speak about such matters. This was his account of what happened at UBA bank at the start of this year:
“Usually when anyone joins UBA with a Bachelor’s degree, they are put on a GT1 level (N80,000). After one year, they are promoted to GT2 (N100,000), then after another year ET1 (N140,000) which is where a lot of people get stuck on. If you are lucky, you get to ET2 (N165,000). So what UBA did was to meld those 4 levels into one (ET) so any one who was on GT1 and GT2 gets automatically promoted to ET2. Those that were on ET1 and ET2 got promoted to SET (Senior Executive Trainee).
So it was a promotion of sorts, but honestly it was long overdue because compared to other banks, N80,000 for entry level staff is quite low. About the layoffs: I only know 4 people personally who got affected. The people affected were on manager grades and worked at the head office, they all reportedly got 6 months arrears.”
According to this source, he was not personally aware of the fate of any branch staff or what he termed ‘OND staff.’ He did however say that in his opinion, the bank handled the situation poorly and that Nigeria does need stronger labour laws to protect young graduates fresh out of school from exploitation for cheap labor at the hands of corporates like UBA. He also mentioned that he knows current UBA staff have not had a salary increase in ten years – a remarkable situation for workers in a country whose currency has declined 195 percent over the same period.
As it later emerged, more than 2,000 staff were affected by the shocking late-night cull at UBA. It also became increasingly clear that the firings had nothing to do with a harsh operating environment or decreased profitability. The bank which had brought together Nigeria’s most expensive music stars to perform at its end of year shindig was anything but struggling – it actually hired more people than if fired. What the sackings did though, was clear out a number of people in roles that the bank considered obsolete, particularly within branch operations.
It can definitely be argued that such restructuring is inevitable in the face of rapidly changing technology, which is hardly a terrible thing. What is also true however, is that the bank that paid huge sums of money to bring Burna Boy and Jidenna to an annual vanity event that adds nothing to its bottom line could also afford to retrain its redundant staff to fit into new roles – instead of just sacking them and instantly bringing in thousands of readymade replacements.
Yet again, the actions of a Nigerian corporate made the point that Nigerian labour law, in addition to be being poorly enforced is also woefully inadequate and unfit for purpose. If after 12 years of useful service to a bank, Ifunanya could be dumped out onto the street without even a few hours of notice – and no regulatory action was forthcoming – then clearly, Nigerian employees working for Nigerian companies have a problem on their hands.
As much as the UBA situation made that point, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to unearth about another Nigerian corporate behemoth.
Diarrhea in India, Death in Ibeju-Lekki: The Unbelievable Story of Dangote Refinery
While senior executives at UBA House were going over the finer points of their plan to log 2,000 employees out of their work systems and force them to resign on the spot, a different level of labour exploitation was entering its fourth year about 73KM east of the Marina. There, at the site of the Dangote Refinery at the Free Trade Zone in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, the refinery was taking delivery of the world’s largest crude oil refining tower.
While this was predictably being celebrated across local and foreign media as the start of a glorious new chapter in Nigeria’s industrial history, I was speaking to a whistleblower with close and detailed knowledge of the project. What he had to say about the refinery project, the Indian project managers, the company’s internal culture and its much-publicised trainee program left me absolutely floored. Naturally I reached out to Dangote Group for a comment, but at press time I have received no response or acknowledgment.
My source, whom I shall call “Mukhtar” worked in and around the refinery project between 2016 and 2018, and what I found most distressing amidst everything he said was the revelation that deaths due to onsite accidents are not just known to happen at the refinery site, but are effectively covered up by Dangote. This he said, is because the people who die are mostly site labourers who are hired through staffing agencies instead of directly. When they die, it becomes the staffing company’s problem and the Dangote brand distances itself from it – even though the site owner is legally responsible for all safety-related incidents onsite.
Something else that struck me was that he implied that – contrary to all its public posturing – the company actually has no intention of using Nigerian engineers to run the refinery anytime soon. The trainee program that sent dozens of Engineering graduates for a one-year training program in India? “Strictly PR,” he said.
For full effect, I have decided to reproduce the full and unredacted transcript of our conversation instead of using quotes and reported speech. Here is the conversation below:
ME: When we started this conversation, you mentioned that Dangote Refinery is exempt from Nigerian labour laws. What were you referencing?
Mukhtar: Because the refinery is in the FTZ, it is not subject to certain laws like local content laws. As such, even mundane jobs are given to non-Nigerian companies. Even the refinery’s fence wall was handled by a Chinese company. This didn’t stop long stretches of the fence from collapsing sometime in 2017. The FTZ affects Labour laws too. The company is not really under any obligation to employ Nigerians. They do so mostly for PR. All key decision makers are Indians (say 98%).
ME:There have been several horror stories about Indian-run businesses in Nigeria. Was this one of them?
Mukhtar: Yes, the Indians are quite racist. Some even demand to be referred to as “master”. To be fair, when this is reported, the HR unit makes a show of cautioning them. But I dont think anyone has ever been dismissed for it or seriously punished. Most of workers who meet their death on site are labourers. So their names might be known to many staff. I’ll see what I can get. It happens. It’s kept under wraps but it happens.
ME:Now you mentioned onsite deaths earlier. I want to know all about this. Why haven’t we heard anything about this?
Mukhtar: The refinery site is not really the best place to work. Mortality rate on site is quite high. People falling from heights or getting crushed by heavy vehicles/machines is quite common. These numbers are not reported because most staff are contract staff (or outsourced) so the company gets to wash its hands off such cases. But safety on site is the ultimate responsibility of the owner of the project. The construction site has a board that is supposed to display the safety statistics but it is never displays the truth. According to that board, there has never been a fatality on site. But in reality, I think 2018 had about 5 fatalities between January and March. If I were to guess, I’d say there have been over 25 fatalities since construction started in 2016/17.
ME:Now you said earlier that the trainee program was a washout and a disappointment. Fill me in on that.
Mukhtar: I was one of the first batch of engineers sent to India for training in 2016. In my opinion, the whole scheme was either poorly thought out or the company was somehow compelled to do it, and did so for PR. Our salaries were being paid into our accounts in Nigeria, so we were using our debit cards to access our Nigerian accounts for expenses over there) Around July 2016 when the naira went from around 160 per dollar to nearly double that number, our spending power was effectively halved.
ME:I also remember that there was a forex shortage crisis in 2016 and Nigerian bank cards stopped working outside the country.
Mukhtar: So when the banks eventually stopped all cards from functioning abroad, we were stranded. The company resorted to selling us dollars or rupees at the black market rate.They deducted the money from our salaries. We had accommodation (two adults per room) and feeding (Indian food which many of us did not like). Some of had to buy intercontinental dishes regularly, because Indian food is really not nice if you’re not into many smelly spices. It was crazy. Meanwhile we were told categorically that we would have Nigerian food and Nigerian cooks. It was a blatant lie by the Indian HR director.
Also, no arrangement was made for our medical care. Those who fell ill had to treat themselves from their pockets. During the currency crisis, those who fell ill had to rely on the rest of us to put together our spare change to pay for their treatment. The company promised to refund medical expenses, but this shouldn’t have been the situation in the first place.
ME:Tell me about the training program. What was the course content and the experience like? Was it what you were expecting?
Mukhtar: The training itself was a mess too. We were supposed to be trained to operate the refinery (at the time, it was said that it will be completed by mid 2017), but we were sent to a design company. These (designing a refinery and operating it) are two very, very different things. The trainers did not want us there in the first place. It was not a part of their initial contract with Dangote. Plus, they didn’t know what to teach us because designers are not operators. They were confused, several times, they asked us what we wanted to learn. But we could not know what we wanted to learn cos we knew nothing about the entire business. In the end, they reluctantly settled for teaching us design (skills we were/are unlikely to use cos the refinery was already 90% designed).
ME:If you say that the refinery was “already 90% designed,” and you were learning design in India, that sounds like your presence was superfluous. Was the company really serious about sending you to learn skills to run a refinery?
Mukhtar: Indians will run the refinery. It will take many many many years before that refinery will be populated by just Nigerians. It was strictly PR. Anyways, the training with that design company was suddenly terminated on December 31st. Apparently, Dangote had not paid them a dime for all the months were were being taught design. They didn’t want to send us back to Nigeria so they moved us to the Dangote office in India. The office housed the Indian engineers (around 150 – 200 in number) who were supervising the design work being done by the design company. Now, it is interesting that these guys were working and earning as expatriates within their own country.
But realising that the “training” was a blunder, the company sent back some engineers to train in an actual refinery. So what was supposed to be a 1 year training became 2 years.
ME:Since returning to Nigeria, is there anything else you have noticed about the project that worries or disturbs you?
Mukhtar: Yes. So we have only the refinery at the FTZ, but the company gets to import things meant for other branches of the company duty-free. As a matter of fact, with the Dangote jetty in place and a customs office right there, the company no longer needs to clear stuff at Apapa. Dangote empire effectively has its own customs and port, because we cannot assume that the custom officers stationed at Dangote’s jetty/FTZ are extremely meticulous in checking what comes in and goes out. Personally, I find this disturbing. No non-military entity should be able to import stuff that easily into any country. This is bigger than just skipping custom duty payment.
Between bank staff being fired at 10.30PM and refinery site labourers being killed by workplace accidents without accountability, the sheer grimness of the picture facing Nigerian workers comes into stark relief. It is afterall, an employer’s market, with several thousand qualified people jostling for every job opening, which creates the possibility and incentive to treat staff like battery animals.
Whether the Labour Ministry is willing or able to do anything about such blatant labour exploitation is anybody’s guess. Nigeria’s government is increasingly weak and unable to impose its will on the country even territorially. In the event that the government did take interest, there is a valid fear that it would go to the other extreme and adopt a lazy anti-business Hugo Chavez approach, as it so often does. The real solution if there is to be one, must come from Nigerian labour having a stronger bargaining position through an improved economy. Anything else as it stands, is little more than a sticking plaster.
As Mukhtar mentioned, even inside the ridiculous situation of being financially stranded in a foreign country at the behest of an irresponsible and insincere Nigerian corporate, the vast majority of the group chose to suffer in silence. They did so because spending a year abroad learning useless information, suffering deprivation and experiencing diarrhea after being forced to eat unfamiliar food was still preferable to whatever alternative was at home.
Ultimately, that is the biggest problem facing Nigerian labour.
For over a year now, a group of people has met at St Benet’s to celebrate the Mass in German on the first Sunday of the month at 4.00 pm. This group is soon to be registered as a “New Worshipping Community” of the Diocese of London. This forms part of the Diocese’s vision for evangelism, mission, and church growth laid out in its plan “Capital Vision 2020.”
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from the fact that a number of people at St Benet’s noticed just how many German-speaking families there were worshipping with us. Some were bilingual families with one parent from Germany or Austria. Others were German-speaking families who had moved to London, and whose children were, therefore, thoroughly bi-lingual.
Our vicar, Fr Peter Anthony, read German as an undergraduate and had been involved in our Diocesan link with Berlin for several years. He wondered whether people would welcome a service now and then in German. After a few initial Masses in German, it became clear there was definite interest, and a small but sustainable number of people willing to support the project. We decided on a trial run of a service on a Sunday afternoon once a month for a year.
Our intention was to see if we could reach out to a new category of people who did not already worship with us, and who might welcome the ability to worship in German. We wanted to help them come to faith, or grow deeper in their relationship with the Lord, especially through sacramental worship.
What happens & when?
We usually have a said Mass at 4.00 pm on the first Sunday of the month with a homily, and the entire service takes place in German.
We have had a range of guest preachers over the past year. Some have been native German speakers, such as Dr Andrea Werner, a lay reader at St Michael’s Camden Town; or Robert Pfeiffer, an ordinand at S. Michael’s, Highgate; or Fr Andreas Wenzel, the Shrine Priest at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Others have been English people who happen to be good German speakers: Dr Colin Podmore, well known expert in German Church history, for example; or Fr Desmond Bannister, Vicar All Siants’ Hillingdon, who used to teach German.
We have also sought to invite people associated with our Diocesan Partnership with the Church in Berlin-Brandenburg. Fr Brian Leathard and the Fr Luke Miller, the Archdeacon of London, both of whom have responsibility for the diocesan link, have visited to preach, as have august visitors from Berlin such as Pfarrer Holger Schmidt.
The liturgy is always followed by a time for refreshments and chat over that most venerable of German traditions – “Kaffee und Kuchen.” The conversation is mainly in German, but if people want to talk in English they are also welcome to, and a mixture of conversations in both languages usually emerges. There is no language police!
Fr Andreas Wenzel, Shrine Priest of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, came as our guest preacher for All Saints’ Day.
A range of people attend this Sunday afternoon service. Many of the bi-lingual families living in our parish, who have both English and German, are frequently there. Bilingual children are also frequently present.
There have also proven to be a number of English speakers who have German and who want to keep their language up or enjoy worshipping in German (one of whom comes all the way from York for the liturgy!). Word of mouth has proven to be very important and several new German speakers have started worshipping with us who had never previously worshipped with us on a Sunday morning.
A number of academics in the realm of philosophy who need German for their academic work have also been present on several occasions. German and Austrian students who have come to London universities also frequently form part of the congregation, which has proven to have a pretty young average age over all.
The numbers at the monthly Mass in 2018-19 have ranged between 8 and 21, with an average in the first year of 13, but on big occasions larger congregations have gathered: our first German Advent Carol Service last Sunday, for example, attracted 63 people. We have also celebrated one baptism in German.
Why do Germans want to worship at an Anglican Church?
Fr Peter Anthony, our vicar, and Dr Andrea Werner, lay reader from our neighbouring parish, St Michael’s, Camden Town, photographed after one of Andrea’s excellent homilies.
We have welcomed a wide range of people from a large sweep of theological and liturgical traditions. One of the characteristics of this worshipping community has been a strong spirit of ecumenical welcome. Our ministry has also been resolutely rooted in the concept that the Church of England’s ministry is available for all living within our parochial boundaries, or who wish to avail themselves of it.
St Benet’s liturgy lies in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England, and we have found many German or bilingual families have been happy to make their spiritual home with us. There may be something going on in terms of the Church of England’s ministry representing a theological middle way between the Lutheran, Calvinist, and Roman traditions. It may also be that the parochial commitment of St Benet’s to the parish in which it is set simply makes it a place where visitors and those moving from abroad find it easy to settle. Many of our German speaking families send their children to our parish school, and so that might also be a connection which makes St Benet’s a place where they feel they want to worship.
Some of our younger German students have been genuinely intrigued and captivated by what they have discovered in the Anglicanism they find at St Benet’s – i.e. a church which they perceived as “protestant” but which turned out to have a rich and quite catholic liturgical and theological tradition.
Where to now?
We have proven over the first year of this project that the core congregation which supports this project is large enough to sustain a monthly Mass into the future. However, we are keen to explore other ways in which we can grow and expand this ministry. We recently organised a German Advent Carol Service, and this proved to be popular.
We plan in the next few weeks to register the congregation as a “new worshipping community” with the Diocese of London in order to release extra funds to help us plan slightly larger or more adventurous events.
Social media have been a crucial part of the way in which we have made contact with German speakers, so we want to ensure our social media presence continues to be the best it can be. Word of mouth has also been crucial to making new contacts amongst the German/Austrian ex-pat community, and will be something we intend to build upon.
We ask all our friends to keep praying for us as we explore further where God is calling us to go in this venture, and we thanks the Diocese of London and its bishops for their support and encouragement as we become one of its latest “new worshipping communities.”
Our first German Advent Carol Service: Sunday 1st December 2019.
The family of the late Hon Mrs Salome Acheju Abuh, the Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ochadamu Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, who was allegedly burnt to death by suspected political thugs, has called for justice in the case.
The family, in a statement issued by Elder Simeon Babani Seidu Abuh (JP), husband of the late PDP Women Leader, noted that the brutal murder of Mrs. Salome Abuh and the destruction of properties were premeditated.
The statement explained that the culprits were known to the community, stressing, “On Saturday, 16th of November 2019, at the Ochadamu Primary School Polling Unit, one Ocholi Edicha in the company of other boys told me that he was going to deal with my younger brother, Gowon Abuh, who is a strong supporter of the PDP, that He (Ocholi Edicha) and others were in the payroll of GYB 4+4.
“He (OCHOLI EDICHA) further said that this election is for the APC and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. I politely told him that there was no need for this that we are all brothers, we all drank the same flowing river, went to the same playing ground in the community and we shall still remain in the same community, politics notwithstanding.”
The husband of late Mrs Salome Acheju Abuh added, “After casting my ballots, I headed home, leaving my wife behind to watch the electoral process. After some time, My brother Gowon ran back home to inform me that “ Ocholi Edicha was beating my wife where she was sitting under a shade observing the process and when He (Gowon Abuh) and other people tried to intervene, He (Ocholi Edicha) attempted to stab him (Gowon Abuh) and he had to run back home.
“As we were still talking one Elder Samuel Salami Agbali brought my wife on his motorcycle to our compound and advised that we rush her to hospital. I took her to Holy Memorial Hospital Ochadamu where she was attended to by one Dr. Agama.”
He further explained, “After the election, I returned to Abuja where I reside leaving her behind to rest for few days as advised by the doctor. I was constantly on phone with her. On Monday, 18th of November at about 12am my younger brother from Lokoja, Pst. Mark Abuh, called me that there was trouble at home. That Ocholi Edicha and others were in a drinking joint close to our house boasting on how they were going to deal with Gowon, our younger brother who narrowly escaped from their attack on Saturday.
“According to his report Solomon, Gowon’s Son, overheard them boasting and pleaded with them on his father’s behalf to forget about the incident. At this point one of them, Zekeri Awalu, picked up a bottle and started pursing Solomon, while pursing Solomon he tripped and fell on his own knife which was stocked around his waist and unfortunately injured himself on the thigh while Solomon ran home to inform his father (Gowon Abuh) of what had ensued meanwhile, Zekeri Awalu was rushed to Holy Memorial Hospital at Ochadamu.”
He explained that after the conversation with his brother, pastor Mark Abuh, he immediately put a call home to Ojonugwa Alhassan, his cousin who told me he was at the hospital where the injured person was being attended to.
“According to him, the hospital, after administering first aid treatment was requesting for a police report before further treatment. While the doctors were waiting for the police report, friends of the injured got agitated and moved him to another hospital where he lost his life.
“When the news of his death filtered into the town, angry APC Supporters came to the town chanting GYB 4+4, and shooting sporadically. People scampered for their lives and the APC Supporters headed to my house where my wife was resting unaware of what was happening in the community, the supporters surrounded my house shooting sporadically and further set the house ablaze and burnt my wife to death and completely burnt down the entire buildings in my compound. Afterwards the APC supporters headed to four other houses in the community who are known PDP Supporters and burnt down their houses,” he explained.
“Let me conclude here, that the attack on my wife on Saturday was a premeditated one and carried out on Monday, 18th November 2019 when my wife and mother of my children were resting in our family house.
“I hereby appeal for justice to prevail over this gruesome murder of my wife and loss of properties,” he noted.
Amber-Rose Rush’s sister warned her a doctor was a “sugar daddy” who was sexually grooming the 16-year-old.
Shantelle Rush took to the stand on day two of the trial of Dunedin doctor Venod Skantha. The 32-year-old denies killing Amber-Rose, who was found dead by her mother at their Clermiston Ave home in the Dunedin suburb of Corstorphine on February 3, 2018. He also denies four charges of threatening to kill.
Rush, Amber-Rose’s older sister by six years, told of the last message she received from her sister: “I am so angry.”
Amber-Rose Rush, 16, was found dead in her Dunedin home in February 2018.
She did not see the message until following morning, but by then her sister was dead.
Rush said she never met Skantha, but raised concerns about him in a series of Facebook messages with her sister.
Dr Venod Skantha is on trial for the murder of Dunedin teenager Amber-Rose Rush at her home in February 2018.
The messages, read under cross examination from defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton QC, included plans for Amber-Rose and her friend to move into Skantha’s Fairfield home, which she described as “so flash”.
“Living with a rich doctor YOLO (you only live once),” Amber-Rose messaged her sister.
When Rush found out the doctor was 30, she expressed concern to her sister, who described Skantha “as like a dad to us”.
Lisa Rush and her daughter Amber-Rose Rush.
Rush said she questioned why a doctor would hang out with teenagers and called him a “sugar daddy”, urging her sister to look up the meaning of “sexual grooming”.
“No, he not into me LMFAO f… that,” her sister replied.
The messages also disclosed that Amber-Rose spent some money on Skantha’s credit card and “he won’t even notice”.
Amber-Rose Rush at St Clair in Dunedin.
She also said her mother would try to get money out of Skantha over something. “He will or I’m going to the cops,” Amber-Rose messaged.
Amber-Rose’s mother Lisa Ann Rush died in a suspected suicide in June 2018, and in a statement read ot the court on Monday alleged Skantha had offered her daughter $50 for sex, then raised it to $20,000.
The Crown alleges Skantha killed the teen over fears she would go public with allegations about his interactions with minors, which would effectively end his medical career.
Friends and family gather outside the funeral of Amber-Rose Rush in Dunedin.
Skantha, a junior doctor at the Southern District Health Board, had been on his final warning at Dunedin Hospital in 2017 after an earlier incident.
Amber-Rose’s boyfriend, Kristin Clark, said the pair met through the Tinder dating app in early 2018.
He had stayed at her home several times, including the Thursday before her death. He told the court she contacted him over Snapchat on the Friday, February 2, about angry messages she was exchanging with Skantha, who was often called Vinny.
She sent him screenshots of the conversation, but did not want his help, he said.
He offered to pick her up, but at 11.53pm, she replied “I won’t be allowed to”.
Clark sent her several other messages, but she did not reply. He decided to drive to her home – about 10 minutes away – and sent her a message before knocking “reasonably loud” on her window.
He sent her a photo of her house to show he was outside and waited in his car, but left when he saw her brother, Jayden, and his partner arrive back home.
Under cross-examination, Eaton asked him about the time he went to Skantha’s house, and Clark said they stayed a few hours and had some drinks.
He confirmed some of the screenshots supplied by Amber-Rose showed messages from her ex boyfriend, who had once beaten her up.
‘I SAW SO MUCH BLOOD’
Lisa Ann Rush’s partner, Brendon MacNee, took the stand on Monday afternoon, and recalled her asking him if he had let the family dog out of Amber-Rose’s room on the morning of February 3.
He had not, so Lisa Ann opened the bedroom door and he heard her scream.
He called police after seeing Amber-Rose lying face down in “lots and lots of blood”.
He told her mother to leave the room, and turned the teenager over.
A visibly upset MacNee said blood hit the floor as Amber-Rose’s brother and his partner entered the room.
Efforts to revive Amber-Rose were in vain as “she was all stiff and cold”.
“She was dead,” MacNee said.
He said he noticed Amber-Rose’s left ear had been cut in half and her throat had been cut.
MacNee, a former butcher, said he knew she had been killed and started to look for a knife, but could not find one.
He told Jayden: “We have to get out of here, she’s been murdered.”
MacNee, under questioning from Eaton, confirmed the family dog was placid and did not bark much.
Jayden Rush told the court he had found a spare key – usually located under a Buddha statue – in the door early on February 3. He also found the kitchen light left on, which was also unusual.
The evening before, he knocked on his sister’s door but she did not answer. He awoke the next morning to his mother screaming “no”.
Rush said blood around his sister’s neck made it “pretty obvious to us, she was dead”.
He saw only headphones and no knife when he pulled back her blankets.
A neighbour, a former nurse, came into the room and put Amber-Rose into a recovery position.
Rush described his sister as “definitely” a social person, and said she had several ex-boyfriends, one of whom had broken her arm.
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. 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.
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.” 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.
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.” 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.”
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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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.
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:
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.
“The sad fact is that more than half of our children get their first ‘sexual education’ from adult films on the internet,” said Dr. Mark Schoen, founder of SexSmartFilms.com and former director of sex education at the Sinclair Intimacy Institute. What’s missing is a sense of context and conversation around this imagery — a conversation that would help a young person distinguish between real sex and porn sex.
Although many sex educators are advocating for this kind of porn literacy in schools, the conversation also needs to happen at home.
In general, there can be real benefits from having frank discussions about sex, said Debby Herbenick. In one recent study by Herbenick and her colleagues at the Indiana University School of Public Health, exposure to porn was only associated with an increased probability in having unprotected sex when parents had little-to-no sexual health communication with their children. When parent-teen sexual health communication was high, pornography use was unrelated to teenagers’ engagement in unsafe sex.
Here’s how to approach “the talk” in the age of online porn.
“Parents would be wise to start discussing sexually explicit media during childhood,” said Herbenick. “It’s not just porn that they need literacy about — it’s Hollywood movies, music and social media, too.”
Rather than viewing access to porn as a negative, welcome it as an opportunity to educate your kids. “In my experience, the more sex ed a child receives from their parents, the less likely they are to develop shame around sex and use pornography in a compulsive or unhealthy manner,” said sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson.
Just do it
Teens make the case for porn literacy
“Starting the conversation can be as easy as saying something like, ‘I know this might seem like it’s coming out of nowhere, but I’m concerned about the messages you are getting about sex, sexual behaviors and what’s real or normal from the stuff that’s out there,'” said sexologist Lanae St. John.
Or you might do some advance planning. “A conversation on sex and porn should allow for honesty and the time it takes to have a serious discussion,” advised sex therapist Heidi Crockett. “I recommend arranging an agreed upon time so that both parent and child can bring their questions and thoughts to the table.”
Explain the differences
Remind your child that porn is meant for entertainment, not education, in terms they can understand.
What it’s really like to be an adult film star
“I tell them that just as the ‘Fast & Furious’ movies are not driver’s ed, porn is not sex ed,” said St. John. Explain that just like movies, porn portrays how we might fantasize about things but not act on them.
Likewise, you can stress that masturbation — to porn or otherwise — and sex are two different experiences. “It’s fun to text our friends or play video games with them online, but it’s another thing to hang out in person,” said sex therapist Kristen Lilla. “Porn can also be fun to watch, but it doesn’t mimic or replace real-life sex and relationships.”
Don’t make assumptions
Part of what makes porn tough to talk about is how divisive it’s become. You might hear from some adults that porn use has led to dependency, erectile dysfunction, fear of intimacy and other problems. For others, it’s simply part of a healthy sex life.
The truth is that medical experts don’t know for certain whether porn use is truly responsible for all of the effects attributed to it; so far, there isn’t a clear scientific consensus around the influence of porn on the human adult brain, much less the teenage brain.
While some experts say that porn is highly addictive, others say that the concept of true porn addiction isn’t supported by scientific evidence. Impulsive or compulsive porn use, this camp says, is usually a symptom of something else, such as depression or anxiety.
The only thing we do know for certain is that the more open parents are with their kids about sexual health, the better.
Don’t limit it to sex
View your conversations as laying the foundation for helping children question all the media they consume.
“We begin this process of becoming aware of how roles or stereotypes are portrayed when you watch TV or PG movies with your kids beginning when they’re 7 to 8 years old,” said sex therapist Sari Cooper. “Bringing up some of the uncomfortable feelings one has when watching a film with younger ages because of the way a woman, person of color, or a person with disability was portrayed begins a training of critical thinking with your children.”
However you choose to approach it, know that “the talk” is really a series of conversations. When you discuss topics like sexuality, masturbation and porn early on, you open the door for trust and honesty with your kids — and that helps build a foundation for good sexual health throughout their lives.