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Showing posts from March, 2016

Easter Sunday

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Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to t…

Holy Week Reflections - Holy Saturday and Liminal Space

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Psalm 31:1-4
In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.


In the churches I have been a part of, the emphasis has been on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A few churches I've been a part of have included Maundy Thursday services.

But what about Holy Saturday, what shall we make of that practice?

Maybe we in less liturgical churches could gain something from our more liturgical fellow Jesus followers?

At this point, would like to toss out another SAT word - liminal. Excerpt from the URL:
What happens if you lose what appears to be your “everything” and you do not know what to do next? If you feel that you are anxiously floating in the in between perhaps you are in The Liminal…

Holy Week - Good Friday

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Good Friday as remembered in John 19:16-30

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was…

Holy Week - the Lord's Supper

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image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo_da_Vinci)

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Each church practices their Lord's Supper remembrance a little differently. Some use regular bread while others use unleavened bread. Some use grape juice while others use wine. Some churches conduct it weekly and others monthly. The Lord's Supper can also be called Communion and others call it the Eucharist. In some churches, only the pastor or pri…

Holy Week Reflections - Suffering and Vindication

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image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah

Isaiah 50:4-9a,
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens - wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?

Over the years, have not read too much of the OT prophets. One of the things I have found challenging at times is knowing when is God speaking and when is the prophet speaking? In this pass…

Disclaimer - 2016 Presidential Nomination

If you have mouse clicked to this blog to look in on politics, you could probably guess I'm supportive of the Republican viewpoint but in the #NeverTrump #NeverTrump category. Nonetheless, I do try to write as objectively as I can. And so, thinking about the practice of objectivity, I should disclosed that I'm a classic "small donor" to several campaigns.

I have donated to the following:
Ben Carson - I appreciated his calm manner of presentation even if I did not think he would win. We need more calm voices in the political process so I was disappointed when he endorsed Donald Trump.
Marco Rubio - I thought he exhibits the solidly center-right policy views I think is prudent for the USA. He is one of the more articulate spokesman for the party. His biography is also fantastic.
John Kasich - My preference in presidential candidates are governors as they have served in executive branch roles. Bush had the disadvantage of being the 3rd Bush to run. Christie was too combati…

GOP Nomination Race: For the Establishment It May Be Too Late

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The numbers don't look good for the #NotTrump movement.

If Trump runs the table with victories of various size, he clears the 1237 bar. In the chart below, I make some guesses on his delegate hauls on the assumption he runs the table.



In the next scenario, I make the assumption that the #NotTrump side wins everything except Arizona where polling data shows Trump is leading, New York, where Trump has a strong presence, and New Jersey, where Gov. Christie who endorsed Trump is from. This is probably the most rosy scenario for the Cruz/Kasich side. I suppose if Cruz/Kasich were to go on such an epic win streak, Trump might collect less than 35% of the delegates in the contests he loses. Nonetheless, using that assumption, this scenario keeps Trump below 1237 and 175 delegates short. The contested convention scenario is plausible in this case since it would reflect a serious case of buyer's remorse by the voters.



The final scenario is where Cruz/Kasich manage to gain a few vi…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 38 - Twist and Shout

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Sunday morning coverage here in the USA of the match with Southampton is on NBCSN Extratime. Have turned on the TV to see LFC has gotten off to a two-goal lead over the Saints. In the build up to the game had read that it was likely that Moreno, Firminio, and Henderson might not feature due to injury and that Milner would be out due to red card suspension.

Today’s confirmed #LFC starting line-up and subs in full v @SouthamptonFCpic.twitter.com/vFwqGIRFMr — Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 20, 2016
Recap of the match thus far:
17: It's that man again! Coutinho finds the bottom corner from 25 yards and it's 1-0 to #LFC. Get in! pic.twitter.com/Yr9Wi6NoGl — Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 20, 2016
22: And now it's 2-0 and Sturridge is on the scoresheet as he finishes off a brilliant run from Origi by firing into the bottom corner! — Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 20, 2016
Comments on watching the halftime highlights:
Southampton got robbed on the no PK call early in the match!
The two goals…

The Delegate Hunt and What is Rule 40?

Have been checking in on the Hugh Hewitt radio show to keep up with the "behind the scenes" aspects of the nomination race in addition to the top-level issues of policy and personalities of the candidates.

Hunting for delegates in California was discussed with the man who wrote the rules of the California State GOP. The state does winner-take-all by Congressional District in addition to a small clutch of state-wide delegates.

There was also a discussions of Rule 40 in the same interview. As it stands, it will have to be altered for the 2016 convention. However, how the rule will look will be hard fought to accommodate the various situations of candidates (Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich) holding more than just a handful of delegates. A front runner, if clearly ahead but short of the magic number, could use it to box out the other three candidates. Also, the top two could use it to box out the 3rd and 4th place finishers. All sorts of combinations of deal making will go into i…

Magic number = 1237

The Democrats allocate all their delegates proportionally. On top of those delegates, there are super-delegates to be won over. In any case, barring some very strange turn of events, Clinton is coasting to the nomination.

The Republican delegate allocation system is highly diverse since they leave it up to the state parties to set the rules of how to divide it up.

Broadly, there are four types:
Winner-take-all (Florida and Ohio were recent examples; Arizona coming up is another; there are few more)
Winner-take-all by Congressional districts (Illinois and Missouri were recent examples; California will be the biggest example at the very end)
Proportional by Congressional districts (many)
Proportional by state-wide (many)

The basic outline above can be modified in a myriad of ways. For example, there can be thresholds that must be crossed before delegates can be awarded to eliminate low vote getting candidates from picking up any delegates. Some states that allocate by Congressional dist…

Bracket Picks

Of course, I'll make a bracket even though my Bruins (UCLA) and Anteaters (UCI) aren't in it! Have Kansas winning the whole thing. KU, UNC, Mich St in the Final Four with Texas A&M as the long shot. First round upset winners: VCU, Michigan, So. Dakota St., and Iona.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 37 - Star Trek (reboot 2009)

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Leg 2 against Manchester United in the Europa League. Manchester United has had a tough season but remains above LFC in the Premier League table and will "fire everything" at LFC not wanting to be beaten at home and tossed out of the Europa league competition.

Roger Bennett of MIB says that on the train ride between the two cities, you can tell which city you are closer to by the graffiti you see denouncing the opposing city's club. So even though LFC has a 2-0 lead from leg one, nothing should be taken for granted in this long standing rivalry. Interestingly, this is the first time the two storied clubs have faced off in the Europa League.

If all the players are healthy and so far haven't seen any reports of new injuries, will figure the same line-up that took the field last Thursday will do so again. The only possible shift is to plug the recovered Milner in for Lallana. However, my feeling is that Klopp will use Milner as first substitute off the bench before …

Super Tuesday Round 3 - Is this it?

Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Floria, and Missouri.

Ohio and Florida, winner take all.
Illinois and Missouri, winner take all by congressional district.
North Carolina, proportional.

The race may have more drama on the Democratic side.

Clinton looks to win Florida and North Carolina.

However, it looks competitive in Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri. If Sanders can take all three there will be major panic in the Clinton Camp. Likewise, if he is blanked, then there will be more calls for him to drop out though I suspect he has no political reason to do so. My prediction: Sanders takes two of these states - Illinois and Ohio.

ACTUAL: Sanders edged out Clinton in Missouri by 1 delegate and Clinton edged out Sanders in Illinois by 1 delegate. Clinton rode to easy victories elsewhere.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Trump appears to be on the edge of pushing the opposition off the stage.

Kasich looks like he will take Ohio. Rubio's campaign has run out of gas and Florida goes to Trump.

Liverpool Klopp Episode 36 - The Martian

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Leg one of Europa League match against rivals Manchester United!

First off, the injury report. Looks like Milner is not an option for Thursday's match. However, Sturridge looks to be fit and lively in training and should be available for the XI.

In other selection questions, Flanagan may have displaced Moreno at full back but he isn't an option for Europa league play as he wasn't on the competition squad list that was filed a while back. Thus, the back four should be Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno.

Can and Henderson should patrol at central midfield.

Coutinho, Firmino, and Lallana on attack with Sturridge at the point of the spear.

And of course, Mignolet as the keeper.

The open question is who gets in if they need more striking power or a substitute for a tiring Sturridge? Origi or Benteke?

For fresh pace, I would guess Allen first and Ibe second.

Skrtel and Toure will be on the bench should any defensive substitutions need to be made.

Much has been made of the personality of…

Open Convention?

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When will a political pundit start talking about the 1964 film, The Best Man?



Premise of the film is that Fonda and Robertson are deadlocked going into the convention. Both candidates have liabilities. Deals are attempted and in the dramatic conclusion ........ sorry don't want to spoil it for you!
Click on this link to see the plot summary (with the spoilers). 
Saw the films eons ago. Can't find it on Netflix or on iTunes. Probably have to go to the library to find it. 
Will see if this is the year, more than 1 ballot is needed to determine the nominee. The last time that happened was in 1948 for the Republicans and 1952 for the Democrats




Medium sized Tuesday: Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii

3 proportional primaries and 1 caucus (Hawaii).

At RCP, there appears to be no polling data for Hawaii as caucus states are hard to poll and small states usually don't get polled much anyway. Same can be said of Idaho. There is a stale Mississippi poll from late February. Michigan is garnering the most polling with Trump in the lead but Kasich on the uptick.

If Mississippi votes like its neighbors, it should be a close contest between Trump and Cruz. Cruz needs a win to keep his status as the one who has and continues to beat Trump. Cruz probably won't win outright but in terms of the delegate count from Mississippi, I would think he will get a tie or close to it.

UPDATE: Completely wrong here. Trump did very well.

As for Michigan, has Kasich become the anti-Trump for that state? Alas, Trump's lead was so large, it would be surprising if it evaporates to the point he loses Michigan. If Kasich were to overtake him, that would suggest the negatives of Trump are starting to ta…

Galaxy 4 DC 1

The drubbing the Galaxy took in CCL was troubling. How would they fare against MLS competition?

Well, we found out!

It was the Magical Mike McGee Homecoming (LA Galaxy 2009-2013) Tour. He scored two goals, assisted in one, and drew the PK for Keane to slot in.

The line-up in the second half, when the Galaxy got all its goals, was somewhat different than what "plan A" was supposed to look like. Given the reality of injuries, it is good to know that Arena can plug in a plan B and win matches!


Liverpool Klopp Episode 35 - The Search for Spock

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A little slow getting going this weekend. Things weren't looking good for LFC when I turned on NBCSN right when Milner got sent off with the second yellow! Down to 10 men and down 1-0 on the road at Selhurst against the dreaded Crystal Palace.

Can they draw level and snatch something out of a bad situation???

72' Firmino!!!!!!

79' LFC not content to sit back are still pushing even with 10. Benteke is in and gets off a shot but it is saved.

85' Free kick for Palace. It comes to nothing.

87' Almost! Moreno hits post.

88' Toure in for defensive purposes to see out this match hopefully holding onto the one-point.

+4 minutes to go!

90+2' Benteke gets off another shot but it is saved.

90+3' LFC has the ball and will try to run out the clock.

90+4' Benteke in the box is clipped. A PK! Benteke on the spot and its in! 1-2 LFC is now up.

90+6' Palace gets the ball at the half but there is essentially no time. LFC STEALS a victory at Selhurst Par…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 34 - The Godfather, Part 2

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"This is the business we have chosen ..."

After the heartbreaking loss to Manchester City on Sunday, LFC has to turn around and play again on Wednesday. And guess who they have to play?

Yup, Manchester City!

The team will be without the services of a few players (Lucas, Sakho, Sturridge) from the Leauge Cup Finals. With the priority likely to be shifted over to the Europa League, Klopp will do a little mix and match for this EPL game. Will be interesting to see if any of the "youth" squad from FA Cup (Smith and Teixeira for example) may be on the bench or even in the starting XI?

Mignolet remains the keeper.

On defense: Clyne, Toure, Skrtel/Lovren (depending who is furthest along in fitness from injury), Flanagan.

Midfield: Coutinho, Milner, Henderson, Lallana.

Forward: Origi, Benteke.

Likely subs: Firmino, Can, Allen.

Here's tonight's #LFC line-up in full... pic.twitter.com/bt1ZTXcRCu — Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 2, 2016
As expected a few changes to acco…

Super Tuesday - Known Unknown

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The polling data says Trump should take everything except Texas tonight.

What I don't know is how many of these states have vigorous early voting mechanisms?

Thus, one of the "known unknowns" is how many votes Trump has through early voting prior to him setting himself on fire on the CNN Jake Tapper interview in regards to the KKK and David Duke.

And the flip side of early voting is how the "day of voters" turn out?

How many will now not vote for Trump and not vote at all versus how many will vote for one of the other GOP candidates?

Predictions in bold.

My guts tell me that Trump will lose some support but still win most of the states. Am figuring Trump isn't going to break 40% anywhere. But with Cruz/Rubio splitting the vote in the 20% range, Trump can still carry those states with low 30% vote totals. Don't see Kasich or Carson breaking 10% anywhere.

Cruz wins Texas allowing him to stay in the race.

Rubio needs to finish #2 more often than Cruz finish…

Galaxy in Leg 2 of the CCL Quarterfinals

0-0 at the moment. A road game so a win is a win but a tie is a win on away goals!

Even a casual newbie soccer fan like myself did sense the Galaxy got bullied by more physical teams last season. Thus, off-season, the brain trust at the Galaxy decided to bulk-up with some players with reputations for being on the edge/over-the-edge in terms of hard hitting. Baxter at LAT gave the run-down in this morning's paper in the run-up to tonight's match up.

Historically, the Liga MX teams dispatch the MLS teams at this stage and no MLS team has won the CCL in its current format. At the moment, 2 of the MLS teams are behind and 2 are even in goals. The Galaxy are best positioned with the 0-0 score line at the moment.

Certainly, the new Galaxy players have experience in playing big games but the time on the pitch of playing together as this particular group has been brief. Liga MX teams want to retain their dominance over the MLS and so they will be motivated. Am envisioning a punishing …