Apple - Christmas OK in the UK but not in the USA?

November 25, 2009

This afternoon I was helping a friend research a possible Apple MacBook Pro purchase online.  For some as yet unknown reason I ended up on the Apple UK site when I got a very pleasant surprise.  (see images)

Imagine my disappointment when I redirected to the Apple US site. (see images again)

What gives Apple?  Christmas is good enough for the UK but not the USA?

First a screenshot from the Apple UK Online Store

And now from the Apple USA Online Store

Apple UK Online Store

Apple USA Online Store

MSNBC Sinks To Yet Another Low

Just when you thought MSNBC couldn't sink any lower... Last night I decided to tune in to see how they might cover / spin the election results (VA, NJ and NY 23).

Enduring my time with MSNBC was much like a root canal but they did not disappoint. The spin was as impressive as it was dizzying. Not so impressive when they pushed it too far and I realized that much of their reactions and analysis, primarily on the subject of Democrat losses, had been conceived and rehearsed well in advance. Hello it's SPIN!

Anyway... Imagine my SHOCK when, during a Chris Matthews segment, disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer fills my screen!   MSNBC had actually brought him in as an analyst. Really.   Luckily it was low def.

You see while my big fat conservative TV is much pretty, DirecTV, my satellite provider, doesn't seem to carry MSNBC in hi-def. Rupert Murdoch and News Corp don't own DirecTV anymore but I wonder if some of the old feelings remain. Either that or the provider doesn't want to waste precious bandwidth on such an infrequently viewed channel.

Today: A Terribly, Terribly Sad Day For The Lutheran Church

Friday August 21st, 2009 - Today marks a terribly, terribly sad day in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Christianity in general. I left the ELCA a few years ago for a variety of reasons but this situation was chief among them as it was clear that something like this was coming.

As a Christian I know that all of this has been foretold and that we're to expect some very dark days to come. I guess it's just strange to experience it firsthand. I never really expected it to begin during my lifetime. The press release below is from the ELCA. It speaks for itself. Pray.

ELCA NEWS SERVICE - August 21, 2009

ELCA Assembly Opens Ministry to Partnered Gay and Lesbian Lutherans

MINNEAPOLIS (ELCA) - The 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted today to open the ministry of the church to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in committed relationships.

The action came by a vote of 559-451 at the highest legislative body of the 4.6 million member denomination. Earlier the assembly also approved a resolution committing the church to find ways for congregations that choose to do so to "recognize, support and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships," though the resolution did not use the word "marriage."

The actions here change the church's policy, which previously allowed gays and lesbians into the ordained ministry only if they remained celibate.

Throughout the assembly, which opened Aug. 17, the more than 1,000 voting members have debated issues of human sexuality. On Wednesday they adopted a social statement on the subject as a teaching tool and policy guide for the denomination.

The churchwide assembly of the ELCA is meeting here Aug. 17-23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. About 2,000 people are participating, including 1,045 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is "God's work. Our hands."

Before discussing the thornier issues of same-gender unions in the ordained ministry, the assembly approved, by a vote of 771-230, a resolution committing the church to respect the differences of opinions on the matter and honor the "bound consciences" of those who disagree.

During the hours of discussion, led by ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, the delegates paused several times each hour for prayer, sometimes as a whole assembly, sometimes in small groups around the tables where the voting members of the assembly sat, debated and cast their votes.

Discussion here proved that matters of sexuality will be contentious throughout the church. A resolution that would have reasserted the church's current policy drew 344 votes, but failed because it was rejected by 670 of the voting members.

Pastor Richard Mahan of the ELCA West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod was among several speakers contending that the proposed changes are contrary to biblical teaching. "I cannot see how the church that I have known for 40 years can condone what God has condemned," Mahan said, "Nowhere does it say in scripture that homosexuality and same sex marriage is acceptable of God."

But others said a greater acceptance of people who are gay and lesbian in the church was consistent with the Bible. Bishop Gary Wollersheim of the ELCA Northern Illinois Synod said, "It's a matter of justice, a matter of hospitality, it's what Jesus would have us do." Wollersheim said he had been strongly influenced by meetings with youth at youth leadership events in his synod, a regional unit of the ELCA.

Some speakers contend that the actions taken here will alienate ELCA members and cause a drop in membership. But Allison Guttu of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod said, "I have seen congregations flourish while engaging these issues; I have seen congregations grow recognizing the gifts of gay and lesbian pastors."

During discussion of resolutions on implementation of the proposals, Bishop Kurt Kusserow of the ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod asked that the church make clear provision in its policies to recognize the conviction of members who believe that this church cannot call or roster people in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monagamous, same-gender relationship. A resolution that the denomination consider a proposal for how it will exercise flexibility within its existing structure and practices to allow Lutherans in same gender relationship to be approved for professional service in the church. That resolution passed by a vote of 667-307.

President Obama Acted Stupidly

Just when you thought President Obama's 5th press conference since taking office (and the 4th in prime time) couldn't get any worse... He's getting ready to wrap things up and then takes one last question.

A reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times asks a (clearly staged and prepped for) question about the recent controversy between Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge Mass Police Officer James Crowley.

If you're not up on the story Gates appeared to be breaking in to a house with another man and a neighbor called police. It was in fact Gates house which a sticky door. Office Crowley responds to the call, investigates and confirms Gates identity. This is where things get cloudy and ugly. Gates calls Crowley a racist and claims he was profiled. Crowley says Gates crossed the line, followed him onto a public street and gave him a ton of attitude. Crowley arrests Gates for disorderly conduct. Gates is a distinguished college professor. Crowley an experienced police officer who, strangely, teaches a course in racial profiling.

The charges were dropped the next day, likely because cooler heads, on reflection, saw this thing for what it was... one of those bizarre "misalignment of the planets" type things. A regrettable misunderstanding where both sides probably overreacted a bit. One that should have blown over quickly. But not now.

The President, with no real knowledge of the situation, comments that the police behaved stupidly. Really? Why in the world would the President of the United States think he could or should make a comment on a cloudy civil matter in Massachusetts?

A situation that should have and otherwise would have quickly blown over has now been elevated to a not at all positive discussion about race in America. Many will now feel required to take a stand and pick a side. All because of a terribly misguided and irresponsible comment by the President. Nice job, sir.

Lakers Win... yea.

In the interest of full disclosure... I've never liked Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson nor many other elements of the LA Lakers organization. I could go into why... but why?
I suppose one could accuse me (inaccurately) of bitter grapes as my team, The San Antonio Spurs, got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. No, I wasn't happy when that happened. I also don't remember any riots when the Spurs won any of their 4 national titles.

Lakers roll to 15th title behind Bryant

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers have won their 15th championship, beating the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA finals.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points Sunday night in winning his fourth title, the first without Shaquille O'Neal. It was the 10th championship for coach Phil Jackson, moving him past Boston's Red Auerbach for the most all-time.

Police: 8 officers hurt in Laker victory melees

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Downtown celebrations after the Los Angeles Lakers' championship win turned ugly as darkness fell, with some throwing rocks and bottles that left five police officers with minor injuries.
Police also said Monday that police cruisers were damaged, windows on public buses were smashed and fires were set in the street. Seventeen people were arrested Sunday night after police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, authorities said.