Daily Briefing

Today's news with biblical insight.

November 15, 2018

 

Top News

7. Trump endorses bipartisan criminal-justice reform bill (WaPo)

“Trump officially endorsed the First Step Act, which he said included “reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off our streets.” He urged lawmakers to send him a bill, saying: “I’ll be waiting with a pen.” 
“Today’s announcement shows that true bipartisanship is possible,” Trump said. “This is a big breakthrough for a lot of people. . . . They’ve been talking about this for many, many years.” 
"The new Senate package includes language that lowers mandatory minimum sentences for drug felonies, including reducing the “three strikes” penalty from life behind bars to 25 years. That provision would not be allowed to take place retroactively, a major concession from Democrats.”
 
Nick Note: Jimmy Dean introduced sausage-scented wrapping paper and Pres. Trump endorsed a bipartisan criminal-justice reform bill. Yesterday was a good day. Back in May, the House passed a version of this bill. However, that bill focused on “back end” reforms, such as easing inmates’ re-entry into communities and improving prison conditions. The Senate version would reduce mandatory sentence guidelines for certain drug crimes, allow more flexibility for judges in sentencing nonviolent drug offenders, and make retroactive the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. In the biblical narrative, the thief asked Jesus to remember him on the cross and Jesus asks us to remember the thief as we bear our cross (Luke 23:42Heb. 13:3). 2.2 million men and women in the US are incarcerated. 95 percent will be released; 600,000 will return to their communities this year. People in prison have done wrong and should pay for their crimes, but they shouldn’t be imprisoned once they leave the jail house. God has the capacity to transform sinners into saints, bring life from death, and turn prisoners into rulers of Egypt (Gen. 41). 
 

6. Michael Avenatti arrested in Los Angeles, denies domestic violence accusations (USA Today)

“Michael Avenatti, the attorney who rose to prominence representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal pursuit against President Donald Trump, was arrested Wednesday in Los Angeles following an allegation of domestic violence.
“Avenatti was taken into custody Wednesday after police responded to a domestic violence incident and took a report...
“In a statement through his law office, Avenatti denied wrongdoing: “I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night. Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. I look forward to being fully exonerated.”
 
Nick Note: Avenatti has been considering a 2020 presidential run against Pres. Trump. He has also challenged Donald Trump Jr. to a fight. While you are innocent until proven guilty here in the US, domestic violence is reprehensible. Approximately 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner here in the US. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Tragically, such acts are as old as the biblical narrative and as recent as today’s headlines (2 Sam 13). 
 

5. ‘Toxic’ Is Oxford’s Word of the Year. No, We’re Not Gaslighting You. (NY Times)

“Oxford Dictionaries has chosen “toxic” as its international word of the year, selecting it from a shortlist that included such politically inflected contenders as “gaslighting,” “incel” and “techlash.”
“Katherine Connor Martin, the company’s head of U.S. dictionaries, said there had been a marked uptick of interest in the word on its website over the past year. But the word was chosen less for statistical reasons, she said, than for the sheer variety of contexts in which it has proliferated, from conversations about environmental poisons to laments about today’s poisonous political discourse to the #MeToo movement, with its calling out of “toxic masculinity.”
 
Nick Note: Toxic – Britney Spears sings it and Oxford selected it as their word of the year. But is our world more toxic today than 100 years ago? In 1804, then Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton. Warren Harding was the first Baptist to serve as president of the United States (1921-1923). He was a known womanizer who fathered a daughter out of wedlock. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill poured 4.9 million barrels of oil into the gulf. And in 2000, the St. Louis Rams stole the Super Bowl from my Tennessee Titans. We have always lived in a toxic world but today many are walking around without a gas mask. Specifically, many don’t know what to make of our broken world. For the gas mask wearing Christian, we know our world is toxic but our God is good. This adjusts our expectations of the world and refines our purpose in the world. We don’t accept the toxicity but share about the God who has breathed new life into these dead bones. (1 John 3:18, Rom. 3:23, 2 Cor. 5:17-21)
 

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Cultural News

4. Robots Replacing Humans In Manufacturing? Not So Fast, New Study Says (Forbes)

“Some 1.7 million robots work alongside the world’s 345 million factory workers,according to estimates from the International Federation of Robotics and Goldman Sachs...The Drishti-A.T. Kearney study, for example, found that senior-level engineers spent more than one-third of their working hours manually gathering data about worker productivity and that humans continue to perform the majority of critical manufacturing tasks.
“The study suggests that the lack of data contributes to production defects, 68% of which are caused by human error. Better data, Akella said, could increase productivity, improve what is considered a reasonable standard of production quality, and prevent small errors from leading to large-scale product recalls.”
 
Nick Note: I’ll Be Missing You. I’m not gone yet, John Waite! Deloitte justreleased a new study that indicated 4.6 million new manufacturing jobs will be created over the next 10 years. 2.4 million of those will remain unfilled due to a skills shortage. However, disruption does appear on the horizon. McKinseyforecasts that up to one-third of workers could see their jobs disrupted within the next twelve years. 50 percent of the activities in the global economy could be automated by adopting existing technology. 38 percent of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years, according to a report. These numbers alarm many of us, but as the McKinsey report put it: “Technology destroys jobs but not work.” We can fear the future but we can also prepare for the future, which could ease some of the anxiety. Maintaining a teachable posture will be essential in this new, emerging economy. In the biblical narrative, we don’t read about robots but we do see progression. God’s creation starts in a garden and ends in a city (Revelation 21:2, Ecclesiastes 7:10).  

 
3. Study: Men with beards are more attractive (Fox8)

“Researched asked more than 8,500 women to rate men on their attractiveness as a long-term romantic partner. The study was published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
“Here’s how the facial hair rated: Heavy stubble (10 days); Full beards; Light stubble; Clean-shaven.”
“Beards may be more attractive to women when considering long‐term than short‐term relationships as they indicate a male’s ability to successfully compete socially with other males for resources,” the study concluded.”
 
Nick Note: Phil Collins Can’t Hurry Love and I can’t grow a beard. He insists You’ll Be In His Heart but I know a beard won’t be on my face. Bitterly, I digress. A 2013 study found that the longer the facial hair, the more masculine the man was perceived. However, another study found that bearded men were viewed as more aggressive and intimidating. They were rated as 36 percent less caring and 51 percent less cheerful than their clean-shaven brethren. In the biblical narrative, the shaving of the head and beard was considered a sign of mourning and sorrow (Job 1:20, Ez. 5:1). If someone wanted to humiliate a man, they shaved or plucked out his beard (2 Sam. 10:4, Lev. 14:8, Num. 6:9). The beard served as an external symbol connected to an internal condition.Jesus had a beard but he also gave attention to the heart (Is. 50:6, Matt. 5:21-22, 9:13, 23:24-25). A beard may indicate maturity but it doesn’t guarantee it. Like me, you may not be able to grow a beard but you can strengthen your character. Beards gray, attractiveness wanes, but a man who fears the Lord is to be praised.
 

News You Can Use

2. Mom Catches Tiny Tot Sneaking Pony Into House For Bathtime & Dies Laughing. (InspireMore)
 

Nick Note: Watch it here. “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds… (Pro. 27:23)”
 

1. Every Golf Interview Ever


Nick Note: Watch it here. “Do everything without complaining and arguing… (Phil. 2:14)”