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Jesus’s Wife

Archeologists who recently found what is being called the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife have made yet another startling discovery.

Just days ago, it was announced that the fragment of papyrus which contain the words, “Jesus said to them, my wife…” is in fact ancient, dating from between 659 and 859 A.D.

Now researchers say that the previously missing portion of that document has been found and translated. The complete text reads,

"Jesus said to them, my wife says either I start coming home at a reasonable hour or she’s leaving. These late-nights at the pub with the guys are getting out of hand. And what’s with this ‘disciples’ business? Of course these shnorers you hang with love you. Just because you pick up the check every time doesn’t make you some kind of deity. All they have to do is cry on your shoulder about how broke they are and you’re buying the next round. Talk about turning water into wine! Did you ever think of spending that money fixing up the house, or putting something away for a rainy day?

"Not to mention, these hangers-on you spend all your time with—what do they do all day? Don’t they have jobs? What do their wives say? The ones who have wives. A couple of them, honestly, give me the creeps. Have you seen how that Peter guy ogles the little boys? And Judas? That shmuck would sell his mother for a couple of pieces of silver. 

"And I don’t want to hear any more brave talk about giving up the carpentry shop and going on the road with this Messiah shtick you idiots cooked up after one too many. If you’re going to do it, do it and stop daydreaming about it. If you didn’t sleep in every other morning you’d have a decent business built up by now. We could use a few more loaves and fishes in the cupboard, you know. But go, do it already!

"And for God’s sake, if you’re really serious about this religious revival road show nonsense, make sure you include some women. Every time you men get going on something without consulting the wives, it’s a disaster. It’s bad enough what the priests are doing around here with the money lending and the corruption without you and your boyfriends adding a whole bunch of new problems. If anybody had paid attention to the women I guarantee we’d have put a stop to this nonsense a long time ago. But no, you macho guys are going to fix it all by yourselves. Good luck with that.

"For once in your life, Jesus, listen to your wife. This is not going to end well. You’re either going to get the authorities really pissed off, or more likely, you’re going to starve. Either way, If you keep going like this you’ll be dead by the time you’re 35."

Apr 5

Write Your Congressperson’s Donors

Dear Big Political Funder,

I read that, now that the Supreme Court has basically eliminated campaign finance limits, both political parties are asking their 500-700 biggest contributors to ante up even more.

That puts maybe 1,000 patriotic Americans  (you know who you are, even if the rest of us don’t) pretty much in control of who gets into Congress and how they vote, meaning you’re calling all the shots. (Full disclosure: I gave $25 to a candidate for the Colorado House last year.)

Since you are now in charge of the country, I figure it’s mostly pointless to continue writing to my Senator or Representative. Even if technically they’re supposed to be my employees, they report to you. So, I’m writing to you instead.

Like many Americans, I’m deeply concerned by this country’s growing income inequality. I know it’s probably not a subject you’re really interested in, given that you’re likely one of the biggest beneficiaries of the trend, but I’m appealing to you as a loyal American to do something to reverse it. Income inequality at historic levels might be really good for you, but it’s bad for the country as a whole.

Honestly, it wouldn’t be that hard to fix. Increasing the minimum wage would be a really good place to start. It’s fallen way behind inflation in recent years, and would help give working people a living wage and the dignity they deserve. With so many folks out of work for so long, finally restoring long-term unemployment insurance would help millions of people out. I’m almost reluctant to bring this up, but raising the top income tax rate on multi-millionaires like yourself is a really good idea. So is restoring a higher tax on capital gains, at least as high as the tax on income earned by working, and taxing inherited wealth at a higher level would help prevent the accumulation of riches in just a few hands. Oh, and while we’re at it, could you persuade the Congresspersons in your employ to keep working to perfect Obamacare rather than destroy it, so that all Americans can have affordable health care?

I know that all of these changes, while supported by most Americans, might reduce your own wealth somewhat, and that it’s probably pretty cheeky of me to be asking you to do that, but honestly, I don’t know where else to turn. My Representative and Senators don’t have time for me any more; they’re too busy asking you for money.

Look on the bright side when considering my request: if you get Congress to do what i’m asking, you’ll have less money to give to them, and they won’t be pestering you all the time for more. 

Sincerely,

Ed Stein 

Apr 4

Opening Day

Today is opening day at Coors Field. My Colorado Rockies take the field today, the bright promise of the new season already tarnished by the loss of three of their first four on the road to a mediocre Miami team. All the issues that bedeviled this team for the last three seasons have already made early appearances. The starting pitchers exited early, the relief pitching was cringe-worthy, and the supposedly high-powered offense couldn’t produce a timely hit.

After four games, the confident declarations of spring training (“With our talent, we should win at least 90 games”) are already being replaced with the usual excuses. We’re a mid-market team, we can’t match the payroll of the Dodgers or the Yankees, etc, we’ve put the best team on the field we can afford. etc. Many folks have pointed out that other payroll-limited teams seem to make an occasional splash in the post-season. Oakland and its Billy-ball system of finding undervalued players is often mentioned as a possible model for Colorado.

The team that’s often surprising left out of this conversation is the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards, one of baseball’s storied franchises and last year’s NL champion, somehow thrive in a market strikingly similar to Denver’s. In fact, by a number of standards, Denver’s fan base is larger, more robust and wealthier than the St. Louis market. St. Louis is a shrinking city, with a population of about 317,000, compared with Denver’s 650,000 and growing. The greater St. Louis metropolitan area and the greater Denver area are both in the neighborhood of 3,000,000. Denver has the advantage of a healthier economy, with the average household earning north of $61,000, compared to $52,000 in St. Louis.

So, what’s the difference? One is the willingness of ownership to spend more on players. The 2014 St. Louis payroll is $102 million, 14th in the majors, about middle of the pack, while Denver’s is an anemic $71,000,000, 25th out of 30 teams. The $31 million difference is a lot of money, but it hardly puts the St. Louis franchise in the company of New York, LA or Boston. They clearly can’t pay the premium for superstars the big-market teams can afford, yet the Cards have had success comparable to those teams. Apparently, they know a secret for finding and keeping players that has eluded the Denver management.

Since 1999, when the Rockies made Dan O’Dowd their general manager (you can, I hope, see where this is heading), the Cards have been in the playoffs ten times, won seven division titles, four National League pennants, and the World Series twice, in 2006 and 2011. The Rockies? One miraculous October and a World Series appearance. In that 15-year span, the Cards are 280 games over .500 during the regular season. The Rockies are minus 161, or 441 games worse than the Cards.

Despite that record, the management of the Rockies chose to renew O’Dowd’s contract after last season’s third consecutive last-place finish, praising him as the perhaps best GM in baseball. 

As much as I enjoy a summer night at Coors Field, sipping a cold brew and watching something that on occasion resembles major league baseball, perhaps it’s time to forego that pleasure until the ownership decides to go in a different direction. 

 

Child Obesity Rate Plummets

Federal health officials reported on Tuesday that the childhood obesity rate in this country has dropped a whopping 43% in the last decade. 

According to the survey, the obesity rate among children between the ages of 2 to 5 has plummeted. This is particularly welcome news, as scientists believe that the tendency toward obesity takes root at very young ages.

A number of factors may explain the surprising findings. A combination of state, local and national anti-obesity programs may be starting to have an effect in reversing a decades-long trend toward fatter Americans. First Lady Michelle Obama’s crusade to change eating and exercise habits may also have taken hold.. Children now consume fewer sugary beverages, and fewer calories overall, and they are getting more exercise.

Not so fast, counseled spokesmen for conservative political groups. It’s too early to credit the First Lady, whose efforts began after the trend to slimmer kids had already begun, said a leading Tea Party Republican strategist. And other factors may better explain the decline.

"We started cutting nutrition programs long before the Obamas got interested in the issue. Our push to reduce food stamps and unemployment benefits all had a big effect, too. And don’t forget the last six years of austerity that kept so many parents from getting back to work. Our program has succeeded where so many well-meaning but misguided initiatives by liberal do-gooders have failed.

"Nobody’s every found a weight-loss program that works as well as starvation." 

Feb 3

Super Bowl XLVIII: An Ungentlemanly Performance

Their parents should be ashamed. The Seattle Seahawks are no gentlemen.

Throughout the game, the Seahawk defenders persisted in hitting Bronco players when they were trying their best to make plays. They blasted receivers, gang-tackled running backs and repeatedly harassed quarterback Peyton Manning, a shockingly inconsiderate treatment of a future Hall of Famer.

Despite the fine example set by the Denver team on the other side of the ball, the Seattle players refused to adopt a more genteel approach. Denver gave Seattle receivers ample space and allowed quarterback Russell Wilson both the time and the throwing lanes to make completions. They never even attempted to disrupt the timing of the Seattle offense, or to take the ball away.  At the beginning of the second half, Denver smartly escorted kick returner Percy Harvin the length of the field to the Denver end zone. True, one Bronco player accidentally made contact with the fleet receiver during the return, but was seen apologizing afterward.

You’d have thought that Seattle, having been shown how the game is played by well-bred young men, would have adopted a less confrontational style, but the brutes ignored the display of proper decorum set by the Bronco eleven. They never allowed Mr. Manning, perhaps the greatest quarterback ever too don cleats, nor his record-setting cadre of talented receivers, any opportunity to showcase their formidable talents, and they rudely took the ball away on numerous occasions. 

Perhaps most egregious of all, the officials appeared to condone the mayhem on the field, turning a blind eye to the repeated incidents of churlish and violent behavior committed by the Seahawks. As a result of the indifference of the referees, a number of players sustained minor injuries. It’s a wonder more participants were not severely injured, given the complete lack of concern for the safety of the contestants.

I’m confident that as the years go by, despite the lopsided score, the Broncos will be remembered fondly as the team that refused to succumb to the temptation to meet violence with violence, and remained true to their refined natures despite the extreme provocation by the Seattle bullies.

One hopes that the National Football League, if it truly wishes to reform the game and to continue to distance it from its barbarous past, will take note of the gracious and dignified style the Broncos steadfastly maintained throughout the contest. They may have lost on the scoreboard, but they won a victory for civility.

Freshly Squeezed comic strip for January 10. Read the adventures of Liz, Sam, Irv, Sarah and Nate daily at GoComic.com/freshlysqueezed.

Freshly Squeezed comic strip for January 10. Read the adventures of Liz, Sam, Irv, Sarah and Nate daily at GoComic.com/freshlysqueezed.

Jan 9

Christie Apologizes

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized today to the people of his state, saying he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by revelations that members of his administration had ordered lane closings on the George Washington Bridge for political revenge.

"People who know me as the vain, petty and vindictive politician and man that I am also know that I would never have allowed this to happen if I’d known my top aide would leave such an obvious paper trail. I’ve been careful my entire political life to make certain that the fact that I’m at heart a spiteful prick is completely hidden from the public.

"I apologize to the people of New Jersey, and especially to the residents of Fort Lee for the inept coverup by my staff. The people who elected me expect and deserve a governor whose closest advisors allow him to perform mean-spirited and malicious gotchas with impunity.

"I will be meeting with the mayor of Fort Lee, whose town was turned into an impassable parking lot by the lane closures, to personally apologize for not warning the worthless little shmuck in advance what would happen if he endorsed my opponent during my re-election campaign. That was an unfortunate oversight, and the staffer who failed to send that message has been fired. 

"After a thorough investigation, I want to assure the people of New Jersey and the rest of the country that everyone involved in this sordid affair, with the exception of myself, of course, has agreed to fall on his and/or her sword to protect my pursuit of the Republican nomination for president. I hope that I am now able to put this behind me, and that we have all learned a valuable lesson from this sordid affair, especially anyone stupid enough to oppose me in the future."

Jan 8

GOP Takes on Poverty

The Republican Party, stung by a widespread perception that it cares only about the wealthy, has decided to recast itself as a poverty fighter.

Party leaders are now marching in lockstep to redefine the party’s approach. Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have spoken out recently, as has Representative Paul Ryan, framing the issue as a failure of the Obama administration to adequately address the problem.

Ryan says that the government safety net has “failed miserably,” and Rubio adds that the anti-poverty programs already in place fail to “deal with the structural problem.”

An internal memo recently obtained by this reporter details the GOP’s newly-minted approach.

"We must rethink our attitude toward existing poverty programs," the memo states, "especially food stamps, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage. Every one of these programs is too generous to a fault, sustaining the poor at a bare subsistence level while failing to do anything to reduce the ranks of the destitute. Taken together, they create a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty. 

"By eliminating these programs entirely, along with the school lunch program, we can quickly and humanely starve the neediest among us (who, by the way, tend to vote disproportionally Democratic), with the simultaneous benefit of reducing the deficit by tens of billions of dollars, which would allow us to cut taxes for the richest American even further.

"This approach will be especially effective when packaged with the repeal of Obamacare. Allowing the millions dying of starvation access to medical care, prolonging their miserable existence for no good reason, would be unspeakably cruel, not to mention counterproductive in the extreme.

"Taken together, we estimate that these policy initiatives will virtually eliminate the poor in this country within a year and a half, just in time for the 2016 election."

Those Zany Colorado Sheriffs

The New York Times ran a front page story today about the refusal of some sheriffs in Colorado to enforce the new (and embarrassingly limited) gun laws enacted in the response to the shootings at the theaters in Aurora, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine (Take your pick. There’s lots to choose from). Because, you know, we wouldn’t want to make it any harder for some disgruntled high school debater to shoot his classmates.

I’M SO LONELY
I feel sorry for the unattached with nobody to warm them during the long winter nights. Another cartoon for my new experiment in webcomics, CosmicLimit.com. Sign up to receive the cartoons in your inbox as they’re posted.

I’M SO LONELY

I feel sorry for the unattached with nobody to warm them during the long winter nights. Another cartoon for my new experiment in webcomics, CosmicLimit.com. Sign up to receive the cartoons in your inbox as they’re posted.