Friday, July 28, 2017

Comerica Park in Detroit introduces biometric readers to identify regular attenders

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17

This blogger finds it hard to believe that lineups for tickets at Comerica Park are very long, given the way the Detroit Tigers are playing this year. However, the world doesn't seem to want to pass up an opportunity to soften up people for accepting the mark of the beast. As reported by Frank Witsil of the Detroit Free Press, July 25, 2017:

If you’ve ever had to stand in one of those looong lines to get into Comerica Park, you might have wanted to give the gate attendant the finger.

Well, now you can. Sort of.

The Detroit Tigers are trying out a new system that identifies you by your fingerprints, similar to the newest smartphones, to lessen the time it takes to get through security.

The Detroit stadium is among the first nationwide to get biometric readers. The Tigers debuted the system Monday at Gate A — the main gate across from the Fox Theatre.

"Once you are in the system, so to speak, you have the ability to enter different venues and perform different transactions," said Ed O'Brien, the head of sports business development at New York-based Clear, which installed the system. "The way we view our long-term sports fan experience is, you'd never have to carry a wallet again."

To use the biometric system, you must register your fingerprints, which is free. Registration at Comerica was offered Monday and will be available at a kiosk on game days. To sign up, which takes about five minutes, you'll need your ID and to correctly answer a series of questions, the company said. You then scan all 10 fingers.

Once your information is in the system, you are good to go, and you never have to register again.

In addition, the ballpark will allow registered users to bring one adult with a ticket and an unlimited number of unregistered children with tickets through the line with them.

The purpose of the exceptions, O'Brien said, is to benefit season-ticket holders and families. As more ticket holders register, the company plans to add more special entrance lanes. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Beyond stadium entry, Clear envisions a world in which people use their fingertips — and eyes — to buy concessions, enter offices and perhaps even start their cars.

In addition to baseball, O'Brien said the company is in conversations with other professional sports arenas in Detroit — Ford Field and Little Caesars Arena — to add the technology.

The biometric reader at Comerica is similar to what Clear uses with the Transportation Security Administration and has installed at airports, including Detroit Metro, to get flyers through security faster.

Clear has biometric scanners at 30 major airports, including those in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.

A privately held company that started in 2010, Clear also has technology that scans eyes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chilean Senate votes to relax some restrictions on abortion

The measure seems reasonable, watch for the boundaries to be expanded, as has happened elsewhere. As reported by Associated Press, July 21, 2017:

SANTIAGO — Chilean lawmakers took a major step toward legalising abortion in some cases on Wednesday, a dramatic development in one of the region’s most traditionally conservative countries.

In a marathon session lasting well past midnight, the Senate voted to allow abortions when a mother’s life is in danger, when the foetus is not viable and in cases of rape.

A version of the bill was approved in 2016 by the Chamber of Deputies. The legislation will now be returned to Chile’s lower house to be reconciled with a version passed there. That is expected to happen within the week, allowing it to become law.

President Michelle Bachelet supports the measure and has said she would sign it the law. But opposition lawmakers from the conservative political bloc Chile Vamos say they would appeal it to Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal, which could rule it unconstitutional.

Chile is one of just four countries that currently prohibit abortion in all cases. A handful of others have rules so restrictive that they amount to de facto bans.

Views have been shifting in Chile on a number of social issues that were once taboo. The predominantly Roman Catholic nation began to allow divorce only in 2004, and in 2015, Congress recognised civil unions for same-sex couples.

The changing attitudes mark a generational shift as younger people born after the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet come of age. The trend has been more evident since a wave of student protests demanding education reform began in 2011 and has accelerated as a string of priest sex-abuse scandals prompted many Chileans to question Catholic doctrine.

Currently women who get abortions in Chile are subject to up to five years in jail, as are doctors or medical personnel who assist with the procedure. A woman who arrives at a hospital with signs that she has had an abortion is supposed to be reported to the police, or the hospital faces sanction.

“I am not in favour of abortion, but I think we are talking about three exceptional cases,” said lawmaker Carolina Goic, who heads the center-left Christian Democratic Party. “The State’s answer cannot be simply sending women to jail.”

“It’s a historic morning,” Bachelet said in front of the presidential palace after the bill passed. “The Senate approved depenalising abortion in three cases, which means we can be a country where women can make the best decision possible when faced with such situations.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Never incriminate yourself in front of a parrot

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. Ecclesiastes 10:20

When will criminals ever learn? If you're planning to commit a crime with a parrot in the vicinity, make sure you get rid of the parrot. As reported by Kenza Bryan of the London Independent, July 21, 2017 (links in original):

A woman has been convicted of murdering her husband after his last words were apparently repeated by the pet parrot who witnessed the attack.

Glenna Duram, 49, shot Martin Duram, 46, five times before turning the gun on herself in a failed suicide attempt.

Ms Duram was found guilty of first-degree murder after eight hours of deliberation by Newaygo County jury in Michigan.

Her husband’s African Grey parrot, Bud, may have repeated the pair’s final conversation to Mr Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller.

Ms Keller took the parrot in after the attack in May 2015, and has said: “I believe with all my heart that those are the last words of Marty.”

“I recognise two different voices screaming and yelling and it always ends with ‘don’t f*****g shoot’.”

The parrot has not been used in court proceedings, though this possibility was initially considered by the prosecutor.

The victim’s mother, Lillian Duram, reportedly said: "That bird picks up everything and anything, and it's got the filthiest mouth around."

Ms Duram will be sentenced on 28 August on a murder and firearm charge.

African Greys are known for their ability to mimic human speech and can have the cognitive ability of a young child.

Parrots of this species are native to equatorial Africa and weigh 400g on average.

An African Grey was considered for use as evidence by the defence in a 1993 murder trial.

It repeated “Richard, no, no, no,” suggesting defendant Gary Joseph Rasp was not guilty, though Rasp was convicted and it was ruled the evidence could not be used.

50 years ago: Pope Paul VI visits Turkey

Those too young to remember a pope before John Paul II might be surprised to know that he wasn't the first Roman Catholic pontiff to visit other lands in efforts to promote ecumenism. On July 25, 1967, Pope Paul VI arrived in Istanbul to begin a two-day visit to Turkey; he visited the Orthodox Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul--becoming the first Roman Catholic pontiff to enter an Eastern Orthodox cathedral since 1054--and exchanged vows of ecumenical unity with Patriarch Atheganoras I. Pope Paul also addressed greetings to President Cevdet Sunay and the government of Turkey; Armenian Patriarch Snork Kalustian; and the leaders of the local Muslim and Jewish communities.

On July 26, Pope Paul concluded his visit by celebrating eucharist at the Church of St Anthony in Istanbul before visiting Ephesus and Smyrna. He addressed messages to Roman Catholic and Orthodox believers in Ephesus, and visited the Cathedral of St. John in Smyrna.

Pope Paul VI's visit to Turkey was another step toward religious unity, which has, in the 50 years since, expanded from a unity of visible "Christianity" to encompass a unity of all religions--which the Lord Jesus Christ will destroy with the brightness of his coming (II Thessalonians 2:8).


Thursday, July 20, 2017

10 years ago: The death of Tammy Faye Bakker

So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof. Proverbs 1:19

On July 20, 2007, Tammy Faye Messner, formerly Tammy Faye Bakker, died at the age of 65. Mrs. Messner, born Tamara LaValley, was the daughter of Pentecostal preachers, and was married to Jim Bakker from 1961-1992. The two founded the PTL Club (Praise the Lord) television program in 1974, and spent years preaching a false gospel of financial prosperity, using donations from viewers to finance their opulent lifestyle. The "ministry," which included the Heritage USA theme park, collapsed in sex and financial scandals in 1987, and Mr. Bakker went to prison for fraud. The couple divorced, and Mrs. Bakker married building contractor and family friend Roe Messner in 1993.

Mrs. Messner spent her final years promoting alternative medicine and becoming a sodomite icon, appearing in sodomy pride parades. She died after an 11-year battle with cancer, which I suspected may have been caused or exacerbated by chemicals from the outrageously large amounts of makeup she always covered herself with.

See my posts 25 years ago: The PTL scandal breaks, while Oral Roberts demands $8 million--or else! (March 17, 2012) and 25 years ago: PTL gives Jim Bakker the left foot of disfellowship (May 14, 2012).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

40 years ago: British sodomite newspaper is convicted of blasphemous libel

Be not deceived; God is not mocked; Galatians 6:7a

It's hard to believe that this happened in the United Kingdom as recently as 1977, but this can be filed under "Scenes I'd like to see--again." As reported by BBC News, July 11, 1977:

The Gay News and its editor Denis Lemon have been found guilty of blasphemous libel in the first case of its kind for more than 50 years.

The case was brought as a private prosecution by the secretary of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, Mary Whitehouse.

She objected to a poem and illustration published in the fortnightly paper last year about a homosexual centurion's love for Christ at the Crucifixion.

After the jury gave their 10-2 guilty verdict at the Old Bailey Mrs Whitehouse said: "I'm rejoicing because I saw the possibility of Our Lord being vilified. Now it's been shown that it won't be".

The poem, The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, by Professor James Kirkup, 54, was distributed to the jury and reporters. However, the judge, Mr Alan King-Hamilton, ordered that it could not be published.

Prosecuting Counsel John Smyth told the court: "it may be said that this is a love poem - it is not, it is a poem about buggery."

The defence argued that far from being "vile" and "perverted" the poem glorified Christ by illustrating that all of mankind could love him.

During the six-day trial columnist and TV personality Bernard Levin and novelist Margaret Drabble testified that the Gay News was a responsible paper that did not encourage illegal sexual practices.

Blasphemous libel is akin to the ecclesiastical charge of heresy - once punishable by death - and in the UK is an offence under common law and the 1697 Blasphemy Act.

The last time a case was brought in the UK was in 1921 when a Mr Gott was sentenced to nine months in prison for publishing a pamphlet that suggested that Christ looked like a clown as he entered Jerusalem.

Represented by playwright and novelist John Mortimer, QC, Mr Lemon, 32, sat silently in the dock as the verdict was given.
The aftermath, as reported by BBC News:

The next day Denis Lemon was given a nine-month suspended jail sentence and a £500 fine. The Gay News was fined £1,000 but with court costs the paper had to pay £10,000.
The paper and its editor appealed against the decision in spring 1978, but the Law Lords upheld the convictions.

A couple of days after the original trial two socialist newspapers published the offending poem as a protest against censorship.

The Gay News was launched by Denis Lemon and a team of five others in 1972 with very little funding or journalistic experience. By 1977 it had a circulation of 20,000.

Mr Lemon fell ill with an Aids-related illness and sold the paper in 1982 - it closed down in 1983.

He died in July 1994.