Certain high-profile Christians have been in the news for questioning or leaving their faith. Science is the worst excuse.Christian blogs are abuzz with news that well-known author Joshua Harris has abandoned his faith. More recently, contemporary Christian singer Marty Sampson has been questioning what he believes. Some reactions:Franklin Graham on Christian ‘leaders’ who renounce faith: For shame (WND). This article by WND staff shares reactions by Christian leader Franklin Graham, who says they will have to answer to God, and by Fox religious news reporter and talk show host Todd Starnes, who calls on fellow believers to pray for them.Questions for Hillsong leader who renounced his faith (WND). Michael Brown is incredulous that Harris and Sampson allege that Christians never talk about difficulties in the Bible. Brown says that these topics are widely discussed in apologetics circles, and have been for millennia. Harris apparently pointed to science as one of the causes of his apostasy, saying “I want genuine truth. Not the ‘I just believe it’ kind of truth. Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion.” Brown retorts,Well, I’m thrilled to hear he wants “genuine truth” as opposed to simply taking things by faith. But I must ask once more, “What Christian world has he been living in?”Is it just me and my colleagues and the people who follow my ministry who want “genuine truth”? Who are willing to ask the hard questions? Who actually encourage honest seeking? (These are rhetorical questions. The answer is, “Certainly not! There are countless millions who want more than just a simplistic, ‘shut off your brain’ kind of faith.”)As for science “piercing the truth of every religion,” I will simply say this. If Marty and I were standing next to wall of solid, academic Christian books responding to scientific challenges and that wall of books collapsed, we would not survive the avalanche.What is happening in Christianity? (John Cooper, on Facebook). Christian singer Cooper of the band Skillet blames the church for giving celebrities more influence than their spiritual maturity deserves. Cooper was featured on Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program on August 14.A Failure of Faith Formation: What We Learn from Public Disavowals of Christianity (Breakpoint). John Stonestreet chastises churches that teach a flimsy faith of “moralistic therapeutic deism” instead of theology. He has no issues with having doubts; every Christian does at times. “Apparently, he was in a church where no one was talking about the questions he struggled with,” he says. “The church failed him.”Science, he says, “keeps piercing the truth of every religion.” I’m not completely sure what that even means, but it seems to buy into the classic science vs. faith narrative. It’s just not true that science is ultimately opposed to faith. It’s not true historically, nor is it true today. Faith doesn’t need to reject critical investigation.How Science Shapes Culture: The Case of Marty Sampson (Evolution News). Editor David Klinghoffer, an orthodox Jew, looks at Sampson’s questioning as a fruit of materialistic science:The premise of everything the Center for Science & Culture does is that science shapes culture, just as culture shapes science. The reigning materialism of our culture, in the media and in academia, warps scientific thinking, including about biological origins. And that feeds right back into shaping how people feel and think about other matters, including their faith. With the story of Marty Sampson, taken simply at face value, that premise would seem to have received another confirmation.A Strange Time to Lean on DarwinPotential apostates are often lured away from the Bible because of scientific claims. They are led to believe that science has proved Darwinism and that the Earth and the universe are billions of years old, casting doubt on Genesis. It’s not clear how much this was a factor in the present cases, but to the extent that Harris and Sampson (or any others) began to wobble because of science, they must have been unaware of the quicksand that their scientific ground is turning out to be. Despite scientists’ bluffing confidence and media’s triumphalism, evolution is still a theory in crisis.On August 5 here at CEH, Jerry Bergman reported on two prominent defections from Darwinism: University of Oklahoma physics professor Dr. Michael Strauss, and Yale professor David Gelernter. Evolution News has also been following individual and group movements away from Darwinism:Abandoning Darwinism: Gelernter Talks with Meyer, Berlinski (ENV). Peter Robinson interviewed David Gelernter, Stephen Meyer and David Berlinski to try to understand how highly-educated and knowledgeable professors could abandon Darwin, and why. The interview was prompted by Gelernter’s bold article at the Clarement Review of Books, “Giving Up Darwin.”How Does a Religious Studies Professor Become a Darwinian Skeptic? (ENV). Robert F. Shedinger, a professor of religious studies at Luther College in Iowa, is another of many educated people, including Michael Behe, Phillip Johnson and others featured at the Discovery Institute, who abandoned their unquestioned faith in Darwinism when they dug into it. Shedinger says he was “shocked and intrigued” by the weakness of Darwinism’s foundations once he began reading its supporters’ key works:To my utter amazement, I found this literature to be filled with caveats, hesitations, grand claims backed up by a dearth of empirical evidence, and most significantly to me, “religious” terms such as orthodoxy, heresy, blasphemy, and dogma. It became clear that a century and a half after Darwin, no one really understands the mechanisms by which the evolutionary process unfolds, and therefore that the ID position cannot simply be set aside as of no value. It has just as much of a chance of being true as the materialist Darwinian view — and probably a better chance.Have Religion Scholars Been Deceived by Darwin? (ENV). In this follow up article, Shedinger proposes that religious leaders have been snookered into thinking Darwinism is scientifically necessary to accept. Some preachers and colleges bow the knee to Darwinism because of its hubristic claims to scientific fact.One thing that initially surprised me was the degree to which well-known religion scholars were willing to fully capitulate to Darwinian evolution and attempt to find ways to fit their religious reflections around it. Now that I understand the ideological nature of this grand narrative of Darwinian triumph and the force of its perpetuation in academic culture, I am no longer so surprised. These scholars must capitulate to Darwinism in order to be taken seriously within the academy where dissent from Darwinism brands one as an anti-scientific religious zealot not to be taken seriously. Yet in their rush to capitulate, these scholars end up subverting religion, the very topic of their academic work. Have these scholars been deceived by Darwin?The deception that evidence supports Darwinism is perhaps only exceeded by the fear of being thought a fool by the scientific establishment for denying evolution. And as David Gelernter observed, “To challenge Darwinism is to take your life in your hands” (ENV).Note to prospective apostates: You had better be sure of what “science” is offering before abandoning what Luke promised his audience, “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).If you are wobbling in your faith, please give us your attention. To begin with, everyone has problems. Everyone has questions. You should not be surprised that there are difficulties in the Bible, and questions that are hard to answer. Theologians and thoughtful laymen have wondered how God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility work together. They have struggled to watch man’s inhumanity to man, and to harmonize human suffering with a loving God. Creation scientists tackle a host of questions about fossils, adaptation, and the ages of physical processes. None of this is a secret. You should watch former atheist Lee Strobel tackle some of the big questions in his book and film, “The Case for Faith.” It’s OK to ask hard questions and seek answers, as long as you do it honestly, and are not looking for rationalizations to support a previous commitment to apostasy. But do you really think materialistic scientists are in a better position to address the big questions? Look at what they believe:There is no reason, purpose, or goal to anything, including science.Nothing banged and became everything.Cosmologists believe they only can observe 5% of what exists.They simplistically think that if a body has water, life will “emerge.”They rely entirely on the Stuff Happens Law to explain the intricacies of cells and all life.The Stuff Happens Law is not science, it is the opposite of science! In addition, many of them believe in a multiverse, which is not only completely outside the bounds of possible observation, but is a logical absurdity that guarantees absurdities will happen, like brains popping into existence. They think space aliens are everywhere, when no life has ever been found beyond Earth. They are completely baffled by the origin of life, attributing it to pure dumb luck, which is outrageously far beyond impossible. Their faith is light-years more unreasonable than anything you could find problematic in the Bible. See the probability of getting one short protein by chance in this video, “The Amoeba’s Journey.” One protein! The simplest cell would need hundreds of them, plus a genetic code, a membrane, and much more.Don’t think that apostasy will lift you from religion to science, or from the miraculous to the scientifically provable. Scientism is full of supernaturalism and miracles! Materialists see the universe and life, with all its beauty and design, as products of chance. What Biblical miracle could ever be as incredible as that? And what about the mind, consciousness, logic and reason? Those are not made of atoms. They are supernatural. If you abandon trust in the Word of God, you are jumping from a warm pan into a blazing fire.I tried to think of an analogy to try to put your quandary into perspective. Try this one, imperfect as it is. You have some questions about the Bible and Christianity. Understood. But visualize a barren desert of sand, in which people are wandering around, looking for a way to get out. In this desert, there are some boxcars lying upright in the sand, facing various directions. At the door of the boxcars are charlatans calling out to the naive, telling them they know the way out of the desert. Some stationary boxcars are full of people; others less so. One of the shiniest and biggest trains is labeled “science” – it is loaded with people, and looks like the popular one to board! Get on that one and you will be thought well of; nobody will call you funny names. You balk when you hear some of them saying the five absurdities listed above, but you are tempted to go with the flow, because the “science” train has also demonstrated some ability to move a few feet before getting stuck in the sand. Big groups of people organize to push on it from the rear. You hear the engineers arguing about which direction they need to go to get out, but you feel hopeful seeing that they are all confident they will make it some day.Off to the side is one plain-looking train that actually has an engine, and lies on a solid track. You’ve watched it take off and return empty. The cars are not fancy, and the seats are hard. You have a lot of questions about the reliability of this train, but the Instruction Manual tells about a great cloud of witnesses to its trustworthiness; some of their stories are told in the manual. They say the Engineer did miracles and rose from the dead. The Engineer speaks words of truth and love, and says things no one else could possibly know. He warns of a coming judgment, and says that this train is the way, the truth, and the life. The other trains, he says, lead to destruction and death. You can board for free, but you have to trust the Engineer, and choose it against all the other train cars sitting on the sand without tracks.Choose you this day whom you will serve. If you follow the other apostates, then like Franklin Graham says, “Shame on them,” he said. “You’ll stand before God one day and give an account to him.” Never choose your beliefs on the basis of popularity, or because of the fear of rejection. Benjamin Disraeli said, “Error is often more earnest than truth.” Jesus said that the way is narrow that leads to life, and the way is broad that leads to destruction.If you are still struggling, there are apologetics ministries in abundance that can answer any hard questions you might have. Try Stand to Reason and Cross Examined. Watch Illustra Media‘s excellent films and browse the free videos at The John 10:10 Project. Once you become convinced of the emptiness of scientism, next become convinced of intelligent design, then of theism, then of a personal God, then of Jesus Christ, and the veracity of the Bible. Follow the signposts at our Site Map. At that point, it’s up to you; will you abandon what you can see to be true (despite any remaining questions), or take a step of faith in the direction the evidence points?One more thing. Please check your motives for questioning the Word of God. Do you really want the truth, or do you want to be thought well of by the world? Here’s a thought experiment that is historically credible. There were probably some really nice Baal worshippers in Canaan who were very smart and attractive, and knew how to put on a good sales pitch for joining their cult. “Why do you want to follow that old man Moses? His way is hard; that’s no fun! His people are narrow-minded and not politically correct. We are inclusive; you can have your god and ours, too! Come with us and we can party! We have lots of experts who can teach you all about the science of Baal. Moses teaches a weird religion that all the world’s experts reject. All the smart people are with us. Don’t be so backwards. Don’t be such a prude!”Those stupid-looking idols of Baal now lie in the dust of the ancient Middle East. God’s Word endures. It’s an anvil that has broken many hammers. (Visited 469 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is providing $200,000 for county Farm Bureau-led projects that help improve water quality in local communities. With additional matching funds from partnering organizations, these projects will provide more than $460,000 in total resources.The county water quality grants are part of Ohio Farm Bureau’s comprehensive Water Quality Action Plan launched in September 2014. OFBF has dedicated more than $2 million in member funds for projects and measures that help protect the environment and preserve farmers’ ability to produce food. This is the second year Ohio Farm Bureau has provided funding for county water quality projects.“Last year’s water quality projects were such a success that Ohio Farm Bureau decided to provide funding again and increased the amount by $50,000,” said Jordan Hoewischer, OFBF director of water quality and research. “These projects are spread out across the state with participation from dozens of partnering organizations that include conservation, government, university, health and private entities.”County Farm Bureaus receiving funding and their projects include the following.Butler County: A new 8-acre Agricultural Conservation Education & Demonstration area will showcase best management practices in agricultural conservation, including cover crops, field buffers and grassed waterways.Clermont County: The “Cover Crops for Southwest Ohio” booklet will be updated for a second printing of 1,000 copies. The educational booklet shows how farmers can introduce cover crops into their row crop fields to improve soil permeability and reduce soil erosion.Cuyahoga County: A demonstration heavy-use site and riparian area will be installed as part of educational workshops for horse and small livestock farm owners as well as the public. The site will protect the headwaters of Big Creek.Darke County: Grant money will be used toward the design and building of a commercial 12-row dragline toolbar that will allow livestock producers to apply liquid manure to a crop instead of purchasing sidedress nitrogen.Delaware County: Devices will be placed on county farms to determine the amount of phosphorus lost through subsurface drainage to illustrate how land management affects runoff from farmers’ cropland. Billboards also are being placed throughout the county showcasing the conservation efforts of local Farm Bureau farmers.Erie and Huron counties: Plans are for conducting several educational and hands-on conservation activities, including workshops at Old Woman Creek, equipment upgrades to monitor streams in the Firelands area and manure and soil health field days.Fayette County: A canoe float down the Paint Creek Watershed will allow county residents to explore local rivers while learning about water quality through educational stops along the way.Gallia County: Farm Bureau members will be able to rent a no-till drill at a discounted rate for the next three years to put in cover crops, which help keep nutrients in the ground and reduce runoff.Jackson-Vinton counties: A multi-county pesticide application class will allow participants to be certified or recertified on the proper use and application of pesticides and how they impact water quality.Jefferson County: The Upper Ohio River Watershed Community Outreach Campaign is a multi-faceted approach to educating the public and leaders about water quality challenges. It includes a legislative reception, media campaign, student essay contest, community survey on general water quality knowledge and an educational Ohio River cruise featuring speaker Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Waters and winner of the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year Award.Knox County: Improvements will be made to the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper (ONMRK) app, which helps farmers comply with state laws by recording their fertilizer or manure application as well as the current weather conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours.Licking County: Funding will go toward a pilot program to help identify and replace faulty aerator motors in home septic systems in areas with potential water quality issues.Lorain County: Data will be collected of runoff water at dozens of sites throughout the county, with an emphasis on agricultural areas. The data will be compared with different farming practices and help educate farmers and landowners based on findings.Lucas County: The second phase of the Collaborative Look at Evaluating Available Nutrients (C.L.E.A.N) project will complete a detailed analysis of how nitrogen moves through the soil following varying agronomic practices and grower preferences in an effort to reduce nitrogen runoff.Mahoning County: Workshops and a brochure will show how soil sampling is one of the simplest cost-effective measures landowners and farmers can perform to ensure they are protecting water quality and saving money before they begin applying fertilizer.Putnam County: On an agricultural bus tour of the county, residents will see the different ways the agricultural community works together on water quality issues, including seeing how a two-stage ditch works, what a working hog farm does to manage its manure and how water quality affects a hops farm.Scioto County: Area Farm Bureau members will be able to rent a lime spreader at a significantly discounted rate. In the past, the equipment was unavailable to rent anywhere in the county. All equipment renters will receive written information about the 4R Nutrient Program — applying nutrients at the right source, right rate, right time and right place.Seneca County: Water quality stakeholders and others will have a better understanding of where nutrients are entering the Western Lake Erie Basin through a series of events, including an educational bus tour, manure nutrient sampling and consultation, on-farm visits and quarterly scientific nutrient management mailers.Tuscarawas, Carroll and Harrison counties: Funding will help support riparian landowner workshops, water quality signs for use at local conservation events and the Lake and Land Festival, a one-day conservation and environmental stewardship event at Atwood Lake Park.
The Goa government has imposed a ban on the usage of single-use plastic in its offices from October 2. In a circular issued on September 25, Shripad Arlekar, under secretary of the general administration department, said, “The Government of Goa has decided to ban the usage of single-use plastic water bottles, glasses, plates, etc, in the government offices, canteens, meetings and functions from October 2, 2019 onwards.” Stating that directive has been issued following approval from Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Mr. Arlekar said the government wants to promote eco-friendly and re-usable items in the coastal state. Last month, the Goa Legislative Assembly passed a bill banning manufacture, sale anduseofsingle-useplasticitems and carry bags, with a penalty ranging from ₹2,500 to ₹3 lakh for violators. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to people to shun single-use plastic.
Shiv Sena has signalled a new political front in Goa with the Goa Forward Party (GFP). It has also hinted at some MLAs of the ruling BJP joining it. The BJP had won 13 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections and the Congress 17. However, political equations in the State changed earlier this year after 10 Congress MLAs joined the BJP.Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party have three MLAs each in the Goa Assembly and NCP has one. There are three independents. Shiv Sena does not a presence in the Assembly.“We want to build an Opposition alliance in Goa,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Friday. “I met Vijai Sardesai [of the Goa Forward Party] today. We are forming an alliance with his three MLAs and some MLAs in the government are also supporting us. I have just spoken to [Sudin] Dhavlikar [Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party] and some people in the government. We want to create a non-BJP front in the country. Soon you will see a miracle in Goa,” he added.A senior Goa-based journalist said Shiv Sena allying with GFP was not of great significance right now, unless they manage to engineer defection from the ruling party. “At least 18 will have to break out to avoid disqualification, which seems unlikely now. Even if they do, they can simply go to the Congress and they will not need Sena-GFP combine. Besides, Congress does not trust GFP any more as Mr. Sardesai had not sided with it on two occasions in the past,” the source said.
November has been a busy month for affiliates all around the nation with several tournaments and numerous summer competitions cranking into top gear.None of these events or affiliates operate without the industry, commitment, expertise and passion of a dedicated volunteer army.Touch Football Australia have recognised the efforts of some special Volunteers who have been hard at work in their affiliates this month with personal calls from the TFA Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Peter Rooney.Roberta Mc Broom from the Western Australia affiliate of Goldfields has made an outstanding contribution to Junior development in the West, establishing a successful Junior Touch competition off the back of a highly popular AusTouch program that has seen the Kalgoorlie Goldfields affiliate regularly turn out 100 plus AusTouch graduates over the last 3 years.Roberta’s hard work and leadership has led to Goldfields developing a local junior competition that is leading the way in the establishment of junior competitions in Western Australia.TouchWest’s Operation’s Manager, Angela Doyle has assisted Goldfields to develop as a progressive, innovative affiliate and is impressed with Roberta’s efforts to corner the market and put Touch Football on the map in the Country affiliate located 600 kilometres from Perth.“Roberta has done a magnificent job, and has established Western Australia’s first formalised Junior competition off the back of her enthusiasm and passion for the participation of juniors in the AusTouch program. Roberta is an integral part of the development of juniors in the sport and we’re very appreciative of her role in nurturing young talent in the West,” Doyle said.Goldfields will be sending four teams to the Inaugural “Be Active” WA Junior Regional Championships in April 2008 and are hopeful of producing strong performances across the board to ensure the sport has a strong foothold in the State’s isolated areas.Roberta has been extremely keen to improve her technical understanding of the sport and to access opportunities for local participants and was instrumental in a recent Level One Coaching accreditation course being conducted in the Goldfields affiliate.Roberta had been a long running servant of the sport having worked in tandem with husband and Goldfields Touch Association President Neil Mc Broom to develop the Goldfields affiliate for a huge chunk of the affiliate’s history.WA State Manager Mr. Matt Bamford believes the work Roberta does is pivotal in the continued growth of the game in Kalgoorlie.“Roberta has served the affiliate in numerous capacities over the years, and her work with the AusTouch program has led to the development of a fully fledged junior competition, as well as a flow on effect with the AusTouch graduates joining senior affiliated competitions. The work Roberta is doing is vital not just for now, but more importantly for the future membership of the association,” Mr. Bamford said.In Victoria, Peter Cramp, Treasurer of the Geelong Touch Association has been recognized for his tireless efforts in the development of the Geelong affiliate, but particularly his stellar contribution to the business management of the association in the last 12 months.Peter has been extremely diligent in the thankless task of debt collection, enabling the Geelong Touch Association to clear pressing financial debts that had been weighing on the association.Peter has been a long serving member of the Geelong Touch Association, filling roles in the past as president, general member, and treasurer.Peter is well respected as one of the founding father’s of the association and is well regarded for his professional approach to affiliate development.The 22 team Geelong competition is well administered in all aspects of operation from uniform requirements to referee development and Peter has been a driving force in Geelong’s rise and rise as a key venue for the sport in Victoria, establishing great connections with local council and the community along the way.Peter has ensured that Geelong is always represented at the State Affiliates Cup in both Open and Seniors divisions and is a prime reason the affiliate is expanding and growing.Victorian Touch State Operations Manager, Nick Mooney was full of praise for Peter Cramp’s contribution to the Geelong Touch Association.“Peter is an extremely dedicated individual who has been selfless and industrious for Geelong. Geelong is one our oldest affiliates and he has helped framework a great competition that is going from strength to strength. He has worked hard to help the affiliate navigate their way through some financial issues and he is a driving force in the association’s development,” Mr. Mooney said.Touch Football Australia would like to congratulate both Roberta and Peter for their selfless, quality contributions to their local affiliates and our sport.If you know of any worthy volunteers who deserve recognition for their contribution to your local association, please contact your State Branch Manager with the details.
The small group of volunteers have supported the District of Tumbler Ridge’s Tourism initiatives and says it is time to regroup and find a more permanent location. TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – The 17-year-old music festival put together by the Tumbler Ridge Days Society (TRDS) has been struggling to find funding for the annual event and therefore had to be cancelled.In their press release the TRDS shares they will continue to work on obtaining funding for the 2020 Grizfest Musical Festival yet for this year they will host other events.The TRDS thanks the District of Tumbler Ridge as a major Sponsor of the event and to all the artists for helping build the reputation the festival has in the Canadian industry. The festival is a one of a kind event that showcases up and coming music artists as well as known, popular artists.
Kolkata: The Election Commission has directed the Presiding Officer of booth number 159 at Dhaniakhali under Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency to lodge an FIR against BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee after a BJP activist damaged the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) after allegedly being “instigated” by her.The Election Commission has initiated a probe into the incident and also sought a report from the District Magistrate of Hooghly in this regard. The Commission will take a decision after going through the report submitted by the district election officials. The incident led to the disruption of voting as the EMV and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were damaged in the process. After being instructed by the Commission, the Presiding Officer of the booth registered an FIR at the local police station. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe incident created a chaos inside the polling booth and outside. The local villagers staged protest demonstrations in front of Chatterjee when she stepped out of the polling booth. It was alleged that one Nirmal Pal, a close aide of Chatterjee, threw the EVM on the floor and broke it. Some of the locals alleged that Chatterjee instigated her party activists to break the EVM. The local villagers put up a roadblock few meters away from the booth calling the incident a blot on the largest democracy of the world. They staged demonstration and gheraoed Chatterjee’s car. She had to face the wrath of the villagers and also got involved in heated altercations with them. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIn a booth at Kakrakhuli area of Hooghly, Chatterjee entered a booth after she came to know that the BJP polling agent was driven out from there. Chatterjee again courted controversy as she threatened the Trinamool Congress agent by saying that she would slap him. On a number of occasions, Chatterjee was extremely abusive on Monday. Some of the villagers in Hooghly’s Belmuri were asked by Chatterjee to shout a slogan ‘Jai Shree Ram’. They denied and in turn shouted ‘Vande Mataram’ slogan. Chatterjee considered the villagers as Trinamool Congress supporters and lost her cool. A heated altercation ensued and she allegedly threatened them. Chatterjee alleged that TMC carried out rigging at a booth in Mullickpur area of Hooghly.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI, has received a phone call from Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic, said a statement from the Royal Cabinet. “During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the current context of Moroccan-French relations following thedevelopments in recent days,” the statement said.“In light of the clarifications in this regard, the two leaders agreed to continue contacts in the coming days between the twogovernments, and work in the spirit of exceptional relations that bind Morocco and France, “the statement concluded.
Rabat – The USA said it is deeply engaged in the reforms conducted in Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, said this Friday US Secretary of States, John Kerry, according to MAP.“Under the leadership of HM the King, Morocco has conducted major reforms,” said on Friday the head of the US diplomacy at the opening in Rabat of the second session of the US-Morocco strategic dialog which he co-chaired with minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar.US secretary of state John Kerry arrived, on Thursday in Rabat on his first visit to Morocco. This session, themed “strengthening solid cooperation ties between the two countries,” is an occasion for both parties to promote their partnership in the political, economic, social, educational and cultural fields, said a statement by the Moroccan Ministry of foreign affairs.Announcing last week the visit by Kerry to the Kingdom, the US state department underlined that “this dialogue, launched in September 2012, underscores our ongoing close cooperation with Morocco and will focus on political affairs, economic and security cooperation, and educational and cultural issues.”With MAP
In response, FiveThirtyEight’s biggest NBA fans gathered to process the reported trade.chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I covered the Knicks for five years. Not their worst five, necessarily. But saw their worst season in franchise history. You’re naturally going to see them do things that make you scream, “Why?!” But this is a new level, even for me.This Porzingis trade, if they don’t land a max-level star or two, is just befuddling.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer/angry Knicks fan): I think I’m going to be a Brooklyn Nets fan now. Why the hell would you do this?natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): Do we know what draft pick compensation they got, if any? Because that seems pretty important. (These details, which weren’t clear during the time of the chat, emerged shortly after we finished the conversation. New York will receive two future first-round picks in the trade.)chris.herring: Not the exact terms, no. Though it seems really likely that the Mavs are going to give up something on that front.natesilver: I guess I’d say this: The process by which the Knicks got to this point is crazy. The outcome, I think, might not be as bad as it seems at first glance. But it really depends on the pick(s).chris.herring: More than anything, this was about allowing the Knicks to send over their bloated contracts so that they could clear salary cap space. Especially Tim Hardaway Jr., whose deal would’ve made it tough for them to add a second star next to Porzingis this summer.neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Yeah, if there is a silver lining (Is there a silver lining?), they just freed up a massive amount of cap space. tchow: My god that is … depressing.natesilver: I guess their bigs have been OK? Noah Vonleh and Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson?neil: Ooof, you were not kidding about Knox’s numbers, Nate.natesilver: Yeah, Neil, and it’s not just some advanced stats thing. He’s shooting just 37 percent. Just 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks per game. For a guy who’s pretty athletic, that’s kind of sad.neil: Maybe he’s on the Enes Kanter diet.natesilver: Knox has a nice-looking 3-point stroke, and I guess you can say he’d get the numbers up if they weren’t tanking. That’s what’s a little hard to figure out on a team like the Knicks where they basically don’t have any incentive to work in their shot selection or to play defense.tchow: If this is just going to become a shitting on Knox chat, I think it’s time to end it.natesilver: I’m happy to also shit on other Knicks.tchow: Just for fun, to end this chat, should we all say who we think won this trade?chris.herring: Assuming the Knicks don’t land two absolute studs in FA, the Mavs.natesilver: It’s clearly a good trade for Dallas. Where it ends up on the spectrum from “terrible” to “OK” for the Knicks depends on the draft picks and, yeah, the free agent situation.chris.herring: Agreed, Nate. You just paired two of the best 25-and-under players in the league together. It could turn out to be a home run for both sides. I just don’t have that level of faith that everything will go right for New York.natesilver: There is a downside risk with Porzingis, too, which is that he’s never really healthy again. But you do have a year to evaluate him before making a commitment. So the fact that he’s not looking to sign a long-term extension right away is both a bug and a feature.chris.herring: I guess.neil: And given the lengths we’ve seen teams go to just to have a chance to get a franchise-altering star, it seems worth it.chris.herring: I’d be OK with that gamble if it means giving up DSJ and a pick. Dallas has always been willing to roll the dice on acquiring a star.tchow: You know who won? NBA Twitter won cause this is going to provide so much content for the next few days/until Anthony Davis gets traded.chris.herring: They even traded Tyson Chandler the summer after he was the linchpin to their title because they thought it’d allow them a chance at a star. They wanted to clear space.neil: The NBA needs to push its trade deadline further from the Super Bowl.Wait your turn, NBA! You’ll have the limelight next week.chris.herring: NOPE. In fact, I hope Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign today, too.micah (Micah Cohen, managing editor): My two cents: I lost because I’m waiting for Nate to file a piece about independent presidential campaigns and the Porzingis trade has, I’m sure, delayed it.Check out our latest NBA predictions. tchow: Welcome to New York, Kevin Durant!!chris.herring: Only spent seven or eight years there, but this is where my New York cynicism comes into play. The Knicks haven’t had a very good history when it comes to FAs.natesilver: They also got a buy-low guy in Dennis Smith Jr., although it seems like they have about 14 other buy-low point guards on the roster right now.tchow: But in losing Porzingis, doesn’t that make the Knicks a less attractive destination to come play? If you were a max player, why would you look at this team and say, “I want to go to there”?natesilver: Well, yeah, that’s the catch.tchow: I guess maybe two max players could buddy up and that nullifies what I just said.natesilver: A team of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and … uuuhhhh, who’s the third-best player on that team? Smith Jr., I guess?tchow: I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. This is INSANE!!! I’m still in shock.chris.herring: If nothing else, I guess this all just surprises me because it speaks to one of two things. Either 1) You have that much confidence that a superstar is coming …tchow: Well you’re forgetting Zion, Nate.chris.herring: Or 2) Things had gotten so bad/toxic with Porzingis that you didn’t see how you could make it work with him anymore. They really had no obligation to give into this right now, even if he was unhappy.neil: Right, he was only a restricted free agent after the season.tchow: Well, Chris, if things have gotten that bad with Porzingis, you would think they were secretly shopping him around earlier. Is this really the best deal they could get? I find that hard to believe.natesilver: It is worth keeping in mind that Porzingis has a serious injury that other guys have struggled to recover from, that he hadn’t reached superstar status yet, and that he was about to get expensive. The upside is so high, though, that you’d think a team, maybe a cap-constrained team, might have given up a little more.chris.herring: Yep. I’m not blown away by the fact that they dealt him. It’s what they dealt him for.natesilver: Getting technical, but his cap hold is only like $12 million this summer, so that was a big benefit too.chris.herring: There are two or three different reasons to potentially deal him. I just don’t know that any of them were worth dealing him for that return.natesilver: natesilver: I’m just saying that if you clear the decks for two max free agents but you have a guy like Siakam making just $2.5 million a year, that gives you a lot more to work with.chris.herring: Notice how smart we perceive those particular franchises to be. I saw someone say, “The smart franchises are circling the dumb one.” Almost like the Knicks were the prey here.tchow: Right?? I keep thinking there must be other, better trades.chris.herring: For sure. At least with Siakam, you have a good, athletic two-way player to build around.tchow: This is all just us talking, right? There were no reports that Toronto was even looking to offer Siakam. Right? Right?chris.herring: I honestly don’t know whether Smith will be a starter two or three years from now. There’s some faith because of how young he is, but he hasn’t shown consistency yet. And the Knicks haven’t been great with developing two-way talent at the guard spot lately.natesilver: I wanna know about the draft pick(s) too. Dallas still owns its own pick if it’s 1-5 this year — otherwise it goes to Atlanta — and they’re probably still going to end up in the lottery.neil: I think we are being very NYC-centric here and focusing on the Knicks’ angle. But for the Mavs, their new Doncic-Porzingis combo seems like it could eventually be very scary.natesilver: NYC IS BASKETBALL MECCA, NEIL! SUCH A MECCA THAT THE ONLY GOOD PLAYER ON THE KNICKS IN THE PAST 10 YEARS GETS TRADED FOR CAP SPACEneil: No, it’s not (“The Decline Of New York City As An NBA Talent Generator”).tchow: No, Neil’s right. Forget the Knicks. I already have. Porzingis and Luka together is going to be amazing!! No way Dirk retires now.chris.herring: Dallas is gonna be fun.natesilver: Yeah, how did they do that? Turn the No. 5 pick and — Dennis Smith Jr.? — into Luka and Porzingis?chris.herring: The Knicks were spending all this time trying to find a running mate for KP, and now Porzingis has Doncic.tchow: So right now, we have them projected to be way out of the playoffs. When is Porzingis supposed to return? I’m getting ahead of myselfchris.herring: They’re relevant now. Even if they unloaded a hefty part of their rotation here to get Porzingis. But this was a great move for them.natesilver: It was a little bit ambiguous. Dallas is tanking, obviously, so maybe they just play him for like six games to show he still had something left (as an inducement to free agents, etc.) and then find some excuse to shut him down.chris.herring: Yeah. Porzingis probably wasn’t going to play for NYK this year. Maybe he gets into a few games for Dallas, but I doubt it.natesilver: Yeah, they might as well tank too. Maybe not an outright tank, but they do keep their own pick if it’s 1-5.chris.herring: If you’re the Mavs, this makes sense. You’ve still got Harrison Barnes under contract making a lot of money. Hardaway is under contract a couple more years.tchow: “Makes sense” is such an understatement here.natesilver: Don’t the Mavs have space for a max free agent too?chris.herring: I don’t think so? Not with all the money they just took on. natesilver: Oh shit!!!!!tchow: Look at that. That’s a “we’re going to be teammates” handshake.natesilver: THE FIX WAS IN.chris.herring: I soooo hope the Knicks — who could’ve drafted Smith but instead took Frank Ntilikina — weren’t enamored by his good game to where they said, “You know what? That sounds good to us.”tchow: Chris, that is EXACTLY what happened.chris.herring: What it all comes down to for the Knicks is free agency: If you land two guys who are truly worth it, it’s hard to look back at this and be angry.tchow: And there is my silver lining.chris.herring: But for the time being, it is just astounding.natesilver: The Knicks also haven’t drafted very well. Kevin Knox is regarded as a future rotation piece, if not a star, and I sorta get why because he looks like a good player, but his numbers are unbelievably terrible.chris.herring: Also: My favorite stat ever, from my Knick beat days: The Knicks haven’t re-signed one of their draft picks on a multiyear deal since Charlie Ward, who they took in 1994. Trading Porzingis keeps that alive.natesilver: Wow. BASKETBALL MECCA.tchow: That is insane.chris.herring: So them wanting to build it through free agency is fitting.natesilver: I think I have to go to their next home game just to see what a shitshow it is.tchow: FiveThirtyEight field trip, Nate?natesilver: I’m down, dude. At least tickets will be cheap.tchow: Hey, at least we still have Allonzo Trier. And Enes Kanter is back. Things are looking up for the Knicks.chris.herring: Not that it has any bearing on how this summer pans out. But I think their last four deals for $90 million or more were, in this order: Melo, Amar’e Stoudemire, Stephon Marbury and Allan Houston.natesilver: I mean, just look at this shit: FIGHT!!natesilver: No those don’t contradict. Sign the qualifying offer for one year. Then become a full-fledged free agent in summer 2020.tchow: Oh damn … you’re right. OK … back to crying.chris.herring: During the time I spent on the Knicks beat, I got used to watching them attach useful players to ones whose contracts were albatrosses. They traded Tyson Chandler (useful) to unload Raymond Felton (albatross). And Iman Shumpert (useful) to unload JR Smith (albatross).natesilver: Were Hardaway and Lee that untradeable? They aren’t terrible players, and their contracts aren’t that bad.chris.herring: Neither is a bad player. Maybe overpaid (I’ve definitely argued that with Hardaway).natesilver: In some sense, everyone in the deal is a distressed asset.chris.herring: If anything, Hardaway is just pricey because of what you want to accomplish this summer.tchow: Watch Dennis Smith Jr. come out of this as the best player in the trade.natesilver: It’s not nothing.chris.herring: But Porzingis should not be the sweetener in any deal like this! He’s the lone All-Star changing hands here.neil: Smith Jr. certainly got a lot of hype as a rookie last year.tchow: KP 👏 IS 👏 A 👏 UNICORNchris.herring: I’ll put it this way: Smith and his folks floated that he potentially wanted out of Dallas a week or two ago. That came and went, likely because no one felt like he was worth all that much. He’s explosive. He’s young enough to gamble something on. But he’s not even a clear starter in everyone’s eyes.natesilver: So what else could they have gotten? What do we think the market price for Porzingis would be? Would Toronto have given up Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, for instance, and taken on either Hardaway or Lee but not both?chris.herring: It was only 20 minutes or so before the trade reports came that this tweet went out. This trade was their free agency, in a way. Dallas very quietly just hit us with a Nash/Dirk redux. Except Luka can score better than Nash, and Porzingis can defend.natesilver: It looks like they should have cap space in 2020-21, though, when the Barnes/Powell contracts all come off the books.chris.herring: Two or three years from now, they’ll have cap money again, and you imagine players would want to team up with a duo like that.tchow: (if Porzingis signs)chris.herring: Porzingis will be 25 in two years. Luka will be 22. Also, can we talk about the fact that the Mavs were at the Garden last night? And Mark Cuban was there. I imagine this topic came up.natesilver: Ahhh didn’t think about that. But, yeah, it seems pretty weird to think this deal was just conjured up out of thin air.tchow: They knew. They fucking knew.chris.herring: Dennis Smith Jr. logged a triple-double.natesilver: Haha.tchow: New York Knicks executives in recent years have said they would rebuild cautiously and avoid trading their first-round picks. That approach paid off — sweet-shooting big man Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks’ first-round pick in 2015, quickly ascended into a star, giving the team hope that it could finally build something sustainable with just another solid move or two. All the organization needed to do was avoid somehow taking a step backward.And then Thursday happened. tchow: