Category: Teenage Angst (page 1 of 2)

#EmptyThePews

I posted this elsewhere and on Twitter first, but it also belongs here on the Anon-a-Blog.

Why my pew has been empty since 1982: A long thread for anyone who may be interested, et al. Perhaps someone may relate or need to hear. Inspired by @C_Stroop and #EmptyThePews on Twitter.

It starts in 1975. I’m 12. A budding little gay boy. At the C. of the Naz., we get a spiffy little sermon, which runs like this: “Speaking in tongues is evidence of demonic possession!!!” Amens, claps, whistles, “Kill the Devil!”

Fast forward a week later. Someone in charge of our family’s spiritual development decides to follow info bestowed by the Holy Spirit
Fairy, an entity which seems to act rather … impetuously. Or at least that was my experience with Him.

The Spirit has moved someone that we must immediately abandon the C. of the Naz., where, remember, I’ve just been told on the authority of the church into which I was born and raised that speaking in tongues is evidence of demonic possession.

[An aside: 12-year-old me had memorized the 1960 Church Manual so I could know how to perform weddings and funerals because … get this … I thought I would become a C. of the Naz. preacher.]

Given a choice about which church to attend would have been lovely. Alas, it was not to be. I was the young, stupid child who couldn’t possibly be trusted to know what was good for him, spiritually speaking. At best, a “baby Christian.” (These buzzwords sound familiar?)

Actually, after just one hour of being exposed to the new church’s … shall we say, bizarreness and cultish overtones … I’m confident I would have scurried back underneath the skirts of the mother church (of the Naz.) if I had a driver’s license and a car. But I didn’t.

So I wasn’t given a choice. Remember the previous sermon, supposedly delivered by a stern God to CotN Leaders possessed of “Utter Sanctification” and who are therefore qualified to speak on subjects Most Weighty: “Speaking in tongues is evidence of demonic possession!”

Again, I was 12 years old. Puberty was dawning. Teenage outrage, hatred of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, inflated sense of injustice, and general all-around questioning and boundary-pushing are imminent. I needed constancy. But the Spirit had spoken and must be obeyed.

The next Sunday, we don’t drive over to be with the sanctified who hate devilish tongue-speaking. Instead, we head straight for the new church, an Assembly of God knockoff/alleged “non-denominational.” “We’re going here from now on,” says Parental Dearest.

What happened the first Sunday at the new church to which we had been led by the Holy Spirit? Well, I’ll set the scene one more time: The previous week, the church of my birth told me speaking in tongues is evidence of demonic possession.

This week? FRICKIN’ HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD! JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH! POPE PAUL VI AND ALL THE SAINTS! AND DEAR GOD WHY ARE ALL THESE WOMEN IN EXPENSIVE ULTRASUEDE DRESSES RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE AISLES SCREAMING THEIR FOOL HEADS OFF???!!!!!

Then: The kicker. If I am to understand the main belief point through hours of gibberish, a complete lack of any catechism, no orderly service of any kind, no regular communion, and a multitude of other things, a central belief is this:

“If you do NOT speak in tongues, God is withholding His greatest blessing from you and therefore there is something wrong with you if you don’t immediately babble in tongues in ‘the presence of the Lord.'”

In other words, NOT speaking in tongues was evidence of God withholding his greatest gift from you & you were opening yourself up to … you guessed it, demonic possession. As soon as I hit 16, my pew began to be empty. By 18, only bribery could get me in it. So…bye!

It would take a long thread to describe coming out (yeah, the Spirit got involved there, too), getting away & being an adult in charge of myself & the joys of life since I got myself to #EmptyThePews. Thanks for the inspiration, @C_Stroop and thanks to everyone who read!

Movie Night: A Cry in the Night

[The movie poster for A Cry in the Night. What did "Cert X" mean? Was Perry Mason in an X-rated film?!]

Four Stars!

From 1956: A weird flip-flop which is like a Perry Mason episode … because it stars Perry Mason‘s Raymond Burr as a violent voyeur/kidnapper and Perry Mason‘s Richard Anderson (more famous for the Bionic Man/Woman stuff) as one of Burr’s victims. The bonus here is the kidnappee is Natalie Wood.

The «synopsis»:

“A police captain’s emotions get in the way when his daughter is kidnapped.”

TMDb

IMDb’s «synopsis» isn’t much better:

“A deranged man kidnaps the nubile daughter of a police captain. “

IMDb

There doesn’t seem to be any contemporary reviews of this noir, so we’ll have to rely on a «user review on IMDb by “bmacv”», who writes:

“When Raymond Burr’s face (grotesquely lighted by John F. Seitz) looms out of the shrubbery at Lovers’ Loop [sic], he adds A Cry in the Night to his long string of films in which he cemented his reputation as the noir cycle’s most indispensable and unforgettable creep. He’s prowling the petting grounds looking for a girl, and doesn’t care how he gets her. Assaulting the male half (Richard Anderson) of a necking couple, he kidnaps the other (Natalie Wood), spiriting her off to a den he’s fixed up in an abandoned brickyard. This time, though, there’s a catch to Burr’s villainy: He’s a dim-witted hulk, a childish monster akin to Lennie in Of Mice And Men.

“Even less wholesome is Carol Veazie as Burr’s doting, sweet-toothed mother. Managing simultaneously to suggest Dame Judith Anderson, Jean Stapleton and Doris Roberts, she shuffles around drinking coffee in her horse-blanket bathrobe, whining about that missing slice of apricot pie. Nineteen-fifty-six, some may recall, was the high-water mark of a national panic about ‘Momism,’ a threat deemed scarcely less perilous to the republic than the international Communist conspiracy; Veazie endures as one of its most formidable operatives (her successors would include the unseen Mrs. Bates in Psycho, Angela Lansbury’s Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, and Marjorie Bennet’s Dehlia Flagg in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?).”

IMDb

The reviewer is right: Whatever the novelty of seeing goodie two-shoes Perry Mason as a Peeping Tom/Kidnapper, it’s Carol Veazie who is the standout. She is indeed freaky-deaky, rattling on about her “something sweet before bed from Baby,” that brought to my mind “It puts the lotion in the basket” dude from Silence of the Lambs. After watching so much Perry Mason over the last year or so, thanks to MeTV (I had never seen an episode of it before), seeing his freaky turn was a bit laughable. But Veazie: Now THAT was truly creepy.

Edmond O’Brien and Brian Donlevy were good as always as the cops, and Irene Hervey was so very 1950s mother that at first I thought she was Jane Wyatt of Father Knows Best, the quintessential 1950s mom. Natalie Wood gave the screaming her best and pre-Perry Mason‘s Richard Anderson competently walked around in a daze.

The weirdest thing in this weird concoction though was the very short subplot of Madge (Mary Lawrence), who is, we can only guess, O’Brien’s sister? Wood’s sister? Who knows? She’s there for a couple of scenes, Hervey says Madge is unhappy because she’s unmarried and then <boom> nothing further happens with her. Weird, weird, weird.

Still, it’s all good clean, dirty fun, that says much about the decade it was made in, as well as being a good example of its genre. Worth a look if you get the chance.


Perry Mason, er, Raymond Burr Strangles Natalie Wood!

Best quotes:

Terence McNally knows how to write ’em:

Capt. Dan Taggart: “I just wanna know what’s bothering Madge.”
Helen Taggart: “She isn’t married, that’s what’s bothering her. She’s 37 years old and she isn’t married.”

A Cry in the Night

Boy on Motorcycle: “Sock her again! They love it!”

Ibid

Capt. Ed Bates: “How do ya tell a guy that his kid has been grabbed?”

Ibid

Capt. Dan Taggart: “I don’t care about your coffee! Your son has kidnapped my child!”

Ibid

Four Stars!

A Cry in the Night. 1956. TCM. English. Frank Tuttle (d). David Dortort, Whit Masterson (w). Edmond O'Brien, Brian Donlevy, Natalie Wood, Raymond Burr, Richard Anderson, Irene Hervey, Carol Veazie, Mary Lawrence, Herb Vigran. (p). David Buttolph (m). John F. Seitz (c).


Same Here


In Which I Join in on a Hashtag, God Help Me!

There’s this thing that has been closely guarded for going on 40 years in 2018. It’s my secret. So as it hits its 40th birthday in our new year, I decided it’s time to tell the world.

#MeToo.

There. It’s out. More is coming.


[Text by HawkEye. Photo by Mihai Surdu via Unsplash.]

'Baptized in Blood'

I’m not sure why I’ve been leaning towards supporting John Edwards this primary season. Perhaps its his populism and anti-corporatism (although I’m realistic about his chances to actually do anything about it once in office). Or perhaps it’s because it’s refreshing to hear reasonable, quiet, calm, realistic talk during times of international crisis (as opposed to the … garbage we’ve put up with from the Boy Emperor for almost eight years). «Here’s» Edwards’ response to the Bhutto assassination:

Henderson: “In regards to the situation in Pakistan, if you were president, what would you be doing?”
Edwards: “If I were president I would do some of what I’ve already done. I spoke with the Pakistani Ambassador and then a few minutes ago I spoke with President Musharraf, urging him to continue on the path to democratization, to allow international investigators to come in to determine what happened, what the facts were so that there would be transparency and credibility about what actually occurred and also about the upcoming schedule of elections and that the important thing for America to do in this unstable environment is first of all focus on the tragedy that’s occurred. Benazir Bhutto was a strong woman, a courageous woman, someone that I actually spoke at a conference with a few years and she talked about the path to democracy in Pakistan being baptized in blood so she understood the extraordinary risk that she was taking by going back and it’s a terrible tragedy for the people of Pakistan, but it’s important for America to be a calming influence and provide strength in this environment.”’

The audio file is available at the link above.

Visceral

Picture of Benazir Bhutto

A very moving, and very sad, slideshow of the «Benazir Bhutto assassination» has been posted at the New York Times. A horrible end to a horrible year.

The «complete collection of photos» is available for viewing (and purchase) at Getty Images.

Meanwhile, her 19-year-old son, «Bilawal» is purportedly named her successor. What a huge burden to place on a teenager’s shoulders.

The Beast's 50 Most Loathsome

The only end-of-the-year list I ever pay any attention to (and agree completely with) is the list of the 50 most loathsome people produced by «Buffalo Beast», which features The Boy Emperor firmly in spot el numero uno, up from el numero tres in 2005 and 2006:

‘Is it a civil rights milestone to have a retarded [emperor]? Maybe it would be, if he were ever legitimately elected. You can practically hear the whole nation holding its breath, hoping this guy will just fucking leave come January ’09 and not declare martial law. Only supporters left are the ones who would worship a fucking turnip if it promised to kill foreigners. Is so clearly not in charge of his own White House that his feeble attempts to define himself as “decider” or “commander guy” are the equivalent of a five-year-old kid sitting on his dad’s Harley and saying “vroom vroom!” Has lost so many disgusted staffers that all he’s left with are the kids from Jesus Camp. The first president who is so visibly stupid he can say “I didn’t know what was in the National Intelligence Estimate until last week” and sound plausible. Inarguably a major criminal and a much greater threat to the future of America than any Muslim terrorist.’
—BuffaloBeast.com

A better summing up of the emperor (and his assorted hangers-about) I have yet to see.

Farewell, Sweet Molly

Since I wasn’t posting during the last few months, I missed noting the saddest day of the year, which made me weep. Molly Ivins is no longer with us.

The Nation collected a beautiful «salute to Molly Ivins»:

‘The country was founded by dissenters, and if as a doubter of divine authority Molly inherits the skepticism of Tom Paine, as a satirist she springs full blown, like Minerva, from the head of Mark Twain. Twain thought of humor, especially in its more sharply pointed forms of invective and burlesque, as a weapon with which to attack pride victorious and ignorance enthroned. He placed the ferocity of his wit at the service of his conscience, pitting it against the “peacock shams” of the established order, believing that “only laughter can blow…at a blast” what he regarded as “the colossal humbug” of the world. So also Molly, a journalist who commits the crimes of arson, making of her wit a book of matches with which to burn down the corporate hospitality tents of empty and self-righteous cant. Molly’s writing reminds us that dissent is what rescues the democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors, that republican self-government, properly understood, is an uproar and an argument, meant to be loud, raucous, disorderly and fierce.’
The Nation

Sigh.

God bless and rest you, Molly. You fought the good fight. We are the poorer for your passing, the richer for your acquaintance. RIP.

Lost in 2005

There were some remarkable people who left us in 2005:

‘When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom profit that loses.’
—Shirley Chisholm, who died 1-Jan-05

‘“We went through the top of the head, I think she was awake. She had a mild tranquilizer. I made a surgical incision in the brain through the skull. It was near the front. It was on both sides. We just made a small incision, no more than an inch.” The instrument Dr. Watts used looked like a butter knife. He swung it up and down to cut brain tissue. “We put an instrument inside,” he said. As Dr. Watts cut, Dr. Freeman put questions to Rosemary. For example, he asked her to recite the Lord’s Prayer or sing “God Bless America” or count backwards. … “We made an estimate on how far to cut based on how she responded.” … When she began to become incoherent, they stopped’
—Dr. James W. Watts and Dr. Walter Freeman, report on frontal lobotomy on Rosemary Kennedy, who died 7-Jan-05

‘I had a happy marriage and a nice wife. I accomplished everything you can. What more can you want?’
—Max Schmeling, who died 2-Feb-05

‘Without alienation, there can be no politics.’
—Arthur Miller, who died10-Feb-05

‘America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.’
—Hunter S. Thompson, who died 20-Feb-05

‘Me, I’m good at nothing but walking on the set with a pretty dress.’
—Sandra Dee, who died 20-Feb-05

‘I’m just not the glamour type. Glamour girls are born, not made. And the real ones can be glamorous even if they don’t wear magnificent clothes. I’ll bet Lana Turner would look glamorous in anything.’
—Teresa Wright, who died 6-Mar-05

‘It’s inevitable that the company come back.’
—John DeLorean, who died 19-Mar-05

‘War is a defeat for humanity.’
—Pope John Paul II, who died 2-Apr-05

‘There are evils that have the ability to survive identification and go on for ever… money, for instance, or war.’
—Saul Bellow, who died 5-Apr-05

‘I work hard in social work, public relations, and raising the Grimaldi heirs.’
—Princess Grace about her life with Prince Rainier Grimaldi of Monaco, who died 6-Apr-05

‘Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice. Rape, originally defined as abduction, became marriage by capture. Marriage meant the taking was to extend in time, to be not only use of but possession of, or ownership.’
—Andrea Dworkin, who died 9-Apr-05

‘Well, the musicals give emphasis to love, longing, melancholy, sadness. All of that is always there.’
—Ismail Merchant, who died 25-May-05

‘I don’t really care how I am remembered as long as I bring happiness and joy to people.’
—Eddie Albert, who died 26-May-05

‘I’d like to be remembered as a premier singer of songs, not just a popular act of a given period.’
—Luther Vandross, who died 1-Jul-05

‘There’s nothing more irresistible to a man than a woman who’s in love with him.’
—Ernest Lehman, who died 2-Jul-05

‘Abhorrence of apartheid is a moral attitude, not a policy.’
—Edward Heath, who died 17-Jul-05

‘Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.’
—William C. Westmoreland, who died 18-Jul-05

‘I’m not tired of [beam me up Scotty] at all. Good gracious, it’s been said to me for just about 31 years. It’s been said to me at 70 miles an hour across four lanes on the freeway. I hear it from just about everybody. It’s been fun.’
—James Doohan, who died 20-Jul-05

‘I will be father to the young, brother to the elderly. I am but one of you; whatever troubles you, troubles me; whatever pleases you, pleases me.’
—King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, who died 1-Aug-05

‘There were no international terrorists in Iraq until we went in. It was we who gave the perfect conditions in which Al Qaeda could thrive.’
—Robin Cook, who died 6-Aug-05

‘It’s a brassiere! You know about those things, you’re a big boy now. … It’s brand new. Revolutionary up-lift: No shoulder straps, no back straps, but it does everything a brassiere should do. Works on the principle of the cantilevered bridge. … An aircraft engineer down the penninsula designed it; he worked it out in his spare time.’ [from Vertigo]
—Barbara Bel Geddes, who died 8-Aug-05

‘I think Alexander Hamilton has received a little bit of short shrift from history, and I think Jefferson has been treated a little bit too generously. I admire them both, but I admire them both about equally.’
—William Rehnquist, who died 3-Sep-05

‘I’ve often wondered if maybe I tried to tell too many stories in The Sand Pebbles.’
—Robert Wise, who died 14-Sep-05

‘Sid Luft was no gentleman. He was a weight lifter. He was a former test pilot. He was a gambler. He’s still one of those old-time Hollywood guys.’
—Lorna Luft about her father, Sidney Luft, who died 15-Sep-05

‘The history of man is the history of crimes, and history can repeat. So information is a defence. Through this we can build, we must build, a defence against repetition.’
—Simon Wiesenthal, who died 20-Sep-05

‘I said to myself, where are we living? In the United States of America where you’re innocent until proven guilty, or Nazi Germany with the Gestapo calling?’
—Tommy Bond during the Robert Blake trial. Bond died 24-Sep-05

‘All I was doing was trying to get home from work.’
—Rosa Parks, who died 24-Sep-05

‘I- I- I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.’
—Donald Pleasance in 1978’s Halloween, produced by Moustapha Akkad, who died 11-Nov-05

‘The changes in both radio and television are mind-boggling.’
—Ralph Edwards, who died 16-Nov-05

‘Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it’s important.’
—Eugene McCarthy, who died 10-Dec-05

‘There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at.’
—Richard Pryor, who died 10-Dec-05

‘Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous.’
—William Proxmire, who died 14-Dec-05

Lost in '05: Hunter S. Thompson

The year that was: « Goodbye Hunter S. Thompson »:

‘‘Politics is the art of controlling your environment.’ That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that ‘it doesn’t matter who’s President’ has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World — or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property — or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons — or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted.’
—Hunter S. Thompson via John Cusack in the Huffington Post

Asi es Nuevo Mexico

Stuff like « this » makes me wonder if my desire to return to my home state is really all that wise of an idea:

‘An essay contest at a New Mexico high school asks students to explain why preserving marriage between men and women is vital society and why unborn children merit respect and protection. The contest, at Farmington’s Piedra Vista High School, is being held in connection with an essay contest sponsored by United Families International, an organization whose primary mission is “to strengthen the family by promoting marriage between one man and woman and the protection of human life, including unborn children.” The students were given the option of either writing a response to two questions about preserving marriage and the protection of the “unborn” or submitting a personal narrative.’
—365Gay.com

I wonder … what would the parents have done if the questions were about granting constitutional marriage equality to all and preserving a woman’s right to reproductive choice? I think I already know the answer. Yet another reason to erect not only a wall of separation between church and state in the schools, but also between politics and state in the schools. And yes, there is a difference.

Courage and Conviction vs. Cowardice and Coercion

“Rabbi Yoffie! You’re my new hero!”

We need more courageous heroes like « Rabbi Eric Yoffie » to speak more truth to power:

‘The leader of the largest branch of American Judaism blasted conservative religious activists in a speech Saturday, calling them “zealots” who claim a “monopoly on God” while promoting anti-gay policies akin to Adolf Hitler’s. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, said “religious right” leaders believe “unless you attend my church, accept my God and study my sacred text you cannot be a moral person.” “What could be more bigoted than to claim that you have a monopoly on God?” he said during the movement’s national assembly in Houston, which runs through Sunday. …
‘He used particularly strong language to condemn conservative attitudes toward homosexuals. He said he understood that traditionalists have concluded gay marriage violates Scripture, but he said that did not justify denying legal protections to same-sex partners and their children. “We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations,” Yoffie said. “Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry.”’
—Associated Press

Amen, Rabbi Yoffie! You’re my new hero.

Meanwhile, Fascist FunDumbMentalist leader Jerry Falwell announced he’s starting « a religious holy war against anyone who won’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ », complete with McCarthyite snitches in the public schools:

‘Falwell has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign,” an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces. The 8,000 members of the Christian Educators Association International will be the campaign’s “eyes and ears” in the nation’s public schools. They’ll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” An additional 800 attorneys from another conservative legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, are standing by as part of a similar effort, the Christmas Project. Its slogan: “Merry Christmas. It’s OK to say it.”’
—SF Gate

Rabbi Yoffie … Jerry Falwell … not much of a contest as to which one is closest to G-d, eh?

Paradox? Or Hypocrisy?

“Jesus, save us from your followers!”

I’ve been meaning to blog this for weeks, to read it into the record, so to speak. But what with grad school hell, I just haven’t had time.

I’ve long thought that we need to take Jesus back from his followers. And Bill McKibben wrote up « some persuasive arguments » last August in Harper’s:

‘Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation’s educational decline, but it probably doesn’t matter all that much in spiritual or political terms. Here is a statistic that does matter: Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves.” That is, three out of four Americans believe that this uber-American idea, a notion at the core of our current individualist politics and culture, which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, actually appears in Holy Scripture. The thing is, not only is Franklin’s wisdom not biblical; it’s counter-biblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor. On this essential matter, most Americans—most American Christians—are simply wrong, as if 75 percent of American scientists believed that Newton proved gravity causes apples to fly up.
‘Asking Christians what Christ taught isn’t a trick. When we say we are a Christian nation—and, overwhelmingly, we do—it means something. People who go to church absorb lessons there and make real decisions based on those lessons; increasingly, these lessons inform their politics. (One poll found that 11 percent of U.S. churchgoers were urged by their clergy to vote in a particular way in the 2004 election, up from 6 percent in 2000.) When George Bush says that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher, he may or may not be sincere, but he is reflecting the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of Americans.
‘And therein is the paradox. America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior. That paradox—more important, perhaps, than the much touted ability of French women to stay thin on a diet of chocolate and cheese—illuminates the hollow at the core of our boastful, careening culture.’
—Harper’s

McKibben goes on to sum things up nicely in a way with which I wholeheartedly agree:

‘But straight is the path and narrow is the way. The gospel is too radical for any culture larger than the Amish to ever come close to realizing; in demanding a departure from selfishness it conflicts with all our current desires. Even the first time around, judging by the reaction, the Gospels were pretty unwelcome news to an awful lot of people. There is not going to be a modern-day return to the church of the early believers, holding all things in common—that’s not what I’m talking about. Taking seriously the actual message of Jesus, though, should serve at least to moderate the greed and violence that mark this culture. It’s hard to imagine a con much more audacious than making Christ the front man for a program of tax cuts for the rich or war in Iraq. If some modest part of the 85 percent of us who are Christians woke up to that fact, then the world might change.’

To which I can only add, ‘Amen!’

City Beneath the Sea

I’m melancholy tonight, listening to « Harry Connick Jr.‘s » Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?, Basin Street Blues and, especially, City Beneath the Sea, his love song to New Orleans, which is one of a handful of my favorite cities on the planet. Tears my heart out, but I needed to hear them (and my boy Harry) tonight.

Approval from Jerry Falwell

Gosh. I feel so … honored. « Jerry Falwell now approves of me getting my master’s in elementary education », as long, of course, as I don’t ‘recruit’ the little buggers … whatever that means:

‘“I don’t think homosexuals should be granted a special minority status,” he told the paper. However, he said that gays, including teachers, should not be denied jobs solely because of their sexuality. “As long as a person obeys the law and doesn’t recruit a student to a certain lifestyle, they shouldn’t be prevented from teaching,” Falwell said. “Every American should be allowed to work wherever he or she wishes as long as they obey the law.” He has a caveat for that too, though. He said he is not going to hire gays for teaching positions at Liberty Christian Academy or Liberty University. “Our doctrinal belief is that homosexuality is wrong,” he said. “We also believe heterosexual promiscuity is wrong. Those have been standards since the beginning.”’
—365Gay.com

Well, okie dokie then. I need to look up the law that says ‘gay teachers can’t recruit students to a certain lifestyle,’ and then we’re good to go. I’m so relieved.

We Are All Londoners

Just as on 11-Marzo, we were all Madrileños and on 11-September we were all New Yorkers, as of 7-July we are all « Londoners ».

LondonLogo ‘Once the shock had settled, I started to feel immense pride that the LAS, the other emergency services, the hospitals, and all the other support groups and organisations were all doing such an excellent job. To my eyes it seemed that the Major Incident planning was going smoothly, turning chaos into order. And what you need to remember is that this wasn’t a major incident, but instead four major incidents, all happening at once. I think everyone involved, from the experts, to the members of public who helped each other, should feel pride that they performed so well in this crisis. London won’t be beaten, we spent 20 years under the shadow of the IRA, and are used to terrorists. The medical staff at the BMA building did their best to save their ‘civilian’ staff from looking at the carnage that was left from the bomb on the bus.’

The Intelligently Designed Four

So. « Ayn Clouter writes movie script treatments ». Who knew?

‘What is really needed to refresh the medium is to bring in, not “politically correct” references to current society, but real down-and-dirty politics filled with Red State values. Hence this treatment for a much better remake of the original material, meant to be financed by a Scaife grant and subject to oversight by Medved and Dobson. (Yes, I switch the starting jobs for the future “thing” and “torch”. That’s prosaic license.)’
Ayn Clouter

Ayn rocks the place.

Next Up: They Dig Up the Body and Re-Enact the Resurrection

Undaunted by the « autopsy »,

Terri ‘Schiavo’s brain damage “was irreversible … no amount of treatment or rehabilitation would have reversed” it, said Jon R. Thogmartin, the pathologist in Florida’s sixth judicial district who performed the autopsy and announced his findings at a news conference in Largo, Fla. Still unknown is what caused Schiavo, 41, to lose consciousness on a winter morning in 1990. Her heart beat ineffectively for nearly an hour, depriving her brain of blood flow and oxygen. A study of her organs, fluids, bones and cells, as well as voluminous medical records, failed to support strangulation, beatings, a drug overdose, complications of an eating disorder or a rare molecular heart defect. All had been offered as theories over the past 15 years. Thogmartin said the cause will probably never be known. … The autopsy was performed the day after Schiavo died. It included 72 photographs of the outside of her body; 116 photographs of internal organs; 58 X-ray views before the autopsy and 28 during and after it — 274 images in all.’

« the Fascists refuse to give up the woman’s dead body », preferring to continue to use it as a political football.

‘Jeb Bush said Friday that a prosecutor has agreed to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago, citing an alleged time gap between when her husband found her and when he called 911. Bush said his request for the probe was not meant to suggest wrongdoing by Michael Schiavo. “It’s a significant question that during this ordeal was never brought up,” Bush told reporters.’

Of many outrages perpetrated in the last four-plus years, this ranks right up at the top. If there is a God, may He harshly judge these shameless, self-promoting, ignorant and hollow human beings. And I use that last term loosely.

On Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, I always think back to 1989, when as a newspaper reporter, I was privileged to meet a great group of heroes:

Memory Of WWII Still Vivid For Vets
(Part I of the Wake Island Story)

‘Considering the power accumulated for the invastion of Wake Island and the meager forces of the defenders, it was one of the most humiliating defeats the Japanese Navy ever suffered.’
—Masatake Okumiya, commander, Japanese Imperial Navy

By Steve Pollock
The Duncan (OK) Banner)
Sunday, August 13, 1989

MARLOW – It all came back to them this weekend – the stark terror of facing death while kneeling naked on a sandy beach the stinking hold of the prison ship; the brutality of the Japanese; the obliteration of youthful innocence.

They fought and bled for a two-and-a-half-square-mile horseshoe of an atoll in the midPacific called Wake Island. They were United States Marines and they did their duty.

There were 10 men of that Wake Island garrison at the Marlow home of John Smith this weekend. With Smith, they talked, drank and smoked their way through the weekend, laughter masking deeper emotions of brotherhood, camaraderie and painful memories.

In the Smith kitchen, their wives continued the latest of an ongoing series of therapy sessions, attempting to exorcise some of the demons of the last 44 years of their lives with the hometown heroes.

———

In 1941, with war inevitable, the U.S. government began construction of a series of defensive Pacific Ocean outposts, including Wake, designed to protect against Japanese aggression. They were a little late.

Little Wake atoll, with some 1,616 Marines and civilians huddled on its three islands, was attacked at noon, Dec. 8, 1941, several hours after Pearl Harbor.

The Marines knew war was possible, but “didn’t think the little brown guys had the guts to hit us,” one of them said.

———

Jess Nowlin’s hearing aid battery is getting a little weak as the afternoon wears on, but his memory and sense of humor are still sharp.

He said the Marines were going about their business when they heard the drone of approaching aircraft.

“We thought they were B- 17’s out of Pearl coming in to refuel. They weren’t. They broke out of a cloud bank at about 1,800 feet, bomb bay doors open. They tore us up,” Nowlin said.

The Japanese attacked from sea and air, but the Marines held out until Dec. 23; only 400 remained to defend 21 miles of shoreline from 25 warships and a fleet of aircraft. Surrender was inevitable.

Through a haze of cigarette smoke, Robert Mac Brown, a veteran not only of World War II, but of Korea and three tours of duty in Vietnam, remembers the post-surrender scene on the beach.

“We were stripped naked and they hog-tied us with our own telephone wire. A squall came through, but lasted only about 10 to 15 minutes. One of my clearest memories of the whole operation is of watching the water run down the bare back of the guy in front of me,” Brown said.

Japanese soldiers lay on the sand in front of the prisoners, swinging machine guns back and forth. The click of rounds being loaded into chambers was ominous. Fingers tightened on triggers.

“There was an argument between the landing force commander and a guy with the fleet. They screamed at each other in Japanese, arguing about whether to kill us or not,” Brown said.

The Marines made their peace and prepared to die.

The argument to make prisoners of the Marines and civilians won the day. The prisoners were allowed to grab what clothing they could to cover themselves.

And then a living hell began which would only be ended by the birth of atomic stars over southern Japan nearly four years later.

———

Taken off the island on small ships, the prisoners were forced to climb up the side of the Nittamaru, a former cruise ship pitching about on rough seas.

As the men walked back through the ship and down to the hold, the crew beat them with bamboo sticks, in a gauntlet of brutality.

Packed in the stinking hold, several hundred Marines and civilians had only one five-gallon bucket per deck to hold human waste. For the 14 days of the Nittamaru’s passage from Wake to Shanghai, they could barely move.

The cold of Shanghai was felt through their thin tropical khaki. It was January 1942. Robert Brown was to have married his girl on January 12. She married someone else.

“I thought you were dead,” she later told him.

———

From Shanghai, through Nanking, Peking, Manchuria and Pusan, Korea, the group journeyed in packed cattle cars to their eventual destination, a coal mine on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, where they dug in the shafts alongside third-generation Korean slave labor.

They were slaves themselves until August 1945.

“Thank God for Harry S. Truman and the atomic bomb,” several survivors said, as the others echoed that prayer.

They went home to heroes’ welcomes, but the public ”’never fully appreciated or understood what we did,” Nowlin said.

———

They’re much older now — in their 60’s and 70’s — and it was a family reunion of sorts; they claim to be closer than brothers. They don’t miss their “get-togethers” for anything in the world; Robert Haidinger traveled from San Diego with a long chest incision after recently undergoing a major operation.

As they gazed through the Oklahoma sunshine, they didn’t see the cow bam beyond the lovegrass rippling in the August breeze; it was a Japanese destroyer was steaming close in to end their lives all over again.

“It was awful, terrible; I wouldn’t have missed it for anything; you couldn’t get me to do it again for a billion dollars,” Nowlin summed it up.

———

The men: Tony Obre, Fallbrook, Calif; Robert Haidinger, San Diego, Calif.; Robert Murphy, Thermopolis, Wyo.; Dale Milburn, Santa Rosa, Calif.; George McDaniels, Dallas, Texas; Jess Nowlin, Bonham, Texas; Jack Cook, Golden, Colo.; Robert Mac Brown, Phoenix, Ariz.; Jack Williamson, Lawton; Paul Cooper, Marlow, and John Smith, Marlow.

The cost of the defense of Wake Island, from Dec. 8 to 23, 1941: Americans: 46 Marines, 47 civilians, three sailors and 11 airplanes; Japanese: 5,700 men, 11 ships and 29 airplanes.

Holding Down the Home Front

Wives Cope With Husband’s Memories
(Part II of the Wake Island Story)

By Steve Pollock
The Duncan (OK) Banner
Sunday, August 13, 1989

MARLOW – It all came back to them this weekend – fists lashing out during nightmares, the traumatic memories, the attempts to catch up on lost time.

The wives of 10 Wake Island survivors met in Marlow with their husbands this weekend for reasons of their own.

“We go through therapy every time we get together. We help each other with problems,” they said.

The wives: Florence Haidinger, Maxine Murphy, Opal Milburn, Irene McDaniels, Sarah Nowlin, Betty Cook, Millie Brown, Jo Williamson, Juanita Cooper and Marie Smith.

———

They did their own bit during World War II: The Red Cross, an airplane factory in Detroit, North American Aviation in El Segundo, Calif, Douglas in Los Angeles, the Kress dime store.

They married their men after the long national nightmare was finished, and their lives became entwined by one event: the Japanese attack on Wake Island Dec. 8-23,1941.

Since the first reunion of Wake survivors and their spouses in 1953, these women have been like sisters.

“We love each other, we’re closer than family,” Jo Williamson said.

In Marie Smith’s kitchen, therapy was doled out in a catharsis of talk little different from that of the men gathered on the patio. Talk is said to be good for the soul; these women heal great tears in theirs every time they see each other.

According to the wives, the men came home from the war, married, had children and tried to pick up where they left off.

They wanted to take care of their families and try to catch up. They were robbed of the fun times of their late teens and early 20’s, the women unanimously agree.

“They have also lived every day as if it were their last,” Sarah Nowlin said.

———

The men needed some help after their harrowing battle and brutal three -and-a-half-year captivity.

According to the women, doctors never realized therapy was in order: “They never got anything.”

One man lashed out with his fists during nightmares; after a few pops, his wife learned to leave the room. Another would slide out of bed and assume a rigid posture on the floor, arms and legs folded. Yet they have all been gentle men.

“I’ve never seen my husband harm or even verbally abuse anyone,” a wife said Reunions such as this help the men and women deal with life as they age. The youths of 16-22 are now grandfathers and grandmothers in their 60’s and 70’s.

———

Life today is a bit baffling to them.

Extremely proud of their men, the women have no patience with draft dodgers, flag burners, Japanese cars or foreign ownership of America.

They didn’t agree with the Vietnam war policy, but duty to country should have come first, they said.

“I didn’t want my son to go to Vietnam, but I would have been ashamed of him if he hadn’t,” one said.

The issue of flag burning stirs violent protest and emotion in the group: “Made in America”’ labels are on everything they buy.

And the younger generation does not enjoy the women’s confidence: “I don’t think they could do what we were all called on to do,” they agreed.

And as Marlow afternoon shadows grew longer, the women of Wake continued to cleanse their souls.

Remembering Kent State

Author Philip Caputo had an interesting interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that I caught the other day at lunch. And the NPR website has « an interesting section featuring Caputo’s writing on the Kent State shootings » on the 35th anniversary:

‘The hill slopes down in a sweep of green to a green field. That must be the practice field where the Guardsmen knelt and fired with their World War II M-1 rifles. It is quite peaceful today, empty, banal. Below, I spot what appears to be a marker, walk to it, and discover that it’s merely a piece of sculpture. Somewhat frustrated, I climb back up and ask a student, “Is the memorial around here?” “Right over there,” he says, pointing at a clump of trees. It is unobtrusive to say the least, almost covert, hidden under a grove of oaks and maples: a marble tablet set in the ground near some marble slabs that, I guess, serve as benches. The sole decorations are a few artificial flowers bound with pink and purple ribbon, a foil pinwheel that turns lazily in the breeze, the blades silver on one side, painted with the stars and stripes on the other. Its modesty seems deliberate, as if it commemorated a dark secret, like the gravestone of a relative who shamed the family. The tablet is covered with dead leaves, which I brush off to read the chiseled legend:

IN LOVING MEMORY
Allison Krause
Jeffrey Miller
Sandra Scheuer
William Schroeder

RESPECTFULLY REMEMBERED
Alan Canfora
John Cleary
Thomas Grace
Dean Kahler
Joseph Lewis
Donald Mackenzie
James Russell
Robby Stamps
Douglas Wrentmore

‘For all its uninspiring nature, it is a kind of war memorial, honoring the casualties of the day when the Vietnam War came home.’

It’s a fascinating look at a period which is still a fresh wound on the nation’s soul.

V-E Day Video

Here on the 60th anniversary of VE Day, I’m watching two films, Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph des Willens and the Criterion version of the French film Nacht und Nebel.

The first is the face that the Germans wanted to present to the world, the second is of the reality. Both are quite shattering, especially Nacht und Nebel, which pulls no punches in its imagery and which is not for the faint-hearted or weak-stomached.

Both documentaries should be viewed by all for purposes of ‘never again!’

But we live in an empire where our fellow citizens are being purged from churches because of political dissent.

Humans never learn. Never again? No.

Inevitably again.

Church Purge Confirmed

And now there’s confirmation in the mainstream press about a « North Carolina church’s purge of Democrats »:

‘Some in Pastor Chan Chandler’s flock wish he had a little less zeal for the GOP. Members of the small East Waynesville Baptist Church say Chandler led an effort to kick out congregants who didn’t support … Bush. Nine members were voted out at a Monday church meeting in this mountain town, about 120 miles west of Charlotte. … “He’s the kind of pastor who says do it my way or get out,” said Selma Morris, the former church treasurer. “He’s real negative all the time.” … 40 others in the 400-member congregation resigned in protest after Monday’s vote. During the presidential election last year, Chandler told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic Sen. John Kerry should either leave the church or repent, said former member Lorene Sutton. Some church members left after Chandler made his ultimatum in October, Morris said.’

I’m no lawyer, but I’d say this church will stand on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Boy Scouts to exclude whoever they want under freedom of association and that no one will challenge their tax-exempt status (or at least be successful at it).

It will be interesting to see if this spreads. If it does, we’ll at least be able to see which churches walk the walk of Christ and which ones walk the walk of the Pharisees.

Democrats Purged From North Carolina Church

« WLOS », an ABC affiliate in western North Carolina, is reporting interesting news:

‘Religion and Politics Clash: Religion and politics clash over a local church’s declaration that Democrats are not welcome. East Waynesville Baptist asked nine members to leave. Now 40 more have left the church in protest. Former members say Pastor Chan Chandler gave them the ultimatum, saying if they didn’t support George Bush, they should resign or repent. The minister declined an interview with News 13. But he did say “the actions were not politically motivated.” There are questions about whether the bi-laws were followed when the members were thrown out. (posted at 7:30am, 5/6/05)’

Unconfirmed, unsubstantiated talk on the ‘net is that WLOS produced a report in which ‘several elderly church members’ were interviewed and that they ‘all confirmed that the preacher has been after them to support Bush since October and that if they voted for John Kerry they supported abortion and gay marriage.’

We’ll see if this one gets better sourced later today.

Soulforce for Good

Every once in a while, there’s a ray of sunshiney hope that pierces the gathering gloom that is life in the Christo-Fascist Empire. This time, it’s « Soulforce’s Mel White and 500 others protesting at the gates of the citadel of Fascist FunDumbMentalism »:

‘At least 500 people braved spitting snow showers and cutting wind Sunday outside Focus on the Family’s headquarters to protest the group’s campaign against homosexual rights and same-sex marriage. “We are here to say, Jim, we love you enough to stop you from doing the damage you are doing to families across the nation,” said Mel White, executive director of Soulforce, a national interfaith organization that supports gay rights and is supported by roughly 100 churches and groups. White was referring to James Dobson, leader of Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian ministry group that actively campaigns against homosexual rights. Speaking to the crowd that included gay and lesbian couples, families and children, White called Focus on the Family “a toxic religion zone.”’

Amen! Thank you, Mel White and all the others who dared to stand up to the FFs and call them on their hatred and un-Christian fascism.

Still, things did get extremely weird, apparently:

‘A small group from the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., protested Focus on the Family for being gay-friendly because it encourages gays and lesbians to become heterosexual.’

Good lord. Maybe I should say something about the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ but … well, ick.

But good on yer, Mel White!

Heil Benedict!

So, a few days after the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Konzentrationslagers Ravensbrueck and Buchenwald, and on the anniversary of Waco and Oklahoma City, 117 men in red dresses have decided to elect as Pope a former member of the Hitler Jugend who also helped man Volksturm anti-aircraft batteries at the end of World War II.

But it’s all apparently okay, ‘cause everybody was doing it, they had to, don’tchaknow, and he just had to, and besides he was signed up without his knowledge and then he refused to go to meetings and well, firing Krupp cannon at American Eighth Air Force B-17s in order to protect a BMW plant which used slave labor from Kl Dachau was just apparently a youthful indiscretion and maybe there was some big ol’ nasty Nazi holding a gun to his head, making him aim right. Oh and then there is that rabbi who was trotted out to proclaim that the good Cardinal had worked miracles for Jewish-Catholic relations over the last few decades (Pope Pius XII’s reign wasn’t brought up).

And then this hardline orthodox Catholic ex-Nazi who has since 1981 headed up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known until 1908 as the Holy Office of the Inquisition, chose the name ‘Benedict’ in homage to a Pope who tried to soften the strictures of his predecessor, who had declared war on ‘Modernism.’

Then to top things off, we hear that 24 hours before becoming Pope, he declared war on any ‘isms’ (although Fascism wasn’t mentioned) which state that truth is relative:

‘On Monday, Ratzinger, who was the powerful dean of the College of Cardinals, used his homily at the Mass dedicated to electing the next pope to warn the faithful about tendencies that he considered dangers to the faith: sects, ideologies like Marxism, liberalism, atheism, agnosticism and relativism — the ideology that there are no absolute truths.’

San Francisco Chronicle

A question, sir: If there are only absolute truths, were you, Pope Benedict XVI, a Hitler Jugend or not? According to history, you joined the HJ, you took the oath to Hitler. And what’s this Inquisition business?

Unfortunately, I think it’s too late to ask the Pope, now that he’s Pope, if he swore an oath of personal allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

That would be a faux pas and simply isn’t done. It’s kind of like asking Justice Scalia if he sodomizes his wife.

Oh well. Let’s look on the bright side. Now we can call the Pope a Nazi and it’s neither mere hyperbole nor verboten under that ridiculous Godwin’s Law.

Could be fun.

Deathbed Dollars

While we’re all a bit tired of poor Terri Schiavo (let her rest in peace), I say we keep screaming about this one and hang it squarely on the Fascist FunDumbMentalists’ heads … like a flaming rubber tire. They are, after all, not shy about using a vegetable for their political purposes, as we’ll see in a moment.

But it’s important to note first that Chief Florida Fascist Jeb Bush’s own DCF produced report after report that found « no evidence of vegetable abuse »:

‘In the four years after Michael Schiavo won the right to remove his wife’s feeding tube, the state’s social welfare agency investigated 89 complaints of abuse but never found that he or anybody else harmed Terri Schiavo, records released late Friday show. The state Department of Children and Families repeatedly concluded that Michael Schiavo ensured his wife’s physical and medical needs were met, provided proper therapy for her and had no control over her money. They also found no evidence that he beat or strangled her, as his detractors have repeatedly charged. The 45 pages of confidential abuse reports made public by court order show that despite the litany of complaints, investigators never found that Terri Schiavo had been abused. That raises what Michael Schiavo’s attorney said is a key question: Why, during her last weeks of life, did DCF twice try to intervene in the seven-year dispute between Terri Schiavo’s husband and her parents?

’”The answer is obvious,” said attorney Hamden Baskin III. “From the get-go, this was nothing but a political intervention. There was and continues to be no reason for them to have been involved.”

Washington Post [Emphasis added]

Of course it was a political intervention. In fact, « it’s simply a case of using someone’s deathbed to beg for dollars »:

‘During the weeks preceding Terri Schiavo’s death, a number of radical right wing Christian fundamentalist groups stepped up to take full advantage of what the Traditional Values Coalition’s (TVC) Rev. Lou Sheldon characterized as a “blessing…to the conservative Christian movement in America.” Established organizations like the TVC, relative newcomers like RightMarch.com, and newly formed coalitions, like Voice for Terri, had their Web sites sizzling with news of the case and extensive fundraising appeals. Prior to Terri’s death on Thursday, March 31, her parents had apparently agreed to sell the names and e-mail addresses of donors to and supporters of their daughter’s case to Response Unlimited, a right wing direct mail house. However, within 20 hours of David Kirkpatrick’s March 29 New York Times piece exposing the arrangement, Response Unlimited withdrew Schindler’s list from its catalogue. Before removing the list from its web site, the Waynesboro, Virginia-based Response Unlimited (website) headed by Philip Zodhiates, was asking $150/month for 6,000 names and $500/month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Terri Schiavo’s father, the Times reported. Advertising the list’s availability and fundraising potential on its website the firm said: “These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler’s legal battle to keep Terri’s estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri.” The selling point was that the people on the list “are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!”

’… In a few months, when the Terri Schiavo case has drifted into the ether inhabited by such cultural cataclysms as the Elian Gonzalez case, those who sent money or a supportive message to the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation will discover that they’ve made Schindler’s list. Their e-mail boxes and snail-mail boxes will be stuffed by a host of appeals from organizations pushing everything from the privatization of Social Security to school vouchers to an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the constitution.’

Media Transparency

Truly a sordid, disgusting and black time in the Empire.

Sad thing is, it’s only the beginning.

Duly Noted

According to World Health Organization figures, on the same day that Terri Schiavo died and so-called Christians mourned her so-called ‘murder,’ 6,000 other human beings died from vaccine-preventable diseases including diphtheria, measles, polio, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Hib and yellow fever, because they and the countries they live in are too poor to afford the vaccines.

RIP Teresa Wright

PicOfTeresaWright

Truly terrible and depressing news: one of my all-time favorite actresses, « Teresa Wright, passed away Sunday »:

’« Teresa Wright », the willowy actress who starred opposite Gary Cooper and Marlon Brando and won a supporting Academy Award in 1942 for “Mrs. Miniver,” has died. She was 86. Wright died Sunday of a heart attack at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, her daughter, Mary-Kelly Busch, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

‘Wright’s career skyrocketed after her first film, “The Little Foxes,” which brought her an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress of 1941. The following year she was honored with two nominations: lead actress as the wife of Lou Gehrig in “The Pride of the Yankees” and supporting actress as Greer Garson’s daughter-in-law in the wartime saga “Mrs. Miniver.” She also starred in three other classics: Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt” in 1943; Brando’s first film, “The Men,” in 1950; and the multiple Oscar winner “The Best Years of Our Lives” in 1946.’

She was one of the main reasons Mrs. Miniver, Shadow of a Doubt and The Best Years of Our Lives are three of my all-time favorite movies. TBYOOL is, in fact, my favorite movie of all-time, period. I shall have to watch all three tomorrow night, in a Teresa Wright Memorial Requiem Marathon. (Yes, I’m a sentimental old fool.)

It’s very sad that all of the Golden Age’rs are passing, leaving us with the talentless, vapid, ignorant and self-absorbed near-’hos that pass for Hollywood ‘talent’ these days.

I’ve said several times lately that there is no justice in the world (or maybe I was just born like 40 years too late): Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and now Teresa Wright are dead, but Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise and Jude Law are still running around loose.

Wherever you are, Ms. Wright, thank you for your wonderful work. You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.

Air Jesus Drops Bombs on Tolerance

Media Transparency has a fascinating, interesting and ultimately pretty frightening expos´ posted — « Air Jesus: The Evangelical Air Force »:

‘For five days inside the Anaheim Convention Center, from February 11-16, the NRB’s attendees conducted business as if they were huddled in the catacombs of Rome rather than welcomed guests at a self-contained suburban city of paisley-carpeted hotels, all-you-can-eat buffets and climate-controlled conference halls directly across the street from Disneyland. Indeed, when McDonald asked attendees for a show of hands in affirmation of his question, nearly every hand in the room shot up.

‘It might seem ironic for McDonald to invoke the spectre of persecution at the convention of a group that represents the interests of 1700 broadcasters and which enjoys unfettered access to congressional Republicans and the White House. The NRB’s influence was best summarized by its new CEO, Frank Wright, who, in describing a recent lobbying excursion to Capitol Hill, said, “We got into rooms we’ve never been in before. We got down on the floor of the Senate and prayed over Hillary Clinton’s desk.” Wright went on to rally support for the NRB’s handpicked candidate for FCC commissioner, whom he refused to name, and rail against federal hate crime legislation because, “Calls for tolerance are often a subterfuge when everything will be tolerated except Christian truth.” [Emphasis added]

Media Transparency

Further down in the article, there’s a passage about the evil, power-hungry genius behind it all:

‘On Friday evening a crowd of a few dozen fawning followers and activists gathered to meet Dobson and his 20-something son, Ryan, in a stuffy conference room decked out like a VFW hall, replete with red, James Dobson and his son Ryan prepare for Ping Pong battle at the National Religious Broadcasters’ confereence in Anaheim white and blue ribbons and furnished with ping-pong tables and a hot dog stand. The only thing that kept me from believing I had walked through a time warp to the 1950s was an announcement by a guy in a striped referee jersey that Dobson and son would give iPods to the two contestants deemed suitable to face them in ping-pong. Before the games began, the referee sat on a stool next to Dobson and son for an informal discussion of some of their favorite topics: family, culture, and the homosexual agenda. Dobson was uncharacteristically reticent during the event, seated in a hunched posture and speaking only when spoken to.

‘He did not seem anything like the kingmaker who answered a post-election thank you call from the White House by demanding that Bush get “more aggressive” or “pay a price in four years.” Nor did he seem like the draconian uber-dad who, in his best-selling parenting handbook, “Dare to Discipline,” advised parents to spank their children with “sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.” One of few times Dobson spoke out of turn was to make a clarification he had apparently wanted to issue for some time. “I did not say SpongeBob was gay,” Dobson told the crowd, responding to media ridicule of his attack on the popular cartoon character: “All I said was he was part of a video produced by a group with strong linkages to the homosexual community that’s teaching things like tolerance and diversity. And you can see where they’re going with that. They’re teaching kids to think different about homosexuality.”’

Of course, ‘think different’ means ‘don’t beat, bash, stone, kill, torture, discriminate against, use as political pawns or otherwise molest gay and lesbian Amurricans,’ but poor Jimmy D. thinks that’s all okay. It is, after all, supposedly in the Bible.

And it is, after all, part and parcel of the next big Culture War « battle on tolerance and diversity — UNC Front »:

‘A federal court has ordered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to reinstate a Christian fraternity which had been denied recognition because its officers refused to sign the university’s nondiscrimination policy requiring the group to allow homosexuals to join. The preliminary injunction, issued by U.S. District Court Judge Frank W. Bullock Junior, will permit Alpha Iota Omega access to student funds and university facilities, like other fraternities on campus. The order will remain in force until the issue of compliance with the university’s policy against discrimination is settled, most likely in court. “This is the first battle in the lawsuit, and we are victorious in that sense,” said Joshua Carden, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, the Arizona-based organization representing the fraternity.’

— Pandagon.net

Hey, how ‘bout that Activist Judge Legislating from the Bench? [crickets chirping]

Update: « Alternet has an extensive investigative piece » on a shadowy group, the Council for National Policy, which features all the usual suspects from Pat Robertson to Tom Delay, that is at the forefront of the Culture War. If the Anaheim meeting mentioned above represented the Air Jesus Air Force, the CNP can certainly be characterized as the Black Ops Army.

The ONE Campaign

New on the blogroll: « The ONE Campaign »:

‘The ONE Campaign is a new effort to rally Americans to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. Through The ONE Campaign, each ONE of us can make a difference. Together as ONE we can change the world.’

Go and sign the petition and help out in any way you can.

Disclaimer and Copyright

Except where noted by quotes and italics, all content is written, edited and issues forth from the feverish and fertile mind of AirBeagle. © 1999-2005, Some Rights Reserved. Licensed under a Creative Commons licensing scheme.

Eric Blair, Laughing His Ass Off in His Grave

Yeesh. I go away for awhile and come back just in time to read « the most hypocritical, outrageous lies ever spoken by the Boy Emperor »

‘Referring to Putin’s recent steps to consolidate power, roll back democratic reforms and curb press and political freedoms, Bush said: “We must always remind Russia that our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the sharing of power and the rule of law. The United States should place democratic reform at the heart of their dialogue with Russia,” he said in his speech.’

SF Chronicle

Actually, Amurrica’s ‘free press’ consists of bribed propagandists and closeted fascist homosexuals who would have made Ernst Roehm blush; the opposition’s vitals are hanging out all over the place; power is hoarded not shared; the rule of law means nothing in the face of Konzentrationslagers Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and the ascension of torture-apologists and enablers Alberto Gonzalez and John Negroponte; and democratic reform will not begin until the moment in 2009 when the Emperor shuffles off to Crawford for a permanent brush-clearing gig (or at least we can still hope).

Note to the Emperor: Christ (you know the one … Jesus, the hero who changed your heart) said not to try to take a speck out of your neighbor’s eye when you’ve got a board in your own. Let’s tend to the veritable forest in our own baby blues and leave Pooty-Poot alone, shall we? There’s a good lad.

Blows Keep Falling

Sad news tonight: Following the deaths of « Arthur Miller », « Sandra Dee » and « John Raitt » comes the biggest blow: « Hunter S. Thompson » apparently shot himself:

‘Hunter S. Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularized a new form of fictional journalism in books like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, fatally shot himself Sunday night at his home, his son said. He was 67. “Hunter prized his privacy and we ask that his friends and admirers respect that privacy as well as that of his family,” Juan Thompson said in a statement released to the Aspen Daily News. Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, a personal friend of Thompson, confirmed the death to the News. Sheriff’s officials did not return calls to The Associated Press late Sunday. Juan Thompson found his father’s body.’

SF Chronicle

The loss of Raitt and even Dee is sad, but the losses of Miller and Thompson are simply huge.

But that’s life in the Empire these days: Towering figures of great value like these two, not to mention Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, etc., are all dead and we’re left with the likes of Judith Miller, that Guckert/Gannon fellow and Nicole Kidman and Johnny Depp.

In other words, as they said in August 1914: ‘The lights are going out all over [America]; I’m afraid they won’t be lit again in our lifetime.’

R.I.P.

Spongedob Stickypants Strikes North

Not content to run roughshod within the Empire, « jack-booted Fascist FunDumbMentalists are mounting a hard-core press to export hatred and discrimination to Canada »:

‘American evangelists are urging Canadians to oppose same-sex marriage. The anti-gay groups are using Christian broadcasters to spread the message. Earlier this week, James Dobson, chairman of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, in a broadcast heard on 130 radio stations across Canada denounced the government of Prime Minister Paul Martin which will bring in a same-sex marriage bill next week. “Your prime minister, Paul Martin, has recently done things to subvert the will of the people,” Dobson said. “It is clear here in the United States that the American people do not want same-sex marriage,” Dobson continued. “I would hope that Canadians who also do not want same-sex marriage would be encouraged by what has happened down here.” Dobson told listeners that same-sex marriage is not a human rights issue and that passing such a law would destroy the institution of marriage and undermine society. Dobson concluded his broadcast by calling on Canadians to pray on the issue and to donate money to Focus on the Family.’ [Emphasis mine]

365Gay.com

Note that key last sentence there: Evil Dr. Dobson, known around the blogosphere as SpongeDob Stickypants, is exporting good ol’ American imperial fear and ignorance to Canada in order to soak up more money.

What a greedy, avaricious, disgusting, evil and immoral jackass.

Hey, Canada! Amurrica may be permanently asleep, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wake up and recognize the menace on your southern border.

The empire has people like Spongedob and Ann Coulter, who recently said that Canadians ‘better hope the United States doesn’t roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent.’

Wake up, Maple Leaf! You have a very serious problem on your southern flank.

RIP Shirley Chisholm and Robert Matsui

The bad news continues to pour in as the Republic lay dying: « Shirley Chisholm passes at age 80 »:

‘Chisholm, who took her seat in the U.S. House in 1969, was a riveting speaker who often criticized Congress as being too clubby and unresponsive. An outspoken champion of women and minorities during seven terms in the House, she also was a staunch critic of the Vietnam War. Details of her death on Saturday were not immediately available. She was 80. … “My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn’t always discuss for reasons of political expediency,” she told voters. … “She was a mouthpiece for the underdog, the poor, underprivileged people, the people who did not have much of a chance,” 88-year-old Conrad Chisholm told the AP early Monday from West Palm Beach. Once discussing what her legacy might be, Shirley Chisholm commented, “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.”’

AP

Speaking from one big mouth to another: God rest you, Ms. Chisholm; your kind will be sorely missed.

Also passing this weekend: « California Congressman Robert Matsui », a survivor of America’s WWII konzentrationslagers:

‘Matsui, who headed his party’s unsuccessful campaign to retake the House in the November election and who was expected to play a key role in debates on changing Social Security in the new Congress that opens Tuesday, died Saturday night at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a Washington suburb. … Matsui, a slight, soft-spoken and affable native of Sacramento born just 2 1/2 months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, had entered the Bethesda hospital on Dec. 24 with pneumonia. One of the nation’s most influential Asian American politicians, he had kept publicly quiet about his illness and had been active in the Social Security debate until his hospitalization. … The third-generation American’s concern with helping the marginalized probably stemmed from his experiences as an infant, when he was sent to the Tule Lake camp in far Northern California along with his family. His father was forced to give up his produce business in Sacramento when the family was interned for more than three years.”

SF Chronicle

Meanwhile, Social Security destruction is on the Emperor’s agenda and shrill fascist voices on the right are calling for American muslims to be rounded up into 21st century American konzentrationslagers.

Shirley Chisholm and Bob Matsui are dead and the fat, happy, snarky and bribed uber-fascists still infest the Congress. There is no divine justice on this earth.

Sad. Two more nails in the coffin of the Republic.

Northwest 33, Service From Amsterdam to … Hell!

The airline industry’s … further descent into anarchy, let’s say … continued this week. This time, a « 28-hour ordeal on Northwest flight 33 » shows that things are all higgledy-piggledy in the air:

‘In an ordeal that made some passengers feel like hostages, about 300 people aboard an Amsterdam-to-Seattle flight were delayed for 18 hours on the ground, unable to leave the plane for much of that time, as food and water ran out and the toilets stopped working. Northwest Airlines Flight 33 finally arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Wednesday morning, 28 hours after takeoff, after being held up by a nightmarish combination of fog, work regulations and mechanical trouble.’

Oh well, Amurrican Imperial in-’security’ efforts already made the passengers feel like criminal-terrorists, so they might as well have added ‘hostage’ to complete the experience.

The details of NW33 aren’t pretty:

‘Heavy fog had prevented the flight from landing in Seattle as scheduled Tuesday afternoon, forcing the pilot to circle the airport until fuel ran low. The plane was then diverted to an airport in Moses Lake, Wash., where it sat on the runway for hours as another crew was sent from Minnesota. The airline has regulations on how many consecutive hours crew members are permitted to work. The flight from Minnesota was delayed because of mechanical problems. After the new crew arrived, Flight 33 had to wait again because of bad weather. Food and water ran short, and the toilets stopped working as the hours dragged on.’

Notice that little phrase ‘the airline has regulations’ about crew rest. The truth is that it’s the FAA (not the airlines and not the unions/workers that the media loves to bash these days whenever anything goes wrong up there) that sets crew rest requirements. It usually takes the unions keeping after the FAA to make the airlines live up to their legal obligations.

And now Northwest will certainly be foisting off responsibility for this one on the evil, evil workers who made the poor, poor passengers sit there for 18 hours so the crew could go off to a hotel and drink and have illicit sex.

Okay, so they don’t say that, but that’s the subtext of these things.

It’s like the other day when Imperial Transport Minister Mineta announced the feds would investigate airlines to see if they were living up to the promises they made five years ago (of course they’re not) … the media, within just a few hours, turned that into ‘the feds will be investigating all those commie bastard USAirways workers in Philadelphia who called in ‘sick’ and screwed Christmas up for everyone.’

Ain’t the 21st century grand?

On the Casualty Lists

I don’t have a content management system for airbeagle.org, which is where I keep a tally of those sacrificed to the extremist political ideology of the Bush administration. So there is no way to leave comments over there. (You can certainly leave them here on airbeagle.us, however, if you have something to say about the lists. You can also « use the Contact page » to send me an e-mail.)

In the year-and-a-half I’ve been following the casualty lists, I have received many e-mails and comments which are unanimously supportive of keeping a list of the casualties, including several from family and friends of slain soldiers. I have never received a negative comment or e-mail.

Tonight, however, I received an e-mail from a grieving mother, whose fear, anger and bitterness shines between the lines.

Interestingly, for a mother who just lost a son in the mess in Iraq, she, unlike other families who write me, is an obvious Bush fan and, just as obviously, is one of the crowd that, just as during the Vietnam War, believes dissent is treason and that soldiers died to protect lazy hippies’ right to protest. What is implied by that kind of statement is, of course, a certain bitterness that a soldier would die on a foreign battlefield so that a disgusting subhuman back home could express an odious and unAmerican opinion.

My position is that I appreciate the sacrifices of all soldiers in America’s wars over the last two centuries. And I firmly believe that when they sign up for the armed forces, they know that their job is to fight and possibly die for ALL Americans, even those who are beneath contempt, for minorities, for those with unpopular views, for all races, for all creeds, for all religions, for all social classes.

As a soldier, you don’t get to pick the speech you fight and die to protect. You don’t get to say, “I’m a Republican, so I’m here in Vietnam only to fight for the rights of Republicans to support Richard Nixon.” Nope. You’re there for the naked gay hippies smoking crack in Golden Gate Park who will vote for George McGovern too.

And if you and your family can’t accept that reality, perhaps, well, perhaps you should consider a different line of service to your country. One of Bush’s faith-based charities, for instance.

I realize, of course, I’m sounding a bit harsh. But I’m a bit tired of the snarkiness in that kind of attitude, to be perfectly honest.

Look folks. We are ALL Americans. We are ALL equal. We pay taxes that support things we don’t necessarily agree with. My home-schooling sister’s family pays taxes to support public education, which is full of satan worshippers in her opinion. I pay taxes which get squandered for corporate welfare for the likes of Halliburton and SBC and Wal-Mart and Boeing, and I hate that.

But guess what. That’s America. Out of many, one. Live and let live. It’s far from perfect, but better than anything else that’s been tried.

Some would say a casualty list shouldn’t be politicized. I’m always gobsmacked by that concept. People! Terrorism and war ARE political! They are the ultimate politics!

3,000 died on 11-Sep-01 because of a combination of politics and negligence. And thousands more are dead in Iraq because of politics, ignorance, neglect and willful malevolence.

The casualty lists ARE political, regardless of what we might wish them to be. It’s that simple.

Having said that, I grieve for Ms. Barkey. The loss of her son certainly must be leaving a huge hole in her life.

Which is sort of my whole point in keeping up with the casualties. These are men and women who were valuable and irreplaceable, both to the nation and to their families and friends. And while it’s too early to determine if they died in vain, we DO know they died for a lie told in the pursuit of an extremist political agenda.

And that’s wrong. It’s indecent. Immoral. Sinful. Wasteful.

Ms. Barkey and I certainly agree on one thing: her son was a hero. He had a job to do and he did it. More could not be asked of him.

I wish her peace and rest and healing and relief from her bitterness. And forgiveness for those who sent her son to his death with a callousness and disregard for him and his mother.

For the record, here’s her original e-mail and my reply:

On 21 Oct, 2004, at 23:20, Julie Barkey wrote:
‘My son was KIA on July 7th in iraq. His name was Michael C. Barkey. I don’t consider him part of Bush’s body count. He was a hero who died for your right to have this website
‘Freedom isn’t free. I would be terribly afraid for our country if John Kerry is elected.
‘Just thought I’d voice my own freedom of speech.
‘The biggest deterent to terroism is to give them a taste of freedom. That’s what the historic election in Afganistan has done and the what the Iraq election will do.
‘God Bless our Nation.
‘Julie Barkey’

And my reply:

‘Ms. Barkey,
I’m sorry for your loss and thank your son for his sacrifice. He was indeed a hero. Thank you for your comment.
‘Steve Pollock
‘AirBeagle.org
’”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
’- Franklin Delano Roosevelt’

Good night, y’all. Peace.

Same Old Story

« As news comes along that the first of several repressive anti-gay-family state amendments are already bearing fruit for the Fascist FunDumbMentalists », here’s an interesting article being reported tonight on the BBC:

‘American divorce reform planned
‘Changes in the law are opposed by the Republican party

‘The U.S. government says that it is planning to make changes in the country’s marriage laws to give women the right to divorce.

‘Under existing Christian Old Testament family and marriage laws, only men have the right to initiate divorce proceedings.

‘The Health and Human Services secretary said he was consulting other departments to make the changes.

‘The move has been strongly opposed by Christian parties and clerics and could face opposition within the government.

’”I have talked to the attorney general …,” HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said, “and I am hoping that we would be able to make changes soon.”

‘America is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, relating to the rights of women and children rights.

‘Jerry Falwell, chief of the Moral Majority – a partner in the governing coalition – said the divorce change proposals would be contrary to Christianity.

’”This would be totally against the spirit of the Bible,” he said, “we will oppose this and all Christian pastors will oppose this.”

‘Mr. Falwell says that according to Christian law a woman can express her desire to her husband if she wants a divorce.

’”But it depends on the man whether he would allow his wife to get that divorce,” he said.

‘Mr. Falwell also said that they would resist any move to bring amendments to the family succession laws that could give equal rights to men and women over family property.

‘The BBC’s Shahriar Karim in Washington, D.C., says that those laws favour men over women after a parental death.

‘Our correspondent says that the government is not considering changes to family succession laws because existing Old Testament law is an obstacle.

‘Mr. Thompson said that successive governments had avoided tackling the issue for fear of hurting the religious sentiments of the majority Christian population.’

So much for separation of church and state, huh?

Oh.

No, wait … my mistake.

« Actually, the article says this »:

‘Bangladesh divorce reform planned
‘Changes in the law are opposed by Islamic parties

‘The government of Bangladesh says that it is planning to make changes in the country’s marriage laws to give women the right to divorce.

‘Under existing Islamic shariah family and marriage laws, only men have the right to initiate divorce proceedings.

‘The Women and Children Affairs minister said she was consulting other ministries to make the changes.

‘The move has been strongly opposed by Islamic parties and clerics and could face opposition within the government.

‘’Contrary to Islam’

’”I have talked to the law minister and also the social welfare minister,” the Women and Children Affairs Minister, Khurshid Jahan Haque said, “and I am hoping that we would be able to make changes soon.”

‘Bangladesh is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, relating to the rights of women and children rights.

‘Moulana Fazlul Huq Amini, chief of Islami Oikya Jote [IOJ] – a partner in the governing coalition – said the divorce change proposals would be contrary to Islam.

’”This would be totally against the spirit of Koran,” he said, “we will oppose this and all Islamic clerics will oppose this.”

‘Mr. Amini says that according to Islamic law a woman can express her desire to her husband if she wants a divorce.

’”But it depends on the man whether he would allow his wife to get that divorce,” he said.

‘Mr. Amini also said that they would resist any move to bring amendments to the family succession laws that could give equal rights to men and women over family property.

‘The BBC’s Shahriar Karim in Dhaka says that those laws favour men over women after a parental death.

‘Our correspondent says that the government is not considering changes to family succession laws because existing shariah law is an obstacle.

‘Ms. Haque said that successive governments had avoided tackling the issue for fear of hurting the religious sentiments of the majority Muslim population.’

Christian America. Still #2 behind Islamic Bangladesh in enforcing FunDumbMentalist law. But we’re trying ever so hard …

Compare/Contrast Time

As seen on « Daily Kos »:

What was on John F. Kerry’s chest:

KerryMedals5KerryMedals3
KerryMedals4KerryMedalsKerryMedals9
KerryMedals8KerryMedals7KerryMedalsb
KerryMedals6KerryMedals2KerryMedalsa

What was on the Boy Emperor’s [sullied] uniform:

BushMedalsBushMedals2

What was on the Dick Cheney’s uniform:

ZILCH

And for those of you, like me, who don’t know what they mean:

Kerry:
• Silver Star
• Bronze Star
• Purple Heart
• Combat Action Ribbon
• Presidential Unit Citation
• Navy Unit Commendation
• National Defense Service Medal
• Vietnam Service Medal
• Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
• Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
• Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

The Boy Emperor:
• Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
• Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon

The Dick Cheney:
• He got zilch ‘cause he got five deferments and ‘had other priorities’ and didn’t have a uniform to put it on.

Kerry’s medals are verified by his official service records. The Boy Emperor’s appear in a photograph of him wearing his uniform; there is a great deal of confusion about what he should or should not have been wearing. But, IF he was wearing them properly, it meant simply that he belonged to an outstanding unit and could shoot a gun. Wow.

Bob Dole (and you other Fascists): Bite me.

The Rock on Which It Was Built

From The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch:

‘They had no chance of knowing the strange tangled history of the Christian Church: how a small Jewish sect had separated from all the other Jewish identities of first-century Palestine after it proclaimed its founder, Jesus, to be the Messiah whom all Jews sought. Over four centuries the little sect had grown into the Mediterranean-wide community that was Christianity, and after 312 C.E. it had grown powerful when it allied with the emperors of Rome. Judaism and Christianity were fully distinct from the end of the first century C.E., and their relationship thereafter was tangled and often bitter. Though Christians shared with the Jews a sacred book of Hebrew Scripture they called the Old Testament, and they could never forget their debt to the Jews, they frequently resented it and turned their resentment into condemnation of the parent religion. They borrowed from the law contained in the Hebrew Scripture to suite themselves: They invented a distinction between moral, judicial, and ceremonial law that was wholly absent from the intentions of the writers, labeling what they wanted to use as moral law, selecting at will from what they defined as judicial law, and relegating ceremonial law to Jewish history.’
[Emphasis added.]

‘Borrowed,’ ‘invented,’ ‘wholly absent from intentions of writers, ‘selected at will.’ Sounds familiar.

Up to Speed

Bought a cheap little odometer for the Bobcat that works really well and was easy to install. Nothing fancy or expensive, just a way to tell how far I’ve gone …

Northwest Threatens Employees


‘Northwest Airlines is threatening to discipline, and possibly fire, union employees if they proceed with picketing that questions the safety and security of Northwest flights, according to a letter the airline sent to the mechanics union. “It seems like pure intimidation,” said Jim Atkinson, president of Local 33 of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. The mechanics and the Professional Flight Attendants Association had planned to conduct informational picketing on July 2 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

‘The union members planned to picket to raise awareness of the company’s practice of having overseas and third-party repair stations do maintenance on Northwest aircraft. They say maintenance performed in other countries poses a security risk. “Any suggestion that safety or security has been compromised at Northwest is both false and highly damaging to Northwest’s business,” Northwest labor relations Vice President Julie Hagen Showers said in a June 18 letter to the mechanics union, which was posted on the union Web site Wednesday.’

Well, that’s one way to shut down unions and intimidate workers … claim that workers’ exercising their constitutional rights is detrimental to business. Way to go, Northwest! Yeesh.

Like the New Spiffiness?

So how do you like our new clothes? Much better, I hope. Here are some notes about the new design/location:

  • You might not have noticed, but our URL is now airbeagle.US; thanks to our new Textdrive hosts, I can finally, without extra cost, use the .us domain I’ve been paying for for two years. Since most of our journals are really not commercial endeavours, they belong on .us and .net. Hence the change. Feel free to either update your bookmarks or continue to visit the old site; I’ll keep a redirect going there for quite some time.
  • AirBeagle, as always, looks the very best in Firefox or Safari on both windoze and Mac platforms. If you’re still using that abomination known as Internet Explorer by those complete idiots in Redmond, well, then you pretty much deserve what happens to you. Or was that too harsh? Seriously, the best browsing of any site is with a web standards-compliant browser and Firefox is the best. Some IE issues do exist with this new design: the rollovers of the nav bar won’t work in IE for windoze and there may be some spacing issues. Again, use something other than IE to see asquared or miss out. So sorry; it’s just that every time lately I’ve designed a web standards-compliant site, IE can never render it correctly. And, frankly, I’m fed up with it. Thanks for your understanding.
  • The two archives links at left aren’t quite working yet. I still have to restore some old content from the old hosting provider. I should be able to get that working this week. Commenting and permalinking and category archives are working just fine, however.
  • Some of the ‘Explore’ links at left won’t work yet because those new journals haven’t been built. I’m working on it as fast as I can and they will all be finished by the time I start grad school for real next Tuesday.
  • Thanks, as always for reading us and supporting us with link-backs. We’re happy to be here!

66 For The Gipper

He’s gone; I’m sorry I voted for him, but admire his commitment to public service; my extreme sympathies to Nancy (and every other family who has to deal with Alzheimer’s like my family did); and sure, he was likable and funny and a good story teller and all, but get a grip people, separate the person from the president and look at what that president did.

« David Corn summed it all up for us » way back in ‘98:

• The firing of the air traffic controllers
• Winnable nuclear war
• Recallable nuclear missiles
• Trees that cause pollution
• Elliott Abrams lying to Congress
• Ketchup as a vegetable
• Colluding with Guatemalan thugs
• Pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers
• Voodoo economics
• Budget deficits
• Toasts to Ferdinand Marcos
• Public housing cutbacks
• Redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement
• James Watt
• Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals
• Tax credits for segregated schools
• Disinformation campaigns
• ‘Homeless by choice’
• Manuel Noriega
• Falling wages
• The HUD scandal
• Air raids on Libya
• ‘Constructive engagement’ with apartheid South Africa
• United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers
• Attacks on OSHA and workplace safety
• The invasion of Grenada
• Assassination manuals
• Nancy’s astrologer
• Drug tests
• Lie detector tests
• Fawn Hall
• Female appointees (8 percent)
• Mining harbors
• The S&L scandal
• 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut
• Al Haig “in control’
• Silence on AIDS
• Food-stamp reductions
• Debategate
• White House shredding
• Jonas Savimbi
• Tax cuts for the rich
• ‘Mistakes were made.’
• Michael Deaver’s conviction for influence peddling
• Lyn Nofziger’s conviction for influence peddling
• Caspar Weinberger’s five-count indictment
• Ed Meese (‘You don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime’)
• Donald Regan (women don’t ‘understand throw-weights’)
• Education cuts
• Massacres in El Salvador.
• ‘The bombing begins in five minutes’
• $640 Pentagon toilet seats
• African-American judicial appointees (1.9 percent)
• Reader’s Digest
• C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than eighty civilians killed)
• 200 officials accused of wrongdoing
• William Casey
• Iran/contra.
• ‘Facts are stupid things’
• Three-by-five cards
• The MX missile
• Bitburg
• S.D.I.
• Robert Bork
• Naps
• Teflon

Voices


‘The first sight I got of the beach, I was looking through a sort of slit up there, and it looked like a pall of dust or smoke hanging over the beach.’
Lt. Ray Nance, Executive Officer, 116th Infantry Regiment, US 29th Division

’…we were hearing noises on the side of the landing craft like someone throwing gravel against it. The German machine gunners had picked us up. Everybody yelled, ‘Stay down!’… I noticed the lieutenant’s face was a very gray color and the rest of the men had a look of fear on their faces. All of a sudden the lieutenant yelled to the coxswain, ‘Let her down!’ The ramp dropped. … ’
Pvt. H. W. Schroeder, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

’… the craft gave a sudden lurch as it hit an obstacle and in an instant an explosion erupted. … Before I knew it I was in the water. … Only six out of 30 in my craft escaped unharmed. Looking around, all I could see was a scene of havoc and destruction. Abandoned vehicles and tanks, equipment strung all over the beach, medics attending the wounded, chaplains seeking the dead.’
Pvt. Albert Mominee, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

‘There were… men there, some dead, some wounded. There was wreckage. There was complete confusion. I didn’t know what to do. I picked up a rifle from a dead man. As luck would have it, it had a grenade launcher on it. So I fired my six grenades over the cliff. I don’t know where they went but I do know that they went up on enemy territory.’
Pvt. Kenneth Romanski, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

‘Face downward, as far as eyes could see in either direction, were the huddled bodies of men living, wounded, and dead, as tightly packed together as a layer of cigars in a box. … Everywhere, the frantic cry, ‘Medics, hey, Medics’ could be heard above the horrible din.’
Maj. Charles Tegtmeyer, Surgeon, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

’…I crawled in over wounded and dead but I couldn’t tell who was who and we had orders not to stop for anyone on the edge of the beach, to keep going or we would be hit ourselves. … I ran into a bunch of my buddies from the company. Most of them didn’t even have a rifle. Some bummed cigarettes off of me. … The Germans could have swept us away with brooms if they knew how few we were and what condition we were in.’
Pvt. Charles Thomas, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

—National D-Day Museum, New Orleans

Save Us, Jesus, From Your Followers

Finally, some religious leaders state the obvious … the Boy Emperor has little moral authority in spite of waving bleedin’ Jesus on the cross around like a billyclub, « and the doin’s in Iraq make it worse »:

‘The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by some U.S. soldiers points to the danger of [the Boy Emperor] describing the occupation of Iraq and the war on terror as battles between forces of good and the “evildoers” of the world, religious leaders say. Even before compromising photos of nude and hooded prisoners surfaced in the news media, some mainline Protestant and American Muslim leaders had criticized the president for a series of speeches that appeared to say that God was on the side of America. “We question that kind of theology—putting ‘good’ on us and ‘evil’ on the other,’’ said Antonios Kireopoulous, the associate general secretary for international affairs at the National Council of Churches, the major ecumenical agency in the United States. “Seeing these photos of prisoner abuse puts the lie to that,’’ he said in an interview Thursday. “It shows the crack in that kind of thinking.”’

‘Cracked thinking’ is exactly right, and thank you so very much for finally saying it.

Even so, Fascist FunDumbMentalists continue to have the blinders on; whenever the Boy Emperor bows his head and prays to his hero, Jesus, the ‘faithful’ practically fall over in a swooning faint and praise George and Jesus … even as they « overlook George’s … human failings »

‘Bush’s appearance at the prayer event in the East Room came just minutes after he apologized for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers—a statement he made standing side-by-side with the king of Jordan, part of the Arab community outraged by photographs taken of the abuse. “We cannot be neutral in the face of injustice or cruelty or evil,” Bush said in his prayer day remarks, without specifically referring to the war in Iraq. “God is not on the side of any nation, yet we know he is on the side of justice. And it is the deepest strength of America that from the hour of our founding, we have chosen justice as our goal.” “Our greatest failures as a nation have come when we lost sight of that goal: in slavery, in segregation, and in every wrong that has denied the value and dignity of life. Our finest moments have come when we have faithfully served the cause of justice for our own citizens and for the people of other lands.”’

Wow. I have to admit, I didn’t think he was capable of telling the truth. And yet, straight from the horse’s mouth comes the admission that his administration is perpetrating one of our greatest failures. After all, the Cabal every day denies the value and dignity of life (unless it’s still in the womb; once that life has been slapped into breathing, look out!).

The whole National Day of Prayer thing was repeated in the Imperial Provinces and, like the national event, was little more than a Repugnant-ican political rally, « as was noted by a Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter »:

‘Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar, who limped into the breakfast on crutches (she recently underwent surgery to repair some cartilage). Klobuchar said she thought she had been invited to a nonpartisan, nonsectarian prayer breakfast. But she was the only DFLer on display and the prayers seemed tailored for a very Republican God. Hennepin County District Judge Catherine Anderson offered a prayer so long that the faithful who held their hands high to support her with outstretched arms had to go to a one-hand system and switch arms from time to time. But if her prayer was lengthy, it was also fervent, especially when she asked God’s blessings on George W. Bush, Tim Pawlenty, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, all of their advisers, staff and Cabinet members and a long list of mostly Republican officials. … Poor Klobuchar. When breakfast ended, a man named Richard Johnson came over and asked her to call him up and pray with him sometime. “I didn’t know any Democrats are Christian,” Johnson said. He makes his living selling Noni Juice, a bitter potion that cured his back pain and rejuvenated his skin and can cure any disease, unless maybe you are an infidel or a chronic Democrat. “I assumed that Christians have been driven out of the Democratic Party,” Johnson told Klobuchar, “but I pray to the Lord Jesus, and I’d like to pray with you.”’

Big of him, wasn’t it?

Murder in the Cathedral

As has been written lately, in the 1960 Presidential election, JFK had to prove that he wouldn’t take orders from the Pope. But in the 2004 election, JFK will have to prove that he will take orders from the Pope.

Fascist FunDumbMentalists are increasingly using an ages-old religio-political tool to influence the state: Giving communion to politicians the church approves of and publicly threatening to withhold it from those it doesn’t (or at least intimidating them into not taking it).

The latest (but not the first nor the last) is « New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey », who …

’… at odds with the Roman Catholic Church over his support for abortion rights, said Wednesday he will honor the wishes of the Newark archbishop and not receive communion. Archbishop John J. Myers said in a statement that abortion rights supporters should not seek communion when they attend Mass. Myers stopped short of saying that priests would refuse to serve it to Catholics who disagree with the church’s position. … The governor said he is committed to both his Catholic faith and his pro-choice stance on abortion and believes strongly in the separation of church and state. “I believe it’s a false choice in America between one’s faith and constitutional obligation,” McGreevey said.’
SFGate.com

Indeed it is.

Of course, McGreevey is a Democrat, which means that the FFs are out to score political points. I wonder what would have happened if former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman, a pro-choice Republican, had been a Catholic? I’m betting on nothing, nothing at all …