Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blog Carnival... BlogRush... How we changed

I am thrilled to be included in the ERASE RACISM Blog Carnival. Regarding my post about John Brown, Charles Modiano writes:

As I was reading more of this informative piece, all I kept thinking was, how has there never been a motion picture on this man’s life!!! This was also my sentiment when I personally wrote “History’s Hit Job on Thomas Paine” (the only founding father to unequivocally denounce slavery without personal hypocrisy). What does it say that in 2007, we continue to glorify slaveholders of times past, but routinely ignore or bury the legacy of those whites who most fiercely resisted that “peculiar institution”.
Incredibly, this never occurred to me! No movie about John Brown! Maybe they just don't know what to do with him?

Johnny Cash, may his soul rest in peace, perfectly played John Brown in the rather tepid miniseries NORTH AND SOUTH, based on the John Jakes novels. He properly narrows his eyes and intones "We shoot to kill," at one juncture, and you believe him.

For my money, the man to play John Brown would be Tommy Lee Jones, looking all intense and grizzled and shit. Wouldn't he be GREAT? I'm sure he could glare at you and sagely warn "We shoot to kill," with the same gravitas as Johnny Cash.

I hope some Hollywood casting guru is reading this? You think? Nah.


The new sensation in Blogdonia, BlogRush, is messing up my posts, and I think I know why. I took out the "no follow" feature on my blog, so search engines could also search comments as well as posts (this modification is called "do follow"). As a result of this twiddling of mine, BlogRush, which supposedly syndicates your "last 12 posts," has instead been syndicating the last 12 COMMENTS instead. So you get posts with titles like "Hey Daisy!" instead of the titles I have assigned.

Consequently, when I logged into the all-hailed Phase 2 of BlogRush, I discovered all of my posts have little icicles on them... which means nobody clicks on them and they are therefore NOT HAWT. :(

I hope they fix this, and I dutifully emailed them about it. Certainly, I can't be the only "do follow" blog out there? (I learned to do that from reading other people's blogs, after all!) Also, if you see goofy titles in the BlogRush widgets, you'll know why.


Cleaning under my couch, which I do every couple of years or so, yields about a dozen books I had long ago written off as lost. Thus, it's just like shopping! I should probably do it more often.

Casey Walker's MADE NOT BORN: The Troubling World of Biotechnology is definitely a Halloween-related book. O, Brave New World that has such people in it.

In this book, I discovered the following poem, by Jerry Martien:


first we made a genetically
improved cat

a cat with wings

before we knew it the cat had
eaten all the birds

so we had to make a genetically
faster flying bird

only it wouldn't
sing unless we gave it

so we made a genetic
who'd sing whenever
someone told him to

we couldn't shut him up

the dog got on all the radio and
tv talk shows

the famous genetically
engineered singing

cloned a new
song for every day

and while the birds
bombed the cats
we all sang along with the dog.

Listening to: Laura Nyro - Eli's Comin'
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Horror movie thread! Don't go to sleep!


I'm interested in hearing about your favorite little-known or obscure horror movies. Tell me as much as you can without totally ruining it, because I do intend to check out any movies I haven't seen.

My entry is SESSION 9 (2001), which different people react to in markedly different ways. A macho guy I work with refuses to watch it again; a younger woman I know who usually likes horror did not think it was suspenseful enough. It spooked me and Mr Daisy bigtime.

SESSION 9 was shot in Danvers State Hospital, once officially known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, an abandoned psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. The place is scary enough all by itself, and then you have people poking around in it at night and listening to old psychiatric tapes. (And pray tell, WHY are they doing that???? Don't these people ever WATCH HORROR MOVIES?!? DON'T GO THERE!!!!)

Please add your own, and have a great Halloween!


Listening to: The Cramps - Human Fly
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 29, 2007

Babies having babies is a BAD THING

When my daughter, Delusional Precious, was a teenager, barely of high school age, she climbed out of her bedroom window in the middle of night. Repeatedly. Only she and God know how many times this occurred. She was off to meet winsome Video Store Guy (herein known as VSG), a cute, popular 21-year-old punk rocker and precocious son of a shrink, with a PUNK ROCK ACADEMY ("where all of the students are diagnosed with ADD") bumper sticker on his car. This went on awhile before I caught on, since they also carried on a semi-respectable, knock-on-the-door (Hi Mr and Mrs Daisy! Hi kitties!), leave-for-the-movie dating relationship, which was pretty smart of them. Anima and animus, I figure.

As the bikers say, I was born at night, but I wasn't born last night, and I emotionally (ha!) interrogated Delusional Precious at length after discovering her absence. If I'd known about water-boarding then, I might have given it a try. I asked her point blank, and she answered, also point-blank. (Ah, the honesty of Aries!)

And so, I made a Ob/Gyn appointment the next day. I may even have attempted to make the appointment at 4 in the morning, right after our conversation, or something unreasonable like that.

Backstory: At this time in my life, I really was trying to be a good Catholic, or as good as I could muster (which okay, probably wasn't so good). But at no time, did I think my religious choices applied to the fertility of Delusional Precious, and certainly, I knew it didn't have any bearing on VSG (also from a Good Catholic Family, or at least as good as a Catholic Shrink family could be). Images of squalling infants dancing in my head, I trotted DP off to the doctor to have her cervix probed and examined, and the coveted Rx for you-know-what, duly given. Whew!

Now, we can breathe, and the extended torture session can begin! (Insert Vincent Price cackle here) Of course, I would never torture a pregnant teenager. I was a good Catholic, after all!


I am puzzled by commentary like this, in which adults hyperventilate over the kids using birth control. Do they want children to get knocked up? Because, you know, those are the choices, people. DEAL.

Kids cannot be controlled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is simply NOT POSSIBLE.

And who is getting the attention here? Girls. Girls get pregnant, girls take the risk, and girls have babies. Girls will be uneducated single mothers. Girls will be broke. Girls will be on AFDC. Girls, not boys. Therefore, this is all about GIRLS, and PENALIZING GIRLS FOR HAVING SEX. NOT BOYS. (Are we really having this conversation in 2007?)

I understand the desire to penalize one's daughter for having sex... but is it the SEX, really, or is it the disobedience that this symbolizes? I can honestly tell you, the risk upset me far more than the sex itself; the idea of DP having a baby with VSG sent me into a panic far beyond the panic I felt when I discovered her absence and thought she had been abducted by aliens (which would have explained plenty!). Having a baby with VSG: NOT AN OPTION. I didn't even consider this worth discussion. I (rather loudly) INFORMED HER that she would be taking the Pill, as of last month!!!! She shrugged and rolled her eyes, in the taciturn and defiant language of teenagers all over the world, but she DID take the pills when they were given to her. She did NOT have a baby with VSG, which proves that novenas and pharmaceuticals, taken together, are far more powerful than either by themselves.

Why would anyone deny this to their child? The logic escapes me. Do they WANT babies having babies in high school?

Bill O'Reilly, weirdly obsessed with sexuality of all kinds, has made major political hay by attacking the school board in Portland, Maine, for doing the Lord's Work, and making sure girls can finish school and have real lives without being weighed down by children:

The school board in Portland voted 7-2 to make that happen. The rationale is that some kids will have sex and the school must try to reduce pregnancies. Also, parents must sign a waiver allowing their children to receive medical care at the school.

However, that medical care is kept secret from the parents, in the birth control area.

Now giving sixth grade girls the pill is dumb. It doesn't protect them from disease and tacitly says that sex at that young age is understandable.

This is foolish, ridiculous, and irresponsible. But in the secular progressive world. The SP doctrine is to quote, "empower children" and downgrade parental authority because some parents are bad.
Dear Bill: fuck you.

Okay, let's say that I am a bad parent. Should my daughter suffer for that? Should a NEW PERSON be brought into the world, simply because I am?

And this new person who is born, will they be supported by---who? You? Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney? Pro-life Republicans? Ha! I hardly think so. No, a child born to my minor child would obviously be financially supported by ME. Where do you get off telling ME what to do? Because it takes a village, yada yada. You are telling all of us what to do; the school board, the teachers, the parents--by implication. You are saying: suck it up and get ready for grandchildren.

Who do you think you are?

If I write any more about this topic, I will degenerate into more "fuck you's" and that leads nowhere. Suffice to say, Bill O'Reilly (herein known as BO) pisses me the fuck off! He has millions of dollars to support plenty of grandchildren! LET THEM EAT CAKE, huh BO? Can the new grandparents in Maine drop the babies off at your door? I'm sure you have enough money to start several Sisters-of-Mercy style orphanages, all by how about it? You are critical of abortion (although you notably and significantly hedge about whether abortion should be illegal), so what exactly are you counseling parents to do? Put leashes on the kids? Put them in maximum security lockdown?

How about you put your money where your arrogant mouth is?

How many babies are you promising to support, as the result of your self-righteous, ignorant meddling?

Listening to: The View - Superstar Tradesman
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I'm not sure why I started blogging. I know I unequivocally decided to blog on Postmenopausal Day, but I'm not sure why. Am I wasting my time? Probably. All I have to show for my blogging are some nasty emails from Bob Jones University, an increased knowledge of html (I think I'm up to the average 14-year-old, by now, at least) and a handful of great New York expressions from BelleDame (which really impress my friends). Does anyone read this? Well, Sitemeter says a few dedicated folks actually do, so I charge onward, boring the masses (okay, a tiny fraction of the masses) with my postmenopausal, post-hippie existence.

Thank the Lord for Halloween, or should I say, thank the pagans! (Thanks, yall!) Currently sipping some yummy, decadent Fresh Market Pumpkin Spice coffee, which I am aware is not bird-friendly, free trade OR organic, and so, Catholic Guilt and Shame (herein known as CGAS) accompanies my warm and tingly Halloween-Autumn vibe. (Alas, there is no escape from Searching and Fearless Moral Inventories, whether we ever really wanted them or not.) My TV is tuned to the lovely Adrienne Barbeau, ex-wife of John Carpenter, who bravely battles The Fog, and I am comforting myself that at least I am not in a horror movie. Although if Dubya continues on his present course and destroys the world as we know it, we very well may be, so this is a form of meditation and preparation. Horror movies explain what NOT to do in life, and this one reminds us to stay out of the fog.

Speaking of fog, I have several foggy things on the agenda for the week, so stay tuned, fight fans.


There I was yesterday, re-stocking amino acids and having an existential dilemma about blogging (see above), when Ron Paul Guy (herein known as RPG) approaches me to ask if I am going to the gay movie. Gay movie? BOYS IN THE BAND? BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN? THE CHILDREN'S HOUR? (*nods to Belledame*)

RPG just rolled his eyes, as he usually does when I don't know what is happening. NO, the GAY MOVIE, titled For the Bible tells me so. It's the Soulforce gang again! There is going to be a counter-demonstration!

A counter-demonstration of a MOVIE? Oh, God. I refer everyone to the videos I posted on Tuesday. I was morally exempt (I told myself) from the April Soulforce demo because I was already scheduled to work. However, I will not be scheduled to work during this movie. Oh, God. Well, I said, under the laser-beam glare of RPG's eyes, I guess I will go.

And then, late last night, sitting with local Deadheads on their shadowy terrace, beautifully lit by green light, crystal wind-chimes that spin rainbows in the dark, and candles that illuminated their jungle-like maze of plants, I said, again: Yes! I will go and blog about it! They were very supportive. Deadheads rule, always.

And now, I am committed to doing this. And frankly, I don't want to. It's the kind of thing that if I weren't blogging, I'd find a reason to put off. But now, I feel I have to Witness to the Truth, and all like that.

RPG enthusiastically agreed, and then informed me I had to go see Ron Paul on November 1, which also has the distinction of being All Saints Day. Since I pointedly missed my last Holy Day of Obligation (see CGAS above), I have to go this time. (I'm also gonna try to make All Souls Day, which many of you know as Day of the Dead.) I guess Ron Paul can fit into my All Saints Day itinerary. I am not voting for him and there is plenty about his politics that I intensely dislike, but I was so impressed by how he shook up the last somnambulist GOP debate with some righteous fury over Iraq, I figure I can mosey on over to Pleasantburg Drive and tell him so. I'm also curious about who else might show up. More demonstrators? Positive? Negative?

And then there is the gay movie.

Leading the counter-demonstrators will likely be Badass Preacher Man (herein known as BPM). He is, in fact, in one of the aformentioned videos I posted. He knows me through my work, and he likes me. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. How could this man who preaches like a lunatic-on-cocaine actually like me? I dunno, but I can honestly say, if I had never seen him preach, I'd unreservedly like him, too. BPM literally has two personalities: a sweet, kindly southern gentleman and then, well, see for yourself. I've always known this, since he's been a local Religious-Right fixture for years, and has been prominently featured on numerous national newsclips as well, feverishly preaching against sodomy. And yet, he has been very sweet and friendly to me.

If I show up at the gay movie, will that change? I don't mind telling you, that makes me nervous. I don't know why, but it does. I would like to keep business, religion and politics all separate, but as you all know, life doesn't usually work that way, does it? Perhaps I like him more than I am willing to admit. Hopefully, his fondness for me will carry the day, too?

And what will happen if it does? I can tell you what: a day or so later, when BPM has calmed down, he is likely to ask me why I was there. He knows I am married, a grandmother even. He has no idea.

Should I tell? We are back to the bisexuality question. I am fixin to have a 20th wedding anniversary this month. Bisexuality doesn't even seem relevant, but of course, it is; it is who I am. Should I be honest? I have never told anyone who might be hostile; I've never had to. This will be a first. And even though most old-school southerners would never ask, BPM will ask, since he does like me and will consider my soul in jeopardy.

It's a hairy situation. What's a mother to do?

Of course, I know. At this stage of my life, I will have to tell the truth. I no longer have the wherewithal, the temerity, the ability, to lie, to cover-up, to equivocate.

And then, what happens?

Stay tuned, fight fans. A fun All Saints Week awaits us.

Listening to: Social Distortion - Don't Drag Me Down
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 26, 2007

Positively no refunds: Carnival of Souls

I have to blog about the Turner Classic Movies Underground Film Series earlier and earlier every Friday, since yall keep saying you MISSED IT. Okay, it's Friday morning, so no excuses!

Tonight, we get Herk Harvey's infamous B-movie, CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962), which has an ending that unfortunately, has been cannibalized countless times since, and you'll therefore have no trouble guessing it. But it's nonetheless a haunting, moody, frightening, consistently startling film; like being in a black-and-white nightmare, or being held underwater. Richard Harland Smith writes:

Though fondly remembered by many horror fans, Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962) was close to being a lost film for thirty years. Seminal studies of the horror genre from the late 60s through to the late 80s lacked reference to the film, their indices skipping from The Car (1977) to Carrie (1976) without so much as a by-your-leave. Thanks in great part to the efforts of Texas-based film historian and restorer Gordon K. Smith, Carnival was reborn in 1989 amid renewed interest and appreciation, not all of it backhanded. A subsequent re-release on the midnight show circuit allowed cult film fans to appreciate Carnival’s singular charms on the big screen. In 1990, the feature debuted on video cassette, a milestone heralded on the cover of the first issue of Video Watchdog magazine. The next year, Herk Harvey licensed Michael H. Price and Todd Camp to adapt his “weird show” as a graphic novel, illustrated in the monochrome starkness of a Jack Chick comic. (The less said about the 1998 remake rubber stamped by executive producer Wes Craven the better.) In 2000, Carnival of Souls was included in the prestigious Criterion Collection, keeping company with the expressive masterworks of Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Carl Dreyer, Jean Cocteau, Georges Franju and Henrí-Georges Clouzot.
As well it should. It burrows deep into your head and stays there. Perhaps it is because, like the best horror, it plays on those fears we all share; those fears we don't readily admit to others. Danel Griffin writes:
I think what I like best about Carnival of Souls is the way that it plays on our natural, everyday fears of isolation and the unknown. When I lived in the lower forty-eight, I used to drive alone in unbending streets in the darkness of the night, and it was easy to give into the sensation that I was not alone out there. You have also found, I am sure, that in the quiet solitude of night driving, it is easy for your imagination to get away with you: Is that a reflection in the passenger-side mirror—some demon or lonely ghost staring at you from the outside? Or when you are alone in the room of an old, dark house of some distant relative: As you smell the ancient dust in the guest bedroom, you think you see a face staring at you through the old, faded curtains. Our wits, of course, eventually get the better of our fears, and we tell ourselves that there is no one in the passenger side window or through the curtains. What is truly terrifying about Carnival of Souls, of course, is that there really is a white, evil face staring back at us. It smiles at us devilishly, with a look that notifies us that it wants no less than our souls.

Cue The Twilight Zone theme.
And for Godsake, watch out for that deranged, spooky-weird organ-music!!



Listening to: The Black Crowes - Remedy
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Pharyngula Mutating Genre Meme

Vanessa tagged me with my very first meme! I am thrilled! It's like when you're 12 and you finally get invited to the slumber party.


There are a set of questions below that are all of the form, “The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…”.

Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

* You can leave them exactly as is.

* You can delete any one question.

* You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change “The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…” to “The best time travel novel in Westerns is…”, or “The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is…”, or “The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”.

* You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…”.

* You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.

Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great--great grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Clubs.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is The Flying Trilobite.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.
My great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Shakespeare’s Sister.
My great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Shayera.
My great-great-great-great grandparent is PoliShifter.
My great-great-great grandparent is Lizzy.
My great-great-grandparent is Candace.
My great-grandparent is Randal.
My grandparent is Evil Mommy.
My parent is Vanessa.

1. The best time travel film in SF/Fantasy is: The Time Machine.

2. The best scary movie in zombie apocalypse is: Night of the Living Dead.

3. The best novel in American period history is: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.

4. The best writer in American comedy is: Woody Allen.

5. The best silent movie in Russian film is: Battleship Potemkin.

6. The best English poet in the nineteenth century is: Gerard Manley Hopkins.

7. The best anthem in Punk Rock is: "Holidays in the Sun" by the Sex Pistols

8. The best anthem in Southern Rock is: "Green Grass and High Tides" by the Outlaws.

I now tag GerryPlanetEarth, Arrogant Worm and the man with the pretty pictures, Anthony McCune!

Listening to: Amy Rigby - Dancing with Joey Ramone
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The plank in your own eye

Left: Bob Jones III announces an end to the unpopular ban on interracial dating on CNN's The Larry King Show, March 2000.**

The Romney endorsement by Bob Jones III has the entirety of Bob Jones University in an uproar. It's a beautiful thing! If we're lucky, maybe the whole place will self-destruct. One can only hope!

In one way, it's predictable how they are turning on each other... those who propagate intolerance should not be surprised when that same intolerance is turned on them.

I've learned from my email that lots of people do not know exactly what Bob Jones University is. So, I have decided to let their website do the talking. The following are some quotes from their website, which they have cleaned up considerably since a few years ago, when it basically read like Jonathan Edwards' infamous Sinners in the hands of an angry God. They are putting attractive young women on their site to lure in the boys (the women greatly outnumbered males, so the rumor went), and playing down the fact that no one is allowed to date without an assigned chaperon while staying at the dorms. No TV and no radio, no CDs, unless all related to academics (or BJU-produced radio/TV/CDs, of which there is plenty).

And the clothes-requirements alone, take up a whole page ("morning dress" refers to mandatory chapel attendance at 6:30 am, and the clothing required at that time):
Dress Code for Men

General Dress

* Hair must be cut in a traditional, conservative style–not shaved, spiked, tangled, or shelved. It may not be colored or highlighted.
* Sideburns should not extend past the middle of the ear. Men are expected to remain clean-shaven.
* Necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are not permitted.
* Hats may not be worn indoors except in the gym.
* Men are not permitted to get tattoos or wear body piercings.

Abercrombie & Fitch and its subsidiary Hollister have shown an unusual degree of antagonism to the name of Christ and an unusual display of wickedness in their promotions. In protest, we will not allow articles displaying their logos to be worn, carried, or displayed (even if covered or masked in some way).

Morning Dress–dress shirt (no denim/chambray) with tie, dress or neat casual pants (no jeans, cargo, carpenter, or sloppy pants), dress or leather casual shoes; sweaters should show shirt collar and tie knot (no sweatshirts).

Afternoon Dress–collared shirt (no crew necks), neat casual pants, dress or casual shoes (no slides or sandals), socks above the ankle, sweatshirts or sweaters.

Sunday Dress–coat, tie, and dress shirt; dress shoes; dress or dressier casual pants.

Recreation and Work Dress–jeans, t-shirts, shorts at athletic facilities (not as spectators at sports events), sleeveless athletic shirts (indoor activities only), socks required (including at work).

Dress Code for Women

Classroom/general dress consists of a dress or top and skirt; however, pants may be worn for some recreational activities. Shorts may never be worn outside the residence halls and fitness center.


* Tops must be long enough that the midriff is never exposed.
* Sleeves are required. (Sleeveless tops and dresses may be worn with a sleeved blouse, jacket or sweater underneath or over top.)
* Necklines may come no lower than four fingers below the collarbone.


* Hemlines and slits or other openings should never come higher than the bottom of the knee.
* Denim skirts may be worn for casual dress (not to class or other professional-type events).


* Loose-fitting pants may be worn between women’s residence halls, for athletic events, and to homes in the area.
* Loose-fitting jeans may be worn in and between women’s residence halls and when participating in activities where the durability of the fabric is important, such as skiing and ice-skating.
* Low-riders are not permitted.
* Shorts may be worn only inside the residence halls and fitness center.


* All dresses, skirts, pants, and shirts must be loose-fitting, having a minimum of three inches of ease at bust and hips.
* An informal way to measure ease is to stand up straight and pinch the loose fabric on both sides of the hips or at the bust line. Without stretching the fabric, there should be at least a 3/4-inch fold of fabric on both sides.


* Sheer clothing may be worn only when the garment underneath conforms to normal dress regulations.
* Hose must be worn whenever men students are required to wear a coat and tie (including Sunday morning worship services, recitals and productions after 6 p.m., Bible Conference and commencement activities).
* Combat boots, hiking boots or shoes that give this appearance are not permitted. Leather sandals, including those with a strap between the toes, will be permitted at times when women are not required to wear hose. Flip flops made of rubber, plastic, etc., are not permitted in public.
* Hairstyles should be neat, orderly, and feminine. Avoid cutting-edge fads and cuts so short that they take on a masculine look.
* Students are not permitted to get tattoos. Excessive makeup is not permitted. Earrings may be worn only in the lobe of the ear (maximum of two matched sets). All other types of body piercings are prohibited.

Please note the statement concerning Abercrombie & Fitch under Men’s General Dress.
I'm kinda shocked they allow two sets of earrings! But yes, they have to match, you floozies!


Most righteous video ever made: Soulforce protests at Bob Jones, April 4, 2007:


They never let the students out of their sight for long. Like most cults, they exert an iron-clad control over their charges:
Loyalty to Christ results in [male and female] separated living. Dishonesty, lewdness, sensual behavior, adultery, homosexuality, sexual perversion of any kind, pornography, illegal use of drugs, and drunkenness all are clearly condemned by God’s Word and prohibited here. Further, we believe that biblical principles preclude gambling, dancing, and the beverage use of alcohol.

Dating and Mixed Groups

We want students to have wholesome social opportunities in a setting that provides accountability for biblical requirements of purity. It is with this in mind that we chaperon campus activities where men and women students are present and require a chaperon when students date or interact in a mixed group off campus.


* Students may work in town until 10:25 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Freshmen must have a prayer captain, assistant prayer captain, or upperclassman with them. Sophomores and upperclassmen may work alone.
* Freshmen and sophomores may not use their vehicles to go to and from work.
* Students may not serve alcoholic beverages when waiting tables at restaurants.
* Students may not do house-to-house sales anywhere in the Greenville area. Students offering services to the community must have a retail license or have clearance from the Dean of Students to do door-to-door solicitation for their services.
* Students may not miss nightly prayer meetings on weekdays.
As you can see, the BJU cult wants to reduce the chance that students might meet anyone who could successfully challenge their world-view.
Residence Hall Life

* A student must live in one of the University residence halls unless he is living with parents or other close relatives (approved by the Dean of Men’s or Dean of Women’s office), is 23 years old or older, is married and over the age of 20, or is a graduate student.
* New students may request a particular roommate. Returning students may request for a friend to be on their hall or in their residence hall.
* For the sake of accountability, students must “check out” when they leave the campus. Students gradually acquire more freedom in this area as they become upperclassmen.
* Each night all students meet for prayer, either as a room or together with several other rooms.
* Students are required to be in their own rooms and quiet at 11 pm. All lights must be out by midnight.
* Students are required to keep their rooms clean and neat. Rooms are inspected daily.
* Facilities and furnishings:
o Laundry facilities are provided.
o All rooms are furnished with twin-sized beds, dressers, desks, closets, cupboards, sink, telephone, and blinds.
o Local intranet and high-speed Internet access is available in each residence hall room.
* An email account is provided for each student. Due to the flood of objectionable content coming through outside email services, students may use only this filtered campus email system.
* All wireless Internet access that bypasses the BJU filters is prohibited. This includes accessing the Internet via cellular phone services (e.g., TMobile, Sprint, Verizon, etc.) and WiMax.

What to Bring

* List of what to bring pdf
* Students may bring automobiles to campus. However, underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) who are under 21 years old may use their vehicles only to drive home and for extension.
* Cell phones are permitted. Students will be instructed in cell phone etiquette.

What Not to Bring

* Posters of movie and music stars and fashion models are not permitted. The subjects of personal photos should not exhibit immodesty or inappropriate physical contact.
* Music must be compatible with the University’s music standards:
o New Age, jazz, rock, and country music is not permitted.
o Contemporary Christian music is not permitted (e.g., Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman, WOW Worship, and so forth).
* Televisions, DVD/videotape players and headphones are not permitted in the residence halls; computer DVD players may not be used to view movies.
* You may not possess or play computer and video games rated T, M, A, or E10, or having elements of blood and gore, sensual or demonic themes, or featuring suggestive dress, bad language, or rock music.
* Due to space considerations, appliances such as mini-refrigerators and microwaves are not permitted in residence hall rooms. A refrigerator and microwaves are provided in each residence hall.
* Residence hall students may not watch videos above a G rating when visiting homes in town and may not attend movie theaters.
* All weapons must be turned in for storage. Trigger locks are required for pistols. Fireworks are not permitted on campus.
Needless to say, they come out of this school far dumber than when they went in. (Some friends tell me that they even edited OUT DAMNED SPOT out of the student production of Macbeth, rendering it OUT, SPOT! ...which of course sounds like what you say to a puppy that has peed on the rug.) There used to be (maybe still is) a video store near BJU that rented BJU-approved movies, which were Hollywood movies that had been edited to pass Bob Jones standards... all sex and dirty words removed. I found this out some years ago during a discussion with a Bob Jones alumnus with whom I worked. We were chatting about THE GODFATHER films, which I was surprised to learn she had seen and liked. We got to the part of GODFATHER II where Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton) tells Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) about her abortion. She couldn't remember that. Couldn't remember? A fundie can't remember?

"Ohh!" she chuckled, in that morally-superior tone they always eventually display, "I didn't see the Hollywood version!" (That is what she called it, the Hollywood version. As if the rest of the movie was made somewhere else?) When I looked dumbfounded, she told me about the video outlet that edits such scenes out of movies. So, I said, the light dawning, you really DIDN'T see the Godfather movies? "I saw the purified version, which is the only version I want to see," she sniffed at me.

Purified! That is the word she used.

Their knowledge of the world around them is minuscule and pathetic, in just this truncated, ignorant manner. And they are proud of their stupidity, not the least bit ashamed. They consider the ignorance evidence of godliness, which is the truly tragic part.


A collection of random video, Soulforce vs. BJU and their assorted droogs:


The Bob Jones people have, until very recently, kept the rest of Greenville County almost as dumb as they are. They have kept out interesting people, censored bookstores with pickets, demonstrated against Black Sabbath (!) and they have made at least 3 gay people I know leave town in disgust; men who had plenty to offer this place, men who planned to contribute to our collective culture in interesting, challenging ways. Republicans are afraid to challenge them, since they virtually own the party in upstate South Carolina.

The Bob Jones people are a BLIGHT upon the land.


And so now, they feel betrayed. They should. Bob Jones III, like his father and grandfather before him, has preached the gospel of separation, not even allowing kids at the high school (of course, they start them young, and have K-12) to enter organizations that include Mormons and Catholics. And now, it seems BJ3 has done a 180-degree turn. Mormons are deemed acceptable when it comes to politics, since the important thing is keeping the gays and women in their place. And, well, let's face it, the fundamentalist Mormons know how. You can almost hear the admiration in BJ3 as he defends his choice.

Will they finally wake up? Will they see his hypocrisy, that he has one standard for himself and another for them?

Jones’ Romney endorsement sparks division
Bob Jones III says he’s expressing a personal opinion, but critics question his choice
Published: Monday, October 22, 2007
By Ron BarnettSTAFF WRITER, Greenville News
The Bob Jones University family has never followed Bob Jones III in lockstep fashion, school officials will tell you.

But Jones' surprise endorsement of Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary has sparked a sharp division of opinion in this stronghold of Christian fundamentalism.

Within an hour of the story hitting the Internet on last Tuesday, e-mails and chat began to come in from BJU people who felt "Dr. Bob" had abandoned his religious principles in the name of political pragmatism by supporting a Mormon.

"For 10 years, I have proudly worn my BJU signet ring," 1997 graduate Tamara Valdes-Russell wrote. "... After today's announcement ... I may need to put this ring in a drawer for the shame of the legacy that has been left behind by the leaders of a once-great institution."

Jones told The Greenville News he thinks Romney is the best choice among candidates capable of beating Hillary Clinton and that they share the same values, despite Romney's adherence to a religion Jones believes is un-Christian. He said he wasn't speaking for the university but stating his personal opinion.

Students at BJU are taught that Mormonism is at odds with basic Christian doctrine, said Royce Short, dean of the School of Religion. Mormon belief in books other than the Bible having the same authority as the Bible, and a view of God not being a trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are just a couple of the differences between the religions, he said.

Short said he's not sure who he will vote for, but he added, "My religious views would all factor into these things, but it wouldn't keep me from voting for someone who was a Mormon."

Mixed reaction

Reaction to Jones' endorsement has been "mixed," BJU spokesman Jonathan Pait said, although he doesn't see the endorsement, or the reaction, as representing a change in the university's hard-line fundamentalist Christian culture.

"There's always been diversity of viewpoint among people who are part of our university family," Pait said. "That's nothing new. It just so happens that during this election season there is more than one choice for people to be looking at."

Stephen Jones, Bob Jones III's son* who became the university's president two years ago when his father stepped into the chancellor role, prefers to stay out of politics and hasn't endorsed anyone, Pait said.

"When he became president, he stated that he wanted to put his focus on the university itself, and I think that's where he has his focus," he said.

The Greenville News attempted to contact all seven of BJU's deans last week. Three said they weren't endorsing anyone for president, three couldn't be reached, and one -- Greenville County Councilman Bob Taylor -- said he is endorsing Romney.

Even before Jones made his position known through The Greenville News last week, Taylor, dean of the school's College of Arts and Science, made national headlines by telling a reporter for The Wall Street Journal that he supported Romney.

"I think it would be a great change to see a president kind of go outside the beltway and find some people to formulate solutions to some of our major problems," Taylor told The News.

As to their religious differences, Taylor said he disagrees on religion with all of the frontrunners on the GOP side, who he identified as Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson.

"That's not the point at all," Taylor said. "It (religion) is not the issue in the campaign."

Sid Cates, Taylor's colleague on the County Council and principal of Bob Jones Academy, said he's not endorsing anyone, but he's leaning toward former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

"He is more in agreement with my religious background, so I'm leaning in that direction," he said.

"If it came down between Hillary and Romney, I would go with Romney," he added. "I would hope Romney would give Huckabee serious consideration for a vice presidential candidate."

Romney won the support of another high-profile South Carolina evangelical on Friday, when Dr. Don Wilton, former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and pastor of a 6,900-member megachurch in Spartanburg, announced his support.

"His values are my values -- protecting the sanctity of human life, defending marriage and strengthening the family," Wilton said in a press release from the Romney campaign.

"While we may not agree on theology, Gov. Romney and I agree that this election is about our country heading in the right direction," said Wilton, whose influence reaches far beyond South Carolina with a national TV program broadcast from his church. "Gov. Romney is the best candidate to stand for conservative values in Washington." No consensus

That mantle, however, remained up for grabs this weekend at a meeting in Washington, D.C., organized by the conservative Family Research Council.

Tony Beam, vice president for student services at North Greenville University and director of the school's Christian Worldview Center, broadcast his daily radio show on Christian Talk AM-660 from the Washington meeting.

Beyond his differences with Romney on religion, the Mormon's change of opinion on abortion and gay rights gives Beam serious reservations about him.

"I'm not sure why we feel like Romney's the best candidate for evangelical believers when there are good candidates that have track records," Beam told The News.

He's endorsing Huckabee.

The group will have a straw poll at the conclusion of the weekend event, in which many of the candidates are speaking, and hopes to come away with a consensus that can help bring together the fractured evangelical voting block.

Dr. Frank Page, pastor of Taylors First Baptist Church, said he feels a temptation to use his position as president of the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention to influence evangelical voters toward a particular candidate, but he doesn't think it is appropriate for him to endorse anyone.

He has met with four of the Republican candidates and spoken with Romney on the phone and understands Jones' political pragmatism in supporting him.

"I certainly have difficulty with Romney's religion, but I do understand that a person feels that they need to endorse someone," he said. "Reality is reality. Very few candidates are going to have a concurrence in every belief system as well as every social and moral issue. And people feel that they need to identify with the one that comes closest in one of those areas."

Of Romney, Page said, "I think he is a great leader. I think he's done a wonderful job in Massachusetts, which is an 88 percent Democrat state."

He said he told Giuliani that he has a problem with the former New York mayor's position on social issues.

Scott Case, a former Greenville County councilman and current county auditor and BJU alumnus, said he's not endorsing anyone and wouldn't comment on Jones' endorsement, other than to say, "That's a personal decision everybody gets to make."

He added: "I could not publicly endorse Mr. Romney because of personal convictions. However, in a matchup between Mr. Romney and Mrs. Clinton, I would vote for him."
Full disclosure: I once argued with the annoying Mr Pait on live radio. Eventually, they cut me off. It was just like Bill O'Reilly!

As Alan Freed supposedly once said: You can stop me, and you can stop the show, but you can't stop rock and roll! I'd like to spray-paint that phrase on that enormous cinderblock barrier that divides BJU from Pleasantburg Drive and all the rest of us lowly sinners, but of course, as you can plainly see in the videos, they have their own police force, too. And a college who arrests openly gay people simply for "trespassing" onto the campus, would probably arrest me for spray-painting, I figure.

And so, I write it here.

*Bob Jones VI went to graduate school at Notre Dame, which shocked everybody, and then got himself arrested in DC for drunk driving. Thus, little brother had to take the job. I don't have any other details, but I anxiously await all gossip; operators are standing by!

**For details on the interracial-dating/tax exemption lawsuit, see Bob Jones University v. the United States

Listening to: The Jesus and Mary Chain - The Living End
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 22, 2007

The death of Richard 'Jabo' Johnson, Pt. 2

The Greenville Journal, a free weekly newspaper mostly specializing in real estate advertising, photographs of squeaky-clean high school kids who win scholarships, and notices about new businesses colonizing the area, has actually attempted some investigative journalism. Unfortunately, no link (!), so I actually have to type this out of the newspaper, the old-fashioned way.

I also apologize for not having a photo of Jabo, but I still can't locate one.

The suspicious death of Richard 'Jabo' Johnson
continues to divide the small hamlet/quasi-suburb of Fountain Inn. The Greenville Journal article (by Lyn Riddle) is titled A City Divided (I think it's something of a stretch to call Fountain Inn, population 7500, a city, but you get the idea) and subtitled: Young man's death stirs unrest in Fountain Inn.

A disturbing account of racial discord lying just beneath the surface, suddenly and forcefully brought out into the open:

...the death of a young black man in city jail cell No. 1 has peeled back the neat facade of Greenville County's southernmost city and exposed a lingering division between its people.

It would be too easy to say the divide was between blacks and whites, for there have been whites who have complained about the Police Department and its tactics. Some, like the Rev. David Kennedy, who years ago waged a successful public relations campaign against the Redneck Shop and its Ku Klux Klan Museum in Laurens county, believe it is more about the haves and have-nots.

"I've had whites to call me and ask me to fight for them," he said.

Residents have claimed they have been harassed routinely by police, insulted and threatened. City administrator Eddie Case declined to comment until a State Law Enforcement Division investigation into the death is complete.

The town of about 7500 people has experienced two protests against the police and more are planned. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and 20 local residents, including the mother of the man who died, toured the jail, measuring its bars and trying to see how a healthy man of average height could hang himself from them.

"This has exposed some problems on the fundamental level," said Wanza Bates, the city's only female, only black Council member.
The SLED investigation into Jabo's death continues. As I reported earlier, the Justice Department is in town, taking statements about the July 29 death of Jabo while in police custody. I heard numerous rumors when I attended the September 27th rally, including one account that the police had wanted Jabo as an informant, and that he had repeatedly refused.

And then, there were the counter-demonstrators (see above link), who have gone on the offensive:
It has been a point-counterpoint battle of wills, from the streets to the Council chambers. Councilwoman Bates circulated a letter seeking information on how the police deal with residents. Police officers' wives have gone door-to-door; asking for positive comments. City Council meetings, in part, have turned into a slugfest.
The Greenville County Coroner's office ruled Jabo's death a suicide in September. Most in Fountain Inn's black community do not believe that Jabo intentionally killed himself, particularly in such a short period of time (allegedly an hour or less) after being locked up. His mother says it just wasn't him:
His mother has said he had much to live for, including a fiancee and a job he was to start the day after he died. Jackson and Kennedy say Johnson had suspicious marks on his body, especially, Kennedy said, on his back and arms.
Official details of the bust (for marijuana and cocaine possession) are as follows:
Johnson was booked at the Fountain Inn Law Enforcement Center at 10:57 pm July 29, according to a police incident report obtained through the Coroner's Office. He and a friend had been picked up outside his grandmother's house on Boyd Street in an area known as Sanctified Hill, a predominantly black neighborhood on the southern side of the city.

The friend, Andre Pendermon, was released. Johnson was put in one of the city's four jail cells.

In their incident reports, the two police officers who arrested Johnson said they searched him and put him in a cell while they talked to Pendermon. When Officer Brian Steele returned at about 11:40 pm, he found Johnson hanging by a t-shirt, his back against the bars. He lifted him off and attempted CPR, according to his report.
EMS arrived at 11:44 pm, and Johnson was taken to Hillcrest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:25 am. The autopsy (performed by Dr. Erik Christensen at Greenville Memorial) found that Johnson died of asphyxia due to hanging, complicated by acute intoxication with alcohol, cocaine and marijuana.

The article does not mention Hattie Anita Johnson's (Jabo's mother) claims that she was not permitted to see her son for almost three days after his death, as she said at the rally. The rallies have been pretty rowdy events, and the one I attended nearly turned into a confrontation between (white) police supporters and (black) protesters, in front of the Fountain Inn Law Enforcement center. Rev. Kennedy's initial application for a protest on August 30 was denied. He claims the white counter-demonstrators did not apply for a permit, as he was forced to do:
"They should go by the same rules I do," he said.

Meanwhile, at the September 13 meeting of the City Council, Judy Ladnier, whose husband is a Fountain Inn police officer, challenged Bates' right to circulate a letter on city stationery asking for complaints about the police.

"Ms. Bates, if you don't trust any of these employees, then you don't need to be here with them. You need to move on out of town," Ladnier said, according to the meeting's minutes.

She said townspeople are fed up. Officers have been slandered, cursed at and flipped off, she said.
Which townspeople are those? You mean the white townspeople?

Is it true what I heard at the rally, that there are NO black police officers in Fountain Inn, a town with a sizable black population?

Why doesn't this article tell us that? (Well, baby steps, I guess. I am still amazed they attempted to cover this story at all.) Back to Judy Ladnier:
"My husband jogs and he's been chased down by carloads that are screaming out the windows," she said, before calling Bates an embarrassment.

Sarah McBride, also the wife of an officer, said she was ashamed to call herself a citizen of Fountain Inn because of what she termed slander against officers and the protests that have taken place. She called Johnson's death tragic, but said his death was not the fault of officers.

"The fact that no one seems to have taken into consideration that this person was a local drug addict being arrested and charged with several narcotic-related charges several times, just really confuses me," she said.
Okay, mini-civics lesson for the confused Ms. McBride, who doesn't sound like a fan of LAW AND ORDER, in any of it's many incarnations:

1) Just because someone uses drugs, does not make them an addict or a dealer, or "dangerous" at all.

2) All people, drug addicts/dealers included, are entitled to rights under the law, and that includes the right not to be hanged.

How many phone calls was Jabo allowed? What precisely were the charges, and why did they decide to pick him up when they did? Did these particular police officers already know him and talk to him previously, and if so, what about? Did any other police officers ever talk to him, and what about? Why was his mother not contacted immediately? (At the rally, it was said that they did not contact her, although Fountain Inn law enforcement claims that they did.) Is SLED going to share this information, when they discover it, or not?

Wisely, Councilwoman Wanza Bates did not respond to the outbursts directed at her during the Council sessions. She has continued in her work to find out the truth, and to empower local people. South Carolina Law In Action recently sponsored a legal seminar for Fountain Inn residents, explaining their rights.

And the DoJ investigation continues, also. Let's hope we get to the bottom of this.

Can we all handle the truth?

Listening to: The Clash - The Guns of Brixton
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What kind of brain do you have?

Which way is she spinning, clockwise or counter-clockwise?

Once you perceive her going one direction, it's hard to switch, but possible. Then, once you see that--it can be just as hard to switch back! Pretty amazing, since it looks like she suddenly changes directions!

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of your brain. If counter-clockwise, more of the left side.

The majority of people see the dancer turning counter-clockwise. This test is originally from Perth Now:

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Last night, exhausted, I saw her turning counter-clockwise, but I could switch her back and forth easily. This morning, relatively rested, she is turning clockwise and I can't switch her back. I wonder if mood and other such matters make a difference?

Listening to: Amy Winehouse - Wake Up Alone
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, October 20, 2007

We are hope despite the times

Blogger seems to be having issues... I keep getting error # bX-9pjt6o when I try to upload images. Does anyone know what's up with that?

I can't complain much, though, or it will throw me off my game (see below). Must stay focused on the big picture!

~*~ - Online Karma Test Click Here!
DaisyDeadhead, Your Karmic Alignment is: Optimistic!


Score: 6 In general, you tend to create positive actions. You have a caring personality which gives you positive Karma. Every now and then you slip up and harvest negative Karma. But, all in all, you follow lines similar to the Monks on their way to enlightenment.

Listening to: R.E.M. - These Days
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 19, 2007

Too much to dream: the Monkees' HEAD

One of the more bizarre artifacts from the 60s is on display tonight on Turner Classic Movies Underground film series: The Monkees' very weird, trippy HEAD (1968), which must be seen to be believed.

The Monkees were, as you probably know, prefabricated teenybopper idols manufactured in Hollywood. They were also (yes, I admit it!) beloved by your humble narrator, whilst still a scruffy, rust-belt ragamuffin, subsisting mostly on TV-dinners and Velveeta cheese. The Monkees mass-marketed bubblegum cards fit right in with the Velveeta. One memory I have of the fourth grade: my tiny bedroom mirror lined with Mike, Peter, Davy and Micky, smelling faintly of bubblegum.

American culture shifted very suddenly during that era. The prefab Monkees took LSD and became conscious beings. Subsequently, they decided to make a movie with Jack Nicholson about what it's like to be conscious beings, while also experiencing major intergalactic teenybopper mega-fame at the same time. You have to admit, that's something else!

In HEAD, you get all manner of bizarre acidhead-slapstick repartee, later perfected by the Firesign-Theatre, and other 70s comedy troupes. There are several blatantly Beatlesesque musical knock-offs, one memorably accompanied by a psychedelic underwater swimming sequence. From Jeff Stafford at TCM:

Initially called Untitled, HEAD was an unconventional project from the beginning. According to author Patrick McGilligan in Jack's Life: A Biography of Jack Nicholson, "Bob [Rafelson, director], Bert [Schneider, executive producer], and Jack, with the four Monkees in tow, went to Ojai [California] for several days. They smoked "a ton of dope" (as Davy Jones recalls) and tossed ideas into a running tape recorder...The script was set up to have the least continuity imaginable, and only the slenderest plot trigger - the four Monkees leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge in an effort to escape the mental prison of a black box, which was "Head," meaning pothead, but also meaning all the rules and straitlaced conventions inside one's head that inhibit enjoyment of life. With their tapes and notes, Nicholson and Rafelson went away to the desert for inspiration. According to at least one account, they scribbled a treatment while tripping on acid."

By the time filming began on Head, The Monkees were less than happy with their circumstances. Not only were they feuding with Columbia over their contracts and salaries but they felt betrayed by Rafelson and Nicholson after they were informed that none of them would receive a writing credit on the film. "We were disappointed and angry," Micky Dolenz said. "Mike was furious. He took all the tapes and locked them in the trunk of his car!" As a result, Micky, Davy and Mike (without Peter's involvement) refused to show up on the first day of shooting which infuriated Rafelson and Nicholson. After a day of negotiations, filming resumed with all four band members but relations between the Monkees and their director were decidedly strained after that...and Mike, Davy, Micky and Peter never received a writer's credit for their contributions.

When Head was completed, Rafelson and Nicholson launched a guerilla advertising campaign in New York City, plastering stickers for the film everywhere on taxicabs, signs, police helmets, you name it. At one point they were even arrested for being public nuisances but their efforts were in vain. The critics were unimpressed and the film held little appeal for anyone who wasn't a fan of the Monkees' TV show. Dolenz stated later, "Because the film was rated R, most of our fans couldn't even get into the theatre to see it in the first place and those who did just didn't have any idea of what we were up to." Nicholson, however, maintains even today that Head is one of his proudest accomplishments and still calls it "the best rock-'n-roll movie ever made." Despite its commercial failure, Rafelson was equally pleased with it, comparing it often to Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963).
In HEAD, the Monkees finally play their own instruments, attack a coke machine in the desert, play dandruff in Victor Mature's hair, and jump off the Golden Gate bridge. In general, they finally get to do whatever they want.

They rebelled mightily against their own Velveeta-hood.

In the process, they became Real, and as you good children know, once you are Real you can't become unreal.



Listening to: The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bob Jones III endorses Romney for president

Locally, this is huge, front page news.

The short version: they are finally learning to put aside their religious differences and make political alliances.

Can the left do that?

"This is all about beating Hillary," university chancellor says

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

By Ron Barnett
STAFF WRITER, Greenville News

Dr. Bob Jones III, chancellor of the fundamentalist Christian university that bears his name, is looking past his religious differences with Gov. Mitt Romney and endorsing the Mormon for the Republican nomination for president, he told The Greenville News today.

"This is all about beating Hillary," Jones said. "And I just believe that this man has the credentials both personally and ideologically in terms of his view about what American government should be to best represent the rank and file of conservative Americans.

"If it turns out to be Guiliani and Hillary, we’ve got two pro- choice candidates, and that would be a disaster."

Asked whether Romney’s religion was a stumbling block for him, Jones replied, "What is the alternative, Hillary’s lack of religion or an erroneous religion?

"As a Christian I am completely opposed to the doctrines of Mormonism," he said. "But I’m not voting for a preacher. I’m voting for a president. It boils down to who can best represent conservative American beliefs, not religious beliefs."

State Sen. Robert Ford, a key Clinton supporter in the South Carolina campaign, took issue with Jones’ remark about Clinton’s purported "lack of religion."

"As far as religion is concerned, based on the teaching and principles of Jesus Christ, Hillary runs circles around Bob Jones anytime," Ford said, calling the former First Lady "a proud member of the United Methodist Church" and active member of the denomination’s women’s missionary organization.

"United Methodists don’t wear their religion on their shoulders. We wear our religion in our hearts, in service," he added. "We believe that faith without works is dead, and Hillary Clinton has been practicing that all her life."

Jones, and the institution founded by his grandfather, have been political lightning rods in several recent presidential campaigns.

During the 2000 primary, then-Gov. George W. Bush drew heat after visiting the university, which at that time banned interracial dating. Jones soon dropped the ban, saying it wasn’t important enough to be worth the controversy.

Terry Sullivan, Romney’s South Carolina campaign manager, said he doesn’t think Jones’ endorsement will turn off voters who may be wary of Jones’ religious views.

"We’re proud to have the support of Dr. Jones and look forward to his help in delivering Gov. Romney’s conservative message to the voters," he said.

Clemson University political scientist and GOP consultant Dave Woodard said Jones’ endorsement should be only positive as far as its impact on Romney’s chances in the South Carolina primary, one of the earliest in the nation.

"There may be a downside with the general voters or with Democrats. Independents may see it as a downside," he said. "But I think, among Republican primary voters it can only be good, because it shows that a conservative Christian can endorse a guy like this for his policy positions."

Some religious conservatives were quick to denounce Jones’ endorsement.

"As Christians we should not endorse a cult member as our president," Wayne Owens Sr., a self-described rank-and-file conservative Christian said in an e-mail to The News. "Bob Jones’ basic premise is in error. It is not about beating Hillary. It’s about doing what is right."

Tamara Valdes-Russell, a 1997 BJU graduate, said she is "disgusted" with Jones’ supporting Romney.

"Fear of Hillary Clinton should not be the driving force for whom we choose to support in an election," she said in an e-mail to The News. "…In the end, whether Hillary wins or someone else, God is ultimately in control of the situation. I refuse to lower my standards to the lowest common denominator."

Jones, who said he has met with Romney several times over the past few months, said he is sticking to his belief that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints isn’t a Christian denomination, but he believes Romney’s character is above reproach.

"He’s a very presidential guy. He has a loving family. He has, as far as I can tell, no scandal connected with his life. I can’t say that about all of the candidates unfortunately," Jones said.

"I’d be very concerned if he tried to make it appear in any of his statements that Mormonism is a Christian denomination of some sort. It isn’t. There’s a theological gulf that can’t be bridged," Jones said.

"But as long as he says I am what I am and you are what you are and doesn’t try to make it appear that we believe the same things, I can respect the difference."

BJU distances itself from chancellor's Romney support

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Greenville News (news staff)

Bob Jones University released a statement this morning saying the fundamentalist Christian school "has never officially endorsed political candidates and that policy has not changed."

The statement says that when Dr. Bob Jones III on Tuesday endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney for president he was speaking personally.

"As private citizens, we all have the privilege and responsibility to examine the options and come to a choice of conscience," the statement says.

His statement reflects his views as a private citizen and "not the view of Bob Jones University as an organization," the statement says.

Listening to: The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 16, 1859

The biographies either emphasize what a mild-mannered fellow he was, or how crazy he was; fire in the eyes. I would like to have met him, and seen for myself.

I assume his demeanor changed, depending on the subject at hand.

Radicals from Ohio swear he was from Ohio, as radicals from New York swear the same. In fact, he was born in Torrington, Connecticut:

During his first fifty years, John Brown moved about the country, settling in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts, taking along his ever-growing family. (He would father twenty children.) Working at various times as a farmer, wool merchant, tanner, and land speculator, he never was financially successful -- he even filed for bankruptcy when in his forties. His lack of funds, however, did not keep him from supporting causes he believed in. He helped finance the publication of David Walker's Appeal and Henry Highland's "Call to Rebellion" speech. He gave land to fugitive slaves. He and his wife agreed to raise a black youth as one of their own. He also participated in the Underground Railroad and, in 1851, helped establish the League of Gileadites, an organization that worked to protect escaped slaves from slave catchers.

In 1847 Frederick Douglass met Brown for the first time in Springfield, Massachusetts. Of the meeting Douglass stated that, "though a white gentleman, [Brown] is in sympathy a black man, and as deeply interested in our cause, as though his own soul had been pierced with the iron of slavery." It was at this meeting that Brown first outlined his plan to Douglass to lead a war to free slaves.

Brown moved to the black community of North Elba, New York, in 1849. The community had been established thanks to the philanthropy of Gerrit Smith, who donated tracts of at least 50 acres to black families willing to clear and farm the land. Brown, knowing that many of the families were finding life in this isolated area difficult, offered to establish his own farm there as well, in order to lead the blacks by his example and to act as a "kind father to them."

Despite his contributions to the antislavery cause, Brown did not emerge as a figure of major significance until 1855 after he followed five of his sons to the Kansas territory.
And in Kansas, it got ugly.

It's important to remember that he was a violent man. He fully believed that he who lived by the sword, died by the sword.

Literally, he used swords:
In Aug. 1855 he followed 5 of his sons to Kansas to help make the state a haven for anti-slavery settlers. The following year, his hostility toward slave-staters exploded after they burned and pillaged the free-state community of Lawrence. Having organized a militia unit within his Osawatomie River colony, Brown led it on a mission of revenge. On the evening of 23 May 1856, he and 6 followers, including 4 of his sons, visited the homes of pro-slavery men along Pottawatomie Creek, dragged their unarmed inhabitants into the night, and hacked them to death with long-edged swords. At once, "Old Brown of Osawatomie" became a feared and hated target of slave-staters.
Of course, I have been to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. I have seen the armory's engine house, which isn't even as big as a typical contemporary suburban house. I remember being startled at it's wee size: Did he really think he could hold them off from there? Good lord. A suicide mission!!! Or did he really believe a mass slave rebellion would ensue? Perhaps he had reason to be optimistic, but in retrospective, such an endeavor seems like madness:
...Brown had only 21 men (16 white and 5 black - three free blacks, one freed slave, and a fugitive slave). They ranged in age from 21 to 49. Twelve of them had been with Brown in Kansas raids.

On October 16, 1859, Brown (leaving three men behind as a rear guard) led 19 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory. He had received 200 breechloading .52 caliber Sharps carbines and pikes from northern abolitionist societies in preparation for the raid. The armory was a large complex of buildings that contained 100,000 muskets and rifles, which Brown planned to seize and use to arm local slaves. They would then head south, drawing off more and more slaves from plantations, and fighting only in self-defense. As Frederick Douglass and Brown's family testified, his strategy was essentially to deplete Virginia of its slaves, causing the institution to collapse in one county after another, until the movement spread into the South, essentially wreaking havoc on the economic viability of the pro-slavery states. Thus, while violence was essential to self-defense and advancement of the movement, Brown's hope was to limit and minimize bloodshed, not ignite a slave insurrection as many have charged. From the Southern point of view, of course, any effort to arm the enslaved was perceived as a definitive threat.

Initially, the raid went well. They met no resistance entering the town. They cut the telegraph wires and easily captured the armory, which was being defended by a single watchman. They next rounded up hostages from nearby farms, including Colonel Lewis Washington, great-grand-nephew of George Washington. They also spread the news to the local slaves that their liberation was at hand. Things started to go wrong when an eastbound Baltimore & Ohio train approached the town. The train's baggage master tried to warn the passengers. Brown's men yelled for him to halt and then opened fire. The baggage master, Hayward Shepherd, became the first casualty of John Brown's war against slavery. Ironically, Shepherd was a free black man. For some reason, after the shooting of Shepherd, Brown allowed the train to continue on its way. News of the raid reached Washington by late morning.

In the meantime, local farmers, shopkeepers, and militia pinned down the raiders in the armory by firing from the heights behind the town. Some of the local men were shot by Brown's men. At noon, a company of militia seized the bridge, blocking the only escape route. Brown then moved his prisoners and remaining raiders into the engine house, a small brick building at the entrance to the armory. He had the doors and windows barred and loopholes were cut through the brick walls. The surrounding forces barraged the engine house, and the men inside fired back with occasional fury. Brown sent his son Watson and another supporter out under a white flag, but the angry crowd shot them. Intermittent shooting then broke out, and Brown's son Oliver was wounded. His son begged his father to kill him and end his suffering, but Brown said "If you must die, die like a man." A few minutes later he was dead. The exchanges lasted throughout the day.

By morning (October 18) the engine house, later known as John Brown's Fort, was surrounded by a company of U.S. Marines under the command of Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee of the United States Army. A young Army lieutenant, J.E.B. Stuart, approached under a white flag and told the raiders that their lives would be spared if they surrendered. Brown refused, saying, "No, I prefer to die here." Stuart then gave a signal. The Marines used sledge hammers and a make-shift battering-ram to break down the engine room door. Lieutenant Israel Greene cornered Brown and struck him several times, wounding his head. In three minutes Brown and the survivors were captives. Altogether Brown's men killed four people, and wounded nine. Ten of Brown's men were killed (including his sons Watson and Oliver). Five of Brown's men escaped (including his son Owen), and seven were captured along with Brown.
We need to go back to my post on Saturday morning, and play the James Brown refrain here: I'm a bad mother. Indeed, by all accounts, Brown dazzled all the soldiers and authorities he encountered, with his utter lack of fear and total righteous attitude.

And then, his trial, which for it's day, apparently made OJ's look like a tea party. His famous final words, upon his death sentence:
I have, may it please the Court, a few words to say.

In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted: of a design on my part to free slaves . . .

Had I interfered in the matter which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved . . . had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, or the so-called great . . . and suffered and sacrificed, what I have in this interference, it would have been all right. Every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

I see a book kissed which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do unto me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say that I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of His despised poor, I did no wrong, but right.

Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked,cruel and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.
John Brown was hanged on December 2, 1859, virtually the eve of the Civil War. Some people blamed him for the Civil War. And certainly, his unapologetic, incendiary abolitionist presence hovered over Union troops, and they even made up a marching song about him, which they sang with enthusiasm. The Battle Hymn of the Republic was taken from the Union marching song:

John Brown's body lies a moulderin in the grave
John Brown's body lies a moulderin in the grave
John Brown's body lies a moulderin in the grave
But his soul goes marching on

Yes, I do like Julia Ward Howe's Christian rewrite, but I have always preferred the original.

The discussion of vigilante/street justice and whether it is ever warranted continues today; on the right, regarding violence against abortion clinics, doctors and employees; on the left, regarding direct-action groups like Earth First and the Animal Liberation Front. In the 70s, the Weather Underground, as well as radicals such as Karl Armstrong and David Fine, rekindled a long-standing feud between those radicals who held to pacifism at all costs, and those who thought pacifism rendered one a sitting duck.

And in every such discussion, there is his name, waved about like a bloodied banner: What about John Brown? His name is invoked as an indictment, as well as a blessing.

His soul goes marching on.


Listening to: Patti Smith Group - Till Victory
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 15th - Blog Action Day


The swaying palms, the gentle surf lapping upon the sand
A gentle breeze so keen to please slowly gusts across our land
Our island home is all we have known as centuries rolled by
Our island people stood alone on reefs so barren and dry.

But as years go by we wonder why the shoreline is not the same
The things we knew as always true somehow do not remain
The breakers break on higher ground - the outer palms are falling down
The taro pits begin to die and the village elders wonder why.

For what is happening to the beautiful isles we know
Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tokelau - the Marshall isles, that place of smiles
The rising sea will reclaim our ground - nothing but water will abound
Our people forced to leave for higher ground.

While far away they pour their fumes into the clear blue sky
Not knowing and never caring why the world is beginning to die
So land of our forebears despite how much we cared for you
The time will soon be when we must bid you adieu.

Poem by Jane Resture

Blog Action Day

Listening to: R.E.M. - Cuyahoga
via FoxyTunes