Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I used to run this comic every year at Thanksgiving... and I still get hits from all the occasions I've posted it in the past. So I decided to take it out of mothballs for the new vegetarians having their very first meatless Thanksgiving.



Leave the turkey alone! He/she is innocent and didn't do anything to YOU!


See yall in a few days, when I get back from wonderful Hotlanta.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What does this bumper sticker mean?

Its our brand new DEAD AIR holiday bumper-sticker-deciphering contest! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?-- please offer your 2 cents.

I haven't thought of any cool prizes yet, but working on it.

I took this photo about two miles from here in a public parking lot in a nice suburb. Not in the backwoods or anything. But of course, this is still the South.


I understand the basic assertion of the bumper sticker: The Confederacy would never have "left" the POWs and MIAs in Vietnam. (And that's some deliberately-inflammatory rhetoric right there, that they were somehow "left" deliberately. By whom?)

1) Does this mean the Confederacy would have had a Vietnam war too, in some alternative universe that never happened?

2) Does this include the African-American soldiers, too? (Can they be forgiven for thinking that your word ain't much, on this particular score?)

Any other questions, please ask in comments. Play along at home!


PS: This also gets put in my "You Yankees don't know how easy you've got it!" file.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reflections on Jack Ruby

Depending upon who you read, Jack Ruby was a petty strip-club gangster or an important mobster-friend of Sam Giancana.

NOTE: I first wrote this in 2009 and have re-posted it every November since then. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the assassination, it seems even more pertinent and poignant.

Please limit comments to current post. Thanks.


It was November 24, 1963.

I remember that I was sitting on a footstool, my nose approximately 8 inches from my family's black-and-white TV set. If I got too close, I couldn't see anything, but I was intent on getting just as close as I could. I wanted to see it all.

It was Sunday morning, and I remember well the hubbub of the adults in the kitchen. I was the only one in the small dining room that served as our TV room. I heard the TV-news announcer say that Lee Oswald was going to be transferred in an armored vehicle. I didn't know what an armored vehicle was, but it sounded awesome. And yet... that little guy? As a six-year-old, I was surprised that such a skinny little guy could be the villain of the hour. I had expected the president's assassin to look something like Brutus, the dastardly evil man of the Popeye cartoons... or at least, he should bear some resemblance to Lex Luthor. This skinny, slight, soft-spoken fellow who calmly denied being near Dealey Plaza? Well, he was just spooky, that's all. They kept calling him a Marxist and a communist, words I didn't yet understand but knew meant that he was a bad person. (I would say the word "communist" in 1963 had the similar gravitas of the word "terrorist" in 2009.) I was enthralled by the constant TV-coverage, the switching back and forth from Dallas to Washington... to our new president, Lyndon Johnson and then back to the basement of Dallas city jail. It was as dazzling as space travel.

Middle-American culture had changed utterly and completely in only two days.

For one thing, the TV had not always been on before. You turned on the TV to watch something, and when it was over, you turned it off. Sometimes you left it on, but usually not. Among the working classes, it was not unusual for some families not to own a TV at all. There were often anti-TV holdouts in these families; cantankerous, old-school types who thought TV was all rubbish and probably unchristian. But after this weekend? This archaic viewpoint was consigned to the dustbin of history. Back in my first-grade class, I would hear about parents who had rushed out to buy a TV at long last. They simply could not bear to be left out.

The TV had been turned on, and stayed on. It was on when I got home from school, dismissed early due to the tragedy, and it was on throughout the funeral. And it stayed on forever after.

And the TV was on as they transferred Lee Oswald to the armored vehicle, or attempted to. There was much talk about security because tensions were running extremely high; there was palpable fury throughout the city of Dallas. When police had forcibly taken Oswald from the theater where they had discovered him, hostile mobs surrounded the police car, and it was said he might have been torn to pieces if the crowd had been able to get their hands on him.

Listening to all this, I was riveted. I remember peering intently as they brought him out, my nose almost right on the screen: There he is!

And then, the inevitable disappointment: such a nonthreatening little dude he was.

I peered and peered and then... bang. Oswald was down.


It was so quick. If not for the firecracker-noise of the gun, I would never have known.

"They shot him!" I shouted, "They shot Oswald! They shot him!"

The adults stampeded as one entity, from the kitchen to the small dining room where I was. My mother, grandparents, some other relatives I have since forgotten... possibly my cousin Charlene.

"I SAW it!" I was shouting, "I SAW IT!"

SSSSSSSssssssshhhhhhhh! Everyone was shushing me. Had I really seen that? The adults' eyes were collectively popping. I felt pretty important for being the one to see it.

"He must be really mad about the president, huh?" I asked.

Nobody answered. They kept shushing me, as obviously-shaken news-announcers talked about what they had just witnessed.

And then, the adults were all looking at each other, that way adults did when they were thinking things that they would not share with children.

Finally, my grandfather said, in what I have come to call his Christian Science Wisdom voice: "Well, that really stinks."

My mother's eyes were wide, wide, wide.

My grandfather shook his head and said "Stinks!" again, rather emphatically. My mother nodded gravely back at him.

I didn't know what he meant then.

The TV-announcers were saying his name: Jack Ruby. The man's name was Jack Ruby.


Like millions of Americans that day, I saw a murder on live television. Because the murder was widely perceived as an act of justice, nobody worried about the ill effects on all of us children who saw it. And later, many years and decades later, when we began to doubt that what we saw was justice and instead wondered if it had been the silencing of a co-conspirator... nobody worried about the erosion of our morality and the consequential development of our cynicism.

But I trace it all back to that day, the day in the basement of the Dallas city jail.

They ask us, do you remember where you were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated? But I always ask, instead: What did you think when his accused murderer was pronounced dead? Because the silencing began then, the questions asked that will forever remain unanswered. (As Norman Mailer once explained the existence of the angry kids of the 60s: They hated the authority because the authority had lied.)

My grandfather was right. It certainly did stink. And the stench covered everything.

The lies of the powerful were uncovered and exposed before us, that morning in the basement of the Dallas city jail.

Some of us never forgot.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Enjoy the silence... and other updates

From Pendleton Street Arts District here in Greenville. Not sure what the wheel is about, or the sun nuts, but its art, so its okay.

More on my Flickr page.


As I sit here worrying over whether the entire upstate is being slowly poisoned with radioactivity, I've decided to post some links I've been mulling over.

The adoptive parents of Baby Veronica, not satisfied that they WON their big case, are now suing the Cherokee Nation for court fees. (Do you BELIEVE these people?) They are seeking a cool one million dollars:
NOWATA, Okla. — Attorneys for the adoptive parents of a 4-year-old girl caught up in a custody dispute are seeking $1 million in legal fees from the Cherokee Nation and the girl’s biological father, who is a member of the tribe.

Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco have filed paperwork seeking the legal fees incurred while fighting the lengthy custody battle over 4-year-old Veronica.

In September, Dusten Brown handed Veronica over to the Capobiancos after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted an emergency stay keeping the girl in Oklahoma.

The Tulsa World reports attorneys for the Capobiancos are seeking $1 million to be split among four law firms. The newspaper reports none of the money would go to the Capobiancos.

Attorneys for Brown and the Cherokee Nation declined to comment on the filing.

Google has been ordered to block images in a privacy case. This may set a precedent, since as you know, ordinary people do not have the right to make Google do squat... but rich people (specifically Max Mosley) sure do! (Biographical note: Max is the son of Oswald Mosley, whom non-British rock fans mostly recognize as the subject of "Less Than Zero" by Elvis Costello.) According to the New York Times:
LONDON — A French court ruled Wednesday that Google must remove from its Internet search results all images of a former Formula One car racing chief at an orgy. The ruling in the privacy case could have ramifications for the tech giant’s operations across Europe.

Max Mosley, the former president of the International Automobile Federation, had filed the lawsuit in September to force Google to automatically filter from its search engine links to images from a British newspaper report in 2008 that included photos and a video of Mr. Mosley participating in a sadomasochistic sex party.

The former Formula One head successfully sued the News of the World in a London court for breach of privacy and was awarded £60,000, or about $96,000, in damages.

On Wednesday, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris backed Mr. Mosley’s attempts to force Google to block references to the images from appearing in Google’s search results worldwide. The company said it would appeal the decision.

Mr. Mosley argued that French law makes it illegal to take and distribute images of an individual in a private space without that person’s permission. But Google said that would limit freedom of speech, forcing the company to block search results without any person or court overseeing the context in which the images appeared.

Analysts said the ruling against Google could lead to greater restrictions on what was accessible through search results and could prompt more people to demand that the United States technology company remove references to their private activities.

“At this point in time, the pendulum is swinging toward individuals’ privacy and away from freedom of speech,” said Carsten Casper, a privacy and security analyst at the consulting firm Gartner in Berlin.
As part of the settlement ordered by the French court on Wednesday, Google will have to filter out nine images of Mr. Mosley from its worldwide search results. The company must pay him 1 euro in compensation and it will be fined 1,000 euros every time that an image is found through its search engine, starting at the beginning of next year.

“It’s a fair decision,” said Clara Zerbib, a lawyer at the law firm Reed Smith in Paris who represented Mr. Mosley in the lawsuit. “This case isn’t about censoring information, but about complying with French law.”
The lawsuits relate to a 2008 report in The News of the World, a British newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which was later closed because of its ties to a phone hacking scandal. The article described Mr. Mosley’s activities as a “sick Nazi orgy.” The allegations were particularly damaging, as Mr. Mosley is the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, a pre-World War II-era British fascist, and Mr. Mosley had sought to distance himself from his father’s activities.

By pursuing legal action in France and Germany, Mr. Mosley was taking advantage of more stringent data privacy legislation in those countries compared with either the United States or Britain, according to privacy analysts. In France, for example, it is a criminal offense to record someone else without his or her consent in a private space.

Google is facing a number of privacy lawsuits in Europe.

How would the world's coastlines look if all the ice melted?

Well, for starters, Florida would be history. Here is the interactive map.

Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach would also be gone, meaning that the South Carolina coast would start somewhere around Columbia, by my reckoning.


I am opposed to assisted suicide. I thought I might have said this before on this blog... but then again, when I do a search, find that I have hedged and have not stated my opposition outright, so here it is: No.

And I recently remembered the reasons for my opposition, whilst reading Bad Cripple's eloquent blog. He is far more poetic and personal on the topic than I could ever be:
I think we people with a disability are feared. We are the one and only minority that can be joined via illness or accident. Our atypical bodies also symbolically represent the limits of medical science. Please do not talk to me about joint decision making strategies between physician and patients. Do not talk to me about informed consent. Do not talk to me about patient centered care. These buzz words are cultural ideals we aspire to reach. I am not suggesting we do away with these concepts. They should be valued. But my reality, my experiences when I try to access health care is radically different. [UK-Guardian writer Stella] Young quotes Marilyn Golden, a long time opponent of assisted suicide who perceptively observed: "we are asking the wrong questions when it comes to assisted death: We have to ask, do people with disabilities have true choice and self determination, in terms of living outside of nursing homes? In terms of housing that is truly affordable and accessible? In terms of the kind of services that really allow them to lead meaningful lives? In many cases, no."

These are the sort of questions we should be discussing. Why do people, all people, want to die? What drives a person to think death is preferable to living? Pain is not the primary variable. People choose to die because they fear losing their independence and autonomy. And here the link between end of life issues and disability is glaringly obvious to me. When I see a person with a disability I think of all the things a person can do. The same can be said for any person approaching the end of life. I think what can this person do? How can their life even with death impending be enhanced? This is not typically how others with no exposure to disability or end of life issues think. Instead we isolate the disabled and elderly--a historic pattern we have yet to break.

Nico Lang writes at Salon: America still can't accept Lady Gaga's bisexuality, or anybody else's. The title says it all.

The comments are also very interesting and instructive.


Camille Lewis shared with me this article about icky local Tea Party busybody Harry Kibler:
Kibler’s approach to political activism doesn’t rely on subtlety and consensus-building. He prefers open and direct confrontation, and his energy is inexhaustible. I recently spoke with him about his latest project, an effort to stop the Greenville County Council from imposing a one percent sale tax for the purpose of road maintenance.

“I’ve had so dad gum much fun doing this,” he tells me, “it ought to be against the law.”
Would that it were so.

Read it and weep.



:: Today on our radio show, the redoubtable Occupy the Microphone, we discussed the case of George Stinney, a 14-year-old who was executed by the state of South Carolina in 1944. Currently, there is a renewed effort to clear his name and get his conviction overturned.

:: What happened to the Middle Class? Ask Alice. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

:: I love this! ----> The Myth of Re-enchantment (thinkBuddha.org)

:: The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer (GoodMenProject)

:: Hope your Veterans Day has been good; don't forget my post last year on this holiday. It is even more accurate now than it was then. Take heed and beware.

:: And finally, here is your CUTE QUOTIENT CONTENT for this month... and possibly for the whole year. I have bookmarked this, and I go to it when I need to feel calm, centered and happy. TOO CUTE FOR WORDS: Baby Goats and Friends. SQUEEEEEEEE! Gonna die. Gonna. Just. Die. (And they upload more all the time, from everywhere.)


Due to Daylight Savings Time, its dark when we leave the radio station now.

There is nothing quite as magical as driving through the crisp, autumnal dark, peering at all the headlights... and then Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode pops up on your radio dial. Otherworldly, perfect.

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed... is for special moments like this to go on forever. :)

Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode

Nuclear reactor shut down at Oconee

EMERGENCY! We warned you Duke Energy had their heads up their asses.

From WSPA:
A radioactive leak at an Upstate nuclear power plant has forced the shutdown of one of its reactors.

Emergency officials say the leak was detected Sunday night at the Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca. The leak occurred in a containment building at a rate of 1/10 of a gallon per minute.

According to Scott Kern with the Oconee County Emergency Management Agency, the incident was small and under control. He also says there are no immediate threats and that the public is not in any danger.

The reactor will remain offline as crews work to fix the leak. One reactor was already shut down for repairs. This leaves one functioning reactor at the plant.

Duke Energy will continue to monitor the situation. They say they don't anticipate any delays in meeting the needs of customers as a result of the shutdown.
And that's it. That's all. That's the news. Duke Energy officials cozily proclaim: Everything is gonna be FINE FINE FINE.

Let us hope.

Stay tuned, everyone.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SC State senate subcommittee meets on Obamacare "nullification"

... and our local Greenville News was nowhere to be found. Does this mean it's a non-issue? We can only hope.

At left: The big meeting last night at the downtown library to discuss H.3101, which would nullify the Affordable Care Act under the Tenth Amendment, which (white) South Carolina has loved since that fateful December day in 1860. (As I have reported here before, our Governor has proclaimed the Tenth Amendment is the essence of the Constitution and "State Rights trumps everything".)

Gorgeous Gregg, our radio consigliere, spoke at the meeting and was characteristically fabulous. And as a bonus, Mrs Consiglieri (she actually prefers the term Mrs Gorgeous) also addressed the committee. That made two radicals. Two. In addition, there were maybe three well-mannered liberals, pleading with the good Christians for health care. The rest?

This being Greenville, I think you know the answer to that one.


The good news, as I will share on our radio show today, is that socialism in America is A DONE DEAL!

Yes, I know. You're shocked. Ohhhh, me too. I am STUNNED it will be this easy.

Some of us were schooled that a socialist revolution would be at the barrel of a gun... Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Fidel, Trotsky, Mao... you know, all of those people. They agreed on this fact, if little else. I had long ago given UP on the idea of socialist revolution, since as you all know, I am a bubbleheaded Buddhist peacenik vegetarian who gets agitated even when killing insects... and I try to transfer this unpleasant task onto my cats. (Very recently, I cried over the CNN documentary about SEA WORLD whales, forgodsake.) No violence!--sobs hippie grandma. I like to watch horror movies and suchlike, but that's make-believe, and not real. Authentic violence/brute force is something I do not endorse. I don't endorse it by MY government, and I don't endorse it from the Left. Collateral damage is a horrifying turn of phrase.

Well, all of that is MOOT. Yes, MOOT, do you hear me? Fuhgettaboudit, as the New Yorkers say.

SOCIALISM IS HERE. <----- I heard this sentence about a dozen times, from a dozen angry SC-citizens last night. In fact, the ideological lockstep was striking, the choice of words almost precisely the same in several cases. Did they crib it all from Glenn Beck? Are they unable to think for themselves? It sounded exactly like a script, like programmed androids. Mr and Mrs Gorgeous were notable for the fact that although connected in holy matrimony, they actually sounded markedly different from each other, whereas many of the speakers who supposedly were not acquainted and/or lived at significant distances from each other... sounded virtually identical in their phrasing. Brazen Tea Party lockstep gave me the major creeps. (I toyed with naming this post THE STEPFORD TEA PARTY and realized that title has probably already had its heyday.) In that sense, it was a lot like the Town Hall meeting I attended in the summer of 2009.

So, just to clarify--

You thought President Obama gave in to the health insurance industry; you thought Obama staged one of the biggest tax-giveaways to (decidedly unsocialist) Wall Street in history. No, no, NO. Obama is a socialist. In fact, the passage of Obamacare will SOLIDIFY socialism in our government as NOTHING BEFORE IN HISTORY. It's THE INSTITUTION OF SOCIALISM. It will happen, unavoidably and unequivocally. We listened to Tea Partier after Tea Partier gibbering madly about SOCIALISM.

I am now wholly and completely enthusiastic about Obamacare. I was admittedly rather tepid before, since I greatly-preferred the Green Party program of Medicare for all. But this was obviously before I attended last night's meeting and learned THE TRUTH. INSTANT SOCIALISM! Wow, is that GREAT or what? NO VIOLENCE, a totally peaceful transition! I am wondering what the Socialist Workers Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party and that whole red crowd I used to hang with, is thinking NOW. I guess they will be disbanding? Nothing to complain about now! Wall street, shmall street!

And that ain't all, sports fans.

A strange piece of paper was foisted on me as I entered the aforesaid meeting. It is authoritatively titled SIXTEEN FACTS ABOUT NULLIFICATION and was ostensibly written by the bill's sponsor in the SC State House, Bill Chumley, a proud member of Sons of Confederate Veterans. (Hey Bill, guess what? My Confederate ancestor was smarter than yours! And as we see, we have both inherited our respective CSA-ancestors' intelligence. Excuse me, I digress.)

First, we get all the (cough) 'facts' about nullification, but at the bottom, there are some fascinating editorial comments:
South Carolina will become the first state to nullify Obamacare by making it illegal for the state or any local government or agency to enforce that law. Also, the path will be cleared for further actions to resist the federal bully by indicating that this state will defend her constitutional rights by, if necessary, criminalizing FEDERAL enforcement of unconstitutional laws within our borders.

Mark my words, unless the precedent of defiance is set, the feds will try to force homosexual marriage on us while taking our guns AND our right to public prayer.

Obamacare will usher in gay marriage, gun control and abolish public prayer! POOF! Just like that, just by existing. Is that some magic hoodoo shit or what?

More reasons to love Obamacare! No more of this state-by-state bullshit with gay marriage, sports fans! It will just...
HAPPEN BY FIAT. ABRA CADABRA! Obama has reached out to grabya.

I never knew it could be this easy. I was ready for a long battle. And I am assured by Bill Chumley that NO, its just going to HAPPEN, BY SOME MAGICAL POLITICAL OSMOSIS!

I woke up in a great mood today, since I realize now that a bloodless socialist revolution is imminent. Damn, do I feel GOOD! ITS MORNING IN AMERICA, yall!

And oh yeah, this was at the bottom of Chumley's screed:
Contact your senator and ask your friends and family to do the same. Tell him you want the senate to approve H3101. Also, attend the town hall meeting in Greenville, being held by Sen. Tom Davis on Nov 5th, to discuss nullifying Obamacare.

I truly believe the survival of our republic depends on two things: a return to Christ and the Scriptures; and, reestablishing States’ rights and state sovereignty as our political foundation. Feel free to contact me anytime at (864) 303-2726, with any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Do you think Bill really wants to hear from me? I am skeptical of his sincerity.

Bill's Rebel ancestor would be so proud of him. And mine would be so proud of me. This is the week we traditionally honor our ancestors, and I am proud to honor mine, by abandoning the backward Confederacy, once again. I love you, Thomas Hatcher... thank you for passing onto me the DNA to think for myself in the midst of racist, classist, reactionary insanity.

And I was extremely conscious of this fact, as I listened to the veritable parade of Tea Party speakers, that herd of independent minds using the exact same phrases and paragraphs, recited as a child recites from the Gospel of John in Sunday School. Independent-thinking was a trait in very short supply last night. They are still afraid of their boogeyman, whom they have erroneously confused with Jesus Christ.

Since as we all know, Jesus was a socialist who said, SELL EVERYTHING YOU OWN AND FOLLOW ME.

(((goes off to whistle the Internationale)))

Monday, November 4, 2013

BEST IDEA I've heard in a long time!

Double A mentioned this on our radio show today, and I am all for it.

We need to make the politicians wear suits advertising their commercial endorsements, just like the NASCAR drivers do. The more money contributed, the bigger the logo!

In the case of BigPharma, the logo should be that of the most popular, best-selling drug of any given company. For instance, Eli Lilly's biggest seller last year was CYMBALTA, so that word should be suitably emblazoned on the jackets of any and all politicians who took Eli Lilly's generous corporate donations. (This could well have a subliminal effect: Perhaps people will wonder if the politician-in-question is making them depressed?) I personally can't wait for conservative Senator Tom Coburn, who took $7000 from Purdue Pharma, to wear the giant word OXYCONTIN on his belly, as he addresses his constituents. Likewise, how funny would it be if Obama wore the logo ADDERALL XR at his next press conference? (Would he seem more or less authoritative?)

Here are some fashion-forward ideas I discovered, when I searched the web.

From Crooks and Liars:

Like I said, no cheating with PFIZER... it has to say VIAGRA, so everyone will recognize the product. (And frankly, this move might not sell the product as well as playing them sexee blues songs on TV commercials, but maybe Pfizer should start thinking about IMAGE?)



From Good.is:



Somebody named Captain Obvious contributed this to a political forum, the new Supreme Court robes:


And from Political Irony:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day of the Dead links

At left: I celebrated Samhain with the pagan community at Greenville Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship (known as GUUF). It was wonderful!

I always loved the Christian rituals at this time of year, so its nice to know I can find working alternatives.

Hope your Halloween was fun. (PS: here are my adorable grandbabies in costume!)


Occupy the Microphone:

Our Wednesday radio show was probably the best one this week, featuring Mary Olsen of Nuclear Information Resource Service. Have a listen!

Thursday's show: Senator Lindsey Graham's stock takes a nose dive in polls

Friday's show: Did the US government know before or after the Israelis attacked Syria?

Remember, you can listen to us on livestream every weekday, LIVE AT FIVE! (And if you'd like to donate your spare change to us, please go HERE.)


Random Links:

:: 11 signs you might be an MRA (Men's Rights Advocate). Although this was posted earlier this year, I just came across it... and this certainly rings true for all of my online brawling.

:: How the religious right won: Birth of the fundamentalists, in our modern times (Salon) is excerpted from Molly Worthen's upcoming book, titled Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism. Excellent history and analysis, highly recommended, and I am hoping to read the entire book soon.

From the piece:
The decisive battles over the meaning and role of the Bible in modern society [in the 70s and 80s] did not, primarily, unfold in the form of dueling proof texts or Sunday pulpit ripostes, but in skirmishes for control of the machinery of intellectual authority: seminaries, missions boards, denominational presses, and authorized church history. The personal magnetism of gurus was not sufficient to stanch the secularist tide. Just as thousands of volunteers at Billy Graham’s crusades worked to settle new converts into local churches before their enthusiasm could evaporate, conservative activists knew that the fervor wandering sages left in their wake would fizzle unless channeled into institutions and sustained by an infrastructure built to teach and train future generations.
Worthen provides an in-depth account of exactly how the fundies took over the various Protestant denominations from within. And it's some fascinating history:
Historically, Southern Baptists have opposed the idea of creeds: formal statements of doctrine to which all members of a church must subscribe. Every Baptist is expected to articulate his beliefs for himself. The principle of “soul liberty” or “soul competency” means that each believer is accountable to no one but God. Few principles, however, are absolute in reality. Early Baptists approved confessions that reflected consensus and set boundaries for acceptable beliefs, although they did not recite them in worship. Southern Baptists, alarmed by Darwinism’s challenge to traditional interpretations of the Bible, adopted a “Faith and Message” in 1925 declaring their belief that God created man “as recorded in Genesis.” The convention elaborated on this statement in 1963 after seminary professor Ralph Elliott roiled Southern Baptists by advocating a nonliteral reading of the creation story in his book The Message of Genesis. The [Southern Baptist Convention] emphasized the “proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility” in Christian education, but reiterated the fallible nature of any doctrinal statement, the possibility for future revision, and the importance of soul competency.

Conservatives began to suspect that the historic Baptist resistance to creeds provided cover for heterodox interpretation of essential doctrines. They pushed for traditionalist revisions and more rigorous enforcement of statements of faith at the denomination’s seminaries and colleges, and even agitated for emendation of the Baptist Faith and Message. Creeds, far from threatening the Baptist way, were the only way to preserve it.
If you are interested in the history of Christianity (and specifically, how the biblical-literalists took over everything), this is a great read.

And it explains so much.

:: Check out Paul Krugman's New York Times column titled, A War on the Poor:
John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, has done some surprising things lately. First, he did an end run around his state’s Legislature — controlled by his own party — to proceed with the federally funded expansion of Medicaid that is an important piece of Obamacare. Then, defending his action, he let loose on his political allies, declaring, “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”

Obviously Mr. Kasich isn’t the first to make this observation. But the fact that it’s coming from a Republican in good standing (although maybe not anymore), indeed someone who used to be known as a conservative firebrand, is telling. Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else — and only willfully blind observers can fail to see that reality.
Read it all.

:: Jonathan Chait explains Why Letting Everyone Keep Their Health-Care Plan Is a Terrible Idea. (New York magazine)

:: Your Day of the Dead dose of cute comes from sweet Harley, all dressed up in a Hello Kitty costume. Adorable!

:: Your spiritual-reading assignment: A Journey from Humiliation to Humility, by Corrado Pensa:
Humiliation is not auto­­matically present; it gets fabri­cated by the ego. We have a choice. We can get into the old habit of fab­ri­cating suffering, or we can stop and watch. Can we lit­erally sit still in the tiny con­traction that we ex­perience, in face of that person who never smiles back at us? ‘Never’ means ‘every time’. ‘Every time’ means ‘a number of opportunities’. Are we going to use those opportunities? Or are we going to consider them irrelevant, minor?

Maybe it is the end of a long day. We are tired and our feet hurt. Can we focus on this fact instead of drifting into wanting and aversion? Can we be gently aware of the range of physical sensations as well as the range of reactions? This is such a wise use of time. But it can just slip through our fingers. We can con­stantly think that we have something more important to do.

I took some artsy photos in a car wash and I also updated my Flickr page, so yall come over and see my purty pics.

Have a great Day of the Dead/All Souls Day.