News from Amercia the beautiful

Speaking of building bridges, Steve Benen tells us about a bipartisan project in New Hampshire that restored a piece of American history, creating jobs and producing a public park that endures as a beautiful and useful asset for the community.

The Sawyer Bridge “is one of the earliest examples of dry-laid masonry vaults in New England.” And thanks to $288,000 in federal funds from the Recovery Act, secured by 28 New Hampshire Republicans, the bridge has been restored in all its former glory.

Jobs, history, parks, public assets, bipartisan cooperation for the common good — what’s not to like?

Well, if you’re Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, all of those things.

* * * * * * * * *

2002: Republican President George W. Bush requests $34 million for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. The Senate unanimously approved the money. The House approved this funding on a vote of 357-66.

2012:House Republicans intend to eliminate all UNFPA funding.”

* * * * * * * * *

BooMan discusses what’s really at issue with the right-wing gazillionaires planning SuperPac ads portraying President Barack Obama’s former pastor as some kind of un-American radical:

Jeremiah Wright, and by extension, the black church culture of our country are the ones being smeared here. Yes, you can take a few lines out of years and years of sermons and make Rev. Wright look bad or radical or un-American. But what you’re really saying is that anyone who belongs to a black church is unfit to be president. That black churches are radical and un-American. That’s both because the attackers are creating an unfair caricature of Rev. Wright, and because his views are nowhere near as unconventional in the black community as the attackers would have you believe.

Remember those rich white businessmen who opposed the Civil Rights movement and wound up losing a battle for America’s soul to a bunch of black clergy? They remember, those rich white businessmen do. And this is another piece of their payback.

BooMan also notes, too, that this is why attack ads focusing on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith are off-limits:

Didn’t the Mormon church help form Mitt Romney’s character?

It sure did. But if we’re going to say that’s not a legitimate way to have your character formed, we’ll be attacking all Mormons, not just Mitt Romney.

I’m sure there are votes to be had by appealing to anti-Mormon bigotry, but chasing them isn’t worth the cost — the cost of becoming the sort of person who would chase them. Not even if your opponent is proving himself to be the sort of person who seeks the help of those appealing to racism if that’s what it will take to “get 50.1 percent or more.”

* * * * * * * * *

Christianity Today closely followed the escape and sorta-defection of Chinese dissident activist Chen Guangcheng. The story doesn’t have a religion angle, but it does have an abortion angle — and for Christianity Today that amounts to the same thing.

But I’m not sure the abortion angle is quite what they thought it was. Chen researched and opposed forced abortion in China. He is, in other words, an advocate for reproductive freedom — for choice. Chen Guangcheng wants women to have a choice and not to be subject to government coercion that removes that choice and restricts their freedom.

But if you put it that way, Christianity Today wouldn’t be covering this story.

* * * * * * * * *

Retelling a familiar story from an unfamiliar perspective: Peter Watts’ “The Things.”

Bonus points for using the 1982 John Carpenter/Kurt Russell version (via Ed Yong).

"I assume that second "former" was supposed to be "latter"?"

LBCF, No. 190: ‘Something happens’
"I wouldn't put it past them. They've already tried deporting actual, indisputably US-born citizens."

LBCF, No. 190: ‘Something happens’
""Some of them claim that voting R is 'in their DNA.'"Amanita poisoning would explain so ..."

LBCF, No. 190: ‘Something happens’
""Paging Dr. Mengele. Dr. Mengele to the treatment center..." https://uploads.disquscdn.c..."

Romans 13 and the Gettysburg Address

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  • Is that meant to be “A-Mercy-a”? Or a play on “Amer-CIA”? Or just a misspelling for some artistic reason and I’m just clueless?

  • Eamon Knight

     It mean you are emphatically not an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now the English Midlands.


  • pharoute

    It’s always been spelled AMERCIA!

    /chocolate rations are up…

  • Magic_Cracker

    Oh beautiflu for specious skis, for amber weaves of gain!
    Oh, pruple mountings mahogany, a cross the freighted plane!
    AMERCIA! AMERCIA! Dog shed his grease on thee!
    And crow thy good with blusterhood from sea to shindig sea!

    Re: Inviisble Neutrino: Follow the link!

  • Jessica_R

    Throwing another link in. If you’ll be needing clothes or a gift consider getting them at JC Penney, as they’re doubling down on not giving the Culture Warriors an inch,

  • I had just finished watching this in-depth and insightful analysis of John Carpenter’s The Thing when I clicked over here … and Fred gives me the gift of that amazing Peter Watts piece.  Bravo.

  •  Short version: the Romney campaign released an iPhone app – and misspelled “America” on one of the main screens… The campaign says they’ve sent a fixed version to Apple (but it usually takes roughly a week for Apple to approve a new version, from what I understand).

  • aunursa

    I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday… His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.

    They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought, either.

    [W]hen he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

    What we saw yesterday out of Reverend Wright was a resurfacing and, I believe, an exploitation of those old divisions. Whatever his intentions, that was the result. It is antithetical to our campaign. It is antithetical to what I am about. It is not what I think American stands for.

    April 29, 2008
    -A right-wing gazillionaire taking a few lines out of years and years of sermons in order to create an unfair caricature, make Rev. Wright look bad, and smear the black church culture

  • Nathaniel

     Yet somehow prominent Republican, White (but I repeat myself) religious leaders can publicly blame gays and feminists for hurricanes and hear no protests when they fund raise for their Republican party masters.

  • Magic_Cracker

    What’s your point, aunursa? That Barack Obama is a politician and like any other other politician, he shamefully chucked his friend under a the bus called American Exceptionalism* when it proved to be politically necessary. Doesn’t change the fact that the outrage against Wright was right-wing manufactured bullshit, just that Obama’s behavior was bullshit.

    *That’s when you say America is so super-duper awesome that it can do no wrong, and when America does do wrong, well then, it must really be good, and if you point out that America has done and is doing wrong, well, you must hate America.

  • This just in: Barack Obama Not Perfect.

    Well gee golly whiz, that sure makes me want to vote for the born-rich ultra-rich bully who belongs to a party that wants to strip my bodily integrity as a woman, keeps medical care from me as a disabled person who cannot work, and is trying to take away my FOOD. All so the silver spoon ultra-rich bullies can have even more money. 

  • Makabit

    Jeremiah Wright became more difficult for me when he let his little anti-Semitic flag fly.

    Doesn’t change the bullshit nature of the ranting and raving about him from the election, and the constant attempt to resurrect him as something to wield against Obama.

    But it certainly does make me grimace a little more when he comes up, and we have to discuss how irrelevent he is again.

    Much appreciate the link about the Mormon issue. I’ve been bothered by the number of people who seem to think now is a good time to tear into Mormons.

  • VMink

    Unrelated, but: No Longer Quivering is here on Patheos now as well. 

  • I did, and… um, I still don’t really get it. (-_-);;

  • Magic_Cracker

    I… I don’t think I’m getting what your not getting.

  • Ethics Gradient

    News From the New Hope church  – not the Village Church in Mount Prospect, IL, but the Baptist Church in Seneca, KS (but they still seem keen on ending the last remnants of Amercian civilisation):

    Kansas Pastor: Government Should Kill Gays, But ‘They Won’t’

  • I guess it’s just not-getting-the-joke-itis. My bad.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Well, the short of it is that the Romney campaign misspelled the name of the country he wants to govern “Amercia” on an iPhone app and now they look dumb and Fred, by linking it, is point at them and saying, “UR DUMB! LOLZ!”

  • hapax

    Fred Clark, I am sorry about this, but I really wish you hadn’t posted that link to Peter Watts short story the way you did.

    I know that many will see this as small-minded spoiler, but that story needed hella TRIGGER WARNINGS for rape

    I hope nobody clicks that link and gets blindsided the way I was.

    (P.S.  I am not criticizing the author — I understand the reason he chose the words he did.  And I’m not really criticizing the Fred Clark here either;  I thought long and hard about the potential of “spoiling” the story before I posted this comment, and if he feels the artistic choice trumps the potential effect on vulnerable readers, this is HIS blog, and I hope he will feel free to delete this comment.)

  • gocart mozart

    Mitt Romney’s campaign mispelled it in a flyer.

  • It’s at the very end, and I can see how it would feel like a total blindside. The trigger warning would not detract from the perspective involved and I would echo hapax in highly suggest including one.

  • In terms of the “what is there not to like?” category, I solidly put Safe Routes to School.  It’s a program that gives communities money to spend on projects that allow kids to walk and bike to school more safely, improving public health, reducing oil use, and reducing emissions.  Yet because it’s bicycling, which “no one does except those Lance Armstrong-wannabe jerks,” it’s on the chopping block.  And there’s so many examples like that…

  • christopher_young

    Amercia: Presumably a country given to randomly punishing its citizens (from  “amerce”, originally Anglo-Norman, to punish with any arbitrary penalty.)

  • AnonymousSam

    If we’re all for bringing back historical evils, I vote for throwing these people to the lions first and then seeing if they still advocate the traditional religious persecution route. You know, let them see what real persecution is before we let them subject others to it.

  • aunursa

    I agree with you; Jeremiah Wright is irrelevant.  He was not much of a factor in the 2008 election, and he’ll be even less so this time around.  And Obama’s opponents don’t need to bring up Wright, since unlike 2008, the president now has a record that he must defend.  Romney and most of his supporters will focus on the issues that matter most to the swing voters — jobs and the economy.

    So these SuperPAC ads won’t make much of a difference.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Wright is some kind of un-American radical, and the broadcast of his statements does not promote an unfair caricature, and it certainly does not smear the black church community.

    It goes without saying that many of you wouldn’t take my word on it.  But the reasonable ones will be willing to consider and possibly accept the opinion of President Obama on the matter. 

  • aunursa

    You defend Jeremiah Wright while at the same time you condemn the criticism of his statements by Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama … shamefully chucked his friend under a the bus [sic] … Obama’s behavior was bullshit.

    If I had wished to portray the left-wing side of the political spectrum as extreme and out of touch with reality, I could not have provided a more brutal example than that which you have done.  You have my admiration.

  • hapax


    But that doesn’t change the fact that Wright is some kind of un-American radical

    Having read the entirety of the two controversial sermons (which I very much doubt you did, aunursa), I can only conclude that your definition of “un-American radical” is “recognizes and condemns the many deceptions, abuses, and crimes of the American government against its own people.”

    Some of us might go so far as to call that the definition of a “true patriot.” 

    But not (sigh) if we were running for President, alas.

  • It’s interesting that a guy like Pat Robertson, who espouses radical, outside-of-the-mainstream views and even claims to be able to see into the future, almost never has to deal with accusations of being “un-American” (boy, there’s a word that’s straight out of McCarthy’s playbook, huh?) Wright’s comments are no more inflammatory than Robertson’s suggestion that Haitians deserved to be struck by a hurricane because they used Satanic magic to overthrow their slavemasters, or Robertson’s assertion that 9/11 was caused by homosexuals and pagans.

    And the fact is that Wright’s comments are just words. Robertson allied himself politically and financially with guys with Charles Taylor, who was then indicted at the time and is currently serving a 50-year sentence for war crimes (and who, I have to point out, helped shelter and support al Qaeda operatives in West Africa) and Mobuto Sese Seko, then tyrannical ruler of Zaire.

    But no, for some reason he doesn’t qualify as an un-American, even by people who otherwise criticize him.

  • P J Evans

     If Wright is a radical, it reflects on the society he grew up in, and deals with every day. it doesn’t reflect on Obama, who is no more a liberal than Reagan was. Romney, for his part, will have to defend his own history, including being governor of Massachusetts and running an asset-stripping ‘investment’ firm.

  • And your little post there is a shining example of the Republican party in America today. You took out words from Magic_Cracker’s post. Words that mattered. Then you claimed the quote you mangled typified something bad about your opponents. After changing the meaning of what one of those opponents said by REMOVING WORDS. 

    The problem you have here is, we can all scroll up and see all the words. You can’t actually lie to us about what we can easily see and get away with it.