7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.9)

1. Evangelical-leaning-fundie Cedarville University recently eliminated its entire philosophy department, citing budget constraints. Now Cedarville University is hoping to build a new, $6 million gun range in support of its student marksmanship club. OK, then.

2. I have to disagree with the headline of this Raw Story report: “Anti-Obama Arizona protest turns racist.” Talking Points Memo has the same mistake in their story: “Anti-Obama Protest Turns Racist in Phoenix.”

“Turns” implies that these protests started out as something other than racist and then somehow surprisingly changed their character. Not true. They revealed their character more explicitly than they perhaps initially intended, but that character did not change. These are Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s supporters. They didn’t “turn” racist this week — they’ve been that way for a long, long time.

3. Kudos to Sarah Pulliam Bailey at RNS for stating this correctly: “The Supreme Court will soon decide if CEOs can impose their religious convictions on the people who work for them.”

You have to ignore an awful lot of reality to imagine that giving CEOs that right would in any way enhance “religious liberty.”

To all those evangelical Christians who imagine that Hobby Lobby et. al. are “standing up” for them, ask yourself this: What if your boss is one of those radical secular humanists Tim LaHaye and Jerry Falwell warned you about? What if your boss is a Muslim? Or a Mormon? What if your boss is an atheist? Or a wiccan? Or — heaven forfend! — a mainline Protestant?

4. I saw a “Gerlach for Governor” bumper sticker a few weeks ago and frowned. Gerlach represents my district in the U.S. House and he’s a nice enough fellow, but he always campaigns as a moderate, sane Republican and then governs as a rubber-stamp for the excesses and extremes of his colleagues in the House. So I don’t trust him.

It took me a moment to realize, though, that this wasn’t a pro-Gerlach bumper sticker. It was an anti-Tom Corbett sticker.

Corbett is the governor of Pennsylvania and he’s running for a second term. The problem is that nobody likes him. Decent schools and being allowed to vote because you’re an American citizen turn out to be pretty popular, so Corbett’s agenda opposing both of those hasn’t endeared him to most of the state. This is a bipartisan sentiment, and barring some large and unforeseen change, his chances at re-election are slim and shrinking fast.

PA Republicans have been casting about for someone, anyone, to challenge Corbett in a primary, but most of the potential candidates — including Gerlach — seem to think that four years of Tom Corbett have soured the electorate against any Republican’s chances of winning in November. They’re probably right about that, but they don’t understand why. They think it’s because Corbett puts an unpopular face on their policies. They don’t realize that it’s those policies that made Corbett’s face unpopular.

5. The City of Detroit is not attempting to defraud workers out of their pensions because the city has declared bankruptcy. The City of Detroit declared bankruptcy in order to defraud workers out of their pensions. That was the whole point — the intent, the design, the cause.

The city learned this from its automakers, who did the same thing. And from the airlines who have done it as well. Livable pension packages allowed those companies to pay lower wages for decades in exchange for future payments. Bankruptcy was a way of escaping those future payments, retroactively stealing from thousands of people every day for years and years. Steve Buchheit puts it well:

With the Detroit bankruptcy the media is trolling out the conservative line about public employee pensions being a burden and how we can’t and shouldn’t ever pay this money to retirees.

Let me say first off this is complete bullshit. This isn’t money we need to pay to people who aren’t working, this is money these people earned while they were working. This was a part of their contracts, this was a part of the deal we made to get their labor. We agreed to take care of them later as long as they worked for a little less now. Oh, and they needed to put their own money on line as well as their employers committing funds to the pension. This is their money.

6. So is Eric Metaxas a xenophobic wingnut? Or does he just enjoy hanging out with xenophobic wingnuts? Look, this isn’t complicated: If you’re supposedly an expert on the life and times Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but you’re advocating restrictive immigration, then you apparently didn’t learn anything from your studies. How does someone crank out 500 pages on the life of Dietrich freaking Bonhoeffer and still think America needs to go back to the Johnson-Reed Act? How does one study an icon of theological resistance to the persecution of Jews and come away embracing fraudulent conspiracy theories about international Jewish bankers? Are we sure Metaxas’ book was about Bonhoeffer and not, say, Pat Buchanan?

I’m not suggesting that Eric Metaxas is not too bright. I’m saying that “not too bright” is absolutely the most charitable interpretation of the man.

7. Here’s John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pa., talking to Stephen Colbert four years ago about his community’s efforts to resurrect and revitalize their struggling former steel town. And here’s what Fetterman is up to more recently. Good for him and good for Braddock.


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