7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.28)

1. Ana Yelsi Sanchez has been hosting a terrific series at her Brown-Eyed Amazon blog called “Out of the Closet and Into the Pews.” The whole series, featuring a collection of thoughtful guest posts, and the rest of Sanchez’s blog are worth a look.

2. It’s not surprising that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is now lying about his opposition to legal contraception. But it is encouraging that the Republican candidate for governor realizes that he needs to lie about this — that his aim to criminalize birth control is a vote-losing obstacle to his chances in November.

3. I didn’t write about Miley Cyrus yesterday because I didn’t watch the VMAs, because hitting someone while they’re down is unseemly, and because 90 percent of what I saw written about her performance reminded me of the Anti-Kitten-Burning Coalition. And I didn’t initially write anything in response to the latest delusional rantings of the Rev. Pat Robertson, because kooky, vile Pat saying something vicious and delusional isn’t exactly remarkable anymore. But this time it probably was newsworthy, since Robertson’s latest claim is, even for him, especially dishonest and especially cruel. Pat Robertson told an extravagant, deliberate lie — saying that HIV+ gay men used to go around with special rings that would cut people’s hands and thereby deliberately spread the disease. Later, forced to backtrack a bit by the audacity of his lie, Robertson qualified his earlier claim by explaining that it wasn’t most HIV+ people doing this — just an elite squad of gay ninjas who were trying to assassinate him personally. OK, then.

4. RIP Russell Doughten. Doughten produced the “Bible prophecy” movie A Thief in the Night — a literal cult classic which features some genuine chills along with its low-budget camp and earnest attempts at evangelism. Doughten’s dubious attempt to scare audiences into Heaven may have been misguided, but it was motivated by his sincere desire to rescue those he was convinced were bound for Hell. That makes his movies far less offensive than Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series, where the message for those LaHaye sees as Hell-bound sinners is “I’m right, you’re wrong — neener neener.” Doughten was also an Iowan committed to making movies in Iowa, which was quixotic, but kind of charming. His one foray outside of such local film-making was local for me — he was a producer and assistant director on The Blob, filmed right here in Chester County.

5. On a related note, here’s the latest cast updates for the upcoming Left Behind movie reboot: Ashley Tisdale is out as Chloe Steele, replaced by Cassi Thompson of Big Love; Olympian Lolo Jones has a cameo as an airport gate attendant; American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher in The Blind Side) will be playing passengers on the plane. The movie seems to focus mostly on the plane and the immediate aftermath of the Rapture, adding lots of passenger characters who weren’t in the book. I’m hoping for cameos from Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays.

6. Christian Piatt has posted a list of “25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading,” voted by his readers. It’s a pretty good list. If that’s not enough to keep your RSS reader full of interesting stuff, try this list of the “1,560 Best Blogs by Christian Women.”

7. Harold Pollack:

For 45 years, 300,000 American GIs provided a thin green line protecting Western European democracies from the Soviet Union. Our troops weren’t there to preserve low capital gains tax rates, or to hold back the menace of subsidized day care, universal health care, or school lunch programs. They were there to defend the structures of constitutional democracy, the rule of law, respect for individual rights, freedom of speech and assembly, protections against racial and ethnic discrimination, respect for religious and cultural pluralism.

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  • AnonaMiss
  • Matri

    Re #3:

  • Matri
  • Matri

    *sighs* My bad. Can someone please clean these up for me?


  • Kenneth Raymond

    Pretty much because the US was invited in as part of World War II, and then offered billions in aid across Europe immediately afterward. Actual reconstruction efforts were set to pretty rapidly, and there were very real political concerns in Europe about Soviet overt expansionism to boot – basically trading one set of tyrants (the Axis) for another (Stalin’s USSR). Look at the fate of Poland, for example. Or East Germany. The US presence may have had strings attached, but at the worst it was still the lesser of two evils. It helped nations retain relative autonomy that might not have been stable enough if left to their own devices. Historically speaking, the US military presence in post-War Europe was actually surprisingly hospitable.

    (I’m not saying US behavior was perfect during the Cold War, especially further afield from Europe, but still. “I am large, I contain multitudes” can get rather literal.)

    I’m not sure I trust the current US government with such an intervention. I certainly didn’t under Bush, and I really have little reason to believe the institutional attitudes that helped enable such cock-ups as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan have been… particularly remedied under Obama. Especially certain very, shall we say, proprietary attitudes toward any place we intervene in recently. You know, the kind that result in basically selling off a nation’s infrastructure to the highest bidder.

    Basically it’s a difference of approach. If all you’ve got is a hammer, well… you can still tap gently and apply a measured amount of force, or swing wildly like a child who just realized that breaking things is fun. All things considered, I think we have a lot longer to go before we’re over the latest bout of the latter.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You may not be looking for praise, but you deserve some. That is quite the accomplishment, sir.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The ones you can’t talk to because they’re all Japanese, and you once accidentally ordered them to kill every icecream vendor in the world?

  • Baby_Raptor

    The idea that someone who lacks a bible is in poverty because of that fact is *highly* offensive.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The fact that she’s still viewed as a child is a whole nother problem in and of itself. The woman’s 20. She can’t legally drink, but she’s 2 years into adulthood. She can vote, smoke, sign contracts and enlist in the military. To continue to see her as a child is infantilizing.

  • At least that one was easy to clean up. No one’s spotted the replacements… and lived to talk about it.

  • Jenny Islander

    Yes, but I only found the site down a long rabbit trail from somebody’s blog. I can’t even remember how to find it; I just remember that for some reason they thought multicolored text would make their point clear.

  • Ivkra

    For real though, what could possibly be cooler than a squad of elite gay ninjas?

  • EdinburghEye

    They were there to defend the structures of constitutional democracy,
    the rule of law, respect for individual rights, freedom of speech and
    assembly, protections against racial and ethnic discrimination, respect
    for religious and cultural pluralism.


  • EdinburghEye

    A cynical person – not me obviously – would think that Pat Robertson was well aware his sexual and drug-related activities meant he was hi-risk for HIV, but he needed a cover story when this was eventually discovered.


    What? Oh, no, I don’t know ANYTHING about Pat’s private life. It’s just that so many right-wing Christians who are passionately homophobic seem to be meth-addicted closet gay men. And secret ninja gay assassins may even be Pat’s fave sexual fantasy!

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Just going to leave this link here to demonstrate that ours is the best democracy in the world. We have peace, greater enfranchisement than most of the world, election day sausage sizzles, and people with the wit and spirit to make an election sausage sizzle map.


  • Carstonio

    True justice for Pat Robertson would be a gay person coming to his rescue in some way, Pat realizing that everything he’s believed about gays for decades has been wrong, and then the horror of knowing that he’s wasted his life causing misery for others.

  • Well, then let me ask this: if the US could intervene in a more hospitable fashion, with boots on the ground & not just bombs in the air, if it was possible, would this be a good case of intervention? I think that is sort of the way I lean– I don’t want to start a war just so military contractors can make money, & I don’t want to pretend that blowing up a country can help save it, but…well, I mean, the government is gassing civilians to death, right? I’m just thinking about it out loud here because I too am dubious that our foreign policy can actually be helpful, but that maybe makes me think that we need to focus on changing our military policies. We ain’t fighting a Total War any more, nor a Cold War, yeah?

  • Oswald Carnes

    I think it’s just as likely that Miley did it to please herself as a kind of “Fuck you, Mickey” or “Fuck you, dad” as it is that she did it to please others. Unless there’s evidence to the contrary, of course.

  • christopher_y

    protections against racial and ethnic discrimination.

    Ask Nat Bookbinder*. I can’t find a link to the story that isn’t behind a paywall, but he was a British bandleader who ran a nightclub in Cheshire during WWII, and welcomed a racially mixed clientele. The American authorities were so affronted by his refusal to stop African American GIs dancing with white women that they actually leaned on the British government until they put him out of business.

    Cultural pluralism my arse.

    *His daughter may be known to older Slacktivites under her stage name of Elkie Brooks.

  • Cathy W

    A parable. Pat had a flat tire in a bad neighborhood. The pastor didn’t stop to help – “It’s not safe here!” The cop didn’t stop to help – “If I get out of my car on this block, someone’s gonna take a potshot at me!” The drag queen bought Pat a coffee, jacked up the car, and had Pat on his way in 15 minutes. Who is Pat going to preach against on Sunday?

  • Carstonio

    “trained security officers warned me” – Nice way of transferring the blame for false witness, Pat.

  • Anonymouse

    Quick, someone get this man a link to a Naruto kinkmeme.

  • Carstonio

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-reasons-child-stars-go-crazy-an-insiders-perspective/ (Ignore the mental illness shaming in the headline)

    Some thoughts about the child celebrity fishbowl from someone who’s been there. This was published in May, so the reference to the former Hannah Montana is prescient.

    When Miley Cyrus went through a series of scandals in 2010, one involving the scarier-than-pot-but-somehow-more-legal salvia, Billy Ray Cyrus went on record saying that he had very little control over his daughter anymore. Her Disney entourage had long since taken over. Even if he wasn’t telling the complete truth about his role in his daughter’s scandals, it was clear that he, the parent, was not in control…

    Having to live up to your fan base is a little like having to deal with a million strict parents who don’t actually love you. They reward you for your cuteness and cleverness, but are quick to judge and punish. And they do not want you ever to grow up. How do you react? The way any sullen teenager does: You get resentful, and as soon as you have the freedom, you act out…

    But when they get older, they have more freedom. They also have money and little to no experience making decisions for themselves, so their rebellions are going to be on a much larger scale. The whole world will see it.

    And if there’s one thing the whole world loves, it’s a public breakdown.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    Honestly? I really don’t know. I can make up scenarios that might sound good in a work of fiction thanks to suspension of disbelief, but as soon as you run into the mess of reality and politics, everything falls apart.

    Economic sanctions? That doesn’t really do much to people in power, as they tend to make sure they’re well-fed and let everyone else go hang. Bombing and strikes? The last thing we and they need is for us to turn another country into an arcade shooting gallery, especially since this is one with friendly fire ON.

    I guess if I had my fictional scenario going, I’d go with a “rescue and relief” organization under the UN’s aegis that had funding, people, and channels in place to respond quickly to a call of “come and save us from our own government!” Not necessarily to go in shooting, but to crash the party and make sure it’s clear the eye of the world is on the situation while they also bring supplies and medical care to refugees and otherwise generally interrupt crap like this. Multinational and accountable but with the leeway to go into a situation and take action to guard themselves and others when their mere presence isn’t enough of a deterrence.

    And when that’s ready and effective I’d also like a unicorn with an infinitely fractal horn who can gouge bleeding wounds in reality. I’d name him Dewdrop.

  • Daniel

    Yes yes, we can all make snide references to how this supposedly Christian man regularly violates the apparent rules of the faith he claims to believe, but you are conveniently ignoring the motive of the drag queen. Obviously he was doing it to seduce Pat, who can press 4 000 000lbs with his eyelashes and is a silver fox for the gay community. Or he was doing it not out of true generosity but to make a cynical point.

    I admit assuming the drag queen is gay. If not Pat’s still right to preach against him because a straight man in women’s clothes is entirely too confusing. Think of the children, please.

  • Sure, but I mean, I think we have to think about these things. It doesn’t have to be a unicorn. We’ve been told it is a unicorn, but I don’t believe it. An effective military policy is a white horse; don’t let people slap a horn on it & say it is impossible.

  • Oswald Carnes

    Or, as James Coco put it, “I’m a Frenchy! Not a Belgy!”

  • Kenneth Raymond

    This is really the kind of situation where my general despair about humanity gets an override because it’s already established this kind of crap keeps happening (or worse) and the international community always finds a way to squirm out of doing anything, if they even acknowledge it at all. I just don’t think there’s the political will on anyone’s part to do it.

    Just to use my example of a UN rescue-and-relief organization. I think if it got proposed, it’d get at least one outright veto from a permanent member of the Security Council. (Note that a little more than a year ago, Russia and China already vetoed a resolution to sanction the Syrian government under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, Russia because it claimed it would lead to external military involvement.)

    If it did somehow get passed, then it would have to be funded, and men and materiel would have to be provided by various member nations – though it’s not like major member nations have refused to pay their dues for extended periods before, just to influence UN decision-making practices and to get resolutions repealed, so I guess… oh wait. Right. Never mind.

    And then accountability. Accountability is good. Accountability is necessary. Accountability is also an avenue through with the organization could be excoriated for actually pursuing their mandate, through malicious audits and constant questioning whether their involvement was “really” necessary. The phrase “genocide-like acts” was used for exactly this kind of excuse-making to prevent getting involved, and would probably be used to hamstring and punish the organization for any actions a Security Council member didn’t like.

    But pulling back and speaking more generally, I think there’s a certain attitude that “the reward for a job well done is another job.” As in, anyone signing up to perform an effective intervention in Syria is going to be expected to do the same the next time something like this comes up, and the next time, and… and you know, commitments like that are expensive. And what’s the reward? What have you done for us lately? Then fail to keep up with that commitment and you get all kinds of crap from everyone else over abandoning it… So hey, why bother? If everyone just stands back and shrugs their shoulders, then nobody’s really to blame for not getting involved because anyone else who would criticize is at least equally guilty of that much.

    It’s basically an international case of the bystander effect.

  • general_apathy

    I’ve heard criticism of Robin Thicke over this. Frankly… it doesn’t sit well with me. It seems to rest on the assumptions that Miley is a) not an adult, b) doesn’t own her sexuality, and c) is not responsible for her own performances. As Baby_Raptor said, it’s infantilizing.

  • Cathy W

    In retrospect, I think the pastor’s objection should have been “He’s not from my congregation!”

  • Oh, I don’t have unending despair for humanity. They went from smashing rocks together to putting a guy on the moon. They stumble & fall down a lot, & it is usually two steps forward, one step back, but that is still one step forward.

  • The_L1985

    As someone with a non-substance-related addiction (I am apparently addicted to making my parents feel happy, even though they’re not at all returning the favor), I feel your pain.

  • Vaughn Lowe

    Buck: Captain Steele, when will you be able to land this plane?
    Ray: I can’t tell.
    Buck: You can tell me, I’m the GIRAT.
    Ray: No, I mean I can’t tell right now.
    Buck: Can you take a guess?
    Ray: Well… not for at least thirty minutes.
    Buck: You can’t take a guess for thirty minutes?

    (lord, I would pay real money to see this.)

  • Susan Paxton

    Girl Passenger: “Uh, I don’t know how to say this, but I’ve…never been with a man before.”
    Buck: “Me neither! Or a woman, for that matter!”

  • banancat

    I have been objecting to Robin Thicke objectifying women and rationalizing rape for long before this happened. And I still don’t condone him objectifying Miley Cyrus for the same reasons I don’t like him objectifying all the other women he objectifies. But the criticism here is for Robin doing it, not for Miley “allowing” it to be done to her. Robin Thicke is a horrible human being I can’t wait until that song stops popping up on my radio.

  • Lori

    I’m not sure I buy the idea that Lady Gaga does her schtick to please herself. I think she does it for attention, which isn’t the same thing.

    The reason Miley makes me more uncomfortable is that she seems to be trying on other people for size*. That’s pretty normal for a person her age but rather painful to watch acted out, as they say around here, in front of god & everyone.

    *During the performance in question her outfit was imitation Gaga and her hair was Tragic Kingdom era Gwen Stefani. Most of her other outfits these days make her look to me like she wants to be Pink, but has no idea what actually makes Pink, Pink. She also occasionally looks like imitation Rihanna, which is not really a good idea for anyone.

  • Golgaronok

    “Omar” doesn’t exactly sound like a Real True Christian American name, now does it?

  • banancat

    I think that’s actually a really good evaluation of it. I never meant to imply that Gaga isn’t doing it for attention. She clearly is and there’s nothing wrong with that because we all want attention to some extent. But you’re right that Miley seems to be going through the phase that most of us go through during young adulthood and she is likely still trying to decide who she wants to be. That is definitely more difficult when you’re in the public eye.

  • Lori

    She clearly is and there’s nothing wrong with that because we all want attention to some extent.

    There’s wanting attention, and there’s wanting attention. Everyone who makes fame their goal wants it more than the norm. Someone who goes outside wearing, for example, a lace bra, no shirt and a pair of pants that look they were made out of Hefty bags would seem to want it even more than most celebrities. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with that. I do know I’m getting really bored with it, but that’s just me.