7 things @ 9 o’clock (8.29)

1. A Christian ministry and a humanist ministry were both prevented from feeding the homeless by police in Raleigh, North Carolina. Stopping charitable groups from helping the hungry is neither serving nor protecting, but there apparently is a statute on the books outlawing food distribution without a pricey permit, and the Raleigh police are newly determined to enforce this stupid law. “You pass out that food, you will go to jail,” an officer told the Rev. Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministries.

This is exactly the sort of thing civil disobedience is for. This is where it works and where it is needed. A well-planned, trained- and prepared-for violation of this law could be effective. It could also be a chance for Love Wins and Human Beans Together to demonstrate what Uncle Frank meant when he said, “We must meet one another doing good. … Do good: we will meet one another there.”

2.What do you do when you find out the theologian you respected is kind of slimy?” Carol Howard Merritt asks. Her post is thoughtful and funny, and let me just add that the doozy of an example of slimy wrong-headedness she mentions regarding St. Augustine comes, in part, from his confusing the imago dei part of the first creation story with the Adam and Eve part of the second. In a bit of providential/serendipitous timing, Morgan Guyton looks at the legacy of John Howard Yoder and finds some of the sliminess entwined in the theology.

3. Sarah Pulliam Bailey looks at a scheduled seminar for the Family Research Council’s next “Values Voter Summit” in which fundie financier Art Ally will warn Real, True Christians of what he says are Satan’s three biggest threats to godandamerica: Communism, Islam and the Emergent Church. Tony Jones and Brian McLaren both have some fun responding to this odd elevation of Emergent Christianity as one of the Big Three threats for the religious right. But while this is surprising news for those Emergent folks, it probably seems even more surprising for gay-rights supporters, feminists, atheists, Pagans, advocates of church-state separation, evolutionists and climate scientists.

4. Here’s an updated timeline on the utter lack of Satanic pony-killers in Dartmoor, England. August 21: Devon & Cornwall police announce that the pony died of natural causes and was not a victim of Satanic ritual mutilation. August 23: Benjamin Radford highlights the announcement in a Live Science post. August 26: I wrote about it here. August 28: The Sun publishes this headline, “Are mutilated corpses of Dartmoor’s animals the work of Satanists?

The article begins, “For years, Dartmoor has been dogged by macabre tales of animal slayings and rumours of Satanic rituals. Now villagers in sleepy Bridford, nestled in the beautiful Teign Valley, are convinced they have become the latest target of devil …” The rest is behind a paywall. I suppose the article may go on to debunk this panic by pointing to the actual fact that no Satanic conspiracy is at work in either Dartmoor or Bridford, but that will need to be some aggressive debunking if it has any hope of atoning for that awful, misleading and sensationalist headline.

5. Some guy has posted another list of “25 More Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading (Editor’s Picks).” It’s another pretty good list, but he leaves out Christian Piatt’s blog. What does this guy have against Christian Piatt? If you’re looking for more bloggy goodness and more suggestions, here’s a list of the 105 Best Blogs by LGBT Christians.

6. “I’m tired of single mothers being used as the poster child for the welfare state,” said Steve Lonegan, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey. That was in response to a question on a cable news panel. Lonegan later clarified: “The guy hit that funny bone of mine with his single mom s—. I hate that s—.” He says “funny bone.” Victor Hugo calls it “intoxication, a giddiness of prosperity which dulls, a fear of suffering which, in some, goes as far as an aversion for the suffering, an implacable satisfaction, the I so swollen that it bars the soul.” You know, all that “single mom s—.”

7. 350.org proposes a new, fairer, and more appropriate system for naming hurricanes:

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  • Carstonio

    I’m really talking about the huge overlap between the two ideologies, where ethnicity is associated with income level. This creates resentment among many poor whites, especially those in the South. They feel cheated out of wealth and position that they feel they deserve, although from my experience, many don’t recognize this feeling. They’re derided as “white trash” which really means that they rank no higher than non-whites. Instead of turning their anger against the system, or against wealthier whites, they focus on preserving what status they have from their skin color.

  • wendy
  • Wooow. What, does he actually, honestly think welfare and food stamps materialize out of thin air?

  • Benjamin Thomas

    Ah, British Journalism. You guys in the US don’t realise how easy you have it. You think “FOX News” is bad!? You aint seen nuffin. You aint seen NUFFIN.

  • I’d take Daily Mail any day of the week over Fox News and its transparent racism, misogyny and bigotry.

  • wendy

    another reason it makes sense for pilots to be libertarian — flying a plane is one of the very few things people do in life where the quality of one’s individual performance is objectively and obviously measurable. Nobody can help you look better or worse at it than you actually are, nobody can cover for you if your skills are lacking, nobody can criticize you unfairly if your skills are there.

    The laws of physics are enforced by god, there’s no special favors for the well-connected.

  • Lori

    Nobody can help you look better or worse at it than you actually are, nobody can cover for you if your skills are lacking

    Not strictly true. If you’re generally bad people are going to notice and you’re going to be out of a career, but if you make a mistake a good cockpit crew can and will correct it for you. That’s part of why they’re there. Contrary to what L&J think, not even the pilot of a fully loaded 747 is an island.

    There have been cases where the pilot really was the unquestioned lord of the cockpit and people died because of it. The gist—pilot did something wrong, one of the other people in the cockpit said something about it or suggested a different (better) course of action, the pilot blew it off or couldn’t process it, the crew member didn’t push because that’s simply not done & instead did what the pilot said and the pilot crashed the plane.

  • Lori

    There’s more to UK journalism than the Daily Mail though. Rupert Murdoch owns The Sun, The Times and Sunday Times. AFAICT they’re basically Fox News with more pictures of women in bikinis.

  • wendy

    I like the epiphanies conservatives have when “those irresponsible other people” they’ve been bitching about turn out to be themselves, and they have to change a position.

    Rush Limbaugh used to vociferously support zero-tolerance drug enforcement, lock ’em up, they’re all parasites of low character. Until he was up on drug charges, when he suddenly realized that addiction is a disease, treatment is a much more reasonable option than incarceration, it’s not a character issue at all.

    Rob Portman (R-OH) was totally opposed to gay marriage, it would be the end of civilization as we know it, how dare those wacky other people he’s never met want to redefine something so central to… oh, wait. His son is gay? And hopes to get married someday? Uh… pair-bonding is a good thing, the foundation of our society, and same-sex couples should have the same rights to protect each other as traditional couples.

    Mark Kirk (R-IL) thought medicaid/medicare patients were gaming the system and robbing the taxpayers. What kind of layabout malingerer demands more than 5 physical therapy sessions after we’ve already paid for their hospitalization fergawdsake? Until he had a stroke and… OMG I see the light! 3 sessions a week for a full year seems totally reasonable for outpatient treatment.

    I’m especially loving the op-eds from until-law-week-anti-Obamacare bloggers who just realized now they can buy their own real insurance even with pre-existing conditions, they can leave that crappy middle-management corporate job that hinders their entrepreneurial dream, the job they only stuck with for the group policy

  • Just listing the top example that came to mind. XD

    I should have recalled the Sunday Times though, given that I looked it up just recently and discovered that Murdoch had put past issues behind the same type of paywall as the news sites in the US use.

  • JustoneK

    Mostly it’s something he’s never had to think about.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    That, I guess. Authoritarians don’t believe in results, so much as stances.

  • There’s probably truth to this, given how often the things they stand for are proven to be ineffectual and dangerous — but “right.”

  • Cathy W

    Am I basically right to say: Telegraph is a newspaper, conservative slant; Guardian is a newspaper, liberal slant, needs spellcheck; anything else is fishwrap, and some papers might offend the fish?

  • It’s just incredible, though. He says “I’ve been on welfare, etc, and nobody helped me.” JUST WHAT THE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE I DON’T EVEN

  • Kirala

    Number 7 makes me sad, because there would STILL be poor innocent souls who happened to share a name with the wrong politician and would have to live with the consequences. And you KNOW that hurricanes wouldn’t be called by the full legal title – they’d still get nicknames.


    … I overthink gags, don’t I?

  • gocart mozart

    Beware of the gaymuslimcommiefication of the church!

  • oliviacw

    And if you don’t have those thousands of dollars in start-up costs, the other approach to getting training is through the military. Principally as an officer, which is also home of many conservative white cis-gendered straight men.

  • LL

    BTW Fred (or anybody else), any interest in addressing the Megafest thing happening in Dallas right now?


    Among other participants (Oprah!) are the Osteens (both of them, apparently)

    Word is this thing (which goes through Saturday – enjoy the 100+ temps, visitors) is attracting about 50,000 people (maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I think that’s what I heard someone say on the news thingie)

  • HyperSpiral

    Obama wants to use the government to do a thing. Hitler and Stalin also wanted to use the government to do a thing. Therefore, Hitler, Stalin, and Obama are the same.

    I don’t see what’s so hard to understand.

  • The Daily Mail is no better than as bad as Fox in all those departments.


  • Oof. And I thought “OBAMA
    ” was bad.

  • I’d say it’s roughly half “Fuck you, I got mine” and half “I’m not even thinking about the shit that comes out of my mouth, just making the noises which make my followers praise me.”

  • Launcifer

    Private Eye has some of the best investigative reporting in the British press, though it’s always buried beneath layers of in-jokes and satire. It’s almost a shame it isn’t a daily newspaper, though I can well imagine that the overall quality would quickly diminish if that was the case.
    I tend to judge the rest based on the quality of their sports sections, since it occurs to me that there are at least four British newspapers I absolutely cannot abide unless I start at the back at stop somewhere in the middle (and one of ’em not even then).
    I’m also embarrassed to admit that I read that article in The Sun a couple of days ago, though this is perhaps mitigated by the fact that I was tempted to bet my house on Fred noticing it by the weekend.

  • P J Evans

    I’ve pointed that out. (Also that fast-food workers would like to be able to buy the food they’re selling.)

  • banancat

    Is the communism scare still a thing? I thought most people were over using that as a scary buzzword, instead favoring the more modern socialism.

  • banancat

    To some extent, these are the good ones. At least they can manage to see it when it affects them directly. I’m actually hoping that as people see the benefits of the ACA, most of them will come around and stop being so angry about it. My main concern is that once it becomes popular enough that it’s not beneficial to whine about it, Republicans will try to claim credit for it somehow.

  • That Other Jean

    Minor nitpick: that would be “courtesy of Lee Atwater and the southern strategy. . .” Let’s get the blame where it’s due.

  • Matri

    Well, it’s a good indicator of how old the scaremongers really are.

  • dpolicar

    “I would never link to any list that would have me as a member”?

  • dpolicar

    I’m sure that’s true for those pilots who developed their skills without assistance from anyone else. Like, maybe they were stranded on a desert island and built their own plane from leaves and twigs, or something.

    For the remainder, they got a whole lot of help from a whole lot of people in order to obtain those skills in the first place, and to create and maintain the infrastructure in which they practiced those skills.

    Not that I begrudge them that help; I most certainly don’t. I think it’s great that they got that help, and that they leveraged that help into their admirable skills as pilots, and I hope someday to live in a world where everyone can get the same kind of help to develop and maintain their skills.

  • Antigone10

    Nope, completely wrong. There is no objective way to measure how good of a pilot you are, other than “does the plane crash” and even that isn’t a great metric as good pilots can still crash and bad pilots can go their entire career with nothing happening. It’s also not an individualistic endeverour at all- in a plane, there’s always two pilots; captain and copilot. On top of that, there’s the aircraft mechanic making sure it works, there’s the ground crew making sure it’s loaded correctly, the flight crew making sure the passengers are safe, scheduling making sure that you are flying to the right place at the right time, ATC making sure you’re not running into anybody, and all of the meteorologist making sure a storm’s not coming your way. And I’m sure I’m forgetting someone and something.

    And despite all that, bad pilots are still allowed all the time. PIlots who sexually harass flight attendants, genuine jerks who ignore ATC- these are traits I would qualify as being “bad’ at your job because these are people you have to work with. And because pilots are expensive to train, companies let it slide ALL of the time.

  • Antigone10
  • MarkTemporis

    It’s not called the Daily Heil as a Godwin’s Law sort of thing. Paper’s old enough that it seriously did stump for Adolph back in the day. FOX News could only wish for that sort of pedigree.

  • John Alexander Harman

    “Gay-rights supporters, feminists, atheists, Pagans, advocates of church-state separation, evolutionists and climate scientists” are probably what the inveterate liars of the Family Research Council mean when they use the word “Communism.” Even they are probably dimly aware that the actual political and economic ideology that word designates in standard English is pretty much a spent force, so they’re stuffing all those other ideas into its skin to try to keep it animate and scary enough to motivate their marks to open their wallets.

  • Turcano

    Also, American “Fox News watchers” is pretty much the equivalent of British “Daily Mail readers.”

  • Hypothesis is intriguing. We should experiment.

  • TomSatsuma

    The Sun is a rag. It’s owned by Fox’s own Murdoch and, despite it’s popularity, is regularly targeted in the UK as an unreliable hate-mag.

    In related news: The Star (a UK paper of similar quality) recently ‘outed’ a gay celebrity (who is almost as famous for the numerous, open articles he writes about being the parent of two children as he is for his acting) as the parent of 2 secret ‘love children’… it was all very amusing:


  • TomSatsuma

    The Independent can be OK.

  • David S.

    Hurricanes are wonderfully visible things to use to complain about climate change. The problem is, if you insist on being scientific, the science isn’t in on them yet. The 1980s were well into the temperature rise, and the quietest decade storm-wise of the 20th century. The 1930s were the worst decade storm-wise of the 20th century, and 1933 nearly as bad as 2005. Putting too much emphasis on storms may be bad, since what we do know about storm variability says we might be coming up on another quiet spot, where, particularly following the 00’s, it will look very quiet.

  • christopher_y

    Pretty much, if you’re talking about “papers”, rather than magazines. Half a point goes to the Daily Mirror in the 4 word sentences league for not trying to be slimier than the Sun and the Star, but it still leaves much to be desired. The Independent isn’t too bad.

  • Maniraptor

    You don’t know much about the Mail, do you.

  • Apparently I made the mistake of thinking I’d seen all it had to show me when we had a troll come by and repeatedly link Peter Hitchens articles about how evil antidepressants are. :p

    To be fair, I’m not thinking very well right now. Getting ready for a local SCA event and it’s been pretty frantic. ^^;;

  • alfgifu

    Obligatory Yes Minister quote:

    Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

    Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

    Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

    Personally, I’m with Launcifer – Private Eye has more actual news value than all the daily newspapers put together.

  • That said, do you know that the global mean temperature actually rose through the 1930s and 1940s and then fell back in the 1950s and 1960s?

  • Sereg

    Yay SCA! Hi from Atlantia. :)

  • An Tir newbie here! This was my second event and I loved it to death.