7 things @ 9 o’clock (10.30)

1.After the apocalypse, she missed her dog.”

As the word has transmogrified into its contemporary usages, it has come to be synonymous with cataclysm, violence and destruction on a global scale, fire and brimstone, the End of Everything. Suppressed by such emphases is the other side of apocalypse: utopian dreams, “a new heaven and new earth” as the biblical apocalypse puts it, the fantasy of the slate wiped clean.

2. Virginia attorney general, anti-sodomy activist and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli spoke Monday at a convocation at Liberty University. I guess the folks at Liberty looked at Cuccinelli’s poll numbers and figured they’d better act fast if they wanted to catch him while he was still a public figure.

Sen. Rand Paul also spoke at the convocation, giving a speech that was partly plagiarized from the Wikipedia entry for the movie Gattaca. This tells us: 1. Paul is dumb enough to think it’s possible to steal from Wikipedia without getting caught; and 2. If Rand Paul ever asks you if you’ve seen a movie, just say “Yes, loved it, seen it seven times” and then quickly change the subject. Otherwise, he’ll launch into a long, droning summary of the plot, spoilers and all. (Oh, and Paul did the same thing in a June speech — plagiarizing the Wikipedia entry for Stand and Deliver.)

This church mural is, I believe, meant to be read “Arise.”

3. David Crary offers a helpful overview of the problems with the evangelical Christian adoption movement (he’s writing for the AP so he’s not allowed to talk about problems, only “criticisms”): “Christian evangelical adoption movement perseveres amid criticism, drop in foreign adoptions.”  One key criticism is a lack of safeguards — or interest — to ensure that adopted children are actually orphans and not just poor.

Adopting an orphan can be a wonderful act of generosity and hospitality, but a movement that “uncritically participates in adoption systems riddled with child laundering, where children are illicitly obtained through fraud, kidnapping or purchase” isn’t helping orphans any more than the story of David and Bathsheba is about ministry to widows.

(Update: The poorly worded front page summary of this item has been re-worded for clarity.)

4. The race is on. My guess for projected finish: 15. Hawaii; 16. New Mexico; 17. Illinois.

5. Zack Hunt looks at the god-awful trailer for the tribal Christian movie God’s Not Dead (featuring Kevin Sorbo, the Newsboys, and poor Dean Cain) and wonders if this is the first Christian-brand movie based on a Facebook meme. The plot seems similar to the Christian-student-dumbfounds-atheist-perfesser urban legend Zack discusses, but I don’t think it’s based on that bogus story directly. I think it’s just based on the same impulse — the revenge fantasy of how awesome it would have been to have said just the right thing at just the right time so that instead of losing that argument, I’d have been all, like, Bam! — high five me bro’ — and that stupid professor with his stupid books and ideas and stuff would’ve been all like, “Uh duhhh der duh duh duh.” Man, that would’ve been awesome!

I don’t think even the thespian skills of Hercules himself can be enough to make that sad little delusional fantasy into a compelling story worth watching (worth writing, worth filming, etc.). On the other hand, a story about a guy whose life is so unrewarding and whose faith is so tenuously fragile that he sits around indulging in such pathetic fantasies, preferring them to reality — that might make a good movie.

6. Martin Luther King Jr. on school prayer:

Contrary to what many have said, [the Supreme Court] sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right.

The man was a Baptist.

7. Oh please oh please oh please let this happen: David Barton may run for the U.S. Senate in Texas. My guess is he’s savvy enough about his current career as a lying con artist to know that the scrutiny that would come from such a high profile race would destroy him. But then con artists also tend to be narcissists with the hubris to imagine they can pull off anything, and the potential of expanding his direct mail database and tapping all those billionaire suckers in the Club for Growth might tempt him to do it.

Here’s hoping that if he does run, journalists won’t be satisfied with the shelf-full of documented lies, fabrications and forgeries already committed by Barton, but will be inspired by that long history of mendacity to follow the money, digging deeper into this crooked man’s crooked life.

Warren Throckmorton says that a “Draft David Barton for U.S. Senate” Facebook page encouraging him to challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn in a primary has already gathered 1,000 “likes.” Texas Democrats should be clicking that “like” button too — short of Christine O’Donnell moving to Texas, they couldn’t ask for a more promising scenario than a Barton/Cornyn primary.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The Republicans want Barton to win. He’s really good at rewriting history, and they want to see if his skill will help them any.

  • trogon

    You have just told me that my family is not legitimate. We adopted our son through an open domestic adoption – his birthparents made an informed and educated decision to place him for adoption because they could not afford to raise an additional child. We regularly write letters and send pictures to his birthparents, and are hoping that they will agree to meetings when he is a little older. How DARE you suggest that because he is not an orphan this is comparable to purchasing or kidnapping a child. How DARE you.

  • G.G.

    Oh good grief, I loved Gattaca, now I have that in common with Rand Paul (or at least his speechwriter) He better not start quoting the Simpsons.

  • aunursa

    The Official – Left Behind Movie

    “I’m afraid he’s gone off naked.”
    “Ma’am?”

  • Jim Roberts

    He . . . did? The “Christian adoption movement,” as described and defined in the link our host provides, is almost exclusively foreign adoptions and, yes, are often adoptions of kidnapped and purchased children, which is horrible. This appears to not be the case for you.
    That’s not to say that all Christians who adopt are part of this movement. I can’t tell you not to take offense, but it would be helpful to you if you were to take offense at what’s actually being talked about.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You might wish to actually *read* what was posted instead of giving it a shallow look-over and then getting insulted. Families like yours are not at all discussed, and nothing is said about the legitimacy of what you did.

  • TheBrett

    2. It’s a pity that Rand Paul had to drag Gattaca into his crap, because it’s actually a good movie. Of course, that does give us the chance to point out the irony of a libertarian citing Gattaca, since the discrimination in that movie was socially tolerated private discrimination (they had a law against genetic discrimination that was widely ignored). Same goes for the genetic screening they did in the film’s society – you could ignore it and have a kid the traditional way, but he or she would be faced with rampant discrimination and be consigned largely to menial work.

    In other words, the type of things that Libertarians would look the other way on, just like how many of them were willing to look the other way on private discrimination in housing and business on racial grounds in the twentieth century.

  • Oswald Carnes

    I was adopted and wasn’t an orphan and I managed to figure out that Fred wasn’t talking about my situation. And if my parents had tried to make me have meetings with the people who placed me for adoption I would have been horribly confused and upset.

  • TheBrett

    He’s probably trolling.

  • LoneWolf343

    Could be worse. He could be quoting Pokemon, like Herman Cain did. Or he could read from Green Eggs and Ham during an official address to Congress, like Ted Cruz did…OMG, the GOP are just a bunch of overgrown children….

  • Kenneth Raymond

    The only thing Fred compared to purchasing or kidnapping children… was purchasing and kidnapping children. He and the article he’s referring to are talking about an actual problem with child trafficking under the aegis of international adoption. Guess what, criticizing a very real problem in an otherwise good system isn’t remotely the same as saying the whole thing is illegitimate or wrong.

    Self-imposed martyrdom, off the cross, use of wood, etc, etc.

  • Lori

    This tells us: 1. Paul is dumb enough to think it’s possible to steal from Wikipedia without getting caught;

    I don’t think this is true. I think Paul is smart enough to realize that he can steal from Wikipedia without paying any meaningful price for it. After all, he’s done it before and it didn’t cause him any real problem. Why waste time and energy writing something original when he can just use someone else’s labor without compensating them and the only people who will care at all are people who already loath him for his numerous other sins? It’s not as if Paul has the slightest personal scruples about lying and ripping people off. We’ve known that since he first came on the scene and he still gets elected. Plagiarizing a source created through voluntary effort is basically the perfect way for an Ayn Rand worshiper to behave in today’s GOP and today’s media climate.

  • trogon

    He said, in the one-sentence summary, “Adopting children who aren’t really orphans isn’t really adoption.” That’s a terrible summary of “The evangelical Christian adoption movement has shady practices”, and a terrible insult to families like mine.

  • trogon

    Perhaps he should have chosen his summary with more care, then, rather than saying “If the child you adopted is not an orphan, it is not a real adoption.” I agree that there are severe problems with international adoption – but that does not justify what he said. Did he mean to attack domestic open adoptions? Probably not. Did he attack them? Yes.

  • G.G.

    #5. and that student was……Albert Einstein! (sorry, somebody had to say it)

    If Memes are getting movies now,when will Ceiling Cat finally get his chance on the silver screen?

  • Abby Normal

    Total reading comprehension fail–my kid’s second grade teacher would be appalled.

  • Jim Roberts

    Oh, NOW I see where you’re coming from, and it makes sense that you’re offended.
    That said, the sentence is, I believe, intended to sum up the “Christian adoption movement” that’s under discussion. Having been pressured by some of the organizations mentioned in the article, I can say that there’s very much an effort to make you feel like unless you’re adopting a third world orphan, you aren’t REALLY adopting.
    It might do to let Fred know directly how you interpreted that summary – I know that he reads the comment threads from time to time, but I’m sure you understand he doesn’t necessarily catch every single post. While I understand your interpretation, based on what he’s said in the past, that’s most certainly not his view of adoption.
    Thanks, by the way, for adopting – it takes courage and sacrifice.

  • Jim Roberts

    The villain in The Avengers 3?

  • Splitting Image

    I believe the common practice is to read the article before commenting, not just the headline.

    On the plus side, your comment segues nicely into the Peter Garrett post, where Fred discusses the evangelical tendency to cherry-pick a line out of the Bible or a Midnight Oil song and insist that it has a meaning that is not there when you try to read the original carefully.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’m just going to mentally ignore the fact that Rand Paul ever said anything about Gattaca.

    (Besides which it’s much more pleasant to think about how good Ethan Hawke looks in that suit in a vaguely retrofuturistic world that looks like the 1960s.)

  • commonlaw504

    Everyone quotes The Simpsons, so don’t worry about it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You said yourself that your child’s biological parents willingly gave him/her up. If you’d actually read the article in question, you would understand that this act more than enough makes the child an orphan, compared to kids being adopted out when the parents think they’re leaving them somewhere temporarily or the parents feeling pressured/being tricked into selling their kids for a fee.

    Also, the article being discussed defines what was meant by “The evangelical Christian adoption movement” and families like yours were not included.

    Seriously. I understand that you got offended. But if you’d actually take context into account, you’d see that people like you are not at all being discussed, and nobody is questioning what you did.

  • trogon

    Thank you. As someone who believes that the response to giving unintentional offense is to apologize and understand where I went wrong, I’m a bit disheartened at how vociferously people are leaping to the defense of that appalling summary, on the grounds that Fred didn’t actually mean what he said.

    (You’re welcome, though I think raising any child requires courage and sacrifice – this way just takes more paperwork than other methods!)

  • Lori

    I’m still trying to figure out where you got the one-sentence summary that you went off on. I can’t find anywhere that Fred said, “Adopting children who aren’t really orphans isn’t really adoption.” Did he change what he wrote very quickly, and not acknowledge the change? If he didn’t write that then he didn’t offend you intentionally or unintentionally, you offended yourself.

  • Hexep

    A long time ago, I wrote that people who actually and sincerely use the phrase ‘how dare you’ are not to be taken seriously…

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    Anybody remember Bush the Lesser and The Pet Goat?

  • Lori

    That doesn’t count. He was actually reading to children. It was a perfectly appropriate choice for the age of the people he was speaking to.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    I concede your point. It was age appropriate. Nevertheless, I think that he was holding the book upside down entitles me to laugh at him. Just a little bit.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    Don’t worry, if he really loved Gattaca, he wouldn’t have had to go to the Wikipedia page about it. ;o)

  • Hexep

    This evening, somebody did me a really big favor.

    I was riding my e-bike home from visiting a friend. It was (and still is) raining. Suddenly, as I was driving down a lonely side-street, I felt my power start to fail. ‘Oh, no, oh, no,’ I said. Pretty soon, I was at a dead stop. I walked my bike into a little alley to take a look at it.

    A security guard came over, and we chatted. I told him that I thought something was wrong with my battery. He said, ‘well, let’s take a look at it.’ We brought my battery into his guard-booth, where he unscrewed the case and examined it thoroughly. We discovered that a wire was busted out of its… thing, that attaches it to the… other thing, I dunno. Anyway, using a screw-driver and a cigarette lighter, he spliced the wire back into position with his own fingers, suffering a shower of sparks with good humor and stick-to-itiveness. While I definitely need a real mechanic to look at it, and in the long run this may have made things worse, at least it got me home safely.

    I am really stunned. I have never known people to do this, especially not Chinese. All he would take in return was my business card, and assured me that if he needed something some day, he would get in touch with me.

    I don’t know how to process this. Wow.

    Anyway, also, mad respect for Kevin Sorbo. Just by looking at the trailer, I can tell that this flick’s a total dog, but I appreciate the mindset of an actor who keeps the conviction that, well, if I accept a director’s paycheque to appear in their movie, then they’re gonna get my best work, no matter what it is.

  • Sagrav

    Come on now. He capitalized all of the letters in the word ‘dare’, how CAN’T you take his/her sputtering response to Fred’s post seriously?

  • LoneWolf343

    That’s a hoax: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/photo_database/image/bush_reads_book_upside_down

    However, there are a handful of other Bushisms that are very real which you are free to use.

  • Jim Roberts

    I’m quite sure the summary comment was made tongue-in-cheek as they often are. If you review the other “7 things” posts and interpret those as being our host’s literal beliefs, then he supports misogyny, racism, credit reporting agencies and a variety of other demons.

  • Jim Roberts

    Lori, when you look at the blog as a whole, there’s a summary of each individual post. In some cases it’s an excerpt from the post itself, but for the “7 things” posts, Fred posts up a one-sentence summary of each post. These are often sarcastic, off-colour and otherwise risible. That’s what happened here, but as happens with jokes, this one didn’t work for a member of its audience.

  • tricksterson

    Pleeeease tell me that no one has ever tried to spin the David and Bathseba story that way. Please?

  • tricksterson

    Wouldn’t that be the much maligned Basement Cat?

    Am now picturing an entire Avengers movie based on cat memes. Grumpy Cat can be the Hulk.

  • Lori

    Ah. I don’t usually see those because I come in through Feedly and the way I have my page set up they don’t show.

  • Lori

    If Avengers done with meme cats doesn’t already exist somewhere on the internet it should.

  • LoneWolf343

    It isn’t. It’s kidnapping.

  • Jon Maki

    They could do an adaptation of Secret Wars and have Ceiling Cat be an updated take on The Beyonder.

    “I is from beeond. Kill ur emenees and u can has ur wishes!”

    Also, the Cartoon Network’s MAD did a pretty good superheroish take on memes, albeit not with the Avengers: Thunderlolcats.

  • Jim Roberts

    Re-reading the summary, I think I see Fred’s intent. He says, “Adopting children who aren’t really orphans isn’t really adoption.” In context with the article, it’s clear to me that what he means is, “Adopting children who you think are orphans, but are actually victims of kidnapping isn’t really adoption.”
    If you misread the syntax on the original, I guess I can see someone reading it as “Adopting children who aren’t, y’know, actual orphans but just abandoned kids isn’t really adoption,” but it does strain credulity.

  • Lori

    Yes, that makes sense. This sort of thing is why it’s important to read for context.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sounds like the battery terminal wires came loose. Anyway, good to hear your Good Samaritan experience :)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So I guess telling someone like Mitt Romney, “How dare you devalue QUILTBAG people” shouldn’t be taken seriously?

  • Lori

    Remember those buttheads who refused to tip their gay waiter because Jesus? Here’s a nice story to counter that.

    Single mom takes her kids to Pizza Hut for dinner. They went straight from school & day care and one of her kids has ADHD and his meds were wearing off so she was worried that they’d be a bit disruptive. She apologized in advance to the man at the next table and then did her best to keep them from having a meltdown before the meal was over. The guy left before they did and after he was gone the server told her that he had paid her bill and left her a gift card and a letter complimenting her on being a good parent. He ended with: “Keep up the good work, and when it starts to get tough, do not forget that others may be watching and will need the encouragement of seeing a good family being raised. God bless! -Jake”

    http://shine.yahoo.com/ellen-good-news/stranger-makes-single-moms-day-free-meal-234500227.html

    If believers want to advertise their belief while in restaurants this is the way to go about it.

  • GDwarf

    Hey! Pokemon has a ludicrously complex metagame strategy element, combined with obtuse, deliberately-hidden-from-players, under-the-hood systems that have major impacts on gameplay and which were only discovered after intensive reverse-engineering. It’s far too complex for Herman Cain to actually understand.

  • Mark Z.

    Nobody who says “QUILTBAG” should be taken seriously.

  • Sue White

    Yes, that was probably a poor choice of words.

  • Jim Roberts

    If they stop at saying that, well, yes. Getting offended is only step one.

  • Jim Roberts

    Man, I seriously need to talk to the maintenance people here at work. The dust in here seems to be getting right into my eyes.


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