7 things @ 9 o’clock (11.8)

1. We had 456 visitors to this blog from the Philippines during the past month. If you’re one of them, please stay safe. If you’re not one of them, please keep the people of the Philippines in your thoughts and/or prayers, give to disaster relief if you can, and — if you’re American — let your elected representatives know that you’re not one of those cramped, parochial jerks who thinks the richest country on Earth ought to cut all foreign aid and adopt a me-first attitude (because those officials don’t seem to see any political downside to pandering to such jerks).

The latest variation of this perennial survey confirmed, yet again, that Stupid and Selfish correlate very closely, which isn’t surprising:

new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans think 28 percent of the budget goes to foreign aid. That would make foreign aid pricier than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or all defense spending.

Of course, foreign aid isn’t that pricey. About 1 percent of the budget goes toward foreign aid.

2. The Senate passed ENDA — a bill that would protect LGBT workers from discrimination in the same way that workplace law protects workers against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and religion. The vote was 64-32, and I’d be celebrating this as a big win, except that Speaker of the House John Boehner probably won’t even allow a vote on the bill in that chamber. It might possibly have enough votes to pass there as well, but Boehner’s House is run by a minority of the majority — it doesn’t work by winning votes, but by preventing them from ever occurring.

If necessary, use words.

PRRI’s Robert Jones has the numbers on public support for ENDA: 73 percent of Americans support legal workplace protections for LGBT workers; 60 percent of Republicans support ENDA; 59 percent of white Protestants support ENDA. (Note that the 73-percent overall support points to a 27-percent overall opposition. There’s that number again.)

3. The lone Republican senator to speak against ENDA was Indiana’s Dan Coats. Coats, confusingly, argued that protecting workers from discrimination would mean discriminating against employers who wished to discriminate against those workers — the old intolerant to intolerance canard of the Stupid Brigade. Coats also said ENDA would “require employers to hire individuals who contradict their very most deeply held religious beliefs.”

Dan Coats is a white evangelical. Dan Coats just rose in the U.S. Senate and said that being anti-gay is, for white evangelicals, the “very most deeply held religious belief.” Forget the Bible. Forget the creeds. Forget loving God and your neighbor. Screw that Jesus guy. The “very most deeply held” belief, according to Dan Coats, is being anti-gay.

American evangelicalism is white political tribalism. Nothing more. Dan Coats just said so, and he wasn’t lying.

4. Kimberly Knight points us to J. Barrett Lee’s angrily funny “Biblical Guide to Debunking the Heterosexual Agenda.” Familiar territory if you followed the Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day series here, but still nicely done.

5. Sarah Posner reports that former President George W. Bush is helping to raise funds for Tsion Ben-Judah the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that aims to convert Jews to Christianity in order to “restore” Israel and bring about the Second Coming of Jesus and the end of the world (and thus the slaughter and eternal torment of any Jews who fail to convert).

6. Mark Silk predicts the Supreme Court will punt on Town of Greece v. Galloway — a case challenging official prayers at town council meetings. Silk thinks the court will escape ruling on the substance of this establishment of religion by finding that the plaintiffs don’t have legal standing to bring their complaint:

The available jurisprudential standards for upholding town council prayers aren’t very good. The three-pronged Lemon test requires the government act to have secular purpose, to neither advance nor inhibit religion as its primary effect, and to not involve an excessive government entanglement with religion. Yesterday’s oral argument showed problems with all three prongs.

As for Sandra Day O’Connor’s endorsement standard, it’s hard to argue that beginning town council meetings with prayer doesn’t constitute an endorsement of religion. That throws things into the realm of longstanding historical practice: Since legislative bodies have had chaplains saying prayers since the beginning of the Republic, these [are not] considered in violation of the Establishment Clause. The oral argument showed the justices not very enthusiastic about this, especially since the Greece town council only began inviting prayers in 1999.

The Obama administration, by the way, has sided with the Town of Greece in support of its official prayers. That’s wrong. And dumb.

7. I need your help. The new season of American Horror Story uses a recurring bit of music that I recognize, remember and seem to think I even own somewhere in the basement of my iTunes account — a reprise of some album track from some album I can’t quite recall. But I can’t place it.

My best Google-fu, so far, only turns up the repeated suggestion that this is an original piece composed by James S. Levine for the show. I’m 99.9-percent certain it’s not, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out where this is from:

YouTube Preview Image


  • aunursa

    #1: Early this morning I corresponded (via Facebook IM) with my sister-in-law’s cousin, who lives in Manila. She reported:

    We are not badly hit but the visayas region is horrible :’( …
    Accdg to the news here the storm will hit metro manila tomorrow morning. Rain and wind is starting to get strong now…

  • Jim Roberts

    I kind of really like Pope Francis in several important ways. I’m more than a little surprised by this, which is kind of a shame.
    And I’m glad for the Dan Coats link. The next time someone tries to tell me that being anti-gay isn’t tribal, I have ammo.

  • aunursa

    #5: As a Jew who is very familiar with issues involving Judeo-Christian theological differences, I nevertheless don’t criticize Christians who work with “Messianic Jews.” Not because I don’t care, but because it won’t make any difference. Those Christians who associate with “Messianic Jews” are not going to disassociate because Jews are complaining. It’s questionable whether they would disassociate even if other Christians are criticizing them.

    Instead I simply stand with Christian groups that don’t promote the “Messianic” agenda. And I support Jewish counter-missionary groups like Jews for Judaism and Outreach Judaism.

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

    I have to say that “Outreach Judaism” site looks quite ‘busy’. Also the books idea? Lovely in theory, but who wants to tilt their head over to read the titles on the ‘spines’? (-_-)

    Excellent points in there about the Trinity concept, by the way.

  • aunursa

    Rabbi Tovia Singer has branched out. Originally Outreach Judaism was exclusively about answering Christian missionaries. You saw the library of responses to Christian theological assertions. Jews for Judaism is more focused on counter-missionary education.

  • aunursa

    Jerry Jenkins’ mind was on an editor he had never hired. With his fully loaded 747 on autopilot above the Midwest Emerald City en route to a 6 p.m. landing at O’Hare, Jerry had pushed from his mind thoughts of proofreading his own magnum opus.

  • fraser

    As a former Floridian, my thoughts and prayers go out to her (and others) for whatever they’re worth. Storms are scary.

  • chgo_liz

    #4 was pitch perfect!

  • Kinny

    This maybe? It’s the closest match I could find: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wRNX94fU94

  • JessicaR

    Last night’s Scandal had an illustration of No. 3. A Tea Party preacher was ranting about President Grant’s immorality. Grant’s VP, who wants to primary him, took this as her cue to arrange a clandestine meeting to get the preacher’s support for her run. At the end of the episode the preacher gets a call from Grant’s openly gay Chief of Staff, it turns out he was working for them by testing out her loyalties. He and Cyrus, the CoS, share a laugh as they both know the preacher only cares about his “moral indignation” so much as it keeps his collection plates full. And this wasn’t even one of the main threads, the show just tossed it off as aside that it’s that’s self evident the lack of depth of conviction these hucksters have.

  • LL

    RE: Coats also said ENDA would “require employers to hire individuals who contradict their very most deeply held religious beliefs.”

    The party of freedom and small government, everybody.

    I guess in his perfect world, every job interview would include a detailed questionnaire (and a full-time employee to verify the information) about every facet of your life (divorces, number of sexual partners, etc.), plus a lie detector test and of course, a religious purity test.

    All of this guaranteed as a right by the government, because the government … uh, wait … um … sorry, let me get back to you when I’ve figured out how the f*** this is supposed to work …

  • rrhersh

    “Grant’s VP, who wants to primary him…”
    Ah, so that is why Schuyler Colfax was replaced by Henry Wilson. I had been wondering about that.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I applaud Coats for demonstrating the need for ENDA better than the 64 yes votes ever could have.

  • lampwick

    From the article @5: “I’m a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world,” says Glenn Beck.

    No, actually, Jews are the Jews of the Christian world.

  • Veylon

    The Mormons could be the Druze of the Islamic world.

  • aunursa

    Mormon is to Christian as Christian is to Jew.
    Or to put it in the form of Jewish humor…

    Q: Why did God create Mormons?
    A: To give Christians a taste of their own medicine.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    1. Financial help towards the Philippines would I think, be fairly uncontroversial. They’re a military ally, after all, strongly Catholic with somewhat authoritarian politics, all in all the sort of foreigners that conservatives tend to like or at least grudgingly accept as okay.

    In all seriousness though, I saw what a beast this storm was on satellite yesterday and I felt my throat drop to my gut from the sense of dread. That helplessness of knowing that people are going to die soon, probably a great many of them. It’s God damned awful.

  • abishag

    No, Mormons really do believe they’re just like the Jews. It’s why they call all non-Mormons, including actual Jews, “Gentiles”. They believe that a group of OT Israelites traveled across the ocean and landed in America, and that the Native Americans that Europeans ran into centuries later were descendants of these Jews, who were turned reddish-brown for their iniquity.

  • abishag

    … and that the new (mostly) “white and delightsome” Mormons that Joseph Smith ushered into being are the spiritual descendants of the “good” Jews who were wiped out in the Americas, leaving only the darker First Nations Jews behind.

  • Jamoche

    Speaking of Chick-fil-a – there’s one in my home town now, so I can actively boycott it: drive right past it and get my southern chicken fix at McD’s. I mentioned that elsewhere and got a reply that they’ve changed. The [citation needed] there went unanswered, anyone here know anything about it?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    An article went up a little while back about how Dan Cathy is no longer donating to anti-gay groups and recently sat down to have an earnest discussion with a gay activist about becoming more inclusive and understanding.

    All this flies in the face of reality, because he’s still donating to anti-gay groups and regularly making hateful comments about homosexuality being the ruin of the nation.

  • Jamoche

    I kind of suspect that’s what the other poster meant; it was the only thing I could find – and yeah, I’m with the people who don’t find it convincing.

  • tricksterson

    Hasn’t the Mormon Church officially disavowed the Lamanite theory (that’s the technical term for that belief)? Of course even if they have that doesn’t mean that a lot of them don’t still believe it when they think no one is watching.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    From what I gather: In 1840, Smith Jr. an abolitionist, claimed he had more properly translated the book and the passages referencing skin color became references to purity instead, eliminating the presumption that dark skin was linked to evil nature. His translations weren’t formally adopted until 1981.

  • Lorehead

    Your second paragraph is by far the more important, but I can’t think of anything to say that you haven’t already said.

    So I’ll talk about the first. Conservatives don’t want to cut foreign aid for “anti-terrorism,” or as part of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to Israel, or to bribe Egypt and Jordan into keeping their peace treaties with Israel. And as you point out, they don’t really object to disaster relief, either. That is to say, they don’t really want to cut any significant amount of foreign aid. When the House Republicans in 2011 looked for some part of the State Department budget they really did want to cut, they picked diplomatic security. Whoops.

    So why do they claim they want to cut foreign aid and that this will solve our problems? I’m reluctant to try to analyze my political opponents’ motives. But here’s my best guess.

    Conservatives are committed to the idea that the deficit is an immediate national crisis that demands absolutely no sacrifice from them. In theory, they want to balance the budget by cutting spending. In practice, they want to spend more on everything. They’re also basically-decent people who would feel guilty if their choices harmed others, and like everyone else, they don’t like to acknowledge that the policies they support have a downside.

    In order to square that circle, they have to believe that the government spends huge amounts of money on some program that has no value, and which therefore can be cut without causing any problems. (It’s not just that poor people are undeserving; it’s important to also believe that they could just go out and get jobs if they wanted and the only reason they don’t is unemployment benefits, that their children won’t really starve if the government stops feeding them, and that it wasn’t really the shutdown that closed the WWII memorial. Believing that there is no conflict between your own self-interest and the greater good eliminates all cognitive dissonance.) In reality, it’s mostly health care and defense. This forces them to avoid information about the Federal budget; tidbits selected to reinforce their world-view are safe.

    And maybe it’s a coincidence, but it’s telling that all of their fantasies about wasteful spending invoke their resentment of brown people.

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

    They’re also wedded to the idea that government is anywhere and everywhere inefficient by definition, so they always believe there “is more fat left to cut” without, they claim, unduly harming the workings of government.

    Even if it’s a self-serving line of argument none of them really believe anymore, it’s been trotted out so many times since the 1980s it’s become an almost unslayable white elephant the party needs to keep paying homage to.

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

    Wonder why it took them so long to oopsieshit that one, considering that the Curse of Ham thing was a pretty egregious part of their theology for a long time. (-_-)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    It is a COMPLETE COINCIDENCE that God chose to gift their leadership with the new revelation that Smith Jr.’s interpretation was more accurate until there was a major push for missionary work in South American countries where hardly anyone could prove they passed any kind of “one drop”-type test.

  • MaryKaye

    I got to boycott a Chick-fil-A for the first time when I was in DC recently. I was laughing at myself for even regarding this as activism–I don’t eat fried chicken anyway!–but it was still a moment of quiet satisfaction.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    “Funny… they don’t look Druish…”

    (With apologies to Mel Brooks.)

  • BaronSabato

    You know you were raised as a fundamentalist End Times RTC (and despite being a good liberal gay UCCer today you still haven’t managed to shake off the influence of your childhood Baptist church) when you see all these stories about Pope Francis acting a lot like Jesus and the first thing you think is, “Shit, I was TOLD the Antichrist would be like this!”

  • Cat

    7 sounds a bit like someone remixed the Rosemary’s Baby theme with Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” (the theme from House, but the full version, with vocals). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yftOy8kz7aE

  • Jenny Islander

    Public broadcasting was the goat in the crosshairs when I worked at a public radio station. We were renting space in a local government building, so we got everybody who was already mad about their tax dollars/utility bills/utility easements/zoning requirements coming in to rant at us about how much of their lifeblood we were sucking away. Other staff members (older and more confident than I) started handing these people quarters and explaining that government funding for public broadcasting cost them $0.25, give or take a fraction of a cent, every year, so if they were that upset about it they could have their money back.

    Splutter, humph, glare, stomp out. Except for the few who looked embarrassed and actually made donations on the spot!

  • Jenny Islander

    I was standing behind a cannery worker with a giant sticker reading “Bagang Visayan” (sp.?) on his safety helmet at the credit union this afternoon. There was just a fundraiser dinner for people affected by the quake and I am thinking there will be another one soon for the storm.

  • Hexep

    Except for proviso: Filipinos have dark skin.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • Jenny Islander

    The thing that makes me so angry about this is that “bootstraps” are spelled M-O-N-E-Y. The working class paycheck has been failing to keep pace with inflation since the 1970s, and the avenues people used to use to get ahead–savings accounts, mom & pop businesses, union jobs–have been closing as well. But no, they’re just lazy, or they could all pull $20,000 out of their butts.

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

    Well, by ‘busy’ I just mean densely packed with links and whatnot. The material itself is a really nice analysis of aspects of Christian doctrine which are extrabiblical in the sense that even looking to the New Testament does not offer support for them (such as the Trinity, which never made any sense to me anyway. Even when God is like a shamrock.)

  • Zeborah

    The best music search engine that no-one’s ever heard of is Midomi. Play or hum about 10 seconds of music and it attempts to find a match. Unfortunately it’s not working with this one.