Congress cuts LIHEAP — because giving billions to the rich is no fun unless you also get to screw the poor

Susie Madrak notes that the shutdown deal in Congress cuts winter heating aid for low-income families. I used to be confused as to why LIHEAP was always among the first programs on the chopping block when states or the federal government wanted to cut the budget. LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, helps low-income [Read More...]

Confused Rhode Island Christianists sing secular song to defend Pagan symbol

I have long argued that perpetual offendedness leads to stupidity. This stupidity is not innate. It is willful, voluntary and chosen. But it’s also extreme. Those who have become addicted to indignation wind up divorced from reality, interacting with it only sporadically when in search of some new pretext onto which they can project the [Read More...]

The American evangelical persecution complex (continued — and continued and continued …)

So the Liar Tony Perkins came out recently with the claim that President Barack Obama has “created an atmosphere that is hostile toward Christianity” and that Obama, personally, “has a disdain for Christianity.” Then I saw this headline on Christianity Today’s blog: “Tony Perkins: Obama Is Hostile, Disdainful of Christianity” and thought, “wow, that was [Read More...]

The search for new ways to take our money

Banks used to take more than $36 billion a year from their customers. They just took it. They did this by reaching into those customers’ accounts and removing the money $30 at a time. This was called “overdraft protection,” and the banks pretended it was a service for those customers. That practice has been reined [Read More...]

Looking beyond their needs to determine fault

It’s been several days and I’m still a bit gobsmacked by the perverse audacity of Herman Cain’s oddly lovely rendition of “He Looked Beyond My Faults.” Cain is the frontrunner in a Republican presidential primary characterized above all by the opposite impulse from what that song is about. Amazing grace shall always be my song [Read More...]

'They don't really believe it'

My house is on fire. Oh my God! Are you OK? I’m good, you know. How are you doing? No, I mean, your house! Where are you? Just watching the game, taking a little break. Where? Are you … Where else? Here on the sofa. Duh. But the fire … Yeah, it’s horrible. The worst [Read More...]

No offense

The problem with taking offense is that it’s impotent and indulgent. It may feel good, but it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t matter. Offendedness is a pale, watery substitute for anger. Anger, that beautiful daughter of hope, demands action. Anger changes things. It seeks to correct the injustice that offendedness merely wants to savor. Anger [Read More...]

Pity for the pitiless

To be pitiless, surely, is bad. We don’t speak of someone as “pitiless” if we’re trying to express admiration for them. “Pitilessness” is never something we extol as a virtue. The only time being “pitiless” is ever described as a positive trait is in the context of sports, where we sometimes use words for otherwise [Read More...]