7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.10)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.10) September 10, 2013

1. William Lindsey is not pleased with Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s misleading report for Religion News Service. The RNS headline for Bailey’s piece is double-wrong, “Gay Rights vs. Christian Rights.” That headline could only be true in a world in which: A) No LGBT people are Christians and no Christians are LGBT; and B) all Christians are unanimously and universally opposed to gay rights. False and false.

It’s not easy to get two lies into a single headline while simultaneously slandering LGBT Christians and misrepresenting the church, but RNS pulled it off.

Bonus boneheadedness: Bailey’s RNS article the previous day was this: “NALT alliance says Not All (Christians are) Like That on homosexuality.” So, at best, RNS’ headline writer on Friday didn’t read Bailey’s piece on Thursday. Either that or the Friday headline writer was intent on refuting not just Thursday’s headline, but the witness of every Christian in Thursday’s report.

2. They’re using goats to control poison ivy, kudzu and other weeds at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. And O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is using goats and llamas to keep the grass cut. That seems strange until you think about it, after which it starts to seem strange that we’re not doing this everywhere.

I’m Angel, and I approve of this message.

3. The Pieter Zant Christian schools in the Netherlands printed up 3,000 special diaries for students to use. Then they destroyed all 3,000 of them because one picture included showed a student wearing a T-shirt with a peace sign on it. According to the Pieter Zant Christian schools, the peace sign is a Satanic symbol. “School board chairman Johan van Puten” says he discovered this by doing research on Google.

Dutch News notes that, “The peace sign was actually designed for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958 by an English designer named Gerald Holtom.”

Replacing the diaries cost the schools about 15,000 euros, but van Puten says that cost was “the lesser of two evils.” Devout believers like van Puten think 15,000 euros is a small price to pay for avoiding a symbol they can pretend is associated with imaginary Satanists.

4. I’m sure that, like me, you are shocked — shocked! — to learn that upstanding citizen George Zimmerman is yet again in potential legal trouble for violent behavior with a gun.

5. I’ve got a maple syrup connection — a guy who can get me the good stuff from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. (He’s also my sister’s father-in-law, my brother-in-law’s dad.) I try not to get embroiled in the hurly-burly politics of Caledonia County, but that syrup is so good that in this case I’m making an exception and backing a local candidate up there. Her name is “Angel,” and she’s a faithful farm cat on that same farm that’s my source for the Grade A sweet stuff. Angel is a finalist for the Kingdom Animal Shelter’s 2014 cat calendar contest, with online voting continuing throughout September.

I can’t say I know much about the other 43 candidates — many of whom seem adorable enough — but I can vouch for Angel. It would probably be unethical somehow for me to use this blog as a platform to encourage you to freep the vote in favor of Angel — Photo No. 10 on this page, the page for casting votes — so I’ll refrain from doing that. I won’t tell you to click that link and vote for Angel, Photo No. 10. It’s not my place to tell others how to cast their votes. So I’ll just let you know that I’ve cast mine for Angel (Photo No. 10, here) and I’ll leave it at that.

6. Kendra Weddle Irons on “the problem with Eve”:

Judging from the responses Rachel received to her blog post where she addresses the real theological problem embedded in much of evangelical Christianity, her encouragement of critical thinking is not met kindly by many. On the other hand, if a young woman — especially a prominent one like Sadie Robertson — decides to focus on her attire and encourage other young women to do the same all in the name of purity, masses will be lined up to offer her praise. And why not? In this case as so often before, women are circumscribed to a particular category: the source of evil. And, as long as they embrace this assumption, they will be celebrated and held up as a paragon of virtue, helping all those other women learn their place.

7. New video from Arcade Fire (via). Looks like winning that Grammy has given them all big heads:



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  • Dragoness Eclectic

    Still keeping up with the Two Minutes Hate for George Zimmerman?

    You might want to double-check the follow-up to that story. Unless you’re the kind of guy who posts the inflammatory first reports and ignores the later retractions. I’m still peeved at the assholes who still spread those racist, false “Katrina riot & rape” stories around, for example.

  • VJBinCT

    I used to live right by a farmer maple syrup maker in CT (sadly now gone to that sweet sugar maker in the sky) and the smell of maple sap and woodsmoke was wonderful every late winter/early spring. I take exception to the idea of grade A syrup being the best, though. It simply is the clearest, most neutral (meaning least maple-y tasting) grade. We always go for the grade B amber. It is like the extra virgin olive oil of maple syrups (though in reverse order of production).

  • Jim Roberts

    I’m not seeing where he said anything inaccurate, at the time he said it. He was, at one point, in potential trouble for violent behaviour with a gun. The accusation does appear to be false, but there’s nothing inaccurate in that statement. Or surprising.

  • Jim Roberts

    I prefer grade A dark amber, but it’s partly the nature of the trees in your area – around here, grade B has a kind of barky flavour that’s unpleasant on pancakes and waffles. I still keep some around as it’s ideal for baking.

  • Lori

    The lead in to that story is totally full of shit. George Zimmerman has not been “declared a thought criminal”. He is not a martyr. He is not some poor beleaguered soul being picked on by the meanies who hate ‘Merica. It’s also a huge stretch to try to claim that he’s the victim of racial prejudice. Nice touch trotting out your own anti-racist bona fides to try to back that up. [golf clap]

    The rest of the story is correct. Zimmerman & his wife are now in the midst of what appears to be shaping up into a nasty divorce and the police and the public got drawn into it. Zimmerman and his soon-to-be-ex are both pieces of work and going forward people need to keep that in mind.

  • Carstonio


  • Looking at the transcript of his conversation with the 911 dispatcher, this isn’t actually correct. The operator was asking for information which he was providing. When she asked if he was following Martin, he said ‘yes’ and she told him the he didn’t have to do that. He said ‘ok’ and it seems that he stopped following at that point and headed back toward his car. He did not “defy” an “order” not to follow Martin.

  • Carstonio

    Thanks for the correction. I took out my original post.

  • aunursa

    Nonsense. We should automatically jump to conclusions and assume guilt rather than wait until all the facts come out.

  • Carstonio

    We’ve long avoided the national syrup brands, which use maple only for flavoring. We buy locally made syrup whenever we travel. Some friends who regularly travel to Vermont bring back some from Brattleboro for us.

  • Jake Wildstrom

    Grade A? If you’re getting the good stuff straight from the tree, dark and rich grade B is the way to go. (We get a lot of locally sourced syrup here from southern Indiana, which I wouldn’t think would be a center for maple production, but what do I know? They don’t even standardize the grade, but a bit of informal colorimetry suggests it’s Grade B. Also, delicious.)

  • Monala

    it seems that he stopped following at that point and headed back toward his car. He did not “defy” an “order” not to follow Martin.

    This part is not so clear. 1) GZ’s testimony about what he did next has contradictions. Did he go looking for an address, or head back to his car? He said different things at different times.

    2) After he said “OK,” another 3-4 minutes passed before the altercation. What was GZ doing during that time? Because he wasn’t anywhere near his vehicle when the altercation began.

  • From the tax article:

    LAZEAR: As an economic bellweather, stock market > GDP. “On
    Wednesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its estimates of
    U.S. gross domestic product for the second quarter of the year. The BEA
    bureau cautions that its numbers are estimates and are subject to
    significant revision. The reality is that the numbers BEA reports, which
    will be, as they always are, bandied about in the nation’s news media,
    are not very good measures of what went on in the economy or is going on
    today, according to an analysis I’ve performed on U.S. economic
    performance from 1996 to 2012. They are even worse for forecasting the
    future. Instead, the stock market is a better leading economic
    indicator.” Edward P. Lazear in The Wall Street Journal.

    The proof in the pudding of why things like the SGS Alternate Measure of GDP growth are probably better at telling us what’s really going on.

  • fredgiblet

    Damn straight, especially if the case in question touches on any important social issues, after all there’s no reason for the news to lie to us, we can trust their initial report like it was the word of God itself.

  • flat

    look those people at pieter zandt those are the hardcore refo’s.
    I mean I am a dutch christian reformed but I grew up at the more secularised province Noord-Holland.
    The thing i want to say is those guys are most conservative christians from the local bible-belt.

  • Lectorel

    The Fuck.
    You’re seriously suggesting the man who got away with murdering a teenage boy for the crime of existing while black is a victim of some sort of undeserved ‘Two-minute hate’.

    Get a clue. People hate the fuck because he murdered a teenage boy and got away with it. It’s easily believable that a man who will kill unprovoked will also commit other acts of violence. More believable than the idea that somehow, that act of violence was a complete aberration. Excuse us for believing George Zimmerman is the person he revealed himself to be – a man willing to commit violence up to and including murder.

  • Lori

    Ignoring the stupid to focus on one of the nice things—the Getty Museum in LA also uses goats to clear brush. The museum is on a fairly steep hill. Great view, hard to mow. Uncleared brush is a significant fire hazard in that area and obviously that’s a huge problem for a building filled with art, so goats. They have no problem with the hills and will eat pretty much anything. Plus they’re cute, so they draw visitors when they’re there.

  • #2 caused an earworm:

    Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe?

  • I’ve been there, but didn’t see the goats. Darn.

  • Abby Normal

    Exactly. Not only did he murder an unarmed kid, but has stated that he has no regrets and would do it again if in the same circumstances(anybody want to refute it? Please do.)

    Now I don’t know about you all, but if I overreacted with a gun and wound up killing an unarmed person, even if I thought I was threatened at the time, I would regret it. I would probably have nightmares and beat myself up about it every damn day.

    But this fuckwad makes a dumb mistake that results in a death and he says in interviews that he has NO regrets? I’m sorry, but that’s fucking sick. And it’s even sicker that the gun nuts and the right wing loons are making this guy out to be a fucking hero.

  • Lori

    They’re not there all the time. They’re brought in for a week or two at a time, once or twice a year. I got to see them once because I saw on the news that they had arrived and a friend & I specifically went out to see them. Adorable.

  • Vermic

    I heard Angel the cat is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Why are we not asking more questions about this candidate?

  • I believe the answer of “mew, *hiss*” is satisfactory. :P

  • Re: #2. I have wanted a goat to keep my lawn trimmed for longer than I have had a lawn. Unfortunately, the city doesn’t regard goats as pets, and my lot is too small to keep livestock.

  • P J Evans

    They’ve had goats brought in to clear weeds on Bunker Hill, in downtown LA, at least twice. It’s steep along the Hill Street side, and the goats can handle it better than people.

  • P J Evans

    #3 – I understand it’s two semaphore signs superimposed: N and D.

  • Lori

    I didn’t know that. I wonder if they started doing that after I moved away. In any case, I’m sorry to have missed it. Goats on Bunker Hill would be excellent.

  • Matt

    I just came to recommend “Grade B” maple syrup, but I can see others beat me to the punch.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Grade B maple syrup is one of the best examples of a superior product that everyone passes over due to bad marketing. Trying out grade B maple syrup changed my life. Or at least, the part of it I live before noon on weekends.

  • Albanaeon

    Wow. Zant is a classic case of looking for a reason to be offended.

    First, he probably wouldn’t have searched if he wasn’t already looking for something to be wrong with it. If his search was like mine, he skipped Wikipaedia and history1900s at About (and a place to get the symbols) which have references and went right for a site called jesus-is-savior (sounds legit!). He is presented with a mishmash of mythologies (counted six different cultures, and they were all bad, conveniently), conspiracy theories (the 50’s designer was told to do it by a Commie/satanist!), and Star Trek (beware the Vulcan hand salute! It means you want to have sex with Satan!), and not a single reference, but immediately confirms everything he wanted to be true about it. This allows him to take a bold stand and sacrifice in the face of his omnipresent enemies (bet that felt good) and waste time and money on a fictional threat.

    It’d be funny, but this crap is way too present and active in our culture for it to be.

  • arcseconds

    Great. Now I’m having Twin Peaks flashbacks.

  • Matri

    Release the birth certificate!

  • Jenny Islander

    Thought criminal? A young man is dead.

  • There’s a farm near my house that will rent you a couple of goats to mow your lawn. They do require that you’ve got enough land to make it worth the goats’ travel time, but I imagine it’d be possible in theory to get the neighbors in on it.

  • Lori

    You expected better from a link provided by Dragoness Eclectic?

  • There was a bit of propaganda back in the 70s claiming it was a “bent cross”, meant to symbolize the destruction of religion by communists. (I’d heard before that it was a stylized representation of the letters N and D, but semaphore makes a lot more sense, given that the symbol actually is what you’d get if you superimposed those signs. It’s also commonly described as being meant to represent a dove’s foot).

  • Cathy W

    Apparently rental goat services are a thing. :)

  • “And in recent news, Angel the cat was revealed to be a stowaway from Kenya. When pressed on the matter, he proceeded to deposit a dead rat at the questioner’s feet, then meowed.

    “We, of course, are not fooled by his sudden benevolent acts!”

  • Ahab

    Regarding the peace sign article, what is wrong with these people? Did they even bother to research the
    origins of the peace sign, which is derived from the semaphore symbols
    for “ND” (nuclear disarmament)? Thirty seconds on Google could have told
    them that.

  • There are people who claim that LOL stands for “Lucifer, our Lord”; ROFL stands for “Rise, our Father Lucifer”, YOLO stands for “Youths Obeying Lucifer’s Orders”…

    Research isn’t their priority. These people scream tribal boundaries.

  • stardreamer42

    What’s really sad is the number of encounters like the one between George Zimmerman and his soon-to-be-ex that occur every day, but are not considered newsworthy because one of the participants hasn’t previously killed someone and walked away scot-free.

    Unfortunately, some of those encounters do end up being newsworthy because somebody (usually the woman) is killed. This is what happens when people worship guns.

  • stardreamer42

    Depending on what part of the country you were in, sometimes it was a lot of propaganda and the claim was that it was a “broken cross” representing the triumph of Satan, who was apparently on the side of the Vietnam-war protesters. Several people tried to hand me that line of crap when I was 16, but I didn’t buy it for a second.

  • Yeah, but it wouldn’t be the answer they want, so clearly those answers were PART OF THE CONSPIRACY

  • Nick Gotts

    I was on a CND stall in Scotland a few days ago, and got the same nonsense about the peace symbol being Satanic (see, it’s a cross with broken arms) from a passer-by – she said her “pastor” had given her this vital information. “Pastor” is quite an unusual term in the UK, “minister” would be usual for non-Episcopalian Protestants, so I guess she belonged to some fundamentalist sect. Here is Holtom’s own explanation, with a bit of context:

    Gerald Holtom, a conscientious objector who had worked on a farm in Norfolk during the Second World War, explained that the symbol incorporated the semaphore letters N(uclear) and D(isarmament).

    He later wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater, more personal depth:

    I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an
    individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and
    downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I
    formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.

    Eric Austin added his own interpretation of the design: the gesture of despair had long been associated with the death of Man and the circle with the unborn child.

    Gerald Holtom had originally considered using the Christian cross
    symbol within a circle as the motif for the march but various priests he
    had approached with the suggestion were not happy at the idea of using
    the cross on a protest march. Later, ironically, Christian CND were to
    use the symbol with the central stroke extended upwards to form the
    upright of a cross.

    Of course, in fairness, I should point out that if you substitute “c” for “t” in Holtom, you get an anagram of Moloch!