7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.16)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.16) September 16, 2013

1. The news from Colorado is horrifying and the numbers are grim: As many as six dead in the flooding, nearly 500 still unaccounted for, 1,000 still waiting to be rescued, 1,502 residential structures destroyed, more than 17,000 homes damaged. Here’s an update page from the Colorado Red Cross, which includes info on how to help.

2. At Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub — a blog named after a hoax — Ed Darrell takes on a piece of crazy-uncle Facebook spam about the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a good overview — along with pictures of American schoolchildren doing the “Bellamy salute,” which was abandoned in 1942 because it ceased to be thought of as the “Bellamy salute” for the same reason that no one ever wears a “Charlie Chaplin mustache” anymore. I was happy to learn that five states — Iowa, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming — have never creepily required their children to swear a loyalty oath before classes start each day.

A compulsory loyalty oath is not an expression of patriotism any more than compulsory worship is an expression of love for God. I’m with Aaron Smuts on this: “No being worthy of worship could exercise the power to make others worship it, since the act of making another worship would necessarily make one unworthy of worship.”

3. “And there is, conversely, something liberating in standing up, speaking out, saying the truth. To do so is to offer others courage, to give others voice.” The NALT Christians Project now has more than 80 testimonies posted. But the Internet is big enough to hold more if you’d like to add your voice to the chorus.

4. John Nienstedt, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul, goes full church lady. It was either invoke Satan or attempt to make an argument, and given the lack of arguments for his position, this was probably the slightly less embarrasingly silly option for him.

5.There’s no politician quite like her. She’s never without her nun’s headdress, and says that everything she does is born of deep Christian faith and devotion. Yet, she has been strongly critical of the church and the men who run it.”

6. Is this a blessing or a curse? Either way, it’s devastating:

I expect ol’ Mindy will either stay this stupid, which is its own penalty, or she’ll get smarter and more aware, and will consequently spend the rest of her life being hideously embarrassed by this book. I’m hoping for the latter.

That’s Teresa Nielsen Hayden on model-turned-culture-thief Mindy Budgor, author of Warrior Princess (don’t ask). But it applies just as well to the “Teen Exorcists” or to the poor kids being taught to produce anti-gay religious videos or to any number of “young, restless and Reformed” bloggers. It’s sad when the best we can hope for someone is that they will eventually come to be “hideously embarrassed” by the things they’re saying now, but that really is their best hope at this point — and the greatest blessing we can wish for them.

7. If you want to see what the “office” looks like at my part time job, check out this video. Best use of the lumber aisle I’ve ever seen. (That’s the Salt Lake City store, but they all look alike. And, yes, that happened in Salt Lake City — welcome to the future.) The problem with elaborate marriage proposals like this one, though, is that it sets the bar really high for the wedding reception — they’re going to have to hire Neil Patrick Harris to top that.

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  • Michael Pullmann

    I would totally hire NPH for my wedding reception. That would be the best thing ever.
    Meanwhile: I grew up in Oklahoma. We said the pledge every day at my school, but I guess that was either a local ordinance or just the principal’s preference.

  • Jim Roberts

    I went to a private Christian school where we were taught that the Earth was created in 7 days, that Billy Graham was excessively friendly with the wrong kinds of people and that abortion, homosexuality and fantasy roleplaying were the heart of evil, and we still never took the pledge.

    I grew up in Canada.

  • #6, I think the closer analog would be Warnke-style “I was a teenage warlock” stuff, where some evangelical kid pages through a copy of the Bhagavad Gita or the Book of Mormon and years later its “I dabbled in many religions, but I came home.” I’ve often suspected that a lot of supposed Satanist/”pagan” literature is made as a cheap source of rebellion for teens (much like some of the commenters at that link wonder if Budgor wasn’t sold a bill of goods by the Maasai). It’s a easy, safe route to a world that’s risky or exotic – you get all the excitement without having to actually do anything, and for evangelicals you also get an argument you can use twenty years down the road.

  • Launcifer

    Just thought I’d pop a quick message to say that I hope any Slackti-readers – and their loved ones – who might hail from the D.C area are safe and sound on this rather grim and depressing day.

  • Launcifer

    Is it really that exciting though? I mean, maybe if you’ve never left the confines of your dining room or something then, yeah, I can see how these kinds of alleged testimonies might be exciting, but surely something along the lines of, “I was kidnapped by a cabal of sapient Howler Monkeys that used sticky toffee pudding to indoctrinate me. I think they planned to kill Colgate’s Deputy Vice-President in charge of South American Sales using a banana in the water fountain, but then Jesus appeared to me in the bole of a banyan tree and, lo!, my life was saved” would cut more ice.

    Okay, maybe I’m being a little facetious here, but I genuinely don’t understand the appeal of a real-life (heh) narrative that follows exactly the same well-trodden path as all the others. I get the how, but the why still leaves me mildly confused. I would have thought that the vicarious thrill would wear off pretty quickly, leaving the audience needing something a little more… outré? It’s the sheer sameness that strikes me as confusing, although I can well believe that someone unscrupulous could use that as “proof” of their inherent truth.

  • Oh dear. :(

    My fervent wishes nobody from here was harmed.

  • The_L1985

    Some of it, certainly. Silver RavenWolf’s Teen Witch always struck me as that sort of thing. And don’t get me started on some of the stuff in To Ride a Silver Broomstick.

  • LL

    RE Oklahoma and the pledge: state law may not require it, but I remember doing the pledge thing as a kid. I think it persisted into 3rd grade or so (this was the 1970s).

  • themunck

    4. At first I though it was about a trans-gendered bishop getting his op. I blame the picture….

  • It would become uncomfortable if it were too outré. In general, Americans are fixated on what one might call “comfortable exoticism” – strange and bizarre things that we think we understand from television and books. No one wants to be too shocked, after all. Evangelical kids are no different – there’s a reason why the “exotic” religion they dabble in is always something like Buddhism or Wicca, where everyone is familiar with the stereotypes. It’s why rebellion against one’s extremely religious parents always seems to involve the same black clothes, Tarot cards, fake skulls and “spellbooks” that are available through Amazon. It’s strange…but it’s also familiar.

  • Michael Pullmann

    No one should ever trust information relayed by someone calling themselves Silver RavenWolf.

  • Fusina

    Priest at my church called me about it–husband’s job site (not the Naval Yard) is on lockdown, but from what he* heard it was a disgruntled employee situation.

    Edited to say, *From what my husband heard. After I talked to the priest, I called him.

    Also, FUCK the fucking NRA.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    I live in Sterling, Colorado, up in the northeast corner of the state. The South Platte River has overflowed here, but so far there’s been no major damage. The floodwaters haven’t reached into the city proper, but the eastern outskirts and the industrial areas (which are next to the river) are now flooded. We are under water restrictions (no showering or bathing, no toilet flushing, no dishwashing, etc.), but so far we’ve been very lucky. The local museum is flooded, unfortunately. The nearby small towns of Merino and Atwood have been evacuated. Please keep this state in your prayers. More rain is predicted.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Oh man, that wedding proposal. So beautiful. I’m in tears.

  • ReverendRef

    Colorado and all who live there are in our prayers.

    Be safe.

  • Victor

    (((6. Is this a blessing or a curse? Either way, it’s devastating:

    I expect ol’ Mindy will either stay this stupid, which is its own penalty, or she’ll get smarter and more aware, and will consequently spend the rest of her life being hideously embarrassed by this book. I’m hoping for the latter.)))

    Hey Fred! You can relax cause we gods are here now! As a matter of fact, remember when this so called Victor had created his first blog, if not, “I’M” sure that YA can’t forget Victor’s second blog and “I” must say that even this so called Church Lady would be proud to be ass oh, “I” mean associated with the characters of “The Hotel of Fools” and the many skits that we gods created for those little retardo, “I” mean retired cells of Victor’s Body NOW!

    Come on like “I” said Fred! we gods have almost con vi…”I” mean convinced Victor that “IT” is “Time” for a Turd, “I” mean a third and final blog and between you “ME”, “ME” and “ME” “The Hotel of Fools” is at least NOW a 100 Times lar her, “I” mean larger and for are you, “I” mean arguement sake, just tell your read hers, “I” mean readers that “IT”, this ass, “I” mean “Astroid” is “A” XYZ larger than earth and gods who don’t believe me simply need to ass, “I” mean ask “The Big Bank”, “I” mean “The Big Bang” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898266/ godly cells and if they can’t satisfy YA then just clone those DNA dino cells that we gods “Left Behind”.

    Hey Fred all kidding ass, “I” mean aside, because Victor still believes in this father, mother, son and holy spirit and long her, “I” mean longer story short and if he doesn’t believe that he’s dead yet. Listen NA, NO, NA, NO is the magic “Word”, “I” mean Fred, Mindy just sounds stupid and when we gods start Victor’s blog, we’ll tell these pup pets, “I” mean humans that “jesus” is just an imaginary charac her, “I” mean charater cause not “ONE” has ever “Rose” “I” mean rose from the dead, RIGHT NOW?

    Fred because we gods LUV, “I” mean love YA, we’ll tell YA about our first skit that Victor is planning on performing with his skitso friends from “The Hotel of Fools” and before “I” go on, YA must pray, haha! that the alien god hack hers, “I” mean hackers allow him to start a third blog cause “IT” ain’t funny any longer cause even “The Saints of The Day” don’t trust him and have stopped sending him material. As “I” write “IT” almost makes U>S (usual sinners) want to cry now. “I” hear YA Fred, ALL YA NEED IS A LITTLE SENSITIVITY TRAINING NOW sinner vic so lay down until “IT” goes away now.

    Forgive us Fre! You’re right Fred!!!!!!! Do me a favor!!!! Can YA invite WINTER MUTE and his child from the old days to at least check out Victor’s new blog and if his family has gotten bigger, please don’t discourage any of his children’ sibblings from coming for a visit also now and then. Hey! Just a second while “I” wipe my eyes, “I” hear YA Fred! YOU’VE JUST BEEN SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME WITH THESE YOU MAN, “i” MEAN HUMANS NOW! Again, “I” must say, just lay down sinner vic butt first tell me a little more about this new care act her, “I” mean CHARACTER NOW!

    SORRY FRED! You’re so right!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0oQCh_teg

    Anyway and long story short this new charac her’s name is “Head He As Hard” and he’s a very powerful fool, “I” mean skitso, no, no, “I” mean he’s “ONE” special perform her, him of the Hotel of Fools Charact her of the twenty first century nowadays. This time around, he’ll be a Trans Vest Type, NOT A GOD YET cause none have came back to prove to him, “I” mean her, no, no, NEVERMIND NOW! Let’s just say that “IT’s” act, “I” mean “IT” accepts squirels with guns and Poly tics…… and this god of ours is not “A” to “Z” Harp her’s Con sir, “I” mean consi her, no, no, “I” mean consider “IT” not liking reality and just keep won her, “I” wondering if this character really believes that Harper will suck your face to the born, “I” mean bone in reality?


    Hey Friend, “I” mean Fred and long story short, if everything goes left, right, hell, “I” mean well and Victor gets that “Billion Dollars” start UP fee that the alien gods promised her, “I” mean him, who knows we gods might even talk about A.P.E.C. vs A.P.E.C.C. ….Cells…… big toes plus…ect….. and…….

    END YA SAY sinner vic? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw-PiTkBpJA

    Go Figure brothers and sisters in Christ!?


    God Bless Peace

  • gfunk

    We said the pledge every day at my school in OK as well

  • Marsyas

    what is this I don’t even

  • About par for Victor. :p

  • 2.In James Lowen’s “Lies my teacher Told me’ there’s a survey showing that even those parents who themselves take a more jaded/skeptical view of American history still want to schools to teach the intrinsic goodness of the United States as fact.- And already great nation growing progressively still greater through the actions of a few heroic Great Men. I’d suppose the reason for this is that parents tend to see themselves as personally embodying national history in their children’s eyes, and that this tendency goes well beyond the typical right wing authoritarian suspects. Demands that the pledge of allegiance be imposed upon the next generation comes from this same conflation of ‘patria’ with paternity. People want to believe in one eternal and objective formula for expressing love of country because we want the power to dictate such a thing to the next generation.

    This doesn’t excuse embracing internet fables like the one linked to above. Belief in a morally superior past where everyone was bound in perfect loyalty to one unquestionably good national identity requires massive amounts of selfish self-deception.

    1. Godawful news from Colorado. It’s my deepest hope that anyone else who needs and still can be rescued will be so, and that those who have lost family friends and homes shall find comfort.

    Down on the plains it’s been increasingly common for rain to only either come in massive squalls or not at all. Has this been the case along the Front Range as well?

  • Madhabmatics

    Yeah, I know, everyone knows that Bronze broomsticks get you a discount on your broomstick insurance.

  • Lori

    The fact that this mass shooting has been described as “the deadliest in the U.S. since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary last December, and the worst at a military installation since 13 people were killed at Fort Hood in 2009” says so much about the world the gun fetishists have created.

  • The_L1985

    Yeah, a lot of Pagan authors write about their faith using pseudonyms, for safety, but…SRW is kind of a flakey-sounding name, even in a social circle that includes names like “Starhawk” and “M. Macha NightMare.”

  • Victor

    (((About par for Victor. :p)))
    Don’t be silly Anonymous Sam! Victor’s got a 21 handy cap now and….
    END YA SAY sinner vic? Play “IT” again Sam! :)
    God Bless Peace

  • Fusina

    My Dad was a member of the NRA for years. I think he is no longer affiliated–he didn’t like how they were going political.

  • Light_Sleeper

    I am afraid that severe and expensive weather conditions are the only things that will motivate us to take action on the climate. While the consequences to individuals are of course unfortunate, we should all be grateful for increased extreme weather as a wake-up call to those who are still dreaming. Ultimately the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are what matter for our children, and if we hope for policy that will extend the habitability of our planet a bit longer we need people to get really frightened really fast.

  • depizan

    Yeah, at least back in the ’80s the Pledge was…expected in grade school in Iowa. Or at least in the grade school I went to.

  • depizan

    We had lengthy bouts of rain for four or five days in a row, and that’s after having had more of a return to the typical afternoon showers which we hadn’t had for a while. Which was already a bad thing in some areas due to the forest fires of the past couple of years.

    But this was the first year in a while that we had our “normal” afternoon rains to begin with.

  • Jenny Islander

    Alaska here. I don’t think there was a rule about saying the Pledge; it was just something you did every morning before class began, like clapping the erasers at the end of the school day.

  • Victor

    (((About par for Victor. :p)))
    Hey Jim, I know that you’ve told me in the past that you were not the supper star hockey player that I thought you were and for some reason like life happening, I never got a chance to thank you for your reply.
    I hear YA Jim! Victor! “IT” is OK! At least I’m a Canadian Hey! :)

  • Lori

    Using a pseud is not a problem per se, but the one that someones chooses does say something about them and it’s not always what they intended for it to say.

  • I would like to take a moment to discourage stereotypes here. Not every young person in dark clothing with a pentacle around his/her neck is just trying to piss off the parents. Some are serious about their spirituality. We shouldn’t make assumptions. I’m not saying that that’s what you were doing, mind. It’s just that I’ve seen enough people engage in that kind of judgmental behavior that I thought I’d add a word of caution here.

  • Lori

    The head of the local trauma center in DC is also not pleased with the way things are going:


  • WingedBeast

    I’m going to argue that being hideously embarrassed, in some cases, can be a blessing, of a sort, at least if one has any kind of compassion-based-morality.
    It’s something that can (should, but doesn’t usually) push one to admit the wrongs and act harder against them. At least, it should push one to admit the wrongs of arguments one once accepted and, in so doing, be able to voice their wrong when they come up.
    Hideous Embarrassment is only a curse if you choose it to be so.

  • Katie

    I agree with you, but I would add I think that being attracted to “comfortable exoticism” or, as I’ve heard it more colloquially described “Exotic, but not *weird*” is a pretty common attractions for humans in general.

  • Jessica_R

    When I first saw “female Maasai warrior” cross the newsfeed my immediate reaction was “Please don’t be a clueless white lady, please don’t be a clueless white lady, pleGODDAMMIT.”

  • Turcano

    Well, the part about Billy Graham being excessively friendly with the wrong kinds of people is true; one of those people was Richard Nixon.

  • J_Enigma32

    By adding a few consonants, she could keep the veracity of her claim intact and be less culturally offensive.

    After all, who wouldn’t want to be the first female Massassi warrior princess?

  • zoie

    Thanks for the Colorado shout out….from a reader in Boulder.

  • And their solution? Batten down the hatches and ramp up security theater everywhere. They’re talking about “layers of security” at goddamn schools.

    Video cameras in every hallway. Buzzing people in and out of the school proper during operating hours. Armed guards, Yadda, yadda, yadda.

    (-_-) *siiiiiiiigh*

    How about changing the underlying culture? But noooo, the NRA’s precious fee-fees must not be hurt.

  • I read it, and I had a facepalm moment m’self. One thing though? Did the author of that blog piece really need to make a nasty crack about Bulgor’s alleged oral sex skills in regard to the rather icktastic end of the hunt quote?

  • P J Evans

    I thought that the ‘Bullshit Files’ piece was only slightly less AAAAGH than Mindy probably is.

  • lowtechcyclist

    2. The real question with the Pledge of Allegiance is, what is this ‘allegiance’ thing that one pledges, and how serious or trivial, exclusive or nonexclusive a thing is it?

    If it is a serious and exclusive commitment, then it should be the business of adults and not children to make this pledge, or not. If it is trivial and nonexclusive, on the order of deciding which sports teams you will root for, then why should anyone care whether anyone says the Pledge or not?

    I think it’s clear from the English language and usage itself that ‘allegiance’ is a fairly serious thing to pledge. Persons who are said to have ‘divided allegiances’ are regarded as suspect: will they be on your side or not, when push comes to shove – in matters clearly well above the level of sports fandom. And according to my American Heritage (dead trees, no link) dictionary, the root of the word is lege, as in liege lord. You can really only have one of those, because that’s the fellow you’d go to battle for, if he required you to.

    Also, the very act of Pledge proponents’ requiring generations of schoolchildren to say the Pledge argues that they believe it is a serious thing to pledge.

    As a Christian, my attitude about the Pledge of Allegiance is that I’ve got no business saying any such thing. I’ve already got a Lord, and whatever debt of loyalty and service is conveyed by the notion of ‘allegiance,’ it belongs to him. “My ways are not your ways,” saith the Lord, and the aims of God and those of the U.S.A. are periodically going to be at odds. It is healthier for me to admit from the beginning where my true allegiance lies, rather than pretending I can swear allegiance to a fallen nation, until such circumstances arise that clearly force me to choose.

    At any rate, the proponents of the Pledge can’t have it both ways. Either it’s a serious business, in which case children shouldn’t be asked to make this pledge, or it’s not particularly meaningful, in which case, why should they care whether children say it or not?

  • AnonaMiss

    As this was at a Naval yard and apparently by disgruntled employee(s), wouldn’t they have had access to guns even if the civilian population didn’t?

  • Fusina

    Civilian contractor, from what I understand from the news. So, No.

  • Charby

    Your argument kind of reminds me of the debates over school prayer. In court, proponents of school prayer and other governmental forms of faith expression portray such things as ‘ceremonial Deism’ with no meaningful religious content — that is, they’re just empty words that stick with us solely because of their historical value and can’t be viewed as infringing on the First Amendment.

    Outside of court, the same people do an about-face and argue that school prayer et al are critical to the survival of the US. They link the decline in school prayer to school violence and youth crime and portray laws and court decisions restricting public affirmations of religion as attacks on the very existence of their own religion.

    They want to have it both ways because they know that if they make the first argument to an audience of devout people they will be repulsed by the notion that their faith is just a hollow shell of government-approved rituals devoid of meaning, and if they make the second argument towards a court they’ll lose their case. That’s a common strategy so I can’t really condemn them too much, except I would think that someone that devout should have more respect for their faith.

  • AnonaMiss

    Yeah, I hadn’t yet heard the latest news.

  • Another Boulder reader here. Thanks, Fred and everyone for the good thoughts!

    Doing well; 3rd floor units don’t typically flood. Had our carport roof come down after we’d safely moved our car. Had the wet insulation and drywall removed today wherever roof leaks were (everywhere). It’s all being covered by the HOA and their insurance, so – HOAs! Not evil when they aren’t dysfunctional! (And ours is less dysfunctional now than it used to be.) Chez LeBoeuf-Little has been more irritated than devastated, really.

    We have friends and neighbors – in Boulder, Longmont, Firestone, Jamestown, Estes Park, the list goes on – who’ve had it so much worse. Flooding in the house destroying structures and personal property, evacuation notices (some multiple times), flooded surroundings trapping them in their homes or away from them – so we in my household know just how lucky we are.