7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.5)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.5) December 5, 2013

1. This is cool: Want to read a Gutenberg Bible?

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library) have joined efforts in a landmark digitization project with the aim of opening up their repositories of ancient texts. Over the course of the next four years, 1.5 million pages from their remarkable collections will be made freely available online to researchers and to the general public.

… The digitization project will focus on three main groups of texts: Hebrew manuscripts, Greek manuscripts, and incunabula, or 15th-century printed books. These groups have been chosen for their scholarly importance and for the strength of their collections in both libraries, and they will include both religious and secular texts.

2. The Montgomery County, Pa., clerk is asking Pennsylvania’s highest court to overturn an order that he stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. D. Bruce Hanes signed licenses for 174 couples before a Commonwealth Court judge ordered him to stop in September.

Pennsylvania Republicans oppose Hanes’ attempt to introduce marriage equality here, so surely the Montgomery County Republican Party will have something to say in response to this latest effort by this official there in their county. Oops, no. They don’t. It turns out that the chairman of the Montgomery County GOP is a bit too busy just now to comment. But I’m sure that as soon as he posts bail, he’ll have some stern words in response to Hanes and his latest attack on the sanctity of the institution of marriage.

3. Brooke Jarvis provides a fascinating look at a complicated topic: “Inmate firefighters: Taking the heat, away from the cooler.” On the one hand, this seems like a positive opportunity for rehabilitation through dignified work. Plus it helps cash-strapped states faced with otherwise out-of-control wildfires. On the other hand, it provides a source of low-cost labor that likely suppresses the wages for all firefighters everywhere, while simultaneously feeding the very same slash-services, slash-revenue ideology that causes all those states to be so cash-strapped in the first place.

In any case, the plots for at least a half-dozen good novels and/or screenplays lurk in Jarvis’ terrific piece — I see potential thrillers, adventure stories, muck-raking “issue” stories, and possibly even a romantic comedy. Lots of story-fuel there, I think.

4. More dismaying news from the states of dismay: North Carolina. FloridaNorth Carolina. FloridaNorth Carolina. FloridaNorth Carolina. FloridaNorth Carolina. Florida. Not entirely dismaying: North Carolina.

5. Wallace Best examines the decades-long fallout from Langston Hughes’ fierce poem “Goodbye Christ.” The poem’s mixture of pessimistic hyperbole and prophetic critique didn’t go over well, and Hughes wound up spending nearly 20 years writing and revising an essay called, “Concerning ‘Goodbye Christ,'” in which he attempted to explain what his poem meant. That didn’t really work, of course, because Hughes really was a poet, which means that there was only ever one way for him to say what his poem meant, and that was by writing it in the first place. Still, he had to try, because without him putting out such a prosaic explanation, too many others — from Aimee Semple McPherson to Sen. Joe McCarthy — were lining up to explain it for him, in the worst possible way. (Note: If you have, and wish to maintain, an unsullied high regard for Sister Aimee, then don’t click through to read Best’s article.)

6. “When the homeowners in the 59-site mobile-home park formerly known as Thunderbird gathered to give thanks last week, they had something new to add to the list: They now owned the land under their homes as well.”

They paid $1.57 million and the community will own the land as a cooperative in perpetuity. Residents no longer have to fear rent-hikes or the devastating cost of displacement, and their homes will now become a source of equity and security, rather than depreciating underneath them.

We could, and should, make it a policy to do this everywhere. The government could guarantee low-interest loans for such purchases and could create tax and other financial incentives for landlords to get with the program. That would help some 20 million American families — largely seniors, the working poor and military families like those who just formed the Whispering Pines Homeowners Co-op. And I don’t see any reason such a project couldn’t be completely bipartisan.

7. Marie Alford-Harkey:

So after 20 years of talking with teens who had unplanned pregnancies and who were concerned about raising their children while they themselves were still adolescents, and after 20 years of working with LGBT teens who were bullied and rejected by their faith communities and families, and after 20 years of answering a student’s tearful question, “Am I going to hell?” with a resounding no over and over again, in short, after 20 years of fighting the effects of the dominant conservative Christian theology that was the polar opposite of the liberating gospel that grounds my faith and the faith of hundreds of thousands of other progressive Christians – after all that, it is not surprising that my career after divinity school led me to the Religious Institute.

""overweight old guy who's probably downing a stack or three of GoT Oreos right now"Really?"

Smart people saying smart things (5.19.19)
"And Erdogan, whose goons he allowed to get away with attacking protestors on US soil."

Smart people saying smart things (5.19.19)

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  • smrnda

    I also think that the idea that a bunch of child-free adults sitting around with multiple cats are by and large denouncing everyone else as ‘breeders’ is bullshit. I, for one, have no children, 3 cats (for 2 people total) and I volunteer with kids of various ages and have taught courses in science, math and technology for young people for free. Plenty of child-free people do lots of things for children, including teach, babysit for friends with kids, pay taxes, perform brain surgeries, the list goes on and on.

    The article is clearly just a means of denouncing women who choose not to have kids by implying that they do so out of scorn for women who do, or that it’s *really those liberals* who are bad for pregnant women, not the conservatives. Part of that is that fundies can only imagine 1 right way to do anything. The idea a person could choose not to have children but support the choice of others to do so (and provide real material assistance, not an occasional dripping of ‘charity’ ) is just beyond them. Either you are for women having kids, and every woman *must have as many as possible* or else you hate women with kids. I suspect it’s because fundies live in a world where things are right and wrong not because of the benefit or harm they cause to people, but where ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ have nothing to do with human happiness.

    If the guy is objecting to people being too attached to pets, I tend to find that children are fairly attached to their pets.

  • sketchesbyboze

    “Jesus said there’d be a resurrection from the dead, but I didn’t think this was what he meant.”

  • sketchesbyboze

    The ending of “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” is beginning to seem a lot more plausible.

  • Michael Pullmann

    You can find some pinheads on the Internet ranting about “breeders” and “crotchspawn”, but you can find some pinheads on the Internet doing any stupid thing you can imagine, if you look long enough.

  • If you haven’t already, you might want to post these on your blog. For posterity, you know.

  • stardreamer42

    My take-away from that article was twofold:

    1) They recognize that penetration of an unconscious woman is rape.
    2) They recognize that social drug-rapists never stop at one, and are now looking for his previous victims.

    Both of these things are SO DIFFERENT from the way rape accusations have been historically handled that my jaw is dropping open. Believe it or not, this is progress.

  • Matri

    Just don’t make it a drinking game. Pretty sure you’d be dead from alcohol poisoning fifteen minutes in.

  • stardreamer42

    That’s a really good sound-bite.

  • Daniel

    Putting the “tot” in “Gun Toting”.

  • Daniel

    What about terrorist toddlers? I’m just thinking of all those eighties cartoon spinoffs of “baby” versions of grown up programmes… now we have “24 Babies.”

  • P J Evans

    Someone who was drunk or drugged is what comes to my mind. They couldn’t consent, and they’re ‘substantially impaired’.

  • Lori

    Gotta say – Kirk Cameron was PERFECT as Buck!

    I don’t know Laura’s life and I’ve still got $5 that says this is the single truest statement she’s made this year.

  • aunursa

    I appreciate irony. For example, I appreciate the irony that Christians* consider a certain thing to be a great curse, while Jews consider the same thing to be a great gift. Meanwhile, something that Christians consider to be a great gift, Jews consider the same thing to be a great curse. (I’ll leave it for others to guess the two things to which I’m referring.)

    I appreciate the irony that Lori and Laura consider Kirk perfect as Buck in light of the fact that your view of both K. Cameron and Cameron W. is the exact opposite of Laura’s.

    * RTC’s

  • Amaryllis

    I was probably too influenced by Dorothy Parker’s “Our Lady of the Loudspeaker” to give Sister Aimee a fair appraisal. Parker cared not for McPherson’s literary style–

    Her manner takes on the thick bloom of rich red plush. The sun becomes “that round orb of day” (as opposed, I expect, to those square orbs you see about so much lately)….and the gifted author is frequently asking you to “But Hold!” It is difficult to say whether Mrs. McPherson is happier in her crackling exclamations or in her bead-curtain-and-chenille-fringe style. Presumably the lady is happy in both manners. That would make her two up on me.

    — nor for her brand of religion —

    Hers is a story of virtue victorious. Occasionally she was mildly in need, but never for long; for Heaven– which seems from Mrs. McPherson’s personal testimony, to be a sort of gold-paved mail-order house– promptly shipped her food, clothing, money, houses, and even canary birds, as she required them.

    — nor for her basic integrity–

    It may be that this autobiography is set down in sincerity, frankness, and simple effort. It may be, too, that the Statue of Liberty is situated in Lake Ontario….With the publication of this, her book, Aimee Semple McPherson has replaced Elsie Dinsmore as my favorite character in fiction.

    I’m sure there’s more to McPherson than her literary failings, but after that, I was done with taking her seriously.

  • Launcifer

    I dunno, I could stand for taking a shot every time nobody references Withnail and I

  • Where in the world would you find something of lesser value?

  • David S.

    I’m sort of scared that he was doing it at a Republican party. By that time that someone has that level of indiscretion on a rape, they must have gotten away with it many, many times.

  • MarkTemporis

    Someone on another forum wanted to pitch a 24-based cartoon (‘4’?) with Jack Bauer as Hall Monitor on the longest day of middle school. I really want them to make that.

  • Monica Swanson

    This is off-topic but it’s for a good cause. One of my dear old friends is composing an opera on the Jonestown massacre, and he’s running an IndieGogo campaign to try and get it funded. Tomorrow is his “Dollar Donation Day” and he’s looking for as many contributors as possible. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/heaven-down-here-a-peoples-temple-chamber-opera/x/5397844 He asked me to pass it on to anyone “who might have a passion around racial equality, social justice, opera, or prevention of abuse within churches.” Sounds like this group! Definitely check it out if you’re interested–every dollar helps!

    /shameless begging

  • Yeah. Funny story. I don’t think my blog exists anymore. I kinda-sorta stopped caring back in the spring then the credit card I was using to hold the space expired and Typepad kept sending me emails about it and I still didn’t care.

  • aunursa

    Which DVD is of lesser value:
    The one starring ACADEMY AWARD® winner Louis Gossett Jr.?
    Or the ones with Ranger Trivette?

  • Ah well, it happens.

  • This is also true!

  • Actually, this compelled me to check. It’s still there. But the fact that I remained completely ambivalent about the entire thing surely seems to mean…something.

  • stardreamer42

    Indeed. There’s a growing body of work indicating that the vast majority of rapes are social rapes committed by a relatively small percentage of sexual predators whose preferred MO is to use alcohol or date-rape drugs to incapacitate their targets. About 1 man in 20 will self-report rape or sexual assault as long as those terms are not used in the questions and only the behaviors described. And the ones who do self-report average having committed about a dozen rapes each IIRC.

  • Raksha38

    Sadly, I know someone IRL who is one of those people foaming at the mouth online about “crotch droppings” and how much she hates their very existence. She has two kids of her own and really regrets it. It’s a tragic situation on many levels.

  • Hexep

    I feel like it behooves me, as a descendant of Anglo-African settlers, to have something to say on this, the occasion of the death of Nelson Mandela. Truth is, I don’t have much to say about it – I’m a Rhodesian, not a South African, and Mandela doesn’t really figure into my personal story. And if you want to hear the ‘real story’ or get some sort of insider knowledge about his life and work, I’m not the one to provide it – I’ve spent less than a year of my life in South Africa, most of it when I was very young. If that’s what you seek, you have to look elsewhere. All I have to talk about are my feelings on the Great Man.

    In Arthurian legend, Sir Gawaine of Orkney is captured by Sir Carados, an unscrupulous knight of the Old School (as White would have it) who delights in torturing his captives. Before Carados can bring Gawaine to his castle, Lancelot happens upon them, defeats Carados in battle, and rescues Gawaine. By doing this, he earns Gawaine’s infinite anger and resentment, a resentment that only ends when Gawaine recants it on his death-bed. By rescuing Gawaine – by effortlessly defeating Carados, who had defeated Gawaine in his own right – Lancelot not only demonstrated his own, unassailable superiority, but also placed Gawaine into the debt of honor that he could not possibly repay – indeed, that it would be impossible for him to repay, unless the Gods conspired to put Lancelot in an equally-precarious situation. To Gawaine, a man of honor fulfilled all his obligations – and yet, here he was, stuck with an obligation that he could never fulfill. Gawaine could thus never truly repair his honor, no matter what he did.

    In my own fashion, and even though our stories never really touched, I feel the same way about Mandela. The Dutch and English settlers subjected the native Africans to unbelievable hardship, poverty, and degradation, a state of affairs made all the more obscene by the tremendous wealth that the settlers amassed for themselves in the process. When I think of the evils perpetrated by the white governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa, and I put myself in the position of the natives, and I ask myself, ‘how would I feel if I were they, what would I do were I in their position…’

    There is only one answer.

    Kill them all. Kill all the settlers. Burn them alive in their mansions, and crush their bones under their cars, and impale them on their high fences, and strip their flesh with their barbed wire, and burn out their eyes with the hot barrels of their guns, and feed them alive to their dogs. Not only them, but their children, and their children’s children, and so on until there is nobody left to avenge them. Exterminate the whole tribe, and erase them from history. Let this generation take on the onus of sin and shame, and let our name be reviled for centuries, but let there be the truest and finalmost security to those that come after us.

    That is what I would feel. Had I the power, that is what I would do. I hold no illusion that this would be morally correct or ethically justifiable, but the purity of my anger and desire for revenge would be such that no other option would be open to me. If I had been born in the right place, to the right family, at the right time, then I would have joined ZANU-PF, and I would be saying, ‘kill all the settlers.’

    And yet Mandela didn’t say that. He didn’t say, ‘let us answer oppression with extermination.’ He didn’t say, ‘the white man must be put to the sword.’ He said, instead, ‘let us come together and create a new country, where all of us are welcome.’

    And for that reason – because he did right where I would wrong, because he showed strength where I would show weakness, because he kept faith where I would be faithless, and because he was brave where I would be cowardly – I find myself in Gawaine’s position.

    Some, in the presence of heroes, find in themselves the inspiration to do better. Those like me, if there are any other, find the vast chasm of virtue between one and the other to be insurmountable. Seeing this gap between what-is and what-could-be, how could they but lose heart?

  • Daniel

    Rayford Steele’s mind was on cake and the finest wines known to humanity he’d never touch.

  • Carstonio

    Regarding the passing of Nelson Mandela, I’m old enough to remember the prevarication by US cold warriors over apartheid, and the fight they made against sanctions for the regime. Their concerns over the spread of communism might have sounded more genuine if they didn’t claim that apartheid was being legislated away.

    For decades, presidents of both parties pushed a foreign policy that supported repressive regimes in the name of stopping communism, toppling democratically elected leaders who leaned socialistic (Mosaddegh and Allende). Obviously this was mostly about a perceived threat to US business interests in those nations. But the policy was not only greedy but also short-sighted, since it led billions in other nations to associate the US with repression and bloodshed, and created bitter hatred in the nations directly concerned like Iran. We did far more good in South Africa by doing the right thing instead of defending the morally indefensible.

  • Ross Thompson

    (I’ll leave it for others to guess the two things to which I’m referring.)

    I’m not sure about the first, but the second one is clearly bacon sandwiches.

  • Ross Thompson

    Eh, I’d drop it into this franchise.

  • Shay Guy

    I’ll guess “the law” for the first. Or maybe “leaving Eden.”

  • RidgewayGirl

    The number is 42. I thought everybody knew that.