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Friday, October 21, 2016

Stuff I read today: October 21, 2016


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- "A sacred text, Vanessa learned, is not a perfect text, free from contradictions and outrages. A sacred text is a generative text, one that keeps reading and changing us."

An article in Christian Century asks, what if we took beloved fiction as a sacred text and applied those methods of analysis and interpretation to it? Would if aid a new generation- and the backslid- finding their way back to reading Scripture? It’s an interesting and provocative idea.

-Charlotte Talks, the local news show that is becoming the city’s water cooler gathering spot, considered the twin Tar Heel Tar Babies of Governor Pat McCrory’s administration: coal ash and HB2, today.

Depositions in the lawsuit over Duke Energy’s statewide coal ash scandal continue to uncover the involvement of the governor’s personal office- PR people, not scientists- in its conflicting advice to well-owners that their water is safe/isn’t safe to drink. And word of a conference call has emerged, that included the ever-helpful Duke Energy.

On the HB2 front, Governor McCrory stonewalled the law for six months in the face of multiple public records requests, until The Charlotte Observer- which has the pockets to fund a major suit- sued him. Within a week, out came forty boxes of emails. They include many in which McCrory looked for ways to be for the law and against it in his Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?” way, before signing it in the night and making it his signature achievement.

WFAE, Charlotte Talks’ host, is taking the Donald Trump to fundraising: “Today will be the last day- if you give us all the money we want.”

Among the other tales to tumble out of Pandora’s Box is what a collection political mooncalves the religious right is.  A Christianist writer, Frank Turek, donned the garb of the Old Testament prophet:

“Is it true the Governor does not want a special session?” Frank Turek, a Christian author and speaker wrote in a March 1 email to Fred Steen, who was then McCrory’s chief lobbyist at the N.C. General Assembly. He copied other activists and House Speaker Tim Moore on the message.

“This kind of inaction is exactly what is feeding the anti-establishment rage. If the Republicans don’t want to be engulfed by the (Donald) Trump wave, they better get off their butts and do something before this dangerous ordinance goes into effect in April.

“Taking action now is not only the right thing to do, it will be politically popular,” he wrote.

The ever-smarmy Franklin Graham oozed his way into the governor’s calculations, too:

“Now that we have passed the immediate challenge, thanks to everyone who took action to heart,” wrote Ken Barun, chief of staff for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, on March 27. Franklin Graham, the organization’s CEO and son of founder Billy Graham, “told me he had called his good friend Governor Pat McCrory to thank him and the Governor shared with Franklin that his office was receiving a lot of heat from corporations.”

North Carolina Values Coalition Tami Fitzgerald- the ringleader of the Christian love and outreach for HB2- assured McCrory’s staff the seas would part before Pharaoh’s army arrived:

“Only the NBA has made a threat, and it was not very overt,” she wrote. “I think if we push back loudly (on corporations), they won’t want to risk angering the majority of their consumers.”

The butcher’s bill for HB2 turned out to be $395 million in the law’s first six months.

-In 1937, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr considered the conditions that have, in our time, given us The Donald. The American Scholar has unearthed the piece in its archives.

-Art Fix Daily has a fascinating article on how ISIS sells old ruins to pay for making modern ones.

-Basement tech geeks the world over are working on getting Julian Assange a wireless hookup.

-Mitt Romney lost the presidency in 2012, and the Republicans conducted an autopsy on themselves. They then rejected it, arguing it wasn’t their message, just the messenger, and the way it was said. Now Donald Trump is offering the party a new baseline. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, author of “Defining Deviancy Down”, is laughing somewhere.


-Bill Kristol is a jabbering idiot. Here’s the transcript.

-The longer they wait to bail on The Donald, the less courageous they seem.

-”Trump’s redemptive greatness begins in his fearless opposition to political correctness, “a serious and totalist politics, aspiring to open the equivalent of a vast reeducation camp for the millions of defective Americans,” Kesler says. It would seem that reactionaries, while they inhabit our world, are not really of it. “They believe that the only sane response to an apocalypse is to provoke another, in hopes of starting over,” Lilla writes. This, too, is a lesson of Weimar.”

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