Daniel Ruth is not amused by the annual nattering over nativity scenes.
Once again, it is time for the annual pie fight over religious displays in public spaces. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if there wasn’t a Nativity creche set up in the midst of that cradle of spirituality, the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee.
Or think of it this way. For the better part of 11 months, there are probably more sins, lapses of ethics, payoffs and duplicitous backstabbing in the Capitol than in Game of Thrones. And then in December, Florida’s feedbag of power is supposed to be transformed into an ecumenical haven honoring the Yuletide spirit.
Not just in Florida, folks.
University of Virginia faculty will seek to ban fraternities from campus for at least the rest of the academic year as investigators sort through a report of an alleged gang rape two years ago.
Meanwhile, apologists for the fraternity systems are doing their best to impeach the original report (follow the link).
I was once a college student. Granted that that was a long, long time ago, the charges depicted in the original article were consistent with everything I knew and observed about fraternities at my school and, during a year of grad work, at Mr. Jefferson’s University. I doubt that much has changed since then. Men are still pigs, and most fraternities are still sties.
Animal House may have been a comedy, but in comedy there is truth. The US college fraternity system, like Crabby Appleton, is rotten to the core, as are its apologists and defenders.
Really, now, isn’t it about time for a grand jury?
Keith Boykin considers gunnuttery, as second-amended. A nugget:
When a white teenager named Steve Lohner was stopped by the police last month and refused to show his ID after carrying a loaded shotgun on the streets of Aurora, Colorado (the same city where a mass murderer killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a packed movie theater in July 2012), the teen walked away with nothing but a citation.
But when a 22-year-old black kid named John Crawford picked up a mere BB gun in a Walmart store in Dayton, Ohio last week, customers called the police, who then shot and killed him.
Here lies a racial disparity that’s difficult for honest people to ignore. How can black people openly carry a real gun when we can’t even pick up a BB gun in a store without arousing suspicion? The answer in America is that the Second Amendment doesn’t really apply to black people.
Via the Progressive Populist.
Vagabond Scholar dissects the reasoning of those who demand that tolerance requires tolerating their intolerance. This reasoning has informed efforts to deny birth control, gay marriage, and, ultimately, equal rights in many areas.
A tolerant person says, “I will live my life the way I like, and you can live your life the way you like.” An intolerant person will say, “I will live my life the way I like, but you must also live your life the way I want you to.” These are not equivalent. Both people have beliefs, it’s true, but one is seeking power over the other.
The three minutes it will take you to follow the link and read the rest will be well worth your while.
The New York Times stumbles over unknown object, upon investigating discovers something called “truth” and “accuracy.”
You have all heard non-apology apologies. They commonly contain phrases such as “I am sorry if anyone took offense,” when the speaker knows damned well he or she did offend someone. That’s why he or she is apologizing, for Pete’s sake.
Radley Balko takes on a cousin of the non-apology apology: the non-explanation explanation, specifically police departments’ explanations of police officers shooting innocents. A nugget, after a quotation from a news item about the shooting of a 10-year old boy in Georgia.
The most plausible scenario is that the deputy tried to shoot the dog and mistakenly shot the kid instead. It’s less plausible but possible that the deputy didn’t intend to fire at all, in which case he’s still negligent for mishandling his weapon.
What isn’t remotely plausible is that the deputy’s gun jumped out of its holster, walked up to the kid and shot the kid in the leg. . . . Yet the sheriff’s explanation, at least the way the WALB reporter relays it, leaves open just that possibility.
I agree with Leonard Pitts, Jr., that “Thank you for your service” uttered to a member of the armed forces is a callow and empty phrase. Indeed, I have had veterans of my personal acquaintance tell me that their reaction to hearing it ranges somewhere between apathy and loathing.
It’s as empty as “I’m sorry for your loss” said by the detective on the telly vision to another character just before starting the third degree.
Pitts points out that the empty thanks have been expressed for a long long time–indeed, for much longer than he cites. A nugget from Pitt’s column:
What would it look like if we gave our service personnel a love they could see? Well, here is what it would not look like:
It would not look like Veterans Affairs facilities across the country requiring sick and injured veterans to wait months to see the doctor, then falsifying records to make it appear they were actually being seen much more quickly. This, of course, is the scandal that has roiled the White House and put Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on the defensive.
But look past that. A love they could see would also not look like a backlog of disability claims that peaked last year at more than 900,000, forcing some veterans to wait a year or more for their benefits. Nor would it look like the 2007 Washington Post report about wounded men recovering in a military hospital with rotting walls, creeping mold and vermin sauntering about.
Point being, this new scandal is not new. Rather, it is but a variation on a sadly recurrent theme: the neglect of our veterans.
Read the rest. Then read this. And this.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Bundy affair. If not, TPM has a nice little summary.
The short version is that a rancher stole from the government–that is, you and me–for almost two decades by grazing his cattle on public property, while ignoring repeated requests, followed by court orders for payment. When the government started to confiscate his cattle that were illegally on public property, the rancher went all John Wayne and threated a range war. Wingnuts grabbed up their AK-47s and rushed to fill his army. At last report, the government has backed down from aggressive enforcement to avoid bloodshed, though I suspect it’s not over yet.
Bob Cesca cuts to the hypocrisy (emphasis added):
This wasn’t about freedom or government overreach. This was about a rancher who’s clearly leeching off the system, and then who subsequently got all pissy-pants when, after repeatedly ignoring numerous civil attempts at collection, gathered a posse of local hooples to fight the power: armed neo-Confederate cosplayers, Ron Paul cultists, weekend warriors and Alex Jones chemtrail-busters who literally formed a line of battle and foolishly advanced upon the government corral.
All we hear every day from the far-right is about how food stamp and welfare recipients are unfairly sucking from the government tit . . . . And yet there they were, lined up with horses, guns and cowboy drag, marching toward armed BLM rangers in the name of defending an actual freeloader who’s bilked American taxpayers out of millions.
“Cowboy drag.” That pretty much sums it up.
Frederick Fuller is fed up with Hobby Lobby and its dupes and fellow travelers (emphasis added):
O’Brien went on to say, “The idea that a corporation has a conscience is for many of us completely ridiculous. It’s granting power to business owners with extremist religious beliefs.”
The bottom line is that religion has no place in issues of this sort. Religion is, as it has been for time immemorial, an excuse to break the law, kill people, conquer people and land, and refuse to help people in need. For all its fundamental Christian ideals, Hobby Lobby and the others involved conveniently play the religion card but forget that their Messiah turned no one away for any reason. They’re not Christ-like; they are capitalist opportunists hiding behind religion for their own gain.
Religion of any flavor is menacing when used by people to harm others or to shield themselves from public censure.
Many years ago, an old black man said about my then State Senator, “He calls himself a lawyer . . . .”
It was an onion statement.
It had many layers, but underneath them all was a truth. The person in question was neither a good lawyer, nor a good State Senator.*
The statement can be equally true for someone who calls himself a pastor.
Sadly, in the universe of those who “call themselves” something or other they are not, there are many more who call themselves “pastors” than who call themselves “lawyers.”
Wrap yourself in God and get away with anything.
At least in this world.
*His wife was my boss on one of my summer jobs when I was a college student. She was a much better boss than he was either a State Senator or a lawyer.
Scofflaws caught on camera.