Steve Gilliard Talks About NPR

Tavis Smiley is leaving NPR, and the reasons for it give Steve Gilliard a reason to express his feelings about NPR’s hiring (or lack of), and I agree:

“NPR is an elitist organization which is regularly put to shame by the BBC and even PBS. […] NPR is designed to appeal to middle class whites and few others.”

I listen to NPR and like it, but I’m its target. It is becoming more corporate and conservative when it should be going the other way.

By the way, you’ll enjoy the line that precedes where I started to quote. So go read.

Firefox Instead of Internet Explorer

I switched to the Firefox web browser yesterday, and I have to say it is MUCH better than Internet Explorer! It’s faster and more convenient. It was extremely easy to install and set up.

So far it’s missing only one thing – the Blogger button that lets me instantly put a post with a link to any page I’m looking at up onto the weblog, adding comments. This is in the Google toolbar. There is a Google toolbar for Firefox, but it doesn’t have this button.

UpdateI found a utility that lets me do this with a right-click.

The Right Misleading Followers?

From If You Read the Gospels, the Religious Right is Most Often Wrong:

“The truth is, if you depend on the Christian right for your theological sustenance, you probably won’t recognize the Jesus of the Gospels.

[. . .] Where in America is the Jesus who sides with the poor and the outcasts? Where in America is the Jesus who disdains those who wear their piousness on their sleeves? Where in America is the the Jesus with the prophetic voice, the radical who dares to tell the powerful what they don’t want to hear?

Is he in the pews that fill every Sunday morning with the smug and complacent? Is he in a political party that fights for tax cuts for the rich while neglecting the needs of decent, hard-working Americans? Is he among the “God-and-country” demagogues who push an idolatrous nationalism and who see military service as the supreme form of sacrifice? “

And what about bearing false witness, like claiming that a school “banned the Declaration of Independence?”

The Big Switch

Paul Craig Roberts, one of the few remaining honest conservatives, writes about the other kind of conservative, in Whatever Happened to Conservatives?:

“Once upon a time there was a liberal media. It developed out of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Liberals believed that the private sector is the source of greed that must be restrained by government acting in the public interest. The liberals’ mistake was to identify morality with government. Liberals had great suspicion of private power and insufficient suspicion of the power and inclination of government to do good.

[. . .] Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who endeavor to defend civil liberties from the state. Conservatives have been won around to the old liberal view that as long as government power is in their hands, there is no reason to fear it or to limit it.

[. . .] Like Brownshirts, the new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy.

[. . .] Not a single one of them will be able to explain why destroying Iraqi cities and occupying the ruins are necessary for “our freedom.” But this inability will not lessen the enthusiasm for the project. To protect their delusions from “reality-based” critics, they will demand that the critics be arrested for treason and silenced. Many encouraged by talk radio already speak this way.”

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.

What we’re facing



The Alabama voters who gave 63% of their vote to George Bush also narrowly defeated an amendment which would have eliminated the requirement for segregated schools. Four years ago, the Alabama voters gave 57% of their vote to Bush, and at the same time passed an amendment 60%-40% which repealed a law against interracial marria
ge. Alabama is about 71% white and 26% black, so it’s a good bet that the majority of white Alabamans voted against both amendments, just as they voted for Bush. Seemingly Bush’s support increases as racism increases.

Some of the excuses Alabamans give are almost as bad as the thing they’re trying to excuse. Apparently the proposed amendment would have established the right of Alabaman children to a free public education, and that bothered people. So it wasn’t really a racist vote, just an anti-education vote.

A lot of Republicans are anti-education. Their concern for schools is limited to keeping sex education out of the schools, keeping evolution out of the schools, getting Christ back in, and keeping spending low. No, that’s not an exaggeration. Not all Republicans are like that, but a lot of them are.

The nice, slimy Republicans pretend that they don’t know what’s going on, and the servile, cringing Democrats think that we should all be nicer to Bush’s loathesome core constituency. (Paging Brooks! Paging Kristoff!) But forget it. These people are beyond hope. However we put our 51% together, the white voters of rural Alabama are not going to be part of it.

The Democrats are never going to win Alabama, and whether or not we quit saying mean things about the Alabamans, they’re going to keep on saying mean things about us. So screw ‘em. They don’t like us, we don’t like them, and as far as I can tell, we’re right and they’re wrong. (And yes, there are some fine people in Alabama, including some fine white people, and I truly do feel sorry for them). Democrats need to keep their Midwestern states and add a few more, win some border states, and win some states in the Southwest.

And someone needs to get to Brooks and Kristoff. The Southern Strategy is alive and well. I know perfectly well why Brooks doesn’t want to talk about that, but why is Kristoff so silent?

Kos on education vote

Washington Post on education vote

CNN on 2000 interracial marriage vote

Southern Republicans hate Lincoln

Anti-education Oregon Republican



It’s about the megaphone

A recent analysis by Orcinus points out that:

People listen to their radios a lot in rural America. Maybe it has something to do with the silence of the vast landscapes where many of them live; radios break that silence, and provide the succor of human voices.

If you drive through these landscapes, getting radio reception can sometimes be iffy at best, especially in the rural West. Often the best you can find on the dial are only one or two stations.

And the chances are that what you’ll hear, at nearly any hour, in nearly any locale, is Rush Limbaugh. Or Michael Savage. Or maybe some Sean Hannity. Or maybe some more Limbaugh. Or, if you’re really desperate, you can catch one of the many local mini-Limbaughs who populate what remains of the rural dial. In between, of course, there will be a country music station or two.

That’s what people in rural areas have been listening to for the past 10 years and more. And nothing has been countering it.

This is no casual observation. The lack of a balancing voice in rural radio allows the radical right hatred propaganda machine to work. Just ask your grandparents what it was like to live during the War, listening to the radio as your primary source of news. We need a permanent, progressive rural radio voice. (We have enough in the blue states already.) And not a satyrical one, but a deadly serious one that speaks to the concerns of the heartland, that promotes compassion rather than hate, that debunks the venom that corrodes the soul.

Red State Killer Moms

I’ve long been of the opinion that we should fight fire with fire, so I’m going to be totally despicable and ask a nasty question: why do Texan moms kill so many of their kids?

I’ve linked below to stories of seven different Texan mothers who killed their own children by drowning, beating, poisoning, beheading, and stabbing. In all there were 13 dead kids, with two unsuccessful attempts and two doubtful cases.

In five of the cases the mother gave religious reasons for her deed. In most cases, mental illness had previously been diagnosed, and in several cases the state had made ineffectual attempts at intervention. In some cases mental health care had been refused. In most of the cases the father left the kids at home with his mentally-ill wife.

Texas, of course, ranks toward the bottom in the provision of such services as child protection and mental health care. It also ranks high in the proportion of conservative religion believers who hold that the husband is the master and that the wife (as “the weaker vessel”) must submit to him. Contemporary preachers tend to be evasive about this doctrine, but Paul also taught that slaves should submit to their masters, and the idea is about the same.

Red state Christians are always denouncing us secular blue staters as damned sinners wallowing in iniquity (Massachusetts! New York! Hollywood!) — but two can play that game. There are those who say that we Democrats should be above this kind of slime, but how well has the nice-guy approach been working?

Christians and conservatives will be judged too. If they are willing to start playing a clean game, they should get in touch with me and maybe we can work something out. But something tells me that that’s not going to happen. The Moral Majority has been winning playing the dirty game, and they’re a lot better at it than I am.

Texan explains that it really isn’t a Texas problem

Andrea Yates, Dee Laney, Lisa Ann Diaz, Demetria Evans / Lisa Ann Diaz / Angela Camacho / Dena Schlosser / Martha Burks

Christian Marriage I / Christian Marriage II / Christian Marriage III

Bonus — Newt Gingrich:

Before the 1994 election, Newt Gingrich went on national TV to blame the Democrats for the fact that Sharon Smith had murdered her two children. This was despicable enough on the face of it, but it later turned out that Smith was the stepdaughter of Beverly Russell, an important figure in the South Carolina Republican Party and the Christian Crusade, who had been sexually molesting Smith since her middle teens. Newt became Speaker of the House after that election, and has never apologized to this day. (And really, how could he? What he said was beneath contempt, and indicative of bad character. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue or a sudden outburst).

There’s even more here if you read to the bottom — you’ll find a connection to George Bush and Iran-Contra!

Second Bonus:

Republican Islamofascists and idiotarians (somewhat out of date)

"Declaration Of Independence Banned" – It’s A Lie!

I don’t have much time right now but I want to bring attention to this “news” story Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School:

A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

Summary (inferred) – the teacher was forcing his students to listen to and read “Christian Nation” propaganda. The school asked him to stop. The teacher is suing the school with the help of a right-wing “Christian Law” organization, the Alliance Defense Fund. (Also see this.)

The school did not “ban the Declaration of Independence” — that is just a lie. This story is like when you hear that a man was “arrested for praying” and you find out he was kneeling in the middle of a busy intersection at rush hour and refused to move.

This is the BIG STORY today, on Rush, and Drudge, and the rest of the Usual Suspects. And it is a carefully planned and carefully timed lie.

The story is timed for this afternoon so that it cannot be refuted until Monday.

It is timed to cause fights and hatred at family Thanksgiving dinners across the country.

It is part of a strategy to reinforce a “conventional wisdom” notion that “liberals” are “going too far” with their demands of separation of church and state.

People For the American Way has a web page about the Alliance Defense Fund. From PFAW:

ADF’s Founders:

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ

Larry Burkett, founder of Christian Financial Concepts

Rev. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family

Rev. D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries

Marlin Maddoux, President of International Christian Media

Don Wildmon, founder of American Family Association

(And 25+ other ministries)

President and General Counsel: Alan Sears

Date of founding: 1994

Finances: $15,411,093 (2001 budget)

And note this:

ADF defines itself by its ability to strategize and coordinate with lawyers all over the United States.

[. . .]

ADF also defends the right of Christians to ‘share the gospel’ in workplaces and public schools, claiming that any efforts to curb proselytizing at work and school are anti-Christian.

“Strategize and coordinate.” Sounds like what’s happening with this story, planted on Rush and Drudge, in time for the holiday. I hope that other bloggers can pick up on this. I suspect many of us are going to miss how important this is — how big of an effect this is going to have on things we care about. This story is designed as ammunition for family conversations tomorrow.

As I write this, O’Reilly is on the air on FOX saying “Another ruling by an activist judge that puts us all in danger.” That’s an exact quote. It isn’t about this story, but it reinforces it: Yet more “liberals’ who are “going too far.”

See the forest. See how this stuff works!

Update – I have a more few pre-holiday minutes to spend on this… To be clear about this story, the school said the teacher could not use handouts that included quotes from the Declaration and other documents. A San Mateo Times story (where I live) says,

“She then prevented Williams from giving students several handouts including:

- Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence with references to “God,” “Creator,” and “Supreme Judge.”

And from the Alliance’s press release,

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit yesterday against the Cupertino Union School District for prohibiting a teacher from providing supplemental handouts to students about American history because the historical documents contain some references to God and religion. [emphasis added]

Supplemental handouts, huh? I wonder where he got those from?

That’s all this is. The rest is strategic disinformation — agitprop.

And for the Right’s spin on the story — how’s suing for saying “Merry Christmas?”

Update IIDigby’s on it too. And the blogosphere is picking it up: Atrios, Daou Report. Now Blue Lemur, Liberal Oasis, Information Clearing House, First Draft, APJ, archy, different strings, Homeschool, Brilliant at Breakfast, Kidding on the Square, What It Is Today, Vegacura, The Peking Duck, Scoobie Davis, Mouse Words, pquesblog, Akkams Razor, Grinblog, Agblog, Steve Gilliard, Exile on Main Street, Off the Cuff, Mahablog, skippy, Julia at American Street, culture kitchen, the 23rd monkey, Majikthise (settle down, Richard), An old soul. We might just get the major media involved and beat this lie down before it does too much damage!

Update III Too late. Damage done. Drudge has posted the phone number of the principal of the school.

The word ‘”inferred” after ‘Summary’ has been added.

Truest comment, spotted at Blue Lemur: “2 years from now, the right-wingers will still be talking about that story like it was true.”