September 21, 2018

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: July 14, 2018

County Fair (2016)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: July 14, 2018

It’s county fair season in my part of the world. State fairs are around the corner and these celebrations and gatherings will be going on throughout the summer and fall. I’m trying to decide whether or not we want to offer at our Brunch some of the outrageous and purportedly delectable (?) food offerings that you can find at fairs around the country. Might be worth a look.

Here are a few of the possibilities:

Double doughnut mac and cheese burger with bacon. (Indiana State Fair)

Pulled pork, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos smother roasted potatoes, nacho-style (Indiana State Fair)

Biggy’s Caramel Crack Fries. The French fries are tossed in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then drizzled with salted caramel sauce and topped with whipping cream and sprinkles (San Diego Co Fair)

Chicken and Waffles pizza with fried chicken, waffle pieces, bacon, mozzarella and syrup (Florida State Fair)

Southern Catfish Sundae: Hand cut french fries, Southern fried catfish, and a slightly spicy Southern remoulade sauce or tangy tartar sauce on top (Florida State Fair)

Zesty PB&J Sausage with peanut butter, cherry jelly, cayenne pepper, pork, and cilantro (Minn State Fair)

Cotton candy vanilla ice cream sandwich covered in Fruity Pebbles cereal (San Diego Co Fair)

Bacon-wrapped Baklava (San Diego Co Fair)

DO YOU WATCH “THE HANDMAID’S TALE”?

The season two finale of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” aired this past week with unexpected violence toward privileged characters and a surprise ending that will keep us wondering about the future and prospects of main character June, the handmaid.

There have been many times I’ve considered writing about “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The series is based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood (1985) about an America that has been taken over by a theonomic, patriarchal government called Gilead. Environmental degradation and social diseases have rendered most women infertile and civil war leads to this new regime, which uses biblical texts as the authority to subjugate women for purposes of childbearing.

Some have seen The Handmaid’s Tale as a critique of fundamentalist Christianity. It is true that it is religious fundamentalism that rules Gilead, but is more of an ancient old covenant model of biblicism that holds sway, not the faith of Jesus Christ. Still, given the way some evangelical faith leaders in our day play power politics, supporting movements and policies that, at the least, are questionable in relation to Jesus’ teaching and example, it is not entirely unwarranted that some might see vague parallels, at least in their nightmares.

Do you watch this show? If so, what do you think of it?

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK…

Why has the Enneagram become so popular among Christians?

For most of America’s history, the Supreme Court was composed almost entirely of Protestants. Why is it now dominated by Catholics and Jews?

Can preachers make an impact in a post-Christian world?

Why was it necessary for the women in the Willow Creek/Bill Hybels scandal to go public?

What is it like to see a way of life fade away?

Is the Bible really our authority?

FROM RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT:

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square unveiled the fingernail exhibit of Mr. Shridhar Chillal of Pune, India, who had not cut his nails since 1952. Embarking on his journey at the age of 14, he has grown his nails for 66 years. At age 82, he will be memorialized as having the longest fingernails in the world.

Ripley’s flew Mr. Chillal from India to the United States to cut his nails and forever memorialize them in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square.

Mr. Chillal decided to grow his nails when he was scolded by his school teacher as a result of accidentally breaking the teacher’s long nail. The teacher said that Chillal would never understand the importance of what he had done because Chillal had never committed to anything. “I took it as a challenge,” said Chillal, and there was no looking back.

“Ripley’s is privileged to display this truly unique and one-of-a-kind exhibit. Mr. Chillal dedicated his life to something truly remarkable and Ripley’s is the perfect home to honor his legacy. While he may have cut his fingernails, his nails will be forever memorialized inside Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square.” Suzanne Smagala-Potts, PR Manager, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Mr. Chillal’s unusual choice didn’t stop him from leading a normal and happy life. He married, has two children, three grandchildren, and enjoyed a successful career as a Government Press Photographer.

However, as he aged, his long nails were proving more challenging to maintain an ordinary lifestyle. He found it difficult to sleep, and even a gust of wind was cause for alarm. In the memorial case – Believe it or Not! – his cut fingernails are laid flat and span a length of over 31 feet, the height of a three-story building.

He only grew the nails on his left hand. His right hand’s nails are trimmed. Due to years of growing his nails and the weight of the nails, his hand is permanently handicapped. He cannot open his hand from a closed position or flex his fingers.

TURNING NEAR-TRAGEDY INTO COMEDY…

Jim Gaffigan has a new comedy special, called Noble Ape.” It grows out of some recent scariness in his own family, when his wife underwent surgery for a brain tumor. She is Jim’s co-writer, and it is not only his, but her sense of humor that comes through this new concert.

Here’s an excerpt about that experience.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE…

From The Atlantic: One of the issues about government in our days is the growth and the development of the so-called “administrative state” — the administrative and regulatory institutions outside the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government, which have grown immensely throughout my lifetime.

In his article, “America Is Not a Democracy,” Yascha Mounk writes: “In many policy areas, the job of legislating has been supplanted by so-called independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once they are founded by Congress, these organizations can formulate policy on their own. In fact, they are free from legislative oversight to a remarkable degree, even though they are often charged with settling issues that are not just technically complicated but politically controversial.”

This is one of several reasons Mounk says that we have a real democracy problem here in the U.S. However, the situation is complicated. Near the end of his article, I found a few paragraphs that, in my opinion, form one of the clearest statements of the dilemma modern nations and their governments face today and in days to come:

For all that the enemies of technocracy get right, though, their view is ultimately as simplistic as the antidemocratic one. The world we now inhabit is extremely complex. We need to monitor hurricanes and inspect power plants, reduce global carbon emissions and contain the spread of nuclear weapons, regulate banks and enforce consumer-safety standards. All of these tasks require a tremendous amount of expertise and a great degree of coordination. It’s unrealistic to think that ordinary voters or even their representatives in Congress might become experts in what makes for a safe power plant, or that the world could find an effective response to climate change without entering cumbersome international agreements. If we simply abolish technocratic institutions, the future for most Americans will look more rather than less dangerous, and less rather than more affluent.

It is true that to recover its citizens’ loyalty, our democracy needs to curb the power of unelected elites who seek only to pad their influence and line their pockets. But it is also true that to protect its citizens’ lives and promote their prosperity, our democracy needs institutions that are, by their nature, deeply elitist. This, to my mind, is the great dilemma that the United States—and other democracies around the world—will have to resolve if they wish to survive in the coming decades.

We don’t need to abolish all technocratic institutions or merely save the ones that exist. We need to build a new set of political institutions that are both more responsive to the views and interests of ordinary people, and better able to solve the immense problems that our society will face in the decades to come.

TODAY IN MUSIC

One of the best new albums I’ve heard lately comes from an old friend — John Prine. It’s called The Tree of Forgiveness,” and it’s his first release of new songs in 13 years. This fine record features not only the old master but also some of my favorite contemporary musicians and songwriters, like Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Sturgill Simpson, and Brandi Carlisle.

John Prine has twice survived cancer now, having most recently recovered from lung cancer. He’d had neck cancer in the late 1990s. He told Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air that these illnesses and treatments changed his voice enough that he can bear to listen to himself sing now.

Prine has always been a master of language and a clever observer of human nature in all its down-to-earth forms. And this new album carries on the tradition with a strong program of Prine poetic insights. As Will Hermes said at Rolling Stone, “It’s very good, frequently brilliant, with all the qualities that define Prine’s music.”

Here is the most poignant and pretty song from The Tree of Forgiveness, “Summer’s End.” Prine sings with guests Sturgill Simpson and Brandi Carlisle.

The album ends with a characteristically clever and rollicking Prine meditation from a guy who is obviously comfortable in his mortality. He sings about how “this old man’s goin’ to town” when it’s time to go to heaven. Sound to me kinda like goin’ to the fair.

I’m gonna get a cocktail — vodka and ginger ale
I’m gonna smoke a cigarette that’s nine miles long
I’m gonna kiss that pretty girl on the Tilt-a-Whirl
‘Cause this old man is goin’ to town.

Comments

  1. I just saw Judy Collins live in concert. Unbelievable. She’s everything she always used to be, and what a range in her voice even now.

    That’s the good news. But you asked us what we thought about The Handmaid’s Tale, and I’ve watched that too, just having caught up with all the episodes. The finale had a few surprises. I feel sorry for Aunt Lydia, but expect to see her next season. Serena Joy’s pinky is expendable, and she got everything she asked for. She’s the Ayn Rand of the operation, after all.

    I heard Margaret Atwood in an interview saying that none of this is really fiction, that all of it has happened, or is happening even now. If we remember slavery in the American South, or Apartheid in South Africa, or Nazi Germany, or the Soviet Union under Stalin, or the reign of terror after the French Revolution, or the Iranian Revolution, or the treatment of women in many countries (but they can drive now in Saudi Arabia!) we can imagine a country like Gilead

    I don’t think it’s primarily a critique of fundamentalist Christianity. Gilead is beyond that, and Christ is never mentioned. It’s more of an Old Testament-styled regime, and churches have been torn down. But I do recognize a lot of the legalism and patriarchy in the strict interpretation of key bible verses, cherry-picked and used as weapons. I’m also encouraged by the use of John 1:1-14 (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…) by Serena Joy when she brazenly read from the bible before the all-male council, appealing for the education of girls. Women are not allowed to read in Gilead, even to read the bible, and Serena Joy was largely responsible for that. It has come back to bite her and she is trying to change that law. But, the law is the law, and her husband cannot tolerate humiliation before the council. So off with her pinky, and it could have been worse.

    I came out of this season with the feeling that everyone is a prisoner in Gilead. Everybody is being watched by somebody and nobody is free, even Serena Joy or her charming husband Commander Waterford. The revolution is turning against itself, as evil does, and I think season three can only get worse before it gets better.

    The biggest surprise was the Sophie’s choice that June (Offred) made at the end. I didn’t see that coming.

    Oh, but Judy Collins was amazing. If you ever get the chance, get the tickets.

    Cheers.

    • Christiane says:

      Hi TED,

      I remember seeing Judy Collins at Wolf Trap, ever so long ago. It was a VERY long time ago. I remember she sang a favorite of mine ‘Song for Martin’ and in the middle of it, the guy sitting in back of me quietly said ‘my God’ . . . in a reverential way, yes. People often speak about hearing her sing in person as being a deeply moving experience. It was for me. Glad you had a chance to see her live.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > The Handmaid’s Tale,

      I only watched a few episodes, and .. meh, didn’t seem fun. Life is grim enough, so not my cup of tea.

      I certainly do hear about it frequently. Usually as the Gold Standard Example for how much secular lefty’s or whomever hate Evangelicals and believe they are evil – – – so apparently the show is pretty popular with Evangelicals? The usual trailer to that argument is: “Do you/they REALLY believe we would do that? How dare you.”

      Which is interesting, and so far they don’t seem to have heard the response [not shocking there], which is: “No, we do not believe that is the future you want. But if someone was after that future we don’t believe you would lift a finger to stop them; they could almost certainly buy your silence. You have a history of being a cheap date.”

      • Scorch!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Do you/they REALLY believe we would do that? How dare you.”

        Mike Pence, Vision Forum, Christian Reconstructionism, Take Back America, Christian Nation, History According to Bannon, Young, Restless and TRULY Reformed, Huckabee, the Court Evangelicals competing to kiss LORD Trump’s Anointed Ass…

        There are a LOT of Wannabe Commanders of Holy Gilead out there, brandishing their Bibles.

        • Patriciamc says:

          In Gilead, as the Canadian representative pointed out in one episode, they blame just the women for infertility when it’s the men too. That’s why Serena asked Nick to sleep with Offred (June) since Fred was infertile.

          Gilead might be Pence’s Disneyland, but he and Doug Wilson (Wilson I believe) are still bound by US law and the Constitution. Now, to be fair, Pence is not as bad as Commander Waterford (Fred), but he probably doesn’t understand that overturning Roe v. Wade will be the death knell of the Republican party. But that’s probably a subject for another time…

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > overturning Roe v. Wade will be the death knell of the Republican party

            I think he understand perfectly well that overturning Roe could effectively guarantee Republican control of the Senate for a generation. And since the Senate controls appointments…

            There are 26 solidly Red “Conservative” states, which is all they need thanks to the anti-democratic desgins of the US Constitution.

            Overturning Roe would be a victory they could point to for decades.

            • Stbndct says:

              Adam, did you never learn in school that we are a republic not a democracy

            • Patriciamc says:

              You could be right, but I don’t think the public support for overturning Roe is there. Before this past election, back when everything was predictable, I always said that the Reps would not overturn Roe because they’d lose too many votes, so they appeased both sides by talking big and doing nothing. These days, who knows. It will be interesting to see if any challenges to Roe make it to the Court or if they’re squashed beforehand.

              • I always said that the Reps would not overturn Roe because they’d lose too many votes, so they appeased both sides by talking big and doing nothing.

                Patricia, I agree. If Roe v. Wade were repealed the Republicans would lose their key bargaining chip with the religious right. So they won’t try too hard. Just hard enough to make it look like they’re doing something, and then blame the Democrats.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Gilead might be Pence’s Disneyland, but he and Doug Wilson (Wilson I believe) are still bound by US law and the Constitution.

            Until the Constitution (words of men) are replaced with SCRIPTURE (Word Of GOD) in a New Restored CHRISTIAN America.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            In Gilead, as the Canadian representative pointed out in one episode, they blame just the women for infertility when it’s the men too.

            There’s much historical precedent for that.
            It’s ALWAYS the fault of those incarnate Jezebel Spirits.

            Do they also blame the woman for giving birth to a daughter instead of a son? I’ve heard of that happening in some patriarchal cultures.

    • I discovered Judy Collins in the late 60’s. She’s amazing.

    • Hmm. I can’t separate Judy Collins from the memories of my mother playing her in the background in the early 70s especially. I do like her voice and songs. Some were among those I would “sing” all or phrases from over and over under my breath. Some memories, like those of doing yoga in the house on N. 3rd St. with Judy Collins in the background are … pleasant. Others are less so.

      My wife loved Handmaid’s Tale, started in season 2, binged all of them, and then anxiously waited for each coming one. Now we’ve started watching them all together. Oddly, I’ve had the book on my shelf for years as one that sounded interesting, if challenging, and that I wanted to read “someday” but that day never came. Maybe I should read it now.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Serena Joy when she brazenly read from the bible before the all-male council, appealing for the education of girls. Women are not allowed to read in Gilead, even to read the bible, and Serena Joy was largely responsible for that. It has come back to bite her and she is trying to change that law. But, the law is the law, and her husband cannot tolerate humiliation before the council. So off with her pinky, and it could have been worse.

      I have a feeling that Serena Joy and her Commander husband may be going up the chimneys in the next Cleansing of Heretics. Like the lineup atop Lenin’s Tomb in The Death of Stalin, I’m sure the Commanders are playing the Game of Thrones behind the mask of Godly Unity.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I don’t think it’s primarily a critique of fundamentalist Christianity. Gilead is beyond that, and Christ is never mentioned. It’s more of an Old Testament-styled regime, and churches have been torn down.

      Ted, that sounds like a lawyer citing technicalities.

      1) Springfiield Community Church in The Simpsons also doesn’t name Christ. It’s a TV theatrical convention, probably to “offend nobody” and not attract boycotts,
      2) The Neo-Cals for one also talk a lot about God(TM) but very little about Christ.
      3) The Christian Reconstructionists/Dominionist/Seven Mountains Mandate types are VERY into Leviticus — not Jesus — as the Constitution and Law Code for their Restored Christian America. “GOD HATH SAID!”

      And after a generation or two living under a Restored True Christian America (between Nehemiah Scudder and Revolt in 2100), the name “Jesus Christ” will have acquired the same baggage as the name “Adolf Hitler”.

      (Aside — there as a long-ago Web essay about how Handmaid’s Tale and Heinlien’s Revolt in 2100 fit together fairly well if you consider Heinlien’s setting to be a generation or two after HT. Both deal with Religious Dictatorship Americas, and Heinlien’s Single Prophet could be a result of Game of Thrones among the Commanders/Ayatollahs until only one was left to establish a Dynastic Monarchy.)

      But I do recognize a lot of the legalism and patriarchy in the strict interpretation of key bible verses, cherry-picked and used as weapons.

      “I Know I’m Right —
      I HAVE A VERSE!”

      “Show Me SCRIPTURE!” — Raul Rees, Calvary Chapel

      (Aside — I figured Margaret Atwood based Gilead on a Christian Version of Iran. In an interview she said she based it on some Bible Belt churches she encountered, probably IFB or Culture War types.)

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    My gallbladder exploded looking at those Fair foods.

    • Robert F says:

      My gorge rose looking at those fair foods.

    • That stuff… is the opposite of appetizing. :-/

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        What? “Pulled pork, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos smother roasted potatoes, nacho-style” – sounds like something I just ate from a food truck. It was great.

    • Michael Z says:

      The photos were missing a New England state fair staple: cotton candy made from maple syrup. It’s actually really good, as long as you have 3-4 people to split it with so you don’t end up trying to eat a whole bag of it yourself. 🙂

      Also, fried butter. And anything that involves a combination of ice cream and waffles.

    • That Other Jean says:

      I looked at the pictures, read the descriptions, and my innards chimed in, loudly: Nope . Nopenopenopenope..

    • I have celiac disease, so they pretty much all looked like poison to me, not food. 😉

  3. Robert F says:

    Those long fingernails look real dirty.

  4. Robert F says:

    Was introduced to Enneagram twenty or so years ago, and spent some time getting into it. Ultimately didn’t find it helpful or enlightening, but a distraction from my own personal real spiritual work. Not in the least interested in it now.

    • Michael Z says:

      I’m really suspicious of anything that says that human personality can be divided up into a small number of distinct categories which can then be connected to each other to form a visually pleasing and symmetrical line diagram.

      That said, the Enneagram does represent two very useful insights into human behavior: 1. we each have a set of needs, fears, and desires that govern our behavior, and 2. that set of motives can be completely different for one person than for another.

      For example, my Enneagram type (1) is all about wanting to do what’s right, regardless of other considerations. It’s really easy for me to say, “Christianity is about doing the right thing, so anyone who’s a Christian ought to think like me and always be trying to do the right thing in every aspect of their life.” In other words, there’s a temptation to take the way that my own mind works, unconsciously assume it’s the only correct way of thinking, and use it as a standard by which I judge everyone else.

      • Robert F says:

        The spot that it and other such profiles miss is that we can have different and even contradictory sets of needs, fears, and desires governing our behavior at different times and on different occasion; that is, we are not unified as persons. We are more like a pack of animals living together under one personality, dominating at times and being dominated at others. To use the postmodern way of putting it, we as persons have no psychological meta-narrative, much as we like to think we do. At least, this is what I see when I examine my own behavior over the decades.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Enneagram was a Pop Psychology analysis FAD.
      I remember it getting denounced as Satanic by all the usual suspects.
      (And Transactional Analysis always made a lot more sense to me.)

  5. Christiane says:
  6. senecagriggs says:

    Haven’t watched the Handmaid’s Tale, but I certainly know, in a small way, what it’s like to be in the powerless group. For instance, I don’t recall a progressive Christian’s comment being deleted but as a conservative Evangelical, mine do get deleted.

    But that’s life isn’t it. There is the ruling cultural narrative and if you do not agree, those in power would like you to shut up, or they can do it to you.

    Me? I question the cultural narrative because I believe it only leads to darkness. Utopia is not on it’s way.

    • Robert F says:

      Uh, progressive/liberal Christian over here who’s had comments deleted. Does that mean I’m a martyr too, just like you?

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        I too have had comments deleted here. It is indeed just like being forced into servitude.

        • Heather Angus says:

          Yes! Just exactly like being forced into servitude. AND also being raped AND ALSO having a finger cut off. The agony and despair!

      • ROBERT, I don’t recall seeing

        “Robert F. comment deleted”

        We all know, due to server/internet issues, that comments sometimes get legitimately lost due to issues other than Imonk repression.

      • That Other Jean says:

        My comments and replies don’t get deleted, but every single one of them winds up in moderation, even the most innocuous, to be eventually released–including, no doubt, this one. I have never understood why that happens, but it does.

        • Christiane says:

          same for me with the delays

          is it something I’ve done? (probably)
          or
          is it ‘the ghost in the machine’?

          ?

      • Clay Crouch says:

        Guilty as charged.

    • I’ve posted very unpopular opinions here before (about original sin and depravity). Did I get argued with? Yes. Name-called? Once or twice. Blocked? No – because I was posting on-topic and I wasn’t a flaming jerkwad about it.

    • Burro (Mule) says:

      I have never had a post deleted. Mike was crazy enough to let me write for IM briefly, and the posts are still archived. They were very controversial.

      The tolerance for unpopular opinions here is high. You’re bitching into the wind.

      • Christiane says:

        I’m allowed to ‘rant’ here when I’m upset. This is a blessing (for me, but not for those who might read it)

        My greatest sin is getting off topic or ‘bird-walking’ (going off on a tangent, not staying with the main theme). The truth is, I don’t always do this consciously, so I hope I will be forgiven. And I don’t mind if such comments are removed, either, as I trust the judgment of this site’s caretakers.

        Imonk is a GREAT place to meet in the center hall and really get to know other people from different backgrounds. You can take it from me that this is a rare and wonderful thing.

        SHOUT OUT TO SUSAN IN AUSTRALIA:
        Let us know how things are going. Sending ‘hug’.

        • Susan Dumbrell says:

          Still here, still watching
          The food made me ill just looking.
          Handmaid’s Tale is scary, just a bit too close for comfort.
          Freezing cold today.
          Frost on lawn lasted till 12 noon.
          Battling my way through my second bout of bronchitis this winter.
          I didn’t go to Church today, they would turn me away “unclean”.
          Maybe a leper’s bell.
          My husband is OK I am told. I am staying away from him and the other residents.
          I have it from a good source that this brand of bronchitis is rife through our city.
          Love you all, play nice.
          Susan

        • Susan Dumbrell says:

          I did reply, gone into the ether I suspect.
          Grr.
          I will email CM

          • Christiane says:

            Hey Susan,
            we got your first message . . . . bronchitis is NO fun, try some hot toddies to break it up a bit and try to get extra sleep . . . . my BEST advice? plain old homemade chicken soup (if I were there, I’d make you some) & drink lots of water, etc.

            • Susan Dumbrell says:

              All your suggestions are good advice.

              I am watching Le Tour de France every night as I have for many years.
              I am hooked. John and I watched it together since forever.
              I call it my Annual Holiday in France.
              Scenery is magnificent.

    • Michael Z says:

      I’d consider myself progressive, and there was a period of time right after Trump got elected when about half of the comments I posted on IM got deleted. And in retrospect, I was very angry at culturally conservative evangelicals and having a hard time expressing that anger in constructive ways – I don’t think those posts would have helped anyone if they’d seen the light of day.

      Incidentally, from my perspective IM doesn’t feel like it’s dominated by progressive voices. To me it feels more like the viewpoint that’s most often expressed is that of boomer-aged Midwestern traditional (i.e. non-Trump) Republicans. (And I don’t fall into any of those categories.)

      • Robert F says:

        Yeah, I read a lot of comments that are center to far right in content here, political and religious; I don’t see any under-representation of that demographic at iMonk. I get the feeling that the Trumpists and hold-their-nose-Trump supporters here object mostly to the Never Trump position of our host, CM, rather than the commenters.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      I have had one of mine deleted in the last week or so.

      Martyr-complexes aren’t very sexy, btw.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        –> “Martyr-complexes aren’t very sexy, btw.”

        No, but they usually make us feel better about being a victim.

        😉

    • I don’t actually pay much attention to whether or not my comments anywhere are edited or removed. If somebody ever sends me feedback, I try to pay attention to it and keep it in mind if I comment in that location in the future.

      I’ve always been clear that there’s one small place on the Internet where I pay to have things I write published. Even there, it’s not exactly an “anything goes” arrangement. Since I don’t own or run the equipment or network myself, if I were to do something that raised legal or business issues for my hosting company, I expect they would terminate our business arrangement. In that space, though, I decide what I will or won’t publish and what comments I find acceptable.

      Outside that space, I’m interacting in places that belong to other people. And their rules, whether or not they are ever communicated clearly, apply. I have no right and no expectation that they publish and maintain anything I write. They have the absolute right to determine whether or not something is okay for their space. If that space is a problematic one or one I feel is unsafe, I’m unlikely to participate in it anyway, but I’ve never had an issue with a site’s owners deleting what I wrote with or without feedback.

      I suppose if I found that rather than deleting a comment, a site owner had modified it in a way that actually changed the meaning and content of what I wrote into something I did not believe or found offensive, I would have an issue with that. But again, I tend to steer clear of the parts of the Internet where it’s my observation that such things are more likely to happen. I’ve certainly never seen any hint of it here.

      If you play in somebody else’s sandbox, you have to live with their rules. If you don’t like those rules, then it’s usually time to go find another sandbox.

      • David L says:

        Or, as I’ve told people, create your own sandbox. You can do it for anywhere from $0 to $100 per year depending on how sophisticated you want it to be.

        If you know what you are doing and saying something people want to hear/read, you’ll get a following. If not, maybe you need to think hard about what you are saying.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Seneca, you’ve actually been kicked off and banned from a couple blogs for TROLLING.
      So don’t play the “I Know What It’s Like To Be Powerless/Oppressed” Card.

    • Patriciamc says:

      Weren’t you off-topic when your comments were deleted?

    • Clay Crouch says:

      Your comments aren’t deleted because you are a conservative evangelical.

  7. Dan from Georgia says:

    State Fair was a great and fun movie. The 1945 version was much much better than the silly 1962 remake. Oh, and Jeanne Crain, very wholesome and easy on the eyes!

    • john barry says:

      Dan from Georgia, on my mind , is this. I agree with you and the word that comes to mind with Jeanne Crain, Jean Simmons and Jean Peters is Lovely, which seems like an old fashioned word and is rarely used now. I list the 3 women together as I get them confused though the years as they looked a lot a like and were type cast in a similar manner.

      I cannot think of many famous people that are or would I describe as lovely today. I know this is also old guy talk but no one is walking on my lawn so I have time.

      Ann Margret was in the 1962 State Fair and she is beautiful, sexy and talented , I like her a lot but she does not fit my definition of lovely. Loretta Young was lovely, Raquel Welch like Ann Margret.

      In todays world does the casting call go out to find a lovely actress who is wholesome.

      From John Barry the Man who would be King if they would let him.

      • Dan from Georgia says:

        john barry, I am glad you commented on my comment. What you say is true. I’m 50 and have only in the last few years or so discovered that I like some of the older classic movies, and along with those movies some very lovely leading ladies. In today’s world and culture, especially western culture, it seems the more trashy and untalented you are, the more attention you get.

  8. Robert F says:

    The problem right now is that the elected overseers of the technocracy and the security apparatus, which because of their less than sterling histories do indeed need careful monitoring, have themselves gone rogue.

    • Au contraire – from my viewpoint here in Disneyland-DC, it is the corporations and their pet PACs that have gone rogue.

      • Robert F says:

        I guess we didn’t watch the same interview of Agent Strzok by Congress.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        As in keeping with the post earlier this week: I am in the BOTH/AND camp on this one.

      • Patriciamc says:

        They can buy the government’s favor out in the open now. No more hiding in darkly lit fashionable restaurants.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > elected overseers of the technocracy … have themselves gone rogue.

      Yep, I hear the argument about the technocracy frequently – and I think its crap. As if someone out there is nursing an anti-democratic grievance about FCC or FRA policy. It’s pretty silly. So many people are angry that railroads must visually inspect class 6 designated right of way on a daily basis . . I mean, they are about to take to the streets!!!

      And if Democracy is the Gold Standard . . . why no mention of our turd waffle of a constitution? Creating a representative democracy is clearly not the goal of that document – when how it apportions places us on track to have 65+% of the population represented by 30 of 100 senators. And then you have how we district, how we apportion, and the electoral college.

      In the state of Wyoming every 250,000 people get a senator. In California it takes 19.7 MILLION people to equal a senator. A representational democracy this is NOT – and our Founders (who I do not particularly admire) intended it that way; their intention was a nation which could be safely controlled by the [of course cool headed, reasonable, and fair] landed gentry – or whomever the equivalent of the day might be.

      We have much bigger problem than technocracy.

      • Robert F says:

        To the extent that the technocracy overlaps with the security apparatus, there is legitimate reason for concern and oversight. It is technocracy that allows the security apparatus to monitor and keep records of all our phone calls, for instance.

        Yes, I’ve come to see the deficiency of our Constitution lately. It would be damned difficult to fix, given the hoops Congress and the States would have to be made to pass through to effect change. In its defense, I can only say that it was cobbled together under difficult historical circumstances to unite disparate Colonies with very different interests who needed to fight together against the British to prevail, and so the Constitution was a less than ideal compromise designed to get everybody on board. Whether our Revolution was a good idea is a different subject altogether.

        • I’d have more sympathy for the arguments against “the security apparatus” if most of the people who complained about it didn’t turn around and blithely sign over all their personal data to social media companies in exchange for “free” email and picture posting. At least govvie spooks have oversight regulations…

          • Robert F says:

            Is it possible to get e-mail that’s other than “free”? You know it’s practically impossible to operate a business, even a small one like my wife’s, without an e-mail account. She’s held off starting a Facebook account because she doesn’t like the idea of having one, but not having it puts her at a competitive disadvantage. As for me, I have a “free” e-mail account because it’s difficult to impossible to interact with the benefits my employee provides for me without one, but I only go into the account once every couple months. If I could go without, or afford a pay-for e-mail (are there such things?), I’d do it.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              There are many oay-for e-mail.accouts. I tend to point people towards FastMail; which is a good reputable company.

              And there are always those infamous private e-mai servers like Hillary and myself use. These days I am thinking more and more about moving the hosting for my server out of the United States.

              • Robert F says:

                Thanks Adam, I’ll look into it for myself and wife. I’m not well-informed about these things; in many ways my wife and I live with late 20th century technology rather than 21st.

                • David L says:

                  This is by example, NOT AN AD.

                  With Microsoft you can get a free outlook.com account.
                  Or you can pay for an email only account with your own domain for $5 per month per inbox. (You can have multiple domains and email addresses flowing into a single inbox and there’s even more things you can do with shared inboxes that don’t cost extra.)
                  For $12.50 per month you can have paid email and access to the Office Suite.

                  Domains cost from $5 to $20 per year.

                  And you can create a Facebook account using a non personal email address. And for better privacy just use a different browser for it vs. everything else.

                  There is a hurdle to privacy but it is NOT a high one.

      • Robert F says:

        I guess we’ve all been programmed to speak in hushed and reverent terms about the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and their Constitution, when it is in fact unwarranted to do so. Even more reason not to try to MAGA.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Yep, deification of “The Founders” has been a poison in American politics since very nearly the beginning.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I’ve been expecting some form of MAGA pushback since the Eighties, when I read in Strauss & Howe’s 13th Gen (Gen-X analyzed by Strauss & Howe’s generational dynamics cycle) about educational establishment teaching Gen-Xers that “America should never act in their own interests, but always defer to International Decision Making Bodies.”

          i.e. IDMBs like the UN who ALWAYS have our best interests at heart? Well, we’re all Passengers on One Little Spaceship Earth…

          And the longer the pressure builds, the greater the strain on the fault line. In this case, for Stick-It-To-Them MAGA. And the fault line snapped in 2016. If it had gone earlier, there would have been less of a quake from less resentment built up. If it had snapped in say 2024 after Eight Years of Hillary (or 2032 after Eight More Years of Chelsea), it would not have resulted in a Trump. Eight-sixteen more years of built-up pressure and it WOULD have been a Hitler or worse.

          • Christiane says:

            this strangely makes sense to me, Headless

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Living less than 100km from the San Andreas Fault, I long ago came up with the idea that social change over time is like plate tectonics putting strain on an earthquake fault. And attempts to set the society (or its utopia) as permanent lock the fault and let the strain build up for an earthquake or series of earthquakes. Lock an active fault for 50+ years and you’re asking for a Big One. Followed by aftershocks bigger than the main quake would have been if it had slipped earlier under less stress.

              Different Example: Remember the structure of the UN? Why are the highest-ranking members of the Security Council are the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China? (With France being a regional power at best, the UK barely that, and Taiwan being China for several decades.) Because those were the Big Five Superpower victors of WW2 (USA, British Empire, French Not-an-Empire, USSR, and Kuomintang China), and the UN structure reflects the power dynamics of 1945. Even if conditions since then have changed (such as the breakup of colonial empires and the rise in importance of Germany, Japan, and India).

      • john barry says:

        Adam T.W. Thanks for the heads up on the Constitution, when I go to Waffle House I will not order the Constitution Waffle. I think they gave it to me last time.

        So if the Constitution had not been changed we would have 64 Republican Senators. We are a democracy/republic. Not a good form of government but the best that man can produce other than an ideal situation until everyone is as wise, benevolent , unselfish and reasoned as John Barry, who should be King .

        If I were King I would do the following

        1. Would be a Merry Ole Soul
        2. Not turn my daughter into gold
        3. Would make checkers official game of my Kingdom, and when my checker got to be crowned I would say Me Me.
        4. The crown would not weight heavy on my head as I would use tin foil , thus serving two purposes
        5 Would always remind people that “Once a King , always a King, but once a Knight is enough:
        6. I would not lear at anyone.
        7. Being a political correct King , I would not describe the peasants as revolting , even if they were. Hire Mel Brooks as my speech writer, as he knows it is good to be King.
        8. I would be both King of the hill and the road. My street name would be “12 Inches” as I am the ultimate ruler.
        9. I would instruct my men to give up on Humptity Dumptity as it is hopeless.
        10. I would not use the royal We as some smart peasants would ask me if I had a mouse in my pocket. I would let them eat cake but provide no dental care.

        11. I would always ask the fabled little boy if I am dressed correctly.

        • Christiane says:

          I don’t know, J.B.
          Other countries might make fun of you if you try to be King.
          Think about what the UK did to The Trump of Twitter:

          https://pmchollywoodlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/donald-trump-blimp-london-1.jpg?w=1000

          • john barry says:

            Christiane, “Never have so many owed so much to so few”. The courage to fly that balloon and the sacrifice to hold the ropes for at least two hours is just inspiring.

            “And if the Empire should last a thousand years, this will be their finest hour”. Well, actually I think they could put the balloon up for two hours.

            Actually I think the balloon was cute and all this is good for Trump if the smelly Trump people in Wal Mart are near the TV set section.

            Put a balloon up of Mohammod and see what CNN reports. Do not think that will happen.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Actually I think the balloon was cute and all this is good for Trump if the smelly Trump people in Wal Mart are near the TV set section.

              It’s snark humor, and I understand snark.
              Don’t forget “American Idiot” on all the London radio stations as well.

              Put a balloon up of Mohammod and see what CNN reports. Do not think that will happen.

              Because CNN and everyone KNOWS what Muslims do when they get “upset”.
              Fear Breeds Respect.

      • rhymeswithplague says:

        Adam, you obviously don’t understand the difference in the purpose of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House exists to represent the interests of each district’s constituents; that is, the population. So California gets 53 districts and Delaware 1 or 2. In 1790 a representative represented 30,000 people but currently about 750,000. The Senate, however, exists to represent the interests of the states themselves as entities, the 50 of which are equal regardless of their population or geographic area. Thus, there are two senators per state, originally chosen by the state legislatures but changed by the 17th Amendment to be chosen by the voting populace. So now both representatives and senators are chosen in the same way, but their purpose is still quite different. I repeat, a senator doesn’t represent the interests of the populace of his state but the interests of the state itself among the other 49 equal states,

        When you get all exercised about how many people a Senator represents you are missing the whole point of the Senate.

    • Robert F says:

      Addendum: And to liberals who ironically find themselves in the position of defending the historical integrity and probity of organizations like the FBI and CIA, there are more than a few things to say, but I only feel the need to say two: J. Edgar Hoover and Pinochet.

      • We’re no longer dealing with Hoover and Pinochet. The present danger is regulatory capture.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > The present danger is regulatory capture.

          Preach!!!

        • Robert F says:

          Yes, but typification that Strzok gave in his testimony of an idealistic organization whose members and leadership would never behave in anything less than politically neutral ways is patently false. Remember that it was the director of the CIA himself in 2016 who threw the Clinton campaign under the bus by releasing information in a press conference, against Bureau rules. Comey was trying to control partisan political atmosphere and outcomes in the country, which should be none of the FBI’s business, but has been on many occasions in the past, and apparently in the present, too.

          • Robert F says:

            Correction: …director of the FBI himself….

          • Patriciamc says:

            Comey knew what he was doing too. My theory is that he was paid, then later on bit the hand that fed him.

            • Or, he found out what everyone who deals with Trump eventually finds out – he has zero sense of loyalty and will turn on you in a heartbeat once you cease to be useful or sufficiently flattering.

              • Robert F says:

                Did it really take the director of the FBI that long to figure that out? Sad. I’ve known it since the 1980s, and I’ve never even met the man.

            • john barry says:

              Patriciamc, Can you explain or what do you think happened at the June 2016 meeting in Phoenix AZ airport when Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch ,, just happened to run into each other and spoke on her plane private for 30 minutes? What a coincident . Stuff just happens.

              The main offshoot of the meeting from the FBI was to try to find out who let the press know that it happened.

              So a few days later Comey took it upon himself to do the I see nothing illegal here stance to kill the issue and all was well as all thought HRC was going to win for sure.

              I find this “story” hard to believe . What do you think?

              My view is Comey thought he was throwing himself on the grenade and would be rewarded when HRC won and L. Lynch and him could carry on.

              I am going to Wal Mart now and get some air spray as it smells in Wal Mart .

              Oh, they talked about grandchildren and golf at the chance meeting. That’s it. I forgot

              • Patriciamc says:

                Clinton and Lynch were clearly up to no good and should have gotten dinged for it. Much of the blame for Trump goes to the Dems for not giving us a better candidate than Hillary and for letting the Clintons dominate the party. And seriously, Sanders was not a viable alternative. Comey’s non-announcement was perfectly timed to ruin Hillary’s momentum, which it did.

                • Robert F says:

                  Exactly, on all counts.

                • john barry says:

                  Patriciamc and Robert F. So what does up to no good mean? I think that the fix was that the investigation of HRC would not produce any criminal activity and Comey would make sure that Lynch was in the clear .

                  They all thought HRC had it in the bag. Why in the world would Comey try to hurt HRC? He knew he had to show some negative results but nothing “criminal”. Again it fell apart when the smelly Wal Mart shoppers elected Trump.

                  There is something rotten in Denmark and the 7th floor of the FBI.

                  John Barry has a 1971 spring break shirt imprinted with FBI , that was a big seller at Panama Beach Fl in 1971. It would seem to fit FBI agent Sprotz avocation, Female Body Inspector, I guess he liked to turn the Page. I guess that carried their undercovers assignment too far.

  9. Richard Hershberger says:

    I was curious what people were saying about Paula White and her recent renunciation of Christianity in favor of Trumpism. So I searched on her name over at Patheos. What people were saying turned out not to be the interesting bit, but who was saying anything and who was maintaining a discreet silence. There was a lot of commentary in the “progressive Christian” and “nonreligious” groups, and nearly dead silence among the “Evangelical” commenters. Finally, yesterday, one Evangelical blogger worked up the nerve to say what needed to be said. As yet none of the numerous other Evangelical bloggers has steeled themselves to join him.

  10. Steve Newell says:

    I find an interesting intersection between the second and third questions of the day.

    If you ask many “evangelicals” why they voted for Trump, they will state that it’s about the courts since they view the courts as the method to farther their politcal views. However, they will run for political offices but they don’t go to law schools and become lawyers. I find this interesting since it requires a degree of education that many “evangelicals” don’t engage in since they don’t like philosophical education that is the basis of law education. Who is the great Christian thinker of our day?

    That leads to the third question in the since many “evangelicals” are focused on the courts, there is a indirect admission that the Gospel of Christ is not relevant to our post-modern society thus they must rely on the political system to engage society. I look to the book of The Acts of the Apostles to understand how the Christian Church to act in a non-Christian culture. The Apostles and the early Church proclaimed Christ as the Savior and they served others in need.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > If you ask many “evangelicals” why they voted for Trump,

      There is a big problem with all such polls: are people honest? How much have they even thought about the Why? if you push people even a little you can discover the lack of any real knowledge about ideology, the systems, etc…

      The it-is-about-the-courts meme rings increasingly hollow to me, after having talked to so many people. It feels more and more like a cover argument.

      Most of the Trump voters I know – most not all – supported him because the gave them license to be crude and mean, which are characteristics they admire. That is what I believe. There is a lot of Strong Man admiration in [white] American culture, and a lot of [imagines] grievance/resentment narrative. Ironically, the more someone has an up-by-your-bootstraps machismo ideology, the more susceptible to resentment narratives they seem to be.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I remember one of the better Spiritual Warfare Novels of the mid-Seventies by a “Carol Balizet”. In the final showdown scene, the Demon behind it all makes a bragging Villain Speech about grooming the moral deterioration and chaos engulfing society, ending with “Until they call upon The Strong Man. And The Strong Man will come.”

        Ironically, the more someone has an up-by-your-bootstraps machismo ideology, the more susceptible to resentment narratives they seem to be.

        Obvious (to me) dynamic. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps (Rugged Individualism) and see all these others getting the Gravy poured down their throats without lifting a finger. Same dynamic you get when trying to stop abusive hazing — “I Didn’t Have It Easy — WHY SHOULD THEY?”

      • David L says:

        The it-is-about-the-courts meme rings increasingly hollow to me, after having talked to so many people. It feels more and more like a cover argument. … Most of the Trump voters I know – most not all – supported him because the gave them license to be crude and mean, which are characteristics they admire.

        Hmm. Most of the people I know personally who voted for DT fall into the “for the courts” camp. But then again I know some, including relatives, who are in the 2nd camp. Even though they don’t admit it.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Remember, the “Roe v Wade/for the Courts” trope has been Salvation-level Dogma for Evangelical Activists since at least the 1980s. And the GOP has been stringing their Christianese Base along with that always-just-out-of-reach carrot ever since. Now Gawd’s Culture Warriors are getting their wish, a wish that has become so Important that any side effects from it are justified. (Anyone read Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”? Or Ursula LeGuin’s Lathe of Heaven? Both are about side effects from the Wish.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Who is the great Christian thinker of our day?

      Ken Ham?
      Bill Got Hard?
      John Piper of Twitter?
      Donald Trump of Twitter?

  11. Robert F says:

    The only sermons that has ever impacted me were from preachers who, though they stood above us in the pulpit, knew that they were in exactly the same boat as me and everybody else in the congregation. They’ve been few and far between.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Of the several sermons I remember there is a single characteristic: they were all brave, direct, and pointed.

      I believe many reasons The Sermon has lost its power is sheer abundance – there are just sooo much sermoning. A tool like that naturally looses its power when overused.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Until it becomes “Just like a Fidel Castro six-hour ‘Socialism or Death’ speech, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

        (Incidentally, the name “Fidel” means “Faithful One”, and Fidel WAS the most Faithful to the Sacred Cause of the Castro brothers.)

  12. Robert F says:

    suddenly in June
    the corn stretches to the sky
    as if to escape

  13. Stephen says:

    A way of life fades away…

    “The old order changeth
    yielding place to new
    And God fulfills himself in many ways
    Lest one good custom should corrupt the world…”

    -Tennyson

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      It can be amusing that we talk about 100 years, maybe 3 – 4 generations, as a “long time”.

      It really is not that long.

      Many of those “small rural towns” could just as well be described as artifacts of a brief economic transition

  14. Tumors – not funny. Jim Gaffigan – funny.
    Thumbs up to John Prine.

  15. Been watching The Handmaid’s Tale. Read the book decades ago. I think it’s compelling and fascinating. And I don’t think something like it would be impossible; many elements of it have already happened or are happening in history. And that includes in America. We certainly have the ingredients: fundamentalism and nationalism and dominionism, with their desire for power and for certain enforced social changes.

    80% of white evangelicals voted for trump after he boasted about sexually abusing women and about being able to murder someone and get away with it; after he mocked the disabled; after he made statements that clearly indicate racial bias. Sure, many were trading these downsides in an attempt to get their legislative and judicial picks implemented. But many others didn’t see these as downsides; they bought the fear-mongering and invited in the monster. Some like the monster; others are trying to figure out how to accommodate it (thus the various bizarre arguments and verbal gymnastics), but no one is rejecting it.

    Do not underestimate the human capacity for evil.

    • 80% of white Evangelicals vote against Hillary. Most of his held our nose and voted for Mr. Trump – the anti-Hillary.

      • Quoting from a comment on a Patheos post on a similar topic…

        “If Democrats had nominated someone this bad (referring to Trump) I would have voted for a Republican. Just keeping the lights on and nuclear weapons in their silos is important enough to set aside some legislative priorities.”

      • Some did vote against Hillary. But not all 80% by any stretch. Nowhere close. I have numerous evangelical acquaintances who were positive, even ecstatic, about Trump from the start.

        Hillary has been demonized by the right for decades, and clearly it paid off for them in this election. White evangelicals bought it and I have little doubt they are on the wrong side of history. Again.

        When the evil grows too much for even white evangelicals to ignore, no one is going to care what motives anyone had for giving this evil president power.

        • Christiane says:

          Hello John,

          you wrote, this:
          “When the evil grows too much for even white evangelicals to ignore, no one is going to care what motives anyone had for giving this evil president power.”

          I guess I expected the evangelical community to protest the way babies and toddlers were pulled from their mother’s arms at the border, but it didn’t happen. Very silent over Trump’s evil they are being.

          I think I don’t want to know what kind of ‘evil’ will be ‘too much’ for the evangelical community (the 80 % supporters) . . . . . I’m not sure any of us want to see this come about, no.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Closest we want to come to that is watching Handmaid’s Tale on Netflix.

      • Steve Newell says:

        We were given a bad choice and a really bad choice. I still don’t know which of the two are worse. All I know is that America is harmed by our two major politcal parties.

        I don’t get how Christians can be excited about Trump. There is nothing in his life that I find acceptable. But this goes to one of my positions is that more many “evangelical” Christians, their politics drive their theology so they are willing make a Faustian bargain with people like Trump.

        • Christiane says:

          my dear brother who is normally Republican, couldn’t stomach Trump and could not vote for Hillary, so he researched Jill Stein and decided to go ‘green’

          So she gets his vote, and later, my brother sees THIS PICTURE, and ‘gets it’ that he has been had big time

          https://www.motherjones.com/wp-content/uploads/russia_dinner2000.jpg?w=990

          • Robert F says:

            The Russians aren’t coming anymore — they’ve arrived.

          • Patriciamc says:

            I was a staunch Republican before Trump. As “should be President” John Kasich said, I didn’t so much leave the party as the party left me. I’m now an Independent who will go Democrat if the Dems come back to the common-sense center.

          • Patriciamc says:

            That photo is very telling.

            • Robert F says:

              Vlad now has his army of Renfields in the U.S., chief among them you-know-who.

          • john barry says:

            Christiane , where and when was the picture taken and the source of it? What is the news story behind the dinner.

            In full disclosure I knew Jill Stein’s brother , Beer, very well. His real first name was Franken.

            • Christiane says:

              Hello J.B.

              that picture is available if you goole Flynn and Stein at dinner with Putin on different sites, but here is one link. It mentions Putin, but not the circumstances behind Stein’s involvement with the Russians.

              My worry is that Trump INSISTS that there be no American witnesses to his meeting with Putin on Monday in Helsinki Finland . . . so why the secrecy??? It’s like he is doing an ‘open’ ‘back-channel’ deal with Putin right in front of all of us. And we, the American people, don’t have a right to know what is going down??? What’s Trump wanting to hide? From all of us???

              https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/flynn-putin-dinner-payment-security-clearance-photo/

              • john barry says:

                Christiane, Jill Stein told Newsweek that she was there to talk about Russia and American military aggression, Putin showed up for photo op. Certainly no Jill Stein fan but I have a picture of myself and my son years ago eating with Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese and here is the scandal , the Hambuglar..

                There was nothing happy about that meal. So Germany is pumping billions into Russia coffers controlled by Putin but that is okay so the Russian mole Trump is trying to stop that and increase NATO defense by asking the NATO ccountries to pay more to stop Russia but if they do they may not get the energy.

                I hope Trump does not tell Putin , not to worry , he would have more flexiablilty after the next election. No President would be silly enough to be do that , would that?

                Maybe Trump could answer the phone call from the 1980’s and give them their USA foreign policy toward Russia back.

                • Robert F says:

                  Maybe if Trump hadn’t asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mail on July 27, 2016, it wouldn’t have begun to hack DNC e-mails for the first time ever later that very same day. Was that just a coincidence, mr. barry? Or did the Manchurian candidate give a signal to his patron, right in front of God and everybody?

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    While all the Christians go “HAYYYYYYY-MENNNNNNN!!!!!
                    Trump Is LOOOOOOOOORD!!!!”

                    “Caesar sits Above the Gods,
                    Barbara the Maid…”
                    — G.K.Chesterton, “Ballad of St Barbara”

                • Christiane says:

                  Hello J.B.

                  how do you rationalize the Russian mole saying that the EU should be broken up?

                  Putin hates NATO AND the EU.
                  So does his puppet.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Cersei Lannister or Benito Mussolini — you have to voter for one!

      • Right Seneca. 80% of Evangelical voters effectively said, “We have no king but Caesar.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Do not underestimate the capacity of humans to do evil, convinced that it is good.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Like showing a bad guy’s motivations in fiction, even the most evil actions can flow from a desire to do good and a villain is the Hero of his own narrative.

        “Remember… It isn’t a lie if you believe it.”
        — line from Seinfeld

  16. Norma Cenva says:

    I’m with John Prine.
    I have no desire to go to evangelical heaven either.

    • Christiane says:

      I have this terrible vision of the most hateful and judgmental people who have pointed the finger and verbally attacked and abused ‘those other sinners’ all gathered together before the Judgment Seat, waiting with baited breath to see the ones they had chosen for destruction punished

      and then . . . .

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        From my experience in-country, some of that “hateful and judgmental for the LORD” is because of FEAR. Fear that if you don’t, God Will Spew Thee Out of His Mouth or otherwise Hold YOU Accountable(TM). I know that’s why I had to join in — if you didn’t, you were suspect as One Of Them.

        It’s like the Polish doctor in Leon Uris’s QB VII doing assembly-line mass castrations in the concentration camp. “If I don’t do it to you, the SS will do it to me.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      As the modern parable of the Minister and the Rabbi having visions of each others’ Heavens illustrated, Evangelical Heaven has no room for actual people. Maybe looping worship bots, but that’s it.

  17. Robert F says:

    fireflies rise
    like falling stars
    in reverse

  18. have you
    seen the
    stars tonight

    Would you like
    to go up on A-deck
    and look at them with me

  19. David L says:

    What is it like to see a way of life fade away?

    Interesting article. But unstated are two questions.

    1. Was most of church attendance in the US up to the 70s/80s just a social club that no longer applies to modern life? Or maybe a requirement to take part in the governance of your local community?

    2. What happened to all the children of these “last attendees standing.” Were they raised wrong? Why did they abandon the faith or their fathers (parents)?

    To me these are the real questions to be asked and explored.