Monday Reads

Happy Monday!!

Over the weekend we lost two giants of biology and the study of biodiversity.

The New York Times: E.O. Wilson, a Pioneer of Evolutionary Biology, Dies at 92.

Edward O. Wilson, a biologist and author who conducted pioneering work on biodiversity, insects and human nature — and won two Pulitzer Prizes along the way — died on Sunday in Burlington, Mass. He was 92.

His death was announced on Monday by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. A cause of death was not given….

“Ed’s holy grail was the sheer delight of the pursuit of knowledge,” Paula J. Ehrlich, chief executive and president of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation said in a statement. “A relentless synthesizer of ideas, his courageous scientific focus and poetic voice transformed our way of understanding ourselves and our planet.”

When Dr. Wilson began his career in evolutionary biology in the 1950s, the study of animals and plants seemed to many scientists like a quaint, obsolete hobby. Molecular biologists were getting their first glimpses of DNA, proteins and other invisible foundations of life. Dr. Wilson made it his life’s work to put evolution on an equal footing.

“How could our seemingly old-fashioned subjects achieve new intellectual rigor and originality compared to molecular biology?” Dr. Wilson recalled in 2009. He answered his own question by pioneering new fields of research.

As an expert on insects, Dr. Wilson studied the evolution of behavior, exploring how natural selection and other forces could produce something as extraordinarily complex as an ant colony. He then championed this kind of research as a way of making sense of all behavior — including our own.

As part of his campaign, Dr. Wilson wrote a string of books that influenced his fellow scientists while also gaining a broad public audience. “On Human Nature” won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 1979; “The Ants,” which Dr. Wilson wrote with his longtime colleague Bert Hölldobler, won him his second Pulitzer in 1991.

Dr. Wilson also became a pioneer in the study of biological diversity, developing a mathematical approach to questions about why different places have different numbers of species. Later in his career, Dr. Wilson became one of the world’s leading voices for the protection of endangered wildlife.

National Geographic: Thomas Lovejoy, renowned biologist who coined ‘biological diversity,’ dies at 80.

Thomas Lovejoy, a well-known American conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity” in 1980, died on December 25 at the age of 80. Lovejoy, who lived in northern Virginia, spent more than 50 years working in the Amazon rainforest, founding the nonprofit Amazon Biodiversity Center and bringing worldwide attention to the threats of tropical deforestation. In 1971, he received his first grant from the National Geographic Society, becoming an Explorer at Large in 2019.

“To know Tom was to know an extraordinary scientist, professor, advisor, and unyielding champion for our planet,” said Jill Tiefenthaler, the Society’s CEO, in a statement. “He was also a consummate connector, helping bring people and organizations together to preserve and protect some of our most fragile ecosystems and cornerstone species.”

In 1980, he also published the first estimate of global extinction rates, correctly projecting that by the early 21st century a huge number of species would be lost forever. Lovejoy, who held a Ph.D. in biology from Yale University, advised three administrations, the United Nations Foundation, the World Bank, and other organizations on how to protect species and advance the field of conservation biology. Since 2010, Lovejoy served as a professor in environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Virginia.

“Tom was a giant in the world of ecology and conservation,” said Enric Sala, a National Geographic Explorer in Residence. “But most importantly, he was a wonderful mentor and extremely generous with his students, colleagues, and friends.”

Despite his focus on some of the world’s toughest environmental challenges, Lovejoy remained an optimist. “We all have an interest in fixing this before it gets badly out of hand, and it’s getting close to that,” Lovejoy told National Geographic in 2015, speaking about climate change. “There are things we can do together. There are energy and innovation possibilities. There are biological solutions that would benefit everyone.

Politics News

Donald Trump Jr. recently slammed the teaching of Jesus. Relevant: Biblical Scholar Donald Trump Jr. Tells Young Conservatives That Following the Bible Has ‘Gotten Us Nothing.’

On Sunday [December 19], Turning Point USA hosted Donald Trump Jr. where he praised a crowd of young conservatives as “the frontline of freedom” but cautioned that following biblical teaching like “turn the other cheek” was holding them back and has “gotten us nothing.”

“If we band together, we can take on these institutions,” Trump told the crowd in Arizona. “That’s where we’ve gone wrong for a long time.”

Jean Metzinger, Tea Time

Jean Metzinger, Tea Time

“They cannot cancel us all,” he continued. “This will be contrary to a lot of our beliefs because I’d love not to have to participate in cancel culture. I’d love that it didn’t exist. But as long as it does, folks, we better be playing the same game.”

“We’ve turned the other cheek and I understand sort of the biblical reference — I understand the mentality — but it’s gotten us nothing,” Trump said. “OK? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution.”

Trump is more correct than he probably knows here. Christianity is a poor device for gaining worldly influence. Nearly every page of the Gospels has stories of Jesus refusing earthly power and exhorting his followers to do the same. In fact, there are few things Jesus talked as much about as the upside down Kingdom of God where “the last shall be first” and “blessed are the meek.” Moreover, he cautioned against seeking earthly influence, going so far as to proclaim “woe to you who are rich.” The most cursory reading of Scripture would leave anyone with the sense that this is not a manual for getting stuff.

Peter Wehner wrote about Don Jr.’s “values” at The Atlantic: The Gospel of Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr. is both intensely unappealing and uninteresting. He combines in his person corruption, ineptitude, and banality. He is perpetually aggrieved; obsessed with trolling the left; a crude, one-dimensional figure who has done a remarkably good job of keeping from public view any redeeming qualities he might have.

There’s a case to be made that he’s worth ignoring, except for this: Don Jr. has been his father’s chief emissary to MAGA world; he’s one of the most popular figures in the Republican Party; and he’s influential with Republicans in positions of power. He’s also attuned to what appeals to the base of the GOP. So, from time to time, it is worth paying attention to what he has to say.

Trump spoke at a Turning Point USA gathering on December 19. He displayed seething, nearly pathological resentments; playground insults (he led the crowd in “Let’s Go, Brandon” chants); tough guy/average Joe shtick; and a pulsating sense of aggrieved victimhood and persecution, all of it coming from the elitist, extravagantly rich son of a former president.

Hermann Max Pechstein

By Hermann Max Pechstein

Wehner notes Jr.’s reference to Jesus’s teachings of loving our enemies and “turning the other cheek” when they attack us.

Throughout his speech, Don Jr. painted a scenario in which Trump supporters—Americans living in red America—are under relentless attack from a wicked and brutal enemy. He portrayed it as an existential battle between good and evil. One side must prevail; the other must be crushed. This in turn justifies any necessary means to win. And the former president’s son has a message for the tens of millions of evangelicals who form the energized base of the GOP: the scriptures are essentially a manual for suckers. The teachings of Jesus have “gotten us nothing.” It’s worse than that, really; the ethic of Jesus has gotten in the way of successfully prosecuting the culture wars against the left. If the ethic of Jesus encourages sensibilities that might cause people in politics to act a little less brutally, a bit more civilly, with a touch more grace? Then it needs to go….

The problem is that the Trumpian ethic hasn’t been confined to the Trump family. We saw that not just in the enthusiastic and at times impassioned response of the Turning Point USA crowd to Don Jr.’s speech but nearly every day in the words and actions of Republicans in positions of power. Donald Trump and his oldest son have become evangelists of a different kind.

While we’re on the subject of Trumpian so-called “christians,” MSNBC opinion columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes: White evangelicals dying of Covid after denouncing vaccines are wasting martyrdom.

This year we’ve seen a number of conservative personalities, including the late evangelical leaders Marcus Lamb and Jimmy DeYoung, who succumbed to Covid-19 after minimizing the risks of the disease or making disparaging remarks about the vaccines. What is such opposition if not an arrogant attempt to put God to the test, no less problematic, say, than stepping off a great height and counting on being caught by angels?

A personal decision not to take Covid-19 seriously is bad enough. Even worse, though, is a personnel decision to fire those who do. When evangelical Christian radio host Dave Ramsey fired video editor Brad Amos on July 31, Amos responded with a lawsuit against Ramsey Solutions that claims Ramsey thought taking steps to avoid infection showed a “weakness of spirit.” A spokesperson for the company told McClatchy News that Amos was “fired during a meeting to discuss his poor performance with his leaders, where he insulted his most senior leader. He was not terminated for his religious beliefs or how he wanted to handle COVID.”

Weeks later, the National Religious Broadcasters fired spokesperson Daniel Darling after he said in a USA Today op-ed and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that getting vaccinated was his way of obeying the commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself. The NRB has stated that on the matter of vaccines, it is “neutral.”

Time for Tea, Angela Brittain

Time for Tea, Angela Brittain

The demands for religious exemptions to Covid-19 vaccination mandates may have Americans convinced that to be religious in America means to be recklessly indifferent to Covid’s dangers. But a December poll from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that at least 60 percent of Jewish Americans, Hispanic Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, white Catholics, Latter-day Saints and “other Christians” believe “there are no valid religious reasons to refuse a vaccine.” The PRRI also finds that at least 50 percent of Black Protestants, other Protestants of color, white mainline Protestants and “other non-Christian religious Americans” share that view.

That leaves white evangelicals by themselves as the only religious group in the country in which fewer than half — in this case, 41 percent — agree that there are no valid religious reasons for such a refusal.

Read the rest at MSNBC.

More Reads

Stephen Collinson at CNN: Trump and the January 6 committee are now locked in a full-on confrontation.

Hugo Lowell at The Guardian: Capitol panel to investigate Trump call to Willard hotel in hours before attack.

Kelly Weill at The Daily Beast: Pro-Trump Group Invented Voter Fraud Claims Months Before Election.

Evan Osnos at The New Yorker: Dan Bongino and the Big Business of Returning Trump to Power.

Ian Millhiser at Vox: Just how much is Trump’s judiciary sabotaging the Biden presidency?

Raw Story: Biden-slurring dad Jared Schmeck goes full MAGA on Steve Bannon’s podcast: ‘The election was 100% stolen’

ABC News: Fauci warns omicron cases ‘likely will go much higher’

CNN: Between Christmas and New Year’s, doctors expect the US Omicron surge to grow.

What’s on your mind today?

Monday Reads

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I have lived in the deep south for nearly 25 years and I still cannot figure out the strange mix of white grievance and supremacism, neoconfederate ideology and anti-theological christianity, and the overt racism and sexism that characterizes much of the exurbs and hinterlands here.

It was recently ignited by the election of a Black President whose character and attainment is beyond what most of these folks could achieve because they’d never even dream that big.  It’s been stoked by the insistence we recognize members of the GLBT community as citizens with full rights.  It’s been threatened by the diversity of others’ philosophies and religions and the idea that we quit glorifying the traitors of the past. It’s a movement that’s reactionary, angry, and resentful of shared progress.  It seeks to hold tight to the idea that only certain people are deserving of upward mobility and any one else must’ve stolen it from the deserving folks. The more I see and read of it, the more I wonder if it will die off and when. I further wonder what we can do to rid public life of it.

I began rethinking this when I read a series of articles last night discussing why many White Evangelicals seem to have no compunction about voting for absolute moral reprobates. But, I’m going to start by providing this link to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Much of what I’ve been reading has to do with polling the people that the media wants to portray as some how simple white working Joes with economic woes.  These polls show something much more perverse. Here’s the headline:  “Poll: In the old Confederacy the racial gap shows no sign of closing”.

Black Southerners and white Southerners are so profoundly split on central questions of equality and opportunity that the only thing they seem to share is geography, a new poll of the South suggests.

The Winthrop University poll of the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, released last week, finds some common ground between the races on certain issues. But 61 percent of white people in the survey believe that all Americans have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard. Only 33 percent of black people surveyed feel that way.

Likewise, 60 percent of black Southerners believe strongly that the legacy of slavery and discrimination continues to hold black people back. But only 19 percent of white Southerners share that strong conviction.

“I came from a modest background and built something because I stuck with it and took some risks,” says Lyza Sandgren, a white business owner in Suwanee. “That is available to everyone in this country. Does everyone have the same ability to succeed on the same level? Of course not. The only avenues that any of us have are education, hard work and the willingness to take a few risks. Nobody’s going to do it for us. On that level, I say that everyone in the United States has an equal chance to succeed.”

Sandgren said she finds the poll results unpersuasive.

“To anyone who in these polls says, whites think this, blacks think that: I don’t care. I listen to the person, not the race,” she said.

Courtney Spencer, an African-American resident of Paulding County, argues that the deck has been stacked against black people since the earliest days of colonial America.

“During slavery you have the slave owners, who actually created wealth off of the ones that they put into slavery,” said Spencer, who works in the pest control business in Hiram. “So, basically that wealth trickled down from generation to generation. But when black people finally got their freedom, they were already hundreds and hundreds of years behind. They’re having to play catch up, and it’s hard to play catch up because there are people who don’t want them to.”

The key to racial understanding? “I really think progress can only come from uncomfortable conversations,” Spencer said. “There are a lot of people, regardless of race, who don’t want to talk about race. They’d rather be silent about it and hope it will go away. But it never does.”

Fifty percent of White Southerners in the poll feel “under attack”.  I do not understand how a group of people feel under attack just because the majority of us do not choose to live as they do and would like their worldview to be kept out of public institutions.

Nearly half of white Americans living in the South feel like they’re under attack, a new Winthrop University poll found.

Forty-six percent of white Southerners said they agree or strongly agree that white people are under attack in the U.S. More than three-fourths of black respondents said they believe racial minorities are under attack.

And 30 percent of all respondents in the poll agreed when asked if America needs to protect and preserve its white European heritage. More than half of respondents disagreed with the statement.

Forty percent of respondents said they believed that Confederate statues should remain as is, while nearly a quarter said a plaque should be added to contextualize the statue.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the statues should be moved to a museum. Nearly half of black respondents said the statues should be in museums, and a quarter said they should be completely removed.

Southerners overall said that racism is the most important issue facing the U.S., and black respondents were twice as likely to say it is the most important issue.

They’re so aggrieved that a huge swath of white Evangelicals–which is really a Southern fixture–would rather vote for corrupt reprobates as long as they get lip service to their brand of religion. They trust the untrustworthy over institutions that will not let them run amok over the rest of us. 


Quick: do you think politicians can still do their jobs if they’ve screwed up in their personal lives?

Many Americans answer this question differently now than they would have five years ago. And for white evangelical Protestants, it’s especially likely their opinion has changed.

That’s what a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.

It’s just one poll, but it does suggest a sizable shift in how Americans of several religious stripes think about the connection between morality and politics. White evangelicals also are less likely than they used to be to say that “strong religious beliefs” are “very important” in a presidential candidate. That share fell from 64 percent in 2011 to 49 percent this year.

White mainline Protestants and Catholics also grew more accepting of a candidate who has committed “immoral acts,” while religiously unaffiliated people barely changed. Those “unaffiliated” people in 2011 had been much more willing than the broader population to believe candidates who had committed “immoral acts” could do their jobs. Now, they are in line with Americans as a whole. (The published results did not include data on other groups.)

There is no way to know what caused these shifts. That said, it’s difficult to see this outside of the context of the 2016 election, and in particular what role Donald Trump — fending off allegations of sexual misconduct — plays in it.

Some white evangelical leaders (and other Christians) have decided to stand behind the Republican nominee even as other Christians strongly condemn him.

Evangelicals have always been an odd lot.  You may recall the history of the likes of Aimee Semple McPherson.  There have been movies like “Elmer Gantry” based on the 1926 novel by Sinclair Lewis.   Try this plot description on for size and then think about all the icky pastors that continue to bring in the money and the converts.  Gantry was played by Burt Lancaster who was simply brilliant in the role.

Elmer Gantry is a satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1926 that presents aspects of the religious activity of America in fundamentalist and evangelistic circles and the attitudes of the 1920s public toward it. The novel’s protagonist, the Reverend Dr. Elmer Gantry, is initially attracted by booze and easy money (though he eventually renounces tobacco and alcohol) and chasing women. After various forays into evangelism, he becomes a successful Methodist minister despite his hypocrisy and serial sexual indiscretions.[1]

Here’s a list of “fallen pastors”.  Ted Haggard is at the top.  He’s probably got the honors because he turned out to be Gay which is far more unforgivable than preying on young girls or married women.  Which leads to the question of the original article that I read yesterday.  “Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic?”  This has led me and many others to believe the word “more” should be inserted before the “Sociopathic”.

Evangelical speaker, author, and university professor, Tony Campolo, said Christianity was redefined in the mid-70s by positions of “pro-life” and opposing gay marriage. “Suddenly theology fell to the background,” he said. And somewhere in the middle of all the change, Evangelical Christianity crossed the line of faith and belief to hatred and abuse. Those who cruelly implement the actions of their faith are oblivious to the destruction they cause to their religion, or the people their beliefs impact. Is it fair to call it sociopathic?

Psychology Today listed sixteen characteristics of sociopathic behaviors, which include: Untruthfulness and insincerity, superficial charm and good intelligence, lack of remorse or shame, poor judgment and failure to learn by experience, pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love, unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations, specific loss of insight, and general poverty in major affective reactions (in other words, appropriate emotional responses).

We see examples of these kinds of behaviors in church leaders and followers. Franklin Graham, for example, stated that immigration was “not a Bible issue.” His stand fits well with his conservative politics and vocal support of Donald Trump, but his callousness toward immigrants and those seeking asylum in the United States goes against everything he says he believes (Lev. 19:33-34, Mark 12:30-31). Yet, Graham doesn’t see one bit of irony between his political stance and his religious belief. Nor does he seem to notice the horrific casualties in war-torn countries these immigrants are desperately trying to flee.

I never recognize the actual teachings and actions of the Jesus of the New Testament in any of these folks.  Their pastors seem quite obsessed with power and wealth.  They’re a natural fit with the Republican Party. David Atkins of Washington Monthly has some great analysis. 

Yesterday I wrote that Roy Moore’s behavior was in keeping with hardcore conservative evangelical culture of sanctioned patriarchal sexual abuse. I have also stated that the release of the Access Hollywood tape almost certainly actually helped Trump with some evangelicals because, despite being a philandering adulterer, Trump established a more fundamental cultural rapport with their moral value system. I have similarly pointed that that the abuses of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, far from being the product of liberal sexual revolution, are the product of patriarchy and capitalism, and that conservative religious orthodoxy tends to amplify rather than curtail the abuse.

These are admittedly controversial positions. But they’re also hard to refute after today’s polling shows that 37% of Alabama evangelicals are actually more likely to vote for Roy Moore after hearing the allegations against him, and 34 percent said it would make no difference:

Nearly 40 percent of Alabama evangelicals said in a new poll that they are more likely to vote for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore following allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

JMC analytics poll found that 37 percent of evangelicals surveyed said the allegations make them more likely to vote for the GOP Senate candidate in the upcoming election.

Just 28 percent said the allegations made them less likely to vote for Moore and 34 percent said the allegations made no difference in their decision.

These numbers cannot be attributed to pure political tribalism. It is quite simply a culture of abuse.

Moore is and has always been one of their own. His offenses against the law, his bigotries, his lack basic compassion are their own. And yes, his (alleged) active predation on teenage girls is part of it, too. It’s culturally expected. And if it went just a little too far, well, Moore is a man of God who has almost certainly been forgiven by the Lord, so all is well in the land of the Duggars and Duck Dynasty.

And it’s time that all of us started calling it exactly what it is: a culture of explicitly sanctioned sexual abuse.

We are looking at Tribalism and it’s very much a throwback from the Confederacy, the Jim Crow years, and the post-reconstruction rewrite of American’s sin of Slavery.  This entire situation smacks of a deal with devils.  Mitch McConnell may say he believes Moore’s accusers but then tax cuts for the Donor Class and appeasement of this angry base always goes straight to the top of the priority list.  Of course, the Pussy Grabber thinks Moore as falsely accused. It would take a huge amount of self reflection for a confessed and unrepentant serial sexual assaulter to come to any other conclusion. We know Kremlin Caligula has no ability to do that.

Top White House officials have now made President Trump’s position on Roy Moore absolutely clear: Trump does not believe that the allegations that Moore initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old — and pursued three other teenagers — should disqualify him from becoming a U.S. senator.

This is not how they presented their position, of course. On the Sunday shows, legislative director Marc Short and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway both expressed great shock and horror over the charges. But then each of them carefully carved out a position that appears designed to allow Moore to continue with his run for Senate largely unobstructed and, ultimately, to accept Moore as a senator if he wins, while letting the allegations fade away in a fog of he-said-she-said uncertainty.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Short claimed “there’s a special place in hell” for such sexual predators and said that “no Senate seat” is “more important than the notion of child pedophilia.” But then Short said the White House would object to seating him as a senator only “if more evidence comes out that can prove that he did this,” while adding that this is “a huge if,” because “more facts” could still “come out.” Said Short: “We have to afford him the chance to defend himself.”

This is exactly the kind of leadership we expect now from Republicans.  Take a look at this from our Authoritarian Curious Usurper:Trump Bonds With Duterte Over Their Dislike of Obama, Avoids Human Rights”. 

U.S. President Donald Trump bonded with Rodrigo Duterte over a common dislike for Barack Obama, whose criticism of the Philippine leader’s deadly war on drugs last year spurred a rift between the allies.

 “The relationship appears to be very warm and very friendly,” Duterte spokesman Harry Roque told reporters after they met in Manila on Monday. “They’ve been very candid in their dealings, and it’s very apparent that both of them have a person who they consider as not their best friend. They have similar feelings toward former U.S. President Barack Obama.”

This is truly disturbing.

There’s a lot to be read and written about why Evangelicals support sexual predators like Judge Roy and the Pussy Grabber-in-Chief.  None of them are easy to read or stomach.  Issac J Bailey has this to say at Vice.

No one should be surprised if, after everything, Roy Moore still becomes the next US senator from Alabama.

In a Thursday Washington Post article, Moore, the Republican senatorial candidate in a December special election, was accused by a woman of initiating sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. This puts the Southern evangelical Christians who have supported Moore—who is so far to the right on social issues that he said in 2005 that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal—in a position to make a choice. This is a chance to draw the line and begin declaring, again, that their faith, their principles, matter more than blind partisanship.

I’m not so sure they will.

From what I’ve seen up close, these voters embarked on this path long before Donald Trump arrived on the scene. They have allowed politics to supersede what they’ve been telling themselves every Sunday. That’s why too many of them hated a Christian like Barack Obama, even though he had lived the kind of adult life evangelicals say all men should and whose policies helped push the abortion rate to its lowest level since Roe v. Wade. They then embraced Trump, who bragged about his adulterous ways, said he never asked God for forgiveness, then was caught on video bragging about casually sexually assaulting women.

I’ve lost friends for pointing this out—friends who are white evangelical Christians I spent nearly two decades praying with in the same church pews. They despise me for daring to bring up this inconsistency between how they talk about their faith and how they live it in the political sphere. That’s why I’m not convinced that even the accusation that Moore molested a 14-year-old is necessarily enough to turn them off of him. Opioids and heroin are killing the bodies of too many people in my region, but the drug of political partisanship has killed off the principles of many more.

You may also read this from The Guardian and Emer O’Toole.

In trying to puzzle out how abusive men gain power and hang on to it, it’s tempting to focus on intimidation tactics: macho posturing, aggression. But reflecting on how I ignore the misogynies of men I like, I realise that kindness, affection and loyalty are stronger glue than fear. Wouldn’t dismantling patriarchy be so much easier if abusers were two-dimensional villains? But it’s their charm, their humanity and – yes – their virtues that draw people to them. In turn, the strength of those relationships gives them permission to behave in hurtful ways.

What do we do with our loyalty when men we care about are accused, when we are, after a fashion, accused ourselves of seeing and doing nothing? Is it our feminist duty to betray the genuine bonds that tangle us up in systems of oppression? Or, to put it more viscerally: are we really going to look at a man who gave us a hand up and kick him when he’s down?

We’ve all got our own moral compass (some in better working order than others, clearly). I don’t think there can be a simple imperative in these situations. But maybe there is a duty to remember that power isn’t all threats and tantrums; it’s also friendship and poetry.

When victims speak out, they’re not just confronting an abuser. Often they’re facing an entire community of people who have affection for that man – many of them women. That must be petrifying. And knowing that, you’ve got to have crazy respect for those who dare to tear through layers of love and loyalty, through palimpsests of doubt and shame, to reveal the poison at the very heart of the thing.

So, here’s also something from New Orleans: “Statue of woman appears where Jefferson Davis monument once stood”.

A music video director on Sunday morning (Nov. 12) temporarily placed a twice-life size statue of an African-American woman on the slab where the statue of Jefferson Davis once stood. The controversial monument to the President of the Confederacy was removed on May 11.

New Orleans filmmaker Zac Manuel explained that the installation will set the scene for a video accompanying a new song titled “If All I Was Was Black” by renowned folk singer and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples, who was not present Sunday.


You can check out more from Doug McCash at the link above.

So, let’s watch the wave and the blowback and hope the wave wins in the end.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?