Monday, November 30, 2015

The Texan Assault on Christianity: Where’s The Persecution Crowd Now?

From Patheos:

As you know, Texas is one of the states who have barred Syrian refugees from settling within its borders. Regardless of how one feels about this, the people of Jesus have a different responsibility: we have the responsibility to help the sojourner among us. We welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and give food to the hungry– that’s an essential, core identity to being Christian. In fact, Jesus said it was a heaven or hell issue if you want to use some conservative lingo to make the point.

And here’s how the Texas decision has now turned into a real-deal case of anti-Christian persecution: instead of saying the state of Texas won’t accept refugees but allowing citizens of Texas to freely practice their religion in spite of the government decision, Governor Greg Abbott has ordered Christian ministries to immediately cease and desist giving aid to refugees.

More here.

As the conservatives like to say so often, "where's the outrage"? This really is anti-Christian persecution, no bullshit, no squirmy "logic," no misdirection. The governor has ordered Christian charities to stop aiding Syrian refugees. And to hell with their stupid "beliefs." I'm not offended as a liberal; I'm offended as an American.

I invite my conservative Christian friends to join me in condemning this unconstitutional atrocity. It's for real this time, everybody. And it needs to end immediately.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Police: FOX News Is Lying, Planned Parenthood WAS Target Of Attack, Not A Bank

From Occupy Democrats:

Before we had any information about the horrors that were transpiring in a Colorado Planned Parenthood, right-wing conservatives were chomping at the bit to frame this as anything but what it obviously was – a terrorist attack by a white Christian extremist. The false narrative that FOX News and the Republican echo chamber has gone with is that the attack was a “bank robbery” gone wrong, and conservative social media began lambasting the left for “assuming” that a man shooting up a Planned Parenthood was a domestic terrorist.

More here.

This reminds me of how conservatives were trying to spin the Charleston church shooting last summer as part of the "War on Christianity," instead of being the racist terrorist attack it actually was. Well, that collapsed pretty quickly. This will, too. A radical Christian terrorist attacked a Planned Parenthood location. That's what happened, and Fox will very likely stop their bullshit on this in the next twenty four hours or so.

They've gotten to be so predictable.


Saturday, November 28, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, November 27, 2015



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, November 26, 2015


I'm thinking that the Russians are right. We need to back the Assad regime in Syria. I don't think it'll really solve the ISIS issue - only a dramatic shift in US foreign policy in the region, toward human rights and economic development, and away from oil-chess and Western dominance, will do that - but if we want to get a handle on the crisis in the short term, this is what we'll have to do. That, and talk to Turkey about shooting down Russian jets.

We're already neck deep as far as dealing with the devil over there goes. One more devil won't matter too much. Who knows? Maybe we can get Assad to agree to some concessions.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Throwdowns Are Good for You

From the New York Times editorial section:

People may think it’s polite to avoid injecting politics into a holiday that should be focused on family, food and football. But with all the talk of “safe spaces” on college campuses, it may be a blessing that relatives can still argue about politics without feeling personally affronted.

One friend who is no stranger to Thanksgiving arguments pointed out that, in some ways, it can be exhilarating to confront a relative with opposing views. In our ultrapersonalized, curated online world, the Thanksgiving table is one of the last nonsafe spaces. On Facebook, you can easily unfriend someone with whom you disagree. It’s a lot harder when that person is sitting across the turkey from you.

More here.

I will NOT be discussing politics with my conservative family for Thanksgiving, a tradition I have maintained for over a decade now. While probably not quite as conservative as I am liberal - well, maybe my dad is - my brothers and father are definitely as passionate about their politics as I am about mine. And we all know it. There's just no need for me to make myself "right" about things that ultimately have nothing to do with our familial relationship.

I mean, we may inadvertently tread on some political territory, but typically when that happens, I'm, like, "here's what I think," instead of "you are WRONG!" This is how we have festive holidays in the Reeder family; we all play along. It's absolutely nothing like one of my facebook threads. Actually, my discussion threads are typically pretty civil, but you know what I mean. There's no need to tell anybody at Thanksgiving dinner that they have no idea what they're talking about, which I often do on facebook.

But I do really like that this NY Times editorial encourages families to talk politics when they're together. We should ALL talk more about politics, especially across the aisle if that's your situation. It's just that I don't think that would work for the Reeders.

We're very proud men, you know.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015


An exchange on facebook:

Toni: I've noticed a trend with these mass shootings where the shooter is typically portrayed as an outlier. Do you think then, in addition to reviewing gun laws, reporting laws, and the like, that we should also review what it was that made these people feel as though they needed to orchestrate such violence in order to compensate for their, IDK, ostracization? (sp?). I mean, is there a way that we can elevate philosophies of acceptance of these people instead of punishing them for being different? Or are we as a nation too divided on so many levels to even consider making this attempt?

Ron: At this moment in US history, I don't think so. We actually had a bit of a window of opportunity with this in the wake of Columbine. That was part of the conversation, about the harsh social circle realities of high school, how utterly alienating it is. But that was quickly squashed by public school security crackdowns which included making the informal ostracizing of weird kids dressed in black into official institutional rules. That is, we, as a society, decided to double down on alienating non-conformists and weirdos.

Exactly the opposite of what we should have done. I don't see us doing any better with that sort of thing today.

Toni: We're doomed

Ron: At the moment, it sure does seem like that. But it's always darkest before the dawn. On the other hand, I think things can get darker still.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Here are 8 Christian Terrorist Organizations That Equal ISIS

From Americans Against the Tea Party:

The right-wing is quick to condemn all of Islam like it’s a singular entity, and hold every Muslim accountable for the actions of a handful bad apples. As I’ve often said, no one religion — not even Buddhism — has the “right” to claim they’re non-violent. Holy War is one of those things that cuts across all religions equally. And while you can point this out to right-wingers, they won’t listen: they’re quick to invoke Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Sheebab, or some other terrorist agency and pretend they’re the sum total of all Muslims.

Well, there are Christian terrorist agencies that are just as scary, and some of them just as bad if not worse, than ISIS. A few of these you may have heard of, but since our so-called “liberal media” gets cold feet at naming Christian Terrorism what it is, some of them slip under the radar or aren’t as associated with Christian terrorism as they should be in the popular imagination.

More here.

Trash the terrorists all you want. I do, too. But you're a malevolent fool to trash all of Islam because of Islamic extremists. Christians do this, too. Are you ready to condemn all of Christianity for the actions of a relative few? If you don't, you're a lying scum bag. And stupid.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

From the New York Times editorial board:

It is worth reading certain Islamist newspapers to see their reactions to the attacks in Paris. The West is cast as a land of 'infidels.' The attacks were the result of the onslaught against Islam. Muslims and Arabs have become the enemies of the secular and the Jews. The Palestinian question is invoked along with the rape of Iraq and the memory of colonial trauma, and packaged into a messianic discourse meant to seduce the masses. Such talk spreads in the social spaces below, while up above, political leaders send their condolences to France and denounce a crime against humanity. This totally schizophrenic situation parallels the West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia.

All of which leaves one skeptical of Western democracies’ thunderous declarations regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism. Their war can only be myopic, for it targets the effect rather than the cause. Since ISIS is first and foremost a culture, not a militia, how do you prevent future generations from turning to jihadism when the influence of Fatwa Valley and its clerics and its culture and its immense editorial industry remains intact?

More here.

Let's face it. The only "military solution" to the IS problem is a brutal and permanent occupation with a million or more troops to keep "the peace." We would have to resort to Nazi German anti-insurgency tactics, torture, murder, wiping out entire villages for the crimes of a few. Police state terror. Forever. That's the only "military solution" to terrorism.

And, in the end, it would fail miserably. It would give EVERYBODY IN THE REGION damned good reasons to strap on bombs and blow themselves up among crowds of Westerners. So there is no "military solution." We would be sowing the seeds of our own defeat, and lose our souls in the process.

Yes, we should do something in the short term to make the world safer from terrorism, although I don't know what that would be. But I am certain that if we don't overhaul our entire diplomatic approach to the Middle East, abandoning the freakish, contradictory, bizarre, and irrational games of oil-chess and Western domination, including America's ongoing acceptance of Israel's crimes against the Palestinians and our dealing-with-the-devil alliance with the Saudis, and replace it all with a foreign policy of justice, human rights, and economic development, any short term effort will be both futile and counterproductive.

If we don't completely re-think this, we will fail.


Saturday, November 21, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, November 20, 2015



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, November 19, 2015


A buddy of mine posted the image below, which refers to Republican Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal dropping out of the the GOP primary race.

Immediately, he was hassled by a friend of his, a white guy, busting his chops for perceived racism.  My friend observed that the tweet was made by a comedian who is an Indian American.  My friend's friend countered with some sarcastic remark about how my friend was being racist anyway by highlighting Indian on Indian racism.

Enough is enough I thought.  Here's what I posted:
I just heard an NPR story today asserting that Jindal is widely perceived by fellow Indian Americans as downplaying his ethnicity in a negative way.

I don't feel personally entitled to call, say, Clarence Thomas an "Uncle Tom," but if Chris Rock says it, in his typically intelligent and poignantly critical style, then, hell yeah, I'm going to share the tweet. It's a fair criticism to make, albeit one heavily charged with race, sidelining to an extent white men like me.

But I'm not going to just pretend it didn't happen out of some blind and misguided devotion to the notion of being politically correct.
Playing the PC game can be frustrating and difficult, but not impossible.  Especially when your tormentor is coming off like South Park's PC Principal.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SBOE rejects proposal to fact check textbooks

From the Houston Chronicle:

The Texas State Board of Education on Wednesday narrowly voted down a proposal to have university professors fact check state-approved textbooks.

"While I am disappointed with the vote on my amendment, we did adopt other amendments that will strengthen our process," said Thomas Ratliff, the Mount Pleasant Republican behind the proposal. "It's a step in the right direction, just not as big a step as I had hoped for."

More here.

This comes from the same cultural strain that had Texans elect a self-hating lunatic immigrant and an alleged Klan member to the US Senate. It's the same wave of palpable in-your-face ignorance that has inspired the last two governors to discuss secession as a serious topic, in spite of the fact that the Civil War, in which Texas was on the losing side, made clear to everybody that American states don't secede. It's why the state has rejected the Medicare expansion, in spite of the fact that we have one of the largest uninsured populations in the nation. It's also what turned slaves into "workers" with the stroke of a pen. Just an over-the-top "we're f'ing stupid, and we're going to do whatever we want, no matter how stupid it is, and f you, too, while we're at it."

You know, arrogance and swag can work to some extent sometimes, but you've got to be able to back it up with...I don't know...superior ability or superior knowledge, that sort of thing. But Texas in the twenty first century has neither. The f-tards are totally in control.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015


A good buddy of mine posted this today on facebook:

Believe this: All the terrorists in the world couldn't overtake our nation on military strength alone. Ok? They aren't going to literally march in and conquer us. Their aim is to sow fear so that we will voluntarily trade our freedom for security. In other words, IT'S A BLUFF. Don't fold.

You all know the quote but have you ever thought about what he meant when FDR said this?

"The only thing we have to fear is... FEAR itself. "
Here's how I responded:
I personally believe that the steady American diet of war movies, throughout our entire lifetimes, makes us very inclined to think that all foreign policy and national security issues are exactly like WWII and the Cold War. I mean, those are the stories that define what war means to us. And, like going to church every Sunday, we have those narratives continually reaffirmed.

So people are just incapable of thinking clearly about all this. Every foreign threat is a nuclear one. Maybe they'll invade us and make us practice Sharia law. It's just nuts. It doesn't fit the facts. It's sheer misinformed paranoia.

I don't know what to do about it other than just trying to keep talking sense.
'Nuff said.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Fearing Fear Itself

New Krugman:

The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire. And it’s crucial to realize that there are multiple ways the response can go wrong.

More here.

I remember thinking at some point on September 11, 2001 that I wasn't afraid of any terrorists. Instead, I was afraid of Americans freaking out and making horrible decisions. It turned out that I had it exactly right. Terrorists have done nothing to me or the vast majority of Americans in the decade plus since then, but the massive freak out did, indeed, result in countless awful decisions, the results of which we are still trying to repair.

I was also afraid for myself personally. Bill Maher was fired from ABC for saying the wrong thing. Phil Donahue was fired from MSNBC for being anti-war. The Dixie Chicks were banned from Clear Channel radio stations and people burned their CDs. I was teaching at the time in a rather conservative and provincial district. Why not fire the liberal high school teacher for telling people they were wrong to scream for Muslim blood? I kept my mouth shut, but felt horrible about it. Indeed, that's why I started blogging back in 2002, so I could speak out, to someone, anyone, somewhere, anywhere--it's ultimately why I ended up treating my facebook posting as though it was blogging.

Over the years, I decided never to be afraid again, not of terrorists, not of my fellow Americans. I decided always to be the citizen that I am: when I see my country on the verge of insanity, I will speak out. Always. Whether you like it or not. I will allow neither terrorists nor fear-crazed Americans to change who I am, to make me less of an American. The terrorists might beat you, but they won't beat me.

Everyone who takes being an American seriously should make the same commitment. Or you're not much of an American.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bill O’Reilly Calls George Will A ‘Hack’

From Talking Points Memo:

Their disagreement centered on O’Reilly’s thesis that a 1981 assassination attempt traumatized former president Ronald Reagan, causing a mental decline that would eventually devolve into Alzheimer’s disease.

While O’Reilly insisted that Reagan administration staff memos validate his theory, Will dismissed it as false and damaging to the conservative icon’s memory. Both men accused each other of failing to carry out due diligence as reporters.

“You are not telling the truth. You are actively misleading the American people,” O’Reilly told Will.

More here, with video.

The GOP orgy of cannibalism continues. And this is really something. I strongly urge you to click through and watch the video. O'Reilly, in his self-righteous indignation, makes Will look downright reasonable. That, in itself, is pretty amazing.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jenni Rebecca Stephenson's Controversial Departure from Fresh Arts

From the Houston Press:

Jenni Rebecca Stephenson still had her job as the executive director of Fresh Arts on October 20 when she appeared on NPR’s Houston Matters and questioned statements by Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director Gary Tinterow. Hours after the program aired, Stephenson was replaced by Julie Farr, who’s also the interim executive director for the Houston Museum District Association, a powerful non-profit organization that’s chaired by Tinterow.

While Stephenson's firing or resignation remains in doubt, a member of Fresh Arts’ artist advisory board calls Farr's controversial appointment an “insane conflict of interest.”

More here.

Sleazy douchebaggery in the Houston arts scene. It appears that the big boys don't like being challenged by the little boys. And are willing to kick people's ass to make their point. I despair for this town's culture.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015


A conservative friend of mine from high school, a guy who routinely criticizes Black Lives Matter, posted on my facebook page yesterday a local television news editorial asking where the outrage is for a nine year old boy killed by gang members in Chicago.  The idea is that the people criticizing the police really ought to give that up and protest "black on black" crime, instead.

Here's the comment I left:

Is it that you simply are incapable of understanding the difference between the government killing innocent people and criminals killing innocent people? Do you think it's some sort of rage competition, that people have to address only the issues you want addressed but not the ones they want?

Everybody, all of society, already knows it's horrible for a gang banger to kill a nine year old. People hate it. And the left addresses this issue ALL THE TIME, in terms of changing the social circumstances that breed criminality. There is ONGOING outrage about not only the crime, but also the poverty, hunger, psychological pathology, severely limited economic opportunity, all these things associated with ghettos.

But conservatives won't have any of it. They're lazy criminals, you all say. They deserve nothing, you all say. You people use these crimes as an excuse to attack people protesting cops killing black people. Like I said, EVERYBODY already knows how horrible murders like this are. But you people fall over backwards to minimize the seriousness of the government murdering people.

You are a total hypocrite on this issue, and therefore have absolutely no moral credibility when you say such things.
'Nuff said.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson is Not Smart

From Daily Kos:

“Smart” is a multifaceted cognitive feature composed of excellent analytical skills, possession of an extensive knowledge base that is easily and frequently augmented, possession of a good memory, and being readily curious about the world and willing, even eager, to reject previously accepted notions in the face of new data. Being smart includes having the ability to analyze new data for validity and, thinking creatively, draw new insights from existing common knowledge.

As a neurologist in practice for 20 years and one who has worked closely with many neurosurgeons I can assure you, Dr. Ben Carson does not meet the above criteria. Not even close. He is a painfully ignorant person. This is an easy point to defend.

More here.

Actually, you can very easily extend this guy's analysis to all conservatives. By its very nature, modern American conservatism is NOT "curious about the world." It is NOT "eager to reject previously accepted notions in the face of new data." It is NOT willing to "draw new insights from existing common knowledge."

Instead, modern conservatism is about finding increasingly complicated rhetorical methods for denying, to self and others, any and all new information that threatens cherished notions about reality. It's about maintaining mental comfort and ease in the face of a continually changing world, in spite of the facts. It's about burying your head in the sand. It's about retreating into pleasant, self-affirming, and secure fantasy. No matter what the cost.

But if I were to say this about all conservatives, I'm likely to make a lot of people very angry. I'd better just keep this to Carson. For now.


Monday, November 09, 2015

Top Cop Union Threatens Quentin Tarantino

From Mother Jones:

Amid the continuing national debate about policing, Thursday brought the latest batshit PR move from police union leaders. Their current target, Quentin Tarantino, found himself on the receiving end of a veiled threat when Jim Pasco, the head of the national Fraternal Order of Police, told reporters that "something is in the works" against the Hollywood filmmaker. The union's plan, Pasco said, "could happen any time" between now and the premiere of Tarantino's upcoming film, The Hateful Eight, on Christmas Day. Just what exactly did he mean?

More here.

This is getting to be just totally nuts.

The police are government. In a democracy, citizens are SUPPOSED to be critical of government. That's how democracy works. We talk it out in the marketplace of ideas and presumably find the best ideas for how to proceed as a nation through this process. I mean, talking about politics, criticizing centers of power, it's not simply a first amendment right, but rather a civic responsibility.

So now we have a big part of the government, one of the parts with lots of guns, and the ability to take away your freedom on a whim, threatening a prominent citizen for doing EXACTLY WHAT HE OUGHT TO BE DOING.

This is creepy.


Sunday, November 08, 2015

Ben Carson and the Tale of Redemption

From Mother Jones:

Here's the thing: the beating heart of Carson's personal story is about his redemption by God. So he says he had a violent temper as a kid, and then became a new man after praying in a bathroom one day. In fact, God turned him around so thoroughly that West Point offered him a full scholarship. He went to Yale instead, where the Lord took care of his finances when he was in desperate straits. And as a bonus, it was because of his Christian inability to tell a lie.

Are these embellishments unnecessary? Sure. But Carson knows his audience. Serious evangelicals really, really want to hear a story about sin and redemption. That requires two things. First, Carson needs to have been a bad kid. Second, redemption needs to have truly turned his life around. He was already a student smart enough to get into Yale, so he needs more.

More here.

Wow. It's really turning out that Carson just lies all the time. Of course, I don't expect this to get in the way of his primary run: Republicans only care about lying if the person doing it isn't a Republican. Free pass on everything.


Saturday, November 07, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, November 06, 2015



 Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Why Does Anybody Play Football Anymore?

From the Nation:

Given all we have learned in the last decade about the dangers of brain damage and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, why would anyone play? On one level it goes back to LeBron’s quote about why he won’t let his sons take the field, but that’s of course not the only reason. There are thousands of kids who involve themselves in football not because they dream of a way out of poverty (they know they’re not making the pros) but because they want other things that the sport brings—community, status, popularity, a sense of inclusion. This is certainly true of other sports as well, but there is nothing in this country that builds a cult of localized hero worship quite like football. And there is nothing as irrationally rational as teenage boys risking their own mental and physical health to feel special amidst the most awkward—and seemingly interminable—time of their lives.

More here.

I fear that short of some dramatic changes to the fundamental elements of the sport, football will fade away over the next three decades or so. Because that's very likely the way it has to be. Did you know that seven high school kids have died on the field in this season alone?


Wednesday, November 04, 2015


It is these days apparently a bedrock conservative view that if one is disrespectful to a police officer, one should be prepared to die for it. I mean sure, I'm all for people showing respect. But to be shot in the street because you don't? I used to be a conservative, myself, many years ago, and I feel like I usually have a handle on how conservatives think. But not with this. I just can't see the rhyme or reason to the respect or death mandate.

What am I missing?


Tuesday, November 03, 2015


According to what is probably the most offensive political ad I've ever seen, we're not supposed to vote for Houston's equal rights ordinance because transsexuals are all just like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. Or something to that effect. I was blown away when I saw that thing last night. The final shot of the little girl in the bathroom stall looking up at the predatory man who followed her just straight up disgusted me.

This is a new right-wing low for demonizing minorities. It's worse, even, than George HW Bush's 1988 Willie Horton ad. In one fell swoop all transgendered people are painted as psychopaths. Total sleaze. Real bottom-feeding, dumpster-diving, shit-eating stuff.

Anyway, I just voted for it. Screw all you people.


Monday, November 02, 2015

Partisan Growth Gaps

New Krugman:

Partisan positioning on the economy is actually quite strange. Republicans talk about economic growth all the time. They attack Democrats for “job-killing” government regulations, they promise great things if elected, they predicate their tax plans on the assumption that growth will soar and raise revenues. Democrats are far more cautious. Yet Mrs. Clinton is completely right about the record: historically, the economy has indeed done better under Democrats.

This contrast raises two big questions. First, why has the economy performed better under Democrats? Second, given that record, why are Republicans so much more inclined than Democrats to boast about their ability to deliver growth?

More here.

Krugman appears to be afraid of going out on a limb in order to explain why the US economy traditionally does better under Democratic presidents, which it definitely does, but, being fearless, I'll try to speculate a little. It's very easy, really, at least in the Reagan as God of Conservatives era: when you believe that government is the problem, and believe it so strongly that the notion infects all your thinking, about everything, you must necessarily forget that, without government, there can be no market.

The government, quite literally, creates the conditions allowing the market to exist. Government MUST NECESSARILY play a role in the economy. It always does, whether you like it or not. But because conservatives hate government so much, they have blinded themselves to this reality. They talk up the wonders of the market, how the market, left to its own devices, will always do the right thing for economic growth, but the liberals with their awful government are always messing that up. Never mind the fact that liberals, real liberals, not the corporate right-centrists who have run the Democratic Party for twenty years, haven't had any real power for decades. The point is that this is an utterly false distinction to make, the government versus the market. The two are symbiotes. And that's just the way it is.

Conservatives will not accept this reality. Non-conservatives do accept this reality. So it's not so much that the Democrats are better on economics as much as it is that the Republicans, in their stubborn self-imposed ignorance, are worse. Far worse. Amazingly worse. They reject a fundamental and key aspect of economics, that the government must necessarily play a role in the economy for better or worse. Consequently, under Republican administrations, this effectively means worse. They simply refuse to accept reality, and will not use government to improve the economy. Democrats will. Thus, Democrats, who have at least one foot in reality, perform better.

This undeserved reputation Republicans have as "good financial stewards" is the biggest con I've ever seen in my life.


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Halloween Isn't Harmless, It's Satan, Says Pat Robertson

From the Huffington Post:

Your nephew may look adorable dressed up as Clark Kent, but he's no diminutive superhero -- he's actually celebrating Satan.

This is the public service announcement brought to you by conservative televangelist Pat Robertson, who used his program "The 700 Club" on Thursday to warn the vigilant about the dangers of Halloween "All Saints' Eve."

More here, with video.

A lot of people try to figure out the inciting incident, or incidents, that started our country down the road of what ultimately became a rather psychotic far right-wing influence on the body politic. Some cite the election of Reagan. Some talk about a backlash against the social change of the 60s and 70s. Some point to Nixon's "Southern Strategy," and so on. And they're all valid points to consider.

But, personally, I don't think enough attention is given to the rise of whacked out ideas and attitudes among Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists. I mean, these ideas have been around for a long time, but it wasn't until the late 70s or early 80s that they start to become widespread and well known.

I remember, as a Southern Baptist child, going to Halloween parties in a church context. Everyone loved Halloween; everybody was into it. By the time I was in fifth or sixth grade, however, in 1979 and 1980, the spooky holiday had become forevermore a day of Satan. No more Halloween parties at church. To do so was to deal with the Devil. And it remains that way to this very day.

I think one can make a direct connection to this supernaturalization of Halloween and the magical realism that denies global warming, that says tax cuts equal greater tax revenues, that brand President Obama a communist, Nazi, Kenyan-born Muslim. Facts? Who needs facts? We have our beliefs, and our beliefs are strong!

And the first obvious sign of that was demonizing a beloved holiday thirty five years ago. Now THAT'S scary.