“Until the late 1970s, husbands — but not wives — were legally obliged to support their families, while wives — but not husbands — were legally obliged to perform services (including providing sex) in the home. This is why the legal definition of rape was a man’s forcible intercourse with a woman not his wife. It is also why a husband could sue for the loss of companionship, affection and sex (when the actions of another deprived him of the relationship benefits he was due), but a wife, who was not legally entitled to such services, could not.”—Stephanie Coontz
PHILOSOPHY: “Our great President Eisenhower has counseled us further: “In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. Government must have a heart as well as a head. “
LABOR: “Workers have benefited by the progress which has been made in carrying out the programs and principles set forth in the 1952 Republican platform. All workers have gained and unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions. “
EDUCATION: “Republican action created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years, to raise the continuing consideration of these problems for the first time to the highest council of Government, the President’s Cabinet.”
FOREIGN POLICY: “We shall continue vigorously to support the United Nations.”
SAFETY NET: The Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers.
ENVIRONMENT: “We recognize the need for maintaining isolated wilderness areas to provide opportunity for future generations to experience some of the wilderness living through which the traditional American spirit of hardihood was developed. Added more than 400,000 acres to our National Park system, and 90,000 acres to wildlife refuges.”
How did that Republican Party mutate into today’s openly treasonous and insane New Confederacy? Openly and repeatedly declaring — under the “Hastert Rule” — that negotiating with their opponents, in any way and over anything, is absolutely forbidden?
But then the Times reported on some suits brought by patients alleging bad care in the hospital’s emergency room and that “the hospital’s most recent tax filings, from 2012, show that it had $613 million in revenue and $1.1 billion in net assets. The hospital’s president at the time was paid $1.1 million.”
The Times, however, missed some more important numbers that provide a fuller picture of what may be among the most successful businesses in northern Texas, such as:
The hospital had an operating profit (revenue over expenses, with noncash depreciation added back) of $89 million. That’s a profit margin of 14.5 percent — amazing for a people-intense service business, let alone a supposed nonprofit.
I’m sure Anne Bass and others in the Dallas community are charitable, but of that $613 million revenue, just $7.8 million, or 1.3 percent, came from contributions.
Meantime, the hospital was still able to realize those profit margins while paying seven executives more than $600,000 each and three more than $1,000,000.
That is still not the full picture. The Dallas hospital is a subsidiary of a 25-hospital system called Texas Health Resources (the client that retained Burson). This parent company had revenue of $3.7 billion in 2012, with operating income (excluding depreciation because it is not a cash expense) of $473 million. I counted 20 executives on the parent company’s tax form earning more than $600,000, with the highest earner topping out at $2,685,000.
Why am I laying out all these compensation numbers? Because any good reporter should want to put Burson and its new client to the test by asking how much of the large bonus portion in each compensation package is based on the executives’ attention to quality control.
I spend a lot of my time discussing Christian discipleship and educating people on the Christian doctrine of nonviolent enemy love. It’s not an easy game, but one that I like playing. One of my joys on the blog has been to watch people transform on the issue of enemy love– there have been so many out there who have reached out and told me of your journey to embrace Christ’s teaching to love enemies– stories that give me hope when I deal with folks from the opposite side of the spectrum.
In the hundreds of internet discussions I’ve had on the issue, I’ve noticed a trend. While not a scientific poll, it’s been my experience that most of the folks who reject the nonviolent teachings of Christ are also people who are in the non-affirming camp, arguing that the Bible’s position on homosexuality is clear in that it is unequivocally a sin. I’ve sat back and dissected a host of arguments and various reasons they’ve given to me on both issues, and compiled a list of comments and quotes from my dialogues with people. When I began to take a closer look at the thought process, I noticed an interesting approach to biblical interpretation that as your chief explainerologist, I’ll be happy to explain to you.
“Jesus was crucified on a cross as an insurrectionist because he bore witness to the divine Truth that no one has to be defined by their circumstances. Liberation from oppression is God’s gift to the powerless in society. Freedom is Jesus’ gift to all who believe. And when one accepts this liberating Gospel and makes the decision to follow Jesus, you must be prepared to go to the cross in service to others—the least of these in society.”—James Cone
Alphonso Toweh was riding a bus when a man sitting next to him politely asked where he was from.
“Liberia,” said Toweh, a writer from Monrovia who is visiting the Washington area, home to the nation’s second-largest population of African immigrants.
“At that point, the man went far from me,” he said. “He did not want to come close to me. People, once they know you are Liberian — people assume you have the virus in your body, which is not the case.”
In Pennsylvania, a 16-year-old high school soccer player from West Africa, Ibrahim Toumkara, was tormented with chants of “Ebola” by opposing players during a game.
“There were tears coming down his eyes,” Edward Bachert, a Lehigh County police officer and Toumkara’s legal guardian, told WPVI. “He was visibly shaken by this; that it got to that level on the field.” The taunting eventually led to a fight and the resignations of two rival coaches six days later. Welcome to Tea Party America!
“The white/Fox News/Tea Party/Republican/American reaction to Ebola is moving into the high gear of xenophobia, victimology and fear of the other… and a thank-you-Jesus! phase of naked opportunism: Ebola is just what’s needed to help win control of the Senate for the Republicans!
Once again ignorant white people, who fear the wider world–the world where high speed trains work, there is healthcare for all and a good education is a right–and who dismiss Christian charity as “socialism,” are about to find a new lie to comfort themselves with: Ebola is President Obama’s fault!”—The EBOLA Lynching of America’s First Black President: Obama, Ebola, Religious Nuts and Racism
There was never a doubt that Limbaugh would support the reelection of George H. W. Bush in 1992 — he was the Republican candidate — but Rush wasn’t enthusiastic. Bush struck him as a preppy, country club moderate, an Ivy League snob who, as a candidate in the Republican primaries of 1980, had dismissed Ronald Reagan’s supply-side ideology as voodoo economics. Not only that, Bush had raised taxes.
Early in the summer of 1992, Roger Ailes, who was working for President Bush, made the connection. The president invited Limbaugh to accompany him to the Kennedy Center and spend a night at the White House. Bush personally carried Limbaugh’s bag from the elevator of the White House residence to his room, a gesture Rush never forgot. That night he called his mother and brother from the Lincoln bedroom. “Guess where I’m sleeping tonight,” he said. Bush might not be Reagan, but he was the president of the United States.
“The change of attitude towards Paine was largely because of his atheism and his book The Age of Reason. Paine was a permanent revolutionary who supported the opposition to Washington in the 1790s. He was much more radical than the general and famously derided the president in an article which made the breach permanent. Nevertheless, he is deserving of recognition today for his service in the army and most critically his role as a patriot propagandist.
Washington fell out with those revolutionary leaders who joined the Republican opposition to his government in the 1790s. It was a bitterly partisan decade not least because each party believed that it alone represented the true spirit of the American Revolution. They thought that their opponents would destroy America. It is a lesson for us today because the country has been enriched by both these traditions even though they were often in conflict.”—Andrew O’Shaughnessy
First, let’s get the facts narrowly right: the City of Houston didn’t draft these subpoenas; their pro bono non-city-employee lawyers drafted them. A narrow point, but not an insignificant one, that leads us to Point the Second:
This lawsuit was not brought by the City, and these subpoenas are not an attempt by the City to use legal process to quell speech, even religious speech. The City is a defendant in a lawsuit, and as such entitled to wide-ranging discovery into any information that might aid its defense of that lawsuit, even if the information obtained is not ultimately admissible under the rules of evidence.
And point the Third: sermons are public speeches. Many pastors put them on the church’s website, advertise them on church signs, maybe even distribute copies available to anyone who walks into the sanctuary (which is generally open to anyone who can get in). No church I know of closes to doors to non-members when it comes time for worship, or shoos out non-members for the sermon (the eucharist may be closed, but the sermon?) There’s nothing private or special about them, and there is no reason for the city not to ask to see them.
Because the purpose of these subpoenas to parties not parties to the lawsuit, is to find out what was being said about the petition process that tried to get signatures from church members and others, in order to force the HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) to be decided by referendum. The City declared a number of signatures invalid, denied the petitions. and refused to hold the referenda election. That’s what the suit is about.
“As long as supernatural beliefs persist, men can be exploited by cunning priests and oligarchs, and the technical progress which is the prerequisite of a just society cannot be achieved…”—George Orwell
“The Pew Center finds that an overwhelming number of US Catholics aged 18 to 29 accept homosexuality (85 percent) and support same-sex marriage (75 percent). More worryingly for conservative Catholics, when the question is asked of weekly massgoers, who are by definition more likely to be involved in the faith and in their parish, the number of overall pro-SSM Catholics is an astonishing 45 percent. Only 44 percent of weekly massgoers support the Church’s teaching, which is to oppose same-sex marriage. The last 11 percent presumably don’t know how they feel. Given the strong cultural currents moving toward full acceptance of gay marriage, there is no reason to believe that when they do make their minds up, that all, or even most, of those undecided Catholics will break for the Church’s position. In fact, given that Pew’s analysis doesn’t break out the weekly massgoers by age group, it is likely that the opposition to SSM is heavily weighted toward the seniors, a group that is literally dying out.”—Catholics, the Real Liberals
Years ago I wrote that all elections in America center on four basic narratives:
(1) The triumphant individual who overcomes huge obstacles to eventually succeed (the Right says anyone with enough guts and gumption can make it; the Left focuses on equal opportunity.)
(2) The benevolent community that joins together to achieve the common good (the Right celebrates private charities such as “a thousand points of light;” the Left emphasizes public services).
(3) The rot at the top, comprised of the privileged and powerful who conspire against the rest of us (the Right focuses on government; the Left, on big corporations and Wall Street).
(4) The mob at the gates that threaten us from beyond our borders (the Right worries about foreign powers; the Left worries more about global trade).
The first and second stories are about hope; the third and fourth about fear.
In the 2014 midterm elections, the two fearsome narratives predominate. Republican’s “rot at the top” is Obama and Obamacare; Democrat’s “rot at the top” should be big corporations suppressing wages and the Right suppressing votes, but they’re not telling that story.
Republicans’ “mob at the gates” are immigrants, terrorists, and Ebola. The Democrat’s “mob at the gates” should be growing totalitarianism and intolerance around the world, but they’re not telling that story, either.
“I actually had a boyfriend who I dated awhile ago, he and I got in a huge fight because I watch Bill O’Reilly every night in bed and he’s like, ‘I don’t want to watch Bill O’Reilly with you in bed every night. That kind of ultimately led to our breakup.”—Meghan McCain
Gov. Jan Brewer sounded the loudest, most sour note on the subject, issuing a statement that read in part,
"In 2008, Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Now, with their rulings, the federal courts have again thwarted the will of the people and further eroded the authority of states to regulate and uphold our laws. It is not only disappointing, but also deeply troubling, that unelected federal judges can dictate the laws of individual states, create rights based on their personal policy preferences and supplant the will of the people in an area traditionally left to the states for more than two hundred years."
Actually, courts have been making decisions exactly like this — when a law is unconstitutional — for more than 200 years.
For 66 days there has been no indictment. And for 66 days many have pushed for justice for Brown. That is why I joined thousands in Ferguson for the #FergusonOctober protests and the faith community’s #MoralMonday civil disobedience.
We confessed our complicity in the deaths of Michael Brown and Ezell Ford and Jonathan Crawford and Eric Garner and Vonderrit Myers and … and … and. …
We confessed our acceptance of the national drama that helped set the conditions for their deaths.
We confessed our acceptance of unjust theatrics that lulled us to silence and complicity when trials never came and prosecutors never defended the dead.
We consecrated the grounds of the Ferguson police station by drawing the tracing of a dead body that symbolized Michael Brown’s.
We read the names of unarmed black men who died at the hands of police, security guards or vigilantes last year. We stood face to face with officers sworn to uphold injustice.
We called them to repent for their complicity in the deaths of Michael Brown and Vonderrit Myers and the protection of police assailants encased in privilege and process.
It can be exhausting nursing a child through a nasty bout with the flu, so imagine how 22-year-old Fatu Kekula felt nursing her entire family through Ebola.
Her father. Her mother. Her sister. Her cousin. Fatu took care of them all, single-handedly feeding them, cleaning them and giving them medications.
And she did so with remarkable success. Three out of her four patients survived. That’s a 25% death rate — considerably better than the estimated Ebola death rate of 70%.
Fatu stayed healthy, which is noteworthy considering that more than 300 health care workers have become infected with Ebola, and she didn’t even have personal protection equipment — those white space suits and goggles used in Ebola treatment units.
“It’s pretty amazing. A small kindness that’s no big deal when you do it for someone you know is an incredibly powerful act when done for a stranger. It’s also likely to have cascading societal returns. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky found that recipients of kind acts were almost three times more likely to do kind acts for others. So simply by regularly reaching out to our co-humans, we can transform our society, little by little, from a vast strangeropolis to a really, really big neighborhood. The way I see it, a minimum of one kind act a day should be our self-imposed cover charge for living in this world. We get the society we create — or the society we let happen to us.”—In battle against rude people, kindness is a powerful weapon
Just as the NYT did with the Venezuelan coup regime of 2002, the U.S. government hails the Egyptian coup regime as saviors of democracy. That’s because “democracy” in U.S. discourse means: “serving U.S. interests” and “obeying U.S. dictates,” regardless how how the leaders gain and maintain power. Conversely, “tyranny” means “opposing the U.S. agenda” and “refusing U.S. commands,” no matter how fair and free the elections are that empower the government. The most tyrannical regimes are celebrated as long as they remain subservient, while the most popular and democratic governments are condemned as despots to the extent that they exercise independence.
“All their talk about how privatization will make government more efficient is just cover for what they really want to do: enrich their corporate cronies and replace “We the People” with “our friends the billionaires.” It really is that simple. For Republicans, privatization is just a business opportunity. And they don’t care about the damage privatization does to our society because privatization destroys the one thing standing between them and the total corporate takeover of our democracy: our government. When you think of it that way, everything makes a lot more sense.”—Thom Hartmann
As the number of US drone strikes in Pakistan hits 400, research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism finds that fewer than 4% of the people killed have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda. This calls in to question US Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim last year that only “confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level” were fired at.
Life-saving advances are the greatest benefit of technological change. And yet when pundits discuss the future, the excitement around driverless cars and nanotechnology gives way to long faces when the topic moves to human longevity. It may be nice to live longer, but what about the effect on the economy? The question is absurd. Economic growth is about giving people more choices, and no choice is more earnestly sought than the chance of a longer life. The hard economic evidence is the amount that people are willing to pay to extend their lives even for short periods.
The demographic “crisis” has several components. There is the cost of pensions. Someone born today, retiring at 60 and living to 100, would have equal spells of work and retirement. Society is moving towards the obvious resolution – a concept of flexible retirement in which people can choose their preferred trade-off between work and leisure.
“The United States is now relearning an ancient lesson, dating back to the Roman Empire. Brutalizing an enemy only serves to brutalize the army ordered to do it. Torture corrodes the mind of the torturer.”—James Risen
Well, here’s what happened. The city council passed a law protecting minorities from getting fired just for being minorities. Specifically, the city’s new law protects LGBT people from employment discrimination.
The CEO doesn’t like this law. What’s more, he thinks most people in the city don’t like it either. It’s quite possible he’s right about that. After all, laws protecting minorities from being treated unfairly wouldn’t ever come up in the first place unless it weren’t the case that a big chunk of the majority population was inclined to treat them unfairly. It’s often the case that a majority of the majority doesn’t like it when the law keeps them from taking advantage of a small minority.
But the CEO was so sure that a majority of the people of the city saw things his way that he launched a petition drive to force a ballot initiative that would allow the people of the city, by direct vote, to overrule their elected council and repeal the anti-discrimination law.
I will now pause to allow you to decide for yourself whether or not this CEO is the Good Guy in this story.
“I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.”—J.R.R. Tolkien
“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter… I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. Their distribution techniques were rudimentary and their market research was nil, and so of course the concept just didn’t get off the ground. Even with a genius behind it an invention has to find its market, and it seemed like for a long time the idea of women just didn’t make it to the bottom line. Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was way too far ahead of its time.”—Ursula K. Le Guin
“The one group that is treated with exceptional grace is consumers. They get low prices and great service. But this relationship is increasingly feudal, with low prices and great service as the benefits I get for surrendering my liberties to Jeff Bezos. I may get excellent prices on my Kindle, but I am now a renter of those books. I can’t lend them to my girlfriend any more, unless Amazon says I can. Amazon can take them away at any point. It knows every page I’ve read, everything I’ve highlighted, it knows what I might want to buy. It knows what I’ve watched on Amazon prime, where I’ve lived, what I buy on a regular basis, whether I’m price sensitive, an impulsive buyer, what I might be selling. Amazon knows, and at any point can exert power.”—Matt Stoller: Why We Need to Break Up Amazon – and How to Do It
“What we have in Gamergate is a glimpse of how these skirmishes will unfold in the future—all the rhetorical weaponry and siegecraft of an internet comment section brought to bear on our culture, not just at the fringes but at the center. What we’re seeing now is a rehearsal, where the mechanisms of a toxic and inhumane politics are being tested and improved. Tomorrow’s Lee Atwater will work through sock puppets on IRC. Tomorrow’s Sister Souljah will get shouted down with rape threats. Tomorrow’s Tipper Gore will make an inexplicably popular YouTube video. Tomorrow’s Willie Horton ad will be an image macro, tomorrow’s Borking a doxing, tomorrow’s Moral Majority a loose coalition of DoSers and robo-petitioners and scat-GIF trolls—all of them working feverishly in service of the old idea that nothing should ever really change.”—The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate
“Too often we dehumanize others through silence and exclusion because we find our primary identities in those represented around us—whether it’s racial, socioeconomic, religious, or a myriad of other identity markers. We live in neighborhoods with those who are like ourselves. We dine with those who share our interests. We worship alongside those who proclaim our particular brand of belief. When we’re like those who surround us, we feel important and included. We may even feel entitled to what we’ve received. Such homogeneity puts us in danger of making Christ in our image rather than conforming to His. We put our identity on Christ rather than taking on His. If we ignore the voices of those on the margins, we dismiss the very place from which Jesus spoke. Beware: sometimes it’s just too easy to buy the Coke because your name is on it.”—This Coke’s [Not] For You: Life on the Margins
Calkins was not alone in his financial idealism. Napoleon Hill, a disciple of Andrew Carnegie, wrote a global bestseller in 1937 entitled Think and Grow Rich. For Hill, the pursuit of wealth was a religious activity requiring great faith and spiritual discipline: “The object is to want money, and to become so determined to have it that you convince yourself you will have it.” He explained that Christianity has great potential because its founder, Jesus, had the ability to turn faith into reality. Such is the model for what people ought to do with money: yearn and crave it so much you force it into being.
While a bit absurd to the modern reader, Think and Grow Rich has sold over 70 million copies, and 70 years later, it continues to find new readers. According to Wikipedia, it is the bestselling non-fiction book of all time.
“Grace and forgiveness should be extended to Mr. Driscoll, but grace and forgiveness do not equal silence. Likewise, restoration is available and possible, but restoration of a person need not mean restoration of a position. We need to honestly address what “Christ-like” means in the face of a religious leader facing some very serious accusations of abuse. When we truly look at Jesus’s example, we see a man who was full of grace, but also could be full of righteous indignation when the church was being hurt by the humans in charge. Jesus was not meek when it came to calling out the abuse of power. In fact, when we ask ourselves WWJD, table-flipping is an option. Jesus was assertive in addressing the religious leaders of his day.
And yet today, many people are silencing and shaming others for addressing systemic issues or individual behavioral concerns with religious leadership, calling for grace—as if grace and accountability are mutually exclusive.”—What Mark Driscoll Teaches Us About Grace and Accountability
Many factors have contributed to these changes in public and legal opinion. One is the increased visibility of gays and lesbians across the culture, as more come out of the closet. Three-quarters of Americans now say they have a relative, friend or co-worker who is gay and millions have become used to sympathetic gay and lesbian characters on television and to openly gay talk-show hosts and entertainers. It is harder to deny rights to people who are no longer faceless “others.”
Another factor in the rapid acceptance of marriage equality is the success the civil rights and feminist movements have had in establishing social equality as a moral and ethical principle. Fifty years ago, when the Civil Rights Bill was introduced in Congress, congressional opponents openly vowed to resist anything that might “bring about social equality.”
No public figure would say that today. Even politicians who oppose measures to protect the rights of minorities, women or gays and lesbians now frame their opposition as a defense of equality against “special privileges.” So when advocates for social change can claim their goal is a simple matter of equity, they have an advantage they lacked in the 1960s and even the 1970s, when substantial numbers of Americans were still willing to admit to opposing gender and racial equality.