Category Archives: What's fit to print

150 Years Later

At Fort Sumter, 150 years ago today, the Civil War began. The next four years were the bloodiest in our nation’s history. It’s not exactly a proud moment for our country. It is however a really important one.

A friend pointed out a really interesting article: Four Ways We’re Still Fighting the Civil War. There are still arguments about federalism vs. states rights and presidential power. What struck me so profoundly was how the merging of faith and politics is such an old fight.

The war erupted not long after the “Second Great Awakening” sparked a national religious revival. Reform movements spread across the country. Thousands of Americans repented of their sins at frontier campfire meetings and readied themselves for the Second Coming.

They got war instead. Their moral certitude helped make it happen, says David Goldfield, author of “America Aflame,” a new book that examines evangelical Christianity’s impact on the war.

Goldfield says evangelical Christianity “poisoned the political process” because the American system of government depends on compromise and moderation, and evangelical religion abhors both because “how do you compromise with sin.”

“By transforming political issues into moral causes, you raise the stakes of the conflict and you tend to demonize your opponents,” Goldfield says.

Contemporary political rhetoric is filled with similar rhetoric. Opponents aren’t just wrong — they’re sinners, Goldfield says.

There’s a lot of food for thought there. It’s no secret I’m a Christian girl. I do see some things in moral terms. I suppose most people do. But all the people who call themselves Christians can’t even agree on how to run our own religious institutions (church splits, much?), and we’re just one of the groups to take  into account when governing this Republic.

I don’t claim to have this all figured out. I’m just a little sad because today, 150 years later, it doesn’t seem like anyone does.


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Easy Bake amped up

These are not your mothers’ Easy Bake ovens. Nearly 1 million of these pink and purple suckers have been recalled. Apparently, little girls can get their fingers inside them and get burned. They have reports of this.

If I recall correctly, the Easy Bake ovens of my youth were heated with a light bulb! Every cake came out of the “oven” essentially hot batter. They must be doing some serious amping of those things to actually burn kids.

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Miss Texas was ROBBED!

As in, ski mask, convenience store, give me all your money, ROBBED! last night in the Miss America pageant. Miss Oklahoma was perfectly lovely, and well coached in the art of arm and microphone raising while singing in such a way to show off the dental work her father paid dearly for. Her hairdresser dyed her a lovely shade of blond and she was well-coiffed. She was not, however, better than Miss Texas, who was ROBBED.

The only silver lining is that if Miss America is unable to fulfill her duties, (translation: if a photographer shows up somewhere with nudie photos) then Miss Texas is all in. That is, of course, unless Miss Oklahoma agrees to go to rehab, which apparently fixes everything from booze and pills to being a bigot or just generally showing poor judgement. (I’m certainly not making accusations, I’m just saying, it’s possible.)

One other thing: whoever is doing the nose jobs for Miss America contestants this year has a bird fetish and they need to find a new surgeon.

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Come on Down!

Bob Barker announced that he is retiring from the Price is Right. I always like that show, and it makes me a little sad. Of course the man is 138 years old, so it’s probably time. It’s just that show brings back a lot of fond memories for me.

When I was little, I got a terrible case of the flu. I was sick in bed for over a week. For reasons that I can’t remember now, my dad stayed home with me. Normally, my mom would have done that. Every day, he would fix up the couch with fresh blankets and pillows for me and we could watch anything I wanted on TV all day long. He did steer me toward the Price is Right in the mornings, though. We would play the games in the living room together and I proudly announced when my mom and sister got home that I had won a car or a washer and dryer or some other such prize. It made being sick better.

So I wish you well, Bob. And any time you want to send along that Rice-a-Roni that I won 25 years ago, I’m still waiting.

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Clearly, I’m not dead

Other blogs have already noticed this story, but it reminds me of some very funny moments in the last presidential election. The article addresses the problems with new voter databases required by the Help America Vote Act. At the end, it quotes an election official in Arkansas who says he knows there are dead people on the voter rolls, but until he receives official notice of their death from the state, he’s not removing their names.

After all, he might have heard wrong.

”Imagine if you came in to vote and someone said, ‘You can’t vote, you’re dead.’ Now how would you feel?”

A friend had this happen when he tried to vote in 2004. The poll worker told him that he was dead. He pointed out that clearly, he wasn’t, as he was breathing in front of her. It took the whole day to sort it out. At one point, he was yelling on the phone, “I’m not dead! I don’t know how to prove that other than to be alive!”

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Children’s Chorus

Well I guess it’s time to join the chorus of people taking Asa! Hutchinson to the woodshed for his latest political commercial. Up to now, this campaign for Arkansas Governor has featured attacks from both sides that have been your typical, election year stuff: Beebe loves the gays vs. Asa! loves illegal immigrants. Both of them hate the grocery tax more than the devil himself.

But now Asa! has started running a commercial using children that’s beyond the pale. It’s a rip-off of the ads that feature children espousing, “When I grow up….”

If you can’t access the link above, the Democrat-Gazette describes it this way: The Hutchinson ad features about a dozen children. It starts with one saying, “When I grow up…” Then another says, “I want to be a politician.” Then, one after another, the children mention a negative political attribute, including, “backslapper” and “flip-flopper.” Others say, “raise taxes whenever I want” and “tell voters what they want to hear” and other things. It concludes with a girl saying, “Just like Mike Beebe.” Another child says again, “Just like Mike Beebe” and then another laughs.

My only question is, how big a man does it take to let an 8-year-old girl do your fighting for you? If Asa! has something to say about Beebe, and there could very well be plenty to say, he should speak up. He should NOT let 527s do his mudslinging. He should NOT let children throw his punches. He should NOT stand like a coward behind others, and let them do his fighting.

And to knock off another commercial, this one by J.C. Penny’s: Where were these children’s mothers?!!

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Dancing Christians

For a brief period in my life, my parents decided Baptist high school would be a good place for me. We did not have dances, only banquets. Those people about banqueted me to death. I mention this to explain that I have genuine empathy for the repression the the students of John Brown University in Siloam Springs must feel. Today comes the news they are wildly celebrating the announcement they have finally been allowed to hold a dance.

Enthusiasm aside, my question is this: Why do you still want to have a dance in college? I have no memory of going to dances in college. There was no crate paper, no balloons, no sequence or poorly-fitted suits. This was all over in high school.

There comes a point in your life when you have to let go of the fact that you didn’t get to have the teenage years that you wanted.  If your parents didn’t let you go to the prom, you need to get over this. Trying to make up for it when you’re 21 doesn’t make you hip, it makes you pitiful.

Also, white girls in the South shouldn’t try to dance past the age of 18. You can get away with it when you’re young and foolish and still wearing a cheerleader uniform. After that,  you just look odd. Technically, you probably looked odd prior to that, but it was at least excusably strange.

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