religious liberty task forceI attended church of my choice last Sunday. No one barred the doors or stationed armed militia to block my path. So I’m trying to see what this Religious Liberty Task Force is all about.

ITEM: New Regime Directive Lets Federal Contractors Discriminate Against LGBT People – For Jesus

ITEM: A nominee for a U.S. House of Representatives seat (R-NC) is an ordained pastor who was recorded just three years ago longing for the days when “homosexuality was once criminalized.” “Mark Harris, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016 but lost the nomination, also insisted that being Christian in America is illegal.”

ITEM: Evangelical U.S. Air Force General Has Secretly Been Running a Christian Online Ministry in Possible Violation of Rules. “AF brigadier general newly in charge of one of the nation’s most celebrated and elite Air Force wings has been running an online evangelical Christian ministry for the last five years—in violation of Air Force and Defense Department rules about religious proselytizing, according to a formal letter of complaint sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis…

[Brigadier General E. John] “Teichert, who flew combat missions over Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, according to his official bio, runs a website called Prayers at Lunchtime for the United States (PLUS). The website doesn’t mention Edwards Air Force Base, but Teichert recently posted a picture of his newly acquired general’s epaulet star, alongside a note about his new rank on the PLUS site.”

ITEM: Florida Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year signed into law a bill that provides $7000 a year in state funding to public school students who are being bullied, enabling them to switch to private, often Christian schools.

Why these are terrible situations! We definitely need a task force to protect us from these religious zealots! Say, what? Religious Liberty Task Force is only protecting what is still the majority religion in the United States?

So this cartoon, or this one aren’t as far-fetched as it would seem.

Stealing from my former presbyter: “I am proud to be part of a Christian tradition that doesn’t peddle in this theological heresy. Let’s be clear, everything these people are advancing from a policy perspective is against the most important religious/theological tenants of all three Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

“They are not people of faith but the exact opposite. People of faith do not separate families or desecrate the Creation or engage in militarism or discriminate or abuse women or harm the poor. And people who take sick, perverse joy in this are most certainly not people of faith and don’t need protecting.”

Robert PlantIn February 2018, I came across an article about Robert Plant and his current group, the Sensational Space Shifters, who’ve been together since 2012! My, I’m behind in tracking his post-Led Zeppelin career trajectory.

I’ve written at some length about my love/hate affair with Led Zeppelin, who were innovative thieves. I have more than half of their albums in one format or another, as well as the boxed set. FWIW, ten folks answered this Quora question: Why did Plant and Jimmy Page treat John Paul Jones like dirt after Led Zeppelin disbanded?

I own at least four of the first six solo albums of Robert Plant. I have the Honeydrippers one-off from 1984, with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, on cassette, if I can find it. I also bought a Page/Plant CD.

My wife is a big fan of bluegrass star Alison Krauss, who we saw play live in 2003. So I got her the Raising Sand CD with Plant and Krauss for Christmas in 2007. She thought it was too loud – I disagree – so I stole it back.

My fascination with his group Band of Joy from 2010/2011 is that there’s a cover of a song my father used to sing.

Plant said in that newspaper interview that he keeps in shape by falling “in love about every 18 months. I do my best to be in love with life. I like to see the sparkle that exists and the kindness and the charm of the world, as well as the mess.”

Listen to songs by Robert Plant:

Big Log (#20 in 1983)

In the Mood (#39 in 1984)

Little by Little (#35 in 1984)

Sea of Love – the Honeydrippers (#3 in 1985)

(Good) Rockin’ At Midnight – the Honeydrippers (#25 in 1985)

Tall Cool One (#25 in 1988)

Ship of Fools (#84 in 1988)

Hurting, Kind (#46 in 1990)

29 Palms (#111 in 1993)

Darkness Darkness (2002)

Rich Woman – with Alison Krauss (#118 in 2009)

Please Read The Letter – with Alison Krauss (#120 in 2009, Record of the Year award at the 2009 Grammy Awards)

Cindy I’ll Marry You One Day – Band of Joy (2010)

Carry Fire – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Bluebirds Over the Mountains – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Heaven Sent – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Occasionally, reading conservative websites is a fruitful endeavor. For instance, Sarah Quinlan wrote in Red State, “Laura Ingraham’s Comments Were Wrong In Every Way.” Fox News host Ingraham “lamented ‘massive demographic changes’ that have caused the end of the “America we know and love.”

While Quinlan loves the United States, she is not blind to the “shameful events — from the savagery of our early history, to slavery, to extrajudicial lynchings and implementing legal discrimination, to women being treated as second-class citizens.” She goes on at length about this.

“During Ingraham’s lifetime” – Laura was born in 1963 – “Americans of color have been repeatedly denied justice and forced to fight to receive the rights they were due. During Ingraham’s lifetime, women have had to demand to be treated as human beings in their own right…

“Is that the America that Ingraham wishes still existed? I find it utterly baffling that people express nostalgia for a pleasant, untroubled past in American history, because that has never truly existed…

“Ronald Reagan once promoted the belief that anyone can come to this country and become an American — which is possible here because America is an idea, not an ethnicity, and no American is more American than another based on birth, wealth, religion, political party, or race.”

It’s noteworthy that Ingraham criticizes “legal immigration and disparagingly refers to it as something that ‘of course progressives love.’ Since when did Republicans turn against legal immigration? Since when are Republicans against the idea of people legally coming to America in pursuit of a better life and the American Dream?

“Immigrants helped this country become what it is. And America endures because of the core American values that guide us, not because of what her people look like.”

“According to Pew [Research], 58% of Americans consistently say increasing diversity makes America a better place to live…Alex Nowrasteh, Senior Immigration Policy Analyst at Cato Institute says that “recent immigrants’ assimilation to American culture and values is doing ‘as well as or [on] a better pace of assimilation than previous immigrant waves….’

“Laura Ingraham’s comments…were despicable, and it is not virtue-signaling for me to point that out but rather simply standing up for what I believe is right; such comments should not be treated as normal or acceptable. When former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke is cheering on Ingraham’s comments, that’s a side that I do not want to be on.”

Unsurprisingly, other Red State contributors supported Ingraham. But as the Weekly Sift noted: Anti-immigrant rhetoric is an insult to your ancestors.

The timelessness of xenophobia. But there’s a strange thing about that rhetoric: It’s been part of American discourse forever. And most of us here today — including most of the white supremacists — are descended from those darker immigrants who supposedly would never assimilate…

The elasticity of Americanism. At every point in our history, the idea of American has stretched far enough to include past waves of immigrants, while still balking at the more recent ones. At every point, there has been a clear line between Them and Us, and every time the issues seemed totally different than what we had seen before.

Of course, it is White House adviser Stephen Miller who is the hand behind the regime’s current offensive policy “to make it impossible for many legal immigrants to become citizens or lawful permanent residents (green-card holders).”

Their offenses? Using public benefits to which they are entitled: Enrolling in Obamacare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or using food stamps or other social welfare programs.

David S. Glosser wrote Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle. “If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.”

Ironically, The regime has denounced what he calls “chain migration.” His in-laws just became U.S. citizens by taking advantage of that program.

Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave.

Trump crossing the swamp

After this



Why Fascism Has the Power to Seduce the Broken

John Oliver Confronts Fake Grassroots Movements

In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream

When That “Feel-Good” Story Really Ought To Make You Throw Up

Who Chooses Abortion?

Ken Screven – The Conscience of the Newsroom

The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period

On Prepositions

Joe Biden’s LGBTQ acceptance initiative

Walter Ayres: Pope Francis and the death penalty

Vlogbrothers: How Do Adults Make Friends? and How I Made Friends

Terry Crews Made A PSA With Samantha Bee To Illustrate Why Sexual Assault Jokes Really Aren’t Funny

Treating Golfer’s Elbow And How To Prevent It

The seven original cast members of Saturday Night Live inducted into the Television Hall of Fame

Dick Cavett in the digital age

Alan Alda (and Leonard Maltin) Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

Amy Meselson, Lawyer Who Defended Young Immigrants, Dies at 46

Charlotte Rae, R.I.P.

Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan were 23 when their daughter, Lisa, was born

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

The end of Campbell’s Soup?

Embracing päntsdrunk, the Finnish way of drinking alone in your underwear

The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained

Now I Know: Who You Gonna Call? Not This Ghostbuster and The Blood*, Sweat, and Tears of English Rugby Players and Why You Can’t Visit Liberty’s Torch and Why the National Animal of Scotland is… Wait, Really?

Players from Sesame Street read great lines from the movies

Christopher Lee and Jane Seymour

THE SWAMP

A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Week of Corruption Scandals: A Closer Look

Why Betsy DeVos shuns the American flag on her 40-foot yacht

PORN STARS, PLAYMATES, AND PRAYER CIRCLES

Mike Pence – Holy Terror and has drastically lowered his moral standard for a President

John Oliver: the next issue of Stupid Watergate

How ICE was radicalized

How the regime misled the public on poverty

EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing

The Quislings of American Collapse

The Constitutional Con

His Foreign Policy Held Back by Struggle to Grasp Time Zones, Maps

Boston Globe Calls For A Nationwide Response To Attacks On The Press

MUSIC

The anthem of the Republic of Tyva in the Russian Federation

Ohio – John Batiste, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr

Vasily Kalinnikov – Bylina, an overture

“Africa” le Toto as Gaeilge

Summer Wind- Willie Nelson

I greet my country -Ahoulaguine Akaline featuring Bombino

Feel The Love – Rudimental, featuring John Newman

In the Mood – Glenn Miller (see Sonja Henie!)

Stand By Me – Bootstraps

Fur Elise – pianist Lola Astanova

The Place Where Dreams Come True and End Credits – James Horner, scoring Field of Dreams

Coverville 1227: Cover Stories for Kate Bush and Rush and 1228: Cover Stories for Whitney Houston, A Flock of Seagulls and The Go-Go’s

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly); Cover by Sina

1-2-3 – The Electric Indian

My Dearest Ruth – Patrice Michaels (from Notorious RBG in Song)

The niece Rebecca Jade will be singing at five Sheila E shows this month, in Michigan and the Northeast

How the Beatles unravelled: Hunter Davies, the band’s official biographer, recalls the tensions that led the Fab Four to split

The Top 60 Female Artists of All Time

drawingrthur the AmeriNZ kid (“kid” in that he’s younger than I) mildly chastened me in a comment. “On another note, you write: ‘Les Green was VERY artistic, in many ways, and I just wasn’t, and aren’t to this day.’ Really? You DO know you blog, right? I’m sure plenty of others would join me in saying THAT is creative.”

I never said I wasn’t CREATIVE, just not artistic. In at least two marking periods in third and fourth grade I got a D in art. My father once asked my seventh-grade art teacher how I managed to get a B, and she said, “Because he worked to the best of his ability.”

Which isn’t much. You do NOT want me on your team in Pictionary, because you will never have ANY idea what I’m trying to draw. I can see it in my mind’s eye, but it simply does not translate onto the paper, or piece of clay, or whatever medium I’m using.

I remember being at staff training for work a year and a half ago playing some board game which essentially swiped from other board/card games such as Pictionary. My team was frustrated, as though I weren’t trying; I WAS, I WAS.

Now my wife is rather artistic. In fact she should take more advantage of her skills. At her request, I’ve purchased her an easel, paints, et al., but she seldom actually uses them.

The Daughter is VERY artistic, clearly getting this from her mother. Or her paternal grandfather. It wasn’t until the end of the last semester, when she brought them home, that we learned that she had a couple drawings accepted and displayed at a city-wide even; it was old hat. She and a friend designed the inside front cover of her yearbook.

I should note that I appreciate art. I’ve attend the museums regularly for decades. I recall that Ida Berman, my great aunt Charlotte Yates’ sister, taking me to several New York City galleries in the winter of 1975. I’m involved with the Albany Public Library displaying art at one of the branches.

So I can sing a little, and write a little. But I couldn’t draw a recognizable horse, even if you offered me large sums of cash.

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