Monday, August 27, 2007

Another American jihadi

Wow, another terrorist attack on a major city in this country was recently thwarted. The terrorist in question was arrested trying to get sarin nerve gas and high explosives. He may have been planning to spray the sarin from a helicopter over parts of a major US city.

Oh, but it doesn't count as terrorism because he wasn't Muslim. From WKRN:

A white supremacist was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison for attempting to acquire Sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives that he planned to use to destroy government buildings.

Demetrius Van Crocker, 40, a farmhand from the small town of McKenzie near Jackson, was arrested in 2004 after an FBI undercover agent posing as an employee at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, delivered a water-filled Sarin canister and a small quantity of explosives...

In meetings with Burroughs outside a McKenzie convenience store in 2004, Crocker described his "dream" of riding a motorcycle to Washington D.C. and setting off a dirty bomb while the House andSenate were in session.

He also told [the undercover agent] he wanted a helicopter license so he could spray or bomb black neighborhoods in Jackson with poison gas, booby-trap a marijuana field with mines to kill drug agents, and spike drugs with poison to kill black people.

This story has everything. Weapons of mass destruction. Big explosions. A nerve gas attack on an American city. So why was this buried in a local news story? There isn't a single article on this thwarted attack on CNN, FOXNews, MSNBC, or even the New York Times. If this guy's name had been Abu bin Whatever, this would have been non-stop news for days.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An oh-boy band

Seriously, this is a parody, right? Please tell me it's a parody. Because it just can't be real. Not with those khakis.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An America fatwa

Another example of how the Religious Right is clinically insane:

Wiley S. Drake, a Buena Park pastor and a former national leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, called on his followers to pray for the deaths of two leaders of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The request was in response to the liberal group's urging the IRS on Tuesday to investigate Drake's church's nonprofit status because Drake endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for president on church letterhead and during a church-affiliated Internet radio show.

Drake said Wednesday he was "simply doing what God told me to do" by targeting Americans United officials Joe Conn and Jeremy Leaming, whom he calls the "enemies of God."

"God says to pray imprecatory prayer against people who attack God's church," he said. "The Bible says that if anybody attacks God's people, David said this is what will happen to them.... Children will become orphans and wives will become widows..."

"Let his days be few; and let another take his office," the prayer reads. "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."

An American preacher is actually petitioning God to cause the deaths of his fellow Americans. That's about an inch away from the sort of thing that happened to Salman Rushdie. If some member of his church actually decides to take matters in his own hands and "do what God tells him to do" with a bullet, Ayatollah Drake will have blood on his hands.

Realize that this isn't some fringe group. This is a guy that used to be a leader of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. It is the second largest in the world, behind only the Catholic Church.

A commenter on another blog pointed out that Drake is claiming God told him to tell his followers to ask God to kill these people. Why doesn't God just go out and do it without all these people asking him to? It's funny how "what God wants me to do" and "what I want to do" always seem to line up so nicely.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like a horde of locusts...

The students are back. If you need to go grocery shopping, I suggest you do it at least four hours ago.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Jews go home

How am I just now hearing about this? From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

In this town of 3,000 residents, there are at least 15 churches. Maybe 20. They're featured prominently on business street corners. They're also tucked away — hidden almost — on residential blocks.

So you don't need to travel far to find the good Lord, as they say. In fact, visitors can't drive into town without a holy hello.

"Welcome to The Village of Alorton," say two green-and-white billboards with lights shining on them. "Where Jesus is Lord. Randy McCallum Mayor."

By all accounts, the longtime, city-owned signs have never seemed to stir anyone. As it turns out, though, they could be a problem.

The city erected and maintains the signs, Mayor Randy McCallum said...

Former Mayor Callie Mobley, who took office in the early 1980s, said she immediately pushed for the signs. The City Council approved them, and the city paid maybe $250, $350 tops for each, Mobley said. The reason for the signs was simple.

"I believe in one God, one Baptism, and one Lord," she said.

And never once did she hear any objections to the signs.

It actually surprised me to find out that Illinois was actually a hotbed of sundown towns in the not-so-distant past, having a higher percentage than many other states. So I guess it shouldn't shock me to find out that such intolerance in downstate (surprise!) Illinois is still going on. Geez, have these people even heard of the Constitution? I don't give a rusty crucifixion nail whether or not the mayor believes in one baptism or two-point-six dunkings in sanctified Jell-O.

The mayor makes it sound so innocent, saying that there were no objections. Well, duh. Do you think that maybe no one in a small town wants to speak up for fear of retaliation? Do you think that maybe having a sign that says "Jesus is Lord in our town" might make other people feel just a teensy bit unwelcome in your town?

Of course, the Christian rightwingers over at Focus on the Family have already jumped on this and are claiming it's just another example of the "War on Christianity" being raged in our country. Yeah, right.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The right wing cult of masculinity

I have an original blog post I'll probably put up in the next day or so (sorry for not writing more), but I read this article this evening and just had to write about it.

There really is an obsession with masculinity on the part of right-wing Republicans and the right-wing pundits. Sara at Orcinus has a fantastic post today about it. She also references great articles by Digby and Dave Niewert, also on the same topic. Sara writes:

Over the years, my online ex-fundie community has spent a lot of time puzzling over the ways in which fundamentalism arrests the moral, social, emotional, intellectual, and sexual development of anyone who embraces it...

Right-wing authoritarian (RWA) followers have little use for reason; but are very invested in their fantasy lives. They take myth and metaphor absolutely literally, because interpreting them requires a level of abstraction they aren't comfortable with.

It really seems to play into the whole Republican, conservative mindset. The thing is, they're interested only in the image, not the substance. I mean, you've got Tucker Carlson calling Barak Obama "a wuss" with "wimpy rhetoric," yet Chris Matthews raves about Fred Thomson's "daddy image." First of all, Twinkletoes Tucker shouldn't be criticizing anyone's butchness. (I should also point out that strong female figures make Carlson fear for his own manhood.) Yet when they're faced with real masculine figures, they go on the attack. Somehow in the last election, John Kerry and John Murtha had their war service mocked and belittled, while virtually no one in the Bush administration served in the military and even fewer in combat.

Sara continues:

Which brings me around to my point, which is that the over-the-top behavior around masculine gender roles Digby and Dave are noticing is pretty classic early primary behavior, too. The games boys play at this age often involve extreme masculine archetypes -- cowboys, cops, soldiers, sports heroes, spacemen, and so on. The fact that so many mainstream and conservative media guys are suckered by this posturing shows that they don't really have a clue about what a Real Man looks like -- though, somewhere deep down inside, they're pretty sure they don't qualify. That's why they're so easily wowed by men who can put on the costume and make it look good.

Go read the whole thing; it's really very good.

Speaking of media narratives of masculinity, remember that iconic image of Dubya in his flight suit after flying the jet to the carrier where he gave his "Mission Accomplished" speech? Did you know that's the basis for the George W. Bush Top Gun Action Figure? Get this: it's anatomically correct. I'll just leave you with that.