aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Two Atlanta preachers: times change
The Andersons, who live in the Bronx, are struggling financially. A few weeks ago, the couple, who have two young children, had no money to buy groceries. But they believe what their pastor, the Rev. Creflo A. Dollar Jr., said on this recent Saturday night about the offering time: “It’s opportunity for prosperity.”
“Remember,” said Mr. Dollar, a familiar figure across the country because of his “Changing Your World” television show and best-selling books, “if you sow a seed on a good ground, you can expect a harvest.” [...]
Mr. Dollar’s salary is set by a compensation board at the Georgia church, but he declined to reveal it. He also declined to say how much of his salary and fees he donates back to the church, except to say that he is one of the church’s biggest givers.
He and his wife live in a million-dollar mansion in Atlanta that is owned by the church. He has said that his two Rolls-Royces were gifts from congregants. But shortly after he started the New York church, he and his wife, Taffi, purchased a $2.5 million apartment in the new Time Warner Center on their own.
“I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism,” said [Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.], as he read an imaginary letter from the aposule. “Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity.”
Not one Democrat took Abramoff campaign money
There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican, every person under investigation is a Republican, every person indicted is a Republican.... There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money, and we’ve looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that’s true.
Ombudsing is hard.
Democrats took no Abramoff campaign money. None.
Taking money from Indian tribes is not in and of itself illegal or unethical. Indian tribe money is not implicitly dirty money.
Taking money from Indian tribes who were bilked and cheated by Abramoff does not mean that you yourself are guilty of bilking or cheating those tribes.
This stuff is not complicated. It’s very simple. People working in Washington for a long time certainly undertand these things. Why they pretend to not understand them is a mystery.
UPDATE: More from Media Matters.
Pornification: Clinton and the underwear question
More from Jim Sleeper, Behind the Deluge of Porn, a Conservative Sea-Change:
“When Bill Clinton took the office of the presidency on MTV and answered questions about his underwear,” [Catholic priest and conservative public intellectual Richard John] Neuhaus wrote in 1999, “that is something that Bill Clinton did. It was not done by the American people; it was done to them. Many Americans loved it. There have always been a lot of slobs. Clinton’s innovation is in pandering to them.”
But is Neuhaus being fully honest here? He knows very well that, not long ago, no American in a presidential audience would have asked such a question. Clinton’s questioner had to assume that audience standards permitted his query, and to assume that, he need only have been watching midday television, not the president. Clinton pandered, but for the questionto be asked at all, something had to have changed in the general culture. Neuhaus admits this by condemning Bob Dole, Clinton’s Republican challenger of 1996 and a public scold of Hollywood, for later making TV “commercials for Pfizer about how Viagra helps him cope with his erectile dysfunction. The poor fellow looks like he’s restraining the impulse to unzip and show us the happy change.” We’re back to Lawrence’s admonition to “Chief Thinkers’” not to shrill our little desires into our ears.
The pornification of the news gathering process:
Even journalists become carnival barkers as political reporting, so critical to civic-republican deliberation, is skewed by pornification. Talking to Yale students a few months after the 2004 election, Howard Dean blamed a precipitous decline in investigative reporting of public issues on the quarterly bottom lining of news conglomerates. Instead of investing in stories that might not be “sexy,” they favor cheaper, quicker gossip, sex and other sensationalism. A Newsweek editor responded that, far from stinting on investigations, his magazine “had a reporter working on Bill Clinton’s sex life a full year before anyone had heard of Monica Lewinsky.” Of course, he only proved Dean’s point - and Rochelle Gurstein’s, in The Repeal of Reticence, that “Many modern liberals and radicalsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ can no longer discriminate between the essential circulation of ideas, which is the cornerstone of liberal democracy, and the commercial exploitation of news, entertainment, and sex as commodities.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
RELATED: Joe Gandelman points to the NFL dropping Levitra as a sponsor.
Cashman on crime and punishment
More from Judge Cashman. The hearing transcript was released Friday:
MONTPELIER, Vt. --The transcript of a court hearing shows that Judge Edward Cashman never said he no longer believed in punishment, as some have suggested.
Gov. James Douglas and other Cashman critics have repeatedly said Cashman’s disavowal of punishment is a key reason for believing the judge should resign or be impeached.
Cashman said he did not want to see another case like that of Edwin Towne, who was released after completing the state’s then-new sex offender program in 1986 and a short time later killed 15-year-old Paulette Crickmore of Richmond.
“After 25 years of doing this ... if there’s anything burned in my brain over the years, it’s Ed Towne and what happened to Ed Towne with a 7-to-10 year sentence everybody felt good about, and I don’t ever want to be in that spot. So if all you have offered the victims of this crime, the state, the Corrections Department, anybody else here, is retribution, you’ve misinformed them,” said Cashman.
“Our job is much harder than just retribution,” he said.
Cashman complained that the state was “setting up a situation here in this courtroom with these people and telling them somehow or another if he doesn’t get a long term in jail, there’s a failure…
“This is the kind of talk that is driving our corrections costs; we’re spending more on prisons than we do on schools; we’re leaving with the general public the idea that the only thing that’s effective is to inflict more pain. This job is much too serious to be content with a punishment sentence,” Cashman said.