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Christians for Gay Marriage

[ 115 ] September 5, 2013 |

Glad to be friends with Evan Hurst, who is leading this great campaign.

The Everlasting Irrationality of Oklahoma

[ 56 ] September 5, 2013 |

The Oklahoma legislature is awesome:

An Oklahoma state representative said he wants voters to decide whether the state should issue bonds to help fund storm shelters in public schools, a day after the House refused to consider such funding.

Oklahoma Rep. Joe Dorman, a Democrat, said on Wednesday he will hold a special committee meeting on Friday to discuss a possible ballot initiative.

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to exclude the issue of safety in schools from consideration as part of a special legislative session. The decision came three months after two historic twisters hit the state, including one that killed seven students in a Moore elementary school that did not have a shelter.

“The motion to kill it means to me that no one else had a plan or that they wanted to leave it up to local schools to fund shelters, many of which cannot afford to do so,” said Dorman.

The state House voted 57 to 26, largely along party lines, to not consider shelter funding. One of the Republicans who voted against the discussion represents Moore.

As for the representative from Moore, it’s awesome that Republican ideology doesn’t get phased by dead children.

I assume all readers are familiar with oeuvre of The Sons of the Pioneers, but in case anyone is not, here’s the post title reference:


[ 45 ] September 4, 2013 |

Whether in Europe or the U.S., the wolf debate is kind of the ultimate in the urban-rural environmentalism divide. I have to admit that while I sympathize with the French shepherds, I mostly side with the city dwellers because the wolf is a natural part of the ecosystem and has the right to be there. I think the chance the wolves are in Europe in 100 years is about 5% and I’m really extra curious to see what happens as the population continues to grow and moves toward more populous places, but as it is, the wolves deserve to live. This is a place where the French government could step in and compensate the shepherds, not that this strategy has worked all that well in the United States.

Racism, Oklahoma Style

[ 59 ] September 4, 2013 |


Own Something!

[ 36 ] September 4, 2013 |

Today is the first day of class at URI. I need some motivation to get me pumped for teaching. These 1920s workplace motivational posters should do the trick.

I thought about titling this post “Keep the Wad!” but figured that might be misconstrued.

A More Perfect Union

[ 122 ] September 4, 2013 |

Just in case anyone wasn’t aware that Teach for America is a tool of the capitalists, the organization has teamed up with Goldman Sachs to funnel TFA members into a career with a corporation that only played a major role in the crisis that helped bring down the world economy in 2007 and 2008.

Rheeism and toxic investments–what could be a more perfect union in the 21st century?


[ 17 ] September 3, 2013 |

Glad to see the Mexican immigrants killed in a 1948 plane crash near Fresno on an federal plane deporting them back to Mexico finally remembered with a proper gravestone.

Woody Guthrie wrote a song about it. I don’t know if he ever actually recorded it, but it’s been covered a ton of times. I’m a fan of the version Joe Ely did on the Los Super Seven album.

A Meeting

[ 28 ] September 3, 2013 |

In a story almost too good to be true, Jeremy Fugleberg of the Casper Star-Tribune chronicles a meeting between a local NAACP member and the regional leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

[UPDATE BY ROB] Erik neglects to mention that Mr. Fugleberg is an esteemed graduate of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce...


[ 226 ] September 3, 2013 |

Of course “Hurt” is a Johnny Cash song. In the public mind, any song sung by Johnny Cash is automatically a Johnny Cash song, be it “Cocaine Blues” or “Bird on a Wire” or “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Why even research such an obvious fact? You don’t have to listen to a single country music album to know Johnny Cash is the best country singer since Hank Williams, even if you’ve never listened to Hank either. Any other opinion on these matters will result in scorn toward those who dare say Johnny Paycheck or Merle Haggard are just as great, especially those who actually know those artists’ albums.

The Persisting Vision

[ 67 ] September 3, 2013 |

Martin Scorsese gave a great talk for the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. It’s reprinted in the New York Review of Books and is on the importance of preserving our language of film in a culture that values little but the weekly game of box office numbers. A snippet:

So not only do we have to preserve everything, but most importantly, we can’t afford to let ourselves be guided by contemporary cultural standards—particularly now. There was a time when the average person wasn’t even aware of box office grosses. But since the 1980s, it’s become a kind of sport—and really, a form of judgment. It culturally trivializes film.

And for young people today, that’s what they know. Who made the most money? Who was the most popular? Who is the most popular now, as opposed to last year, or last month, or last week? Now, the cycles of popularity are down to a matter of hours, minutes, seconds, and the work that’s been created out of seriousness and real passion is lumped together with the work that hasn’t.

We have to remember: we may think we know what’s going to last and what isn’t. We may feel absolutely sure of ourselves, but we really don’t know, we can’t know. We have to remember Vertigo, and the Civil War plates, and that Sumerian tablet. And we also have to remember that Moby-Dick sold very few copies when it was printed in 1851, that many of the copies that weren’t sold were destroyed in a warehouse fire, that it was dismissed by many, and that Herman Melville’s greatest novel, one of the greatest works in literature, was only reclaimed in the 1920s.

Just as we’ve learned to take pride in our poets and writers, in jazz and the blues, we need to take pride in our cinema, our great American art form. Granted, we weren’t the only ones who invented the movies. We certainly weren’t the only ones who made great films in the twentieth century, but to a large extent the art of cinema and its development have been linked to us, to our country. That’s a big responsibility. And we need to say to ourselves that the moment has come when we have to treat every last moving image as reverently and respectfully as the oldest book in the Library of Congress.

What’s more, he referenced one of my favorite films of all time, Edison’s boxing cats. Because of that, I will once again embed it. Maybe we should get Scorsese to write a guest post here about it.

Labor Day IX

[ 5 ] September 2, 2013 |

An appropriate song to end this exploration of labor and song is this piece on deindustrialization, Tom Russell’s “U.S. Steel.” I hope you enjoyed this set of labor music.

Labor Day VIII

[ 5 ] September 2, 2013 |

Sure it might be a cliche, but Charlie Haden at least believes that the people united will never be defeated. Besides, we need more leftist jazz.