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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lincoln's Negative and Positive Liberty and the Collinsville Class of 2015

   Last week I listened to an hour long conversation with the Dean of America's Civil War Historians, James McPherson on the NPR program Diane Rehm show. Great conversation, especailly McPherson's thouhngts on Lincoln's view of Liberty.

   Contrary to the prevailing Southern Baptist view of Liberty in Alabama, Lincoln understood that Liberty is for those who lack power, as much or more than it was for the slave owner's of the South who perverted the concept through their idea of property rights; as many of the Tea Party and Koch brother's persuasion do today in the Tea Party and malicious advantage in the Citizen's United Decision.

   And I had an email exchange with the professor. He's gonna read Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America. 

     Last night I attended commencement ceremonies at my Mother's alma mater, Collinsville High School, where much of the academic awards went to Hispanic students, many of them undocumented.

    Here in Alabama with the likes of Yellowhammer News, the fundamentalist Scott Beeson of Steve Gaines Gardendale Baptist Church, and a tea party state legislature who dismissed the legacy of Judge Frank Johnson several years ago other than for use of some distorted recruting tool for Auburn and Nick Saban's Roll Tide SEC Football Program, does't seem like much of our "Christian State" has learned anything about perfecting a more Perfect Union.

      The class of 2015, in particular the History club, made a mark this year attempting to bring the Tea Party, Baptist fundamentalist school superintendent; schooling him a little on the significance of the 50th anniversary of Selma, and the movie that came out in January. We made some national news in some circles.

    Azar Nafisi, an Iranian, understands, but not too many of the voting population in Alabama.

      Scattershot blog for sure, but google and listen to the chat at

      And God Bless the class of 2015, Collinsville, Alabama.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dana Periono as a Nixon girl

   Dana has a new book. She has charmed me a little withg her interview on NPR couple days ago where she let the world know she would shoot a bird under the lectern to members of the White House Press Corps if she thought they were preening too much.

     Changed font on her. Her book comes along about the same time I've had repeated views of Johnny Cash and June Carter, Joaquin and Resse in the masterpiece of a movie Inherent Vice. The first song in the credits may trump Wingin my Way of the Movie "W"; Josh Brolin stars in both. I imainge Dana has seen both.

     Reese is a Nixon girl in Inherent Vice. I can see a little of Dana in the Rese role. It's just a great movie.

    I knew a Nixon girl at Furman, Harry Dent's daughter, Dolly. She was prettier than Dana, On their best days, Dolly is the homecoming Queen and Dana the head cheerleader; thgouh as perky and tarty as Dana is, I imagine Dolly has more integrity. Although I have my Marshall Frady exceptions to Billy Graham, I do respect Dolly for naming her first son Graham for the evangelist.

   Dolly's sister Ginny tells a good story in her  tribute to their father Harry, who was Nixon's southern strategist. It's about the time she took the train up to D.C. from Columbia S.C. and met Pat Nixon in the hall of the White House on a saturday and in her jeans in the Nixon white house was terrified.

   So Republican grirls tell good stories; and Barbara Bsuh joke to the Columbia Rotary Club inlate 90s was one of the best I ever read about.

    And then George W came to Furman for commencement, my and Marshall Frady's alma mater, but that story doesn fit in this blog.

     Dana is a charm but a little too cute by half for the good of the country. She is a better person than Anne Coulter I have to imagine, then, who isn't.

     Dan knows all the Bush women are pro-choice. So I don't but all the dissembling she and Coulter do on that subject. At every event on her book tour Dana should be challenged with the Christine Stansell examination of the politics of abortion which makes compelling case it is chock full of "mendacity"; just like thte fundamentalist takeovero fhte Southern Baptist Convention without whcih there most likely was no Bush 43 as Presidnet of the Unisted States and no national platform for Ms Perino.

  So own it Dana; you got ther by "mendacity"; not a family value.  See Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country and the Thomas Powers Oct 9 print issue review.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Mohler Bonhoeffer Interview

  Recently Al Mohler interviewed Charles Marsh regarding the Marsh biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Fascinating interview by a seminary President who benifitted from the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention at the expense of the author's father, a former pastor of 2nd Ponce DeLeon BC in Atlanta, and the author's uncle Fisher Humphreys, a Baptist theologian.
    In my view Mohler is a lot like Doug Hudgins, a man Charles Marsh wrote about in his provocative piece on Civil Rights, God's Long Summer. And Marsh's father, Robert, testified to his diaconate at 2nd Ponce on the devil's work done by fundamentalists in the SBC which Mohler now champions.
    Bob Marsh piece is an easy google for don't blow smoke on my blue skies.
    I cannot reconcile Mohler's career in the SBC with Bonhoeffer's views on the politics of stupidity Marsh highlights on page 341 of the biography.
     The two of them have made covenant to talk again, the next venue possible at University of Virginia. In the interim I hope both of them have mastered a conversational knowledge of Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country, framed in Bonhoeffer's thoughts on the politics of stupidity.
   Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ted Cruz, Radical Islam and Jim Deloach

Ted Cruz was shaped in part by the academy of 2nd Baptist Church Houston Texas and its assistant minister Jim Deloach and influential layman Paul Pressler

    Diane Rehm Show of NPR today had a fascinating conversation with Ali Hirsi about the need for Islam to have a Refromation.

    2nd Houston pastor Ed Young has roots in Upstate S.C. at FBC Taylors in the 60s, then FBC Columbia where he hooked up with Nixon Southern Strategist Harry Dent and brought on board James Delaoch a fundamentalist Baptist preacher from Rock Hill who was key in flipping SEBTS in in North Carolina to hard core fundamentalism and the Jesse Helms political machine.

   Cruz is a proudct of all that stew marinated by Paul Pressler whose family appears o have fought every progressive move in Texas since the Coke Stevenson/LBJ senate race of 1948.

If you don't believe me ask Bill Moyers and now Robert Wuthnow of Princeton and his new book Rough Country, even better reviewer Thomas Powers in the Oct 9 piece.

   Have Bill Moyers on the Diane Rehm show with Thomas Powers or myself. We'll lay out the similarities to the world of Ted Cruz that concern Miss Hirsi so as she testified today on National Public Radio.

   James Delaoch is for real. Ask Randall Lolley about his experience with Delaoch; or the Likkud party with whom Deloach has hooked up to usher in Armageddon like he reads it literally in the Book of Revelations!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Laura Bush is coming to Samford

  She will speak next week as part of the Tom and Myra Corts lecture series.

   All indications are former President Corts, who once thought I planted an artcile in the Wal St. Journal about the Institution, was an honorable Republican in the tradition of Judge Frank Jo=hnson, though Corts was a native of Indiana with strong days in North Carolina.

    New President Westmoreland is a little more suspicious than Corts, with his seeming inability to distinguish himself from the aw shucks politics of Mike Huckabee, but has some god points. Word is is only child, daughter and recent presdient of the stundet body is a true believer, of the tea party stripe.

   I like George W and Laura though W should never have been presdient. The point is as a matter of integrity the Samford Comunity should bone up on Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country, particularly the Oc 9 Tom Powers review in Christianity today had a review online, but CT doesn't cut it. The book and the Powers review say the Bushes, with their history with Judge Presler and TExas Right wing politics; and in South Carolina, Harry Dent and Lee Atwater, have a lot of explaining to do.

   This could be a teachable moment for Samford Community with waves for the state of Alabama.

   Proud of Bush 41 for standing up to the Birchers in Harris County Texas in 1966, but his political history since then, bringing Atwater on board in 88-see Atwater's "nigger memo" in Rough Country--and the family's carousing with Richard Land, Pressler and Karl Rove is not the legacy of Tom Corts.

   I hope the Samford Community will make the distinction next week when Laura comes to town.

   BTW, Laura , like your reading initiative. Recommend to you Marsh's bio of Bonhoeffer, Tupelo Hassman's GirlChild, and the short stories of my friend Ron Rash.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Furman new Prez, Selma and Trey Gowdy

       I was in Selma last Saturday to see President Obama and Bush and honor some Furman folks as I explain in a blog below. On Monday I read online the New Yorker piece by George Packer on the significance of it all. Great piece as I texted a Furman friend who is a former book page editor for the Charlotte Observer.
      Read the piece. To cut to the chase it says because of the likes of Trey Gowdy and his tea party republicans, particularly of the fundamentalist stripe, the Voting Rights act of 65 could not be passed in today's Congress.
      Two recent books and their reviews of the last two years add weight to Packer's conviction. Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America and Princeton's Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country drive that point home. More specifically for the Furman conversation this coming Monday afternoon of March 16 on Furman and the Community, is the Thomas Powers review in the print issue of Octboer 9, 2014
      It is ironic and coincidental New Furman President Davis was at Baylor, like Furman a historically Baptist affiliated institution of higher education about the same time as Trey Gowdy and Ron Paul. Powers makes the point Texas Baptist fundamentalist have shaped the Tea Party that now has almost grinded goodwill attempts for a more perfect union to a halt. While I have strong reservations about aspects of the recent conflagration in Ferguson, the Lee Atwater memo in Rough Country doesnt look good for the political inflections of Trey Gowdy's politics. Like the SAE chapter at Oklahoma, Gowdy and his Tea Party Baptists James Lankford of Oklahoma and their Methodist brethren Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Bama House Speaker Mike Hubbard have some explaining to do.
   Now the conversation is not so much about race, but as Atwater's memo points out and a recent Garry Wills piece in New Yorker on the Tea Party wing of the GOP accentuates, the race politics of the 60's have morphed, refined and been perfected in the wedge issue politics of abortion, church state matters--see the template in the Baptist struggle of the 80s and 90s--and the daily Roger Ailes miasma on Fon Fox News. Christine Stansell  had a great piece focussing on the politics of abortion in New Republic a few years ago, saying they were a template for other isues in a strategy chocked ful of "mendacity". Mendacity, not a Furman value institutionally codified when I was there in the early 70s.
   Back to Upstate S.C. The specific case Wuthnow makes for Texas and his reviewer Powers drives home is affirmed generally in Crespino's look at the politics of Upstate S.C. Another good source in the conversation is Wahalla native Mark Powell, now Stetson English proff and his political thriller Dark Corner.
     Jeff Rogers grand lecture in the Furman collection What REaly Matters outlines the best of the Baptist tradition. For me it is no coincidence Gordon Blackwell, the son of a Baptist minister politics most resembled that of Furman's great gift to the nation Richard Riley. Blackwell endorsed Max Heller for Congress over Lee Atwater's Carroll Campbell. Now may be the time for the Furman community to encourage the likes of Furman trustee Baxter Wynn to define a different Baptist Republican vision for the Country in an L.D. Johnson contradistinction to the pettifogged vision of FBC Spartanburg's Gowdy.
      While I was at Furman, Harry Dent's daughter was there. Cyndi Campsen and her husband were Freshmen my senior year and their daughter, a Furman grad is a recent Miss South Carolina. Le Atwater's Daughter Salley is recent grad and Mike Hubbard's son is a Freshman at Furman now. So my take is not the only one to be part of the conversation.
     And the Furman Chapel is named for generous benefactor to the University, Charles E. Daniel, Richard Nixon's best friend in the Upstate.
     But my point is there is no way I can see Trey Gowdy as the incarnation of Furman values in the public square from the teaching of L.D. Johnson, the legacy of Gordon Blackwell and Max Heller, the journalism of Marshall Frady or the green sustainability of David Shi; even my Harvard grad friend of the summer of 1970 in Gaffney, Roger Miliken Jr who served a term as President of the Nature Conservancy.
     Furman in conversation with Wofford and Converse can turn up a moderate Republican, a blue dog democrat of some sort to nudge the country back on course and displace Trey Gowdy's lesser vision and politic.
    Furman does great things in the public square. The Heller Service Corp and the network with Triune Mercy Center are but two initiatives that have gotten national attention. But it needs national representatives that better represent those initiatives over the worst witness of Lee Atwater as revealed in Rough Country, or Mike Hubbard in a cover story last Summer in New Republic about the New Racism.
     I'm convinced the stakes are huge. Last year Charles Marsh, a Baptist minister's son with rots in Laurel Mississippi had a Knopf published biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Marsh now teaches at UVA. On page 341 of that book, Bonhoeffer, one of the three Christian martyrs busted in Westminster Abbey--MLKing and Oscar Romero the other two--talks about the " politics of stupidity."  Find that two page passage and read for yourself for full effect. A similar mindset now has taken hold of Upstate S.C. and placed the likes of Trey Gowdy in Gongress.
      Furman and the challenge of liberal arts education in Upstate S.C. is Enormous.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In Selma for the 50th Celebration

   I was in Selma Saturday to see President Obama and Bush and Laura for the 50th anniversary. Got there about 11:30 and then was told the President wouldn't be speaking till about 3pm Eastern time that afternoon.
    Crowd estimates are there were between 60 and hundred thousand people there. Judging from what I saw for ten city blocks covered with parked cars and busses parked three miles away I'm guessing upwards of 100 thou on Sunday at a minimum; exponentially more than when I was there in 2012 for the Sunday march across the Bridge, and that was a big Crowd with Ethel Kennedy, Dick Gregory and the daughter of Viola Liuzzo present.
    Truth is I never saw President Obama though was only a block and half away on Water Street. Did make it down to the park to see the Bridge about 300 yards away. If my party had stayed another 30 minutes we coulda seen the President's group walk across; but we didn't know at the time that was the plan.

   Talked to a lot of people on the corner of Alabama Street and Water or some street near the Bridge. Had great conversation with a Ga Tech football player from the early 80s that was on team with Robert Lavette and the team that Bill Curry coached in one of the great eras of Tech football. Had a chat with fellow from Conyers Georgia now at Savannah St; history major. I recommended some books to him.  Talked to Civil Rights pilgrimage groups from Boston, Wake Forest and SMU and a beautiful 30 something German proff from Tuscaloosa who was there with some family friends from Germany.

   Talked to a fifth grader from Wares Elementary in Montgomery there with her mother and other family. Her school fundraiser tee said: "Bloody Sunday helped Bridge the Gap for me."

    I called her congresswoman Marsha Roby 's DC Staff Monday and told them to look this girl up. She's headed in the right direction.

   I've seen the movie Selma a few times and done my reading over the years from Marshall Frady to Taylor Branch, to David Garrow, Charles Marsh and Paul Harvey's Moses Jesus and the Trickster.

   I was thinking of my bi-racial committee in Gaffney in 71 and those first three years of integration there over the weekend and the effect it had on my Mother and father and their days at Bethany Baptist Church.

   Also was proud to be there for Furman connected people Martin England, TC Smith, Jim Pitts and L. D. Johnson. England AND  Smith were in Selma in 65; and I think England is in a pic with me in the Furman annual of 72.

   So was big weekend and big event. May say more later.