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      **GUEST POST By Eric Anderson** If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are. — Wendell Berry I’ve thought a lot about immigration in my time, and confess, I’ve never thought very highly of it. Which, of late, seems to be an extremely unpopular position among liberals. But it’s not that […]
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Dealing with Angry Mobs 101

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Today Joe Sestak, Congressional Representative from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, and Senatorial candidate 2010,  held a town hall meeting on the issue of Healthcare reform.  Joe is one of the few Congresscritters who has read the entire bill; but more importantly, he understands the fear, anger, and frustration of his constituents over this issue enough to treat them with dignity and respect and respond to their questions.  Yes, the “angry mob” showed up.  However, watch how Joe refuses to take on the cloak of arrogance we’ve witnessed from some of the Congressional Dems during these meetings.  (These videos are apparently homemade although I watched it on PCN)

First, here is one of the “angry, racist, birther, lunatic, neocon, astroturfers” going on the offensive:

and here’s one “whacko, brownshirt, terrorist” that they tried to throw out…but Joe told them to leave him alone so he could answer his question:

Now, here’s the other Senator handling the same angry mob:

There are a total of 21 videos of Representative Sestak’s town hall available on YouTube; and in each one, and with each question regardless of the questioner’s demeanor or political philosophy, Joe gives the attendees the deference a constituent deserves.  Whether you agree with his assessment of the quality of the bill or not, he demonstrates a clear understanding of the health care legislation he is endorsing.  He even has a copy of the bill on hand and staff available to provide attendees with the portions of the bill applicable to their questions.

See how it’s done?

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The Big Dawg speaks to the Nutroots

That’s what a President looks like.

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Christians and health care

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Last December on Santa Claus’ birthday I pointed out that Jeebus was a DFH moobat librul. As we watch the Great Astroturf War of 2009 and see the Tea Party movement get their collective panties in a wad over socialized medicine, I think it’s appropriate to review what the man from Nazareth is supposed to have said on the topic.

Those of you who were raised in one of the various Christian denominations are familiar with the parable I am going to discuss. It is commonly known as “The Good Samaritan.”

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to say to Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” asked Jesus. The man answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “and who is my neighbor teacher?”

In reply Jesus said:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead with no clothes. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, and he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, he too passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and looked after him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

It is important to understand that two millennia ago in the Galilee region of the place now known as Israel or Palestine that the people from Samaria (Samaritans) were not well liked.  You could think of them as the equivalent of illegal aliens.

I’ll also point out that Jeebus had a low opinion of the religious leaders of His day.  Many historians believe that He was a member of the Essene sect of Judaism because he was so critical of the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the other two major sects of that time.  Levites were members of the Tribe of Levi and they had special religious and political duties in what was kind of like a hereditary priesthood.

So when Jeebus mentions the priest and the Levite he was talking about two members of the upper crust of local society.  In the parable these two upstanding citizens practiced compassionate conservatism by leaving the injured crime victim laying on the side of the road.  Jeebus was specific – they saw the man and crossed the road to avoid him.

Then this despised Samaritan comes along and helps the injured man.  He goes out of his way and even incurs some expense, but he asks nothing in return.

So if you should run across one of those fundiegelical right-wingers that is wearing a WWJD bracelet while protesting against single payer and he is complaining that he doesn’t want to subsidize lazy bums help pay for health care for any his neighbors that are less fortunate than himself, tell him what Jeebus would do.

If he doesn’t believe you tell him to open his Bible to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, verses 25-37.  (Strangely enough, many of Jeebus’ followers seem to be unfamiliar with His teachings.)

You might also point out that Jeebus is supposed to have spent quite a bit of time healing the sick and injured. I don’t recall any Bible verses mentioning that He asked anyone for their insurance billing information first.

BTW – Luke was a physician.


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Friday Morning News: Somewhat Self-Centered Edition

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It’s Friday again, Conflucians. Sorry your breakfast post is so late this morning. Time is passing too quickly for me these days! I just have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Sorry about being so late with the news this morning. Anyway, my lead story is a local one that stems from a huge national issue–the concentration of control of our media in the hands of a few giant corporations. Obviously, I’m really an old geezer, because it’s a story that made me really sad this week. I need to wallow in my nostalgia a bit this morning, and I hope you’ll forgive me for that.

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This week–the week that marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock–also saw the death of Boston’s legendary radio station, WBCN. The station went on the air in May of 1968, a year after I moved here–and it changed everything.

‘BCN was one of the first FM stations in the country to begin playing free-form progressive rock. But they played all kinds of music! The DJ’s were free to play anything they wanted, and would respond to all kinds of requests. I remember once late at night a friend of mine had an irresistable desire to hear Bill Monroe playing “Get Down on Your Knees and Pray.” He called it in to ‘BCN, and the DJ dug out the record and played it.

WBCN also covered politics. Like the underground newspapers that were popping up in the late ’60s, ‘BCN represented a decidedly “underground,” anti-establishment viewpoint. If an important political action was happening, you heard about it on WBCN. This week, WBCN was silenced, and apparently this is part of a national trend.

WBCN signs off the air in Boston radio shakeup

From Rolling Stone in July: “The Rock of Boston” WBCN Falls Victim to Rock Radio Decline

For the third time this year, an iconic rock radio station in a major city is shifting formats: Boston’s 104.1 WBCN, “The Rock of Boston,” will leave the airwaves on August 13th. The rock station had been broadcasting for 41 years. According to Billboard.biz, WBCN was a victim of CBS Radio’s desire to launch an all-sports talk radio station on the FM dial. The company’s Adult Top 40 Mix station will make the jump from 98.5 to 104.1, with the sports station taking over at 98.5.

From The Boston Globe: The glory days of the rock of Boston

THE YEAR was 1968. Young Americans were dying in an unpopular war halfway around the world. Protesters were battling police on campuses and in the streets throughout the country. A national upheaval was underway involving the anti-war, civil rights, feminist, and gay and lesbian movements. These revolutions would forever transform the nation socially, culturally, and politically. But you would never know it from listening to the radio, where fast-talking DJs played ads for acne cream along with Top 40 pop ballads like Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Something Stupid.’’

And then came WBCN-FM….WBCN began broadcasting from the back room of the Boston Tea Party [legendary Boston live music venue] on March 15, 1968. From the moment it hit the air, the station helped define, as well as promote, popular culture and politics in Boston for the ’60s/boomer generation in a way that nothing had before. And its impact quickly spilled over nationally….its role in launching music careers, including The Who, The J. Geils Band, Aerosmith, and U2, has been widely cited. But WBCN was more than a cultural innovator. It was a social and political force as well, particularly from 1968 to 1975, when, long before Facebook or MySpace, the station served as the social medium that connected a generation in Boston.

The Liberal blog, Down With Tyranny had a a long blog post about WBCN awhile back: WBCN: The thrill is long gone. Corporate mindlessness proudly kills another iconic radio station.

What set WBCN apart was not just the good taste of the people who worked there; it was its innate irreverence and humor. When I moved to Boston, I got to experience BCN firsthand for many years. Those qualities were a perfect match for the overwhelmingly youthful population (thanks to what seems like hundreds of colleges in the area) it served. Notice the word “served.” FCC licenses used to be granted to radio stations so that they could serve the community. Such a notion is still in the bylaws of the FCC charter, but it has been ignored and rendered meaningless by Washington slimebags who hold a different agenda. BCN was inspired radio as opposed to the paint-by-numbers, devoid-of-humanity radio now imposed on us by polyester-draped corporate yahoos who spend their days throwing buzzwords around, somehow convincing themselves that their joke lives have meaning. BCN arrived in the days when you could still tell the makes of the cars on your street apart without having to look for some damn logo that the car company paid someone a million bucks to “design.”

[….]

Listening to BCN in the early ’70s was like listening to The Daily Show, with music, and, you never knew who might drop by, often unannounced and unhyped. It could be anyone from David Bowie to guru Baba Ram Dass. It was just peer-to-peer conversation. You could even think of it as a cult. To its audience, BCN was an integral part of the day. To the straights or fearful repugs of the day, it was a vaguely menacing foreign-language station.

OK, enough of my self-centered wallowing. Now to the news of today. Continue reading