Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Viral video of the century

This needs no explanation. At all.

We feel your pain, kid. We all feel your pain.

Happy Halloween from back in the day

If you're from my Louisiana hometown and are of a certain age, this is gonna take you back big time.

And if you heard the most recent episode of 3 Chords & the Truth, you'll experience déja vu all over again with this musical tribute to Count Macabre, the 1960s weekday horror host on Channel 2 in Baton Rouge, WBRZ.

Remember, boys and girls, Baton Rouge is a zoo. But you didn't need the good count to tell you that, did you?

Happy Halloween . . . both from your Mighty Favog and from the murky recesses of television history.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fire and rain

Won't you look down on me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way

Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

I’ve been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows the cold wind blows,

it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
To talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines
in pieces on the ground.
-- Fire and Rain (1970)
James Taylor

That dead Russian egomaniac in the attic

Every man is an island . . . until it hits the fan.

Add this to the list of memos the fruitcake-dominated Republican Party never got. And not getting your memos has consequences.

Thus we had the spectacle today of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- a nationally prominent Republican once high on the party's presidential wish list -- singing the praises of the Antichrist, otherwise known as President Obama. The reason? Christie thinks the prez is doing a bang-up job coordinating the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, which has devastated the governor's state and inflicted great suffering on his waterlogged people and many others.

Things like massive hurricanes almost always aim right for the underbelly of the good-time Ayn Rand disciples who stole the brain -- not to mention the heart -- of a once-great political party as they lurch about like Stepford pols droning on about self-reliance, the evils of government, blah, blah, blah, blecch.

In other words, every man is an island. I got mine. Eff you.

Then the day comes when the island gets swamped by a massive storm surge amid a nasty hurricane. And your Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, once argued that the federal government ought to get out of the catastrophe-fixing business because catastrophes are expensive and we're broke.

IN OTHER WORDS, Romney was against FEMA until he was for it. Which was . . . right about now.

The Christian Science Monitor recalls one of the approximately 468 GOP presidential debates last year:
The topic under discussion was the role of the federal government, and which functions Washington keeps. Moderator John King turned to Mr. Romney and asked him about disaster relief, following the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., the month before.

“FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we're learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role,” Mr. King said. “How do you deal with something like that?”

Romney’s response: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.

“Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut – we should ask ourselves the opposite question,” Romney continued. “What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. We cannot ...”

King interjected: “Including disaster relief, though?”

Romney replied: “We cannot – we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

Fast-forward to now. Contacted by the media, the Romney campaign asserts that Romney would not abolish FEMA, but still prefers that states take the lead in disaster response.

“Governor Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement to Politico. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”
THE BOTTOM LINE of this amorphous public-policy Randianism so in fashion among conservatives is that if it's all about me, it's not all about you. Or about us.

That's a problem when the default for humanity is to live in community. Together. Not on our own private islands protected by the wide expanse of the Eff You Sea.

Protected, that is, until the Eff You Sea rises up to engulf you, and there's no one with the reach or strength to pluck your rational self-interest out of the storm-tossed waters.

* * *

SOMETHING just occurred to me: At what point does this present Republican nutjobbery actually become nothing more than an ongoing argument against the Constitution and in favor of the Articles of Confederation?

Which we recall worked out so well at the time. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy has a vowel movement

Now, does the extratropical weather system formerly known as Sandy -- or, perhaps, Sndy -- hate vowels, or just hate Gannett?

If it's the latter, she'll have to get in line with lots of employees . . . and former ones.

To every thing there is a season

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There is a time and a place for everything. Even being an a-hole.
The press refer to Chris Christie as being "tough-talking," "straight-talking" or simply "blunt." Now you've seen the guy on TV, and you no doubt have read about some of his encounters with ordinary citizens of the Garden State who might be less than enthusiastic about his tenure as governor.

You know what the guy is, is what I'm trying to say here.

But, as the Good Book says, there is a time and place for all things, and if it's in the Good Book, it must be so:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
HURRICANE SANDY, my friend, is Chris Christie's time in Noo Joisey:
Governor Christie said during a 12 p.m. briefing Monday that conditions will worsen as Sandy makes landfall and anyone who stayed along the coast to ride out the storm is “now in harm’s way.”

“I read some joker in the newspaper…saying he’s never run away from one of these [storms]. Well, you might end up under it…this is not a time to be stupid,” said Christie.

The governor urged residents to stay off the roads, use caution and heed warnings.

He also had a warning regarding power outages.

“If you do not have power, please do not choose today to tap into your creative juices and jerry-rig a [power source],” said Christie. “If it looks stupid, it is stupid.”
LISTEN to the a-hole. If it looks stupid, it is stupid.

Stay safe out there on the Joisey shore. Hurricanes ain't nothing to mess with.

Rock-a-bye, baby!

If I'm tossin' and turnin', turnin' and tossin' all night. . . .

And if I kick the blankets on the floor, too. . . . 

Well, then my lovely bride can just blame Bill Black and His Combo.

More likely, though, she'll blame me for making this my choice for before-bedtime listening.

You do know Bill Black, right? Elvis' bass player in the early days?

WELL, this absolute period piece of an instrumental R&B LP is what Black did with his time when Elvis was off fulfilling his commitment to Uncle Sam with the U.S. Army in West Germany.

Listening to this absolute period piece of an instrumental R&B LP is what I do when it's time to go to bed . . . but not quite yet. Night owl that I am.

Yeah, it'll show up on 3 Chords & the Truth by and by. Of that, you can be sure.

Sadly, Bill Black died in 1965 during a third surgery to remove a brain tumor. He was only 39.

Praise God for records and used record stores, where musicians and their music live forever.

Jim Cantore: Sign of the Apocalypse

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Don't look at me, it's in the Bible.

Somewhere in the back, as that great theologian Homer Simpson has duly noted in the past.
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

And I saw, and behold a white satellite truck: and he that stood at its side had a microphone; and a Weather Channel rain slicker was given unto him: and he went forth into the gale from lower Manhattan, and into the Great Flood.
BASICALLY, I think what the Lord is trying to tell us here is that if there is a great wind and a mighty tide over the horizon, and Jim Cantore appears on your shoreline, perhaps you need to make your peace with Him -- God, not Jim -- before putting your head between your legs and kissing your ass goodbye.

And when that shoreline is lower Manhattan, well. . . .

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pet Clark's hurricane-survival tip

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the Northeast and forecasters getting their Apocalypse on, Petula Clark has some timely storm-preparation advice in advance of the end of days.

Indeed. Do not sleep in the subway, darlin'.

You might drown.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: Jazzland

Welcome to Jazzland.

Well, to be fair, 3 Chords & the Truth also is Rockland, Soulland, New Waveland, Punkland and Folkland. And don't forget to visit our Bluesland gift shop before you leave.

But this week, the Big Show just happens to feature a big, honkin' set of luscious classic jazz from the 1950s and early '60s. And it's all a result of recent finds at the now-late, lamented Antiquarium record shop in Omaha's Old Market.

BECAUSE there's nothing like a record shop, and nothing like stumbling upon wonderful stuff all but lost to the mists of time and memory. And there's nothing like the smell of old record albums. And nothing like getting lost in the music . . . time after time.

That's what our big, honkin' jazz set is about this week. For that matter, that's what 3 Chords & the Truth is about every week.

Our little show isn't a great record shop, exactly, but it's close. And your own journey of musical discovery can start right here . . . where you can join your Mighty Favog deep within the exotic stacks of wax on his ongoing quest.

Oh, the things we'll discover!

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Going after the twit vote

This is almost enough to make me vote for Mitt Romney out of sheer disgust at the mind-numbing emo craptasticness of it all.


What I want to do is to start a social-media campaign to convince any college kid susceptible to this kind of stupidity to not bother on Election Day (Erection Day?) -- that his or her vote really doesn't count. That everyone under 35 should just dial up something sufficiently navel-gazing on the ol' iPod, crack open a six pack of PBR and call it good on Nov. 9.

(Wink, wink.)

And if that didn't work, I'd be open to poll taxes and literacy tests. Or mass kidnappings. One approach or the other.

Because, like, President Obama, you're creeping me out, man. The only thing worse than the cynicism behind this ad -- the whole "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public" je ne sais quoi of it all -- is that it probably represents an astute reading of the demographic tea leaves.

In other words, "Just kill me now."

A Capitol idea!


My vinyl geekery knows no bounds. This is why I've been having a Capitol time the last couple of days.

(Insert groan here.) 

What we have here aren't just fine mid-century jazz LPs by the George Shearing Quintet and Dakota Staton. Oh, no!

No, what we also have here in the Revolution 21 studio are the first two iterations of Capitol's iconic "rainbow" label.

The Shearing LP, for example, is the second "rainbow" label the record company used, starting sometime in 1959. That makes it easy to tell that this album, though first released in 1956, actually was pressed and purchased no earlier than, say, late '59.

Because Capitol changed its label design again in 1962, putting the logo at the top, we know this record is an older pressing than that. (I told you my geekery knows no bounds.)

The third version of the "rainbow"? That's the one we know from, say, the original pressings of "Meet the Beatles," etc., and so on.

AND WE also know (getting back to the vintage album at hand) where it was purchased -- Younkers department store at one of the nation's first shopping malls, The Center at 42nd and Center streets in Omaha.

At left, on the other hand, is the very first of Capitol's "rainbow" labels, which featured the vertical "LONG PLAYING HIGH-FIDELITY" on it. The company introduced the new LP label in 1958, and the modification on the Shearing album first appeared the next year.

Being that this LP -- "Dynamic!" by Staton -- was a promotional copy, I'll betcha it's from '58.

Gee, I wasn't even born then. That's old.

I wonder how record geeks got along without me. Fortunately for them, I showed up in 1961.

Anyway, how much you wanna bet this stuff shows up on the next edition of the Big Show, otherwise known as 3 Chords & the Truth.


Or be square. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paging Capt. Renault . . . Capt. Louis Renault

For decades now, we've been leeringly drenching our entire culture with the ethos of sex as just one more recreational sport, women as nothing more than objects there to help men get their freak on and humans in general as being worth only what we decide they are.

And prime-time TV has become, more or less, all-American Pie, all the time.

Yet, people still are shocked, shocked whenever they're confronted with the extent to which their little darlings have internalized it all. A "fantasy slut league" at a California high school?

Aunt Pittypat, quick! Give me your smelling salts!

C'MON, people. We are a country where suburban housewives are gaga over Fifty Shades of Gray and hold Tupperware parties, only with plastic dildos (among other sex toys) instead of plastic bowls that you burp and seal.

No, this Los Angeles Times blog item from the Bay Area is the most unsurprising thing in the world:
Officials at a Bay Area high school say they are taking steps to deter the type of behavior that led to a "fantasy slut league," in which male student athletes "drafted" female students and earned points for documenting sexual activity with them.

The league at Piedmont High School was loosely modeled after popular online fantasy sports leagues, but instead of drafting athletes, male students drafted females. And the game, instead of baseball or football, was sex. And, instead of being pure fantasy, the league was quite real.

The school's principal, Richard Kitchens, sent a letter to parents last week informing them of the existence of the league and saying there was a "general recognition that over the past 5-6 years such a league has existed in one form or another as part of 'bonding' for some Varsity Teams during their seasons of sport," according to a copy of the letter posted by Piedmont Patch.

If Otter were Romney's debate coach. . . .

Greg Marmalard, who goes by Barack Obama these days, thought he was being smart in the foreign-policy presidential debate Monday night.
And Pinto just sat there and took it up the wazoo with that "horses and bayonets" bit o' condescension. I blame it all on that wussy little angel hovering over his one shoulder.

The one that told him he shouldn't hire that disreputable Eric Stratton as his debate coach. Who would have had Pinto, who goes by "Mitt Romney" these days, riposte with something like this:

"Ladies and gentlemen, the issue here is not whether we have these ships that planes can land on or boats that can go under the water. We do. The issue here is that we have the president of the United States of America -- The commander-in-chief! -- comparing the United States Navy to horses and bayonets like it's some irrelevant and antiquated entity.

"Can you imagine, the commander-in-chief looking upon our brave sailors as if they were something quaint from an exhibit at the Smithsonian put together by a bunch of liberal eggheads? If the commander-in-chief can cast aspersions upon and ridicule the entire United States Navy, what's to stop him from disrespecting the United States Marine Corps?

"And if he can disrespect the United States Marine Corps, the Army and the Air Force surely will be next! How do we know he hasn't already? We don't! And he probably has! I mean, if you can disparage the United States Navy -- if, indeed, you can give up the ships -- there's no reason why he wouldn't go after the grunts and the devil dogs and the airmen, too!

"And if Barack HUSSEIN Obama can belittle the military he unjustly commands, he'd just as well disown the United States of America! And when you have a president who disowns the United States of America, ladies and gentlemen, what you have is a fifth column at the heart of the American government.

"And if you have a fifth columnist at the heart of the government of this venerable and God-blessed republic . . . I cannot bear to repeat the word one would use to describe such an individual.

"I put it to you, Mr. President - isn't your statement a repudiation of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to me, but I'm not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!"
AND THEN "Pinto" Romney would lead half of the debate audience out of the hall, humming the Star-Spangled Banner.

Yeah, that would have been a debate worth watching. 

As opposed to what we actually got.

So, I'll just give my fellow Americans my standard advice. What we need to do now is to start drinking heavily. No one should have to sit through the last two weeks of this election sober as a judge -- it's in the Geneva Conventions.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vote for Pedro Mike

Listen, we're royally hosed no matter who wins between Romney and Obama. The only distinction is in the particulars of the civic molestation.

Ipso facto, your vote doesn't matter. We are screwed regardless.

Mike, back in the day
On the other hand, here is an election that matters -- best college mascot. And there's only one mascot out there who can bust a move like Napoleon Dynamite. That would be Mike the Tiger of Louisiana State University.

Mike's opponent, Truman the Tiger from Missouri, just looks like a cereal-box reject. And he's from MizzouRAH. Eww.

I mean, with the reception Missouri's football team is getting in its first season of SEC competition, the poor thing probably can't even bear to look. Maybe Truman's special talent is rolling bandages, I dunno.

Anyway, do your patriotic duty. Vote for Mike -- it's important.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sometime near the zenith of American culture

Do you know how awful a feeling it is to be pretty sure you were born a generation too late?

To be enthralled by a time and a popular culture you were born into -- barely -- but which exists no more?

To know there was a time when the grown-ups were in charge of it all, more or less, but to have lived all your life amid the Detereorata and see the barbarians not at the gate, but running the whole show? Today, we have Gaga and Nicki Minaj  -- not to mention Madonna and her pathetic and desperate attempts to remain relevant -- and we think that's entertainment.

Well, it is if you've just sacked and burned the Eternal City, but otherwise not so much.

TO ME, a fossil born 20 years shy of being fossilized enough for my own taste, this is entertainment -- Keely Smith on the Frank Sinatra Show in 1958. Sure, I love my rock 'n' roll, but if there's no room in your soul for something as beautiful and classy as Keely Smith casting a magic spell over a well-written popular song, you'd just as well go pillage, burn, loot and rape with the barbarians, busting a rhyme with Ms. I'm Gonna Cap Yo' Ass, Mariah Carey.

In my humble opinion.

By the way, no 3 Chords & the Truth this week. One, I'm pretty shot -- no sleep will do that to you -- and, two, I'm trying to make a dent in digitizing the 31 LPs and nine CDs I grabbed at The Antiquarium before its sad passing from Omaha's Old Market scene. And then there's the other bunch of LPs and CDs I have in the "Put Onto the Hard Drive" stack.

Unsurprisingly, there's a lot of jazz and classic pop in that number. Ring-a-ding-ding, pally!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mormons, Quakers . . . they're all the same, right?

Go to 4:49 in the video for Whoopi's epic fail

There always have been idiots on television.

Thing is, they used to be limited -- on network television, at least -- to areas where their lack of intellectual prowess didn't really matter that much. Now, however, the mere fact that you're famous for something automatically means you must be qualified to talk politics, or science, or about any damn thing where the "little people" obviously need straightening out.

This cultural development, then, just had to lead to this moment on The View, where noted intellectual (snort, sputter)  Whoopi Goldberg tries to play gotcha with Ann Romney, wife of the Republican presidential nominee, about Mitt's lack of military service but apparently gets Mormons confused with Quakers or Jehovah's Witnesses or something.

Because all those religious freaks are all alike, no doubt. 

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: As first lady, if you get the job, it’s going to entail a lot of things, and one of those things is going to be talking to the mothers whose children are coming home in bags, you know, from wars. Now, I know -- I believe that your religion doesn’t allow you to go fight.

No, that's not correct. We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in armed services.

WELL, at least Whoopi didn't ask Mrs. Romney why Mitt didn't have a beard and why they had electricity and cars and stuff.

I guess that's not nothin'.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1948: Dewey doesn't defeat Truman

Ladies and gentlemen, you are watching here via the facilities of NBC television and Life magazine, coverage of the 1948 national elections, live and direct across the network.

This is looking more and more like a stunning reversal in fortunes for the Republican ticket headed by Gov. Thomas Dewey, a ticket that had seemed to be destined to coast to victory against a riven Democratic Party and a president whose popularity has steadily faded since he assumed the high office upon the death of FDR. And it is our privilege -- Life and the NBC network -- to bring this live coverage to you, the television viewer, thanks to this electronic miracle of our modern times.

IF YOU will indulge us ladies and gentlemen, as Ben Grauer fires up yet another Camel and we peer into the iconoscope through a smoky haze . . . just a moment, ladies and gentlemen, we are getting word that we have results in from Ohio . . . yes, the results are in ladies and gentlemen of the television audience across the East Coast from Schenectady to Philadelphia to here in New York City and down to our nation's capital, and President Truman has taken Ohio. We repeat, President Truman has won Ohio and thus has claimed the necessary electoral votes for re-election as president of the United States . . . this is extraordinary, a stunning reversal of fortune, television friends.

Now we understand the president may have a statement for the assembled press and supporters at his Kansas City hotel, and you will hear that right here on the NBC hookup, but you won't see it, because we can't do that yet because we don't have the coaxial cable running that far yet. But you will hear it over our NBC microphones, viewing friends as the camera pans wildly to and fro.

Now if you will bear with us as you squint at your 12-inch screen, we have a little confusion here, as it's just 1948 and no one has ever done this sort of thing before -- and frankly, kinescope compadres, we just have no idea what the H-E-double hockey sticks we're doing.

At all.

BUT at least we're not the Chicago Daily Tribune.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Phonies leave us in the soup

The country's secular intelligentsia has gotten its knickers in a twist because GOP veep candidate Paul Ryan, in our betters' eyes, went all Taliban when he -- correctly, I think -- said he didn't "see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith."

"Our faith informs us in everything we do,” he continued, causing The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik, among others, to wet himself. Figuratively, of course. I don't want to know whether he did literally -- TMI and all that.

Still, one must beware of such philosophical musings from a politician. That would be like putting your faith in Otis Campbell's eloquent pronouncements on the joys of teetotalism.

This dispatch from the Romney-Ryan campaign trail in Ohio (speaking of "Do as I say, not as I do") suggests, perhaps, that the congressman from Wisconsin might want to take a closer look at his Catholic faith, his own heart or -- ideally -- both.

BEARING WITNESS to ugly here is the Youngstown Vindicator:
The president of Mahoning County’s St. Vincent de Paul Society is “shocked” and “angry” that Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan used the soup kitchen for a “publicity stunt.”

Brian J. Antal, who runs the society, said the campaign “ramrodded themselves in there” without getting proper permission for the visit Saturday that followed Ryan’s town-hall meeting at Youngstown State University.

“They said they got permission from the right people, but that would have been me, and I never would have given them permission,” Antal said Monday.

Juanita Sherba, St. Vincent’s Saturday coordinator for the dining hall, said she gave the Ryan campaign approval that day for the visit by the candidate and his family.

Sherba say she now realizes it wasn’t her call to make.

The event “was a photo op,” she said. “It was the phoniest piece of baloney I’ve ever been associated with. In hindsight, I would have never let him in the door.”

When an advance person from the Mitt Romney/Ryan campaign asked about the visit, Sherba said it took her by surprise.

“I didn’t know it was my place to say ‘no,’” she said. “I made a mistake.”
The event was completely staged by the campaign, she said.

“They couldn’t have cared less,” Sherba said. “The advance man said Paul Ryan wanted to come and talk to our clientele, but he didn’t."


Despite some media reports, Sherba said Ryan and his family washed a few dirty pots and pans, but it wasn’t necessary.

It was all about him coming in and doing dishes for publicity,” Sherba said. “We had to save dishes. We would have gone home by the time he arrived. We didn’t need him to do the dishes. It was getting late, and I said that we were closing in five minutes. I waited longer than that, and he finally arrived.”

I SAY that Mr. Gopnik, from his enlightened (ahem) perch somewhere that matters, would be far better served to worry a lot less about some pending Jesus-freak mullahocracy in America and worry a lot more about the American a**holeocracy that's already in place.

King of all he surveys

Michael Holton is a popular guy. So it's no surprise that he's homecoming king at his Georgia high school.

Not only that, but by all accounts, Mikey has been both a blessing and an inspiration to his classmates, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a single one of them with a bad word to say about their new king. He did win with 97 percent of the vote, after all.

Michael Holton has Down syndrome. That he became homecoming king, has earned scores of friends and been an inspiration and a blessing to modern-day American -- teens desperate for both inspiration and blessing -- is because his mom, Amy, was among the 8 percent of women who don't abort their unborn child after receiving a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.

Think about that for a minute.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Obey your betters, not that God guy

In the smugly provincial universe of America's intelligentsia, the only thing we have to fear is acting on that which you believe.

And Adam Gopnik . . . he's a-skeered!  Blogging on The New Yorker website  last week about GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, the writer freaked out a little -- OK, a lot -- over Ryan saying that a person's faith influences every aspect of life, both private and public.

That, apparently, is unacceptable. That, apparently, makes the committed believer a crazy-ass mullah . . . or ayatollah . . . or something else Really Bad.

Not to mention un-American.

Emoted Gopnik on the magazine's News Desk blog    
But beyond the [Expletive deleted. -- R21] something genuinely disturbing and scary got said last night by Paul Ryan that is, I think, easily missed and still worth brooding over. It came in response to a solemn and, it seemed to some of us, inappropriately phrased question about the influence of the Catholic Church on both men’s positions on abortion. Inappropriately phrased because legislation is made for everyone, not specially for those of “faith.” (And one would have thought that, at this moment in its history, the Catholic Church would not have much standing when it comes to defining the relationship between sexual behavior and doctrinal morality. However few in number the sinners might be, the failure to deal with them openly casts doubt on the integrity of the institution.)

Paul Ryan did not say, as John Kennedy had said before him, that faith was faith and public service, public service, each to be honored and kept separate from the other. No, he said instead “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.” That’s a shocking answer—a mullah’s answer, what those scary Iranian “Ayatollahs” he kept referring to when talking about Iran would say as well. Ryan was rejecting secularism itself, casually insisting, as the Roman Catholic Andrew Sullivan put it, that “the usual necessary distinction between politics and religion, between state and church, cannot and should not exist.” And he went on to make it quietly plain that his principles are uncompromising on this, even if his boss’s policy may not seem so:
All I’m saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn’t change the definition of life. That’s a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
Our system, unlike the Iranians’, is not meant to be so total: it depends on making many distinctions between private life, where we follow our conscience into our chapel, and our public life, where we seek to merge many different kinds of conscience in a common space. Our faith should not inform us in everything we do, or there would be no end to the religious warfare that our tolerant founders feared.
THE FIRST thing that comes to mind is that Gopnik ignores history -- that the United States thus far has avoided ayatollahocracy, despite the presence of millions of Americans for whom religion informs every aspect of life. Mental-health professionals would call this a raging case of projection -- and I'd submit that what Gopnik indeed is doing here is projecting his class' absolute intolerance for devout religious belief.

Oh, sure, religion is kind of quaint and perhaps can be grudgingly tolerated so long as it remains some sort of vague therapeutic creed that soothes the savage breast of the booboisie but isn't taken so seriously that it might affect someone's politics or endanger the societal acquiescence to the secular Holy Trinity of the Baby Boom -- sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. In political terms, this works out to something closer to free sex, free birth control and abortion on demand.

In the world of Adam Gopnik and the rest of our "betters," the only religion that's fit to hold is one that's no damned good at all -- a feckless creed in service of a powerless deity.

To quote a more politically correct scripture:

Verily, a decree went out from on high above midtown Manhattan, proclaiming that thou shalt have no god before us, for we are a jealous and culturally refined god, and thou shalt not taketh our holy orgasm in vain. If I say a fetus is a non-human bean, medammit, it is what I say, you mullah, you.
Yea, thou art white trash, and resistance doth prove futile. Tempt not thy god to go all Sodom and Gomorrah on thy ass. Not that anything going on in those fine cities was wrong in any respect and deserving of the nuclear option, of course.
THE NON-PATRIARCHAL Inclusive Equivalent of the Lord hath spoken.

Behold! All are equal. Some are more equal than others.