Scenes From A Cultural Revolution

Ken AshfordEducationLeave a Comment

Wsjguard Billmon compares the right-wing attempts to "improve" academia with other cleansings of the past:

The Left has taken over academe. We want it back.

Mike Rosen, Rocky Mountain News columnist
CU is Worth Fighting For
March 4, 2005

In this great Cultural Revolution, the phenomenon of our schools being dominated by bourgeois intellectuals must be completely changed.

Central Committee of the
Communist Party of China

Resolutions of the Eleventh Plenum
August 1966


I have undertaken the task of organizing conservative students myself and urging them to protest a situation that has become intolerable.

David Horowitz
The Campus Blacklist
April 18, 2003

Students on University campuses were organized into groups of “Red Guards” and were given the chance to challenge those in authority. Students quickly turned their attacks on their closest adversaries, their teachers and university administrators.

Therese Hoffman
The Chinese Cultural Revolution:
Autobiographical Accounts of a National Trauma



From sponsoring pro-terrorist symposia, to funding and defending pro-terrorist campus organizations, to teaching students that America is an imperialistic oppressor and the terrorists are no threat, America’s universities are playing a sinister and dangerous role in the War on the Terror.

David Horowitz and Ben Johnson
Campus Support for Terrorism
February 7, 2005

They have stood facts on their head and juggled black and white, encircled and suppressed revolutionaries, stifled opinions differing from their own, imposed a white terror, and felt very pleased with themselves. They have puffed up the arrogance of the bourgeoisie and deflated the morale of the proletariat. How poisonous!

Mao Tse Tung
Bombard the Headquarters
August 5,1966

Read the whole thing.

O’Reilly Makes Shit Up

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/Idiocy, Sex/Morality/Family Values1 Comment

Bill O’Reilly on the March 15 edition of Westwood One’s The Radio Factor:

O’REILLY: You know, the Founding Fathers didn’t write anything into the Constitution about gay marriage. Because back then, if you were gay, they hung you.

So — you couldn’t get married ’cause they put you in the rack. You know, if you were runnin’ around wearing a chartreuse hat, you were in lots of trouble. So, we didn’t even have to worry about these people gettin’ married because if they come out of their closet in the log cabin — somebody’ll shoot them in the head. So, there really wasn’t an issue back in the Founding Fathers.

Here’s my challenge to any wingers, or to O’Reilly himself.  Prove it.  Show me a story where people were summarily shot or hung in the late 18th century for being openly gay.  We have a rich history.  There are books and stories.  Certainly, there should be dozens of stories about this happening . . . IF it happened.  So how about some proof?

And by the way, they wore fucking powdered wigs back then.  The men!  The straight men!  Does O’Reilly really think someone would be "in trouble" for wearing a chartreuse hat?  Once again, Bill, prove it or shut the fuck up.

The Healing Of One Man’s Soul

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

89113019 Take some time to read Jimmy Massey’s story:

Jimmy Massey is a young man of Irish-American heritage, tall, fit, and straight. His eyes are clear and his voice is strong. A proud son of the mountains of western North Carolina, his twelve years as a Marine are still apparent in his physical appearance.

When he tells you his story, you begin to understand that he is wounded in a way that your eyes could never readily detect.

89166998 You may have heard his story in other reports. He’s been telling audiences about his experiences for a while now. I’d decided, out of curiosity, to attend the engagement showcasing Jimmy as the featured speaker, which was sponsored by the Syracuse Peace Council. As I sat in the audience of about forty concerned citizens on a frigid late winter’s night at South Presbyterian Church in Syracuse, I asked myself what I could say that was different from the others who have told you about Jimmy.

How do I show you a man who has found his conscience while, at the same time, is a walking casualty of the Iraq war?

Read the whole thing.

The Party of “No”

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

The Republicans keep voting against the American people.

Republicans Vote No on Providing Rail Service to Millions of Americans. Senate Republicans voted no on the Byrd amendment to provide funding for Amtrak. The amendment called for an increase in funding for Amtrak by $1 billion. The amendment failed 46-52. [RC 51, S. Amdt. 158 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

Republicans Vote No on Protecting the Arctic Refuge. Senate Republicans voted against the Cantwell amendment to protect the Arctic Wildlife Refuge from drilling. The amendment failed 49-51. [RC 52, S. Amdt. 168 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

Republicans Voted Against Paying for all Tax Cuts and Spending. Senate Republicans voted against the Feingold amendment that would have reinstated the “Pay-as-you-go” rules. These rules would require any new tax cuts or spending to be fully offset and paid for. The amendment failed 50-50. [RC 53, S. Amdt. 186 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

Republicans Voted Against An Amendment to Provide for the Health Care Needs of Our Veterans. Senate Republicans voted against the Akaka/Murray amendment that would have increased the Veterans Affairs budget by $2.85 billion. The amendment would also rejects the President’s proposal to cut funding to State veterans’ homes, eliminate the means-test for veterans to enroll for VA care, provide for much-needed mental health services, rejects the President’s proposal to drive veterans away from the VA with annual user fees and increased prescription drug costs. The amendment failed 47-53. [RC 55, S. Amdt. 149 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

sez Oliver Willis correctly.

Fundies Stole My Jesus!

Ken AshfordBlogging, Godstuff, Web RecommendationsLeave a Comment

That’s the cry of an angry single mom at, uh, the Angry Single Mom blog.  Here’s a sample:

Arthur Ruger wrote a thought-provoking article about the dichotomy between the Jesus of the New Testament and the Jesus of the fundamentalists. He correctly compares the High Priests of Evangelical Hyperbole to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, those responsible for Jesus’ death. The Pharisees brought charges against Christ to the Temple high priests. The Sadducees then handed the Messiah to the Romans to be crucified. The evangelicals and fundamentalists continue to pound away at the nails, crucifying Christ on the Cross of their selective interpretation of Old Testament Law.

Fundamentalists and evangelicals both use the New Testament to show how God forgives sinners, then use the Old Testament law to beat anyone over the head who doesn’t agree with their narrow and oftentimes erroneous interpretation. For example, homosexuality is considered an abomination in the Old Testament. However, the original Greek of the New Testament uses a word that means homosexual prostitution only. For fundies, homosexuality (usually a 16-syllable condemnation in their limited vocabulary) is an abomination, regardless of what the early Church had to say about it. The logical extension of this, in fundie world, is that gay marriage will destroy western civilization.

The catfight over displays of the Ten Commandments runs into this bizarre paradox, too. We all are to abide by the Ten Commandments, according to the religious right, but other parts of the Law as explicitly spelled out in Deuteronomy and Leviticus are ignored completely. The logical extension of this is that spending all of one’s righteous energy to ban gay marriage is somehow more holy than fixing the appalling rates of heterosexual divorce and spousal abuse.

I happen to agree with Carl Sagan’s observation in the book Contact that if God really wanted us to pay attention He would have carved the Ten Commandments in the moon so that all of humanity could see them.

The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament don’t resemble each other, either. A psychologist friend of mine diagnosed the Old Testament Almighty as "Severe Personality Disorder with Psychotic Features and Narcissism." In contrast, the Jesus-God, and later Holy Spirit-God of the New Testament is forgiving and understanding, and capable of dispensing grace to those most unworthy.

Apparently, He’s no longer voting Republican.

Christians on both sides of the aisle, both conservative as well as progressive, need to take a deep breath, have a gut check, and get moving. There’s a whole world out there to serve, and the message of the entire Bible is to live the Message. So get to work!

Here’s another sample:

According to the Dr. Jerry Falwell, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported the war in Iraq. Despite evidence to the contrary, the good reverend and his ilk continue to perpetuate this myth.

Why are conservative Christians so eager to settle matters with guns? Why are they so willing to risk the lives of other peoples’ children? Why can’t they remember the words of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who said:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. (John 14:27 ASV)

All I can say it . . . more more more like it, please.

You’re The One

Ken AshfordSex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

"You know, abstinence works. It honestly, truly does. That having been said, it doesn’t help much when you’re having sex." – Jesse Taylor of Pandagon.

He’s right, you know.  It’s part of the problem with abstinence-only education, as highlighted in Jesse’s post and this article:

Half a dozen 13-year-old boys munch pizza and slurp soda as they watch a video on how to resist peer pressure.

Afterwards, a counselor asks them how they might be able to counteract social pressure to engage in sexual activity. But most of the boys aren’t listening. Even after one of them is ejected from the Maryland classroom, they push and shove, make rude noises and insult the counselor and each other. Eventually, the session wraps up without any real discussion.

Welcome to sexual abstinence-only education in 2005.

But Jesse gets to the heart — um, yeah, heart — of the problem:

But, if you ever sit down and read abstinence materials, most of them describe sex as a product of monogamous love – almost always within marriage, but as an act symbolizing love between two people. It provides the biggest out in the world for teenagers and young adults – because if you think that a 16-year-old will show bad judgement about sex, you haven’t seen a 16-year-old’s judgement about love.

Read any abstinence-only program. It valories love, attachment, devotion; almost always within the confines of marriage. But you’d be surprised how much you can convince yourself that you’re in love when you’re starting to bust the zipper on your pants. It creates a sort of contraceptive barrier of emotion, wherein you’re convinced that you will be protected from disease and pregnancy because it’s true love – casual sex between contraceptive users virtually gurantees a baby (and probably a crack-addicted one, at that), while true love somehow produces a natural spiritual spermicide. Yes, you’re told that abstinence is the only 100% effective method of having sex. But you’re given a perverse incentive to "wait" until you’re sure someone is "the one", even if that "one" is no more than whoever gets you hot enough to think you’re never going to want to have someone else long enough to have them.


As Expected

Ken AshfordForeign AffairsLeave a Comment

The world reaction is one of head-scratching:

The United States nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank chief drew a cool response from European officials on the bank’s board but they had little chance of blocking it, board sources said on Wednesday.

Sources close to the World Bank board said Wolfowitz’s name was informally circulated several weeks ago among the 23-member board, which represents the bank’s 184 member countries, and the reaction was made clear to US Treasury Secretary John Snow.

"Mr. Snow knows that the reaction from the board was unfavourable," one source said. "Mr. Wolfowitz’s nomination today tells us the US couldn’t care less what the rest of the world thinks."


What Is That Smell??

Ken AshfordGodstuffLeave a Comment

Why, it’s Jesus burning!

Couple Sells Candles That Smell Like Jesus

A South Dakota couple makes and markets candles they say smell like Jesus.

You can find candles with just about every fragrance imaginable, from blueberry to ocean mist to hot apple pie.

Now there’s a candle that lets you experience the scent of Jesus, and they’ve been selling out by the case.

"We see it as a ministry, " says Bob Tosterud, who together with his wife came up with the idea for the candle.

Light up the candle called "His Essence" and its makers say you’ll experience the fragrance of Christ.

Bob Tosterud and wife Karen say the formula is all spelled out in Psalm 45.

"It’s a Messianic Psalm referring to when Christ returns and his garments will have the scent of myrrh, aloe and cassia," says Karen Tosterud.

Wondering what that must smell like, Karen Tosterud ordered those oils, a combination that produces sort of a flowery, cinnamon aroma. Then she called on a friend who just happened to be a candle-maker.

"And in October, we got our first batch of 768 candles. We had no idea how it would go," Karen Tosterud says.

But once word got out they went through 10,000 candles.

"It’s the only one on the market and everyone tells us it’s very unique and nothing like it," says Karen Tosterud.

"We wanted people to be able to experience Christ in new ways and to be able to read a bible and have that scent and that candle as a reminder that he is with us all the time."

"You can’t see him and you can’t touch him," says Bob Tosterud. "This is a situation where you may be able to sense him by smelling. And it provides a really new dimension to one’s experience with Jesus."

The candles never stay on the shelves for long. The Tosteruds say each one that goes out is like a ministry in itself.

The candles sell for about $18. They are sold in about 150 stores around the country. Or you can order them online at

You can also call this phone number: 877-psalm-45.

Oh, the jokes can write themselves.

Hitler’s Christianity

Ken AshfordGodstuff2 Comments

"To deny the influence of Christianity on Hitler and its role in World War II, means that you must ignore history and bar yourself forever from understanding how this atrocity occurred."

That’s sure to ruffle a few feathers.  Read more.

Little Lulu Bent Out Of Shape

Ken AshfordIraq, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

MalkinI understand that I am not a conservative, so my brain is wired a little differently.  But I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person with the ability to understand different points of view, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.

Still, I have to admit that many of Michelle Malkin’s outrages simply stump me.  Take this, for instance:

This is one of those stories you shouldn’t read if you have high blood pressure:

Three invited pro-military speakers were shocked last Friday when they arrived for a West Seattle High student assembly to confront a theater stage strewn with figures costumed as Iraqi men, women and children splashed with blood….

For Nadine Gulit of Operation Support Our Troops, the spectacle was sickening.

She had been asked by student organizers to provide three speakers and she delivered.

"I was told there would be three on each side. No debates. No rebuttal," she said in the e-mail she fired off to members of the Seattle School Board. "At no time was I referred to a teacher nor did a teacher contact me. As I walked into the theater there was a young girl wearing a mask and crawling on the floor. And, over the loud speaker (someone) was denouncing our military, saying ‘Americans are killing my family!’ "

Not a good thing for "impressionable students who may have family serving Iraq," Gulit told student organizers. "Two of our speakers had returned from Iraq and Afghanistan."

With her speakers in tow, Gulit saw the bloodied figures on the floor. Stage right were students in orange Abu Ghraib-style prison jumpsuits, hoods over heads, pounding on plates with spoons. Next, a student dressed as a grieving Iraqi woman knelt near a bloody body while, over a microphone, a narrator wailed the story of civilians shot, kicked and beaten by American soldiers.

Truly outrageous.

Okay.  So what is the "outrage" here?  That returning soldiers might have to endure some bad political theater?  Does Michelle really think that these hard core soldiers are going to be traumatized because they might witness a high school student wearing a mask?

I respectfully suggest that if our soldiers are so psychologically fragile that they cannot harbor anything that remotely looks like dissent for a political policy, the last thing they should be doing is engaging in public speaking events where they might be exposed to people who disagree with that policy.  Rather, such soldiers should be hermetically sealed in a pro-Bush-only bubble, preferably in some remote region of the country, until they are well enough to participate in a pluralistic and diverse society.

However, I think Michelle’s "outrage" is more mock than anything else.  I am quite certain that the speakers who ran into student theatrics were quite annoyed — but that of course was the whole point of the student theatrics.  And that goes to the core of the lunacy of wingnuts like Michelle: they are all for freedom and democracy, except when those who exercise it disagree with right-wing conservative views.  Then, they’re all like "Waah!  Waaah!  Those moonbats on the left were mean to us by saying things we disagree with!  Waaah!  Waaah!"

UPDATE:  Captain’s Quarters joins the mock outrage and bangs its head on the poop deck.  First, he starts with a post stating that the guest speakers to the Seattle high school should have admonished the kids and set them straight.  Then, he follows immediately with a contradictory post saying that guest speakers at high schools ought to be sensitive to the student body.  Whatever.

JeffJim GannonGuckert Stupid Journalism Question Du Jour

Ken AshfordRight Wing and Inept MediaLeave a Comment

Every day on his website, our favorite bald gay winger prostitute and fake reporter posts a question that he would have asked if he were still allowed to pollute the White House press pool.

Today’s question:

March 16, 2005

"Does the White House want greater powers to more thoroughly investigate any and all journalists that ask to attend press briefings?"


"I sense that I am no longer a big topic any more.  Can we talk about me and me-related things again?"