Saturday, 19 April 2008

A disgraceful, shameful "debate".

Charles Gibson and George Stephanapolis conducted a KKK/Inquisition/ Senator Joe McCarthy-ish "debate" with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton this week.

It was horrible. Barack Obama was asked "Does Jeremiah Wright (his now-retired Pastor) love America more than you do?".

They might well have asked "Senator Obama, have you stopped beating your wife?"

Or "Senator Clinton, is your husband still getting bl-w j-bs?

And Senator Clinton did not protest this disgusting line of questioning. That says much about her dishonour.

Let's boycott ABC News, the originator of this "trial by fire", and Disney, its parent Corporation.

Let's send money to Barack Obama's campaign!

And send an e-mail to the Editor of the Boston Globe, thanking him/her for Derrick Jackson's apposite column today.

jmp

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Published on Saturday, April 19, 2008 by the Boston Globe
Tough Questions or Just Plain Bias?
By Derrick Z. Jackson

It is fair to make presidential candidates squirm about dubious associations in debates. But the way ABC News moderators stretched Barack Obama on the rack for his ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright was curious. For nearly three decades, such moderators of debates and their journalist panels have failed to probe similar ties of other candidates.

In some 1,600 words of transcript, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos tried to eviscerate Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday, weeks after the candidate’s address on race and his former minister. Rival Hillary Clinton tried to detonate a scare-the-white-folks F-bomb, saying, “it wasn’t only the specific remarks, but some of the relationships with Rev. Farrakhan . . .”

She knew she need not elaborate. She knew she would not face in-kind grilling, as Stephanopoulos was once a senior policy adviser to Clinton’s husband.

By the way, just how did the wife of “America’s First Black President” lose almost the entire African-American vote during the primaries?

Obama was arguably asked more about Wright in one night than what has been asked for the last 28 years in presidential debates of all white candidates about their dubious associations with racist elements of religion and society.

The media exploded over Wright calling us the “US of KKK-A.” Ronald Reagan became president despite kissing the ring of the KKK, starting his 1980 general election campaign by proclaiming “states’ rights” in Mississippi, near where three civil rights workers were murdered. “States’ rights” was code for segregation. Reagan was not asked about “states rights” in his debate with President Jimmy Carter.

Reagan’s first term was marked by a failed bid to grant tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University, the Bible school which, among several un-American lapses, banned black students until the 1970s and interracial dating until 2000.

Reagan was not asked about Bob Jones in the 1984 debates. Nor was Reagan asked about his coddling of apartheid South Africa. In the 1996 debates, Bob Dole was not asked about his visit to Bob Jones University.

The junior George Bush did face debate questions about Bob Jones in the 2000 Republican primaries after speaking at the school. Bush said he was against the ban on interracial dating, but rationalized, “I followed a long tradition of both Republican and Democratic candidates that went to lay out their vision. Ronald Reagan went to Bob Jones, my dad went to Bob Jones, Bob Dole . . . I talked about bringing people together so America can achieve its greatness.”

Then-rival John McCain, today the presumptive Republican nominee, declared in 2000, “We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, not Bob Jones.”

But McCain claimed that if had been invited to Bob Jones, “I would have gone . . . and I would have said, ‘Look, what you’re doing in this ban on interracial dating is stupid, it’s idiotic and it is incredibly cruel to many people.’ ”

That put the media to sleep. Bob Jones was not brought up in Bush’s general election debates. The long tradition continued in the 2008 Republican primaries with Mitt Romney being “happy” with his endorsement from Bob Jones III.

Romney said he and Jones “love this country.” No such conjunctive privilege is extended to the biracial Obama. In Philadelphia, Clinton repeated, “I would not have stayed in the church.”

Obama instead was administered a personal loyalty and national patriotism test about his minister, a former Marine. Stephanopoulos asked Obama, “Do you think Rev. Wright loves America as much as you do?”

From Reagan to Romney, Republicans can to this day go to Bob Jones to “bring people together.”

Obama instead is asked by the moderators to hand them either his former minister’s head, or his own. Does your minister love America as much as you?

Answer no, he disowns the man who officiated his marriage and baptized his children, diminishing the very complexities he spoke about in his speech on race. . Answer yes, Obama destroys his campaign.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Life's disappointments.

Sometimes my ministry at Resurrection House takes me into sad territory.

J is a cool and relaxed 50 something. He’s not been around all week. I checked the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Dept. “log of arrests“, and there I saw his good face.

Arrested for “urinating in public”, and “resisting arrest”.

Urinating in public? Well, where else can you do it in downtown SRQ, unless you have money enough to eat in café or restaurant? We have no public bathrooms.

(I urinated in public yesterday morning, when I was caught short on my morning walk. What else was I to do except to find a convenient tree?)

And if J resisted arrest, you can be sure in SRQ that the arresting officer was not exactly sweetness and light.

Then there is W. He is in his early forties, and is a charmer. Last Saturday he helped me and J.J-B to move some free furniture into J.J-B’s new apartment. He did this for twenty bucks and a free lunch.

Mind you, he began drinking early in the day. And by the time we finished our furniture moving, he was “in his cups” or worse, and quite aggressive.

He used my twenty bucks to buy a carton of cigarettes, and a six pack of beer. I was glad to drop him off at the home he shares with his common law wife and their daughter.

Now W. is also in jail. Last Monday he got into an early morning violent altercation just outside Res. House. He used some kind of metal bar in this fight.

He is facing charges of “battery with an offensive weapon”. And, unable to raise bail, he is incarcerated.

And, get this, if you met W. at my home, you’d love his company.


Yes, about J.J-B. He’s a neat 31 year old “Haitian-out-of-Boston”, with a girl-friend and a five month old child.

He lost his job (out of laziness I wonder?), and thereby also lost his house and car. He got involved in some dubious activity, and is now on probation.

He shows a lot of promise, and I have been trying to help. But he has a doting mother back in the Boston area. She constantly rescues him from his stupid decisions.

I play it tough with J.J-B. I try to make him accountable for the promises he so easily makes.

It seems to me that the good life is one filled with people who both “give us a break” and “hold us accountable”. I suspect that this is how G-d loves us too.,

Certainly I have been given many breaks in life, and I’ve also been held accountable.

So I try to practice this with the lovely homeless folks at Res. House. And our “success stories” make the “failures” more bearable.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Messy face

I've been using "Carac" cream to destroy some pre-cancerous spots on my physog.

During last night, the cream over worked, and I awoke with a bloody face!

So I did not go out of town today!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Too tired

Too tired to blog today (April 16th)

Away tomorrow (April 17th)

Look for a new entry on April 18th

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

School misery (4)

Richard Marsden and Stephen Meyer. They were to become my school chums.

Richard was eccentric, to say the least. He came from a fairly prosperous middle class family. At one time his father bought a little grocery store in my neighbourhood, on the corner of Victoria Parade and Whitehall Road. I suspect that the store was a “time filler” for Richard’s Mum. It failed dismally.

Richard affected to be a Jehovah’s Witness. Later he joined a N-zi Party in Great Britain. He once tried to rape me.

In due course, Richard committed suicide.

Stephen was a different kettle of fish. His parents were Jews who’d escaped from Germany in 1939. Stephen was/is very bright, and he lives in retirement in Shropshire.

I loved to be in the Meyer home.

Dad, Martin Meyer, was a bit taciturn, but always gracious to me. He was the only Kosher butcher in Bristol.

Mum, Greta Meyer, was a total sweetheart. I will never forget her gentle accent, and her all embracing hospitality. Nor will I forget my sense of wonder as I watched her light the Shabbat candle.

Stephen and I have stayed in touch by mail through the years, and we were able to get together in Shropshire in 2006. It was amazing how many memories we had in common.

Why Richard, Stephen and me? ‘Twas because we were each on the religious fringes of English society.

Richard claimed to be a Jehovah’s Witness.

Stephen was Jewish.

I was a member of the Plymouth Brethren.

And each of us was bad at sports.

Sports were my nemesis (bitter enemy) at Fairfield.

And the school religion (yes there was school religion) was vaguely mainstream Protestant.

We began each day in the Main hall with a School Assembly, presided over by our redoubtable Headmaster, J. P. Stewart.

I remember that we sang a Christian hymn, and had a reading from the Christian Scriptures.

J.P.S. might give an “ethical” talk and so far as I can remember, we said the Lord’s Prayer.


Stephen Meyer and the two other Jewish scholars were exempted from this act of “Christian” worship.


As for me, the “born again” Christian - well, I was sceptical about the whole affair.

But I loved the singing. Especially I enjoyed the rich harmonies in the tune “Contemplation” , set for the school hymn (yes we had a school hymn), with a text by the Deist, Addison.

And I hope that it will be sung at my funeral.

Music was a bright spot in my bleak Fairfield life.

More about this later.

Here is the text of Addison’s hymn.


When all Thy Mercies (Joseph Addison)

When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
From Whom those comforts flowed.

When in the slippery paths of youth
With heedless steps I ran,
Thine arm unseen conveyed me safe,
And led me up to man.


Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the last a cheerful heart
That tastes those gifts with joy.

Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I’ll pursue
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

Through all eternity to Thee
A joyful song I’ll raise;
For, oh, eternity’s too short
To utter all Thy praise!

Monday, 14 April 2008

School Misery (3)

Form 1D at FGS.


F.G.S. had a handsome building. The school has moved from them to new premises and is now know as Fairfield High School.


Old Fairfieldians such as I, even though we hated the School, are glad that the name has continued.

See http://www.fairfield.bristol.sch.uk/

We hope that the old premises will be preserved one way or another. They are lovely buildings. **

And we even have an Old Fairfieldians Society.

http://www.oldfairfieldians.org.uk/


I am an overseas member, and by dint of coincidence, have been able to attend a couple of reunions in Bristol.

At the first, (1991?) wearing my clerical collar, folks wondered “who is this American Priest, and why is he here?”

I sat at dinner with a woman I did not remember, but she was good company. Her father, of whom I had known, had been Vicar of a very “low” Church in Cotham, Bristol. She now lived in New Zealand, and is a Bahai.

At the second, (1998?) my old object of “crush”, Clive Hargett was present. He had taken early retirement from an Insurance Company; lived with his wife in deep Somerset. He had a nervous demeanour and a stutter which I had not remembered from all those years ago.

My good pal Colin Cooper was also present. I had forgotten that Colin, the son of a “Peeb” Missionary to Barbados, had also enrolled at Farirfield, a year behind me.

There he had met Lorraine, later to become his wife, and both Colin and Lorraine are good friends to this day, even though we rarely see each other.

Ross Gilkes was also at this renuion. He was the most popular and accessible of all the Fairfield staff.

Ross was signing copies of his Fairfield History. I reached the end of the signing line, and to my surprise (and delight) Ross turned to another ex-teacher and said “this is John Povey, he is an Episcopalian Priest in America”.


** But back to those buildings Fairfield was built on a triangular “campus” in Montpelier, Bristol.

The main building, on two floors, contained classrooms, staff rooms (including the office of our much to be admired/dreaded Headmaster, J.P.Stewart.)

Each floor also had an assembly area, one used for morning prayers , and the other as a lunch room.

Then there were labyrinthine underground passageways to the Art and Woodwork Rooms, and to another set of classrooms, arranged around a gym.

Form 1D met in one of these classrooms.


The gym became my first source of failure. It had “monkey bars” (climbing bars); ropes to climb; pummel horses, vaults etc. I

In it we were given two or three gym lessons each week,

And here, in my white “T” shirt and shorts, with Blue (house) braiding, I discovered that I did not have an athletic bone in my body.

“They” wanted me to climb those ropes, or dangle from the monkey bars. And I could not do so.

Neither could Richard Marsden, nor Stephen Meyer

Sunday, 13 April 2008

School Misery (2)

And so I entered Fairfield Grammar School at aged 11 years, and three and a bit months.

Others had blazed the trail. My Great-Aunt Bess (she who had promised to finance my education - but died penniless) had been a scholar there, when it had been known as Fairfield Higher Grade School.

Archie Leach had also been a Fairfieldian. Surely you all know Archie Leach by another name!

First I had to get used to wearing a school uniform. Short trousers (pants) until puberty; blue or black blazer with a school badge; gray calf length socks with Fairfield colours at the top; school tie and school cap.

A “Prefect” (an older scholar in the lower or upper 6th forms) could discipline you if you were caught on the way to or from school without wearing the hat.


(I still have my school hat and tie!).

At aged 11+ I was now in the “First Form”. There were probably some 100 first-formers, and we were arbitrarily divided into four groups (home rooms in the U.S.A.), form rooms in England, named 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D.

I was assigned to 1D.

I had never before met any other girl or boy in this class.

(I was one of three boys from Eastville Junior Mixed School who were promoted to Fairfield. I half remember that one of them was David Moon - I’d liked him well enough at Eastville as he had sung with me in the choir there. The other was Clive Hargett. I already had a crush on him. But neither he nor David Moon was in Form 1D).

My “best friend” at Eastville J.M.S., Colin Powney, had been promoted to Cotham Grammar School, and he’d moved from Eastville to Henleaze, so now I rarely saw him.

So I had to make new friends. My first attempt was with a nice enough boy named Peter Perrott. But after three or so weeks he announced to me “I like to play football (soccer), but you don’t, so we cannot be friends”.

Thus began the loneliness.

Fairfield was organised as it were a Public (in England) Prep (in the U.S.A.) School.

At F.G.S. there were four “houses”, consisting of scholars from each form (grade). I was assigned to Blue House. So Mum and Dad had to purchase gym kit with blue braiding around the collar of the T shirt and around the hem of the shorts.

Not a word yet about classes, but my misery had already begun.