My New Favorite Mayor…

…would be Her Honor Kimberley Driscoll, chief executive of the town of Salem, MA, now caught up in a  dispute with Gordon College.   Gordon is a Christian school with an educational mission it describes thusly:

That love does not extend to all neighbors.


The college recently requested an exemption from President Obama’s LGBT anti-workplace-discrimination order, a decision that caught the attention of Salem officials.  In response, the city  ended a contract it had with the school to manage its town hall.

That caught the attention of, among others, Glenn Beck, who warmed up the usual suspects to object to Salem’s decision.   In a letter posted to her Facebook page on Wednesday, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said her office had received more than 50 calls that day from supporters of Beck and “right-leaning” blogs result,  many of them…how to say this?…not what you would call civil:

Driscoll said the callers expressed “some patently offensive views regarding LGBT individuals.”

No surprise there. But what came next turns this from a conventional story of conservative/religious push-button rage that the exercise of the their first amendment rights were not without consequences into a lovely moment, courtesy of Mayor Driscoll:

So to fight back, she said she planned to donate $5 for every phone call to the North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (nAGLY).


You go, Madam Mayor.

Image:  Thomas Eakins, Swimming/The swimming hole, 1885

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48 replies
  1. 1
    Kyle says:

    Shorter Gordon College:
    “Sigh. It’s no longer the Salem of the witch trials. I miss the good old days.”

  2. 2

    Mayoral jiu-jitsu. Gotta love it.

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:


    Now THAT’S a great strategy!

    “Thank you, Mr/Mrs/Ms ________________ for giving me your stupid and bigoted opinion.
    And I’m sure the North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (nAGLY) will make good use of the $5 I’ll donate in your name. Yes. In YOUR name! To be published in OUR local newspaper. Please call again on this subject!
    Bye-bye! LOL!!!”

  4. 4
    The Dangerman says:

    I’ve grown SO tired of the pattern: The Left does something to address a problem and the Right bitches about it. They offer no solutions; they only bitch…

    …and, if they DO offer a solution to a problem, it’s often so ignorant as to be rejected out of hand. Some Talking Head Asshole was on FOX last night saying Obama should place Stealth Aircraft in Poland in response to MH17. OK, at least it’s a suggestion as opposed to only bitching, but wouldn’t it be necessary for the Poles to AGREE to placing Stealth Aircraft on their soil? And, really, is THAT going to happen? Yeah, I thought not….

    ETA: The same things have happened related to military cuts; OK, assholes, I find some of the cuts deplorable (see: VA) so lets not make the cuts and instead raise taxes, and, of course, the response is *crickets*

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    @The Dangerman: Hell, people here will tell you that all them small European countries, like the UK, have zero sovereignty and just do what the US tells it to.

  6. 6
    jacy says:

    Brava, Your Honor.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    Deepak issues a new challenge as the Toms of the Left can’t defend athiesm:

    Leading alternative medicine advocate and physician, Deepak Chopra is offering $1 million to atheists who can define how human beings form ideas.

    Chopra said the offer is not a joke, and he is looking for a scientific explanation of how an independent thought is formed.

    “I’m revisiting my million dollar challenge to the ‘Non-Amazing Randi’ and his tribe of militant, new atheists,” Chopra said in a YouTube video posted on Monday. Atheist and scientific skeptic James Randi is also known as “The Amazing Randi.”

    “Apparently my last offer – my last million dollar challenge – was a little intellectually challenging to the Non-Amazing Randi, and also to [famed evolutionary biologist and atheist] Richard Dawkins, and many others,” Chopra continued. “So I’m revisiting it, and making it simpler.”

    His first million dollar challenge, issued last month, offered the bounty to “any skeptic who could prove how electrochemical activity in the brain produces the appearance of a three-dimensional world,” and was in response to the James Randi Educational Foundation’s “One Million Dollar Paranomal Challenge.”

  8. 8
    gene108 says:

    I got a fundraising letter from Hillsdale college in the mail*. It’s a Christian college in Michigan that apparently refused federal aid to keep to its principles.

    What got me is I never went to Hillsdale college.

    I can understand places of higher learning, I actually attended, sending me the periodic request for donation, but that was the first time I ever got a request like that from a college I did not attend.

    * They had quotes from Reagan and some other popular right-wingers about how great Hillsdale college is, as well as a form letter from Sean Hannity, to get me interested in supporting them….what a waste of paper…

  9. 9
    Baud says:


    Ha! Like I would trust a felon to honor his bets.

  10. 10
    Baud says:


    Ha! Like I would trust a felon to honor his bets.

  11. 11
    mai naem says:

    @gene108: Hillsdale was the college where there was some major sex scandal with the college president. I’ve forgotten as this was several years ago and I can’t be bothered to do the google and,well, there are just so many RWNJ sex scandals, it’s hard to keep track. Anyhoo, the president was either bopping his daughter in law or he was caught up in a nasty divorce where he was accused of anally raping his wife who I think he had been screwing aroud on.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Right fucking on, Mayor Driscoll!

    Beck and his followers are the antithesis of actual followers of the teachings of Jesus.

    A pox on all of them.

  13. 13
    Cervantes says:


    It’s a Christian college in Michigan that apparently refused federal aid to keep to its principles.

    Well, Hillsdale’s true claim to fame is rather more disturbing than that.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    There used to be a moran on Jonathan Turleys blog that would stop by from time to time to call all Democrats baby killers. She would drag it into any thread in some hilarious ways. So I told her I was donating $5 to Planned Parenthood every time she did that. It probably cost me $100 but every time she did I would post that I sent another $5 in her name. She did finally go away for good though and I’d like to think that was money well spent.

    Sadly, his blog has been invaded by mouth-breathers since then. What used to be pretty decent discussion, even when there were disagreements, has been killed by some awful louts.

  15. 15
    Baud says:


    My bad. I saw an Indian name and a crazy wingnutty statement and confused Chopra with D’Souza.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    Friday, July 18, 2014
    The real deal
    I remember a scene on West Wing where Josh Lymon tracks down Sam Seaborn, who is working at a law practice, to discuss whether or not they want to get back into politics. Josh is thinking about going to work for Jed Bartlet’s presidential campaign. He tells Sam that he’s going to check Bartlet out and will get back to him. After doing so, Josh calls Sam to tell him this guy is “the real deal.”

    I’ve looked for a clip of that scene on youtube and can’t find it. So I’m going from memory. But it stood out to me because that’s how I feel like I’ve spent most of my time following politics…looking for the real deal. One of the reasons I’ve followed President Obama so closely is that I finally felt like I found just that.

    The real deal doesn’t come along very often in politics. But I had that same reaction today when I watched this video of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick talk about his plans to work with the federal government to provide shelter for the unaccompanied children who have come here from Central America. You can skip to about 4:45 on the video to see the pertinent portion.

    Patrick offered two reasons for his decision. One is the U.S. tradition of helping children from other nations in need. The other, Patrick explained, is deeply personal.

    “I believe that we will one day have to answer for our actions and our inactions. My faith teaches that ‘if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him,’ but rather ‘love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,'” Patrick said , quoting scripture, as he grew visibly emotional.


  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud: They’re both loons who should be summarily deported from this country: they are infinitely more damaging to this country than any kid from Guatemala or Honduras. Or any thousand kids.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @rikyrah: That’s evil hippie Jesus, son of God shit, not Jeebus, the wonderful son of Mammon, the true deity of the United States.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @srv: He might as well demand that someone explain to him why water is wet.

  20. 20
    MattF says:

    @The Dangerman: That’s… pretty dumb. In fact, most modern military aircraft are stealthy, so there’s no actual difference between stationing ‘stealth’ aircraft and stationing aircraft.

  21. 21
    Eric U. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: not sure that forming thoughts is really a theological question. I suppose that it’s a sufficient stand-in for intelligent life, but I would like his explanation of how it works first. Is it as simple as, “God created intelligent life — thus thoughts!”

  22. 22
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @srv: Why does he care? Why does he want to argue about it? I feel no need to talk him out of what he believes. All I ask is that he act like a decent human being.

  23. 23
    Joey Maloney says:

    @rikyrah: that scene is from the first episode of season 2, “In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen, Part 1”. They used the framing story of Josh being shot to flashback to the backstory.

  24. 24
    Cervantes says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    Why does he care? Why does he want to argue about it? I feel no need to talk him out of what he believes.

    What you’re missing is that he’s responding to Randi’s challenge with his own counter-challenges.

  25. 25
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cervantes: Ugh. Not sure whether to thank you or curse you for that link, Cervantes. Perhaps I’ll do both!

  26. 26
    Gene108 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    What is your beef against Chopra?

    Might as well ban books by Joseph Campbell and others, who dabbled in spirituality.

  27. 27
    Gene108 says:

    @Eric U.:

    I think it is more that not everything has a rational scientific explanation.

  28. 28
    SFAW says:


    I can’t decide if Chopra is a fuckwad, a douchebag, or just a fucking asshole.

    [OK, if that isn’t a set-up line for youse guys (of either sex), I don’t know what is.]

  29. 29
    Hal says:

    @srv: OK deep pockets. Just give me a few decades and a few dozen PhD neuroscientists, plus millions of dollars and we’ll have that answer for you.

    He’s offering a million bucks for a question that’s pure science while ignoring the time and effort it would take to prove it. Unlike faith, which just requires belief.

  30. 30
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Cervantes: I did miss that. I still find the whole thing strange. Decent human behavior. That’s the ticket.

    From my prejudiced point of view, the only reason to debate belief is that you think the other side is using their beliefs or lack thereof to excuse behavior you find reprehensible. And I do think that. There’s a song about having god on your side and how that lets you do pretty much anything.

  31. 31
    Anoniminous says:


    The God Botherers in Congress gutted funding that was, in part, being used to investigate this question.

  32. 32
    gbear says:

    The adopt-a-protestor technique is pretty cool. It’s been around for quite a while. I wish all Planned Parenthood clinics would do this on a regular basis.

    Here’s how it works: You decide on the amount you would like to pledge for each protester (minimum 10 cents). When protesters show up on our sidewalks, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania will count and record their number each day from October 1 through November 30, 2005. We will place a sign outside the health center that tracks pledges and makes protesters fully aware that their actions are benefiting PPSP. At the end of the two-month campaign, we will send you an update on protest activities and a pledge reminder.

  33. 33
    efgoldman says:


    She did finally go away for good though and I’d like to think that was money well spent.

    John Scalzi has done that for some time, too.

  34. 34
    efgoldman says:

    Most of the mouth breathers who are harassing mayor Driscoll, don’t know Salem, MA from Salem, OR, or (fictional) Salem ME

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: He’s a grifter.

    This means he’s not a decent human being. Like all televangelist types.

  36. 36
    Viva BrisVegas says:


    I think it is more that not everything has a rational scientific explanation.

    Which might be true, but so far nothing has been shown to have a rational spiritual explanation.

  37. 37
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @gene108: I got one of those and I almost wrote the school to tell them they are being scammed by their direct mail operation.

    I’ve been a registered Democrat since I was old enough to vote!

  38. 38
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: there is a kind of question begging in modern neuroscience, that goes, “Assuming strict materialism, prove strict materialism”. Given Occam’s Razor, I’m not sure there’s another way to approach the problem, but philosophically, it’s still worth bullshitting about when stoned. Or so I have been given to understand anyway.

  39. 39
    Narcissus says:

    Was hoping for Dat Ass and got Dat Metaphysics

  40. 40
    FridayNext says:

    In response, the city ended a contract it had with the school to manage its town hall.

    I realize this is totally not the point, but why is a government hiring a private college to manage a town hall? What do they do? Book parties? Security? Building maintenance and janitorial? Is this normal?

    I get the strange feeling this arrangement is so the town can get whatever services they are getting paying undergrads minimum wage or less. This sounds hinky to me.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    It’s such a great way to out-troll the trolls.

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:


    I get the strange feeling this arrangement is so the town can get whatever services they are getting paying undergrads minimum wage or less. This sounds hinky to me.

    They didn’t “manage” it. That’s the wrong verb. They had a long-standing contract to use the space and manage it for rentals. It’s not the actual town administrative building, hasn’t been since the 19th century.

    Rental Details:
    The Great Hall is available year-round, seven days a week for rental. The hall can accommodate up to 75 people for a seated dinner; and 160 for row or theater seating. Due to decorative columns on the ground floor, and the presence of display pieces for the Salem Museum in the Old Town Hall, this space is better suited for exhibits, standing receptions or auxiliary uses to Great Hall.
    Please contact for Event Pricing and Packages
    General Parameters of Use:
    The building may be used for parties, ceremonies, performances and other events. Food and beverages are permitted in the Old Town Hall. Alcohol may be consumed responsibly while a police detail is present. It is the responsibility of the renter to hire and pay for a police detail for any event where alcohol is consumed (Salem Police Department: 978 744 0171). Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building or within 30 feet of the structure. Please be advised of city sound ordinances that enforce noise restrictions between the hours of 11pm and 7am. No animals (except service animals) are permitted in the building.

    Gordon managed the building for the town. Until this year, I don’t think there was any kind of discrimination in the use of the building, practiced or alleged, although the college’s religious affiliations are well known.
    Of course, the town never had an anti-discrimination for LGBT people before, either.
    The mayor is enforcing a local ordnance. This is going to cost. If Gordon gives up the contract, someone else his going to have to take over the administration and maintenance of this great old historic budding. I imagine local taxpayers won’t be happy.;Itemid=59

  43. 43
    Kyle says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    @gene108: I got one of those and I almost wrote the school to tell them they are being scammed by their direct mail operation.

    If they have a postage-paid envelope, send it back empty so they have to eat the postage charge. It’s what I do with the occasional right wing nutjob solicitations I receive, as well as Wall Street Journal subscription offers since Australia’s Worst Export took it over.

    Someone once suggested taping the postage-paid envelope to a phone book so they’ll have to eat the cost of mailing a 2lb package, but I’m skeptical as to whether that would actually work.

  44. 44
    Fort Geek says:

    @Kyle: Mother Jones has a writeup on this kind of thing. Can You Mail a Brick to a Bank?

    The short version is: stuff some junk in the envelope and mail it back. The Post Office is more likely to just throw out something like a brick or bowling ball.

    Even then, there’s no way of knowing who opens the thing at the other end.

  45. 45
    FridayNext says:



  46. 46
    xenos says:

    @srv: Atheism? Chopra can’t even handle phenomonology!

  47. 47
    xenos says:

    @srv: Atheism? Chopra can’t even handle phenomonology!

  48. 48
    Skepticat says:

    I’ve know Kim, er, Her Honor, since she was in college, and she is a most impressive, incredible woman–the type of person we need in the political arena. I think (and hope) you’ll be hearing more of her in Massachusetts and perhaps on the national stage.

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