Open Thread: Suite “Home” Alabama

That “unsure” 11% seems important. CNN:

Democrat Doug Jones — once thought to be a longshot in the Deep South — has tied Republican nominee and former judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s US Senate race, a new poll shows…

Moore and Jones will face off in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat December 12.

The poll confirms Republicans’ fears that Moore — who campaigns on a theocratic, anti-LGBT message and has twice been ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice, once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument and once for refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage — would be a uniquely vulnerable candidate in a state President Donald Trump won last year by 28 percentage points…

Jones, a former prosecutor who convicted two former Klansmen in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, has sought to portray Moore as someone who would embarrass Alabama on the national stage…

Moore has a history of under performing compared to national Republican leaders in Alabama. In the 2012 race for state Supreme Court chief justice, he won by just 2 points over little-known circuit court judge Bob Vance in a year Mitt Romney won the state by 22 points…

Roy Moore’s Senate run is turning into the roadshow version of Trump’s campaign, and that was a farcical imitation of a real campaign…


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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Thoughts & Prayers?


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The news stays this bad, people are gonna revive the old superstition about the health of a nation depending on the health of its king. Given the season, Trump’s handlers should probably be suspicious of any invitations for him to visit an oak grove, Bohemian or not…


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Apart from doing what we can to help those most in need, what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Repub “Base” Remains A Threat

Even to other Republicans / conservatives, because theirs is a clan of cannibals serving a zombie ideology:

In remarks at a Republican National Committee event at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington on Tuesday morning, Nick Ayers also warned that Republicans are “on track to get shellacked” in next year’s midterm elections if GOP lawmakers don’t pass Trump’s legislative priorities.

But Ayers reserved his harshest criticism for congressional leaders and members who have not offered full-throated support for the president….

One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House.”

“I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this,” Ayers responded. “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, No. 1. And No. 2, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

He continued, “Because, look, if we’re going to be in the minority again, we might as well have a minority who are with us as opposed to the minority who helped us become a minority.”

The crowd laughed and burst into applause.

The remarks are some of the most extensive to emerge from Ayers, who joined the White House over the summer after initially opting to remain on the outside. A longtime adviser to Pence and a top aide on the 2016 campaign, he’s widely respected in Republican circles as a sharp-elbowed and strategic operative…

And in the Washington Post, news of another would-be cannibal king “Roy Moore’s disruption of Washington has already begun, and more is on the way”:

Moore didn’t meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or stop by the White House to make nice with the forces­ that tried to defeat him. Instead, he huddled with Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist and one of Moore’s most outspoken advocates, and spent time in the office of a House Republican from Alabama.

The latest skirmish in the escalating war for the soul of the GOP was more than awkward: It was a window into what might be coming for Republicans next year, when hard-right conservatives emboldened by Moore’s runoff victory last week against Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) are likely to target still more establishment incumbents.

It also has immediate and potentially dire implications for the GOP’s slim working majority in the Senate. Although Moore still faces a general election on Dec. 12, he is widely seen as the front-runner in that race, given Alabama’s heavy conservative tilt.

The growing hostilities threaten the effort by Senate GOP leaders to foster enough unity in their ranks to pass a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws — which they are wagering is the only thing left that can reverse the political damage the party has sustained this year. Moore is seen as a wild card who could complicate, if not derail, that task.
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Sunday Night Horrowshow Open Thread: As American As A Burning Cross

MSNBC finds a way to phrase the GOP problem… delicately:

There are five counties in the state of Alabama where more than 30 percent of the 25-and-over population has a college degree, according to the U.S. Census. Strange won three of those counties and did so fairly convincingly, by about 8 points, 54.1 percent – 45.9 percent.

But the rest of state went against the sitting senator and the margins for him got worse as the percentage of those with a college education dropped.

There are two counties where the college education rates were between 25 percent and 30 percent. Moore won those counties by about 6 points, 53.2 percent – 46.8 percent. The rest of the counties have fewer than 25 percent of the population with a degree. Moore won them by more than 18 points, 59.2 percent – 40.8 percent.

Those education numbers have a special significance when you look at the Republican Senate seats that are up in 2018. In eight of them, all but Utah, the college-educated population numbers are below 30 percent, which is roughly the national average.

The Alabama results suggest the Republican voters in those states may be ready for a more populist, anti-establishment candidate — one that would challenge the incumbent and pull him or her toward the more populist end of the GOP.

To be clear, these college education figures aren’t solely about education, they are about people living in different economic and cultural worlds…

In other words: “We’re not gonna spell it out, but there’s a genuine fear among the people who make a living off the GOP that it’s turning into the house brand for ignorant rubes who’ve never had to meet anyone they weren’t related to.”

(And, of course, they’re heavily armed.)
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A Late Evening Snack: Happy Jew Year

On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (the head of the year and the day of atonement respectively) challah is round, not the standard braided loaf. For those who aren’t carb adventurous, challah is the traditional Jewish egg bread served on the Sabbath. For the religious new year and day of atonement round challah is served to symbolize the circle of life from one year to the next.

This year I decided that I’d do something nice for my Mom for the holiday. So I made her a Rosh HaShana challah from scratch. I used LGF’s Vicious Babushka’s recipe for honey saffron challah, which you can find here. Braiding instructions for a round challah can be viewed here.

It was very easy to follow, everything went smoothly in the prep, and it baked up beautifully. It tasted as good as it looked. One note: I made what are called 3 lbs loaves. So basically my yield from the recipe were two very large loaves of round challah. I’ll be making two more at the end of this week ahead of Yom Kippur a week from tonight. Pics below in order of preparation.

Everything coming together in the mixer:

After rising and waiting for braiding.

Braided and waiting to be made into a round. Or, if you’re prepping for a highland games or Celtic festival, just bake it like this for a Judeo-Celtic Cross. Very ecumenical…

Final proofing:

Proofed and egg washed:

Fresh out of the oven and cooling:

Open thread!








Open Thread: More Like A Murder-Suicide Plot…

Interesting sociological argument, via valued commentor O. Felix Culpa. At USAToday, Robert P. Jones, author of The End of White Christian America, says “Fading white evangelicals have made a desperate end-of-life bargain with Trump”:

The key to understanding the puzzling white evangelical/Trump alliance is grasping the large-scale changes — most prominently the declining numbers of white Christians in the country — that have transformed the American religious landscape over the last decade. These tectonic shifts are detailed in a new report Wednesday by the Public Research and Religion Institute, which I direct. Based on interviews with over 101,000 Americans in 2016, the American Values Atlas is the largest survey of American religious and denominational identity ever conducted…

…[O]ne of the most important findings of the survey is that over the last decade — as the country has crossed the threshold from being a majority white Christian country to a minority white Christian country — white evangelical Protestants have themselves succumbed to the prevailing winds and in turn contributed to a second wave of white Christian decline in the country. Over the last decade, white evangelical Protestants have declined from 23% to 17% of all Americans. To put this into perspective, during this same period, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans has grown from 16% to 24%.

The engines of white evangelical decline are complex, but they are a combination of external factors, such as demographic change in the country as a whole, and internal factors, such as religious disaffiliation, particularly among younger adults who find themselves at odds with conservative Christian churches on issues like climate change and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. As a result, the median age of white evangelical Protestants is now 55, while the median age of religiously unaffiliated Americans is 37. While 26% of seniors (ages 65 and older) are white evangelicals, only 8% of Americans under the age of 30 claim this identity.

The evangelical alliance with Trump can only be understood in the context of these fading vital signs among white evangelicals. They are, in many ways, a community grieving its losses. After decades of equating growth with divine approval, white evangelicals today are finding themselves on the losing side of demographic changes and LGBT rights, one of their founding and flagship issues. In the 1980s, a term like “the moral majority” had a certain plausibility; today, such a sweeping claim would be met with a mountain of counter-evidence from public opinion polls, progressive religious voices, changing laws and court decisions.

Thinking about white evangelicals as a grieving community opens up new ways of understanding their behavior. Drawing on her interactions with dying patients and their families in the 1960s, psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified at least five common “stages” of grief, which have become staples of understanding responses to loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As Kübler-Ross found, when the stubborn facts of one’s own demise don’t yield to denial or anger, people commonly attempt to make a grand deal to postpone the inevitable.

While there are some lingering pockets of denial, and anger was an all-too-visible feature of Trump’s campaign, thinking about the white evangelical/Trump alliance as an end-of-life bargain is illuminating. It helps explain, for example, how white evangelical leaders could ignore so many problematic aspects of Trump’s character. When the stakes are high enough and the sun is setting, grand bargains are struck. And it is in the nature of these deals that they are marked not by principle, but by desperation…

“If we can’t be in charge, let’s burn the world down.”



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: “What You Do for the Least of These… “

More context, via Esquire:

Anyone who’s glanced at the electric Twitter machine since the sky began to fall on southeastern Texas has become familiar with Jim McIngvale who, under the name of Mattress Mack, owns the Gallery Furniture chain of stores in Houston. Mattress Mack has opened a couple of his stores for people displaced from the storm to come and rest and sleep on his inventory…

Mattress Mack apparently is one of those local businessmen known for his eccentric promotional sense… Now, though, he’s betting long on his fellow citizens, which is pretty much the living definition of citizenship…

Also of Christianity, if what the nuns told me forty-plus years ago still has any currency. Not that Pastor Osteen would take advice from a bunch of women, but I don’t think even the Prosperity Gospel has been able to wholly eliminate Matthew 25:40.
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Apart from looking for the helpers (as Mr. Rogers always told us to do), what’s on the agenda for the day?