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?



Today in Stochastic Violence and Terrorism: Bloomington, Minnesota Mosque Firebombed

From The Minneapolis Star Tribune:

A blast caused by what the FBI called “an improvised explosive device” rocked a Bloomington Islamic center before dawn Saturday, just as a small group of Muslim worshipers had gathered for the day’s first round of prayers.

No one was hurt in the explosion, which heavily damaged an imam’s office at the Dar Al Farooq Center and sent smoke wafting through the large building. Windows in the office were shattered, either by the blast or by an object thrown through them.

The blast was reported at 5:05 a.m. as about a dozen people gathered in a room nearby for morning prayers and jolted awake many residents of the neighborhood. Congregants and neighbors expressed relief that there were no injuries, but also reacted with shock and dismay.

When police arrived, they found smoke and fire damage to the building, said Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts. Agents from the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives soon joined the investigation. A large area outside the center was taped off as investigators, including members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, combed through the grass.

At an early evening news conference, Special Agent in Charge Richard Thornton said an “improvised explosive device” caused the blast, but that investigators still must determine “who and why.”

WCCO CBS Minnesota:

Leaders at the center and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota say a worshiper saw someone throw an explosive device into the building and then speed off in a pick-up truck.

“The Muslim American Society of Minnesota condemns this arson and attack,” Asad Zaman said.

Meanwhile, federal authorities and Bloomington police investigate what led up to the explosion.

Within hours of the explosion, an outpouring of support from neighbors and community members of all religious backgrounds.

And since we have stochastic in the title, we might as well go for broke. Take it away WCCO CBS Minnesota!

 A bomb squad was called to the Cathedral of St. Paul Saturday afternoon after someone starting lighting papers on fire inside the building.

St. Paul police say a homeless man walked into the cathedral and started setting the fires, which were extinguished by bystanders.

The man was said to be carrying a brown paper bag containing a Bible and a Quran tied together, which at first was thought to possibly be an explosive device – but no such device was found.

The man was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Stay frosty!



Late Night Open Thread: Ross Doubthat Longs for a Little Tidy White-Bread Sharia Law

“President Pence”, he murmurs to himself, and would slip a hand down his pants if he didn’t believe that sort of thing leads to blindness and hairy palms…


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He’s not calling for an Inquisition, for pete’s sake! He just wants all the gore and dirty talk firmly removed from the public arena!

(Ref: God had His men leading the charge for righteousness.”)

If Erick Erickson is the HOA director of the GOP’s gated community, Ross Douthat is the pastor of the neighborhood’s “nondenominational” megachurch.

And if I thought they were capable of it, I’d say the suits doing the hiring at the NYTimes should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging him.



Open Thread: Spare A Thought for Mr. Pence

Maybe Mike Dense really is as dumb as he’s famously supposed to be! Maybe he’s just a loyal GOP footsoldier willing to repeat whatever pieties he’s fed… so long as he’s free to commit Bad Touches on innocent NASA equipment and any social legislation postdating the 1860s…