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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 8,056

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Why quoting my book on racial justice is a problem for Christian college professors

Jemar Tisby

In his classic book, "The Souls of Black Folk", renowned Black scholar W.E.B. Du Bois begins by asking the question white people often hint at but seldom say outright: "How does it feel to be a problem?"

For many far-right Christian institutions of higher education, my name and my work have become a problem. For them, I seem to have become an avatar of all that is wrong in modern racial justice work.

A professor at Taylor University, Julie Moore, quoted from my book, "The Color of Compromise," in the introductory narrative to her syllabus, and according to her provost this was a problem. In a meeting in which professor Moore was informed that her contract would not be renewed for the upcoming year, she asked the provost to cite the reason for her removal.

According to the Religion News Service, "When pressed for details, Taylor Provost Jewerl Maxwell said there had been complaints about assigned readings on racial justice in Moore’s classes. Maxwell named one author as problematic in particular. ... 'Jemar Tisby is the main focus,' Maxwell told Moore."

Mind you, professor Moore had not actually assigned any of my readings to her class. She merely quoted me in her syllabus.


Reich-wing Christian colleges, he means. Of course they would have a problem.

'It's been a total witch-hunt. It takes its toll': the LGBTQ+ families fleeing red states

This month, Lauren Rodriguez will move out of her home in Texas, a state where she has lived for 20 years, to relocate to New Zealand. “People think we are dramatic for leaving, but when you look at what’s happened to my family, we’re not,” she says, amid packing up her life’s belongings. “It has been a total witch-hunt. It takes its toll.”

Six years ago, Rodriguez’s son Grey told her that he was transgender. That first night, she stayed up Googling “what to do when your kid tells you they’re trans”. From there, she took him to get his “first boy haircut” and contacted local LGBTQ+ organizations for advice.

Although she describes the climate against trans people then as less hostile than it has become, the news was not well received by some in their neighborhood. At the extreme, neighbors, a teacher, and even family members reported Rodriguez to Child Protection Services (CPS) for helping her son, who was then under 18, access gender-affirming medical care. Rodriguez, a social worker, has been on the receiving end of more than 10 complaints to the CPS. All cases were opened, investigated and closed.

During this period, Texas was one of a number of Republican-led states where the political mood was changing. The current legislative session in Texas has seen an unprecedented number of anti-gay and anti-trans bills pass through the senate. Some restrict teaching about gender and sexuality in schools. One bill has a section that would allow anyone to criminally prosecute an individual librarian in a school for distributing “harmful material”.

Other bills would ban drag, while one, SB14, would ban gender-affirming care for under-18s. If it passes, Texas will follow the 19 US states that ban or restrict access to transgender care, with penalties for doctors who break the law.

This sudden change in political tone has left many in Republican states feeling unsafe. A survey this year found that 50% of LGBTQ+ Florida parents wish to move, particularly in the wake of HB1557 – otherwise known as the “don’t say gay” bill – passed in March 2022, which bars teachers from educating children between kindergarten and third grade on sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the law, a Florida teacher was recently investigated for showing students a Disney movie featuring a gay character.


Ohio Staters Grapple With Bill That Stifles Climate Speech


Keely Fisher chose to pursue her Ph.D. at Ohio State University because she wanted to learn about climate change from a world-class faculty. Now one year into her program, she wonders if she belongs here.

The problem has nothing to do with Ohio State and everything to do with the Ohio General Assembly and a proposal that would regulate higher education. The wide-ranging bill includes a provision that designates climate policy as a “controversial belief or policy” and says faculty must “encourage students to reach their own conclusions about all controversial beliefs or policies and shall not seek to inculcate any social, political, or religious point of view.”

“Is this going to force me to leave?” Fisher asked, interviewed at the school’s main library.

She came to Ohio to be part of the university’s School of Environment and Natural Resources and worries that the bill, if it becomes law, would hurt her program’s ability to recruit students and faculty, and would introduce uncertainty into the classroom about how climate change can be discussed. If the proposal had been law when she was deciding where to enroll, it would have steered her to a different university, she said.

The bill is an example of a national trend of Republican-led states seeking to rein in what they see as runaway liberal politics in higher education—a sentiment that threatens to undermine the rigor and accuracy of teaching about arguably the greatest threat to the environment and economy.

“You can say gravity isn’t true, but if you step off the cliff, you’re going down,” said Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist who teaches at Texas Tech University and a well-known writer and commentator about climate change and responding to climate denial. “And if you teach other people that gravity is not true, you are morally responsible for anything that happens to them if they make decisions based on the information you provided.”


This is ridiculous in the extreme.

Christopher Rufo Launched the Critical Race Theory Panic. He Isn't Done.


On a rainy day in late March, a group of American and European public intellectuals gathered in a stone-clad villa in Budapest’s Castle District. They’d been invited by the Danube Institute, a conservative think tank backed by the Hungarian government, to denounce growing threats from the left. The institute’s president, John O’Sullivan, a British octogenarian and former editor of National Review, summarized the challenge—gender theory, recognition of a climate emergency, critical race theory—in one all-purpose expression: “wokeness.”

The mastermind behind the event, titled “The ABCs of Critical Race Theory & More,” was American activist Christopher Rufo, who came to prominence for instigating the moral panic over CRT in public education—a move that, O’Sullivan noted approvingly in his introduction, “provoked a popular resistance of parents.” Rufo had recently arrived for a monthlong visiting fellowship with the institute, an incubator for US ideologues who consider Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s brand of nationalist populism—particularly Orbán’s muscular use of state power—as a model to be replicated. Orbán’s “illiberal democracy” has subjugated the independent press, banned LGBTQ content from schools, ended gender studies in universities, and evicted the Central European University from Hungary. This last effort had the dual benefit of exiling a global postcommunist bastion of liberal values, social sciences, and humanities while eradicating the influence of its founder, Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros, whose extensive financial investments in upholding democratic institutions throughout former communist countries have been demonized, often in blatantly antisemitic ways, by the right in both nations. (In an interview, O’Sullivan defended the institute. “We are not doing anything mysterious,” he said, describing its mission as to “encourage the transmission of ideas” and “democratic debate.”)

Displaying a fresh high and tight haircut, the 38-year-old Rufo took the stage with the swagger of a classroom know-it-all. CRT—which he describes as a race­-centered, neo-Marxist version of history pushed by elites perpetuating a myth of the US’s intrinsic racism—might seem like a uniquely American construct. But Rufo warned that, much like Netflix, rap music, and other Yankee exports, CRT would inevitably land in Hungary. “You should prepare yourselves politically,” he said, “prepare yourselves intellectually, and not rest on the assumption that because it’s a false theory and because it can’t be transposed accurately onto your history­—it always finds a way.”

In 2020, Rufo’s highbrow brand of scaremongering launched him into the conservative spotlight. He boasts that his strident anti-CRT campaign was a singular achievement in public persuasion—a transformation from “an obscure academic discipline” that few had heard of into a catalyst for conservative outrage. Not one for false modesty, he told the New York Times, “I’ve unlocked a new terrain in the culture war.”

When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis began his own attacks on CRT in March 2021, Rufo welcomed him to the fight. Rufo assumed an unofficial role advising the 2024 candidate, helping DeSantis build his culture warrior reputation with Orbán as his exemplar. (Rufo admits he sees similarities between some policies in Hungary and the Sunshine State, but claims “if there is a direct inspiration, I am not aware of it.”) Where DeSantis—or Donald Trump with his reality-show populism and “build that wall” chants—often comes across as an unpolished bully, Rufo provides a veneer of intellectual sophistication and an arsenal of strategically incendiary rhetoric. As Politico’s Michael Kruse writes, Rufo is a “main source and surrogate” for the governor’s “anti-woke” agenda.


Another goddam Stephen Miller, this one with films and books.

Nikki Haley suggests transgender kids are causing suicidal ideation in teenage girls

Republican 2024 presidential contender Nikki Haley suggested Sunday night that transgender girls in sports are leading to suicidal ideation in teenage girls.

Haley, a former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, made the comment during a CNN town hall event in Iowa when host Jake Tapper asked her how she would define "woke."

"There’s a lot of things. I mean, you want to start with biological boys playing in girl sports. That’s one thing," Haley said. "The fact that we have gender pronoun classes in the military now, I mean, all of these things that are pushing what a small minority want on the majority of Americans, it’s too much. It’s too much."

Haley continued by saying, "The women's issue of our time" is "the idea that we have biological boys playing in girls sports."

"My daughter ran track in high school. I don’t even know how I would have that conversation with her," she added. "How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker rooms? And then we wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year. We should be growing strong girls, confident girls."


Nimrata Randhawa has officially gone off the wall.

'We're mowed over': colossal data centers are taking over the US countryside

New developments for cloud computing could threaten civil-war era and post-emancipation historical sites in rural Virginia
As you drive west from Washington DC, an imposing cluster of rectangular buildings emerges from the countryside. They emit a whirring sound, and could be confused for warehouses.

But, in fact, this is the home of the cloud internet.

These are data centers, where companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft store and distribute information. Prince William county, 40 miles (65km) from the US capital, is set to become the world’s capital of cloud storage if an ambitious but controversial project goes through.

“It’s a flash flood,” said Blaine Pearsall, who serves on the county’s historical commission.

On a gloomy morning earlier this year, Pearsall unloaded stacks of yellow manila folders from his red SUV. As he laid them out on the hood of the car, large maps stuck out from the pile of permits, zoning records and historical documents.

He traced the topography of Prince William county on a map, pointing to ridges and river valleys that make up his home. Pearsall noted the Manassas National Battlefield Park, where two key engagements of the US civil war took place, as well as historic sites that preserve the country’s history of slavery and emancipation, such as the remains of one of the only schools accessible to Black students in this area in the late 19th century. But he believes this familiar landscape is on the verge of becoming unrecognizable.


With few MDs practicing in rural areas, a different type of doctor is filling the gap

For 35 years, this town's residents have brought all manner of illnesses, aches, and worries to Kevin de Regnier's storefront clinic on the courthouse square — and he loves them for it.

De Regnier is an osteopathic physician who chose to run a family practice in a small community. Many of his patients have been with him for years. Many have chronic health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or mental health struggles, which he helps manage before they become critical.

"I just decided I'd rather prevent fires than put them out," he said between appointments on a recent afternoon.

Broad swaths of rural America don't have enough primary care physicians, partly because many medical doctors prefer to work in highly paid specialty positions in cities. In many small towns, osteopathic doctors like de Regnier are helping fill the gap.

Osteopathic physicians, commonly known as DOs, go to separate medical schools from medical doctors, known as MDs. Their courses include lessons on how to physically manipulate the body to ease discomfort. But their training is otherwise comparable, leaders in both wings of the profession say.

Both types of doctors are licensed to practice the full range of medicine, and many patients would find little difference between them aside from the initials listed after their names.


I've worked with a lot of DOs and gone to more than one, and honestly prefer a good one to an MD as a PCP. They tend not to rush you, and are likely to listen the way nurse practitioners do. It's in the training.

Casey DeSantis Is the Walmart Melania

The First Lady of Florida showed up on the campaign trail in Iowa this weekend wearing a ghastly black leather jacket—American flag on front, an alligator and the silhouette of her state on the back, with the sneering words, “Where Woke Goes to Die”—that brought to mind nothing so much as the racks of a Red State big-bin store where it would be retailing for $24.99.

To be fair, Casey DeSantis wore the bomber to a charity biker rally and I’m sure the campaign intended it to be a viral moment, like Melania Trump’s infamous “I Really Don’t Care” coat that the former First Lady donned to check out the border crisis.

The message on Melania’s coat, like the one-time model herself, was sphinxlike. Was it a sign to the outside that Melania dreamed of escaping her boorish husband, the stuff of a thousand Resistance Twitter fever memes? Was it the physical manifestation of the Trumps’ casual cruelty? After all, Melania was flying down to where the administration locked up little kids in cages and tore them from the arms of their desperate parents. Did it mean nothing at all, like her spox insisted—maybe like Melania herself, a cipher whose eyes seem to betray an inner emptiness, like the infinite refraction of mirrored light off of all those gold-plated Trump Tower bathroom fixtures?

By contrast, Casey DeSantis’ coat is just like her husband Ron DeSantis’ campaign: Crude. Grasping. Saying the ugly part out loud. Whereas Trump would wink-wink at the fascists—who can forget his dog whistle to the “very fine people on both sides” at Charlottesville—DeSantis wants to peel off Trump’s base by being even more explicit about who he intends to target. You can see it right there on his wife’s jacket: DeSantis’ Florida is where the woke go to die—and a lot of other people die as well.


Nailed it.

When Did the 'F*ck Your Feelings' Crowd Get So Triggered?

Being a conservative these days sounds emotionally exhausting.

At any given moment, you might find out, for instance, that your favorite light beer sent a brew to a transgendered influencer and get so mad about it you have to film yourself using that beer for target practice. Or you might discover—gasp!—that Target is selling T-shirts with little rainbows on them for Pride Month and simply have no choice but drive to the nearest Target, threaten employees with violence, write a song about it, and whine that the song is being censored. Perhaps your precious children are being exposed to a poem about unity, or a movie about a mythical creature that isn't white, so you do whatever it takes to shield them from these horrors. Maybe you heard someone say their pronouns and subsequently fainted in the middle of a PTA meeting.

That’s just how it goes in the United States of Wokemerica. Another day, another space that is not safe.

Lately, it seems that many of the same MAGA Republicans who once wore “Fuck Your Feelings” T-shirts to Trump rallies now exist in a perpetual state of emotional outpouring. Everywhere conservatives have looked over the past few years, they’ve glimpsed something they didn’t like, had an apoplectic outburst or two, and then tried to legally ban it—sometimes with success. Incredibly, the very people who seem to find it tragic that “you couldn’t make Animal House today” are busy ensuring that no local theater company can perform Shakespeare in Tennessee the way actors did in Elizabethan England, because it would require the male cast to be in drag, and children might see them.

Whatever happened to “melting the snowflakes”? When did being “triggered” go from the most shameful and hilarious thing that could happen to a person, in the eyes of Sean Hannity stans, to conservatives’ default mode of existence?


Who are the REAL snowflakes? I ask you.

Fairytales have always reflected the morals of the age. It's not a sin to rewrite them

Should we update classic stories with modern morals? Two film-based kerfuffles have reopened the question. Reports that the next James Bond “won’t be white” have provoked a backlash, as did the launch of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which features a black Ariel.

Negative “review bombing” of the film, which has been the target of criticism since its lead actor, Halle Bailey, was announced, caused the Internet Movie Database to make a rare intervention and change its ratings system. There is abhorrent racism on show here – about which perhaps little more needs to be said. But alongside it is a broader, longer running argument that might be worth addressing. Namely, that 21st-century mores – diversity, sexual equality, and so on – should not be shoehorned into old stories.

General outrage greeted “woke” updates to Roald Dahl books this year, and still periodically erupts over Disney remakes, most recently a forthcoming film with a Latina actress as Snow White, and a new Peter Pan & Wendy with “lost girls”. The argument is that too much fashionable refurbishment tends to ruin a magical kingdom, and that cult classics could do with the sort of Grade I listing applied to heritage buildings. If you want to tell new stories, fine – but why not start from scratch?

But this point of view misses something, which is that updating classics is itself an ancient part of literary culture; in fact, it is a tradition, part of our heritage too. While the larger portion of the literary canon is carefully preserved, a slice of it has always been more flexible, to be retold and reshaped as times change.

Fairytales fit within this latter custom: they have been updated, periodically, for many hundreds of years. Cult figures such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Sherlock Holmes fit there too, as do superheroes: each generation, you might say, gets the heroes it deserves. And so does Bond. Modernity is both a villain and a hero within the Bond franchise: the dramatic tension between James – a young cosmopolitan “dinosaur” – and the passing of time has always been part of the fun.

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