Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Tag–I’m IT

I’ve been tagged for a blogging meme game (these are fun) by Rev. Bob Cornwall of Ponderings on a Faith Journey. 

The rules are:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about himself or herself.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten years ago, I was . . .

Teaching religion and philosophy at Spalding University and Simmons College (both in Louisville), while trying for a permanent, tenure-track position anywhere. I was also chairing the War and Peace interest group of the Society of Christian ethics. I was on the steering committee for the Louisville chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation . My oldest daughter was 3 and my second had yet to be born.

5 Things on Today’s “To Do” List;

  1. Work on my book on progressive (peace and justice oriented) Baptist congregations.
  2. Work on my novel about a liberal Baptist minister who solves murder mysteries.
  3. Prepare Bible study on Mark’s Gospel for Sunday.
  4. Call 10 people in rural KY for the Obama campaign.
  5. Clean up dog poop in yard.

Things I’d Do If I Were a Billionaire:

Well, this will never be the case and daydreaming of it probably blocks more constructive work, but these are the rules.  I’d try to give away most of it to charities and causes I believe in–AIDS research and prevention, the environment, peacemaking, human rights, death penalty abolition and prison reform, poverty alleviation, etc.  And, since a billion goes a long way (except when fighting a quagmire of a war!), I’d also endow at least one chair of higher learning in a progressive Christian liberal arts college and/or seminary. I would pay off my dad’s mortgage.  Of course, I would really beef up my daughters’ education funds (though I expect both of them to win scholarships since they are both straight 4.0 students) and provide for my wife and myself in retirement (as of now, I don’t see how we can ever retire). I’d travel, too, and teach for free.  I might also start a business: a local bookstore to replace my beloved Hawley-Cooke Booksellers, bought out by (sigh) Borders.   I would NOT try for tax shelters or move my money off-shore, etc.

3 Bad Habits:

  1. Interrupting people before they have finished speaking. I have been working on this my whole life, but still haven’t completely broken it.  It really bugs my wife, and rightly so.
  2. Procrastination.
  3. Late night refridgerator raids.

5 Places I’ve Lived:

  1. Manassas Park, VA
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Atlantic Beach, FL
  4. Heidelberg, Germany
  5. Louisville, KY–Longest place I have ever lived.  I was also born in Philadelphia, PA, but we were only there for my first 6 months of life.  Other places include Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, & Pasadena, CA.

5 Jobs I’ve Held:

  1. Bailiff –Duval County County courthouse.
  2. Outreach coordinator for a faith-based peace organization
  3. Youth minister
  4. Interim pastor
  5. Religion/philosophy professor (I’ve also been a clerk in the U.S. Army–prior to becoming a conscientious objector, of course; held numerous restaraunt jobs, including cook, waiter, dishwasher; vetinary asst; asst. in the wet lab of the Marine Science Center, Mayport, FL; did computer mapping for Louisville Gas & Electric Co., chaplain at a nursing home; security/night watch at a different nursing home; library asst. a university and currently work at UPS for the insurance while trying to get back into either teaching or another peace & justice position.)

Tag, You’re It:

Dan Trabue

Kevin Borders

Texas in Africa

Aaron Weaver

Melissa Rogers


April 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

O.K., NOW, I’m Bitter

Just kidding.  Last night’s victory for Sen. Clinton (D-NY) in PA, while disappointing, was expected. In fact, given the non-stop smear campaign by Clinton and surrogates, by the G.O.P., and by the media (especially so called “debate moderators” at ABC), Sen. Obama did surprisingly well. Sen. Clinton did not win by a large enough margin to close the gap with Obama’s delegate count, nor his lead in the popular vote–and so have a convincing argument for the remaining superdelegates. (Early count suggests she won 84 pledged delegates last night and Obama won 74, which should still put her over 150 delegates behind.) She needs something on the order of 85% of all remaining primary votes, winning all the remaining Democratic primaries by over 20%, to catch Obama’s lead.  Not gonna happen.

Here’s the remaining primary schedule:

03 May Guam caucuses (Obama favored: 4 pledged delegates at stake).

06 May Indiana and North Carolina primaries. (Obama is, depending on polls, 11 to 15 points ahead of Clinton in North Carolina, with 115 pledged delegates at stake.  Indiana could be close. Northern Indiana is Obama country and Southern Indiana is Clinton territory. But, so far, Obama is in the lead by 7-11 points, depending on poll.  Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), a Clinton superdelegate and probably on her short list for running mate, has been campaigning hard for her on TV ads–which spill over into KY viewing area, but Obama is also picking up influential Indiana surrogate support, including that of former Indiana Sen. Lee Hamilton (D-IN)–whose seat Bayh occupies–co-chair of the Iraq Study Group (that Bush/McCain failed to heed). Hamilton has plenty of influence and shores up Obama’s foreign policy credentials. 72 pledged delegates are at stake in Indiana.)

13 May West Virginia primary.  (28 pledged delegates are at stake. The white, rural nature of WV favors Clinton, but, unlike in PA there are no areas of “ethnic whites,” whites whose primary identities are still Romanian or Polish or Irish or Italian, etc. It is in those “ethnic white” states–except for Illinois–that Obama has struggled most to win white votes.  Clinton is still favored here, but an endorsement for Obama from either Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) or, even better, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), or both, could swing this for Obama.  Neither WV senator has yet endorsed a candidate, but Byrd is probably being lobbied by both. He has strong ties to the Clintons, but he has warmly welcomed Obama to the senate and is eager to show the world outside of WV just how far he has repented from his early career as a segregationist.  WV is Clinton-friendly, but not out of reach for Obama.)

20 May Kentucky and Oregon primaries (Everything said about WV could be repeated in KY. Obama is favored in Louisville and Lexington, but Clinton is stronger in rural and small town KY, and Obama must cut into her lead there to win KY. So far, the only KY superdelegate to endorse is Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) of Louisville, who is an Obama supporter.  If Greg Stumbo (D), state rep. and former state attorney, were to endorse Obama or Rep. Ben Chandler, it would go a long way. But Obama needs to visit Eastern KY, highlight the problem of Appalachian poverty, talk about mine safety under GOP deregulation, about ways to save our mountains without losing jobs, ways to help small farmers as big tobacco declines–those issues can win over enough of KY for a win.  KY only has 8% African-American pop., and most of it is concentrated in Louisville.  51 pledged delegates at stake.  Oregan, by contrast, should go heavily for Obama with 52 delegates at stake.)

01 June Puerto Rico primary. (55 delegates at stake. I don’t know who is favored here. Clinton has had a lead on Latinos generally, but has lost the Latino vote in CO and UT and IL, divided it evenly in NM, and won it only by 55% in TX.  Obama has won all of the U.S. territories so far except American Samoa. )

03 June Montana and South Dakota primaries (16 pledged delegates available in MT, 15 in SD. Obama has done well in these Mid-West “Red” states and I think he will win, at least, South Dakota.)

And that’s it.  Even if Obama only wins North Carolina and Oregon remaining, he would finish with the most pledged delegates and, probably, the popular vote.  That leaves only Clinton’s claim that he doesn’t win most of the “big states” (but what is NC? MD? IL?) to swing superdelegates, and her claim that he cannot beat McCain–which she has now admitted that he can.  She can force him to limp to victory–and possibly weaken him for the fall, but I don’t see how she can win. Her campaign is deeply in debt and his is plenty flush.

Oh, and if Clinton and Obama keep criss-crossing KY, it is bad news for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), no matter whether Greg Fischer (D) or Bruce Lunsford (D) wins the primary to take him on in the Fall. (I will vote for Fischer.) McCain and McConnell have been bitter rivals in the GOP, with McConnell trying unsuccessfully to get the Supreme Court to overturn the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, so McCain has stayed away from KY.  Maybe this is the year we finally “Ditch Mitch.”


April 23, 2008 Posted by | U.S. politics | 5 Comments