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Dolly Parton’s Words to Receive a Biblical Level of Reverence from Naval Intelligence Facility



Dolly Parton’s Words to Receive a Biblical Level of Reverence from Naval Intelligence Facility


a.shap / Flickr my other hero...
a.shap / Flickr

This is one for the ‘you just can’t make this crap up’ file.

A few weeks ago, an employee at the National Maritime Intelligence Center (NMIC) in Suitland, Maryland contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), saying that they were very disturbed when they saw that a large Bible quote prominently was displayed in a corridor at this facility.

The NMIC employee couldn’t send us a photo of this Bible quote because it is in a secure area where no cameras or cell phones are permitted, but described it to us as being so large that it is completely impossible for anyone walking down this corridor to avoid having to look at it — four inch tall metal letters spanning an eight foot wide area over a doorframe, saying:

“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Nehemiah 6:3 (NIV)”

Like so many of our service members and employees at military installations — including many Christians — this NMIC employee does not want to be made to feel like their military mission is a religious mission, which is exactly what the display of Bible quotes like this in their military workplaces do.

So, MRFF did what we usually in cases like this, which is first for MRFF’s founder and president, Mikey Weinstein, to contact the commander of the installation and make them aware that we have received a complaint about the display, and what the problem with it is. In many cases, this is all it takes. The commander realizes that the display is inappropriate and understands why it would bother some of the people in their command, and, depending on what type of display it is, takes some action to either remove it, move it to a more appropriate location such as a chapel, or alter it in some way that would be acceptable to everyone.

In other cases, however, the commander will have a public affairs officer or a JAG respond with some justification for why they are going to allow the religious display to remain. And this was the type of response we received regarding this Bible quote display at the NMIC.

The response came from a JAG, who, after speaking to Mikey Weinstein (who is also a former JAG), sent an email with a lengthy legal justification of why, in his opinion, this religious display is permissible.

The gist of this JAG’s lengthy legal justification was that displaying a religious item at a government facility is permissible as long as it is part of a larger non-religious display, and the inclusion of the religious item has a secular purpose.

In the case of this Nehemiah quote, the secular purpose that this JAG used to justify its display was that it was a Bible verse that an Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) employee who was killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon kept posted on her bedroom dresser mirror, and that to the left of the doorframe that this large Bible verse spans is a portrait on this ONI employee who lost her life on 9/11, with accompanying text that ends by saying:

“This quotation from Nehemiah 6:13 (NIV) commemorates her dedication to the ONI mission and serves as a reminder to all that one’s day-to-day sacrifices and dedication to duty makes a significant contribution to the ONI mission and security of our nation.”

Where is the secular purpose in this? How does saying that this individual’s personal religious beliefs “serves as a reminder to all” that their sacrifices and dedication to duty make a significant contribution to their military mission. It doesn’t, of course. While this religious quote might have served that purpose for that individual, telling all service members and employees at this military facility this this religious quote should serve that same purpose for them is a promotion of religion, which is the exact opposite of serving a secular purpose.

As part of his further claims that this Bible quote is part of a larger, secular display, the JAG also pointed out that there is another quote, displayed in equally large lettering, similarly positioned over the next doorframe in this corridor. That quote is:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader.”

What struck me when I read the JAG’s description of the display of this other quote was that, unlike the religious quote, which includes the attribution to the Bible — and even the specific version of the Bible — this other quote includes no similar attribution.

The reason that the lack of an attribution for this other quote jumped out at me was that the NMIC employee who contacted us about the Bible quote had told us that had it not been for the attribution to the Bible being included with that quote, they wouldn’t have even realized that it came from the Bible. The quote itself isn’t inherently religious, so without pointing out that it came from the Bible, it would merely be seen as a motivational quote that could have come from anywhere. So there might be a simple solution — leave the quote, but just remove the “Nehemiah 6:3 (NIV)” attribution.

The next best thing, if they refused to remove the attribution from the Bible quote, would be to add an attribution to the other quote. That way, the two quotes would be displayed in an equal manner, and at least get rid of the perception that the Office of Naval Intelligence is sending the message that it is highly significant for everybody to know that the words of the one quote come from the Bible, but completely unimportant to know who that other, non-religious quote came from.

So, what the hell does any of this have to do with Dolly Parton?

Well, a quick Google search of the other quote returned whole bunch of hits attributing it to John Quincy Adams. Although the wording as displayed at the NMIC and in the hits I was seeing in my search seemed too modern-sounding for a  John Quincy Adams quote, I assumed that it must be a modernized version of something he said. So, we asked the NMIC why they didn’t have an attribution to Adams included along with that quote. Their answer was not at all what we expected. They said that they originally did have the quote attributed to Adams, but had removed the attribution at some point because someone had said they thought the quote came from Dolly Parton!

So, after I got over a bit of a WTF moment, I did a real search of John Quincy Adams’s writings to see if I could find anything he had written that was close enough to this quote for it to be a modernized version of a real quote from him, still thinking that there must be some reason that it’s attributed to him in so many books and other places. But my search turned up nothing from John Quincy Adams that was even close.

But what a broader search for the source of this quote did turn up was that, sure as sh*t, it really did come from Dolly Parton! Although the wording of the version at the NMIC isn’t exact, there was no question about it. Dolly Parton was quoted in a 1997 book as saying:

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

So, the quote should obviously be attributed to Dolly Parton.

But the next email from the JAG said that what the admiral who commands this facility had approved was putting back the attribution to John Quincy Adams — the attribution that had been removed when someone said they thought the quote came from Dolly Parton — with only some kind of note to the side of the doorframe “noting the disputed nature of the authorship.”

But at this point there was no longer any “dispute” over the “nature of the authorship.” There was now no doubt whatsoever that this quote came from Dolly Parton!

So, we sent another email to the JAG, making this very clear:

“There may be a bit of a misunderstanding here. It is no longer open to debate whether or not this is a John Quincy Adams quote. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT a John Quincy Adams quote.

“It is absolutely a Dolly Parton quote, and has nothing whatsoever to do with John Quincy Adams.

“It should NOT be attributed to John Quincy Adams at all, with a reference to Dolly Parton or not. It should be attributed to Dolly Parton and nobody but Dolly Parton.”

The next morning, we received the following response from the JAG:

“We’ll make sure the quote is properly attributed to Dolly Parton.”

So now, in addition to having had a plane named for her by the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard in her home state of Tennessee, complete with her image painted on the plane’s nose, Dolly Parton will also have the honor of having her name emblazoned over a doorframe in a corridor in the National Maritime Intelligence Center.

While the preferable solution would have been to remove the attribution from the Bible quote, at least now the message to people walking down this corridor that the Office of Naval Intelligence is telling them that the Bible is the only source from which they should draw their inspiration is somewhat lessened, and the quote they see as they pass that next doorframe is attributed to its rightful source — Dolly Parton.



Beto Down 10 Points In the Polls?




Beto Down 10 Points In the Polls?


Beto O'Rourke / Flickr Beto O x27 Rourke x27 s...
Beto O’Rourke / Flickr

This will be short, but in a comment in the front page article on last night’s Beto vs. Cruz debate, a poster lamented that Beto is “down 10 points” in the “polls”.  I am by no means saying that Beto will win…I’m a native Texan and we always knew this would be a long shot; however, in this reality-based community, I wanted to set the record straight.

According to 538, the current results of 31 polls has Cruz with a weighted average +5.8%.  While this is certainly a lead, who would have thought a year ago that the senate race in Texas would be this close?  Secondly, 538 has Beto’s chances of winning at 1 in 5 (similar to the odds they gave Trump).  As Texas supporters, we understand the odds, but we are doing everything we can to GOTV.

Something is happening in Texas.

And, win or lose, Democrats, which have been largely overlooked in our state, have the GOP’s attention.

Early voting starts next Tuesday, Oct. 22.  Let’s GOTV.

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An indicted Republican used racism, lies and Trump to attack his opponent. It didn’t go well.




An indicted Republican used racism, lies and Trump to attack his opponent. It didn’t go well.


Rebel HQ / YouTube Big Pharma Republican Challenged By New 1539825945.jpg...
Rebel HQ / YouTube

At the start of 2018, most residents of New York’s rural 27th Congressional District assumed their local GOP Congressmember, multimillionaire Chris Collins, would coast to re-election in this strongly Republican district. But that changed in early August when Collins was indicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI. Those political tremors became seismic waves in September when Collins rejected the pleas of local GOP leaders to drop out so they could nominate a less ethically-challenged candidate. All of a sudden his Democratic opponent, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, whose grassroots campaign had drawn little national attention beforehand, found himself in the middle of a new Red-to-Blue opportunity as money and support began rolling in.

Collins is one of Trump’s earliest and most strident supporters, so when he found himself facing an unexpected loss, he fell back on the tried and true tactics of his mentor and the modern GOP: racism, lies and personal attacks. Collins first attacked McMurray, whose wife is Asian-American, by showing a video of him speaking Korean and intentionally mistranslating McMurray’s words to falsely claim he worked to outsource jobs. The ad was widely criticized for its racist overtones and lies, so Collins came back with a second attack ad that criticized McMurray for supporting single-payer health care. And Collins’ third ad falsely hit McMurray by taking his comments about Donald Trump out of context. With his personal wealth against McMurray’s underfunded campaign, Collins had the airwaves entirely to himself, and he used it entirely on misleading, negative advertising.

Then something amazing happened.

With new attention on the race, McMurray was able to raise funds for a poll, with very surprising results: despite the strongly Republican inclinations of the district and McMurray’s low-budget campaign, McMurray had moved into a 42-42 dead heat with Collins. Collins’ attack ads appeared to have only raised McMurray’s name recognition, and the voters – no matter their ideology – were rejecting Collins’ racism, dishonesty, and attacks on health care. These results were confirmed by a subsequent Siena Poll, leading to McMurray being named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program with just a few weeks left in the campaign.

Across the country, Democrats like Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Christine Pellegrino in New York and Doug Jones in Alabama are winning in Republican turf by rewriting the script on how races are won, running proudly populist campaigns that reject corruption and corporate control of Washington, and standing up to special interests on issues like jobs and healthcare.

Many of these races are easily dismissed as outliers because of the specific failings of the GOP candidates involved. In McMurray’s case, his poll found that 90% of the voters sampled had heard, seen or read about Collins’ indictment. But the desire to drain the swamp may be more desirable than the leadership in either party is willing to admit. Voters in districts like New York’s 27th, who voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016, appear to view corruption on both sides of the aisle as the true enemy.

Politics aside, McMurray’s slow-and-steady grassroots approach laid a foundation that no one saw coming. Before anyone else thought he was viable, he was doing the hard work that makes democracy run, spending months going from one small town event to another; introducing himself to farmers, families and small business owners; and talking at every gathering or union picnic that would let him.

Collins’ indictment put McMurray’s campaign on the map for a political establishment that had dismissed him only weeks before. Collins’ negative advertising was the catalyst that gave Nate the boost he needed to pull dead even with less than a month to go. But McMurray’s willingness to run in what many saw as a hopeless race, and work tirelessly because it was simply the right thing to do, are the true foundations of a red-to-blue opportunity that could significantly reshape politics in 2019 and beyond.

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Trump declares that Saudis are innocent … just like Brett Kavanaugh




Trump declares that Saudis are innocent … just like Brett Kavanaugh


On Tuesday, Donald Trump sat down for an interview with the Associated Press and stated off by declaring that he believes the Saudis are innocent—because they say they are. Just like Brett Kavanaugh. Also, he does not need Beyoncé.

Much of Trump’s interview followed in the same vein—difficult to interpret when listening, and even harder to make out on the page. It would take a gallon tub of rubber cement and a stack of Xacto blades to cut and paste the words into some semblance of order. But if Trump couldn’t get his point across by speak-English-good, he managed to beat his points home through sorry repetition.

Asked again about why he believes the Saudi leaders, Trump went to a touchstone of … not innocence.

Trump: We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way. So I was unconcerned. So we have to find out what happened and they are doing a very major investigation. So is Turkey. Plus, they’re putting themselves together and doing it. And hopefully they’ll get to an answer as to what happened. But I will say they were very strong in their denial about themselves knowing.

The one thing that Kavanaugh’s testimony did show is that the strength of the denial is all that counts. Trump did not mention whether the crown prince shouted or talked like a middle-school brat, but those seem to be the hallmarks of innocence.

As with Kavanaugh, it seems there’s a very “thorough investigation planned.”

Trump: They’re going to try and do it in less than a week.

Of course. Trump can definitely give the Saudis some pointers on how to conduct a “thorough” investigation in record time. Maybe they already have statements from Timmy and PJ and Squi. Because that’ll definitely speed things along.

Trump then moved along to describing how he thought the Republican candidates were going to do well in the midterms, a factor which he predicted from his “incredible record” in picking winners in the Republican primaries, and the fact that people are still turning out for his rallies. As with most statements made by Trump during the interview (or outside the interview) every time he returned to the topic, he inflated his personal opinion of his personal greatness with a few more pumps to the ego balloon.

Trump: I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact. They would say that in the old days that if you got the support of a president or if you’ve got the support of somebody it would be nice to have, but it meant nothing, zero. Like literally zero. Some of the people I’ve endorsed have gone up 40 and 50 points just on the endorsement.

Forty or 50 points. Why not just make it 110? And of course, no one in the past ever sought out the endorsement of a party leader? Why would they if it wasn’t Trump?

As with most discussions, Trump returned again and again to the idea that he won in 2016, and that his constant rallies—conducted even in the midst of national disaster—are the dipstick for determining the Republican oil level.

Trump: I mean, I go out, I make a speech like I have, you know, 25 times more people than she gets. And I didn’t need Beyoncé to get them.

Portions of Trump’s replies to the AP were so unintelligible or detached from the question asked, that it would require a new Rosetta Stone to determine their meaning. But the biggest chunk of his response to questions about the midterms seems to be evenly split between the idea that Republicans will win because … Trump. And also, when Republicans lose, it’s not the fault of Trump. Immediately after his response that Republicans would win, because he doesn’t need Beyoncé, Trump swung to the land of “people love me, but it doesn’t rub off.”

Trump: Now, I’m not sure that that’s right. And I’m not running. I mean, there are many people that have said to me, ‘Sir, I will never ever,’ you on the trail when I’m talking to people backstage etcetera, ‘I will never ever go and vote in the midterms because you’re not running and I don’t think you like Congress.’ Well, I do like Congress because I think, and when I say Congress I like the Republicans that support me in Congress.

Trump also revisited Kavanaugh in his discussion of the midterms, showing his certainty that the Supreme Court fight would completely reverse Democratic momentum. Or not.

Trump: I will say, that fight because he was treated so viciously and violently by the Democrats. That fight has had an impact on energy, and it’s had an impact on the Republican Party, a very positive one in terms of getting out and voting. I think, but I’ll let you know in three weeks.

Democrats treated Kavanaugh “viciously and violently.” Almost as if someone much larger had pinned him to a bed, began tugging his clothes off, and threatened him with assault while laughing at his fear. Except not at all like that.

Halfway through the interview, Trump screams at an assistant to bring him “the list” so he can brag about his accomplishments, which mostly seemed to come down to Republicans rubber stamping Trump’s selection of ultra-conservative judges who had been picked for him in advance by Republicans. So … win! And no one can say that Trump has no humor after this knee-slapper.

Trump: Who is the one, who’s the one president that percentage-wise has done better than me? There’s only one. George Washington — 100 percent.


Trump: Nobody has gotten that yet.

AP: That is a good piece of trivia.

That is … moving on. To the very serious affairs of state. Really. The affairs.

AP: Sir, as the president of the United States, is it appropriate to call a woman, and even one who is making serious allegations and who you are in litigation against, to call her a horseface?

Trump: You know what? You can take it any way you want. … I just speak for myself. You take a look, and you make your own determination.

Trump plowed through his relationship with Michael Cohen. That is, if he actually met Cohen, who he called “low level” and “a contractor” if you just ignore that office in Trump Tower right next to Trump and all the times Trump referred to Cohen as his personal attorney.

Trump was also asked about climate change and spent five minutes dawdling with claims about hurricanes in 1890 and how there have been few hurricanes recently, and how it’s all a cycle, and how he wants “absolutely crystal clear water” and “the cleanest air on the planet” and made the blatantly false claim that “our air now is cleaner than it’s ever been.” But then he finished up by denying climate change.

Trump: What I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows. And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see.

So no, Donald Trump hasn’t accepted one iota of scientific evidence. Or one moment of the evidence that’s literally falling on the heads of people across the nation. He’s always right, and he’s going to be right if it kills all of us. Which it will.

Trump continued with a rant about how he’s “really an environmentalist” because “Everything I want and everything I have is clean.” Which isn’t being an environmentalist. It’s being a germaphobe of Howard Hughesian proportions.

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