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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Martha's Apotheosis, Historic ReLighting of the Cricket Marquee in Collinsville, Alabama

       Congrats to Martha Barksdale as she lived to see her vision come true last night with the relighting of the Cricket Marquee. I was there and I was impressed as 300 people showed up to get a medallion, a coca cola in a 6 ounce glass bottle and some popcorn compliments of the Historical Association and Martha's Right hand helped Donzella Bobo who never stopped putting out the popcorn working right through the lighting of the marquee.

     To Martha's credit she is the only person I know in the town to own a copy of Paul Theroux's Deep South and to have read it, even the reservations about her beloved University of Alabama. According to her husband Thomas she was there as a bystander the day Wallace stood in the school house door.

    And she has read my essay on My churchin in the Collinsville BC in the UTenn published book The Exiled Generation.

     I had a good day yesterday in Collinsville. Had some spare shrimp which I added to the hunan shrimp at China House where Chen was in rare form with political insights and a little ping pong braggadocio. Had a cooling afternoon and some threatening rain clouds cooled things a little so I got downtown early for the lighting. Was there when Thomas and Martha inostentatiously arrived in Thomas 87 Ford Ranger Pickup and gave Martha some valet service right in front of the theatre.

   I guess they left the Cadillac Escalade at home.

    In side the theatre had some delightful conversations with Jeff Patton and the Edwards brothers Riley and John; talked to Jeff Graves, Emmily Carr Smith and Michelle McPherson. Saw Madison of AULD and Trussville bring out her children's dancing troup but bailed when Jennifer Wilkins took the microphone as by that time Brad Barksdale had taken my chair.

    Went outside and chatter till the program was over inside. There I had a few photo opps with Maria Moreno and her man and Sam De La Cruz, Jorge Corona's first Cousin. Then the gdaughter of the founder Jackie Weaver, Elizabeth Weaver came out and I got the historic photo adding Solomon Stanton's sister to the above. We all got a little notoriety Jan of 2015 schooling school supe Hugh Taylor on the  significance of the movie Selma; hence the historical resolution to the Wallace segregation speech.

    Elizabeth on her Mother's side is the granddaughter of a man whose first cousin below Piedmont was Asa Carter, the Klan publicist and speechwriter who later wrote the book that became a Clint Eastwood movie. Connect the dots, lots going on most folks in Collinsville didn't pick up on.

    Had a good time telling one of Uncle Fremont's best jokes to LD McReynolds son and wife--Mark Petty's inlaws-- and the Box Boys Munsey III and IV or Eye Vee as some call little Munsey who is bigger than Big Munsey, a friend of Bobby Welch.

    Even had  a rare civil conversation with Duke's Mark Morgan, father of five, whose Dad took their picture with the lighted Marquee.

    My UPS buddy Andee got there late and we took Uncle Free's joke to Jaks to share with Aunt Charlotte and Phyliss Jones.

   So I worked the crowd in good form and all was good in the world for about 90 minutes.

   I hope to get a pic to my friend Brett Morgen whose Blessings of Liberty Doc on Collinsville in 92 got him momentarily enchanted with the Cricket, then in Great Disrepair.

     There was a most historic pic taken but my facebook friends are delinquent. In meantime I'm sure there are many pix at the public wall of Auburn University Living Democracy and Southern Torch as Pastor John Morgan was clicking away. Hope to link some stories soon.

   And I will be saying more about this big night in my Mother's hometown so come back soon to this post.

    For the time being I am beginning a campaign to have Cinema Paradiso be the first movie shown when the theatre reopens at same time I am convinced Jennifer Wilkins and others will find a way to sabotage my suggestion. Such is the intrigue and drama of small town politics even in the face of a great accomplishment.

    Here is a link I will explain with lingering shadow on Collinsville, even though last night was something of a hopeful plateau, a resolution of sorts of the implications and historical legacy involved.

  Asa Carter key figure with legacy in Collinsville.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Nick Saban and Black Lives Matter

  In October of 2012 I called the Paul Finebaum show and got on air with Rhodes Scholar Nominee Greg McElroy and Paul  Had them taking notes with a reference to Howell Raines piece in the New Republic Farewell to the Bear on 1984 on Bear's relationship to the 60s George Wallace and how maybe more coulda been expected of the Bear.

    Now we have a rough version of the White Citizen's Council reincarnated in the politics of the NRA and this Black Lives Matter moment in America now spotlighted in Dallas.

    Since we all know most of the players that fund Saban and the SEC and ACC are people of color, and gun violence inordinately effects the extended families of people of color which make up the teams every fall in the South, it may be time for Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney and fellow coaches to engage a Muhammad Ali like summit of the 60s with Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

     To that end I have left a message on the machine of Nick Saban's priest Father Ackerman of St. Francis Catholic Church in Tuscaloosa and just this morning talked to a staffer there. I have attempted to contact the former chair of Clemson trustees David Wilkins whose wife shares roots with me in Gaffney South Carolina.

    I will be leaving links to this blog at the facebook wall of New Baptist Covenant and others to bring President Carter in the conversation as I talked to his pastor this morning on the phone.

   I hope all including readers of this blog will take a strong look at review of three recent books on the politics of the NRA as well as the Daley book discussed in a blog below about political bleaching practices in Alabama and across SEC land. And the court Fee system is a matter of concern as pointed out by Auburn's Mark Wilson and his Living Democracy Project which has footprints going into the fourth year in Collinsville, Alabama.

     Derrick Harkins of 19th Street Baptist Church DC and Union Seminary was his eloquent best exploring this moment in America this morning on NPR diane rehm show, I invited the woman at St Francis to have her church and Coach Saban listen. Harkins was grand a few years ago on same program talking about Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer novel Gilead and it was an honor for me to have a phone conversation with him a few days after that program. Here in Alabama Obama detractors Rick and Bubba, Yellowhammer News and Crawford Broadcasting should be aware of Robinson's conversation last fall with Obama in the New York Review of Books.

    Just today my friend Robert Parham and Brent McDougal had was wise Christian examinations of the current moment at Brent is native Alabamian, studied with George Wallace biographer Dan Carter at Emory and is now a pastor in Dallas.

   Just today I saw McElroy on panel with three people of color on SEC Network media days from Hoover Alabama. McElroy has the connections and the wits in Dallas and Tuscaloosa to make a difference. We'll see where the conversation goes from here.

    God Bless the United States of  America and all its promise.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Rick Burgess and Bubba assault on liberal arts education: Samford and Free State of Jones

   If you scroll down a little on this blog you will see where I have had Rick and Bubba on the mind lately. I took a monthlong break while I was in Upstate SC but Tuesday their horsepoop on Bammer and syndicated Mississippi radio was cow pasture as usual.

   This time they made the outrageous assertion the Matt Mcconnaheee (sp) movie Free State of Jones was evidence the Republican party was best and all the Dems wanted to do was keep black people enslaved.

    These buffoons claim to have a college degree from Jax St. They host many Samford students as interns and recently had a Vandy coed in the building.

   They teach, least Burgess does and are popular among the ranks of fundamentalists now controlling the Bammer Baptist SBC.

    I talked to Phillip Poole in marketing for Samford a few days ago with some of my concerns. I know Rick and Bubba's ignorance, their religious political fundamentalism has nothing in common with late Samford President Tom Corts, nor JSU's Hardy Jackson and Brandt Ayers, nor good ole boy from the same environs as them, Piedmont Alabama's Rick Bragg.

    These clown bullshitters who wrap themselves up in a Primary department of a Sunday school Bible are sad if not for their wide following in the state who are convinced they are talking the "walking Around" Gospel Truth.

   Well Dammit, Here is the Truth about the GOP of today, the one Lee Atwater and Reagan, Carroll Campbell and Mike Hubbard crafted playing off the resentments of working class white folks

   And that's just for starters. There are the new books Ratfucked by Daley, White Trash promoted on NPR Yesterday and Wuthnow's Rough Country.

    I asked Samford's Poole since they have such a rich relationship with R and Bubba to consider hosting a panel this fall, late Sept or early October so Rick and Bubba like the organ grinders monkey going up the flagpole the higher he gets the more he shows his ass; let Rick and Bubba have a full ass showing at Samford on panel with the likes of Samford Grad and Pulitzer nominee Wayne Flynt and his disciple Mark Wilson of the Auburn Democracy Project; former U Bama Prez David Matthews of the Center for Civic Life, Suzanne Martin of the Samford faculty or the poli sci woman from Bham Southern even Hardy Jackson of R and Bubba's alma mater.

   Lets find out what Rick and Bubba and their fundy Bible are really made of. They seem to be itchin for a Throwdown. Lets give em a chance to Bring it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Gaffney South Carolina's Baptist influence on Bobby Kennedy

      Yesterday I called the DC office of US Congressman Joe Kennedy Jr or the Third, the grandson of RFK, Bobby Kennedy. I'd just heard the hour long interview on NPR's Fresh Air of Larry Tye, the latest biographer of Bobby.

   In a long stretch he Tye talked about the influence of Marian Wright Edelman on the evolution of Bobby's conscience regarding Civil Rights and the poor, specifically a tour of the Delta then Marian Wright took Bobby on in a visit to Jackson in 64 when Bobby was Senator from New York.

     You can find the transcript here and I hope to post that segment with this blog soon.

     One of my proudest moments was a conversation with Marian Wright Edelman Jan 31, 2009 outside ML King's iconic 16th Street Baptist Church in Bham. Wright Edelman spoke that day with President Carter and singing by Emmy Lou Harris and my friend Kate Campbell. In President Carter's address he pointed to the stain glass window that exploded the face of Jesus the day the church was bombed in September of 1963. I was standing room only standing under that window when President Carter pointed in my direction a couple people down from Wayne Flynt, the Pulitzer Prize nominee often called the conscience of Alabama.

     Whatever folks may say of me when I'm gone, at least one day I was in good company.

     Talking to Ms. Edelman late that afternoon it surfaced we shared Gaffney SC in common. MRE's grandfather was a Baptist preacher over around the Thicketty Creek community and she spent many summers there as a young girl.

  I took that info to some Gaffney friends, notably my friend Charles Edwards from Central Elementary school in the 3rd grade on through Gaffney High then Furman. His Mother Faye then collaborated with Furman grad Ron Singleton, Chaplain at Limestone and Marian Wright Edelman was in Gaffney for the King Holiday to speak at Limestone in 2011.

    The school was within a mile from my Dad's church for 16 years there. I was proud of all the circumstances and delighted to be part of the concocting of the event.

    If you haven't read the transcript by now it should follow here in a few days. Bobby's children told Tye of all the lectures the educational talks they got around the family table at Hickory Hill, the story Bobby Told when that Sunday Afternoon when he came back from Mississippi and the hands on tour with Marian Wright Edelman was the most memorable.

   It should be noted that whatever reservations many of you have about Hillary Clinton, it has been long standing motif of her life her mentors include in the highest eschelon, Marian Wright Edelman and Maya Angelou.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Politics and BBQ in Upstate SC, and OJ

    What I really want to talk about is the indelicate term ratfucking, Joseph Morgan and the Torch in light of the new book by Daley of that title How the GOP Turned America Red. Joe helped Mike Hubbard in the Alabama campaign. First chapter is fascinating about the legacy of South Carolina's Lee Atwater, Carroll Campbell and Janowski a College of Charleston  and USCarolina law grad.

    But first the Cue, the BBQ and the Upstate. Ive been up here for about a month now and had BBQ four times. Was going for a 5th tomorrow but enough is enough. Once at Henry's in Simpsonville, twice on Woodruff Road, and the sacred journey to Red Bridges in Shelby North Carolina with my brother June 14. Was supposed to have my picture put on their facebook wall but they didn't come through as promised. If the Cue wudn't so damned good I'd never go back. Ha, that's a lie cause it is good.

   Up there we talked to a third cousin of Earl Scruggs who is the band director in 2nd year at Crest High School where David Thompson played Bball; and on Tuesday talked to a Mormon wife from Utah on way back to Sacramento who has been to the home of the Celtics Danny Ainge. You start talking to people you never know what you will find out.

  On June 30 rode over to Liberty South Carolina after pickin up a Skins hotdog all the way in West Easley. Did some shoppin at a grocery store where I struck up a conversation with the fish man. Turns out he has his PHD in business and statistics from Clemson after a life in the military and 20 years retired in Pickens county. Family from Upstate New York and Morocco. Gonna teach at Western Carolina this fall. And he said make the acquaintance of Ron Rash after my strong recommendation.

    What about them Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. I went on the Championship Facebook this afternoon and gave em a congrats and told them the story of Dom DiMaggio and Leon Culberson.

    Had a good phone chat with Fletcher Smith yesterday.

     Saw my brothers grandsons. They have charisma but how coutd they not with me and Uncle Fremont and Uncle bill in the bloodline. Read Little Billy a story about the Shivers and gave Mac 35 cents for his bank. Told Timmon about how is name came to be, and went to hear nephew Andrew at EFBC at end of his choir tour where he saw Marcia Dean at Gettysburg.

    Got my picture taken and posted on facebook with three Furman theologians and Bill Whitfield, saw all ten hours of OJ Made in America, many episodes twice and watched Marcus Willis and Federer at Wimbledon this morning.

   At the Barnes and Noble after my third Henry's Tuesday I found the Calvin Trill memoir with the NY Times Jackson 1965. Great story there of a flight from Atlanta to Jackson that year in the heat of the Civil Rights era. King and some of his entourage, mostly King struck up a conversation with a White Mississippian who called himself a Christian. Quite civil conversation where the white fellow had most of the talking points of your average Baptist deacon of the day likely this one a Rotarian. What about the Communist influence, couldn't King do it without stirring up violence and marching, didn't the Bible call for order first etc. King bobbed and weaved and of course had the upper hand in the exchange all along but the white fellow never got it. What Robert Parham talked about today with the Illumination Project and the CBF re the Orlando statement Im convinced is a whole different matter. Even Sandy at baplife dot com gets it better than some of the tattoed millennial Baptists of the Ellen Jimmerson stripe. But it is an interesting world, always has been. Wasn't it Kierkegaard who said every generation has to start all over and learn for itself; or maybe that was the Sheriff in No Country for Old Men goin on up ahead cause he knew his Daddy would be there waitin for him with that fire in the horn, in all that cold and all that dark.

   Little Dawg Nine and Cody McAteer's boy are goin to state finals in Prattville to win the Dixie youth of 8 year old title for Collinsville. they got a Mexican and a colored boy on the team. I wish them well

   So who needs Disney World, I mean really

   I'm just getting started. come back for more on July 5 or so

Friday, June 03, 2016

Political science for Rick and Bubba Bammers and Yellowhammers Too

  The hardwiring of Rick and Bubba to Yellowhammer News and Alabama Baptist Convention is of some concern to me to put it mildly. Here is hoping Auburn University Democacy and David Matthews Center for Public life can take up this remedial education cause. Rise of Far Right parties Internationally should google easily for the June 1 chat on diane rehm show, In meantime here is a primer for Rick and Bubba and other functionally illiterates of the mass products of the educational system in Alabama and some from other states.

From the  Transcript

David Rothkopf, I think our listeners and many of our Facebook commentators would like some definitions; nationalists, populists, neo-Nazi, fascism. How do these terms have similarities and how are they different?
  • 10:21:39

    ROTHKOPFWell, I mean, there are differences between each and every one of them. We tend to lump them together. We had the Nazis who are national socialists, which, you know, seemed paradoxical since they were a right wing party and embraced the term socialism. But, you know, essentially there is fascism which are political movements in a country with an authoritarian bent and a nationalist bent that draw on the roots of fascism that were seen early in the 20th -- in the mid-20th century from people like Mussolini or Franco or Hitler.
  • 10:22:19

    ROTHKOPFNationalists have existed in all countries at all time and have tried to play in the heartstrings and patriotism of countries to achieve their goals. I think it's very, very important here to be careful about our language, but having said that, you know, you take a case like Trump, and when people call Trump a fascist, there's a lot of pushback and you said, well, he's not as bad as Hitler in that respect or in this respect. I think we can all agree on one thing, strip away the labels, you get a leader like Trump who is unqualified for the job, is using racism, misogyny and kind of desire to scapegoat the other as his campaign platform. And that's just horrible.
  • 10:23:07

    ROTHKOPFSo don't call it fascism, call it horrible, call it inappropriate to become president of the United States, call it inappropriate to have a place on the political stage, call out the media for legitimizing a candidate who should be repudiated from his resume onward to his actions, but don't, you know, get too hung up in the kind of academic debate about labels, because I don't think it's as important as the imperative of stopping a candidate like that from gaining power.
  • 10:23:38

    REHMRobert Paxton, you've studied fascism. Define it for us in your terms.
  • 10:23:48

    PAXTONWell, I wrote my book, "The Anatomy of Fascism," partly to avoid or prevent the facile use of the term, because practically everybody has been called a fascist sooner or later, ranging from parents who take away your toys to the dean of your college to a politician you don't like. And I think the term needs to be used with great precision. And we take Mussolini and Hitler as the models. These are mass nationalist movements that build upon a sense of decline or defeat in a country that's been humiliated. I think you have to have a defeat or humiliation to discredit the existing leaders.
  • 10:24:28

    PAXTONThey feel that there's an illness inside the country, an internal enemy who needs to be rooted out and who's linked to an external enemy, and so the populations are mobilized in astonishingly effective ways to march off in ranks behind the leader. And finally there's the recourse to war, which is the ultimate aim of these people. They want to overturn an international system, and so it was unfavorable to them. These were all very dramatic, and there's hardly been anything equally dramatic since 1945. And so some people would say we shouldn't use fascism at all for movements in our somewhat less extreme times.
  • 10:25:11

    PAXTONNevertheless, I think we must admit that Mr. Trump, whether knowingly or whether simply by some kind of instinct, is using language and even facial gestures that recall those of Hitler and Mussolini. He plays on the theme of decline. He's virtually invented a scenario in which this country, even though we're -- has the most military in the world and have the strongest economy in the world, are somehow seen as declining because indeed there are intractable problems like ISIS that nobody can deal with. And he has the same appeal to racism. He defines an internal enemy that has to be rooted out, whether it's immigrants or Mexicans or whatever.
  • 10:26:02

    PAXTONAnd his techniques, the arrival by plane, it was Hitler who pioneered that. No one had ever seen a politician arrive by plane. It's enormously exciting. But the most profound differences at the same time, the fascists were -- the fascists intended to unite a country that had been fragmented and their idea was that the individualism needed to be subordinated to the community interests. And the term fascism that Mussolini invented referred to a Roman symbol with an axe and rods bound around it that stood for the power and the unity of the country. We're not dealing with movements toward national unity. We're dealing with runaway individualism. Everybody's supposed to do what they want with a minimum of government regulation.
  • 10:26:59

    PAXTONIt's not -- the profound energy here is away from the forced unification or the fascist movements
  • Friday, May 27, 2016

    Uncle Jess Nease, Lee Smith's Dimestore and Marble cake

          My friend Lynn Arve of Upstate South Carolina doesn't see her name in print as much as Penny Cooper and Karen Ellers and I do so want to mention her at the outset as she is anxiously awaiting this blog.

       Weekend of May 22 on Ga NPR's Two Way Street I heard a grand interview of Lee Smith re her new memoir Dimestore. Was already aware of Smith as the author of the tantalizing scene in Oral History, and the snake Handling novel Saving Grace which is set good bit of the story in Newport Tn where I was born. She is the wife of Hal Crowther, himself a fan of Marshall Frady; and Lee as she said Sunday is great fan of my friend Ron Rash so she runs with the right crowd. And she has a great story in this charming new book about Eudora Welty as well as Lou Crabtree so I'm all in.

        Her story about Eudora Welty covers Welty's short story The Worn Path and Marble Cakes. I'll let you read the book for context but hope Smith's eyes find this tale of mine about one of Newport's finest Uncle Jess Nease, of the Bethel Baptist Church community and Parrotsville.

        Wayne Whiteside once met Jess Nease so that was one great moment in American History right there.

        But this is Uncle Jess Story.

        I guess he was born in the 1890s, never owned a car and walked more than a mile if somebody didn't pick him up across the hills of East Tennessee ever Sunday to get to church. He's one of the most memorable characters --and there were many including Aubrey Dickens and Sadie Kiser and a host--my Dad ever had in a congregation an otherwise anonymous Saint if there ever was one.

         My Dad visited him often after leaving Newport in 56 or so. I cant remember if he was still alive when we got to nearby Knoxville in the late 70s or not.

        But he always kept a caramel or marble cake under the bed. That was a high point of all dad's visits when Uncle Jess and the wife would offer some cake and then go under the bed.  Seems like they always had one.

        Marble cakes are central to Lee Smith's telling of the Eudora Welty visit to Hollins College in the 60s that changed the course of Smith's writing career.

         Ralph Stanley and Mother Maybelle Carter are in this book too. I've already recommended to Martha Barksdale as Im convinced she'll resonate with memories of Graves Hardware in Collinsville which made an impression on the life of my Uncle Bill Jordan. Great stories. Good read and hope many of you will google up the Two Way Street Interview, an education in itself.