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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.

Monday, July 06, 2020

My Mommas 97th today shared with Bush 43's 74th

     It never registered with me till today that Momma shared the same birthday with Dubya.

    I like Dubya just never thought he shoulda been president. I saw the movie. Proud of him for showing up with Laura and Barack and Michelle in Selma in 2015 but Dick Cheney and the War in Iraq were disasters.

    I knew Momma better than Dubya so gonna talk about her now. I have blogged before about her getting her name in the Atlanta Constitution before I did; come to think of it I still haven't so still in the Never did column.

   And I confess there were decades even when she was disappointed in my failure to fulfill my promise at least in conventional terms, but there were decades maybe the first two and then the last one, that gives me thirty years where I think she was proud.

   I know in my heart she was proud of the phone call I made to My Friend Four this morning on her 97th.

     Daddy told me a few years after Momma died after his first month or so of sermons at Bethel outside Newport Tn, She came to him and said "Billy, if that's the best you can do we're gonna have a rough row to hoe."

     Thomas Barksdale liked that story.

     Got me to thinking about how Andy Gunn and our Mormon Friend Mark Poole  finished our academic career at Gaffney High. Miss Chadwick gave us an academic year to read six short stories. With about three weeks to go the three of us were about ten or eleven behind.

    Momma opened up the Baptist church for us to have focussed study for our delinquency on reading and writin.

    We all got em in and I think Momma typed mine. If not Miss Chadwick woulda had a cease and desist of the three of the top ten grads that year and woulda been a disaster as my Most Intellectual picture was already in the annual.

     There is a cartoon picture somewhere around the house of a woman in a 50s skirt with a baseball glove behind a 2nd base little leaguer deep in the infield. She has her glove open just in case and the kid says, I got it Mom.

    That was my Momma

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Ignorance, Monuments, History education and the DAC

  Friends come back to this blog in a few days for some editing and refined thoughts. I'm in major REEform mode this morning and this one matters.

   I talked to a staffer this morning for SC Senator Tim Scott and two days ago a staffer for Eric Mackey ths state school superintendent for Alabama. He is a graduate of Sand Rock HS about 7 miles from Collinsville and his extended family overlaps with some deacons and folks who have made a career in education in Collinsville.

   For some who may be reading my blog for the first time, My Mother was baptized in Collinsville and that side of the family goes back to the 1840s there in South Dekalb County. My Grandfather Jordan, born 1881, ran as a Lincoln Republican for School supe of Dekalb County in the second decade of the 20th Century and was soundly defeated.

     I am gonna name some names to dedicate this blog in the second version so come back for that.

     This morning I told Scott's office would be a grand idea given Nick Saban's video with his linemen recently produced and Dabo's testimony June 13 at the BLM march at Bowman field--see most recent blog--would be grand if sometime this winter the two teams meet in Montgomery for a tour of Bryan Stevenson's lynching museum.  Ole Miss may join them or come later as it was the speculation 5 star black recruits at Ole Miss and Miss St may walk if the Confederate Flag didnt come down.

    The legislature met and to paraphrase or appropiriate Oh Brother Where Art thou, the White Brethren came around to some version of the notion: "These boys are serious."

      I Also am adamant as I told Scott's office every honors HS or College Prep history class in the public schools of SC and Alabama--wouldn't hurt for gun totin Bryan Kemp in Georgia to bone up a little too--have ten days to study the Civil War without the distortions of the Daughters of the Confederacy. That would include two days set aside to view carefully the Henry Louis Gates excellent two hours on Reconstruction as has been available on Public Television PBS for two years now. I saw a repeat just yesterday. Wilmington Riots, the DAC, the Lost Cause, The Minstrel Shows and the Two Real Coons, lynching, all there.

  As I will share this with Republican operative of Plainview HS Jordan Doufexis and our friend the Dekalb School supe Jason Barnett, wouldn't hurt for Momma's Dekalb County to set an example to strongly invite the school board members there and across the state to bone up with a little remedial education to not only include Ed Bridges excellent chapter on the Civil War in his Bicentennial History of the State, but also Jill Lepore's excellent recent history of America These Truths; and for those who want to go to the top of the class Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams, recommended to me by Radcliffe's Dean and Furman grad, former History Teacher at Harvard and UVA, Tomiko Brown Nagin.

    I will attempt to get this to Lt Gov Will Ainsworth as well and another recent Furman grad Clayte Hubbard, son of former Speaker of the House, Mike a friend of Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker.

   Update on july 6 I called My Friend Four in Greenville SC with reservations about Trump's protest ads and asked them and every Republican who calls themself a Christian and has a clue what it means to look at those ads and ask themselves if Trump is not playing a Lee Atwater race card shined up a little as revealed in the 25th minute of the documentary 13th, the voting rights amendment. Produced by DuVernay, the same woman who did Selma.....

   If not today I'm gonna post here Frye Galliard's thoughts on monuments from two days ago. Frye has street Cred. His path has intersected that of Bobby Kennedy, Will Campbell, Carlyle Marney and Johnny Cash over the years not to mention Gaffney's Jerry Shinn and Furman's Sam Hodges.

    So come back soon

    Quoting from June 27 facebook post of Frye Galliard

      I'm going to wade in here on a subject that I probably should not. I understand and support the abhorrence by Black Lives Matter activists and their allies - of which I am one - for monuments that glorify Confederates, racists, and the cause of white supremacy. None of this should be glorified.
I speak (for friends out there who do not know) as a journalist/historian who has spent most of my career writing about civil rights and racial injustice. I speak also as the descendant of slave-owners, and more recently, as the son and grandson of men and women who supported, less and less certainly in the course of their lives, the cause of white supremacy and segregation. This is a cause I abhor.
What I have wrestled with over the years is the ability of good people - people I knew to possess many decent and admirable qualities - to believe in hideous and indecent things. During the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I wrote a short book called Journey to the Wilderness, later adapted as a documentary film, about the Civil War letters written by ancestors of mine who fought for the Confederacy. Those letters are filled, not with the sense of a glorious Lost Cause, but with reflections on loss and bloodshed and pain. I concluded that the Civil War, measured by these real-time descriptions, was a terrible American tragedy with only one beneficial outcome - the end of slavery. (I suppose we could add the preservation of the Union.)
And so I understand the feeling of the descendants of slaves who abhor monuments to the Confederacy erected to glorify white supremacy. And make no mistake, that is why most of these monuments were erected, for they appeared at a time when lynching was rampant, and Jim Crow laws were being established, and African Americans were being stripped of the vote. A shameful time in American history.
And yet... I have to admit that I wince when some of the journalists I most admire - Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell, for example, of MSNBC - dismiss the PEOPLE behind these monuments with terms like "racist traitors." Yes, they were racists; so were most white Americans, including many abolitionists who hated the institution of slavery, but very often doubted the moral and intellectual equality of black Americans. And yes, legally, they were traitors to the Union. But I have always winced at terms that dehumanize, that fail to capture the tragic complexity of the human condition.
When I read today that Princeton University, the alma mater of President Woodrow Wilson, had stripped his name from the school at the university to which it was attached, I confess that I had mixed feelings. Yes, of course, Woodrow Wilson was a racist. More virulent, in fact, than most. He arranged for a private showing at the White House of the film Birth of a Nation, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan. As the great Jelani Cobb has written, this fact alienated African American students at Princeton when they saw Wilson's name honored and glorified. Of course it did.
But there is also this. Woodrow Wilson was one of three American presidents to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter were the other two; and Carter, who should have received it for his role in the Camp David Peace Accords, only won the recognition as ex-president.) Wilson also was one of the foremost proponents of the League of Nations - forerunner of the United Nations - in hopes of finding a way to resolve international disputes without war in the wake of the carnage of WWI. And Wilson was also the American president who renounced imperialism as a cornerstone of American foreign policy.
What are we to do with these complexities? What are we to do with the fact that in his day, one of the most prominent opponents of Confederate memorials was Robert E. Lee? What do we do with the fact that the author of the words, "All men are created equal" owned slaves. I worry that in our rush to tear down monuments, we are tearing down the human complexity of our history. Maybe it's a casualty of the times. I understand that this is not my moment. I am an old white guy, and all of us should understand the pervasive oppressiveness of white privilege, and the pain and rage that it induces.
But I do believe in the peril of misunderstanding our common humanity. More substantially, I worry that the eradication of memorials and monuments will distract us from the much harder work that needs to be done - the dismantling of systemic racism in so many facets of American life: from policing, to health care, to the suppression of the vote, and thus the subversion of our democracy. This is a hard and promising time, so full of danger and so full of hope. We will see where it take us.
Other views are welcome.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Mohler on Trump and Western civilization. Heavy on Tocqueville, Light on the Texas Regulars

Al Mohler was subject of recent interview in the New Yorker on how he went from reluctant Trump in 16 to all in with some Coral Gables scrupulations for 2020. It's a doozey this interview.

   Be looking for Alan Bean, Bill Leonard the Baptist historian at Wake Forest, and Randall Balmer to weigh in.

   Mohler a grad of Samford University in Bham, born in 59, said faced with Trump and Hillary in 16 it was no brainer. I would love to see him explain himself to Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary's friend who is working on a quartet on Lincoln.

    In the 90s Sidney took LBJ biographer to task on the Senate election of 48 in Texas where Lyndon defeated Coke Stevenson, the Texas Regular who rode a white horse and represented the Criswell Baptists of his day.

      Lot of Regulars legacy in the Birch society which was driving force of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Mohler either hasnt read Wuthnow's Rough Country or conveniently dismisses that aspect of recent history that gave him his current platform to talk about Tocqueville and populism. He doesnt talk about Criswell in 56 in Columbia SC saying You wouldnt call a chigger a chiggerow now would ya.

   See Curtis Freeman Dead from the Neck Up on that matter.

    Shake him down and Mohler is a ruse. Read the interview. Ask Mohler about Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler and the Moyers inteview. Get Blumenthal in the conversation.

    Mohler bragged to Charles Marsh of UVA, the Preacher's son and biographer of Bonhoeffer Billy Graham was energetic behind the scenes in the fundy takeover of the SBC. Explore that in a room with Eric Metaxas.

   Stay tuned this has legs.

Monday, June 15, 2020

What Dabo got right and a few things he missed

  I attended the Clemson football team Black Lives Matter March at Bowman field Saturday June 13 with about 3,000 plus in attendance. I got to talk to QB Trevor Lawrence of Barnsley Garden Community Ga and His Mother; and Had brief chat with Darien Rencher of Anderson SC, a walk on the team whose father ran track at Clemson in the early 80s.

    It is my understanding Darien was a driving force for the event and spoke at Dabo's New Springs mega church a couple weeks ago. It is my impression New Springs has a conservative culture kinda like Church of the Highlands in Alabama where Tua was a member. Whether New Springs is as stealth political for Trump's America as Highlands, I haven't been able to figure out; though it appears some influential people on the margins of the program are a little touchy about it.

    I thought Dabo did a great job Saturday and I told Trevor and his Mother I was proud of him.

    Will come back to this later but a transparent conversation at Clemson and across the ACC and |SEC that matters will look at the White Trump culture of Country Club Republicans in the Upstate or for Bama Richard Shelby's complicity to date on Trump's SOB Comment. In the Upstate it will look at Lee Atwater's infamous morph of the Nword strategy and his compatriot Carroll Campbell. Also Tom Edsall's Audacity of Hate, NY times piece is out there and a few weeks ago, the Greenwich Rebellion, by Evan Osnos at New Yorker.

    And Trey Gowdy's, now William Timmons SC 4th can take a close look at Marty Cohen's Moral Congress. A synopsis of Atwater's legacy can be found there for the good folks at Christ Church.

   And of course there is no legitimate conversation that makes a difference at New Springs or Christ Church Episcopal, or Nick Saban's St. Francis Catholic in Tuscaloosa that doesnt include Joe Crespino and in SC his book Strom Thurmond's America.

     That goes for Paul Finebaum too.

      I asked Trevor how he came down on Drew Brees tweet exchange with Trump suggesting Trump appeal to the Flag as a strategy was a "distraction". Trevor said he hadn't had a chance to talk to Deshaun Watson about that specific aspect of the country's ordeal in the last month, but he, Trevor thought people should have the freedom to express their concern in the manner that was most appropriate for them.

    I read that to say Trevor is with Drew and Deshaun and has reservations about Trump.

   More later.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Pure Nitro, Searching for True Grit in Seneca South Carolina

    Circumstances took a turn on hwy 68, and today I found myself trying to get to Schlotzkys on the catbus while I try to figure out a two state solution. Seneca is the hometown of my High school advanced Composition teacher Miss Margaret Chadwick. Yesterday I read several tributes to Charles Portis, the fellow who wrote True Grit. Jeff Bridges is in the second edition and Mattie has that great line about the Presbyterian Church.

      Here is the link to the Portis tributes. Your life will have more signicance if you read them; and this free associatin blog may make more sense too.

   I'm thinking now Portis may be the second greatest man to come out of Arkansas. Maybe third. Of course Johnny Cash is first, maybe Billy Bob Thornton second, Portis third and WJ Clinton fourth or further down. I used to be enamored of Bill, but he has fallen in the last ten years though I hold him in much higher regard than say most Fox News believers in South Carolina, Rome Ga and Hall County, home of Doug Collins.

     I rode the catbus. A twenty minute round trip to Schlotzky's of Seneca, turned into a four hour ordeal. But I did have an interesting conversation on the way to near John C Calhoun's home and on the way back talked to a fellow whose HS English teacher was Ron Rash's wife herself. I think they have a daughter named Caroline and a son James.

    I told the fellow I once interviewed Rash, and knew well the documentarian of both Kurt Cobain and the Stones in Crossfire Hurricane. It's true.

    He was a  Nirvana Fan and goes to church with one of Dabo Swinney's key coordinators.

    All of this helps me reconcile present circumstances after Reading the tributes to Portis.

    Pure Nitro

Monday, March 09, 2020

Black Political mischief in Alabama confusing the Integrity Vote

   The day after Super Tuesday the Al dot com media syndicate in Alabama came out with a piece about how King Makers of color in the black belt of Alabama jumped in with Bloomberg for their mutual pursuits and dollars in the pockets of Black powerbrokers. This a problem for the Democrat party in Alabama almost comparable to the mendacity folks like Bradley Byrne and Mike Hubbard play the politics of race and immigration.

    You should be able to google the Al dot com piece for King makers, Worley, Joe Reed and Bloomberg.

       The white president of Judson College for a long time tried to take a diplomatic virtuous road to move the black belt forward, but folks like Joe Reed were an impediment if it didn't benefit their power. So the beneficiaries of the Civil Rights movement, some of them are no better than George Wallace in the 60s, or Mayor Daley or you pick em.

     Here is what my friend Mart Gray, former Ex Director of the Alabama CBF, the good guys had to say on his facebook wall about the article.

    I quote him with permission:

When I first started working in the Black Belt of Alabama two decades ago, nothing could be accomplished without considering the political implications. Not that we were trying to do political things, but in the Black Belt, everything you do has political implications.
Why? Because repressed people learn how to consolidate what little power they have and wield it as effectively as possible. In that process, kingmakers and gatekeepers thrive. Those who are perceived to be able to steer the “power” are given inestimable deference. Go to any diminished community anywhere in the world and this dynamic will almost certainly be active.
Often these individuals begin with noble objectives. But the old adage holds true. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And Joe Reed, with Nancy Worley at his side, is an example.
The single greatest thing one can do to empower communities and people who are disadvantaged is to allow them to TELL THEIR OWN STORY.
When people of the ilk of Reed and Worley are deposed, there is at least the opportunity for the community to speak for itself.
But other kingmakers and gatekeepers always await with licked lips. And, in my humble opinion, it is the responsibility of us that are majoritarian to listen not to the voices of the ambitious, but those of the vulnerable. They know what is in their best interest. They don’t want a free ride. They just want us to listen.
And, honestly, for a guy who likes to talk...that’s still a hard lift for me.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Bradley Byrne sells out to the Abortion Devil and Loses in Alabama

  Bradley Byrne, Espiscopalian and Duke Grad made the Fetus his Idol his political strategy in Alabama Senate Race and he lost to a Football coach and Selma native the man who brought Stephen Miller to power in the Trump White House, Jeff Sessions.

    In Christian Nationalism as a new book by Katherine Stewart, the Power Worshippers,  points out Byrne made a choice to dance with the Devil and in the vernacular of Jonathan Edwards dangle our country in concert with Donald Trump on the bottomless pits of Hell.

     Good chat on NPR about it today. I called the DC Office of SC 4th congressman William Timmons who with the aid of Wofford and Furman in his district should be able to defined himself on this spectrum. 

      To make it local to Dekalb County Alabama, product of the FBC Ft Payne, Samford and Vandy grad, Cherilynne Crowe understands whats at stake here. As does Hillary Beard a product of Ft Payne as well, Guntersville and Bham Southern.  Maybe influencers could bring Crowe to with Casey Mattox to examine, navigate it all for the local study clubs, historical associations, shool board, friends of Jeremy Pruitt at Plainview HS cause these are delicate times and a lot of otherwise good christian people are confused and the devil is at work in high places doing the best he can to further bamboozle them.  Copy and paste the link above. 

     Talk about it in Sunday School.

    Original post below now updated and refined.

Facebook has suddenly been awash in NE Bama lately over amendment One. Otherwise quiet folks and some new chatters are expressing themselves passionately and some surprisingly with articulation.

    Here are my reference points to take anybody seriously

   All easy googles

    Randall Balmers latest on Southern Baptists new fear of Liberals and Narrowing

    2. Edsall, Audacity of Hate, ny times. Lays bear takes the veil off any claim to integrity of the GOP in South Carolina and beyond

   3. Remnick, New Yorker on Limbaugh, Race and Trump. Great complement to Edsall

    4. Howell Raines interview on the Paul Finebaum show last week about Trump. Greg Sankey must address it; Saban and Dabo too

     Jon Meacham on the Soul of America.

    Have you seen the GOP ads in Bama senate Race. Despicable and they claim to be the Christian party while Rick Lance and the Southern Baptists in the state are struck mute

     And then there is the politics of Amendment One.  Everybody in Bama has an opinion it seems but nobody wants to read Jill Lepore, or Sam Hodges For the Love of Alabama, or Ed Bridges on Bama and the Civil War. Bammers for the most part know what they think they know don't want to read anything else, especially the Trumpers.