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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 www.clsnet.org 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.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Best friends in Alabama

     If you hang out in the right places you never know with whom you'll strike up a conversation. Over the years within a couple miles of my home Ive become acquainted with Brett Morgen--7 Emmy nominations Monday night for Nat Geo's Jane and he gave a speech, Casey Mattox of the Koch Foundation, Wayne Clanton who witnessed the 1957 fight against Sand Rock in the Old Gym, Billy Ferguson who reffed Charles Barkley's HS all star game, All American Raymond Weaver and his daughter Susan. And coming through town before I was born were Hank Williams and in 1931 when Momma was seven, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    Yesterday at Jacks, Exit 205 on 59 I strike up a conversation while Fox News is on the Big Screen and come to find out I'm talking to the daughter and grand daughter of University of Alabama President Sayers of the 60s. We exchange info and I have some new best friends. I told them about Frye Galliard's new Book Hard Rain, Marie Griffith's Moral Combat, some insights on Frank Johnson and a good Kenny Stabler Story.

    Next time they come through, hopefully on a Thursday, I think they are a certainty for Martha's history museum downtown across from the Cricket Theatre.

     Next fall, if things play out favorably, maybe they can come back up to here Brett Morgen talk about his adventure in Collinsville in 92 in the renovated Cricket Theatre.


     Six Months ago and once since struck up a conversation with a truck driver who has come back home to Ringgold Georgia just up the road. He was in LA in the 60s and drove for a wealthy man who was good friend of Sharon Tate. Said she was as down home as she could be, not a hint of pretension, and more beautiful in person than on screen.

    Talk to people. Most have a good story to tell.

     Robert Grainier and Kootenai Bob. Get to know them in Denis Johnson's Train Dreams.

Friday, September 07, 2018

"There's a White Boat Coming Up the River"

   You know the line from Neil Young's Powder Finger, you better call John cause it don't look like they're here to Deliver, the Mail.   Well this one's about gun control, the murder of the Woodlawn QB in his bed, Danny Ford's nephew Craig and my letter published in the Cherokee County, Centre, Alabama Herald Sept 5.

    Collinsvillians can get a copy for 75 cents at the Dollar General across from the Pig.

     I threw the kitchen sink best I could. And I called the Governor's Office, the Riley Inst at Furman, Duke grad Bradley Byrnes office and Meet the Press not to mention Nick Saban's St Francis Catholic Church.

   The Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was on the Birch talk show station WYDE couple days ago to talk about the Woodlawn Shooting. He is a graduate of Woodlawn where he played football for Rick Burgess Father. The school got some national fame in the movies a couple years ago cause their arch rival and them in 74 or so produced the biggest gate in Bama, maybe national High School history. The two outstanding opponents in that game both went on to play for Bear Bryant and won a National Championship.

   Woodlawn is just a few miles from Birmingham Southern College which house the offices of the Bishop for North Alabama Methodists. Just a few years ago that was Will Willimon. I'm gonna do my damndest to get Willimon to read this blog, and his alma mater Wofford in Trey Gowdy's Spartanburg South Carolina.

    Even the Mighty Casey Mattox of the Koch Foundation.

    The point is let's get Bama's Honors program in this conversation with Craig Ford and Rick Burgess..


   Here is my letter:  

       
The Editors
Letters for Publication
Cherokee Herald

    I was disappointed in Craig Ford's recent opinion piece in the Cherokee Herald. I was expecting better from the Son of a legendary administrator at Gadsden State and nephew of Danny Ford, a Coach of the National Champions in 81 at Clemson and a legend with Bear Bryant at Bama.

    And with Ford's ties to Westbrook Christian and what passes for the best of Christian discernment in the region; well it came across as a little too smarmy  sucking up to the leadership of the National Rifle Association.

    I may blog at some length about this but the bottom line is I hope Ford's mediocre takeaways from the gun violence in public schools is not shared by the likes of Glenn Browder, Rick Bragg or JSU's Hardy Jackson. If the good people of Cherokee County, Ford's state legislative district and the Bama US House 3rd Congressional District wanted answers, were serious about saving future children's lives in the region and beyond, they would long time ago had the likes of Moms Demand Action, Adam Lankford and Sterling Harring  to the County.

    I have to believe the Cherokee County Republican Party, and leadership at FBC and FUMC Centre could make it happen.

   Adam Lankford is a national expert on profiling Mass Shooters. He teaches at U Bama.  Sterling Harring, a Vanderbilt Trauma Doctor spoke nationally earlier this year testifying his family went back three generations in Arkansas membership in the NRA. But when he saw bodies of children come in his trauma unit from the school shooting in Benton Ky he was physically nauseated and quit his membership.

    Google New Yorker on NRA and the Politics of Fear. Read my friend and fellow Baptist preacher's son Charles Marsh on the Evil of the Gun Lobby at religion and politics.

     Craig Ford is begging the question for political expediency. We and his family deserve better.


    Stephen M. Fox
    
   Collinsville Al

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Sixties in Biblical Proportion

   The Sixties didn't end for me in Gaffney SC till about 1978. Gaffney was always about ten years behind so coming in under eight was about right. That was our last year in Gaffney having arrived January 1962.

    In the Spring of 78 and our family's leaving there was a racial tension coming to a resolution in my Dad's congregation, this ten years after school desegregation and my four years at Furman. I was back at home for three years during which time my sister brought a black friend home from Mars Hill College  with a group of 14 or so friends;  and resentments about people of color playing basketball in our back yard, the church parsonage had been building for some time.

    I was submitting a few provocative pieces to the local paper and challenging some shibboleths on a few occasions flagrantly and before I knew it a former school board member, a leader of the Freedom of Choice Movement (Strom Thurmond's Distract and Delay maneuver of the late 60's) came looking for me cause as he said in a phone conversation later, he was "gonna stand on my toes and beat my Ass into the Ground.".

    I thought about Getting the Frawg Night and  upping the ante a little with taunts about mayhem but that went against everything my Dad had been about for 16 years, not to mention The Chaplains at Furman at the witness of Will D Campbell who they introduced to me.

   And it turns out the Board Member had a family tragedy in the past with his father's suicide with the Textile Strikes of the late 40s.

    So it all began to register with me as I was already trying to make sense of my geographical demonstration plot and what had happened as I was coming of age with Textile Politics and religion in Upstate SC.

   Frye Galliard is 7 years older than me. He was steeped firsthand with key players at Vanderbilt ( class of 1968) and was soon to come to Charlotte NC where he was a writer and columnist for the bulk of his Professional career.

   So his book Hard Rain, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility and Innocence Lost,  a Chronicle of the Decade of the 60s which hit the shelves August 14 has gripped me. It's 600 pages are magisterial and enthralling as he seeks to take it all in, from a perspective I have yearned for when thinking about such things the last 40 years. He has been awake the whole time, more awake than me, and Gaillard as a Senior at Vandy within a few weeks he was in the inner circle of arrangements to have Stokely Carmichael and RFK, Bobby Kennedy  on campus. As a junior in High School, he came up from Mobile to Birmingham for a field trip in April of 63 and happened to be in a hotel and saw Martin Luther King Jr handcuffed and taken off to jail at the beginnings of the childrens marches that got international attention; the catapulting incident of King's Letter from the Bham Jail.

     Galliard was there. His  colleague at the  Charlotte Observer, Jerry Shinn was a Gaffney native of the 60s.And as a Southerner from the Alabama where my Mother's family goes back to the 1840s; you get the picture we got a similar headset.

     So I'm all in with this read, another Third Testament, existentially, contemporaneously with a roll call of shared heroes from King to Will Campbell, Marshall Frady, Frank Johnson, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix and Cager Lee.

      First thing I did when I got the book was check the index to see if Frady was named. Sure enough, three notices with great Frady phrases the captured a moment or a personality; and the last reference to Frady names him among three others who were the supreme journalists of the era.

     I am becoming an evangelist for this read. Ive gotten in touch with the key organizers for the  Gaffney Class of 68 Homecoming Reunion this year, the last year of Desegregation, encouraging them to have a group read to add sustenance to their conversations when they celebrate their 50th in a few months. And if you are anywhere within ten years shaping of the 60s, ahead or behind, get this book. Have your children or friends who follow in the 80s and further as great history lesson.

    I want to spotlight a few episodes in the book where Frye shines the brightest and add a few caveats.

     Gaillard  adds texture to Barry Goldwater with some good stories that never registered with me before. I am especially interested in BG as Ive mentioned elsewhere on this blog my summer of 1970 friendship with Roger Milliken, Jr. His father lived in nearby Spartanburg SC, twenty miles west of Gaffney, though Roger was often away at prep school and most summers at their home in Maine.

    Legend is Roger Sr. called Goldwater on the phone and told him personally to run for President. In Hard Rain Gaillard says with misgivings after JFK's assassination, Goldwater's inner circle convinced him in December of 63 to take the plunge. However a Politico story of 2015 does say strongly Milliken was the strongest voice and pocket in that conversation.That story is an easy google for Milliken and GOP history.

    Interestingly the same story says my friend Roger Jr. a recent President of the Nature Conservancy whose career has been in Maine with the family's timber interest, gave a quarter million dollars to the Obama camp in 2012.

    For two years at Furman from fall 72 through spring of 74 Nixon's Southern Strategist Harry Dent's daughter  Dolly was a student there during my time. She was one of the prettiest females I'd been around then and I haven't seen many prettier since then. Her younger sister Ginny, a friend of Trey Gowdy since their time at FBC Spartanburg,  and I often speak frankly oppositionally on facebook.

   So knowing Roger Jr, a collegiate acquaintance with Dolly, and later a fascination and distaste for South Carolina's Lee Atwater you can see how I was focused on Gaillard's take on Kevin Phillips in Hard Rain.

      For my two cents Frye gets it right

      For several of the last seven years or so Ive been frustrated with Morning Joe, NPR's 1a Program and recently Georgia NPR almost daily hour long Political rewind for not getting the point of the Southern Strategy and how a key component the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention was in that edifice.

     Frye has several references to Garry Wills who I recognized as spot on a half decade ago in New York Review of Books piece on Joe Scarborough's book on the recent History of the GOP. And then Wills did the same truth telling exposing some of the shallow analysis EJ Dionne.

    And for his great work in The Soul of America, castrating with Historical reference Trump's demagoguery, Jon Meacham dropped the ball on Bush 41 who was never president without Lee Atwater and without his Dad there is no 43 as perfected by Rove with Atwater's dodgy devil's game.
   
    Wills was on to it all along. And a couple years ago Wills was ratified in Wuthnow's Rough Country where Atwater 83 confession is framed properly. Atwater said you can't say "Nigger" anymore so you have to dress it up with the politics of Abortion, school prayer, Other religion cards and then the Marion Hammer Stand Your Ground reinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment. So it is all the Devil's game and Kevin Phillips started it and in three pages Frye Gaillard spells that out.

     Paul Harvey in Freedom's Coming, says Billy Graham's stepchild Al Mohler said abortion politics was the "stick of dynamite " that gave fundamentalists in the SBC a new ball game for another generation as the murky race politics of Paul Pressler, Jesse Helms, Ed McAteer, Albert lee Smith and his Eagle Forum wife Eunie of the anti Brown V Board generation ran its course and they passed the baton to a succeeding generation of fundamentalist dogmatics who played the Wallace 60s game with a new issue.

   And then as Wills and Wuthnow and now Gaillard recognize, put some shine on it and as pretty as she is and was Dolly's Daddy and Kevin Phillips begat Atwater, who begat Rove who begat good god almighty Donald Trump.

    There is one piece I do wish Frye coulda mentioned in his succinct and spot on treatment of Nixon and his divided strategies at play in his own mind, and that was a piece in the New Yorker of a few years ago where John Buchanan was with Nixon in 66 in Columbia SC in a smoke filled room of Republicans and they trial ballooned some anti integration rabble and Buchanan said the boys were applauding Nixon wildly and and he thought ole Dick was about to blow the doors off the walls and the chandeliers were gonna fall.

  In fact here is the key paragraph, a George Packer piece in the New Yorker, the rise of the American Right. Quoting Packer:


                   Buchanan calls this event “the most memorable” of that 1966 campaign—the first election of the backlash—and afterward Nixon exulted, “This is where the energy is! This is where the future of the party is!” Buchanan denied that the speakers had appealed to racism—before a crowd of incensed white men, in South Carolina in 1966, they didn’t have to. Nixon didn’t condone racial prejudice, as Buchanan protests (a little too much), but he walked a carefully calibrated line—keeping some public distance from the likes of George Wallace, while rousing the anxieties and anger of Wallace’s millions of supporters and encouraging them to think of Nixon as their man. In a memo during the 1968 campaign, Buchanan warned Nixon not to go after the Alabama governor: “Wallace is the symbol of Southern resistance to Washington in the South, just as we would like to be the symbol of resistance to Washington and its policies in the nation. We will want, I would think, the people who are supporting Wallace now to be in our corner perhaps later.” This approach came to be known as the “Southern strategy,” and Buchanan was its unapologetic advocate.

   End quote.

    But Frye could not say everything as he comes in at 600 pages and that before the thorough end notes start. One of the glories of this book as its reach is expansive over one decade, is blogs and conversations like this one can take up and emphasize other experiences of the 60s as Frye concedes at the outset his book is in many senses just that for himself. But I doubt a better more thoroughgoing frame comes along any time soon. And Beside most of us whether dead center child of the 60s or on the tail end have much more than on average about seven years to go anyway.

   Frye has a moving frame for M L King's Riverside Address April 4, and quotes him at some length. He mentions King was on panel in LA Feb 28 with George McGovern and Mark Hatfield. A few days earlier in the bitter cold King was part of a March against the Viet nam War in NYC and addressed a throng of 100,000 people. The event Is commemorated in Kate Hennessy's biography of her grandmother Dorothy Day of a few years ago. Day was present at the March that day, sitting on the steps of a Catholic Church across the square from the United Nations, though it is doubtful Day and Martin spoke that day.
      
    To lighten up a little in his Chapter on Music, Muscle Shoals Alabama and Spooner Oldham, Frye does record the much known session the Stones had there a few days before Altamont in 69 . A friend of mine, documentarian Brett Morgen, now nominated for 7 emmy's for his masterful NatGeo work on Jane Goodall a few years ago did the Rolling Stones up good in Crossfire Hurricane. Not from that doc but the one produced by Bama Public TV on the Swampers is the Story of Bill Wyman and wife leaving the Holiday Inn in the Shoals after the famous session there. February garbed up in heavy faux fur Hippie looking attire of the day, a naïve houselady, young White woman at the Shoals asked Wyman and his wife if they were with some rock n roll group.

   Wyman replied yeah, Martha and the Vandellas!

    Here are a couple more Stories from Folks whose path has crossed mine, stories marinated in the 60s.

   For one David Shi, two years ahead of me at Furman, and in 69 later to become chair of the History department at Davidson and President of Furman, was present at the Atlanta Pops Festival about 30 miles Southeast of Chic Fil A's first dwarf house the summer of his High School Senior year, 1969. Janis Joplin was there and I think Hendrix; 100,000 Crackers and various other assorted ethnic groups a good six weeks before Woodstock.

     And you can't get much more sixties than this  Furman Delegation to Marshall Frady's Funeral in 2004. Will Campbell, Frady's great friend--Billy Graham was flummoxed Frady had ten pages on Campbell in the Billy Gee Bio An American Parable--sent Furman Chaplain Jim Pitts to read Will's eulogy for Frady at the Funeral where Jesse Jackson was the keynote eulogist. Jackson called Frady his "homeboy" from their contemporaneous days in Greenville SC early 60s.

    Pitts Father Milton, was Nixon's barber; also cut Reagan's hair. Pitts good friend TC Smith of the Furman religion faculty accompanied Pitts to the funeral. Smith flew in from Berkley California in 65 to March with King and the Civil Rights workers and Furman grad Martin England, a founder of Koinonia Farms in Americus Ga. In fact Pitts reports TC Smith was in a car with Viola Liuzzo a few hours before she was assassinated. Viola was chaufering folks around that day after King Proclaimed the Moral Arc of the Universe is Long but it Bends Toward Justice. She took  Smith and others to the train station for a ride to Atlanta to catch his plane back to California. TC told me and others they had to hit the floor in the train as shots were fired  through their coach as they were leaving Montgomery.

   And my final coda here is best understood as imagination based in fact.

    The fourth Sunday of August 1983 at the annual Helton Reunion in East Tennessee on Walden's Creek outside Pigeon Forge My Dad was the guest preacher. His Mother's side of the family. George McGovern had heard of the good trout fishing in that beautiful valley and good Methodist he was was present for the Sunday morning service. The family invited him to stay for lunch and he did.

     My Dad's first cousin Bush Helton, recognized him from the pulpit saying it was an honor to Have him there and with a smile said, while you are welcome we want you to know that other than my sister and Billy's boy Stephen you are likely the only Democrat with us this morning.

    I wish I had known then, wish it had registered with me McGovern's panel conversation with Martin L King Jr and Mark Hatfield in Los Angelos in February 1967. Woulda been a golden opportunity to chat with him for ten minutes or so about the key event that among all the others of his Lincolnesque career stood out.

   And finally maybe a stretch but Hard Rain shared my late August attention with a second reading of Denis Johnson's remarkable novella, TRain Dreams. (Google the James Wood, Guardian Review). TD's fictional character Robert Grainier, as grand an American character as Huck Finn, dies in 1968.  Find and Read the last paragraph of that novella.

   That crosses over as my epitaph for the Sixties.


    Did I say Bob Dylan's son Sam edited the Bama Doc I consulted? (smile)

     

   

Monday, August 13, 2018

Casey Mattox of Collinsville Alabama, Anti Abortion, Never Trumper from ADF to the Koch Foundation

      Casey Mattox was in Mrs Smith's sixth grade in Collinsville Alabama in Momma's hometown when I showed up in December of 86. I was subbing his class early January the next year.

   Since then he has gotten himself from President of the State HS FFA to UVA to Boston Law School, the right wing fundamentalist Alliance Defending Freedom that Chuck Pickering of Mississippi and the Southern Baptist Peace Committee concocted with a Reagan Operative, to the Koch Foundation.

   Along the way he has been zealous anti abortionists, a states rightist, a Never Trumper, a member of the UVA chorus Jubilate where legend has it at least one occasion he sang to John Grisham, a friend of the shooger Booger, Mark Morgan of Duke and the Arthur Family including Bo.

   His wife also a UVA grad was at Sidwell Friends, though she was after Chelsea Clinton, maybe before, I'm not sure.

   Casey has been to Egypt and this last weekend spoke at the Federalist Society in New Orleans and had his first commuter private plane trip according to his facebook wall.

  He's not Eric Motley, but he's a player.

  BTW, Casey is not the first person to cross my path who was a person of great influence. The summer of 1970 working at the Peach Shed in Gaffney SC I became good friends of Roger Milliken, Jr, whose father was one of the 20 richest men in America at the time and gave more money to the Nixon camp in 72 than any other man in America. Like Charles Koch's father, Roger Sr was enchanted with the John Birch Society, but Roger Jr has his wits about him and donated a quarter million dollars to the Obama camp of 2012. And RM Jr. has a difference of opinion on climate change than the Petro Koch Bros; RM Jr was a recent president of the Nature Conservancy.

   A mind is a terrible thing to waste. I had prayers at one point early in his career at UVA he might evolve into something like DeKalb County, Ft Payne Alabama's Cherilynne Crowe who got her master's at Vanderbilt and now works for the Centrist, Mainstream Baptist Joint Committee in Washington DC.

  But Casey never resolved the Civil War it appears, thought the sides were equal and Robert E Lee was as good as Abe Lincoln; then took the worst lessons of his pastor John MOrgan, a major influence on his young life and thought abortion rights were the end of western civilization.

   Since then he has opened up a little, was revolted even nauseated by Charlottesville last year to the point he said it was time to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee.

    And here is where the Koch's are now with their dust up with the Trump administration and Fox News on free speech on campus

       https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Koch-Institute-Is-Worried/244184

    So what about Casey. Where is he on the Jordan Peterson matrix of identity politics--see the Flanigan story at the Atlantic.

      To what degree is Collinsville Baptist is lesser witness say on DACA and immigration reform as Casey has the pastor's ear, maybe more so than Becky Kennedy and the Reverends own daughter in law Susan Weaver Morgan.

    Has Casey ever spoken to the "mendacity" of the politics of anti abortionists as presented in STansell's Holy War in New Republic.

    If Mattox were living in Bama's 3rd district would he vote for the incumbent Mike Rogers or Miss America Mallory Hagan.


    No body likes to be boxed in,myself included. Casey Mattox is a big boy now, 43 years old in the big leagues with the Federalist Society and the Koch Brothers, with Bret Kavanaugh up for the Supreme Court.

    What do his friends think? Is anybody paying attention.

  Post script one. There were a lot of bright kids in Casey Mattox High school class and a few years before including Moon Mccallie, the first installment of the Morgan boys John and Mark, their friend Susan Weaver, Julie Arthur, James Payton and others. In relation to the article about to be linked, who put the breaks on Casey's career path to fundamentalism and the Far Right. What did his pastor John Morgan do right or wrong. Did for instance Donnie Myers have a clue about any of it?
https://baptistnews.com/article/fundamentalism-has-almost-won-now-what/#.W3HjVnkQWM8

post script two, August 21, 2018. I mentioned at the outset Milliken. Now it turns out Casey and I are bonded like Cain and Abel in another fashion, Milliken Senior as John the Baptist, through his Freedom schools to the right wing politics of the Koch boys. Casey, hope you are reading; Consider this:  https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/roger-milliken-republican-party-history-213212


    

Thursday, August 09, 2018

27 things Furman Class of 2022 should Know

  One:  The current chair of the Furman trustees, the Honorable Alec Taylor was a classmate of mine, Class of 75. We were on a D League Intramural Softball team , the New York Dolls, together Spring of our Senior year with Legendary Rolling Stones Fan a Floridian, a Maryland HS QB and six other rotating people we could pick up in the Dining Room to field a team on any given afternoon. I think we won a few games. Taylor's Grandfather and his grandfather's brother were both governors of Tennessee. I was born in Newport in 53 couple blocks down the street from Steve Spurrier when he was in the Fourth Grade. Walt Cottingham got a smile out of our name, a ground breaker for the time, before Political correctness. Far as I know we were all fairly straight, just avant garde ahead of our years. Ha

     Two: Marshall Frady's name should be on the listing of Furman's Finest at Fluor Field, a Travesty he is not. FU incoming class is savvy. Find his Wiki page and make the case he is not deserving. I dare you

   Three: TC Smith and Martin England were both in Selma and then Montgomery on the Freedom March of 63 with John Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr. Former Chaplain Jim Pitts tells me his great friend TC was in the car with Martyr Viola Liuzzo a few hours before she was assassinated taking marchers back to Selma from Montgomery. Martin England was a cofounder of Koinonia Farms and his bio by his daughter Beverly by Wiffenstock Publishers should be in Judson on Main Booksellers Downtown Greenville.

   Four: Furman Basketball legend Clyde Mayes had the respect of Alex English. I think the story is English never beat Mayes in High School or at Carolina. Mayes was in the integrating class at Wade Hampton the winter of 1970 and embarrassed Gaffney High the second encounter that sports year. My Gaffney friend Barty Sides, a Gaffney standout told me the first game with Wade Hampton was respectable, then Clyde comes in for the second game rebouding elbows above the rims and it was something like a 40 point blowout. Gaffney didn't recuperate till 77 when Forest Morris went to Gastonia and James Worthy only beat em by Twenty. That's why they call Gaffney a football town; until the Threepeat  06-08 but I digress

  Five: John Kerry Came to Furman the winter of 72 and back to Greenville when he ran for President in 04. I met Joe Lieberman that night through the auspices of Fletcher SMith and Lieberman said he never met a bad Baptist. We got a good laugh out of that one.

   Six. Will Campbell and Marney came to Furman often from 65-78. Find out who they are.

    Seven. Right wing Republicans coming through Furman over the years include Mark Sanford, Lauren Cooley, Lee Atwater's Daughter Sally, the Baptist preacher at North Spartanburg and FBC Jacksonville--in fact maybe too many to mention--and maybe Clayte Hubbard, though Clayte is a nice guy and Sanford recently has had some nice people on his DC Staff.
  
     Eight. Nixon spent the night in the Furman President's Mansion in 1962 when it was still the Daniel Mansion.

    Nine: Charles Daniel, according to Joe Crespino, was the first man to introduce Roger Milliken to Strom Thurmond. That was in 1956. Lot more to the story than that.  All Furman families, especially ones with ties to South Carolina should have a copy of Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America in Their Homes or what's a liberal arts education of the tune of 200 to a quarter million dollars for?

    Ten Get that Horse Out here used to be a cry from the Crowd at the Stadium downtown.

   Eleven: Judy Clarke was SGA President 73-74. She is the only Furman graduate I know profiled in New Yorker magazine, her piece for defending Joko Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber. Hers is a very interesting story.

  12:  Ten members of the Gaffney High School Beta Club of the 68-69 my sophomore year, were eventually to attend Furman, including the Mother of Donnie Littlejohn, defensive line standout of the Paladin national championship run of circa 2002. Donnie is now Vice Principal of Gaffney High School where the Indians are preseason ranked number Four in Football.  His Mother was comparable to Rosa Parks for me in the first three years of integration of Gaffney High School. ML King was assassinated in April of 68 and two Months later, Boom, we were working things out in Gaffney South Carolina.

   13:  Paul Scarpa can correct me on this one but Ned Caswell beat the other McEnroe, Pat, in Athens Ga in the NCAA singles in 84. The Alum Mag reports in 2015 his doubles partner, a Methodist minister Rice, and Rice current partner, beat Caswell and friend in the Florida Clay 50's division. For me the best tennis story at Furman other than the drama of the one year Billy Donigan took on the world on the 74 team, is the great story about the fellow Jerry, an English teacher, tennis fan and player at Furman, of Dillon SC who taught High School English to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke. I wish I had gotten down there to eat lunch with him and his friend, same booth every day for twenty years or more at a Dillon café.

    14.Furman President David Shi, FU 73 played Freshman football with Gaffney High Standout Jackie Queen. The summer before he arrived at Furman, 1969, Shi was present at the Atlanta Pops Festival 30 miles SE of Atlanta to hear Janis Joplin, maybe Jimi Hendrix a couple months before Woodstock which started today, August 16, 1969. I didn't make it to Woodstock. Woodstock Ga yes, on Several occasions but not Woodstock Rock Festival. Woulda loved to see Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone. Aretha Died today. She shoulda been at Woodstock. Don't Play that Song for Me.........


    15.   fURMAN  TRustee Baxter Wynn and staffer at what once was Furman at Prayer, FBC Greenville, is a nephew of legendary Georgia governor made further famous by Randy Newman's song Rednecks, Lester Maddox. Would be radical indeed if Baxter a brother of former chair of the SC GOP, would connect the dots of how the leadership of the NRA in wedge issue politics is the new Racism of George Wallace. Baxter, FBC Greenville and then Furman could be a prophetic witness, a come to Jesus moment for Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan, both Baptists themselves. Good place to start is definitive biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Charles Marsh and his easily googled Religion and Politics piece on the evil of the gun lobby. Furman religion students and Cothran Vocational Center all love Bonhoeffer. Karen Guth loves DBon too. What's Furman waiting for. MS Douglas Students and SC Chapter of Moms Demand ACtion are ready when you are.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Trump, Trayvon and the SEC

       Well friends looks Like Lebron James was the statesman over the weekend in the dustup with the man  Donnie Tee who called Nick Saban's Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry a Son of a bitch. That was last fall and two days later Henry stayed in the Locker with his Titans teammates and Southern Cal's Pete Carroll coaching the Seahawks on that day in Nashville, home of the Baptist Sunday School board.

      Now this week we have a cable documentary coming up on Trayvon Martin one of the foundational episodes that led to the election of Donald Trump and his cabal of the National Rifle Association. Marion Hammer the NRA lobbyist in Florida created the Stand Your Ground Law that gave Trayvon's killer the balls to engage in a tragic incident and now the whole country is paying the price with Trump who called Derrick Henry a son of a bitch.

  Nick Saban responded at Saturday's Down South. Richard Shelby the UBama "Legend" remains silent and Vince Dooley endorsed a Super Trumper for Governor of Georgia the Episcopalian of Emanuel Congregation in Athens Ga.

   Time for the Head theologian in the Southeast, Greg Sankey, Commissioner of SEC Football to step in and add some much needed clarity to this morass.
    Notre Dame's Mark Noll in the American Religion said in the end it was those theologians Ulysses S. Grant and Robert Edward Lee who resolved the fundamentalist impasse, juggernaut of the literal reading of Scripture, during the Civil War and it became Abe Lincoln, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson who emerged the prevailing theologians.

   And now it appears the congregation of the First Baptist Church in Luverne Alabama is lost and on the road to a political hell in Alabama cause their leadership of bradley byrne, Kay ivey and Richard Shelby are lost in a Trump fog themselves or at a minimum as struck mute as the preachers to whom ML King sent the letter from the Bham Jail.

   Also this week in the ACC, Jeff Duncan who is Dabo Swinney's US House Rep and a founding member of the Second Amendment Caucus, the NRA contingent in the US House has a staff member who on the phone this morning said I should take this up with FBC Laurens. They say Duncan is not a member of their CBF affiliated congregation, though he claims to be a Baptist. JD grear the president of the Southern Baptist Convention says they have a new direction away from Steve Gaines and the politics of the FBC Gardendale Alabama.

  Well you can't tell it if Rick Burgess, known to karl Rove as Rick bragged this morning on the radio, is the SBC Bellwether.

   But I digressesed.

    This is whole part of a seamless cloth as Furman grad Ansley Quiros spelled out July 26 in a Wash Post piece on Trump's converts in Luverne, Alabama, Easy Google if you are a Christian trying to resolve this mess, or add a modicum of light.

     Tomorrow night there is a PBS Frontline Documentary on a year after Charlottesville, Va.

    And NPR On the Media has a segment has an rivetting interview with the producers of a new cable series on Trayvon Martin murder and the political aftermath.

   I talked to a staffer for Bama Legend Shelby this morning, and also talked to Seth of Lancaster SC, a Clemson intern for former SC Governor Mark Sanford.

    Two years ago Rhodes Scholar nominee Greg McElroy, Paul Finebaum and I talked about the Howell Raines New Republic piece on the Bear and George Wallace. Here we are in this Trump Moment.

    Time to see what Christians in Bama are really made of. Focus on Will Ainsworth, Ga Gube Brian Kemp and the Bama 3rd House race between Miss America Mallory Hagan and the Incumbent grad of Jax St Mike Rogers. Cherokee County and Rick Bragg's Piedmont Alabama are worthy of a national documentary in this moment.

     As Bob Dylan said the "{Carpet too is moving under you"; I just hope it's all not over now, Baby Blue

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Vince Dooley, SEC's Greg Sankey, The Georgia Gube race and so called Christians backing GOP Kemp a Trumper and SOBs.

        Vince Dooley the UGA coaching legend and Donald Trump who called U Bama Heisman Trophy Winner Derrick Henry a son of a bitch last fall in Huntsville Alabama two days before the Titans played the Seahawks in Nashville; Dooley endorsed the Super Trumper Bryan Kemp for next Governor of Georgia.

    Dooley ought to know better. Now more than ever, SEC Football is in play this fall in the Ga Gube race and in the Bama 3rd Congressional race that borders the Ga/Bama line from Weiss Lake and the Leesburg Gun Shop in the North to Auburn University and Opelika on the south end sliver.

   Lot of Auburn grads along that border and way on into Atlanta as well. And US Carolina's Will Muschamp was raised in Rome Georgia where his father coached James Dickey's alma mater, Darlington Prep School.

    So it's a barrel of Race politics as Kemp's opponent is a woman of color.

   Brian Kemp is an active member of the Emanuel Episcopal Church in Athens Ga but apparently never read the great Sermon of the Great Episcopalian preacher Fleming Rutledge on the legacy of Will D. Campbell. And it doesn't appear he was listening if Barbara Brown Taylor of nearby Clarkesville came over to his church as guest presenter of The Gospel.

   His wife, an Argo was a UGA Cheerleader, and her father a wealthy insurance executive. So maybe that had more to do with Vince Dooley's endorsement than the politics of Mike Hubbard, Herschel Walker and the poison of Trump interpretation of Kaepernick and how he Trump came to call all people of color who don't follow his line on the matter Sons a bitches. Did Condi Rice ever say anything. I'm pretty sure Richard Shelby hasn't uttered a peep to date even with his Roy Moore tipping points, but Nick Saban did say something a day after Derrick Henry stayed in the locker room in Saturday's Down South. I know cause I heard Paul Finebaum say so!


     And it is a test for the alleged new direction of the Southern Baptist Convention under the presidency of JD Grear. How many white Baptists in Georgia will vote for a Black woman this fall and who among them will escape the cloud of Fox News when they make their decision?

    Dooley's shepherd of Herschel Walker, Mike Hubbard moved to Auburn where he did the same for Bo Jackson, then flipped the state house in Bama in 2010 from Dems to Republican mostly Super Trumpers.

    And Hubbard's son as an aside just graduated from Marshall Frady and my alma Mater Furman, which also provided the great education to longtime archivist for the state of Alabama Edwin C Bridges.

   I haven't consulted Bridges, and Frady passed away in 2004 but I doubt they have the enthusiasm for Kemp Dooley has displayed, and for certain they would not give Donald Trump a pass for calling Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram sonsabitches.

    So here we are with immigration DACA, NRA politics and school safety, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta which sponsors ten Syrian refugee families and this Kemp clown running in Jesus name to be the Governor of the same state that elected Jimmy Carter 50 years ago.

    Here Coach Dooley, why don't you enlist some retired SEC Coaches in a group read with Paul Finebaum this fall of Vandy (SEC) Proff Jon Meacham's Soul of America. I think Greg McElroy the Rhodes Scholar nominee could read along with you as well as a select group of students from the Honors Program at Bama and Nick Saban's Catholic Youth Ministry at St Francis in Tuscaloosa.

   Last night on Fox News, the mouthpiece for Donald Trump's America, Tucker Carlson said "The overwhelming majority of Humanities Professors teaching in American Colleges and Universities today have no Integrity"

    Will you Coach Dooley leave that statement uncontested and Fox News and outside special interest ad buys carry the day in your Beloved Georgia and your Alma mater Auburn; or is it time for elevated discourse in this contest that is rapidly gaining the Nation's Attention.