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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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thinking evangelicals and Baptists leave Dobson, Land and SBC

Frances Fitzgerald makes that excruciatingly clear in the current print issue only of the New Yorker Magazine.
With references to the gamut from Wheaton College's Mark Noll, now at Notre Dame; to David Gushee who unlike other acquaintances of mine took a strong look at Al Mohler and Francis Schaeffer and puked (see his comments on Mohler's Covenant at SBTS in 94); this article lays it out clear.
Matthew Morgan and one of his brothers saw the light a long time ago. Whether or not blue collar baptists, whose heart Will Campbell has always known, will be influenced by folks who understand the gravity of the moment; I guess we will see.
It is a perilous political moment in America and there is a lot of confusion. The Baptist witness, the priesthood of the believer, is better incarnated by the House church Pastor in China whose testimony on PBS Frontline World, shines as bright in his time as Truett shone in his, and John Leland and Will Campbell in their time; that Pastor better incarnates a Baptist witness than many in the hamlets and suburbs of Alabama where it takes up a lot of money and energy in majoritarian throttle since the Civil War on through the George Wallace of Rick Perlstein's Nixonland.
But I'm talking in parables now, and lot of people have shouted in my face, some church women even cussing, I shoulda shut up long time ago.
Here is a link to Fitzgerald, hoping some of you have the character to read it and do something about it.

"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade

And here is how it is playing out on Scott Hunter's blog at his Church in Orlando. I could see Matthew Morgan on staff at that church some day.
Maybe they have a library there where I would be welcome.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Collinsville Cryer and the Vision Thing

Interesting meeting at city hall last night with Jim Pruitt and Kim Hammond of TARCOG discussing the Vision Thing.
Good initiative, but seems to me if it was very serious, the Town Cryer should be made more user friendly for discussion.
Would be great way for the likes of Susan and John Weaver Morgan, Matthew, Casey, Becky; and folks raised in Collinsville to join the discussion as Pruitt seemed receptive last night.
Ms. Kerley's son across The Pond, the Gilbreath Girls of New York and San Francisco; Hernan Prado; Michael Letcher, Lucy Lawrence; The Pacers folks that have passed through in summers past; lot of folks could be encouraged to join the discussion, if access to

Wasn't so restricted and difficult; but we have to watch those anonymous posters as we don't need another version of the Post Office bulletin board we had a few years ago when the pressure cooker was boilin; or the travesty of January 24, 2006 which metastasized into the first Sunday of June later that year.
I don't think TARCOG is interested in window dressing and kangaroo courts; least I hope not.
Let's get to work on that local blog, have Pruitt make the intro and hope there are more than five folks in the audience for the next discussion.

Major congrats to Ron Rash and Serena

My friend Ron Rash, has just sold his novel Serena to 2929 Films for mid six figures and up. I have read the short story, Pemberton's Bride, and it is stellar.
In Collinsville, Alabama readers of Rash's One Foot in Eden include Jeff Graves, John and Susan Weaver Morgan, Russ Beene and myself--4/5ths of the Collinsville Film Society. In the Upstate South Carolina satellite of our group are my sister and her Husband Owen, and friends Lynn Arve and Karen Scism. Of course Rash has thousands more Upstate readers as he was raised in those parts, lives now in Clemson and teaches at WNC in Cullowee.
Pat Conroy loves this latest novel, and an Australian critic calls it the Appalachian MacBeth.
Rash came to speak at NACC outside Rainsville, Alabama in March of 2007.

And to paraphrase and congratulate again from one of Rash's own characters, this one on page 202 of World Made Straight:
Smarts like yours just didn't grow up like daisies in a bunch of hogweed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Truth Tellin on Obama and RFK from Anniston Star

Remarkable oped yesterday from Brandt Ayers in the Anniston Star on the similarities and distinctions between Obama and Bobby Kennedy.
Ayes, a Baptist dissent was in the funeral procession for Bobby Kennedy in 68. I am hoping Ayers will help bring Caroline Kennedy and Kathleen Townsend to the University of Alabama this fall to speak of Carl Elliot, Profiles in Courage, the implication for SEC Football and this remarkable political moment.
Some conversations have already started.

But here is the heart of Ayers in this column. Pockets of Alabama are thinking and have been all the time.
Will Ayers come to Collinsville, Alabama about a 45 minute drive and talk about this with Randy Owen, Red Etheredge and Lowell Barron.
Time will tell.
Maybe, now that I think about it, bring Mike Letcher, as he did the last documentary on Collinsville--we never had that hoped for town hall meeting--and also did the documentary on Carl Elliot, a remarkable piece indeed.
Brandt Ayers as published June 15:

Josephine was in the aisle when Ethel came through our car and sat in the nearest available seat, next to Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King. The two women noted Mrs. Kennedy's bearing in the face of tragedy, a poignant moment for two recent widows.
Somber crowds gathered at every stop, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in full uniforms. One image is locked in my mind. From a distance, I saw a man walking quickly up a hill toward the moving train. He crested the hill as we came alongside. He was a workingman, blue work shirt rolled up over muscular forearms. In his big fist was a bright yellow bouquet of late jonquils with which he saluted the train.
That New Jersey man looked no different than the men pasting George Wallace stickers on bumpers in Anniston two years before. Were they alike in some strange way — an answer to the mystery posed by Bobby Kennedy and Wallace carrying some of the same Indiana counties?
The author of a six-volume series of books on the states, Neal Pierce, and I talked about Wallace's appeal beyond racism, an attraction that many working-class people outside the South felt for him and for his polar opposite, Bobby Kennedy — a connection of comfort and familiarity that Obama is yet to make.
I put it to Neal this way. It's the problem of the 65 percent majority. In Anniston, as in any other city, you have the Chamber of Commerce crowd that represents 1 percent of the population, but about 80 percent of the wealth. They are organized, articulate, well funded, a group with a strong sense of mission and an ability to draw public attention to their agenda.
Then you have the black community, which in the 1960s developed means of drawing attention to their agenda and who represented 34 percent of Anniston's population at the time. That leaves the other 65 percent, who are most resistant to social change.
Some are racists. But cumulatively a host of other problems outweighs racism. The highway department removes a traffic light from a blue-collar community, and there's a series of serious accidents, but it seems impossible to get the bureaucracy to restore the light.
Despite the sanitary hazard of an overflowing drainage ditch in a working-class neighborhood, nobody at city hall seems to listen or do anything about it. The 65 percent begin to feel: "Nobody understands the conditions of my life. Hell, I know I'm the majority in this country. I built it with my own hands. The only person who understands me is George Wallace, who knows what I mean when I say I'm so p----d at those bureaucrats, suits, sneering journalists and blacks I see on TV, I'd like to punch one of 'em in the nose!"
Still, it was hard at the time to think of George Wallace and Bobby Kennedy paired in any way, just as it stretches credulity now to imagine Obama's appeal to the sons and grandsons of the men pasting those Wallace stickers.
When we returned home then, we found that through time and distance, we had changed, and the South was changing. In less than two years, waves of progressive governors were elected everywhere in the South — except Alabama.
Two generations have been born and matured since then. Race means little to this generation. Yet, there's still the problem of the 65 percent; can they look at Obama and see a man who understands their life and dreams?


Friday, June 13, 2008

Black eyed peas and tetrazini

I had the tetrazini today for lunch at the American Cafe, a strong portion.
It was pretty good no kiddin and I do recommend it to folks coming through the area.
Call ahead, 5141, cause they don't have it everyday.
If the party of the good conversation in line for the food does by chance see this, have our Auburn friend be on notice of Ron Rash's Serena due out in September.
Pat Conroy has read the galley and he is pretty impressed; singing the praises.

As for my friends who are upset, here is a good video sent in from Alaska.
Good Strong words of New Testament proportions in the Bible really does mean anything to you at all.
Bible says you cannot hate and go to heaven; anyway you read it, it says that.
It also says you can go to Hell if you want to; if you let hate overcome you or make an idol out of another human being.
Jesus is the Cornerstone or there is not one at all.
You pray about it

And for churches who dysfunction:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good things to eat in Dekalb County Alabama

Here is a short list and come back again in a week or two as I may add and embellish a little.

In Collinsville:

Big Cheeseburger with good slice of Onion and Homegrown tomatoes, light mustard and Mayo at Smokin Joe's formerly the Big Valley.

Chicken Tetrazini and squash casserole, dumplins at American Cafe.

Fries before they salt um at Jack's

Lupe and Chen's World Famous Rangoons at the China House--my world travelin sister; actually she's been to NYC twiced--says they are the best and her Theatrically educated husband likes em too; best literate conversation in these parts; and at one time Lowell Barron's picture was on the wall.

James BBQ in Geraldine has good meatloaf most Tuesdays and the mash potatoes are homegrown good and greens good to, all for the right Price.

My Friend Bill Glenn is open in Dogtown on Friday and Sat only but it is worth the two days and the ride up there is one of the best in Alabama. Pretty good steak--I can only afford half--and last week the pork chops were bigger than usual.
It is worth the trip if you can only get the Potato soup. They'll give you a big bowl, pretty much a full meal for HS sophomores or girls in your Sunday School Junior's Department.
Great big windows in the dining area; and salad bar with fresh locally grown pickles is superb also. Nice smiling waitresseses and the kid for Ft. Payne is a good fellow.
They bring the tea out in a quart jar.
If you are over 80, good chance you'll get Happy Birthday sung to you if you tell the truth about it.

Cracker Barrel in Ft. Payne has a great kid's menu for mac and cheese lovers. Strawberry shortcake is almost as good as Momma's was, but they quit servin it about my Brithday every year. Got one of the best managers in the whole chain, and celebrities like Lowell Barron, Randy Owen, Probate Judge Ronnie Osborn and Mark Petty are in there regular.

My volleyball friend Mike and his family had a good BBQ and potato salad restaurant goin in Henegar, but I understand it is down for a while. If it opens back up you should go there.

Hispanic Restaurant downtown Collinsville has good soft shell chicken tacos con ceso; and the place near the rail road track occasionally has great guacamole but you never know when you go in there the price of the chunkiness.
But one time last October, it was a home run.

If you hit Golden Rule before 6 in Georgia you can get a good slice BBQ sandwich fore a dollar; and the supper buffet looks fillin

Good slice of pizza at Momma Maria's in Rainsville but the spaghetti has struck me different ever time I been in there.
If you want to take the scenic ride to Guntersville, I suggest go by and see my friend Johnny Bearden's son at Top of the River; or hit the Sunday buffet at the newly Renovated state park lodge there; or see Copey weekdays at Chic Fil A.

Haven't been there in a while but you ain't been to DeeKalb County, Alabama if you haven't had the fudge cake for ambience at Log Cabin in Mentone.

If you want to be considered for this list; get in touch and offer me one or two or three free meals and I'll put you in the inbox for consideration.

Stephen Fox
Culinary arts afficianado; meaning I like to eat good food at the right price

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

some photos from collinsvegas

these are some photos taken a couple of weeks ago at the flea market at collinsville. they say they are friends of mine when they have to. the guy with the book is dr. don gregory and he is holding the new book that is being shipped this week to bookstores near you. the title is "jungvolk". it is an interesting view of nazi germany through the eyes of a kid, barely 10 years old. the book is also available online at or the other guys are good customers of don at his booth at tradeday, where he sells knives and listens to me when he has to.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Will Alabama Christians come Clean on Obama??

Here is the Gospel link for all so called conservative Christians of Conscience in Alabama as they weigh in their hearts the Obama campaign.
I join H Brandt Ayers and his June 1 oped in the Anniston Star in saying as much.
I ask RAndy Owen, great Friend of George Bushes 41 and 43, not to mention GAry Burton's parishioner Ray Scott, the bass fishermam in Pintlala, to have discussions with Artur Davis, Stephen Black, Senator Sessions and Bishop Willimon; public discussions framed by this New Yorker Article.

This should set it up for you as pockets in Alabama, lot of them in Baptist Churches haven't gotten much further than this kind of cigar smokefilled thinking of the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina in 1966:

from the article:

“From Day One, Nixon and I talked about creating a new majority,” Buchanan told me recently, sitting in the library of his Greek-revival house in McLean, Virginia, on a secluded lane bordering the fenced grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency. “What we talked about, basically, was shearing off huge segments of F.D.R.’s New Deal coalition, which L.B.J. had held together: Northern Catholic ethnics and Southern Protestant conservatives—what we called the Daley-Rizzo Democrats in the North and, frankly, the Wallace Democrats in the South.” Buchanan grew up in Washington, D.C., among the first group—men like his father, an accountant and a father of nine, who had supported Roosevelt but also revered Joseph McCarthy. The Southerners were the kind of men whom Nixon whipped into a frenzy one night in the fall of 1966, at the Wade Hampton Hotel, in Columbia, South Carolina. Nixon, who was then a partner in a New York law firm, had travelled there with Buchanan on behalf of Republican congressional candidates. Buchanan recalls that the room was full of sweat, cigar smoke, and rage; the rhetoric, which was about patriotism and law and order, “burned the paint off the walls.” As they left the hotel, Nixon said, “This is the future of this Party, right here in the South.”

REad the article in its entirety and if your neighbors refuse, and basque in their ignorance in this remarkable political moment, then pray for them.
If they live in Dekalb County, have them raise money to bring native Son Matthew MOrgan down from his offices with the United Methodist Church in NYC to join his CHS classmate Russ Beene to share the light on this matter.

The discussion is cooking at baptist life dot com. Some of you will want to look at it, then compare Collinsville, and Eclectic Alabama to Inex Kentucky in the article

Follow the evolving discussion with particular attention to ET of Sylacauga:

What Obama faces in Alabama (and probably everywhere else)
by Mark on Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:33 pm
This past Friday, one of my hardworking, white female Christian co-workers was seated next to a stack of magazines that belonged to someone else. On top was the latest issue of Time, with Barack Obama on the cover.Being forever diligent in trying to measure the pulse of the masses in these economically depressed parts - where folks often cling to guns and religion - I pointed to Obama's picture and nonchalantly asked, out of curiosity: "You like him?" I had no idea how she would respond.With no hesitancy whatsoever, she replied: "No, I don't like him. He's a Muslim.""No, he's not", I countered. "There's still a lot we don't know about him, but he's repeatedly denied being a Muslim.""Well, he IS one," she continued, unfazed. "And his brother is a very militant Muslim."We were interrupted at that point.

Click on the red title about What Obama faces; and do be a Christian and conflate Inez Kentucky from Packer in your thinking as it resonated with Brandy Ayers.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Collinsville makes Newsweek Religion Blog with Niebuhr

I met Gus Niebuhr in the summer of 1986 when he came up to Euharlee, Georgia to make my acquaintance as I was jacklegging the Baptist story then considering all the ties of the fundy takeover folks to the right wing of the GOP.
Turns out one of my favorite religion proffs at Furman had been his SS teacher when the proff, Albert Blackwell, was student at Harvard Div.
Was an honor to make an acquaintance and see him the next 5 years or so at various Baptist convocations as he covered religion for Atlanta Constitution and Wall Street Journal.

He has a fabulous blog today
AT risk of getting sued by Newsweek here it is in full with my comment #3 and the other two to date.

R. Gustav Niebuhr
Director of the Religion & Society Program, Syracuse University Gustav Niebuhr is an associate professor of religion and the media, an interdisciplinary position in the College of Arts & Sciences and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Since June 2004, the “On Faith” panelist has directed the Religion & Society Program, an interdisciplinary undergraduate major. more »
Main Page R. Gustav Niebuhr Archives On Faith Archives
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Quitting a Community
One vital feature largely overlooked in the discussion of Barack Obama's ties to Trinity United Church of Christ is the wider connections involved in his being there. Yes, to be sure, within the common media narrative, it's all been narrowly focused on a single relationship between an irrepressible and ultimately irresponsible pastor and a passive, pew-occupying parishioner-politician. Jeremiah Wright did all the talking, right? And Barack Obama just sat there, didn't he? That is, until Obama just couldn't take what was being said from the pulpit, whether by Wright, his successor or some ranting guest preacher.
Easy story, easy decision.
But the problem with that narrative is that the reality of active church membership is never so simple. Even if you start off going mainly for the preaching, unless you make a beeline for the exit right after the organ sounds its last note, you're going to find yourself getting into a whole lot more.
Going to church regularly means involving yourself in a community. Over cups of coffee after the service, or teaching in the Sunday School, or pounding nails in neighborhood projects, or slinging a paintbrush to touch up the church hallways, you will get to know your fellow congregants. You hear about the pleasure they take in their kids, their concern about their parents, their fears of illness, their rejoicings at unexpected good fortune. They become part of your life, as you become part of theirs.
That makes leaving a church a big deal, not something to be done lightly. I know plenty of people (like me) who have done so out of necessity, because we've moved to another city. The partings are not easy. And I know plenty who have left churches, too, because they simply found they could no longer abide something important--really important--going on there, whether it was coming from the pulpit or some of the people in the congregation. In either case, it's an uprooting. You have to hope you'll be able find fertile soil elsewhere in which to replant yourself spiritually.
Was Obama "right" to quit Trinity, to shake the dust from his feet and permanently walk from a place in which he had so long found sanctuary? He'd been there 20 years, nearly half his life. Only he knows exactly what he was thinking. But I doubt--and I certainly hope for his sake--that it was not an easy decision to make.
Please e-mail On Faith if you'd like to receive an email notification when On Faith sends out a new question.

I don't know if Albert Blackwell knows this, but two years ago I was voted off the property in the church where my Mother was baptized in a town here in Northeast Alabama where her family goes back to the 1850's. Vote was 32-20. I am party to blame, cause of my flamboyant personality--one problem was I was ousted from the local library in a disagreement that stemmed from me writing a letter of recommendation to Yale Div School for the local Pastor's Third Son--but silly stuff like an ill timed reference to the cornerstone on the church as an emblem of family political power in the town also came into play.
As for Obama and the larger picture; do google up Anniston, Al Star's Brandt Ayers column in his June 1 paper. Closing reference on coal miners in Inez, West Virginia may tell the tale. Hoping the gods bring you to Furman if not this fall; then soon.
STephen Fox Collinsville, Alabama

Here is the excerpt from June 1 Star; some of you may want to follow the discussion on it at in Hedges and Dean Thread.

...Then there is the fall of Ralph Reed, the former "face" of the Christian Coalition, known for its militant backing of the Republican "family values" agenda. Reed had mixed Christianity and dirty money to achieve political power.
Over time, the great Southern Baptist universities such as Baylor, Samford and Wake Forest had freed themselves from the Convention, in part because of its emphasis on marginal GOP issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
A curious thing has happened recently to conservative critics of "social engineering," using government to achieve better lives for the downtrodden. The GOP has used tax engineering to achieve fabulous lives for the up-trodden.
In the hands of Karl Rove and Tom DeLay, Buckley's grand balloon has become a shrunken and sad thing, whose major tenets are: , women's bodies belong to the State, fat cats need fattening and desert people will get democracy if we have to kill them and tear up their country to do it.
Nixon's political director gave this benediction: "Rove knew his voters, he stuck to the message with consistency, he drove that base hard — and there's nothing left of it. Today, if you're not rich, Southern or born-again, the chances of you being a Republican aren't great."
All the signs and numbers point to a great Democratic victory, but I was brought up short by an image in a George Packer New Yorker article of John McCain in the tiny eastern Kentucky coal-mining town of Inez.
He spoke to those people with humility and respect, leaving Packer with the impression that McCain could win by leaving with voters this impression of himself: "Here I am, a man in full, take me or leave me."
If the man with the strange name that much of the country still doesn't know wants to lead his party to what should be a blowout victory, he will need to go to small towns and working-class neighborhoods — to look and listen.
People who've led hard lives are dubious about political promises; they do not thrill to "the audacity of hope." They may respond to Barack Obama's one-nation message, if it is delivered as McCain did, with humility and respect

End quote

Fox> Brandt Ayers nails the real politik for Obama. He must get to know Inez, Kentucky and the folks Will Campbell [Marshall Frady, Halberstam and Tom Brokaw's hero] if he brings the whole nation along for the transformational moment.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Will America Rise to the Obama Moment?

Does the United States of America have the character to look past the distractions and embrace the promise of Barack Obama.
He is not Jesus Christ but he does appear to have the wisdom to seek strong counsel and to listen. He will bring 1,000 people with him in the new administration to govern. Whatever misgivings you may have about his "style"; I have to believe those 1,000 folks will be enormously more competent and sound than the folks McCain would bring in.
Does America any longer have the depth to address the questions raised by Chris Hedges at Furman University May 28, three days in advance of President Bush's Commencement speech there.
Will America for the next four to eight years be run in the tradition of Nixon, George Wallace, Bush 43, Richard Land, Karl Rove and Lee Atwater; or will it turn toward the promise of Jefferson and George Truett, Martin King, Abraham Lincoln and Judge Frank Johnson with Barack OBama?
Will Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and the CNN early man do your thinking for you; can you get past the sideshow of TUCC as soundbitten by Utube? Will half assed demagogues of the distraction and noise machines mush your mind into a useful idiot, or will you be an agent of
transformative change, take a virtuous step in the right direction.

Consider Hedges:

An excerpt:

I single out no party. The Democratic Party has been as guilty as the Republicans. It was Bill Clinton who led the Democratic Party to the corporate watering trough. Clinton argued that the party had to ditch labor unions, no longer a source of votes or power, as a political ally. Workers, he insisted, would vote Democratic anyway. They had no choice. It was better, he argued, to take corporate money. By the 1990s, the Democratic Party, under Clinton’s leadership, had virtual fundraising parity with the Republicans. Today the Democrats get more. In political terms, it was a success. In moral terms, it was a betrayal.
The North American Free Trade Agreement was sold to the country by the Clinton White House as an opportunity to raise the incomes and prosperity of the citizens of the United States, Canada and Mexico. NAFTA would also, we were told, staunch Mexican immigration into the United States.
“There will be less illegal immigration because more Mexicans will be able to support their children by staying home,” President Clinton said in the spring of 1993 as he was lobbying for the bill.

But NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, had the curious effect of reversing every one of Clinton’s rosy predictions. Once the Mexican government lifted price supports on corn and beans for Mexican farmers, they had to compete against the huge agribusinesses in the United States. The Mexican farmers were swiftly bankrupted. At least 2 million Mexican farmers have been driven off their land since 1994. And guess where many of them went? This desperate flight of poor Mexicans into the United States is now being exacerbated by large-scale factory closures along the border as manufacturers pack up and leave Mexico for the cut-rate embrace of China’s totalitarian capitalism. But we were assured that goods would be cheaper. Workers would be wealthier. Everyone would be happier. I am not sure how these contradictory things were supposed to happen, but in a sound-bite society, reality no longer matters. NAFTA was great if you were a corporation. It was a disaster if you were a worker.

Clinton’s welfare reform bill, which was signed on Aug. 22, 1996, obliterated the nation’s social safety net. It threw 6 million people, many of them single mothers, off the welfare rolls within three years. It dumped them onto the streets without child care, rent subsidies and continued Medicaid coverage. Families were plunged into crisis, struggling to survive on multiple jobs that paid $6 or $7 an hour, or less than $15,000 a year. But these were the lucky ones. In some states, half of those dropped from the welfare rolls could not find work. Clinton slashed Medicare by $115 billion over a five-year period and cut $25 billion in Medicaid funding. The booming and overcrowded prison system handled the influx of the poor, as well as our abandoned mentally ill. And today we stand in shame with 2.3 million of our citizens behind bars, most for nonviolent drug offenses. More than one in 100 adults in the United States is incarcerated and one in nine black men ages 20 to 34 is behind bars. The United States, with less than 5 per cent of the global population, has almost 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

The growing desperation across the United States is unleashing not simply a recession-we have been in a recession for some time now-but the possibility of a depression unlike anything we have seen since the 1930s. This desperation has provided a pool of broken people willing to work for low wages and without unions or benefits. This is good news if you are a corporation. It is very bad news if you work for a living. For the bottom 90 percent of Americans, annual income has been on a slow, steady decline for three decades. The majority’s income peaked at $ 33,000 in 1973. By 2005, according to New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston in his book “Free Lunch,” it had fallen to a bit more than $29,000, this despite three decades of economic expansion. And where did that money go? Ask ExxonMobil, the biggest U.S. oil and gas company, which made a $10.9-billion profit in the first quarter of this year, leaving us to pay close to $4 a gallon to fill up our cars. Or better yet, ask Exxon Mobil Corp Chief Executive Rex Tillerson, whose compensation rose nearly 18 percent to $21.7 million in 2007, when the oil company pulled in the largest profit ever for a U.S. company. His take-home pay package included $1.75 million in salary, a $3.36-million bonus, and $16.1 million of stock and option awards, according to a company filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He also received nearly $430,000 of other compensation, including $229,331 for personal security and $41,122 for use of the company aircraft. In addition to his pay package, Tillerson, 56, received more than $7.6 million from exercising options and stock awards during the year. Exxon Mobil earned $40.61 billion in 2007, up 3 percent from the previous year. But Tillerson’s 2007 pay was not even the highest mark for the U.S. oil and gas industry. Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Ray Irani made $33.6 million and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. chief James Hackett

took in $26.7 million over the same period.

And checked this link that goes to the heart of cynics pouters and naysayers about Obama's remarkable promise

And google up Brandt Ayers June 1 oped in Anniston Star about Conservatism and how Obama must win Inez, Kentucky.
Good stuff that goes to the heart of Obama's challenge in the heartland, even Dekalb County, Alabama.
Check the discussion in the Hedges and Dean thread at if you have hard time looking for Ayers at .