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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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 retrospective

     Last year was tougher than I had hoped it would be. I started well fairly refreshed after two week stay with family in the Upstate topped off by a trip to Bridges BBQ on a bright day with brother and sister, even Shaun Chastain on a bright day.

   But not long after return to Bama this virus then sinus then some other infection took the juice out of me. In March I got a catch, an ache in my left inside thigh to the groin that  has aggravated me ever since. Don't know if its arthritic or what, some days I thought it was going away but it has been constant. Some days it is difficult to walk up the front steps at my place in Bama. Tood the spark out of most days in a year when I needed to show the flag.

    A series of minor disappointments accumulated to make it a struggle. There were several near excursions that didn't materialize so after I while I pretty much through up the white flag.
   Still there were a few satisfactions. I read several good books this year and they registered. Denis Johnson's Train Dreams came with a strong endorsement from Harvard Lit Critic James Wood. And my friends Charles Marsh of UVA and Randall Balmer of Dartmouth bios of Bonhoeffer and President Carter came in the mail. I read both thoroughly and championed their merits here on my blog and other platforms.

     Late in the year Bev England's sweet tribute to her parents, Furman's Martin England and wife Mabel of Birmingham came my way. Sam Hodges is likely to offer a review in the Furman alumni magazine next year.

   Here at year's end Wuthonw's Rough Country came to the NACC Library so I've got new insights on WA Criswell and his historic cabal; and Azar Nafisi's The Republic of Imagination has been inspirational on the promise of America rightly understood.

    I called the D.C. staffs of various congressmen and Senators during the year, and tried to keep Governor Bentley on his toes with calls to his office in Montgomery. Saw him on the campaign trail in Ft Payne, talked to some staffers but not him in person on a cold last day of October.

    Lost several friends during last year including classmate Lucille Thompson in Gaffney and a friend of the family in Gaffney days, Carol Neal at years end. My Dad's sister died early in December and my Collinsville friend Elmo Lambert earlier this week.

       The Bible says more will pass next year and in a few years I will no longer walk the earth either.

     But for now I'm around. I had some good BBQ yesterday, got some good tea at Chic Fil A coming my way with Christmas coupons and depending on how I budget Cracker Barrel some catfish by mid January. And then February will be on us and who not what may happen on any given day the son shines.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Some snapshot Christmas memories

      Okay, I hope I don't get maudlin or too sappy with this exercise but I'm 60 or 61 now and who knows how much longer the Lord will tarry.

    Here are some random Christmas memories of  Stephen M. Fox on the earth; some at length,mostly snapshot.

     First one I remember, well I'm already going back a little. In Erwin, NC in 57 or so the East Erwin Baptist church got the 4 year old boys a rattlin toy machine gun. And I remember my Mother trying to get us to be quieter as me and Ricky High were making a ruckus inside the church. I think they sent us outside.

   in 59 the Truett Memorial Baptist Church had a live Nativity Scene on HWY 64 that came through town. My Dad was in charge of that. We went to get the donkey one morning and it jumped out of the stall over my Dad; don't know how it did but that's what I remember. Got my first bicycle there on a Christmas Sunday morning about the 2nd grade, 1960. Ran out of church to go get on it and ride down the sidewalk toDoc Padgetts and back before Sunday noon dinner. Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill bought me an electric train with a smokestack.

      In Gaffney tenth grade 68 my Mom and Dad sacrificed to by me a silver trombone. Cost em 200 bucks which was pretty stiff on their budget. Mr. Howard helped them pick it out. He died last year.

     All the Christmases of the 60s and early 70s going to see Nanny and Papa in Rome Georgia, chopping wood for Papa's fireplace, hearing stories about Wears Valley Tennessee and playing competitive Scrabble and Rook with Uncle Fremont and Uncle Paul and Aunt Katharine and the banter of cousins and the rest were grand, not to mention Nanny's food.

   And then we'd go over to Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill's for more formal situations but that had its redemptive qualities as well; The family chorus was alittle better there, more exact though the Foxxes had some good voices too, just not as disciplined on those occasions.

      In Gaffney, SC from 62-78  My Dad would fix Christmas baskets for everyone younger than 18 and over 65, rather Christmas sacks with oranges and apples and candy from Raymond Kellers. I think we did 110 one year that at Bethany. About 73 I was in from Furman and ran some of the errands. Preston Williams, Kent and Shirley were there on the front row singing Christmas carols, packed house.  Two Christmases before at the HS annual assembly where I shined on my trombone with Sleigh Ride, we had the whole student body sing some carols under the direction of Ramona Ross. Jimmy Baker and Danny Parker were sittin on the front row of the bleachers. I remember Baker with one hand in his pocket and his song sheet, he and Parker singing their guts out. Characters both. All the folks in this lastparagraph except me have passed now.

      In 94 or so my Brother and his son Chad and famly came down from Travelers Rest, South Carolina to see us in Collinsville. They often brought videos and this year they had the Nutty Professor with them.

     Leah Blanton, Susan Weaver and Andrea Wright came down to the house about 7 pm Christmas Day or the day after. Leah said Preacher what movies you got? Andrea and Susan went on in the kitchen to talk to my sister and see my brothers wife and little chad and Katie. In a few mins we here this noise in the living room. Leah and Daddy  hootin and hollerin are cracked up to the point of tears in the farting sequence, "Come on Over Here Cletus, it ain't nothing but a short walk!"

       After Momma died my Dad and I would come up to my sisters in Mauldin S.C. and go to the Eve service at FBC Mauldin. They had some great soloists and the 11pm service would pack out at about 350 folks or more.

   About 2002 I was in the Collinsville cantata and had a solo in my white sweater. Martha Barksdale said I did okay but was nothing special.

    Well Martha doesn't know that Christmas 1972 I sang the Messiah with the Furman Singers, one of the best Collegiate chorales in the southeast and was on statewide TV. Got to see the repeat show on Channel Four when I was home in Gaffney. So there, Martha. Momma was proud of me.

     About ten days ago My Dad's last sister passed away. My brother and sister and the last brother came down from the Carolinas. My Cousin Tim did a grand job in a tribute to his Mother,my Aunt who made the best dark chocolate pie in the family.

    And then yesterday because Jake Payton and about 7 other "friends" couldn't get me to Cave Spring, Ga things got complicated for my first leg of the trip to the Carolinas to be with family. Lil Mac is in the world now and has another Brother coming along in February. With the assistance of a nephew, his Uncle Chad, we're gonna keep the baseball fandom and tales going with Knuckleball Ned and my sister has made a German Chocolate Cake and Italian Crème Cake better than any Todd Heifner has ever eaten in all the 50 states plus Cuba and Memphis he has visited.

    So Merry Christmas to all

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Criswell's "convening power"; Atwater's "Nigger" memo

     In March the Ethics and Religious and Liberty Council of the Southern Baptist Convention will hold a convocation on recent events in Ferguson and NYC Case of Eric Garner

    It will be a shallow discussion with in house folks cleared by the SBC hierarchy on the panel. Don't look for Isabel Wilkerson with roots in the Thankful Baptist Church of Rome Georgia, or Cynthia Tucker of Atticus Finch's Monroeville, Alabama to be on panel, nor be surprised if they conveniently do not discuss the Jason Zengerle cover story on Bama House Speaker Mike Hubbard of the Auburn football program and his "Bleaching" Strategies to lessen minority political power in the state.

   It might embarrass Bama Deacon Gov Bentley and Bama SBC Ex Dir Rick Lance and FBC Tuscalooosa and SBC doesn't want to do anything that could harm Lottie Moon.

     Here is some of the recent history who put the likes of Russ Moore and his mentor Al Mohler in power in the fundamentalist version of the Southern Baptist Convention of the last 30 years.

   It comes from Princeton's Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country. For excellent review of that book and how Birch Society fundamentalists shape Texas politics and are a template for the Tea Party across the South see the Oct 9 Print issue of New York Review of Books article by Thomas Powers. You can google the teaser at

     Here is discussion of convening power on page 342, Quoting:  In 1980 Criswell's power became especially eident in what has been termed convening power. Evangelical pastors, Business Leaders and government officials influence is easily underestimated if only the extent of their wealth or even their frequency in the media is considered. Their behind the scenes influence is typically expressed in ability to convene meetings by calling in personal favors and cultivating networks to whom only a few have access. Opportunity hoarding is the less charitable term. Among this syndrome are resources that are renewable, subject to monopoly,  and enhanced by the network's modus operandi. Examples might include racially segregated country clubs with membership fees only the super wealthy can afford or high priced study retreats for the wealthiest board members of an Ivy League Institution.

     Convening power uses social capital to get the right people together and exclude others. Reagan's trip to Dallas in 1980 for the National Affairs Briefing included a private reception at the Hyatt Regency. Hosted by FBC Dallas major donor and influential member Mary Crowley, the group included Cullen Davis, Clint Murchison Eddie Chiles Paige Patterson and Billy Graham's Brother in law Clayton Bell of Dallas Highlands Presbyterian church. Another guest was Jouston Judge Paul Pressler. Criswell presented Reagan with a Bible he hoped Reagan would use when sworn in as President. END Quote

    This cabal of FBC members were like a whose who of the Dallas John Birch Society. Pressler's family went deep to 48 with the Texas Regulars and are rumored to have opposed Carlyle Marney when Marney left FBC Austin because he supported Brown V Board call for desegregation.

    Pressler's takeover cabal in the SBC was steeped in Birchers and closet racists including Jesse Helms and Curtis Caine of Mississippi, Ed McAteer of Adrian Rogers Bellevue in Memphis and Albert Lee  Smith; all inside people in the takeover to a person convinced in their day Martin Luther King was a Communist or a tool of the Communism.

      Folks who know the history of the negative campaign in the last half of 20th Century America know their Begats. Strom Thurmond begat Harry Dent, who begat Lee Atwater, who begat Karl Rove. See Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America if you need more street cred on that assertion.

    Here is the "Nigger" memo of Lee Atwater from page 372 of Wuthnow's book. Atwater was Bush 41's famous "nutcutter" that Barbara signed off on. Atwater in 1981, Quoting Wuthnow:

     ...Atwater said: "UYou start out in 1954 by by saying  Nigger, Nigger nigger. By 1968 you can't say nigger--that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced bussing, states rightrs and all that stuff." By the 80s that language also was becoming unacceptable. " and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things ofYou're getting so abstract now that you're talking about cutting taxes, and a by product of them is they hurt blacks worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it.  Atwater Acknoledges. " I'm not saying that but I am saying if it is getting that abstract and that coded that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other,. You follow me, because obviously sitting around saying We want to cut this is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than nIGGER, nIGGER!"  eND qUOTE OF  Lee Harvey Oswald.

   Atwater's daughter is a 2012 graduate of me and Marshall frady's Furman University Bleaching Mike Hubbard, the speaker of the House for the state of Bama and subject of the Jason Zengerle New Republic cover story, New Racism; Hubbard's son Clayte is a Freshman at Furman.

Follow the conversation to follow this blog at the History section of

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Charles Barkley, Mike Hubbard and Ferguson

     Charles Barkley was gettin some Love last night on Fox News, Oreilly and the Blonde Stable even some of the Uglies like Laura Ingraham and  Greta were praising him for Law and Order; the old trick Roger Ailes and Nixon perfected in 68.

    Fox News has turned Ferguson into a question of who started the riot and Mike Hubbard must be happy as hades about it here in Bleachin Alabama where you make laws to deport state champion soccer teams while his Sunday School class at FUMC Auburn says, Oh Lord I wish it didn't have to be this way.

    I'm sure Hubbard's trophy case wife has it top of her prayer list even as I concoct this blog.

    Charles Barkley does have a point, without the police a lot of Black neighborhoods would be a jungle, lawless, I forget his exact word. White Folks don't have a corner on Original Sin nor the Fall, though Hubbard's base makes more of an idol of keeping it history and science before Common Core gets to it and get people thinking theologically like Willimon did about Hubbard's immigration bill comparing it to the fugitive slave act.

    But Hubbard was abole to massage, contain Willimon, at least through the first round of his indictment and the Iron Bowl while Jameis Winston is a good distraction down in Tallahassee. At least Bama doesn't rape women, just deomocracy and justice and the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King and Frank Johnson--see Bleaching, the Cover Story by Jason Zengerle in recent New Republic; and while your learnin--you out there Yellowhammer News--see Garry Wills in New York Review of Books to see what a piss poor job Joe Scarborough did with his recent history of the GOP.

   Had I been on the grand jury with Charles Barkley I mighta voted not to indict Officer Wilson as well.  And Michael Brown's stepfather may need to under watchcare of his local Baptist church for getting on a car hood and saying Burn the Bitch Down when the verdict was returned.
   That said Barkley and Lebron James with Oprah moderating can take a good listen to the diane rehm show panel yesterday. There are a lot of things that could be corrected about how all this went down. I don't think Brown was Emmet Till; certainly not Viola Liuzzo nor Goodman Schwerner and Cheney nor Jonathan Daniels; still he shouldn't have had to die; Officer Wilson shoulda had better training, more options; but I don't know I woulda done anything different under the circumstances, other than Brown mighta killed me. And I don't like that outcome either.

     And Anthea Butler, I read you and think you make some provocative points in religion dispatches..

    But all this doesn't let a man like Mike Hubbard, speaker of the House of the State of Alabama and all his Human Shield in the Auburn Football Program off the Hook.
    Hubbard debated Toccoa Ga's Ralph Reed  in High school just like Furman religion department's Echol Nix debated Karl Rove's good buddy Eric Motley in Montgomery in the late 80s. A Samford grad Motley is now with the Aspen Institute.

    lot of big doins goin down in the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the crossing of the Selma Bridge in March--see After the celebration in Selma, a week later to commemorate Martin's "arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice"; lets have Speaker Hubbard, Ole Miss's Joe Crespino now at Emory, Furman's Tomiko Brown Nagin now at Harvard, Auburn's Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer's Taylor Branch, Cornel West or some such mix in an event moderated by Eric Motley look at something bigger than the noise of Ferguson to see just in fact if Mike Hubbard's Auburn Creed notions for Alabama are worthy of Martin Luther King and Judge Frank Johnson's Dream!!!!

Copy and past TNR link above