J.C.’s cartoon reminds me of my recent visit from the pest control man (knock on wood, they seem to be gone):


‘Being Christian’

“Elmer Gantry” is one of my favorite movies — and the Sinclair Lewis book on which it’s based is pretty damned good, too. So a friend recently referred this book, “Being Christian.” He said it was written by a woman who’d done a lot of research into the Dominionists (who are one of the biggest threats to our democracy and have always fascinated me because of their conviction that it’s perfectly okay to lie, cheat and steal, as long as you’re doing it to bring God’s kingdom on earth), and wrote about it as a satire. I wasn’t all that interested in reading it (if you saw my pile of unread books, you’d understand) — until he sent me this blurb by Mikey Weinstein, who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation as a watchdog organization to protect religious freedom in the military, and of course has been the target of death threats (because the baby Jesus would want it that way). I just love Mikey Weinstein:

Having raced through K.C. Boyd’s astonishing page-turner without being able to put it down, Being Christian – A Novel, I can say there is no fictional portrait of today’s evangelical right that I would recommend more highly. As it says on the back of the book, this is Elmer Gantry, but on mega-steroids.

The story, in its vivid portrayals—with attention to character and place – was emotional crack to me. From the first chapter, Boyd created a story so riveting that not only could I not put it down, but upon finishing it, I found myself, like an addict, craving more. Being Christian screams screenplay, if ever a book did. A totally emotional experience, by book’s end, I was left drained as well as disturbed by the true-to-life portraiture of John Christian Hillcox, Boyd’s main character. A man who all too closely resembles so many of today’s religious con-men we’ve come to know from sexual and financial scandals too many to enumerate. Being Christian – A Novel is brilliant theater of the mind.

It ain’t literature, but it’s a real page turner. Boy, does she know these people and how they operate. (I saw parts of every wingnut preacher I know in this book.)

And if you want an easy way to catch up on exactly how the End Timers are perverting our democracy, this book is right up your alley.

Covering up

So I guess we should add gas drillers to that list of companies that now perch on the upper level of our two-tiered justice system? If the situation went down the way the AP describes it, this is truly disgusting. The EPA is supposed to protect our natural resources, not cover up for the polluters:

WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family’s drinking water had begun bubbling like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.

At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.

Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing.

Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.

For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers to his family. His water supply contains so much methane that the gas in water flowing from a pipe connected to the well can be ignited.

“I just can’t believe that an agency that knows the truth about something like that, or has evidence like this, wouldn’t use it,” said Lipsky, who fears he will have to abandon his dream home in an upscale neighborhood of Weatherford.

The case isn’t the first in which the EPA initially linked a hydraulic fracturing operation to water contamination and then softened its position after the industry protested.

A similar dispute unfolded in west-central Wyoming in late 2011, when the EPA released an initial report that showed hydraulic fracturing could have contaminated groundwater. After industry and GOP leaders went on the attack, the agency said it had decided to do more testing. It has yet to announce a final conclusion.

Desmogblog has additional information that confirms the likelihood that the testing conclusions were accurate.

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