Thursday, January 6, 2011

"... bought it in an auction at the Mason's Lodge"

Opie Hendrix & the Texas Tallboys show how it's done on the mandolin:

Roger Allen shows how it's done on the guitar:

The Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys show how it's done with only one microphone:

Chad Bentley shows how it's done with very low production values (this one is actually my favorite!):

Belief in Reincarnation in Sub-Saharan Africa

From the 2010 Pew study on Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa. The following are the percentages, by country, of people who answered "yes" to the question: "Do you believe in reincarnation -- that people will be born in this world again and again?"

Botswana 51%
Cameroon 43%
Chad 45%
DR Congo 38%
Djibouti 32%
Ethiopia 21%
Ghana 47%
Guinea Bissau 47%
Kenya 31%
Liberia 31%
Mali 28%
Mozambique 50%
Nigeria 37%
Rwanda 27%
Senegal 28%
South Africa 49%
Tanzania 32%
Uganda 51%
Zambia 17%

Consider this to be a follow-on to the post: A (very!) quick and dirty cross-cultural study of "supernatural" beliefs and experiences (with special attention to reincarnation).

Also, here is a handy map showing estimates for the degree to which there are "high levels of belief and practice" in African Traditional Religion in sub-Saharan Africa (reproduced from the post 200 Million African Pagans).

The "Unconstitutional" Canard

"We believe that the Constitution of the United States is the greatest charter of human liberty ever conceived by the mind of man."
[Article One, Platform of the States' Rights Democratic Party, 1948]

Prior to the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Supreme Court had repeatedly torpedoed all attempts to pass federal legislation outlawing child labor, regulating working hours, establishing a minimum wage, protecting the right of workers to form labor unions, and so forth. These were all deemed to be "unconstitutional"!

Even after FDR's election, the Supreme Court continued to strike down many provisions of the New Deal on the same grounds. Finally, Roosevelt reminded the Court that the Constitution allowed him, in theory, to appoint as many Supreme Court Justices as he pleased. At first the Justices thought he was bluffing. But as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1937 (sometimes called Roosevelt's "court packing plan") began to work its way through Congress, suddenly the nation's highest court began to change its tune. Eventually that bill failed, but so did the attempted judicial activism of right-wing Justices opposed to the New Deal.

In 1948, President Harry Truman ordered the desegregation of the US military and established the President's Committee on Civil Rights. Worse still, in the eyes of some die-hard bigots, the 1948 Democratic Convention adopted a Civil Rights plank, at which point a number of southern Democrats walked out of the Convention. These southern Democrats soon announced the formation of a new party, the first plank of whose unanimously adopted platform states proudly: "We believe that the Constitution of the United States is the greatest charter of human liberty ever conceived by the mind of man."

But the Civil Rights movement continued to make progress, all the while being opposed by those who proclaimed their undying love for the Constitution. When the University of Alabama was ordered, by a federal judge, to allow black students to enroll, then Governor George Wallace delivered his famous "school house door" speech in support of segregation, in which he used the word "Constitution" 18 times.

After delivering that speech, George Wallace stood aside to allow Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, accompanied by federal marshalls and Alabama National Guard troops, to enter Foster Auditorium and register as students.