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In the last few days, a stream of prominent Republican leaders have stood up to defend C Street, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Virginia’s Randy Forbes. They call C Street a “safe space” in which they can be themselves without concern. But Harper’s contributing editor Jeff Sharlet returns to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to give us a fuller sense of what goes on within the guarded walls of the C Street compound. We hear more about the background of C Street warrior Todd Tiahrt, a Kansas congressman now seeking election to the Senate, and how the Family’s “spiritual counseling sessions” have helped mold Tiahrt’s political message to make it more palatable to a broader audience. In the cloistered confines of C Street, Tiahrt explains that his preoccupation with abortion stems from his demographic concerns about Muslims who are having “too many” babies, while “Americans are killing too many of their babies.” Tiahrt has since “softened” his message. On the floor of Congress, he recently talked against a backdrop of murmurs and boos about the possibility that Barack Obama’s mother would have aborted her son if she had access to federal abortion funding. At C Street, the “totalitarianism of Christ” is advocated, and Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden, and Lenin are held out as positive examples of how a politician can achieve his goals.
Jeff also surveys the dramatis personae of the still deepening C Street scandal in a piece at Salon.com, just up. But the definitive introduction to the C Street scandal remains his March 2003 article in Harper’s, “Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover among America’s secret theocrats.”
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.
Amount an auditor estimated last year that Oregon could save each year by feeding prisoners less food:
Kentucky is the saddest state.
An Italian economist was questioned on suspicion of terrorism after a fellow passenger on an American Airlines flight witnessed him writing differential equations on a pad of paper.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”