Beatitudes and commandments, meet Madison Avenue; pedophiles still peek over the event horizon of the soul in the age of GoDaddy ads.

I have as much authority as the pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.
- George Carlin

The following appears courtesy UK times Online:

“I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.

I also acknowledge with you the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people. I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.”

- Pope Benedict XVI

As an example of critical proclamations made by an endless chain of self-serving appointed apologetes sitting in the papal capacity, this little statement by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI doesn't quite stand out as a world-changer, but the crystal-clear message he sends is, at best, typical and disturbing: “we remain above any sort of insult from those outside our walls, not only because we carry a deeper message and utmost ecclesiastical importance compared to those who insult us, but because we have big time God-cred the likes of which you simpleminded, sinning little fuckers will never have.”

All this I glean from one little segment of his speech: he discusses the “...shame and humiliation all of us have suffered...”

To which I might reply, with much due disrespect: “you, sir, didn't suffer shit-all, nor did your stable of sex offenders, other than a confidence problem and a PR mess. On the other hand, I understand that sodomy performed on very young children is quite shameful and humiliating, not to mention painful, and the litany of other sex crimes perpetrated by agents of the Church, by The Church, in view of The Church, and under the protection of The Church, are likely equally shameful and humiliating to the victims. They scream, Bennie. They beg for it to stop. They kill themselves years later, knowing in that dead spot your faith leaves in their own souls God wasn't home all those days they were abused. They suffered shame and humiliation, Bennie.

As for you? I say you and your flock live in a pretty fucked up place in your heads to take this so lightly.”

And, I'll throw in for good measure: “by the way, nice job, Bennie, doing all you are doing to correct this.”

Yeah, right. Burying the issue in the term “homosexuality” – even when the victims are eleven year old girls – was brilliant on-point marketing, since the faith's followers hear the word “fag” and run screaming from the horrors of another droll, daily reality and tithe harder than ever to stamp out the scourge. Relocation of priests has always been a good measure as well, since we all know a change in scenery can instantly heal sexual predators of their sick perversion, and really; how can priests gain access to young children when they've burned through the supply or trusting parents at home?

I intentionally overlook the numbers and the environmental factors behind this lunacy-couched-in-divinity – facts and figures about the deeper issues vary, but it would be a fair argument to state the percentage of sexual offenders in the population of the church's priesthood is at the very least equal to the percentage of same in the general population of the unwashed heathens they look down upon. And also a there is the obvious statement that not all Catholic priests are scumbag sex offenders, but an unsurprising number of scumbag sex offenders are Catholic priests.

Looking at this environmentally depends upon where you look from. At one instance of the negative view: a frail man, afflicted with the horrors that are this life, seeking the succor and solace of scriptures and theological study, the life of a committed holy man. Relieve him by dictum of the burden of all sexual contact. Statistically you will create – no matter how you try not to – a sexually frustrated and potentially dangerous man every now and again, as we've already discussed that these men exist in all walks of life. Another view: priests are just a bunch of screwed up men lacking a natural ability to cope with reality, out looking for answers. Note: men generally need to fuck things, because they are supposed to by design. Plug them into the dysfunctional, male-dominant culture based upon the pious and rigorous worship of a nasty-tempered, imaginary deity, and you breed some men who want to fuck all the wrong things, which is made wrong-er by the fact these are supposed to be holy people, which proves nothing is really holy, and we digress ad infinitum.

Insert your view here. It really doesn't matter for the sake of this article. Bennie simply makes clear a fact which seems to be gaining press of late simply by dint of it's putrid nature – everyone hates child abusers – and agelessness: I find Sinead O'Connor about as interesting as a bag of week-old groceries as an artist, but in the end she really became famous for publicly accusing The Church of sexual abuse in her home country. Eighteen. Years. Ago. Issue didn't pop up yesterday, now did it? It's been at the very least a side joke since I was a kid, and I am a lot closer to fifty than forty. How long before that, we all might wonder?

And it sure as hell isn't getting any better. Bennie, the current man on the street in papal regalia, has thrown down not an apology, but a nastygram to his followers: “Pray. Fuck you, but pray. Not just for you. For us. When you pray, you talk to The Man, and that means you aren't talking to or about us, which is good because we can't deflect this shit, as usual. You matter, sure, because you make us wealthy and powerful. But never forget: we matter more.”

Apology is not apostasy, but something had to be said, and who expected His Holiness to come out swinging the ax at the necks of the guilty? “Guilty as sin” isn't a non-sectarian pejorative statement, it's an axiom this time. When God is riding pillion on your fame, rather then the inverse, healing the worst possible wounds is just a well-run ad campaign away.

Hey, read any good books lately?

O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
- Psalm 109

In so many ways, atheists have it made. The above passage is a perfect example of this; a psalm, set upon the fears of man seeking the countenance of a protector in a time when enemies loom near. Atheists, not caring much at all about psalms, usually just say “fuck off, dude” and either start a fight or walk away.

The congregation of the Dove World Outreach Center must be very familiar with this psalm lately, but even if not girded by the bright and shiny augury of it's power and connection to the very lord almighty himself, they have decided to take a stance against their enemy and teach the world a powerful lesson. In a statement issued their web site, They are going to publicly burn the Koran in an effort to “raise awareness and warn.”

The website spews plenty more dogmatic lunacy amid the typically vomit-inducing self righteous masturbation found in a fringe church's mission statements, claiming “We are using this act to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful,” and my favorite: “To warn of danger and harm is a loving act. God is love and truth. If you know the truth it can set you free. The world is in bondage to the massive grip of the lies of Islam.”

And my favorite: “We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

In so many words: “my crazy-ass God and religion is better than your crazy-ass God and religion, so nyah nyah nyah.”

Skipping gaily along with, rather than tripping over, this putrid fear-based pride is the least sin these cheese-headed wingnuts are executing here in such grand Westboro Baptist fashion. They are at the very least luridly simmering in an oily pool of hypocrisy designed and reserved throughout eons of history to be suffered only by the finest, crudest ilk of religious zealot; a creature far more foul and terrifying than any racists, a murderers, or politicians portrayed as the pinnacle if evil these days.

This fear- and gospel-fueled bitch-slap of a lesser religious caste of heathens, disbelievers, and blasphemers represents a star example of the very thing it seeks to stamp out, of course. It's not a new battle, and when you fight the good fight to stake claim in a particular brand of Jesus, sometimes you have to summon the best fucked-up elliptical logic you can in order to win: Dove World Outreach is stating: “we hate your hate, but we don't hate you. Meanwhile, we'll spew our hate and fight your hate with our hate and when we win and destroy all your hate you will come over to our side and you shall love our hate, as it is the one true hate, in Jesus' name, Amen. Oh, or maybe you'll just have to burn in hell for all eternity, fucker. Your call.”

Islam is the world's second major religion by participant, and most people don't pay a lot of attention to the details. There are Sunni and Shia and a lot of other bracts and offshoots and odd variants, though I suspect fewer than Christianity, which claims African Independent Churches (AICs), the Aglipayan Church, Amish, Anglicans, Armenian Apostolic, Assemblies of God; Baptists, Calvary Chapel, Catholics, Christadelphians, Christian Science, the Community of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormons"), Coptic Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches, Ethiopian Orthodox, Evangelicals, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutherans,Methodists, Monophysites, Nestorians, the New Apostolic Church, Pentecostals, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, Seventh-Day Adventists, Shakers, Stone-Campbell churches (Disciples of Christ; Churches of Christ; the "Christian Church and Churches of Christ"; the International Church of Christ); Uniate churches, United Church of Christ/Congregationalists, the Unity Church, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Vineyard churches, and about a zillion others too vague, specialized, and eventually too bizarre to mention.

Under the coverlet of each of these Christian subsets are worried little strays and wildcards: Westboro Baptist, not entirely embraced by those of Baptist faith but Baptists nonetheless, is a good example, as are these pinheads at the Dove World Outreach Center. Not a big bunch of people, comparatively, and when you look at it closely they aren't any bigger, say, than the Taliban; their equally crazy nemesis, buried in their own blanket of “Islam” and a large dose of ignorance, making them all liars, thieves, hooligans to the likes of post 911 God-fearing crazy people.

And yet those hooligans, the Little Sect of Islam That Could, flew a couple airplanes into buildings in New York a while ago, proving once again that not all pious extremist religious assholes aren't terrorists, but it seems more and more that most terrorists are pious extremist religious assholes.

Small batch religion is scary shit, but it's just a small batch, so we really don't have a standoff the magnitude of, say the cold war, with Russia and America. The two biggest players in the global game just peered at each other from the camera portals of U2 aircraft at 70,000 feet and the windows of glittering silver Bear bombers with their big red stars like mesmerizing wounds in the side of the fuselage, lumbering past the DEW line to get chased around by F-15's two or three times a week, nuclear bombs standing by.

God's great UFC broadcast, the battle of the one true religion, the teaching of the truth, is a small sideshow this time. In practice, it portrays a David Vs. Goliath stance, this happy book burning party they've planned in Florida. Same outcome is likely too: the Little Church That Could Hate will burn many copies of The Koran, an affront to every Muslim on the planet, then stand back with their arms folded, surveying their fine work, and say “we did this for love.” Muslims on the whole, one can be certain, will view this act with a less-than-cheery sensibilities, with likely reactions varying from protests featuring their favorite “death to the American Satan!” to Bible burning parties, to “yeah, that was pretty stupid that whole Koran burning thing,” and only one result will come of it, the same that always has and always will:

Proof, yet again, that when religions perform their logic and spiritual alchemy and turn love into hate, it is the synergistic creation and re-creation of hate itself, and though both sides claim victory, in the end all we get is a lot more hate, and everyone loses.

And it's always started over a book.

Home is where the heart is: this is also where bankers can easily find you and cut your heart out.

I bought a house on a one-way dead-end road. I don't know how I got there.
- Steven Wright

The changes in the lives of us in my household, starting August, 2006, have been incredible and expensive: we bought a house; my son was diagnosed with Autism; the banking industry gave a frightful public display that Gordon Gecko wasn't completely correct and greed really isn't that good; I was working for a bank so I got laid off and went unemployed for 4 months, eating all our savings; I got a job finally which rewarded me a 30% pay cut. And here we are.

When you're at the end of your rope, or your last dollar, something's gotta give, they say. So what gave? The mortgage payment. Sorry you silly, greedy bankers. My son is worth a hundred of you sleazy fuckers, and you got a bailout. We didn't.

We retained a real estate specialist who no longer sells real estate – he and his wife now specialize in steering homeowners like my wife and I through this insane process of ridding ones' self of a mortgage and a home. Note that ridding one's self of a mortgage comes with an unfortunate side effect or two: you can't keep your house of course, your credit is destroyed for 3 to 10 years, and everyone thinks you're a loser.

This, gentle reader, is the joy of modern home ownership, the last remnants of the American Dream. I have already blogged up a shitstorm of cheery, long-winded depictions of the developers, realtors, builders, mortgage brokers, lawyers, and bankers who gleefully explained what a great time it was to buy a house, mortgage rates are lower then ever, you won't take a hit in Charlotte, North Carolina because there was never a bubble here! Buy! News flash: we fell for that bullshit and here we are. On to the latest updates, because the gears are turning a little faster these days.

We submitted the paperwork (5 times – you cannot accuse mortgage service companies of intelligence) to obtain a “HAMP“ loan - that's the "Obama modification" that has turned out to be a complete failure, as it makes everyone happy but homeowners. Beware presidents bearing good financial news.

We didn't qualify because I make too much money. Never mind my son's needs.

Now we are amid the fun and games of step two - the "in house modification" loan. This means the following: the bank looks at its need for profits, and since I can qualify for the loan they take the full principal, add in the legal and late fees from the foreclosure process (and, oddly, they add missed payments above and beyond the principal - how is this legal?), then they reduce the interest to about 4% and stretch it all out to 40 years.

Let's talk numbers: my $260,000 mortgage balance will now have a principal balance of $290,000 - $300,000, and it will be paid off when I am 87 years old, should I live that long. By the way, the house is currently – and optimistically – estimated to be worth about $195,000 to $205,000.

How does this help? Ah, sorry. It doesn't help *me*, it helps *the bank*. I forgot. Fuck me. They're the ones who need the bail out. Trickle down, all that.

So we will refuse their offer, and then it's the last two steps. Step three: short sale. The realtor we hired to help us through all this fun will list the house for 90 days at about $225,000. If an offer comes in (unlikely; there are 5 other homes currently listed for short sale in my neighborhood alone) we update the mortgage service company, who can accept or decline. I hear they almost always accept, because at that point it's their best bet. Remember: they cannot reduce my principal, that would mean a loss, but they can accept a short sale, because...that would mean an identical loss with a new buyer. It's the new math. I must be old math.

And if there is no offer, and the short sale fails, we go to step four: the Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. This should happen about some time in December, and it can be tricky. The banks first openly attack with a foreclosure bill for about $30,00 to $50,000 for "fees, past due payments, and services", which we decline and make a counteroffer of $0 and the deed to the property in return. It costs the bank a lot of money to make a foreclosure happen, so negotiations ensue. Eventually an agreement is reached, and we surrender any claim to the deed to the house, then we scamper off and become renters. Hopefully, we scamper away with only a small fee to pay.

Meanwhile, my credit takes a hit, but that hit does not say "foreclosure", it says “deed in lieu of foreclosure”, so it hurts less. This can matter a great deal later on.

Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, those trustworthy organizations which approve mortgage loans for homeowners, did not die as they could have when the ax fell on this country's mortgage business. They live on, and despite the fact they are intellectually and ethically the least able to be empowered with the task of underwriting loans, they still do just that, as it is evidently necessary for the fox to run the hen house in this whole sloppy business.

If you have a foreclosure on your credit report, these organizations essentially blacklist you. There's no rulebook I can find, and the math they use to do it is every bit as arcane and idiotic as the math these scumbags used to get us here in the first place. Suffice it to say it could be two to five years post-foreclosure before one can buy a house again, and it could be as many as ten. Credit scores, size of down payment, all that factors in, of course.

Outcome: we will rent for a long time.

Lately, there are organizations and services out there which claim you can get your house from the banks for “free”. Seems there are huge gaps in the paperwork filing and chain of information processes for mortgages, and if the banks involved make a major enough mistake in the paperwork a judge can rule the home was never sold on a properly executed contract, and award the entire house to the buyer.

A “forensic loan audit” can uncover these things, and the number of firms (mostly realtors with little left to do but fleece their customers in a new, more inventive way than before) performing this service seems to double every day. Problem is, this process is not only uncertain, it is invariably expensive: up to $5,000 or more up front, and this includes a down side: if no issues are discovered you must pay the five grand AND possibly continue to suffer your way through a foreclosure. I investigated these guys a bit, and as it always sounded too good to be true, it took no time at all to find evidence that it is just that. Google it. It's an amazingly slick way to get fucked over.

Here we are, entering the fifth month of negotiation, filling out the same forms over and over again, talking to a mortgage servicing company who is as interested in helping us as they are in lighting themselves afire; unless, of course, there is a profit in there somewhere.

There is no heart in the housing market any longer: there are those who bought before the ax fell, and those who bought after. We bought after. So did a few million others, convinced as we were that this little burp would pass, that it might take a year but those housing prices would stabilize, because hey: they always did, right?

Among a host of other painful problems experienced by common, everyday people, the business of building, selling, and funding homes remains mired in the same murk it has been for the better part of four years now. That does not stop the gears from turning, however: they turn just as they always did, with not but a hint of desperation in the threatening grinding and squealing sounds the fantastically mindless mortgage banking machine makes these days.

Turn on your television and wait – soon enough you will find a commercial from the National Organization of Realtors. An attractive, stern-looking yet smiling woman walks sanguinely in front of a big salt box house, white with black shutters, the iconic picket fence surely present behind her. Confident, she smiles as she walks. She seems serene. Then she says it:

“There has never been a better time to buy a house.”

This very commercial was on the air in 2006, when we took the keys for our home. It was on the air the following year, when the market had already been trough a small uptick, but prices were already dropping and the news was getting worse and worse. It was probably on the air at one point or another as Cramer was on CNBC making his wildly bizarre claims that everything was just fine, just fine, Lehman can't fail, it's just too big.

And it was on the air just last night. There has never been a better time to buy a house, we hear. It has to be true, or the developers, the builders, the bankers, the realtors wouldn't say it, would they?

Never a better time to buy a home. Like the time in the near future when I hand my keys over to someone and walk away from this place. Two years from now when the yard is all but weeds three feet high, and the windows are glazed over with the patina of dust that somehow makes abandoned homes look so old and tired – there is a house right next door to this one that looks that way already. Another right down the street. Mine will join them.

Never a better time to buy a home. Interest rates are low and these places are going cheap...but they cannot go cheap to the people currently occupying them for whatever ludicrous, byzantine reason. Better for the banks to lose twice than not at all, I suppose; all the better to secure a way to demand another bailout.

Never a better time to buy a home.

Thanks. I'll remember that.

Money over love: BP shows its hand, finally.

With this quote from the New York Times earlier today, the case is made for the fully-sponsored failure (or to insiders, victory) of the current administration: “A technician with knowledge of the operation said that it was unlikely that the well would be left shut beyond the test period, given the risk that the pressure could eventually cause problems within the well and given that with the new cap BP should soon be able to collect all the oil.”

“Tarball Brown” is the new green, unless you're talking about BP and the US government's obvious motives, and even then it's still cash-green.

Ever since these greedy fuckers started painting everything in the gulf brown, there has been speculation that the Obama administration was playing “hands off” with BP for two very good reasons: first; oil money elects and protects American politicians, and second; you can't blow up the well to seal it because if you do you can't get the oil.

Fuck the fishermen.
Fuck the whales.
Fuck the beaches, the dolphins, the hotels, the entire Gulf. We don't need the Gulf. We need oil, and the president, house of representatives, judges and the whole reeking prostitution ring that is Washington need the money it generates to remain in power.

Besides, it's just a little oil. Rush Limbaugh said so.

Better, you see, to keep devastating the gulf day after day, month after month, to look for a way to get the oil out later than to shut if off fast and lose the financial opportunity.

That cute little $20 billion wrist-slap the administration levied upon BP is a pathetic trifle compared to the wealth they will gain in the end, and it'll be a trifle compared to what damage they have done.

No matter. We all know the history books will reflect the same punitive pussy-footing that was executed upon Exxon after their issue in Prince William Sound. The damage will be re-written to resemble tiny little specks of black goop on the beaches, penalties will be rolled back, bankrupted away, and reversed in courtrooms, and just like Exxon BP will waltz gracefully back into the riches befitting an oil company.

Some say BP will fail over this. Nah. The board of directors is likely to be found already looking for either a way to bribe and threaten their way out of the legal mess, or more simply a corporate restructure and a new name with another pretty green logo. Either way, they will be seeking a way to profit from this little splash of oil in the gulf, the better to protect their futures and the riches which remain safely – and still obtainable – below the seabed.

And in whatever guise they present themselves after the last turtle dies on the beach, you will find the costars of the show – Obama, Palin, Barton – down on their knees in front of those directors, mouths open, hands outstretched, practicing what politicians do best: campaign fellatio. Deep-throating their way into power, the hottest porn stars in the kingdom gyrating under the lights with grim faces and willing minds, grotesquely uncaring that we are watching them do it.

And we, while watching, voting for them because there is no one better to vote for. Apparently we like the show.

So there's this whole job thing for me.

Given my posts about my financial conditions, impending foreclosure, and malaise regarding my current employment status, I suspect many perceive me as a dour and dark individual, staring without much care into space and at blank white walls in a dismal funk.

Not so! I am usually a happy person, and have a surprisingly upbeat outlook despite the circumstances.

Today I have yet more reason to be upbeat: I am leaving, in about 10 minutes, for a job interview. Same stuff I have always done, but for $25 an hour more than I am booking right now.

That's a lotta dough.

Hopefully I will have an even happier post soon.

STC =^oo^=

The world's oldest profession is an oily one these days.

Not hard to find something to rant about, and this one does go on a bit.

TL;DR - 1.) Suck dick. 2.) Get elected, 3.) ??? 4.) Others profit!

Depending upon who you listen to, some 25,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day are discharging energetically into the Gulf of Mexico from a failed wellhead five thousand feet under the surface. Images emerge: oil covered animals; fishermen frittering their time idly by silent boats; workers trudging through ankle-high muck raking up the oil on the beaches but too afraid to speak to news crews for fear of losing what little income they can gather from BP; and Tony Hayward behaving like a snotty petulant child, touring the beaches with snide grimness and bitching about how difficult his otherwise fabulous life has become. That is, until the board at BP realized he was a less-than-agile spokesman for this event and sent him packing to his yacht club for healing rest.

This we will tolerate, because we have to. At the expense of sounding completely wrong, I will say it again. We have to.

Joe Barton's simpering and smarmy apology to BP was a loud and terrifying ribbon placed on the gift we'll soon give BP, which will be – despite President Obama's claim that BP will “pay for it” – a free pass to keep drilling for oil which they can then sell to Americans who cannot find the means to stop needing it.

This is not an indictment of BP: they are doing what we beg them to, after all. We beg them to because they pay some of us to beg them, hence Senator Barton's obsequious and disgusting apology, a putrid pat on the back that needed saying in order to allow that fetid industry to understand it may continue to ride roughshod over every square inch of land they defile in order to get more oil into America-bound tankers. BP is not “permitted” to do these things. Rather, it is demanded of them. This demand will be fettered with rewards if they can simply bring this fiasco under control and begin collection the remaining oil, rather than allowing it to flow onto beaches in Louisiana, where it is evidently wasted. The twenty million dollar escrow account they were “forced” to set up is likely the end of it. A gentle little slap on the wrist it is, too: there's how much oil in that goddamn hole? Certainly more than twenty billion dollars' worth, I don't know. Ask Joe Barton.

This is not an indictment of the entire oil industry either, for they just haven't sinned like this in front of a crowd that is so interconnected by media. All do the same thing the same way, all over the world, anywhere they can negotiate, subjugate, or in extreme cases invent a war and fight, their way into. The need is far greater than the value of foreign and domestic lives. Congressmen, senators, presidents, irrespective of party affiliation, have long suckled upon the same teat of campaign finance and ascent to power, fueled not by idealism but the shiny thing at the end of that rainbow sheen of oil glistening on the surface of the water and twinkling in the sunlight: a pot of full of sickening power wrought of the rape of the planet.

This is not an indictment of a single political system, party, or ideal. Politics is nothing more than money and power. Money knows no boundaries, has no affection for a particular idea or force, cannot sense the difference between good and evil. It's a stack of wrinkled currency, bank notes stamped with care and precision and thrown about by the average American at the rate of, they say, $59 a day, not including rent, mortgages, car payments; that's spending money. Power has no face, no color, no personality, it is simply another bright object feverishly sought by otherwise normal, average, weak minded fools like anyone else, a means to engage inner senses that otherwise would feel unfulfilled. Politics is the extreme sport of being an average human. The practice is a closed system which create addicts with no purpose other than creating and enjoying that monied, powerful space for it's own sake.

If this is an indictment then, there must be a root cause. Industries, politics, greed, power, damage; these are symptoms. Symptoms are not available to a vacuum, they require a host.

Humans are that host, and the particular humans in the case of the unimaginable idiocy in the Gulf of Mexico (amid a host of other evils) sit in one small region of the planet, an otherwise uninteresting place were it not for the concentration of human excreta which have been elected, appointed, and installed into their seats of power; never mind the business, and never mind the partisanship. It's the people, and the guilty ones – every single one of them, no matter how beloved – are the politicians of the United States of America.

Starting from the top.

I voted for Barack Obama with a sense of hopefulness amid the dread that he was, like the previous 43 presidents before him, just another marionette wired to the will of the industries he exchanged our futures away to. On his knees, penitent and needy before the special interests and industries and businesses and corporations, he vowed to preserve their futures above and beyond the future of me and my family. Like a well-toned and erudite gigolo he negotiated for their dollars with promises to promote their agendas, and sold you and I and everyone we love into the slavery only a corrupt and vile abuser of power can create, support, and maintain.

I am aware that Barack Obama did not cause the failure of the blowout preventer and cause oil to stream at unimaginable velocity into the gulf. But as we make examples of Tony Hayward, we make such examples here: it happened on his watch, and I cannot imagine his discomfort at being required to sit dumbly and dour with his thumb up his ass, unable to do anything at all for fear of the industrial machine that will surely gobble him up if he bitches too loudly, and eventually cut off the flow of power.

It must be noted, and I suspect this is patently obvious, that this has happened before. George W. Bush. William Clinton. George H.W. Bush. Ronald Reagan. Jimmy Carter. Gerald Ford. Richard Nixon. The litany stretches back the the beginning days, the “founding fathers”, and does not stop there, mind you. Politics graced the walls of the cave paintings of primitive man.

It must also be noted that these people, US presidents all, are from all walks of life, represent every political party of a certain belief , and are not condemnable for being a “republican” or a “democrat”; only for being a politician, and the boss of the barn. Impossible to imagine George W. Bush responsible for anything at all, given the fecund stupidity of the man. These elite political prostitutes serve as madam in a house filled with disgusting and disdainful also-rans who's main agenda is to further their power and wealth by undermining each other by any grotesque means available to them, all on the payroll of whatever company can afford their services.

In the end, I will assert it should not be hard to revile a beloved president. And I will also assert this one has finally, completely, won my revulsion.

Sifting our way through the house of representatives, the senate floor, the supreme court, the state and local officials who occupy the incubation space of this perverse and dysfunctional political world, we find the major stars and bit-part role players who are simply lining up with their hands out, poised prostrate before the men and women wielding the checkbooks attached to industries that pervert and decimate our world and remove our chances for real security, welfare, and liberty.

In November of 2008, pressing a finger to a screen with a smile on my face and a glint of adoration in my eyes, I cast my vote for a shot at the latest batch of these monstrous pigs. In casting my final vote for another slick and well tuned pet of major industry, I helped elect another president, forgetting that the one who did not get elected was every bit as vile and horrifying, just attached to another set of values similar to this one, but worded in a different way to curry favor with the other guys.

Everyone who pressed the buttons are in my shoes. Nobody won, nor did anyone lose. We all simply shoved a new madam to the top floor of a brightly lit and well appointed bawdyhouse, and filled the other rooms of other overdecorated buildings with his associated painted men and women, repopulating Washington DC with fresh, greedy faces and giving purpose to insulting bumper stickers and overwrought, tearful, broadcasts from million-dollar a month newsies.

And while stories are dangled in front of us of how bad it is in every country but here, we sit in thrall before forty-seven inch screens, change the channel to see the Real Housewives of whatever shithole they're filming in this week, all in hi-def, grateful to know that at least we aren't suffering taxes and living costs as high as those poor Canadians or British or Germans, yet all the while blissfully unaware that the average American actually is, by the time they're done with the accounting and looking at what little is left. The advantage of new media for politicians is that when American Idol is on, you can't see which congressman is feltating which CEO, down on their knees with a grateful look in their eyes. We think of Joe Barton, but we can't rule out any: they all perform this service. When agenda-driven newsies pick at each other's eyes and bicker and belittle each other's woes, we lose sight that the point they argue is in fact inarguable and irrelevant, but it's vastly entertaining. Those foolish enough to join a side can have something to feel proud of, even if it's only something to laugh about at the office.

Thus kept in a tight little shell like a snail, we scurry to work and Starbucks and to drop little Susie off at school, aware there is something terribly wrong, told by our trusted news sources that it's “those other guys” to blame, and forever failing to recognize that the bad guys are, in the end, include our good guys.

This is not a future. It is a failure, a crime, a travesty. It is also likely to be unavoidable. Pelicans laying dead in puddles of oil are a symptom: not the beginning of the disease, but the latest clues in a long line of evidence that is glossed over and reworded and blamed on a prissy British fuckhead who attended the University of Edinburgh and couldn't have cared less if the Deepwater Horizon was an oil platform littered with eleven dead bodies or a casino in Monaco, so long as it paid his fucking bills, because let's face it: paying off every major politician in America for their “services' in order to maintain the flow of oil is spendy stuff, and there are polo events to watch.

And although a good presidential, senatorial or congressional blowjob can be had in DC for comparatively cheap – say, twenty billion dollars – there's just so many of them to work with.

Barton's a fink? Who isn't?

I have been agonizing over the idea of blogging my worries away to free up some overused anxiety and aggravation toward some of the things I have been reading lately, but I already have a job. Like a real news writer for AP said, as a blogger, I need to get out of my pajamas. I've never called Rand Paul and asked him “gee, Rand: why are you so fucking crazy?” I simply read about him and rendered an opinion. Pretty easy: leave the work to the journalists and all I have to do is ride their words to obtain my own catharsis.

So, thanks news people.

Now: being in this position leaves me with a certain freedom to focus – or not focus – on certain things that are happening. I have said plenty of snide, snippy things about oil spills and executives, banking and bankers, and nothing makes me feel better than to point out whatever latest imbecilic up-fuckery uttered by Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Joe Wilson, Michelle Bachmann, or whatever other Pubfucker out there making their bizarre screeching noises like chicks waiting for their mamma to barf up a tasty worm.

It strikes me there are a lot of them screeching away just now, but everyone should have known it was coming. I can't find it but I read an article well before Bambam the Great was elected that asserted “you just watch: militias, gun nuts, redneck crazies will come out of the wood works the moment they announce his presidency. The craziest crazies are Republicans, and nothing brings them to a head like a Democratic government.”

Indeed, I suspect when Bambam's term is done it will seem like four or eight years of endless tailgating at a Nascar race. Living in Charlotte, North Carolina, I have seen these events up close and personal. Ain't a lot of Obama bumper stickers on them motor homes, I tell you what.

I might state that I am enjoying this flurry of insanity: nothing helps the Democratic party look better than the Republican party right now. The Tea Party, suddenly in hiding since the oil started washing ashore, still have their candidates out there saying things, and I have enjoyed watching Rand and Sharon state publicly some of the most unpopular things stated by politicians in ages, only to be shepherded away into silence to undergo a bit of political sensitivity training. Candidates that are publicly disliked and derided by their own party make for happy Novembers for the other party.

Shame, I said at one point, about Orly Taitz. The only Teabagger out there who makes Sarah Palin look like she graduated from the fifth grade, doncha know (wink).

Like anyone who feels the need to take sides (and although I don't think there is a good side to be on save this lesser evil here on the left) I leave out the Dem's failings; not because I choose to, but because I tend to be steered away from it by the media and miss the fun. Typically when I flail around seeking someone on the Democratic side to take aim at I end of with an easy target like John Edwards or PETA (which Dems hate to realize is a progressive activist organization mostly by democrats) that spews insanity as fast as it can invent things like “sea kittens.” Dems say PETA's non-partisan; that's what pubs are wishing about Rand Paul, who is scaring them by leaning away from his Libertarianism and into Republicanland.

It's a big, messy soup of money-grubbing liars of the worst magnitude. When Joe Wilson yelled “you lie” at Obama during his healthcare speech last year it was quickly shown that Obama wasn't lying about the healthcare thing per se. What the hell, though: he's lying about something, you can bet. So is Joe Wilson. Which brings me to my latest thought about the bizarre and hysterical utterances spewed clumsily by one Joe Barton. Here's the meat and potatoes:

"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown."

This to Tony Hayward of BP, a man who most people wouldn't piss on if he was on fire, including Republicans like Bobby Jindal, who himself has failed to eloquently state what he was paid to say on many occasions. No, this statement came from Texas Republican Barton, certainly not a man who has benefited from BP's presence off his state's shores. Certainly not. Whatever.

The public and political response as swift and entertaining. Even John Boehner, a man who, steeled by millions of healthcare campaign dollars, stated his love of this perfect American healthcare system in one embarrassingly whorish speech, distanced himself from Barton like he had cooties.

And why not? Politicians have been playing this game for centuries. Opportunism played a role in Ceasar's line “et tu, brute?” and it plays a role in every erudite or idiotic statement made by any politician ever. “Yes we can” was a great coattail to ride on, remember, and “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” is a long but lovely bit of phrase which Teabaggers are unaware they misuse, can barely recite, but love to misspell on their signs as they head out to their over-funded and under-attended rallies. “You lie” had a short run on both sides too, but eventually most people decided it was just rude.

Historically, I'd assert, this latest dipshittery from Joe Barton is not a big deal, just the most recent slap in the face (to me) and kiss on the ass (to Hayward) from another industry soldier/hooker. It is to be expected that somewhere, some politician would be given “the call” to send a message to that fucking rude pedantic greedy asshole CEO Tony Hayward that he's okay, we have his back, no worries. Obama hasn't been able to since he's been instructed to “get angry”, which shouldn't be an instruction at all. It should have just happened. Joe got the job.

I have heard Michelle Bachmann say some amazingly stupid things, but she's oddly stupid-proof – not the most loved Pub there is, but she's a great shill for the party, not because she's well spoken and intelligent, but because she sounds fucking crazy and makes the rest of the party look sane. “Carbon dioxide,” she stated grimly, “is portrayed as harmful, but there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” Now, who was she pandering to there, I wonder?

It might have been a shocking tableaux, but it would have been oddly fitting to find Joe Barton giving Tony Hayward a blowjob and a hug to ease his tensions and make him feel appreciated. This happens, in one fashion or another, right? Was Barton just playing his role as paid to do by Tony, or perhaps the role his party needs him to play? Was he possibly being noble?

Nah. Barton just fell on his sword for the oil industry, as he was paid to do by someone, and it will be forgotten. These are common events, just flesh wounds, not typically fatal, and the act always includes a rubbery, simply-worded way out. This from Politico:

“I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP,” Barton said. “As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident.”

See? It's all better, and besides, they need the space for the next act. Sharron Angle is warming up.

- Politico
- CBS News

Hold on there, Holder.

And this is what they meant when they said “too big to fail.”

Eric Holder, Attorney General and overall optimist stated at one point or another his intentions to go after the banking industry; repeating from a WaPo article he said the DOJ would Investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate them bad, bad bankers. Grr, Tim.

And why not? The results, the public is led to believe, of banker's actions over the last decade or so has been linked on more than one occasion to the current financial crisis, so much one might think DOJ could go after them for reckless endagerment at the very least. Open, shut.

Nope. Can't. Why? "...In part because they would essentially criminalize an entire business model in the financial industry."

Turns out DOJ also feels all-the-sudden-like the banks didn't do anything wrong, meaning illegal. According to former official Tim Coleman “this was a case, in general, of people making business judgments and taking risks and having them go badly. That's not criminal misconduct."

And all the talk about illegal activity, there were executives who know what was happening and taking no action or planning to capitalize form it? Nah. Didn't happen.

Too big to fail has a new meaning: too big to attack later. It's as if these massive organizations have become completely invisible. Can't fight what you can't (or fail) fail to see, huh Mr. Holder?

Source: WaPo

For God's Sake: Benny Rides the Line.

By “Benny,” I mean a man among my least favorite people in the world: The Pontiff Himself of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI.

And my “rides the line” I mean he stays the course he's stayed with from the start with this whole child abuse among the clergy thing: it's a sin.

Sorry God, please forgive us. Oh, and you people, sorry to you too, we sinned. AP reported that The Pontiff puked up another dose of sin-calling without a lot of substance behind it, which is – if not surprising – getting tiring.

I might state first:

- It is completely digestible and believable to read some reports that the incidence of child molestation and abuse among Catholic Priests is roughly equivalent to the secular world: they are people, after all, and the percentage reflects that fact with clear symmetry.

- It is also completely understandable, I might add predictable, that Benny says what he says about it: he's the Pope, for fuck's sake, and that means he's not just on the hook for his obligatory response to the world in regards to this mess, but he's responsible for a mitigating it – thus he's going to say it how he must. George Bush said “Mission Accomplished” not because the mission was accomplished, but because in the face of poll numbers headed for single digits he had to say something positive about that bloody fiasco. Bill Clinton said “I did not have sex with that woman” because, let's face it, even though we all knew he did it, the idea was repulsive. You Gotta say what the job requires in the spirit of the (job's) greater good , no matter what it is, and screw the rest of you.

Having said that: It is completely degrading to the world as a fitting place where humans reside for Benny to preclude the mention of the illegal traits and aspects of this sickening mess. Never mind the age of consent in Vatican City at the ripe old and experienced age of 12, which is foul enough. Never mind the clever special circumstances where a “dependency” relationship exists between an adult and a 15 year old makes sex a legal “go”.

Fine. Lets also never mind the Pope. I know he's the Grand Doo Doo, but he's not the one who did it, he's just the one blubbering this inane defense about sin in the absence of law. How it is that a common citizen of most countries can be hunted down like a foul animal (excluding Roman Polanski, who keeps scoring a creative bye, for the moment) yet priests tap dance away like the angels they aren't?

So I don't want to hear anything he has to say about it. I don't want to hear that snide, pedantic, asswipe CEO of BP spew any more of his asinine, regurgitative stupidity; in the same vein I do not want to hear the Pope talk about this. I want to hear the priests. The accused. They are the ones who need to answer, not their boss.

And I want to hear the judges as the verdicts are read. The issue of sin is irrelevant. The issue is about crime, and we simply can't call this anything else.

25 percent? Really?

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
- John Quincy Adams


I am Heartbroken.

These midterms, they get under your skin, with all that cheesy low-level squabbling between candidates that's far more redolent of high school hazing than what one gets with a presidential election cycle. And between that bizarre noise made by conservative media that “women are breaking new ground in these elections” (which completely overlooks ground broken by Liberal women for decades), and the inclusion of some damned scary candidates out there, one particular bit of news rocked me to my core.

Orly lost.

You know: Orly Taitz - the Israeli transplant who, to this day, fails to recognize the fact Barack Obama is the president of the United States despite her claims he's Nigerian-born and unfit to run - was a campaign possible for secretary of State for California. She garnered 372,490 votes, not quite enough to knock her opponent Damon Dunn off the ballot with his 1,075,337 votes, but it still begs a question of elephantine importance: there are really three hundred and seventy-odd thousand Californians who voted for her? Holy shit, California is scary.

Meanwhile, I am devastated – in much the same way I feel Sarah Palin is a ticket killer the moment she ever runs for anything including tryouts for a local school play, Orly was another ticket killer, certain to bring the state's republican purview to it's knees despite her claim she would make certain all elected officials were legally viable candidates...just like what she did with Obama. Or not.

Sad, but at least now she can get back to what she does best: incurring fines for dropping off profoundly imbecilic legal filings in courtrooms everywhere.

"United we stand, divided we fall." So much for THAT motto.

Preface: In keeping with a good friend's resolution to begin using retaliatory argot as a means to respond to conservative media, I have decided I shall join him. Hence, I shall refer to republicans as “lambs”. Given the right's attachment to religion, “sheeple” isn't quite the word I want. My atheist father used to quote an old saying his Southern Baptist father taught him: “I am Jesus' little lamb, yes, by Jesus Christ I am.” Lambs. Never mind the “led to slaughter” reference – that's a given.

I have decided to read everything I can about The Bluegrass State's latest political oddity, Rand Paul.

Not just another wingnut; he appears to be The Wingnut, latest in a long line of candidates for Bizarre Voice of the Right that we've all been waiting for. By “we” I mean dems and pubs alike, for no political agenda can exist without sides, and there are an awful lot of goddamn sides to the GOP lately.

Rand Paul seems to be a good replacement for The Oily One, Sarah Palin, for the position of Divider. The Republican party has been trampled like a ant's nest by divisiveness lately, and seems diligent enough in it's efforts to pull the covers over it's fringes, especially given the outbreak of the teabagger movement's predisposition to carry their message in particularly idiotic fashion. Besides, every time The Oily One opens her mouth something peculiar comes out of it which causes “her” party to shake it's head like a parent observing a wayward child. The nasal babble she produces sells books, though.

Rand Paul seemed at first to be a classic clown in this very mold. His hysterically sputtering debut with Rachel Maddow didn't likely earn him big points with the GOP, where it's best to hate black, gay, atheist, or educated people in private, all the better to look tolerant. His reaction to that fiasco lately, to whack his whole staff and begin to remold himself, is possibly too little too late...but then again, I wonder.

This guy has something Sarah Palin lacks. He has something a lot of politicians – thinly veiled criminals all, in my book – are missing.

I suspect he has true resolve.

That's what I said about Bambam when he was campaigning and it still looked like Hillary was going to trounce him: “this Obama guy has resolve.” A true believer. One without lack of conviction. General confidence in things.

Rand Paul is unknown to me: he may be a hillbilly nitwit, perhaps educated no further than the third grade, or maybe psychotically deranged; but if any of these is true it is possibly equally irrelevant. Had The Oily One been more cautious about her relentlessly insipid palaver she'd be more widely considered a keeper by the lambs, sure, but were she in possession of actual resolution and focus she could say “drill, baby, drill” and tap dance gaily away without it becoming that tiring but highly functional buzzword for her enemies. John McCain, himself a man of some resolve, barfed up a Beach Boys remix of “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” and doddered away unscathed, despite the queer dumbassedness of it all.

Rand Paul seems to have resolve in spades, I think. Not that I think that's a good thing. His comment, “I see that Christianity and values is the basis of our society” is, frankly, terrifying to behold; not just because it is patently and obviously untrue, but because it is clear he believes it completely, as if he sees the modern world through the dismal haze wrought of the smoke of Southern Presbyterian hellfire and brimstone.

While it should be remembered that men and women of resolve can do amazing things, not all amazing things are good things, and this little guy has an obviously Jesus-fueled “theonomic” (I believe I will learn to love the sickening irony of that new word) agenda which, while not the most popular, is fairly easy to for the lambs to digest, and even easier to spit violently at their opposition.

The future will be written by committee. In Texas.

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.
- Edward R. Murrow

It is troublesome to think that anyone would take what is known as historical truth – truth being a slippery word and all that, but still something which is verifiable and non-dynamic in nature as viewed from a historical context – and defy it, defile it, or just sweep it away for the sake of convenience.

Troublesome. Or flagrant imbecility.

To this point, I give you Texas. A maverick kind of place, always making a turn East when everyone else turns West, North, or South; constantly making noises about seceding from the union; a place where people tend to ignore what's written in legal terms and just shoot people who break the law; the North American death penalty theme park; a place where people, from my limited experience due to visits, are sometimes really as nice as rumor has it. That is, unless they get mad at you, and then it's a bullet to the head or lethal injection, but that's a silly digression: I have been in a Texas bar in the company of locals who bought me beer because “You're Californian? Well hell, I always wanted to learn to surf, and the waves here in the gulf ain't shit. Ever had Shiner Bock?”

That's pretty nice.

Do I have to assume, however, that they are all stupid as well? I mean, tarring the entire state with one brush is never a good idea, but I just have to wonder: who the bloody fucking hell thinks it's a good idea to rewrite history?

From the AP: “The partisan board has amended or watered down the teaching of the civil rights movement, slavery, America's relationship with the U.N. and hundreds of other items. ... They dictate how political events and figures will be taught to some 4.8 million schoolchildren in Texas and beyond for the next decade.”

The term “watered down” implied a little over-editorializing and I'll ignore that. The term “amended”, though, is a fighting word. As in amended history. Really.

Now I want to say that I understand that people want to view history in easy to digest black and white tones, or sort it out – especially in textbooks – to hit the high spots and gloss over the trivial, or seemingly trivial, stuff. During my illustrious career as a high school failure I was educated with a history book which mentioned not a single word about the Korean conflict. Nothing. Zip. Zero. WWII to Viet Nam, which was recent enough, I suspected later, to be unavoidably memorable, thus impossible to wash off. Korea was a throwaway war, and we only had 600 pages, so...

This creepy bullshit in Texas, though, isn't an attempt to abridge history: it is an attack on the truth, a rewording of well worn fact, and in the end it is clearly a goddamn Christian-based abomination for the sake of promoting an agenda.

And, moreover, it is an act of flagrant and disgusting cowardice.

I do not like to think about, say, Manzanar. Bleak and embarrassing period in the history of this country, and I like to think a lesson was learned from it, but like most kids educated in the 70's I was told Manzanar, Gila River; all the interment camps were clean, humane, safe, and humanitarian places. Later, history showed (and we were all told) they were filthy, abusive, and bloody awful, but “...not nearly as bad as the Nazi concentration camps,” and if that wasn't good enough we were all told the Japanese interred there were treated “...much better than American POW's were.”

True or false isn't the issue - lets face it: not much can be said in favor of Nazi concentration camps – but Americans need to be told Manzanar was “better” than Dachau? Was it? Was it not? Regardless, the comparison is stupid, irrelevant, and divisive: it happened, it was as bad as it was, and in the end the comparison doesn't matter.

And then, since any idiot (other than Hannity and Beck) knows better than to use the Nazi card, the “we treat our prisoners better than they treat their prisoners” argument is equally specious and stupid: we needn't compare, we should simply do the right thing or have it know, like Abu Graib, right?

Whatever, history was used during my youth as a tool to carry the government's message: America is great, America is kind, America is good, except when we're which case we are.

In hindsight, these examples are redolent of this putrid assholery in Texas to me: cowardice at it's best. Inconvenient truths (I'm not fond of Al Gore, but that phrase works well here) take explanation, and are best avoided altogether. The writings and history which is being putrefied in Texas school books and impede a movement's ability to call America a “Christian” nation (which it isn't) require explanations which the bible evidently does not easily overcome, therefore this pack of dim-witted, cowardly, and vile politico-religious fuckers opted to delete and rewrite those meddlesome snippets of history, rather than face it head on. It is the nature of the human animal, in the end, to cower in fear of that which can defeat us, to cover our eyes when there's a monster in the closet, to whistle past the graveyard.

Me, I want to think Texans in general are made of better stuff than that. Yippie-ki-yay, motherfuckers.

A ten second observation.

A quick question to Sarah Palin, BP, Tony Hayward, Bobby Jindal, Rush Limbaugh, pretty much the entire Tea Party and the vast majority of the tattered remains of the GOP:

So, how's that drilly-oily thing workin' out for ya?

Messing with the bull. Getting the horns. La di da.

Oh, Lars. What are you missing?

Lars Vilks is something of a hero to some: he's the Swedish artist that painted Mohammed's head on a dog in a political cartoon a few years back, then got threatened with death and worse from a fairly high percentage of the universe's Muslim population.

His take: that bit of political satire is free speech.

And so, having been the recipient of charming and cheerful death threats which culminated in one Coleen LaRose, “Jihad Jane, she calls herself, allegedly taking real steps to bring an untimely demise to Mr. Vilks, he decided to speak at Stockholm's Uppsala University on that vary topic: freedom of speech.

He was attacked, of course, within minutes by a few attendees, clearly upset Muslims. Security squirreled him away before real damage could be done to him, but the act has a lot of folks in an uproar: free speech, you know, is sacrosanct here in the States, and attempts to silence people's views are heavily frowned upon unless you are Fox News, in which case you get a Tea Party Magic Carpet Ride to stop people from saying pretty much anything you don't want them to.

My take? Well, what the fuck, Lars? In an interview with AP later he stated "This was the first time I've experienced a physical assault. It was a bit of a shock."

Seriously? Really?

Look – I am all for free speech despite the constant spew of racial hatred, political non-fact, and pretty much every goddamn word John Edwards or Glenn Beck have ever uttered, but here in reality land there is cause and effect: walk up to Mike Tyson and say “yo mamma's a fat hog!” and there is a good chance he's gonna clobber the shit you. Do NOT call Larry Craig or George Rekkers gay – they'll bring down the wrath of God, alongside their attorneys.

Don't say “retard” in front of Sarah Palin (unless you are being “satirical,” which means you must register Republican and abuse prescription drugs).

Actually, I take that back – by all means, DO all those things. And in that same spirit don't – DO NOT – portray Mohammed as a dog anywhere Muslims can see it. Or with a bomb for a turban. Or as a goddamn bear on a cartoon. There will be...repercussions.

This isn't about agreeing or disagreeing with Muslims, their faith, and their religious edicts about the portrayal of Mohammad as anything at all, much less a dog; nor is this actually about free speech. It's about poking someone in the eye with a stick – you want to start some shit, you'll get it started, sure enough. Question is - why do you need this particular shit, and are you ready for it, Lars?

Being me means hating religion's effects and what it does to otherwise good people. I have no quarrel with God, Mohammed, Jesus, Vishnu – I have complete disdain for the purveyors of these deities and the power they wield over their followers to do great harm despite their own human limitations.

I could give a flying fuck about Mohammed, or Jesus for that matter. But while I can snicker at the pictures and jokes which include them as targets, I wouldn't spread them around like so many mousetraps around the toes of the faithful, free speech or not, unless I wanted to start the shit. Lars may or may not have gotten what he deserved, but he got exactly what he should have expected, and they aren't done with him yet – the types of Muslims who are after his hide don't have a long history of forgiveness, and we've all seen they are sometimes adequate pilots.

One good turn...waiting for spring.

Ahh, spring cometh.  Messy posted older pics of pretty flowers - here are mine. Back in the day when I thought I would make a living as a photographer, I shot whatever I saw; usually badly, poorly lit, and even more poorly framed. Still, in the spirit of welcoming warmer days ahead, here are my scans. I think all of these were shot on slide film (Fuji Provia 50), and scanned on an old Nikon Coolscan II.

Never too late to ask for spring, huh?