Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And Jesus' Eyes and Ears Bled Like the Stigmata


     We'll never know from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John if Jesus prized intelligence in others or if it meant anything to him at all. My guess is that he may have appreciated it in others but still not disparage the feeble-minded just being feeble-minded. God knows we cannot all be Albert Einstein or, if you're too feeble-minded to understand even the rudiments of his Theory of Relativity and would prefer The Coneheads to trying to understand the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle or Schrödinger's cat, Dan Aykroyd.
     Yet I think even the famous patience of the son o' God would've been sorely tested were he to encounter today's right wingers and other enzyme-challenged phallus heads who operate just above or below the mental Mendoza Line. And God knows more of us need to speak out and drown out the stupid and willfully ignorant like this foul-mouthed young man, whoever he is, in Cambridge, Massachusetts who screamed for four minutes and ten seconds at a dumpling of a man who happens to work for conspiracy theorist and human sweat gland Alex Jones, who lost whatever last shred of credibility he ever had after his Chernobyl Reactor 4-class meltdown on Piers Morgan's show.
     It's been a constant whine of the intelligent and talented that genius is rarely appreciated within its own lifetime. Yet since the days of Reagan and perhaps before that, we've seen a disturbing trend in which not only has intelligence, talent and erudition been thoroughly discredited and made a liability but sheer, impenetrable stupidity and willful ignorance is actually rewarded. And we are so complacent and apathetic as a nation that such stupidity and ignorance is waved away and made to look like assets with the aid of a few paid spin doctors on the payroll of one campaign or another because we ourselves are too fucking stupid and ignorant to be able to judge for ourselves what qualifies as stupid and ignorant.
     And this is precisely the reason why short bus cheerleaders like Sarah Palin and pill-popping child molesting bigots like Rush Limbaugh are not only hailed as cultural icons, they make damned good money fluffing up the fears of other mouthbreathers like comely girls stroking wilting penises on a porno movie set. Otherwise, how are we to account why it finally took the American public over four years to realize they'd been bamboozled by a JPL wind tunnel-headed moron such as Sarah Palin, who'd quit halfway through her first and only term as a state Governor when the scandals grew too numerous for even her to sneer away?
     This is what led to the fall of the ancient Romans: A complacency that had allowed them to believe in not only the superiority of their outlook but their own invulnerability. And because they couldn't even fortify their own immediate borders to the north, they were sacked by a horde of barbarians who a few hundred years before wouldn't have stood a chance against the Roman army.
     I've been saying for years now that we're making the movie Idiocracy look like a prescient documentary and have, as always, been ignored. But while you may think it expedient to ignore my hardly original or unfounded bemoanings of the lowering of the intellectual bar in our nation, the evidence is nevertheless all around us. And it will not go away just because you choose to ignore me and others like me.
      I shouldn't need to provide what few people who still read this forum with links proving how far we've fallen behind the rest of the world in terms of science, mathematics, engineering, medicine and so forth. But there's also an even deeper problem and that's our inexhaustible capacity for making the phrase "common sense" more and more of an oxymoron and less and less of a tautology.
     Because if more of us had the common sense that had been endowed to our ancestors and seemingly an increasingly generous amount given to generations before, then people such as Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell wouldn't be allowed to set one toe in the political arena seeking the highest offices in the land. We wouldn't be catapulting literary agents, publishers and TV producers at them and trying to bloat their ill-deserved 15 minutes of fame into actual careers in which the more they fail, the more things they get wrong and the more they alienate those who control their fortunes the more they are rewarded. Some of them, like Don Imus, get their jobs back. Others, such as Glenn Beck, like the distended side of a koosh ball, pop up somewhere else where all it takes is an idiotic conspiracy theory regarding the Boston Marathon bombing to put one back on top and whipping up atavistic fear in the reptilian parts of our brains simply in the cynical interests of ratings.
     People like Beck, Palin, O'Donnell, Pam Gellar and the like, those who comfortably huddle just on the bubble of that mental Mendoza line, are the price we all pay for moral and intellectual laziness and complacency. Back in the 60's, airheads like Palin or Victoria Jackson or Christine O'Donnell or Alan West or Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain wouldn't have even been invited on the set of Laugh In as was Nixon. We'd be incapable of believing these people could be so stupid and ignorant because they'd be a parody of a parody.
     And I'm sure that more than a few of us have wondered of this scenario: 31st century archeologists are sifting through the ruins of earth after the inevitable yet avoidable apocalypse and sift through the detritus of our 21st century garbage. They will see empty cans of energy drinks, used condoms and, interspersed with those, porno DVDs, books by right wingers and no one else, Bush campaign buttons and TV Guides with every reality TV show circled. And these archeologists will wonder how we ever got to the moon or even got out of the Stone Age when we were so poorly engineered and prepared for planetary stewardship.
     Then they may see on a wall or two a crucifix of an emaciated man and may perhaps learn of his life and the lessons he'd tried to impart. And they may wonder why, for all his power to heal, he couldn't do a fucking thing about stupidity.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Holy Waterboarding for Jesus


     Dear Pinelake Baptist Church:
     I have read with enthusiasm and interest your recent attempt to kidnap an entire high school one grade at a time at Northwest Rankin High School during this school year.
     Obviously, these tactics are much more cost-effective than that of Escuela Caribe, subject of a liberal propaganda film called Kidnapped For Christ. With the price of gas and jet fuel these days, it's no longer feasible to kidnap children in the dead of night and fly them while bound to the Dominican after coming out to their parents as gay or that they may have shaken their penises for an impermissible period of time after urinating.
     Your truancy officer, Jeff White, certainly had the right idea in stalking and cornering students trying to skip out on these mandatory Jesus rallies as well as standing at the exits and telling the godless, gutless cowards to sit back down. Of course, other Godless liberals sought to queer all the fun by launching a lawsuit.
     But as worthy as your ministers' message is (denunciating pornography, homosexuality, looking at Sears underwear models, skateboarding instead of self-flagellation on the Sabbath, etc), perhaps more proactive measures are what's needed. It's one thing to show them videos of cured fags and ex porno addicts but what will hold their attention and discourage them from fleeing the wrath of God through his instrument Jeff White is waterboarding, specifically holy waterboarding.
     Now, I know this smacks of papacy since only a priest can bless holy water. But if a priest can make water holy and a rabbi can make food kosher by doing the same thing, then surely a major Protestant denomination can reserve the right to retroactively make hydrogen and oxygen a spiritual strong acid in the name of proselytization. Of course, there are so many Protestant faiths, there's no one big head honcho like the Pope to unite all of them, although there is one denomination based in Passaic, New Jersey called Our Lady's Church of the Shitting Elvis that blesses lard and converts it to polyunsaturated fat. Be that as it may...
     It would have a devastating psychological effect on those craven atheist youths of central Mississippi if a student were chosen at random, held down by Officer White, have one of your ministers' stoles wrapped around the youth's face and holy water dumped on top of it. Obviously, not only would this have a devastating effect on the rest of the assembly, but this method has the stamp of approval from the last administration, surely the most efficacious theocracy since the time of Savonarola.
     Wrapping the stole about the face would also protect your minister of conditional grace from a demonic regurgitation of split pea soup or Red Bull or whatever hooligans ingest these days, a lesson learned after Max Von Sydow's encounter with Linda Blair.
     The papists and their Holy Inquisition certainly provide a seedbed of good ideas that can be appropriated by your denomination without conflicting with Baptist Scripture. I know your faith doesn't have saints so might I recommend exhuming the bones of Jerry Falwell, and splintering them so they can be inserted under the fingernails of the unchurched if the holy waterboarding doesn't prove efficacious?
     Lastly, in the interests of augmenting the size of your flock (I see that Pinelake Baptist Church in Mississippi is only the 55th fastest-growing church in the US), similarly kidnapping these childrens' families and pets may prove the deciding factor that'll put rear ends in pews at your various locations every Sunday. Perhaps you can do a round robin style of kidnapping and detention whereby the children are regularly kidnapped every other week in order to get donations from their parents who are obviously very lax in instilling fear of the Lord in their offspring.
     Such tactics, while regrettably extreme, are nonetheless what Jesus would have approved of. It may not say so in the Bible, but the reason why Jesus was able to amass such a huge following in such a short period of time was because, being a free market advocate, he hired offduty Roman soldiers, whereupon these fine mercenaries surrounded his reluctant audience while he babbled on about helping the poor.
     After all, the Old Testament can be boiled down to four words when the Lord said again and again, "Love me or die." We need this Jonathan Edwards-style evangelizing more than ever in these godless times and what better place to start than with the young?
     Sincerely,
     Robert Crawford

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville #4

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Caturday Open Thread



      What a charmer.


     Speaking of charmers, I saw this quote on Joel Osteen's Twitter account and couldn't help but produce this on my Paintshop program.
     Of course, it's real easy to be so optimistic about the Lord's largesse when you're living in a $10.6 million mansion and one of your last books got a $13 million advance.
     Thoughts, suggestions, complaints, reports of lost or stolen items?

Good Times at Pottersville, 4-27-13


Friday, April 26, 2013

The News at a Furtive Glance

     Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of right wingnuttery... the thrill of Democratic victory... the agony of Republican defeat... the human drama of psychological degeneration ... This is Pottersville's News at a Furtive Glance!

     This Raw Story headline should've read, "Kidnapping for Christ." Apparently, the faculty of Northwest Rankin High School in (where else?) Flowood, Mississippi were caught illegally imprisoning and kidnapping students by forcing them to attend assemblies of Christian propaganda. According to several witnesses, teachers actually blocked the exits to prevent students from fleeing during these Two Minutes Hates in which one godly windbag said, "“See, before Jesus came, innocent blood had to be shed for our sins. There had to be an animal that was sacrificed to atone for our sin. There had to be innocent blood. So Jesus came and he was the innocent blood because he lived a perfect life."
     Obviously, this is a clear-cut violation of the establishment clause in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, not to mention a clear-cut violation of Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-53 which prohibits one person from kidnapping and detaining another. There is pending litigation although, as far as I know, no one has actually charged these school officials with kidnapping despite the fact a very good case could be made for kidnapping. This means that unless kidnapping charges are successfully prosecuted, not one school official will even see the inside of a police interrogation room let alone a court room let alone a prison cell while countless scores of students were illegally held against their will with what obviously amounts to impunity.

     Professional Republican assclown Todd Akin is acting like a legitimate rape victim these days. Just recently, Congressman Combover told KDSK News that he's "relived" his "legitimate rape comments" many times and wished he'd never uttered those words. You know, sort of like a woman who was legitimately raped and has had to relive those horrifying moments while wishing it had never happened.
     Oh, and he hasn't ruled out another political run, either. I guess no one's sent him the memo that the Missouri voters plus the Missouri GOP had already ruled out that possibility for him.

     We've already visited the informal opening of the Bush Preznidenshul Libary yesterday but what some of you may not know, in case you missed Jon Stewart's take on it yesterday, Esquire was there and came up with an interesting discovery at the Decision Points Theater (of the Absurd). Apparently, if you choose not to invade Iraq, a recording of George W. Bush tells you you're wrong because, “Saddam posed too big a risk to ignore...the world was made safer by his removal.”
     In other words, even though no WMD were ever found and Bush was wrong, we're still wrong for pointing that out. Tellingly, there are really no good things to point to in Bush's reign of terror and all the historical events at the Decision Points Theater are dedicated instead to Bush's biggest fuck ups (such as invading Iraq, Katrina, 9/11, etc.). For a guy who's publicly saying history will be his ultimate judge, Junior's sure spending a lot of money trying to dissuade the public from thinking he was a dry-drunk, brain-damaged rube who got elected not by We the People but a right wing Supreme Court.

     After right wing spinmeister Frank Luntz asked that all recording devices be turned off (which he ought to know is an open invitation for all muckrakers to leave at least one on, as Mitt Romney can tell you), Luntz then said that people like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin were killing the GOP and have become "problematic" (Read: Loose cannons). While this is hardly a brilliant observation for Captain Obvious, it shows the GOP really is seriously moving away from its old guard and that Limbaugh's days are numbered. Especially as the establishment GOP is slowly realizing he's killing like fatted calves anointed ones like Marco Rubio. That would be the same Limbaugh who's cost Clear Channel something on the order of almost 2500 sponsors since his despicable "slut" comments about Sandra Fluke.

     I know that, right now, our thoughts and prayers regarding toxic oil spills ought to go to our fellow Americans in Mayflower, Arkansas, but this recent news item from the BP oil spill from three years ago is still pretty relevant. Apparently, Corexit, the oil dispersant used in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill, is just as deadly for marine life, if not moreso, than the oil itself. Here's what CEO Bob Dudley, one of their executives, told shareholders three years ago:
“The toxicity of Corexit is about the same as dish soap, which is effectively what it is and how it works. In hindsight no one believes that that was the wrong thing and it would have been much worse without the use of it..."
     So, there you go. No problem, says a self-dealing, self-interested executive thinking no further down the road than damage control. Well, a lot of organisms and sea mammals such as bottlenose dolphins disagreed by having the temerity to die along the Gulf coast because Corexit, when it comes into contact with crude oil, makes both more toxic than the oil itself.
     The question we ought to be asking ourselves is, why did the government give its blessings to BP for using this dispersant without first asking for an environmental impact report or peer-reviewed scientific studies of this chemical? Or does such a regulation mandating such studies even exist? And if not, why?

     Do we really give a flying fuck what Glenn Beck has to say about any subject under the sun, especially conspiracy theories regarding the Boston Marathon bombings? Nah, didn't think so. Let's move on, then.

     Entertaining as is the prospect and spectacle of right wing nut jobs eating their own after the 2012 election, the only thing that curtails total schadenfreude over the likes of Michelle Malkin chewing up Donald "The Human Orange" Trump  & Co. is imagining the aftertaste. Well, being the class act that she is, Malkin then let bygones be bygones and... went after a new target, this time fellow hasbeen and alsoran Grover Norquist.
     On Fox "News'" intellectual flea circus recently, Malkin had a Boston Marathon Bombing conspiracy theory of her own by tying Grover Norquist indirectly to the bombers and people they may have met... somewhere... some time...What's truly entertaining about this Republican autocoprophagy is that Malkin's not even the first to try to link Norquist to Islamic terrorism. Nearly a decade ago, David Horowitz and Frank Gaffney already tried connecting the dots between the pudgy tax dodger and Allah.

     Oh, this is good. Just in time for the stumblebum comeback of George W. Bush comes this NY Times article quoting the Obama administration as saying the intelligence community has "varying degrees of confidence" that Syria has used chemical weapons on its own people. If you thought obfuscation during the Bush years regarding Iraq and its WMDs was the height of Orwellian bullshit, this new phrase "varying degrees of confidence" just elevates the game. "Varying degrees of confidence" mean, obviously, that people in the CIA who don't make or influence policy have something of a problem with the Obama administration's new hardon for its next imperialist invasion and regime change over possibly non-existent chemical weapons.
     If only Obama drew a line in the sand similarly prohibiting oil companies like BP and Exxon from killing and poisoning the American people with their own toxic chemical weapons...

     Speaking of executive scum in the petroleum industry and the American politicians who love them, how about this? Exxon is making full use of a loophole in the laws, one that allows it to escape paying any money whatsoever into the fund used to clean up oil spills such as the one we'd seen last month in Mayflower, Arkansas. Apparently, the loophole preventing Exxon from kicking in to the fund despite its great desire, I am sure, to act in the interests of the public welfare stems from 1980 when a law inexplicably separated bitumin, which is what spilled in Arkansas, from actual petroleum, even though the product that spilled out was heavy crude.

     Lastly, why in God's name would the Department of Homeland Security purchase 1.6 billion bullets over the next five years if not with the intention of using them against American civilians or keeping them out of our hands? Oh, they're now telling Congress they're buying only three quarters of billion bullets? Whew, OK, then! That certainly puts my mind at ease. Because we all know the Obama administration would never lie to us, subvert our first amendment rights and turn us into 300,000,000 potential terrorists and criminals, now would it?
     By the way, the more of a product you buy, the more that industry expands. So if the government through the DHS is thinking of keeping all those bullets away from us, they're doing it wrong.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

They Needed Extra Space for the Popup Books

     Every Thursday on Twitter, there's a popular hashtag, #throwbackthursday, in which users are encouraged to do a little time warp and bring attention to people, fashions and events from a bygone era. Since right wingers keep colliding with irony and bathos, it should come as no surprise to anyone that one of the biggest news items of today happens to be George W. Bush opening the doors of his presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Texas.
     Therefore in the spirit of #throwbackthursday, let's do a little time warp of our own and pretend we're in the salad days of Pottersville, the good old days when George W. Bush pretended he was president of the United States, back when the political blogosphere was still relevant.
     Forever insecure, Bush (hereafter referred to as the hillbilly Savonarola) is making his main talking point history reassessing his so-called presidency. In typical Republican fashion, he waved off opinion polls when it was convenient for him to do so while nonetheless grabbing with all 20 fingers and toes his 2% "mandate" after he'd "defeated" John Kerry in 2004. Bush famously said time and again that a president cannot lead the nation according to opinion polls.
     But over half the nation still thinks his alleged presidency was a failure. 53% currently have a low opinion of him and his "legacy". When he finally slithered out of the West Wing over four years ago, nearly 70% of us rightly thought he was a failure. You could do demographics until you're Democrat blue in the face and you cannot tell me 70% of us were liberals and progressives either then or now. History tends to be forgiving even of tyrants (witness Stalin's comeback in Russia) but the posterity stumbled after by Bush seems more reluctant than usual in according the same level of grace to a man who was the most hated "president" in American history.
     And if you're George W. Bush, it only stands to reason you could run roughshod over the nation and the Muslim world, lower taxes and declare two wars without Congress's blessing (never done before Bush), create a bloated bureaucracy called the Department of Homeland Security that has hardly caught any terrorists, create the worst depression seen since the 1930's and make us the most hated empire since the Romans 1500 years ago and still be quite comfortable with that legacy. Then again, such comfort is effortless provided you're a sociopath at the genetic level.
     I will go to my grave believing in my heart of hearts that to date Barack Obama is the very worst president in American history but George W. Bush was indisputably the stupidest (if you still insist on calling him a president). Thanks to his inimical initiatives that resulted in a nascent fascist police state in which dissent was brutally suppressed and torture made de riguer and almost fashionable among the not so smart set, Barack Obama smoothly entered the White House when four years ago no one outside of Illinois had ever heard of him. He found himself at the helm of an executive branch with unprecedented power and it went without saying he would never abjure even an iota of it.
     This is why the Dept. of Homeland Security is still very much in place. This is why the USA PATRIOT Act is still on the books. This is why Bush's ruinous tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 were continued until recently. This is why the NSA is still spying on us, why we're still using torture and extraordinary rendition, why Guantanamo Bay is still open, why Wall Street essentially owns our entire government. A nascent drone strike program that violates virtually every international law there is.
     Hope and change? Yeah, that one gets funnier every time I hear it.
     For you perspicacious individuals who are watching this administration with open eyes sans rose-colored glasses, it'll be obvious the ruinous Obama administration got many of its cues from the previous one. In fact, the only significant difference between Bush and Obama is that Obama actually got elected and re-elected.
     Therefore, we'll be forced to watch Bush bask in the glory of short-term relevance and his new presidential library that cost so much on account of all the space that was needed for all the popup books, a library that was built to honor the legacy of a man who eschewed reading at any level and had executive summaries read to him because he was so incurious. You mention Bush's name and "books" in the same sentence, those of us who have long memories will think of him gripping "My Pet Goat" for seven minutes after Andy Card told him about the second tower getting hit. We'll think of Bush in another classroom, so incurious and bored that he held another children's book upside down.
     It's impossible to believe that a man blessed with nothing more than a powerful family name, a larynx and a brain stem could've achieved the highest level of power and privilege the planet has ever seen since the Roman emperors and the Aga Khan but this is, unfortunately, a part of our history. It was the one big final push this nation needed to finally make Idiocracy a reality, in which people of mostly average intelligence looked like geniuses next to Bush, when all of us gave birth to a political blogosphere that could never seem to keep up with the Bush administration's countless evils that went largely unreported or whitewashed or spun by the completely worthless mainstream media.
     Nearly 4500 American lives were lost in Iraq alone, not including the contractors who were also killed, not including those killed in Afghanistan, those contractors. And, of course, there are the uncounted indigenous civilian deaths, maimings and the countless millions of displacements, those whom Bush had once infamously melted down to a comma on Iraq's glorious road to democracy.
     Bush turned Iraq into a badly built Potemkin Village, rushing democracy into what was still very much a war zone, a democracy that from the start was so dysfunctional the Iraqi legislative body couldn't even decide on a new flag. It was an obviously needless war waged for no other reason than oil, democracy being cynically used as a rotting fig leaf to excuse the commandeering of the once-nationalized oil and gas fields. And even those pretensions were largely dropped in the case of Afghanistan in which our puppet Karzai's late brother was the biggest drug trafficker in the country and we refused to burn the poppy fields producing the opium and heroin that the Taliban would then use to finance their operations.
     Everywhere we set our large footprint during the imperial Bush years, we made enemies. Jobs started getting outsourced overseas, the middle class began shrinking, the once sizable surplus left behind by Clinton immediately grew into a deficit that never stopped growing. And Wall Street just got richer and richer while social services and necessary grant programs got gutted year after year.
     Perhaps if Bush had lost, I mean really lost, to Al Gore, perhaps Obama would've had more incentive to shape the government in a more progressive vein. 9/11 may not have happened. The USA PATRIOT Act never would've been drafted. The Department of Homeland Security never would've been created. And there would've been no fascist infrastructure and its seductive power to work its dark magic over Obama.
     It can be said that George W. Bush was the most transformative "president" since Truman, perhaps ever. Truman, along with Congress, created through the National Security Act of 1947 and its revision in 1949 the Department of the Air Force, the Central Intelligence Agency and all sorts of prohibitions on the power of that CIA and other entities.
     Bush countered with a Department of Homeland Security that has caught virtually no terrorists, a completely unnecessary Director of National Intelligence, a military tribunal system that has prosecuted and convicted virtually no actual terrorists and a USA PATRIOT Act that has targeted 300,000,000 Americans as potential terrorists.
     It's impossible to imagine a worse president than Barack Obama except if one were to think of Mitt Romney and the circus clowns who stumbled behind him on last year's campaign trail. But Obama was merely enabled by the criminally stupid and cruel scion of the Bush family, a man who literally stole the Oval Office then did it again.
     The Bush presidential library will forever be to many a monument to cruelty, greed and stupidity and because so many of us voted for this wet-brained rube time and again, we also own that building at Southern Methodist University, a shameful and ugly heirloom that, if the universe harbors any pretense to cosmic justice, will immediately flatten at the earliest available opportunity with an impeccably-placed meteor, hopefully while Bush and his senior co-president Dick Cheney is still in it.

Good Times at Pottersville, 4/25/13

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Open Thread

     Another age-old mystery solved, courtesy of Welcome Back to Pottersville.
     Today happens to mark the fourth anniversary of the last day I ever worked at a fulltime job. It was on this day in 2009 when I worked on a Friday and when I went back to work on Monday the 27th, I got the axe just before I would've punched in. This seemingly endless skein of joblessness is still largely inexplicable to me, although I have lots of theories as to why this has happened.
     As I've been screaming for years, outsourcing, spearheaded by the US Chamber of Commerce, plays a big part in it. Many hiring companies are going through predatory temp agencies that are now offering minimum wage and no health care benefits for jobs that, until a few years ago, paid in double digits. I'm sure my age has knocked me out of contention for more than one job. Despite the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, we've always been an ageist country and perhaps always will be.
     There's also the latest fetish for responsibility consolidation. Warehousing, Quality Control and so many other jobs now have duties added by companies that discovered how wonderful it is to have 50 people do the job of 75 or 100 so that a person trying to get back in QC as I am a decade later submits a resume and the hiring manager sees that I cannot do 5% of the job. Training, also, is considered a drain on a company's bottom line, which is perhaps the stupidest short-sighted trend I've ever seen.
     Then there's criminal background checks, drug screenings (which I don't have to worry about) and the incredibly invasive credit background check to which I refuse to submit. More and more companies and corporations are using ChoicePoint, the right wing company that assembled Katherine Harris' voter purge list in 2000 and had acquired voter rolls in many Latin American countries to do their data-mining for them. I refuse to give ChoicePoint, of all places, access to my most sensitive information.
     There's also a growing movement of ignoring the unemployed and going instead after shiny happy people who are already employed, which begs the question of why, if they're so happy, they're keeping resumes on CareerBuilder or Monster.com looking for better employment? When called on this despicable practice by the press, these hiring companies then retract their ads that basically tell the unemployed to go fuck themselves and to claim it was just a typo. That, of course, only forces their prejudice against the unemployed to go underground.
     And in my last several job interviews, I've had hiring managers and HR people who had the nerve to ask me, "What have you been doing for the last four years? How come you still can't find work after all these years?" As tempting as it is to respond, "Because of picky-choosy, hemming-and-hawing yuppie assholes like you," I can't say that during a job interview.
     Obviously, this is a very scary way to make a living, if you want to call this a living. It's scarier than working on pure commission, which I used to do during a brief phase in my callow youth when I worked for Electrolux out of the division point in West Springfield, MA. If you haven't already seen my previous pleas this month, please understand that at this point in time, a blog with a dwindling readership is the only thing keeping body and soul together. Whether or not you can help, if you have access to a blog or Twitter or Facebook or Google+ account, please spread the word about our plight and take some of the heat off the very few benefactors that literally represent the difference between living like human beings and living out of our car.
     In the meantime, the job hunt continues because the only true failure is in giving up. Mrs. JP is disabled to the point where, like John McCain, old injuries prevent her from lifting her arms above her shoulders, which would pretty much make her unsuitable for any meaningful, worthwhile labor. So the task of bringing in just enough bill money each month by any legal means possible falls on my shoulders. And it's not a very enviable position to be in, trust me. Every day of my life, I feel like a failure before my fiancee, my kids and even my few remaining readers.
     So onward, into the breach I go searching for that Godot-like individual who may take pity on me and give me the vocational analogue of a mercy fuck. I haven't the time to research and vet a full-fledged article so this open thread will have to do while I continue the job hunt and maybe work on my novel Tatterdemalion with my co-author in my spare time.
     As it is, the only good news I can impart is that I wasn't being investigated by the government of Dubai, after all. It was just some idiot DHL CS rep's bad idea to deflect blame from her company's rare moment of incompetence by scaring the shit out of me and making me think I was the subject of a criminal probe.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Perspective

     Some time last week, when it looked as if Mrs. JP and I weren't able to make the rent (we're still not out of the woods, thanks to certain parties), I was forced to BCC out letters to several people who'd generously helped us out in the past. Because of Yahoo's policy of not letting people send out too many copies of a mass email through either carbon copies or blind carbon copies, I was forced to send the emails through my Google account. I typically go for months without checking that email account. I use it mainly to divert spammers to it so they don't bother me at my main email account.
     So imagine my alarm when I read an eight day-old response from one of my former benefactors who said they had thoughts of self-extinction. What follows below is my response to a human soul in pain who vividly brought home the point that no matter how fucked up your life is, someone out there's worse off than you. That may seem a no-brainer to some of you but it's a fact of which we all have to be reminded from time to time.
     Just saw your response today. I generally go for weeks at a time without checking this email account. I only sent off my email last week because Yahoo was essentially calling me a spammer for trying to BCC out so many copies. Google doesn't make such distinctions.
     Anyway, your email alarmed me and I hope you have not done anything stupid in the eight days since you'd sent this to me. I'm no stranger to depression myself and I'd wager many of us in these latter day Disunited States can say the same. But the only good thing about depression and serious thoughts of self-extinction is beating them then looking back on the darkness and realizing what you'd overcome and, as a certain nihilist philosopher would've said, how surviving the ordeal didn't kill you but instead made you stronger.
     I have Barb and a cat to worry about and if my sons' only surviving parent did a rude disappearing act like that, they'd be devastated and would never forgive me. Neither would Barbara, who completely depends on me to do literally almost everything to sustain her life. Popeye would just lick his nutsack and move on. But I have at least three other people to live for. Suicide, pure and simple, is the ultimate selfish act, one of cowardice and, as the bromide goes, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That's a bromide because it is true. And, as permanent as our problems seem to be, you have to believe they are not.
     I have less than zero faith this Obama character will lead us out of the darkness. But while things may appear insolubly bleak on a macroscopic level, sometimes we slip through the cracks of adversity and escape some undeserved sinister fate. Sometimes problems really do resolve themselves without our conscious efforts and manna or good fortune or serendipity or whatever you want to call it dispels the black clouds, however briefly, and you find yourself basking in the sun of rare fortune.
     You have to have faith things will work out. And this is coming from someone who probably does have more reasons than most to entertain thoughts of self-extinction. I haven't worked in four years. I lost my unemployment over two years ago. Barb lost hers over a year ago. We have no income, resumes answering jobs go unanswered and hiring companies, publishers and literary agents alike ignore and disrespect me. I'm a joke on the internet and everyone ignores me. My best efforts at marketing my three self-published books are an ongoing failure. My next royalty payment won't even buy me two packs of cigarettes. It's as if I'm a splinter in the finger of the world and it's doing its best to expel the anomaly that is me so it can move on.
     But, while I do not believe in guardian angels, throughout my life at the worst and lowest points, just when I'm at the bottom of some hideous and bleak valley, something or someone rescues me just in time and absolves me of bad luck and whatever past sins I may have committed to deserve them and I'm treated to a spot of good fortune. I keep thinking of the Biblical parable of Job. While I'm certainly not a believer, I take inspiration from the fact that God's most faithful man, after wading for decades through the shit He'd thrown his way eventually persevered and he was rescued from his personal purgatory simply because he'd refused to give up.
     May you also find that inner strength.
     Love and light,
     Robert
     And to anyone else having such selfish thoughts, let this be your guide out of the darkness. Too many of my readers over the years have pulled a disappearing act and they always haunt me with the possibilities.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Week the Joker Struck and the Shit Hit the Fan in Gotham

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

     As the Chinese would cynically say, we "live in interesting times."
     Adding to the interest is how, in times of great upheaval, life inevitably imitates art. The one bombing suspect we have left, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has a first name that sounds a lot like "Joker", the super villain who blew up a hospital in Gotham and battled the entire city's police department to a standstill. At the end of the standoff in Watertown, Massachusetts, there was even a boat involved that, thankfully, didn't blow up.
     In real life, however, the Boston Marathon explosion was more like the opening scene in Die Hard 3, in which New Yorkers were going about their daily business one sunny summer day and suddenly Bonwit Teller blew up for no apparent reason (In fact, until 1989 there used to be a Bonwit Teller Department Store on Berkeley Street literally around the corner from Boylston Street, the scene of last Monday's bombing).
     There's no Batman to save us from super villains or those with histrionic gifts. Instead, we have something both better and worse: The United States government and its team of special interrogators that have already arrived in Boston to interrogate the 19 year-old Tsarnaev without first reading him his Miranda Rights. As the Obama administration would be quick to point out, this is a necessary exception to the boy's Fifth amendment rights, known as the “public safety” exception. This rationale is a fig leaf covering our fear and paranoia without openly declaring it, another convenient excuse to subvert the constitutional rights of an American citizen such as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev while hiding behind "the public safety and trust." After all, there may be more unexploded bombs that could go off unless our sunglassed heroes can arrive just in the nick of time to save the day.
     And, after 9/11, we found out just how disposable and expendable our Constitutional rights are at the first sign of a threat to our cherished way of life and how easily the government can make those rights disappear in response to a terrorist attack, which is always easier than getting at the root of terrorism and neutralizing the beast before it rears its ugly head. As former Republican congressman Bob Barr once warned us, "If you give the government power, it will use it." And, with extraordinary situations such as 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, you can trust the government in only one way: That it'll abuse its power and contract individual rights while expanding its own until we become a nation of 300,000,000 usual suspects.
     Obama's opening salvo in this new phase of the Boston bombing investigation is guaranteed to piss everyone off. The "temporary" curtailing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Miranda and 5th amendment rights will alarm constitutional law scholars and liberals within and without the ACLU. Assuring Tsarnaev a trial in a civilian court will inspire lots of faux outrage among Republicans and other faux patriots who think Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be a tried as an enemy combatant. Republican bigots Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham have already said as much while the infamously anti-Muslim Pete King thinks we should keep all Muslims under surveillance.
     And it goes without saying that the bottom feeders of the conservative movement, the same ones who hoped Obama would fail hours after the '08 election and openly jeered, cheered and sneered when the President personally tried and failed to get the 2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago will be quick to point out without irony that an act of terrorism finally hit American soil under Obama's watch.


     Everyone concerned, from the Boston police and those in the suburb towns who arbitrarily put us under martial law for a day to the Obama administration to the liberals to the conservatives to the suspects' family that can't seem to get on the same page regarding the brothers, are blowing this and, as usual, it's up to the perspicacious citizen to see what will likely come of this.

The Day the Shit Hit the Fan in Gotham
     
     Meanwhile as seemingly every officer in Massachusetts law enforcement was converging on a backyard in Watertown and negotiating with Tsarnaev, 1832 miles away an Act of God informed Rick Perry that perhaps He wasn't too happy with his disastrous stewardship of the Lone Star State. A lightning bolt struck a fertilizer plant and set off an explosion that was likened by witnesses to a nuclear detonation.
     Let's just leave the federal investigators to ask the questions of why the plant had not had an OSHA inspection since Reagan was president (1985), why they didn't have a lightning rod on top of the main building where the chemicals were stored, why no federal watchdog had been there in nearly six years and how they could've had 270 tons of ammonium nitrate (1350 times the amount that would raise red flags with the Dept. of Homeland Security), the same chemical used by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City, without reporting it to the pertinent authorities.
     Let's ask, instead, why and how this could've happened under the watch of the last two administrations. The first answer comes to mind: Both the Bush and Obama administrations have gutted the resources of OSHA to the point where they can no longer provide effective oversight and to better ensure the safety of the same public that they now piously claim to vouchsafe by denying an American citizen his Miranda rights. Both Bush and Obama own this, like it or not, libs and conservatives.
     Let's also preemptively ask what we will learn from all this and the cynic's answer is, "Not a Goddamn thing." In this atmosphere of austerity for all but the 1% and corporations that viciously suck at the government's withered teat, it'd be the height of fallaciousness and naïveté to assume this corrupt and incompetent Congress that just last week saw fit to keep a needless debate open about background checks for criminals who want to purchase firearms and an administration that uselessly and self-destructively compromises with itself will do anything but slap a bandaid on an OSHA that's become a joke and is able to make nothing more substantive than suggestions.
     Instead, what we'll be seeing is a government and city constabularies inspecting backpacks but not fertilizer plants. Corporations will continue killing innocent people and destroying and polluting the planet with hardly a slap on the wrist while the rest of us, as if we already aren't, will become a nation of 300,000,000 potential terrorists and criminals.
     Indeed, only biometric software and an active database that's much vaster than any of us realize can account for the Boston Police being able to match the Tsarnaev brothers' faces on security footage with their names. Even the younger Tsarnaev's friends didn't put two and two together when they saw the footage of the suspects on TV and were even joking about the resemblance.
     A year and a half ago, Occupy Wall Street served as a macrosized version of what to expect from all levels of government when the corrupt status quo is threatened by even so much as an iota. We learned that the big Wall Street firms most responsible for the crash of 2008 were funding and working in concert with the NYPD in a massive secret complex dedicated to accumulating biometric data so they could identify and better pursue the people seen at Zuccotti Park and elsewhere. These are the same law enforcement professionals, incidentally, who had beaten, tased and arrested law-abiding citizens for using their first amendment rights, the same ones we're now lauding to the sky after keeping us under martial law for a day without an Executive order.
     Ergo, as with the ultimately failed Occupy movement that saw protesters get arrested and charged by the thousands while Wall Street oligarchs continued getting their pusses put on the cover of Forbes, we will see college kids getting harassed in the streets of Boston, Oakland, New York and whereever there is fear (which is everywhere these days) while companies and corporations will get to continue to skate over the legal line. Maybe the SEC will launch an investigation that'll end up in the usual settlement.
     Meanwhile, the heroes and victims of Boston's bombing, as with those first responders in the wake of 9/11, have to scratch to get their medical bills paid for because Obama's and Romney's corrupt health care "reforms" prevented them from obtaining health coverage. Fracking and oil companies, fertilizer companies and Wall Street banks will continue doing business as usual while killing their employees, further victimizing their customers and persecuting their critics while we're further persecuted by our own perennially short-sighted government.

Good Times at Pottersville #3



Friday, April 19, 2013

In Amerika, the "K" Stands For Kafka

     I think it's time I let you guys know what's going on in my life.
     You may think I'm being overly dramatic or and perhaps paranoid when I say what I'm about to say. Yet let it be known that I have worked for our government on two separate occasions and, being a blogger who's been following the increasingly bizarre activities of the last two administrations from the outside looking in, I don't think what is happening now and may very easily happen in the near future is outside the realm of possibility.
     My entire week since the Boston Marathon bombings has been fraught with tension and worry and, save for two exceptions via email, none of you few people who still follow me have heard a peep about what's going on between me and Dubai law enforcement from 8000 miles away.
     The day after the Boston Marathon bombing, a friend of mine in Saudi Arabia, a Canadian national who works for a large, well-known corporation, read a post I'd written last week about our dire financial straits and he'd taken it upon himself to help us out by sending us a check. He's done this several times before, usually without my having to ask him. And the check he'd sent off last Tuesday was no exception. As usual, he sent it off through DHL.
     Here's the route his parcels typically take: From Saudi Arabia it then sails through Bahrain, then on to the United Arab Emirates, when it then usually clears after four or five hours before making its way to Leipzig, Germany then on to Cincinnati, Ohio where it then clears US Customs, then makes its way to Boston, Massachusetts and then to my front door. On a really good week, my friend in Saudi Arabia can get a parcel to my door a little over 24 hours after he mails it.
     But this time, something very strange happened. After arriving in Dubai on the 17th, it then got stuck. By my reckoning, even though they use the Arabic time zone, my parcel's been there for close to three days. Mind you, Dubai usually sends my parcels on their merry way after four or five hours tops. So, armed with the tracking number given to me last Tuesday by my friend, I've been making increasingly frantic status checks and find that it has not budged one inch since arriving in the wee hours of the 17th (or about quarter after 8 in the evening of the 16th, EST).
     Worried, I'd emailed DHL and asked for a status check then noted the 800 number provided on their website. I called them right after sending the email and spoke to a Customer Service rep. She gave me the alarming news that my parcel, which contains two, maybe three pieces of paper, had been intercepted by "the local police" and was being x-rayed. When I asked if it was just my parcel that had excited suspicion in particular or the contents of the entire plane, she said she didn't know. Then it had occurred to me in a flash while on the phone: Could this have anything to do with the Boston Marathon bombing? Probably, she said.
     Essentially, DHL can track a two ounce package but not the whereabouts of an entire jet owned by them. They cannot or will not tell me if the carrier jet that had come in from Bahrain had been delayed or if it had taken off. Their followup email told me even less than the phone call did and I told them so. So yesterday I called DHL again about 24 hours ago and was told nothing new. Then one of their senior CS reps called me on my cell yesterday afternoon and that's when the hairs on the back of my neck came to attention.
     This senior CS rep, who's supposed to call me back any minute, seemed strangely at ease with the unrealistic security cautions taken by the Dubai authorities and at one point got snotty and arch with me, telling me, and this is a ver batim quote, "We all need to be paranoid." It's apparently not bothering her in the least that these idiots in Dubai may be suspecting me in particular of receiving al Qaeda financing, which is ludicrous in the extreme considering the relatively small sum of money involved and that they're making her corporation look bad. She sounded like a typical right winger, the kind who probably cheered on the USA PATRIOT Act 11 years ago on the grounds that it made us safer after 9/11 (it has not, obviously).
     Essentially, her attitude was, "Shut up and just deal. This is for our own good." She was actually making excuses for some other government's actions, not even our own, and apparently I'm not supposed to ask what's going on, criticize the process or get alarmed even after being told I'm the subject of a foreign investigation.
     I even offered to give my permission by proxy for the Dubai authorities to open the package so they can see there's nothing threatening or incriminating and she then said something that chilled my spine: "They probably have, already." Which has never happened in all the times my Canadian friend has sent us parcels. Every one has arrived with the label in his own handwriting.
     After Boston, everything changed. As after 9/11.
     My totally non-helpful CS rep at DHL kept telling me, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." "Right," I replied, "Tell that to Bradley Manning. Tell that to my friend Susan Lindauer. Tell that to Sibel Edmonds, Bunny Greenhouse and every other person who acted their conscience and did what they thought was right."
     And there's the unavoidable fact that, if I have nothing to worry about, then why has my parcel still not moved from Dubai in over three days when it should've been out in three hours? And how could DHL not know whether or not an entire airplane full of packages has been indefinitely intercepted and held in Dubai long past its usual processing time?
     So I'm being quietly investigated by Dubai law enforcement who are, of course, stonewalling DHL because of a couple of Chechen assholes with a couple of homemade pressure cooker bombs. It'd be typical of my luck that my parcel was the only one originating in Saudi Arabia that was bound for the same exact city that had just gotten bombed last Monday. That alone could account for my innocuous little parcel being singled out for investigation over national security concerns.
     And if they decide, on opening the envelope and finding the small check inside, that it makes me look even more suspicious, it's a given, since they're our allies, they'll notify the American government, who will then turn this over to Homeland Security.
     One of the first news items I'd read when I began blogging in January of 2005 was the hair-raising story of a Texas couple whose rich aunt died and had bequeathed them a large sum of money. They did what any typical couple would do in that situation and paid down their bills. Among them was a $5500 credit card debt. Within a week or two of paying the bill, they then got an evergreen-bordered envelope from the Dept. of Homeland Security notifying them they were being investigated for coming into a large sum of money. They actually suspected them of getting money from an al Qaeda financier even though the money never came close to going through anywhere in the Middle East.
     We're talking about a much smaller sum of money here but it is coming from Saudi Arabia (albeit from a Canadian national with a Polish name) and was, until three days ago, bound for Boston.
     So if I disappear for a while, you'll know why. I have five week's worth of comic strips that I've post-dated to be posted on the next five Sundays but if nothing is posted in between, this is your likeliest explanation.
     If it was simply a matter of the check getting held up for reasons other than national security, it would be scary enough because Barb and I cannot possibly make the rent, let alone May's bills without that check in Dubai. But adding to my stress is the fact that it is being held up, obviously over national security concerns and I am obviously the focus of an investigation by Dubai authorities and, very likely, the US government. I'm gathering my loved ones around me and have alerted my two sons and a few friends because I have no idea whether or not I'll ever see or hear of them again. I'm trying to get at least a full month's worth of rent money accumulated so Barb will be cared for for another month in the event I disappear. After that, her fate would be in God's hands.
     And we know these kinds of things happen. The USA PATRIOT Act allows the government to come in like Nazi stormtroopers, disappear people in the dead of night and automatically impose gag orders on those subjects as they're held without charge, without trial and without even legal representation. This is not sweaty, bug-eyed, Alex Jones conspiracy theory-mongering. This is a fact. And I'd love nothing more than to find out my parcel has been sent on its merry way to Leipzig and eventually to my house, that this unprecedented delay is a mere mixup, a glitch, and that I stepped on my own dick.
     But DHL has confirmed Dubai law enforcement has held up my parcel, have x-rayed it and that they in all likelihood have already opened it without my knowledge or permission and that its carrier is perfectly fine with that.
     But I beg to disagree with that DHL CS rep. We do not and should not all have to be paranoid. Paranoia is the residue of terror, which is the real aim of real terrorists. Terror and horror come and go in minutes, hours or days. Paranoia and mutual suspicion is like the lingering illness that remains for decades. If we stop to suspect, scrutinize and be paranoid over every single little thing that passes through our hands, then order breaks down. Nothing gets done. Parcels don't get delivered, checks don't get deposited, bills don't get paid. Everything breaks down. And with the lingering residue of paranoia always in the air, the terrorists not only will have won, they continue winning.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

#46Cowards

      It hasn't been a good week for the United States. By Wednesday, twin bombs exploded near and at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three innocents and wounding nearly 180. A lightning bolt struck a fertilizer plant in West, Texas last night, killing at least one police officer and five firefighters and destroying 80 or more homes. And then just hours before the West, Texas disaster, the United States Senate, the higher chamber of our legislative branch, voted 54-46 for the Manchin-Toomey bill that would've strengthened background checks for wouldbe gun owners.
     This prompted the President of the United States minutes later to give a presser while Joe Biden stood behind him looking as if he wanted to eat Harry Reid's face without the aid of bath salts. The Chief Executive was also surrounded by Gabby Giffords and Sandy Hook parents. The mother standing behind Vice President Biden burst into tears at one point while Republican scumbags like Mitch McConnell were crowing about victory for thwarting cloture on a bill that's already decades too late in arriving, a bill that would only provide the first tentative steps toward some sensible gun control. Background checks are only a crude tool, a fish net that would only strain out the crazies and criminals who can still get fully automatic weapons online and at gun shows. Background checks are woefully inadequate but at least it's a start.
     So the president who for the first four years of his term never once uttered the words "gun" and "control" in the same sentence and was plainly reluctant to enter the debate until Sandy Hook last December is being hailed as a hero by the left for finally doing the right thing and standing up, at long last, for victims of gun violence. It was billed as the President finally being angry but the real anger was in the faces of the Vice President and the Sandy Hook families. The real anger was in the email sent out minutes later by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who almost lost her life in Tuscon to gun violence, when she wrote that "the US Senate did the worst thing imaginable... nothing."

     The plain fact is, more Democrats broke ranks and sided with the NRA than Republicans doing so. Five Democrats voted against the bill while four Republicans, including John McCain of Arizona, did the same. Harry Reid changed his vote at the last second and voted against it for purely procedural reasons in order to bring the bill up again today for a vote. But he still voted against it and made it harder for this sensible, if middling, piece of legislation to achieve cloture and end debate. It could've been brought up for unanimous consent such as when Congress last week unanimously passed the bill that gutted the STOCK Act.
     But it wasn't because 46 cowards, most of them Republicans (of course) decided to side with the NRA and gun-clutching Ted Nugent types despite 90-92% of the American people, many of them gun owners and NRA members, being in favor of sensible gun control measures that would barely get a handle on stopping tragedies such as Newtown, Aurora and the seemingly endless string of mass shootings that happened across America last year. Since Sandy Hook, over 3400 Americans have lost their lives to gun violence.
     It was a classic case of Congress legislating at the people, against the people and despite the people and yesterday's vote on the Manchin-Toomey bill was arguably the most shameful moment of this 113th Congress. It was mainly the minority Republican Party you have to thank for this. That would be the same GOP that scuttled the Violence Against Women Act, denied relief for 9/11 first responders, held unemployment benefits hostage time and again while holding out for more tax breaks for the 1% and forced a sequester that's killing this country a little more each day. That would be the Republican Party that once again gave a giant, red, white and blue foam middle finger to the American people starting with the Sandy Hook families that just four months ago lost 20 small children to gun violence.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

...and John Singleton Copley Wept

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this, we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” - President Barack Obama, April 15, 2013

     What makes terrorism so effective is in its invariably hideous timing, its genius in fully exploiting the element of surprise. It's a Pamplona that suddenly materializes in a china shop, a freak hailstorm on a July day. And, as with September 11th, 2001, the Boston Marathon bombing couldn't have been timed worse, or better, depending on your ideological stripe. That Tuesday morning 11 1/2 years ago was also a sunny day, with people just arriving or going to work. It started out perfectly. The Boston Red Sox pulled off their second walkoff win in a week and many leaving Fenway rushed to Boylston Street to catch the last of the marathoners cross the finish line.
     Yet what happened at Copley Square at 2:50 yesterday afternoon was especially insidious. The two bombs were strategically placed at or near the finish line roughly three hours after the mens' and womens' victors crossed the finish line (or when the bulk of runners would be thickest) at a race that for 117 years has been a Boston tradition. Copley Square was named after John Singleton Copley, a Boston artist. Originally named "Art Square", Copley Square is in one of the most historic and culture-drenched parts of Boston. It was intended to establish the Bay State's capital city's artistic bona fides and, for many years, it had done just that. According to Wikipedia, institutions adjacent or near Copley Square:
... include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, the New England Museum of Natural History (today's Museum of Science), Trinity Church, the New Old South Church, the Boston Public Library, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Massachusetts Normal Art School (today's Massachusetts College of Art), the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, Boston University, Emerson College and Northeastern University.
     Those institutions are not mere aspirations but among the glories of New England and the United States.
     Yet, within 14 seconds yesterday, two trash cans containing two crude but powerful bombs detonated, sweeping away any pretensions to culture, peace and civility, forcing professional first responders and good samaritans alike to play the role of heroes. At last count, at least 170 people were injured (17 in critical condition) and three killed, including eight year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester, who stood at the finish line waiting for his father to cross. And the pictures taken at the moment of the blast showed the surreal image of countless marathoners actually running toward the fireball.
     Terrorism invariably brings out both the best and worst of people. Starting with the terrorists who carried out this twin bombing (and it was terrorism, regardless of what the president may choose not to say: The trash barrel bombs were impregnated with ball bearings to maximize the human damage, so essentially we're talking about two larger-scale Claymores), we saw the worst in Mankind when spectators body-tackled an injured Saudi national who merely tried to flee from the explosions. "Muslims" was trending on Twitter minutes after the bombings and right wingers such as Fox's Erik Rush was publicly calling for all Muslims to be killed before he cowardly took down his genocidal tweet. Mob wife and former murder suspect Pam Gellar wasn't showing much more restraint, herself.
     But then we'd also heard of marathoners who, after running for 26.2 miles, continued running after the blasts in the direction of Mass General Hospital in order to donate blood. We saw ordinary bystanders, some of them injured themselves, who'd coordinated with first responders, every one of them potentially putting their lives on the line by simply remaining on the streets. There was the Boston City Police officer who threw his body on top of someone else's as one of the bombs detonated. These ordinary citizens, as well as the brave police officers, firefighters, EMTs and doctors ostensibly on hand to treat nothing more serious than exhaustion, muscle cramps and dehydration, are to be endlessly lauded for seeing to the nonpartisan dead and injured. And, of course, there was Carlos Arredondo, who along with his wife lost two sons, a 20 year-old to a sniper in Najaf, Iraq in 2004 and an older son to suicide.
     As with September 11th, this is not a time to be pointing fingers and blaming one race, religion or political faction for what happened. Nearly 24 hours after the bombing, no suspects have been named and no group has taken responsibility, as is often the case. This is the time to come together as fellow Americans and fellow human beings.
     I know that comes off sounding like a bromide but it's a bromide because it is simply true. This is a time for us to take comfort in eachother's humanity and to not widen partisan differences and reignite ancient and newer antagonisms.
     Because, whoever is responsible for these bombings did so out of such a mindset.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Double Bombing at the Boston Marathon

     At approximately 2:50 this afternoon, two explosions occurred within 10-20 seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street. Fox News is now reporting that at least three people have been killed and ABC News on their live feed has revised the injury toll to 15-20.
     There's also been a report of a third, controlled demolition by the Boston Bomb Squad, more likely than not the suspicious package they found in front of the Mandarin Hotel.
     President Obama's been apprised of the bombings and Pennsylvania Avenue's under lockdown, especially in front of the White House and the Capitol Building and New York City is also stepping police security. Essentially, this means every major city on the east coast will be under lockdown. The FAA has also set up a no-fly zone over the epicenter of the bombing in Boston. Mayor Tom Menino has ordered all offduty police officers to show up and assist.
     The 26th mile was supposed to be dedicated to the 26 victims of the Newtown massacre and many of the Sandy Hook families were standing in the VIP section of the grandstands near the explosions. Since the second one went off 20 seconds after the first (about three hours after the winners crossed the finish line), this means some first responders were hit with the followup explosion.
     Thus far, no group has taken responsibility.
     Trauma nurses are telling ABC News that the first aid tents have been turned into makeshift morgues and there are reports of several people having had their legs and feet blown off.
     Update: Boston City Police are now confirming three more suspicious packages have been found, with one safely detonated. The latest casualty figures are 23 injured and two dead.
     Update 2: For anyone who had family members at the Boston Marathon, here's the Red Cross's website that will assist in helping those interested parties to see if their loved ones are safe and sound. It may take a while to get through as I'm sure their bandwidth is maxed out. Otherwise, if you're on Twitter you can get updates on their Twitter feed .
     This is the most horrendous picture I've seen of the explosion's human toll. Do not click on this if you have a weak stomach. But it's important to see what these terrorists have done to our beautiful city and its residents on what was supposed to be a day of athletic competitiveness and a reaffirmation of our common humanity in honoring the Newtown families.
     Update 3:  Consider the source but the New York Post is now saying the Boston police have a suspect in custody, a 20 year-old Saudi national. Like I said, consider the source and take it for what's it's worth. We also said 15 Saudis were involved in 9/11 and looked how true that turned out to be.
     The Post has also upped the casualty numbers. They're now saying 12 are dead and 50 or more are injured.
     Update 4: This is a video shot by someone who was within mere feet of the explosions. It's gone viral for good reason. You can tell 14 seconds had elapsed between explosions and you even see the epicenter.
     Update 5: Boston City Police now say there was another explosion at the JFK Presidential Library. No deaths or injuries have been reported from that blast.
     Update 6
     Update 7: Boston city authorities are now saying the JFK Library incident wasn't an explosion but an unrelated fire.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville #2


KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 Things Donald Trump Said to President Obama
  • Paul Ryan's Top Ten Conditions on Running for the Speakership
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney Won't Run for President in 2016
  • Top 10 Results of the NYPD's Work Slowdown
  • Top 10 Secret Service Security Breaches
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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