Trump's SA fans

So one of the Black Lives Matter crowd decided to make some waves at the Trumpster's rally in Birmingham last Saturday.

I think most of us can find some level of agreeance in that Black Lives Matter is a collection of self-absorbed buffoons somewhat disconnected from reality. I mean, like, on top of all there anti-cop rhetoric, these are the people who through a fit over the Paris bombings taking attention away from them. If that isn't low rent, what is?

It wasn't all that surprising, then, when the BLM character was rude and obnoxious. It is, after all, what they do best.

But the Trumpster is supposed to be a presidential candidate. Or shooting for that. Yet his minions behaved more like SA thugs than reasoned American citizens,when they grabbed the BLM character, thumped him, choked him, booted him around.

One might argue that these ruffians were not the Trumpster's official security dogs. OK ... but they still were Trumpians. Are Trumpians.

And the Trumpster thinks they were right in assaulting the BLM character.

‘Maybe he should have been roughed up’

Perhaps the Trumpster should issue his security detail and more committed fans a distinctive uniform. This worked very well for a prominent politician in the last century; given that the Trumpster is making the same kinds of noises, this would also work for him:

It fits with the Trumpster's view of the world.

Apparently, it fits with the GOP view, as well.

Bad, mad, Vlad

So Putin apparently has the wind up pretty good over the shootdown of his Su-24 by the Turks.

We're going to see a lot of saber-rattling now. Maybe even some saber-wielding.

But here's the thing.

Bad Vlad's boys have been mostly bombing the US-backed Free Syrian Army, while doing a bit of ISIS bombing on the side for show.

The FSA is the most immediate threat to the Vlad-backed Assad regime.

The CIA has been training the FSA on using the BGM-71 TOW, and the FSA is using them rather effectively. The FSA seems to have a never ending supply of the BGM-71's.

If and when Bad Vlad does his 'boots on the ground' thing ... his boys are gonna have a fight on their hands.

Lots of that 'Allah Akbar' going on there.

Carson's confusion

In the same article reporting the Trumpster's insistence that 'thousands' of American Muslims in New Jersey celebrated as the twin towers collapsed on 9.11, Ben Carson 'Buck-pedaled' yet once again:

"... on Monday his presidential opponent Ben Carson stepped into his own media kerfuffle when he claimed at a midday event that he also recalled seeing the footage of Americans celebrating only to walk that back later in the day and claim he was confused."


Is there anything this man is not 'confused' about?

Trump's 9.11 claim

The Trumpster is standing by his patently false claim that 'thousands' of American-Muslims rejoiced at the sight of the twin towers collapsing on 9.11.

Trump stands by disputed claim

From the Trumpster's legal counsel:

"Whether it's thousands and thousands or 1,000 people or even just 1 person, it's irrelevant. To celebrate this tragedy ... it's wrong," Cohen said. "What the exact number is, I don't know, and I don't think it's relevant. What's important is that there are bad people among us."

Cohen has a good point. Following the Trumpster's logic, we really should be banning private ownership of guns. After all, there are 'bad people' among us. If we banned all private ownership of guns, we wouldn't have any more school shootings and so on.

Even if it's just one gun owner gone bad.

Excellent reasoning on the part of the GOP's top candidate.



So the Frogs have bagged ... what ... fifteen or so who were directly involved in The Bomb Plot. One of them was a 'refugee.' The others were all Frogs, Belgians, or some other flavor of European.
What I want to know is ... does the GOP plan to ban anyone with a Frog or Belgian passport from entry into the US? Clearly, they are as much a threat as any 'refugee,' and they receive no 'vetting' at all save a 'do you have anything to declare' at port of entry.
Another thing ... one 'refugee,' the rest were not. It appears that the biggest threat to France is ... French citizens.
Perhaps the biggest threat to the US is US citizens, who would provide the same measure of assistance as did these people, to ISIS.
I doubt that the GOP/'Christian' Right is capable of following that.


GOP saber-rattlers

From the New York Times:
"If he did not gratify a public hunger for retribution, or at least the language of it, the president gambled that his position was actually closer to the broader American reluctance to get entangled in another land war in the Middle East. Sending large numbers of American ground troops to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, would repeat what he sees as the error of the Iraq invasion of 2003 without solving the problem at hand.
“That would be a mistake, not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before,” Mr. Obama said. Victory over terrorist groups, he said, requires local populations to reject the ideology of extremism “unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.” "
Someone please tell me where he's wrong on that.
ISIS is operating primarily in western Iraq and eastern Syria. The US is not on good terms with the Syrian regime. So the US sends in ... what? 50,000 troops? Some of that 'boots on the ground' stuff the saber-rattlers love so much? What do we think the Syrian army is going to do? Sit around snuffling falafel? Spare me the right-winger nonsense about 'rag heads' and 'camel drivers' that can't shoot. They can shoot well enough.
If the saber-rattlers and flag-wavin' all-Merkin super-patriots have their way, we better have a good supply of body bags on hand.
It's flashback time:
"... now come on mothers throughout the land, pack your boys off to Vietnam, come on fathers don't hesitate, send your sons off before its too late, be the first one on your block, to have your boy come home in a box ..."
I believe we are all in agreeance that ISIS needs to be destroyed. The question is ... how?
The GOP clowns really need to come up with a better strategy that the idiotic rhetoric they're puking out. So far, I haven't seen it.

The irrational nature of American Christianity

Leece is reading Robert Wuthnow's "Creative Spirituality: The way of the artist." She tosses tidbits over to me every so often. Wuthnow mentions Madeleine L'Engle, author of - among many others - "A Wrinkle in Time." Interestingly, when it was first published, "A Wrinkle in Time" was hailed by some evangelists as a 'Christian' book. Others were less enthusiastic, and the book has bounced around on the 'most banned/censored' list since it was published. Today, after the poison of Christian fundamentalism had set in with a vengeance in past decades - it was #23 on the 'most challenged books' list throughout the nineties - the hate and discontent seem to be moderating a bit. It was only #90 in the following decade.

We can attribute this rabid desire to censor and ban to the atmosphere of fear and hate in which we live in the theological world. Yet at the same time, Zondervan Publishing (they who publish all those varieties and variations of The One True Bible) calls it '... one of the top ten Christian stories of all time ...'.

But we wander ... the tidbit that Leece tossed out was L'Engle's statement, as cited by Wuthnow: "My spiritual journey was largely at home. My  parents gave me a God of love, not a God of anger and retribution. Not a God looking like Moses in a bad temper, but somebody who loves me the way my dog loves me. Totally. I was very lucky. Because they worked late at night, there was nobody to take me to Sunday school at an early hour. So I just went to eleven o'clock church with them and skipped Sunday school. I feel very blessed. I've met so many people who have spent their lives unlearning the garbage they got in Sunday school. I didn't get it. My journey was often through fiction, through the journeys of fictional characters, and it was always toward being more open, more inclusive. We did not think of heaven as a gated community, but as a place for everybody."

Yeah ... with that kind of crazy thinking, I can see why "A Wrinkle of Time" has fallen into disfavor with the 'Christian' Right.

Madeleine L'Engle

L'Engle was an Episcopalian. Of that, she notes: "I don't 'prefer' anything. I am an Episcopalian because it's the least intolerable thing to be."

A-yup. Choosing a 'Christian' denomination is like voting for a political candidate. You choose the one that stinks the least. Sometimes, as in an election, you may not choose anything. The choices are just too onerous.

Banned Books Awareness: A Wrinkle in Time

The last line in that commentary sums it up pretty well.


Psalm 91

Back by popular demand: A 'reprint' from the archives.

Having checked the mail at The Holy Land post office, I wandered over to Quickee's for a cold one.

As my cup runneth over with Dr. Pepper, I noticed DinkyDau Billy sitting over at the far table, almost hidden from view.

I did some further wandering, and plunked myself down at his table."Hi Billy. How they hangin', dude?" I asked. Billy was engrossed with a copy of the New Revised Standard version. I noticed a couple of pieces of tattered note paper. One of them had some ugly brownish stains on it.

"What are these?" I asked.

"One of 'em is Psalm 91. I carried it with me alla time in-country," he told me, "and the other is one a my favrit hymns, 'Come thou fount of every blessing'. The words is by Charley Wesley, I think, or maybe not."

"I see. What's this brown stuff all over the copy of the psalm?" I asked.

"I had it with me when Joe Bob got hisself blown away," he said.

"Ah. I see."

There was not much to add to that, at least not with Billy. In 1971, he was a gunner on a Huey with one of the assault helicopter companies. They were engaged with the North Vietnamese army during the ill-fated fiasco known as Lam Son 719. We lost 258 killed, 38 missing, and 1149 wounded. The army lost nearly 170 helicopters destroyed, and more than 600 shot to bits and pieces. It was during the rescue of the survivors of another Huey that had been shot down that Billy's co-pilot was badly wounded. Billy was "dusted" by fragments from a couple of rounds from a Chinese 12.7mm machine gun, a heavy gun similar to our Ma Deuce. The rounds hit his gun mount and splattered him with fragments of bullets and mount. With his gun out of action and his co-pilot bleeding badly, Billy was able to get him out of his seat, and though half-blinded himself, he tried to do first aid. Joe Bob died in Billy's arms, and it was hard to tell at the end whose blood was whose, they having bled so much over each other. So this time of the year, the end of March, the anniversary weeks of Lam Son, Billy gets kind of moody. He is one of those guys that has a lot of trouble getting rid of the war in his head. Psalm 91 has been carried in a lot of pockets in a lot of wars. That Billy had carried a copy was not really surprising. That he had kept that blood-soaked piece of paper all these years wasn't really surprising either.

"So you like 'Come thou fount of every blessing', huh? So do I."

"Yeah. I do. It brings me peace."

"Yeah. Yeah, it does, doesn't it.

So we sat there for a bit, thinking of absent companions.

"Come thou fount of every blessing:"

Here is the Comancheros' section on Lam Son 719:

Lam Son 719/Dewey Canyon II

and some cockpit tapes from the 17th AHC.

Gilbert Alvarado's account of 3 March 1971, LZ LOLO, from the Comanchero's website.

Patriots or Pinheads

From the city council minutes of 09.21.2015:

Dee Atkinson, 110 Western, told Council that her heart was broken because there were no flags displayed on our City sidewalks for Patriot’s Day. She heard a lot of excuses from City Council Members and administrators but is not satisfied as to why the flags were not put out. Patriot’s Day should be important enough that there is a plan to get the flags out. Mayor Horner said we will make sure this gets taken care of in the years to come.


Bob Gleason, 20 Elizabeth, also expressed concern that the flags were not out on Patriots Day. He said he was going to lay the blame at the City Manager’s feet where it belongs. He accused the City Manager of being unpatriotic and un-American. He said “that is his opinion and he is entitled to it.” He later apologized to the City Manager for saying he was unpatriotic. He then started talking about enforcing ordinances that address taking care of property and making our town look better.

Atkinson doesn't like 'excuses' and Gleason ... well, we can only wonder at the irrational aspect of his accusations.

Here's the deal:

For years, the John Fisher Hose Company members put up the flags.

The Hosers are not a city department. They are an entity unto themselves.

My understanding is that the Hosers relinquished the task to the Koshares, who now put up the flags. I don't know if other Boy Scout troops are involved. But I do know the Koshares and the Boy Scouts are certainly not a city department.

It is not now, nor has it been in the past, the city's duty to put up the flags. The 'blame' does not rest squarely at the feet of the city manager, and only the most ignorant of bullying buffoons would make such an accusation while grand-standing at a city council meeting, and then follow it up with challenging the man's sense of patriotism. Not only was this an insult to our city manager, but it was a shocking display of disrespect to the governing body and the citizens whom they represent. This was not a simple expression of free speech; it was nothing more than childish schoolyard blustering and posturing,

What they should have done - assuming their real concern is a patriotic display and not just to take an opportunity to behave like smugly self-righteous pricks - is a) find out who really is responsible for putting up and taking down the flags, and b) deal with those people.

I don't know why the Scouts didn't put up the flags this time. I have heard that it was because Patriot Day fell on a school day this year, but I don't know for sure.

Would not the flag-wavin' super-patriots have better served the community had they first gathered the facts, and then offered to help the Scouts put up the flags? Why not just grab an armload of flags and go about setting them out, in the process setting a good citizenship example to the Scouts?

Nah. Let's not lose the opportunity to demonstrate some self-righteous Outrage!©™ and get up in front of council and blather on about 'excuses', and insult the city manager with cheap shots.

Why is it the city's responsibility to set flags out in front of the downtown businesses, when the organizations that have taken on the responsibility fail to meet it? Are our flag-wavin' super-patriots going to show up at the next Chamber of Commerce meeting and insult those business owners in the same manner? Will they sweep into the Kiva at the beginning of the next show, grab the mike, and denigrate the Koshares' patriotic committment?

Patriots or Pinheads?

Boorish pinheads, in spades.

That's my opinion, and not only am I entitled to it, I paid my dues with those tours in Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia. I don't have to defend my 'patriotism' to anyone, let alone some ill-mannered Smallville clown with an over-inflated sense of self-importance.


Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, and Planned Parenthood

Here is an interesting article on Planned Parenthood:
"The political dispute embroiling Planned Parenthood here and nationwide is over abortion, though public funds are not permitted by federal law to be used for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or when a pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. Neither clinic in this state — like nearly half of all Planned Parenthood centers — performs them. What the Louisiana Planned Parenthood clinics did do last year was administer nearly 20,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections, as well as providing gynecological exams, contraceptive care, cancer screenings and other wellness services for nearly 10,000 mostly low-income patients.
“We have a syphilis epidemic right now in New Orleans,” said Dr. Taylor, the medical director overseeing programs to combat sexually transmitted infections for the State Office of Public Health. She is also the director of Louisiana State University’s sexually transmitted infections program, which operates in the wellness center here. Louisiana ranks first among the states in cases of gonorrhea, second in chlamydia, and third in syphilis and in H.I.V., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
There are, in fact, two PP centers in Louisiana. One is in Baton Rouge, and the other is in New Orleans. According to any of several reliable sources - you can do your own research - neither offers abortions as a service.
What they do in fact offer, is substantial medical support to women - and men - in Louisiana:
  • Birth Control
  • General Health Care
  • HIV Testing
  • Men's Health Care
  • Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
  • Pregnancy Testing & Services
  • STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines
  • Women's Health Care
Meanwhile, there are 21 or so Planned Parenthood facilities in Colorado.  12 of them offer abortion services. All but the Fort Collins Surgical Center offer a wide range of other health services as well.
Further meanwhile, Louisiana has an estimated 4.6 million people as of 2014, while Colorado has an estimated 5.4 million souls for the same year. The source on that is the US Census Bureau.
Colorado has 800,000 more people than Louisiana, yet has 19 more PP clinics, and who knows how many more options for health care.
AmericasHealthRankings.org shows Colorado as 8th, with Louisiana as 48th, for overall health standing.
The poor state of Louisiana's health care system and the state of health of its citizens doesn't say much for the state's government. The chief executive of the state is Bobby Jindal, another right-winger Who Would Be President.
Bobby's position on PP:
Governor Jindal doesn't seem to have a Plan B for the citizens of his state he is going to screw healthcare-wise. Fortunately, the Justice Department sees it a bit differently:
Interestingly, Louisiana ranks 47th in the nation for infant mortality. It would seem that Planned Parenthood's 'death squads' are the least of an infant's worries in Louisiana, especially considering PP's lack of abortion services. Just surviving the Jindal administration's health care opportunities would seem to be the major battle.
Perhaps that's a clue for the rest of us regarding his visions of grandeur as our next president. So let's go along with The Donald, and all the other right-wingers who are howling at the moon about cutting all funding for Planned Parenthood, and toss a good many of Louisiana's women under the bus. Then we can go after the rest.


The Ecclesiastical Poop has hit the fan ...

Pope Frank has directed priests to grant absolution to repentant women who have had abortions.

All priests will be able to forgive the sin of abortion during Jubilee for Mercy

However, Francis also noted that there are many women who, despite thinking abortion is wrong, feel that they have no other choice.

“I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision,” he said.


[Pope Francis] said that the forgiveness of God can’t be denied to a person who has sincerely repented, especially when the person comes to the Sacrament of Confession in order to be genuinely reconciled with the Father.

We can only wonder how this will sit with the 'Christian Right,' especially given that the 'Christian Right' is made up primarily of evangelicals/fundamentalists, who have never viewed Catholics as 'Christians.'

As for Pope Frank and his decision?

God bless him for it. Reason prevails. Nonetheless, with some crimes against the church, I think I'd be very very careful of my confessor, and probably go across the state to some metro-mega church where no one knew me. Those ecclesiastical confidences can come back to bite you on your temporal ass.

Andy, getcher gun!

Last week we were treated to the sight of the distraught parents of Alison Parker going on about gun control.

They have decided to spearhead another movement to bring about 'common sense gun control.'

Mr. Parker stated: "... you people messed with the wrong family ..." in a display of ego and chutzpah that would have done Jack Nicholson's  Colonel Jessup proud.

Who are 'you people?' Why, that would be you, and me, and anyone else who has 'misperceptions' about the Second Amendment.

You see, Mrs. Parker then went on about a 'perceived right' to firearms ownership, as though the Second Amendment were an op-ed piece on CNN.

But then ... we get directly to the hypocrisy of the anti-gun crowd, especially the social and economic elitists among them:

Andy Parker says he will need to buy a gun for protection

Mr. Parker said he does not currently own a gun but added “I don’t want to take any chances.”  He told reporters it was up to the media to continue reporting on gun control and to keep the story of gun violence in America going.  “How many times are we going to see a crazy person with a gun kill people?” Mr. Parker asked. 

Which is precisely why - among other reasons - so many sane people do own guns. Welcome to the club, Mr. Parker.

Meanwhile, here's the famous 'You're messing with the wrong Marine!' scene from 'A Few Good Men,' when Jessup finally snaps his shower cap:


Sean Naylor's new book, "Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command," is about to be released.

The book seems to have the special ops command-types in a bit of a tizzy, according to this article. An excerpt:

Naylor said he's been told that Fort Bragg, where the U.S. Army's Special Operations Forces is headquartered, "is going ape shit over your book."

There is concern that a great many secrets and sensitive information are being placed at risk by special ops types rushing to get their book deals, their pictures on the cover of the Rolling Stone, and perhaps even invitations to coffee with Oprah.

The book reportedly has the command sending out letters to special ops 'operators' (they don't like to be called troops, apparently; they are all 'operators') that include this:

 "In general, USSOCOM reminded its personnel that they must follow the same protocols that govern sensitive material regardless of whether or not the information has been publicly released, and they are still bound by any nondisclosure agreements they signed."

Here's the meat of the matter:

Naylor said sources talked to him for the book not because they wanted to disclose secrets, but out of a sense that "my guys or my buddies deserve recognition." 

Yep. They want to be seen as heroes, worshiped as heroes.

Instead, they have reduced themselves to nothing more than a collection of attention-seeking Oprah-ites.

I hear Denzel Washington is up for offers to play any special ops type, black or white, who is looking for a movie deal. Brad Pitt, Donny Wahlberg, and Tom Cruise, too.


And yet more Outrage!©™

The FoxHoles are going nuts, along with Ohio's congressional delegation and other elected 'leaders.'

This time, it's over the renaming of Mt Denali back to ... Mt Denali. Right now, it's also referred to as Mt McKinley.

McKinley was a president, and he was from Ohio. He was a middle-of-the-pack president - nothing to brag about, but nothing really to sneer at, either.

But here's the thing.

McKinley was an Ohioan. He was born there, raised there, and except for a very brief educational attempt in Pennsylvania, lived there most of his adult life.

He had nothing to do with Alaska.

Mt Denali is in Alaska. 'Denali' is an Alaskan native American name. Alaskans generally want the mountain renamed back to 'Denali.' In fact, they already have, insofar as the state is concerned.

The Ohioans should find a hill somewhere in Ohio, and name it "McKinley's Knob" or somesuch.

And then get on with the important issues of the day.

Outrage grows over Obama plans to rename Mt McKinley.


Walkin' it back ...

Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) pumped out a pretty good falsehood the other day, when he stood up in the Senate, and bristling with self-righteous Outrage!©™ stated:

"... If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."

That, of course, is nonsense, and it is easily discoverable as such:

Jon Kyl says abortion services are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does”

But the real corker came a bit later, when Kyl's office was swamped with challenges to that statement. Kyl 'walked it back,' a euphemism for 'the Senator's staff is trying to wash the stink off the senator's bullshit:"

The senator's remark "was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions," Kyl's staff says in a statement.

"...was not intended to be a factual statement."


How about this:

Senator Kyl cross-dresses like a Colfax Avenue hooker and likes to parade around in his bedroom in stiletto heels.

Oops! That's not meant to be a factual statement.

How's that sit, Senator?

How about "Nothing Senator John Kyl says is meant to be a factual statement."

Yeah. This is one of our political leaders who would shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding.

One of the other panderers to the Christian Right is The Donald, who has apparently succumbed to a rabid case of 'hop-on-the-bandwagonitis.'

Meanwhile, ISIS, the Iranians, and Vlad Putin are all laughing themselves silly at the farce that is our political leadership.


Twisting words

For some reason, The Hon. Doug Lamborn has been sending me his newsletters.

I don't know why; I'm not in his district. Attempts to unsub have proven fruitless.

In any case, here is his latest:

 Dear Friend, It has been a consequential week in the history of our nation. However, as a conservative who has battled Obamacare every step of the way and as a Christian, I am personally troubled by the recent Supreme Court rulings on healthcare and marriage. Yet again, the Supreme Court has twisted itself into a legal pretzel in order to uphold Obamacare. When words are no longer taken at face value by Justices, it is a disturbing omen for the future of judicial activism. We will continue to try to repeal and replace this disaster and fix the flaws that we can. However, it is patently obvious that, even with compelling Constitutional arguments to the contrary, the American people will have to wait for a Republican president to eliminate Obamacare from our lives. It was a stunning disappointment to me that the Court chose to utilize its power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via the marriage decision. By undertaking this staggering judicial overreach, the Court, in its very finite wisdom, decided to throw out thousands of years of tradition and societal structure. Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement. The decision was a slap in the face to all Americans who value this tradition of local government." Please let me know if you require any assistance with a federal government agency by contacting my local office at (719) 520-0055. I am honored to serve as your Representative in Washington.

We are in agreeance on one thing: The Robed Ones certainly did twist themselves into a pretzel with some of their logic - on Obamacare. Mr. Justice Scalia has hammered that one fairly well, so we'll leave commentary on that one to him.

But then, Doug gets into the gay marriage decision.

He notes that he is a 'Christian,' so I am assuming that his view on this will be more in line with that of the General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, who cited Matthew rather than the venom of Leviticus. So far, however, very few 'Christians' have displayed that much understanding of Christ's teachings, behaving in a more Old Testament manner instead:

But here's the thing:

It was a stunning disappointment to me that the Court chose to utilize its power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via the marriage decision.

That's some interesting hyperbole. How have 'millions of Americans' been 'disenfranchised' by the Robed Ones?

Is my marriage to Leece no longer valid? Are hetero couples no longer allowed to apply for or receive marriage licenses from Sharon Sisenroy over at the court house? Will I no longer be allowed to shop at Hobby Lobby? Am I banned from Chik Fil A?

How have I been 'disenfranchised?'

Doug believes that 'Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement.'

And what if a state had decided to go gay? What if that state had been Colorado? Would Doug use the same arguments, that the decision somehow 'disenfranchised' millions of residents of the state?

I wouldn't pooh-pooh the idea of Colorado going gay on marriage. It wasn't that long ago that the idea of the state becoming a haven for the Cheech and Chong crowd was considered fairly far out, man. What then?

Doug's going to have to do better. But of course, since I don't live in his district, what I think doesn't matter.

Further of course - even if I did live in Doug's district, what I think wouldn't matter.


The Jawbone of an Ass - Timshel

We've been watching season 1 of Hell on Wheels. Episode 9 was pretty good. It was titled 'Timshel.'

Now, if you have read 'East of Eden', you will recognize that. You'll remember the conversation about it, between Sam and Lee. It is described as the best midrash on the matter, better even than those produced through the most exacting rabbinical argument - at least for we mere lay people.

The discussion is about Cain killing Abel, in Genesis, and the meaning of the word 'timshel.' It is, I think, one of the best arguments making the case for free will, and against predestination, as one will find.

During the fight scene at the river, which is linked from YouTube below, the music played is 'Timshel', by Mumford and Sons. You may have also heard it as 'As brothers we will stand.' It's a brutal scene, where 'brother' is pitted against 'brother' in the figurative sense - one human against another ... and as Black Moon kills his brother Pawnee Killer near the end of the scene, in the literal sense.

But what stimulated a bit of discussion was the part where Bohannon, out of ammunition and with no other weaponry to hand, grabs the jawbone of some animal and bloodily dispatches a Cheyenne Dog Soldier.

'Timshel', the segment from 'East of Eden', and the nature of the song by Mumford and Sons would indicate the analogy here is Cain's killing of Abel, and the choices made both in launching the fight, and the choice to stand to.

Timshel. "Thou mayest ..." which, as Steinbeck points out in his character Lee's explanation, offers the choice: "Thou mayest not..."leaving 'timshel' to be perhaps the most important word in the world."

As we were discussing it, I mentioned Cain killing Abel with the jawbone of an ass. Leece took exception, remarking that the bible does not state how Cain killed Abel, and in any case, it was Samson who wielded the jawbone of an ass with considerable homicidal efficiency. "But everyone knows he used the jawbone of an ass!" I argued. "How? How does 'everyone' know that?" Leece asked.

"Well, it's in the bible!" I exclaimed. And almost instantly realized that if she said it wasn't, I was almost certainly whistling a heathenishly ignorant Dixie.

She's right, of course. The bible makes no mention of how Cain killed Abel.

But biblical art; classical art; is full of examples of Cain killing Abel, and in many of those works of art, he is shown wielding the jawbone of an ass.

In Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol 35 1972, we find an article by A.A. Barb which takes note of these works of art and their depiction of the weapon as the jawbone of some animal, and which further states:"...from at least the 9th century AD, Irish and Anglo-Saxon literary tradition maintained that the jawbone was that of an ass. It has been established that both the literary tradition, and artistic representation of the jawbone as a weapon,originated in early medieval Hiberno-Saxon Insular art and spread thence to the continent, but so far there has been no satisfactory answer of where the idea for this curious weapon originated ...". Barb goes on to discuss what other forms of weaponry might have been used by Cain.

"It's interesting how culture can color our perceptions of what the bible says, even when it doesn't say anything," Leece remarked, as she polished off the last of her sopapilla.

Ain't it, though. Would that a fundamentalist or two were listening ... particular those of a political bent.

Speaking of choice of weaponry ... in the video, we see some fine representations of the Winchester Model of 1866. We see no mention in Genesis of these, either.


Huckabee, Josh Duggar, and Family Research Council

Update 08.20.2015: Josh Duggar outed in the Ashley Madison data dump

"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife," Duggar said in a statement Thursday.

Josh Duggar has resigned from Family Research Council after his child molestation 'allegations' became known:

Duggar resigns from Family Research Council

Mike Huckabee, super-patriot and super-'Christian', is a great fan of Family Research Council, often citing them in his war on gays. That they are usually wrong doesn't faze Huckabee in the least. Meanwhile, he has come out in defense of Duggar:

"He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story."

Actually, Duggar and his family did not deal with it, and were not honest and open about it.

From this article on TLC dropping the show:

"The [police]report states that Jim Bob Duggar was first alerted by one of the alleged victims in March 2002."

March 2002.

Yet the police didn't investigate any of this until 2006, because:

"Jim Bob told police, when he was interviewed in 2006, that the Duggars sent their son to a Christian program at the advice of their church elders. However, later in the report Michelle Duggar states where their son was sent was "not really a training center," rather he was sent to stay with an acquaintance and do manual labor."

Jim Bob (dad) lied to the cops in the report, and was outed by Mom ... they never sent Duggar to a 'Christian training center' at all. They hid it. Did they do so with the advice of the 'church elders?' If so, then that church is complicit in covering up child molestation. If not, then Joe Bob is lying about that, too.  But wait! It gets even better, all this 'honesty' and 'openess:'

"Jim Bob told police he spoke with an Arkansas State Trooper in 2003 after another incident occurred. The trooper, who the police report states knew the Duggar family, explained to Josh what could happen if he continued this behavior."

We have a state trooper - law enforcement - with knowledge of this, and who did not report it, but 'as a friend' told Josh he should, like, you know ... stop feeling up his sisters when they were sleeping. But the cop, who had a duty to report, did not. The Arkansas State Trooper was complicit in all this 'openess' and 'honesty.'

Huckabee and these people could give lessons to Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Huckabee has a funny concept of 'openness' and 'honesty. He's willing to forgive anything ... unless you're gay, lesbian, or a Democrat.

He also has a strange view of "American values" as well, especially for a Man Who Would Be President. Here's his infamous 'hold 'em at gunpoint' video:

This was at the 'Rediscover God in America' confabulation a few years back. This part was edited out of the 'official' videos of the shindig.

Update 05.23.2015:

A timeline of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar

The cop that 'explained' what could happen? He should have taken his own advice:

That officer, Joseph Truman Hutchens, is currently serving a 56-year prison sentence in an Arkansas Department of Correction facility for child pornography offenses.

And the fellow who handled the 'counselling'? At that 'Christian counselling center? That was Bob Gothard.

In 2014, Gothard resigned from the Institute in Basic Life Principles following allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse. A spokesman for the Institute couldn’t confirm or deny to the Democrat-Gazette whether a youth treatment program was in place at the building in 2003.

Huck certainly seems to have some strange bedfellows, and an even stranger view of what is 'honest' and 'open.'


High times at the Broadmoor for Colorado's school boards

The Colorado Association of School Boards has for several years held its annual bash at the Broadmoor.

At tax-payer expense. Yep. School board members from all over the state travel to the Broadmoor for a few days of being wined and dined by lobbyists, textbook salespersons, and purveyors of other vital school equipment. They stay at the Broadmoor on your dime and mine.

When's the last time you stayed at the Broadmoor?

It has been a scandal reported on by a number of newspapers, but the arrogance of CASB and school board members has been such that they just ignore the outrage.

Livin' large at the Broadmoor

Greeley/Evans District 6 board member Brett Reese objected to this gluttonous display of self-indulgence, but was pushed aside. He has since been vindicated:

Vindication: Mainstream media discovers Reese right about Broadmoor

From the article about the 2012 conference:

“One staff member charged $30 for a room service hamburger. Another charged $48.19 for a room service delivery of a plate of chicken and a glass of milk. Still another staff member submitted a room service bill for a single $30 mahi sandwich.” 

CASB also fed 19 staff members lunch with the bill totaling $1,217.69 or $64 per person and a few days later a breakfast meeting for 22 staff members cost another $1,439.54 which came to over $65 per person.

CASB president Ken Delay blew that off: "It's the going rate at the Broadmoor."

The report also noted that CASB also permits spouses and children to attend and the organization picks up the tab. So while school districts like ours are feeding us shit sandwiches, they are stuffing their faces on our dime up at the Broadmoor ... while attending such seminars as:

“The Game has Changed: What will it take to pass a bond and mill levy override in 2012?” 

“Changing the Constitution and other trivial matters” 

and “Unstuck and Maximizing Diversity.” 

Yep. They're trying to figure out ways of squeezing more tax revenue out of us. While shoving $30 dollar burgers down their maws.

They haven't quit. They had their Broadmoor junket this past December, as usual.

How 'bout that WiFi the building leadership teams want for our district?

How about that settlement with Carol Noll, after the geniuses on the school board played their power trip and ego games?

Today's oxymoron: "school board fiscal responsibility."

The East Otero R-1 School Board's shit sandwich

It would appear that the school board's machinations come at a pretty good price:

So "The Noll Problem" has been taken care of. I'm wondering how many services to students had to be cut to pay for this little folly. How many text books would that have purchased? What about that student WiFi setup the teaching staff proposed? You know, so they could do some of that '21st Century teaching' school board political types are fond of yakking about, but which in East Otero R-1 take second seat to witch hunts, power plays, and cheap shots.

And of course, it's coming out of the pockets of taxpayers in the district. What about the board members who behaved "inappropriately," according to Noll's response to the evaluations made by the board just before they broke into song, "I bin werkin' on the railroad ..."?

I found the allegation about a board member discussing 'personnel matters' with district employees at one of the basketball games particularly interesting, especially considering the info was to have been out of an executive session. I was surprised to hear it happened at a basketball game; I would have thought it more likely to have occurred at one of the Breakfast Club meetings over in the Copper Kitchen.

How many times have we heard this board use 'personnel matters' as part of the 'circle the wagons' reaction in order to stonewall public inquiry? Apparently the sanctity of the 'executive session' disappears like dust in the wind, when a board member wants to do a little character assassination or gossip-mongering

There's an FB page up now, take it or leave it as you will:

East Otero School Board Watch

 which seems to have as one of its authors a fellow named David Seaney.

Mr. Seaney has taken the board to task several times, at board meetings and on this FB page.

An anonymous person who has created an FB profile, "Joe Friday" seems to have taken it upon himself to launch a smear campaign against Seaney:

 It seems that Mr. Seaney was the district superintendent in question. The DUI is from December 2010. That's quite a dig into the past. I'm not sure what relevance it has to Mr. Seaney's questioning of school board activities, especially since he is clearly within his Constitutional rights - both state and Federal - to question and even 'remonstrate with' our elected officials.  More to the point in refuting this bit of miserable cowardice, the school board has had no problems  in the past with  hiring them what's a bit too fond of their booze. Have they since gotten religion? Or is this selectivity related to Who's Whose Buddy in The Smile Hi?

Why is it that I think this gutless, no-balls "Joe Friday" character might be one of our real flag-wavin' all-American "Christian" super-patriots? Perhaps because a whole lot of life experience has shown me time and again, that's how they roll? Perhaps because it's the "Christian" super-patriots who have little or nothing of Christ in them, and who are the first to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of "American values?"

"Joe Friday" tried a cheap shot at Seaney, but all he has done is demonstrate a shocking level of cowardly behavior, hiding behind an anonymous FaceBook post to try to do a bit of back-stabbing.

"Joe Friday" also demonstrates with that comment, "Since there were two additional board members that voted to approve the resignation if they will be recalled too." that he really isn't overly bright. The 'two additional board members', having been handed a shit sandwich by The Gang of Three, understood quite well that a) there was nothing they could do about the railroading of Noll; and b) that Noll has the district by the short and curlies, otherwise, why a 'settlement', so c) take the best deal for the district at this point, which is what they did. Those two board members are the only ones demonstrating any semblance of 'adult leadership' in this matter.

Press on, Mr. Seaney. I'm also curious as to the workings of the selection process for Mr. Lovato. Not that I think he doesn't have the talent and brains to be a good superintendent; it's clear that he does. But this isn't about Mr. Lovato; it's about The Gang of Three and their slippery ways of doing business, and their skills in running a deli. That shit sandwich thing, you see.

Can we have that on a nice rye with a snappy mustard, please? And can I have that as part of the school lunch program?