Travelin', Boss

The Rude Pundit is on the wild roads of Uhmerka this fair Labor Day weekend. He's got something teed off to post, but it's gonna be a bit later. 

Despite using "teed off," he is not golfing, by the way, because fuck that. 


Mike Huckabee: "Lawbreaker Kim Davis Is Totally Tits"

Actual Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (campaign slogan: "Ahma eat awl theez heer gritz 'cuz Jeezus tole me to") supports jailed lawbreaker Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who violated a court order to issue marriage licenses to couples, same sex or otherwise. She is being held in contempt, but Huckabee is also demonstrating contempt for education by telling the hick fucknuts who make up his supporters wrong info about how the nation works.

Says Huckabee in a statement today, "Kim is asking the perfect question:  'Under what law am I authorized to issue homosexual couples a marriage license?' That simple question is giving many in Congress a civics lesson that they never got in grade school." You may think, "Um, the law that says you do what courts tell you to do, especially when the Supreme Court said to do it," but you would be happy to have the Devil balls deep in your face, sinning liberal.

He continues, "The Supreme Court cannot and did not make a law.  They only made a ruling on a law.  Congress makes the laws.  Because Congress has made no law allowing for same sex marriage, Kim does not have the Constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples." If you were a fucking dumbass, you'd think that Huckabee's right, goshdarnit. And he is, except for being so wrong. 

Let's explain this so that anyone can explain it to their fuckwit relatives. The law says that two adult people are allowed to get married. If a state carves out an exception to the law, like that two people of the same sex aren't allowed, that is discrimination. The Supreme Court, who, under the Constitution, is in fact made up of unelected judges, said that the law on marriage has to cover everyone equally. That's not making a law. That is making a ruling on the law, which is what Mike Huckabee says they're supposed to do.

But, of course, of course, this is really about the God shit. You can read it all yourself. Huckabee needs to have some reason to exist in this presidential race. Fuck it. This may as well be his Schiavo moment.


Fuck Tha Pope (When It Comes to Abortion Forgiveness)

Yesterday, when Pope Francis, whose papacy seems to be based on the principle of "Let's not change doctrine, but let's just not be dicks about it," issued a letter declaring that for one year and one year only, all priests can forgive the "sin" of abortion and cleanse the baby-killing whores so they can get to Heaven (which is not where aborted babies go, according to Catholicism, but, hey, limbo babies are still adorable).

That's not actually much of a paraphrase. Here's what Francis wrote: "I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it." This comes after Francis has psychoanalyzed women who have had abortions and proclaimed, "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. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father."

You got that? You want to be part of our club, you gotta be sad and sorry about your abortion, ladies. Oh, by the way, we're still gonna condemn the shit out of you because that's what we do, but you get this Holy Year (are other years unholy?) to come clean, tell your priest who has been telling you that you can be excommunicated for abortion that you have had one, and all will be well and you can eat the Christ crackers with a free conscience. 

The Rude Pundit's first thought was in a mighty tweet of mightiness, where he said that women should tell Francis to shove his mercy up his ecumenical ass. Then people starting tweeting back, which is what people do, that he didn't understand, that he must not be Catholic, that if he was Catholic, he'd get what a huge, huge deal this is. And then the Rude Pundit felt pity, which made him drink whiskey, which made him angry, so he started looking up nun and priest porn, and then Pope porn, and then Craigslist ads that referenced the same, and that was the beginning of a downward spiral that ended with strangers sporting Jesus butt plugs and crucifixes shoved into the most sacred of places. You don't need to know more, but the Lord was referenced on several occasions.

Of course, it's virtually impossible for anyone not Catholic to understand. But we can all understand that if you feel you are worth more because a religious leader says your sins are forgiven, that's fucked up. Read the whole letter from Francis. There's some hoodoo shit in there. Apparently, you should be striving for a Jubilee Indulgence in this Jubilee Year. Says El Papa, "To experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion." That's cult-worthy. (And, let's face it, all religions are cults with better marketing.)

But, hey, the Pope doesn't hate the gays. He says Christians should get off their asses and do something about the poor. He thinks that wealth is bullshit. He wants nations and corporations and individuals to act on climate change.  If there is one upside to this offer of redemption, it's that maybe, perhaps, some women who have had abortions and who want to take part in a Christian faith won't end up in one of the totally fucked-up evangelical faiths. Those assholes will forgive anything as long as you take a plunge in their icky pool and pledge some cash. 

Most women, though, have got to be thinking, "I don't feel like shit for having an abortion. So fuck that guy."


If You Support the County Clerk in Kentucky, You Support Shariah Law

The Rude Pundit is trying to get his head around the thinking of County Clerk Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky. See, he can't imagine a situation where he's asked to do something lawful for his job, for the people who, you know, pay him, and he doesn't do it. Now, between the asking and the doing, there might be a hell of a rigmarole. For instance, recently at this here professorin' gig, some top-down changes to curriculum were instituted. After a protracted battle, where the Rude Pundit spoke out publicly against things, where he joined protests and signed mighty petitions of many signatures, his side lost.

It didn't even occur to him to declare, "I will not teach because this curriculum violates my deeply-held pedagogical beliefs." No, his options would be to either quit or do his job and live to fight another day. And since, at the end of the current day, no children were being bombed or rivers being polluted, he went to work like usual. Because that's what you do. Because that's the choice you face. If you have a job, you do the job. If you don't want to do the job, leave the job.

But what he can't even begin to comprehend is the conviction that if he does a job that violates his beliefs, an invisible sky wizard will angrily condemn him to an eternity of fire and demon rape. To take that further, it's not in his realm of thinking to understand that one might think that it's one's job to keep the angry sky wizard, fire, and raping demons away from others. 

That's exactly where we are with on-her-fourth-marriage Kim Davis and the other county clerks in Kentucky who are refusing to issue any marriage licenses because they don't want to allow same sex couples to marry. The twisted reasoning in not issuing licenses to opposite sex couples is so the clerks don't appear to be prejudiced against gay couples. Ahh, they're subtle, these Christian soldiers.

Davis wasn't so subtle with the all-male and all-female couples who showed up today to get their perfectly legal marriage licenses. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court said, "Shut the fuck up and do your goddamned job" to Davis. Then a federal court said, "What Kagan said, and start now." Davis remained totally, almost admirably, but definitely dumbly defiant.

When one unlucky groom asked under whose authority she was acting out, Davis proclaimed, "Under God's authority." The next question should have been "Does God sign your motherfucking paycheck?" followed by "No? Then get a job where he does."

Instead, Davis faced down the angry group and announced, "I'm willing to face my consequences and you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment." That's adorable, Davis pretending as if she wasn't judging them already. She'll get more time to make her holy case when she appears Thursday before a U.S. district judge for a possible contempt citation and fine (no one's asking her to be put in jail. Let's not make this nutzoid evangelical more of a martyr to the Jesus fellaters bobbing on the bearded knob for her cause).

If you don't get it, let's make it clear: This is an attempt to enact fundamentalist Christianity as law. It is an attempt to make religious doctrine take the place of secular legal decisions. It is, in theory and operation, no different than the Shariah law that cowardly conservatives fear will overtake the nation, with Muslim Obama as chief mullah or some such shit. You can say you prefer your flavor, but it's still motherfuckin' ice cream. (Note: The Rude Pundit really wants some ice cream.)

Oh, we'll have the usual parade of suspects, of craven politicians leaping to Davis's defense, of talk radio dogs woofing away to their anus-sniffing audience. You know, though, the Rude Pundit may not understand the desire to avoid the stink eye of God, but he knows where inspiration for such fuckery comes from.

The Republican Party is made up of fundamentalists of one type or another now. If your only stance on any issue is "My way or not at all," if you're going to threaten to shut down the working of the government because you don't like Planned Parenthood or you need answers on Benghazi or you need to represent for your state's dead president, then why wouldn't someone think it's fine to stop the gears of local government to please their angry gods.


Taking Donald Trump Seriously (Or Not)

Okay, fine, so we're supposed to pretend to take Donald Trump seriously and continue to indulge this fantasy so narcissistic that Kanye West has called him to take that shit down a notch. Well, then, let's do it. Let's say that Trump actually has proposals worthy of consideration beyond "Are you fucking kidding?" If you go to his website and click on "issues," there is still only one: immigration reform. That's it.

And if you read it, you'll see that Trump fully believes (or doesn't - it's hard to tell what shit he actually believes and what shit is just expediency for the moment) that "solving" the problem of undocumented workers will solve pretty much every other problem in the country, from terrorism to poverty. It's so fuckin' miraculous that no one ever thought before to scapegoat one group and order their purging. It cures all that ails a nation, no?

Beyond actual, seriously-stated proposals like that we should economically sanction and diplomatically isolate Mexico until that nation pays for a 2000 mile border wall, what's most fascinating are the links to articles that make up the "research" that's gone into the plan. No less than half a dozen times, Trump cites the conservative news port-a-potty, Breitbart, which means either he's paying good money in exchange for blow jobs and clicks or he just doesn't give a shit what his sources are.

'Cause, see, for example, Trump offers the kind of proposal makes stupid people smile stupidly because they think it's common sense: "Use the monies saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States." And he links to two Breitbart articles. For "high crime neighborhoods," he sends us not to crime statistics or even a report of criminality. No, we get to click over to an article that is a summary of a caller to Laura Ingraham's radio ear bleeder. No shit, it's a woman claming to be black and living in Baltimore who says she wants asylum from crime in her neighborhood, which may well be true, except if you're passing it off as news, you motherfucking confirm that it is a real person with a real opinion and not some fucknut who wants to hear their bullshit on the radio. But for a presidential candidate to use that as a demonstration of the effects of high crime rates is laughably absurd, if we still had the capacity to find all this absurd anymore.

On it goes. Another link is to a Breitbart article that is, shit you not, a reprint of an abstract of a study, along with the first paragraph of the introduction. In other words, the article's "writer" didn't even bother to read the fucking study about how immigrant workers affect native workers in the United States. One other frightening thing comes out of looking at Trump's "research." Most of these articles are about the effects of documented and undocumented workers. In other words, it's not just an attack on "illegals." It's an attack on immigrants coming here and taking our jobs or some such fucked-up lie.

This isn't an indictment of Breitbart. If you go to the circus, expect to see heaps of elephant dung. But it is an indictment of Trump, who doesn't give a fuck who his "experts" are. You been on TV saying shit Trump likes? You're hired. Who the fuck cares if you're associated with white supremacists. And it's an indictment of the knuckle-dragging yahoos and racist opportunists who see in Trump their idiot god who says what they really want said.

Sure, sure, we can pretend that these are serious proposals. But if we do, we have to seriously contend with the hatred from which they spring and the hatred that they provoke. We have to seriously understand that a large contingent of the Republican Party is no longer hiding its racist anger. Instead, it's out in the open. We thought that would make it less frightening, if we could see its face and hear its awful words.

It doesn't.


Not a Katrina Anniversary Post

"I don't wanna write about that. I'm tired of thinking about it," said one of the Rude Pundit's New Orleans friends when he asked the woman to post on this here blog about the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that caused the levees in New Orleans to break, allowing cataclysmic, murderous floods to ravage that place and many others. "Why does it matter that it's been ten years? Every day is another anniversary." Her family had lost three or four houses between all the members. She lived a damn nightmare.

He reached out to another buddy, an old friend, a writer and photographer, who responded, "I'm just keeping my head low and not following it at all. It makes me crazy." He meant that it depressed the hell out of him, and it was hard to blame him. He had been chased out of his home by the storm and came back to help rebuild the town.

The Rude Pundit tried several times this week to write something, but he found that he couldn't articulate what he was feeling. New Orleans isn't back to its old self. That doesn't exist anymore. What does exist is, to a large extent, "New Orleans," a pretty authentic imitation of the place, but just off enough that, if you knew it before, you know it's far, far different. The town is still one of his favorite places in the whole country, the whole world, so maybe when you love something so truly, so tragically, it becomes hard to catalog the good and bad ways it has healed after a near-death experience.

He's going to try again to come up with something worth saying, something about remembering how a Republican administration let the city drown and rot, about how it ripped the bandage of race relations off and we're dealing with the bleeding to this day, about how it demonstrated that neglect of infrastructure is a crime, about how the culture is still amazing but missing so many elements that made it whole, about how the school "miracle" is, to a large extent, smoke and mirrors, about how poverty has become far worse while property values skyrocket. Maybe he'll be able to articulate something. Or maybe he'll just pass on this one.

Or perhaps he'll wait until he returns to New Orleans in December, as he generally does, as he did December 2005, when the Rude Pundit and the Rude Brother took a drive through the circles of Hell, from the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain through St. Bernard Parish and into the Lower Ninth Ward, to see the destruction first hand.

You can read those posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. There are many, many photos, interviews, and on-the-ground reporting, including a view of the barge that ended up beached in the middle of the Lower Ninth.

Back then, he wrote, "The resurrection of New Orleans seems as if it's calculated to create a Disneyfied version of itself, where only the parts that matter to outsiders are developed, those that can be made into simulacra of the real thing." For a great deal of the city, that is true. And for many, certainly for outsiders, that is good enough. It might be time to let the old city go and grapple with what comes next.


Bobby Jindal to Obama: Don't Politicize the Katrina Anniversary Unless It's Politics We Like

Sometimes, it's the easiest thing in the world to figure out just how dumb a person is. For instance, here are two sentences from a letter from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the world saddest animated giraffe, to President Barack Obama regarding Obama's visit to New Orleans today to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Jindal didn't want Obama to mention climate change:

"While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianians.

"I would ask you to respect this important time of remembrance by not inserting the divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism."

Can you wrap your head around that without it exploding? After attacking the President politically, Jindal asks Obama not to bring up something "political." You got that? Put aside for a moment that bringing up something that pretty much every scientist accepts as fact isn't exactly "political," how the hell do you take two completely contradictory sides without getting whiplash? It's like Jindal sucker punched Obama and then said, "I ask you not to throw punches because that'd be mean." That's not just dumb. It's pathologically, insistently stupid.

Jindal continues, "Furthermore, the people of Louisiana have already agreed upon a pragmatic and bipartisan approach to preventing and mitigating the damage of future weather systems." Yeah, sure (although the usefulness of that plan has far less support than the reality of climate change), but who exactly is financing all the plans? It sure as shit ain't broke-ass Louisiana. Oh, right, it's funded by the billions of dollars that came from the federal government.

In other words, who the fuck cares what Bobby Jindal wants said?

Towards the end of his letter, which is about as a effective as a flea fart in a hurricane, Jindal smirks, "Partisan politics from Washington, D.C. are unwelcome in Louisiana at the best of times. This week it would be met with nothing but derision."

Huh. Before his speech today, Obama had given an interview to WWL-TV where he said, "We can build great levees. We can restore wetlands. But ultimately, what we also have to do is make sure that we don't continue to see ocean levels rise, oceans getting warmer, storms getting stronger." And yet all the people at his speech didn't react with derision, unless hugs and tears are now an indication of contempt.

That's because the people of New Orleans know better than Bobby Jindal what the deal is. They know that without any real action on climate change, the city is fucked beyond fucked, and all the mitigation and restoration plans will mean jackshit. Yeah, that mighty plan Jindal touted was based on "low-balled" estimates of the effects of climate change when the what's really predicted to happen is that shit's gonna get drowned by, perhaps, 2062. Says one scientist, what we do about carbon emissions in the next 30 years "will determine whether New Orleans is inhabitable during the 22nd Century."

But let's not taint the whole memorial with politics. It'd be unseemly.