Your State Sucks: Louisiana Is Ground Zero for the Failure of Republican Policies:
So let's go through the list of abominations in the state where the Rude Pundit grew up, Louisiana. Everything here is just from this past week:

Guns: In a stunning coincidence, "Louisiana has the highest rate of gun violence in the nation and the weakest gun safety laws, according to a recent national study, and state lawmakers are moving to expand the already permissive statutes." Yep, in addition to the pushing for a bill that nullifies federal laws on semi-automatic weapons, the Legislature also made it a crime to "release or publish" information on concealed carry permit holders because, obviously, in the hierarchy of nutzoid right-wing liberty, the 2nd Amendment trumps the 1st, despite the order that the authors of the Bill of Rights put them in.

According to the Center for American Progress (which is, shockingly, liberal), "Louisiana had more deaths per capita from guns than any other state from 2001 to 2010. The study indicated that Louisiana has the highest gun-homicide rate among residents 19 years old and younger." Now the natural response from gun fetishists is "Yeah, well, what about Chicago with its strict gun laws?" Yeah, see, that's a stupid fucking comparison because Chicago...see if you can follow this logic...is a city. Okay. Now the next part: Louisiana is a state. Illinois is the state that Chicago is in, and neither Illinois nor Indiana, which is very close to Chicago, have much looser gun laws than Chicago. In fact, Illinois' Senate is currently debating a bill to allow for concealed carry. So you'd have to compare Louisiana and Illinois in order to make a rational...oh, fuck, never mind. Logic wins here, but, then, again, you'd have to agree to follow logic. (Also, don't argue about Idaho or any states with loose gun laws and one person every ten miles. Use some goddamn common sense.)

Oh, by the way, just signed into law in Louisiana: lifetime concealed carry permits.

: Long-necked, weak-chinned cartoon character Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, has been all about his voucher program, donating shit-tons of state education money to church-run schools in the name of freedom to be as stupid as stumps. Unfortunately, the standardized tests that are ruining education in the United States also demonstrate that voucher kids at private schools aren't learning shit, with 40% of voucher students scoring at or above grade level, compared with 69% at the hellholes of ignorance and sin, the public schools, taught by public school teachers, those paragons of greed and sloth (except when a school is being shot up and they become heroes we love again). Yeah, apparently, if you go to the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, secular science (or, you know, "science") isn't given much consideration, since, 93% of the students tested got either "Unsatisfactory" or "Approaching Basic" understanding of the subject in 7th grade. Still, it's better than Holy Ghost Elementary where, no joke, 100% of students scored at those levels.

It doesn't help that the state House just won't repeal the unconstitutional-since-1987 Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act because, oh, who knows? Baby Jesus would cry? It doesn't really matter, though, since creationism is allowed to be taught through the Jindal-approved and weirdly named Science Education Act.

Who knew that teaching that The Flintstones was a documentary would have a real-world effect on children?

: The recent threatening ricin-containing, threatening letters sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama were postmarked from Shreveport, Louisiana (even if the current suspect is from Texas).

But that's really about guns. And bad spelling and punctuation, so education, too.


It's an Armed World, After All:
How much of small-dicked, paranoid coward do you have to be to bring a loaded gun to Disney World? That question was answered yesterday when a small-dicked, paranoid coward named Angelo Lista brought a Cobra .380 semiautomatic pistol to the Magic Kingdom.

The gun was found by a grandmother who was on the Dinosaur ride at the Animal Kingdom with her grandson. Lista said the gun, loaded with 5 hollow points, "had fallen out of his buttoned back pocket during the bumpy ride." By the way, the ride isn't about killing dinosaurs; instead, you are supposed to drive around the majestic, if deadly, beasts, doing research. 

He was apologetic, at least. And he claimed that he had just accidentally left the gun in his back pocket and didn't realize it until he was on the tram from the parking lot, the inconvenience trumping common sense. And he claimed that he didn't know that Disney World has a no-weapons policy. Meanwhile, the rest of us claim that Angelo Lista is fucking stupid to think that it's cool to wander through Fantasyland with a goddamn gun.

Lista does have a concealed carry permit. And here's the fun part: "Disney authorities can order a guest to leave for violating the policy, but if the owner legally possesses the weapon, they cannot press criminal charges." So Lista just had to leave the park. Bad man make Mickey sad. But, hey, bring your guns. What's the worst that can happen? And you never know if you'll need to take out Chip n' Dale.

Now you can harp all you want about how you are a good, responsible gun owner and know what you're doing at all fucking times and you'd never do something so careless. We all think that about the shit we believe we're expert at. But as sure as you're sitting there, smugly thinking you're better than everyone else who does the exact same thing as you, you will shoot yourself in the groin.

Reader Meadrus on the Twitter machine sent the Rude Pundit a link to a concealed carry forum where one yahoo bragged about how he "carried for my first time in Disneyland." Truckoholic (yes, Truckoholic) wrote, "Well, this past week I carried for my very first time in Disneyland. Went down and met up with my sister's family to take my niece to Disneyland for her second birthday." He thought about using an ankle holster, but instead he went with the inside-the-waistband one. Yeah, don't want to be uncomfortable on the spinning teacups with your toddler niece.

Anticipating a question, Lucky Dog answered, "My typical response is that while it may be safe in that location, getting to/from the parking lot (not to mention inside the parking lot itself) is not going to be as safe."

How scared do you have to be? How deluded, brainwashed into thinking that your gun is all that stands between you and imminent bodily harm in the parking lot at Disneyland? Should the costumed characters carry? Should Goofy have a Glock? Should Pluto have a pistol? Should Woody have a real six-shooter? Would Donald Duck, with all his anger issues (and possible PTSD), pass a background check?

To his credit, the moderator of the forum replied, "Disneyland has a no weapons policy, even for CCW holders. Please do not carry there and if you do, please do not post about it here." See? It's not really all that hard to give the respect to which you yourself think you are righteously entitled.
Late Post Today:
It's hot as fuck today up here in the Great Northeast. That has nothing to do with why today's post will be late, but, man, fuck you, climate.

Back later with more concealed carry rudeness.


Antonin Scalia Is a Dick and Can't Be Bothered, Even If You're Innocent:
Sometimes, the expansive dickishness of Supreme Court Antonin Scalia is breathtaking. Prepping to write a dissent, especially on a 5-4 decision, he must angrily masturbate to flagellation porn, like a good Catholic, until he's just about to orgasm, stop, and then use the shame and rage left behind to craft his response to the liberal(ish) majority. Such is the case in a decision released yesterday in McQuiggin v. Perkins.

The majority said that there is an extremely narrow window through which a defendant can appeal his or her conviction, regardless of the statute of limitations imposed by the federal Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. That standard is "actual innocence." That means, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes, a judge must determine that "it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him in the light of the new evidence." And so a potentially innocent person might go free.

So keep in mind two things: the AEDPA was signed into law by Bill Clinton after it was passed in 1996, an election year, when Democrats were being accused of being pussies about crime post-Oklahoma City bombing, so they went along with Republicans in crafting a law that, among other things, made appeals much more difficult to file. Why? Because "frivolous" appeals were stopping people from being murdered by the state fast enough for the bloodthirsty populace. (Sorry, kids. The Clinton years weren't just about cocksucking and free money.)

The other thing to keep in mind is that the Supreme Court majority is saying that if there's a really, really good chance an innocent person is in prison or on death row, that person deserves a chance to get out, filing deadlines and such be damned. Seems pretty noncontroversial, no?

For Scalia, this is an arrogant insult to the Congress, saying that if the Legislative branch wanted the law to mean this, then they would have said so. In an oh-so-clever metaphor, Scalia writes, "One cannot assume that Congress left room for other, judge-made applications of the actual-innocence exception, any more than one would add another gear to a Swiss watch on the theory that the watchmaker surely would have included it if he had thought of it. In both cases, the intricate craftsmanship tells us that the designer arranged things just as he wanted them." Yeah, but what if adding that gear makes it a better watch? And what if the owner of the watch would have to get executed if the gear wasn't added? And what the fuck? Despite what Big Tony wants us to believe, laws are not blithely functioning machines. They involve people. That's why the fuck there's human judges.

At every turn, Scalia tries to belittle the majority by divorcing the holding - remember, the majority is saying that innocent people should have at least a small chance of proving their innocence - from its real world effects. He says, "By the Court’s logic, a statute banning littering could simply be deemed to contain an exception for cigarette butts; after all, the statute as thus amended would still cover something." (Emphasis Big Tony's.) So for Scalia, there is no statutory difference between human lives and discarded cigarette butts. Point made, sir, point made.

But Scalia is just getting warmed up. "The Court simply ignores basic legal principles where they pose an obstacle to its policy-driven, free-form improvisation," he writes, and at some point you gotta wonder if he does shit like this just to piss off Ginsburg and make Sotomayor laugh at his hubris. The path to the decision is "twisting," he writes, and that the majority "ambushed" Congress, that the majority is impelled by a "vision of perfect justice." Heaven forbid the desire for "perfect justice" if it comes up against the perfect imposition of an unjust law.

Scalia is furious that the Court, in several cases, has "traded the simple elegance of the common-law writ of habeas corpus for federal-court power to probe the substantive merits of state-court convictions" because he believes already overburdened courts will be forced to read more petitions for appeal. Which is bullshit, since the narrow exception probably won't even allow the appeal of Floyd Perkins, the original petitioner. Besides, as Emily Bazelon writes in Slate, "If federal judges have their hands full, then it’s time to fill the many vacancies on the bench." Huh, wonder who's holding that up?

The lesson from Scalia (and Roberts, Alito, and Scalia's appendage) is that innocence is not, in and of itself, enough of a reason to consider overturning a conviction. That's a frightening perspective. And maybe a self-proclaimed Constitutional "originalist" like Scalia would know that it would probably not be shared by the Founders, like, you know, John Adams.


A Few Belated Thoughts on Obama's "End" of the War on Terror Speech: Congress Needs to Say the Safe Word:
There's times in a particularly extreme BDSM session where you just want the submissive to say the safe word. You're looking at the pathetic bastard, trussed up, hanging from the reinforced bar in the ceiling, ball gag suffocatingly tight, chest covered with welts and semen, nipples clamped tight in the vices that are attached to the electrified neck chain, nuts dangling low because of the weighted ball stretcher, ass bruised and bleeding a little, but with a vibrator stuck in it. And still, still, the sub's got a boner, one that you won't allow to come, but, c'mon, this has been fun, but you've got work tomorrow. Say the safe word. Frankly, you've moved on from the more obvious fucking (the floor is littered with paddles and whips and fisting lube and butt plugs and a spreader bar) and you're just straight out punching the sub. Maybe if you didn't use leather gloves. 

What is the safe word? "Repeal," of course.

The Rude Pundit's been shocked at how many people on the left thought that President Obama's speech on counterterrorism last Thursday indicated a major shift in policy or the beginning of the end of the dumbly named "War on Terror" (which, thankfully, like "illegal alien," has no practical use as a term anymore). It did nothing of the sort. The only thing Obama said that he'd definitely do is "I will not sign laws designed to expand [the Authorization for the Use of Military Force's] mandate further." Otherwise, everything else is, like too many things with this president, up for discussion. But until Congress says the safe word, well, he's got no other choice but to keep on drone murdering people, including underage Americans, should they get in the way.

What was even the purpose of the speech? Just for Obama to tell us, "Don't worry. I think really hard about all of this shit that I do"? Otherwise, all Obama said was that he'll get back to us.  He would ask his administration to "review proposals to extend oversight of lethal actions outside of warzones that go beyond our reporting to Congress" and directed Attorney General Eric Holder to "review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters" and "engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate" to go bugfuck insane over "terrorists."

It's that last one that is just galling as hell. See, the 2001 AUMF is pretty clear that all the decisions regarding the, you know, use of military force are to be made by the President. It says that "he determines" who or what needs to be attacked. Look, it's great that President Obama has decided that one of the goals of his administration is that Congress, which rolled over and allowed George W. Bush to fuck it freely during the bulk of his term, needs to get back to doing its fucking job. But Congress ain't gonna. Right now, Congress is tripping over its own tits trying to avoid a conference committee on budget bills that acutally passed both houses. You really think these crazy motherfuckers are gonna repeal the AUMF when they think that Chris Christie or Marco Rubio might get to use it next?

If Obama really wanted that "this war, like all wars, must end," he could fucking end it. The AUMF doesn't hinder him from doing so. He admitted that he can change the rules of engagement when he announced that he has "now codified [the rules for using forced against terrorists] in Presidential Policy Guidance that I signed yesterday." Hey, that's groovy, setting limits, providing guidance, that nice-sounding shit for when you can drone missile a village. Except, as Conor Friedersdorf writes, "Why does Obama seem to think his successors will constrain themselves within whatever limits he sets? Won't they just set their own limits? Won't those limits be very different? What would Chris Christie do in the White House? I have no idea, but I'm guessing that preserving the decisionmaking framework Obama established isn't what he'd do."

By admitting that America has targeted Americans for extrajudicial murder, Obama is saying, flat-out, that we just need to take his word for it: Anwar al-Awlaki was bad. We can't know how the administration reached that conclusion. We're not allowed to see the evidence. It can't be heard in open court. But Obama can tell us, "He helped oversee the 2010 plot to detonate explosive devices on two U.S.-bound cargo planes. He was involved in planning to blow up an airliner in 2009." Show us. Make us understand that this is true. Make us understand that there was no way to stop him. Because, see, it ain't like he was on a battlefield and killed.

And if this seems like too much of a stretch, to ask that the Obama White House provide us with these detailed answers and evidence, then you just need to go to the simplest of questions: "Do you want President Ted Cruz to make these decisions freely?"

So Obama wants to repeal the AUMF in order to prevent President Generic Republican or President Random Psychopath from having the massive powers that he and George W. Bush were granted. And to demonstrate how massive those powers are, the Rude Pundit supposes he's just going to keep pushing and pushing it, with drone strikes and surveillance tactics, until Congress says that safe word. It seems strange and, yes, a bit sadomasochistic. Congress will remain silent. Congress will merely tell Obama to bring it, even harder, and how dare he even talk about ending this war.

Of course, back in the BDSM room, you don't have to keep waiting. When you get too tired, you can untie your sub and tell him, "I'm done. Hope you had fun. And you're not allowed to masturbate." And then you can put your toys away, finding them finally exhausting and unnecessary.


A Poem for Memorial Day:
From Jason Poudrier, a former Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq in 2003, "Red Fields":

My feet sink
into the Barnestilled soil
of my father-in-law's
Oklahoma land,
reminding me of times
before I met his daughter.

When I drove along
in a tank convoy
towards Baghdad
at the same
pace as a tractor
over an unplowed field,
we dug foxholes
in the sand
with every stop we made.
My driver and I would have
fifteen minutes to dig
two foxholes,
with e-tools
better designed for
digging 1'x1' cat-holes.

When the sand was soft
like the overworked
edges of the short-rows
of my father-in-law's fields,
it was a blessing.
We'd dig our holes deep,
safe, to plant ourselves into
if we came under fire,
so we could rise out
when the lead rain ended.

When the sand was as hard
as the unworked
ground hiding under
the buffalo grass,
our e-tools would chink
at the surface with every hit;
our holes would be shallow,
and we'd push the sand up around
the perimeter, making
a false reservoir of safety,
knowing bullets would penetrate
the powdered walls if we were ambushed,
and our bodies would lie
half-exposed in shallow graves,
in pools coloring the sand
Oklahoma clay.

When his daughter was only
a pin-up girl in my mind,
the sandstorms would erase
the foxholes after we left;
now I drive my father-in-law's tractor
and set the plow into the soil
to cultivate his land.


Evangelical Family Research Council, as Completely Expected, Says Moore Disaster Is From God:

In an utterly predictable move, the evangelical Christian Family Research Council (motto: "Holier than thou, thou, and, yeah, thou in the back, too") says that the tornado that wiped out a large chunk of Moore, Oklahoma, was a message from God. This is not an Onion parody. It is sadly, awfully real.

The Rude Pundit received his weekly Prayer Target email yesterday, as is his reward for having signed up for the FRC's Super-Duper Prayer Team some years ago under a nom de rude. Each Wednesday (or Thursday, depending on who is feeling lazy), he gets his praypulation orders on various topics, usually gays, abortion, and gays, about which he should drop to his knees and give Jesus a shout-out.

Yesterday, he was a bit disturbed to read that, while we should pray for and give money to help the Moore victims, "there is more that we need to do in response to these and a growing number of devastating natural and man-made disasters that have been striking America in recent years." Whatever could it be? Funding for infrastructure reconstruction? Reduction of carbon emissions to slow the devastation of climate change? What?

Nope. Instead, the email quotes crazy-ass preacher Richard Owen Roberts saying (and let's let this go long because it's a crazy-ass quote from his crazy-ass call to "Solemn Assembly"), "Our Fathers believed God was offended by sin. They themselves were deeply troubled both by the existence of personal sin in their own lives and by the presence of unconfessed corporate sins in the churches and in the nation. They regarded natural calamities as manifestations of the displeasure of God Almighty against sin and allowed such events as earthquakes, fires, volcanoes, epidemics, floods, and droughts to prompt them to special seeking of God's face in fasting, prayer, and corporate repentance. They also sought the Lord in Solemn Assemblies in connection with wars, murders, rapes, etc., believing such outbursts of wickedness to be directly related to the general decline of moral and spiritual life in the churches." Man, we must suck so hard if God is always on the verge of "allowing" volcanoes to explode and wars to rage.

Lest you think that the FRC was merely just implying, wink-wink, that God is such a dick that he'd stone cold spree kill nine children in order to remind people that they need to tell him how awesome he is more regularly, the email evokes God, Jr. hisself: "Jesus asked his followers for their thoughts about those killed in two major disasters of their day. Did they suppose the victims were greater sinners than their unaffected countrymen? He answered his own question twice, 'I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' He warned of calamity to come for all men if they did not repent."

That's pretty clear, no? Picture Jesus holding a lightning bolt to the head of a 4th-grade girl, saying, "You. Down. On your knees. Repent or the kid gets it." That's a fine religion you got there.

(Remember: This is not fringe nonsense. FRC President Tony Perkins is a regular on the news networks, offering a conservative opinion on everything from gays to abortion to gays. He advises people like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will appear on his radio show today. And you can bet that Perkins will filthy up your TV screen soon talking about the Boy Scouts decision allowing gay scouts, but telling gay scoutmasters to take a hike in the woods alone.)

This section of the FRC email concludes with the odd statement that "The sovereign God of the Bible, who has protected America for four centuries, is calling the church and nation to return to her first love." Well, okay. The Rude Pundit's 2nd grade girlfriend, Sandy, is gonna be a bit surprised, but if it'll stop God from murdering people with tornadoes...


Rights Disappearing Down Obama's Drain:
It's such a kindly-worded "fuck you." That was the Rude Pundit's first thought when he read the letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Sen. Patrick Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee (which is the worst band name in history) affirming that the United States, under orders from the President, drone-murdered four American citizens. Oh, sure, the act is couched in all kinds of justifications, including President Obama's "Most Magnificent Guide to How You Excuse Yourself For Drone Murdering Americans."

See, Anwar al-Awlaki was ordered dead by Obama because he met three conditions: "(1) the U.S. government has determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) capture is not feasible; and (3) the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles." Did you know we're still at war? It's easy to forget that. Al-Awlaki was stone cold killed with intent. The other three Americans named were just collateral damage in other strikes.

How do we know that al-Awlaki (or "al-Aulaqi," as the letter transcribes his name) met the mighty condition trio? Because the White House tells us that he did. "[A]l-Aulaqi repeatedly made clear his intent to attack U.S. persons and his hope that these attacks would take American lives." But "it was not al-Aulaqi's words" that forced the United States to turn a citizen into lumps of bloody paste scattered around a wrecked building. He helped the underwear bomber: "Al-Aulaqi planned a suicide operation for Abdulmutallab, helped Abdulmutallab draft a statement for a video to be shown after the attack, and directed him to take down a U.S. airliner." And he did some other shit with explosives.

And how do we know al-Awlaki did these things? Because Holder tells us that he did. That's all. And if you want to see the evidence for this, well, fuck you, that's classified. Some members of Congress were briefed on the matter before it went down. And the letter contains a great deal about how previous Supreme Court decisions during real wars against real states apply and about how the U.S. could legally murder the fuck out of al-Awlaki. Also, government lawyers said it was cool by them. While it's not the same players, you'll remember that when George W. Bush wanted to torture detainees, government lawyers said it was cool. That's what lawyers do. They find a way to justify  barbaric acts.

It all reads like an eminently reasonable brief. And perhaps it is. But the Rude Pundit also reads it another way, as a massive middle finger to anyone who would question the President's right to kill at will. "Don't worry your little heads," it says. "We've looked into it and we've found that we can do what we want." It's the honor system, except not with coffee refills, but with missiles of doom.

Holder concludes, "I assure you that the President and his national security team are mindful of this Administration's pledge to public accountability for our counterterrorism efforts, and we will continue to give careful consideration to whether and how additional information may be declassified and disclosed to the American people without harming our national security." In other words, we'll let you know when we want to tell you more. In otherer words, dontcha trust us?

Here's the deal for the Rude Pundit: He was sadly unsurprised that the Obama administration was revealed to be throwing a broad investigative net in order to discover leaks to reporters. What the hell did anyone expect to happen when the Executive branch was granted all those barely checked surveillance powers under the Bush administration? Did you expect Congress to take them back? While we might have thought, in our dearest Obama fantasies, that he would turn away from them, of course he was going to take advantage and expand them to the legal breaking point.

By the same reasoning, of course, some president down the line is going to expand who gets killed on his or her orders. Of course, that president will have lawyers backing up the decision. Of course, there will be another letter to an acquiescent, complacent Congress, which will, of course, make noise as if it's going to do something about it. Of course, the public will be left in the dark as to what's real and what's not. Of course, the public will not give a good goddamn.

This letter was supposed to clear things up. But all it did was make the administration seem even more sinister. Why can't it show us that al-Awlaki was dangerous? The letter says that they can't do so in order to protect sources, but it all just still stinks. Like its war on whistleblowers and leakers, like its insistence on approving quotes for stories, like all of its other attempts to control coverage, Obama's approach to leading the country is to leave the citizens of the country out of it. Well, unless they need drone murdering.

We are in the midst of another kind of media manipulation, beyond just spin. It's the next obvious step: control of the message without consequences or real questions (hence the avoidance of press conferences - not that Obama would get decent questions from a cowed press corps).  In his speech today, Obama will no doubt say that what he did was right to keep America secure, even if now we're winding down the drone war.

The United States government definitively says it can kill its citizens if it's too inconvenient to arrest them and try them. That's the bottom line. If you think your government, no matter who is in the White House, should have that power, then you really don't care about your rights.

Except the 2nd Amendment. That shit is sacred.


In Brief: In 2005, Tom Coburn "Played Politics" with Hurricane Katrina:
The bodies were still stinking up the streets of New Orleans when Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said that budget cuts would be needed in order to offset the cost of immediate relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On September 1, 2005, Coburn's statement of sympathy with the ravaged Gulf Coast included this: "Congress needs to go to work now to pay for this massive relief effort with offsetting cuts in other spending bills." Coburn would beat this drum continuously, through all the relief efforts on Katrina.

White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten said, in answer to a reporter's question about Coburn's suggestion, "[I]t's just not realistic to expect that we can offset in other portions of the budget such large amounts, and expect not to cause very, very deep disruptions in other portions of the budget." At the time, most people thought it was horribly insensitive and grossly political.

By the way, in the same September 1, 2005 statement, while people were starving at the Superdome and stranded on highway overpasses, Coburn mentioned how the disaster would make oil and gas prices go up. And he added, "For too many years Congress has allowed misguided environmentalists to block the expansion of our domestic refinery and nuclear power capabilities. Relying too heavily on foreign sources of oil is not only an economic problem but a national security problem." You got that, right? In a press release where he said he had sympathy for the victims of a massive hurricane, Sen. Tom Coburn decided to slam environmentalists because gas prices might get too high. In right-wing rhetoric, that would be while they were still looking for the dead in the destroyed houses. Timing is everything, no?

So, really, conservatives, if you had any shame, you'd not fucking say another pathetic word about liberals mentioning climate change as it relates to, you know, a fucking climate event like the Moore tornado.


Dear Conservatives: Fuck Your Delicate Sensibilities:
Oh, dear, sweet, unstable conservatives, we know that your outrage detectors are set to go off at the drop of a feather. Your brains now work like this: "Obama farted near Netanyahu? Why does he want Iran to enslave Israel?" And one of the ways in which you get your blood all het up is leapin' at and yappin' how evil liberals are exploiting a tragedy for political gain. In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, it was wrong, according to you, to talk about gun control. Now, in the wake of the nightmarish destruction of the Moore tornado, you tell us it's wrong to talk about climate change and it's wrong to say things that mock right-wing responses to other tragedies. We should wait, you say, wait until the bodies are recovered, the bodies are buried, the bodies are mourned. Of course, even when politicians and pundits wait, you then say that they are exploiting a tragedy for political gain. Like 9/11. Oh, wait. That was you, so it doesn't count, of course, sorry, forgot.

Let the Rude Pundit clarify this for you in simple language: You don't get to dictate the terms of public rhetoric. You don't get to make the timeline. Fuck your delicate sensibilities, you hypocritcal scat players.

Yesterday, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, gave a passionate speech on climate change on the floor of the Senate. In it, he went after big polluters and big organizations who deny climate change: "Like the heads of Hydra, they may look like many, but in reality it’s all the same beast. It’s all the same scheme. It’s all the same money behind the scheme. You can name those front organizations, and many more, but none of it is real. They’re all just part of the same cheesy vaudeville show put on by the big polluters." Whitehouse was practically begging Republicans to come into the fold and help on environmental issue:

"In this corner, the Joint Chiefs, the bishops, Walmart, Ford, Apple, Coke, NASA, thirty top scientific organizations, the top insurers and reinsurers, and by the way several thousand legitimate others.

"In that corner, the polluting industry and a screen of sketchy organizations they fund.

"Let’s be serious. Do you really want to bet the reputation of the Republican Party that the polluters are the ones we should count on here? ‘Cause that’s what you’re doing."

It was a plea for sanity, for the Republican Party to start giving a shit again. Oh, and in a list of recent climate-related disasters, Whitehouse mentioned "cyclones" in Oklahoma. Oklahoma and its tornadoes made up less than ten words of the speech.

So, of course, the headline at The Daily Caller (motto: "My goodness, Tucker Carlson looks bloated") was "Democratic Senator uses Okla. tornado for anti-GOP rant over global warming." And the Washington Times and the usual monsters piled on, with one blog saying that liberals were "using the bodies of dead children" for their "cause." Because a conservative would never do that when talking about other issues, like abortion.

Why is it that when conservatives cite death and destruction to further their agenda, it's okay? 'Cause, see, the Rude Pundit's not really sure what the difference is, politically, between, for instance, gun control advocates using Newtown to call for bans on weapons and magazines and gun nuts using it to call for more guns in schools. Can anyone explain that? No, you can't. Because conservatives clutch their pearls and hankies and head for the fainting couch made of outrage and hate whenever someone suggests that an awful event might mean we need to change how we behave.

So, for instance, how is Whitehouse using the tornado-murdered children (which he pretty much didn't) to further his agenda, but Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican ogre from Oklahoma, isn't when he says that he'll call for budget cuts to offset the cost of disaster aid to his state's aching citizens? Isn't Coburn standing on the bloodied ruins of an elementary school and declaring that his fiscal ideology is more important than his constituents' pain? Hey, if nothing else, Coburn is a consistent cockknob, unlike his fellow senator, the inflamed hemorrhoid known as James Inhofe.

The slavering watchdogs of the right, best represented by whatever the fuck Twitchy is, are always ready to attack, like brainless zombies on a feeding frenzy. The Rude Pundit witnessed it in real time last night and today when his friend, the comedian/activist (and Daily Show co-creator) Lizz Winstead, tweeted, "This tornado is in Oklahoma so clearly it has been ordered to only target conservatives." It was a jab at both the ludicrous right-wing mania over the IRS faux-scandal and a smack at evangelicals who say that sinful places, like New Orleans, get Gomorrahed by giant storms.

Picked up by various conservative outlets, including the thoroughly worthless used cum-rag, The Daily Mail, Winstead faced a storm of attacks on Twitter, which no doubt included calling her a "cunt," a "bitch," and all kinds of things (the Rude Pundit's been through the Twitchy blender before and, truly, they are drooling madhouse denizens attempting to cobble together words into a cogent thought).

Winstead apologized, saying that she didn't know how devastating the tornado was when she made the joke. Fuck, even Glenn Beck told people to back off. But the attacks on Winstead continue unabated, the bloodlust of the right knowing no bounds when it comes to 140 character threats and insults.

Hang in there, Lizz.  These worms of hate will crawl back into the dirt soon.

Time and again, conservatives tell us how outraged they are at liberal reactions to events, as if the only proper way to react is the one they deem so. The Rude Pundit is reminded of a time that he was visiting Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. He was with his then-partner and his then-partner's family. His partner's father was incensed that the Rude Pundit wasn't wandering around with his jaw open, in awe, oohing and cooing at the scenery. Actually, the Rude Pundit was taking it in, quietly, thinking about civilizations crumbling and disappearing. He was moved, not in awe of the architecture and the view, but in awe of what it meant, something deeper and more meaningful than simple reaction.

Events should teach us something more, not just "shit happens."


Obama's Words Magically Make IRS Agents Investigate Teabaggers:
So we've reached the point where the narrative on the IRS "scandal" is crystallizing into something completely impervious to proof. If you think about it, it's really pretty damn impressive, considering how Obama-hating conservatives were burned by the Benghazi Email That Wasn't There. Now, from right-wingers fringe and mainstream, they've created a way to blame Barack Obama for the IRS's overworked, underfunded agents' asking some Tea Party groups for extra information before bestowing tax exempt status on them that can't be disproved. Call it the Conspiracy of the Wink.

Apparently, in addition to his Kenyan hoodoo magic and his radical Muslim America-hating agenda, Barack Obama can order low-level government workers to stretch the law by merely implying that it's something that would please him. Yes, yes, like potentates of old, Obama's minions act on their interpretation of his whims in order to please him and get in his good graces. Or something. Who the fuck can tell at this point. Either way, Obama is evil, don't you know?

Starting low on the food chain, nutzoid blog American Thinker lays out a base of cow dung to fertilize the new landscape. Obama spoke in public about how, post-Citizens United, groups were popping up whose donors were, by law, kept secret. The most basic kind of attack politics is to imply that secrets are bad and nefarious, except, of course, when Barack Obama does it. Then he's nefariously bad. Quoting a Wall Street Journal piece on the issue, Obama said, according to AT, "All around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates . . . And they don't have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don't know if it's a foreign-controlled corporation." (In that speech, Obama then said, "You don't know if it's a big oil company or a big bank. You don't know if it's a insurance company that wants to see some of the provisions in health reform repealed because it's good for their bottom line, even if it's not good for the American people.")

For the ironically-named American Thinker, what Obama was doing was ordering the IRS into action. Investigate these new organizations, goddamnit, and do so by using your mighty forms of doom. AT adds that another way that Obama signaled his displeasure with Tea Partyers was that he "spoke of Tea Party supporters using an obscene term referring to a homosexual act, as 'tea baggers.'" Now, the Rude Pundit is pretty much positive that teabagging, like anal and oral sex, is not an exclusively "homosexual" act. But apparently, IRS agents heard Obama say, "Teabagger," and then, it being code for gay ball play, understood it to mean, "Probe deeper. Deeper. Good god, even deeper."

But the idea that Obama used the power of his brainwaves to hypnotize IRS officials into action isn't limited to the bug fuck blog scribblers. As mentioned, the Wall Street Journal is in on the action. Kimberly Strassel says, flat out, that Obama "did in fact send [the IRS] orders," despite the, you know, fact that he didn't, which Strassel said just a paragraph earlier: "Short of directly asking federal agencies to investigate these groups, this is as close as it gets." It might be close, but it ain't an order.

On Meet the Press with David Gregory's Bowl Cut, sour pickle and former lie-writer for Reagan and Bush the Not-As-Dumb, Peggy Noonan, called Obama's words a "dog whistle" to the his followers to press the IRS into action. Her proof is that Obama, get this, spoke. In public. About things.

No, no, this had nothing to do with the IRS being tossed into the post-Citizens United tsunami of shitty, inbred PACs trying to get their money for nothing. And, no, no, Congress providing absolutely no guidance at all for a massive change in tax law had no effect at all. But Obama's invisible wink while saying, "Teabagger"? That is the mountaintop on which the palace of scandal is built. And once it's done, no amount of "fact" is going to knock it down.

One more thing: There's a debate on whether Obama has become "Nixonian" in his seeming paranoia about his "enemies." In a post titled "Richard Milhous Obama," Real Clear Politics blogger Carl Cannon explores how much he thinks Obama is obviously just like Nixon. At one point, he compares how Nixon privately talked about how much he hated the press with how Obama officials have decried Fox "news." Cannon writes, "In so doing, Obama has actually gone places in public Nixon only dared go in private."

You want to know if Obama is like Nixon? You pretty much have your answer right there.


Another Day, Another Asian Garment Factory Disaster:

Today's Asian garment factory disaster is brought to you by Cambodia. The place made shoes for Asics, Japan's largest sporting goods company (and the shoes are available in the U.S.). While only three people died from the collapse of the mezzanine floor of the building, it's not even clear that the owner had a permit to build the factory in the first place, let alone built it to anything close to code.

Of course, this brings to mind the horrific sweatshop building collapse in Bangladesh last month. They stopped looking for bodies there, with the total dead at over 1100. In that country alone, we are assured, there are "hundreds of buildings" like the one that caused the scores of deaths, places where even having clean drinking water is a regulation that is ignored.

These hellhole factories, which assure the United States a steady stream of cheap garments (and garments with amazing mark-ups, like at The Gap), are also, for the female sweatshop workers, seen as "the greatest opportunity that these women could ever have imagined." Seamstresses in the Cambodian factory sewed 450 pairs pairs of sneakers a day. The starting salary was $75 a month, and that's after three strikes that saw wages go up for most workers.

By the way, The Daily Beast has to win some kind of prize for sensitivity and class for this headline in its fashion section:

Wait, were Julianne Moore's toes squashed by the collapse of the Cambodian shoe factory? Shit just got real.


Appreciate the Little Things: Eric Holder Pushes Louie Gohmert Into a Crazy Idiot Rage:
In this degrading time of overhyped wannabe scandals and fictional impeachable offenses, you gotta learn to appreciate the little things when they come along. So, yes, angry as many on the left are at Attorney General Eric Holder for the Justice Department's way-too-broad subpoena of AP reporters' phone records, a seemingly and disturbingly legal action, it was gratifying to see him bitch slap arrogant numbnuts Rep. Darrell Issa at yesterday's House Judiciary Committee hearing. But one other confrontation from the bizarro hearing, which covered everything from pot legalization to Kermit Gosnell's crimes, will give you a little warmth on this cold fish of a week.

So it was that Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a shitkicker from one of the shitkickingest districts in Texas, started to question Holder. In case you are unaware of what a hilarious public figure he is, Gohmert looks like Jim Nabors' inbred cousin and sounds like Foghorn Leghorn trying to cough up a stray pubic hair. He also is one of the craziest sumbitches in the crazy-ass House Republican caucus, ready to believe anything Glenn Beck vomits into his brain.

Gohmert opened by saying that Holder never gave Congress records on a particular closed case, as Gohmert had requested. Gohmert went as far as to threaten a subpoena of the documents. Holder responded, "[W]hat my people tell me is that we never heard from your staff to make those arrangements. We'll promise to make them available to you. What I would just ask is to have your staff contact mine and--" At which point, looking like an incompetent boob, Gohmert cut him off.

Then he moved on to his main issue: that he thinks the FBI is a bunch of fuck-ups who "blew the opportunity" to stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev from bombing Boston because the FBI didn't fully investigate the information Russia was giving it. Holder demurred on much of what he was asked because it is an ongoing investigation. Gohmert insisted that he knew all about the FBI's refusal to go after Tsarnaev and then he played to his base of evangelical dumb fucks when he said to Holder, "Look, the FBI got a heads-up from Russia that you have a radicalized terrorist on your hands. They should not have had to give anything else whatsoever. That should have been enough. But because of political correctness, there was not a thorough enough examination of Tamerlan to determine this kid had been radicalized. And that is the concern I have. On the one hand, we go after Christian groups like Billy Graham's group. We go after Franklin Graham's group. But then we're hands off when it comes to possibly offending someone who has been radicalized as a terrorist." Having tickled Franklin Graham's prostate but good, Gohmert's time expired.

Holder started to speak to say that Gohmert was wrong when, his blood all het up by gettin' backsassed by a Negro, Gohmert jumped in, "You point out one thing that I pointed -- that I said that was not true." Gohmert had to have his cross-burning ass smacked down by committee chair Bob Goodlatte (which is just the most awesome name for a Republican), who told Gohmert to shut the fuck up and let Holder answer.

And then Holder pantsed Gohmert in front of everyone and pointed out what a tiny little dick and balls the Texan has: "The only observation I was going to make is that you state as a matter of fact what the FBI did and did not do. And unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don't have access to the FBI files. You don't know what the FBI did. You don't know what the FBI's interaction was with the Russians. You don't know what questions were put to the Russians, whether those questions were responded to. You simply do not know that. And you have characterized the FBI as being not thorough or taking exception to my characterization of them as being thorough. I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know. That's all."

What followed can best be described as Gohmert going into an insulted idiot rage, screaming and slapping himself, crying that the Negro had gotten so uppity as to tell him he's wrong, while the other Republicans, including Issa, realized they had let him out of the cellar for too long and tried desperately to shut him up and get him back into the basement to sit in his rocker next to the radio that plays Rush Limbaugh's show. Holder's look of barely contained amusement is pretty fuckin' sweet. It climaxed with Gohmert saying, and this is as clear as can be in the video, "The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus." No, really. And so, his asparagus defended, he was done.

Then Holder kicked Gohmert in the stalk, stating for the record that Louie Gohmert is not nearly as important as Louie Gohmert thinks he is: "He could not know the answer -- he could not know -- there couldn't be a basis for the assertions he's making, not the questions, but the assertions that he made unless he was provided information, and I would say inappropriately, from members of the FBI or people who were involved in the very things that he questioned me about. And I do not think that that happened."

The punchline? Gohmert has posted the exchange on the front of his House website. He's proud of what he did. And you can bet his constituents are, too.


In Brief: It's All About 2014 Now:
The biggest waste of time in Left Blogsylvania, if not all over Left Mediaville, is reacting to the multiple "crises" in the Obama administration with the pathetic cry of "But George W. Bush was worse." So? It's like telling the dude in the prison shower about to penetrate your ass that rape is wrong. Do you really think that a guy nicknamed Rapey Jake hasn't already considered the legal and moral ramifications of his actions?

Of course, Republicans barely peeped when there were dozens of embassy, consulate, and diplomatic outpost attacks during the reign of Bush the Dumber, when the Bush administration sicced the IRS on liberal churches and groups, or when the Patriot Act was proposed, which is what led us to the government having the ability to secretly get phone records on AP reporters. Great. We know it. How's your asshole feel?

If you believe that a single GOP player in this upcoming clusterfuck of investigations is going to pause and think, "Huh. You're right. I didn't care when George W. Bush did the same or worse. I should end this hypocrisy," you are as delusional as the most extreme Benghazi conspiracy theorists, the ones who think that the IRS thing is Obama's way to distract from the far, far worse Benghazi "scandal." (No, really, Rush Limbaugh believes this.)

Your argument is noted, good liberals who still smart from the lack of prosecution of anyone for the crimes and excesses of the Bush administration. Indeed, it was laughable when today John Boehner asked regarding the IRS asking conservative groups extra questions, "Who's going to jail over this scandal?" Your first instinct might be to say, "Oh, shut the fuck up, Annoying Orange."

There is only one thing that'll end this madness: End the madness of GOP control in the House and prevent them from gaining control of the Senate. All effort on the left needs to be focused on the congressional midterms in 2014. On Morning Starbucks with Joe today, Rep. Charlie Rangel said as much while still saying that he wanted answers regarding the investigation of the AP. As the Rude Pundit said yesterday, that's the difference between the GOP and Democrats: Democrats will actually hold hearings about Democratic presidents. But at least the government will function and this insane impeachment talk will be off the table.

Give up on the Bush comparisons. It will only raise your blood pressure and make you incapable of seeing clearly the path of the next few months. It's time to ask if Americans want a government that gets bogged down in (mostly) meaningless hearings or do they want one that is working on jobs.

If the Rude Pundit was writing an ad for Democrats for the 2014 midterms, he'd ask, "Remember what happened the last time Republicans persecuted a Democratic president and forced him to respond to endless inquiries instead of letting him lead and defend the country?" And then show George W. Bush's face and film of the Twin Towers collapsing.
Late Post Today:
Super-Skrull is fucking up the city's day. Time to flame on and take care of business.

Back later with more impeccable rudeness.


Then We Came to the End (A Preemptive Eulogy for the Obama Presidency):
So it was a fun dream while it lasted, this election of the first black president, the man who would make us heal in the wake of the destruction wrought by the administration of George W. Bush, our complicity in that disaster notwithstanding. You remember those hopeful few weeks, post-2008 election, pre-inauguration? You remember how we were gearing up for greatness, for transformation of our national identity, of our politics, of ourselves? Even those of us who don't believe in divine things had an inkling of what it was like to be born again.

But we knew, those of us who were adults in the 1990s, we knew that there was also an entire industry devoted to crushing dreamers into stark realists, a machine whose sole purpose is to shred your hope and make you feel foolish for ever having believed that change was possible. That machine was ready to go the moment that Obama was elected. And too many of us were allowing our optimism to get the better of us, too many of us believed that, based on the prima facie evidence, Republicans would want to put the presidency of George W. Bush behind them and work to unify the nation. This blog maintained its steady stream of cynicism, but even as he waved his hands and said, "They're coming," the Rude Pundit allowed the soothing heat of hope to be pumped into the femoral artery of his political thinking. He thought there was a chance to evolve. He just bet on the wrong horse.

We needed someone who would lay waste to the political enemies of progress, not try to bring them into the fold. We can't say whether Hillary Clinton would have reached out her hand so much, no matter how many times it was bitten and slapped. We don't know if that would have been her approach, but we know that it was Barack Obama's, and we know that it failed and we know that he stuck to it for too long.

You feel it, don't you? This week marked the end of the Obama presidency. No, he won't be forced out of office, but he will be forced to make do with whatever he can accomplish alone, which, at this point, is extraordinarily little. The Benghazi investigation was worthless to anyone not on Rand Paul's mailing list. But the IRS's questioning of Tea Party groups is mildly disconcerting, even if it doesn't rise to full-blown "scandal" proportions, and the Justice Department's subpoena of the phone records of AP reporters is genuinely scary, perhaps because chances are that it was perfectly legal. Still, what is true, what is legal, and what is real don't matter anymore at this point.

The reason why the Rude Pundit is declaring the Obama presidency done is not merely because the IRS story confirms everything that paranoid right-wingers believe about Obama, as The Daily Show discussed last night. No, it's done because the AP story confirms everything that liberals and libertarians feared about Obama's embrace and expansion of the surveillance state established under Bush and Cheney and his immensely troubling silencing of whistleblowers. The press is gleefully, grotesquely feeding on the outrage.

One of the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats is that, no matter what, Republicans, on the whole, will stand by a Republican president. They will prevent investigations (like they tried to do with 9/11). They will dismiss any allegations. They will go down with the ship. Democrats will turn on a Democratic president, especially when that president is weak. They will demand investigations. They will be outraged. They will run away like rats (like keeping Bill Clinton sidelined during the 2000 election). Neither approach is honorable, but at least the Democratic way is a bit more, you know, democratic.

Now that Democrats are joining Republicans in demanding investigations into the AP and IRS stories, now that writers on the left are calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign, just like writers on the right did during the fake Fast and Furious nonsense, we know what's going to go down: Committee hearings that play out like trials, the White House being tied in knots over testifying, demands for more and more information, showdowns with Congress over access, blah, blah, blah. And every speech, every call for compassion, everything Obama does now will be overshadowed, will be tainted, every effort will be stymied by suspicion. This is not to mention the effect of the Senate minority's traitorous war on the functioning of government.

The sad aspect is that it never had to be this way. Obama could have...well, hell, there's all kinds of things he could have done. The sadder aspect is that of course it had to be this way. Republicans were going to have their way no matter what. The saddest aspect is that Obama should have walked away from the forest Republicans created. Instead, he fell right into their trap. They won. Again.

Yes, yes, there will be many things in the next three plus years that we will support Obama on. He's still the president, after all. There will be many times when we will attack at the GOP. And when the increasingly inevitable impeachment hearings happen, we will shout and rend our garments in anger.  But we know that the end is in sight.

Hope dies the death of a thousand cuts.

(Note: The Rude Pundit hopes he's wrong and that he can take this whole thing back at some point soon.)


The IRS "Scandal" Isn't a Scandal, But It Will Get Annoying:
Look, we know how this went down: Post-Citizens United, the Internal Revenue Service was flooded with applications for tax-exempt status for whatever organization a couple of fucksacks with a tricorner hat wanted to start. "Social welfare" groups, they were called, and they could not be involved with specific political candidates or advocacy (although, you know, c'mon). So the IRS told its low-level drones who had to look at all the fucksack applications to flag ones that looked hinky. So the low-level drones, who are overworked to begin with because Congress won't give the IRS the funding it needs to do its fucking job, used some search terms.

It's 2010 and who are the fucksacks who are everywhere? The "Tea Party" groups. So, sure, fine, let's fuckin' search that. Low-level drone 1 tells low-level drone 2 (and for god's sake, they live in the dull, dull, boring, dull city of Cincinnati, so give 'em a little break), "Hey, just use 'Patriot' as a search term and you'll get your job done faster because if there's one thing we know, it's that a whole bunch of these applications are from crazed fucksacks applying for tax-exempt status because they hate them that black guy in office." Low-level drone 2 might have said, "Oh, shit, that'll get us in trouble." But low-level drone 1 had a convincing argument by saying, "You wanna get to the bar sooner?" By the way, chances are that LLD 1 and LLD 2 have been LLDs forever, under at least one GOP president.

Does this narrative need to be completed? Sure, fine: Am id-level IRS drone discovers what's happening and says, "Whoa, whoa, you can't just go after the costumed fucksacks. You gotta look at everyone." At which point at least one LLD contemplated suicide, surely. So MLD went to the higher-ups, like Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations, who said, "Aw, fuck, don't you know that the fucksacks are gonna cause a ruckus over this shit? Change it up." And then the IRS started to look at any group that criticized "how the country was run." Then, because that stunk of Tea Party bullshit (even though it encompassed many groups), the standard  was then changed to "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement." And then, a year ago, that was changed to "organizations with indicators of significant amounts of political campaign intervention."

No group was denied anything because of the extra scrutiny. And as soon as someone higher than a low-level drone found out about what the LLDs were doing, it was addressed and changed. To say that Barack Obama had something to do with that is to say that Rupert Murdoch should be arrested every time Sean Hannity lies on the air.

If you want to call the IRS thing a scandal, well, shit, in this dumbed-down post-Clinton blow job era, the definition of "scandal" is meaningless, so why the fuck not? At least it looks like someone did something knowingly wrong, unlike Benghazi, which is a lonely penis looking for a hole to penetrate.

Hell, the Washington Post went all nutzoid on it, proving its street-cred to keep up the subscription rate among Republican readers: "One line of questioning should focus on how the IRS’s procedures failed to catch this 'shortcut' before its employees began using it. Another should center on how this misguided practice came to light, and on what the IRS planned and plans to do about it." Umm, the IRS caught it shortly after it was used. And did something about it. Isn't that the end of the story?

But, no, really, there should be an investigation. Go the fuck ahead, GOP (and, yeah, Democrats who wanna show that they can be all mightily outraged at a black man, too). Call witnesses. Have mighty inquiries where you can preen for the base. It's not like you're gonna do anything better with your time. At this point, you've cried, "Wolf!" so many times that even the wolves are bored.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Eat Magic Mushrooms By the Ohio River:

That's a mighty pretty landscape you've got there, southern Illinois. Too bad you're selling it out to natural gas companies so they can hydrofrack the shit out of it. Said one local old bastard who should be chased out of town like a mad dog, "I don't care whether I get (a well) or not. I got my $60,000." He leased his land to a natural gas company for $50 an acre because capitalism.

There are so many beautiful areas in the most unexpected places in this nation (ever been to the Hocking Hills in southeast Ohio? Crazy lovely, especially in autumn). And, one by one, we're gonna ruin them to squeeze just a little more filthy fuel out of the rocks, just crack 'em open like rotten eggs.

So get out this weekend, Illinois, and take it in. Because, soon, you'll get to see (and smell and taste) this instead (from fracking sites in Pennsylvania):

If you give a damn, there are local organizations trying to fight the destruction of their state's environment.


Not Giving a Shit About Benghazi:
(Note for stupid people: Nothing said below means that the murder of four people wasn't tragic nor that security at embassies and consulates shouldn't constantly be reviewed and modified. It was and it should be.)

Let's put aside the nutzoid conspiracy theories. Sorry, Beck-ers and Alex Jones-ites, put your dicks back in your pants and save it for wanking another day. What is the scandal here? Because the best the Rude Pundit can come up with is that the President, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice might have lied on TV, based on changed CIA talking points, about whether or not a terrorist group or a spontaneous mob of film critics was responsible for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. And that some bad decisions might have been made on whether or not to send four soldiers from Tripoli to help out during siege (no, really, the "stand-down" order was for four Special Ops soldiers). If you push it, you could says that Clinton lied to Congress in her testimony in December about whether or not it was the bad guys or the shitty YouTube flick, but that'd be pretty hard to prove, but, sure, fine, let's. And that's...pretty much it. No, really, and that's reading conservative sources.

The reason the Rude Pundit can't count the number of fucks he doesn't give about Benghazi is because there is not a goddamned thing that anyone has said that could have prevented the attack from happening (other than the hindsight observation that security in Benghazi should have been beefed up. Yep, and having flying monkeys drop grenades would have been cool, too). And the only possible scandal is that, after the fact, some people said some shit that might not be true. That's it. That's all there is. So, please understand, House GOP members and noted panty-wearer Lindsey Graham, we don't care about Benghazi, no matter how much you want us to. You can bring out every self-aggrandizing State Department employee you want, but, sorry, you have not been able to fluff the flaccid prick of this into a proud, erect Libyagate.

Oh, sure, the truth-seeking and accountability-demanding House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa can hold hearings and release press releases of doom on Benghazi, but even he secretly knows that nothing is happening. In his statement on yesterday's hearing, he gives that away. Yeah, he says that he will keep doggedly sniffing this anus, but one of the purposes of the hearing was to allow supposedly silenced whistleblowers a chance to toot away. Look at what Issa says: "This Committee will stand behind these whistleblowers and will act swiftly if they face further retaliation or intimidation after speaking to us about what they know about Benghazi." You get that? It's subtle. Issa's not saying that he'll do anything about any "retaliation or intimidation" that's happened - and, if it had, that'd be a scandal - no, he's just wagging his finger and saying, "And don't you let me catch you being mean to Gregory."

Tell you what, though, sweet Republicans doing the bidding of your SuperPAC masters: Let's make a trade. We'll agree that, sure, why not, Obama, Rice, and Clinton lied when they said the anti-Muslim video was the cause of the consulate raid. And you can go ahead and pursue whatever investigations you want. But you have to admit that George W. Bush's administration - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice (Condi), Powell, all of 'em - lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You might remember that a thousand times as many Americans died directly because of those lies. Absolutely no one died because Susan Rice possibly misinformed the public on a Sunday talk show.

So that's the deal: Obama's Benghazi "lies" for Bush's Iraq lies. And then let the chips fall where they may with guilt and prosecution. Then we can swap again. Say Fast and Furious for approval of torture. You might think it's mutually assured destruction, but, dear, dumb GOP, like when you overplayed the Bill Clinton blow job perjury charge, you seem to think that possible lies to cover-up fuck-ups are the same as lies that lead directly to thousands of people dying. You seem to think that low-level incompetence is the same as giving the orders to commit war crimes.

But, no, really, continue with the Hillary Clinton bashing, which is all this actually is. It's just so retro-charming at this point. Make sure that no Republicans even thinks about voting for her in 2016. That's a valuable way to spend your time. And if this one doesn't stick, well, the Rude Pundit's pretty sure you'll just move on to a new fake scandal rather than actually governing.


Free Breakfasts Are a Liberal Plot? Are You Fucking Serious?:
Every once in a while, it's still possible to be surprised in this confounding age. No, the Rude Pundit's not talking about the election of fornicating hiker Mark Sanford to the House of Representatives (he's stoned all the time, right? C'mon, listen to him. He's gotta be high). And, no, it's not the discovery of the three missing women in Ohio, although that does fall into "Huh, didn't expect that" category. And, no, this ain't about the "revelations" about Benghazi, which...zzzzz. Sorry, what? Just mentioning Benghazi makes the Rude Pundit sleepy.

No, this is a surprise at the appalling depths supposedly mainstream conservatives sink to, which you'd think wouldn't be surprising anymore.

The Rude Pundit's gotta admit: when he read Dennis Prager's most recent "column" (if by "column," you mean, "another degrading crawl through a mind of broken glass"), "No More Free Breakfasts," he tried really hard to see it as satire. In words that render The Onion useless, Prager actually thinks he's laying out some rational, culture-warrior reason to stop free school breakfasts. See, making sure that schoolkids learn without hunger pains is a liberal plot to make Americans dependent on the state. No, that's not an exaggeration of what Prager says. Here's his words: "the free breakfast profoundly weakens young people’s character. When you grow up learning to depend on the state, you will almost inevitably — even understandably — assume that the state will take care of you."

Prager posits that it's impossible that people are so poor that they can't afford food for their kids for breakfast, an ignorance so deep, abiding, elitist, and disturbing that it's impossible to take anything else he says seriously. He writes, "[A]ny home that cannot provide its child with breakfast demands a visit from child protective services." Which leads the Rude Pundit to this question: What the fuck are you gonna do with all the kids you take out of the poor people's homes? Who the fuck is gonna take care of them, you sanctimonious white-haired idiot with the face of ass (not the donkey)? The state is gonna pay for it. Who's gonna pay for the hundreds of thousands of extra visits by child protective services? The state.

Seriously, conservatives, you gotta leave some things alone. You gotta be willing at some point to walk the fuck away from your most ludicrous, reductive attempts to justify your government-hating, hypocritical ideology. Do you understand how ridiculous you sound when you say shit like "the Left has damaged children and families through free school breakfasts"? Who are you talking to? Which cruel yahoos are you appealing to? Has Glenn Beck even gone here yet?

And what's next? Crossing guards teach kids to be dependent on the state making decisions for their safety? School buses ignore the self-reliance of hitching a ride with strangers?

Dennis, Denny, baby, listen, the Rude Pundit knows that it's really hard to come up with new shit to talk about all the time. But speaking out against giving a mini-bagel to a kindergartener is about as low as one can go. And if you really have a problem with that, well, you should probably go fuck yourself with a granola bar. One of those really nutty, crunchy ones so it hurts.


Okay, Two Can Play That Game: Let's Nullify Kansas:
Look at how bwave and stwong the wittle state of Kansas has been. Standing there on its two feet like big gwown-up boy. It's adorable. You're adorable, Kansas. C'mere so we can pinch your pudgy cheeks, woogums. Your tough ol' governor, Sam Brownback, signed a bill into law that says, "[A]ny act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas." You made it a felony for federal government official to enforce a federal firearms law. Aww. That's just...so cute that the rest of us just can't stand it, like a baby sloth on Buzzfeed. Just look at you, acting like you're not part of the United States and pretending that if the United States abandoned you, you wouldn't fall quickly into a pretty dark nightmare of debt, wrecked schools, worse roads, and no jobs. And we just don't want that to happen to you, cutie-wootie.

Yeah, see, Kansas is one of the many, many red states that gets more federal tax money than the state sends to Washington. At $1.10 received for every $1 paid, it's nowhere near the worst freeloader, but it'd be a pretty big hit if Uncle Sam said, "Ooh, don't like our laws? Then kiss our cash's ass as it walks out of your state."

Far worse is South Carolina, which gets $1.92 for every $1 its inhabitants toss in the kitty. Yet here come the ungrateful fuckbags in the government of the Gamecock State, ready to pass a bill that would ban implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And let's not leave out Alabama, which gets $2.03 for every federal tax dollar paid. The senate there just passed a bill that says that "all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations regarding firearms are a violation of the Second Amendment" and will not be enforced in Alabama.

So here's the charge for the states that seek to stand up to mean ol' Washington daring to pass laws and expecting them to be followed like, you know, the Constitution that we all live under says they're supposed to do: If you want to nullify federal laws, then nullify the funding you receive from the federal government.

Your despicable asses survive on the backs of the very states you despise for being liberal: New York gets only 72 cents in federal spending for every federal tax buck. New Jersey? 49 cents. Taxachusetts? 83 cents. You're living on our dime, Kansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Missouri, Alaska, North Carolina, Montana, and Alaska, all states attempting to nullify federal laws. Fuck, if we just got a buck for a buck up here, our infrastructure could be strengthened and more people would have jobs. California gets 87 cents for each dollar. That state would love to get South Carolina's level of federal spending. You got that, motherfuckers? You are fucked without us, without block grants and military bases and highway construction contracts and so very much more that our tax dollars at least partially pay for in your state. We could nullify you. So howzabout abiding by the laws of the nation we're all a part of?

Yeah, sometimes the adults need to stop coddling the kids and tell them to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down.


In Brief: Wayne LaPierre Is Gonna Get Us All Killed:
Here's something the Rude Pundit never wants to hear again: "Most NRA members aren't like Wayne LaPierre," the bespectacled goblin of doom who has been the National Rifle Association's public face for about 300 years now. That's a pussy argument made by people who are deathly afraid of offending someone. LaPierre ain't some dirty cop whose behavior shouldn't make all cops look bad. He's one of the fucking leaders of the organization. (He's not the president - that just went to backwards ass fat country fuck Jim Porter of Fuckmysister, Alabama. And, no, the Rude Pundit doesn't give a happy rat fuck who he really is.) And NRA members are paying LaPierre's salary and travel expenses and hair dye.

LaPierre was in rare froth this weekend at the NRA National Convention (motto: "Check your humanity at the door") in Houston, Texas (motto: "Almost two weeks without a major industrial accident"). He wove the most paranoid fantasies possible. Essentially, in LaPierre's world, there's poor sheep just quivering under their beds, waiting for criminals to find them to rape their asses with illegal guns. And then there's the noble gun owners, ready to shoot the balls off a fly from 1000 paces to defend themselves and their families and their property, dear Christ, don't forget the property. You think that's hyperbole? Then you didn't listen to LaPierre: "Lying in wait is a terrorist, a deranged school shooter, a kidnapper, a rapist, a murderer — waiting and planning and plotting — in every community across this country. Lying in wait right now."

Oh, fuck, the Rude Pundit wants to grind that Grade-A nutsy into a fine powder, freebase that shit, and jack it right into his arm.

The whole thing is just a series of syllogisms for people who hate logic (Obama is from Chicago, crime is bad in Chicago, ergo Obama is responsible for the high crime rate in Chicago), gruntings that a deranged bonobo would think are meaningless ("no matter what it takes, we will never give up or compromise our constitutional freedom — NOT ONE SINGLE INCH!"), and promises to personally shit down the throat of any politician that dares speak against the great and glorious NRA.

If that's the leader of the organization you belong to, if that's what your cash money is going to defend, then fuck you - you are the NRA, you are Wayne LaPierre's bitch, and you better love the taste of his dick in your mouth.

The Rude Pundit received a letter from a rude reader this week talking about 19 year-old whose father she knew. The dad had just bought the kid a gun. "[H]e was showing it off to friends and it went off, shot him in the head and killed him," she told the Rude Pundit. She directed the Rude Pundit to the kid's Facebook page. Let's just leave this screencap here without much comment except to say that this poor teenager bought the NRA bullshit hook, line, and sinker (and the Rude Pundit has deleted his name to respect some privacy). And it didn't stop him from getting shot dead because, well, guns kill people.

Note: The Rude Pundit hasn't been able to find a news story about the shooting, but he did see the FB tribute page, the obituary, and the funeral home page for the deceased.

Update: Here's a story from a local news website.
Late Post Today:
Because life, man, life.

Back later with more juicy rudeness.


Friday Reacharound: Four Rude Heroes Who Will Make Your Weekend Worth Living:
1. After building Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 2003, the district had high hopes for the place, with its music and art labs. But instead, the rooms were never used, the school descended into the chaos of "violence and disorder," and it turned into one of the worst performing schools in the state. In steps Andrew Bott, the sixth principal in seven years, and he makes one major change: he fires the security guards and invests in the arts programs the school was supposed to have.

Of course, the school is in the midst of a huge recovery, behavior problems have almost disappeared, and the students are engaged and interested in being there. There's even an after school program to keep the kids involved. Fucking amazing, isn't it? That what kids really crave is a chance to express themselves? And that if you don't allow them to do that in an organized, supervised, mentored way, they will express themselves in ways that are harmful? It seems like basic child psychology: nurture, not punish.

2. On Tuesday, April 30, at a town hall meeting in Auburn, Alabama, with the district's U.S. Representative, Mike Rogers, the typical bullshit happened. Some fuckin' yahoo got up and said, "Almost weekly or monthly we hear things...being done by this administration that [appear] to be clearly illegal."

Local resident John Mullins wasn't going to hear it. Sick to death of yammering ignoramuses bogarting the microphone, Mullins stepped up and said to the fuckin' yahoo, "You’re a crazy man. You are crazy. The president is not some person trying to take your rights away." This, in a district where Republican Rogers has been elected three out of five times with 60% of the vote.

Mullins, who owns one of the oldest comic book stores in the Southeast, wasn't done. He turned from the fuckin' yahoo and to his representative. He blamed the sequester for a 20% drop in his sales (the 3rd District is pretty reliant on military spending). And he added, "The House of Representatives has done more to hurt my business than anything government, state, local or federal, has ever done."  And then he dropped the mic.

By the way, Rogers has had two close races, so perhaps he might need to pay attention to more people than the fuckin' yahoos.

3. An unnamed female U.S. Navy sailor was on shore leave in Dubai. She had been shopping at the Mall of the Emirates and couldn't get a cab back to Khalid Port to get on her ship. So she got on a bus. The driver took her through side roads and stopped in a parking lot. The driver then attempted to rape the sailor, pulling a knife on her.

The emphasis should be on the word "attempted." Because the sailor then proceeded to show the punk-ass bus driver that U.S. military training teaches a girl how to take out dickheads with your bare hands. She broke the knife, beat the shit out of him, and strangled him into submission with her leg. The Rude Pundit would like to think she farted in his face and made him fellate the knife handle, telling him to let bus drivers all over know that she might be riding their bus the next time one of them tries to assault a woman, so they better watch their raping asses.

The bus driver was arrested the next day and said he didn't remember what had happened since he was drunk, although, you know, the bruises probably told a different story.

4. Yeah, yeah, it's a crime to rob a bank. Yeah, yeah, one shouldn't threaten innocent people with fake Mexican drug gang violence. But you know what? Sometimes you gotta admire the bad guys for not being so bad. In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Australian Corey Donaldson walked into the US Bank and said that the gangs were gonna blow the place up if they didn't give him money. He got $140,000. He left and then he gave most of it away, including $8000 to a friend who was broke. Said Donaldson at his trial where he was acting as his own attorney, "I came up with the idea that since the banks had been bailed out, and the people had not, I was going to confiscate money from US Bank in Jackson and redistribute it to the poor and homeless in America. And that's what I did."

Of course, Donaldson was found guilty yesterday of bank robbery. After all, he robbed a bank. And, you know, he wasn't exactly living in poverty, staying at a hotel suite with $30,000 in cash on him when he was caught.

But Donaldson is on this list because he made explicit something: What was the difference between saying that he better get the money or he'll blow up the bank and the banks saying they better get the money from the government or they'll blow up the economy? Why is he the only one in jail?