Woman in Maine Dies of a Heroin Overdose and You Should Give a Shit

This is from the obituary for Coleen Sheran Singer from the Bangor Daily News on July 29: "She was a victim of herself, of [Maine Governor] LePage’s politics, of our society’s continuing ignorance and indifference to mental illness, and of our society’s asinine approach to drug addiction." Singer died of an overdose of heroin, to which she had been addicted to for nearly half her life. She tried to get help: "For nearly four years Coleen was in methadone clinics and dedicated herself to sobriety. Taking to heart the adage that 'without drugs, anything is possible,' and with the sometimes slavish devotion of the man she briefly married, Coleen earned her driver’s license, went to the gym regularly, completed nail tech school, worked successfully both part time in retail sales and full time caring for disabled adults, and enrolled in community college."

By the way, the man she briefly married is who wrote this obituary, a last act of love for someone whose illnesses didn't allow her to love herself the way she needed to.

After falling back into using, Singer found that her chances of getting treated again had dried up: "In later years, after LePage removed poor adults from MaineCare, Coleen could not afford the methadone clinic. Heroin was the cheapest way to avoid going into withdrawal...Coleen wanted to get back into a methadone clinic, but LePage and enough republicans in the Legislature said 'No' to the Medicaid expansion. It is no stretch to say that but for LePage’s veto of the Medicaid expansion, Coleen probably would not have shot the heroin that ended her life, and probably would not have had the serious recurring infections that ravaged her limbs the last couple years."

Maine's governor, Paul LePage, is an unrepentant inflamed, bloody asshole. He is probably insane, certainly incompetent, and folksy and down-to-earth and tell-it-like-it-is enough to get elected because, in this stupid country, braying assholishness is seen as courage, howling insanity is seen as likeability, and head-smashing idiocy is seen as wisdom. Reward the goon-looking motherfucker who has all three with reelection.

So not only has LePage vetoed multiple times the state legislature's attempt to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a veto upheld by the same legislature, but prior to that he cut MaineCare (as the Medicaid program is called there) by nearly 70,000 participants by lowering the income eligibility threshold and by other conservative fuckery. This was back in 2011, when the rats and lice in the legislature voted to support LePage's cuts. He had tried to boot 19 and 20 year olds off it, but the Department of Health and Human Services in DC told him to stop being such a cunt about it because the federal government considers people under 21 to be minors when it comes to this kind of shit. He tried to sue the HHS, but the U.S. Supreme Court shut that down. Yeah, this fucker can't go to jail soon enough.

Whether or not Maine will do anything about the heroin epidemic there, one that has hit many places thanks to cheap supply and worthless drug policies, people like Singer and David McCarthy will keep falling through the man-made cracks in our society. Conservatives like to talk about Christian love, but they know shit about loving. A compassionate state or nation or politician wouldn't just talk about doing things to help the addicted and the mentally ill. It would do something. Now, we do not. We sit on the sides and bemoan the fate of people, many of whom could be helped, many of whom, like Coleen, wanted to be helped.

Coleen Singer was in the Bangor Daily News seven months ago. She had been arrested, along with three men, for possession. She was in the paper in 2009, arrested for prostitution, which her ex-husband says she turned to in order to fund her habit. There is also news about her arrest in 2014 for the same. Between 2009 and 2014, you can see her mugshots tracing her fall, deeper and deeper, into...well, into something.

Instead of posting those pictures, here's one from her ex of just a woman on a beach posing for a camera.

The beaches of Maine are lovely, but the water is so very cold.


Erick "Erick" Erickson Rages for the Babies

Fox "news" commentator, radio commentator, and man-shaped potato Erick "Erick" Erickson has posted another mighty blog post of mightiness on his internet peek show booth mop, RedState (motto: "You know how when you step in shit while wearing sneakers and you scrape and scrape but there's no way to get all the shit out of the rubber crevices on the bottom until you get to some water. Those dried bits of shit you wash out later? That's us right here.").

"Shut Down the Government. Now," Erickson declares in his title and concluding paragraph. Why should we shut down the government now? Drones? Mass spying? Failure to act on climate change? The corruption of politicians through a money spigot opened fully? Fuck you, you baby-hating dicks. No, it's because Planned Parenthood gets money from the government and they're obviously straight out murdering babies in order to sell their delicious baby parts for cold, hard cash.

Yeah, after another of those oh-so-graphic descriptions of abortions (Guess what? Medical procedures are kinda gross), Erickson proclaims, "[T]he federal government gives Planned Parenthood millions of dollars each year. The Democrats say the money does not pay for abortions, but your federal taxpayer dollars subsidize an organization that could do quite well on its own. Our tax dollars should not go to carving up kids and harvesting their organs. But they do."

Planned Parenthood received a bit over $500 million a year from Medicaid and other sources. By the Rude Pundit's awesome ability to use a calculator, that works out to be tinier than Erick "Erick" Erickson's prick, like 1/10,000th of a percent of the entire federal budget. You'd think a war or something might inspire calls to shut down the government, but, hey, let's just give Erickson a refund of a penny. It'll still be more than he spent on Planned Parenthood.

Erickson has what he believes is an appalling statistic: "According to testimony into Planned Parenthood’s practices in Texas, Planned Parenthood of Houston alone makes $120,000.00 a month from the deaths of children and the harvesting of their organs." That testimony is from the sham hearing going on in the Texas Legislature (motto: "Really? Do you expect us to legislate?"). Erickson links to a tweet that reported on the testimony by a former Planned Parenthood employee. Now, you, being rational, might think, "Oh, shit, is this a whistleblower with all kinds of documents and shit?"

Fuck no. In fact, Abby Johnson, the former official in question, tweeted to naysayers who wanted proof of her assertion, "I didn't steal any documents when I left. Would you have preferred that I did?" Well, yeah. That's how you blow a fuckin' whistle. In a report from an anti-choice group on the hearing, Johnson wasn't as sure as the tweeting reporter was: "Johnson testified that her Planned Parenthood clinic made $200 per baby. She said fetal tissue donations were 'sheer profit for Planned Parenthood.' Even with a conservative estimate, she said, the large quota-based Planned Parenthood clinic that had even 50 tissue donors abortions a day could easily make $120,000 a month from tissue donation." "Could" and "estimate" do not a true statement make.

In other words, the more proper testimony would have been "I pulled this number right out of my asshole." That's because according to Planned Parenthood's own tax documents, they would have had to commit massive tax fraud to cover up that much money a month.

When you rely on fake videos, you rely on fake facts, also known as "lies." When you rely on lies for one part of your argument, hey, what they hell, eh, Erick? You may as well go all in.


The Cruel Attempt to Destroy Planned Parenthood Is an Attack on Women

The Rude Pundit gets it, dear conservatives. Lady parts are mysterious and difficult to sort out. Sometimes they're all up inside there and sometimes there are bits that are just hanging out there in the breeze. What the fuck is up with that, right? And as for what works for what things, which flaps and buttons are useable in sexual situations, where the hell the babies and pee come from, well, shit, there should probably be a freakin' guidebook. Besides, have you actually touched lady parts? They're all squishy and, if touched right, slick, like a hairless cat in the rain. Since we're supposed to fear that which we don't comprehend, of course you're gonna do everything you can to make sure that women can't enjoy their parts as much as men enjoy theirs. Of course you're gonna punish women for having parts that you don't understand. Of course, conservative women, you fear the pleasure in your parts or want to please your conservative men by punishing the poors so, hey, it's all good.

But listen: you don't have to. You don't have to keep making life a misery for women who haven't received the just rewards of capitalism. You don't have to get all ACORN on Planned Parenthood, whose only sin, it seems, is following the laws that you don't like.

You know what else is icky? Disembodied baby parts. Baby organs. Sliced up baby tissue. It's fucking gross, grosser even than a vagina. But so are all cut up human bodies. So when you see the latest video from fake organization Center for Medical Progress with its fake representative from a fake fetal tissue procurement firm, Biomax, looking at pieces of aborted fetuses from Planned Parenthood clinics, of course it's gonna be gross. The fake fucks who made it want you to be grossed out. They rejoice at how appalled you are. Medical science is not for the weak-stomached.

You ought to know, though, that everything Planned Parenthood has done is legal. In fact, it's so fucking legal that a recently released document from Planned Parenthood shows that it changed language in the agreement with "Biomax" so that it would specifically comply with federal law. In fact, Planned Parenthood wanted to make very, very clear that it was not going to profit from the sale of fetal tissue: "The lawyers wrote that Biomax would cover only the cost of 'transportation, processing, preservation and storage' of the samples." That's a little more complicated than "Holy shitballs, those are baby parts." The statutes say you can make back your shipping and handling on the tissue. If you don't like the law, change it. But don't condemn people for following it to the letter.

You ought to know that we've been down this road before. Yeah, back in 2000, ABC's 20/20 ran a piece about a company in Kansas that sold fetal body parts to researchers. The anti-choice media was gleeful about it, and the man at the center of it, Miles Jones, was investigated by the FBI for eight years until they cleared him of any charges. Jones didn't violate a single law. So back to the drawing board for the anti-choice forces.

You ought to know, also, that this gets back to other debates, like research using fetal stem cells. Charging money for baby parts, even to cover expenses, is hard to comprehend for many people. Using baby parts to try to cure illnesses and genetic conditions seems like a pretty fucking noble pursuit to most of us. That context is left out of most of the hollering about baby brain markets or whatever. According to one doctor working to cure eye diseases, "Eye tissue from fetuses has played a crucial role in studies aimed at finding treatments for degenerative diseases of the retina that are a major cause of vision loss in people as they age." The same goes for things like muscular dystrophy.

You ought to know that fetal tissue is only harvested (yes, terrible word, but there it is) with permission from the woman who had the abortion. But that turns women getting abortions from tormented, depressed victims to beings with agency to make decisions about their bodies, women who understand their lady parts and know what they want to do with them, the very thing that the enemies of Planned Parenthood want to crush.

Finally, you ought to know that, if you defund Planned Parenthood, if you get rid of it, you will ensure there are more abortions, more teen pregnancies, and more suffering women, especially poor women, poor pregnant women who want to have healthy babies and who won't have access to the prenatal care that Planned Parenthood provides.Yeah, they help women give birth, too.  The words "planned" and "parenthood" don't just mean "abortion." In fact, they barely mean that.

You won't know any of this because the voices yelling loudest, like the desperate madman Rand Paul, trying to get some heat for his dying presidential campaign, don't want you to know or understand. They want to you to rise up, like the internet mob you are so easily whipped into joining, and blindly destroy that which they tell you to destroy, not even realizing that what you are destroying are not just lady parts, but the women who own them.

(Since we live in an era with irony illiteracy, the Rude Pundit would like to state that he loves vaginas in all their forms, from dainty closed rosebuds to full-bloom sunflowers.)


Bill Cosby Advises Kids on Lying

Man, Bill Cosby is gonna be pissed when he hears how Bill Cosby has been lying.

(It's from an episode of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids that also includes the gang singing a song about how lies will come back to haunt you. Apparently, all our Saturday mornings back in the 1970s were one big lie.)


America Has Become a Second Amendment Death Cult

You can remember learning in school or at a museum or maybe on the Discovery Channel about human sacrifice in ancient or distant cultures, whether it was the temples of the Aztecs and Incans down south or the bogs of the British Isles, where the Celts performed their rituals. You can remember how you felt: the gruesome fascination followed by disbelief at the stupidity of the reasons. Killing the slaves of a dead master? Ludicrous. And the tribes and nations that sacrificed children, virgins, whoever to appease angry gods just seem insane in retrospect. The circular logic was mind-boggling: We must cut out the hearts of these kids so the gods will make the crops grow and keep away the storms or volcanoes. But if there is a storm or volcano and the crops all die, we'll just sacrifice more kids because obviously we didn't please our mad deities last time.

You know that there were many people in Incan villages in Peru who thought the whole thing was bullshit, that slitting the throat of the woman who lived down the road was entirely unnecessary, that maybe they could spend more time learning about weather and crop rotation. But they didn't dare say anything because they didn't want to piss off the priests and their most devoted followers who might decide that they needed to be sacrificed next. People die all the time because cowards don't speak up.

The mass shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, hit home, literally, for the Rude Pundit. That's where he grew up. It's where he went to college. It's where his family lives and where he visits twice a year. He can't count the number of times he has been to the Grand movie theater on Johnston Street, right across from the Judice Inn and its delicious Cajun hamburgers. From the Grand, you go northeast on Johnston and make a left on Jefferson Street to get to Parish Ink, the t-shirt and design shop where he regularly bought souvenirs from home to give as gifts, where family bought gifts for him. He spoke a few times to co-owner and designer Jillian Johnson, praising her work and laughing at the puns on the shirts. Johnson was one of two women who were shot and killed by John Russell Houser while they watched the film Trainwreck in the bone-chilling air-conditioning that makes the Grand an oasis in the smothering Lafayette summer.

Many on the left have focused on Houser's despicable beliefs, which are not really that far out of the conservative mainstream anymore. It's an awfully short journey from Scott Walker to Stormfront. On the right, they're more concerned about Houser's mental illness, which is what they always talk about when a white Christian is the one doing the shooting, as if a Muslim man can't have depression exacerbated by drug use that is exploited by a radical ideology to inspire him to violence that ultimately ends his life, as he had wanted.

The Rude Pundit thought about the Inca, the Mayans, the savage tribe of Skull Island when he began trying to piece together something to say about the Lafayette shooting. It's long been apparent that the United States is now a death cult built around the worship of guns. The dead in each shooting, whether it's gang-related in Los Angeles, accidental in Virginia, or mass shooting after mass shooting, are treated as a necessity in order for us to stay safe. How is Sandy Hook any different than the Aztecs stabbing a child to keep the city from destruction? How did that work out for them?

Multiple massacres ago, the Rude Pundit could say he knows someone who knew one of the kids murdered at Sandy Hook. Now he can say he actually met one of the murder victims in Lafayette. What's next in this macabre progression? At some point, despite your faithful devotion, the priests come to sacrifice your family members. Or you.

Our firearm-centered death cult is based on a deliberate misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. No matter what courts or lobbyists or corporate-manipulated citizen-tools say, the Second Amendment has a conditional phrase, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State." You can pretend that that doesn't matter or you can lie about what it means, but "well-regulated" is in there, and we live in a country that is far, far from regulating guns, let alone militias, well. The Second Amendment wasn't meant to be a murder-suicide pact. It was meant to deal with a widely-spread, small population that wanted to kill the British and some Indians. A rational nation would revisit it to clarify or change it. In the United States, that would probably just mean craven politicians frightening Americans into taking out the opening phrase so no one can bring up the argument against more guns anymore.

In Louisiana, the death cult is practically having a blood orgy on a constant basis. Writes Adam Duvernay in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, "In 2013, 446 people in Louisiana were killed with with guns, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. By body count, that placed Louisiana 7th in the nation. In terms of murders per 100,000 residents — 9.6 — the Bayou State was 1st." This is in an article titled, mournfully, obviously, "Analysis: Theater shooting won't change a thing."

If we continue to do nothing, we are all mentally ill and we are all extremists. We are just another bunch of Mayans, watching the high priest politicians cut out the hearts of the children in Newtown, the churchgoers in Charleston, the women in Lafayette, all to appease the malicious gods of the NRA, holding the gore aloft so all may see it, hoping that our  sacrifices are deemed worthy, not realizing that the gods are illusions and that we're just killing our way into oblivion.


Re-Post: Of Course It's the Guns. It's Always the Guns.

(This is a repost from a month ago because there's very little left to say. One word has been added: Lafayette, which is the Rude Pundit's hometown.)

We know, right? We know that, at the end of the discussion, after we've talked about racism and hatred and mental illness, what remains are the guns. No, you won't get rid of racism and hatred and mental illness by taking the guns away, but nothing will ever get rid of that. Those aren't tangible things. Ideas can't be taken out of someone's hands, alive and warm or cold and dead, melted down, and eliminated. 

But guns can be. 

Guns amplify the racism, foster hatred, and give an easy outlet to the mentally ill. The sad part is that we know this. We know it to be true. Even the vast majority of people who cling to the belief that only guns can stop guns understand the equation. Easy access to guns means more murder. 

But we are so afraid. Politicians are afraid of the NRA. Gun owners are afraid of government power. Everyone is told to be afraid of their neighbors, the black guy walking down the street, the Muslims in front of a mosque. And that fear has made us hold to our guns, if not in actuality then in support of mild laws and compromising politicians.

Yet reality demonstrates again and again that, mostly, the fear is over nothing, over a lie. There's never a good guy with a gun around when you need one. And, no, more guns won't solve that. 

This post is absent of facts. It's absent of links. It's absent of stated context, although you know what the reference points are. They have become a mantra of places: Lafayette, Charleston, Newtown, Aurora, and many more already part of the chant and many more to be added. 

This blogger has grown weary of the depraved ignorance that has taken the place of rational discussion. He's long been amazed at how people who are wary of the motives of the government they elected don't have any suspicions of the organizations and corporations who only answer to the dollar. Very little surprises him anymore, not even this latest massacre. 

It is who we are. It is a price to pay for freedom, we are told. And yet, somehow, we are less and less free.


No Post Today

The Rude Pundit has a wake and funeral to attend today and tomorrow. See yesterday's post for the fuller story. So right-wing fuckery will have to run rampant without him trying to stop it for a day, maybe two. 

Back soon with less mournful rudeness. 


Remembering Mary Ann Remembering

I genuinely liked Mary Ann, not just loved her in the way you're obliged to love the mother of your partner for the last five years. Sure, she could talk your ear off, to the point that I'd say that it was like some kind of performance art piece on how long one could speak without stopping, admiring the way she could leap from topic to topic with breathtaking velocity like a speedboat bouncing from wave to wave. As she got older, she repeated stories, but, even there, you had to admire how she told the story the same way each time, like a well-rehearsed monologue. She had a memory for the details of life events that was sometimes eerie, but she told her tales with the alacrity of an old school raconteur.

Mary Ann, who was 77 when she died peacefully Monday morning, was as devout a Catholic as you could ever meet. She went to church, the same church in the same town for nearly her entire adult life, every week. If she had to miss, she would watch a mass on TV. She listened to the Catholic radio station, and she was active at her parish. She saw her religion not as a means to shame anyone, but as a way to voice her compassion with the world.

For instance, she supported the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the group started by nuns who were tired of the church spending so much time condemning people for being gay or having abortions and not enough time on ministering to the poor. The nuns support Obamacare and women becoming priests, as well as same sex marriage, and they were reprimanded by Pope Benedict for their refusal to adhere to papal dictates (a reprimand that was upheld by Pope Francis). 

Mary Ann would shake her head and exclaim that she didn't understand how the Pope could oppose the nuns and that she was cheering them on in their mission. She believed that the church needed to get more with the times or risk fading out as a historical relic. Even in the brief time I knew her, Mary Ann's attitude forced me to modify my narrow, angry view of Catholics, to instead see a way that it could be used for good works.  She was thrilled when Francis became pope, seeing in him someone who more readily aligned with how she viewed her faith. Whenever I saw her, we'd talk about how amazing it was that Francis was redirecting the energy of the church towards economic injustice.

And she walked the walk. She spent so much money on charities that she had a drawer full of blankets made by a Native American children's advocacy group.  Sometimes, she'd get a call from the group just to tellvher they were saying a prayer for her, not to ask for money. (Yeah, you could say that's part of a long con, but let's put aside the cynicism for a moment.)  She actually donated to the groups that sent her address labels and notepads. She gave money to every funding drive her church had, whether it was for disaster relief or renovations to the building. Her last job before retiring was supervising the kitchen and cooking food for the elderly poor at her town's senior center. One more thing I learned from her is how much you can be devoted to your town, your community. We of the wandering generations know little of that.

In other words, she was a good person in the way that not many people are good. A good soul, you might say if you're so inclined. She loved her family fiercely, especially her kids and grandkids, and she was as welcoming a presence as I could ever hope to see. As her generation passes, we need to remember the everyday, real life goodness they could bring to us.


#AllLivesMatter Is a Bullshit Hashtag and a Useless Phrase

When the Rude Pundit heard Donald Trump on Sen. John McCain's war hero status, his first thought was "Umm, John McCain isn't a war hero. He's a survivor of awful circumstances and a victim of a worthless war. But he's not a hero." See, the Rude Pundit doesn't subscribe to the Everyone-Gets-A-Trophy view of heroism. You're not a hero just because you're a cop or a firefighter. You're not a hero just because you're a soldier. You're a hero if you do something heroic. And, sorry, doing the requirements of your job (like, you know, fighting a fire) doesn't make you a hero. It makes you a decent employee. The bar should be high for a hero, even in a job that requires a certain amount of courage to begin with. You broke through a door to save a child and a puppy from a raging inferno? Well, yeah, that's pretty heroic. You stood outside and held a hose? Awesome job, glad you're doing it, but not exactly herculean.

The defensive response to the poignant Black Lives Matter movement, which started in the wake of the ongoing string of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police (for the most part, since it began after the Trayvon Martin murder), was the absolutely worthless All Lives Matter (or #AllLivesMatter). First of all, it's impossible. The Rude Pundit can name about fifty people off the top of his head whose lives don't matter, starting with the presidential candidate mentioned at the top of this post. He doesn't wish harm on most of them. He wouldn't do anything to harm any of them. But, really, and c'mon, you can look around the room you're in and know in your heart that at least a few people there have lives that don't matter. That's not even getting into your random serial killers and dictators, whose lives, we should be able to agree, don't matter. Mostly, though, it is an utterly meaningless phrase because it has no basis in reality. (Yes, we can get into a whole ontological argument about the meaning of "matter," but, for the sake of this argument, hell, just say, "Matter to the world.")

Black Lives Matter (or #BlackLivesMatter, to hashtag the shit out of this post) matters because it is a statement of defiance against a tide of evidence and history that, in general, the bodies and being of African Americans must be crushed, killed, wiped out. The phrase doesn't naively imply that all black lives matter. It is an assertion of worth and value for the very existence of black people in the United States against a hegemonic whiteness that insidiously and systematically imprisons, impoverishes, and kills black Americans. The phrase carves out worth against worthlessness. It is confrontational because of its implication that black lives do not, in fact, matter, that they are not equal to white lives. #AllLivesMatter waters it down into feel-good nonsense.

The reason for this discussion is the dismay on the left (and the giddy finger-pointing on the right) to the disruption of Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley at the Netroots Nation conference this weekend. During each of their appearances, they were confronted by protesters in the audience, including Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who, along with Tia Oso, was invited on stage by O'Malley. The former mayor of Baltimore handled it particularly badly when he said, "“Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter." Sanders essentially told the protesters to shut up and let him speak.

Now, you can argue all you like about whether or not cutting off others' speech with your speech is free speech. And no one has to listen to anyone. Also, let's hope that these same protesters and more are willing to shout out at forums for Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. For his part, the Rude Pundit loves it when disorganization breaks out in your nicely-scheduled conference because some people want to be heard. He loves it when others are upset about it. He loves reality over polished bullshit. (He has avoided Netroots because, in general, he avoids all conferences, professional and political. The mixture of insider circle jerking and desperate wannabe-ing just doesn't really jibe with the whole "drink until you wake up in pants you don't recognize" ethos under which he lives.)

When you get angry, you don't go to someone else's house and punch a hole in their wall. You don't throw plates in your neighbor's kitchen. You take it out on yourself and your home. You rage against that which you think you have control over. Of course the protesters had to call out the old white guys in the room who presumed to lead them. Of course those old white guys needed to hear what they had to say. Of course they were enraged by the responses. That's because #BlackLivesMatter has life and death as its stakes. There is no other way to react.


Quickie: Your Confederate Flag Support Team Is Ready to Help

From left to right, that's Gooch, Skeeter, Daisy Lurch, Catfish Joe, Jesse Jesse, Skeeter 2, Belchin' Bocephus, and the Chigger.  They're proud members of a KKK reenactment guild because, surely, such redneck, toothless hick stereotypes don't exist in real life.

Wait, what? It was a real rally in South Carolina? They were serious? Huh. Well, maybe that's why Daisy Lurch put on her good tank top. You can bet she and her brother, Skeeter 2, will be matin' like two mules that got into the moonshine tonight.

Is that punching down? Mocking the poor? Screw it. When you reach the Rude Pundit's level of disgust with certain white people, "too low" doesn't exist.


Friday Reacharound: The Return of Bloom County

If there was ever a fire at Chez Rude, there are precious few items the Rude Pundit would risk his life and lungs to save. Once you get past the stuff in the lockbox and pre-digital photos, there ain't much. Not his phone or laptop because everything is stored on many clouds. Not his well-used Tom of Finland volumes. Not any of the original art he owns, not even the Blue Dog by George Rodrigue. Not his paperback copy of In Cold Blood signed by Truman Capote, not his books signed by Toni Morrison or Michael Chabon or any other authors living and dead. But one thing he would fight past the flames to grab would be a first edition of a children's book, The Wish for Wings That Work, because of this:

It's signed by its author and artist, Berkeley Breathed, who was kind enough to draw Opus, the penguin who starred in the book and the author's classic comic strip, Bloom County.

Bloom County ran from December 1980 until August 1989, or, really, the Reagan administration plus a few months. People sometimes tell the Rude Pundit that he helped them survive the Bush II years, which he's not really sure we survived. But, for him, Bloom County was what allowed him to not go mad during the headiest days of the Gipper's reign of madness. The Rude Pundit was an editor at his college paper in Louisiana, and the town paper refused to carry the best strips of the time. So, screw it, he did, with a line-up that included The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Matt Groening's Life in Hell and Bloom County. When a new sheet of a week's worth of strips arrived, the staff would gather around to read them all. By the time it ended, even though it was followed by the immensely well-drawn but lesser comics Outland and Opus by Breathed, the influence it had had on this blogger was profound.

With muckraking Milo Bloom, computer hacker Oliver, and perpetual worrier Binkley, all children, and wheelchair-bound Vietnam vet Cutter John and sexist pig Steve Dallas, as well as Opus and Bill the Cat, a rancid middle finger to all the comic strips that created cutesy characters to sell shit, Bloom County was Generation X's Doonesbury, a daily reminder of how you could readily and scathingly mock the powerful in hilarious ways, from politicians to the media to the wealthy to the bigots and misogynists to celebrities. Indeed, you could make an argument that the way Breathed constantly attacked a worthless, scandal-mongering press planted the seeds for one of the driving forces of the rise of blogs.

As for politics? To this day, the Rude Pundit can't hear the word "caucus" without thinking "a raucous caucus." Go read some of Breathed's strip collections. They are still hilarious.

This week, Berkeley Breathed decided to return to drawing Bloom County after 25 years, posting so far daily strips on Facebook. Breathed said that, by publishing online, he has freedom and no constraints of editors, censorship, or deadlines. He only needs to draw his comics. He recognizes that times have changed: "There is no media that will allow a Charlie Brown or a Snoopy to become a universal and shared joy each morning at the same moment across the country," he told the Washington Post.  Yes, it's true. We do not have much of a common culture anymore.

But for a generation who came came of age with Bloom County, it is like discovering that a long-lost friend is still alive years after a plane crash. You didn't know you felt a little less whole until that piece returned.

Now all we need is a Far Side restoration and a Calvin and Hobbes resurgence.


Oh, Oklahoma, You're So Fucking Not Okay

By now you've seen this photo making it easier to figure out which Oklahomans got dropped on their heads when they were babies:

That's a group of Confederate flag-wielding fucknuts amid another group of loyal Americans who are greeting President Obama as he arrives at his hotel in Oklahoma City. The aforementioned brain-damaged fucknuts insist that their flag of a degraded, defeated nation based on slavery is not racist at all. They'll tell you that the protest was, in fact, organized by a black man. Congratulations. That just means stupid isn't racist, not that racists aren't stupid.

But let's focus in for a moment on this white child standing next to a woman holding a flag:

Now, that child may be there with someone else who has nothing to do with the rebel flag and is excited to see Obama. But, just in case the child's mother or father or other relative is there getting the child to hate on the Negro president, let the Rude Pundit say this to her (?): "Dear child, your parents are terrible human beings who want to see black people chained up, in servitude, and able to be beaten and raped at will. When you are older, you will despise your parents for having brought you here. Or you will have grown up into a terrible human being. If it's the first, then burn your parents' dumb flags, maybe even in front of them. You should probably hide all the guns first."

And now let's look at these two African Americans in the crowd, which had many black people in it to welcome President Obama. This man...

...was standing in the middle of the flags, trying to ignore the insanity around him and catch a glimpse of the arriving limo. Meanwhile, this woman...

...was staring at the flag bearers as if to ask, "What the fuck?" What the fuck, indeed.

The Rude Pundit loves these two people because when they were confronted by a racial hatefulness that was literally in their faces, they turned the other cheek and awaited the President of the United States, a black person himself, spurning the dead hopes of a dead nation worshiped by fools.


Another Benefit of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Happy Iranians Buying Shit

As predictable as the morning sun, the whiny warmongers of the right are losing their collective shit over the deal on Iran's nuclear weapons program. For instance, Sean Hannity's Manly Jaw hosted the ghoulish visage of Dick Cheney to pronounce that it is "a day that will live in infamy," which is a totally plagiarized phrase. Republican presidential candidates had their panties in such a wad that their asses are chafed. America's Sassiest Debutante, Sen. Lindsey Graham, declared, "[T]his deal is far worse than I ever dreamed it could be and will be a nightmare for the region, our national security and eventually the world at large." And Mike Huckabee hee-hawed, "Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and bring ‘death to America.'"

The Rude Pundit isn't smart enough to go into the minutiae of the negotiations and the final deal. He doesn't know much more than what he's read about it from people who do know. He won't make pronouncements because he ain't an expert on inspection regimes, development of nuclear weapons, or Hassan Rouhani's beard grooming. But he knows about people. And what he's seeing from Iran is this:

That's a group of young people in Iran going crazy with celebration for the nuclear deal. They're not going crazy because their crafty evil government defeated the great Satan. They're not going crazy because they will finally get to destroy Israel and install a neverending caliphate or some such shit. They're going crazy for the basest but most logical of reasons, which ought to make conservatives extremely happy: Iranians can't wait to make money and buy shit, lots of shit, Western shit, which they will be able to do when sanctions are lifted. And that, dear, sweet, stupid conservatives, will do more to make a difference in the world than all the fucked up punitive measures you can come up with to blow Israel a little better.

In today's Tehran Times, one article talks about how excited Iranians are for the development of their tourism industry. You got that? They want Western tourists. This is from a government official, the Director of Cultural Heritage and Tourism: "The decrease in dependence on oil revenues and the possibility to use credit cards in the country will also have great impact on the tourism industry. Also the visit of more Western tourists to the country will provide opportunity to present the true face of Iran to the world."

Artists in Iran are also thrilled, according to another article in the same news site. Feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani said, "The positive result of the talks kept hope alive, something that is very crucial for society today."

Iran's 20somethings, artists, and tourist industry are delighted. The business community is rubbing its hands in anticipation of the coming bounty. And, with the deal lasting at least 10 years (barring any fuckery), even younger Iranians will grow up without a view of the West and the United States in particular as nothing to be feared.

That's what was accomplished here. More than trying to bomb a Muslim country into democracy ever could have accomplished, President Obama has figured out that the best way to get Western values into the Muslim world is to let people scratch that materialistic itch.


Scott Walker: "No Dicks Shall Go Unsucked During My Campaign"

Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor and Republican Scott Walker, a man who looks like he was a reject from The Hills Have Eyes family, announced that he is the 800th candidate running for his party's nomination to be president. In his speech in Waukesha, Walker told the gathered, sleeping throng, "Let the word go out: Scott Walker will leave no dick unsucked on the road from from Waukesha to Washington. If there is a dick along the way, I will suck it like a it's a tube of hot ham." And then, to demonstrate, he approached every available dick and sucked it down deeply, as one does smoked, boiled, or baked meats.

From the start of his speech, when he began with "I love America," you couldn't keep Scott Walker's mouth off the dicks. He quickly grabbed a whole bunch of veterans' dicks and two-fisted sucked and yanked them, luxuriating under their spewing semen fountain, telling the stories of various warriors he had met and concluding, "These veterans remind me that America is a can-do kind of country. We just have a government in Washington that can’t seem to get the job done. Washington, or as I call it, 68 square miles surrounded by reality."

To tempt people to vote for him, Walker said, "Let me tell you about all the cheesehead dicks I've sucked," continuing, "We reduced taxes by $2 billion and lowered taxes on individuals, employers and property. In fact, property taxes are lower today than they were in 2010. How many Governors can say that?" Yes, and how many governors can say they had to cut $250 million from their state university's budget and lower the amount of money most public school districts get because fuck you, taxes ain't going up? Scott Walker, a man who looks like he's rubbing his balls with his mom's panties, doesn't have time to answer that question because there are dicks that aren't gonna suck themselves.

On he went: "Since I’ve been Governor, we passed lawsuit reform and regulatory reform. We defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted pro-life legislation. We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry. And we now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin." There's so many dicks in those couple of sentences that it's impossible to think that Walker didn't get exhausted from sucking them all.

But he's unstoppable. Walker proudly said, "In Wisconsin, we enacted a program that says that adults who are able to work must be enrolled in one of our job training programs before they can get a welfare check. Now, as of the budget I just signed, we are also making sure they can take a drug test." A couple of minutes later, Walker asserted that "we need to rein in the federal government’s out-of-control regulations that are like a wet blanket on the economy." You got that? Welfare recipients are subject to the most intrusive of regulations. Businesses, including those that receive government money, should be free from regulations.

The rest of the speech was one dick suck after another: Obamacare repeal, Common Core gone, lower taxes, Obama's a pussy, Israel's so fucking awesome that there isn't even a word for its awesomeness. At this point in the GOP race, the dick sucking has become so expected that men don't even wear pants when they go to the announcement speeches. Why bother? You're just gonna drop 'em so that Chris Christie or Ted Cruz can suck your dick.

But yesterday was Scott Walker's turn with the Chapstick and knee pads. "Earlier this year, the President proclaimed that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations," he declared, teeing up two more dicks. "Well, Mr. President, I respectfully disagree. The greatest threat to future generations is radical Islamic terrorism and we need to do something about it." Of course, climate change's global consequences would have an effect on radical Islamic terrorists more than radical Islamic terrorists would have an effect on the climate, but, sure, whatever, dude who didn't graduate from college and brags - fucking brags - that he shops at Kohl's.

He concluded with one of his stupidest tweets: "You see, there is a reason we just took a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not April 15th. Because in America, we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it." Who the fuck told him that that makes any goddamned sense? Why would we celebrate Tax Day, which has been April 15 only since 1955? And the Fourth of July was about the establishment of our own government, not about a descent into anarchy, you idiot who looks like you have frightened children hidden in a pit you dug in your basement.

Belly bloated with conservative cum, Walker grinned, his teeth shiny from spooge. It was now his race to lose, and lose it he will.


Obama Doesn't Have to Talk About Every Dead, White Crime Victim

There's horseshit and then there's damned horseshit. And one of the goddamnedest piles of horseshit is "Obama says things when black guys are killed, but why didn't he say anything when [Insert Name of White Person] was killed?" Usually, they rattle off black people Trayvon Martin - who was killed by a neighborhood watch captain who thought Martin was a criminal for looking black, Michael Brown - who was unarmed and shot to death by a cop, Eric Garner - who was unarmed and choked to death by a cop, and/or Freddie Gray - who killed by cops recklessly driving a police van with the intent of harming Gray, who was in the back. Tragically, you can expand that list endlessly.

Shit, torture apologist and Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen triples down in his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "Mouth foam from a rabid schnauzer"), mentioning President Obama's speaking about Martin, Brown, and Gray. And then he says, "But after Kathryn Steinle was killed July 1, allegedly by an illegal immigrant with seven felony convictions, Obama said...nothing."

He's referring to the shooting in San Francisco of a young white woman by the aforementioned undocumented immigrant. The fuller story of the whole incident is about institutional and individual incompetency that makes you want to beat your head against a wall. The immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, had no convictions for violent crimes, so instead of being handed over to an overwhelmed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, he was sent out after five years in jail, homeless, drug-addicted, and possibly mentally-ill. According to a public defender, "He didn’t receive any services. He didn’t have a penny in his pocket...He was homeless, penniless and living on the streets." Sanchez claims that he had popped some pills and found the gun, which he accidentally fired. That may or may not be the truth. It's hard to tell because Sanchez is a drug-addict who might be mentally-ill.

But Thiessen and, of course, the Fox "news" junk pundits have to shit out their theories, which mainly involve how "illegals" are murdering the fuck out of good Americans. Thiessen says, after quoting the head of the ICE, "121 times over the past four years [2010-2014], the administration has released an illegal immigrant with prior criminal convictions who went on to be charged with murder. That is one every 12 days." Now, the Rude Pundit is no statistician, but he knows how to use a calculator. According to the ICE, the Obama administration has deported over 900,000 undocumented individuals with criminal records. That's 640 every day.

Of course, numbers are a game. And the rules that govern who stays and who goes in the immigration game are subject to local, state, and federal whim. Do conservatives want to take away California and San Francisco's right to deal with immigration how they see fit? Yeah, federalism is merry and fine when you want states to enact insane abortion policies. But sympathetic immigration laws? Bring the motherfuckin' federal hammer down, right?

But, to conservatives' bigger point, that somehow Barack Obama's immigration policies are responsible for some kind of phantom surge in crimes by undocumented immigrants, Thiessen cites, "In 2013, the Obama administration released 36,007 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions — 1,000 of whom were subsequently convicted of other crimes after their release. Last year they released 30,558 such immigrants." Thiessen doesn't say if the criminal convictions were misdemeanor or felony, trespassing or rape, marijuana possession or murder.

But Thiessen did work for the administration before Obama's, George W. Bush's. And it took the Rude Pundit about two seconds of searching to find, for instance, a 2005 story about the arrest of 100 mostly undocumented immigrants who were part of a violent gang that spread over multiple states. The article says, "Federal immigration officials estimate that there are 80,000 to 100,000 criminal illegal immigrants in the United States." That shit's scary. In 2006, an undocumented worker murdered actress Adrienne Shelly in her New York City apartment. In 2007, two undocumented men were part of a trio who killed three teenagers in Newark, New Jersey. Tom Tancredo, who thinks Donald Trump should tone his fuckery down, made a presidential race issue over the crime.

In other words, conservatives, shut the fuck up about blaming President Obama. You know what would prevent anyone from shooting people dead? Fewer fucking guns. Why don't we put that on the table?

Finally, there's an enormous difference between the deaths of the black men and the murder of the white woman mentioned above. Kathryn Steinle was killed during a crime by a criminal. Brown, Garner, Gray and many other black men were killed by cops in situations where no one was threatened. When people in authority murder unarmed people, that would seem to be something that demands a reaction more than another day, another awful crime.

And, by the way, Obama didn't speak immediately after Trayvon Martin's death by George Zimmerman, someone whose actions were defended by many on the right. Martin was killed on February 26, 2012. Obama spoke on June 19, 2013, after the acquittal of Zimmerman. He faced a shitload of criticism on the left for not addressing it earlier. So maybe let that comparison go. Oh, who are we kidding here? You guys will hump that corpse like a rabid schnauzer on a Confederate flag pillow.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down Handfuls of Rohypnols with a Jug of Arak

Those costumed characters are performing for children just outside of Gaza City in Palestine. The stage is set up in front of a house that was destroyed during Israel's bombing campaign last year. Gaza is made of rubble, but children still try to be children, however impossible that may be.

According to a report this week by Save the Children, it's pretty damn impossible. The report says, "Up to 89 percent of parents reported that their children suffer consistent feelings of fear, while more than 70 percent of children said they worried about another war." Three quarters of the children of the Gaza Strip, ages 6-15, have had incidents of bedwetting and consistent nightmares. In other words, they have been bombed into a PTSD that will affect them their whole lives. Three wars in seven years will do that to the hardest of hearts, let alone the most innocent.

The kids play a game they call "Palestinians and Israelis." It's like "Cowboys and Indians," except the Indians are the good guys in this version. They play "King of the Hill" on top of the piles of broken concrete. They play as the drones and missiles buzz overhead. They play even though the blockade of their land has kept schools and health facilities and even water plants closed.

Yes, you can say there are Israeli children who have been traumatized by Palestinian actions. But 551 kids died in Gaza in the last bombardment. One Israeli child died. So a sense of proportion is necessary here.

There is no comment, no solution. Just the picture up there of kids trying hard to be kids among the ruins.


Note to GOP Presidential Candidates: Donald Trump Is Drinking Your Milkshake

Every time someone on one of the news networks talks about Donald Trump, the rich Pomeranian/St. Bernard mix running for president, some pundit or other has to say that Trump will flame out or fade away. It depends on whether he says something so outrageous as to alienate any support (which, at this point, would have to be something like "Yes, I fuck ferrets. I fuck ferrets better and more often than Jeb Bush has ever fucked a ferret. Now watch me fuck this ferret." Although, really, it still makes him a better choice than Ted Cruz), or he just peaks at the 15% or so he has now, and as other candidates drop out, their support goes to Jeb Bush.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the voters of this country, especially Republicans. Because, you see, the one thing Trump has going for him, more than any other candidate running for the Republican nomination, is that the voters are fucking dumbasses who get most of their information from TV news and Trump is more famous than any other candidate. Put it this way: there are people who paid good money to learn business success from Trump at one of his bullshit seminars, totally ignoring that Trump has declared bankruptcy multiple times. You think anyone gives a happy monkey fuck if Trump is "qualified" to be president? Fuck no. He hosted a TV show. His name is everywhere. He says things that make everyone else angry. He's a blatant racist who claims to love Hispanic people. He's a vulgar monster with voracious sexual appetites who preaches morality in marriage.

And many, many voters simply will overlook that because he's the most goddamned entertaining clown in the circus, the only candidate they know, and his pop culture status has given him the aura of earthy wisdom instead of nonsensical shit-tossing. He's like most of the other candidates rolled into one: a blithering, idiotic, climate change-denying loudmouth xenophobe who wants endless war, Christian "values" (whatever the fuck those are anymore), an economic and health care system that benefits the rich, and a big fuckin' fence with alligators or some such shit to keep out the Mexican rapists. He doesn't need to pander to the baser instincts of the primary voters. He is the living embodiment of the baser instincts of GOP primary voters. That's why he's wiping the floor with virtually every other candidate.

Right now, Trump is leading in the polls in North Carolina. The far right loves him, and if you get the Confederates and the Stormfront crowd, as well as the "Who's-the-guy-from-the-TV-show-I'll-vote-for-him" crowd on your side, you're gonna poll well. That's why he's first or second in most polls, and, sorry, but he ain't going away. Your condemnation only makes him stronger. Your attention only makes his ego grow.

You gotta laugh at the fuckin' GOP elite who have no idea what to do about Trump's surge. These are the fuckers who wanted to convince us that Sarah Palin was a legitimate leader. You're gonna see all the candidates react to him and condemn him and offer to debate him and dismiss him and every other thing they can try. It won't matter. Their scorn will drive more voters to him than send them away. Who do you think the average voter wants to listen to? Scott fuckin' Walker? No, they wanna hear what the crazy guy has to say. It's so fuckin' beautiful, watching Trump suck all the filthy air out of the GOP primary balloon.

He ain't gonna be president. That's Hillary's prize, unless she stumbles mightily. But Trump's gonna make life a fuckin' misery for the GOP, who had better destroy this Godzilla before he eats all of Tokyo and shits it out on RNC headquarters.


Chris Christie's Case for President: He Fucked New Jersey Real Good

Yes, it's true, good people of Iowa and New Hampshire. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is really, really shitty at the job he is desperately trying to get out of. Christie, America's angriest flat tire, is touring the bullshit small states that get too much say in who becomes president, with a detour this weekend to play "Who can lick this billionaire's balls cleanest?" in Idaho. He should be asked at every stop along the way, "Your state is falling the fuck apart. What the hell are you doing here when you should be back there making it better?"

A conservative think tank put out a report this week that ranked New Jersey second-to-last in fiscal health, just above Illinois. "The states that rank toward the bottom include states with ongoing structural deficit problems and difficulty achieving annual budget balance, in addition to long-term debt and pension pressures," the report from George Mason University said. And New Jersey has all that in spades, man, with no hope as long as Christie is governor and he refuses to do sane shit like raise the gas tax or fund the pension system because that'll look weak to the other boys and the girl in the GOP locker room. Christie is used to being the one snapping towels on post-shower asses; he ain't gonna stand for getting welts on his cheeks.

Because Christie is devoted to sucking all the dicks, he recently changed his reasoning as to why he vetoed funding for family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood, in New Jersey for the last five years. Back in 2010, while he was still flying and not too close to the sun yet, Christie said he was doing so to help close a budget gap.

Now he uses it to boost his crazy credentials with evangelical Christians, bragging recently that he had "vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget" at a Faith and Freedom Coalition's Jesus Fellatio Fest and Candidate Bondage Carnival. So he was lying when he said it was for budget reasons, and he's lying when he says it makes him "pro-life." The funding wasn't used for abortion services, by the way. It was "for crucial preventative health care for low income women, including gynecological exams and cancer screenings."

Six clinics out of 58 had to close; four were not even associated with Planned Parenthood. Let's hope the 131,000 women served by those clinics appreciate that Christie needs to position himself to the right of Jeb Bush if he has any chance to be president. Priorities, people. You may picture Christie squatting over poor women and taking a pizza shit on them. But he's just telling it like it is or, more precisely, telling it like fundamentalists want to hear.

One last failure for this failure of a leader, of a politician, of a man: Christie proudly brags how anti-drugs he is. If he's president, fuck your legal pot and fuck your state's right to legalize it. In New Jersey, you can tell how much Christie really cares about drug users by the fact that, as horrible as the heroin overdose epidemic has become in the United States, it's three times worse in New Jersey since Christie's been governor. Yeah, there are more people dropping dead from heroin than from "homicide, suicide, car accidents and AIDS" in Jersey. In two counties, more people die from ODing on smack than from pneumonia and the flu combined.

Christie's signed a few bills that attempt to help, but, like so much in his failed administration, he hasn't done enough. Or perhaps the better way to put it is that he did just enough to be able to brag about it to the mythical primary voters, but not nearly enough to make a difference in the very real lives he's harming.


Crazy DA Wants More People Put to Death in Louisiana

A crazy white man named Cox is helping put black people to death in northwest Louisiana. Articles in both the New York Times and the New Yorker (yeah, yankee liberals. So?) detail the deep desire of acting district attorney Dale Cox of Caddo Parish to kill people, mostly black men. Caddo Parish juries are responsible for sentencing more people to death per capita than any other county in the country. 77% of those sentenced are black. If you read even one of the pieces, you will come away with the sickening feeling in your stomach that Dale Cox is a serial killer, a sociopath – fuck, a psychopath - who gets the state of Louisiana to do his murders for him.

In an interview with the Times, Cox repeatedly talks about a society that “would say it's okay to kill babies and eat them, and in fact we can have parties where we kill them and eat them.” Cox admits that he has never seen a case where people killed and ate a baby, alone or at a party, but that doesn't stop him from talking about the "savagery" he's seen and that "We've become a jungle." He pretty much says that he's got PTSD from the shit he's dealt with in his job: "the nature of the work is so serious that there’d be something wrong if it didn’t change you."

He "went on to describe rapes, murders and dismemberments in extended detail, pointing to a box on his desk that he said contained autopsy photos of an infant who was beaten to death."  That's the way insane people act. That's someone who might just want to eat an infant or someone so tortured by the crimes of others that he can no longer react with the dispassion that the law needs. Motherfucker just wants people put to death.

The New Yorker article, by Rachel Aviv, is a deeper dive into a single case, that of Rodricus Crawford, a black man who was sentenced to death for the murder of his infant son, despite the fact that there were egregious errors in the autopsy of the baby (who was not eaten) and that Crawford was a doting, caring father.  Cox just really, really wanted Crawford sentenced to death.

Cox supported the release of an inmate on death row when evidence came forward that exonerated him (a previous prosecutor in Caddo Parish wrote an impassioned plea to end capital punishment because of this case), but that has not shaken Cox's belief in more death sentences.  In fact, he still thinks the exonerated man, Glenn Ford, got a fair trial and deserves no compensation for the three decades he spent on death row.

In an interview with the Shreveport Times, the local paper, Cox said, "I think we need to kill more people... I think the death penalty should be used more often. It has come to the place in our society where it is used less often, and I think crime in our society has expanded so expeditiously...that we're going the wrong way with the death penalty that we need it more than ever and we're using it less now."

In Crawford's case, Cox said in his closing statement during the trial that Jesus commanded the jurors to put the accused to death: "Now, this is Jesus Christ of the New Testament. ‘It would be better if you were never born. You shall have a millstone cast around your neck, and you will be thrown into the sea.’" Imagine a prosecutor citing the Quran for support in sentencing. Later, Cox regretted that Louisiana uses lethal injection: "Mr. Crawford deserves as much physical suffering as it is humanly possible to endure before he dies." Cox doesn't give a shit that everyone who examined the baby boy's autopsy report found it deeply flawed and incredibly wrong and that the child died of sepsis brought on by pneumonia, not from a beating from his father.

Cox is running for DA now. He recently defended himself against Aviv's article, sounding for all the world like a depressed, deeply troubled man who is one fender-bender away from going on a killing spree. He also answered a question about the Confederate monument that sits outside the courthouse in Caddo Parish.  He said that it should be removed because it's "a distraction," and that anyone who tells you that the Confederate flag doesn't stand for slavery "is lying through their teeth."

But mostly he doesn't want the issue to get in the way of him making sure more black "barbarians" die.


Washington Post Columnist Marc Thiessen Thinks He Has a Point (Spoiler: He Doesn't)

Oh, how giddy Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen must have been when he came up with his mighty point about racist symbolism. How he must have wriggled his pudgy, semen-crusted fingers in glee above his keyboard as he prepared to type it, pausing to clap like a toddler that just sang his ABCs before rewarding himself with a pudding cup. He might have even been drooling at the thought of the thunder he was bringing to out-of-control liberal political correctness (or something) as he tap-tapped, "Did you know that this newspaper is named for a slaveholder? It’s right there on our masthead, the name of a man who for 56 years held other human beings in bondage on his Virginia plantation."

Imagine Thiessen, giggling, looking forward to wrapping this up so he could click back over to the strangle porn he had been jacking off to. He continued, describing the slave owner and concluding, "George Washington also emancipated his slaves in his will, won our independence and became the father of our country — but no matter. It is an outrage that this paper continues to bear the name of such a man. It is time to rename The Washington Post!" Yes, he must have thought, these sardonic exaggerations will make people crumble in their wake. Then he quickly pounded out the rest of it because that naked dude wasn't gonna come after asphyxiating on "pause."

In his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "stiff, overused wipe sock"), Thiessen is outraged, flabbergasted, even, at how the tight-assed left and race baiters are fucking up his nice Confederate flag symbols, especially when it comes to his favorite TV shows: "The TV Land network has pulled the plug on reruns of one of America’s most beloved shows, The Dukes of Hazzard, because the car in the show, the General Lee, bears a Confederate flag. There is nothing racist about The Dukes of Hazzard." Let's not even argue how "beloved" the show is (at worst, it's a nostalgia trip for idiots; at best, it's a piece of kitsch worthy of being laughed at). Let's instead focus on the quickest, easiest response: What's racist about The Dukes of Hazzard is the fucking Confederate flag painted on the goddamn car. Thiessen sees this as our "miasma of political correctness," this desire to rename things that were named after Confederate generals and to remove the flag from government flagpoles. It's a "historical purge," Stalinistic in its insidiousness. Of course, it's not the purgers who are doing the killing here.

He approves of the way the black people of Charleston reacted after the massacre at the Emanuel AME  Church: "There were no race riots. The city didn’t burn. People came together — black and white — to mourn and heal together." Christ, Thiessen doesn't seem to get that there's a difference between crazy racist murderers and white cops who kill black people. Crazy racist murderers with a badge provoke a different kind of reaction.

But Thiessen can't see the forest for the stars and bars: "The recent criticism of the Confederate flag is really not about a flag — it is about the people of the South. It is driven by the notion that most Southerners are a bunch of racists who agree with the Charleston shooter’s murderous actions." No, that is simply not true. Southerners who defend the flag and Confederate honor are racists, yes, pretty much by definition, if you're not lying to yourself. But that's not the majority of Southerners. It's just loud assholes who everyone is sick of and finally wants them to shut the fuck up. They've had their say and most Americans, including those well-behaved black people in Charleston, want to get the racism out of their faces and away from their state government buildings. And today, those Southerners voted to take down the racist fucking flag in South Carolina.

To return to Thiessen's opening salvo, yeah, we gotta deal honestly with Washington the slave owner. We should be taught that in history classes, the good with the bad of our Founders. A mature nation would be willing to grapple with its past and accept and learn from it, not just deny it because you get a simpleton's pleasure watching those Duke boys elude Boss Hogg for the umpteenth time.


For Independence Day: If You Fly the Confederate Flag, You Don't Deserve a Holiday

Senator Henry Wilson knew the score. At an event referred to as a "colored people's celebration," the July 4, 1865 Independence Day rally was the first after the end of the Civil War. It was held on the grounds of the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., and one of the purposes of the gathering was to call for "the immediate, complete, and universal enfranchisement" of all African Americans, as Frederick Douglass put it. Wilson, a Massachusetts Republican, had been an outspoken abolitionist and supporter of the rights of blacks, long-free and just-free. Later a vice-president to Ulysses Grant, he was the featured speaker that day.

Wilson had no patience for for anyone who still supported the "cause" of the Confederacy, mocking the mayor of Washington, D.C. for refusing to attend (and eventually getting mightily pissed at Andrew Johnson). He addressed how the nation should handle the unsteady future, so soon after the end of the nightmarish war and the assassination of Lincoln:

"Pardoned rebels, and rebels yet unpardoned, flippantly tell us that they hold in their hands, yet red with loyal blood, the rights of loyal colored men, of the heroes scarred and maimed beneath the dear old flag. I tell these repentant and unrepentant but conquered and subdued rebels that, while they hold the suffrage of the loyal black men in their hands, we, the loyal men of America, hold in our hands their lost privilege to hold office in the civil service, army, or navy. The Congress of the United States has placed upon the statute-book a law forever prohibiting anyone who has borne arms against the country, or given aid, comfort, and countenance to the Rebellion, from holding any office of honor, profit, or emolument in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States."

That was an in-yer-face proclamation there. Of course, in 1872, the Amnesty Act got rid of those restrictions on almost all former Confederate soldiers, thus ensuring that freed slaves would get dicked over post-Reconstruction.  Still, in 1865, Wilson's stand was clear. The people of the southern United States were disloyal, conquered rebels, and they should be treated as such.

There is something poignantly dumb about the fact that there will be a Confederate Heritage Rally in Tampa, Florida 150 years after the event on the 4th of July 1865. That the focus of the event will be the flag of the conquered rebels is pathetic. "Come join us in preserving and defending our proud Southern heritage. BRING YOUR FLAGS!" the rally-goers are commanded. Someone else informs the group that websites and stores are sold out of Confederate flags, so he doesn't know where he'll get one. Someone else says that they should order cakes with the flag on it for "Lee-Jackson Day, Confederate Memorial Day, Jefferson Davis Birthday, State Day (i.e. Florida Day, etc.), Confederate Flag Day," and that "commemorating an important Confederate battlefield victory would all be our major cultural holidays days."

Everyone who heard Wilson's speech way back when would be appalled to the point of despair to know that, a century and a half later, on Independence Day, the rebels don't believe they lost to the nation whose day they are supposed to be celebrating.


Judge to Bobby Jindal: Don't You Get That This Marriage Debate Is Over?

Perhaps, at the end of a farcical situation, it's appropriate that a judge named "Marty Feldman" put the final nail in the idiotic coffin.  U.S. District Court Judge Feldman, who does not have comically googly eyes and was appointed by Ronald Reagan his own self, told Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who does have a comically skinny neck, to stop being such a cockknob and that everyone can get gay married because of the Supreme Court.

In fact, Judge Feldman's order goes full gay. It "specifically requires the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize the marriage rights of couples who married legally in other states. The ruling also orders the state to allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt children, to have both spouses names placed on birth certificates for their children, and to file joint tax returns." Feldman was responding to a lawsuit filed by a same-sex couple (that sex being "dude") who thought it absurd that they couldn't get a marriage license post-SCOTUS decision.

And, because nothing says, "Fuck your ignorant, arrogant fuckhole" like making someone dish out the cash, Feldman ordered that "plaintiffs in each of these consolidated cases are awarded their costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys' fees."

So just one day after taking a mighty stand for religious extremism against the secular laws of the nation, Jindal was forced to lick his own sore anus today. "This order directs the agencies to comply and all questions about processing benefits should be directed to them," a spokesperson for Jindal said. Jindal's Alamo had been Orleans Parish, the only place where the state controlled the filing of marriage licenses. Every other parish had complied with the Supreme Court. So it went about as well as the Alamo.

Are we done? Texas? Alabama? Are we gonna need troops sent in to enforce the law, like after desegregation? One can suppose it all depends on a combination of cowardice and cravenness in our politicians. And since we're talking about Republicans running for President, we can expect a pageant of fuckery and lots of bullshit talk of religious independence on Independence Day.


Disembodied Asshole Sharts That He's Running for President

Yesterday, in a high school gym in New Jersey, an angry, giant, disembodied asshole announced that he's running for president. The giant asshole paraded, preened, and pronounced his qualifications and complaints in a series of sharts, which is where it seems like an asshole is just farting when actually it's blowing out shit bits, defiling everything around it, usually just underwear. But this being a speech by a disembodied asshole, the crowd and the gathered media were sprinkled with the asshole's fecal spray.

The asshole introduced his poor, shit-smeared wife by saying that she lost a coin toss, and that's why she stayed at home and he became a politician. And what was her role? "[S]he is largely responsible" for the breeding and raising of the asshole's four children. The asshole apparently wants us to believe that had he lost the coin toss, had tails failed, he wouldn't have tried to run for office. It's the lying logic of the asshole, the anecdote far more significant than the truth.

We learned about the asshole's upbringing, about the asshole's parents, about the asshole's entirely ordinary lower middle-class upbringing followed by an entirely ordinary college experience, and we were probably supposed to be just amazed that a disembodied asshole could climb this far. But this is America, and white assholes get wiped clean and first all the time. An asshole is not a man of the people if he accepts gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars from a king. An asshole is not a regular guy at all if he bows down to billionaires in order to receive the Midas touch of their gold-covered dicks.

Then the asshole outright lied about his accomplishments, about how much New Jersey loves him, about how he wants to work together with everyone when, time and again, the only way you get to work with this asshole is to give in to what he wants or he will shit all over you and tell you that you brought it on yourself by acting like such a fuckin' toilet.

The number of contradictions within the asshole's speech piled up. He was proud of all his vetoes as governor of New Jersey but then talked nearly romantically about "a country that was built on compromise." Bizarrely, the asshole added, "If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise was a dirty word, we'd still be under the crown of England." The Rude Pundit may not have read the same history that apparently disembodied assholes read, but he's pretty sure that we're not under the crown of England because the Founders didn't compromise on independence.

And, as befits a giant asshole, he got more angry as he talked about what he sees as wrong with the nation, right after he said that the country wasn't angry. He talked about his love of his job and New Jersey, right after he talked about how much time he spent away from the state that elected him governor twice and now despises him with the heat and pain of a spicy pepper sausage hero from the Seaside Heights boardwalk being crapped out. He blew loose stool all over President Obama, who he had embraced as his state's savior in 2012 after the catastrophic storm that flooded him to a huge reelection.

Finally, the disembodied asshole brought it all back to himself because assholes are, if nothing else, self-centered: "Only in America, only in America have we seen time after time after time, the truth of the words that one person can make a difference." This was shortly after the asshole had said, "I heard the President of the United States say the other day that the world respects America more because of his leadership." Putting aside that that's not actually what Obama said, apparently the asshole's "one person" can only be the asshole.

"I mean what I say and I say what I mean and that's what America needs right now," the asshole spit out towards the end of his speech, which didn't have a single actual plan or policy in it.

Then the giant, disembodied asshole sauntered through the vaguely enthusiastic crowd that seemed vaguely suspicious of the asshole. Perhaps that's what's happened since 2012 and 2013. Perhaps, finally, people realized, "Wait a minute. He's just an asshole. Fuck that asshole."