Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are You Crazy? Is That Your Problem?

Ever see the movie Big Trouble In Little China?


That’s too bad, because it’s great fun.

It’s one of my favorite movies. Hell, the one-liners are worth the prices of admission alone. 

About midway through the movie, there’s a scene where the everyman hero, Jack Burton, (played by Kurt Russell doing a hilarious over the top impression of William Shatner channeling John Wayne) confronts the two thousand year old evil Chinese warlord and sorcerer, Lo Pan (the always outstanding James Hong).  Long ago, Lo Pan struck a bargain with the God of the East, Ching Dai, who imposed upon him a horrible curse of no flesh and condemned him to walk the earth as the “ultimate evil spirit.”  To fulfill the deal he made with Ching Dai, Lo Pan must find and marry a special girl. Lo Pan has been searching for that girl, a girl with green eyes, for more than two thousand years.  When he finds her, and appeases Ching Dai by sacrificing her on their wedding night, he will be granted his wish – and his wish is, of course, ultimate power.  Over the years, Lo Pan has found and sacrificed a number of likely girls, but none have been the right one to mollify his demon. Lo Pan, reduced after two millennia of cursed life to a palsied wizened basket-case in a wheelchair, explains his plan to conquer the world:

Lo Pan, his reedy voice rising with monomaniacal fanaticism, “I must find a special girl, Mr. Burton.  A girl with green eyes. One brave enough to embrace the burning blade! And when I find her, I will marry her! Then Ching Dai will be appeased and my curse will be lifted!”

Jack Burton, brow furrowed in understanding, “And then you can go on to rule the universe from beyond the grave!”

Lo Pan, gleeful that Burton understands, “Indeed!”

Jack Burton, sarcastically rolling his eyes, “…or check into the nearest psycho ward, whichever comes first, eh?”

It’s my favorite scene in the movie, especially the part where Jack Burton looks Lo Pan right in the eye and, heedless of the vast power once wielded by the ancient sorcerer, asks him point blank, “Are you crazy? Is that your problem?”


You’ve already figured out where I’m going with this, haven’t you?

What gave it away? The guy willing to sell his soul for ultimate power or the serial marriages?


Back in October, Newt Gingrich opined that federal judges who made unpopular, or as he put it, “radical,” decisions should be made to answer to Congress.  

Back then, that silly comment barely broke the surface of Newt’s, then, moribund campaign. 

With his recent surge to the forefront of GOP presidential hopefuls* however, instead of backing off on this bizarrely unconstitutional position, Newt doubled down. 

Last Sunday during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Gingrich told Bob Schieffer point blank  that the Capitol Police or Federal Marshals should be sent to arrest judges who make “radical” decisions. Note that Gingrich did not actually specify who gets to decide when a judge’s decision is radical – presumably President Gingrich will tell us when it’s necessary.

Schieffer: Let me just ask you this and we’ll talk about enforcing it, because one of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, the congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing. Some people say that’s unconstitutional. But I’ll let that go for a minute. I just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? Would you send the capital police down to arrest him?

Gingrich: If you had to.

Schieffer: You would?

Gingrich: Or you instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal. Let’s take the case of Judge Biery. I think he should be asked to explain a position that radical. How could he say he’s going to jail the superintendent over the word “benediction” and “invocation”? Because before you could — because I would then encourage impeachment, but before you move to impeach him you’d like to know why he said it. Now clearly since the congress has....

Schieffer: What if he didn’t come? What if he said, “No thank you, I’m not coming?”

Gingrich: Well, that is what happens in impeachment cases. In an impeachment case, the House studies whether or not — the House brings them in, the House subpoenas them. As a general rule they show up. I mean, you’re raising the core question — are judges above the rest of the constitution or are judges one of the three co-equal branches?

Are you crazy? Is that your problem?

Gingrich seems to have a particular hard-on for Judge Beiry, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.   Biery made a number of rulings regarding religion in Texas schools, specifically the inclusion of prayer in graduation ceremonies, that offended the hell out of Newt Gingrich – and a number of other folks who we’ll get to in a minute.

Gingrich doesn’t agree with the judge’s decision (no kidding, right?), which was to ban officially sanctioned prayer by teachers, administrators, members of the school board, or other officials during public high school graduations – note that this subject would never even have ended up in Biery’s court if the fanatical evangelical creationists involved hadn’t been assholes about it in the first place, but I digress.  So, instead of filing an appeal, or living with the judge’s ruling, or attempting to change Federal law to allow for prayer during ceremonies, or any of half a dozen other options available under our law and Constitution, Gingrich instead thinks that the judge should be subpoenaed to appear before Congress and account for his decision – note that there is no Constitutional or legal precedent for this. 

If the  judge declines to appear, President Gingrich would send Federal Marshals to arrest him. 

Then, Gingrich would have the judge impeached. Something Gingrich knows a bit about, but I digress. Again.

Question: What do you suppose Gingrich and other conservatives would say if the current occupant of the White House proposed such a draconian tactic?  Or how about if, say, a federal judge struck down portions of Obamacare and Nancy Pelosi had that judge jailed for his insolence? What? I’m just asking. I’m sure Gingrich would totally support that.

You don’t have to be an ancient Chinese sorcerer to see what Gingrich is up to with this. 

Besides pandering to Evangelicals in atonement for his previous sins, I mean.

See, Biery is on pretty solid Constitutional ground with his ruling. Gingrich knows it, and so do the Texas Creationists.

You bet they do.

Call the judge to account, and he would very likely be able to repeat chapter and verse supporting his decision – and that’s exactly what will happen should this go to the Supreme Court.  That’s why Gingrich doesn’t want it to go before experts in the law and on the Constitution. That’s exactly why he wants the judge accountable to congress or better yet the president (providing he or another fanatical Christian is the president).  A congressman or the president can use their religion and their bigotry and their personal beliefs for guidance – a judge can’t (or isn’t supposed to anyway, but yet again I digress).  

Hauling a judge before congress as Gingrich demands, jailing a judge who makes an unpopular decision, would undermine our entire method of government.

And that is exactly what Gingrich is proposing.


Are you crazy? Is that your problem?


Now, I think the thing that astounded me most about Gingrich’s CBS interview was Shieffer and his “some folks” say that’s unconstitutional but I’ll just give you a pass. Wait. What? We’ll just let that go

Are you kidding me? 

No seriously, are you kidding me?  We’ll just let that go? 

What the hell?

That rumbling sound you hear is Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave.

Honestly, this is what passes for journalism at CBS?   Schieffer should be relegated to interviewing Paris Hilton and reading the scores from last night’s Dancing With the Stars.  You have wonder how many CBS executives a half-assed excuse for a journalist like Schieffer had to blow to get his job.

We’ll just let that go for a minute? Forever, actually, since Schieffer never did come back to the question.

And that question is the crux of the entire matter.  

Congress should have the power to arrest members of the Judiciary based not on violations of the law, but on a whim? Because some congressman thinks the judge’s decisions are “radical?”  

The President should be able to detain and arrest Judges because they make decisions he doesn’t agree with?

What’s that you say? Newt didn’t say the President should be able to arrest members of the Judicial Branch? Newt was talking about judges having to answer to Congress? I’m exaggerating?  Yes.  Perhaps you should go back and check which branch of the Federal Government the Justice Department and the Federal Marshal Service are actually part of.   See, either Newt doesn’t himself know (which I find unlikely), or he intends to give the office of the President virtually unlimited power. Once you start arresting judges for making decisions you don’t like, where does that stop?  Gitmo?

Of course the third possibility is that Gingrich just thinks we’re all too damned stupid to know the difference.  Not an unreasonable supposition I suppose, given that Bob Schieffer and the folks are CBS certainly are.

Let’s just let that go?

I don’t think so.

It’s not “some folks” who find Gingrich’s nonsense unconstitutional, it’s the Constitution itself, it’s the Founding Fathers, it’s two and a half centuries of the United States of America that declare this idiotic third world despotic idea unconstitutional.  Separation of Powers and the constitutionally mandated system of checks and balances are the very heart of our republic.  

Jailing judges who disagree with the government is what happens in dictatorships, in theocracies, and in fascist states. 

Imagine the kind of country we would be living in if the Framers hadn’t made the Judicial Branch independent. 

Civil rights. Equal rights. The right to vote. The end of slavery and Segregation. The Right to Representation and the rest of your Miranda Rights.  All of these were “radical” at one time.  Did you know that there was a time when a State could prevent married couples from buying or using contraception? And it would still be that way if it wasn’t for a couple of “radical” judges. 

Of course there are gong to be rulings you don’t agree with.  Do you think the men who wrote the Constitution didn’t know that? Of course they did, and they were willing to live with it because it’s one of those things that come with freedom.  If you always get your own way, you’re not living in a democracy.

If it wasn’t for the independence of the Judiciary, America would be a very, very different county.

But, of course, that’s the point.

That’s exactly the point.  Isn’t it?

Some folks, such as the members of the American Family Association, who today endorsed Newt Gingrich for President, want exactly that, a different America. 

They want an America radically different than the one we have now.

The AFA is an organization of fanatical evangelical Christians who, according to the organization’s current director, Bryan Fischer, believe that non-Christians should not be protected by the Constitution. Yes, you read that correctly, the AFA publically professes that the Constitution of the United States and the rights it embodies only applies to Christians.  (Fischer has also opined, with the endorsement of his many followers, that the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, has been “feminized” by liberals because during the current conflict it has been awarded primarily for saving the lives of fellow soldiers and not for killing people. I know, I know, I’m digressing again). 

These are the people who would unashamedly turn America into a militant evangelical version of Iran – and have in fact declared their intention to do exactly that, starting with making non-Christians into non-citizens. These are the kind of professional double-thinkers who claim to stand for “family” values and then endorse a serial adulterer, these are the folks who speak of Christian morals and then endorse the only Speaker of the House to ever be sanctioned on ethics violations – violations he admitted to by the way, and which eventually led to his resignation from office. 

But, of course, all is forgiven now because God apparently conveniently absolved Newt of his transgressions – well, at least according to Newt anyway.

Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, founder of the AFA said today, “Newt Gingrich recognizes the threat to our country posed by judges and lawyers imposing values upon the country inconsistent with our religious heritage, and has proposed constitutional steps to bring the courts back in balance under the constitution."

I strongly suspect Wildmon has never read the actual Constitution. 

You know, the staggering level of hypocrisy displayed by people like Gingrich and evangelicals like Wildmon never ceases to astound and disgust me.  These are the same assholes who, like former President George H. W. Bush, claim that non-Christians cannot be moral or ethical people (and in Bush’s case, non-Christians in the service of their country shouldn’t even be considered patriots), because they lack the guidance of the evangelical’s version of God.  But then they turn right around and use God as an excuse to justify their own immoral and unethical behavior.  All somebody like Gingrich has to do is make the completely unverifiable and utterly unsubstantiated claim that he’s been “forgiven” by his deity, and evangelicals start falling to their knees in order to give him sloppy oral gratification. 

These are the people who make up Newt Gingrich’s base.

Gingrich accepted the AFA’s endorsement, calling Wildmon “one of the most important leaders in the country in the battle to uphold our founding principles.”

If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you,  you’re not paying attention.

If CBS was actually a news organization and Schieffer was actually a journalist he would have turned the klieg-lights on Gingrich and looked him right in the eye and asked point blank, “Are you crazy? Is that your problem?”

Instead, CBS literally gave Gingrich a pass.

The independence of the Judicial Branch of the US Government exists for a number of very good reasons – chief among them is preventing people like Donald Wildmon and his band of yellow-eyed fanatics from turning the United States into Jesusland.  These people relentlessly condemn Islam as violent and evil, and Mormons as a cult, and atheists as immoral,  but don’t you think for one damned minute that people who believe that Constitutional protections only apply to Christians wouldn’t be out lopping off heads, burning non-believers at the stake, and running the Holy Inquisition Sausage Grinder at full power if they could get away with it. It sure isn’t God who keeps them from doing it, it’s the Constitution of the United States and the power of independent Judges.

The independence of the Judiciary is the primary thing holding them at bay. No wonder they want destroy it.

I’ve heard it said that that Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think a smart person looks like.  

Smart or not, Gingrich, like the ancient sorcerer Lo Pan, is certainly cunning.

I don’t think he means what he says.  I don’t think he sincerely intends to see the Judicial Branch brought to heel. I think his outrage is carefully calculated and about as real as his first two marriages.  I think he said what he said, and used Judge Biery for a specific reason. And you saw that reason today.  I think Newt said what he said, and continues to beat this drum, specifically to get the endorsement of Evangelical Christians.  And they were just dumb enough to fall for it.

Hell, if I was a betting man, I’d bet that Newt Gingrich isn’t even a believer, not really, not in private. I doubt that he believes in anything bigger than himself.  Not that I really give a damn one way or the other.


In the end, of course, Jack Burton defeated Lo Pan and saved the world, but frankly I’m starting to think that the character we need isn’t Jack Burton after all.

I’m starting to think we’re going to need Snake Plissken.



* What’s the word for a group of presidential candidates. Pride? Like a pride of lions? Murder? As in a murder of crows?   Maybe clamor. A clamor of candidates.  A bloviate? A rectum? No, wait, I’ve got it! An embarrassment of candidates. Yeah, that’s it.  Remember, you heard it here first, folks. Thank you and drive safely.


  1. "I strongly suspect Wildmon has never read the actual Constitution."

    Probably about as much as he and the average “Christian” have read the Bible. As with Gingrich and the Constitution-- they both rip out all the stuff they don’t want to deal with and crayon-highlight the 2% that agrees with what they already think. (Not to impugn the Christians out there who are quietly getting on with being good and kind people, but the loud ones make you all look bad.)

    It's hard to believe that Gingrich is getting away with this. Schieffer is a disgrace as a journalist for not hauling him up and pointing out the absurdity and unConstitutionality of Gingrich's proposal, just as you did, but with (forgive me) a bigger audience. Journalism ain't what it used to be, and the local Washington Post is a sad example too, most of the time.

    And now John Boehner has asked Obama to order the Senate to work out a compromise with the House on the payroll tax-cut extension. So apparently he hasn't read the Constitution either.


    I agree with Lily Tomlin-- no matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up.

    Jim, keep flying. I need people like you to remind me that there are sane people out there too.

  2. For Newt Gingrich please read Nehemiah Scudder. If this goes on...

  3. I think Gingrinch must think he's running for President of North Korea or somethin'. Judge does somethin' ya don't like? Just take him out back of the stable and shoot him, already!

    Hmm... has anybody ever seen Newt the Gingrinch and Tiny Kim Yung'un in the same same room together? Just sayin' ;).

    The sad thing is that there's a significant number of the American public that breaks out in giant shit-eatin' grins at the very thought of living under a North Korean style dictatorship... as long as it's their dictator in charge, of course. SO it goes.

    - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

  4. There's a good reason that some folks call american evangelicals the Christian Taliban. They want to be exactly what the Taliban is except for waving a different book.

    Also, how is it that Newt Gingrich Ph.D in history entirely misses the Reformation of the Catholic Church and the 500 years of resulting warfare. Somewhere in Ireland today teens are throwing rocks at one another for no reason than one group goes to the Catholic church and one goes to various protestant denominations.

    Religions should not have secular power. Second to getting the British boot off the neck of american colonists that was one of the founding principles of the nation. Actually, it was the only way that the Catholic south would marry itself to the Protestant north to form 13 United States.

    Yet Newt manages to miss this lesson entirely.

  5. A lot of Evangelicals get very nervous with what Newt is pushing.

    Most of them view the secular (read as state school systems)government as being highly suspect and are very suspicious of what sort of religion the States would come up with.

    Of course Evangelicals who donate money to political causes are not going to be in that group.

    I suspect many of the people who like the idea are not of the regular church attending crowd and view the whole issue more along the lines of teaching civics in school, rather than religion.

    As for dragging in the Judges. Andrew Jackson with the Trail of Tears pretty well demonstrated that the Judiciary is the weakest leg of the three branches. The use of judges to push a social-political position has thus always beenttenuousy tenous tactic.

    IMO Newt is probably not crazy; Evil strikes me as an appropriate word.

  6. All it takes to destroy a constitutional system of government is for the people charged with upholding it to pay it no mind when they don't feel like it.

  7. really need Sgt. Todd

  8. "attempting to change Federal law to allow for prayer during ceremonies" My guess is you can find Federal law permitting this, certainly state regulation if not law. The judge was saying this is not allowed, the Constittution prevents it.

    Re Medal of Honor: The most consistent act for which it was awarded in WWII was falling on a grenade.

    "...then endorse the only Speaker of the House to ever be impeached on ethics violations." Newt was not impeached, if he had been we might not be having this problem "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States:..."

    I worked for major broadcast media for most of my life, one company. Barbara Walters has sat on my lap, Peter Jennings knew my name and we would say hello in the elevator. We were terrified that Roone Arledge would trivialize our news, and he turned it into what we thought was a worthy successor of Murrow, Huntley, Brinkley and Cronkite.

    Now you'll excuse me, I have to go oil the air bearings on their caskets.

  9. The "radical" decision that Newt picked is ten years old. There is a more recent decision that is REALLY unpopular: Citizens United. Let's see him talk about that.

  10. Couple of points here--

    Despite evidence to the contrary, not everyone in Texas is crazy. It's just that our crazies seem to make the news more often.

    And--interesting that the AFA is endorsing Noot--they were the primary sponsors of Icky Ricky's Prayer-A-Palooza last August. Wow! They'd rather endorse a serial adulterer than a liar? Well, I guess when faced with the choice...

  11. What is that saying? Be careful for what you wish for...

    People, even people of the fundamentalist ilk, would be shocked and appalled by what a true theocracy would be like to live in. Most people think that they would continue to lead exactly the same life style that they have now except that all those "undesirables" would be safely neutralized.

    It would almost be worth it just to see the looks on some of those smug bastards faces when the Moral Police showed up at their doors and told them that they are under arrest for a) drinking the devil's brew. b) dressing improperly. c) speaking blasphemy. d) committing adultery. e) living an amoral life. Etcetera, etc.

  12. Warner, I meant to type "sanctioned" and not "impeached." Guess I had impeached on the brain.

    It's fixed

  13. Is it worth mentioning that I misread Wildmon as Voldemort the first time my eyes slid over the name?

  14. Honest to God, I think they ARE crazy and that IS their problem. I mean, really; how can they not HEAR themselves?!

  15. The Newtster has fascinated me for nearly 25 years. I have the same fascination for serial murderers, Tasmainian Devil Beasts, and killer bees.

    To me each represents a particular facet of this society's complete definition of evil.

    In Newt's case, it is the banality of evil.

  16. .. and the Ghost of Robert Heinlein points his finger to his 'Future History'.
    Most specifically 'If this goes on..' (written 1940!)
    " The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later)."

    Hell, I got the echo right off your piece, Jim, by RAH *even got the date*

    the horror...

  17. Two things:

    First, don't get too comfortable that the Supreme Court, as currently staffed, will stand up for the rights you so eloquently discuss.

    Second, religion, all religion, is and always has been outright fraud.

  18. First, don't get too comfortable that the Supreme Court, as currently staffed, will stand up for the rights you so eloquently discuss.

    I think the Citizens United Decision pretty much proves the truth of your statement, @gerryrosser

    Second, religion, all religion, is and always has been outright fraud.

    Perhaps, however it's important to note that many of those engaged in religion are, in fact, sincere.

  19. I agree that organized religion is not what it's cracked up to be, as it's primarily a control mechanism of one sort or another. People who don't feel comfortale making their own decisions, and those who wish to be told how to behave because left to their own devices they behave badly, are prime examples. These folks NEED religion.

    On the other hand, someone with the self confidence to make constant decisions based on the moral standards that feel right, are less likely to want an Authority Figure to constantly remind them. Indeed they don't need that.

    It all depends on who you are.

  20. Despite evidence to the contrary, not everyone in Texas is crazy. It's just that our crazies seem to make the news more often.

    Well, maybe if ya'd quit electing them to office... :).

  21. LOL, Big Trouble in Little China is one of MY all time favorite movies too! Great Post, and the clear answer is YES, They are CRAZY!

  22. "Perhaps, however it's important to note that many of those engaged in religion are, in fact, sincere."

    If any of them are sincere, it's hard to spot that through the fog of hypocrisy and scamming. And even then, I wonder if the sincere ones doubtless agree that I have no rights, and wish me dead.

  23. My brain shorted out when I heard Some people say that’s unconstitutional. But I’ll let that go for a minute. I missed a few moments while I tried to reset my circuits to work in a world where such a statement from a (previously) respected journalist was possible. Still not sure I got it right.

    I do wish someone with a very large bullhorn would present the idea of President Obama summoning judges to face Congress whenever he felt their decisions were "radical." Embrace the crazy. We're all for that idea, Newt! Let's start right now. What? You don't like that so much? Huh. Weird.

    I like a Clamor of Candidates (as a phrase only). Has a nice ring to it.

  24. As for Big Touble In Little China, it was a really crappy movie I enjoyed a lot, and which has stuck in my mind (wait, how can it be crappy if I liked it and remember it fondly?). EDIT: Big Trouble In Little China is a classic of modern cinema, and should be watched over and over. I don't exactly remember specific lines, but I adopted the title as one of my favorite phrases. Example: when speaking to a loved one in a jocularly serious (seriously jocular?) was, discussing something they are doing or failing to do, I might say that if they persist, there's going to be big trouble in Little China.

    My late, and pretty much unlamented, stepfather used to say something similar, although always in a seriously unjocular way, his line was "there's gonna be war in this camp."

  25. BadTux--republicans in Texas refuse to debate, so the masses aren't sure how really ignorant they are. Then, they only pull one lever when they do go vote. Hitler could get elected for anything in Texas if he ran on the republican ticket.

    On the up side--the good folks of Texas, as well as the rest of the nation, are now clued into Perry. He screwed ove lots of groups in Texas with this last budget, the least of which was probably that huge bloc of teachers who vote.

    I'm looking forward to the day when we can tell Rick Perry "Adios, MoFo!"

  26. Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think a smart person looks like.


  27. Oh Yeah, Snake Pliskin! Abso-f'in-lutely! Except with our current group of presidential "candidates", Snake probably would have been so disgusted with them he'd a just left them in them in the city to be eaten by the sewer dwellers - and good riddance!

  28. I've always found it interesting that the people who claim the deepest loyalty to America always have the most bizarre interpretations of the Constitution and intent of the Founding Fathers.

    Did I say interesting? I meant infuriating.

  29. Ugh. Terrifying.

    It should be "brought to heel". Please don't think I'm a dick - I love you too much.

  30. It should be "brought to heel". Please don't think I'm a dick

    Don't worry, I won't have you jailed for your radicalism. Pointing out my typos is a time honored tradition around here. It's fixed.

  31. I noodled out a while back that "radical" judges are simply judges with whom the orator disagrees. Simple as that.

  32. Snake Plisskin? Hell, yeah. What about Sargent Todd 3465?

  33. Schieffer and CBS give Gingrich a pass, yet the MSM supposedly has a librul bias.

    After a decade where Bush 43 got away with literal and figurative murder, and no one called him on his behavior because they didn't want to lose their passes to the White HOuse Press Corps, this "MSM has a librul bias" has seriously jumped the shark.

  34. As somone who lives in texas, Rick perry was elected with less than a majority for almost every time he ran. but the opposition couldn't decide on someone they wanted less than him. don't be fooled into thinking Texans don't know how useless he was. that's why he was governer, which is probably the weakest executive position in Texas. all the real power is in the Lt. Governer, the Comptroller, and the Railroad commision (which is actually about oil and natural gas)

  35. While I agree that Gittingrich is short of some of his brick allocation, I think he is driven by MONEY. As in, he ain't got enough. Like Sister Sarah, he has a need, both for the spotlight and money. I find him to be reprensible in these respects
    He will pander to anyone/thing that will gain him lights and/or cash.

    GITTINGRICH, is all he is about.

  36. how about Walter Joseph Kovacs...

    @gerryrosser, if as you say "I wonder if the sincere ones doubtless agree that I have no rights, and wish me dead."

    then they are sincere hypocrites... unfortunately, religious faiths don't require their potential members to take a rorschach test first to keep out the loonies

  37. Thanks again Jim - Whenever these sanctimonious assholes screech about "USA is a CHRISTIAN Nation" or "the founding fathers (rich white guys) intended a CHRISTIAN Gov't", I am reminded of the most excellent Gabriel Byrne line in "End of Days":

    Devil: “Let me tell you something about Him. He is the biggest underachiever of all time. He just had a good publicist, that’s all.”

    “Something good happens - that’s His Will. Something bad happens - He moves in mysterious ways.”

    “You take that, that overblown press kit they call the Bible, you look for the answer in there, what do they tell you? Shit happens. Pfah, please.”

    Holy ghost stories and religio-crypto babble keeps the credulous masses from focusing on the "rich white guys" still stealing their wallets.

    Oops - the Marine probably offended someone else. Stand in line.

  38. This is our one and true future under Repubs; in the absence of logic, reason and a good low-carb diet:


    (Daddy's thinking "#10 birdshot ain't just for birds")

  39. Excellent column, as usual. I am an ordained priest (in a non-Christian religion) and I find the religious crazies quite alarming and the unfortunate Mr. Gingrich even more so.

    Jim, I think I'll have to disagree with your nomenclature for a large (and largely brainless) group of candidates, particularly those who confront us now. May I suggest that the more proper term be "lunacy", as in "a lunacy of candidates"?

  40. Good morning Jim, I am a Gregorian Friar who was recommended this blog by some blog friends on Around the Keg.

    I will endeavor to comment within your guidelines, but then my vows would lead me to do that anyway. ;)

    It appears that voters are starting to remember who Mr Gingrich is, and so his polls are fading a bit. That is somewhat comforting news to me.

    I appreciate your mention that some of us Christians are sincere in our Faith. I work among the homeless and Tulsa's poorest people daily, and see the direct results of policies enacted by so called "Christian" politicians.

    It is more of a disconnect from the Gospels than one would generally assume.

    God bless, I look forward to reading your work.

    May He guide us in mercy, and Shepherd us in love”

  41. Presidential hopeful's describes the candidates.
    Faye Vincent said "I can't be optimistic. I can be hopeful"

    There isn't an optimistic one in the bunch.

  42. Gingrich has simply figured out what the true bias of the media (particularly TV news) is. They only give time to candidates who say crazy shit. Does Huntsman say crazy stuff, no. Does he get any airtime, no. Gigrich may be crazy, but he aint stupid.

  43. My Iranian freinds regularly point out how close our country is to being ruled by religiuos fanatics, and how similar thier veiws are to those of thier own Mullahs.

  44. Tebow to the CWO! You hit the target yet again. It would be funnier if the situation weren't so damn scary.

  45. Picking on Gingrich is like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, this pretty much applies to any of the current GOP crop of candidates.

    An additional goody:
    www.newtgingrich.com will redirect to any number of web sites, including tiffany's and a Greece vacation site. That's life when you don't have enough money to even buy your own domain.

  46. @Nick,

    I saw that, and mentioned it on Twitter yesterday.

    Let's hope that it doesn't redirect Gingrichers here. I've got enough froathy trolls and hate mail without those idiots.

  47. With all due respect to people who act altruistically and are Christian, I remain unconvinced of religious sincerity. There are people who would do good whether or not they were religious; that they believe baffles me, as it simply defies what we can observe in the world around us. And then there are those - like Gingrich - far more numerous, who are insincere but who recognize the power of religion in controlling the credulous and the sincere.

    I do work with a group that builds/repairs houses for economically disadvantaged people. It's made up of technical people, and it's essentially organized without religion. We had HfH offer to help, and we threw them off the job the third time we told them to check their onsite prayers and religiosity at the door - yeah, they worked hard, but their sanctimony and condescension to the people who they were helping was deeply, deeply wrong. So we threw 'em out. They're free to pressure people to pray together etc; we get together, drink coffee, and drive nails. We teach the people we're helping how to do things. We help the kids with homework sometimes while paint's drying or some such, because the only way out of poverty is education and creativity, not faith and ignorance.

    My two cents. And yes, I treat all religions with contempt - when you can prove your postulates, I'll believe; until then, keep your superstition out of my workplace.

  48. He's not crazy, he's calculating.......I suppose he could be both.
    Jim if it redirects Gingrichites to you, at least you know you're pissing off the right people.

  49. I heard Snake Plisskin was dead.
    'Big Trouble in Little China' is my favorite movie. Great writing, great cast.
    The Medal ofHonor is for killing people? That's when I mentally short-circuited. Christians? Most religious people are loving, hellpful folks. Fanatics, though, are just dangerous.
    I'm starting to think there will be a Republican darkhorse/stealth candidate. It's hard to tell with the sheer quantity of poo around.
    @ Warner: You need to finish that story.

  50. Speaking of spelling. Plissken. Snake Plissken. 'Escape from New York' A very good movie; I'm an Ernest Borgnine fan.

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. The word for a group of GOP candidates is the same as for a group of parrots, a pandemonium.

  53. Things might just be worse than we think..

    from Jonathan Turely (I know.. Wordpress.. ;-0)

    Under KRS 39A.285, the General Assembly found:

    (1) No government by itself can guarantee perfect security from acts of war or terrorism.

    (2) The security and well-being of the public depend not just on government, but rest in large measure upon individual citizens of the Commonwealth and their level of understanding, preparation, and vigilance.

    (3) The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public speeches and proclamations of American Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln’s historic March 30, 1863, Presidential Proclamation urging Americans to pray and fast during one of the most dangerous hours in American history, and the text of President John F. Kennedy’s November 22, 1963, national security speech which concluded: “For as was written long ago: ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”
    The law requires such things as a plaque that reads, ”The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

    KRS 39G.010(2)(a) further requires the executive director of the KOHS to:

    Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials. The executive director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state’s Emergency Operations Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3)[.]

    This would be the god which plays games AKA Job?

    and from the state appeals court..

    In the decision in Kentucky Office of Homeland Security v. Christerson, the panel ruled “We disagree with the trial court’s assertion that the legislation seeks to place an affirmative duty upon the Commonwealth’s citizenry to rely on “Almighty God” for protection of the Commonwealth. The legislation merely pays lip service to a commonly held belief in the puissance of God. The legislation complained of here does not seek to advance religion, nor does it have the effect of advancing religion, but instead seeks to recognize the historical reliance on God for protection.”

    I like this one.. well, not really _like_..

    Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 2005 dissent that there is a clear majority on the court that opposes “the demonstrably false principle that the government cannot favor religion over irreligion.” He noted that “the three most popular religions in the United States, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam — which combined account for 97.7% of all believers — are monotheistic.”

    Just like in the military.. if you smoked, you got a break.. if you didn't, you stayed in formation.. the lack of a thing is not a thing.. ya gotta believe! Look for a 'pew' tax to be coming.. ;-)


    Thanks Jim, for writing my blogs for me.. The C&Ping shows my laziness. ; - )

  54. Well, as usual, you got me curious. According to 'FunTrivia.com' http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Collective-Nouns-331247.html
    The correct collective noun is a "SLATE" of candidates. (But, I like yours better!)


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