Warren Buffet For Sainthood

Aquarian Weekly 7/5/06 REALITY CHECK

WARREN BUFFET FOR SAINTHOOD

Saint WarrenWhile on the book tour for “Trailing Jesus” three years ago, I was asked time and again how the heck did we get from a murdered Jewish mystic to the massive scope of Christianity, Jerry Falwell, George W. Bush, etc. It was a fair question, one that unfortunately my book does not cover. But I was able to answer a small part of the query by confidently stating that if there is one aspect of the first century Jesus Movement which could be translated to any time and any place it would be charity, sharing, and a complete disregard for personal possessions for the good of the whole community. Many people took that as some kind of political testimonial, like Jesus was some kind of socialist. But that was never it for Jesus, and anyone who claims to act or speak or cull his name in deed and promise need to know one thing: You cannot ignore the idea of chucking riches for the good of your fellow human.

The rest of it is really just a song and a dance or a wafer and a pulpit – uniforms and glad-handing myopia, and nothing really to do with what a preponderance of Christian mouthpieces like to call The Word.

Sorry folks. It is well documented. Far more documented than this pogrom against homosexuality or defining marriage or saving the world with war or damning the sinners or holding up holy relics like Mohammad’s visage or the celebration of Christmas as life preservers of society. Camel through the needle’s eye. It’s all there in black & white. Good to go. Easy to follow.

No one does, of course – least of all me, who charges a healthy 18 bucks for my little tome. But you don’t see me wagging an accusatory finger at the moral fabric either. I know I’m a self-centered ass just like everyone else.

Look, nobody with half a brain is going to give away all of their stuff to homeless, sick, indigents on a lark. It’s insane, which is why, among other prominent reasons, they strung Jesus up in the first place. And, of course, if you’ve read a word of this space for the past nine years, you know that you have a cynic on your hands here. I think the best way to go through life is let the other guy worry about it. Chances are “the other guy” is trying to screw you anyway.

In the world we live in right now, and considering the art form of the stock prognosticator and what money, big money, means to people like Warren Buffet, this is Mother Teresa meets Gandhi meets the Loaves and the Fishes.

But then there is the whole “Love your neighbor as yourself” and/or “Love your enemy” stuff that gets in the way of all this Christianity. Dig?

So when I first heard of billionaire stock guru, Warren Buffett handing over the miraculous sum of $37 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, doubling their pot, I was reminded of the two-thousand year old Galilean loon and his small attempt to move the notion of humanity.

And I do not use the word miraculous flippantly. On the contrary, this is a friggin’ miracle. No matter how you slice it. Especially since it is all the rage among philanthropists to mumble under their collective breath about the evil white corporate stock market greed-heads, who carve up the world in a salacious gentlemen’s criminal syndicate. And let’s be clear here, we’re not just talking about nations throwing money at disasters and human rights atrocities or We Are The World publicity parades. This is the greatest show of charity in the history of this country, or any country for that matter.

In the world we live in right now, and considering the art form of the stock prognosticator and what money, big money, means to people like Warren Buffet, this is Mother Teresa meets Gandhi meets the Loaves and the Fishes.

Last week, Buffet made good on a promise to hand over the bulk of his fortune to charity upon his death, only he did it on the heels of his beloved wife’s death. Of his $44 billion, he let go of $37 billion.

And not even my bitching heart can mock someone this generous by saying, “Hey, he has seven billion left.” Sure, but again I tell you: You do not accrue $44 billion dollars by letting even a lousy two bucks get away. It’s the financial equivalent of you chopping off a finger. This man just lopped off every limb, and then some. And never mind the money, if you can ignore this gluttonous figure, because it may just be the act that makes all the difference. For, as stated time and again in this space, and a subject that is often mistaken for doomsayer satirical trickery, I state that although religious theocracy, political philosophy, or other tired forms of human meandering, is all well and good, the only way to shake the foundation of the human collective, the heart of our species, is through personal sacrifice and selfless citizenship. No organized faith or government’s military action, no president, or celebrity, or even grass roots movement is going to make a dent in society like a person making good.

Attach that bit of twisted wisdom with the fact that this column is normally a running commentary on what motivates the great horde of bipedaldom: Cash. Moolah. Greenbacks. Deneri. Sweet, sweet coin, and you got yourself one impressed son of a bitch here.

Hey, this is the landscape we roam. We like to think it is a world run by God, compassion, empathy, and a yearn to be free. We like to think we fight for these concepts and the other guy fights for some bizarre notion of Allah, but we all know it’s about Mighty Mammon. We know what makes this spinning rock go ’round: Money, Money Money.

So now the second richest guy in the world gives nearly all of his money to the richest guy in the world’s own charitable institution: Bill Gates, who recently retired to spend the rest of his days running the organization and making sure the money doesn’t end up in the coffers of some sham artists or a black hole of red tape, but in the hospitals, villages, and bank accounts of needy organizations and persons with so much less.

It’s good stuff. Great stuff. And, as we know, this is a rarity around here or anywhere.

So here’s a note to all those who claim to know “What would Jesus do?”

Check with Warren Buffet, and not some Bible waving idiot for the lowdown.

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Iraq Newspaper Propaganda

Aquarian Weekly 3/8/06 REALITY CHECK

PROPAGANDA FOR SALE – CHEAP!

Hot Off The PressesGood news! It turns out the U.S. government is going to continue to pay Arab newspapers to run pro-American propaganda after all. Despite weepy protests from jealous hometown reporters not on the pay roll, more erroneous stories out of the human lying-machine known as Scott McClellan, and the latest pile of steaming feces emanating from Donald Rumsfeld’s craw, things will continue as before. Huzzah for capitalism and free press! It’s time for this space to cash in.

I don’t know whose been previously penning these fancy fairy tales, but they lack a certain grit and verve only a seasoned veteran of journalism can provide. And not any journalist, but one with no discernable recognition of concepts like dignity or integrity, one that has little to no regard for facts, research, or general reporting skills, and one whose mere existence is up for sale to the highest bidder, regardless of crimes against humanity at large. Most importantly, one whose moral faculties are so severely damaged they can only be properly observed by the purest intent for mayhem.

Namely…me.

And so, the following is an audition to take over as the home office for world-class pro-war propaganda (cue the dramatic music). I have sent it to the U.S. Department of State/American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).

To whomever it may concern,

I am a big fan of your war. It is a fine war, possessing all the qualities of such: plenty of death and destruction without all the sappy tunes from that Second World War. I was never a big fan of “Over There”. But I digress already; for I am officially submitting my participation in this “yellow journalism” scam you got going over in Iraq. Not only that, I wish to run the entire thing, pick the editors and copy boys, set type, write the headlines, and buy drinks for all the secretaries. I am on board. Completely. And as a proponent of all things bullshit with no conscience to speak of, at least not one usually found in Homo sapiens, I believe I am the perfect fit for this gig.

Mad skills. Gutless pot shots. Questionable grammar. If I don’t get this job I’m off to the NY Post.

Now we all know, if you do your homework, you’ll see my byline over a great deal of, okay – reams of negative commentary on the mishandling of this war, a bunch of crazy stuff about the president being a stammering dunce and other immature anti-military ranting. But I beseech you, in the interest of our future endeavors, to ignore it all. I am a changed man, strike that, not entirely changed, for I still base my opining on who manages to benefit me the most, and if you pay me, that would be you guys. Trust me when I tell you that I am all for whatever dumb shit you’re trying this week. And I will gladly accept the job of making it seem feasible, even heroic in the face of the most pathetic failures.

Thus, to illustrate how I can passionately defend both sides of an argument, expertly ignoring any and all negative aspects of the opposing argument (I was a champion debater in both high school and college – taking the finals with the bold assertion that Abe Lincoln was a Portuguese lesbian – I still have my notes) I have included two potential leads, pro/con, for the U.S. Ports/United Arab Emirates issue.

AMERICA SAFER THAN EVER How The Almighty Dollar Saves Us All

The overtly bigoted attacks on an Arab nation and an Arab security concern cannot mask the importance of honoring free market exchange, regardless of who owns the companies. You’ve been hearing a great deal of sensible talk about how freedom is all well and good, but without our safety, it is non-existent. Trading in a few civil liberties for the right to enjoy freedom is the least we can sacrifice in these difficult times. But freedom and safety must take a back seat to money. Without money, what do you have? No money. And how would that sit with all our debtors and the billions we spend on bribing nations with weapons and handouts. Who the hell do you think pays for all this shit? Free enterprise, that’s what. And if the United Arab Emirates has earned its place in protecting our ports in a free enterprise system, then we must show the rest of the world how to make an honest buck. So now we should all shut up and go back to paying attention to the money pit that is Iraq.

Pretty nifty, huh? I especially like the way I wrapped it up by distracting everyone with a bigger problem. That’s what’s called a “tie-in” in the business, just one of the many buzzwords and axioms you get from a seasoned pro. But let’s say you’re not a fan of our ports being run by terrorist sympathizers. Check this out.

 

AMERICAN PORTS A SIEVE Another Sad Example OF How The Federal Government Blows

You want to know what should frighten us to the very core of our beings? The president is vehemently defending a deal he didn’t even know about until the Washington Post told him. Hey everybody, the Washington Post is running Foreign Relations! Cool. Now if we can just get the NY Times to balance the budget. I have a better idea, let’s get the Chinese to run the Central Intelligence Agency. Maybe those nuts who won the Palestinian election can take over the Secret Service. Perhaps then one of the highest members of our executive branch could make it through a weekend without shooting anymore of the elderly. And let’s try and remember this was the party that won a national election to protect us. It certainly wasn’t general competence, leadership, or economic wizardry. I guess its time we all move to states no one gives a shit about like Idaho or Montana and leave the port cities to the capitalist martyrs.

So there you have it. Mad skills. Gutless pot shots. Questionable grammar. If I don’t get this job I’m off to the NY Post. But before I conclude, I would like to thank you for your time and consideration. I think you guys are doing a bang-up job. Literally. So as a bonus, I leave you with additional pro-American headlines for no charge: SOCIAL SECURITY IS DOOMED & OTHER BUDGET SAVING SCHEMES FEMA & YOU: DON’T CALL US, WE’LL CALL YOU HOORAY FOR GOD! FIND BIN LADEN? WE’RE BUSY SPYING HELPS US HELP YOU TOM DELAY: WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE? OUR MOTTO: THE LESS YOU KNOW, THE BETTER WE FUNCTION

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Religious Extremism vs. Free Speech

Aquarian Weekly 2/15/06 REALITY CHECK

LOONY TOONS Another Sordid Tale of Religious Extremism vs. Free Speech

Hip-hip Allah!And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from where they have turned you out; for Al-Fitnah (polytheism, disbelief, oppression) is worse than slaughter. – Qur’an 2:191

True revolutionaries never bomb buildings. – Dan Bern

Just when you think you’ve written about the dumbest, most illogically asinine subjects known to modern man, this happens: Months ago some Danish newspaper prints satirical cartoons depicting Muslims and their fancy prophet Mohammad in a “bad” light. Initially, no one gives a shit. Then riled up clerics take a fieldtrip around the Middle East with the things, along with additional non-published heretical material to raise the collective ire. Extremist Muslims, who need little motivation to do so, predictably freak out. Threaten violence. Wreak violence – big time violence and destruction. And what are the predominant responses to this whole pile of steaming sociological horse hockey and babbling religious fanaticism? Defend the vicious protestors or bow to fear. We truly are living in an age of enlightenment and intellect, I’ll tell ya.

Let me begin by respectfully stating that what Islamic loons do on their own time with their own set of wacky dogma is their business. I have been pretty consistent on this issue with Christianity, Judaism, Scientology, Wicca, the Promise Keepers, the Branch Davidians, Jim Jones, those desert hippies who worship The Burning Man, whatever. Believe what you will. We’re all proud of you. But what any of it has to do with a free press or freedom of expression in purported free societies is anyone’s guess. Although who the hell knows what goes on in Europe these days, where Muslims carrying a grudge against the British government can be deported or some insanely illegal shit.

We have to quake because Muslims are pissed at their icons being battered in art and/or satire? How about someone from the State Department getting upset that apoplectic religious freaks are running amok over a goddamn cartoon?

And as far as ultra-violent activity in the Middle East…well, who really needs a cartoon for this to go down anyway. A stiff breeze and a burp could buy you weeks of flag-burning, chant-addled frenzy in a dozen theocratic monarchies. Let’s face it, after awhile its white noise and test patterns; the boy who cried riot.

Normally I wouldn’t even get too crazy about this brand of raging stupidity until it reaches these shores. But now we hear American newspapers are backing down from printing the cartoon and network news organizations are blotting out the images in its reports, despite the clear fact that it is news – big time news. And then there is the case of the United States government, which, by the way, is on a well-documented mission from God to spread freedom and enlightenment throughout the world, making mind-bendingly goofy statements.

To wit:

Our State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper: “These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims. We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

Bullshit.

How is it that Christian icons and Jewish Biblical Characters are fair game in print, film, music, art, comedy, and not Mohammad? Because we don’t know shit about Islam and are infinitely afraid all Muslims are crazy or this confused white bread government of ours has depicted most of the Islamic world as radical hate-mongers of freedom, while also conveniently passing lip service to the “normal and peace loving members of Islam”?

Honestly, who cares if Muslims are offended? Boo hoo. Get a helmet. Have we gone complete off the rails with this religion crap now? We have to quake because Muslims are pissed at their icons being battered in art and/or satire? How about someone from the State Department getting upset that apoplectic religious freaks are running amok over a goddamn cartoon?

Of course this is another superlative example of why George W. Bush should be sent to prison for using the United States military to now force-feed the Middle East democratic ideals. We should have sent Snoopy in as an emissary.

Here’s the argument from the other side: Muslims are prohibited from depicting or creating renderings of Allah or Mohammad in any way, good, bad, or otherwise. It is an anathema to their customs and beliefs. Well, once again, goodie for them. But what in the name of all that is holy and idiotic does this have to do with the Danish Press or the French Press or certainly the First Amendment laws of the United States of America?

Another salient question at this juncture might be: Were the people who wrote, drew and/or published these cartoons even Muslim? If not, what are we getting nuts about? What’s next, everyone at the New York Times is now forbidden to eat meat on Friday or the entire editorial staff at the Washington Post has to be home by sundown later that afternoon? Maybe we should let Billy Graham run NBC news.

Hey, I’m well aware that people who make the most noise and break the most things get their way on this planet. This is business as usual, like religious violence. The Crusades and the Holocaust are fine examples of forcing religion on others and the persecution of religious cultures. But have we learned nothing from their fanatical crimes? This is 2006. Why are religious fundamentalists even allowed to debate this subject, much less burn and pillage unchecked and then defended in the press?

I’m offended. How about that? I worship at the altar of free speech and expression. And these lunatics are trampling all over it. But that’s not new. That kind of God reasoning for wreaking havoc on everything is as old as it is crazy. But it doesn’t make it right, and it is even less right to apologize or give into virulent oppression. Believe what you want. Fine by me. But keep it to yourself.

Of course I have my doubts 90% of these maniacs give half a fart about Mohammad anyway. How many of those conveniently enraged fuckers stealing televisions and ransacking grocery stores during the Rodney King riots had even heard of Rodney King?

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Sirius Radio & The Death of the FCC

Aquarian Weekly 1/18/06 REALITY CHECK

I HAVE A DREAM Why Satellite Radio Will Crush The FCC

Howard SternNever lose sight of the fact that all human felicity lies in man’s imagination, and that he cannot think to attain it unless he heeds all his caprices. The most fortunate of persons is he who has the most means to satisfy his vagaries. – Marquis de Sade

Don’t be told what you want Don’t be told what you need There’s no future no future No future for you. – Sex Pistols

My feel-good wish for the New Year is to witness the mortal wounding of the FCC. I don’t expect it to flat-line, but it needs to bleed, terminally, perhaps a day or two in intensive care on the critical list. “Doesn’t look good, doctor, contact the next of kin.” No cure. Have a nice day. It was good to know ya.

Dare I?

It has been my fuzzy little dream for decades, but now it can actually come to wondrous fruition with the emergence of satellite radio. With Howard Stern’s debut on Sirius Radio this past week, along with most of the subject-specific programming available to subscribers for $12 a month, there appears to be a real sense that things will loosen up on the old traditional airwaves; finally freeing up Marconi’s instrument of destruction for more penetrating and corruptible behavior.

There have been some who’ve opposed smut radio, shock jocks, and certain levels of discerning demographics of music programming, as well as the odd slice of controversial and biting subject matter for the darker souls among us. And they now claim victory. They say kicking the likes of a Howard Stern off the air and onto pay radio at least takes him away from being available to everyone. And I would applaud their perspective. Whatever shuts these cretins up is fine by me. Because the only thing that matters in radio is ratings, which translates into advertising muscle and then the all-important product-placement dollars.

The idea that commercial radio was invented to serve the populace and/or the greater good is as infantile and naive as assuming big-time college sports creates school spirit while maturing young citizens may learn fair play and teamwork or that television and the Internet would become super tools of education, enlightenment, while promoting evolved thought. Nothing exists without it garnishing a buck in this country, nothing worth a shit to the masses anyway. Nothing anyone would pay attention to or that you might receive without sending out search parties.

It doesn’t need to be regulated. People don’t watch it, it goes away. Simple as that. No muss. No fuss.

Radio, television, newspapers, et al, exist only to sell products, period. Not to promote agenda or serve the citizenry, but to sell cars, beer, loads of corporate junk and other things bottom line. Advertising is where the money is in these mediums. Very few make a serious buck in broadcasting. Advertising. Marketing. All that crap. That’s where the money is.

So, think about it: If people are willing to pony up cash to listen to the radio, like they currently do to watch cable television or, say, rent films or use high-speed Internet, there will be someone around to exploit it for dollars. And that’s how change comes along in this country: Cash. Cold, hard, and handy cash. The rest is white noise and head patting.

Why are listeners abandoning free radio to pay for it? The money people will want to know this. The product hawks and Madison Avenue geeks have to know. And they will know all too soon, believe me. Then they will do something about it.

You know why the number one television show in the country is “Desperate Housewives”? Because “Sex in the City” kicked ass on HBO, that’s why. You think for one minute a racy show like “Desperate Housewives” gets anywhere near network television without some joker in a power tie saying, “Jesus Jumping Christ in a Blanket, Jack, have you seen the numbers that middle-aged woman sex romp is doing on HBO? Let’s get us one of those!”

“But, Bill, we’ll never get that garbage past standards and practices, we’ll get hate mail and threats by the Catholic League of Freakazoids!”

“Let’s see what Pepsi and Nike and Home Depot has to say about that, Jack. How about Ford and Honda and Budweiser and Coors?”

“Holy Shit, Bill! It’s a goddamn go!”

All these “CSI” shows? Cable. “Six Feet Under”, “The Sopranos”, even that hilariously consistent Larry David thing; all of them have been co-opted by network TV, and not one of them would have made it past secretaries five years ago. No way. All these Reality Shows everywhere? MTV’s “The Real Life”.

Network TV is now not merely a landscape littered with dirt and grime, exploitation and sex, sex, sex, with just the right amount of violence thrown in; it’s pretty much home base. And that’s great, if that’s what people want. And it’s quite obvious they want it big time. Otherwise it would go away. It doesn’t need to be regulated. People don’t watch it, it goes away. Simple as that. No muss. No fuss.

All these righteous fuckers who voted for George W. Bush to push the God agenda last year are the same ones tuning into this crap weekly, in big numbers, far bigger numbers than go to any voting booth. These people yell and scream about Hollywood and rap music and violence and sex and then turn around and lap this stuff up in record numbers. And again, that’s good. A free society should measure what the populace wants. Television has always been a good source for that. Television, fast food, speed banking, cosmetics, diet pills, booze and technological doo-dads; it’s the melting pot, really.

It’s like these ubiquitous ultra-violent video games; you think these things would survive without tons of people buying them? No is the answer to that one. And, once again, that’s a good thing. If that’s what people want, and it’s not hurting anyone, then fine.

Here’s where satellite radio grants my wish: Once advertisers realize the windfall of subscribers ponying up cash to listen to Lesbian donkey humping, then the reigns will be loosened on the ol’ squawk box and perhaps then can we have a completely free society unhampered by non-elected shit heels manipulated by loony soccer moms and mid-western preachers. The free air will then finally be free.

And pretty soon we’ll be hearing all sorts of fucks and shits everywhere.

And if people want it, then fine.

Everyone has to have a dream. This is mine: The death of the FCC.

Thanks for helping folks.

Happy New Year!

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Rosa Louise Parks – 1913 – 2005

Aquarian Weekly 11/9/05 REALITY CHECK

ROSA LOUISE PARKS 1913-2005

Rosa Louise ParksPeople always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in. – Rosa Louise Parks

She said no.

It was logical, courageous, and a bit disruptive. It was eventually measured defiant and consequently criminal. No, she said. No. She was not going to get up from her seat on the bus for no white guy or black guy or fat guy or some other guy. And it was less about race and it was even less about gender or timing or the fact that the bus idled in the town of Montgomery, Alabama and not New York City or Los Angeles or Chicago or Butte, Montana. Rosa Lee Parks was tired. She was there first. This was her seat, not anyone else’s. She paid for it, and she was not giving it up.

No.

Feet hurt. Got a seat. Paid in full. Not going to take it from her. No, sir. Not you or anyone.

She was tired, all right. She was tired of the whole bus business and the Jim Crow business and the American business of “Liberty and Justice for Some.” And she was tired because since she was a little girl she watched buses pass her by for school. She could see the white people dressed in their finery sitting comfortably.

She was damned tired from attempting to cast a vote in three elections before her vote was counted. She struggled just to be included in the 7% of black high school graduates nationwide. She kept silent as she was passed over for work time and again, while the comfortable white bus passengers took a job she was more than qualified to handle.

She was tired of being tired.

So she said no.

No good reason. No sensible explanation. Law? No. Race? No. Pride? No. She was just tired. Staying put.

Eight years before her bus seat became the most famous seat on any mode of transportation in the history of human dignity, Rosa Lee dove into the Civil Rights movement. That was 1943, when the Civil Rights movement was something of a faint murmur. In the South, it was like breathing under water. And this was when her country was busy freeing people of other nations, while her people were not free. Nowhere close to free.

A few months before her bus seat became the most discussed instrument in the pantheon of democracy, a 15-year-old girl by the name of Claudette Colvin refused to give up a bus seat to a white man. Imagine that. What a coincidence. Not so much. Colvin was counseled by Rosa Lee. Rosa told her to “always do what is right.” Little Claudette did, and she was hauled off to prison.

It was Colvin, not Rosa Louise Parks, who should have been the shining symbol of Civil Rights, but turns out Little Claudette was pregnant with the child of a much older man out of wedlock, and in 1955 Alabama, many who ran the movement felt this subject to be anything but sympathetic. So there was little hubbub for Little Claudette, but Rosa Lee did not forget.

She was, after all, tired.

She did not forget that the bus driver on the day her seat became the most famous seat in the fight for equality, James Blake, was the very same one that forced her to walk five miles in a driving rain because she entered through the “white front door”. Rosa Lee remembered how tired she was then. She remembered the humiliation then. Decided she was tired of being tired.

December 1, 1955, Rosa Louise Parks was asked to vacate a seat in the middle section of the bus, the section open to African Americans only if there were no Caucasian Americans present. This was law; Section 301 (31a, 31b and 31c) of Title 48, Code of Alabama, 1940 and Sections, 10 and 11 of Chapter 6 of the Code of the City of Montgomery to be exact.

It so happens on that day when a Caucasian American wanted her aisle seat, she politely moved to the window seat. Why not? She would kindly do the same for anyone; black, white, fat, tall, dumb, rich or poor. But damned if Rosa Lee was going to leave the window seat. No good reason. No sensible explanation. Law? No. Race? No. Pride? No. She was just tired. Staying put.

She said no.

And so Rosa Louise Parks was dragged off to prison. But unlike Little Claudette, she was married and not with child. She was employed, articulate, motivated, politically savvy, and experienced in the denial of basic rights granted by the United States Constitution. Most of all she was beyond tired. In another words she was trouble – trouble, and the perfect subject for change.

Three days later a minister from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church by the name of Martin Luther King rose up from his chair in the Montgomery Improvement Association and helped plot the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The following months some 40,000 black commuters walked in the cold and snow to honor it, for many it meant 20 miles or more. The transit company stalled and began to crack. It was simple: Lift segragation or prepare for bankrupcy.

Nearly a year later the United States Supreme Court banned segregation on buses. Only then was the boycott lifted. There was still a long way to go, but it was a start. Thanks to a brave and fed up woman who was simply, irrevocably, vehemently, immovably tired.

So she said no.

No, she said.

No.

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Stacey Campfield, BallBuster Supreme

Aquarian Weekly 10/5/05 REALITY CHECK

BALLBUSTING 101

Stacey CampfieldI am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos – especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom. – Jim Morrison

I have a new hero. His name is Stacey Campfield, a Republican lawmaker from the state of Tennessee. Campfield is a major league ballbuster. Coming as no shock to the readers of this space, ballbusting, especially world-class ballbusting, is one of my favorite past times. Some might dub it a hobby of sorts. I consider it more a way of life than a hobby or past time really, a religion, you might say. But ballbusting has become something of a crusade for Campfield, who has boldly taken to petitioning the state’s Black Caucus for inclusion. Campfield, you see, is white. Very white. Very southern white. His blog states emphatically that he loves the Bible and cites his favorite activities as karate, scuba diving, real estate and fencing. He left out mayonnaise and the Gap.

Okay, so Campfield is a blonde blue-eyed WASP, who just happens to want to join the Black Caucus in Knoxville. What’s the big deal?

Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Johnny Shaw, lacking a keen sense of irony, has described Campfield as an oddball, crazy, and a racist, and strongly believes he just “wants to mess with somebody”. You can’t blame Shaw for not warming to Campfield’s high jinks. He’s an African American from Tennessee. He deals with enough shit. Not to mention that Shaw is old enough to chair a caucus, so he likely remembers when he was prohibited from eating at the same local diner as guys like Campfield.

For his part Campfield argues that when he endeavored to procure information on how the group spends its money and, failing this, obtain a list of its bylaws, a labor he insists was born of curiosity, he was refused. He had to be a member, Shaw told him. So he applied for membership, but was summarily denied, because, get this – he’s white!

That’s when Campfield decided to play the race card too. He did so by offering the KKK’s bylaws as being fairer than the Black Caucus.

This brand of homespun wackiness gets you national press.

“My understanding is that the KKK doesn’t even ban members by race,” Campfield told AP reporter Matt Gouras, adding that the KKK “has less racist bylaws” than the black lawmakers’ group.

By even top-level ballbusting standards, this is atomic. You must stand in awe of this guy. This shames even Ann Coulter and Michael Moore style antics.

By even top-level ballbusting standards, this is atomic. You must stand in awe of this guy. This shames even Ann Coulter and Michael Moore style antics.

Back on planet earth, the embattled Black Caucus bylaws begin with a simple refrain: “The regular membership shall consist of those black elected officials serving in the state Senate and House of Representatives.”

This was apparently not good enough for Campfield, nor should it be good enough for any worthwhile ballbuster. The ballbuster hopes, even prays, for boundaries and hurdles impeding the ball-bust salvo. This way it looks like the ballbuster is truly “working it”. I myself find such vagaries as logic, law, or the odd outcry an added pleasure to the ballbusting. The best of the best ballbusters had their own hindrances: Socrates, Jesus, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gandhi, Alice Paul, Edward R. Murrow, Bobby Seale, Lenny Bruce to name a few. But they rose above them and made history.

It is unlikely Mr. Campfield’s story will survive the next hurricane watch or Bush Administration blunder, but, for now, it is making enough noise to warrant space here.

As a matter of habit or mental crudeness, I have always enjoyed those who wish to horn in on traditional parameters for social upheaval. For instance, the Gay Pride set who insist on marching as gay Irishmen in the St. Paddy’s Day Parade. I always figured parades for all-inclusive festivities, albeit silly ones, but then the city of New York banned these potential revelers from marching as gays, not merely Irishmen, just gays.

Then there are those interesting theologians, who wish to combine personal beliefs with the stringent parameters of the Catholic Church, like giddy pro-choicers who wish to keep posing as Catholic.

And the meaningless anti-activity doesn’t have to express social commentary. I especially love vegetarians who eat fish and dieters who scarf loads of low-cal cookies. What about federal emergency departments that ignore emergencies? That’s a good one.

Anyway, you get my drift.

But I pain to demean Campfield’s efforts to merely better shine a light on exclusionary tactics, or the semantics of law. For instance, boys wanting to join the Girl Scouts or vice versa, Jews allowed to golf in gentile-only country clubs or ten year old girls playing in the NFL. His is a grander stand.

As a conservative from the south, I bet he also protests the idea that school prayer and religious symbolism might exclude the sensibilities of citizens who may not worship. He probably thinks the erosion of the God thing in American society a devaluation of his rights and morals. But that can’t be right, because then he would be a hypocrite, and, again, as any reader of this space knows, we don’t suffer those gladly.

Of course, I could be wrong about Campfield. Maybe he seriously wants to participate in the Black Caucus. I fear he will face the same flack I received from the Sussex County Chapter of the Wicca Society. But I doubt it. Witches tend to make rashes appear on sensitive places and speak oddly about your aura. You do not want to ball bust witches.

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Intelligent Design Vs. Evolution

Aquarian Weekly 8/10/05 REALITY CHECK

IN PRAISE OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN VERSUS EVOLUTION

My Friend, TerryMan was made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired. – Mark Twain

Ah…the debate over Creation. This is a good one, and apparently, now a growing topic to be meandered by school boards and the federal government. Just last week our God President chimed in for this new fangled version of Creation Theory called Intelligent Design. The push by Christian groups, now running things around here, is to promote this Intelligent Design alongside Evolution for a practical theory of human existence. I’m not really sure how either theory is necessarily practical; I nevertheless weigh in, and have weighed in for sometime, on the side of Intelligent Design.

Surprising as this may seem to most of the readers of this space, since the Creator God takes more shit than a little here, and the idea of intelligent design surrounding any species that considers me a member, there is no concrete evidence human beings came from ape or some kind of slimy creature emerging from swampland. Having stated this, the likelihood of the whole weeklong workload creation thing for an omnipotent deity is slim and none, and in all seriousness, slim just left the building.

But if I may, in my limited capacity for any kind of scientific acumen, let me beat the drum for one of what theorists like to define as two schools of Evolution: Micro-evolution and Macro-evolution. Micro deals with small changes within a species which adapt that species to be better suited to its environment. Macro claims that through major genetic mutations one species can evolve into another, so over a long period of time fish could evolve into insects, birds and mammals. From this concept it’s suggested that all life could have evolved from simple chemical structures, thus life could have resulted from natural processes without the need for a creator.

This is silly on principle alone, especially when considering Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states simply that “for every action there is a reaction”, or as my good friend and celebrated scientist, Cunliffe Merriwether cited in his groundbreaking work, Quitting Science, “I have some reason to believe that aliens from a certain planet, XPC-25, in the Auroral Cluster, were in fact the ones who fornicated with monkeys on this planet, producing the eohippus and other humanoid ancestors.”

This is all well and good, but, of course, Merriwether spends good portions of the book dissecting what he claims were Newton’s other lesser-known laws like “Newton’s 4th Law: ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’. Or Newton’s 5th Law: ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind.’ Or his 6th: ‘It’s All Good'”. And then there’s my personal favorite, “Newton’s 9th Law: ‘Hey, What’s the Big Idea?'”

I think producing, say, the Missing Link is as paramount to the discussion as producing Noah’s Ark or the bones of Adam and Eve.

But crazy as the both of these men seem to you and me, they are scientists, and they live and breath with what can be proven, and not surmised or debated. And these are men who believe, if not in a Creator God, then some kind of source to the universe and existence therein. Yet most scientists are vehemently opposed to a discussion regarding Intelligent Design, despite the fact that beyond the Big Bang Theory, no one seems to be able to sufficiently explain where the Big Bang came from, or more precisely, why macro-evolution is fancy when suggesting how life developed from one species to another, but not so much on how we jumped from no life to life or from unconscious to conscious.

What about the complexity of DNA, anyway? Where’s the solid evidence that this is random? Even in the simplest life forms, we have a number of different and complex components which must all be in place for life to occur. Take any of the components away and you no longer have life. The building blocks of living beings are complex and are not independent. How can these components have been assembled separately apart from pre-existent life? Or as my brother once posed to me over a burrito, “You shift that axis of ours an infinitesimal amount and we’re a dead rock floating through space.”

This is where science becomes as thorny as religion. It becomes a defacto religion with contradictions and huge holes in the postulate. Hey, believe what you want to believe, but all I’m saying, along with our God President, is consider all of the alternatives to the once unshakably resolute Macro-evolution theory.

Now, chances are we’re not getting to the bottom of how humans came to be in this space today, but we can be certain that to dismiss Intelligent Design as the ranting of religious fanatics is unfair. I am not a religious fanatic, unless you consider Fletcherism a religion. I am wild about Fletcherism. But sticklers would deem it more of a practice, really; specifically the practice of chewing food until it is reduced to a finely divided, liquefied mass, which was originally advocated by 19th century nutritionist, Horace Fletcher. Thomas Edison was a devout Fletcherist, and it’s hard to argue with that guy. But, aside from Fletcherism, I despise religion mostly. However, to reject some of the concepts and theorems based on our superstitions and cultural divides is irresponsibly capricious and hardly scientific.

I think producing, say, the Missing Link is as paramount to the discussion as producing Noah’s Ark or the bones of Adam and Eve.

This reminds me of a more acceptable theory of Creation in the form of Intelligent Design from author and Biblical historian, Elaine Pagels, who recently put forth the once accepted theory among Israelites that one larger, more centralized Source Figure sparked another lesser Creator God, who, by all accounts, screwed the whole thing up. This may help to explain why this lesser, more jealous and spiteful, Creator God runs amok in the Torah flooding and burning and turning humans into salt when peeved in the slightest, while the Israelites continued to insist in literature and oral tradition that the unspoken One loved and nurtured its Creation per se.

Anyway, I’m sure that’s nonsense too, but it is a least an attempt beyond monkeys, aliens, Big Bangs, Let There Be Light, and Darwinism to explain things. Who’s to say who is wackier? Not me, not Christians, not science, and certainly not the US government.

Teach it all, and let the kids sort it out.

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Legalize Marijuana Already

Aquarian Weekly 6/15/05 REALITY CHECK

LEGALIZE MARIJUANA ALREADY

MarijunaThe day everybody got stoned, it was a Thursday, The sky was blue and the birds sang pretty. Traffic moved really, really, really, really, really slow But no one cared, they had the tunes cranking loud Really, really, really, really, really, really loud. The cops stayed in the donut shop all day No one got shot, no one got robbed, Although eleven million people ended up quitting their jobs. – Dan Bern

I often turn to my good friend Admiral Bernstein in times of sociological or political crisis. He’s like Twain in the wisdom department, except he’s alive and I can have a laugh with him anytime I want. Twain would have seen the need to legalize marijuana in this country, and not because it would boost the economy and mellow everyone the hell out, but because a preponderance of us blow it anyway, and Mrs. Clemens’ baby boy hated denial and hypocrisy. And, most of all, it makes little sense for a society hell-bent on gobbling every pharmaceutical drug known to modern science, guzzle galloons of alcohol daily, and mainline coffee freely and without regret to act all high and mighty about grass.

I know this is the Age of Morality and the Republicans are using God and Family to keep jobs they don’t deserve, but this latest ruling by the Supreme Court that “marijuana may not be distributed to persons who prove a medical necessity for the drug” is patently criminal. Where’s the morality in that? And where are the Tom Delays now that sick people are being denied treatment? Is someone with glaucoma any less inflicted than Terry Schiavo, or is it that the churchgoing Bible freaks are against the evil pot?

I think we know the answer to that one.

It’s selective morality. I ask you: Who decides what treatment is evil?

I’ve recently learned there are morality clauses in some half-dozen states that allow pharmacists to deny women birth control pills based on the personal beliefs of the pharmacist, but that is so far off the charts unconstitutional I will leave it up to comedians and women’s groups to grapple with. I’m on the weed thing right now.

Okay, so Selective Morals goes nicely with our Selective Foreign Policy of whom we choose to free from tyrannical regimes and whose oppressed citizenry of tradable nations we ignore, but it doesn’t wash in the realm of sober reasoning. And this is what we deal with in this space, despite it being ignored in just about every media and press outlet in this country.

Let’s be honest, the stigma of marijuana is deep. It carries with it a demonization that rarely attaches itself to booze or gambling. Why? Detractors argue it is because it’s dangerous and leads to harder drug use. This is a fairy tale. You know why? There is no scientific proof to this argument. And this is the same argument (no scientific proof) that the Supreme Court offers on the issue of medicinal use of the drug.

To wit: “Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in the case of the Controlled Substances Act, the statute reflects a determination that marijuana has no medical benefits worthy of an exception (outside the confines of a government-approved research project).”

Is someone with glaucoma any less inflicted than Terry Schiavo, or is it that the churchgoing Bible freaks are against the evil pot?

This was Justice Clarence Thomas’ statement following the ruling, and it speaks volumes.

Let’s break it down.

It is okay to refuse the prescription of a drug based on little to no scientific proof while simultaneously denying its effectiveness based on the same criteria. How is that possible? And who the hell knows what is good or bad, really? Government agencies? The same government agencies that continuously pass pharmaceutical drugs and then yank them back when dangerous side effects start mounting? The same government agencies that tell us eggs are good, eggs are bad, eggs are good, eggs are bad…what the fuck?

Thomas’ final parenthetical aside is paramount to understanding this discrimination against cannabis – “Outside the confines of government-approved research project.” Do you know what gets the government-approved projects? Big time pharmaceutical concerns that lobby the shit out of congress and share in the grotesque profits of said drugs, that’s who.

Once again, we get moral rhetoric to hide greed. And that’s okay. We readily accept greed. We don’t begrudge anyone making a buck on Fear. It is the pillar of capitalism. But using the same tactic to beat down the competition is suppose to be a form a racketeering and is regulated by free-trade laws, except ganja can’t get the same treatment, because its illegal.

Believe me, if the oil companies could outlaw electricity or the meat companies could outlaw soy products, they sure as hell would. But it’s hard to get Mom and Pop riled up about Veggie burgers. There is no stigma against that. Damn it! But there is one against marijuana, and that’s the hammer used to keep it illegal.

I don’t smoke pot, so personally I couldn’t give half a shit if it were legalized or not. I dig on absinthe, which is rightfully illegal and would likely cripple half the pot smokers in this country. But at least I’m honest enough to admit what is happening to hemp has no basis in fact or merit. It is capricious and arbitrary reasoning, like the morality arguments that support it. Furthermore, if you think about it, there is no basis in reality for moral arguments being included in the law. And don’t give me bullshit about crimes like theft and murder being symptomatic of a moral construct. These acts infringe on civil rights, how exactly does smoking dope to alleviate pain infringe on anyone’s rights?

Okay, so you legalize marijuana and everyone is lazy and forgetful and eats too much junk food, Pink Floyd makes a comeback and people say “man” a lot. So what? Its no worse than assholes dancing around football games in sub-zero weather with their shirt off or college girls whipping off their tops for a video clip or Dick Chaney going on national television and telling everyone the Iraq war would last two weeks.

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Erotic Expo 2005

Aquarian Weekly 5/25/05 REALITY CHECK

PEDDLING MORALITY IN THE DEN OF INIQUITY Why Christian Extremists Get First Class Treatment At A Porn Convention

Tera Patrick“I’m from the Christian Coalition for Decency & Moral Servitude,” I announced with the piggish authority of a professional. The doe-eyed staffer for the 2005 Erotic Expo stood with mouth agape, stunned, but cordial. “Excuse me, sir?” he asked politely, trying hard to feign deafness. I repeated my phony title more forcefully this time; waving at him an old plastic Bill Bradley Campaign credential I had rattling around in my bag. “Uh, um, well, do you have a pass for this event?” he asked, tugging nervously on his nifty yellow uniform. I told him I did not.

“Why do I need a pass, kind sir?” I shouted. “I have a pass from the Lord!”

The lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania, another in a series of renovated ancient accommodations in midtown Manhattan, buzzed all around me. The eager traders of flesh were oblivious to my regal stance. It was painfully evident that smut was being peddled here, and I thought it best to see how strident these Purveyors of Pornography are when faced with a salty Soldier of God.

The illusion was miraculous, seeing how I was dressed in the usual frumpy journalist garb; wrinkled shirt sloppily untucked beneath a ragged blue blazer, coffee-stained jeans and a whirring mini-tape recorder clutched in my right fist, which I used it to shake violently at the press secretary, a handsomely tanned middle-aged man with an unnerving grin.

“I’ve come to record names, addresses and income figures of your merchants of filth!” I told him.

“No one apprised us of your arrival, Mister…?”

“Koczan,” I told him. It was the first name I thought of, and the managing editor of this magazine. Poor soul. He sends me an e-mail every week asking if there is anything he could do, so I figured lending his name to this charade is as good an anything as there is.

After much haggling, dropping a few power names like Ralph Reed, Bill Bennett, Sean Hannity, Larry Flynt, and claiming first class citizenship in the Republican Super Rangers (big cash lobbyists for the Religious Right) I managed to procure a pass.

Once inside, I decided to keep the impersonation on the down low. No sense riling up the festivities with any talk of Jesus or Tom Delay. Wait to spring it on them at the last minute after they give it up.

It was time to extricate myself from the proceedings and not speak a word of this to anyone. Who expected the ghost of Calvin Coolidge to beat in the heart of horny?

“I’m from Maxim,” I told the marketing spokesman for Epic Adult World, a chunky mustached fellow named Scott, who perked up when he thought his musings on the fastest growing industry in the United States, which, by the way, earns billions of dollars a year with 98.9% American sweat and tears, would appear in the nation’s hottest magazine. “We toil for the most domestically solvent industry in this country,” Scott beamed. “There’s no outsourcing in porn.”

He was a proud American, and it was hard to lie to him, or at least perpetuate the second lie, the one about me representing Maxim, an odd choice, especially since my letter-bomb mishap of 2002 has made it nearly impossible for me to sell them anything. So I went back to the first lie.

“You’re from a Christian Organization?” Scott laughed, and then promptly called over a spokesman for E & A Video Magazine, who reminded me that in the last decade alone the number of adult production companies, actors, agencies, and distributors has quadrupled. This includes the obligatory influx of enthusiastic money minds like accountants and investors. “In 1990, for instance, porn companies and studios in California’s San Fernando Valley (known among the insiders as Porn Valley, USA) has gone from dozens to hundreds,” the grayish pipe smoking friendly explained. “You’re talking about entire towns being kept in the black by the production and sale of video sex acts.”

Knowing I was opposed to their line of work seemed to delight these guys. It was as if I tapped into why so many young men claim to be Bible Thumpers. Free access to porn, I surmised, an enviable coup for any growing American deviant to say the least.

I was about to sermonize on eternal damnation when a young gentleman representing Eighty-East Entertainment, a major online shipping porn service from right here in Wyckoff, NJ provided me hardcore (pun intended) profit numbers set in graph form. The image was staggering. Since 1998, there appeared not one ripple in the graph line. It rode unimpeded up and to the right, the kind of gaudy illustration of profit margins that would keep Donald Trump hard for weeks.

Staring at the graph I was reminded of an old Chrysler axiom coined by Lee Iacocca before he had his third nervous breakdown and rammed a steam ship with his yacht while screaming incoherently about Karl Marx: Money Talks/God Walks.

That’s when my buddies over at Genesis magazine, (a periodical I freelanced for when they actually had articles) started parading over porn stars for a chat. Scantly clad women from bright-eyed mid-twenties to hard-bitten thirties; enhanced, slender, bold as sailors, and richer than Jay-Lo. Nearly every one of the half dozen I spoke with either own production companies, modeling agencies, marketing firms or act as spokespersons and CEOs for full-scale pay web sites, which actually make money – not like some financial sinkhole like Amazon. These women with interesting stage monikers like Tera Patrick, Taylor Wane, Olivia O’Lovely, among others have homes on both coasts, high-rise offices and actually own their likenesses, something I’m sure Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson don’t.

Oh, and by the way, they’re all Christians. So I didn’t have the heart to tell them I was an imposter and I couldn’t give half a fart what they did for cash, as long as it was fairly legal and didn’t involve me having to sell shoes.

It was time to extricate myself from the proceedings and not speak a word of this to anyone. Who expected the ghost of Calvin Coolidge to beat in the heart of horny?

“Once you do a film, there’s no going back,” remarked Patrick, a tall brunette with the kind of eyes that tell tales. She is reportedly one of the biggies, second only to the legendary Jenna Jameson in transcending the T & A crowd. She makes a handful of videos a year, or at least enough to stockpile a backlog to vend well into her early retirement.

She’s not yet 30.

I’m 42 and impersonating a Christian activist at a NYC porn expo for a thousand word column.

We had a laugh about that and I went home, cranked this out, and went about checking out the two hundred penis enhancement ads in my e-mail box.

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Lay Off The Catholics

Aquarian Weekly 4/20/05 REALITY CHECK

LAY OFF THE CATHOLICS

Pope John Paul IIMy favorite thing about this 24-hour harangue of televised and radio-addled news commentary and coverage is the hyping and lauding over an event until the marrow is sucked dry and then we’re left with the inevitable backlash. We’re experiencing this now with the passing of Pope John Paul II. I’m pretty sure the funeral is finally over. I could be wrong. It might still be going. Like Reagan’s interminable send off these things seem to take on a life of their own like David Blaine living in a box for weeks.

But assuming they finally buried the Pope, after weeks and reams of praise and plaudits and tributes, we get the “The Pope Was A Misogynist!” “The Pope Turned A Blind Eye to Aids In Africa!” “The Catholic Church Is Atavistic Voodoo!” The Catholic Hierarchy Excuses And Harbors Known Pedophiles!” All predictable, and, I might add, asinine. Not nearly as asinine as claiming the Pope or Ronald Reagan’s lunatic arms race or kids holding hands in a quilt or some such bullshit ended communism in eastern Europe.

All together now…

COMMUNISM IMPLODED BECAUSE THERE IS NO MONEY IN IT.

I have written that in this space more times than the “F” word, and man, that ain’t a little.

You see what people don’t get is that religion, specifically organized religion, and in the case of the Vatican, a major league powerful, billion-dollar world altering religion has to have strict – balls to the wall – dogma to exist. Some of it acts as a sound guideline. Some of it stinks with antiquity. Some of it is wacky. Some of it borders on sacred. The Catholics are silly with this stuff. Believe me, I was one. But it is not for us to deride. It is their deal, and the Pope, although this one was quite the traveler and commentator on world events and as progressive as Popes go, was the infallible mouthpiece for the church’s dogma.

I dug this Pope, for the most part. His written apology stuck in Jerusalem’s Western Wall for eons of anti-Semitic actions, murders, and other mayhem at the hands of the Roman Catholic charges is one of the most humbly sympathetic and mind-altering gestures performed by any human in the 20th century. And when he was shot by that crazy Turk, and then healed up and came back and hugged him. That was downright Jesus stuff. Not the Jesus Christ Jesus, but you know, the Jewish ascetic from Nazareth. Forget it.

Anyway, as far as Popes go, this one was brilliant, charismatic, and widely influential. But he’s the friggin’ Pope. The Catholic Church is NEVER going to allow women priests or advocate birth control or lean a little on the abortion issue, or sell their own priesthood – the backbone of the religion – down the river for a few deviant scum. It’s like the mafia or the NYPD. They take care of their own.

You don’t like it, don’t join, or get out! Suck it up! It’s a religion.

I don’t like to see a cardinal who shielded known pedophiles preside over a tribute mass for the Pope anymore than I like to see a murderer like Ted Kennedy as an acting senator or ex-cons like Ollie North hosting debate shows on cable. But, hey, it’s their gig. I wash my hands of it, and whatever they want to do is fine with me.

This tidbit of angst came up last year when I got a ton of mail telling me I was being flippant about this gay Episcopal bishop issue. Remember that craziness? So I repeat: you want to be gay, use condoms, be a woman with equal rights to perform ceremonies, or get a pound of flesh for people diddling your kids, then go somewhere else. You’re not Catholic then. Find a new thing. People do it all the time. There are tons of faiths out there, and mostly, they’re pretty much the same crap.

This is not like politics where you can have a pro-choice Republican or a pro-war Democrat. It’s not likely they’ll be invited to the monthly weenie roast, but why not? It’s fun, keeps the democracy thing on its toes. But this just in: Catholicism is a theocracy.

When I read or hear these outcries against certain religious tenets I cannot help but consider the source for the 9/11 disaster. It was the failure of this country’s leaders to see the lunacy of fundamentalism, in this case Islamic. This is not unlike the voting public failing to see that their president is a religious fanatic – if he really believes this nonsense, of which I’m not totally convinced. But let’s just say George W. Bush really believes Jesus Christ told him that God wants us to free Iraq. I’m pretty sure he’s said this in major magazines, but maybe I was drunk. What now, tootie?

You see, we are so anesthetized to the rhythmic din of faith as mania we hardly notice when people leaping around in burkas in the middle of nowhere leads to crashing planes into our buildings. But it’s real. And that’s when things must be debated or, in some sober cases, bombed into oblivion. With the Catholics, it’s basically; they don’t go in for the gay/condom/woman deacon thing. And, really, who believes young boys claiming they’ve been violated?

I blame the Pope for none of it, especially John Paul II. He was The Man. Jeez, he had the two names that reek of Christianity – St. John, the guy responsible for all those signs at football games, and St. Paul, the guy responsible, let’s face it, for the football games. The Pope represented the dogma to the end. He did his job, for which you cannot make the same assessment on about two-thirds of this abysmal government of ours.

You don’t like it, don’t join, or get out! Suck it up! It’s a religion. How would Major League Baseball like it if the commissioner one day decided that everyone should use tennis rackets and head directly to third base upon hitting safely? Or how do think the NRA would react if the new director made some kind of statement to the effect of “Guns are bad” on national television tomorrow? Hey, how about if the immigration department just let thousands of illegal aliens march over the border daily and the federal government granted them driver’s licenses? Yeah, how’d you…

Oh, right.

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