The Lessons of Boston (4/15/13)

Aquarian Weekly 4/24/13 REALITY CHECK


So what will be the monthly flavor of scapegoat now that crudely homemade bombs are the latest to invade our cushy national illusion?

The very week the Senate, as expected, voted down any measure of background checks in the pursuit of our weaponry, we have new villains with new devices in which to wreak havoc.

More shrieks of horror and glimpses of carnage on jumbled amateur video played incessantly across television-land, later joined by the obligatory analysis from “experts” in law enforcement, national security, terrorist activities, psychologists, clergymen, and a parade of stunned witnesses. Tearful tributes from statesmen, politicians, celebrities, and another fanfare-induced appearance by the president, interrupted by half-assed reporting about arrests and suspects – on FOXNEWS it’s the “brown-skinned Saudi running from the scene” and on MSNBC it was TEA Party Right Wing maniacs protesting tax day.

Boston 4/15/13CNN’s John King, who was amazingly not fired on the spot, egregiously reported for nearly an hour that there was an arrest, prompting hundreds of people and media to converge on the city’s courthouse. King, who made a mockery of the only presidential primary debate he was allowed to mediate, is the latest poster boy for knee-jerk uncorroborated showbiz that passes for journalism on every cable news outlet.

Not to be outdone, the NY Post, arguably the worst piece of shit printed on a daily basis since Randolph Hearst dropped dead, not only reported far more causalities than occurred, but later slapped two innocent young men on its front page as guilty.

Shock, panic, disdain, confusion, grief, racism, and erroneous innuendo passed off as news; these are the offspring of what has become an all-too familiar scene of destruction at the hands of some lunatic. But what is it that we’ve learned?

Not the obvious; for instance, it’s fortunate that everyone everywhere now has a camera and the Lord & Taylor’s department store chain has a better surveillance system than the Pentagon. Or two young American brothers (legal immigrants from the Caucuses region of Russia) with baggie jeans, baseball caps and duffle bags filled with basement bombs they probably built with the help of YOUTUBE, were able to pull this off.

Nah, I mean what have we really learned?

To hear Senator John King tell it, (not a good week for people named John King) if nothing else we must continue to dump even more money we don’t have into the sinkhole that is Homeland Security. It doesn’t hurt that America’s favorite xenophobe was formerly the chairman of that aforementioned boondoggle.

One thing we’ve not learned, and no interrogation nor its ensuing trial will shed any light on it; why some kids were motivated to play revolutionaries. This unsophisticated clusterfuck, which ended up more like the dark-comedy plot of a Coen Brothers movie than terrorism, is what happens when the end game for the disappointments, insecurities and general confusion in life is violence. These coddled, selfish, lazy-ass whiners had no better reason to leave explosives in a city street than walk into a school and begin shooting or blowing up a government building in Oklahoma City.

If people were not generally “good” then all the law enforcement and gun checks and Homeland Security would have no shot at keeping you or your family free from the crazies.

It’s only been a couple of hours since they’ve apprehended the surviving 19 year-old little sheetheel who perpetrated this atrocity, and we’re already trying to diagnose insanity. How did he become radicalized? Where did he get this insatiable need to destroy and kill? Hell, I was radicalized at the library. Go into any library, and thank the great notion of free speech and expression there is radical thought -but please don’t equate correlation with causation; that way lies damnation or at the very least the national nightmare we endured the months and years after 9/11 when we lowered out intellectual standards to satisfy our bestial, chest-thumping jingoistic ritualism. It wasn’t the first time, and, sadly, to listen to the maniacal voices that have emerged in the wake of this horror, it shan’t be the last.

Remember, the freedoms we enjoy that celebrate this nonsense of American exceptionalism can create a Steve Jobs, a Jay-Z, a Lebron James, builds skyscrapers, discover cures for diseases, experiment with the cosmos, but it also breeds narcissistic mutants, who believe their little corner of the psyche is more important than anyone else sucking air.

Fortunately, what we did learn is that what happened at the Boston Marathon was actually, considering the odds, a pretty rare event. Why doesn’t this happen more often? Because people are basically good, or if you don’t get into existential reasoning, then people are generally accepting of the societal collective; that everyone has a right to exist, even if it doesn’t jibe with your myopic, bullshit view of the world. If not for the rest of us, this would happen two, three times daily. And if not for us, there could be no more marathons or any public event outside of an arena or theater where they can’t wand, frisk and pat you down every which way.

If people were not generally “good” then all the law enforcement and gun checks and Homeland Security would have no shot at keeping you or your family free from the crazies.

In fact, the greater good was on display the day the crazies slithered through the cracks again. The greater good rushed to help the injured, tying make-shift tourniquets, carrying the fallen, tending to the hysterical. Homes were opened to the wounded and triages set up in parking garages. Boston channeled its inner NYC, circa 9/11/01, and displayed a greater confirmation about our humanity than could ever be torn to shreds by bombs.

I’m not sure how many of these things I’ve written about now, but there really is no lesson to any of it, except, of course, that we are all in this together. Either we act more civilly than not or this whole shit house goes up in flames. Simple as that.

We’re running out of analysis.

We’re running out of laws.

We’re running out of fact-finders.

We’re running out of excuses.

We had better not run out of the “good”.


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Springtime For North Korea

Aquarian Weekly 4/17/13 REALITY CHECK


Getting hyped about North Korea saber rattling in spring is tantamount to being floored about the flowers budding in the backyard. It is a rite of the season. Many of the nation’s goofy ritualistic observances happen around now. It is a military history. It is a military economy. No one bothered to declare an official peace between the North and the South when we high-tailed it out of there sixty years ago, so it’s a thing. Now, suddenly, it’s a big thing, mainly because there’s a new nut in charge. Big deal. New nut, young nut, means he has to One: Keep the military from sniffing weakness, coup de tat-ing him into small pieces, and dumping what’s left into the East China Sea or Two: Make the citizenry forget its starving to death. But, really, it’s same-old/same-old.

Kim Jung UnIt’s important for tyrannical regimes to wake up the echoes when the seasons turn. The dead tend to stank when the temperatures nip above freezing. Oh, the streets are filled with dead. This is North Korea’s chief manufacturing quotient, specifically since its Central Military Commission finds refurbished Soviet tanks and 1979-era missiles to be just fine. The 80s’ never die in North Korea, it gets recycled like Daryl Hall. This kind of thing is important to imperial lunatic Kim Jung Un, whose humorously non-threatening chubby cuteness never ceases. He’s the soft imp in the schoolyard that has to have the biggest mouth, because if someone begins to tease him, he’s done.

Un was a big fan of Hall & Oates when he was tending to his studies as a boy in Switzerland near a town called Bern, where summer comes but six weeks a year and the temperature barely touches the mid-70s’; an excellent place to preserve street corpses.

Un never missed many meals (obviously) and joyfully learned much of what matters from Western custom; cheeseburgers, basketball, masturbation and acting tough. Much of this was learned outside the classroom, through the bootleg Hollywood films his father sent him in those care packages with the annotated Mein Kampf and a stained Calvin & Hobbs tee shirt.

Kim Jung Il, the previous lunatic, was very fond of Hollywood and its most precious commodity; bullshit. His was a life bloated with bullshit – speaking it, acting it, performing it. Un learned well. His posed photographs gripping binoculars are right out of Patton, as is his strategic pointing maneuvers. He learned the presidential wave from Saddam Hussein, whom the North Koreans affectionately called gaegogi, which means dog meat.

Dog meat is the chief delicacy in Korea, but for North Koreans it is but a dream. Most eat dirt or bug feces, when they’re not eating each other. Cannibalism is up in North Korea. There is talk now among government officials to strike its criminal stigma and begin to offer instructional films on how to prepare human entrails over a barrel fire. Yes, they still use actual film there, digital devices are banned and cannot be eaten, so are ignored by 99.6 percent of the populace. This may all be horrid and morally reprehensible to an over-fed American, but to the North Korean it is simply known as the weekend.

A place for men to be men and phonies to pretend there’s something left to fight for.

But nicknames and cannibalism aside, Un learned another key lesson from Hussein; it’s best to keep telling everyone that you have an impressive cadre of weapons, whether you do or not. Keeps the insiders happy (frightened) and makes the outsiders – for Hussein, Iran, for Un, South Korea, Japan, China, etc. – take notice (get pissed). No one with half a brain after a few months thought Saddam Hussein had more than a matchbox set under his fancy tents and nobody outside of Pyongyang believes the country has much more than antiquated pop guns. This is a show; lights, camera, in-action!

Not even China believes a word Un says, just as they placated his dad’s raving. It’s all part of the plan to keep North Korea appearing relevant, so it can provide a buffer. No one on the mainland needs Western nonsense knocking on the door. Plus, it’s an easy way to sell weapons to terrorists without upsetting the U.S., which it needs to bankroll and buy all of its crap.

And that brings us to another pressing anniversary; it’s been one year since North Korea could barely get a missile off the ground and became the laughing stock of Asia. This cannot stand. Kim Jung Un is using all that Hollywood dog meat to get his dander up and keep all the propagandized worship flowing – and keep the neighbors out of the living room.

As for South Korea, literally 300 feet of living room separates the two warring nations in the DMZ, an ad hoc demilitarized zone where enlisted geeks stare at each other for hours a day. Created when Douglas MacArthur went sideways and Truman got bored, this Cold War relic is a testament to the continuously spectacular stupidity displayed by the human animal. The room has a line running down the middle like something out of “I Love Lucy”. Holy shit, did I just reference “I Love Lucy”? There must have been some sitcom in the last sixty years that had two warring parties divide the goddamn room up.

Shit, I am old.

But not as old as this North Korea/South Korea crap. It is very old; a lot older than a good many people reading this. And somehow, with all the spectacular uninterrupted stupidity and the dog meat and the generations of fancy lunatics, it’s all still there. A place for men to be men and phonies to pretend there’s something left to fight for.

Springtime for North Korea.

Has a nice ring to it.

Should be a musical. Call Mel Brooks.


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Aquarian Weekly 4/10/13 REALITY CHECK


Mr. Campion,

The drone policy of our government and the absolute powers exhibited by this president, as were the last ones by the previous administration, are the obvious consequences of the way we as citizens allowed the zealous deconstruction of our rights immediately after 9/11. (LIFE (AND DEATH) DURING PERPETUAL WARTIME – Issue: 2/13/12) Back then there was at least an excuse: the shock and fear that we were not as powerful and untouchable as we once had thought. Panic set in at the highest corridors of our government and we demanded to we protected and see justice served. We did not seem to care about what would come of it. We went for immediate gratification; we let our principles as a free people go away – torture, spying, invading countries that had nothing to do with out plight. We were damned scared and acted like it – from people to government.

What is happening now is far more frightening. We have learned nothing from the Bush/Cheney years. We have a president who ran against these atrocities, promised to shut down our illegal prisons and to be transparent in our overseas operations. He lied. And by now using drones against American citizens and having an enemies list to rub out while continuing to try and negotiate fairly with rogue nations like Iran in a hotbed of revolt and anti-American fervor throughout a volatile Middle East, things have gone full circle.

We know now, as you say, there is no going back. We are a war nation more than ever before. And while World War II was massive and Viet Nam disastrous, we now may never know a time without our most generous resource and biggest export is violence and death.

Andrew Simon


I don’t know who the bad guys are any more. I have to trust that someone does. Who is accountable? Have we evolved to the degree where our inherent need to conduct warfare has honed itself to strategic levels where now only a few will die (compared to past slaughters, ethnic cleansing, holodomors etc.)? We shout for transparency regarding who our government is offing (or planning to off) while at the same time we willingly place all of our faith in those who we feel will protect us while hoping, with all of our might, that they have the wisdom to act in a manner that justifies the authority we have handed them. We curl up in our metaphorical Snuggies and watch the Grammys pausing at a commercial break to briefly take stock of the world that surrounds us before sticking or heads back into the sand. We sleep soundly at night believing that the Good Guys are taking care of business when we know that there are no longer “good guys” or “bad guys”. That there never really was. Just degrees of bad and levels of tolerance. Nazis, Khmer rouge, Stalinistas or Grey Wolves. CIA, IRA, KGB, KFC. Our government has always held the right to indiscriminately kill us (Just ask the American Indian). The saving grace is that, at least now, they have the technology to do it with precision.

Peter Saveskie


Where is the Left now that their beloved president is in the same black hole as Dick Cheney, the minister of unlawful hate and destruction? Where is the outrage? The anti-war protests? Killing citizens? How about Rand Paul waiting twelve hours during an inexhaustible filibuster in the senate for an answer from our chief law officer on whether it is legal for the government to murder its citizens on suspicion of terrorism. This is FDR Japanese interment camps and Nixon’s enemies list. It is Bush’s domestic surveillance, and it is wrong.



It’s hilarious. The last president killed innocents abroad – women, children, bombing schools and churches for absolutely nothing, but since they weren’t Americans, it was apparently fine. Now this guy kills one American (a terrorist) and there is wild screaming – especially from the Right that has no leg to stand on after their dismantling of the constitution and destruction of the economy.

I say, drone away.

It is better than sending my son to another duty in a country we had no business being in in the first place. THANK YOU, GEORGE BUSH.

Laura B.


Come on, James be real. (JOE COOL BUDGET/GUNS/IMMIGRATION/EDUCATION TOUR 2013 – Issue: 2/27/13) The Democrat Senate and the Democrat President do not pass budgets because they do not have to. The Big 3 networks, CNN, MSNBC, the NEW York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times and every other major daily rag have never and will never call their guys out and so doing the heavy lifting is left to the next guy. Hence the problem with sequestration. The whole she-bangabang was Barack Hussein’s idea and now that it is blowing up in his face he gets the Palace Scribes to go out and blame the GOP. The GOP on the other hand is not doing themselves any favors by allowing themselves to get butt violated by this President and not fighting back. The fact you haven’t figured out why Barry Soetero is out on tour is rather funny. Don’t you understand it is easier to campaign than govern? He has a media who will support his every whim and never call him on it and he has a free 747 full of Jet A for whenever he needs it. He stays on the campaign trail and will never have to be held to account for his many failures.

It is funny, when there is a Republican President, it is all his fault but when there is a Democrat President both sides are at fault. Oh to be a Democrat at a time when 47% are living off your benevolence….

Peace, Bill Roberts


I am positive there will be no gun control laws passed by this or any congress ever. The president can go on all the populist tours he’d like. We love our guns. And by the way we love our shitty fast food and our porn and our reality shows and our beer and pot and NASCAR and there is not a damned thing the northern NY establishment elite can do about it. They cannot touch that. And we don’t care what manner of murdering anti-societal inbreeds you call us either. This is not going to change. Live with it.


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Supreme Court: Marriage Equality

Aquarian Weekly 4/3/13 REALITY CHECK

SUPREME DECISIONNation’s Highest Court Faces Down Discrimination in Our Time

Congress decided to reflect and honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality. – House Report on the passing of Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

This week the Supreme Court hears arguments to overturn the odious Defense of Marriage Act and the anti-constitutional nonsense known as Proposition 8, the California equivalent of the attack on civil rights spread across this nation of so-called liberty. Fourteen times prior this august body has called marriage “a fundamental right”. And so, it is another day in court, the highest court, for the inalienable rights and pursuit of happiness so lauded, so celebrated, so promised by the aspirations of this flawed but unique nation. It is when the antiquated “gay marriage” issue begins to go away, as would any distinction in a right; whether interracial, Jewish, Italian, Muslim, Mormon, whatever, that the argument against the right does not stand.

Supreme Court - Marriage EqualityHere is what the court must hear this week.

This is what the court must know this week.

Once and for all.

The public does not decide rights. The government does not grant rights. The public decides the social order of things and the government upholds our rights. Rights, as in what the court describes as the “fundamental right to marry”, are granted by the very fact that we suck air. That we have a right to live in a free nation fought for, argued over, and put to the test for over 240 years.

It is a basic right; the basic right to exist and to therefore be given the same opportunity to share property and wills and investments and to adopt and raise children. A right. Not something to vote on or debate or discuss in linear, theological, biological, racial, cultural terms. It is a right. My right. Your right. Their right.

Without rights, keep your guns. Throw out your guns. Balance budgets. Don’t balance budgets. Control the rest of the planet. Don’t control the rest of the planet. It does not matter. What really matters, what has only mattered since the conception of America, are rights.

There is a lot of talk about growing public support for “same-sex marriage”, but that changes nothing. A right to marry was just as valid when it was supported by only 19 percent of the public, then 28 percent, then 33 percent, then 42 percent, then 52 percent, and now 63 percent. When interracial marriage was rightfully deemed a constitutional liberty, 65 percent of Americans still opposed it. You want to know how many Americans, many of them women, opposed the right to vote for women? A majority.

In fact, much of the social arguments against gay marriage harkens back to the vote for women; “What’s next? Children voting? Dogs voting? Lamps?” Just like the arguments against interracial marriage; “What’s next? People marrying chimps? Their house?” It’s all been said before and the “fundamental right” has defeated it all.

Here it is; marriage is a public institution that excludes a portion of our society. This will not stand.

The other bogus argument is the threat to “traditional” marriage, as if traditions has ever meant a hill of beans in this nation of fluidity of modernity of progress and constant revolutions; social, moral, economic, cultural, religious, political. We’re into upheaval, not tradition. Tradition is for parades, identifying law above superstition is how things go here, or should and will go here – eventually. There is no threat to marriage that involves society. Marriage is between a man and a woman and also two consenting adults, both sets of whom should not allow society or family or politics or race or religion to keep them for their right, their pursuit of happiness.

Another bogus argument against marriage equality is “marriage for procreation”. In that case why do couples either with no desire for children or are biologically incapable of bearing children marry? Should they then, in this scenario, be denied marriage? I wonder how much outrage you would have if you were impotent and the state denied you your right to marry.

Having beaten the God/Bible thing to death here, we’ll just say, on the occasion of the Supreme Court hearing legal and binding arguments for and against the liberty of our fellow citizens that no one, not the Catholics or the Jews or the Muslims or the Evangelicals know what God wants. Nope. None. Not a wit. Assuming there is a God, when there is sworn testimony from the deity, we’ll deal with that.

In fact, we’ll make this deal: When religions decide on what God supports – what culture or region or NFL football team – then we’ll put that in writing. But for now, there is much to be figured out in the grand scheme of interpreting God, so until at which time there is a consensus of the Supreme Being, the Supreme Court should not and will not force any church into marrying anyone. This is not about churches. Church and state are separate and shall remain so. Let the churches protest by excluding certain citizens from their clubs. It’s fine. They do not belong in this argument; one way or the other. They do not decide the law of the land on traffic issues, nor shall they on liberties.

Here it is; marriage is a public institution that excludes a portion of our society. This will not stand. And the fact that is has stood for as long as it has is criminal and an embarrassment to this country and all that it stands for. I have been writing this since the late-90s’ and I will continue to write it, as sick of it as you are to read it and how exhausted I am penning it. From unpopular to popular, it has not changed here and it should not change in the most important chamber of law this republic has.

It is life.

It is liberty.

It is the pursuit of happiness.

Everything else, EVERYTHING else, is noise.


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1983 N.C. State Wolfpack

Aquarian Weekly 3/27/13 REALITY CHECK

N.C. STATE & THE BIRTH OF MARCH MADNESS 30-Year Anniversary of the Improbable Ride of Jimmy V and the Wolfpack

With the commencement of the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, arguably the most watched American sporting event outside of the Super Bowl, it is time to mark the 30-year anniversary of one of the most impossible runs in sports history. The 1983 North Carolina Wolfpack created March Madness, coming from nowhere to win nine consecutive elimination games over a month period against a field of mostly heavily favored opponents with rosters bulging with future NBA superstars. In seven of those victories, State came from behind in the final minutes on the way to defining in almost every way possible the very essence of the term underdog.

1983 N.C. State WolfpackSeems like five minutes ago, but it was another era. Before the three-point line, before the shot-clock, and long before the best players in the game skipped to the pros after one season (and for a time, ala Lebron James, skipped college all-together), here was this team that won game after game, overcoming ridiculous odds in one bizarre event after another.

It was also before every office had a pool and everyone you knew was filling out brackets and every sponsor clamored for a chance to be associated with the timeless joy of amateur athletes from across the nation sprinting to beat the buzzer. Hell, some of the early round games in 1983 were on tape delay.

Sure, a few years before it was Bird vs. Magic, but that attained its legendary status when both men and their teams revived the NBA during its most enduring mano-a-mano rivalry. And, of course, it wasn’t as if there had never been upsets in college basketball, but the ’83 Wolfpack was one for the ages. There has quite simply never been nor has there ever been since a college team so completely overmatched, so irrevocably poised, so damned exciting as N.C. State winning game after game in such a concentrated period of time.

Instead of one enduring upset in a 40 or 60 minute contest; Villanova’s incredible upending of the mighty Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA Finals or say the N.Y. Giants improbable defeat of the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, consider one solid month of upsets – nine in a row.

To put into perspective, only three other upsets in American sport trump what the Wolfpack achieved in 1983; the 1980 USA Hockey team, The 1968 N.Y. Jets and Buster Douglas taking down Mike Tyson. You know, the type of Hollywood-esque fluff that transforms a century’s worth of sports clichés (destiny, momentum and clutch) into pure magic.

The grand wizard of this run, State’s coach, an Italian motor-mouth from New York City named Jim Valvano, showed up on Tobacco Road three years earlier and began having his kids practice cutting the gym nets down in mock victory ceremonies every week. The players thought him mad. It was silly. Who does this? However, slowly but surely, Valvano was teaching his team more than basketball. He was teaching them to dream; to visualize hope and expect the impossible. He was corny. He was goofy. He was the perfect lunatic for a collection of kids who bought into the Disney tripe that takes a pedestrian 17-10 record (the second most losses to win an NCAA title) and sweeps it through an ACC Tournament loaded with talent, wins and trophies.

Slowly but surely, Valvano was teaching his team more than basketball. He was teaching them to dream; to visualize hope and expect the impossible.

Due to its poor record, a symptom of injuries and inner turmoil, all N.C. State had to do was win the damn thing just to qualify for the Big Dance. Along the way, this meant besting defending champion North Carolina with three starters destined for the pros, including arguably the greatest player in the game’s history, Michael Jordan, and a Virginia team with the best player in the conference, the 7’4″ monster, Ralph Samson. Both teams, along with Wake Forest, whom State beat to earn a shot at these titans, had dismantled them during the regular season. And in each game the opponent had a lead late or in overtime, and yet could not halt the hoping and dreaming.

During the North Carolina game, Valvano was faced with a six-point deficit (no three-point line or shot-clock) against Dean Smith’s heralded and roundly mocked four-corner offense, in which the team passed the ball around half court for up to five minutes to kill the clock and end the game. So he decided to begin fouling. And as State fouled, North Carolina kept missing subsequent foul shots. State won. This tactic would readily assist the dreamers during their spectacular NCAA Tournament run to come.

Leading up the championship game against the heavily favored Houston Cougars, the nation’s baddest squad, nicknamed Phi Slama Jama due to the parade of high-flying dunks the 31-2 team rained down on its shell-shocked opponents, Valvano continued the “foul” strategy. To put pressure on opponents, State even fouled a player during a tied game late in one of the semi-final rounds.

The other strategy Valvano instituted was using his media-savvy, wise-guy persona to genuflect to Houston’s greatness in press conferences and television appearances, telling anyone who would listen that he would slow the game down so much it would bore the nation, but in a rousing pre-game locker room speech witnesses claim was worthy of Knute Rockne, Valvano told his team to take it right at the likes of future Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. State did, building a seven-point halftime lead, which evaporated in the opening five minutes of the second half as Houston powered to its own eight-point bulge.

Then Valvano started putting Houston on the foul line and Houston began missing. N.C. State, having won the craziest, most gut-wrenching contests just to get this point, would drag the Mighty Phi Slama Jama into its web of dreams.

Miraculously, the team’s poise and Valvano’s scheming took the entire run, the entire season, down to the final seconds tied at 52-52. Once again State held back and let Houston pass the ball around the perimeter until it came to Alvin Franklin, a freshman guard with the least experience of the invincible Cougars. Then Valvano, running like a banshee up the sideline, screamed for someone to foul him.

Years later, when my family had moved to North Carolina in the mid-eighties and my brother went to N.C. State (like Valvano, by way of Iona) and my dad became a season ticket holder, whenever I would visit we could not help but remember watching this moment unfold back in New Jersey. How we coached right along with the crazy Italian, who asked a fair basketball team to be great again and again, and for good measure, one more time.

And, of course, the freshman missed the front end of a one-on-one, and now it was State’s turn to hold for the final shot; for all the marbles, this one-game-and-done waltz for over a month coming down to 44 seconds; tie game, destiny, dreaming, hope and visualization all right there.

And everyone who knows basketball history, that knows about this March Madness business, and how it got started, with a riveted nation and the kids against the men and the impossible becoming reality, knows what happened: Shooting guard, Dereck Whittenburg heaved a prayer with five seconds left from nearly half quart and center Lorenzo Charles sidestepped the mighty Olajuwon, whose nickname was poetically, The Dream, caught the thing in mid air and dunked it home at the buzzer.



Valvano running around the court looking for someone to hug.

March Madness forever more.

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Holy Land Obama

Aquarian Weekly 3/20/13 REALITY CHECK


By the time these words hit the stands, the president of the United States will be in Israel. This has not been as anticipated a trip as in the past for a few reasons; Barack Obama has been spending quality time on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the U.S. continues its anti-Iranian nuclear rhetoric and running point on crippling international sanctions, the American public has bottomed out its interest in Middle Eastern affairs for the first time since 9/11, and all eyes have been on the slow crawl to attain some measure of a federal budget here at home. But, make no mistake; this visit will have its repercussions.

Obama & NetanyahuFirstly, long before the 2012 election season, this administration has turned its trade/energy/negotiation attention away from the primacy of the Middle East and focused it on Asia, where for years economic forecasters have pointed to it as the New Europe. In fact, even mother oil has become more important to the energy concerns of China (having eclipsed the U.S. for the world’s largest oil importer) and India than it currently does to the U.S. This has added to the already strained relations between the Obama Administration and Israel.

Most of Netanyahu’s posturing, including his over-analyzed, behind-closed-doors harangue against the president during a 2011 U.S. visit, has centered on Israel’s concern for Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but politically it is imperative for the brash prime minister to keep U.S. fears of an insane Middle East percolating. Pressuring Iran has internal consequences for Netanyahu as well, if merely to appear tough to Palestinians; an act of personal relevancy that has served him well over several terms.

Netanyahu, no fan of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who openly supported a Palestinian state, now has to deal with newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who represents the U.S.’s new and improved “anything but war” stance. Something the American people now overwhelmingly support and by default reflects an expedient solution for a nation with less available funds than a will to fight someone else’s battles anytime soon.

Next is the mere fact that there are bigger fish to fry in the Middle East. The key question remains whether or not Syria, Egypt, Lebanon or Iraq will maintain its solvency as working states in the grand scheme of international diplomacy. Deeply contentious Shiite and Sunni religious/cultural civil war is now front and center in all-things Arab Spring, which handcuffs any Western interference. With the outcome in serious doubt and no obvious ally emerging, the last thing Obama wants to do on this trip is appear gratuitous. Any commentary on this matter, even on a chummy diplomatic sojourn, can be counterproductive.

These are the types of trips that can distract a president from more pressing issues and weaken his domestic position.

Yet, there is no way to escape the most explosive aspect of this disaster; Syria. It is a killing field rife with intrigue between Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian government. All three factions are attempting to crush the “rebels”, whom the United States have supported rhetorically, but with no plans to add weapons — mainly due to Israel’s horror that those weapons could be used against its interests. Syria will be the giant elephant in the room when Netanyahu and Obama chat, but there is little chance the details of those chats will not have already been determined before Air Force One hits the Holy Land.

But what will ultimately stare the president directly in the face is the 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Obama has held fast in his opposition to the expansion of Israeli settlements there, a neat balancing act for the leader of a nation that kicked indigenous peoples off their land. In a similar show of our convenient Manifest Destiny two-step, Netanyahu has no designs on reversing Israel’s course to colonize the region and ignore the 2.5 Palestinians that also call it home. This will make Obama’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas an interesting study in appearing not to play favorites. Explaining personal ideology that speaks directly against U.S. policy has been a favorite task of the presidency dating back to George Washington’s famous farewell address.

It is this tightrope walk, in the shadow of the Iranian mess, that makes Obama’s Israel trip so intriguing. What critics have dubbed the White House’s “maintenance trip” due to the failure of having even a tertiary peace initiative, there appears to be no directive here beyond face-saving.

Yet, it is no time for a misstep, which can harm the president politically at home, as he maintains an edge in popular support over Republicans in the battle to balance the budget, reform taxes, propose immigration reform and introduce a measure of gun control into the legislative discussion. But polls are beginning to show an erosion in the post-election high and soon the ramp-up to the 2014 mid-terms will force members of both parties into local political fights that will all-but halt any second-term agendas.

These are the types of trips that can distract a president from more pressing issues and weaken his domestic position. Republicans, who have failed to paint this president as a weak foreign policy commander-in-chief, would love nothing more than this thing to go sideways, ala Mitt Romney’s pre-campaign Britain trip that made him look like a piker and effectively sabotaged the first weeks of his presidential run.

Let’s face it; this is bad timing for Obama. He does not need this kind of pressure, but he spent a boatload of money and time fighting to retain this gig, and there will never be a good time to pull off a balancing act of this magnitude.


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Aquarian Weekly 2/30/13 REALITY CHECK


I am forever entertained by the notion of whether or not this country will ever consider gun violence to be an epidemic. Your piece on this idea was not only a masterpiece in satire, but it said all the things I wish to say, and more. (GUNS & THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT – Issue: 1/16/13) And it all begs the question: Why is that a single man, out of the millions of airplane travelers, can make an aborted attempt to board a plane with an explosive device in his shoe – a one in a billion shot – and for the rest of eternity every human flying out of this nation anywhere has to take his/her shoes off at airport security, but nearly a thousand people have been murdered by guns since the Newtown Massacre (and you are right, it is not so much a tragedy as a massacre, let’s quit pussyfooting around and call it what it is) and we’re not allowed to even discuss guns?

Melissa Aughey


The quote you used for the open of your column this week was stunning. (Excerpt from Memo PPS23 “Review of Current Trends, U.S. Foreign Policy” by George Kennan, Head of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff. Written February 28, 1948, Declassified June 17, 1974) To think, a man with that kind of intel in the highest reaches of the U.S. government could so precisely predict the way that the American government would and should conduct its business for decades after World War II is just, well I cannot think of another word but stunning!

How this translates to our right to bear arms, especially against a type of government that had no problem during the Viet Nam War bugging, harassing, and in some cases as in Kent State, murdering its citizens is beyond me. Not sure if you are joking when you say that gun violence is a cultural aspect of how the government or the environment of the fifties might have effected our nation going forward, or even going back to the frontier days, but I’m still not sure it translates to the rights granted us by the Second Amendment.

I think it’s interesting reading, and you are a fine writer, but it is stretching the credibility of the argument. Period.



The paranoia in this column reeks of Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States. I would be shocked to learn that Mr. Campion would have not read it. In fact, on a weekly basis there are many parallels to Mr. Zinn’s work and Mr. Campion’s sentiments, both ideologically and psychologically. I’m not saying he is merely regurgitating Zinn’s philosophies on how the nation has progressed during the post-World War II era, but the similarities are eerie. I think all people should read Zinn’s work. It is well researched and reasoned. Mr. Campion has a more cynical and aloof style and I doubt highly he believes half of what is written here weekly, but it still has an echo of Zinn’s approach.

I will say that it is not a popular viewpoint, so it isn’t as if Mr. Campion is gaining any style points or urging any readership from this type of radical thinking. But it is radical and it is at points paranoid and there is always a place for that in the sensationalism of editorials.



Oh, I never supported the Patriot Act, it may have looked like it but I was more “beat Al Qaeda’s ass at every opportunity”. No sir, in fact I was detained in Orlando Airport for speaking German to the TSA agent and when he stated he didn’t speak German, I advised him that weren’t all Nazi’s German. Boom, it’s on and now I am surrounded and getting fucked with. When I told them they were fucking with a Ranger Qualified veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, they stated in no uncertain terms they didn’t give a flying fuck and proceeded to try to make an example of me. I had a crying wife and 2 scared little kids. As I was “released”, I turned around and looked at him and told him “Sir, rest assured, when the revolution comes, people will remember this”. I thought I was going to get arrested but for some reason I was able to walk.

It’s getting bad out here, brother. More and more, I tend to agree with you on the erosion of freedoms.

Peace, Bill Roberts


I agree that guns are in our DNA. The question is can we ever get it out?

Stephanie V.


What are we saying here, Campion? (TOBACCO, BOOZE & FIREARMS – AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY– Issue: 1/23/13) We’re all at fault? Or none of us are at fault? We have guns, we love guns, our history is riddled with guns and gun violence, that we all profit from murder and mayhem and now we whine like bitches because our children are murdered in our kindergartens or that in some precise way you are turning this whole story on its head and removing the moral quotient but slyly admitting that all of this has been going on for centuries and our foundation, the founding fathers, the revolution, the Civil War, the fight in the streets in the Wild West, the eradication of the Native American population, The Alamo, everything is tied together in some bizarre synchronicity? This is bullshit Carl Jung gobblygook. It is beyond your understanding. This is shit psychoanalyzing. If I want to have a gun, it does not put me in the long line of killing. I have not killed and I don’t intend on killing, but I have this right and I won’t allow bits and pieces of it to be taken away by the sentimentality of liberal thought that will strip us of our God-given right to survive the attack of evil.

Sometimes your words ring hollow. This is one of those times, friend.



Love the concept of the “Holy Trinity”: Tobacco, Booze, and Firearms. Never heard it or read it put quite that way. There is a fist-like quality to this type of slant, a no holes barred thing that is intriguing for no other reason but it is so wrong in the face of these terrible tragedies we endure almost on an hourly basis in this country, a country born and expanded and perpetuated by the type of violence you depict in you column. It makes me sad to know we have come to this and that there is no way back. But it is good to know someone is telling it straight, being honest to the point of painful. I just wish it didn’t have to be written and I didn’t have to read it.



Your last line (“Not sure what this tell us, beyond the notion that industry, economy, and tradition trump human life. It is a high price some of us pay to live in a land that’s vital resource is the worship of the Holy Trinity.”) is on the money (no pun intended).


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In Praise of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” 2013


Aquarian Weekly 2/6/13

In Praise of a New Revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Wouldn’t it be funny if that was true?
– Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Great art has a boomerang effect that is hard to match in other disciplines of human endeavor. Once something of artistic density is created it permeates time, culture, and progress. There are the usual attempts by those whose foresight is driven by the wallet (and this does not necessarily preclude the artist, in fact, in most cases is highly motivated by him) to rearrange its brutality to create a more palatable or sellable franchise. Thus is the pedigree of Tennessee Williams’ most accessible ensemble piece, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a Broadway revival of which now plays at the Richard Rogers Theater. Its eviscerating themes of casual mendacity, psycho-sexual anguish, overt greed and pomposity, and a crushing fear of mortality have swooped back to confront a 21st century audience with the subtlety of a jackhammer.

Scarlett JohanssonTruth be told, I had no desire to see it this time around. I had read it in college and found it to be no Glass Menagerie or certainly A Streetcar Named Desire, for my money Williams two true masterworks, but at the request of the wife to see Scarlett Johansson play Maggie the Cat, I would give the play and its gifted author its rightful due. Needless to say, Johansson, much like Elizabeth Taylor, who made the role famous in the film adaptation three generations removed, exudes a primal sexuality that has less to do with talent, training or guile, but pure biology. Her voluptuous draw had the theater packed with twenty-somethings clamoring to share airspace with the star and none seemed to be prepared to absorb Williams’ cruel truths, a perfect blindside that any writer drools over. The poor bastards never knew what hit them.

Williams’ best work, of which now after being thoroughly moved by this staging, I am fully willing to admit that Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is included, deals in his key central theme of living a lie in order to assimilate into an alien existence not of his characters making. This inevitably leads to Williams other pressing themes of violence due to either creeping madness brought on by this charade or alcoholism, which either expedites the madness or quells the rush of its inevitability. All insights into Williams’ homosexuality in a mid-twentieth century southern milieu of intolerance, bigotry and machismo, along with the schizophrenia suffered by his beloved sister Rose, and the violent outbursts of an age when alcohol fueled the desires of a repressed nation are all on display with a relentless vigor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The play’s debut in 1955, the height of America’s last purely conservative moral levee, hinted at Williams’ original theme-scape, but failed to bellow it; as if the words only broached the subject like a slight tap on the shoulder instead of the swift punch to the jaw that unfurls now. The three-act version today is Williams’ 1974 re-write, which many of the freedoms the post-Sixties cultural shift and the Seventies individuality explosion inspired. It bears only a minor resemblance to the famous film with Taylor and Paul Newman of 1958. Ironically, it was infamous director Elia Kazan who neutered its thematic force. Kazan had lived his own life of ignominious duality when informing on wrongly accused colleagues to the absurdly unconstitutional House Committee On Un-American Activities when he himself was a communist.

Tennessee Williams breathes again in this loud, brash and concussive revival of a story best known for its wounding due to censorship, but spins back with ever-threatening speed to assail us once again.

Having achieved enormous success with the quintessential film adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire starring a young and sexually charged Marlon Brando in 1952, Kazan subjugated Williams’ crucial expressions for a Hollywood squeezed by the strangely powerful Motion Picture Production Code, enacted in 1934 and later abandoned in 1968 at the dawn of the golden age of modern film. Kazan, also having directed the original Broadway staging, cajoled Williams into toning down the striking language of the play to avoid the obligatory blowback subjected to works of the time.

The fury of Williams’ boomerang effect is palpable in this staging, as Johansson, feverishly bawdy, stomps around in nothing but a slip for half the performance, taught in sexual frustration and cunning manipulation, taunts her crippled husband (both physically with an ankle injury and mentally in the throes of an alcohol stupor) with wild abandon. She lends proper voice to Williams’ incongruities of a dying post-war southern motif filled with land barons, heirs, belles and debutantes trolling their children around like trophies. Her husband, ably but not strongly portrayed by a handsome Benjamin Walker, acts as Williams’ whipping boy; both characters providing insight into the author’s tortured psyche.

The play, however, is abducted by the work of veteran Irish actor, Ciarán Hinds, whose outstanding turn as Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome a few years back put him on the map. Hinds, as Big Daddy, the patriarch of a Tennessee Valley cotton empire, seethes with regret and disgust for his life, family and station. He is the play’s philosophical weathervane; vulgar and unwavering with nary a stitch of societal affectation brimming in every other character in the piece, pushing the others to confront their hypocrisy as he shouts “Liars! Liars!” at them all. Stricken with cancer, although he has been deceived by his doctor that he is safe to enjoy his 65th birthday, Hinds’ Big Daddy tries in vain to save his son from the slow suicide of drink the young man believes he must pursue due to his pangs of guilt over the death of a close friend whose homosexual advances he had to refuse, which in the end led to his friend’s death. It is a riveting performance.

Mostly, though, it is Tennessee Williams who breathes again in this loud, brash and concussive revival of a story best known for its wounding due to censorship, but spins back with ever-threatening speed to assail us once again.

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Aquarian Weekly 1/30/13 REALITY CHECK


How can you write so much and still not get it?(THE (NEW) NEVER DEAL – Issue: 12/19/12) Susan Rice was a tool, nothing more. Susan Rice was tossed out knowing the right would immediately call for ineligibility and therefore Obama would get the guy he wanted in Kerry. Now Kerry gets the nod and the right can’t complain lest the press crucify them for being mean-spirited. It was typical Chicago politics and people still don’t get it and continue to praise Dear Leader. Well, we get the government we deserve.

Bill Roberts


There was a sense from the very beginning that the Republicans were going to cave on this tax hike thing. They had no choice. Boxed in. They only had to appease the new TP contingent and Grover the Rover. Once the deadline passed, it was all-systems-go with the excuse that they LOWERED people’s taxes! YIPPIE!




Republicans are finished. Going the way of the Whigs! Who represents the American taxpayer anymore? The conservative movement failed! The TEA Party failed! Hell, Reagan and Bush I failed; only Bush II didn’t raise taxes, but he spent us into oblivion and handed the country over to the Democrats who come and go spending. There is no one in the current climate that represents – really represents – the American taxpayer. The elderly are bleeding us dry. Soon the Baby Boomers will bankrupt us all! The youth is oblivious to all of it! The minorities are suckered into believing one party is for them and the other is not when neither is not. They both love guns and are afraid of abortion and afraid of immigration reform. This column of yours is right to point all of this out, but what are the alternatives? And don’t give me this trite bullshit about revolutions. There are no more revolutions. People are too interested in tweeting and IPADs and celebrity minutia to be truly “involved”!

Beat that cynicism, Campion, you crazy motherfucker!



Most places that dissect the political landscape do not go to the dark places Reality Check goes. I’m not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it’s just a thing. I often wonder how much of this column is a send off. Is this a way to play with the supposed important issues of the day? I know you’ve written of your apathy before, but when I read the breakdown of how congress is handling this fiscal cliff issue and how it will likely screw up the debt ceiling again and how this president is more worried about making speeches and appearing to care than actually governing I have to also wonder how much of what you cover is actually the joke and maybe you have no other choice.

Zach Ballan


Hello James,

I mentioned this once before, but it bears repeating. Almost all of these emails end up in my spam folder because of your use of the word “f*ck.” You write very intelligently, but those words distract for me. Really necessary???



Mr. Campion,

I was in attendance nearly ten years ago at a book signing you had for Trailing Jesus and someone asked you why you use such abrasive language, your blatant and flippant use of vulgarities to make your points. And I distinctly recall you telling that person, “It’s hard to properly explain politics without using the F-word.” I laughed at that, as did many in attendance that day. And now, nearly a decade later, having come and go with following this column and your career, I realize that this was no quip. This was a great insight. It is in fact more of an honest insight than you will hear or read anywhere else.

It’s hard to believe that so many people are not in on this particular joke.

Matthew Russo


It is a shame that this last vote from one of the most dysfunctional and do-nothing congresses in U.S. history would vote for a minor bill when something so big could and should have been done. (TAX HIKES, NO DEAL & THE GOP CIVIL WAR – Issue: 1/9/13) There was so much to tackle and the president (if it weren’t for Joe Biden, this wouldn’t have even been accomplished) has not led at all on this. I voted for him, and make that twice now, and he was head and shoulders a better choice than McCain or Romney, but I am continually disappointed in the results of his work. He does not, as you right pointed out here, work successfully on anything across the aisle. I get the feeling that he honestly wants to, and I know the Republicans, especially this latest band of idiots, have stonewalled some of his measures, but there has been absolutely NO attempt on his part to get down and get things done. Call them out. He did so a little during this and it actually helped, and I think he’s already begun to set up the debt ceiling debacle to come by making sure these Republicans do not pull the same junk they did the last time around, but to what end? Where is the true bi-partisanship he continually promises? At least fake it!



Why is John Boehner the speaker of the house? There has got to be someone somewhere in that capitol building that has a semblance of an idea what it takes to negotiate or communicate or lead a group of legislators. He is a fucking embarrassment. There is no other word for it. Why does he bother showing up to press conferences? Nearly every single one ends in him lying his ass off. I’m sure he believes this pile of crap, but then he has to shuffle his sorry ass back into public to all-but apologize for the shit he rolls out the day before. I mean, who the hell calls a press conference to announce a vote – all arrogant and full of spit and vinegar – and doesn’t even have the votes? Does he speak to his caucus? Does he understand the job? Say what you want about Nancy Pelosi, she was no pussy like this ass-jack.



FUCK THEM ALL! (except for those who voted against this bill) How the fuck did our government get so completely fucked up? As my sister would so succinctly say, MOTHERFUCKER!

Elizabeth Vengen Esq.

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Tobacco, Booze & Firearms: An American Love Story


Aquarian Weekly


In the midst of the furious debate on gun violence in America following the Newtown massacre, this space has dedicated over 2,000 words to the silly idea of trying to regulate human behavior and ignore the very core of the American psyche; the gun. Admittedly, the summation had gone a tad Mark Twain, floating majestically above the fray by clearly pointing out how utterly helpless we are as a species. Oh, Mrs. Clemens baby boy, how we miss ye. And so this week we’ll get into the nitty gritty by exploring more salient concepts like money and power found in the economic and cultural ties firearms have had in the formation of what we like to call our Holy Trinity.

Mighty John BrownThe Holy Trinity of the American Experience is tobacco, booze and firearms, in that order. These three elements are the cornerstone of this republic. They provided a texture to the lofty rhetoric of Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, the clarion call of Patrick Henry and the musket blasts of the Minutemen. You can almost touch their influence in Thomas Jefferson’s radical screed of defiance aimed at an empire that dared possess the tangible fruits of rebellion; tobacco, booze and firearms. Free labor and land grabs may have made this country an unstoppable force for international power in a gilded age of white, Anglo-Saxon, male supremacy, but it was the Holy Trinity that provided the fuel.

The first British colony, Jamestown, Virginia became the birthplace of European colonialism in North America on the strength and riches of “brown gold”. Tobacco built the American Colonies and made Virginia its most powerful hub. The might of Virginia sent notice to the Continental Congress that slavery be left out of its native son’s “all men are created equal” idiom and put fellow Virginian George Washington in charge of the Continental Army. It is why today it houses the capital of the nation.

This was made possible by tobacco.

John Hancock, whose name by no mere coincidence appears first and largest in the signing of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, sparked the tax wars with Great Britain over what is known as the Liberty Affair. Hancock’s importing of Madeira wine, among other goods, brought to the continent on his famed sloop, the Liberty, helped build a personal empire, which found itself under siege of crippling leans by the British government, summarily turning the entire operation into a smuggling ring. And although the tax on tea, which sparked a seminal stir to revolution, it was pre-dated by the outrage over the price of wine, rum and scotch that led directly to the closing of the ports in Massachusetts, home to the foment of revolt in the words and deeds of its most vociferous patriot, John Adams.

This was made possible by booze.

And, well, as discussed over the past weeks in this space, none of these business dealings and high-minded talk of free states amount to a hill of beans without firearms, which aimed by the rabble at the mighty British Army forged a nation from the hoary shenanigans of land barons and importers. It then provided the force to stretch the shenanigans further west and inevitably across the globe. If the French had not butted in by sending us a statue of a lady holding a torch, a far better symbol of the United Sates might be a man smoking a cigarette while holding a bottle of whiskey and a rifle.

Not sure what this tell us, beyond the notion that industry, economy, and tradition trump human life. It is a high price some of us pay to live in a land that’s vital resource is the worship of the Holy Trinity.

However, despite its enduring mark on our nation, the Holy Trinity has consistently come under scrutiny by an equally commanding force in the forging of America; religion. It is to these shores the persecuted wished to openly worship without fear of government reprisal. Their stake in the power vacuum was a vital part of such draconian measures played out in the Prohibition Era and the William Morris trials of the late-1990s; both emerging triumphant in the moral outrage that occasionally cloaks the vox populi when trepidation over prolonged hedonism comes home to roost. To a lesser extent we have seen this pogrom against firearms in the push for the Brady Handgun Violence Act and the Assault Weapons Ban of the early nineties.

This balancing act of capitalistic profligacy and moral turpitude is why anyone doing what this space and the Reality Check News & Information Desk purports to do; sit back and enjoy the show. It is law, politics, protest and crime; it is MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and the TRUTH anti-smoking movement of the past two decades and Just Say No and Gun Control advocacies butting up against the mighty arms of the Holy Trinity; Big Tobacco, Anheuser-Busch, the NRA.

Big Tobacco had quite a run, hampered in the last two decades by heavy laws prohibiting smokers from enjoying in almost any indoor, and now in some cities like New York, outdoor locations. Hits against targeting advertising towards teens and massive warnings of just about any possible malady that could be contracted due to the use of the product, would not have been possible if the heads of seven of the major tobacco companies had not testified under oath to congress that nicotine was not addictive. It was self-inflicted wounds, but has yet to make a huge dent in the habit. Over 50 million Americans have died as a result of smoking in the past decade.

Booze, and its most powerful lobby, Anheuser-Busch, have never wavered, surviving the drunk-driving attacks of the 1980s and a bout with the satellite TV movement later in the decade. Before Direct TV all-but corned the market by making a deal with the National Football League, about as influential and powerful property in the nation, satellites were primarily used by sports bars, which provided “stolen” feeds of out-of-town games directly from networks with the NFL receiving no revenue. But the usually unflinching league, which spits sponsors and networks out like sunflower seeds, buckled when beer conglomerate unleashed its full potential, the results of which opened an entire media industry up for home use. Around 750,000 people have died of alcohol related deaths in the past decade.

And so now we have a blowback on firearms, which, by any measure of reaction, is warranted. Kindergarten children being mowed down in class by military-style kill-machines by another in a long line of anti-social, middle-class white nerd males is bad publicity. Dead children is a tough one; which the NRA in its infinite wisdom has predictably decided to suggest providing more guns to “good people”, as if it is tough enough distinguishing between the good and bad people. But just as Big Tobacco could not have its CEO’s telling the consumer base it’s product is a drug, and Anheuser-Busch could not be bothered with the NFL’s lost profits, the NRA cannot go to the White House or on Meet The Press and agree to start putting leans all over their cash cow.

Roughly 320,000 people have died in the last ten years due to gun violence.

Not sure what this tell us, beyond the notion that industry, economy, and tradition trump human life. It is a high price some of us pay to live in a land that’s vital resource is the worship of the Holy Trinity.

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