So, according to White House Counsel Robert Bauer, when Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recruited President Clinton to offer Joe Sestak a presidential or senior executive branch advisory board job in exchange for dropping out of his primary race with everyone’s favorite Republican’t, Arlen Spectre, there was nothing illegal about it. Never the less, Republicans in both houses are calling for special investigations to be conducted by the Attorney General and the FBI.

I followed this story on numerous media outlets for the last few days, and most of the politicos and former prosecutors who’ve been paid to comment seem to feel that this issue is either a non-starter, or that it opens a huge can of worms which would be devastating to both parties, because this kind of stuff happens all the time. It’s especially common after redistricting, when party leadership may offer the newly unseated Representatives jobs of various types in order to keep them from running against incumbents in neighboring districts. In essence, this is business as usual, and the Republican attempt to represent it as a prosecutable offense is simply political maneuvering, with little or no teeth. After a brief media storm, this will fall off the radar of the major media outlets, only to resurface briefly when Sestak wins Spectre’s seat in Pennsylvania.

If you’re a regular visiter here, you know that this is the point at which I usually ramp up to a solid froth, pull the arm off of the nearest Republican and beat him to death with the wet end. In this case, however, the problem doesn’t reside on that side of the aisle. No, the Dems really screwed the pooch on this one, and I’m not above pointing and laughing while they try to pull their pants back up.

Putting a stop to the shady, backroom dealings of “Washington as usual” was supposed to be part of that “Change We Can Believe In” stuff, right? Didn’t he get elected on a message of transparency and open processes?

All of that high-minded rhetoric makes it even more repulsive when the curtain is pulled back to reveal that this country really is run by largely invisible men in smoke-filled rooms, betting quatloos on their favorite thralls. Star Trek nerdery aside, the comparison is an apt one. No one wants an oligarchy to run the show, to choose who fights whom and who lives and dies, and yet it is clear that unelected power brokers continuously wrangle to make political outcomes about as unscripted as pro wrestling.

If this issue beats the odds and manages to get some traction with the Justice Department, I hope that the man responsible does the right thing. Just like Scooter Libby and John Poindexter before him, Rahm Emanuel should jump on the grenade. I have long suspected that he is nothing more than a Karl Rove in Democrat’s clothing, so I kind of hope this comes to pass. In fact, I hope the soothsayers from both parties are able to read the take-home message in his scattered political entrails. As much as the American Public hates the political process, they hate seeing its inner workings even more…

Life-Saving Excommunication

This past week the Catholic Church raised the bar on irony and hypocrisy when they took a hard-line stance in defense of children by excommunicating Sister Margaret McBride (shown at left). Her offense? Saving a pregnant woman’s life.

You see, McBride, along with a group of doctors, was part of an ethics panel that consulted with a pregnant woman at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The woman was 11 weeks pregnant, at the time, and suffering from a condition called pulmonary hypertension which is aggravated by pregnancy. Pulmonary hypertension limits the ability of the heart and lungs to function properly during pregnancy, and the doctors who examined her said her chances of surviving the pregnancy were near 0%, and the only way to save her life was to terminate the pregnancy. The ethics commission counseled the woman to that effect, and she had the procedure and survived.

The Phoenix Catholic Diocese, led by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, rewarded Sister McBride for her wise counsel with an excommunication. Bishop Olmstead released a statement saying, "An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother's life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means."

He went on to add that “The Catholic church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty.”

Where was this stern position on the safety of children when thousands of kids were being molested by priests? This nun is excommunicated, but convicted pedophile priests are simply defrocked - apparently, if you save a woman’s life by destroying a fetus you’re destined for hell, but if you destroy the trust of countless children by sexually abusing them you’re still a candidate for heaven. (I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to go there...)

This is institutional misogyny that would make the Taliban clap their hands with glee. The message here is that the sins of men are simply not as serious as the sins of women. After all – it was a woman who got us kicked out of the garden in the first place, right?

It’s also yet another incident in a long line which proves that Benedict and his inner circle (I like to call them “Benny and the Jets” – oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful…) are completely out of touch with the rest of the world. Even the staunchest Catholics I know are appalled by this ruling. As the leadership and laity of the Church drift farther apart, the gap between doctrine and the actual beliefs and behaviors of Catholics is widening into a canyon. Mother Church is growing ripe for a schism of epic proportions. Soon Catholics in developed nations are refuse to drink the kool-aid anymore.

When this Vatican III happens, perhaps they can clarify that being Catholic doesn’t mean that you have to ignore science. Or modern medicine. Or compassion. Or common sense. Wait... if they accepted all that, they wouldn’t really be Catholic anymore, would they?

Same Old Same Old

The news this week is essentially the news from last week. Let’s look at the top stories in no particular order.

Sarah Palin – still an idiot. She announced that her new book will soon be out, in which she talks about her favorite literature and poetry. No doubt her ghost writer has been working for weeks to construct a paragraph that makes it sound like she keeps a copy of Sartre’s War Diaries under her pillow… She followed this up by reminding delegates at the NRA Convention that Democrats are coming to take away your guns.

Teabaggers – still insane. As I predicted 6 months ago, they are destroying the Republican party, and it’s quite a show. Last week they ousted three term senator Bob Bennett of Utah, then they forced the GOP in Maine to adopt a party platform that calls for limiting congressional terms to 12 years, abolishing the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education, and refers to global climate change as a myth. As ridiculous as this sounds, it turns out that it’s a watered down version of the Texas GOP platform. Several other Tea Party groups are working on getting similar statements of lunacy adopted in other states.

George Rekkers – still Gay. The only development in this story is the cost of his European rentboy get-away – he paid all of young Lucien’s expenses and gave him $75 per day. Pretty cheap, as these things go – most of the guys listed on ask for more like $500 per day for overnights - what they call “the boyfriend experience.” Of course, Rekkers can afford it. He was recently paid $120,000 by the state of Florida for testifying in support of their ban on gay adoption. Ironic, considering that Rekkers himself adopted a son in Florida…

Arizona – still the most bigoted state in the union. Last week they were instituting an immigration law that would have made Stalin smile, then they decided that you can't teach English if you have an accent, and now they’ve been busily implementing new rules that outlaw ethnic studies in public schools. What’s next? Will possession of mole sauce soon be considered a felony? I’m expecting Governor Jan Brewer to include that in her new “use an enchilada, go to jail” bill.

British Petroleum – still lying to everyone. First it was 1000 barrels per day, then 5000, and now it’s somewhere between that and 70,000 bijillion barrels per day. Does anyone actually know what’s happening down there? The short answer is no. They’ve tried adding detergent to the water, putting a big dome over it, and tonight they are trying to cram a big rubber stopper up the pipe. They’re running out of options – soon they’re going to have to just call in Aquaman.

Nashville - still flooded.
Joe Lieberman - still a "Republican't."
John McCain - still not conservative enough for reelection.
Black Vatican University - still afraid of free speech.

There are other examples, but you see my point. The news this week is the news from last week, only more so.

America, you bore me.

Heavy Lifting

Well children, another fine upstanding Christian leader has fallen prey to the temptations of the flesh – in this case, the flesh of an attractive young rentboy named Lucien (his real name is Jo-vanni Roman – when your given name is Jo-vanni Roman do you even need a gay stage name?). I’m sure you’ve all heard by now how young Lucien was hired by Baptist minister George Alan Rekers to accompany him on a 10-day trip to Europe. You see, Dr. Rekers has recently had surgery, so he hired Lucien to lift his sack – I mean carry his bags – around Europe.

Initially, both Rekers and Lucien claimed they hadn’t had sex on the trip, but after finding out that Rekers co-founded the Family Research Council with his BFF and fellow homophobe, James Dobson, and that he is a professional purveyor of misinformation about gay youths, Lucien decided to come clean. He described Rekers’s favorite sexual activity, known as “the long stroke," which I won’t describe in detail - because I'm a fucking gentleman - sounds more like something you’d sue a priest over, not hire a rentboy for…

Since this story broke, another former rentboy, Carl Shepherd, has come forward to say he, too, gave Rekers something resembling “the long stroke” back in 1992. His story doesn’t include lifting any luggage, but it does conclude with $150 changing hands in a hotel room.

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Rekers is an officer of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality - he has publicly declared that he believes homosexuality is a sin and that it’s curable. Ok, so - Physician, heal thyself.

Because he is a Baptist, I give him about 3-5 more days before he makes a tearful confession from the pulpit – it’s sure to be YouTube sensation second only to Jimmy Swaggart. At least Catholics have the decency to make their confessions in a little box. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, it’s dark and comforting in there – you might say it’s kind of like a closet…

Personally, I’d like to thank Dr. Rekers for adding to our ever-growing lexicon of sexual euphemisms, like “hiking the Appalachian trail” and “taking a wide stance.” I could really go for getting my "luggage lifted" tonight, in fact.

Recent Events

So… after a court battle, Bill Ayers came to Black Vatican University and spoke. And I was there. And I don’t feel anymore radical than before. Granted, I may not be the best test case, but still… Thanks to the craziness of the Right-wing and the cowardice of UW’s administration, 1100 people were there instead of the 12 or so that would have attended his original speech. Way to go Teapublicans and Wyoming Patriot Alliance!

So… Arizona has instituted a new DWB law – that’s “driving while brown” for those of you who aren’t up on cop lingo like me. To be fair, all this law does is force local officers to enforce Federal laws… without allocating any additional funding for training of said officers. What could go wrong? Actually, I don’t know how they’re going to manage it – cops are not the most adaptable folks on he planet. When I was a cop if we got ANYthing new they had mandatory statewide training. I remember sitting through a 2 hour presentation on our new flashlights one afternoon, and those little pokey keychains? That was a three day qualification course… so interpreting the ins and outs of international documents which are only partially in English? That’s gonna’ go well. (UPDATE: AZ Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order stipulating that officers will receive additional training on "reasonable suspicion." Still no word on where the money for that is coming from...)

So… Sarah Palin said something stupid again. I know – making fun of Sarah Palin for making ill-considered statements is like looking for trannies at a screening of Victor Victoria, but this is a good one. On Hannity this week she lamented how one of the “lamestream media” outlets just doesn’t get it on this immigration thing in Arizona, doncha know. She was upset about a screen graphic that read “Arizona makes it illegal to be illegal.” The lamestream media outlet in question? Fox News. As in, her employer, Fox News. Kind of awkward around the watercooler after that one…

So… the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is up to 5000 barrels per day. The ever irrational Rush Limbaugh had his morlocks do some research on this and discovered that 5000 b/day is what seeps into the Gulf every day from natural sources anyway, so it’s no big deal - the ocean will recover on its own if we just leave it alone. Right – Rush, that’s like saying you’ll probably eat a whole bottle of ketchup this year on your fries, so we’re just going to shove the whole bottle down your throat right now – surely your stomach will recover on its own.

So… turns out that boobs don’t cause earthquakes, but boobquake 2010 was still a huge success. I think this is the best way to address fundamental religious idiocy that I have heard of in a long time. In fact, I was going to suggest that all of the women reading this should show off their assets every time a fundie says something sexist, irrational, or ill-informed – but that’s so common you’d all have to run around topless, and it’s still a bit cold in some locales. For our local brand of religious lunacy, I propose instead “Show Your Nipples to a Mormon Day,” followed by “Kiss my Nondenominational Ass Week.” Who knows? Maybe all that skin will finally make the caldera blow and we can all meet this Creator they keep talking about…

This last bit is nothing more than shameless self-promotion and I am only posting it because Ducky said, "screenshot or it didn't happen." The screenshot at left is from, a site for play-by-email boardgames like Chess, Go, Backgammon, etc. They offer over 70 games and have over 3 million registered users. Players battle for position on "ladders" which function like a continuous challenge tournament - the goal is to challenge and beat the players above you on the ladder to become player #1. If you click on the screenshot to enlarge it you'll note that player #1 on this ladder (for "Pro Pente") is none other than your's truly, Linus Furious. Due to the nature of play-by-email it has taken me about 3 months to battle to the top of this ladder. Yes - I have Pente-Fu. You might even say I have the Pente Dim Mak ("death touch"). Feel free to go to the site and challenge me to a game.