Stupid People in Large Numbers

Adolf-Hitler-End-1945

Did you ever experience one of those times when somebody let a humongous fart then immediately left the room? This is about one of those people, and this is one of those stories.

I’m posting this on the 70th anniversary of the day when German Chancellor Adolf Hitler shot himself in the head and shed himself of all responsibility for his life of 56 years. The photo above is not the best one of Hitler, but it is about the last one. It was taken at Hitler’s last known public appearance, 20 April 1945. It was Hitler’s 56th birthday.

Here we see him giving courage to young boys, volunteered or pressed into military service in the final month’s of the war after the Third Reich had exhausted all other sources of able-bodied fighting men. This situation, for which Hitler declined all responsibility, was due almost completely to his own schemes and his own actions. And also due to the gullibility of millions of German people.

It was not always like this. The story goes back to the 19th century. Maria Anna Schicklgruber was a peasant woman, independent and self-reliant. She was still not married at the age of 42 when she gave birth to a son, Alois Schicklgruber. When Alois was five years old Maria married Johann Georg Hiedler and died five years later. Alois took his stepfather’s name and converted it to “Hitler.” Adolf Hitler was born 20 April 1889, and ten years later his father died.

From Wikipedia

From Wikipedia

Early life for Adolf Hitler did not match his expectations. As a young boy he was rebellious at school and in conflict with his father. The death of his younger brother Edmund of measles cast a dark shadow over his demeanor. His mother was a practicing Catholic while his father was anti-cleric. Martin Luther appealed to the young Hitler, as he viewed the Catholic church to be anti-German.

The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest.

He never attended mass after leaving home.

Hitler’s aspirations as an artist were dashed when the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts rejected his application, twice. It was this period in his life, on his own, without marketable work skills, which many consider Hitler’s formative years. He worked at odd jobs in Vienna, giving rise to his reputation as a paper hanger. It is unlikely he ever did this for a living, but that did not stop a famous quote made shortly before Hitler’s death by a famous American General:

The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler.

Redemption came to Hitler at the age of 26 when his native Austria-Hungary dragged Germany into World War One. Hitler distinguished himself in the war and was wounded in the Battle of the Somme. In 1914 he received the Iron Cross, Second Class.

As with many of Germany’s war veterans, German capitulation on 11 November 1918 was a bitter blow for Hitler. Germany had been wronged by the victors, and German troops had been betrayed by civilian politicians far behind the front lines. He was set to redeem his youthful grudges.

Remaining in the army, he was recruited as an intelligence agent to keep tabs on the activities of political groups gaining virulence in the post war turbulence. William Shirer’s book on the Third Reich provides an account of this time:

Apparently Hitler’s service on this occasion was considered valuable enough to lead the Army to give him further employment. He was assigned to a job in the Press and News Bureau of the Political Department of the Army’s district command. The German Army, contrary to its traditions, was now deep in politics, especially in Bavaria, where at last it had established a government to its liking. To further its conservative views it gave the soldiers courses of “political instruction,” in one of which Adolf Hitler was an attentive pupil. One day, according to his own story, he intervened during a lecture in which someone had said a good word for the Jews. His anti-Semitic harangue apparently so pleased his superior officers that he was soon posted to a Munich regiment as an educational officer, a Bildungsoffizier, whose main task was to combat dangerous ideas—pacifism, socialism, democracy; such was the Army’s conception of its role in the democratic Republic it had sworn to serve.

Shirer, William (2011-10-23). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (pp. 34-35). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Shirer describe the root foundation of National Socialism, the ultimate Nazi party. Anton Drexler was “a locksmith by trade, who may be said to have been the actual founder of National Socialism. A sickly, bespectacled man, lacking a formal education, with an independent but narrow and confused mind, a poor writer and a worse speaker…” Drexler handed Hitler a pamphlet, which Hitler consumed and became inspired.

Lacking no formal education, Hitler’s assets were:

  • Passion for his causes and a blindness to opposing viewpoints
  • An ideology that appealed to German masses and identified a common enemy
  • Almost unparalleled speaking ability—one of the foremost orators of the 20th century
  • A ruthless disregard for human life and great willingness to expend other people’s blood

Hitler’s weaknesses would be manifest years later, at tremendous cost to the German people.

The National Socialist Party was one of many struggling for power in the disintegrated German society following the war. Hitler attached to people of low scruples such has himself and put those people to work wresting control of the German state from powerful industrial and military leaders. An early mistake was an abortive attempt to gain power through revolution. While in jail for these actions he wrote Mein Kampf, a personal story and one that outlined his philosophies and his plans for exercising power. Unfortunate were the many who did not read this book and take heart.

Power came to Hitler and the Nazis when election followed election during the early years of the Great Depression, and each election failed to produce a workable government. The Nazis employed disruptive tactics to ensure none of the governments formed during this time were effective. When Franz von Papen attempted to placate the Nazis by having Hitler named Chancellor in January 1933, the Nazis struck with the swiftness and lethality of a cobra.

Opposition politicians were arrested or barred from public speaking, putting the Nazis in complete control A fortunate and mysterious burning of the Reichstag building gave the party an excuse to suspend all civil liberties and to establish Hitler as a dictator. The following year Hitler had murdered all potential opposition within his party and elsewhere in a single night, dubbed the Night of the Long Knives. One of the first killed was Ernst Röhm, an early leader of the National Socialists and head of the SA, the now legal gang of street thugs who had served the Nazis during the early turbulent times.

When German President Paul von Hindenburg died a few weeks later, Hitler absorbed his title and had all armed forces swear a blood loyalty oath to him personally. His power was now complete, and he began to exercise his territorial ambitions.

The Treaty of Versailles, which had ended World War One, was seen as unjust and an insult to German pride. Hitler shortly abrogated the treaty and re-occupied the Rhineland, a region of Germany militarily controlled by the victors. Hitler’s generals were opposed to this action, but when this and other of Hitler’s audacious moves proved successful, the Wehrmact command lost the ability to oppose him.

Hitler’s ambitions soon became evident as he successfully annexed his home country of Austria and cowed the English and the French into allowing military occupation of “Sudeten” Czechoslovakia. Then the Germans occupied all of Czechoslovakia. Poland was next, and it proved to be a bite too much.

After first obtaining a secret partnership with his bitter enemy Joseph Stalin, Hitler initiated the invasion of neighboring Poland on the slimmest of pretexts. England and France by now saw that placating Hitler was a useless enterprise, and they followed up on their promise to declare war on Germany. In the meanwhile Stalin’s Soviet Army, as part of a pre-arranged plan, invaded and occupied the eastern part of Poland. Neither England, France nor any other party was ever to come to Poland’s aid, and Poland suffered mass murder, destruction and political oppression, first by the Nazis and ultimately by the Soviet Union, for the next 50 years.

With the war came Hitler’s downfall. Master a politician that he was, he was an abysmal military strategist. By now the Wehrmact command was so powerless that they had to go along with his schemes. Commanders who opposed Hitler were dismissed and ultimately even executed. No battle plan of his was too hair brained to incite significant opposition from the commanders.

The first months of the war went well for Hitler, as England and France fretted about what to do and did little. The most that came from the Allied Powers was an abortive move to forestall German occupation of Norway. German forces attacked and occupied the neutral countries of Denmark and Norway in the spring of 1940. Then a few weeks later they vented their fury on neutral Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. By now Fascist Italy was in cahoots with Germany, and when German forces moved into France in May 1940, Mussolini’s army attacked France from the east.

France quickly capitulated, and British forces barely escaped by means of a daring evacuation across the English Channel at Dunkirk in late May and early June. France soon caved. Then Hitler turned his attention upon England and upon Winston Churchill, by now the Prime Minister. For the first time Hitler encountered somebody who did not blink.

Hitler had no initial plan to continue the war with England. He was sure that by now England and Churchill would see the way the wind was blowing and would agree to make a deal. He completely misjudged Churchill:

“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air; we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender; and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might. steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.”

Churchill, Winston (2010-07-01). Their Finest Hour (Winston Churchill World War II Collection) (Kindle Locations 1726-1732). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Initially an invasion of England was considered. But there was the Channel. And the Royal Air Force. The RAF had to be defeated before an invasion could be considered. In July 1940 German air attacks on the RAF began, and for the first time Hitler began to see the future, although he refused to recognize it. The RAF soundly defeated the Luftwaffe, showing Reichsmarschall Herman Göring for the first time to be completely incompetent at commanding a military operation.

It was Hitler’s inability to act on failings such as this that eventually collapsed the Third Reich’s war effort. Hitler maintained power at the top by playing his subordinates off against each other, even if it meant keeping incompetent cronies in powerful positions.

It has been considered that the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941 was Hitler’s fatal mistake. In fact the invasion was a move that was made necessary by the military and political situation in Europe at the time. Hitler had to attack, and he had to attack before the Soviet Union could recover from Stalin’s massive purge of the Soviet Army a fews years previous. Again, in executing this necessary operation, Hitler fell prey to failings of character.

Germany’s preparations for invasion included rolling up the Balkan countries as they allied either with the Soviet Union or (sometimes under force) with Germany. With Serbia there was a fatal issue, but fatal only due to the German leader’s quirky nature. When Serbia rebuffed a treaty of alliance Hitler ordered a punitive attack on the small nation. It was brutal and carried out with vengeance and thoroughness. It was also costly. The brutalization of Serbia set the attack on the Soviet Union back several weeks, and those weeks proved fatal.

Starting on 22 June 1941 German forces drove deep into Soviet territory, one goal being Moscow. They started too late. The bitter Russian winter brought the Germans to a halt within sight of the city, and that was as far as they ever got. The winter blast that froze and killed thousands of German troops west of Moscow must also have brought a chill to Hitler’s heart. I have been unable to discover whether he ever gave voice to those feelings, but he must have felt somewhere in his inner self that fate was preparing to deal with him.

As bad as the defeat in front of Moscow was the death blow that came in December 1941 when Japanese forces attacked the United States. The United States declared war on Japan, and Hitler impetuously declared war on the United States, although he was under no obligation to do so. Churchill was having dinner with American envoy Averell Harriman when the radio was switched on, and the news came through. Things happened quickly.

In two or three minutes Mr. Roosevelt came through. “Mr. President, what’s this about Japan?” “It’s quite true,” he replied. “They have attacked us at Pearl Harbour. We are all in the same boat now.” I put Winant on to the line and some interchanges took place, the Ambassador at first saying, “Good,” “Good”— and then, apparently graver, “Ah!” I got on again and said, “This certainly simplifies things. God be with you,” or words to that effect. We then went back into the hall and tried to adjust our thoughts to the supreme world event which had occurred, which was of so startling a nature as to make even those who were near the centre gasp. My two American friends took the shock with admirable fortitude. We had no idea that any serious losses had been inflicted on the United States Navy. They did not wail or lament that their country was at war. They wasted no words in reproach or sorrow. In fact, one might almost have thought they had been delivered from a long pain.

Churchill, Winston (2010-06-30). The Grand Alliance: The Second World War, Volume 3 (Winston Churchill World War II Collection) (Kindle Locations 9385-9392). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

With the United States at war with Germany there would be no chance of winning. Hitler had no choice (in that special world of his) but to plow on and to feign optimism. He ordered the German Sixth Army to take Stalingrad, a pet project of Hitler’s, since it was named after Stalin. It had no military value, and the army of General Friedrich Paulus was completely annihilated,  with 850,000 killed, wounded or captured. The autumn of 1942 also saw the defeat of German General Erwin Rommel‘s forces at the hands of British General Bernard Montgomery‘s army at the Egyptian town of El Alamein. Both at Stalingrad and in North Africa German forces Hitler’s orders forbade any retreat, and the results were ruinous. When Germany pulled out of North Africa in May 1943, 270,000 Axis prisoners were taken.

As Allied armies invaded the European Continent, first through Italy and then through France, the situation for the Third Reich became critical. Germany was choked off from supplies to wage war and began to feed upon itself. Hitler’s scheme to force a stalemate and perhaps an armistice involved a massive attack west through the Ardennes Forest in December of 1944. The attack squandered the remaining German reserves of men and war materials. Beginning in March 1945 the crush by the Allies from the west and the Soviets from the East was relentless.

An attempt on his life with a bomb in July 1944 by German officers left Hitler injured and psychically scarred. He ordered hundreds executed in reprisal, and his distrust in his military commanders became complete. He took complete charge of all military decisions and began to issue erratic orders regarding impossible actions involving non-existent units. Along Hitler’s orders, military commanders stepped up summary executions for battlefield failure and even lack of enthusiasm.

In order to save his family from destruction, Erwin Rommel took poison in October 1944. Ordered to report to Hitler and replaced by Walter Model, Günther von Kluge stopped along his journey and took cyanide. Ordered to commit his men to a fight to the death in defense of the Ruhr, Walter Model instead allowed them to surrender and then shot himself. It was Hitler’s birthday.

By now completely delusional, Hitler spent the last months of his life in Berlin and made his final trip outside his bunker on his birthday. He never accepted responsibility for the catastrophe he had engineered, blaming the German people, instead. A final wish was to bring the people—the people who had carried him into office and had sacrificed their lives to his fantasies—down with him

He married his mistress, Eva Braun on 29 April, and on 30 April both retired to their chamber and killed themselves. Eva took cyanide, and Hitler shot himself. Their bodies were taken outside the bunker and set alight with gasoline. Soviet troops were closing in and discovered the bodies, but the Soviets kept the details to themselves for many years. Children like myself growing up at the time were frightened by threats that Hitler was still alive and would come to get us if we were bad.

Adolf Hitler had no children, but he was survived by sisters Paula and Angela and a brother, Alois. A nephew, William Patrick Hitler moved to the United States and served in the United States Navy as a pharmacist mate (medic) during the war:

According to a story circulating after his enlistment, when he went to the draft office and introduced himself, the recruiting officer supposedly replied, “Glad to see you, Hitler. My name’s Hess.”

Hint: Rudolph Hess was Adolf Hitler’s secretary, who defected to England in 1941.

To this date the name Hitler is not popular and tends to be avoided. It’s often used as an epithet hurled at somebody behaving despicably. It’s not the kind of legacy a person would not want to leave behind.

Adolf Hitler had ample help in his trip to the gates of Hell. German people saw him as a hero of nationalism and a savior in a time of economic and political distress. Those who did not underwrite his campaigns of atrocity largely looked the other way while millions of innocents, including Germans, were slaughtered.

World War Two remains the signature event of the 20th century, held up as a counter example of how to run a nation’s business. Absent Hitler’s connivance, 20th century Germany could have rolled out of the depression, albeit sluggishly, and joined the world as an equal power by the 1940s. As it was it became the pariah of nations for a decade and a half, only completely recovering from Hitler’s mess around 1985.

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Politicians Say The Darndest Things

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You doubt that? Take a look:

Former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has claimed that the Rapture is soon coming, and she pins the blame on US President Barack Obama.

This is astounding. It may be even more astounding to readers who do not know what the “Rapture” is:

In Christian eschatology the rapture refers to the belief that either before, or simultaneously with, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth, believers who have died will be raised and believers who are still alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected dead believers) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. The concept has its basis in various interpretations of the biblical book of First Thessaloniansand how it relates to interpretations of various other biblical passages, such as those from Second Thessalonians, Gospel of Matthew, First Corinthians and the Book of Revelation.

ReligionEntertainStupid

If you didn’t before, you now know what the Rapture is. You also know that it is well described in works of fiction. And nowhere else. Former contender for the presidency Michele Bachmann is invoking a fictional event and is casting the blame on Barack Obama, the person who actually is President of the United States. Can anybody out there say, “Balls?” There’s more:

According to the Huffington Post, Bachmann told “End Times” host Jan Markell that Obama’s negotiations with Iran as well as his stance on same-sex marriages are all factors that will bring about the apocalyptic event within the near future.

If we had only known! So much misery could have been avoided. Wait, that’s not all:

In her “End Times” interview, Bachmann accused Obama of wanting Iran to become a nuclear power.

“We are literally watching, month by month, the speed move up to a level we’ve never seen before with these events,” Bachmann told Markell.

“Barack Obama is intent. It is his number one goal to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon,” she claimed.

Obama wants Iran to become a nuclear power? Really? All this time I was thinking his goal was to screw the American public. Now I learn that not only does Obama want to screw the American public, he wants Iran to have nuclear weapons. People, I need to tell you this is more than I voted for.

I know Obama promised to screw the American public, but it turns out he was a failure even at this. Since Obama took office the stock market is up 100%, putting hardship on people like me who have their retirement funds in the market. Where’s the 300% we would have gotten under McCain. Or Palin. Or Bachmann. You cannot trust that man.

But he now promises to ensure Iran has nuclear weapons, and I’m beginning to think—this is going to be another one of the failures of the Obama administration. I’ll bet the Apocalypse doesn’t happen either. What a gyp.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Happy Anniversary

From Google Images - www.bild.de

From Google Images – http://www.bild.de

Happy 70th wedding anniversary to the loving couple. My, how time flies.

It was 70 years ago today, 29 April 1945, that German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his fiancée Eva Anna Paula Braun were wed in a private ceremony in their underground getaway beneath the grounds of the German Reichstag in Berlin.

The newlyweds were pressed for time, and following the ceremony they rushed to their private apartment in an adjoining chamber to enjoy their wedding bliss. For about 24 hours. The following day the happy couple killed themselves. Mrs. Hitler took cyanide, and Mr. Hitler shot himself in the head. The world was rapidly changing, and there was no longer any place in it for them.

Previously there had been no place in the world for a large number of others. Before exiting stage right, Mr. Hitler had arranged the deaths of many millions, including a large portion of the German population. The anniversary is not universally celebrated in Germany or in any other part of the civilized world.

War on Christianity

StarWars-01

This is about a war. There is a war on Christianity. That is, there is a war that is against Christianity, and it’s going right here in this country. Doubt my words? Take a look at this:

Like all my fellow Americans I am deeply concerned about the ongoing war on Christianity. Everywhere across this great nation the religious core of this country is under attack by the forces of secular humanism. Take this recent insult by the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union:

ACLU, parents of Buddhist student in N. La. sue Christian educators for religious harassment

By Lauren McGaughy, NOLA.com | The Times Picayune
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on January 29, 2014 at 4:41 PM, updated January 29, 2014 at 11:02 PM

The parents of a Buddhist student are joining forces with the American Civil Liberties Union to sue a public school board in north Louisiana, alleging their son was called “stupid” and given low marks for not adhering to Christian doctrine taught in his 6th grade science class.

Sharon and Scott Lane are the parents of three children enrolled in the Sabine Parish School System in rural northwest Louisiana. In a complaint filed Wednesday (Jan. 22) in U.S. District Court, the Lanes argue their son “C.C” became the “target of proselytization and harassment by faculty and administration” at Negreet High School when it became apparent he was not a Christian.

I mean, If Christians are deprived of their God given right to humiliate and harass, with backing from the government, Buddhists and other repulsive types, then we’re going to have to accept the fact of an on-going war on Christianity. Now there’s more:

The persecution of Christians because of their moral opposition to homosexual behavior and so-called gay marriage is on the rise in America, to the point where “Christian convictions are under attack as never before” and “we are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity,” said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister.

This is from CNS News. Media Research Center is the parent company of CNS News, and that organization has as its goal ensuring that all of us get the right view:

Since 1987, the Media Research Center has been the nation’s premier media watchdog. We don’t endorse politicians and we don’t lobby for legislation. MRC’s sole mission is to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media. This makes the MRC’s work unique within the conservative movement.

So, when you hear Mike Huckabee, former (and possibly future) candidate for President of the United States, say “we are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity,” then you know his words are not being filtered through a left-wing rag such as The Dallas Morning News:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is criticizing President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for parenting by what he sees as a double-standard, saying they shelter their daughters from some things but let them listen to Beyoncé.

I thought the children of the president were off limits. Yet, somehow Mike Huckabee has managed to use Malia and Sasha, the president’s children, as proxies for an attack on the president.

Well, if that does not beat all. What a turnabout for the News of a few years ago:

(Reuters) – The Dallas Morning News on Sunday endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination for president and Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee, saying both took a fresh approach.

Getting back to CNS:

“We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity – where it’s not simply going to be that a church’s tax-exempt status is threatened,” he said.  “But, more importantly, where criminal charges for a person who defies a new government norm, a new legal norm and that is a homosexual orientation becomes a protected class.”

“I want to say that across the country there are numerous cases, whether it’s the chaplains in the military being told to put their Bibles away, to no longer pray in Jesus’ name,” said Huckabee.  “Not to counsel people who are in a homosexual lifestyle. Not to counsel them to try to seek assistance for that but rather to have affirmed that lifestyle as being normal and appropriate.”

That is so true. If people of Christian faith are no longer allowed to pick a class of their choosing and treat them as second class citizens, then there is definitely an attack going on against Christianity. If the Christian proprietor of a business, open to the public, does not have the right to point his finger at a customer walking across his threshold and tell him, “We don’t allow your kind in here, and that includes ‘droids,” then there definitely is an attack on Christianity in this country. Because, as we all know, “God hates fags.”

godhatesfags

And thank God for Mike Huckabee.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

The Man Who Would Be King

This man wants to be President of the United States.

AP Photo from breitbart.com

AP Photo from breitbart.com

Here are his credentials:

According to CNN,  Sen. Ted Cruz argued Saturday that Democrats have become so extreme and “intolerant” of religious views that “there is no room for Christians in today’s Democratic Party.”

“There is a liberal fascism that is dedicated to going after believing Christians who follow the biblical teaching on marriage,” the Texas Republican said in his speech before a Christian conservative audience in Waukee, Iowa.

Working at the top of a major 21st century nation such as ours requires a level of savvy wasted on few. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas wants us to know he is the man. Erudition is supreme in the Texas Senator. How else would he have been able to discern this salient fact: the Democratic Party has no room for Christians.

Naturally this comes as a shock to the multitudes of party Democrats who have been flying under the radar for decades. With the help of the senator, we can be sure these closet Christians will be quickly rooted out and cast into the dark abyss. Leaving the Democratic Party a shell of its former self.

But wait. Is it possible the right Senator Cruz is being merely satirical? He is, perhaps, having a bit of fun at our expense. Then maybe not:

Cruz said same-sex marriage had produced rabid zealotry in Democratic ranks. This ideology, he argued, was excluding people of faith.
“Today’s Democratic Party has become so radicalized for legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states that there is no longer any room for religious liberty,” he said.
The Texas lawmaker said this stance was against America’s traditional values. Religious liberty, Cruz claimed, was one of the nation’s founding principles.
“We were founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution,” Cruz declared.
This is troubling. It’s possible the Texas Senator is dead serious, astounding as this might be. “This ideology … was excluding people of faith.”

Excluding people of faith? That’s terrible. But first, let’s assume by “people of faith” the senator means Christians. I’m not thinking the Democratic Party is casting out Muslims, for example. As we all know, the Democratic Party is run by Muslims. Don’t ask me where I got this information. You can verify it for yourselves by attending any number of Tea Party rallies. “People of faith” for Cruz could include Jews, but then he is not specific on that point. Hindus and a bunch of others we can assume to be excluded without fear of contradiction.

So, a bunch of Christians I know, Christians who by word  and deed on a daily basis support same sex marriage and year after year go to the polls and vote for the Democratic candidates—these are now out. They are going to have to henceforth vote Republican. For Cruz, perhaps. I will hold my breath.

“We were founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution.” Yes, religious persecution. I seem to recall that. That was back when only one denomination of the Christian faith was allowed, and the king’s men barged in and broke up church meetings, hauling the apostates off to jail.

Anyhow, the kids in our drama arrive at a church in Nottinghamshire and meet the pastor and the congregation. All is going swimmingly well until suddenly armed officials burst in and demand the congregation be disbanded. Parishioners are advised the failure to comply carries the sentence of death. The children witness first hand the denial of religious faith.

What the story does not point out is that those men from the king’s government, those men who ordered the church be disbanded, those were God’s own enforcers. The scene is cast as a denial of God by the government, but the producers of this drama apparently missed the irony. This is what it looks like when the government decides to protect the word of God.

So, the Puritans (pilgrims) go to Massachusetts and the children go there, as well, in 1621. The story line follows the religiously-driven migration of Europeans to America, which is a historical fact. The story describes the continuance of religious intolerance by the colonial governments leading to fragmentation of some colonies and the formation of Rhode Island.

That was my review of One Nation Under God, a DVD, free from Mike Huckabee (only $4.95).

It all leaves me wondering whether Senator Cruz ever latched onto the idea that “religious liberty” means freedom from other people’s religion. It means not having other people’s religion contravening the rule of law.

“Religious liberty, Cruz claimed, was one of the nation’s founding principles.” It does not require deep mining of Ted Cruz’s daily pronouncements to conclude that “religious liberty” to him means subservience to his religious views, enforced by law.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

The Case of the Velvet Claws

I just reviewed the movie. Here’s the book. It’s the first of the Perry Mason novels from Erle Stanley Gardner in 1933. This was the fourth of the novels made into a movie.

VelvetClaws

Viewers accustomed to seeing Raymond Burr as the suave, smooth-talking Perry Mason in the TV series won’t recognize him in Gardner’s first novel. Perry has some rough edges, and so does Gardner’s writing style. Here is how Gardner opened his novel writing career:

AUTUMN SUN BEAT AGAINST THE WINDOW.

Perry Mason sat at the big desk. There was about him the attitude of one who is waiting. His face in repose was like the face of a chess player who is studying the board. That face seldom changed expression. Only the eyes changed expression. He gave the impression of being a thinker and a fighter, a man who could work with infinite patience to jockey an adversary into just the right position, and then finish him with one terrific punch.

Book cases, filled with leather-backed books, lined the walls of the room. A big safe was in one corner. There were two chairs, in addition to the swivel chair which Perry Mason occupied. The office held an atmosphere of plain, rugged efficiency, as though it had absorbed something of the personality of the man who occupied it.

Gardner, Erle Stanley (2011-09-27). The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 46-52). Della Street Press. Kindle Edition.

I’m a few rungs down from a professional writer, but I take note that the elegant way to express a point in writing is through revelation and innuendo. By his first trip to the prom Gardner hadn’t picked up to that, and he drives conclusions with a ball peen hammer. Here’s an example:

Perry Mason continued to speak, slowly and forcefully, yet without raising his voice.

“All right,” he said, “I’m different. I get my business because I fight for it, and because I fight for my clients. Nobody ever called on me to organize a corporation, and I’ve never yet probated an estate. I haven’t drawn up over a dozen contracts in my life, and I wouldn’t know how to go about foreclosing a mortgage. People that come to me don’t come to me because they like the looks of my eyes, or the way my office is furnished, or because they’ve known me at a club. They come to me because they need me. They come to me because they want to hire me for what I can do.”

She looked up at him then. “Just what is it that you do, Mr. Mason?” she asked.

He snapped out two words at her. “I fight!”

Gardner, Erle Stanley (2011-09-27). The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 92-99). Della Street Press. Kindle Edition.

In subsequent Perry Mason readers came to see better use of understatement. My amateur advice would have Perry assuring his client quietly and then revealing through actions and the narration his resolve and tenacity.

Regarding Della Street’s assessment of the client, the narrative could have gotten along as well and smoother with implication substituting for vitriol:

“I hate everything she stands for!” said Della Street. “I’ve had to work for everything I got. I never got a thing in life that I didn’t work for. And lots of times I’ve worked for things and have had nothing in return. That woman is the type that has never worked for anything in her life! She doesn’t give a damned thing in return for what she gets. Not even herself.”

Gardner, Erle Stanley (2011-09-27). The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 298-301). Della Street Press. Kindle Edition.

A few hints dropped along the way would have adequately positioned the reader regarding Della’s observation. Throughout the story, the client Eva Belter is portrayed as an overindulged and conniving bitch. It doesn’t take a soliloquy from Della to point this out to the readers.

Gardner’s first novel established the general theme of Perry Mason plots. Repeating myself from another post:

  • Perry acquires a client in some (usually non-criminal) matter.
  • Somebody gets murdered.
  • Perry’s client gets charged with the crime.
  • Perry figures out who really did the murdering and makes a dramatic exposé.

Neither this nor any of the early Perry Mason stories I have read or viewed have any courtroom drama. That came later, and the TV series always featured court scenes. Digressing, these weren’t case trials, they were preliminary hearings. The absence of a jury and standard trial procedures makes this evident even to non-lawyers.

What the first Perry Mason book does do is to establish Perry as a lawyer who pushes the limits of the legal process—even skirting these limits in this and this and early books. He’s constantly at odds with the police—from time to time there’s a warrant out for his arrest. He gets arrested when the plot requires it.

This story begins like so many others, a smashing client walks into Perry’s offices and retains him for some non criminal matter. Later his client is charged with murder. Perry uses various dodges to keep his client out of jail while he plays detective. For the heavy footwork he employs the firm of detective Paul Drake, whose offices are located in the same building.

This first ever client tries to pass herself off as somebody else, giving Perry a false identity, but leaving a healthy retainer, which is what matters. In this case the phony Eva Griffin wants Perry to pay blackmail to a scandal sheet that has some juice about a powerful political “friend” of hers. Perry quickly traces the ownership of the scandal sheet to the ruthless George C. Belter, husband of Eva Belter, otherwise known as Eva Griffin.

The ruthless Belter gets murdered and things get complicated. Glamorous Eva spends a lot of the plot trying to pull a double cross on Perry, even to the extent in implicating him in the crime. As Della has observed, she is a totally worthless human being. The philandering politician underwrites Perry’s fees, but the murder weapon is traced to him. As the suspected murderess, Eva Belter can’t get at her late husband’s funds, which are about to go to the dead Belter’s nephew, Carl. Suffice it to say, Perry figures out which way the wind blows, and the widow Griffin takes control of her late husband’s scandal sheet, precluding any need to pay blackmail. It’s a sweet story.

The Kindle edition exhibits a number of the failings of electronic books converted from hard copy by mechanical means. These defects manifest as character substitutions and broken formatting. Here’s an example:

“You read in the paper about the hold-up at the Beech-wood Inn last night? There were some guests, you know, in the main dining room, and some in the private dining rooms. A man tried to hold up the guests, and somebody shot him.”

Gardner, Erle Stanley (2011-09-27). The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 113-115). Della Street Press. Kindle Edition.

It’s obvious the original text had “Beechwood” hyphenated over a line break. When Kindle displays the sentence there is no break in the word, but the hyphen remains. An agile reader can get past these flaws, and what I have noticed is that Amazon will from time to time update a copy I have previously purchased. I’m assuming some error correction is involved, but I haven’t taken the time to run down this theory.

Keep reading. There will be more Perry Mason coming later this year.

Bad Movie of the Week

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Allow me to repeat something from a previous post:

Erle Stanley Gardner was a real life lawyer who found writing pulp fiction more interesting than practicing law. Also writing under various noms de plume, his early works featured lawyers in the principal roles, and in 1933 he introduced the character of Perry Mason in The Case of the Velvet Claws. Gardner left the full time practice of law at that time, and he came to be the most prolific American novelist of the 20th century.

This is that very first Perry Mason novel but not the very first Perry Mason movie. From Warner Brothers in 1936 it’s The Case of the Velvet Claws.

Warren William is Perry Mason, hard driving defense attorney for hire, and Claire Dodd is Della Street, his loyal and sexy private secretary. We’ve all watched the Perry Mason TV series, and we know that Perry Mason and Della Street remain single throughout, fostering an ongoing sexual tension that agitates viewer interest. So we are surprised in the opening scene of this movie when Judge Mary F. O’Daugherty’s (Clara Blandick) court proceedings are interrupted by a sudden request. Notorious criminal attorney Perry Mason must get married right away, and the unlucky bride is his secretary Della Street. Right away we suspect that Mason, so diligent in legal matters, has recently forgot to use a condom. It’s all perfectly innocent, however, and the judge suspends court for ten minutes to sentence the pair to life.

Then it’s off to the honeymoon to start the whoopee machine. Not quite. Before Perry and Della can even get their clothes off their plans are interrupted by another woman in trouble (see above). This one has a gun, so she takes precedence over the woman with the hot body. Perry’s detective side kick Spudsy Drake (Eddie Acuff) looks on, definitely plussed.

It’s Eva Belter (Wini Shaw), and she needs Mason’s legal assistance in forestalling public embarrassment, as though pulling a rod on a noted attorney would not bring on such embarrassment. Sexy Eva gives Perry a phony name and tells him she was out with a prominent politician, not her husband, and a gossip tabloid, Spicy Bits, is going to let slip the details unless some money is forthcoming.

A crime story that this is, the movie is played as a comedy, if you don’t mind a comedy in which people get killed. There is drama interspersed with humorous incidents, starting with the Mason-Street wedding. Being the first Perry Mason novel, this story roughly sets up the standard plot line known to all fans of the TV series:

  • Perry acquires a client in some (usually non-criminal) matter.
  • Somebody gets murdered.
  • Perry’s client gets charged with the crime.
  • Perry figures out who really did the murdering and makes a dramatic exposé.

Perry pays the blackmailing editor, Frank Locke (Addison Richards) an unfriendly visit and also does a little snooping. Spudsy learns that the owner of Spicy Bits is none other than ungodly rich and ruthless George C. Belter (Joe King), the husband of Perry’s client.

VelvetClaws-09

Perry pays a call on Mr. Belter, bluffing his way past the housekeeper, a Mrs. Veite (Ruth Robinson) and her giggly, promiscuous daughter Norma (Paula Stone), who are to play prominently in the proceedings on down the pike.

VelvetClaws-11

We are shortly treated to a scene wherein sexy Eva shoots ruthless George. Now she’s in big trouble.

VelvetClaws-08

This gets interesting. Before anybody calls the police, Eva drags Perry to the murder scene, at which Perry commits the un-lawyerly act of picking up one of two spent cartridge casings from the floor, and putting it into his pocket.

Next it’s off to see the hapless politician, Peter Milnor (Kenneth Harlan). The gun that did the killing came from him.

VelvetClaws-07

I’ll not give away the details, but Perry is soon being sought by the police.

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He continues to do some checking and uncovers some juicy background on editor Frank Locke.

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Things begin to unravel, especially after Bugsy dresses in drag to spy on editor Locke’s girlfriend Esther Linton (Carol Hughesin a ladies restroom.

VelvetClaws-04

Ultimately this leads to a potentially deadly encounter with the evil Mrs. Veite, seen here holding the gun.

VelvetClaws-03

Never mind, Perry gets it all straightened out and exposes the real killer in a classic who done it sitting room scene. The scene features ruthless George’s nephew Carl Griffin played by the remarkable Bill Elliott, who was to go on and star in a number of western films along with a sidekick named Little Beaver, played by Robert Blake, no stranger to gun play, himself.

VelvetClaws-02

After the real killer is carried off by the police Perry and Della head out to a life of married bliss. Actually, only until the next movie, because none of the books have them married, and I have not come across any other of the movies that show them even getting close to bedding down together.

VelvetClaws-01

This movie has a number of glaring absurdities. First off, what’s the big hurry about getting married. Perry has worked with sexy Della for years, and he’s suddenly got the hots for her? No problem. That’s what motels are for. Trust me, people did that even in the 1930’s, back before I was born.

Since I figure to be reviewing a number of Perry Mason movies I obtained a Kindle edition of the book and followed along with the plot. Naturally the movie diverges widely from the book, but not in the essential elements. The book has no courthouse wedding—it opens in the traditional way with a sexy client walking into Perry’s office. The tryst between sexy Eva and upright politician Milnor is still the catalyst for the plot, and the movie follows along the book’s main theme. The key plot element that has conniving Eva attempting to implicate Perry in her husband’s murder gives the story its title and is retained.

I have to say the movie makes for a better telling. The book was Gardner’s first cut at a serious novel, and his style at this point tends to the heavy. Tom Reed has taken the book and made an entertaining story out of it with decent continuity. Well-known Perry Mason character detective Paul Drake becomes efficient but comical character detective Bugsy Drake in the film.

There are a couple more Perry Mason movies I have recorded from Turner Classic Movies, and I will be reviewing them later. There will also be a review of this book. Keep reading.

Anthropogenic Global Warming

This is being reposted from The North Texas Skeptics.

The NTS program presentation for today is Anthropogenic Global Warming.

  • 2:00 p.m.
  • Center for Community Cooperation
  • 2900 Live Oak Street
  • Dallas, Texas

Some members will be participating by Skype. To join the discussion on Skype connect to prasadgolla75075.

A PDF copy of the presentation is on-line here.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Not yet

Did you ever wonder…

Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?

Why do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?

Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?

Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?

Why is it that doctors and attorneys call what they do ‘practice’?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring, and dish washing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff??

Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

It was the best of times, it was the end of times

LightWins-01

People, this is one of those times. And now we have Janet Porter:

According to the Babylonian Talmud, a book of rabbinical interpretation of the scriptures, written a thousand years before Christ, there was only one other time in history where homosexual marriage was practiced. It wasn’t Babylon, Rome or even Sodom and Gomorrah. According to the Babylonian Talmud, the only other time in history were homosexual marriage was practiced was … during the days of Noah.

Matthew 24:17 says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of man.” If this is true, we are uniquely positioned for the return of Christ like no other time in history. Marriage matters, because it matters to God.

Find out more at lightwinsthemovie.com.

Of course that was interesting. Janet Porter even agrees these may be the best of times. Before I get too deep, here’s some clarification:

That “Matthew 24:17” is a bit of Janet’s bad memory. The closest Matthew is 24:37. And my copy of the Bible has it differently:

Matthew 24:37 King James Version (KJV)

37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

But I’m not one to quibble.

Light Wins, the movie is something else:

Like a tank in Tienanmen Square, the homosexual agenda has been running over people since Anita Bryant’s courageous stand in the 1970s.

And there’s more. Watch the trailer.

For those who didn’t have a TV set or a newspaper in the 1970s:

Anita Jane Bryant (born March 25, 1940) is an American singer, former Miss Oklahoma beauty pageant winner, former spokeswoman (brand ambassador) for the Florida Citrus Commission (marketing orange juice), and outspoken opponent of homosexuality. She scored four Top 40 hits in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including “Paper Roses“, which reached #5. She later became known for her strong opposition to homosexuality and for her 1977 “Save Our Children” campaign to repeal a local ordinance in Dade County, Florida, that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, an involvement that significantly affected her popularity and career in show business.

Yes, the Florida Citrus Commission dropped her sparkling endorsement campaign after she began making public comments that turned off the customer base.

So back to Janet Porter.

“According to the Babylonian Talmud…” How about, “According to the November 1968 issue of Archie Comics…” When you start off quoting fictional works, why go to half measures?

Porter digs deeper: “If this is true, we are uniquely positioned for the return of Christ like no other time in history.” Let’s state this another way. “If this is true, then your grandmother is a television set.” That’s known as a syllogism. In a syllogism, if the premise is false, then it does not matter what the conclusion is. The entire syllogism is true.

And Porter does not shy from having her name attached to such puff? To each his own.

Finally, regarding the movie and the reference to tanks in Tienanmen Square. Tanks in Tienanmen Square killed people. There’s a difference. Would that Porter recognized this.

This may be the end of times, but it’s not the end of these tales. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Hard Time

There’s a news story I’m looking at, and it goes something like this. Four men went out in a car at night, and only three came back. Alive. The fourth went to the morgue. The three are facing hard time, one convicted and sentenced so far.

Wait. That’s last week’s story. Here’s this weeks story:

The Baltimore Police Department on Tuesday identified the six officers who have been suspended in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was taken to a hospital with a severed spinal cord after being chased and arrested.

Mr. Gray died Sunday, a week after his arrest.

Lt. Brian Rice was the senior officer involved, and officials have said it was a lieutenant on the scene, part of a team of officers patrolling on bicycles, who made eye contact with two men — one of them Mr. Gray — before they fled on foot, prompting the officers to pursue them. Lieutenant Rice, 41, is an 18-year veteran of the department.

FreddieGray-01

See the screen shot from the TV news. It shows the late Mr. Gray after a well-publicized take down on a Baltimore street. At least two people had video running and picked up police struggling to subdue a very vocal Mr. Gray. And he wound up with a broken neck and a crushed larynx.

Protesters are shouting, and police are defensive. Talking heads on TV are pointing to the video showing the raucous take down and trying to figure out at what point the broken neck took place. My take is the protesters should get off the take down and focus on something else. Take a look at the photo. That’s Freddie Gray standing, on his own. My complete lack of medical experience does not keep me from commenting, and it does not make sense that Freddie Gray could be standing there with his spine 80% separated.

Then the doors to the van closed.

The next the outside world saw of Freddie Gray he was in medical emergency, and within an hour he was in a coma, from which he never recovered. Sometime after the image above somebody killed Freddie Gray. These people are the police.

We have again a case where a number of people leave in a vehicle and that number, less one, arrive alive. As in the the opening paragraph, somebody needs to do hard time.

A small problem is what we call the blue wall. The people with Mr. Gray at the time of his killing were police. Only police. As seen in case after case, police protect their own, even to the level of perjury. As one former New York City police officer recounted on the news this morning, “If you snitch your career is over.” And more. Does the name Serpico ring a bell?

Francesco Vincent Serpico (born April 14, 1936) is an American-Italian retired American New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer who is famous for blowing the whistle on police corruption in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an act that compelled Mayor John V. Lindsay to appoint the landmark Knapp Commission to investigate the NYPD. Much of Serpico’s fame came after the release of the 1973 film Serpico, which starred Al Pacino in the title role, for which Pacino was nominated for an Oscar.

After it became known that Serpico had dropped a dime on criminals in the police department he was shot by a drug suspect while fellow officers stood by and refused to help him. That’s the blue wall in action.

How is this going to play out? There’s little doubt the city of Baltimore is going to pay money. It’s been done before:

Relatives of Dondi Johnson Sr., who was left a paraplegic after a 2005 police van ride, won a $7.4 million verdict against police officers. A year earlier, Jeffrey Alston was awarded $39 million by a jury after he became paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a van ride. Others have also received payouts after filing lawsuits.

Apparently a police arrest in Baltimore can be worth a sensational video or two. But it’s the ride to the station that’s going to get you.

The Photo That Got Me Arrested

SouthGate

This is getting to be an ongoing series. There’s a lot of this going on. This happened in South Gate, California:

So on Sunday, when a lawman was caught on video snatching a woman’s cellphone in South Gate as she recorded and smashing it on the floor, it was with relief that South Gate police said the officer wasn’t one of their own but a deputy U.S. marshal.

“We’ve had incidents where people have videotaped us and it requires unbelievable restraint. Typically during times where things can be a little chaotic,” said South Gate police Capt. Darren Arakawa. “We really have to convey we’re living in a different environment now where police action is scrutinized and a lot of video is surfacing. We simply tell our officers to assume they’re being recorded out in public at all times.”

Here’s the deal. Apparently U.S. Marshals were going after some bikers (as in biker bang). Beatriz Paez lived in the neighborhood and started getting it all on he phone video. One of the feds took offense at this and requested she cease and desist. It would appear Paez knows her rights and declined the invitation.

That was the end of the civilities. The marshal wrested the offending device from the firm grasp of Ms. Paez and threw it to the ground. He then commenced to stomp on it until it was “really most sincerely dead.” See the photo from The Los Angeles Times.

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I observe Ms. Paez has put on a different shirt since the previous photo.

What the (clueless) marshal failed to notice is—drum roll—this is the 21st century. Just about everybody has a video camera within easy reach. Somebody else was recording the scene as Paez recorded the feds and had her phone destroyed in return.

If somebody would ask my opinion on this I would mention that there should by now be a former federal officer’s badge on his boss’s desk. There are still a few public servants who have not gotten the memo. People in public places can photograph, record, video anybody doing anything publicly visible, and that would especially include public employees in the performances of their duties.

Keep reading. There’s going to be some more of this.

Eighteen Minutes that Changed History

SantaAnnaSurrenders

It was 179 years ago today. Sam Houston, a general with almost no military experience, set a trap for the opposing forces of Antonio López de Santa Anna. Santa Anna, who had previously deposed the government of Mexico, envisioned himself as “The Napoleon of the West,” and he proceeded to antagonize the citizenry, especially the Anglo immigrants who had been encouraged to settle in Texas.

After the slaughter of Anglo and Mexican defenders at the Alamo, Santa Anna engaged in a weeks long pursuit of Sam Houston’s ragtag army. On 20 April 1836 the two sides settled into position along the San Jacinto River in what is now southeast Harris County, Texas. The time had come for a fight.

While Santa Anna established himself in a relatively indefensible lowland, Sam Houston took advantage of available concealment and the Mexican army’s preference for a nap in mid-afternoon. About 3:30 p.m. on 21 April the rebel forces charged yelling and killing into the Mexican camp. Mexican forces were unable to form up for a coherent defense, and it was all over in 18 minutes.

630 Mexican troops and nine of Houston’s men were killed. Santa Anna attempted to escape, but he was hunted down and captured. Houston forced him to cede the war to the Texans and to relinquish all territorial claims. Lost to Mexico was an area that stretches from the Sabine River to the Pacific Ocean and from the Rio Grande to well into what is now Wyoming.

Santa Anna’s fortunes declined in Mexico after his capitulation, as he lost additional territory to the United States. His exile from Mexico followed, and we can credit him with helping to initiate the chewing gum industry:

From 1848 to 1874, Santa Anna lived in exile in Cuba, the United States, Colombia, and Saint Thomas. In 1869, the 74-year-old Santa Anna was living in exile in Staten Island, New York and was trying to raise money for an army to return and take over Mexico City. During his time living in New York City, he is credited with bringing in the first shipments of chicle, the base of chewing gum. He failed to profit from this, since his plan was to use the chicle to replace rubber in carriage tires, which was tried without success.

Thomas Adams, the American assigned to aid Santa Anna while he was in the U.S., experimented with chicle in an attempt to use it as a substitute for rubber. He bought one ton of the substance from Santa Anna, but his experiments proved unsuccessful. Instead, Adams helped to found the chewing gum industry with a product that he called “chiclets.”

Sam Houston became first president of the new republic of Texas and later the first governor of the State of Texas. The city of Houston is named after him, and his name was the first word spoken by a man on the moon.

Politicians Unclear

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It appears there are going to be more of these. When you get tired, just hit the delete button. This one is from Tennessee (not Texas):

The Bible will not become the official book of Tennessee this year.

Bolstered by opposition from Republican leadership, the Senate voted 22-9 to send the Bible to committee, effectively killing the bill a day after it was adopted by the House.

“This isn’t the time or place now in the full Senate floor to delve into that. We really need to look into it in committee,” Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said about two hours before the vote.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Attorney General Herbert Slatery oppose the bill; Slatery recently announced he thinks the bill violates the state and federal constitutions.

Violates state and federal constitutions? Who would have thought? Apparently not Freshman Representative Jerry Sexton, representing District 35:

Freshman Rep. Jerry Sexton wants to add the Bible to the state symbols of Tennessee.

According to the Bean Station Republican’s legislation, the Holy Bible would be “designated as the official state book.”

It’s unclear how the proposal would meet a provision in Tennessee Constitution that states that “no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”

A number of Sexton’s Republican colleagues exercised choice language dismissing the notion:

“I sure hope it won’t pass. I think it’ll be a dark day for Tennessee if it does,” Norris said Wednesday.

“All I know is that I hear Satan snickering. He loves this kind of mischief. You just dumb the good book down far enough to make it whatever it takes to make it a state symbol, and you’re on your way to where he wants you.”

All right. That just about unraveled all the good sense that went before. Senate Majority Leader Norris reminds us, “I hear Satan snickering. He loves this kind of mischief.” Ignoring completely what is well known, that Satan is a mythical character. Can we surmise Senator Norris thinks The Great Pumpkin will be snickering, as well?

We can all be thankful that nothing like this goes on in Texas. Just kidding. Readers, you have only yourselves to blame. You voted for these people—people who in other circumstances would not be allowed to have sharp objects.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your souls.

Politicians Unclear

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This is almost humorous. Apparently Representative Phil Stephenson, who represents Legislative District 85 based in Wharton, has introduced the following resolution as H.C.R. No. 30:

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The Ten Commandments set forth a code of moral conduct that has had a significant impact on the development of the legal principles of western civilization; and
WHEREAS, It is clear from their writings that our founding fathers believed devotedly that there was a God, and throughout American history all three branches of government have acknowledged the strong role of religion in our nation ’s heritage and in the lives of its citizens; and
WHEREAS, Government should not now or ever demonstrate any hostility to observances of faith by disabling the recognition of our religious heritage; and
WHEREAS, The overwhelming majority of voters in the state 2010 Republican Party Primary Election voted in favor of the public acknowledgement of God, and the 2012 platform of the Republican Party of Texas affirms “that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity, and strength”; and
WHEREAS, Reflecting our history as a religious people, prayers, including the use of the word “God,” at public gatherings and displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational
institutions and other government buildings are acknowledgements of the continuing and important role of our religious tradition;
now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby support prayers, including the use of the word “God,” at public gatherings, and displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings.

I have removed some of the formatting and line numbering in the above, which I obtained from a State of Texas government site. Representative Stephenson’s Concurrent Resolution mentions the Ten Commandments. However, it does not mention which ten. The Ten Commandments are mention two places in the Bible, in slightly different forms in each place. Mr. Stephenson will likely get around later to telling which version we should recognize.

Mr. Stephenson’s resolution further states, “It is clear from their writings that our founding fathers believed devotedly that there was a God.” To which some would respond, “Really?” Is it really that clear? Possibly it is clear only to Mr. Stephenson. He does not elaborate. He also does not mention which God it is clear there is. Presumably Mr. Stephenson will also pick the God. I’m certainly glad that burden was not left up to me.

Continuing, the resolution states, “The overwhelming majority of voters in the state 2010 Republican Party Primary Election voted in favor of the public acknowledgement of God, and the 2012 platform of the Republican Party of Texas affirms ‘that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity, and strength.'” Mr. Stephenson certainly has a point there. Since the Republicans won the most recent election we will have to kowtow to their desires. For the present. That’s the way democracy is supposed to work. You lose, you’re screwed.

Well, not quite, but I will get to that later.

No, I’ll get to it now. What Mr. Stephenson wants is for taxpayers to underwrite proselytizing for his favorite religion. Public funds (maybe not huge amounts) are going to pour out of the coffers whenever somebody desires to nail up a placard reminding all who will look that Stephen’s God is the one God and the true God, and the other Gods can go suck an egg. I’m feeling the tug on my pocketbook already. It’s a spiritually uplifting tug, but a tug nonetheless.

And it’s for this we elected a state legislature? Not to see that schools are funded, not to see that roads and bridges are repaired, not to see that the police and the national guard troops are fed and paid, but to daily call attention to Mr. Stephenson’s one and true God. OK, maybe all that other stuff will get done, as well, but it’s important to first recognize Mr. Stephenson’s, and the Republican Party’s, religious preference.

After all, isn’t that what government is all about.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Dawn with Thunder

It was twenty years ago today. We were working for a company in Richardson on a project involving electronic warfare, and we were out on the company lot running some tests with a bunch of military equipment and vehicles when somebody brought the word.

“This has Middle East terrorism written all over it,” David informed us back in the office. He was keyed into a right wing outlet. David was that kind of guy.

As it turned out, and quickly, the only Middle East connection was a pair of soldiers recently back from the Middle East. Timothy McVeigh had served with distinction in the recently concluded Gulf War. This was a war waged by several nations and led by the United States military. Saddam Hussein’s forces had been routed completely and in utter disaster. The conflict provided a new definition for the term “lopsided.”

McVeigh came away with not so much a sense pride at his accomplishments as with distress at the ruthlessness of some of our military’s actions. Further events hardened his perspective.

In February 1993, under a new administration, the ATF went gung ho in a raid on a religious compound that was seen as a growing threat to public safety. Government agents and combatants in the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, were slaughtered at the start of the botched operation. There ensued a siege of several weeks, and on 19 April of that year, when the feds began to make their move to end the siege, the religious fanatics, under the leadership of a person named Vernon Howell, torched the buildings, killing nearly everybody inside.

One of those who escaped the flames was Kathy Schroeder, and she was ultimately charged with crimes committed by the cult. Lawyer for the defendants was Linda Thompson:

Linda Thompson (April 26, 1953 – May 10, 2009) was an American attorney, filmmaker, and the founder of the American Justice Federation. In 1993, she quit her job as a lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana to start the American Justice Federation, a non-profit group that promoted pro-gun and pro-Constitution causes through a shortwave radio program, a computer bulletin board system, and sales of its newsletter and videos.

A video Thompson produced is titled Waco, The Big Lie.

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The video, narrated by Thompson, uses the background story of the Branch Davidians and the ATF raid along with selectively edited clips from news media and other sources to paint a distorted interpretation of the tragedy. My copy of the video is about third hand, obtained from Joe Voelkering, former president of The North Texas Skeptics and also a forensic analyst who worked on the case. The following image is from my copy of the video.

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Linda Thompson’s narration accompanying this segment leaves no doubt about the message she wants to convey:

The following footages proves beyond any doubt that the tanks intentionally set the house on fire. It proves that the Branch Davidians were murdered.  Watch carefully as the tank backs out of the house. You can see that this tank has a gas jet on the front that shoots fire. You can also see the fire quite plainly. The tank goes into the house twice, and each time as it backs out the fire at the gas jet is plainly visible.

Copies of the video are available on-line, including YouTube.

What is significant is that at the time of the Branch Davidian siege Timothy McVeigh traveled to the site to observe and to proclaim his anti-government position. Michelle Ann Rauch, a television reporter, later testified about seeing McVeigh there:

Q. Is that a photograph that you took in March of 1993 near
Mt. Carmel?
A. I took this photograph, yes.
MR. NIGH: Your Honor, I’d move for the admission of PP61.
MR. GOELMAN: No objection.
THE COURT: Received.
BY MR. NIGH:
Q. Please tell us, Ms. Rauch, what it is that’s depicted there.
A. This is how I found Mr. McVeigh, when I walked up on the hill. He was sitting on the hood of his car with some bumper stickers that were for
sale.
Q. Did you speak to Mr. McVeigh?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. At that point in time?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And did you examine the bumper stickers that he had there?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Let me show you, if I may, what’s been marked for identification as
Defendant’s Exhibit PP7. It should be on the screen in front of you. Do
you recognize what’s depicted there?
A. Yes, this is another photograph that I took of the bumper stickers on
the hood of the car.
Q. Did you take them on the same day —
A. Yes.
Q. — that you saw Mr. McVeigh?
A. Yes.

My recollection is that Timothy McVeigh obtained a copy of the Linda Thompson video and watched it as many as 50 times. He evidently became convinced Thompson’s version of the events was true, and this hardened his resolve to carry out a vengeance attack against the government. His attraction to right-wing religious groups, such as the The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord was significant:

Timothy McVeigh was tied to several radical religious organizations, however, McVeigh was not yet exposed to the charismatic messages of these groups in his early teen youth and was just joining the Army when the CSA compound was besieged and broken up. Also, the Oklahoma City bombing occurred very close to the 10-year anniversary of the siege of the CSA compound. But the most plausible link is that Richard Wayne Snell, who was executed on the day of the bombing, had planned a similar attack on the Murrah building in 1983 after becoming upset with the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, Snell was heard taunting jailers that something drastic would happen on the day of his execution. It is plausible that McVeigh may have been mentored by Snell since Snell frequented gun shows, a CSA practice until shortly before Snell made active contact with the group that he is documented to have been a member of. By itself, that is understandable since Snell hid out at the CSA compound between pawn shop robberies. He did not, however, reside on the property. CSA considered him to be a “Patron”. Shortly after McVeigh was released from the Army he became very active at gun shows.

The date 19 April 1995 was significant. It was the second anniversary of the Waco cataclysm. April 19 is also the anniversary of the 1983 attack planned for the Murrah building and the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, considered to be the first shots fired in the war for independence from England.

McVeigh teamed with a buddy, Terry Nichols, to construct and plant an enormous bomb in a rental truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. McVeigh rented a Ryder truck, and he and Nichols loaded it with 5000 pounds of explosive ammonium nitrate and nitromethane. On the morning of 19 April 1995 McVeigh drove the truck to Oklahoma City and parked it in front of the Federal Building. He then lit a 2-minute fuse. A 5-minute fuse had been lit previously while the truck was stopped at a traffic light.

The blast shattered the front of the Murrah Building, which subsequently had to be demolished. 168 people, including 19 children were killed.

McVeigh walked away from his deadly cargo toward where he had stashed a get-away car. The bomb went off as he was traversing an alleyway. To prevent identification of his get-away car he had previously removed the license plates, and as he made his escape he forgot to put them back on. An Oklahoma state trooper stopped McVeigh for the missing plates and arrested him for carrying an illegal gun. McVeigh was still in jail when federal agents traced the Ryder truck to him. He was charged with the crime and executed on 11 June 2001.

And no Middle East religious fanatics were involved.

Bad Movie of the Week

LostPatrol-01

This one is bad. The plot so stretches reality, it’s hard to watch the film without wondering a handful of times whatever the writers were thinking? Would that we could ask Dudley Nichols (screen play) and Garrett Fort (adaptation). It’s The Lost Patrol out of RKO in 1934 and directed by John Ford. It’s from Patrol by Philip MacDonald, who also brought us Forbidden Planet. I’m sorry I don’t have a copy of the book to go along with this review, but here’s an overview of the plot.

It starts out with a British patrol in 1917 (World War One) crossing the desert in Mesopotamia on horse back. That was the first thing that got me to wondering. We just spent more billions than I ever earned in a life time fighting a war in Mesopotamia, and I do not recall seeing scenery that looks like this in the news footage. Take that as a throw-away from the writers and get on with the story. Nothing is said while the leader of the patrol is shot off his horse by an unseen Arab sniper. And that’s the last we see of him in the whole movie (see above).

How would you like to get a movie role like that. “How big is my part, C.B.” “Just a few seconds.” “Where are my lines?” “You don’t have any lines.” “Then what am I supposed to do?” “You’re supposed to get shot.” “Get shot?” “Yeah, and fall off your horse.” “You want me to fall of my horse?” “Nah. We’re going to have a stunt man for that. We just want you to lie on the ground and flop your arm over as you die.” “And I’m going to get paid for that?” “You’re going to get lunch.” I didn’t see where he got any credits in the titles, either.

LostPatrol-02

Anyhow, this is how the movie gets its name. After they bury their unfortunate leader in the sand the patrol resumes its trek, with the sergeant (Victor McLaglen) in charge. The first thing the sergeant does as they ride off is to summon the corporal. He asks the corporal where they’re supposed to be going. The corporal doesn’t know. Nobody knows. Their officer had been keeping that information to himself, always promising to discuss it “tomorrow.” Nevertheless, off they ride, single file, to somewhere unknown. The lost patrol.

Right away I started seeing horrid flaws in the plot. The officer is shot off his horse among the sand dunes by a sniper. Unless the sniper then went on lunch break, he’s still around. Out there in the dunes. Yet the entire patrol takes time out for a burial service for the deceased officer, a set up classically known as “target practice.” We can only imagine the Arabs have gone off to evening prayers, because, despite excellent opportunities, there is no more sniping. No more, at least, until the patrol arrives safely at an oasis.

LostPatrol-03

That’s right. Rather than picking members of the patrol off one by one while they are out in the open, in the desert, among the dunes, the Arabs wait until they get to the safety of the oasis, where there are trees and even a stone structure for cover. Right now you are thinking as I am, how come the Arabs didn’t just wander over to the Oasis before the British patrol got there and pick off the soldiers as they came for the only water in 100 miles? The answer is there wouldn’t have been a movie otherwise, and the guy playing the deceased officer wouldn’t have gotten lunch.

LostPatrol-04

The remainder of the plot involves the remainder of the patrol, save one, getting picked off by Arab snipers. Now get this. The soldiers are in the safety of the Oasis, and the Arabs are stuck out in the desert without water. The soldiers can wait for weeks while the Arabs dessicate out among the dunes.

No, there needs to be a plot, so we see soldiers exposing themselves while lying in guard amongst the dunes or even climbing to the top of a tree for a better look. Even when a friendly British airplane spots them and lands, the Arabs pick off the pilot while the soldiers try to warn him of the danger.

Drama is added by Private Sanders, a religious fanatic played by Boris Karloff. Dark and brooding as any creation of Victor Frankenstein, Sanders eventually goes completely off the deep end. It keeps the story interesting.

LostPatrol-05

There is some late action when the Arabs figure they have the Brits whittled down sufficiently for a frontal attack. We see the sergeant finishing off the last remaining Arab with a Lewis gun salvaged from the airplane. Spoiler alert: Only the sergeant is left alive when the relief British patrol arrives. And we never find out what the patrol was about and where they were supposed to be going.

LostPatrol-06

Hey! There’s music by  Max Steiner. Not among his best. All he had to do was to evoke some Middle East themes, heavy on the wood winds.

Rev Elations

Thank you very much!
Thank you very much!
That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me

Source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/s/scroogelyrics/thankyouverymuchlyrics.html

It’s not every day I receive a gift of such great joy. Allow me to share:

Is this the John Blanton who is a known liar ?

My my…you have much to learn…you fucking idiot.

This is a comment that was pasted to a recent post. My initial observation was there was a disconnect between the comment and the post. The post was about police conduct following a shooting in North Charleston. I was thinking, “What goes?” I figured the commenter had mixed up and attached to the wrong post. I needed to contact him.

Oops! Here’s what I got from the comment profile:

Rev Elations
g1810227@trbvm.com

The person’s name was Rev Elations and his email address was g1810227@trbvm.com. I sent a mail to Rev Elations at g1810227@trbvm.com. It went something like this:

Thanks for reading. I have your comment:

Is this the John Blanton who is a known liar ?
My my…you have much to learn…you fucking idiot.

I’m getting ready to approve your comment. However, it doesn’t seem relevant to the post to which it’s attached. Do you really mean this comment to be attached to this post?

Best regards,
John Blanton

I shortly (immediately) received a reply mail:

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.
<g1810227@trbvm.com>:
Remote host said:
550 5.1.1 <g1810227@trbvm.com>: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual alias table
[RCPT_TO]

Plus some more. That was puzzling. What outfit did Rev Elations work for that didn’t carry his address in their records? I decided to find out. I entered trbvm.com into my browser address window and pressed ENTER. Here’s the page I got (or something like it):

RevElations-01

Imagine that. Somebody sent me a charming email using a 10-minute address. How thoughtful.

Then it began to dawn on me (I’m slow at times). This was meant to tell me what Rev Elations thought of me. It was possibly not even kind. Some dissection was in order:

Is this the John Blanton who is a known liar ?

That sounded familiar. I wasn’t being confused with somebody else.

My my…you have much to learn…you fucking idiot.

Astounding! What insight? Rev Elations is bound to be a person of deep perception. And what command of language! Eat your hearts out, Shakespeare and Churchill.

Then why did this master of prose choose to cloak his identity? To not take credit? To hide his light under a bushel?

Matthew 5:15 King James Version (KJV)

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

And a cloud lifted, and a light shown, and my eyes were opened. The truth dawned. This was a Christian sending me a cute message. I should have caught on right away: Rev Elations = Revelations. What deftness of expression!

And he shies from taking credit. How commendable!

Of course, I’ve seen this before. It’s called “Ring and Run.”

A few days ago I took issue with something posted by a Facebook friend. I added my comments, and she commented back, and I commented back, and somebody else commented on my comment, and I responded to that comment. I thought the whole matter was so bizarre that it was due some Skeptical Analysis, so I did the analysis and posted everything on this blog. Then I linked back to my blog post on Facebook.

I did not have an egg timer on hand, but shortly my Facebook friend unfriended me. Her posts completely disappeared from my Facebook feed. It’s not as though this has never happened to me before. It’s called ring and run.

Days drag on, nights get tiring, and I pore over arcane sources, tracking down the facts behind controversial issues. And sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it. Could I possibly be on the wrong side of history? Are my methods rusted and my facts derelict? Do sometimes I miss the mark, and are good and earnest people suffering my rebuke?

It’s times like this when I probe the possibilities and fret that I may have strayed off track that reassurance comes thundering at me disguised as a gentle hint. And I say, “Yes! Nailed it!” And I sing:

Thank you very much!
Thank you very much!
That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me

Thank you, Rev Elations, whoever you are. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Dr. Quack

DrOz-02

I’ve been slow picking up on this. “Alternative medicine” is an intrusive social problem and can stand some bandwidth. I posted on it back in January in an item titled “Stupidity Writ Large.” That was related to the measles outbreak facilitated by America’s pernicious anti-vaccine movement. Now comes the matter of Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz.

Mehmet Cengiz Öz (Turkish: [mehˈmet dʒenˈɟiz øz]; born June 11, 1960), better known as Dr. Oz, is a Turkish-Americancardiothoracic surgeon, author, and television personality. Oz is supportive of alternative medicine, and has been criticized by publications including Popular Science and The New Yorker for giving “non-scientific” advice.

Oz first appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004, and later on Larry King Live and other TV programs. In 2009, The Dr. Oz Show, a daily television program focusing on medical issues and personal health, was launched by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures.

DrOz-01

Dr. Oz’s alternative medicine connection is manifest in, among others:

Lest readers think any of these to be a reasonable practice of medicine, consider the following:

Reiki:

The existence of the proposed mechanism for reiki – qi or “life force” energy – has not been established. Most research on Reiki is poorly designed and prone to bias and there is no good evidence that Reiki is helpful for treating any medical condition, although some physicians have said it might help promote general wellbeing.[5] In 2011, William T. Jarvis of The National Council Against Health Fraud stated that there “is no evidence that clinical reiki’s effects are due to anything other than suggestion” or the placebo effect.

Reiki’s teachings and adherents claim that qi is physiological and can be manipulated to treat a disease or condition. The existence of qi has not been established by medical research. As a result, some consider Reiki to be a pseudoscientific theory based on metaphysical concepts.

Faith healing:

A study in the British Medical Journal investigated spiritual healing, therapeutic touch and faith healing. In a hundred cases that were investigated, no single case revealed that the healer’s intervention alone resulted in any improvement or cure of a measurable organic disability.

Psychic communication with the dead:

Scientists who study anomalistic psychology consider mediumship to be the result of fraud and psychological factors. Research from psychology for over a hundred years has revealed that where there is not fraud, mediumship and Spiritualist practices can be explained by hypnotism, magical thinking and suggestion. Trance mediumship which is claimed by the Spiritualists to be caused by discarnate spirits speaking through the medium have been proven in cases to be alternate personalities from the medium’s subconscious mind.

Homeopathy:

No individual preparation has been unambiguously shown by research to be different from placebo. The methodological quality of the primary research was generally low, with such problems as weaknesses in study design and reporting, small sample size, and selection bias. Since better quality trials have become available, the evidence for efficacy of homeopathy preparations has diminished; the highest-quality trials indicate that the remedies themselves exert no intrinsic effect. A review conducted in 2010 of all the pertinent studies of “best evidence” produced by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that “the most reliable evidence – that produced by Cochrane reviews – fails to demonstrate that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.”

I’m taking inspiration for this from today’s CNN report on the Columbia University controversy surrounding Dr. Oz. Images are screen shots from the broadcast.

DrOz-03

One of the ten to sign the Oz protest was Dr. Joel Tepper:

The doctors who sent the letter were led by Dr. Henry Miller of California’s Stanford University. The nine other doctors from across the country included Dr. Joel Tepper, a cancer researcher from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health — based on the Upper West Side.

From the CNN report:

Dr. Joel Tepper signed the letter. “He has touted many drugs as miracle drugs for weight loss, which causes people to spend huge amounts of money for treatments which have no benefit whatsoever.” He said at most universities if someone who did this, “That is grounds for dismissal.”

DrOz-04

CNN aired clips from a Senate committee roasting of Dr. Oz:

During a Senate hearing on consumer protection, Senator Claire McCaskill stated that by airing segments on weight loss products that are later cited in advertisements, Oz plays a role, intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams, and that she is “concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”[41] Mary Engle of the Federal Trade Commission criticized Oz for calling green coffee extract “magic” and a “miracle”, stating that it is difficult for consumers to listen to their inner voices when products are praised by hosts they trust.

One of the products Oz was promoting, Green Coffee Bean Extract, was found to have no weight loss benefits. Two of the researchers who were paid to write the study admitted that they could not back their data so they retracted their paper. The FTC filed a complaint that the Texas-based company Applied Food Sciences (the promoters of the study) had falsely advertised. The FTC alleged that the study was “so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it” so Applied Food Sciences agreed to pay a $3.5 million settlement.

DrOz-05

DrOz-06

Dr. Oz is firing back.

“I bring the public information that will help them on their path to be their best selves,” Oz said in a statement, according to USA Today. The newspaper reported that the statement was released by a “Dr. Oz Show” representative. “We provide multiple points of view, including mine, which is offered without conflict of interest,” the statement continued. “That doesn’t sit well with certain agendas which distort the facts.”

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His rebuttal echoes the position of the counter-science site Natural News:

A letter signed by ten doctors — all of whom have financial ties to industry — calls for Columbia University to force Dr. Oz to resign from the university’s Department of Surgery. This letter is a tremendously educational exhibit of the mafia tactics used by the biotech industry, as it essentially claims Dr. Oz has lost his mind and is now endangering the public. “Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz’s presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable,” the letter reads.

Of course, all the people who signed this letter have no qualms whatsoever with farmers spraying thousands of tons of cancer-causing glyphosate herbicide chemicals on all the foods we eat. That’s perfectly acceptable to them and poses “no danger,” they claim. It is Dr. Oz and his crazy, wild, irresponsible advice that people should eat wholesome foods and take charge of their own health that’s now deemed a threat in this society… a society dominated by the financial interests of biotech and pharmaceutical corporations that profit from sickness and disease.

His profile shows Dr. Oz to be a “professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001.” I have no knowledge as to whether this is a position with academic tenure. If Oz has tenure, there may be nothing Columbia can easily do to disentangle itself. As long has he cleans his boots before stepping onto the campus he has academic immunity.

There is something I can do and you can do. Watch the Dr. Oz show and note what products get pushed. That can be an indication of scant worth. Form your buying habits accordingly. And keep your friends informed. Praise for Oz needs to be met with a retelling of the facts. Misinformation left adrift can eventually come ashore on your own beach.

Follow the saga of Dr. Oz and conduct your own research. The truth really is out there for those who desire it. And keep reading. I am not finished with this topic.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Not yet

A new Priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the Monsignor how he had done.

The Monsignor replied, “When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip.”

So next Sunday he took the Monsignor’s advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm.

Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:

1) Sip the vodka, don’t gulp.
2) There are 10 commandments, not 12.
3) There are 12 disciples, not 10.
4) Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
5) Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
6) We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.
7) The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the Spook.
8) David slew Goliath; he did not kick the shit out of him.
9) When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don’t say he was stoned off his ass.
10) We do not refer to the cross as the ‘Big T.’
11) When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, “Take this and eat it for this is my body.” He did not say, “Eat me.”
12) The Virgin Mary is not called ‘Mary with the Cherry’.
13) The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.
14) Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter’s not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy’s.