Time For Noah to Lawyer Up

From the Washington Post:

A gigantic ark is built with the help of a higher power, a symbolic refuge from the depravity of humankind. It is a huge, grandiose structure constructed out of wood and is perhaps larger than anything comparable in the world. Then, heavy rains begin to fall, inundating the earth around it.

And that’s when the lawyers are called.

Genesis, this is not. This is the fate of the multimillion-dollar Noah’s Ark replica and theme park in Northern Kentucky, Ark Encounter, which is suing insurance carriers over coverage for rain-related damages to the property.

The company is seeking to recoup what it says were $1 million worth of repairs, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

The $120 million Ark Encounter, where adult tickets cost $48, was completed in 2016, with a zoo, zip lines, and a restaurant in addition to its five-story high replica ark. It was the brainchild of Ken Ham and his ministry, Answers in Genesis, which also created the Creation Museum. Ham, is a Christian fundamentalist and creationist who argues that the Bible is a historical narrative that is meant to be taken literally.

He believes that dinosaurs lived alongside humans and that the biblical flood created the Grand Canyon. And he maintains that Noah labored seven decades to construct his vessel and was 600 years old when the storm surged.



Alabama Says: Life Begins at Erection

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed into law a controversial abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.

“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” said Ivey, a Republican, in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, the ball is in your court. Literally.


Donald Trump Is a Vengeful Man

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

“Remember when you were writing a term paper in eighth grade, and you realized that it was supposed to be 1,500 words, and you only had 1,200 in you on the DEW Line or Quemoy and Matsu? You reached for the poetry to pad it out, didn’t you? And your poetry owed far too much to Rod McKuen, didn’t it? Admit it, you slackers.

‘You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii, from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona, from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California.’

That came at the end of what seemed to be an endless State of the Union address by the President* of the United States. We were told in advance that his main theme would be unity, which was hilarious enough in theory, but which turned out to be downright depressing in practice. A lot of attention will be paid (justifiably) to this passage in which the president* seemed to be threatening to stop being president* if Congress kept doing its job.

‘An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.’

And if it fits, you must acquit.

‘It just doesn’t work that way. we must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad. This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate, in some cases years and years waiting, not right.’

OK, put aside the fact that his administration* hasn’t seen fit to put people up for something like 21 percent of the jobs in the government, or that it seems like half the Cabinet is there on temp jobs. This mendacious little stanza was belied by a spectacular denial of the political reality that has existed ever since El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago came down the escalator in 2015.

‘But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.’

Quite simply, if it weren’t for the politics of vengeance and/or retribution, this guy wouldn’t have got any closer to the White House than the afternoon tour.

This is a president* who revenged himself on the Khan family, on everybody who ran against him in the Republican primaries, and who kept Michael Cohen on retainer to threaten to destroy anyone who crossed him. This is a president* who was taught about politics by Roy Cohn, who reinvented the politics of vengeance and/or retribution for the television age. This is a president* who slow-danced with Roger Stone, the master of the dark arts of vengeance and/or retribution, and the man who embedded “his time in the barrel” in the political encyclopedia.

Vengeance and/or retribution is the central animating force in this president*’s life. Without vengeance and/or retribution, he would be a lifeless lump of pasty goo in the middle of a fairway in Florida.

The rest of the speech was lost on me after that moment. That was the gaslight that blinded me to all the others—the horrible and fantastical border porn, the grotesque misinformation regarding the abortion laws passed in New York and proposed in Virginia, the pumped-up disinformation campaign about the glories of his administration*. All of these were awful, but they were predictably awful. They were awful things that have been awful in his awful speeches for two awful years.

That business about the perils of the politics of vengeance was astonishing in not only its brass-balls-i-ness, but also in its barely disguised threat to bring the temple down on his own head if he thinks the hounds are baying too loudly in his ears. If he’s going down, he’s going down bloody, and he’s going to take a lot of important elements of the government down with him. And that, my fellow Americans, will be his final exercise of the politics of vengeance.

Oh, and Stacey Abrams was great.”


So, God, Much Like the Russians, Has Been Meddling in Our Elections

From CNN:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she believes God wanted President Donald Trump to win the 2016 election, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported on Wednesday.

“I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there,” Sanders told CBN’s David Brody and Jennifer Wishon, according to a transcript of the interview provided by CBN.


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Brett Kavanaugh’s Diary from 1982

From New York magazine, a satire by Eric Levitz

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May 5th

Woke early. Said morning prayers. Studied for the SATs for three hours, then spent the afternoon reading to the blind. In the evening, shot some baskets with my fellow adolescent males.

The competition was vigorous, but sportsmanlike. Afterwards, the boys debated which of the girls at National Cathedral was “the hottest.” I refused to engage in their sordid discussion. “Certainly, many of the young women at that school are physically attractive,” I told my schoolyard chums. “Still, I believe that the highest form of Eros is not the love of bodies, but rather the love of wisdom.”

“Ah, if you love wisdom so much, why don’t you marry the Constitution?” Mark asked.

Would that I could Mark — would that I could!

May 26th

Attended a movie outing, as scheduled. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Two out of five stars: Mirthful in moments, but utterly unrealistic and unrelatable in its depiction of high-school life.

After the film, I came home and put the finishing touches on my final project for sculpture class — a photo-realistic mask of my own face. The verisimilitude is eerie in its perfection.

June 13th

Had lunch with my 65 close, female friends. We discussed the school year’s end, love, life, and volume two of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Told Moira that she doesn’t “owe” it to Jeff to go to second base — and if he keeps pressing the issue, she should look for a new suitor who respects her boundaries. Assured Stephanie that she was gorgeous, inside and out, and that Hollywood’s conception of feminine beauty was oppressively narrow. Encouraged Cassandra to ignore her father’s gender-normative hang-ups and try out for her public school’s wrestling team in the fall (glass ceilings are made to be broken!). Mostly though, I just listened.

On the way home back home, I stopped in at the hospital to donate some bone marrow.

June 20th

Went to church, as I do every Sunday. Reflected on my faith in Catholicism, and belief in the sanctity of all human life, from its very earliest stages (but not, necessarily, in an anti-choice sort of way).

Later, oversaw a meeting of the “Keg City Club” — a philanthropic organization which aims to deliver barrels of potable water to cities at risk of drought. As Treasurer, I reiterated my view that we had enough funds in our coffers to arrange for the provision of at least 100 kegs by the end of the fiscal year.

June 21st

My face has been stolen. For the past two weeks, my photo-realistic mask was hanging at G-Prep, as part of the year-end art show. But when I came by to pick it up this afternoon, the wall where it had been mounted lay bare. I’ve always considered myself a pro-law teen. But this wanton act of theft has redoubled my conviction that laws are very good.

July 4th

At the beach for the week with my family. Met three charming young surfers, all named Ralph. They offered to make me an honorary member of their eponymous “club.” I couldn’t refuse. Will spend all day tomorrow volunteering at a home for children orphaned by shark attacks.

July 24th

A little groggy today. Stayed up late last night reading jurisprudence. Have said it before and will say it again: Roe v. Wade is settled law.

July 27th

Attended a party at Mark’s house last night. Upon my arrival, was perturbed to find that there were no parental guardians in the home. When I went to place my modest contribution to the pot latch (a two-liter bottle of sarsaparilla) in the kitchen, was chagrined to see the center-island festooned with wine and spirits. I asked Mark if he were familiar with the drinking age in this part of the country, and/or, with the scientific literature on adolescent brain development (which demonstrates that alcoholic beverages can exacerbate the teenage mind’s predilection for rash decision-making). He said that it sounded like I could use a drink, and foisted a libation upon me. I took a sip but did not swallow, then stepped into the living room to call the police.

I saw him the moment I reentered the kitchen.

He was standing too close to a visibly inebriated sophomore. Ogling her — with my own eyes. Words cannot express the uncanny horror I felt then. “Return my visage at once, scoundrel!” I cried. The female sophomore turned to me, and then back to the thief, and then to me again. “I think I’ve had too much,” she stammered as my doppelgänger fled to the foyer. I chased him out the door and onto the benighted streets of Bethesda. He was quick — but, thanks to my years of focus on athletics, I was quicker. I took him down at the bottom of the driveway with a proper form tackle, then pinned him to the pavement by his wrists. His breath reeked of vodka. His eyes flared with malice. For a few moments I couldn’t speak, transfixed by the twisted mirror of his face.

“Who are you?” I finally said.

“Brett Kavanaugh,” he hissed.

“No, you’re not.”

“Say it all you want — when it matters most, no one will believe you,” he said, enigmatically, before dissolving into a fit of maniacal laughter.

Then came the sirens and the flash of headlights. In my moment of distraction, he bit my wrist. I fell to my side in pain as he wriggled up from under me and then disappeared into the darkness. I walked back to the house to thank the arriving officers for their timely response.

Minutes later, the authorities led Mark out the door in handcuffs. As they were putting him in the back of a squad car he turned to me and said, “I know you only did this for my own good. Thank you for always focusing on being a good friend to me.”

“You’re welcome,” I replied. “But I didn’t just do it for you, Mark – I also did it for the law.”

When I returned home, I lay awake, unable to get my doppelgänger’s face out of my head. “Was he right?” I asked myself. If he committed some vile act in my name, would anyone believe me?

But after hours of studying my ceiling fan, and reflecting on the wisdom of Christ and the founding fathers, I decided that my truth would be heard. In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

Shortly thereafter, I descended into a beautiful dream; the Constitution was a woman, and I was giving her the most conscientious cunnilingus.


Suffer the Little Children…

The ever-expanding sexual abuse scandals involving the Catholic church have been in the news for days now.
It’s time to re-post part of a piece (“A Tale of Two Pedophiles”) in which I wrote about my encounter in the late 1980’s with Father Oliver O’Grady.
Unfortunately, it seems nothing has changed in the wake of that scandal:

Thoughts of Jaycee Dugard brought up my brief brush with one of the worst pedophiles the Catholic church has known to date.  His name is Father Oliver O’Grady, who spent years being shuttled from one diocese to another even though the hierarchy of the church knew he was molesting children.  He finally wound up as the parish priest in a small town in Calaveras county, California.  I was working as a dental hygienist for a local dentist and Father O’Grady happened to be one of our patients.

The dentist I worked for was a devout Catholic.  My employer was, on the whole, a nice fellow who felt strongly about his convictions.  He had anti-abortion posters hung quite visibly in his lab where patients would see them as they were escorted to their dental chairs.  Some patients took offense at being subjected to something like that in a dental office and angrily left the office–and in some cases they left the practice itself.  To me, this dogmatism on his part was like wearing a pair of blinders which allowed you to see only what you were supposed to see.

Often the dentist, his assistant and I would have lunch at a nearby sandwich shop.  On some occasions the dentist’s wife would join us.  At one of these informal lunches we were talking about water wells; a common topic in rural areas where having a good well is essential to life itself.  I happened to mention that a neighbor of mine, whose father was half Native American, taught me how to dowse for water with a forked branch.  The usual term for that was “water witching”, a skill that even the men who worked for our local electric company, PG & E, knew how to do.

My employer turned to me and said, very serious and straight-faced, “Isn’t that witchcraft?”  At first I thought he was kidding, but quickly realized he wasn’t.  I was nonplussed and stammered something about “No, it’s just something you feel.”  The dentist’s wife was in our little group and she tried to smooth things over a bit, but I have to say I was taken aback that someone in our modern age would bandy about the charge “witchcraft.”

Now, post-Palin anti-witchcraft blessing ceremonies, I’m no longer surprised.

I mention all of this in regard to Father O’Grady only to make the point that while my employer was looking behind the dental chair for imaginary witches, here we had a man who was actually doing unspeakable things with children.  Father O’Grady was a figure of authority and power, as was the diocese that sent him to this unsuspecting little hamlet.  Everyone in my office fell all over himself in deference to this man when he came in for his appointments.  It was “Father this…” and “Father that…” but no one had the slightest clue that he had been molesting children for years and the powers that be knew about it, but kept it hidden.

The sadly laughable thing about it was that he was such a little milquetoast of a man when I finally did meet him.  I took an immediate dislike to him because he would not look me in the eye.  What kind of a priest won’t look you in the eyes?  Aren’t the eyes windows into the soul?  Father O’Grady’s soul was hidden from view.  There was too much ugliness there.

Father O’Grady as he looked sometime around when I met him.


It was several years after I left that practice that the whole story surrounding Father O’Grady came to light.  I could only imagine what they thought at my old dental office.  Had real evil replaced the imaginary?  I somehow doubt it.  Excuses were made all along the line for the transferring of O’Grady from one place to the next, without punishment or warning.  The man involved in Jaycee Lee Dugard’s abduction seems to have had every break in the books also.  It shouldn’t have taken so long in either Garrido’s case or Father O’Grady’s for someone to step up and put a stop to the abuse.

The kids deserved better.


Sounds Like a Description of America Under the Trump Administration

Trump on immigrants being coached by their lawyers:

“They have professional lawyers,” he said. “Some are for good, others are do-gooders, and others are bad people. And they tell these people exactly what to say. They say, ‘Say the following’ — they write it down — ‘I am being harmed in my country. My country is extremely dangerous. I fear for my life.’ ”

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What the Hell?

This is the jacket Melania Trump wore when she traveled to Texas to meet with immigrant children detained in a shelter. She changed into something less tone-deaf when she actually visited them.

Her press secretary said that there was “no hidden message” involved here.

I’ll say. It’s right out there in the open. Maybe Melania is the only truth teller in the family.


Shocking: The khaki green Zara design featured the controversial phrase across the back - with the wording  visible from the side as Melania boarded her plane at Andrews Air Force BaseShocking: The khaki green Zara design featured the controversial phrase across the back - with the wording  visible from the side as Melania boarded her plane at Andrews Air Force Base

Here are some alternatives via Twitter: