Archives for February 2012

Lying about Rick Santorum

Politics is an ugly business.

I only had to remind myself of the numerous skeletons in my own closet to confirm it is not the right career choice for me. Democrat political strategist Paul Begala claimed to coin the phrase,

Politics is nothing more than show business for ugly people.

It doesn’t really matter who first uttered those words. What matters is that the saying is true. Doubt me? No, I’m not talking about Henry Waxman or Olympia Snowe, nor judging anyone by any physical attribute. I’m more concerned about how politicians act. These days, elected officials routinely behave as if they think they are royalty.

But we don’t have kings in America.

It is not a question these days of which party is good and which is bad, but which is the lesser of two evils. Remember Dorothy Parker said,

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone.

And here is the truly ugly side of politics, currently seen in the attempted character assassination of Rick Santorum.

His political opposition, aided by zealots in the media, are deliberately trying for some bizarre reason to create the false impression that Santorum would ban all means of contraception.

I guess the reason won’t end up being considered bizarre if it ultimately works.

Rick Santorum is a devout Catholic. He personally does not believe in using means of birth control within the dynamics of his own nuclear family.

As a result, he has fathered eight children. As a lawyer, he can afford it. It’s his personal business, only between him and his wife. Okay so far?

Rick Santorum is also a politician, with a significant voting record and clear public statements on this issue. Yet “conservative” columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote for The Washington Post that Santorum had a problem with women voters because he opposed contraception. Her gross distortion of reality is egregiously untrue. Now multiple headlines trumpet the mantra that Santorum said birth control was “harmful to women.”

The problem is, that isn’t exactly what Santorum actually said. As blogger Thomas Grace noted yesterday at WizBang, Santorum’s complete statement in context was something quite different.  He specifically identified a society that promotes and glamorizes promiscuous sex outside of marriage as being harmful to women.

Case in point: Kim Kardashian. It seems oddly appropriate that her claim to fame began with a viral sex tape on the internet and continues with her divorce being aired on television. Kardashian might have made plenty of money from marketing her body as a sex toy for multiple partners, but it apparently can’t buy her happiness.

The reality of his voting record is that Santorum never once voted to prevent others from exercising their right to use means of contraception. Admittedly, his personal opinion is a socially conservative point of view, but his voting record indicates how he would govern as POTUS.

According to this blog that apparently opposes the nomination of Santorum, he voted in favor of continued government subsidies of Planned Parenthood — a vote that I personally oppose.

However, if I wanted someone who would vote exactly as I would in every given situation, I would be willing to run for office myself.

And I’m not. So I’ve got to vote for somebody else.

In stark contrast to Santorum on the issue of the sanctity of life, President Barack Obama said,

I’ve got two daughters, nine years old and six years old. I’m gonna teach them, first of all, about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.

Though he’s personally a multimillionaire, was Obama saying that he wouldn’t even provide financial help to raise his own grandchild if his daughter got pregnant? The implication that bearing a child serves as a form of punishment for a bad decision seems to suggest the easy remedy would be to terminate the pregnancy.

In stark contrast to that inferred position, Santorum opposes abortion as a means of post-conception birth control.

My own daughter made exactly such a “mistake” at seventeen. Against my wishes for her to put the child up for adoption, she decided to keep her “punishment.” Now I thank God for my ability to know my granddaughter, because of my daughter’s “choice.” She is an absolutely delightful child.

My daughter’s life has not been made easy because of her decision, but she has taken good care of her children.

The harsh reality of this world is that actions have consequences. The nanny state government can offer all the free abortions in the world and that fact will not change.

I didn’t want my daughter to become pregnant at seventeen, but it happened. Abortion was never an option for her. She never considered giving up the child once she became pregnant.

I’ve never regretted for a moment her decision, and I’m quite sure she hasn’t either.

I sincerely hope this election comes down to a choice between Santorum and Obama. It would make the decision very easy for me.

Scott Patterson’s Celebrity Ghost Story

After landing the role of an Army captain in charge of the prison in the movie The Boys of Abu Ghraib, actor Scott Patterson (The Gilmore Girls) reached Albuquerque around midnight, arriving on a late night flight. A producer on the new film greeted him at the airport.

Instead of heading for his hotel, Patterson accepted the producer’s offer to take him for a late night visit to the site selected for filming the interior prison scenes — the abandoned, former maximum-security New Mexico State Penitentiary, located just outside of Santa Fe.

Also at his producer’s suggestion, Patterson decided to visit Death Row. He intended to sit in the chair inside the gas chamber itself for “the experience.”

At this point in his story, I’m thinking to myself, Is this guy absolutely insane?

As the two men made their way underground three levels toward the gas chamber, Patterson noted a spot on the floor where the concrete had been marred by what appeared to be hacking marks. Further along the way, he saw a blackened spot on the floor that he didn’t understand, uneasily noting it took the vague shape of a human form.

When they reached the viewing room for the gas chamber, the two men found a lit small candle standing upright in a chair.  By Patterson’s account, the producer looked terrified and claimed to have no knowledge of how the candle got there. He expressed an interest in leaving at that point, but Patterson said, “My training is such that I don’t back away from such experiences.”

So he insisted on continuing on until he actually sat in the gas chamber chair. Patterson described what happened next as he looked as his producer, standing in the entrance to the gas chamber:

…and I looked at him. I noticed that he was fixated on the viewing area behind me. And I turned around. In the viewing area, we saw black shapes, sitting in chairs.

We ran so fast…

As the two men ran from Death Row, Patterson claimed that they encountered a winged demonic specter in a stairwell that literally flew at them.  The two men cowered in fright, screaming like little children. Patterson exclaimed, “And we felt it whoosh over us, actually felt the wind over us.”

Somewhere along the line as they fled in terror, Patterson dropped his cell phone. The following morning, a sound technician, a local hire, found the phone on Death Row and returned it.

The technician said,

Wait a minute. You went down into the death chamber at night? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Don’t you know the history of this prison?

The New Mexico State Penitentiary riot was one of the worst in American history.  On February 2, 1980, prisoners overpowered the guards on duty and began a two day spree during which at least 33 inmates were killed.  The hacking marks Patterson saw permanently etched in the concrete floor were made by an ax used to decapitate one prisoner. The black spot on the floor had been caused by a prisoner’s body after it was torched and literally incinerated during the melee.

The gory details of the violence during the riot are very well documented, especially in these chilling accounts by actual witnesses. The only unanswered question is…what happened with Patterson and the producer on the night in question? Did they experience some sort of real paranormal activity? Given they were on the set of a Hollywood production about to start filming, the idea of a carefully orchestrated prank cannot be simply dismissed. The capability for such certainly existed.

In fact, Patterson’s recollection of events of that evening practically smacked of a setup. Who thinks of visiting a deserted prison at 3:00 a.m. to sit in the death chamber? Patterson’s description of his own transition from foolish bravery to simpering cowardice in the blink of an eye was hardly flattering, but actors crave attention above all else, so it might be understandable.

Regardless whatever actually happened that night, based on Patterson’s body language, it seemed he believed a supernatural encounter, not a staged event, took place that night.

It doesn’t really matter to me. My own personal experiences forced me to conclude that a form of spiritual life continues even after death.  I could find no logical or rational explanation for a great number of events spread over a significant period of time.

In contrast to my numerous personal paranormal experiences, I could somewhat easily explain away Patterson’s experience as one person’s rather vivid imagination, inspired and fueled by a mischievous producer, assisted by several Hollywood experts in the art of special effects.

However, Patterson’s story could also be real. This prison had “execution squads” roaming free for two days, torturing and murdering inmates they believed were snitches. Some truly evil deeds took place during the riots without the perpetrators ever receiving appropriate justice. Aryan Brotherhood member Michael Colby, one of the worst offenders in the riot, is apparently now a free man. Because of my own personal experiences, I’m inclined to think that Patterson was telling the truth and described something he believed really happened.

My more skeptical friends who scoff at any possibility that supernatural phenomena could be real might be able to arrange to visit the gas chamber themselves at the former New Mexico State Penitentiary in the dead of night, in order to authoritatively debunk Patterson’s ghost story.

Be my guest. Believe whatever you want to believe. I personally think it would be a lot safer to poke fun at his story from the comforts of your own home.

The desire to prove a negative, at the risk of enduring an experience similar to Patterson’s, makes me wonder if the person skeptical enough to follow his example should have their head examined.

Captain Kudzu reviews Coastal Empire

David Thornton is a very busy man. He flies airplanes for a living.

David also writes as the Atlanta Conservative Examiner, the National Aviation Examiner, and the Atlanta 2012 Elections Examiner.

Recently, in his capacity as Examiner writer, David seized an opportunity to direct a question to the White House and received a direct response — details of the exchange can be found here.

In his spare time (amazingly, he seems to have some) David writes on his syndicated blog as Captain Kudzu. I’m flattered that he took the time to read and then post his review my novel, Coastal Empire.

I’m beaming with pride, and appreciative of his kind words.