Category Archives: Sandy Hook Massacre

Hot Air

What’s Important

Thursday night, some 32 million Americans watched a sporting event.

No, it wasn’t a game to decide the championship of a big pro sports league. Nor was it any contest at all between a couple of teams.

2014 NFL Draft Set

The Holy Altar

It was, in fact, the goddamned National Football League draft. That’s the yearly process by which the 32 teams of the planet’s most financially successful athletic outfit divvy up the latest pool of talent to emerge from the college ranks. General managers, talent coordinators, coaches and other swamis and gurus study the omens, signs, and symbols and then proceed to tab some 224 slabs of cartilage and sinew who will, it is hoped, lead their teams to Super Bowl glory.

And one in 10 human beings residing in this holy land watched said sacred rite.

We are, comrade Pencillistas, a deranged freakin’ nation.

Parking Perspective

Still steamed about Bloomington’s downtown parking meters?

Perhaps this’ll make you feel a tad better about it all:

NUMH Parking

Yep, these are the rates you’ll pay if you want to visit your sick old grandma at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood.

Admittedly, Streeterville — AKA the Gold Coast — is Chi-town’s most ritzy ‘hood. It’s where, for instance, notables and plutocrats such as Ann Landers, Oprah Winfrey, and the Pritzkers have lived through the years.

Still, $11.00 for a 45-minute drop-in on Bubeh? Or, should your Nonna not be clinging to life in one of Northwestern’s luxe suites, and instead you desire to grab a lunch at Gino’s East on Superior Street, you’ll end up paying $32 just to stash your dilapidated Corolla. Which is prob. more than the beater is worth.

Makes a buck an hour seem a bargain, no?

Truth? Bah!

Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski found this gem of a “quote” attributed to Prez Barack H. O. in a mailer sent out by the National Association for Gun Rights to benefit Libertarian loon Rand Paul:

Gun Bullshit

Q: So, like, when did BHO say this remarkable thing?

A: Never.

Here’s what the Nazi/commie/Stalinist/abortionist/gay sex tyrant actually said, back in December, 2012, after the Sandy Hook School shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, that resulted in the deaths of 20 kids and 6 adults:

In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.

Same thing right?

The New Version

After perusing a few gun rights web sites I feel I have a greater understanding of that landmark document, the Constitution of the United States of America. As a public service, I thought I’d write a new version of it, just like the Christianists do with their Bible on occasion. Here’s The Constitution, Glock Version, 2014:

Article I: We the People are nothing without Guns.

Amendment 2: Blah, blah, blah, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Other ideas, powers, and rights: Nothing really.


Jesus Christ and George Washington

Politics, my friends, can be so simple.

Jesus Gun

Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Hot Air

Crazy, Man

Hands are being wrung left and right as tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the day a lunatic with an arsenal busted in on that Newtown, Connecticut school and sent more than two dozen teachers and students to Second Amendment heaven.

School Sign

Much of the folderol has to do with how we identify and treat lunatics. The idea being we’ve got brain scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and tons and tons of psychoactive medications so why are people like Adam Lanza allowed to get crazier and crazier until they open fire on an elementary school-full of kiddies?

Forget the gun control argument; that ship is dead in the water. Real Americans will not stand for the Adolph Ilyich Obama administration stealing from them their god-given right to mow tots down. And forget my pet solution, which is to impose a moratorium on the manufacture of firearms until gun makers and their lobbyists wither away and die of sadness. Go to the source, I always say.


Then again, I’m not a real American because I don’t care that so much of our economy is based on the production and peddling of bullets and shootin’ irons. Anybody who places the lives of brats and bleeding heart teachers (most of whom are union thugs anyway) above good business is nothing more than a commie rat.

Back to the point, what are we to do about this problem of crazies who want to pack heat? And by extension, what about the rest of the mal-wired populace who can be a threat to others and themselves even as we blithely pretend they aren’t there?

The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America estimates that there are more than two million sufferers of that particular mental illness in this holy land. Now, not all mass shooters are schizophrenic, but the likes of Lanza, Seung-Hui Cho, James Holmes and others whose mental architecture was certifiably effed-up prior to their dastardly deeds, cause the sane among us to ask why it was so easy for them to act out on their delusions and paranoia.

The egg-headed Left, of which I am a confessed part, would like nothing more than for the dangerously mentally ill to be safely ensconced in warm, snug group homes where the most dangerous implements they can get their hands on are sporks.



But that would cost money. Loads of it. And spending money on people who don’t have the good sense not to be born insane is a sin worse than child molestation in these Rand-ian times. Every human endeavor, I must remind you, must generate profit. Expect, within the next couple of decades, to pay for the traffic light you’re waiting at to turn green. It’s the American way.

The skull jockey establishment is as American as any other. Shrinks and psychopharmacologists wish to become rich. Patriots all, they know in their hearts that the richer they are, the better Americans they are. Simple math, duh.

Ergo, these true Americans in the past few decades have pathologized many behaviors that once were seen as mere personality quirks. More and more, kids aren’t just antsy or loudmouths or class clowns; they have diseases. ADHD. Affluenza. Social anxiety disorder. Internet addiction disorder. Every kid and her brother with Asperger’s. Minor bipolar disorder. The list goes on. And the list of medications to treat these diseases is even longer: Ritalin (that old standby), Adderall, Focalin, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Geodon and many, many others whose names are even more unpronounceable.


All these ailments and treatments seem geared to children of white middle and upper-middle class families. You know, those people most likely to have good health insurance coverage and who are constantly fretting about their precious darlings’ inabilities to be number one in the class in academics and deportment.

Any shrink worth his diploma and hoping to capitalize on those elective business courses he took in college is going to glom onto that trend like the Soma Coffee fly on my head. Here, kid, take these pills and make sure your Mommy brings you back twice a week.

Treatment of the truly mentally ill isn’t so business-friendly. It follows, therefore, that so many of our nation’s doctor/entrepreneurs would dodge it as adroitly as the aforementioned fly dodges my swats.

If we could make a buck on the profoundly insane, we’d wrap this problem up in a heartbeat. Or the snap of a finger. Or the sound of a gunshot.

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Friday


“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” — Johannes Kepler



Happy birthday to good old Johnny Kepler, who would have been 441 years old today.

Befitting his Teutonic heritage, Kepler was the guy who essentially ordered the universe. It was his work in determining his eponymous laws of planetary motion that led to Isaac Newton’s great universal gravity breakthrough some 40 years after the German’s death.

Kepler's Laws/Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Astronomy

Too bad a brainiac like K. couldn’t have been around in today’s world. I bet he’d have been happy to tweak his verbiage a tad, perhaps including a single intelligent woman in his short list of preferred critics.

Kepler penned his own epitaph, engraved in stone at his burial spot in a churchyard in Regensburg, Bavaria. Here it is:

“Mensus eram cœlos, nunc terrae metior umbras

Mens cœlestis erat, corporis umbra iacet.”

(“I measured the skies, now the shadows I measure

Skybound was the mind, earthbound the body rests.”)

[ED: h/t to Astrid Weltz Laimins of Tampa, Florida for the heads up.]


Sticking with science, Mental Floss offers us 5 pieces of evidence we — Homo Sapiens sapiens — are still evolving. Here they are:

  1. We Drink Milk
  2. We’re Losing Our Wisdom Teeth
  3. We’re Resisting Diseases
  4. Our Brains Are Shrinking
  5. We Have Blue Eyes

Homo Habilis

Auntie Amma

Click on the link for details.

Then ask yourself why we still have to argue this point in 21st Century America.


Only three days left in this  momentous year, 2012, and I’m proud to say I still haven’t seen the viral Gangnam Style vid.

Here’s another vid I haven’t seen: The Grumpy Cat (Tartar Sauce).

BTW: I still haven’t figured out that Ermahgerd chick. I ask you, who on this Earth ever talked like that?

Intentionally avoiding all these memes and rages is now an honor thing with me.


Have you seen this chart yet?


If this graphic is accurate, what happened between the Aurora bloodbath and the Sandy Hook killfest that made us start taking these things seriously?


The author of the bestselling “A Universe from Nothing: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing,” Lawrence M. Krauss, penned a heartfelt think piece for the other day, in which he wonders why everybody and his brother is telling us we have to lean on god as we grieve for the Sandy Hook kids.

Obama at Newtown Memorial Service

The Prez Tells Us Our BFF, God, Will Get Us Through This

Krauss is a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and a noted atheist. He’s one of the hottest popular science writers around these days.

“Why,” he writes, “must it be a natural expectation that any such national tragedy will be accompanied by prayers, including from the president, to at least one version of the very god, who apparently in his infinite wisdom, decided to call 20 children between the age of 6 and 7 home by having them slaughtered by a deranged gunman in a school…?”

He wonders why TV news shows in times like these have to call out the clergy to tell us that “they have something special or caring to offer.”

Lawrence M. Krauss


Some talking-head clerics and politician-talk show hosts have even claimed that the agnostics and atheists among us lack the ability to fully grieve, sympathize, and even process these travesties. Krauss calls this kind of thinking “offensive” and “nonsense.”

I, natch, am with Krauss on this one. All these preachers, rabbis, and imams are telling us Sandy Hook was “god’s will” and then turning around and saying non-believers lack a moral foundation.

Are you kidding me? We’re not the one’s worshipping a god that decides to let massacres happen — you are!

GUN CRAZY, PART 1,624,583….

Gary, Indiana’s finest political writer, Monroe Anderson, has written an excruciatingly personal account of the dangers of the mentally ill toting guns around.


Monroe Anderson

Do yourself a favor and read it. If the piece doesn’t elevate your pulse and respirations, you’re probably dead already.

What he doesn’t say is that when it comes to guns in this holy land, we’re all pretty much mentally ill.

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Wednes II


“Raised by two mothers? Wow. Most of us barely survive one.” — Woody Allen



Our town’s international gumshoe reporter, Doug Wissing, is gearing up for a second trip to the wilds of Afghanistan.

C-SPAN Image

Wissing on C-SPAN

Wissing, a noted freelance investigative journalist, has a hot item on the Book Corner‘s shelves these days, entitled “Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban.” During his first foray into the Afghan theater of war and corruption, Wissing learned that much of America’s dough wends its way through a maze of unsavory characters and entities into the hands of the very people we are shooting at.

Now he’s headed back to Southwest Asia. He’ll catch a flight in that direction on New Year’s Eve night. Wissing tells The Pencil he’ll stay in Afghanistan for a month or six weeks, with an eye on writing a second book on the 12-year-old conflict.

BBC Photo

Afghanistan (image from the BBC)

“I’m interested in seeing how the end game is turning out,” he says. He wants to get back in touch with American soldiers, many of whom hipped him to the cat’s cradle that includes venal US officials, greedy private corporations, Afghan kleptocrats, and the Taliban.

The new project will be Wissing’s seventh tome.

The Pencil advised him to stay out of trouble in those dangerous environs. Wissing replied, “That’s what I go there for.”


So, now Liza Long is taking heat for her viral “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” blog post.

Image from Blue Review

Liza Long’s “Crazy” Kid

In the immediate wake of Friday’s mass assassination of schoolkids and teachers in Connecticut, Long’s essay on raising a child whom she diagnoses as, well, crazed struck a chord. According to early sources, the Sandy Hook shooter also had psychiatric problems as a child. Ergo, Long’s post was originally viewed as a plea for help from a Mom who feared her kid might one day take up assault weapons against seven-year-olds.

Long was characterized as a trail-blazer, courageous in her everyday life as well as her willingness to reveal the most embarrassing details about her troubled son.

Image from NBC News


The more we’re exposed to revelations like this, the thinking went, the easier it might be to prevent the next Sandy Hook.

But blowback is inevitable in our info-tainment culture. Another blogger posted that maybe — just maybe — Long’s heartfelt tale of life with a disturbed kid isn’t all it was first cracked up to be.

Anthropologist and communications scholar Sarah Kendzior, who earned an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University, wrote that an in-depth reading of Long’s blog revealed a “series of vindictive and cruel posts about her children in which she fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away.”

Funny thing is, most of the mommies and daddy-os I know have expressed similarly dramatic dark thoughts about their kids despite the fact that none of them would go so far as to describe their little angels as clinically deranged.

In fact, Kendzior herself writes, “In most of her posts, her allegedly insane  and violent son is portrayed as a normal boy who incited her wrath by being messy, buying too many Apple products and supporting Obama.”

Fairey Poster

If Your Kid Has This Poster, Institutionalize Him

Still, for at least a few days after Sandy Hook, Liza Long was the poster mom for heroic parents everywhere who’ve brought whacked out kids into the world.

My immediate guess is the name Liza Long will be long-forgotten by the spring.

As for her kid, well, some team of shrinks is going be putting down payments on luxury yachts after he reaches the age of thrice-weekly psychotherapy — even if he’s not certifiably cracked.

Millions in this holy land now know him as that mentally ill kid who’s somehow tied in with the Sandy Hook shooter. Thanks, Mom.

And now, Kendzior and Long have kissed and made up. They issued a joint statement the other day. Kenzior wrote in her blog, “We do not want to be part of a ‘mommy war’….”

The statement reads, in part: “We both agree that privacy for family members, especially children, is important… We love our children and hope you will respect their privacy.”

Natch, the best way to maintain your kids’ privacy is to write about them using a media technology that can be accessed by billions of inhabitants of this weird, weird world.

Personal to Long from a veteran blogger. You don’t have to post your every thought and feeling. Sometimes what you write needs to stay unpublished. Take it from me: Any number of times I’ve clacked out a post that I’ve deemed not ready for the light of day. And often I won’t have a replacement post in me on those particular mornings. Ergo, The Pencil skips a day.

So far, no one’s psyche has been damaged by those missed days.

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Monday


“People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet.” — Temple Grandin



From Rich Abdill in Wonkette:

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Sure, and Apache helicopters don’t kill people but we cannot have those either.”

He also points out the fallacy of the argument that good people with guns can defend themselves against crazies with guns:

“It sounds like a great argument, until you realize that the good people with guns are awful at defending society from bad people with guns. Mother Jones put together a big, terrible list of all the mass-murders of the last 30 years, and not a single one ends with, ‘And then a person with a concealed weapon killed the shooter before the shooter could inflict anymore damage.’ None. Zero.”

Concealed Weapon

I Got Somethin’ For Ya Right Here, Psycho!

Charlie Pierce in Esquire magazine’s politics blog quotes a Tweet from X-tian loon, the Rev. Bryan Fischer: “Shooters attack an elementary school in CT — another ‘gun-free zone.’ Makes children sitting ducks.”

Pierce answers in the only possible rational way: “Go fuck yourself, pal. Sometimes I dearly wish I believed more strongly in a hell.”


Rev. Bryan Fischer, Security & Education Expert

Naturally, the babbling idiot of the US Congress, Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), has plenty to say. He referred to the Sandy Hook principal on — what else? — Fox News Sunday: “I wish to god she had an M-4 in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.”

To borrow a quote from a very articulate man, Go fuck yourself, pal.

A-a-a-nd, former Reagan Secretary of Education, GHW Bush Drug Czar, self-appointed plaster saint, and degenerate gambler Bill Bennett wants an armed person patrolling the halls of every school.


Bennett: “Do You Have Any Idea How Good I Am?”

Cool idea, huh? So, next time a psycho barges into a school, he pops the armed guy and then goes ahead and wipes out a few dozen kids and teachers.

You know what to do with yourself, Bill.

I’m gonna stop now. I’m getting depressed.


Oh, by the way, the god who’s so enraged because we don’t allow public school kids to sing hosannas to him in the classroom that he sent an armed psychotic in to wipe a few dozen of them out? He’s hot for another reason these days, again having to do with public schools.

NPR reports that some Texas kid and her old man are suing a local San Antonio school district for forcing her to wear a radio frequency ID badge. See, these badges help school administrators keep track of students to make sure they’re not wandering off campus to do what teenagers like to do other than study mitosis.

The kid, who’s 15, told her daddy-0 that she was going to refuse to wear the ID tag when it was given her at the start of the school year because the Bible has something to say about it. “Daddy, I’m not going to do this,” she said. “Dad, That’s exactly what it talks about about in the Book of Revelation that you were teaching us about taking the mark of the beast. This is the exact same thing.”

Mark of the Beast

Not Only In Our Schools

The mark of the beast, in case you didn’t know (and I wish I didn’t), is mentioned in Revelation 13:15-18. It has to do with some evil being who comes down and pretends to be the Christ but is really the Anti-Christ and will somehow mark all people for some fercockter reason and then all hell will break loose. Or something. Look, I tried to figure it all out but it’s in the Bible, see, and if you want to get your head screwed completely around, try reading half a page of that thing.

Anyway, loads of folks believe in this stuff and are constantly on the lookout for the beast-mark. And this Texas kid, apparently, has put her finger on it and now she and daddy-o are making a federal case about it.

The local San Antonio school district told her she has to wear the ID badge and she responded by saying Whoa, Nilly, you’re violating my freedom of religion.

Now the whole affair is being played out this morning before the Federal district court in S.A.

Funny thing is, the school district has told the kid she can wear a badge without the radio frequency chip in it but she told them where they could stick that idea. She says she’ll only wear her old school ID from last year, which the Bible apparently approves of, although I was unable to find a reference therein for it.

The kicker is the kid and her old man are members of John Hagee‘s Cornerstone Church, headquartered in San Ant.



Hagee, you may recall, got presidential candidate John McCain in hot water back in 2008, after JM accepted the preacher’s endorsement. Hagee, it was learned, had written that the Catholic church is “a godless theology of hate”  and a “great whore.” He’d also stated that the goal of Islam was to “kill Christians and Jews.” He has stated that it was the Jews who were responsible for the Holocaust — and believe me, his “reasoning” behind this makes the Bible read like a kindergarten primer. He has stated that Hitler himself was an apostate Jew and that the Jews run the Federal Reserve System.

A-a-and the good Rev. Hagee is four-square in favor of a US preemptive strike on Iran using nuclear weapons. A real sweetheart, no?

Nuclear Explosion

Now Who’s The Boss, Iran?

All that said, Hagee calls himself a “Christian Zionist” and works tirelessly with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to support radical pro-Israel legislation.

Weird, huh?

You wanna know how weird? Pick up Matt Taibbi’s book, “The Great Derangement.” He goes undercover in Hagee’s church to find out who peoples his flock. Trust me, you’ll be torn between laughing out loud and wanting to slash your wrists.

In any case, this fellow, god, seems fixated on the goings on in our schools. Funny, no? You’d think he’d fix it so students would learn more and teachers wouldn’t burn out so quickly and legislators wouldn’t be so eager to cut education funding. Seems as though god’s priorities in education are about as screwed up as ours.


The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Saturday


“We build a fire in a powder magazine, then double the fire department to put it out. We inflame wild beasts with the smell of blood, and then innocently wonder at the wave of brutal appetite that sweeps the land as a consequence.” — Mark Twain



I was as enraged as anyone after learning of yesterday’s madness in Connecticut.

I took to Facebook and ranted:

From Facebook

— and —

From Facebook

America, with its psycho-sexual fixation on guns, is indeed deranged.

That said, a sociologist and criminologist from Northeastern University named Jack Levin appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday afternoon to put yesterday’s horror in perspective.

“The truth is,” Levin said, “there’s still about 20 mass killings every year in this country, and that has been true for decades.”

In other words, things aren’t getting worse.

Which is scant consolation to the parents who lost kids in Sandy Hook.

Wait, there’s more. Funnyman Aaron Freeman points out this fascinating set of statistics:

◗ US population, 1990: 248,709.873 — 23,440 homicides.

◗ US population, 2011: 311,591,917 — 14,612 homicides

Chicago Police Homicide

“We are,” Freeman writes, “moving in the right direction.”


Politico Ray Hanania points out this example of how mightily weird our species is:

One guy tries to use a shoe bomb on an airplane — Now every air travel passenger must remove her or his shoes before reaching the gate.

◗ Some 31 lunatics have committed school shootings since Columbine — No changes have been instituted.

Airport Security

Whew! I Feel Safer Now.


Yesterday morning, Kevin Sears, the Toastmaster General of Bloomington, and I mused on the inevitable movie about Jerry Sanduski, Joe Paterno, and the Penn State scandal. Here’s what we agreed upon:

Gary Busey will play Sanduski

Al Pacino will play Paterno


That’s all you need to know.


Precisely 40 years ago today, Gene Cernan, Harrison “Jack” Schmidt, and Ron Evans departed lunar orbit and began their quarter-million mile trip back to Earth.

Cernan and Schmidt were the last human beings to walk on the moon.

NASA Photo

Jack Schmidt On The Moon

Their mission, Apollo 17, originally was planned to be the third-to-last lunar trip but budget cutbacks forced NASA to cancel Apollos 18 and 19.

The two astronauts in the Lunar Module that descended to the moon’s surface from the Command Module spent a little more than three days on the Earth’s natural satellite. Their craft landed in the Taurus-Littrow lunar valley. The two walked on the moon for a total of 23 hours.

Schmidt was a geologist who’d go on to serve as United States Senator from New Mexico. Cernan was a Navy jet pilot before joining NASA. Both men are still alive and are approaching the age of 80.

NASA Photo

Cernan & Schmidt On The Trip Back To Earth

Before he left the moon, Cernan carved the initials of his daughter on a lunar boulder.


One of the prettiest songs I’ve ever heard.

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