Saturday, June 03, 2006

Paging Pat Robertson! Wake Up Call For Robertson!

Pat Robertson began the interview asking [Jerry] Falwell what his response has been to the terrorist attacks. Falwell said there had been a massive prayer gathering of members of his congregation along with students from Liberty University. He told the TV audience that they had humbled themselves before God, prayed for President Bush and his advisers and for the victims of the attacks.

Falwell then likened the attacks to Pearl Harbor and that at that time, Hitler wanted to destroy the Jews and conquer the world. Now, "Islamic fundamentalists, radical terrorists, Middle-Eastern monsters" want to destroy Israel and conquer the world.

The two men then talked about religious revival and whether the events of September 11 might spark spiritual renewal in America.

Then Falwell said, "What we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."
Robertson replied, "Well, Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror, we haven't begun to see what they can do to the major population."

Falwell said, "The ACLU has got to take a lot of blame for this. And I know I'll hear from them for this, but throwing God...successfully with the help of the federal court system...throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad...I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America...I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen."

Robertson said, "I totally concur, and the problem is we've adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government, and so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do, and the top people, of course, is the court system."
Ooooooooooooooooooookay, Pat Robertson believes that God rained two buildings down on New York City because he's angry at evil lesbians, Wiccans, and abortionists and feminists. Now, I know a few lesbians, and I find them to be generally good people except in the throes of PMS, maybe. Next?
Lesbian is New Orleans native

Hollywood — Pat Robertson on Sunday said that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of expressing its anger at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for its selection of Ellen Degeneres to host this year’s Emmy Awards. ‘By choosing an avowed lesbian for this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God’s wrath,’ Robertson said on ‘The 700 Club’ on Sunday. ‘Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at Miss Degeneres’ hometown?’
Poor Ellen. As Robertson pointed out, she was also set to host the Emmys just after September 11 struck. Apparently, she's the Devil in Tennis Shoes incarnate.

Oh. And Robertson also credited God with distracting the American people with Katrina, thus allowing for Chief Justice Roberts confirmation. Now, I know God. God's a pretty good friend to me. Somehow, I think God would have found a slightly less drastic way of distracting America in order to get Roberts confirmed than killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands of the poor to live in squalor amidst the Superdome, like say, maybe have Janet Jackson's dress fail again. But that's just me.

Doesn't Pat's God seem just a wee bit angry to you? Yea, me too, but I'm puzzled about this:
Plane Registered to Pat Robertson Crashes

Associated Press Writer

June 3, 2006, 4:20 AM EDT

GROTON, Conn. -- Two pilots were killed and three passengers suffered minor injuries when a small jet owned by religious broadcast Pat Robertson crashed in Long Island Sound while flying in heavy fog. Robertson was not aboard.

The twin-engine Learjet 35 went down a half-mile short of the runway at Groton-New London Airport on Friday, and officials with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the airport Saturday to begin investigating why.
Well, say this for God: His aim is improving. I hope the pilots weren't lesbians.

Friday, June 02, 2006

An Activism Proposal

A defiant Chertoff won't budge

Says not a penny more to city


WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was defiant yesterday despite a blistering onslaught of criticism over his order to slash New York City's counterterrorism cash almost in half.
"I will tell you that when people threaten me or yell at me, that's not going to make me change my mind," Chertoff told the Daily News.

The attacks on Chertoff for cutting federal grants to New York City by 40% this year were led by fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill who preside over committees overseeing Chertoff's cabinet agency.

He insisted that pressure from GOP leaders and the entire New York delegation won't sway him to restore $80 million cut from the high-threat urban area security grants awarded to the city this year.

"I'd be a pretty bad secretary if I said, 'Wow, I got attacked, I'm going to change the grants formula,'" Chertoff said after huddling with President Bush and White House political adviser Karl Rove.

"There's a lot of members of Congress. If you ever try to drive down that road, you're going to drive yourself crazy," he added.

But Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and controls the department's purse strings, made clear he's losing faith in Chertoff's leadership.

"The burden is on him. He has to prove why he should keep the job," King said in an interview.

"It's getting tougher and tougher to defend him," he added. "I really had high hopes. It's indefensible how you cut the 40%."

King and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) sent Chertoff postcards of city monuments and landmarks - like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty - to complain that his bureaucrats didn't count them in their threat analysis.

"Wish you were here!" they said in a note.
OK, good idea, and Clinton and King (who is running for re-election this year) have urged New Yorkers to follow their lead.

And you should. But you know something. Chertoff says he won't be pressured and that's all fine and dandy, but I have a different and I think more effective idea.

It's tourist season here in New York, which means all those landmarks and the financial centers are all going to be visited by millions (literally!) of people.

Normally, I hate tourism season. I've asked Bloomberg to raise the kill limit from two bucks and five does to three bucks and ten does, figuring those red staters breed like rabbits anyway, just ask any three cousins, so we're probably doing the country a favor.

But I digress.

No, my idea is a bit more subtle than that (but might involve some gunplay anyway...heh heh). I think we native New Yorkers should start picketing our landmarks:



We could arrange to have protestors in front of the Empire State Building, or Grand Central Station, bullhorns at the ready, as tourists swarm all over our fair streets like ants looking for crumbs at one gigantic picnic! We could have various factions, some dressed in private security uniforms, some dressed as illegal aliens, some dressed as SPACE aliens, some...well, you get the idea.

We'd run an email and text message list that, at the drop of a hat, could arrange dozens, maybe hundreds of people to block tourists from getting into the Met (Opera or Museum, makes no difference), Yankee or Shea Stadium, Ground Zero, Wall Street, The New York Public Library, Fox News (not that this is a landmark, mind you, I just like annoying them), shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, both of which were terror targets...I'd say the UN but the Bushies don't give a shit about that anyway, so why bother?

We could line up at the busiest ATMs with T-Shirts that read "Please Leave Our Money Alone".

Any more ideas? Anybody want to put me in touch with some activist-types?

Other ways to protect our precious-but-not-landmark icons here, at World-O-Crap.

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The Machinations Of Politics Works Both Ways

You folks outside of New York probably missed this, so let me post much of the article here:
Hevesi apologizes for 'bullet' comment


June 2, 2006

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who has been expected to cruise to re-election, told an audience of thousands at Queens College yesterday that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."

Hevesi apologized at a news conference several hours later, saying he had chosen words that were "stupid and moronic" in an attempt to convey his admiration for fellow Democrat Schumer's unflinching criticism of President George W. Bush, a Republican. Hevesi said he called Schumer to express his regrets.

The gaffe occurred early in Hevesi's comments, which were typically unscripted, at a graduation ceremony. He followed Schumer, who recalled how his life was changed after a long-ago breakup with a girlfriend.

Hevesi said, "I shall carry with me the image of Senator Chuck Schumer getting dumped at the airport. ... We really feel bad for poor Chuck -- United States senator. The man who, uh, now how do I phrase this diplomatically, will put a bullet between the President's eyes if, ah, he could get away with it. The toughest senator, the best representative. A great, great member of the Congress of the United States."
OK, a couple of observations here.

Hevesi apologized quickly for his remarks (possibly upon the realization that the Secret Service would have to investigate them). Marks for that.

Hevesi has a reputation of speaking off-the-cuff. Marks for that. Too many politicians are over-scripted. Just look at Al Gore or John Kerry. One reason I believe Ronald Reagan was so charismatic was he was too stupid to memorize a script so he made up his lines in movies and was able to make up lies on the campaign trail, ad hoc. A good actor can do that.

A great actor, like, say, me, can make the script sound off the cuff, but that's a discussion for a different day.

But it's clear from this transcription that Hevesi's remarks were not as off-the-cuff as one might think, and it occured to me that, if a party wanted to send a message to terrorize its opposition nationally, what better way to do it than to have a low-profile politician (hell, Alan Hevesi is state Comptroller, which is tantamount to dog catcher) at an obscure event (Queens College graduations rarely get any national attention at all) where only the local press is likely to be there spout something inane, clunky, and wholly inappropriate, and then immediately apologize for it. The story would get limited national dissemination immediately, but it would spread like wildfire thru both Blogtopia (© Skippy) and the Blog Reich. I anticipate there will be several outraged articles in the right wing goo factory, fulminating about assassinations and how terrible liberals are, how much hatred they have for Bush, yadayadayada (I suppose calling Bill Clinton a scumbag was a show of love.)

The clue for me was his preceding statement, "how do I put this diplomatically?" and then proceed to raise the assassination imagery. We know he meant "hold Bush's feet to the fire" (which would have been a far better image, I might add), but he went out of his way to use that statement.

I don't like it when FReeper types use violent imagery to get across their point. I don't like it when a man I've voted for and respect, Alan Hevesi, uses it. But to think that there's a chance (and having seen both the comment and the apology, I tend to think it was) that this was calculated is even more disturbing.

I want, badly, to win back the Senate and the House and yes, to hold Bush's and the Republicans' feet to the fire. I just don't need to use guns.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Why Republicans Are Bawling....

I want you to think of rank and file Republicans this way: you're a housewife, and you've just found out that your husband's been banging your best friend. Again. For the fortieth time, despite the fact that you've done your level best to ignore it, deny it, and "miss" the harshest reality.

But see, this time, they were fucking in your bed. You know the one you just changed the sheets on this morning?

Republicans have held Congress for twelve years. They've held the Presidency for six (you could even say twelve years, since they cuffed Clinton's hands)

The best they can show for it is one quarter of real economic growth.


No grand military victory. No defeating Osama bin Laden. No subjugating China or Korea or Iran.

No lasting legacy. No overturned Roe v. Wade (altho that's still on the burner).

No candy and flowers as they stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue ahead of an admiring throng of former Democrats singing Hosanna. No weeping soccer moms, grateful at how they stopped the education system from falling apart.

One three-month period of growth. And even that comes as signs that the economy is about to tank (again!) are popping up all over.

Better stock up on Kleenex, if you have any Republicans you care about.

Which of course, means the question must be asked: WHY?!?!?!?

A Bit About Blogging

Sometimes, you don't realize quite how your words will be taken, and sometimes, they get taken precisely how you expect them to.

The prestigious Columbia Journalism Review apparently picked up on my Katie Couric post of yesterday, and used bits of it in a blog that reviews blogs that review, well, journalism (I'll leave the philosophers amongst you to debate what level of self-referential pulchritude this demonstrates)! Specifically, Katie Couric in this case. Here's what my new best friend forever!!!!, Liz Cox Barrett, said:
And finally, Carl at Simply Left Behind asks, "Where Have You Gone, Katie Couric?" and then answers himself --"Katie Couric disappeared years ago, folks." The Couric that Carl "want[s] to remember" is the newswoman who grilled Sen. Bob Dole back in 1996 about his suggestion that smoking might not be any more dangerous than drinking alcohol or milk. Laments Carl: "That Katie Couric disappeared, probably with Lacy Peterson, certainly with Natalee Holloway. Maybe moving to CBS, she'll regrow some stones, but given CBS's corporate 'destoning' policy handed down from Sumner Redstone, I wouldn't bet on it."

In sum: So long, Couric! Know that your work at NBC has inspired at least one Maltese, a Motley Crüe quotation, and a discussion of CBS's supposed corporate castration policy. Only in the blogosphere, baby! Only in the blogosphere.
(Emphasis added, but wholly unnecessary...I just like italic text)

o/~ It's Rainin' "THEM" o/~

Is It Raining Aliens?

Nearly 50 tons of mysterious red particles showered India in 2001. Now the race is on to figure out what the heck they are

By Jebediah Reed | June 2006

As bizarre as it may seem, the sample jars brimming with cloudy, reddish rainwater in Godfrey Louis’s laboratory in southern India may hold, well, aliens. In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples—water taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis’s home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001—contain microbes from outer space.

Specifically, Louis has isolated strange, thick-walled, red-tinted cell-like structures about 10 microns in size. Stranger still, dozens of his experiments suggest that the particles may lack DNA yet still reproduce plentifully, even in water superheated to nearly 600˚F. (The known upper limit for life in water is about 250˚F.) So how to explain them? Louis speculates that the particles could be extraterrestrial bacteria adapted to the harsh conditions of space and that the microbes hitched a ride on a comet or meteorite that later broke apart in the upper atmosphere and mixed with rain clouds above India. If his theory proves correct, the cells would be the first confirmed evidence of alien life and, as such, could yield tantalizing new clues to the origins of life on Earth.

Naturally, we have earlier documented cases of falling "blood". The most famous of these "blood water" observations is in ancient Egypt:
Exodus 7:19-21 The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs'-and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars."

Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

Sorta sounds like Texas in August, frankly.

The conventional explanation is some sort of "red tide" effect, where algae or bacteria have somehow migrated skyward and been carried by high level winds and then deposited. But conventional theories fall apart when confronted by the fact that indications suggest that there is no DNA in these organisms, thus likely cannot be terrestrial life (or we have a LOT of explaining ahead of us, take your pick).

My favorite is that a meteorite struck a flock of high flying bats.

Keep tuned to this station, folks. This ought to be interesting.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Media Collaboration

I'm getting FAIRly frustrated.

The piece I wrote below about The Per-Kee Kay-teee Couric made me realize something: there is no mass media journalism anymore.

I mean, you know how you know something, but until you're truly reminded of it (you miss your dead cat one day, because it's a bright spring day and a butterfly lands on your knee), you don't really notice it. You've been hangin by your thumbs for months, years, even decades, and you only notice that your thumbs ache a bit.

Take Iraq. I happened to catch (on FreeSpeechTV, and oh, by the way, did you order your DISH yet?) "Weapons of Mass Deception," report by former ABC News producer Danny Schecter about the failures of the mass media, television in particular, to cover the Iraq war honestly. How was the Bush administration able to co-opt the four major networks (along with the major print media, radio networks, and for the most part, the worldwide press) into spinning the story of the Iraq invasion their way?

Schecter shows some interesting facets: embedding, for one thing. What reporter in his/her right mind will criticize the very soldiers who are protecting him/her? Or fear-mongering, where the Army "trained" embedded reporters in the art of putting on a gas mask and injecting themselves with anti-toxins, all for the "WMDs" they were sure to be hit with.

The Pentagon provided the networks with cool graphics and animations of how missiles did their jobs and provided analysts, former generals, who drew on maps of Iraq like football analysts draw on Telestrators: "See, here, Dan, the Third Army knifes off-tackle, I mean, behind the Fifth Cavalry, and *BAM!* take out Tikrit and sack the quarterback...." In fact, there's a cut of a Fox News commentator talking about the "MOAB" (Massive Ordnance Air Blast, but colloquially known as the Mother Of All Bombs) as if it was the ace kicker to an inside straight in Texas Hold 'Em!

A study done by FAIR showed that, of some three thousand journalists, panelist, and analysts to appear on news shows in the run-up and first days of the Iraq invasion, only eight, count 'em, eight, opposed the war.

If this war rang hollow (I know it did to me) from the first days, when we savagely, brutally attacked people who had not even made aggressive moves against our country (OK, maybe they fired a cap pistol or two at planes patrolling the "No Fly Zone"...), there's why: we were SO certain we were right, what with the Al Qaeda connection (debunked), the Weapons of Mass Destruction (debunked), the "45 minutes to nuking New York City" (laughable AND debunked), that we failed to even consider the alternative. Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, dead because they happened to live in a country whose leader our President for some bizarre rationalization, didn't like very much.

I'm not defending Saddam Hussein. The man was a butcher and yea, the world might eventually get to be a better place without him in power. But there are tyrants all over the world. Why him? Because he was conveniently located near the Middle East? Then why not another member of that "Axis Of Evil," Iran, which HAD captured and held Americans hostage, thus proving that indeed, they could be a threat?

Tyrants in the Middle East fomenting Islamist anger? If not Iran, why not Dubai and the Arab Emirates? Or for that matter, Saudi Arabia?

Or hell, if you make the case this is about sustaining cheap oil (a real success that one was, if you buy that theory), then why Iraq at all, when you have the Saudis right there, and if not them, there's always Kuwait?

(Note: I'm aware of the interplay between the House of Saud and the House of Bush, but I'd make the case that, eventually, that's going to play itself out, and that an exit strategy has been formulated by both families already. And I wouldn't bet against a family that has ties to Hitler in its past.)

The sham reasoning, the weak excuses, and the poor management of the news divisions all combined to convince most Americans of the rightness of the cause. And they were all wrong.

Oh, I guess I should mention there were a few outlets and media folk that didn't buy into the story wholesale.

Which only makes the failure of the rest of the media that much more disgusting.

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tags technorati :

Where Have You Gone, Katie Couric?

Yea, I know, fifteen years' Today Show host, saying goodbye this morning, yadayadayada...

Katie Couric disappeared years ago, folks, only she was too stupid and per-kee to notice.

This is the Katie Couric I want to remember:
Dole, in an combative interview with NBC's Today co-host Katie Couric, grew testy when pressed about his comments last month questioning whether tobacco use was any more dangerous than drinking alcohol or milk.

Dole's initial comments drew criticism from Koop, a physician, who said Dole "either exposed his abysmal lack of knowledge of nicotine addiction or his blind support of the tobacco industry."

Couric, in an interview taped Sunday but broadcast Tuesday, asked Dole about Koop's statement. Dole said Koop supported his campaign for president.

But he said of Koop, "You know, he watches the liberal media and he probably got carried away."

"He's brainwashed?" Couric asked.

"Probably, a little bit," Dole said.

[...]Dole accused the NBC network and the New York Times of taking the Democrats' side on the issue.

"I'm not in their (tobacco industry's) pockets. My view is as I've said time and time again ... the liberal media crosses that out and goes right back to the Democratic line,"Dole said.

"You can't respond, because the media's already made up their mind. I've said I don't know whether it's addictive. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist," Dole said.

Dole sought to deflect the criticism by contending the use of marijuana has doubled since Clinton took office. "I don't see Al Gore or President Clinton talking about that," he said, accusing the administration of dismantling the anti-drug agency.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the tobacco industry contributed $2.3 million to the Republican Party and $423,962 to the Democratic Party in 1995. The contributions are so-called "soft money" and are not subject to limits on the amount of donations. Individual industry employees contributed $34,750 to Dole and $4,000 to Clinton in 1995 through March 1996. Industry political action companies contributed $23,500 to Dole in the same time period. Clinton's campaign does not accept PAC contributions.

Dole entered the tobacco fray last month when he said, "We know it's not good for kids but a lot of other things aren't good. Drinking's not good. Some would say milk's not good." After Koop criticized Dole, the GOP contender sent him a letter last week, again saying of tobacco "for some people it is addictive, and for others it may not be."
That Katie Couric disappeared, probably with Lacy Peterson, certainly with Natalee Holloway.

Maybe moving to CBS, she'll regrow some stones, but given CBS' corporate "destoning" policy handed down from Sumner Redstone, I wouldn't bet on it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Leaving A Thankless Job

Source: Treasury Secretary Snow Resigns

AP White House Correspondent

May 30, 2006, 8:35 AM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary John Snow has resigned and will be replaced by Goldman Sachs Chairman Henry M. Paulson Jr., a senior administration official said Tuesday, in another chapter of a White House shake-up to revive President Bush's troubled presidency.

Bush was to announce the changes in a White House ceremony later Tuesday.

Snow, the former head of railroad giant CSX Corp. who has a Ph.D. in economics, has been Treasury secretary since February 2003. His departure has been rumored for more than a year.
OK, quick civics lesson for you "out of touch Hollywood liberal elitist" types (and others who napped during high school history): The United States Secretary of the Treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, concerned with finance and monetary matters, basically what other countries would call a "finance minister". Nominally, the Treasury Secretary has control over tax policy, the budget and budget deficits, and the currency. He also controlled the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, as well as the Secret and Customs Services until the Department of Homeland Security was established.

You can see why this is a thankless job, especially in this administration.

Snow replaced Paul O'Neill who famously fell out of favor with the Bushistas for....doing. His. Job.
A report commissioned in 2002 by O'Neill while Treasury Secretary suggested the United States faced future federal budget deficits of more than US$ 500 billion. The report also suggested that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts, or both would be unavoidable if the United States were to meet benefit promises to its future generations. The study estimated that closing the budget gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase. The Bush administration left the findings out of the 2004 annual budget report published in February 2003.

O'Neill's private feuds with Bush's tax cut policies as well as his push to investigate al-Qaeda funding coming from the United Arab Emirates led to his resignation in 2002 and replacement with John W. Snow.
Which is why Snow was placed in a thankless position and handled it admirably by disappearing into the woodwork while Bush's Economic Policy Council (again, nominally chaired by the Treasury Secretary, but de facto, by the White House) screwed up again and again. Not to be confused with the President's Council of Economic Advisers or the National Economic Council, the EPC basically makes projections of tax revenues and budget deficits and PowerPoint presentations for Bush to draw circles and arrows on.

There's a joke in there about too many cooks and what a weak broth it hath wrought.

Compare that with Clinton's three Treasury Secretaries: the recently-deceased Lloyd Bentsen, Robert Rubin, and embattled Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers.

Apparently, the Wimp Factor extends to even within its own confines.

The apparent next knothole to appear out of the Treasury woodwork is one Henry M. Paulson Jr., who at least has the bloodlines as chairman of Goldman Sachs (where Rubin was also once chairman, and who failed upward by succeeding John Corzine when he resigned as chairman to run for and capture the Senate seat in New Jersey) to perhaps know how to run an organization of knotheads and splinter factions.

If his hands will be untied. I wooden count on it.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Facts About Prisons

- Two million people are currently in prison nationwide.

- Two states, Texas and California, account for 3/4 of these prisoners. California is far and away the most populous state, 36 million people. Texas is tied for second, with New York.

- Texas introduced more people INTO its penal system during the 90s than New York State had in toto during that decade.

- Nationwide, a black man in 6 times more likely to be incarcerated nationwide than white men. In Texas, you can triple that statistic and still come up short.

- The town of Tulia, TX has 500 black people. 2/5 of them have felony records, mostly for drug arrests, in a town of 50,000. Estimates indicate that, of those felony convictions, less than 1/2 of one percent were actual crimes committed without duress or entrapment.

Think about this as you celebrate American freedom...and someone remind me WHY Texas is an state in our union?