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This fills me with rage.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader occasionally reads something that saddens and enrages him at the same time. But before he gets to that, allow him to backtrack for a moment.

Your Maximum Leader has, from time to time, expressed in this space that he might be in favor of getting rid of the death penalty if instead we agreed to remove individuals convicted (and appealed) of some particular heinous crimes to be released into society - but without the protection of the state.

This is to say that we are all living in a country that provides a degree of protection to citizens against being murdered. Specifically, the right to kill someone is reserved by the state (in most circumstances). So, if you are murdered, the state can (and ostensibly will) seek to find your killer, deprive them of their liberty and eventually their life. I have said in the past that the state shouldn’t be in the revenge business (ideally speaking). Your Maximum Leader has hypothesized that the state should allow those convicted of particularly heinous and disgusting crimes (murder for example) after their trial and appeals process is finished to be released back into society. But these released people are not subject to the protection of the state. Here is a hypothetical for you. Man murders young girl. Man is convicted. Man’s conviction is upheld on numerous appeals. Final appeals are exhausted. Man is shown to the prison gate and released. Murder victim’s father and brothers await outside the prison gate with baseball bats. Victim’s family beats man to death. Victim’s family walks away not to face any prosecution. Why? Because the man (the murderer) is not entitled to the protection of the state.

So let us move along now shall we?

So, this is the press article that enraged your Maximum Leader. Prosecutor: Slain toddler said “I love you” at end. The opening paragraphs of the piece:

A slain toddler tried to stop her mother and stepfather from beating her to death by reaching out to her mother and saying, “I love you,” a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday. The pleas from 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers didn’t stop her mother, Kimberly Trenor, from continuing to brutalize her, assistant district attorney Kayla Allen said in her opening statement at Trenor’s murder trial.

But defense attorney Tommy Stickler Jr. told the jury that Trenor, 20, never intended to kill her daughter in 2007 and that things just “spun out of control.”

Okay now… Your Maximum Leader read that piece and in this order 1) came close to crying; 2) was filled with rage; 3) was filled with rage and regret that the prosecutor decided not to go for the death penalty. All those emotions came upon your Maximum Leader in about 60 seconds.

Now… After some calmer reflection your Maximum Leader would like to know exactly how the prosecutor knows that the slain toddler said these things. (Your Maximum Leader suspects that the mother or stepfather confessed to it.) He certainly hopes that the prosecutor isn’t elaborating on this horrible story for the sake of a dramatic closing statement.

That bit of curiosity aside, your Maximum Leader would want the mother, if convicted and after exhausting appeals, to be released without the protection of the state. In that circumstance, he would consider driving to Texas with a gun, a cricket bat and a bad attitude.

Carry on.

Rabbie Burns Day

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was just saying how there were too many things to celebrate going on this past weekend. One of them was Robert Burns Day (which was yesterday). Just like Lunar New Year sneaking up on him, this one snuck up on him too. Sure he got the little reminders that he sets for interesting cultural remembrances like Robert Burns Day. But he disregarded them… So… He didn’t celebrate the great day. Sadly, no one invited him to a Burns Dinner either…

While your Maximum Leader didn’t have a haggis last night, he did have lamb (which if it had been allowed to grow up would have become a sheep suitable for making into haggis). He didn’t read any Burns poetry either.

As sad as it might be that there wasn’t formal celebrating, the day did not pass unnoticed by your Maximum Leader’s loyal readers…

One “Haggis McHaggis” posted a wee little poem for your Maximum Leader’s edification at last year’s Burns Day post. It made your Maximum Leader chuckle so that he feels he must repost it here.

Tae A Fart

Oh what a sleekit horrible beastie
Lurks in yer belly efter the feastie
As ye sit doon amongst yer kin
There sterts tae stir an enormous win’

The neeps an’ tatties an’ mushy peas
Stert workin’ like a gentle breeze
But soon the puddin’ wi’ the sonsie face
Will have ye blawin’ a’ ower the place.

Nae matter whit the hell ye dae
A’body’s gonnae hae tae pay
Even if ye try tae stifle
It’s like a bullet oot o’ a rifle

Haud yer bum tight tae the chair
Tae try an’ stop the leakin’ air
Shift yersel fae cheek tae cheek
Pray tae God it disnae reek.

But aw yer efforts gan asunder
Oot it comes like a clap o’ thunder
Ricochets aroon’ the room
Michty me! A sonic boom

God Almichty, it fairly reeks!
Hope I huvnae s**t ma breeks!
Tae the bog ah’d better scurry,
Ach, whit the hell, it’s no ma worry.

A’body roon aboot me chokin’
Yin or twa were nearly boakin’
I’ll feel better for a while
Cannae help but raise a smile.

Wis him! I shout with accusin’ glower,
Alas! Too late! He’s just keeled ower
Ye dirty bugger, they shout and stare
A didnae feel welcome ony mair

Where e’r ye be let yer wind gan free
Sounds like just the job for me
Whit a fuss at Rabbie’s party
Ower the sake o’ one wee farty.

That there is funny. Your Maximum Leader is curious to learn which of his readers might be “Haggis McHaggis.” If you would like to fess up - your secret is safe with your Maximum Leader…

Carry on.

Happy Year of the Ox

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader believes that there was too much to celebrate this past weekend. Take for example the beginning of the Year of the Ox. Normally your Maximum Leader tries to do something special to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This year it snuck up on him. He didn’t realize it was coming until it was already upon him.

Your Maximum Leader should have tried harder to find out when the Year of the Ox was beginning… When he mentioned it to his villainous family yesterday Villainette #1 cried out “Yay! It’s my year!” Your Maximum Leader wasn’t sure what she was talking about, he looked at her and said “Quoi?” She said “I’m an Ox. This is my year! How fun!” Then your Maximum Leader realized that Villainette #1 will be 12 years old this year. She will, later in the year, have made it through a whole zodiac cycle. It made your Maximum Leader feel a little old actually…

Happy Lunar New Year!

Carry on.

Bacon infused alcohol

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is lazy today. He is awaiting Battlestar Galactica tonight and is not concentrating very hard on anything.

So.. By way of taking content from another place…

The guys at Kissing Suzy Kolber have a nice post on bacon infused alcohol… If you are interested in bacon flavored drinks… Clicky on the linky…

(Your Maximum Leader is posting this and thinking about you Bobgrrl…)

Carry on.

Day 1.5

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Chief Justice Roberts swung by the White House to re-administer the oath of office to President Obama. The scuttlebutt is that they were doing a little CYA to make sure that no one thought that he wasn’t president because the oath was flubbed at the inauguration. So, your Maximum Leader supposes that we are only now beginning the Obama Administration. (Will they ask for a few extra hours out of the term of the next president as some “make-up” time?)

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader might have inadvertently given offence to our friend (and supplier of the greatest damned home-made pickles in the world) Polymath. Perhaps a little clarification is required on my comments on being patriotic and wishing President Obama well. To try and put a fine point on it. On the first day of a president’s term when it is a time for general celebration, we should wish the new president the best. For patriotic and polite reasons. Your Maximum Leader is sure that the criticism will start soon - indeed one can argue that it should begin right away over the decision to close Gitmo (a decision that your Maximum Leader feels must be taken due to US courts now granting rights to prisoners there that they shouldn’t have - so your Maximum Leader is in agreement with the overall decision; but the devil will be in the details here. Your Maximum Leader suggests that they put the prisoners in a jet that happens to fly into a flock of birds and isn’t piloted by someone as skilled as Chesley Sullenberger III.). Also the selection of Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary should be a cause for some concern. Your Maximum Leader thinks at this point that Geithner should just step aside and they should choose someone else. (NB to minions: Do governors of the Federal Reserve not go through a confirmation process? If they do why didn’t this tax stuff come up earlier? Is the Senate a bunch of slackers who only investigate the big jobs? No need to answer that last question…)

Your Maximum Leader feels that Obama’s critics who are warning of creeping socialism are a little premature. So far Obama’s team is just playing out the creeping socialist plan that was left to them by the Bush Administration. It is yet to be seen what Obama’s team will suggest. Your Maximum Leader isn’t too hopeful, but he will wait until he sees the plan.

Moving along…

Another minion, Maggie, asked in the comments of the last post if your Maximum Leader would serve in an Obama cabinet of “adversaries” if asked. That is a good question. It is one that your Maximum Leader contemplated for a little while. Your Maximum Leader can confidently say that if President Obama asked him to be an informal policy advisor; he would gladly accept the job. Advice is free and the president should get lots of it from different perspectives. If President Obama asked your Maximum Leader to serve in a cabinet level job (or other appointed position) he would likely agree to do so. He says likely because when the president asks you to serve your country you should try to do so. Of course, if it was clear that your Maximum Leader could not in good conscience carry out the policies of the president then he would have to resign and have the president find someone else. Your Maximum Leader is not expecting a call from President Obama (or Rahm Emmanuel) asking him to serve in an Obama Adminstration. Lucky him.

One last item…

Your Maximum Leader hasn’t commented on the whole Caroline Kennedy thing. It appears as though she has removed herself from consideration from appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. Your Maximum Leader didn’t ever comment on Caroline Kennedy wanting the seat. She is, he feels, no more or less qualified than hundreds of others who seek elective office around the country. He did object on one basis however. Because she is a Kennedy, and her family has a history of serving in elective office, she should only attempt to get into the Senate (or House or where ever) through direct election. Your Maximum Leader would hold her to a higher standard in that respect than others. Because of who she is she should not “back into” office but should actively campaign for it. It doesn’t appear to be an issue not however…

Carry on.

Now the work begins

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader heard from a minion (or two) who wondered if he (that is your Maximum Leader) was going all soft and squishy on President Obama. They indicated that the recent post about Obama and Nixon’s ghost was awfully kind to both men. Then yesterday your Maximum Leader wished President Obama success.

Well… Before you all clamor to revoke your Maximum Leader’s conservative credentials (such as they are) let him state a few things. Any patriot should wish President Obama success. Love of country should outweigh partisan considerations - especially when Obama hasn’t done anything yet. Think about it, he hasn’t been in office for a day. There is nothing substantive to be critical of right now. Surely no one wants Americans to suffer simply because of partisan considerations.

That said, my idea of what will be successful and President Obama’s are not likely the same. Your Maximum Leader has been pleasantly surprised by many of President Obama’s cabinet appointments. The President seems to be reaching out and soliciting the input of all. Indeed, if your Maximum Leader may be frank, he believes that President Obama will have more trouble keeping hold of the reins on his own party in Congress than he will from Republicans.

So… Although your Maximum Leader wishes President Obama the best, it doesn’t mean that everyone should just roll over and do whatever the President wants. We didn’t all pledge to serve him. Questioning the President and encouraging debate should be the job of the press, thoughtful members of his own party, and Republicans. Your Maximum Leader was pleased to read Juan Williams’ piece today in the Wall Street Journal. Williams asks us all to judge Obama by his performance. The juicy part of Williams’ piece:

The importance of a proud, adversarial press speaking truth about a powerful politician and offering impartial accounts of his actions was frequently and embarrassingly lost. When Mr. Obama’s opponents, such as the Clintons, challenged his lack of experience, or pointed out that he was not in the U.S. Senate when he expressed early opposition to the war in Iraq, they were depicted as petty.

Bill Clinton got hit hard when he called Mr. Obama’s claims to be a long-standing opponent of the Iraq war “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” The former president accurately said that there was no difference in actual Senate votes on the war between his wife and Mr. Obama. But his comments were not treated by the press as legitimate, hard-ball political fighting. They were cast as possibly racist.

This led to Saturday Night Live’s mocking skit — where the debate moderator was busy hammering the other Democratic nominees with tough questions while inquiring if Mr. Obama was comfortable and needed more water.

When fellow Democrats contending for the nomination rightly pointed to Mr. Obama’s thin proposals for dealing with terrorism and extricating the U.S. from Iraq, they were drowned out by loud if often vacuous shouts for change. Yet in the general election campaign and during the transition period, Mr. Obama steadily moved to his former opponents’ positions. In fact, he approached Bush-Cheney stands on immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperate in warrantless surveillance.

There is a dangerous trap being set here. The same media people invested in boosting a black man to the White House as a matter of history have set very high expectations for him. When he disappoints, as presidents and other human beings inevitably do, the backlash may be extreme.

Several seasons ago, when Philadelphia Eagle’s black quarterback Donovan McNabb was struggling, radio commentator Rush Limbaugh said the media wanted a black quarterback to do well and gave Mr. McNabb “a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.” Mr. Limbaugh’s sin was saying out loud what others had said privately.

There is a lot more at stake now, and to allow criticism of Mr. Obama only behind closed doors does no honor to the dreams and prayers of generations past: that race be put aside, and all people be judged honestly, openly, and on the basis of their performance.

Your Maximum Leader believes that Mr. Obama will start (soon one hopes) to be judged on the basis of performance. Your Maximum Leader still believes that the bar has been set so high with all of Obama’s campaign talk of hope and change that as the President has to make tough calls and be political he will start to crush the hopes and dreams that many of his supporters ascribed to his presidency.

Let us see what Obama does now that he has the job. Then we can critique or laud him - as appropriate.

Carry on.

Congratulations Mr. President.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader extends he hearty congratulations to our new President, Barack Obama. Sorry that the oath was delayed a few minutes by that musical piece. (Although, Rick Warren probably could have cut a minute or two off his invocation.) Your Maximum Leader supposes that he should also apologize for the Chief Justice. It seems as though he might have been a little nervous there.

Your address was good. It was well delivered and had great flow. It was, as all the good inauguration addresses are, short on specifics and high on rhetoric. That is not a fault.

Mr. President you have a great burden on your shoulders. May God bless you and help you carry it. We will likely disagree on many issues, but you have my best wishes for success.

Carry on.

Barack’s First Night

President Barack Obama stared at the ceiling for a moment. Then he glanced at the clock next to his bed. 1:07. AM. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. He reached for his robe. He looked back at Michelle, now asleep, as he fastened the tie around his waist. He walked slowly across the floor to the door. He went particularly slowly. His foot probed for creaking floorboards before putting down his whole weight. He reached the door and opened it enough to allow him to slip into the hall without letting too much light into the bedroom.

He stood in the hallway. He looked to his left, then his right. No one.

He needed a cigarette. He walked down the hall to a small desk. In the topmost drawer he had placed a packet of cigarettes earlier that night after coming back to the White House from the last of the seemingly endless parade of inaugural balls at which he and Michelle we expected to make an appearance. He and Michelle had said goodnight to the various staff on hand so late. He would have to get used to the fact that there were always people around. They might be out of sight, but they were never far away. He would also have to come to grips with how he would impact on the lives of the White House staff. If he kept waking up in the middle of the night and wanted something to eat or drink would someone have to start being on hand to help him to the refrigerator or stove? As he walked down the all towards the door to the Truman balcony he thought that there was probably someone on call all night anyway. But if he made a habit of walking around late at night they would probably have to bring more staff on the night shift. He hadn’t contemplated that before.

At the end of the hall he turned towards the balcony door. He had started to brace himself for the cold. Damned dirty habit he had. And now the forty-fourth President of the United States of America, the first black man ever elected to that office, the most powerful man in the world was going to stand in his pajamas, slippers and bathrobe on the Truman Balcony of the White House in 10 degree weather to smoke a damned cigarette. What the hell had he been thinking when he agreed with Michelle that he either stop or only smoke outside? Jeez. They might have to rethink that promise. He rubbed his forehead. How many promises was he going to have to “rethink” in the coming weeks and months?

“So are you beginning to wonder why you even wanted this job?”

Barack Obama stopped before opening the door. Without turning he smiled and said, without turning to face the oddly familiar voice, “No. Why do you ask?”

“Because I stood where you are standing now and rubbed my brow like you just did and started to wonder why I wanted the job.”

President Obama turned around and found himself standing face to face with the thirty-seventh President of the United States.

Richard M. Nixon looked pretty good for a man that had been dead for over a decade. His hair was thick and dark. He didn’t look too aged. Indeed, he looked like the man he was back in 1967. There was a faint shimmering around him. An aura that seemed to fade from light blue to light gray and back again.

“What the hell? I must be dreaming.”

“You’re not dreaming young man. Heh. Excuse me, Mr. President.”

“If I’m not dreaming then I’ve gone crazy before I’ve even started the job. Because I know that you are dead.”

“Yes. I’m dead alright. But I am taking a momentary leave from my heavenly reward to come down and give you some advice.”

“I need advice? From you?” Obama rolled his eyes and smiled widely. “If I need advice from Richard Nixon in my dreams then the whole country is a lot worse off than I thought it was.” Obama looked into the spectral Nixonian eyes and snorted, “You know I have a damned good cabinet. They are there to give me advice.”

“Bah!” Nixon spat. “There was only one member of my cabinet whose ideas were worth a damn.”

“Oh! Lemme guess,” President Obama said grinning. “Henry Kissinger.”

“No. Earl Butz.”

“You’ve got to be kidding… I thought…”

“Of course I’m kidding. You can’t afford to be that gullible. You are the President of the United States young man.”

Obama took a few steps forward, closer to the apparition. Nixon was dressed in a light gray wool suit. His tie was wider than the fashion now, but right in place in ’67. His wingtips seemed to shine. Obama reached towards Nixon and his hand passed through the image.

“You still aren’t getting it are you young man?”

“I don’t know what there is to get. I am asleep next to my wife and I am having a crazy fucked up dream about talking to Richard Nixon.”

“No. You are not dreaming. I had a similar talk with a dead President when I was in the White House. My talk was with President Roosevelt. Theodore, not Franklin. You couldn’t get Franklin to come back here… He’s too busy cavorting around with all those cute girls that want to thank him for Social Security-this and fighting the Nazis-that. He’s getting more Free French ass than DeGaulle.”

“What?”

“Sorry about that. I got a little side-tracked there. It just burns me up that Franklin is up to his eyeballs in grateful horny French women and there isn’t one Goddamned hot member of the Silent Majority coming around me wanting to jump my bones… So to speak. Well… I was saying that I had a few conversations with Theodore Roosevelt after I became President. TR stopped coming around once I seemed to get the hang of things. But it didn’t go as well as I would have liked. You know that though.”

“So let me get this straight,” Obama inquired. “Theodore Roosevelt came back to give you advice; and you are coming to give me advice?”

“That is correct.”

“So who gave Bill Clinton advice?”

“Jack Kennedy,” Nixon answered.

“Jack Kennedy acts as an other-worldly advisor for Bill Clinton and I get Mr. Watergate himself? Does God hate me?”

Nixon grimaced at the mention of Watergate. “No. The Lord doesn’t get involved in this type of stuff. Dead Presidents coming to give advice to living Presidents is a program that John Adams started for James Buchanan. Adams was the first one to come back, since it was his idea. Adams figured he could impart some wisdom and thoughtfulness to Buchanan and save the Union. But it didn’t work out. Buchanan is a moron and Adams is an arrogant prick. The two didn’t get on very well. Washington stepped in and saved the day by advising Lincoln. Military advice mostly. Lincoln was grateful. He turned out okay didn’t he?”

Obama couldn’t believe what he was hearing. As he was getting more agitated he started scowling at Nixon. “So Bill Clinton gets John Kennedy. Lincoln got George Washington. Who did Reagan get? Thomas Jefferson?”

“No. Reagan got James Madison and Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge doesn’t say much so he was there for moral support mostly. Madison was really helpful on that “New Federalism” stuff.” Nixon paused. Then as an afterthought added that, “Jefferson volunteered to help Franklin Roosevelt. I believe Jefferson only visited twice in all that time FDR had here. Jefferson is too busy with… Erm… How do I say this without offending you?”

“Oh my God,” Obama exclaimed. “You mean…”

“Yes. Jefferson gets a lot of ‘brown sugar.’ He loves it. He always has two or three beautiful blacks around him. I think he was trying to hook up with Eartha Kitt last I heard. His stamina is amazing. Almost Kennedy-esque actually. I suppose you can indulge those things when you are Thomas Jefferson.”

“My predecessor, George W?”

“Franklin Pierce.”

“Who?”

“Exactly. You don’t want some ignorant bastard coming giving you advice do you? Should I leave and send Millard Fillmore or Chester Arthur back here to talk with you?”

“No. How about Washington?”

“He will not leave his farm now. He says that he is the damned Father of the Country and after helping Lincoln he has done his bit.”

“FDR?”

“Too busy screwing Free-French babes. I just said that. Are you listening?”

“Kennedy?”

“Hangs around with his brothers Joe and Bobby on the beach nailing hippies and going sailing. They keep passing Marilyn Monroe around. He only will come to talk to ‘kindred spirits’ he says.

“Lyndon Johnson?”

“He is a grade-A suck-up to FDR. Spends his time trying to impress FDR with all his ‘Great Society’ crap. He is also a little hen-pecked since Lady Bird showed up. You don’t want him around.”

“Reagan?”

“Busy with Chuck Heston and all his Hollywood buddies. He is new in the neighborhood. Give him some time.”

“Eisenhower?”

“He and Jerry Ford are trying to teach Harry Truman how to golf. Ike’s patience wears thin, but Jerry is a good man and will bring Harry along. They will be predisposed until they get Truman to shoot a scratch game.”

“Lincoln?”

“He hides out with Washington. Abraham likes to lay low and read a lot. He hides out with Washington because he doesn’t like being hounded by all those people who want to thank him for saving the Union and freeing them. He also wants to keep away from Mary as much as he can. She is a crazy bitch.”

“So I get the only man to resign the presidency to come back to act as my advisor because all the good guys are busy. Are you sure there that you all aren’t a touch racist? Maybe you want me to fail because I am the first black man to win the office?” Obama was indignant thinking of the implications of what he’d just said. There were plenty of living racists to deal with. Now he had to consider the dead ones too.

“Honestly,” Nixon began, “there are a number of racists among the group. I am not one of them. Slavery was and racisim is the great moral failing of America. I don’t want to see you fail.”

Nixon appeared to take a deep breath and he turned away from Obama and looked out the window towards the Washington Monument. “I don’t want to see you fail. I failed because of my own hubris. My failings were avoidable if I hadn’t been blind to what I was doing. You and I became president at a unique time in America’s history. Deeply unpopular wars were underway abroad. Deep discord infected everything at home. I had a chance for greatness. You have a chance for greatness. You and I share times more similar than you think. I can help you if you want my help. If you don’t… Well… I can go back and leave you be.”

Obama pondered what Nixon’s ghost had said. Somewhere deep inside Obama’s mind he could feel that what Nixon had said rang of the truth. Obama spoke deliberately to Nixon. “No. You can come back later. I might need your advice.”

Nixon turned back to face Obama. “Of course you will need my advice. I know you weren’t going to ask the living guys for their opinions. The older Bush is a nice guy – competent. His son… Well… Clinton is too busy with himself to give good advice. And Carter is a sniveling idiot.” Nixon smiled. “You need me. You want my advice. You want to patch up America’s alliances around the world. I can help you with that. You want to set us straight at home. I can help you with that. I did those things, but no one remembers because of my failings.” Nixon paused. “I’ll leave you alone now young man. I’ll be back later.”

“Before you go,” Obama added. “I’ve got to ask something. How did all the dead presidents end up in Heaven? I would have thought that some wouldn’t have made the cut.”

“I can’t specifically tell you how,” Nixon said with a grin. “But if you know what is good for you I’d get chummy with George Romney’s boy – Mitt. He’s got a lot more going on for himself than you imagine.” Nixon smiled at Obama. “Now go have that cigarette and get some sleep. You’ll need your rest.”

“Thank you Mr. President. I’ll do that,” Obama started to extend his hand to shake Nixon’s. Nixon smiled but stepped back knowing that he didn’t have a hand to shake.

“Good night Mr. President.” And with that, Nixon faded away.

President Barack Obama stood staring into the space where Nixon had been. After a moment a member of the household staff appeared from a side door.

“Is everything alright Mr. President? Can I get you anything?”

“No thanks. I’m fine. I was just going out on to the balcony for a cigarette. It has been a long night.” Obama sighed.

The man smiled and replied, “Yes Mr. President. It has been a long night. And tomorrow is another day.”

Barack Obama stepped out onto the Truman Balcony and smoked his cigarette and went back to bed.

Confession. Penance. Apostolic Penitentiary.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had not weighed in on Robbo’s recent post concerning the appelation of the sacrament known as Confession, Penance, or Reconciliation. This is mainly because your Maximum Leader (in addition to being a bad man) has used all three appelations rather interchangably.

Well… In the serindipity that is the world sometimes… What should come across the AP news wire but this story: Vatican secret confession tribunal opens up. The article reads:

One of the Vatican’s most secrecy shrouded tribunals, which handles confessions of sins so grave only the pope can grant absolution, is giving the faithful a peek into its workings for the first time in its 830-year history.

The Vatican has long lamented that fewer and fewer Catholics are going to confession, the sacrament in which the faithful can receive forgiveness if they sincerely confess their sins to a priest.

To combat the decline, the so-called “tribunal of conscience” invited the public into the frescoed halls of its imposing 16th-century palazzo for a two-day conference that ended Wednesday.

The aim was to explain what the Apostolic Penitentiary actually does, and thereby encourage more of the faithful to go to confession, said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the tribunal’s No. 2 official.

“Even though it’s the oldest department of the Holy See, it’s very little known — specifically because by its nature it deals with secret things,” he said. “We want to relaunch the sacrament of penance.”

This was quite intriguing to your Maximum Leader as he’d never known such a tribunal existed. And he also never knew specifically that there were sins so grave that only the Pope could grant absolution. He had assumed that there were probably real “doozy” sins that required going to a Bishop. He supposes that at some level he might have assumed that there were sins so serious one would need to get in contact with Rome (at least) before granting absolution.

Well… The list of sins handled by the Apostolic Penitentiary was not at all what he thought. According to the AP piece they are: “defiling the Eucharist… priest breaking the seal of the confessional by revealing the nature of the sin and the person who sought penance, or a priest who has sex with someone and then offered forgiveness for the act.” Your Maximum Leader assumes that this is not a comprehensive list, but this short list includes three items that have actaully never entered into your Maximum Leader’s mind. (Because he isn’t a priest he’s never really contemplated the two; and it has never crossed his mind to defile the Eucharist.)

One wonders if the act of confession dealt with by the Apostolic Penitentiary actually ends with the penitant coming and confessing to the Pope personally. Your Maximum Leader would assume that it would have to be a face to face encounter. He doubts that the Pope would sit in a little confessional and open the screen to hear the confession.

This reminds your Maximum Leader of one time he went to confession. Many years ago he happened to be on the campus of Catholic U and walked into the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was during one of the times they offered Confession, so your Maximum Leader decided to make a confession. Up to this point in his life, he’d always gone into the little dark confessional and waited for the screen to open and get started. Well, there was some construction in the area where they normally have the confessionals. So he waited in a side chapel in front of a nondescript door. People would go in, and after a time would come out. When it was your Maximum Leader’s turn he walked in and found himself face to face with a priest sitting in a bright room with two chairs. There was a moment there when your Maximum Leader considered walking right out without opening his mouth. He was used to the dark. Used to the annonymity. Used to hiding what he was doing. But there was no hiding here. Bright light. Open chairs. Face to face (almost eye to eye) contact.

It was one of the most difficult things your Maximum Leader ever did; making his confession that day.

In retrospect it seemed the most fulfilling as well. There was something very comforting about seeing the priest and making a personal connection.

Carry on.

De Plane Khaaaaan! De Plane!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been rather busy with life of late and has let his blogging (and X-box playing before you all start going off thinking the worst) go. Sorry ’bout that.

Your Maximum Leader has just read on the Washington Post that Ricardo Montalban has died, aged 88.

Your Maximum Leader used to love Fantasy Island. He also is a huge fan of Star Trek II. It is as a fan of those works that Mr. Montalban’s passing is noted.

Now your Maximum Leader is imagining Montalban (in Khan garb) demanding “SMILES EVERYONE! SMILES!” on the dock at Fantasy Island…

Imagine that yourself.

Carry on.

Babies!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a bad bad man. And he doesn’t mean bad in the “good” way. In this case he means “bad” in the “bad” way.

You see, your Maximum Leader wrote a post of a somewhat timely nature the day before Christmas… But he just pressed save and not publish…

It was not until this morning when looking at another blog that he remembered this.

Your Maximum Leader humbly begs forgiveness of his dear friend the Smallholder.

You see, Mrs Smallholder delivered a healthy baby boy on Dec 24. It is Smallholder and Mrs Smallholder’s fourth wee bairn. The third boy. As the Smallholder is of a good German stock your Maximum Leader suggested names for the youngin’ like “Otto Von Bismarck ‘Smallholder’” and “Franz Joseph ‘Smallholder’” and “Frederick Barbarossa ‘Smallholder.’” Then your Maximum Leader got serious and suggested names like “Charles Martel ‘Smallholder’” and “Pepin the Short ‘Smallholder.’”

Sadly, none of these names were chosen. Due to your Maximum Leader’s repect for privacy, he will not divulge the baby’s real name - but it is a strong manly name. (Thus obviously not chosen by that great namby-pampy - the Smallholder himself.)

Now you might be asking yourself, “Self, what prompted my Maximum Leader to remember this forgotten and now presumably re-written post?”

It is the news that Mrs FLG has delivered little Miss FLG. Woo hoo! Mother and daughter doing well. Mr FLG himself… He seems to be okay. We’ll check in again in a few days and see how he is then.

Go over and wish FLG the best. You can wish Smallholder the best in the comments here.

Carry on.

E - 74

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has continued to be preoccupied with “real life” and hasn’t made time to blog consistently (or at all really). Sorry ’bout that. But he is now doing a little post because of a noteworthy anniversary today.

Yes… Today would be Elvis’ Seventy-fourth birthday. The King of Rock and Roll would be an old geezer now were he not dead. But your Maximum Leader would still be a fan. A big fan in fact. If your Maximum Leader hasn’t put you on notice before, in the Mike World Order, Elvis’ birthday will be a paid holiday - by law. (Your Maximum Leader will even push hard to have Elvis declared “Saint Elvis of Memphis.” If the Catholic Church will not accomodate this, your Maximum Leader is sure he can get the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans and AME churches to go along.) Graceland and the grave of Elvis is already a pilgramage shrine. Your Maximum Leader is sure many have been healed of their ailments by visiting the grave of Elvis. It shouldn’t be too hard… Plus… Can you imagine how cool it would be to have a Caddy or a Stutz Blackhawk that was once owned by a Saint? Very cool indeed.

Your Maximum Leader hasn’t checked, but his is pretty sure that something fun is going on at the Elvis website in honor of his birthday.

Happy Birthday to the King of Rock & Roll.

Carry on.

Callou! Callay! He chortled in his schadenfreude.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes he had some sort of interesting reason to explain his absence from blogging. Alas… It all comes down to two things. The first has been spending time with family (nothing wrong - just holidays and everyone is around). The second is “Destroy All Humans: Path of the Furon” for X-box 360. He has played (according to the last saved game he checked) DAH for about 13 hours over the past few days. That is 13 hours he hasn’t been blogging. Or interacting with his family. Or doing much of anything. All in all DAH is an okay game. The graphics could be better than they are. There are some disturbing Chinese stereotypes being used. But all in all the game is fun for a jade nearly-40 something that is just looking to blow off some steam.

Now you are likely asking yourself, “Self, what is all this gaming have to do with schadendreude?”

Funny you should ask.

According to reports, Scottish Actor Ross McCall is a single man.

So what you might ask?

Well that means that the DREAMY JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT IS AVAILABLE!!!! Woo hoo! Your Maximum Leader hopes that McCall weeps salty tears into his oatmeal as he travels back to the mother country in search of a good Scottish red-haired Heather.

Yes… Now that the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt is back on the market she may resume her place as the object of your Maximum Leader’s (platonic) affections.

Carry on.

    About Naked Villainy

    • maxldr

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