Welcome to Swamp Gas in the Imajica. Similar to the You Can't Make This Shit Up (YCMTSU) section, Swamp Gas will focus solely on news and items of interest in the sunshine state of Florida.
They say, "All the nuts in America roll downhill to Florida." So let's just see how true that phrase really is.
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Swamp Gas v. 008
The beginning of 2006 during early January should be called 'troubled teen' week in Florida. Brian Hooks, 17, Kevin Daugherty, 18 and William Ammans, 18, (not pictured) went on a savage spree of beating homeless people in the popular beach community of Fort Lauderdale. They attacked three different homeless men with baseball bats over the course of one night. Two of the three men survived their attacks, but Norris Gaynor did not. He was killed by these thrill seeking teenagers.
One of the attacks was caught on a campus surveillance camera, and the shocking video of the teens beating a defenseless man with baseball bats was then played repeatedly on local and national news outlets. The three teens now face aggravated assault and murder charges. In Florida, they could face the death penalty for their night of thrills. For an in-depth discussion of this story and homelessness, read "Homeless in Paradise" on Dark Skies.
By all accounts, Leo Boatman, 19, certainly had a troubled childhood. Nonetheless, he stole a relative's AK-47, travelled across Florida to the Ocala Nation Forest where he shot and killed two student campers, Amber Peck and John Parker. According to authorites, he told his friend that he aspired to be a serial killer. Who says kids these days don't have goals?
Chris Penley, 15, went to his middle school, in Longwood, Florida, with a pellet gun sprayed painted flat black to resemble a typical 9mm hand gun. After students freaked out in Columbine fashion, Penley ended up stealing away to a restroom. Despite some controversy raised about the incident in hindsight, the bottom line is that when he raised his gun and aimed at police, he was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy. His organs were donated after his death.
Here's a little something you likely won't see in military recruiting brochures and advertising. According to a recent news article on the Armed Forces Information Services (AFIS) site, the Democrusader just signed a human trafficking law that goes as far as criminalizing prostitution for all military personnel, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal and an accepted social norm. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 amends the military manual for courts-martial. Under the new act, any servicemember convicted of patronizing a prostitute can receive a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and one year of confinement. Apparently, if you go to the red light district now, the evil-doers win.
John Awtrey, director of law enforcement policy and support for the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, went as far as stating:
"Whether people realize it or not, most women involved in prostitution are there against their will, he said, and supporting that industry - even by going to a strip club or bar that allows prostitution - supports the worldwide human trafficking industry." ... "If you spend money there, you're giving money to the traffickers, and traffickers are criminals," he said.
Despite the common sense observation that there are thousands of strip clubs located within a taxicab's ride away from military bases all over the United States in order to cater to the pent-up desires of horny young men away from their homes and high school sweethearts, the UCMJ was modified as follows:
Patronizing a prostitute.
(a) That the accused had sexual intercourse with another person not the accused's spouse;
(b) That the accused compelled, induced, enticed, or procured such person to engage in an act of sexual intercourse in exchange for money or other compensation; and
(c) That this act was wrongful; and
(d) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces."
The Defense Department (DoD) has long been fixated on the topic of sex and the nexus of security risks with military and DoD personnel. The Defense Security Service (DSS) even details interesting declassified cases of espionage through prostitution, or love of sex over love of country, as rare as they are. However, searching for "prostitute" on the defense.mil site will yield you nearly 1000 results, mostly concerning Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) rulings on security clearances for defense contractor employees.
I don't care about the defense contractors, honestly. They are civilians making an obscene amount of tax-free income. I am thinking that the many 18, 19 and 20-something-year-old enlisted personnel in the military service are the people most affected by criminalizing sex. In point of new legal fact, if a horny soldier buys a horny local girl drinks (aka: other compensation) and they have sex outside of the Democrusader's definition of legal, godly, marriage -- that soldier can now be demoted from brave to depraved and dishonorably discharged.
"We're in a different kind of war," Dubya says. I agree. Three years from now, we can all begin the decade-long struggle that it will require to pull the United States out of his ass.
I started the New Year with a beard. It's similar to the one I'm sporting above in this older image taken of me, hanging out in the French Quarter. I'm debating with myself in the mirror everyday whether or not to just shave it off because this current beard is bushier.
Rather than the trimmed beard of some frustrated and artistic intellectual, this current beard on my face looks to me more like one worn by Osama bin Laden or the Unabomber. I'm not alone on this. A child called me "Grizzly Adams" (aka Dan Haggerty) over the Christmas holiday!
Similar to Blog the Haircut, I need your help, again. Rather than wasting valuable page real estate with an actual BlogDrive Poll on my left panel, just give me your preference in a comment below, okay?
Saturday update: It was so fracking cold outside this morning, my normally large male endowment quickly turtle-headed, as the morning snot instantly froze in my nostrils. Not being sure which physical reaction to the abnormally chilly weather alarmed me the most, I instinctively grabbed my package and the word brisk popped up within a cartoon bubble inside my freezing phallic brain. I murbled aloud, "WTF?"
I quickly retreated back inside, and after my penis was restored to its original glory and wonderment, I could then think lucidly enough to schedule some inside activities for my day. Sitting in front of the monitor now, I notice that it's so bright and sunny outside, but I have to remind myself that it is just an alluring lie. Lie, lie, lie!
The last time I really thought about the weather was during my little holiday visit with Melicious' family in Cape Coral. It was about 10 degrees warmer by her pool than the poolside around here. I scribbled some random thoughts down one night around Christmas while listening to the tranquil sounds of the water falling from the hot tub into the pool.
While I don't normally like to share too much of myself on Thunderstorms for various reasons -- including possible health department code violations -- I already published this on Wall Writings, a blog by our friend, Akira3099. Here's my contibution to the Drunken Poet's Society:
A Thousand Miles So Near
In this time between day and night, I can see you in my mind's sight. Tropical birds will sing their song. It'll be daytime before long. In my quiet predawn repose, I travel to you where it snows.
I read and yet I do not know Where you are now or where you'll go. Somehow, I only think I'm well Thinking of you, my long lost Kel.
How are you and how was your day? I must wish I knew what to say. For me, it's like when things are great, I just wish you could participate. But you are there and I am here. Between us, a thousand miles so near.
So, there you have it -- hopefully the last time in 2006 that I post sappy, alcohol-induced poetry here. However, if you like reading poetry, there are hundreds of Blogdrivers posting their poetry. Here are a few of them:
Ana Marie Cox, founder of the much-loved political humor blog, Wonkette, announced Wednesday on the Imus in the Morning TV show that she will now just be editor emeritus and Wonkette will be actively run by two men. Imus interviewed Ana Marie Cox because she is promoting her newly published book about the underbelly of Washington, "Dog Days." While a work of pure fiction, Don Imus referred to the book as "laugh out loud funny." Given Cox's funny rants on Wonkette as a measuring stick, "Dog Days" is quickly going to be the hip book to tell your friends you are reading.
While I've rarely been complimented by anyone around me as being hip, I am a huge fan of Wonkette. The two men taking over the active writing on Wonkette have a tall pair of red pumps to fill.
Now here's a twist of the Wonkette story that falls under the topic that I call, "You Can't Make This Shit Up." One of the guys who will be writing for the Wonkette was just in the news -- and -- in J. Edgar Hoover fashion, he just may be a perfect fit for those Wonkette high heels.
You see, David Lat, a real-life assistant District Attorney in Newark, New Jersey, recently revealed that he is actually the "Article III Groupie." A3G is a female online persona who writes spicy, naughty, tongue-in-cheek blog entries about the U.S. federal judiciary on his/her blog, "Underneath Their Robes." Wasn't it the NJ governor who came out of the closet? I can't remember, now. Probably no connection there. Nevermind.
Peter Lattman just wrote about the whole twisted freak show on the Wall Street Journal Law blog. Read his post here. With the Samuel Alito Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings coming up in the Senate, you should keep all three of those blogs in mind for insightful, if not irreverent commentary.
In a short strip of Kevin Baconian degree of seperation, Ana Marie Cox is also known to some of us scalier internet dinosaurs as the Bride of Suck. Sponsored by Wired, Suck.com had the archaelogical drop on the advance and popularity of snarky blogs. Back when multi-authored blogs were called e-zines, they were typically just ascii or ANSi. Only the hardcore geek enjoyed the VGA-psychodelic and multimedia artpack versions from the ACiD crew. Suck.com was a joy to behold of sarcasm and wit, back when we all dialed-up the internet for our geek-fix of humor and porn.
You can also fry up this digital dinosaur (kevin) bacon. With a casual glance inside the book at Amazon, you'll discover that my featured Digi-chick, Ana Marie Cox, co-editted that tome of snarkastic wonder with Joey Anuff. Additionally, the Sucksters had the comedic benefit of the illustrations of the talented artist, Terry Colon, and the wit and wisdom of Carl Steadman.
I'm grateful to Carl Steadman for creating Plastic.com, a site where I've been a member since the beginning. I don't regret donating a few bucks when Plastic needed it. I still find myself laughing at the twisted genius of Terry Colon's work on Plastic with his topic icons, too. The Suck.com book gives a great nod to our Plastic Carl with this acknowledgement:
"Carl Steadman, the lost Suckster, who can claim responsibility for everything involved in creating Suck that required verifiable skill. If it weren't for Carl, Suck would just be a word scrawled in crayon on the Wired restroom walls."
For a great article on the whole history and saga of Suck, read "The Big Fish" by Matt Sharkey. And now, Anna Marie Cox is again building her digi-chick fame in geekdom, beyond Wonkette, with "Dog Days." She rawks.