America the Beautiful – a patriotic American song first written as a poem by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893.

Today it is America the Ugly—an unpatriotic nation at war with itself, infested with cultural bias, racial hatred, and incurable political partisanship.

Last week my wife and I walked out of an H.E.B. store in Boerne, Texas. My wife had on a “Beto” t-shirt. An old man—a wretched, angry, mean-spirited old white man—stared at my wife with blind hatred. He said nothing.

There was a time in America when individuals with different political points of view expressed on t-shirts, bumper stickers, or signs in yards invited reasonable exchanges, polite political discourse, and handshakes amid laughter.

That was America the Beautiful—freedom to express one’s beliefs and values without open social conflict.

America the Ugly, however, is personified today by the white supremacists, cowardly gun-toting motherfuckers standing at Arizona polling places and other public venues trying to intimidate voters of color trying to cast their votes of choice.

Just one glance at these dimwitted soldiers of racial hatred, dressed out in their paramilitary garb, tells you exactly what they are.

What would these tin soldiers of hatred do if an armed patrol unit of the Nation of Islam disciples showed up to protect the people of color voters that the tin soldiers are trying to frighten.?

I tell you what they would do.

They would break every Usain Bolt record trying to get to their Ford-150s to “get the hell out of Dodge.”

They are cowards, just like that old white man standing in the H.E.B. parking lot fuming at his own inability to say what he was thinking.

And, folks, this is only the beginning – you will not know America the Beautiful a decade from now.We could very well have an exiled Vladimir Putin competing with Majorie Taylor Geen for a vice-presidential slot.


They shit on the House Chamber floor.

The January 6th Committee this past Thursday wrapped up its last scheduled public hearing. The evidence and revelations presented at the hearing presented a summary of what most rational thinking Americans already know: the January 6, 2021 assault on the nation’s capital was an armed insurrection developed, planned, and executed by powerful political leaders, law enforcement personnel, and a litany of clowns and goons affiliated with both.

But one of the most disgusting revelations was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealing to other government officials over the phone as tha attack was underway that some insurrectionists had defecated on the House Chamber floor.

If possible, think for one minute about that revelation.

People had died, at least one had been killed, and hundreds had been seriously injured by a mob of cretins shouting “hang Mike Pence.” And amidst all this human chaos—the screaming curses, the vile death threats, and the senseless destruction of government property—some of these assholes, in the presence of a bunch of other assholes, dropped their pants and shit on the House Chamber floor.

Contemplate for just one more moment about what kind of character and mindset it takes to do such a thing. People normally defecate when a natural biological urge occurs. It takes a crude, filthy, obnoxious, and unhinged person to drop their pants in public and defecate on the House Chamber floor.

The shit those individuals deposited on that floor not only represented but defined the political belief system they were so-called “fighting” for.

Some of the nation’s right wing political leaders—White Christian Nationalists as they like to be known—have called the defecating insurrectionists “patriots.”

Patriotism (which is actually a Greek word, not American) in 17th century Europe was considered a defense of an established order but the American Revolution transformed the term into an assault on an established order.

So I guess those horn wearing, tattooed violence supporting goons who defiled the House Chamber floor with an excrement that smelled much like their breath were, in fact,  “shitty patriots.”


Do you believe?

That the famous Jewish family, The Rothschild Family, paid Charles Darwin to create the “theory of Evolution.

That House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrats, are extraterrestrial reptilians monitoring each for some form of alien life.

That the earth is flat.

That the Kraken is alive and well.

That JFK (former President Kennedy) will soon return from the dead to re-install Donald Trump as President.

That Dr. Fauci is worse than Josef Mengele, the Nazi “Angel of Death.”

That Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “hero” for invading Ukraine as a glorious stand against some New World Order.

That the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 are “patriots.”

That QAnon is a beacon of truth.

That there are Deep State baby eaters.

That Deep State pedophiles lurk in pizza parlors?

That the Moon Landing never took place.

That Bigfoot is out there, somewhere.

That the Navy conspired to kill mermaids.

That the 2020 presidential election is a “Big Lie.”

COVID-19 was manufactured by Chinese to wage war on America?

That the world is really controlled by Freemasons and/or Bavarian Illuminati.

That former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have had at least 50 Americans assassinated.

That billionaire Bill Gates is intent on genocide of minorities.

That the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Boogaloos are patriots trying to save the American eay of life.

That the Holy Grail is out there.

That the Sandy Hook massacre was a government inspired plot to push gun control?

I hope none of my Facebook friends believe in any of these bat-shit crazy conspiracies. But I am sure there are some.

Anywhere from 25 to 40 million Americans believe in some or all of these conspiracy theories.

You can nurture intelligence but you cannot cure bat-shit stupidity.

I think of all this deeply embedded conspiracy bullshit that is floating in the far-right political arena and it makes me wonder how Lara Logan, the once bright star of CBS News and 60 Minutes, could fall into this black hole of sheer, absolute, incurable insanity.


Putin the Chimp

Studies have shown that chimpanzees are naturally violent and aggressive.

Humans share 98 percent of their DNA with chimps, making chimps the closest human relative.

Humans are also naturally violent and aggressive.

Truth be told and the issue thoroughly examined through a scientific lens, it would reveal that Russian President Vladimir Putin shares 100 percent of his DNA with naturally violent male chimps, like Putin the Chimp.

That precisely why, with his criminal invasion of Ukraine last month, Vladimir Putin ignited the Second Gombe Chimpanzee War.

The First Gombe Chimpanzee War took place in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania between 1974 and 1978.

Jane Goodall had been working with a tribe of chimps for nearly a decade in that national park. She witnessed a gradual splintering of the tribe. The group of separatists—consisting of six adult males, 3 adult females and their young—grew weary of the hard rule of Putin the Chimp. They left his tribe and created their own tribe known as the Kahama Tribe.

The tribe of Putin the Chimp, known as the Kasaketa Tribe, was left with 8 adult males, 12 adult females, and their young. Putin the Chimp brooded over the Kahamas for quite awhile, allowing his killer DNA and his war-mongering genes to ferment. He finally convinced the other Kasaketas that there were Nazis among the Kahamas who had to be eradicated.

Putin the himp got the other Kasaketa males together and told them they needed to invade the Kahama territory and kill off the Nazi leader. The males, mimicking their cousin human behavior, stood before the females picking their noses and scratching their asses convincing them that the invasion was a “peace-keeping mission” to save the Kahama females from brutal Nazi control.

The coward that he was, Putin the Chimp, along with his thuggish followers sneaked up on the male Kahama leader and killed him, literally tearing him apart.

Putin the Chimp, always plagued by human idiocy, believed the Kahamas, especially the females, would hail him as a “Putin the Great”—much like Katherine the Great.

Didn’t quite work out that way.

The Kahamas responded to the invasion of their territory with this,

“Fuck you Putin the Chimp and the rest of those shit-faced thugs you rode in with.”

That launched the four-year Gombe Chimpanzee War that ultimately led to the Kasaketas killing off all the Kahamas.

Drunk with the vodka of victory, Putin the Chimp decided to the Second Gombe Chimpanzee War by invading other chimp territories.

That Stalin-driven expansion prompted a Nato alliance of other chimp tribes to come together and defeat all the Kasaketas.

Chimp history did not record what happened to Putin the Chimp, but images of Benito Mussolini hanging by his feet in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra un northern Italy  in 1945 comes to mind.


41 years

St. Patrick ’s Day is a special day for me and Jodie.

On this day in 1981 she was a television reporter for a CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge. She was assigned to do a series on the death penalty as an impending execution was drawing significant media attention.

I was an award-winning convict journalist—the co-editor of the prison publication, The Angolite—and fresh from capturing the prestigious George Polk Award, the highest journalism award for magazine writing. I was researching and preparing an in-depth death penalty piece for the prison magazine.

I was standing next to the electric chair in the prison’s execution chamber—the same chair, although refurbished, that was suppose to take my life a decade earlier.

Into the chamber walked Jodie and her camera person—our eyes met, locked, and life changed from that moment on for the two of us.  From that moment I was in love, and truly loved, for the first time in my life. We were married the following year by proxy under Texas law—and the marriage was upheld by the Louisiana Attorney General after some state officials tried to block it.

For the next 25 years, and against odds most of you could never possibly imagine, that little lady took on the entire Louisiana political and prison systems—both of which are powerful, daunting, and incurably corrupt. We endured death threats, attempts on my life, and one official retaliation after another as we fought those systems, exposing the largest pardons-selling scheme in Louisiana history, exposing the chief judge of a federal appeals court as a pedophile, exposing the killings and beatings of inmates to the media, sued countless state agencies and prison officials, and assisting in investigations of  innocent people in prison.

There were a million tears in the silence and separation of both our lives, a thousand regrets, hundreds of missteps, but not once giving up hope that we would live, survive, and one day be able to love together as free human beings.

In the 38th year of my incarceration, Jodie finally brought the state’s entire penal system to the peace table. I was released in my 40th year of incarceration, an aged, war-weary soul. At the end of the day, we had built an array of support, mostly through Jodie’s efforts, that included the most powerful anti-corruption and crime fighting organization in the state, two conservative Republican congressmen, a powerful African-American congresswoman, victim rights advocates, the NAACP, a former governor, prominent journalists, popular sports figures, and the incredible Sister Helen Prejean.

Today, 16 years after my release, we own land, home, and vehicles. I’ve never had a single misstep on parole. Our lives have been blessed with a wonderful family and three of the best dogs in Texas.

The look we shared that St. Patrick’s Day 41 years ago still glows in our eyes, the star of which is more bright than it was that day in the death house.

If you want to read the whole story, read Jodie’s 2020 memoir, “Love Behind Bars: The True Story of an American Prisoner’s Wife.”

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