Late Night: Friday the 13th

Good Evening!

In case you hadn’t noticed, today is Friday the 13th. Therefore, this post has a horror theme. Lately I’ve been feeling that the news has become a horror show anyway, what with the candidates for President–Horrendously-Horrible (Mitt Romney) and Slightly-Less-Horrible (Barack Obama)–and the ongoing war on women and the war on the poor and middle class.  So why not wallow in horror on this supposedly unlucky day?

First up, where did the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky come from? I found a 2004 article at National Geographic that offers some background from Donald Dossey, a psychologist who treats phobias and is also a folklorist. He says that the Friday the 13 phobia is based on ancient mythology.

Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.

“Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day,” said Dossey. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding.

There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

A number of other experts are quoted in the article as well, if you’re interested.

Today Mitt Romney gave a speech to the National Rifle Association. If there’s anything to the Friday the 13th myth, perhaps bad luck will come to both Romney and the NRA. One can only hope. Naturally Romney, who used to be pro-gun control, is now claiming to be the ultimate Second Amendment wacko. From HuffPo: You’ll Have To Pry Mitt’s Gun From His Warm, Probably Manicured Hands.

WILLARD, A FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR, IS JUST CRAZY ABOUT GUNS – Can’t get enough of ‘em! Mike Sacks: “Speaking at the NRA national convention in St. Louis on Friday, likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney warned that re-electing President Barack Obama would lead to an ‘unrestrained’ assault on freedom with decades of repercussions. Romney, whose record on gun rights is hardly rock-ribbed, tried to convince a skeptical audience that he would fight for its interests upon entering the Oval Office. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney in 2004 extended the state’s ban on assault weapons and small handguns. Less than a year later, however, he designated May 7 “Rights to Bear Arms” day in Massachusetts and became a lifetime member of the NRA. ‘The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they’ve been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it,’ Romney said.”

Romney claimed that “re-electing President Barack Obama would lead to an “unrestrained” assault on freedom with decades of repercussions” despite the fact (Romney doesn’t believe in facts) that Obama has done absolutely nothing to promote gun control. In fact, in 2008, Obama showed himself to be a better friend of the NRA than Romney ever was.

Romney’s statement refers to the fact that if re-elected, Obama may have the opportunity to appoint up to three justices, including filling the seats of two justices — Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both turning 76 this year — who were in the court’s 5-4 decision establishing an individual right to keep and bear arms for self defense in the home.

Responding to the landmark 2008 case that first articulated the individual right, Obama applauded the ruling. “As president, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen,” he said in a statement just as his campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was heating up.

See? Horribly Horrible vs. Slightly Less Horrible.

Here’s a little of what Charlie Pierce had to say today about Willard’s NRA performance:

I have come to conclusion that the key to understanding Willard Romney, foof-dauphin of the Republican party, is to understand an old vaudeville joke. (This is the key to understanding many things, as Woody Allen demonstrated in Annie Hall.) Two women are sitting at a bar. One talks like the young Lauren Bacall. The other one talks like a duck. When the bartender talks to the former, he sounds like Clark Gable. When he talks to the latter, he talks like a duck. The second woman gets fed up. “Are you making fun of me?” she quacks at the bartender.

“No, ma’am,” he quacks in reply. “I’m making fun of her.”

Having lived in the Commonwealth (God Save it!) under the barely perceptable leadership of Governor Willard, I have spent the campaign wondering if the Governor Willard is the sham or Candidate Willard is the sham. I wonder no longer. He wasn’t making fun of them. He was making fun of us.

He’s gone so fully wingnut that the only conclusion that any of we veteran Romneybot watchers can come to is that his whole governorship here was a riff. He’s shucked off all the “moderate” camouflage that so fooled us that it can never have been stuck to him that solidly. Take today, for example. He went and spoke to the National Rifle Association and he vigorously stroked that group’s most deeply masturbatory fantasies…

That was followed by quotes from Romney’s ludicrous speech.

This week notorious murderer Charles Manson came up for parole for the 12th time and once again his petition was denied.

A prison panel denied parole Wednesday to mass murderer Charles Manson in his 12th and probably final bid for freedom.

Manson, now a gray-bearded, 77-year-old, did not attend the hearing where the parole board ruled he had shown no efforts to rehabilitate himself and would not be eligible for parole for another 15 years.

“This panel can find nothing good as far as suitability factors go,” said John Peck, a member of the panel that met at Corcoran State Prison in Central California.

Also playing heavily into the board’s decision was something Manson had said recently to one of his prison psychologists that Peck read aloud.

“‘I’m special. I’m not like the average inmate,'” Peck said. “‘I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man.'”

Charles Manson and Matthew Roberts

But what about the children that Manson fathered during his few years of freedom in the late 1960’s? What has become of them? One young man who claims to be Manson’s son has been in the news again this week.

Matthew Roberts, 44 — who says he was conceived at a San Francisco orgy attended by Manson in 1967 — is worried that two inconclusive DNA tests were his last hope to confirm whether his father is the infamous cult leader, CNN’s Miguel Marquez reports….

Roberts says that unless he sees “somebody scrape a piece of skin off [Manson's] ass and bring it to a lab,” he can’t be sure if Manson is his father, he told CNN….

Roberts, whose mother put him up for adoption shortly after he was born, tried twice to confirm his true identity with DNA tests. But the results revealed that Manson’s samples were contaminated. The New York Post reported that even Roberts’ mother admits her son bears a striking resemblance to the incarcerated murderer.

It’s well known that Manson fathered several children while living with his followers at Spahn Ranch near Death Valley. Here’s a site with some research on where those children are now.

What could be worse than being one of Charles Manson’s offspring? How about being the child of Adolf Hitler?

The results of new testing support the story of a French man who said he was the illegitimate and only child of the German dictator.

Jean-Marie Loret had said his mother told him that she and a young Hitler dated while he was stationed in Northern France during World War I and she was a teenager.

Before Loret died in 1985, he shared his story with a lawyer; the sensational and history-defying details of that conversation — plus new evidence to support the claim — were just published in the French magazine Le Point. Loret also wrote a book titled “Your Father’s Name Was Hitler” in 1981….

Loret says his mother first revealed the identity of his father in the 1950s, triggering the kind of reaction you’d expect from someone who just learned their father was a genocide-perpetuating mass murderer and one of the most awful people in history.

“In order not to get depressed, I worked non-stop, never took a holiday, and had no hobbies. For twenty years I didn’t even go to the cinema,” he wrote in his book.

Loret had a son named Philipe and six other children. One day as the family was sitting at the dinner table,

“Suddenly my father said, ‘Kids, I’ve got something to tell you. Your grandfather is Adolf Hitler’, ” explains Philippe.

“There was stunned silence as no one knew what to say. We didn’t know how to react.”

That was 40 years ago, yet there is a sense that Philippe, 56, still doesn’t know how to react.

He has never spoken out about that conversation or the fact he may be the grandson of the most infamous dictator in history.

A former plumber for the French air force, he has kept it a secret from all but his closest friends, never telling his colleagues or even his partner’s family.

Closer to home, the American Nazi Party now has a registered lobbyist representing them in Washington, DC.

John Bowles, the National Socialist Movement’s presidential nominee in 2008, registered Tuesday, U.S. News and World Report notes. He stated on his registration form that he intends to lobby on the issues of “political rights and ballot access laws.”

Asked by U.S. News and World Report if he thought an avowed Nazi would actually be able to secure meetings with politicians, Bowles responded with confidence:

“I don’t see why not,” he says, adding that he knows lobbyists rely on their credibility. “Of course I won’t approach anybody in Congress unless it’s a very interesting issue or law,” he promises. “I’m going to be very careful about the issues I choose for this.”

He might get a friendly reception from Paul Ryan or Allen West.

Have you heard about the “luxury ‘Doomsday’ shelters” in Kansas?

Tucked deep beneath the Kansas prairie, luxury condos are being built into the shaft of an abandoned missile silo to service anxious — and wealthy — people preparing for doomsday.

So far, four buyers have plopped down a total of about $7 million for havens to flee to when disaster happens or the end is nigh. And developer Larry Hall has options to retro-fit three more Cold War-era silos when this one fills up.

“They worry about events ranging from solar flares, to economic collapse, to pandemics to terrorism to food shortages,” Hall told AFP on a tour of the site.

These “doomsday preppers”, as they are called, want a safe place and he will be there with them because Hall, 55, bought one of the condos for himself. He says his fear is that sun flares could wipe out the power grid and cause chaos.

He and his wife and son live in Denver and will use their condo mostly as a vacation home, he says, but if the grid goes, they will be ready.

Here’s a guy who lives in a similar missile silo in Texas.

Those are my offerings for tonight. Friday the 13th will soon draw to a close. I hope you made it through the day safely!