Well, That Was Fun! Oh, Here’s the Bill.

We’re not entirely sure how we feel about this — it’s a great trick for stifling dissent of all flavors — but happily, we’re not a Responsible Op-Ed Columnist:

The controversial Florida pastor who threatened to burn Korans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is expected to be billed at least $200,000 by the city of Gainesville for costs associated with the stunt.

Pastor Terry Jones, who got international attention with his on-again, off-again plan to burn 200 copies of Islam’s holiest book, said the costs would essentially bankrupt his 50-member church, the Dove World Outreach Center.

No, no, no, they’re already morally bankrupt. Gainesville just wants to fiscally bankrupt them to match.

Florida Pastor Who Vowed to Burn Korans Billed for Security; Says Church Would Go Bankrupt [ABC, via Yahoo]

Boo fucking hoo, pastor. Put your damn man pants on and dig deep.

I like how they spear the weenies on a rake.

Maybe Talibunny can give a speech to raise $$ for him.

There’s a lawsuit in there, mark my words. Just give it a couple days.

Hard to figure out where to draw the line for billing for rescues and such – I think if your death would have won you a Darwin Award (or honorable mention) then they can bill you for the rescue. This asshole went looking for publicity, so I’m inclined to force him to pay.

I’m very against making him pay. Granted the man’s a nincompoop but so what? Why should being stupid bar you from the services provided to citizens? Services should be free, we pay through our taxes. I do not want to live in Colorado Springs. I do not want to have to pay the cops to give me a ticket.

By the way, was watching a documentary about tattoos and russian prisons (now officially off my must-visit list) and finally realized what it was that the main Mormon temple in SLC reminds me of, I’ve been trying to work it out for years and there it was – the Kremlin. I just had to share.

I’ll bet Pastor Jones could sell his whiskers to true Xtians and raise $200K in ten minutes. That would be just like what Jesus did in the temple, except exactly the opposite. At least Pastor Jones would remain consistent.

Speaking of bills, Lefty, are you in the city Saturday night? Wanna run one up?

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants:

Agree in principle, but part of me has to giggle at conservatives getting stuck with “fee for service” – after all, they love it when it’s keeping poor people from getting healthcare, etc…

@al2o3cr: Couldn’t agree more. And this is what they want the country to become. But I find it hard to shake the habits of my socialist Marxist past.

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants: Thus my caution as well. I want to pee on their grave, but I’m afraid the wind might be blowing.

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants: I’m very much in agreement with you sir, my socialist-marxist “past” to blame. Attempting to levy a “charge” for protection like this, is just as much a government restriction on free speach as outright banning the speech. At best, its like saying, “you have freedom of speech, but only if you can afford it.”

As far as charging people for their rescue, based on your judgment of whether they “deserve” their fate because they fail whatever test is implied by statements such as “darwin award candidate,” this notion fills me with revulsion. Maybe because I am a boater, and grew up among commercial fishermen, and studied maritime law in law school. The “law of the sea” says you have an obligation to rescue. This notion is completely foreign to the law on land, where there has never been an obligation to rescue. Rightly so, the fact that the sea is a hostile environment, where everyone who ventures, does so at peril, makes for a different rule. It is the law, you must rescue anyone at peril, so long as you can do so without emperiling yourself, and rightly so.

And that rule, that to me, is a restatement of the moral code that guides any “liberal” in his or her beliefs about society. The liberal views every human being as being at sea on the perilous ocean that is life itself. And the liberal morality states that if you are sailing through life doing well, you owe an obligation to rescue those who have foundered on life’s rocks, fallen victim to life’s storms, without regard to fault, blame, or judgment, we believe that we should give health care to the sick, regardless of whether they smoked, or they were promiscuous and contracted VD, and we give basic sustenance to the poor, regardless of wether they are lazy or stupid.

Because we are all at sea, living precariously in a hostile world, and we should all give to others the aid and comfort they need, and thus also, know that we will receive aid if we are in peril, without judgment or blame or laying of fault. And every person alive is your fellow voyager on this hostile sea, and we owe each other all we can in support against a cruel world.

And no matter how much you might judge someone as being stupid, and bringing their fate on themself, there but for the luck of the draw goes you, were you not born with your prudence and intelligence. I know all of you would resist strongly a test to determine who is worthy of welfare, or health care, based on whether they were smart, or stupid, or lazy, or crazy. How can you be so judgmental about rescue, when its just a more obvious, and urgent, case, of the same thing, a fellow human in need.

@Promnight: There should be a test for reproduction. Biology don’t cut it no more.

I can see where you are coming from.

I suspect that they got this bill because they were warned repeatedly not to do this. Something like this happened in the 80s when people tried to drop over Niagara Falls in a barrel. They were given a bunch of warnings to stop, but didn’t listen. When these folks were successful, they were handed a bill by authorities for the cost of their rescue. The $25k bill stopped anyone else from doing it since.

Different than bad luck or poor choice or just being dumb in my opinion assuming (ha) that this is the reasoning behind it.

A “Damn the torpedoes”/”I think I can” mentality isn’t always good.

The insanity of the church can be summed up in this Youtube video of a “Kids In the Hall” sketch called “STAY DOWN!” with the church as Bruce McCulloch’s character (the scrawny guy in the mustache and mullet.)

@blogenfreude: I think this is a line that is pretty safe to draw. I’m not a fan of paying for rescues (except for the Niagra Falls example – that’s assumption of risk). However, the dear Pastor’s stunt is like holding a parade and not wanting to pay the street sweepers for cleaning up the elephant dung.

@redmanlaw: How would that not be “eugenics?”

Lets lay that aside, because eugenics is an inflammatory word.

Because it is true that natural selection doesn’t work in the best interest of a stable, sane, liveable society. Reproduction rates for humans are unsustainable. If population continues to grow, collapse is inevitable as we outstrip resources.

This is normal, this is nature’s way, an animal that becomes too succesful, expands until it destroys its environment, then it collapses, followed by extinction or some factor develops which induces some kind of stability.

From a darwinian standpoint, overpopulation is the ultimate win, the greatest possible reproduction of the genes.

So can we, as a society, develop some societal mechanism to thwart the reproductive imperative’s force, in order to prevent overpopulation and disaster? Can we, as a society, reconcile such an idea, with the current ideas on human individual freedom? Can we trust any human institution, any government or bureau, with the authority to make the determinations, who gets to reproduce, who doesn’t? Is a simple, black line rule, 2 kids per couple, or one kid per person, limit, is this fair, is this right?

Overall, despite the arbitrariness, it seems a simple “zero population growth” rule seems best, one new person for each person. Everyone gets the same chance. You could never trust any human institution to make a value judgment on a case by case basis. Couldn’t be done.

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants: The problem with giving the Pastor (and similar publicity freaks) a free ride is a variation of the tragedy of the commons.

Emergency/protective response is the public commons in this example. If individuals can consciously exploit the commons for their self interest (most commonly publicity in this situation), the commons will be damaged or destroyed (in this hypothetical – protective resources will be stretched too thin to properly abuse their job).

The publicity freak sociopaths won’t care. They’ll have achieved their goal of calling attention to themselves at little or no cost to themselves. In fact, they’ll be encouraged to do it over and over again, since they receive the profit, while society bears all the costs.

Sort of like the banking system.

This logic does not apply to people in a “true” rescue situation. I’ll concede there are grey areas here, and implementation is always a bitch. But if you don’t draw the line, you are literally paying madmen (not necessarily morons) to destroy public services.

If they really believed that the world they are living in is a satanic dystopia they’d have the conviction to burn themselves alive in their ministry of hate and rage. Go Jonestown or shut the fuck up, assholes.

@FlyingChainSaw: It would be more entertaining if a UFO landed, Xenu appeared and turned them into newts.

Maybe after a little while they could get better.

@Walking Still: Or Xenu lands and fucks them in the ass and eats them.

@Promnight: @redmanlaw:
i don’t know if reds was joking, but i’m not. been sayin it forever–you need a license to catch a fish, but any fool can reproduce. i’m with you prom on this, the idiots who are already here deserve aid, i’m with you there, but i draw the line at letting them procreate.
i’m crushed by the stupid, and don’t see another way out. yes prom, i do think it’s fair that the criminally insane/ IQ’s under 50/ and the all around deranged are not allowed to pass their genes. and why wasn’t there a star trek teaching us how wrong that would be? because it’s not!
i don’t want to kill or muffle anyone…i want them to be stem cell research. oh, and prisoners? in there for life for raping 8 year olds? medical research.
and don’t start yelling at me about tuskeegee…they were not aware and were not idiots or dangerous. it was the devious sick minds that concocted that plan who’s birthin cards i want to take away.
why can’t it be done? making value judgements?
i’ll do it!

/singing: if i ruled the world……
i don’t want to be president or prime minister, or queen..
just a benevolent dictator.

@Walking Still: Do we know that he was seeking publicity? I don’t think he was. I think he wanted to burn the Qur’an for moral reasons and was overtaken by the publicity. And one can’t blame people for being stupid. One can pity them as they kick your teeth in outside the pub but it’s not their fault in the sense that they’ve done it deliberately.

@Promnight: Those old laws of the sea make me think of the laws of hospitality that were once universal. When I first came to the States it was on the old Queen Mary – god, what a beautiful ship! We sailed in December and hit historically bad weather. In fact it was the worst storm recorded till the storm Unger writes about in Perfect Storm. So the ship was battened down and almost everyone was in their cabin puking. My parents and I were okay, we stayed on deck as much as we could and it was all very thrilling. A Greek freighter was overwhelmed by the weather and was sinking, appealed for help, and the Cunarder went off-course and off schedule to stand in front of the weather till the crew could be taken off. There was no question that she wouldn’t.

I’ve been reading the sagas in preparation for my trip and they are soaked in the law of hospitality and came across an incident in Egil’s saga that made me think of FCS. Egil, a problematic hero of early Iceland, as nuts as he is heroic, has arrived at a large farm with the usual retinue while in pursuit of some tax-cheats. So the farmer provides a major feast (they seem to have been blessed with bottomless freezers) and horn after horn of beer. No sign of martinis but whatevs. So the host does something that outrages Edil’s sense of decorum, I don’t know what, no chocolate on the pillow? I don’t know, so this is how Edil deals with it –

Egil stood up and walked across the floor to where Armod (his host) was sitting, seized him by the shoulders and thrust him up against a wall-post. Then Egil spewed a torrent of vomit that gushed all over Armod’s face, filling his eyes and nostrils and mouth and pouring down his beard and chest. Armod was close to choking, and when he managed to let out his breath, a jet of vomit gushed out with it.

Egil’s conduct lays him open to a certain amount of criticism. Before he leaves he cuts off Armod’s beard with his sword and gouges out one of his eyeballs with his thumb. The moral seems to be, Don’t diss bitchez and do not shirk responsibility to provide proper treatment to travelers. They all seem to know that they can just show up and be fed and housed, for months at a time if necessary, because those providing the hospitality know they can call on the same treatment in turn.

@baked: What was the famous line by Learned Hand? “Three generations of imbeciles is enough?” Something like that, from someone like that. But yes, you are right, degenerate criminals, the insane, the profoundly retarded, thats an easy call. But it gets harder when you start slicing and dicing there in the middle of the bell curve.

@baked: Honey, I’m a little disturbed by that line of reasoning- You know I love you, but, well, think about the company you keep when you start denying some people the right to reproduce, which is the net effect of a reproduction license. Forgive the Godwin, but not too long ago there were a group of people who cut out the middleman and just sterilized the unfit…

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants:

As to this particular pastor, when you hold press conferences with your “burn the Koran day” website painted on a truck prominently located in the background, you are seeking publicity. This does not mean that he was not sincerely religious. Many religious leaders view publicity as an essential tool of their ministry. Some are hucksters, but I have no doubt many are sincere.

However, my position is not limited to publicity hounds.

When anyone with an axe to grind sees their agenda furthered by taking actions that pose a disproportionate drain on public resources, they will do it unless they have to compensate the public for the drain resources. If you don’t, it’s just like giving the hamster a sugar pellet.

Within limits, society has to tolerate this. However, it can easily become a tool for the unscrupulous and/or fanatical to further their agenda at the expense of essential resources. If they keep getting the reward they seek, they’ll be encouraged to keep at it.

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants: Under New Mexico law, a land owner cannot block access by travelers to streams and watering holes. A holdover from the territorial code enacted when people traveled by horseback or carriage.

@Walking Still: Oh – not “Burn a Korean” day. Nevermind.

@Walking Still:
I agree with you. Maybe I’m an all too pragmatic asshole… People should be helped, but psychosis shouldn’t be rewarded (except in corporations and the finance industry… /eye roll/)

Hey now! Ha.

@Prommie: Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 8-1 decision of Buck v. Bell.

@Walking Still: If these assholes had the courage of their convictions, they’d be besieging Constantinople.

@FlyingChainSaw: Somehow I get the feeling you are rather fond of this passage:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:15-16


@flippin eck: Mrs RML’s cousin, who is also a Hispanic Catholic, went to a Bible study held at a school on the weekend by some no name little church. They were of course discussing Revelation and the End Times (always sure to draw the curious) when the class leader goes into the Number of the Beast and states that “the Pope is the Antichrist, the Catholic Church is a satanic instrument.”

Cousin says, “OK, I’m out of here.” Funny thing is that her brother stuck around for the rest of the class although their mom was super devout and their family was very prominent at their parish.

Here’s a question: can/should the public school ban the weird little church for promoting hate pursuant to their district policies?

@flippin eck: Never saw it before. Why would it apply to these clowns, who clearly need to be pushed in front of a speeding train.

@redmanlaw: Ban it how? Fox News is one big 24/7 festival of seething, fist-clenched hatred broadcasting all over the world. Most churches at some level have a number of crowds they regard as satanic – like everyone not in their immediate congregation. What could a school district do?

@Walking Still: Dear God, you’re not trying to make me think are you? Because that won’t end well. Because what I’m thinking is that we’re stuck with the loonies of whatever persuasion. Cleaning up after them is unpleasant but seems to be part and parcel of living in a reasonably functioning state. Not unlike paying medical costs for the indigent aka, 45% of the population.

@SanFranLefty: Not the Faroes this time unfortunately. I’d hoped to take a ferry from Denmark but it stops running in Sept. I’m heading for Iceland and will do the Faroes next time. My Icelander tells me that they are almost entirely unspoiled with beautiful old houses and such as. Plus a vibrant musical tradition which is very much alive. Meanwhile I’m getting in touch with my inner Odinist.

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