The Handwriting Is On The Wall

Some folks just don’t know when to quit. Disgraced former head of the New Life Church Ted Haggard is resurfacing in a forthcoming HBO documentary, “The Trials of Ted Haggard,” that recounts, among his other exploits, Mr. Haggard’s dalliance with self-satisfaction and self-flagellation while in the company of Grant Haas.

Mr. Haggard, you may remember, admitted meeting with Mr. Haas, a young volunteer at Mr. Haggard’s Colorado church, in a hotel room where he received drugs, which he claims he threw away, and a massage from Mr. Haas but claims he did not engage in any sexual activity with the young man.

Mr. Haggard is not without his coterie of true believers. They are convinced he discarded the drugs without consuming any, though had he presence of mind he would have sold the drugs, and thus recouped the price he paid for the hotel room. These same folk are willing to accept that he took it upon himself to act solely upon himself — with an audience, mind you. But stopping short at a massage?

Now, no one blames Mr. Haggard for not turning down a massage. Is it really that odd to occasionally succumb to the vicissitudes of life and retreat from church dogma into that exquisitely physical pleasure that may well enervate the soul? I would argue that any elevated sense of disbelief stems from Mr. Haggard’s own stated invocation of will power, a force truly unlike anything mere mortals possess. I mean, who among us can say that we, too, would have stopped just short?

Then again, perhaps Mr. Haggard the evangelical was unable to sublimate Mr. Haggard the corporeal habitué, otherwise he might have remembered a passage from the Bible, John 8:32, also found etched into the marble wall in the main lobby of CIA’s Langley, Virginia headquarters — “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” I often wish, though, that the sentence started with “You” instead of “Ye,” as I have a friend named Ye and I don’t want him to think I’m picking on him.

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Speaking of writing on the wall, when is that impeachable rogue, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich going to see an optometrist? Even while the wheels of jurisprudence are leaving their tire tracks up his back, he blithely makes the rounds of popular talk shows, like The View, and claims to have gained some perspective on his plight by channeling the likes of such key luminaries of color as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, whose only apparent relevance to Mr. Blagojevich stems from their having spent some time in the slammer.

I have apparently misread their chapters in history, as I am unable to recall either of these three ever casting themselves as endearing media darlings.

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One of my favorite things Russian, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was in the news recently when he ordered natural gas shut off to the Ukraine, in the process cutting supplies to Europe and leaving hundreds of thousands of shivering gas customers in the Balkans and Eastern Europe with an unmistakable message, one loudly heard throughout the 1970’s spate of blaxploitation films: We’re here and we’re badder than ever.

By the way, does the Continent — Europe, like Madonna and Bozo, is an unmistakable single-named icon — really need to be reminded that their cold war is but a refurbished Cold War?

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According to a story in the January 29, 2009, edition of the New York Times, bonuses paid to Wall Street workers totaled $18.4 billion for 2008, the sixth-highest payout ever, according to the New York State comptroller. I am sure that this sum was well earned, but considering that brokerage firms alone lost more than $35 billion, I wonder exactly what these workers were being compensated for? It couldn’t have been for their temerity to woo an initial, opaque $300 billion bailout, could it?

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