New York's Satanic Temple wants to put its own Satanic monument on the grounds of Oklahoma's capitol building in Oklahoma City, and they're using legal channels to do so. Enough people think this is a good idea that the Satanists raised $30,000 in a crowd-funding campaign to build their statue.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) May 1, 2014
That's a mock-up for a bronze statue of Baphomet — a pagan figure dating back to the 1300s, more recently embraced by Satanists — next to children. ("We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is," temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told CNN in December.) After the Oklahoma-bound statue is cast, the Satanic Temple will retain the mold to "pop these things out like evil, terribly expensive action figures whenever they need a new one," as Smith puts it.
The temple's crusade to conquer Oklahoma is a reaction to the installation of a privately financed monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol by State Rep. Mike Ritze (R) in 2012. The Satanists argue that the First Amendment doesn't allow Oklahoma to implicitly endorse Christianity (and Judaism) without letting the worshippers of the dark lord put up their own statue, too.
And they have a pretty strong legal case, actually — assuming a judge recognizes the Satanic Temple as a religion (unlike the Church of Satan, the Temple of Satan is, by Greaves' admission, more a group of activists/provocateurs who view Satan as a "literary construct"). Right now Oklahoma is avoiding the constitutional showdown on a technicality. Its Capitol Preservation Commission, which handles approvals of all monuments for the capitol grounds, isn't accepting any new applications until the state settles a lawsuit from the ACLU over the Ten Commandments monument.
But it doesn't matter what the federal courts rule, really. Oklahoma legislators will come up with a reason to exclude the monument to Baphomet — this is a state that precipitated a constitutional crisis so it could execute two convicted murderers — and they will have popular support to do so. Oklahoma is overwhelmingly Christian; according to Pew data from 2008, the state is 53 percent evangelical Protestant, 16 percent mainline Protestant, 13 percent Catholic, 12 percent unaffiliated, and 6 percent "other."
As a last resort — and I doubt it will come to this — Oklahoma will remove the Ten Commandments monument rather than allow Satanic statues on state property. And that's probably the point of mocking up Baphomet. Next stop: Texas? Peter Weber
Ted Cruz used some colorful — or rather, vespertilionine — language to describe the Democratic base during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.
"From the left, their base … There's a technical term for their base, " Cruz began.
"Moscow," his interviewer answered.
Cruz nodded, but added: "I was going a different direction, which was 'bat-crap crazy.'" Watch the exchange below. Jeva Lange
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 23, 2017
On Thursday, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner claimed that a full repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act is "not going to happen," calling the suggestion that it might just "happy talk," Politico reports.
Boehner, who resigned in 2015, instead suggested that there would be small changes to ObamaCare. "Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act … that's going to be there," Boehner predicted. He added that he "started laughing" when he heard of President Trump's plans to quickly push through health-care reform: "Republicans never agree on health care," Boehner said.
President Trump has suggested that he will have a new health care plan by mid-March, but Boehner said he isn't buying it. "[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix ObamaCare — I shouldn't call it repeal-and-replace, because it's not going to happen," he said. Jeva Lange
President Donald Trump on Thursday met with several top manufacturing executives to discuss regulatory reform and job creation. But amid all that boring talk, Trump implored General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to discuss an important matter: the time he shot a hole-in-one.
"Jeff actually watched me make a hole-in-one," Trump informed the gathered businesspeople after Immelt greeted him during the roundtable. "Should you tell that story?"
Immelt, apparently, decided that he should. Watch the moment below. Kimberly Alters
Trump just made Jeff Immelt describe the time Trump hit a hole-in-one
Trump: “I actually said I was the best golfer of all the rich people” pic.twitter.com/6yB7oj6WJe
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 23, 2017
They call Zhang Hexian "Kung Fu Grandma."
A social media sensation in China, the diminutive 93-year-old from the eastern Zhejiang province has been practicing the martial art since age 4. At the time, her country "was at war," Zhang explains, "so it was a good way to learn self-defense." She has since mastered a form of kung fu that encompasses 15 styles, each with 36 moves, and now teaches the skill to others in her village.
Zhang, who boasts that she’s never been to a hospital, credits kung fu with keeping her healthy. "To have good body," she says, "you need to exercise and keep a positive attitude." Christina Colizza
President Donald Trump met with manufacturing executives Thursday to discuss "tax and trade, regulatory reform, and jobs," Fox News reports.
"Today we have [here] 24 CEOs from the largest manufacturing companies in the country, and even in the world," Trump said. "They represent — people just in this room — nearly $1 trillion of sales and two million employees, large majorities of which are in the United States."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 23, 2017
During the roundtable, Trump touted the creation of 1,800 Lockheed Martin jobs, which were announced earlier this month, as well as Walmart's plan to create 10,000 U.S. jobs this year, which was announced prior to Trump's inauguration.
Trump also took time to engage with the CEOs, asking the Lockheed Martin CEO if she would have wanted Hillary Clinton to win the election, telling the CEO of Caterpillar that "Caterpillars are the best," and replying to the Campbell Soup Company CEO's introduction with "good soup." Jeva Lange
What will you tell your grandchildren when they ask you whose side you were on in the great spiritual war of 2017? It might be time to start picking sides: On Friday, witches worldwide reportedly plan to "cast a spell that would bind Trump to all who abet him," and the folks at ChristianNationalism.com plan to fight back with "a Day of Prayer" to protect the president.
GUYS WITCHES ARE CASTING A SPELL TO BIND TRUMP AND CHRISTIANS ARE PRAYING TO PROTECT HIM GET MY POPCORN pic.twitter.com/QRdrISt9Zz
— Laura Shortridge (@DiscordianKitty) February 23, 2017
The witches are instructed by "writer, speaker, and magical thinker" Michael M. Hughes to cast their binding spell on every night of the waning crescent moon, such as the one tomorrow, using "an unflattering photo of Trump," the Tower card of a tarot deck, a pin or nail, a white candle, a feather, bowls of water and salt, matches, and a dish of sand. For anyone worried about their karma, Hughes writes that binding "seeks to restrain someone from doing harm" and is "differentiated from cursing or hexing, which is meant to inflict harm on the target(s)." The more you know!
In the other corner, ChristianNationalism.com commands "Christian soldiers" to counter the witchcraft by reading from Psalm 23. "We ask you to join us in praying for the strength of our nation, our elected representatives, and for the souls of the lost who would take up Satanic arms against us," the author writes.
And if that wasn't enough, there could possibly be "chaos magicians for Trump" in the mix:
Oh and there's one or two "chaos magicians for trump" who are apparently planning a counter ritual in there.
— Laura Shortridge (@DiscordianKitty) February 23, 2017
Will the witches and Christian soldiers/chaos magicians simply cancel out the other's prayers/spells? Will one overcome the other to become America's spiritual victor? Trump's mortal fate hangs in the balance, and only time will tell. Jeva Lange
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a radio interview Wednesday she is "open" to using a subpoena to procure President Trump's tax records if his "voluntary cooperation" is not forthcoming. Collins has a seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating allegations of attempted Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
"All of us are determined to get the answers. This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," Collins said. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area." Critics suggest the tax returns could shed light on Trump business dealings in Russia that would be relevant to the election investigation.
Trump's refusal to release his tax records is a break with several decades of presidential tradition but does not run afoul of any laws. Collins' Republican colleagues in House and Senate leadership have shown no indication they share her enthusiasm for subpoenaing a president from their own party. Bonnie Kristian