“Fired up!”  “Ready to go!”   “Fired up!”  “Ready to go!”

12:30 and fifteen blocks from the University of Texas.  President Obama had likely landed in Austin just a half-hour ago.  Already a woman on her bicycle was starting up the election-year chant with a man on the street.  A block away, political dissidents dressed in doctor’s scrubs took pictures in front of a homemade sign reading “Go Home.”

With one of the most polarizing bipartisan political figures in years coming to Austin, one might expect more of a turnout from political activists.  Instead there seemed to be loners every several blocks.  Maybe the event hadn’t been well-publicized.  There wasn’t so much as an arrow on the roadside.  Gregory Gym, a single building in the vastness of the University of Texas, was hidden like a tree in a forest.

Dozens of police and volunteers eventually arrived and made the path clear.  Around several corners, the line appeared.  Some 2,000 people stretched around the courtyard and back again.  Only a dozen had brought signs.

The infamous mustache, scribbled on yet another iconic face.

The first to appear was a man in his 20’s with a tank top, crew cut and curly goatee.  “Keep Austin Mason-Free,” read his message to the world, with the Freemasons’ mathematical-looking symbol in the middle.  He told the sheepish guy behind me that every big political figure in America was part of the secret society– from Barack Obama to Ron Paul.

“Don’t vote, man,” he cautioned.  “In the end you’re just enslaving yourself.”

The next activists were Arab-Americans: not pro-Obama, not anti-Obama, but political.

“Occupation is a Crime!  Free Iraq and Palestine!”  Two of them waved flags for those countries.  The people to either side of them were anti-war in general, with a sign that read “No War is a ‘Good War'”.  “Money for Jobs and Education!  Not for War and Occupation!”

The only demonstrator who seemed happy to see the President was as older man with a giant “O” in his hands.  Each demonstrator seemed to ignore the others.  The quiet hundreds of people shuffled along, strangers walking slowly in line.

Most of them were UT students who’d stood in another line to get these tickets.  Since Friday evening, the tickets had been handed out to students who got a note at the end of one line, which qualified them to get the ticket itself in the next.  Several hundred tickets had also been given to people in political organizations– nonprofits and watchdog groups could see the man they sent so many petitions to.

“You skipping Genetics too?” one student asked another as they saw them in line.  The girl in question was an Iranian exchange student, starting Graduate School and already deep into her fifth year at UT.  Her sister invited her to the event, but had made it inside some time ago.

One hour later, the back of the line snaked past the booth handing out water in Coca-Cola cups.  The half-dozen news vans parked in front set up lights and cameras where their news anchors would stand.  As the last of the line fit onto the front steps, the bell tolled 2.  As the last people stepped through the Airport-esque metal detectors, the screams of women young-at-heart rang out.  Someone had arrived.

Like most of his less-than-nationwide speeches, this one was personalized.  He talked about education, about what he’d done, how that affected the students in the audience, and what “we” ought to aspire towards.

For everyone not standing in the front, he looked about as distinct as a fingernail at arm’s length.  All the features were there– hints of gray hair, ridge of his eyebrows and familiar hand gestures– but listeners in the bleachers could’ve gotten a clearer image from a smartphone.

He spoke the same way as he always had, albeit a little more tamed and less ambitious.  He poked fun at himself.  He had a fact for every minute of his speech.  He responded to just a few of his opponent’s accusations, and supported people and heads of Universities by name.

His standing ovation came earlier than he would’ve liked.  When a cluster of twenty clapping students rose to their feet, so did everyone else.  After several sentences of trying to speak above the crowd, he gave up and began waving.  Then he dipped into the crowd in front for handshakes.

The crowd flowed out afterwards, clusters of students staying behind to call or keep talking to each other.  The sense of political action was soon gone from the room.

Outside, the scene was a slightly more crowded and faster-moving version of the hour before.  Video cameras, for news and independent movie-makers alike, were out and interviewing.  Signs and soapboxes were out once more, not having missed a note.  None of them had tickets to get in the door.

The man with the megaphone was out trying to overthrow the New World Order with a dozen photocopies of Obama in Joker facepaint.  The back of his billboard said “9/11 was an inside job.”  Paired with the Obamas were Joker-painted pictures of Hitler and Bush, saying “Obama is a black Bush.”  A crowd of some thirty passersby closed in closely around him, and a police officer stood expressionlessly by his side.

Then came the last and most organized protesters yet: the ones with the Obama Hitler mustache.  If the Tea Party believes the Right isn’t Right enough, this trio’s conviction was that Obama wasn’t Left enough.  The Health care bill should’ve been a single-payer system and replace all HMOs for being “greedy middle-men.”  Rather than toting patriotism, they said all governments ought to cooperate to redesign the biosphere and colonize other planets.  They gave Obama the dreaded mustache for not “tearing down the monetary system”: something their Congressional candidate Kesha Rogers plans to do.

In the afternoon of blazing picket signs trying to redesign the world, two mellow girls with “Obama, Take Back the Gulf” signs seemed almost out-of-place.


This blog post transcribed from the personal blog “NewsFangled.”

Most religions make a point of avoiding Hell at the end of their natural lives.  But in this recent era, Hell is an idea that video gamers in this life can’t seem to get enough of.

If you watched the SuperBowl, you may have seen the ad.  This game comes out today.  It’s “Dante’s Inferno,” the tale of a soldier who fights through the Nine Circles of Hell to bring back his lover Beatrice.  Its setting is based on the 14th-century epic tale “The Divine Comedy,” of a poet who looks through the different levels of the abyss.  Only instead of the mild, observant poet, it’s a Crusader with Death’s Scythe and a magic crucifix.

Digital Demonhunters

Why Hell?  Well, Earth, past-earth, future-earth, elves-and-dragons-earth and zombie-infested-earth were all taken.  It’s only a matter of time until someone sets combat in Heaven a la “Paradise Lost.”

Blizzard Entertainment, the powerhouse behind World of Warcraft, is responsible for a handful of the games that pit the players against the horn-headed hordes of Hades.  Most prominent is its “Diablo” series where, which is mostly like World of Warcraft with different lighting.  Players create a character, choose its class and go out to defend the fantasy land from – in this case – the armies of the Burning Hells.  Its other hit series, “Hellgate: London” have a more post-apocalyptic settling, and notably more use of lingerie as battle gear.  (Apply Safe Search when necessary.)

The crucial question may well be: is Hell cool?  Not according to the actual plot of the game.  Dante may fight with Death’s Scythe, but he is still doing battle with the incarnate sins of Gluttony and Greed.

Crossing The Line

The Church itself has its own opinions on the game.  EA Games, producer of Dante’s Inferno, faked a Christian protest outside of its own convention to drum up publicity.  In the 2000’s the Vatican historically opposed franchises such as Pokemon and Harry Potter, before the Pope later lifted the accusations that it mimicked witchcraft and summoning demons.  Both franchises were huge successes.  So as the slogan goes, “any publicity is good publicity.”

At the same time, organized religion has tried to produce its own games.  The less-than-successful series of Left Behind games is, no pun intended, testament to that.  Players act as survivors after the Rapture, who charge up prayer levels to fire blasts at demons and nonbelievers.  But even with support of organizations like Focus on the Family, the game has been blasted as intolerant as well, even by churches.

But the game is being stoned not just by religion, it seems.  Neither is its biggest enemy a legion of concerned mothers.  The games biggest critics are its fans that say it rips off the God of War games.  “Dante” plays a lot like everyone’s favortie dashing-leaping-mauling Spartan, only in Hell and with a love interest.  Truly a crime for which it would be better that Dante had never been born.

Either in spite of the critics or because of them, however, “Dante’s Inferno” — literary classic turned artistic hack-and-slasher– is going to somewhere in a handbasket.

Explore the Game’s Web Page Here.

In a recent video released by the hidden leader of terrorist group Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden blamed the U.S for the most heinous and, oddly, indisputable crime of the last decade. Not of torture or war crimes, nor of unholy war or of being the Great Satan. This time he blamed the United States of America for causing climate change.
The 361st Degree has long been dedicated to the highlighting of two perspectives colliding, which never would have found each other anywhere else. This week, marking my first post here since my studies in Chile, such an occurrence came on its own.

Bin Laden’s tape was the second released after a four month period of silence.  Instead of predicting and calling for the destruction of the United States, he told “the whole world,” his assumed audience, to do it for him via money politics.  “We should refrain from dealing in the U.S. dollar,” he said in his video, “and should try to get rid of this currency as early as possible.”  Russia and China, albeit for less spiteful reasons, had already considered setting a global standard other than the American dollar, to prevent another global recession.

But he strayed farthest from his traditional angle when he chastised Bush for not signing the Kyoto Protocol.  In tying himself to an international movement of environmentalism, he both changed his own (admittedly homicidal) image and may well have dragged the movement down with him.  The “Greens” are already perceived in some parts of America as anti-American enemies of freedom, for instance.  If the anti-Greens movement looks into Al Qaeda’s new agenda enough, they may be able to frame Global Warming activists as terrorist sympathizers.  Time will tell if that happens.  But it wouldn’t be a first.  I’ve expressly avoided overusing the name “Osama” ever since the incident with Obama and the terrorist fist-jab.  A mere suggestion like that can have culture-wide consequences.

However, our pundits weren’t the only ones to hear the terrorist’s accusations.  “The whole world” did.  With talks like Copenhagen and international non-profits flying an oddly similar flag to Bin Laden’s, he’s thrown a monkey wrench into the diplomacy of all parties in the War on Terror.  Many people would want to agree with him, if it weren’t him speaking. But seeing as the environment has never historically mattered to his oil-drilling aristocratic family, it may just be lip service.

But perhaps most interestingly, his words sounded much like those of our own cynics.  He said that Bush and Congress rejected the protocol “only to satisfy the big companies.”  Despite the tone lost in translation, he’s as critical of the State and its CEOs as any pundit on AM/FM or WiFi.  “When those perpetrators fall victims to the evil they had committed, the heads of states rush to rescue them using public money.”  And apparently critical of the bailout.  He even critiqued globalization.  The views are common enough with our own people, in both political parties.  Skeptics and Libertarians in all the states agree in a decent number of his points.  If Bin Laden continues the line of rhetoric– or more importantly, acts on it– it could form a strange triangle between anarchy, Al Qaeda and arbor day.

Until then, the odds of terrorist factions joining hands with Greenpeace volunteers to sabotage oil wells are low.

Holly Terrace, el sección del Gran Mausoleo que guardará el cuerpo del cantante esta noche.

Holly Terrace, el sección del Gran Mausoleo que guarda el cuerpo del cantante.


El artista “Prince,” tambien conodico al mundo con el titulo “Rey del Pop,” ahora es enterrado en una manera tan regal como su nombre. Las catacumbas que guardar su cuerpo estan abajo de un castillo.

La tumba final de Michael Jackson es en Forest Lawn Cemetery cerca de Los Angeles, California, una propiedad de casi un media milla 2. Hubert Eaton lo compró temprano en el siglo 20, pero los residentes mas permanentes tienen sus propias historias. El mármol Gran Mausoleo es el hogar de 13 niveles de cadáveres bajo de lo de Jackson, incluyendo Satanistas ancianos, Gypsies y un mil urnos de las cenizas de personas descinocidas. Otros partes del propiedad guardan los cuerpos de celebridades, como los “Three Stooges” y “Marx Brothers“.

Las cenizas de Walt Disney tambien estan ocultado en un rincón menos conocido de los cerros.

Las detallas de las catacumbas son mas oscuras, ambos porque son ocultados y tambien porque son, francamente, extraño. Primera, el portavoz ha negado los leyendes de los cultos del diablo en los pisos bajo del Mausoleo sino las guardas y obreros han describidolo en detalle. Los testimonios de obreron quien han hablado de los sentidos de dedos tochando el detras de sus cuellos en los cuartos mas bajos son tan dificil probar.

Como planeado, el cuerpo de Michael estaba enterrado el 3 de Siptiembre, en un servicio simple con su familia.

Los posesiones de Michael Jackson, a valor de $500 millon dólares (alrededor de 280 billón pesos) ahora son controlado de los Fideicomisarios del Michael Jackson Family Trust.  La familia y ex-marida del cantante no van a recibir nada de la inmensa fortuna.

Katherine Jackson, el madre de Michael, tiene custodia de sus tres hijos, Michael Jr., Paris y Prince.   Los cuatros, y benefícas sin nombres, recibirán el dinero y recursos del Family Trust durante todas sus vidas.

James Von Brunn, 88-year old white supremacist, may receive the death penalty for the killing of security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns.

The events of this Wednesday are rippling the nation the way many public killings do. An issue we thought was gone in a place we thought was safe resurfaces, and millions of people can feel the tension now.

The following day, a note was found in Von Brunn’s vehicle. “You want my weapons – this is how you’ll get them,” read part.  “The Holocaust is a lie… Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do.”

It’s an old ideology we’ve seen surface in our nation before.  For decades now we’ve been sick of it, as we should be whenever it rears its head.  Moments like this, like when two skinheads in Tennessee announced their plans to kill the President-Elect, are when we remember that we are united by something other than war.  After all our shock shown towards Holocaust-deniers in the Arab world, we’re forced to admit that this time the attacks came from us.

I can’t say for certain how America has reacted to this.  Jewish Journal now writes that the shooter’s Judaism-centered conspiracy is widely believed, albeit by less violent individuals.  But I haven’t heard or read one word, not even so much as a Facebook status or wall post, acknowledging that this happened.

His ex-wife and son Erik, who had known about his online involvement in anti-semitic and Neo-Nazi groups, expressed their disdain for the path that he’d gone down.  “He was eaten alive like a cancer with his hatred of Jews and blacks,” she told news networks.

The man wasn’t unstable, and it is assumed he worked alone.  He had spent 6.5 years in prison after attempting to “arrest” the Federal Reserve Board of Governors with weapons lining his trench coat.  He later claimed that the Board of Governors was a secret means of Jews controlling government.  The conspiracy theory, which he mapped out in his disseminated but unpublished books years ago, held that Jews controlled much of the world and plans to “destroy the white gene pool.”

James Von Brunn had no history of mental illness, leaving us with the frustrating conclusion that “killers” like himself aren’t “crazy.”  Though his conspiratorial beliefs and racial discrimination may be unfounded, they led him to rally for his causes throughout most of his life.

More recently, a judge has announced that Von Brunn is too critically injured to appear in court.

Knowing Von Brunn’s background and crime, I might call the judge’s verdict ridiculous.  Perhaps we’d like to see a quick sentencing, or even vigilante justice, so we can leave this whole anti-Semitism issue alone for a few more years.  I strongly advise the strictest possible case of the former.

But while he remains in the spotlight, let us take note while we can.  This misdirected theory of blame will be present in America long after we die.  But that doesn’t mean we, as individuals, can’t nip every bud of prejudice we see.  Investigations into Von Brunn’s life are now showing early signs of his ideology, in instances in his childhood when he first began blaming his problems on Jews and racial minorities.  Someone could have spoken to him then.  One instance alone may not have saved the life of Stephen T. Johns, but enough good influences could have saved Von Brunn’s own mind.

It is not a crime to leave a child to his own devices.  The crimes he goes on to commit, however, will be.


Stephen Tyrone Johns: 1970-2009