One hell of a sermon

LogoLet this preacher loose among a gang of murderers and lowlife thugs and he’d straighten them out in a New York minute.

Rev. Charles Lawson would do more to stop crime in the streets than any police force or social counsellor.

The pastor’s powerful voice would scare the worst godless bastard to death with a terrifying fear of a burning hell.

Preacher scares you righteous

THEY’D BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT FOR A FIX

He gives them fair warning: “Hell is full of murderers.”

Criminals run wild because “this brainwashed generation will embrace anything,” he tells his congregation in Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. And if they are finally caught, the judges let them go free. “Nobody is convicted of anything anymore.”

In a country where law and order itself has gone all to hell, Lawson preaches the gospel of fire and brimstone.

“There are murderers in this town who would blow your brains out right now for a fix of crack cocaine,” he hollers. “It doesn’t cross their murdering minds that they’re going to burn in hell.”

Hell also has its share of politicians and greedy millionaires, he notes. And more than that. “Without God, everybody would be in hell in a heartbeat,” he says.

“There’s just one name that can keep you out of hell,” he booms, “and that name is Jesus.”

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Tale of Two Americas

TWO AMERICAS

California used to be THE place to move to in pursuit of the American Dream — now it’s Florida

California is a model for dysfunction, writes Kyle Smith in the New York Post, while Florida is the new destination.

On many critical questions facing our culture, our economy and our society, California and Florida offer radically different answers, Smith writes.

Should new affordable housing be built? California says no, Florida says yes.

Should homeless people be allowed to turn public spaces into tent cities? California says yes, Florida says no.

Should public elementary schools teach critical race theory California says yes, Florida says no.

Should gasoline be $4 a gallon? California says yes, Florida says no.

Should biological males be allowed to dominate girls’ sports? Florida says no. California not only says yes.

TWO AMERICAS
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) and California’s Gavin Newsom have two totally different approaches to government.

The truth can be found in the population shift. California’s population in 2020 shrank for the first time ever, by 180,000 people, whereas Florida had the second-highest increase in population, after Texas.

Smith’s column excerpted here:

During the pandemic, California introduced some of the harshest lockdown measures in the country, crashing its economy, while Florida was among the first states to begin reopening, way back in May of 2020, and has been almost entirely open since September.

Florida had the second-fewest coronavirus restrictions; California ranked 45th among the 50 states. Whether lockdowns are effective or not, there is no question they bring economic calamity.

California’s economy is still suffering, its unemployment rate standing at 7.9 percent. Florida’s unemployment is below 5 percent.

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and California’s Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, are exact opposites in terms of governing.

Widespread disgust with Newsom’s leadership has led to a recall vote to be held on Sept. 14.

Tightly restricted housing policies, high taxes and punishing, traffic-clogged commutes make California increasingly untenable for average earners as wealthy progressives buttress themselves behind high gates, go to work on glistening corporate campuses.

California has a colossal problem in homelessness, and it is determined to take steps to make it worse.

CALIF HOMELESS

Tent cities have popped up throughout the state, and drugs, violence and public defecation are the new norm.

Crime is out of control in California cities. The decision by San Francisco’s leftist district attorney Chesa Boudin not to prosecute minor crimes is being taken as an engraved invitation by San Francisco shoplifters, and the middle class suffers as favorite retailers such as Walgreens and Target are forced to close their doors.

In San Francisco murders soared 31 percent last year, more than double Florida’s rate, and the city is the nation’s leader in property crime.

Any visitor to Florida will tell you the state looks orderly. Florida municipalities use a variety of measures to discourage loitering on the streets, including arresting for trespassing, effectively putting a lid on homeless squatters.

Maintaining basic order and the rule of law comes first in Florida. A healthy society depends on people feeling secure.

“Florida in 2021 is reminiscent of California in the 1950s,” writes Jacksonville resident Charles C.W. Cooke in National Review, calling it “a place to which ordinary people are flocking in order to take advantage of the nice weather, good economy, open spaces and explosive construction.”

Florida is America’s freest state, according to a Cato Institute survey: No. 1 in fiscal freedom, No. 1 in educational freedom. Cato dubs California one of the least free states and “the most cronyist state in the union,” meaning government and its chosen allies work to milk the public purse for all they can.

Florida earned a grade ‘A’ for providing online access to how it spends its taxpayer dollars, while California got an ‘F’ — the worst-scoring state in America.


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Long Red Fingernails

HEARTACHE ON JOY ROAD 

The sirens go all night in Detroit. Eight hundred homicides the first year I was there. the majority listed as police briefs in the newspaper. Every now and then a killing warranted a separate story.

A 12-year-old Free Press carrier girl was shot to death in a hail of bullets early Tuesday as she delivered a newspaper to a house on Joy Road. Jenny Peach died in hospital, her body riddled with at least 15 bullets. Her father and sister, who were helping her with the paper route, witnessed the shooting from their car.
When police arrived at the house, it was empty. Two hours later, in a traffic stop on Cass Avenue, police arrested Goyo Velasco, 23, and charged him with first-degree murder. Velasco, a convicted drug dealer told police he fired the shots because he thought the car that was driven by the girl’s father was that of a hired killer. State police said there was a contract out on Velasco for a botched drug deal.

Sirens directly below my window now. You won’t get me, death screamers! My name is Guido Michelini. I am an alien with a green card in love with America.

I’m lying on my bed in a room on the fourteenth floor of the Jefferson Hotel. It’s really the thirteenth floor. In the elevator the numbers jump from twelve to fourteen. Who are they kidding? As if that would change anyone’s luck in this city.

CASS CORRIDOR

The Jefferson is a residential hotel on the corner of Bagley Street and Cass Avenue. I have a corner room. Small bathroom, double bed, chest of drawers, two chairs and a table. A window directly behind the bed looks out onto Cass Avenue—the “Cass Corridor,” a surreal strip of sex, drugs and death. There is no screen on the window.

The room contains all I need. No TV. The mind-deadening box is gone, a portable I threw out the window in a state of stoned drunkeness. I’m lucky I didn’t kill someone. It ended up a busted boob tube on the sidewalk. Pedestrians walked around it until a homeless man put the pieces in a shopping cart and pushed off down the street. The absence of the TV gives me a sense of freedom. I just have the Sony radio and tape deck Lynda left behind. Lynda, nineteen years old, long brown hair, slim taut body.Sirens go all night in Detroit.

I’m listening to WRIF Rocking Stereo: The soul’s escaping through this hole that is gaping… and smoking a joint. I’m waiting for Barbara to come to my room. Another woman was in the room earlier, Darlene, eighteen, skinny and black like she jumped out of a Motown song. The contrast between our bodies tangled up in black and white was startling in the half-light on the room.

Sirens swirl around in the darkness outside. I look out the window, looking for Barbara, aka Vampira, long black hair, pale face, bright red lips and long red fingernails. She’s a reporter at the News, the evening paper. I’m a reporter on the morning Free Press.

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES

While waiting around for Barbara, I messed up my chances with Lynda. I phoned her around 8 p.m. She’s a reporter in Windsor on the other side of the border. She told me she was on her way out with another guy.

“You’re too late,” she said over the phone. “I’m not going to sit by the phone waiting for you to call at the last minute. Fuck you!” That had been the general idea.

The sirens stop below my window. What’s this? Is the hotel on fire? I’m too stoned to move. Barbara, where are you?

I’m asleep in my clothes when she comes to my room around 2 a.m. We’re sitting on the bed, both still fully clothed for the first time of being on the bed together. It’s lucky we are.

That last siren. We smell smoke and see it coming through a vent in the wall. I jump off the bed and open the door. Smoke filling the hallway. People in night attire running from their rooms. I grab a reporter’s notebook and Barbara snatches two towels from the bathroom and we start running down the hall. Barbara knocks on doors to rouse residents as we head for the stairs.

The stairwell is filling with people and smoke. We run down the stairs with the towels over our mouths. Around the fourth floor the smoke is black and there is a moment of real fear when we wonder if we should keep going down or go back up. We go down.

DRUNKEN CARNIVAL

We reach the ground floor and run outside. A crowd is gathering in the street. Tenants who got out are guzzling beer out of cans and laughing with the sheer joy of being alive. A crazy, drugged, drunken carnival.

Everybody is looking up. Flames are leaping up the Cass Avenue side the building. Faces of people in the windows, a wall of smoke behind them. A woman on the top floor leans out the window screaming. Horror. Fear. Firefighters doing their thing. Ambulances arriving.

I tear a handful of pages from my reporter’s notebook and hand them to Barbara and we start talking to people in the street, emergency workers we can intercept and the assistant fire chief when we get the chance. We run across the wet black street tangled in fire hoses to the Picture Bar and phone our respective city desks with what we have so far and then run back to the scene.

Four people die in the fire. Many others are taken to hospital. I spend the night at Barbara’s apartment.

If she hadn’t come to my room at 2 a.m. I would have been asleep when the fire spread and it might have been too late to escape. I’d be another frightened face hanging out the window. Saved by a slender young woman from the northwest side, five-feet-five, 108 pounds, raven black hair.

It is in this manner that I am introduced to America.


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