Sometimes, voice mail is the best mail.
And so we begin this week's Backtalk with this verbatim transcription of a message we received last week from an Anonymous Caller. Come for the damning of our souls, stay for the weird pivot at the end.
"Yes, I'm calling about the INDY Week [cover] 'Pat McCrory Will Eat Your Brains and 666 Other Reasons Not to Vote for Him.' Six-six-six is a sign of the mark of the beast and tribulation. Better be careful, whoever's running this stuff. People that are saved and have the blood of Jesus supply their heart. John 3:16, Jesus saved, will not have to go through this. Six-six-six. Whoever wrote this don't know what they're talking about. It's liberal. I hate it. I love everybody's soul. I will pray for you. This is disgusting. This is what this world has come to: liberalism. I'm a conservative. I am not voting for Hillary Clinton. I voted straight ticket, Republican. All the way. Pat McCrory. Yes. Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton bloodsucking heads out of women's bodies and she's carving their brains all up.
"She's a heathen. And whoever votes for her, they're gonna be damned one way or the other. Cause God does look—said he will not look upon it. And if you're not saved, ask Jesus to save you. And come into your heart and be a new creature of Christ. All faiths are passed—all faiths passed away. All faiths become new. I'm not mad. I know God's protecting me. Ever since I was saved in 1974.
"This is uncalled for. Six-six-six, yeah, you're not saved under tribulation, you'll have that mark. You can't buy yourself anything. And you'll suffer if you go to hell. It's hot. Jesus will save you. And he'll damn your newspaper if you don't straighten this out. I guarantee it.
"North Carolina, where the best ballplayer of all time, Michael Jordan, came from, the University of North Carolina. He would be ashamed of it, too. He is a great man. A great basketball player, and he's helping people today. Thank you for listening to my commentary. Thank you very much."
Next we have a letter from four former chief justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court—Rhoda Billings, Jim Exum, Burley Mitchell, and Beverly Lake—writing to support the reelection of Justice Robert Edmunds, whom we did not endorse.
"We have seen Justice Edmunds's work," they write. "He has demonstrated in his years on the court that he is an independent justice who understands and abides by the rule of law. ... In sum, Justice Edmunds has proven himself to be an invaluable public servant."
Commenter JK, meanwhile, is miffed about our endorsement of Hillary Clinton: "So, please refresh my memory. 'INDY' is shorthand for, what was it exactly? Oh yes, 'independent'! As in 'independent thought,' 'independent analysis,' and so on. One would imagine "independent analysis" might lead to the inevitable conclusion that it's not, in fact, in the interests of the working people to hand supreme authority to someone who: 1) is an outrageously corrupt Wall Street crony; 2) is the immediate family member of another president; 3) has been demonstrated to have rigged elections, disenfranchising her own party's voters; 4) has aggressively pushed for the destruction of multiple independent Arab societies by arming and funding radical Islamic militias to destabilize their governments (the people living there be damned); 5) has been behind every neoliberal trade deal and backward economic policy that comes up; 6) has been behind every neocon war and backed every antidemocratic coup and criminal assassination that U.S. imperialist interests can devise; 7) is best friend of the repressive Saudi dictatorship (while posturing as a principled champion of gay and women's rights) and of the Nazi-oligarch Ukraine coup; and 8) incessantly shouts to anyone who will listen to her outrageous neo-McCarthyite anti-Russian nonsense."
Finally, a correction: Our story on the podcast Criminal misstated the number of times each episode is downloaded. It is millions, not thousands.