WELL, FOLKS, shield the children's eyes and brace for the biggest blast of hot air

we've ever seen. Just when we thought all the ridiculous talk had subsided, here comes the King of Clowns, Newt Gingrich, tossing his big hat in the ring.

The reason his head is so big is that people have been telling this clown how smart he is, and how relevant what he says is - but can we just call it baloney? No one really took him to task for that silly explanation for cheating on not one but two of his wives. Makes you wonder what the third wife was thinking when she said yes.

She actually married a guy who claimed he was working so hard for the country, he needed some side booty because the problems were so complex. Let's see if the media have the tummy to press Newt about leading a lynching party after Bubba while Newt's "boots were on the ground" - and the rest of Newt was in the bed.

William Lee Jr., Philadelphia

nolead begins

Even more Osama fallout

To letter-writer Andrew Dankanich:

As an "out-of-the-woodwork" supporter of President Obama, trust me, if the mission had failed, all the right-wing tea-party Republican racists would have crucified the president - so we supporters wouldn't have had to come out of the woodwork to do it.

Pam Boyer, Philadelphia

President Obama and his spokesmen have provided many different versions of how Osama bin Laden died, the most widely circulated of which are that he was killed while participating in a vicious firefight, or after resisting arrest, or going for a weapon or maybe an explosive device, or using a woman as a shield who was also killed.

All were false, but sometimes the truth is found not in the story but in the telling. What actually happened is revealed by the phrase "double tap," used by the Navy SEALs who carried out the operation. It means they deliberately shot bin Laden a second time to make sure he was dead.

The stories have in common, then, that they demeaned bin Laden and made it appear that there was no alternative to killing him. What they conceal is that the president had ordered his execution and was embarrassed when it turned out bin Laden was unarmed and could have been captured.

The president now says the Navy men made the decision to kill bin Laden. But they are not to be blamed. As the apostle Paul observed during the time of Caesar, such men act under the compulsion of those appointed above them in temporal authority, who are themselves subject to a higher standard.

If judgment must fall, it will be on Obama himself, whose changing stories implicitly acknowledge that his order was without moral justification. It will come, however, not from the people who gathered to cheer for the bloodletting, for though he seeks to please them, his authority to rule is, in reality, not derived from their consent.

Rather, he must stand before almighty God, the ultimate source of all authority in this world, whether it be for a caesar or a president, and for whom vengeance remains his own preserve.

Daniel Mercer, Pennsauken