Basic Human Respect

Posted: July 22, 2018 in Miscellaneous
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So I was at a Keep Families Together rally and several of the speakers were talking about the desire to shut down the ICE detention center at Etowah County in Alabama. So first, I didn’t realize there was an ICE detention center in Etowah County (so issues that you think are far away may be in your own backyard). But Etowah County did ring a bell, and checking on that, it was because it was the same county with the sheriff that pocketed funds to feed prisoners to buy beach houses and such (and as an aside, now is accused of having sex with underage girls). As it turns out, the federal government will farm out ICE detention centers to localities, and Etowah County is one such location ran by this very same sheriff.

My thought upon hearing that was pretty much ‘no good can come from this’. And sure enough I run across this story about a detainee who was denied medical care even though he was peeing blood, instead accused of “faking” as an example. The thing that struck me was both that he obviously wasn’t faking so this distrust was misplaced and a curiosity of why the staff would just assume he was faking? Not that it necessarily matters, but detainees are NOT prisoners and are simply to be held until their status can be determined. And yet the baseline assumption is that the detainees are lying until proven otherwise. Shouldn’t this be the other way around? That the detainees should be assumed to be truthful until proven otherwise?

And it occurred to me that the issue was one of basic human respect. That at some level we all should at least start at a baseline level of equality when it comes to dignity and respect. It also occurred to me that this basic issue is at the root of so many things facing this country. Are people coming into this country inherently criminals, or are most just seeking a better life (or even safety)? Are people who practice a different religion inherently prone to be terrorists or do most just have a different religious belief? Are people of a different race that just happen to be having a grill out at a park inherently prone to be a threat, or are they just looking to have a good time? Are people of a different gender inherently only able to work at, say 80 percent of yours, or are they just as capable of producing the same level of work as you do?

My feeling is that if we all saw each other at the same base equal level as far as deserved treatment of dignity and respect, we would be in a better place. That much of the friction is the feeling that we need to class people into categories that then deserve different levels of treatment. That may well be human nature to want to do that. After all, this is not a new phenomenon. Goodness knows you can’t even begin to justify an institution like slavery without classing people as lower than human. And I imagine there would be some that would say I am a sucker. But I do wonder how much things might change if we could start at the same base level of equality (and to paraphrase MLK, judge each other on the content of individual character rather than on demographics)?

Just my random thought of the day.

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Surely I am not the only person to think Spaceballs when hearing about Trump’s desire for a “Space Force”, right? I actually do imagine that a lot of White House meetings actually go exactly as the gif above. Clearly Trump is President Skroob. I mean, he IS President Skroob! (“You got to help me. Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated. I don’t know what to do. I can’t make decisions. I’m a president!” So pick out the parts of that which are Trump and which are Skroob!) But who is Dark Helmet? Stephen Miller? (“….evil will always triumph because good is dumb” could be the basis of his immigration policy…but on the other hand he sure seems also likely a member of the Asshole family) Would Colonel Sandurz be Mike Pence? Do I wish this whole thing was actually just a Mel Brooks movie? Probably!

Only In Alabama

Posted: May 13, 2018 in Miscellaneous
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Only in Alabama do we know that every good coon dog deserves a decent burial.

  • Only in Alabama would somebody think it would be a good idea to just hand county sheriffs a food budget for inmates and then tell them they can just keep whatever they don’t spend. What could possibly go wrong with that idea? I mean, there’s no way a sheriff would become known as “Sheriff Corndog” because that’s all he would buy for the inmates. Nor would there be any a sheriff would use these funds to pay for a $1.7 million beach house while just feeding inmates beans and veggies. No sir ree, not happening, these are men of the law! And besides, even if this was happening, our state legislators would quickly hold them accountable! (Spoiler alert: they ain’t going to do nothing…it’s what they do.)
  • Only in Alabama would we would get stuck with train cars that’s literally full of crap. Actual sh*t. No joke. It’s actually known as the “poop train“, poop shipped straight out of New York City. But hey, we are described as “American’s biggest industrial toilet”, something much like Alabama’s dozens (or whatever, I lost count of how many they claim) of college national championships they like to drone on about to be truly proud of! We here in ‘Bama don’t take crap off nobody…unless you pay a fee, then we will take the negotiated amount. Sweet home Alabama indeed!
  • Only in Alabama would somebody would set fire to a ham they didn’t want. Hey, the hotel that burned down was just collateral damage! Now that she’s in a Limestone County jail, she may be longing for the days when she could get ham!
  • Only in Alabama would you have over 2,200 dams and no dam inspectors. In fact, there’s no dam safety program whatsoever. Actually Alabama doesn’t even know how many dams it has, much less what condition they are in. But you know, that costs money. And nobody has died yet, amirite?

 

 

Or maybe in light of this, we should just skip the discussion altogether.

There is only one explanation for this. Evil. Pure evil. (Like mythical evil. And we all know there’s nothing that can be done about evil. Except maybe…)

We need more spiritual God in our lives to battle the evil. (If we just prayed harder, this wouldn’t keep happening. Prayer is a like a force field. It stops the bullets. Why hasn’t that ever actually happened? You all aren’t praying hard enough! And making cakes for gay marriage. That has to stop too!)

Now is not the time to discuss the issue. (If only there was some extended amount of time where people did not die as a result of being shot with a gun. Then maybe we could finally address this important issue. But our hands are tied here.)

We must not politicize this tragedy. (This is nothing like 9/11. Or the NFL player in a deadly wreck with an undocumented worker. Or a shooting involving a radicalized Muslim. I mean we can’t politicize tragedies that might lead to legislation that might upset my money-giving lobbyist.)

Laws will do nothing to stop these kind of acts. If people want to do this, they will. (Er….how does this not apply to all laws? Um…er…I’m talking about gun laws…it’s best not to think about it too hard, just trust me!)

If anything, we need to so something about mental health. (Yeah, mental health is only a small part of the problem and besides,we ain’t going to do anything about that either. But it allows us to deflect and it sounds better to say that than to say we aren’t going to do nothing. You know, don’t want to be insensitive and all that.)

Or maybe we need not fewer guns, but MORE guns. We should arm the teachers! (I mean, really what do teachers do all day anyway? They should have plenty of time to train on gun usage, train for crisis situations, and then patrol the grounds against potential threats. Besides, I have watched enough television and movies to know that this kind of stuff is easy. Or maybe we could just have police officers be teachers! Have you ever seen Kindergarten Cop? Zany!)

But most importantly, all we can do is send our thoughts and prayers to (insert latest mass shooting location here) victims and their families. (I think that will keep the NRA happy and I pray they keep that campaign funding coming!)

 

In The Year 2018…

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Current Events
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In the year 2018…

  • Donald Trump will delete his Twitter account, drop all his petty feuds, fully cooperate with the Russian investigation, effectively explain and promote a coherent policy agenda and stand up to represent all Americans (whether they watch Fox News or not!). In a related story, the Pentagon will reopen their UFO program.

    The UFO program will conclude we are better off with the alien in charge.

  • Jesus Christ will return to the earth only to explain that this is not the official “second coming”, he really just needed to have a chat with Roy Moore who just wasn’t getting his Dad’s message. Also, his Dad doesn’t like what Roy does with His horses. At all.

    ‘There’s also a pastor I need a word with.’

  • The cable news networks will drop the pretense of covering “news” when they realize just plain ol’ news stories never go “viral” and will all shift to a full 24 hours of pundits bloviating at each other.

Arrrggghhh!!!!!! Ratings!

  • An evangelical hardcore conservative Republican will win a Senate seat in New York because balance must be restored after a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama as Last Jedi principles require.

    This isn’t going to end like you think it will.

  • After losing to Clemson, Alabama head coach Nick Saban will stun the press by stating ‘hey, no big deal, football is only a game, I really wasn’t even keeping up with the score, I just hope everyone had fun out there!’

“Ok y’all, I’ll be at the beach!”

Happy New Year!!!!

This is Doug Jones. Bet you didn’t even know what he looked like! He is the candidate without the vest, the cowboy hat, and the pea shooter.

At this point, there is story after story regarding Roy Moore, whether it comes to his political views or his alleged exploits at the local mall. There is not a whole lot out there regarding his opponent in Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election on December 12th, Doug Jones. Given the political makeup of Alabama, Doug Jones can’t win without getting a chunk of Republican voters on his side (though he would also benefit from Republicans staying home or voting write-in candidates). The question is can enough Republican voters bring themselves to actually vote for a Democrat?

To be clear, Doug Jones is a Democrat, so if voters only care about issues and disregard character, then the decision will be clear, they will vote for the Republican candidate. For some, being a Democrat automatically makes you an “evil” that must be stopped. I think that’s the nature of today’s politics that everything is within a framework of “good versus evil” and “our side” must prevail over “your side” as our very future is at stake!

Is Doug Jones evil? Well, he is a husband and a father. He was born and raised in Alabama. He has served as both a U.S. Attorney and private practice lawyer. He has been a member of the Canterbury United Methodist Church for more than 30 years. He has degrees from both the University of Alabama and Samford University’s. According to his campaign website, his number one priority is bringing back integrity to Washington, working for the betterment of all Alabamians without regard to partisan politics.

In my opinion, Doug Jones seems like a decent guy. I hope we haven’t reached the point where it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, only which party you choose to represent. We will get some glimpse into that on December 12th.

See, I have the hat AND the pea shooter. Clearly I’m qualified for the position of U.S. Cowboy! Wait, I’m not running for cowboy? There’s no such thing as U.S. Cowboy?

Well, I have a feeling a lot more people have heard of Roy Moore now! Since I live in Alabama, perhaps I can give a perspective from inside the state.

Why are these allegations of sexual misconduct just now coming out?

Important things to note here…these women really didn’t “come forward”. This is the result of investigative journalism from the Washington Post. The reporters found them, not the other way around. Were it not for that, it’s probable that this story would have never come out. Frankly the local Alabama papers have never been bastions of investigative journalism anyway, and nowadays those papers are shells of their former selves. So it took a national paper to actually look into this and it took Roy Moore running for a national position rather than a state position for them to care. So yeah, the timing does kinda have to do with him running for U.S. Senate. But it really doesn’t matter, it’s either true or it’s not.

Because it has taken so long for the story to come out, that means it must not be true, right?

Well let’s look at Louis C.K. The accusations against Louis C.K. are from all the way back to at least 2002. Yet he admits now in 2017 that they are all true. We have to come to grips that women (and kids and even men) are reluctant to come forward for all kinds of reasons (fear of not being believed, embarrassment, having their own reputation ruined, facing repercussions, etc.). Just because someone doesn’t come forward immediately (or at all) doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and most definitely doesn’t make it okay.

Should we wait for more evidence?

Obviously that’s up to you. My feeling is that in these particular instances there’s not going to be any more evidence to be had, especially before the December 12th election. I suppose if there are more instances of sexual misconduct, those victims may feel embolden to now come forward. That said, as it stands it’s really going to be a situation of who you choose to believe. For what I consider the most damning accusation regarding the 14 year-old girl, family and friends back that it’s a story she told them years ago. For me, that adds credibility. On the other side, Roy Moore’s own self-defense has been less than credible in my opinion (he definitely is allowing for dating underage girls, which tells me he at least did that). But it is also true that I never had any like for Roy Moore. So your mileage may vary.

Will Roy Moore drop out?

No. Not a chance. That’s not who Roy Moore is. Roy Moore gets forcibly removed from office. He doesn’t resign, he doesn’t step aside.

The defense of Roy Moore?

Is just bizarre. I of course expected the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ type stuff that is fair enough. I also expected the “I know Roy Moore and he would never do such a thing” type of stuff which is also fair enough. What I didn’t expect was for defenders to actually say his actions were justifiable even if true. Did they even read the article? The worst accusation is most definitely NOT okay (the others probably are better defined as at least creepy). For an Alabama public official to actually invoke the Bible and Joseph and Mary and the birth of Jesus and say it’s all good? Good grief!

How has this changed your opinion of Roy Moore?

Me, I was never going to vote for Roy Moore. Ever, ever. This is a guy who was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court not once but twice for misconduct. This is a guy who believes that if you don’t fit a certain mold, you literally have no rights. This is a guy who thinks judges should be kicked out when they make decisions he doesn’t like. This is a guy who believes you should be banned from serving in public office based on your choice of religion. This is a guy who somehow decided that athletes exercising their free speech rights was against the law (after apparently just discovering the existence of the U.S. flag code and then badly misinterpreting it, this despite being a state Supreme Court justice). This is a guy who thinks preschool is a liberal attempt at Nazi-style indoctrination. This is a guy who thinks when this nation gets attacked and/or suffers tragedy, it’s God punishing the country. This is guy who claims to believe in the rule of law but then says only “God’s law” matters, which funny enough allows him justification to ignore the rule of law when he disagrees with it (God doesn’t seem to actually speak up so much publicly, so I suppose we just have to take Roy Moore’s word for it regarding His rulings). I already had plenty of reasons not to vote for Roy Moore. But it’s not my opinion that matters.

Can this change the outcome of this election?

Yes! Based on things I’ve been reading from people outside this state, there is some believe that all GOP candidates are equally and wildly popular in Alabama. This is not true. Roy Moore is not a particularly popular Republican, at least relatively speaking. When he won the Supreme Court chief justice position again in 2012, he did so while winning 52% of the vote while Presidential candidate Mitt Romney won 60% of the vote and other GOP state candidates won 60-65% of the vote. There are voters in Alabama who normally vote Republican who won’t vote Roy Moore. On the other side, Doug Jones is unusual in that he is an actual very solid Democratic candidate (GOP candidates in Alabama often run either unopposed or against token Democrat opposition who can sometimes be also complete crackpots). Polling even before this story showed Doug Jones within 6 points or so of Roy Moore, which for this state is a virtual tie! (usually GOP  candidates run 20 points ahead if anyone bothers to do polling at all, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 28 percentage points in Alabama) I had always thought Doug Jones had a chance to pull an upset even before this. I believe there’s a base of voters who are voting Roy Moore no matter what and there was already a group of voters who were never going to vote for Roy Moore. It’s just a matter of a) does this flip anyone in the middle and b) on the other side does this somehow cause a backlash of voters who are energized to oppose the Washington Post and the “liberal elites”?

I think now it’s going to be a very tight election that can go either way. We shall see on December 12th.