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a thin line between OJ and science

Jan 29, 2015 -- 1:48pm

It was 70 years ago this week that the concentration camp at Auschwitz was liberated.   Hopefully the world will never see its like again.

It was 30 years ago this week that a bunch of stars got together in Los Angeles and recorded "We are the World".     It sold 20 million copies and raised awareness of a problem that most people didn't know existed or didn't want to acknowledge....that hunger exists.

It was 20 years ago this week that the OJ Simpson murder trail started...and didn't end for 9 months.   We all remember how that ended.    The jury believed the rhetoric and silver tongues of Johnnie Cochran and The Dream Team more than they believed the relatively new science of DNA and set OJ free.    The glove did not fit...so they must acquit!     It didn't matter that the DNA evidence proved that the blood on the scene belonged to Simpson.   It didn't matter that OJ was wearing plastic gloves so the leather gloves wouldn't slip on his hands.     It didn't matter that he led police on his white Bronco chase...which no innocent person would have done.   All that was thrown to the side of the road and justice was NOT served.      How did that make you feel?     Did you feel as though the jury let their emotions get in the way of facts?   Like a group of people refused to see what was right in front of them?      That the community that had alays rallied behind OJ had their heads in the sand out of blind loyalty to what they've been taught all their lives.    

That's the way I felt...and I still feel that way today.    Yes...about OJ....but also about several other issues we take up during The Morning Show.      Let's take Climate Change.    Literally thousands of climate scientists agree that Man is influencing the climate negatively, but that's not enough to convince the non-scientists among us to believe them.    They will point to the fact that even though 8000+ scientists think one way, that doesn't negate the 2...yes 2!... scientists that disagree wih the majority.     Those in power who refuse to answer questions about Climate Change will answer with some variation of "...I'm not a scientist, so I'm not qualified to answer that."    Well, I'm not a scientist either, but I'm smart enough to listen to one....or in this case, 8000+.    Also, as one comedian likes to say, you're not an obstetrician either, but that doesn't keep you from answering questions about women's health.     

Politicians like to complain that 'our children and grandchildren will have to pay for what 'the other side' is doing right now.     Well, if you were truely interested in making sure future generations were taken care of, making sure tey have a place to live should be job one.

Like the OJ jury, the science...the facts...are right there in front of you.    The OJ jury decided NOT to listen to facts, but instead listen to other voices telling them that the facts were somehow skewed or twisted to fit an agenda.     20 years ago, a killer went free.     Don't let pride or politics lead to the death of our planet as well.

nothing gets the Red out

Jan 20, 2015 -- 11:31am

I’ve never read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, but I’m sure there’s something in there about picking your battles…wisely.     If you go into a battle, knowing ahead of time you have no chance to win, they why waste the time, effort and resources?    

That was the basis of a recent article I read about Democrats and The South.     The offshoot was this: Democrats, stop wasting your time trying to win any more Federal seats in Dixie.   Sure ,a stray House seat may go to a Democrat, depending on how the district lines are drawn, but by and large, votes for the Senate and the President for the foreseeable future will most likely be all-GOP from Texas until you reach the Atlantic.     The basis for that hypothesis?     Voters in The South are heavily committed to the 3-Gs as far as issues are concerned: God, guns and gays.      The article said that no matter what the Democrats say or do, they’ll always be on the opposite side on those 3 social issues, so why even pretend and go through the dance?

It kinda makes sense.   

Mary Landrieu was the Democratic Senator from Louisiana for 3 terms before she was beaten in this election cycle.     As the final days of the campaign were nearing, polls were showing she was going to lose big (she did) so the Democratic National Committee decided to pull all advertising from the state to save money, instead of pouring it into a losing proposition.   Was that smart?   Yeah, it was.    They could have spent countless millions and she still would have lost, and the Democrats would have lost the money for no good reason.

So, should that strategy be expanded to a larger scale?    If you look at, say, South Carolina for example, it’s one of the reddest of red states.    There’s no way a Democrat wins the Senate or gets the 7 electoral votes for president…so why bother?     The other states in the South are pretty much the same thing, so again, why bother?     Should Democrats put up a candidate just for show, knowing they have no chance?    Should a party have to spend millions on a race they know can’t be won just so it appears as though the 2-party system is alive and well?     A lot of this goes into my regular argument against the electoral college, because if you’re a Democrat in a red state like ours, there’s no use in casting a vote in the presidential race…it’s just wasted.     

Of course, the counter to this argument is that things go in cycles, and it wasn’t but a generation or 2 ago, that the South was as Democratic as could.    If you give it up now, you’ll never have a chance to flip it back to blue.     That’s a valid argument.    Someday, things could change, depending on the social climate and the cultural arguments that monopolize politics.     Someday, maybe.    But that someday isn’t today.   And as divided as Americans are at this moment, someday is probably a long way away.

the race is on...but nobody's running

Jan 13, 2015 -- 11:03am

I’m not the biggest political junkie in the world.   All you have to do is listen to The Morning Show and you’ll see…or hear…that I’d rather talk about any other subject than politics.    Maybe it’s because of the petty fighting, the inability to get things done or the pure hatred the followers of one side have for the followers of the other side.   Take your pick.

But I will say I am a fan of the psychology behind why some politicians say or do the things they say or do.   I also like to keep what I call ‘the big toteboard in the sky’ and determine who wins or loses the battle of perception versus reality.     For example, with the Obama Administration NOT sending someone to Paris for the Unity March, it probably won’t mean a lot in the overall battle against terrorism, but it was a huge PR mistake for the president and a huge win for the GOP in the perception that he doesn’t care about terrorists…or even that he’s a secret Muslim!!

The other time I pay more attention to politics is right now…when everybody’s doing the dance.   You know, the ‘I’m forming an exploratory committee and talking to donors and getting my campaign staff ready but I’m not sure if I’m running for president’ dance.    It makes for easy, daily fodder on the morning show.     Who said what?    Who hinted at what?    Who met with whom?     Who’s sniping behind the other person’s back…and from the same party?     It’s enough to make a talk-show host giddy.    The only question is who’s going to be the first to commit and how long will it take everyone else to throw their hats into the ring.      Everyone’s expecting a lot of Republicans to take the plunge, but maybe only a handful of Democrats.     I expect Hillary to wait until the field is full of a lot of unknowns before she officially announces.   For the GOP, you’ll probably be familiar with most, if not all of the candidates.   The for the Republicans, you have the battle between the conservatives wing of the party and everyone else.    Will they back a more moderate candidate (like McCain or Romney in the last 2 elections) or will it be a Tea party-backed candidate?     So many questions to be answered….and we only have 22 months until the election.   That should be just about right.

Stereotypes...who's keeping them alive?

Dec 30, 2014 -- 12:02pm

In an interview this week, The President said he thinks there is less racial division in the US today than when he took office in 2009.     With all the demonstrations going on recently, one might tend not to agree with him, but remember, it’s human nature to take what’s happening at-this-second and project it as the real state of affairs.     It might not be the true state of how the world is, but since it’s current, that’s what we remember.     Would you have disagreed with the President before the events in Ferguson, Missouri?     Maybe, maybe not.

Whether or not we ever have true racial harmony and equality in the US remains to be seen, but I can say that I have been keeping track of several incidents recently that might signal the end to some old-time stereotypes.   And if that continues to happen, maybe we can erase some of the lines that divide us.     Here’s a couple:

  • A football coach in Charleston was fired from his job because after victories, he would gather the team around a watermelon with a face on it and smash it.   Did I mention the team was mostly white and most of their opponents were mostly black?     The coach and players said they didn’t know that watermelons signified African-American stereotypes.   The coach was re-hired but the superintendant who fired him, resigned.
  • An editorial cartoon making fun of the slack Secret Service protection of the president and the White House showed a man hanging out in The President’s shower while Barack was brushing his teeth.   The man asked the President if he had tried the new watermelon toothpaste.     Again, watermelon stereotypes…but the writer said he saw that brand of toothpaste in his kids room, thought it was crazy and wanted to work it into a cartoon, and like the last story, didn’t know the connection between watermelons and stereotypes.
  • A low-budget airline used to let people pick their own seats, so when the pilot signalled they were ready to take off, the light attendant would say, “Eenie, meanie, miney moe…pick a seat, it’s time to go”.     An African-American woman heard this and complained, because she knew some people used to substitute the ‘N-word’ into that children’s rhyme.   The flight attendant said she’d never heard that in her life.
  • A person I know well, who was not a fan of President Obama, wrote an article about him and went online to find a picture.   The one she found had a fake Obama in drag, sitting on the ground with a bucket of chicken between his legs.    People weren’t happy…not because of the drag…but because of the stereotype of blacks and fried chicken.   She claims she never heard of that stereotype.
  • In Tabor City this past Halloween, a man hung a dummy from a tree to scare passers-by.   Some black community members thought it was racist.   He said it was just a scary prop and didn’t associate a hanging with any certain race.

So…what can we take from these examples?      Are the people involved as innocent as they say, or did they know exactly what they were doing and played the innocent-card so they could get away with it?     Let’s say they didn’t know the stereotypes.    That would be great!    That would mean that some of the old stereotypes are fading away into history and the upcoming generations wouldn’t have to deal with them.   It would also mean that racial divisions would be getting blurrier and blurrier.     As people of different are mixing more in the schools, the workplaces and the bedrooms, future generations probably won’t have the problems we had 50 years ago and still have today.    But as the stereotypes fade, the growing pains continue.

Midterm Post-Mortum

Nov 12, 2014 -- 12:29pm

The Democrats got their butts kicked in the Midterms.     No way to sugar-coat it.     The GOP 3will now have control of both the House and the Senate for the next 2 years.      As I’ve said on many occasions, even though I’m more likely to vote Democrat, I don’t care who’s in charge as long as things get done and the country’s in a good place.  

Now, obviously, with the Republican Congress and a Democrat in the White House, the chances of getting too much done are remote.     Congress will pass something.   The President will veto it.   Congress won’t have enough votes to override the veto, so here we sit.       There are some pieces of legislation that could have enough bi-partisan support, like the Keystone Pipeline, to get past a veto, but there won’t be many.      Many will say that the President needs to give into the whims of Congress since it was such a sweeping victory for the GOP, but remember people…this is politics we’re talking about.    Nobody gives in on anything without something in return.   The next few weeks, or even months, will be about posturing on both sides.    Lines will be drawn in the sand and neither side will give an inch.    Then, the people will start grumbling about needing a compromise.    But which side will be willing to?     The people don’t want ‘their’ side to give in…so again, we’re back to square one. We’ll have to see how this ends.    

But how did it start?     How did the Democrats lose so magnificently?     The Republicans ran a smart campaign.   In 2012, they gave the Dems plenty of ammunition to use.     Not this year.      In 2012, thre were defined issues the Dems used to stake out their positions.   Not this year.      In 2012, Obama still had some juice left and people were still happy to ride his coattails.    Not this year.     Most observers admit that the GOP won without really running on anything….except for the fact that they weren’t the party of Obama.      Every Democrat was tied to the President, and many of them denied those ties…or even voting for him!       And that was enough.     It’s kind of sad that a majority of races were decided by someone not even running for that office.       Several years ago, someone disagreed with me when I said that voting against someone was just as valid of a reason to vote, as voting for someone.      I still believe it is.    Sometimes the motivation when you vote that way is more than when you want ‘for’ a candidate.    And that’s a big reason why the Democrats lost in the Midterms…..the GOP motivation against the President was much more than the Dems motivation to back him.

So, what’s going to happen over the next 2 years?     For one thing, Obamacare will NOT be repealed.      Do you expect the President to repeal his signature legislation?   Really?      Could there be tweaks?    Possibly…but not likely.     For Republicans, 2017 would be the earliest that the ACA would be done away with…but only if a Democrat doesn’t win the White House.      If 2016’s elections were anything like this years….that’s a real possibility.

get out the crystal ball...

Oct 27, 2014 -- 1:07pm

About a year and a half ago, I was asked on The Morning Show, which of the following would be the first to be legalized in South Carolina: gambling, recreational marijuana or same-sex marriage.     Now, all 3 have staunch opposition in the state because they’re all viewed to be immoral or sinful, but I took a stab at it.

I said gambling would probably be first to be legalized since so many states already allow it…we already have a lottery (which is gambling)…we like bingo (which is gambling)….we allow raffles (which is gambling)….and who doesn’t put a few bucks on golf, football or the NCAA office pool.

Then I thought marijuana would be next.    Polls show nationwide that recreational use is accepted by more than 50% of the population….it’s natural…and most of the people who are usually against such changes grew up in the 60s and 70s and probably smoked themselves, or knew dozens of people who did.

Then I thought the last thing of the 3 choices ever to be allowed in South Carolina would be same-sex marriage.    Why?    Because, South Carolina, that’s why.     But even then, I knew that SC would allow it only under protest, kicking and screaming all the way.

Granted, when I made these predictions, I thought if any would become a reality, it would be in some distant future reality and I’d probably be long gone anyway.     Also, I neglected to take into account a little thing called the Constitution.     I was thinking purely along the lines of what the residents of the state would allow.      So, now the Circuit Court of Appeals that controls SC has ruled that the state law that makes same-sex marriage against the law is unconstitutional...essentially making such unions legal in SC.      Cue the kicking and screaming.    The Attorney General and the Governor have both said that they don’t care what the ruling is, they will continue to fight until someone else tells them the same thing…which they’ll continue to fight some more.      It kind of reminds me of an episode of Gilligan’s Island.    A Japanese submarine wandered into the lagoon and the sailor inside started kidnapping the castaways, one by one, because even though it was the late 60s, he still thought WW2 was still going on.   He never got word that it was over.  

The war against same-sex marriage is essentially over, but some people still want to fight the fight against it.     Is it for political reasons?   Pretty much.    They want to show their constituents that they fought against same-sex marriage to the bitter end and will only give up the fight when they’re forced to.     Kinda like George Wallace on the college steps fighting segregation.     The bottom line of all this is that it IS a constitutional question.     So for everyone who likes to call me about rights being trampled and that the current president doesn’t respect the Constitution, keep in mind that the document is supposed to cover all Americans…not just the ones you agree with.   

Oh, and in case you missed that episode, Gilligan rescued everyone and the Japanese sailor left the island, leaving the castaways stranded.    Sorry for the spoiler…..

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