Saturday, October 30, 2010

DWF (Driving while floating)

Perhaps it’s different for others, but from my personal experience, driving home after  a couple of tokes at a friend’s house some 35 years ago was a slow-motion experience.  I found myself stopping for stop signs in the middle of the block, and deciding to move forward after much deliberation of the pros and coms with myself.

And I know it was slow-motion because it took me 20 minutes to make the 5 minute drive—there’s almost no place in Gainesville, Florida (Go Gators!), that’s more than 5 minutes away from any place else.  (Of course, I haven’t been back in 35 years.)

When I taught speech to police and sheriff officers in Columbia, Tennessee, they would often joke about the local “hippies” who were blocking traffic on local roads with their road scorching speeds of 25 miles per hour.

When people show you a picture of a smashed-up car and speak of the dangers of driving under the influence of weed, look askance.  That car could well have been hit by an alcoholic-influenced driver—which trumps a marijuana-influenced driver.

Cui Bono--Follow the money, Dear, Gentle Reader(s), it will tell you who will benefit with the continued “drug wars.”

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

ALEC—and Arizona and Prisons

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There’s a new corporation acronym on the block, and it’s not a comic actor, by a long shot.  Meet ALEC, Dear Gentle Reader(s), and be afraid.  Be very afraid.  (Good tie-in for Halloween, eh wot?)

Here’s a rather chilling excerpt from NPR’s website:

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

According to NPR, the genesis of Arizona’s immigrant law, SB1070 occurred last December at a conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council—ALEC.  An Arizona pol was at the conference, and the rest of the story we all well know.

Admittedly, Capitalism has brought us to a very good life, but every once in a while we surely have to wonder about making profit off of the misery of those who are less fortunate.

Or not?

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reading Comprehension Test

Wow!  Here’s a headline from The New York Times: Democrats Retain Edge in Spending on Campaigns; and this one is from the website Politico: Dems getting outspent? Not so fast.

So, the Democrats are outspending the Republicans?  Isn’t that counter-intuitive to what we’re hearing about all those millions being spent on negative ads against Democratic candidates?

Well, yes and no.

The stories go on to say that the Democratic Party has more money than the Republican Party. 

Really, though, what would be the point of the Republicans trying to gather money when there are others, secret others, doing the work for them?

And why would anyone who wants to keep their wealth bother to contribute large sums to “regulated” political fund raisers when they can get a possibly bigger bang for their buck by giving without having to admit publicly their largesse?

There can be little comfort for Democratic candidates with the headlines this morning.

Ah, Mr. Justice Kennedy.  What have you wrought?  (And how long will it be before you admit your error in judgment?)

So, what have we learned today, Dear Gentle Reader(s)?  Read beyond headlines; sometimes they don’t accurately reflect the whole story.

Trust, but verify.

p.s. Gold Star to those who can spot the spelling error at the Politico website!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Words have meaning…Continued

And the Juan Williams confab continues.

In a post today, Andrew Sullivan writes…”He said it was legitimate to feel fear when someone in Muslim garb is on a plane.” 

Not quite.  Williams said, “…when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

Now, DGR(s), is fear, which Sullivan used, equal to worried or to nervous?

If Williams had refused to get on the plane with those dressed “in Muslim garb,” then it could be argued that the two words he used are, indeed, equivalent; but he doesn’t indicate in the interview with O’Reilly that he canceled his trip.  The presumption must be that he rode along with those in the “garb,” albeit a touch fidgety.

So, how about Sullivan’s position?  Was Williams really legitimizing fear of Muslims?

One would be hard pressed to think so.

It’s easy to be nervous around anyone who sports religious symbolism in their garb or accessories.  I’m nervous around guys walking around with crosses in their lapels, but I don’t fear them.  I certainly am more aware of what they do when they’re near.

Their presence is always a good time to

Trust, but verify.

(I stand by my support of NPR; their decision was based on their standards about differentiating between reporters and commenters.)

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Um…Say what? (Or, do words have meaning?)

Dear, Sweet Juan Williams has found a new permanent home, and good luck to him.

His firing from NPR, and subsequent commentary about that firing, however, raises an old question: do words have meaning?

For instance, when Williams worked for NPR, as little as three days ago, he was a “reporter.”  Now, Michelle Malkin, in a column published in, begins with “commentator Juan Williams.”

And that, Dear Gentle Reader,* is the problem.

In NPR’s eyes, Williams’ “I get nervous” moved him into the category of commentator and out of the category of reporter.

Reporters need to be as objective as possible so that those of us relying on them have the sense that facts are being offered for our edification and consideration.

Otherwise we have entertainment, but not material with which we can make informed decisions.

Listening to some clips of Williams on O’Reilly’s show last night (Sorry, no citation available at this time), one might think Williams was ready for the change in title.

NPR had good reason to let Mr. Williams move on to more lucrative pastures (a lot more money is made bloviating than reporting…alas).

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present the erstwhile reporter, Juan Williams.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


The current brouhaha about Juan Williams’ nervousness in an airport is generating a little heat. 

While we bruit about various rationales supporting or decrying the fact that Williams lost his NPR job, how about if we take a longer view?

Do you suppose the average Iraqi or Afghani, walking down the street is or is not nervous these days?  Talk about nervousness!

Frankly, I think three or four skinheads are scary…three or four black guys with “dreads” are scary…biker girls are scary.

It’s a scary world out there.

Trust, but verify.  And keep a sharp eye out.

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