Friday, November 30, 2007
BUT NOT the power lines. We need the juice to listen to the Revolution 21 podcast, right?
And heat. Heat is good as we go into December, here.
That's right, we're bracing for an ice storm here in Omaha, but your Mighty Favog has got enough good music to keep us all warm.
Again . . . so long as the electricty and the Internet connection holds out. Let us pray. . . .
Marcel Davis Jr.'s lawyer, Bill Gallup, had alleged the Omaha cop gunned his client down from behind, saying the teen reported having thrown the gun away before he got shot. Here's the latest report from the Omaha World-Herald:
Photos from a medical examination of the gunshot wound sustained by a 14-year-old boy showed the bullet entered the front of the boy's leg, not the back, Police Chief Thomas Warren said today.I LOVE THE SMELL of a good pissing match in the afternoon. Then again, no, I guess I don't . . . ewww. Whom do you believe?
Warren offered the information in light of a statement made Thursday by J. William Gallup, the attorney for Marcel Davis Jr. Davis was in court after he was accused of pointing a gun at a police officer as he was being chased from a car that police had stopped near 48th and Boyd Streets.
The police officer, Nicholas Andrews, fired at Davis, hitting him once in the leg. A loaded 9 mm pistol was found at the scene. The gun was reported stolen June 2.
Davis was charged Thursday with attempted first-degree assault on an officer, use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a stolen firearm. Douglas County Judge Stephen Swartz set bail at $100,000. Davis would have to post 10 percent, or $10,000, to be released.
Gallup, after Thursday's court hearing for Davis, said his client told him that the bullet pierced his right calf. "He was shot in the back of the leg, not front," Gallup said.
Warren said today that's not what crime lab photographs from the medical exam show.
According to the photos, Warren said, "the entry was to the front of the leg, to the shin area, approximately 4 inches below the kneecap . . . There was no entry sustained to the rear or the calf area.
"There is no injury to the rear of his leg."
Gallup, when contacted today, said he isn't disputing the medical report. "My client said he got hit in the rear area of the leg," he said. "His position is that he was running away. He did not point a gun at the policeman."
Gallup said that Davis told him he threw the gun in some bushes as he got out of the car because he didn't want to get caught with a gun. Gallup said witnesses would confirm that account.
Officer Bill Dropinski, a police spokesman, said today that the gun was found near Davis when he was apprehended, "not back by the car."
Gallup said police are taught to shoot assailants in the chest because that's the biggest target. Andrews, he said, shot Davis in the leg "either because he's a poor shot or he was simply trying to stop a guy he was chasing . . . He did not perceive the kid to be a threat, he was just hitting him in the leg to halt his flight."
In one corner, we have one of the best criminal-defense attorneys in the Midwest, working like hell on behalf of a client who screwed up but good. You pretty much know the kid is guilty of something.
A good defense attorney usually doesn't go off half-cocked when it matters. Or if he does, it's usually calculatingly half-cocked. And he says he has witnesses, who at the time also complained to local TV reporters that the officer had no reason to shoot the kid.
In the opposite corner, you have Tom Warren, chief of the troubled Omaha Police Department. Bill Gallup is a better lawyer than Tom Warren is a police chief.
Warren presides over a department that's had a problem with rogue cops and a culture of intimidating minorities and, sometimes, brutality. More than one -- more than two . . . more than three -- African-Americans in Omaha have been shot and killed by police under questionable circumstances over the past 35 years or so.
And recently, one Omaha cop was convicted of sexual assault on a local prostitute.
Despite all this, Warren and the mayor's office are quick to completely exonerate police whenever anyone complains about their actions and completely demonize the complainer. All before anyone -- even OPD internal-affairs officers -- has had a chance to thoroughly investigate anything.
THE OMAHA COP SHOP has problems. The teen-aged knucklehead has problems -- big ones -- not counting the two he's had since conception. Whom do you believe?
Is "None of the above" an option?
Here's the bottom line: If Tom Warren wants us to believe his version of the truth, he needs to pony up the medical report and the accompanying pictures. He also needs a third-party investigation to vouch for his officer's actions.
Because while a little hoodlum who got on the wrong end of some hot lead from an Omaha cop may have little to no credibility, what emanates from Omaha police headquarters nowadays scarcely has more.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Whadda you know. Baby might have been telling the truth, after all.
And the Omaha Police Department just might have stepped in it. Again. Because it's starting to look like some officers just might think they have Negro-hunting licenses. Maybe.
According to the attorney representing Marcel Davis, Jr., police shot the 14-year-old in the back of the calf. Davis said he was running from the cops and had thrown his stolen gun away after bailing from the vehicle in which he rode.
Omaha cops and the county attorney say he pulled a gun on the officer, and the cop did what he had to do.
PERHAPS IT'S POSSIBLE to get shot in the back of the leg by a cop while you're pointing your handgun at him, but only if you're really, really into yoga or happen to be Nadia Comăneci. Or, at least, so it seems to me.
The Omaha World-Herald covers Davis' first court appearance:
Davis was shot in the leg by Officer Nicholas Andrews near 48th and Boyd Streets. Davis had run from a Chrysler Cirrus that Andrews and Officer Alan Peatrowsky stopped after they spotted the car being driven without its headlights on and with an expired license plate.IT'S NOT LIKE Omaha police have a great track record in this area, with fatal shootings that sparked a major riot back in the day and almost got us there a decade ago. Not to mention this, of course.
During the foot chase, police said, Davis turned and pointed a gun at Andrews, and Andrews fired at Davis hitting him once in the leg. He was treated at Creighton University Medical Center.
The firearm that Davis is accused of carrying is a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol that was reported stolen on June 2.
Gallup said Davis told him that he had tossed the gun in the bushes and ran from police. He also told Gallup that the bullet pierced his right calf.
"He was shot in the back of the leg, not front," Gallup said.
Oh, before I go, I just wanted to note that Baby's daddy's baby mama is still a freakin' piece of work. And the rest of that fractured whateveryoucallit, too:
Before the court hearing, Alethea Goynes, the boy's mother, got into a shouting argument with the girlfriend of Marcel Davis Sr. just outside the courtroom. Security escorted the girlfriend outside.POOR KID probably never had a chance. And now look at him. I almost wish that, instead of locking up Baby, we could instead lock up the pair who sired and whelped him, then called it good.
And then maybe the court could send that benighted duo's most unfortunate offspring to Girls and Boys Town for a chance at a do-over.
WHICH WILL EXPLAIN my projectile vomiting the next time I hear anyone allude to radio operating in the public interest. It'll probably also explain that person's nose growing longer and longer, right before your very eyes.
Here's the vomitous sludge from the New York Post's "Page Six" column:
All those politically correct types who piled on last April when Don Imus went down for making his bad "nappy-headed ho's" joke had better duck and cover on Monday, when the I-Man goes back to work on WABC Radio.
"I think he will have some scores to settle," the station's general manager, Phil Boyce, told Page Six yesterday.
It is doubtful Imus will ever forgive CBS chief Les Moonves, who fired him, or regular guest Tim Russert, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," who was "an invisible man" while Imus was under attack.
Private eye Bo Dietl, who will join Imus in the 8 a.m. hour on Monday, also named Harold Ford Jr. and Al Roker as two Imus regulars who abandoned him in his hour of need. "They turned their backs on him so fast," Dietl said yesterday. "Al Roker had his stomach stapled - he should have had his mouth stapled."
One longtime listener wondered, "Will Imus ever give Newsweek editors another chance to plug their books on his show since they cut and ran when Al Sharpton started his crusade to get him off the air?"
Dietl said Imus' controversial remark "brought attention to that Rutgers basketball team. They really benefited. It turned out to be a positive thing." Dietl expects "a kinder, gentler Imus" next week, "but I don't know how long that will last."
WBRZ Channel 2 has learned that LSU has decided to change the name of its annual holiday centerpiece back to "Christmas Tree."
The university had chosen to change the name to "Holiday Tree" to be as "inclusive as possible of all cultures and religions, as the LSU community is very diverse," according to a statement issued by Kristine Calongne, director of media relations at LSU.
"However, it is true that the tree is, in fact, a Christmas tree, and we are happy to call it such," the statement said.
As usual, Louisiana is behind the rest of the country. This time in rank politically correct idiocy -- the "Holiday Tree" finally has come to LSU.
See, this is how it is in America today: You can dip a crucifix in a jar of piss.
You can cover pictures of the Virgin Mary with dung.
You can shove a cross up someone's butt and call it art.
All of this is free expression, and it is zealously protected by government types, lawyers and academics everywhere on First Amendment grounds.
But if a public institution puts up a Christmas tree and actually calls it what it is . . . well, that's something entirely different. Someone might be offended by the mere mention of Christ. Now, we're not talking establishment of a state religion or forcing faith on anyone.
We're talking about calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree.
Christmas. The 25th day of December. Only reason we have to bother with a "holiday" tree.
The Daily Reveille at LSU has a story about this insanity, something so nutty that only academics and other fearful cyphers can remain completely blind to the sheer absurdity of it all:
I EAGERLY AWAIT the federal lawsuit Professor Green surely will file against the President of the United States before it's too late, being that George Bush "could technically be held legally responsible" if the official White House CHRISTMAS tree offends someone . . . which I'm sure it does."For Christians who take their religion seriously, I think those wreaths and those Christmas trees have a significant religious meaning to them," said Stuart Green, law professor. "State universities - particularly state law schools - ought not to be endorsing or promoting any particular religion."
Green, who is not a Christian, said he does not celebrate Christmas. He said he respects others' rights to celebrate the holiday but does not feel it is appropriate for the University to display decorations.
Green said the University could technically be held legally responsible if the decorations offend people. He said he believes the decorations violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which states the government shall neither establish nor endorse a particular religion.
"Adding symbols of Jewish practices or Hindu or Buddhist [holidays], I think, compounds the problem rather than solves [it]," Green said. "I think the solution is that universities shouldn't be in the business of putting up really any kind of religious symbols at all."
Kristine Calongne, director of public affairs, said the University will hold the annual candlelight celebration Tuesday night. She said the celebration will incorporate Kwanzaa and will include the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah.
"We're very aware of diversity here at LSU, and that's a big part of our Flagship Agenda," Calongne said. "I think the decorations are just to be in the holiday spirit. I don't think it's anything beyond that."
And look at this, the federal government is using taxpayer dollars to promote the White House CHRISTMAS tree on the Internet, which we all know was invented by former Vice-President Al Gore. Furthermore, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush actually refer to "the Christmas season" in their official holiday greeting to the nation.
Can they do that?
Unbelievable. I'm sure the folks at LSU would understand if everyone were to yell "Jesus Christ!" upon receiving the shocking news.
But only if they were taking the Lord's name in vain.
IN THE REVEILLE STORY, meanwhile, it takes a Jew to point out the true ridiculousness of both the war on the word "Christmas" and of the laughable impact Christians have had on American culture:
EXACTLY. Why is it that, in this country, "diversity" always involves gutting important things, leaving only the ability to make a buck off of them standing amid the carnage? It's not enough that Christmas is devoid of cultural substance. No, now it's That Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken.Daniel Novak, interim director of Jewish studies and faculty adviser of the Jewish student organization Hillel, said he is not offended by Christmas decorations because the holiday has become "largely devoid of religion."
"But you do realize you're not part of the mainstream in some way [when you see Christmas decorations]," Novak said. "The fact that they're decorating does indicate a bias towards a majority Christian orientation."
Novak said Hanukkah is not as important of a holiday in Judaism as Christmas is in the Christian faith, and he would like to see the University adapt celebrations of the more important Jewish holidays - such as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah - rather than promote the less important holidays occurring near Christmas.
"It's a nice gesture, and it comes from a really good place that people want to include other faiths in the decorations and in the recognition of the holiday season," Novak said. "But I'd rather that well-meaning energy and well-meaning recognition of diversity be better directed."
Why can't we let Christmas be Christmas? And also let Yom Kippur, Easter, Passover and Rosh Hashanah be what they are as well?
Besides, I like to eat me some latkes. Lots and lots of latkes.
Mazel tov, y'all!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I just got a comment on this post, one pointing out how much my old high school resembled a notoriously ramshackle and crime-ridden Baton Rouge, La., motel. The anonymous commenter took issue with the picture above, and with my saying the auditorium balcony no longer was in use. I will repost that comment below, and then I'll have my say in response.
"Instead of holding students at assemblies or the public for community events, the balcony of the school's grand old auditorium now holds junk. Not people." While your post raises a lot of interesting points, this one simply is not true. I graduated this past May, as a member of the class of 2007, and I know from personal experience that the balcony is used for seating during events. The picture you placed immediately before this description is also misleading -- the "No public seating on balcony" sign is only used when an event doesn't draw enough people to fill up the downstairs portion of the auditorium. Since it doesn't make sense to have some people sitting downstairs and some people sitting upstairs when the downstairs is not completely filled, this sign is used.ACTUALLY, the sign says "No public seating in the bacolny," and it is what it is. That is what I found there years after I graduated -- it's not like I planted the sign . . . or the junk in both balcony entrances. In one entrance, there was no way to squeeze past the discarded desks, etc., to get into the balcony -- or "bacolny," as the case may be. In the other second-floor entrance, I was able to squeeze -- barely -- past the junk to get to the balcony. So, you're telling me that the school staff has to remove all that crap and find somewhere to put it whenever there's a large assembly at Baton Rouge High? Again, the pictures are what they are. And the junk-filled balcony entrances are the LEAST of the school's problems. YOU SAY the post "raises a lot of interesting points," and this is what you seize upon in order to get your knickers in a twist? I'm not raising "interesting points." I'm screaming at the top of my lungs that your old school and mine has been allowed to become a f***ing dump! As in "unfit for human habitation." And that the school board -- and the taxpayers, too -- let it get that way, blithely sending their kids and others' to school there as the place crumbles around them. But dat's Looziana for ya'! And I'm horribly sorry if I misrepresented the usage status of the auditorium "bacolny." Coulda fooled me, and perhaps did.
Really, with Rudy Giuliani, you get all the following and a more-or-less fascist state, too. At least Bill did his messing around in the Oval Office, at no added expense to the American taxpayer.
THE POLITICO has all the Big Nasty details here:
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.
The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.
At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”
The Hamptons visits resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for Giuliani’s New York Police Department security detail.
Giuliani’s relationship with Nathan is old news now, and Giuliani regularly asks voters on the campaign trail to forgive his "mistakes."
It’s also impossible to know whether the purpose of all the Hamptons trips was to see Nathan. A Giuliani spokeswoman declined to discuss any aspect of this story, which was explained in detail to her earlier this week.
But the practice of transferring the travel expenses of Giuliani's security detail to the accounts of obscure mayoral offices has never been brought to light, despite behind-the-scenes criticism from the city comptroller weeks after Giuliani left office.
The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.
When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.
But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.
Yeah, I realize that some parents don't deserve such a fate, because they do what they can and just can't overcome the odds. But on the other hand, something tells me this, as reported in the Omaha World-Herald, ain't one of those cases:
The 14-year-old boy accused of pointing a gun at a police officer has been charged as an adult, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said today.
Marcel Davis, who turns 15 next month, was charged today with attempted first-degree assault on an officer, use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a stolen firearm, Kleine said.
Davis was shot in the leg by Officer Nicholas Andrews early Tuesday near 48th and Boyd Streets. Davis had fled from a Chrysler Cirrus that Andrews and Officer Alan Peatrowsky stopped after they spotted the car driving without headlights on and with an expired license plate.
During the foot chase, police said, Davis turned and pointed a gun at Andrews and Andrews fired at him, hitting him once in the leg. Davis was treated at Creighton University Medical Center and was released. He then was booked into the Douglas County Youth Center.
Alethea Goynes, 31, Davis' mother, said her son gave her a different account: He tossed the gun as he got out of the car and didn't point it at anyone.
Goynes said police told her they found the gun in some nearby bushes. She said she thinks Davis ran away because he was scared.
"If he admitted to having a gun, then why wouldn't he admit to pointing it at the police," Goynes said. "I believe my son. I think there's more to it."
Andrews has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation.
Police say Davis admitted to possessing the gun. A check of the gun's serial number found that it was reported stolen June 2.
Kleine said Davis is fortunate that he sustained only a leg wound in the incident.
"Obviously, the circumstances are such that with his use of a firearm in the manner that he did, he's fortunate that he's still alive."
Kleine said he considered Davis' age when deciding whether to file charges in district court. "But, again, the juvenile court can only maintain jurisdiction until they're 18." District court, he said, offers much the same services, but can maintain oversight over someone into adulthood.
"Threatening a police officer with that firearm, I believe it should be in an adult court," Kleine said.
Davis is a ninth-grader at North High School. He has been in the Omaha Public Schools since the second grade, an OPS spokeswoman said.
Naw, Baby didn't do nothin'. What the hell was Baby doing out of the house anyway -- much less out on the streets long after a 14-year-old ought to have been in bed?
I suspect this will be easy enough to sort out. If Baby got shot in the back of the leg, bad news for the cop.
If Baby was shot in the front of the leg, chances are he wheeled on the cop, gun in hand, and it really, really sucks to be him.
BUT HAVING BEEN BORN to a 16-year-old mother of a different last name, one who let him run the streets a week after he already had gotten pinched by The Man -- a mother who will instantly take the word of her feral baby boy despite the fact that he was running from the cops and packing heat. . . .
Well, I guess it has sucked to be Baby for a long, long time.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Because the Devil's in the details, you know.
A debate that started simmering last month over whether New Orleans' two highest-paid trash vendors are complying with the terms of their contracts boiled over Monday into a racial clash as dozens of black ministers and civil rights activists alleged that the City Council has singled out the deals because they are held by minority-owned firms.
Supporters of Richard's Disposal and Metro Disposal, both New Orleans companies owned and run by African-Americans, told council members during a hearing in advance of Friday's vote on the city's 2008 budget that any attempt by the council to change terms of the agreements, which Mayor Ray Nagin signed last year, would amount to racism and could incite activists to abandon the city in the throes of the winter tourism season.
"What is out of compliance if these men are doing their job?" Spiver Gordon, national treasurer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, asked the council. "We don't need to come back here and dance around your cash registers. We're talking about economic boycott."
During a rally before the hearing on the steps of City Hall that drew about 100 supporters, including dozens of sanitation workers, SCLC regional Vice President the Rev. Byron Clay said the matter is not limited to the firms in question.
"For anyone to question the ethics and the honesty of either company is not only an assault to that company but to the entire community. They have done an excellent job of cleaning this city up," he said.
Last month, city officials acknowledged that a provision of the contract that Richard's and Metro signed calls for collecting "unlimited bulky waste," including demolition material. The city, however, is not requiring the contractors to pick up construction debris generated at properties under renovation because of Hurricane Katrina.
Instead, Nagin's sanitation director, Veronica White, has said the city requires the vendors to collect only debris that conforms with limits laid out in an ordinance adopted five months after Nagin signed the deals. She also has said that the contract's inclusion of an option for emergency collection of storm debris implies that such waste is not covered by the regular terms.
The companies' owners, Alvin Richard and Jimmie Woods, reiterated Monday a point they have made throughout the debate: that in bidding on the contracts last summer, they assumed city officials were following industry norms when they called for "unlimited bulky waste" collection. That refers to debris created in the course of ordinary life and by minor construction projects, they said, not the mountains of waste generated by a flood.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The Revolution will not have a soundtrack written by Marty Haugen or warbled by the St. Louis Jesuits.
THE REVOLUTION will not be proclaimed on felt banners, nor will how it makes me feel be discussed in small groups.
The Revolution will have no liturgical dancers.
The Revolution will not be banalized, will not be banalized, will not be banalized, will not be banalized, will not be banalized.
The Revolution will help you figure out just who the hell we are.
Saturday's Washington Post proclaims The Revolution -- started this year by Pope Benedict XVI:
Parts of it are 1,500 years old, it's difficult to understand, and it's even more challenging to watch. And it's catching on among young Catholics.
It's the traditional Latin Mass, a formal worship service that is making a comeback after more than 40 years of moldering in the Vatican basement.
In September, Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on celebrating Latin Mass, frequently called the Tridentine Mass, citing "a new and renewed" interest in the ancient Latin liturgy, especially among younger Catholics.
Spoken or sung entirely in sometimes inaudible Latin by priests who face the altar instead of the congregation, it is a radical departure for most Catholics, who grew up attending a more informal Mass celebrated in their native tongue.
"It's the opposite of the cacophony that comes with the [modern] Mass," said Ken Wolfe, 34, a federal government worker who goes to up to four Latin Masses a week in the Washington area. "There's no guitars and handshaking and breaks in the Mass where people talk to each other. It's a very serious liturgy."
And it is a hit with younger priests and their parishioners.
Attendance at the Sunday noon Mass at St. John the Beloved in McLean has doubled to 400 people since it began celebrating in Latin. Most of the worshipers are under 40, said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee.
Younger parishioners "are more reflective," McAfee said. "They want something uplifting when they go to church. They don't want something they can get outside."
Priests, musicians and laypeople are snapping up how-to videos and books, signing up for workshops and viewing online tutorials with step-by-step instructions on the elaborately choreographed liturgy. For example, the rubrics dictate that a priest must hold together the thumb and index finger of each hand for much of the Canon of the Mass, the central part of the liturgy that culminates with the consecration of bread and wine.
"I knew there would be some interest, but I didn't know how quickly it would spread and how really deep the interest was," said the Rev. Scott Haynes, a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago who started a Web site in August offering instructions in celebrating the Mass.
So far, the Web site, http://www.sanctamissa.org, has received 1 million hits, Haynes said, adding that he receives several hundred e-mails a day from fans of the service. "I was surprised by how many people have latched on to this," he said.
Portions of the Tridentine Mass date back to the sixth century, but it was standardized at the Council of Trent in 1570 -- hence the name Tridentine. It was largely supplanted by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which modernized the Mass liturgy and translated it into modern languages.
The modern Mass, or Novus Ordo, can be said in Latin, but it is a radically different service from the Tridentine Mass. Until September, when the pope issued his Motu Proprio allowing greater freedom in celebrating the Tridentine Mass, priests who wanted to celebrate it needed special permission from their bishop, and it was celebrated at only a few churches in the Washington area.
In the Diocese of Arlington, where the bishop and priests are considered more conservative than in Washington, the number of churches where the service is celebrated has increased from two to seven since the Motu Proprio. The Arlington diocese, which stretches from Northern Virginia south to Lancaster and west to the Shenandoah, has sent six priests to a training center in Nebraska, at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter seminary, for an intensive seminar.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
We'll that's enough of that. Louisiana State's national-championship pigskin pipe dream, that is.
Got through the three-overtime debacle against Ar-KANSAS with a blue fog hanging in the air, with intermittent F-bombs still in the forecast, and an easily repaired smashed remote control. And a dented coaster.
Not one of those sandstone drink coasters, because then the TV would be dead.
I guess we Louisianians take college football kind of seriously.
AT THE END of the game, a friend (and old high-school and college classmate) called from her home in Kansas City. Mrs. Favog answered the phone.
I was informed that our friend took the big loss about like I did. Badly. Much angst and cursing. What kind of bleedin' IDIOT calls a pass play for a two-point conversion when you have the defense spread and could have run it in?
Anyway, amid blazing anger and a borderline existential crisis sometimes comes a flash of absolute clarity. Keen insight. An involuntary uttering of the God's honest truth -- straight, no chaser.
"It's sad," she said, "because it's all we've got."
I guess she could have been talking about how baseball is down and basketball is a basket case. But I doubt it.
I THINK SHE MEANT what I do: In a state leading all the bad lists and at the rear of all the good ones, LSU football is -- was -- the one unqualified success story measurable in quantifiable terms: W's and L's.
We coulda been a contender. But now we're not. More unfettered Louisiana suckiness after these messages. . . .
Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . I know. Unique culture, amazing food and music. Lots of history . . . tourism . . . blah blah blah. Unfortunately, none of that quantifiably adds to the bottom line in some very important ways.
Good food, good music and an interesting culture will not stop Louisianians from killing one another at far above the national average. They will not teach Tee John to read, or cause Bubba to graduate from a reasonably rigorous high school . . . or graduate from any high school at all.
They will not increase the state's percentage of college graduates, nor will they magically produce a well-trained, competent workforce. They thus far have resulted neither in good roads nor honest, effective government.
They have not grown the state's economy in any way that creates lots of jobs capable of supporting lots of families adequately. They have not caused a groundswell of economic activity, domestic tranquility or kept Louisiana's "best and brightest" from heading for the exits in increasing numbers every year.
Quaint, rustic and under indictment is no way to go through life.
I DON'T KNOW whether I count as "best and brightest," but I made for the exit -- for the last time -- in 1988. My friend left just before I did.
No, the one quantifiable success we native Louisianians have been able to take pride in -- at least the past seven years -- has been LSU football. We had a chance to win it all -- again. And that disappeared into an Arkansas defender's hands, in the back of the end zone, in the third overtime period.
Yes, I know football is "bread and circuses." At least the "circuses" part, anyway. And I know there are much more important things in life than that.
But it's all we've got.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
And the Cowboys have scored on their 16th consecutive drive, and they lead the Lions 87-3 as we get ready for the start of the. . . .
Next on C-SPAN 2, highlights from the Nashua, New Hampshire. . . .
The Parade Life Channel . . . your life, your parades, your parade life. We're back. So, Bob, how did you go from Central Park lush, living in a van down by the East River, to being Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
We're in an official's time out, and it appears Shaq is still out cold after being hit by a piece of bling as he drove to the hoop. Bonnie, what are you hearing at courtside. . . .
Attention! Revolution 21!
HEY, MILDRED! Whadda you mean there's nothing on? Come listen to this!
OH, THE HUMANITY!
PLEASE! GET OUT OF THE WAY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! I CAN'T WATCH THIS ANYMORE!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I need to be doing the Big Show -- that's the Revolution 21 podcast -- a couple of days early this week. Thanksgiving, don'tcha know?
So, while I'm doing that, why don't you kids sit back and watch some Kukla, Fran and Ollie, live from Chicago on the national NBC hookup in 1951.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Actually, they're going to march for their man Wednesday. Of course, that's pretty much a no-brainer when your guy's team is 10-1 and in the hunt for a national title. And when Michigan just might be breathing down your neck . . . and whispering sweet nothings in your coach's ear.
FOX NEWS LOUISIANA reports:
LSU fans are planning a rally to show their desire to keep Les Miles in Baton Rouge. The head football coach of the Tigers is likely the top candidate to replace Lloyd Carr at Michigan.
Miles is a former Michigan player and assistant coach and has a passion for the maize and blue. But he has also made it clear that he loves LSU.
The "March for Miles" is set to begin at 6 pm Wednesday from Tiger Stadium. Supporters plan to walk from the stadium to Walk On's, which is the site of the coach's weekly radio show.
Or do you try to buck Thomas Wolfe and go home again? Go home to whatever uncertainty might await you there.
You know, if I were in Baton Rouge -- instead of an 1,100-mile drive away, sitting in my studio on a cold, damp and blustery Nebraska night -- I might be soooooo there Wednesday evening for the march. LSU needs to hang on to men like Les Miles. Even if they're Michigan Men.
Baton Rouge has a funny damn way of trying to do that.
See, to keep men like Miles -- to attract more men and women like Miles -- my hometown needs to quit begging and start doing. Make Baton Rouge someplace that people like Les Miles would be crazy to leave . . . no matter how loud the siren song of home and how full the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow.
Instead, a parade of U-Hauls snaking toward the state line testifies that a lot of born-and-raised Louisianians think it's kind of nuts to stay.
Maybe that has something to do with Baton Rougeans and other Louisianians being motivated enough to organize a "Please Stay Les" march on, literally, a moment's notice but almost entirely uninterested in their crooked government, soaring crime rate and crumbling, ineffective public schools.
That testifies to some seriously messed-up priorities, people.
THINK OF IT, if Baton Rougeans were as interested in education as LSU football, Baton Rouge Magnet High School wouldn't be falling apart before their eyes. And around their kids. Talk about a school full of overachievers -- kids Louisiana is eager to hold on to but hard-pressed to keep.
They are the Les Mileses of education, business, industry and the arts. And most of them are going to haul butt, even without a multimillion-dollar contract as motivation.
Furthermore -- that is, if people cared -- East Baton Rouge Parish public schools would be a model system for the nation, not a failing morass of struggling students, fetid facilities and demoralized educators. One that's becoming blacker, and blacker, and blacker still with every passing school year.
For some insane reason, middle-class whites there are content to pay an astronomical "private-school tax" to keep their children out of the under-resourced and horribly mismanaged East Baton Rouge system, as opposed to paying the taxes and exercising the civic vigilance necessary to ensure a first-rate public system.
What was it the Supreme Court said about "separate and unequal"? That's what exists in Baton Rouge -- and across Louisiana -- today.
And anyone could tell you that a good public-school system is the foundation for building a better city. A city the likes of Les Miles would be crazy to leave, no matter what.
SO, GO AHEAD. March for Les. Beg him to stay. Perhaps he'll take pity on you and do what you ask.
But do you think you could spare a couple of hours, and a little concern, for your own children -- or for somebody else's not-so-fortunate children -- and have a little march for them, too?
Saudi Arabia defended on Tuesday a court's decision to sentence a woman who was gang-raped to 200 lashes of the whip, after the United States described the verdict as "astonishing".
The 19-year-old Shi'ite woman from the town of Qatif in the Eastern Province and an unrelated male companion were abducted and raped by seven men in 2006.
Ruling according to Saudi Arabia's strict reading of Islamic law, a court had originally sentenced the woman to 90 lashes and the rapists to jail terms of between 10 months and five years. It blamed the woman for being alone with an unrelated man.
Last week the Supreme Judicial Council increased the sentence to 200 lashes and six months in prison and ordered the rapists to serve between two and nine years in jail.
The ruling provoked rare criticism from the United States, which is trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to attend a Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland next week.
A State Department spokesman told reporters on Monday that "most (people) would find this relatively astonishing that something like this happens".
The court also took the unusual step of initiating disciplinary procedures against her lawyer, Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem, forcibly removing him from the case for having talked about it to the media.
"The Ministry of Justice welcomes constructive criticism ... The system allows appeals without resort to the media," said Tuesday's statement issued on the official news agency SPA.
It berated media for not specifying that three judges, not one, issued the recent ruling and reiterated that the "charges were proven" against the woman.
It also repeated the judges' attack against Lahem last week, saying he had "spoken insolently about the judicial system and challenged laws and regulations".
Not big on mercy, are you? What, in the name of "Allah the merciful," you get to act like devils?Frankly, what we object to is that you are a bunch of Neanderthal goons who treat women as property and "infidels" as fair game for whatever sadistic idiocy you'll infect the world with next. We posit not that you are unfaithful to your twisted image of Allah but that, instead, you dour, sour Wahhabi fanatics have been slavishly faithful to a warped, grim and demented conception of the Almighty.
What horrifies us -- well, some of us, at least -- is that when you attack the dignity of an innocent young creation of the living God, you thereby offend the dignity of Him who created her.
And, as you profess to believe, God -- Allah -- is not mocked.
Have a nice day, and go sit on a minaret and spin.
Uncle Sam needs your help again
He's got himself in a terrible crack
Way down yonder in ol' I-raq
So put down your books and pick up a gun
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun
And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop might be I-ran
And it's five, six, seven, call up the collections guy
There ain't no time to wonder why, too bad we didn't die.
(Apologies to Country Joe and the Fish.)
WHERE IS COUNTRY JOE McDONALD, anyway? Particularly when you need him to write a new protest song about the vermin we've put in charge of running things in this country, 40 years after he wrote about the then-vermin we put in charge of running this country.
But I don't know that the old vermin had anything on the new vermin, who are pulling crap like this:
After two combat tours in Iraq on a "quick reaction team" that picked up body parts after suicide bombings, Donald Schmidt began suffering from nightmares and paranoia. Then he had a nervous breakdown.NOT TO MENTION related crap like this:
The military discharged Schmidt last Oct. 31 for problems they said resulted not from post-traumatic stress disorder but rather from a personality disorder that pre-dated his military service.
Schmidt's mother, Patrice Semtner-Myers, says her son was told that if he agreed to leave the Army he'd get full benefits. Earlier this month, however, they got a bill in the mail from a collection agency working for the government, demanding that he repay his re-enlistment bonus, plus interest — $14,597.72.
Schmidt, 23, who lives near Peoria, Ill., is one of more than 22,000 service members the military has discharged in recent years for "pre-existing personality disorders" it says were missed when they signed up.
"They used these guys up, and now they're done with them and they're throwing them away," Semtner-Myers said.
Her frustration extends to Capitol Hill, where the stage is being set for a confrontation between Congress and the Pentagon.
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, calls the treatment of these troops "disgraceful."
"If they have personality disorders, how did they get in the military in the first place?" Filner asks. "You either have taken a kid below the standards, in which case you've got obligations after you send him to war, or you're putting these kids' futures in danger with false diagnoses. Either way it's criminal."
The Pentagon defends its policy.
"No military in the history of the world has done more to identify, evaluate, prevent and treat the mental health needs and concerns of its personnel," Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said. All cases of personality disorder discharges are diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, and troops receive some benefits including health care, life insurance and education, she said.
Filner isn't buying it.
"These young people are being lied to and manipulated," he said. "We deny them proper classification so they can't get benefits, then they get this bill for a prorated signing bonus."
In the Senate, Missouri Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond, along with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is leading an effort to force the Pentagon to change its practice. Bond says it appears worse than the scandal earlier this year over poor conditions at Walter Reed hospital.
"This is a very sad story," Bond says. "We are fortunate enough to bring many severely wounded soldiers and Marines home, but we're not dealing with their mental health problems. They need help, not a discharge because some phony pre-existing condition is brought up."
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.I DON'T KNOW what I can say about something this mind-numbingly dishonorable and wicked -- except this: A country that mistreats, uses and abuses those few who have sacrificed so much while so many engage in idle (and idol) pursuits is wholly unworthy of that sacrifice.
To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.
Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.
One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.
He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.
Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.
A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.
"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're telling me they want their money back," he explained.
It's a slap for Fox's mother, Susan Wardezak, who met with President Bush in Pittsburgh last May. He thanked her for starting Operation Pittsburgh Pride which has sent approximately 4,000 care packages.
He then sent her a letter expressing his concern over her son's injuries, so she cannot understand the U.S. Government's apparent lack of concern over injuries to countless U.S. Soldiers and demands that they return their bonuses.
While he's unsure of his future, Fox says he's unwavering in his commitment to his country.
"I'd do it all over again... because I'm proud of the discipline that I learned. I'm proud to have done something for my country," he said.
Judgment Day is coming, people. Judgment Day is coming.
Citing the 9-11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor, Saban said Monday his team must rebound like America did from a "catastrophic event."GET A GRIP, NICK. After Pearl Harbor, the United States had to rebound -- or, in the spinmeister's terms, evidence "true spirit and unity" -- in the wake of losing something like 2,700 lives and most of the Pacific Fleet.
In this case, that would be an embarrassing 21-14 loss Saturday to Louisiana-Monroe, dropping the Tide's record to 6-5.
"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."
Alabama's just getting ready to face No. 25 Auburn, its biggest rival, on Saturday.
A Saban spokesman said the coach chose the 9-11 and Pearl Harbor references to illustrate the challenges facing his team.
"What Coach Saban said did not correlate losing a football game with tragedy; everyone needs to understand that. He was not equating losing football games to those catastrophic events," football spokesman Jeff Purington said in a statement to The Associated Press. "The message was that true spirit and unity become evident in the most difficult of times. Those were two tremendous examples that everyone can identify with."
After 9/11, the country had to bounce back from . . . well, you know what we've had to bounce back from. Do you think losing a (expletive deleted) football game compares in any way to the difficulty of overcoming either of those two horrific events?
What, is Saban now going to have some goons snatch Tommy Tuberville off the streets of downtown Auburn, Ala., and apply "enhanced interrogation" techniques until he gives up the Tigers'/War Eagles'/Plainsmen's game plan? All so the great elephant god, Crimson Tide, might prevail in the Iron Bowl and, thus, ignorance, hunger, poverty and violence be banished from the Gret Stet of Alabammer forever and ever, amen?
Lawdamuhcy, that Saban done lost his mind. Maybe he ought to run for president. He'd probably fit right in.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Harold Arlen wrote it, and Judy Garland lived it to a nightmarish end at age 47.
Sometimes, over the rainbow, the dreams that come true aren't all what they're cracked up to be. And you better be careful about those dreams that you dare to dream, lest they really do come true.
And break your damn heart.
RIGHT NOW, it's starting to look like Louisiana State's football coach, Les Miles, has an appointment to meet the dream of a true Michigan Man. Miles has the chance to try to fill the shoes of his old coach and mentor, Bo Schembechler, after Lloyd Carr has given up on trying to do just that.
And this grand opportunity to try to go home again comes as Miles and his LSU Tigers chase after a national championship. Could there be anything better than that?
Sure, doing that at your alma mater. Being a hometown hero back in the place you count as home.
Be careful of your dreams. Sometimes they only partially come true.
Can that count as one definition of "nightmare"? I think so, and I know a little something about that.
When you think you have it made, it's important to remember a couple of things: S*** happens, and people can be real jerks. It all falls under The Fall. You know, Adam, Eve, serpent, apple.
Ever since The Fall, we've dealt with sin, exile, death and chaos. Our dreams are subject to all of those, which quickly can turn them into nightmares.
And sometimes, you think you've landed yourself a really sweet gig. The powers that be tell you how much they love you. They tell you how much they need you. They pay you a nice chunk of change. All of this happens right at the point where you say, "I'm livin' the dream."
Then, of course, life intervenes. Unless you are exceptionally charmed, things don't always go quite right. You encounter slackers, backbiters and screw-ups. Sometimes, you are one -- or all -- of the above.
And then, to rip off another popular song:
Where did our love go?
And all your promises
Of a love forever more?
REMEMBER POPE FM? That was an occasional series of posts I did about a Catholic FM station I really worked at, though the name has been changed to protect the guilty. In 1999, I thought I could be there forever.
I'm not there now. It's The Fall, dammit.
See, I loved that station, even though the programming wasn't always my cup of tea. I learned a lot, and I did a lot of good there, and I think I made a "religious" station just a bit more accessible to people who don't live in church . . . and who don't see life as a never-ending progression of bad liturgical music and stern church ladies.
The Catholic Church pretty much has been in disarray ever since the Second Vatican Council, despite that council having been much needed. What I learned from my "dream job" is that the folks who think they have the answers on how to set her straight again are pretty screwed up themselves.
Misplaced priorities and toxic spirituality have no ideology. The center did not hold, and one lunatic program director and several crises of conscience later, I was out of a job. The alternative would have been worse.
Still, I felt as though I'd been through a divorce. A nasty divorce from someone I once had loved.
I HAD SEEN borderline-crazy and completely wrong things done there in the name of Jesus Christ, by the people who ran a radio station that professed to have the Catholic answer. I had just seen the crazy underbelly of, and cold cynicism within, a tool of the Church I sought out as a refuge 17 years ago.
I almost lost my faith. The last thing I did as I gathered up my things and walked out of my office for the last time was to pitch a crucifix on the floor. What had gone on there under Jesus' dying gaze, the indefensible that had been defended in Christ's name -- indeed, under the nose of Jesus Himself in the Pope FM chapel's tabernacle -- was scandalous and a sacrilege.
I had come to believe that not only did the Church not have the answer, it didn't even have a clue.
Do you know how that feels? Do you know what it feels like to have something precious to you start to leave an exceedingly bad taste in your mouth?
It feels like The Fall. And it breaks your heart.
I am still Catholic, by the grace of God. I finally internalized the reality that the Church is not Pope FM, nor is it the flawed men who lead it. Pope FM is a flawed evangelist for the Church; the bishops are compromised shepherds who sometimes neglect their flock.
I am a Bad Catholic, trying to get to tomorrow from today. Intact.
We all are The Fall.
AND THE TROUBLE with our dreams is they sometimes come true . . . and aren't nearly so dreamy. I hope Les Miles thinks about that before leaving a pretty decent gig for his "dream job."
We all know that coaching is a do-or-die, cutthroat kind of profession, all the noble collegiate bromides aside. Boosters are cold, and fans are nuts -- I know this, I are one. A fan, that is. Don't have the scratch to be a booster.
If Michigan were to betray a loyal and true Michigan Man -- or if the loyal and true Michigan Man were somehow to betray it -- could Les take it? Could a coach's coach make the necessary halftime adjustments to his broken heart?
Aye, there be the rub.