Monday, April 25, 2016

Bathroom Diversity

He claimed to be transgender, six-feet-tall,
His story: “Just relieve myself, that's all,”
Dressed fine in business suit – yeah, coat and tie –
Went in the women's restroom by-the-by;
Onlookers watched askance but kept their peace,
It was the law that he could seek release
In any bathroom in which he felt peace
No matter if the moralists scream, “cease.”

She was a girl of twelve, sixth-grade at school,
Was feeling sort of icky by the pool,
Had gone there with her parents to have lunch...
Her father bragged that she could eat a bunch;
And then she went to pool to swim and play
While parents went to work...finish their day,
And while from nature's call she sought relief
He staked her moves, just like a would-be thief.

The paper next day published this headline:
Young girl assaulted, raped while others dine
It happened in a women's restroom stall
When it was thought no one else there at all,
Across her mouth a strip of friction-tape,
Her body found in bloody, grotesque shape,
The mayor paid respects to family...
Asked it to understand diversity.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, April 22, 2016

Explanation

Note: Extended illness responsible for non-updating. Hope to be better soon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What Goes Around...

It's been said that what goes around comes around, and proof of this has been seen lately in the statements by public figures. President Obama recently gave a news-conference lecture (everyone of his answers is a micro-speech) informing the great unwashed (me) that the Senate must do its due diligence as spelled out in the Constitution and take up his SCOTUS nominee immediately lest the nation be robbed of its democracy.

Problem: He was firmly for filibustering into oblivion the nomination of Samuel Alito to the bench when he (Obama) was in the Senate in 2006, not to mention his (Obama's) well-documented disdain for the Constitution in the first place. His disdain for the Congress is even greater as he has attempted to rule by executive order lately.

Problem: In 2009 when Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, as mandated in the Illinois Constitution, appointed Illinois politician Roland Burris to take Obama's vacated Senate seat, Obama, Illinois Senator Durbin and Majority Leader Reid attempted to block Burris from the position (even physically locking him out of the Capitol). The Illinois Supreme Court turned them around and they ate humble pie but the contempt for Constitutional governance was obvious.

Durbin's most distinguishable uttering came a few years ago when he compared U.S. soldiers to Pol Pot's “killing field” operators in Cambodia, Stalin's Gulag thugs and Hitler's Nazi butchers. He tried to apologize “if” he offended anyone but he would have been better served to keep his fat mouth shut about it.

And then Pope Francis, a mere man who some Catholics think speaks for God, berated Trump over the “wall” policy, obviously not thinking about the sturdy wall surrounding the Vatican and the weirdly attired Swiss Guard—his own personal army—that keeps him protected better than the Secret Service does for the president. Trump called it disgrace...it was that but much more just plain hypocritical or dumb – your choice.

His remark was made stranger because not long after his installation and concerning homosexuality he said, “Who am I to judge,” knowing full well the church's stance. Yet, in his wall-statement he judged that Trump was a non-Christian, a frightful sort of judgment he now felt competent to make about another human being.

Perhaps the most bizarre of such statements came from Hillary Clinton recently in an interview with CBS's Scott Pelley during which he surprisingly asked if she ever lied. She answered that she tried to never lie, realized how weak that sounded and elaborated by saying she never lied and never would.

The whole world (and Pelley) knows that her answer was itself a humongous lie. Her lies ranging from the Benghazi Massacre all the way back to the non-existent Bosnian snipers she outran in 1996 are so well documented that they appear in great detail on the Internet to this day.

On a sillier note, Fox's Megyn Kelly comes to mind. She and her Fox cohorts had obviously conspired to settle Trump's hash in the first debate so with fangs bared Kelly attacked him out of the gate for being a woman-hater. He sort of laughed off such a ridiculous charge and didn't even show for the second Fox effort.

On her own program the other evening she confronted Kasich over a statement he made about an early campaign in which women were so on his side that they (gasp) even left the kitchen to work for him. Kelly let him know that 70% of women “work” and are not attached to anyone's kitchen...so there! Just as she helped Trump's campaign, she no doubt did Kasich a favor. Just like Hillary, she hadn't learned a thing.

Former state secretary Madeleine Albright should join Pope Francis in discussing the spiritual status of folks. In campaigning for Hillary she said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” She didn't mention liars, of course, and one can only guess at her judgment of the worst offenders—men.

Yeah...what goes around comes around.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Professor Says Green Bay Team is Socialist

In an op-ed of 29 January in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, retired Berea College professor Michael Rivage-Suel attempted to advance the presidential candidacy of socialist [democrat] Bernie Sanders by using as his example the NFL Green Bay Packers, i.e., capitalism defeated by socialism as the best societal construct. He lays the groundwork using the departure from St. Louis of the NFL Rams to Los Angeles, thus depriving the St. Louis fans (not even having a vote) of “their” team, though it is owned by Stan Kroenke, whose evil intent is to make money.

Rivage-Suel said this was an obvious injustice apparently based on the fact that the fans had been supportive, presumably by attending games. Sports franchises are routinely transferred, just like McDonald's, so this is nothing new. When I was young, the MLB Giants and Dodgers were in New York but have for decades been in Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. Rivage-Suel believes, despite the bottom line (profitability), that a referendum of citizens, who own no financial interest, should decide the issue.

Rivage-Suel said this: “They [owners] leave without reimbursing the community for roads built to service their facilities ...” and mentions community subsidies such as for construction. In other words, the owners have paid no taxes and provided no employment opportunities. This is absurd, made more so by the fact that governing bodies elected by “fans” have made the decisions.

Rivage-Suel rightly affirmed that changes are made in order to make more money, the “logic of capitalism.” This is why the Herald-Leader constantly makes changes in the interest of the bottom line but without taking a vote of the readers, who have no stake in its survival or profitability (or lack thereof). According to Rivage-Suel, the H-L could not leave Lexington for Los Angeles unless its readers agreed.

By picking the Packers, Rivage-Suel defeated his entire argument since the shareholder model is that of Wall Street, where capitalism reigns. Green Bay citizens invest in the team, which is profitable, to share in the proceeds, not to determine its location. If any bloc of shareholders should become large enough to change anything, it could, including location. Rivage-Suel said this is an example of democracy, but democracy is not the issue. Profitability is.

Example: In 2013, according to ESPN, the Packers received $187.7 million from the NFL (mostly TV-generated) but only $136.3 million in local revenue (tickets, concessions, etc.). Expenses amounted to $298.5 million, leaving a profit of $25.5 million for the shareholders, an example of capitalism at its best. The profit would have been about 50% larger but for some outrageously costly contracts to four players.

Without the NFL input, the team would have gone belly-up and the shareholders would have made decisions on the basis of finances, not location. It was a matter of bankruptcy or relocation. The city-population of 104,000 (a third that of Lexington) could not support the team any more than Lexington could.

Strangely, Rivage-Suel said socialism is proved successful because the Packers have won more championships than capitalist competitors, presumably all other NFL teams. All NFL teams are governed by unforgiving capitalist methodology – the bottom line. Subtract the NFL largesse from Green Bay and there would be no Packers there. Perhaps they might make it in St. Louis, population 2.8 million (greater St. Louis area), though Kroenke didn't think so.

If the NFL teams were governed by socialism every player would earn the same, every owner the same and every management the same regardless of business acumen resulting in success or failure. There would be no incentive anywhere to excel, just to survive. Winning would amount to the same as losing. More to the point, instead of the 12 NFL teams in 1959 (Packers included), there are now 32 (partly the result of combining NFL with old AFL), with TV, a very capitalist enterprise, the main reason for their existence.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trump-Fox Imbroglio

No matter what one thinks of Donald Trump, it has to be admitted that he has furnished a pizzazz to the current boring campaigns for the presidency that is seldom if ever seen. His latest ploy, withdrawing from the Fox News second shot at the candidates – misleadingly described as a debate – is a gem, the ostensible reason that Fox fox Megyn Kelly is to be one of the interrogators, otherwise known as “graspers for that 15 minutes.”

The notion that the debates are...well...debates is off-the-wall. I have to admit to watching only snippets this time around but have seen enough to come to some conclusions. They tend toward arguments carried out by the candidates with the interrogators, as well as with each other, with lots of fire, no light. The nastiest one was staged by CNBC, which has been blackballed by the RNC as a result, canceling a February revisit and giving the lucrative prize to CNN instead.

Though not a Trump supporter, I think he has grounds for refusing the second Fox effort on the basis that by both word and body-language in the first go-around Fox's Megyn Kelly planned and carried out an effort not to interrogate Trump but to commit character assassination right out of the gate. She was practically frothing at the mouth when she tried to picture Trump as a woman-hater, something the media had trumpeted for some time – silly. Then, concerning the current imbroglio, Fox put out a sophomoric tweet ridiculing Trump vis-a-vis the ayatollah [Khameini?] and Putin. According to Trump, this was the last straw.

It's amazing that the Fox news-establishment, which must have known of the plan, allowed it to go forward; however, Fox gurus like Charles Krauthammer and others (especially with the Weekly Standard and National Review backgrounds) had begun belittling Trump long before the debate. It's obvious that the networks, so-called mainline and cable, have their agendas and have favorite candidates. In other words, they act as much as the campaign officials do to get a favored candidate either elected or at least be a recipient of free air-time or both.

On the basis of polling, candidates were placed by the broadcasters on either of two levels, the lower a pre-non-primetime-group, with the main show at nine EST. This not only was unfair but ungainly, though with the number of candidates so large (democrats don't have that problem) how else to solve the problem? In effect, the broadcasters have much too big a hand in determining who does and does not get heard, even within the debates themselves, though the candidates get in their licks by substituting short speeches for answers to policy-questions.

Trump is the only candidate with charisma – he connects with people, the key element in showmanship, at which he is an expert. The others are t-o-o-o-o politically c-o-r-r-e-c-t to even chance a questionable remark, while Trump just doesn't care...says what he thinks as, for instance, shutting down Muslim immigration until it's proven safe. The elites – interrogators and candidates – gasp at such a remark, knowing full well that most citizens (and probably they) agree with him...just plain common sense, especially in light of San Bernardino and Paris, scenes of recent gratuitous Muslim bloodletting.

The debates would be greatly improved if the interrogators were actual reporters – who are likely to ask the right questions without giving speeches – and not the news-agencies' commentators, who are paid to express opinions, which, despite all efforts to avoid it, will creep into the debates. Kelly, for instance, obviously didn't like Trump so she tried to make him look bad. Significantly, she was the one who disappeared for a while after that debate. In the person of Bill O'Reilly, Fox's uber-star, the network groveled on 27 January at a Trump appearance already scheduled.

Trump's absence may help more than hurt him since multitudes of folks probably concluded after that debate that Fox had conspired against him. On the basis of its panels of “experts” such as the one at six each evening (Baier) and on Sunday mornings (Wallace) such conspiracy did take place, and that's yellow journalism, if journalism at all. The other networks are no better, and one longs for the days of the open conventions and smoke-filled rooms, all the silly Primaries be damned.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Anachronistic Bible?

Preacher Explains How Mitigation Works

In a recent column, H-L religion writer Paul Prather remarked that people often become atheists as a result of reading the Bible and that he could understand that, especially in light of biblical allusions to God-oriented violence such as the destruction of Jericho and incomprehensible accounts concerning such things as the Creation or the impossible feat of a man living three days inside a fish. Prather affirmed that these things didn't happen and that the accounts indicated not truth but misrepresentations by Bible characters such as Joshua and Jonah or the scripture-writers.

Prather is a Pentecostal and thus believes God created the incomprehensibly complex earth and all involved with it (maybe the whole universe) yet couldn't keep a man alive in a fish for three days. His main beef is with fundamentalists who take the Bible literally instead of sensibly, as defined by him, to wit, that nothing is believable if man cannot understand it.

As a minister, Prather missed a golden opportunity to explain that context is important to both belief and interpretation. The Old Testament laws, some 600 or so beyond the Ten Commandments, were mandated by God for a primitive people and had to do with everyday things such as personal hygiene and worship. The violence, both by and against the Israelites, had to do with lessons understood by the primitive mind, to which blood-and-gore meant more than words.

For instance, in Leviticus is found the mandate that practicing homosexuals are to be put to to death. Sanitary-wise, nothing is filthier and more potentially disease-producing than homosexual “sex,” not sex at all but scripturally accounted as simply unnatural. More to the point, this was also God's way of saying the human body was not designed by the Creator for such filth and that the practice is blasphemy of the Divine. The design had to do with procreation and not unnatural ecstasy.

This remarks Prather's main point. Concerning the Bible, he said, “ever-developing church practices and hard-won experience mitigate many passages.” Interpreted, this makes the Bible irrelevant because people – especially in the church – don't like parts of it. This is the same as accounting the U.S. Constitution as worthless because times have changed, currently an accepted opinion politically in some camps.

The Constitution, a man-made instrument, can be amended but the Bible cannot, notwithstanding any work by the “mitigating-crowd.” So, one accepts it or not but it's nowhere near as nuanced or vague as Prather would have it. Its historicity is beyond doubt. Just check both the ancient Jewish and Gentile governmental connections (wars, especially) all the way through. It includes poetry, parables, visions (such as Revelation) and sermons, all of which are subject to interpretation, but the cold hard facts are not.

The disciple John, perhaps Christ's closest friend, wrote unmistakably that Jesus made a whip and drove crooks and animals from the temple (church) but Prather likely would say that John imagined that – too violent – even though Matthew, another disciple, both eyewitnesses, corroborated the account. Jesus called church leaders “whited tombs,” account their hypocrisy, but Prather would say that Matthew, an eyewitness who gave that account, was wrong.

Today, the former would land Jesus in jail and the latter would make him guilty of micro-aggression, the latest racism fad. These examples don't comport with political correctness, the new creed in thousands of churches, so they didn't happen. This represents mitigation that gives the lie to scripture. It's like taking the Second Amendment out of the Constitution...weird.

Prather has not given up on the Bible, however, and even said this about it: “And there's a lot more to the Bible than there is even to Shakespeare.” Wow...what an endorsement! St. Paul would be proud. I'm not a fundamentalist or a “flat-earther,” but I'm not smart enough to figure out which is and which ain't regarding the scripture, so I'll just take it literally, thank you.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, January 15, 2016

Not My Home

This world is not my home
I am just passing through
I find the more I roam
That it has gone cuckoo
My land has changed so much
Now men may marry men
I never thought of such
And prexy says amen
Islam called religion
Enough to make one choke
It is a rescission
Of sanity – a joke
The women now may fight
In Army with the guys
It causes me great fright
A salon in disguise
They sail on Navy crafts
With fetuses cared-for
The men get all the shafts
New mothers go ashore
They put them in the Seals
To go on special-ops
Looks great in the news-reels
And prexy calls them tops
Abortions are the rage
A fetus stops the fun
Expendable that stage
Just kill the daughter, son
Politically-right
Must be all types of speech
If not, invite indict
As smarmy bigot, leech
Micro-aggression owns
The newest sort of slime
If offense one intones
The word-police charge crime
To say what one might think
Is to take on the charge
That one should see a shrink
Perhaps not be at-large
Inviting Muslims in
Proves pure diversity
Though threat to kith and kin
The prez approves, with glee
The nation must take risk
Lest it be judged as mean
And emigres not frisk
That would be too obscene
Police are now fair game
Seen as the enemy
To shoot them brings no shame
A dope-head must be free
One must not speak of God
Lest atheist be stunned
In age that is post-mod
Religion must be shunned
And then there are the trans
Their genders not quite sure
The bathrooms – woman's, man's
They never must endure
A third or fourth must be
In every public space
So they can then feel free
To go...not in disgrace
The climate must be changed
The prez said that is so
Its heat for cold exchanged
Lest harm for golf, polo
And athletes must know scorn
If using growth hormone
Though fans are all reborn
At thrill of broken bone
The Congress in gridlock
Is all that seems so norm
The citizens feel shock
When it reverses form
This world is not my home
I am just passing through
I soon no more will roam
And that is alright, too

And so it goes.
Jim Clark