Yeah, it’s been like the picture here. The start of the semester always brings new challenges, no matter how much time I spend preparing in advance. Add to that the wife’s surgery – with another one scheduled next Monday – and it makes for a real time crunch. Something has to give – and it’s been my blog postings. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been paying attention, just that I’ve not had any time to post. A few things that caught my eye and are worth at least a mention:
WTH NFL? Y’all know how much I enjoy pro football, particularly the Washington team. But the Ray Race video was just too much – I need eye bleach after watching that. I first caught wind of the the Rice situation probably like you guys did – when he was given a 2-game suspension. Twitter – which keeps me up to speed on just about everything – went nuts when it was announced. Smoking pot was treated as a worse offense – 8 times worse than beating a woman. Then that elevator video surfaced. I don’t buy that the Commissioner and others hadn’t seen it. They were protecting the franchise, just as they have done before, as reports of others who were convicted of such behavior were slapped on the wrist and allowed to play.
And then we have the beating of a kid. When I first heard about the spanking with a switch, I didn’t think much of it. After all, I certainly was whipped with one as a kid. But there’s a difference between a spanking and what Andrian Peterson did. The photos prove it. And hearing from the idiot who talked about spanking his 1-year old daughter – comments he has since walked back – tells me something is seriously wrong with the culture of the NFL.
Then there is this whole “suspension with pay” thing. Are you kidding me?!?! From what I understand, the league’s collective bargaining agreement only allows the player to be suspended for 4 games – part of the reason the union is appealing the Rice suspension – and there’s this loophole that allows the player to agree to the suspension and still get paid. What kind of punishment is that? I don’t know of many jobs – working for the Norfolk CSB comes to mind – that allow you to be suspended from work and still collect a paycheck.
It’s hard as a fan to keep in mind that most of the NFL players are beaters of women and children. Makes me want to turn off the TV – which is exactly what I’ve been doing.
An elected school board in Norfolk? It could happen. Big kudos to those who worked tirelessly to get the question on the ballot this November. The fact that it has taken numerous tries gives a hint at how hard this was. And while I will have more thoughts on this later, the Pilot editorial board thinks it’s a good idea.
Has Ferguson taught us anything? Two things that came out of the mess in Ferguson. First was the reminder that it dangerous – even life-threatening – to be a black man in America. Of course, if you happen to be black in America, you probably didn’t need the reminder. But the ongoing mess out there demonstrates that we have a problem that needs to be addressed. Not just when another shooting happens – as it undoubtedly will – but now. Our criminal justice system is biased – and no amount of wailing is going to change that.
Meanwhile, the pictures out of Ferguson – especially those released before it became a mainstream media cause célèbre – brought into focus the militarization of our local police. At least one is giving up its grenade launchers. How good of them! WTH is a police force doing with grenade launchers in the first place? Thirteen years and one week after we were attacked, our cities have been turned into military zones. Unless I missed it, the folks who attacked us on 9/11 were not home grown terrorists. Plus, when we do have homegrown terrorists, the police response hasn’t looked anything like it did in Ferguson.
When you combine the unresolved issue of race with the militarization of the police, it’s a recipe for disaster. I think it’s just a matter of time.
General Assembly antics. Despite all the hand-wringing over the McDonnell verdict, don’t expect our General Assembly to do anything to shore up our mostly non-existent ethics laws. I mean, these are the folks meeting today and tomorrow, wasting our money – we do have a deficit issue, right? – to vote to not take the federal Medicaid money.
And you gotta love this: HR566, which reads in part:
WHEREAS, the House of Delegates and the Commonwealth of Virginia have a strong and independent interest in defending the constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage laws as well as preserving the separation of powers required by the Constitution of Virginia; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That the Speaker of the House hereby be authorized and instructed to employ legal counsel to represent the House of Delegates in state courts, removing Attorney General Mark Herring from his improper role in challenging Virginia’s marriage laws, and to take all steps for the House of Delegates to present the position of the Commonwealth in pending litigation involving the challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage laws
Wait – isn’t the marriage amendment being defended? Why yes it is! In fact, by two clerks of court. So what’s the point of spending more taxpayer money?
I guess the same point being made by the general assembly being officially in session all this time. When it’s about power, it really isn’t about money. So much for fiscal conservatism.
Last week’s column. I did manage to find some time to write for the Pilot last week. Prompting the column was something that is really getting tiresome: the media’s making of every issue an R vs D one. It has become shorthand for everything, even when it clearly does not apply. The McDonnell trial was a perfect example. I don’t know anyone – R or D – who thought what the McDonnells did was right. People can disagree on the outcome – I was surprised they were convicted of the corruption charges while not on one of the documents charge – but it wasn’t an R/D split. I think it’s just intellectually lazy to assume Rs always disagree with Ds and vice versa. Good ideas are not sole purview of one party or the other.
Back to work 😦
UPDATE – I forgot to mention that I updated the post on November local elections to include those who are running in the special elections on the ballot. (They had until 8/15 to file.)