Been buried

475px-Busy_desk.svgYeah, 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.)

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4 thoughts on “Been buried

  1. I agree–as does everyone with a handful of braincells who doesn’t work for the NFL–that the league has handled its recent domestic violence issues horribly. But I’m not precisely sure what I think would be appropriate. The league’s approach to discipline for various forms of off-field misconduct has been arbitrary to the point of capriciousness for a while now. Whatever punitive actions they take against transgressors feel essentially meaningless as a consequence.

    I guess if I had to choose what sort of outcome I’d want here, it would sound like this: I don’t think a national entertainment industry should enforce the law. I think the criminal justice system should enforce the law. Ray Rice shouldn’t be playing football right now, but that’s not because he deserves to be suspended by his employer–it’s because it’s awfully hard to run for 100 yards per game when you’re stuck in a 6’x8′ cage for a year.

    And to be blunt, it would probably have been better for Ray Rice in the long run to spend the better part of a year in the poke. Americans have a soft spot for the troubled man who pays for his crime and emerges rehabilitated; it’s why we’re not still talking about crucifying Michael Vick. But as things stand now, Ray Rice is going to remain a villain until we’re done excoriating him and TMZ stops camping outside his house. At that point, his only option will be to fade into obscurity or, like, play arena football or something stupid like that.

    I don’t want anyone to stop calling for Roger Goodell’s resignation because the man is clearly an incompetent twit, but I’m much more concerned with what’s going to happen to a certain District Attorney in New Jersey who should *actually* have been the person responsible for punishing Rice.

  2. Regarding the Ray Rice video, I can only say that his fiancee first hit him with a HARD elbow to the jaw — you see his head snap around just before he threw the first, reactionary punch. He then back away. She came after him, and only then did he throw the punch that knocked her out. (That the punch knocked her out is not in itself and indication that he “BEAT” her. I have a good friend who is a BEAST — 6’2″ and nothing but muscle — and he has a glass jaw. Hit him it the jaw lightly, and he is OUT.) Rice and his fiancee were charged with Mutual Assault.

    If that had been a man who attacked Rice that way, he would be called an idiot for attacking a football player twice his size, and we’d say he deserved what he got.

  3. There is no question that the criminal justice system is racist:

    First, a much higher percentage of Blacks cannot afford decent representation.

    Second, a corollary, is that the prosecution has more resources than the defense. The prosecuting government should provide money to both prosecution and defense equally.

    Third, prosecutors threaten defendants with greater crimes to get guilty pleas on lesser. As a result of the second point, the public defenders talk their clients into taking the plea deal, which result in…

    Four, more Blacks end up with criminal records — even for things that they didn’t do but just plead down — which makes it much harder for them to get jobs, which in turn leads back to…

    First, a much higher percentage of Blacks cannot afford decent representation.

  4. And to follow that up, juries should no longer be allowed to see the defendants or know their names. Even if you cannot see him, most people will assume DeShawn Matumba is Black, and will judge him on his name. This has been proven repeatedly in blind resume tests. Send out identical resumes with “DeAndre White” and “Robert Andersen” at the top, and see which one gets more responses.

    If we cannot do that, then the accused should get a jury of his peers — his REAL peers. A poor Black man should have a jury of poor Black men.

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