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Posts from March 2013


Scoot Blog: Germs at church on Good Friday!
"My name is Scoot....and I am a ‘germophobe’."

"HI, SCOOT!"

Folks, I have admitted this countless times on the show. As a germophobe at the Good Friday service at church this afternoon, I once again struggled with ‘germs at church’!

The Good Friday service includes the congregation lining up to kiss the large wooden cross at the altar. One-by-one each person walks up and kisses the cross – the symbol of how Christ was crucified. Today in church, my phobia about germs first inspired the thought of not kissing the cross and being comforted by the idea that God would understand. The priest must know that I’m not the only germophobe in the church because he did explain the options of just touching the cross or simply genuflecting in front of it. I even considered blowing a kiss to the cross!

But when I made the decision to commit to going through with this Good Friday ritual, I immediately started developing a detailed strategy on how and where I would kiss the cross. As I stood in line in the main aisle approaching the cross, my prayers were interrupted by the mental process of working on my strategy. Where would be the best place to kiss the cross? What about all the other people placing their lips on the cross? How could I avoid the germs placed on the cross by those who went before me?

When I was just a few people away from the moment of kissing the cross, I started to pay close attention to the spot where each person in front of me chose to place their lips. I observed, “She’s kissing it on the cross bar, he’s also kissing the cross bar.” I thought, “Great, I’ll kiss the main part of cross in the corner where the cross bar meets the main bar – no one is kissing that spot!”
The strategy worked! No one kissed that part of the cross before I placed my lips on that spot! Relief!

Today was not the only day I thought about germs in church. It’s a weekly problem for me. I often sit to the side in an area where no one is around me. I refer to this area as the ‘germ-free zone’ because when it comes time to offer each other the ‘sign of peace’ I do not have to make physical contact with anyone!

And if I see a priest sneeze or cough in his hand before giving out communion, I am almost rendered immobile in my spot in the pew. I also think about the people who are coughing and sneezing during mass and how they touch the books with the prayers and the hymn books – and I think about the people at the mass before me who were touching the books I’m touching or the top of the pew in front of me where I often rest my hands! OMG! The germs are everywhere! I know germs are everywhere, but in what seems to be the pristine setting of the church, the idea of germs looms large in my mind.

I do realize that my problem with ‘germs at church’ is a bit irrational and I’m sure there is Divine Intervention or we would all be sick all the time, but I admit that I  struggle with my weekly attempts to avoid these invisible threats to my health and my sanity in church.
And among my prayers while I’m in church is a prayer that God will protect me and help me better deal with my germophobia!

God Bless and enjoy church!
 (5) Comments
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Topics: Religion_Belief
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Scoot Blog: The ridiculous attack on Easter!
I celebrate America’s diversity and I appreciate our individual freedoms, but our respect for religious diversity is robbing us of some traditions.

The Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama has removed the word “Easter” from all Easter-related activities. Easter eggs are now just eggs. The Easter Bunny is now just the bunny. The school’s principal, Lydia Davenport, instructed her staff to no longer use the word “Easter” because it might be insensitive to others.

Davenport said, “Kids love the bunny and we just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter Bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others because people relate the Easter Bunny to religion. A bunny is a bunny and a rabbit is a rabbit!” Re-read that last sentence and I’m sure you will have the same thought I had – how did she get to be a principal???

The attacks on celebrating Christmas and Halloween have been present for years, but the attack on Easter is a reminder that attempts to make America more sensitive are actually creating a soulless America.

Easter and Christmas have both religious and pagan roots, but until some people pointed that out, it seems most of us distinguished between the religious and pagan aspects. Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ, has the tree, which is a pagan symbol. Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, has the bunny and the eggs. I always allowed the blending of religious and pagan meanings, while also distinguishing between the two.

Halloween, on the other hand, was always pagan until a few religious zealots decided to add a Satanic meaning to the innocent celebration. Until that happened, children did not view Halloween as anything evil. So congrats to the adults who scared children with the real Satan, when they were just trying to have fun.

Acceptance of diversity in America should not mean that we dismiss the traditions that are part of the fabric of American society. Celebrating Christmas or Easter does not take away any individual’s right to celebrate their religious beliefs. If others were denied that right as a result of some religious-based celebrations, then that would be wrong.

I am a Christian and I love Easter and this time of year! Easter celebrates the joyous resurrection of Christ at a time when flowers, trees and life around us is resurrected from the winter.

Crawfish boils are a traditional Easter celebration in this part of the country. Since crawfish are enjoyed by many during Easter weekend, I wonder if we should make a connection between religion and eating crawfish. There have been many times I have made the connection when I have tasted a great batch of crawfish and said, “God, these are good!”
 (5) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Religion_Belief
Social:
Locations: Alabama
People: Lydia Davenport




 
Scoot Blog: Same-sex marriage issue is NOT about homosexuality
If it were a sporting event, it would be billed as one of the biggest ‘playoff’ games in recent memory.  With national attention and anticipation from both sides, the Supreme Court will being hearing two cases that could decide the fate of same-sex marriage in America.

As I thought about the two cases before the High Court, one involving a vote in the state of California banning same-sex marriage in the state and the other about the Defense of Marriage Act – defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman – it occurred to me that this national battle over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage is NOT about homosexuality. It’s an issue about fundamental rights in America.

My stance on this issue has been consistent for over a decade, but we are now witnessing a growing list of prominent Republicans who now publicly support same-sex marriage.  Republican strategist Karl Rove, who during the presidential campaign supported and promoted candidates that reflected a fringe right ideology, now says that he expects the next Republican presidential candidate to support same-sex marriage.

Some, like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican Senator Rob Portman have ‘come out’ in favor of gay marriage because they each have a child who is gay.  Others seem to be responding to many public opinion polls which now show that a majority of Americans support legal game marriage.

Those who have been quick to dismiss this issue as a ‘gay issue’ that only affects a small percentage of the population – the homosexuality community – have failed to realize that it is not a ‘gay issue.’ The fight for gay marriage in America is about fundamental rights and it has all the characteristics of the major battles for rights in our past.
 
Looking back on history, the battles we have fought over ‘rights’ have defined America and that definition describes a nation that respects the rights of individuals – ALL individuals.

 (7) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: PoliticsSocial Issues
Social:
Locations: California
People: Dick CheneyKarl RoveRob Portman




 
Scoot Blog: If it's an addiction, it's not your fault, right?
A recent study shows that junk food is addictive in the same way that cigarettes and drugs are addictive.
Now, Gabriel Harris, a professor of food science at North Carolina State University, says that even though humans respond to tastes, textures and colors they do not become addicted to food.

I remember when we had ‘bad habits’ – like smoking or drinking too much. Today, it seems that everything that might be considered a ‘bad habit’ is elevated to the level of being an addiction. Studies now show that people are addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, video games, the Internet, pornography and even sex. And doesn’t this trend of labeling everything an addiction fit perfectly into a society that continues to dismiss personal responsibility as a virtue?

When something is accepted as an addiction, there is a greater tendency to direct blame away from an individual place blame on an object. Giving more power to an object by declaring it addictive seems to excuse the individual who voluntarily develops a ‘bad habit’. A teenager addicted to cigarettes doesn’t seem as much to blame as the tobacco companies for the ingredients used in manufacturing cigarettes. The teen that spends too much time in front of a computer screen is not to blame as much as the addictive nature of the Internet. Tiger Woods has been going through therapy for an addiction to sex. Is it really fair to give men or women an out because they just like to have sex with a lot of people – even if they are married? Frequent, casual sex is now an addiction which leads to sympathy for the individual rather than condemnation for the activity.

As the list of addictive behavior continues to grow, we must ask ourselves if this trend actually benefits society. Scientific research may be prone to yield conclusions that are based more in the desired motives of those funding the research than in solid scientific facts.

The more we all accept everything as an addiction rather than a ‘bad habit’ the more we will continue to advance the crusade against the value of personal accountability. And if something is actually addictive, didn’t an individual make the decision to choose that behavior and to continue that behavior – that’s a ‘bad habit’. Think about what you do – is it really an addiction or just a ‘bad habit’?

 (1) Comments
Tags :  
People: Gabriel HarrisTiger Woods




 
Scoot Blog: Death penalty for the wrong forecast?
America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil in Gobbler’s Knob, PA, did not see his shadow when he came out of his hole on Groundhog Day, February 2. According to folklore, an early spring is forecast by the groundhog not seeing his shadow. If the groundhog does see his shadow on Groundhog Day, that means six more weeks of winter.

On February 2 this year, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole and did not see his shadow which brought cheers from crowd gathered at Gobbler’s Knob, PA and all those watching – an early Spring was the prediction!
Spring official arrived Wednesday and much of Pennsylvania and the Northeast have been hit with snow and the prediction of an early spring was inaccurate. Now, a prosecutor in Ohio is seeking the death penalty for Punxsutawney Phil! Michael Gmoser, prosecuting attorney in Butler County, Ohio says the totally inaccurate forecast warrants the death penalty for the groundhog!

Even if you are a proponent of the death penalty, you must agree this is rather extreme! There is no precedent in this country for holding anyone accountable for an inaccurate forecast. If there was, TV meteorologists would be executed on a regular basis. There are not many jobs in America where you can be wrong so much of the time and still keep your job. Being a meteorologist is one of those jobs!

If Punxsutawney Phil is sentenced to death, I would like to hold a candlelight vigil opposing the death penalty in this case and I’m sure I would be joined by every meteorologist in the country.

On Groundhog Day in New Orleans at the Audubon Zoo, our nutria – a relative of the groundhog – came out and did not see his shadow, which would be an indication of an early spring. We have experienced anything but an early spring! We have had a few warms days but chilling temperatures for this time of year continue next week with the possibility of upper 30’s on the North Shore. Fortunately, there has been no call for the death of T-Boy, our beloved nutria at the zoo – or for any meteorologist who does give us an inaccurate forecast!
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Scoot Blog: Why has ''unacceptable behavior'' become ''acceptable?''
Two teenagers were arrested by the NOPD today in connection with the brutal beating of a man recently in The Marigny. One of the teens has been identified as 16-year-old Brian Ellis. Police are still searching for a third teen.
The attack was captured on surveillance video at 4:45 am Sunday, March 10, 2013.  A man was attacked and beaten with a bottle as he appeared to be walking home from a Saturday night out in the Marigny. And robbery was apparently not the motive.  Click HERE to view the video of the brutal beating.  (WARNING - graphic images.)

I am part of a growing list of people who have been attacked and robbed in and around the CBD in the past few weeks. Police have told me that these types of attacks seem to come in waves and right now, for whatever reasons, there has been a rash of attacks.

 In the case of those of us who have been attacked and robbed, you have to ask yourself if this is actually a profitable career for some young people. But in the case of someone who is beaten and robbery was not the apparent motive, bigger questions loom.

Earlier today, when I saw the video of 2 young females on a beach near San Diego, CA harassing and abusing a mother seal and her pups on the beach, I thought about the desire that lives in some humans to injure others or to injure animals. Life must be so empty and meaningless for some young people today that the only way to make themselves feel better is by hurting some other living creature. Are some young people so insignificant and powerless that the only way they become significant and gain power is through injuring or robbing others?

I don’t think you have to be a psychiatrist to figure out that several generations of young people have grown into an existence so meaningless that their only chance at accomplishment comes from seeking victims.

It is a biological fact that children do not ask to be brought into this world, so to a great degree anti-social and criminal behavior is not entirely the fault of children. But even in the cases where parents have been a complete failure, we would like to think that some degree of innate human goodness and society’s examples would lead all young people down the right path. But that is obviously not the case.

There are too many people to thank for the liter of anti-social and criminal youths roaming among us. First, let’s thank the two individuals who had a moment of animalistic, meaningless and selfish sex that produced a child neither had any intention of caring for or about. And then, let’s thank the government and a society that created and supported a system that awards individuals for the children they produce through their meaningless and selfish sexual acts. Generations have continued to breed in a society that rewards one of life’s most reprehensible acts – submitting to the simplistic urge to have sex and not being responsible for the precious result – a child. This is behavior that has NOT been condemned as totally unacceptable in a civilized world.

As I have said, I will not allowed those who attacked and robbed me to change my opinion of New Orleans, but I do resent that it has forced me to change my behavior. I no longer walk the streets as freely as I once did and I find myself even more cautious than before the incident. I may not be mad at my city, but I am mad at the adults that created this problem and until we rise up and point fingers in the right direction and no longer accept behavior that should be unacceptable, this problem will grow. The sad reality is that even if we define the problem immediately, it will take generations to solve it.

Again – thanks to the adults and the government that created this problem – you know who you are!

 (1) Comments
Tags :  
Locations: New OrleansSan Diego
People: Brian Ellis




 
Scoot Blog: Sinatra lives again at the WWII Museum!
Saturday night I was transported back in time to an America I have only heard and read about. This weekend was the opening weekend of the WWII Museum’s Stage Door Canteen show – “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”
 
Everything the WWII Museum does is first class, and this new show is no exception! This was my first show at the Stage Door Canteen, and I was enamored with the intimate dining setting and the staging and lights that made you feel as if you were in a live nightclub in Frank Sinatra’s day. 
 
The cast of Courtney Boe, Cristina Perez, Ryan Fischer and Clint Johnson, was perfect. I would describe the talent as “top notch.”  Their voices were exceptional and their harmonies reminiscent of music from the past. Though too young to have experienced the era they portrayed, you felt as if they had lived through it. The casting and directing was suburb!
 
I knew the classic Sinatra hits, but I haven’t paid much attention to Sinatra and how much he defined that time in American society. With all the complaints from today’s Establishment about song lyrics, I didn’t realize Sinatra reflected a reality that was not nearly as open as it is today. 
 
There was a song about a lady who is a “tramp” and a song about “making whoopee (having sex)!” And here are some of the lyrics of “I Get A Kick Out of You.”
 
“Some get a kick from cocaine, / I’m sure that if I / Took even one sniff, / It would bore me terrifically, too. / Yet, I get a kick out of you!”
 
But it was the way things were presented in the past that remind us of how much America has changed. America used to be more glamorous. I love America today, but the tribute to Frank Sinatra at the Stage Door Canteen made me fantasize about what it must have been like to go to nightclubs in the past. I’m part of the rock generation and I always heard my parents talking about Sinatra and nightclubs, but I never thought I would have enjoyed it – until now.
 
It’s always nice when a movie or a stage production provide a total escape from our immediate world by delivering us to a past era. “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” at the WWII Museum is a first class trip to America’s past. 
 
There are many things that are better about America today, but I did enjoy the feeling of the America my parents knew. There was no specific dress code for the show, and I tend to be casual in my life, but I did ‘dress up’ Saturday night…and perhaps that allowed me to feel more part of that era. Remember when things were more formal?  Remember when you would wear a coat and tie and dress up to go on a commercial flight?  Compare that to the many people who will board a plane today in flip flops and a tank top.
 
It brought back memories of when I would dress up when my parents would take us to dinner at a restaurant that would be considered a very casual restaurant today. There was a time when you didn’t go to nightclubs or nice restaurants in jeans, but today, you can dress the same for a rock concert or a fancy dinner. I remember hearing the story about Led Zeppelin pulling up to the club 4141 on St. Charles in the 70s and being turned away because they were wearing jeans!  Led Zeppelin!
 
I’m not sure it’s better today than it was, but it certainly is different. There is a part of me that would have enjoyed that era and I may be inspired to look for opportunities to dress up rather than dress down.
 
BTW – I’m not a food critic, but the food at the Stage Door Canteen was great! The shrimp and grits, the grilled chicken with a light citrus glaze and the chocolate mousse were tasty and perfectly fit the setting.
 
For those who lived through Sinatra’s world, the new show at the Stage Door Canteen will bring back wonderful memories. For those of us who were not part of that time in America, the show is a reminder of a time when nightclubs and entertainment in America were glamorous.
 
I hope you enjoy “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” now at the Stage Door Canteen at the WWII Museum – and if you’re young, enjoy experiencing an America you have only read and heard about!
 
 
 
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Scoot Blog: Prominent Republican now supports same-sex marriage!
Many conservatives in the Republican Party were surprised today to hear conservative Ohio Senator Rob Portman reverse his stance on gay marriage. Portman, who was on the short list to be selected as Mitt Romney’s VP running mate last year, has consistently opposed gay marriage as a congressman and now as a senator. Portman’s change of heart comes following the revelation that his own son, Will, is gay.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay,” Portman said to CNN.
Now, conservative celebrity Clint Eastwood is ‘coming out’ in support of gay marriage and is urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Prop 8, which is a voter-approved initiative that bans same-sex marriage in the state.

In the face of criticism from some far-right conservative listeners, I have always maintained a strong stance in support of gay marriage based, not on my sexual orientation, but rather on my belief that the government should not intervene in the very personal, private lives of law-abiding individual Americans. And now, I’m being joined by conservative republicans in support of same-sex marriage. And the list is destined to grow.

As the Republican Party continues to redefine its party, the issue of same-sex marriage represents one of the mistakes conservatives have made by emphasizing social issues. A majority of younger conservative republicans disagree with their party’s focus on social issues, like same-sex marriage and the party has no choice but to change its strategy if it hopes to make gains on Capitol Hill in 2014 and win the White House in 2016. Among the voters republicans did not attract in the last election were younger voters and female voters.

It’s not my job to change your mind about how you define ‘morality’, but I do like to point out the hypocrisy that belies the argument against same-sex marriage.
First of all, a ban on same-sex marriage defies one of the pillars of conservative ideology. Also, many who condemn same-sex marriage based on morality do not condemn themselves or close friends for their acts of immorality. If, as a heterosexual, you or your friends have been divorced, have been unfaithful, have enjoyed porn or countless other actions, why are you not as condemning of yourself or others as you are of gays?

It’s easy to be against something until it impacts you personally. It’s easy to be against gay marriage if your son or daughter, who you love dearly, are not gay. It’s easy to oppose abortion in ALL cases if your daughter is never raped and becomes pregnant.

Conservative Senator Rob Portman opposed gay marriage until his own son revealed to his parents that he was gay. As you take a stance on issues and if you have a tendency to become part of the United States of Hysteria, stop and think about how your opinion of an issue might change if it affected you personally.

 (5) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: PoliticsSocial Issues
Social:
Locations: California
People: Clint EastwoodRob PortmanWill




 
Scoot Blog: If you’re drunk -- is it your fault?
When we hear stories in the news our instinct is to judge ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ based on the initial information we receive and often that is skewed by the way the news story is told.

There are two sides to every story, but my first reaction to most rape cases is to support the female and condemn the male(s.) I realize that’s not fair, but that initial reaction is based on what I have observed in my life about the general mentality of most males when it comes to females - I said ‘most’ males. I also know that there have been cases where women have claimed to have been raped when they were actually willing participants. That’s certainly not fair to men and those women should be punished and held accountable for any false claims. But that’s a subject for another blog.

Defense attorneys for the two Ohio high school football players on trial for rape, Trent Mays, 17 and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, say the boys are innocent. One argument being made is that the girl was extremely intoxicated and was a willing participant. But prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said the boys stripped off her clothes and other teens joked about urinating on her. According to a CNN article, Hemmeter said the boys “treated her like a toy.”

There are many aspects of a case like this that can be discussed, but I want to focus on the idea that the 16-year-old girl may have been drunk. What if she was drunk? Just because someone is not physically or mentally capable of protecting themselves from sexual abuse doesn’t mean that they are not fully protected by law from evil attacks.

The argument will be made that the teenage girl was drinking and put herself in a position of being sexually assaulted, but should that be an excuse of committing the act of rape? Even if she was intoxicated, she was still a human being and deserved all the protection of any human being.

Last year in New Orleans, we followed the story about an Alabama football fan who sexually assaulted an unconscious LSU fan at a fast-food restaurant in the French Quarter after the BCS Championship game.  Even though the LSU fan got so drunk he passed out, the Alabama fan was still held accountable for his actions against a helpless individual.

Every male should be appalled by the tendency to blame the female in the case of rape, particularly when the excuse centers on the idea that ‘she was asking for it’. The argument that any female was ‘asking for it’ because of what she was wearing or because she was drunk at the time she was sexually assaulted is the outdated and morally ignorant attitude of a culture built on ‘male prerogative’.

Generally, males have the strength to over-power females. Even if the teenage girl was not intoxicated, chances are the two football players could have taken sexual advantage of the girl. Even if it wasn’t rape, being intoxicated at a party is not the right time or place to have sex.

The advice to females is – do not get drunk and allow yourself to be in a position where you have no control. The advice to males is – treat even a helpless and unconscious female as a human being – which she is.
The trial of the two Ohio high school football players continues and the boys are innocent until proven guilty, but there are lessons to be learned even before the verdict is rendered.

Talk to your teenagers about being personally responsible for their actions – both males and females. Those boys are someone’s sons and the girl is someone’s daughter.
 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Law_Crime
Social:
Locations: AlabamaNew OrleansOhio
People: Marianne HemmeterRichmondTrent Mays




 
Scoot Blog: Is the new pope too old?
Catholics have a new pope! 
 
The new Pontiff is Pope Francis from Argentina – the first Latin American pope in history. Pope Francis will not have a number with his name. That only comes when there is a second pope Francis – then he will become Pope Francis I. 
 
The new pope takes control of the Catholic Church at a time when the sex abuse scandal looms as the perhaps the church’s biggest challenge. This is also a time when many Catholics, especially in the United States, are hopeful that the new pope will lead the Church in a more progressive direction.
 
My first reaction to the selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who is 76, was that the Catholic Church has selected another pope who begins his reign over the Church at an advanced age and this must be a sign that the Church is not interested in becoming more progressive. But then, I had another thought.
 
Pope John Paul II was 58 when he became pope and he was hailed as a younger pope who would steer the Catholic Church in a new direction. Pope John Paul II was actually a very conservative pope and in the face of cries for change essentially maintained status quo. 
 
I have always tried to judge people, not by their age, but by their personality and that’s the way I will judge this new pope. Paul McCartney is 70 – just 6 years younger than the new pope and many of the Baby Boomer rock stars have hit their 70s. I am proud that Baby Boomers, as a generation, have redefined what it means to mature and they continue to influence the world. Though Pope Francis, at 76, is technically not a Baby Boomer, he is close enough to give me hope that he will be an open-minded pope and not just adhere to rules because they are rules.
 
I know people in their 30s and 40s who act older than many people I know from the Baby Boomer/Rock Generation. Age is measured more by attitude than by years alive. So, while the new pope may appear to be older on paper, there is no reason to believe at this point that he will rule the Church as an ‘old man’.
 
As I wrote in a previous blog, it’s time for the Catholic Church to eliminate certain ‘rules’ that reflect an outdated mentality of mankind rather than what God may intend. It was ‘man’ who decided that priests could not marry. Many Biblical scholars teach that it is important to consider the social and political times in which the Bible was written and to respect the progress we have made as a species on this incredible planet. That would certainly mean a change in attitudes toward women in the Church.
 
I have seen people get older and become more reticent to change. My hope is that Pope Francis, who becomes pope at the age of 76, will serve as a vibrant pope who is open to only the change that will make the Church as much a home for spirituality as it is a bureaucracy.
 
The Latin world is celebrating this first pope from Latin America and like the Republican Party is doing now, the other cardinals are trying to figure out what they can do next time to attract the Latin community!
 
I was also hopeful for another sign that the new pope would be progressive. Since two popes have taken the names of their two favorite Beatles – John and Paul – I was hoping for Pope George Ringo!
 
There are 78 million Catholics in America – that’s about the size of the Baby Boomer Generation. When the white smoke poured out of the chimney at Vatican City today, all of the news channels and the networks went to live coverage of the historic moment. I was at the dentist when the new pope was announced. Following this blog is a picture I took of my dentist, Dr. Stephanie Phillips, a few of the staff and a patient at CBD Dental, who gathered around to watch the announcement live! This was indeed one of those moments.
 
 (3) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Are you in the majority of American Catholics with your beliefs?
I am a Catholic and I go to Mass almost every week because I love it and I enjoy my weekly moment in the relative calm setting of the church. Often, I talk about being a Catholic when talking about issues relating to the church or religion on my radio show. And because I am open with my opinions and feelings I am occasionally criticized by a few who think I don’t have a right to call myself a Catholic since I do not agree with the Church on everything.

A new poll of American Catholics from CBS News shows that I’m actually in the majority among Americans who share my faith.  The main reason I get the criticism is because of my openness and the audience knows how I feel about issues. Most Catholics can keep many of their specific views on the more controversial topics to themselves and not in a position to be criticized by others.

I favor birth control and that has led to criticism that I can’t call myself a true Catholic. I think priests should be allowed to marry and that women should be allowed to be ordained as priests.
I am also in support of same-sex marriage and I’m pro-choice, but I’m against abortion. I am not in favor of abortion to be used as a convenient form of birth control because of human recklessness, but as a man I don’t think I should be in a position to judge what decision a woman makes with her body. That’s between her and God.

Having just read my positions on these issues, you may think that I’m not a Catholic. You have a right to your opinion, but the new CBS News poll shows that I am actually in the majority of American Catholics.

Here are some of the highlights of the new survey of American Catholics:
·       66% believe priests should be allowed to marry
·       66% believe women should be allowed to be ordained
·       79% (almost 8 out of 10 Catholics) favor the use of birth control
·       62% believe same-sex marriage should be legalized
·       74% believe in abortion with some restrictions
·       61% favor the death penalty
·       91% believe the next Pope should support condom use to help stop the spread of HIV
·       71% favor artificial methods of birth control

If you are a Catholic in America, are you among the majority or minority? It’s not important to be in agreement with most Catholics in America in order to consider yourself a Catholic and the majority of any group is not always right, but this does show that you are sitting next to Catholics in church and standing in the communion line with Catholics who, like me, do not agree with ALL of the teachings of the church.

I set myself up for criticism by being open about my opinions, but a majority of Catholics in America are just like me on many of the opinions that draw criticism. Most Catholics keep their opinion private – but remember God knows what you really think and feel and that’s more important than what your fellow Catholics think.

And for the many Americans who are religious and quote the Bible and use the Bible to condemn those who do not share a strict interpretation of the Bible, many Biblical scholars agree with me when I talk about respecting the fact that the Bible reflects society during the time in which it was written.

For example, as a civilization, our views on the basic relationships between men and women have changed and no longer reflect exactly what the Bible tell us about the role of women relative to men. I also oppose the Church’s policy on divorce and sex after being remarried. The Church says that if you are divorced, remarried and having sex with your new spouse, then you are not welcome to communion unless your previous marriage was annulled. I thought we were taught through Jesus that God forgives. If He does, then we are forgiven for divorce and should move on and enjoy a new life with a new spouse.

It is not my goal to change your views of the Catholic Church. However, before you are quick to criticize those few Catholics who are open with their opinions, consider that you share mass and communion with many Catholics who do not agree with ALL of the teachings of the Church. Their beliefs, however, remain private.

I received an email from a woman who says she used to listen to my shows, but no longer listens because of my opinions. The email was harsh and expressed hope that I would change my ways and find God. After being attacked by four males early Wednesday morning as I walked to the station and living through an experience that many do not live through, I think it’s safe to say that God IS with me – and He accepts me even knowing my opinions!
 
 
 
 
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Scoot Blog: Thank You!
Since I was attacked and robbed by four males as I walked to the radio station last Wednesday morning, the outpouring of concern for my safety by listeners has touched me deeply.  I am very appreciative that the robbery did not have a more serious ending.  The many calls, emails, text messages, and comments on Facebook (both WWL Radio and Scoot on the Air), as well as people coming up to me in public all remind me how blessed I feel to be back home and on the air in New Orleans!

New Orleans is a very special place for all those who live here or visit, but over the past few days I have been shown that this is a city with an unbelievable ability to care about people. I started my radio career as a young and very inexperienced disc jockey and from that point up to today; I have worked hard to do the best shows I could with no ambition to gain public notoriety. I love what I do and there is no doubt that this is what God wants me to do with my life.

Over the years, I have been constantly told, “New Orleans loves you, Scoot!” and “Everybody knows Scoot!” I constantly receive comments from people who have memories of growing up listening to me, whether in the car, on the school bus or at home getting ready for work. That has always been received by me as the ultimate compliment.

It was never my goal to be in this business to be famous or to be popular in this city; however, that has been the end result of my commitment to my career and this city.  My goal was always to do the best job I could to entertain and inform audiences, while always highlighting the best about our city and this part of the country without being blind to the things that should change.

Not everyone likes me and not everyone agrees with my opinions on some controversial issues and I have always accepted that as part of the job. In reality, no one is liked by everyone and no professional, regardless of their career, can make everyone like and agree with them. And that’s okay. If I tried to please everyone I would please no one.

Following the highly publicized physical attack on me last Wednesday, I have also been touched by the personal stories many of you have shared with me about how you were attacked and we all shared the indescribable fear of those moments when the outcome was yet to be determined.

The positive attitude I have had on the air about my life and this city has been tested, but has not changed. Only some things about where I go and how I get there have been changed as recognition of a reality we should all be aware of.

I have had the great pleasure of growing up and developing a great career here in New Orleans, but I have also been blessed with the opportunity to live around the country. When I moved back to New Orleans a few years ago, there was never any doubt in my mind that I had made the right decision to come back home. The unfortunate event last week has reminded me how fortunate I am to be home in New Orleans and to be back home on the air on WWL!

I have greatly enjoyed filling in for Tommy Tucker on the morning show and enjoy when I fill in for Garland or Spud. If you have been a daytime listener of WWL, I invite you to join me on “The Scoot Show” Monday – Friday 8:00 pm to Midnight (unless we are carrying a sports event and the show follows the event). I also love doing the night show and we like to say, “We push boundaries” at night as we cover 38 states across the country. Being back home and back on WWL I can honestly say that this is the most fun I have had in my career.  Wherever you are in your life, I am living proof that it can just get better all the time.

Again, I say – “Thank You!” I am honored to have such an incredibly loving and caring audience. As I say at the close of every show, “Love you New Orleans!”
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Scoot Blog: Assaulted Downtown
Yesterday morning walking from my downtown apartment to the studio I was assaulted and robbed by four males. I’m fine, but I realized at the moment, and especially as I look back on that moment, it could have ended quite differently.

One of the first things I wondered was whether or not the assault in my own neighborhood would change my opinion of New Orleans. It hasn’t! I still LOVE New Orleans and I LOVE where I live. I don’t blame the city or NOPD for what happened – I blame the degradation of a segment of our city that preys on opportunity. And whether from anger, frustration or a fundamental lack of respect for others, this segment of our city goes through life with the attitude that they are ‘entitled’ to take what they want and void of any humanity, they steal – not only property, but they steal an innocence individuals and a city.

When I talk about New Orleans and the French Quarter I always let those who are visiting or new to the city know that you should stay off of side streets. Yesterday morning, I was on a side street. Because it was well-lit and because I have walked that way to and from work countless times over the past year, I developed a false sense of security. I would occasionally pass people in the morning or late at night and there were never any problems. Yesterday morning was different.

Four males approached me and the moment one of them said, “Let’s see what you got in your pockets” and began patting my pockets, I realized this was not one of those moments of just passing someone on the street who shares unusual hours with me.

I pulled myself away and as I moved down the street one of the four pushed me to the street. When I rolled over to get up to try to get away, he began punching me and patting my pockets saying, “What you got in your pockets?” To which is replied, “Nothing. I have nothing in my pockets.”

As he was hitting me I was kicking him and I don’t know why he stopped but he did. I couldn’t imagine that he didn’t feel my wallet, but he then grabbed my briefcase and ran off. There was a moment when I was possessed with the thought that he or any of the other three might have a gun or might beat me to the point of unconsciousness. But that didn’t happen and I feel blessed! God was, and always is, with me and I immediately thanked Him for protecting me.

Click HERE for a computerized photo sketch of the chief suspect in the robbery...

Even though this was a street downtown that was well-lit and a street I have walked along many times, it was a side street and it was 3:55 am. The culture of those on the street changes from about 2:00 am to 5:00 am.

Since bars are open late and in some cases all night, it’s not unusual to see people still heading home or back to their hotels after midnight, but after a certain point, there are people on the street who are looking for opportunities. I was an opportunity. But I was an opportunity because I put myself in that position.

If nothing has happened to you walking or driving and you have a sense of security, please realize that I had that sense of security and I should not have been on a side street even though I had done it so many times. That’s the lesson for me and for you.

I want to sincerely thank ALL of you who have called, sent text and Facebook messages and emails. I am fine and will learn from what happened. I’m not sure how this will ultimately change my life, but I will make changes. I am very grateful and blessed!

This is Miss Linda and the Crafty Ladys on N. Broad who found my planner:


 
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Scoot Blog: No tolls? It’s taking money from the government!
For the first time in a very long time there are NO TOLLS for motorists crossing the Mississippi River in New Orleans! Yesterday, a judge threw out the results of the recent election to continue the tolls on the Crescent City Connection because of voting issues on Election Day.  

The campaign to keep the tolls on the CCC was based on the need for the $22 million collected annually to maintain and protect the bridge. The group stopthetolls.org campaigned on the premise that it is the fiscal responsibility of the state of Louisiana to provide funding to maintain and protect the bridge – not the motorists traveling the bridge daily.

This is a classic example of a big problem we have in America. Citizens are paying for jobs and agencies that, arguably, could and should be eliminated. Eliminating government agencies would give more money to the citizens, but would lead to layoffs.

No one should be surprised that both sides of this issue launched very aggressive campaigns. Those opposing the tolls were essentially promoting less government and less financial burden on taxpayers. The side supporting the continuation of the tolls argued that the state needs the money to maintain the organization that oversees the CCC.

Simply put – the vote on the tolls on the bridge was a vote about whether to continue to give the government money to maintain a government agency. Which would be easier:

a)    Reaching in a removing a raw chicken from the jaws of a gator?
b)    Taking all make-up away from Lady Gaga?
c)    Stop citizen funding of a government agency?

Correct answer: (c)

Once you start feeding government, it is nearly impossible to stop the process. So, no one should be surprised that the losing side will go down ‘kicking and screaming’! And if the new election on whether to continue the tolls on the CCC on May 4 ends with a vote to  remove the tolls, be prepared for the ‘gloom and doom’ predictions of what will happen to the bridge from supporters of the tolls.

At this crucial juncture in America when there is a controversial battle over spending cuts and raising taxes, the issue of tolls on the CCC is typical of this country’s collective dilemma. It seems that it’s time for the government to learn to do with less - even if that lesson is forced on government.

A couple of hours after the judge’s ruling, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development removed tolls from the bridge “until further notice.”  I wonder how long the instinct to pull out a dollar will remain as a motorist approaches the toll plaza?  
And with the ever-increasing residential developments in New Orleans, if the tolls are gone forever, how long will it be before a developer wants to renovate the toll booths into condos?




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Scoot Blog: Have we lost our humanity?
Have we become a society that is so obsessed with litigation that we no longer respond to the instinct to help each other?

I’m sure you have heard of the riveting 911 call from an employee at a retirement home in California about an 87-year-old resident who had passed out in the dining room area.  The 911 dispatcher, Tracey Halvorson, pleaded with the employee, who admitted she is a nurse, to begin performing CPR on the resident. The employee at the retirement home refused and said that it was against company policy to perform CPR.

The 911 dispatcher made a passionate appeal to the nurse and told her that the woman, who had stopped breathing, was going to die if she or someone didn’t administer help right away. Still, the nurse at the Glenwood Gardens retirement home in Bakersfield, CA refused to help the 87-year-old resident who remained unconscious on the floor.

It seems that the fear of being sued as a result of assisting a person who is dying is greater than the instinct of one human to help another human being. If this is the product of our ‘sue-happy’ society, then we should all feel ashamed.

EMS did arrive and rushed the woman to the hospital where she later died. Amazingly, the woman’s own daughter, also a nurse, agreed with the policy of the Glenwood Gardens retirement home and said that she can’t be sure that CPR would have saved her mother’s life.

There is no way of knowing if CPR would have saved the woman’s life, but shouldn’t the bigger question center on who we have become as people – as human beings? Should any company have a policy in place that prohibits any person from attempting to save the life of another person?

I admit that I occasionally walk by people who are passed out on the sidewalks of the CBD and the French Quarter and I don’t stop to even check into whether they need help. Well, I did once. I passed a man who lay unconscious across the sidewalk and I called 911. I was on my way to the station and don’t know what the end result was, but I did give details to the 911 dispatcher about the man and his location.

Have you stopped to help someone that may have needed your help? Would you break company policy to help another human?

When our civilized world is ruled by consideration of litigation over responding to what should be a natural instinct to help one another, we should take a long look in the mirror at our society and assess what we have created.

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Scoot Blog: Another blow to ‘personal accountability?
The crusade to eliminate personal accountability from American society continues to march forward.
 
A bartender at the American Legion Post in Shelby, Ohio says she was recently fired because she called police when a patron who appeared to be drunk left the bar and got in his car and drove away. Police stopped the man and gave him a citation for driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit.
 
Twyla DeVito said she received a call from her commander who told her that she was being fired because she was not good for business and did not follow protocol. She said there was no protocol for this situation. The man she reported to police for driving drunk was a board member of the American Legion Post.
 
Admittedly, there is a lot we don’t know about what happened. What if the bartender didn’t like the patron and calling police was a form of revenge? What if he wasn’t a good tipper? What if he tried to ‘hit on’ her? There are a lot of ‘what if’s’, but isn’t this ultimately a case of a lack of ‘personal accountability’ on the part of the bar patron?
 
It was not too many years ago when individuals were held accountability for their actions. Today, the diminished respect for the concept of ‘personal accountability’ transcends sex, race, age and socio-economic boundaries. Violent behavior in a young generation is now blamed on violent video games, rap music and a plethora of outside influences – everything except the individual who is actually responsible for the violence.
 
It may be an overused example, but it perfectly describes a major difference between society’s collective mentality today and that of the past. If I would have acted out any of the violent actions of the Three Stooges on my brother or sister when I was young, my parents would never have blamed a TV show for influencing my behavior – they would have immediately held me accountable. And that’s what is different today.
 
Generations of parents have conditioned younger generations to believe that outside factors are to blame for negative behavior. Those young generations are growing up without having learned a very important lesson for maintaining a civilized society. And even today’s adult generations have failed to recognize the importance of ‘personal accountability’.
 
Bartenders have now become our guardians and have the unfair responsibility of determining if and when we have had too much to drink. As a society, we have come to believe that as long as the bartender or waiter continue to serve us drinks, then we must be okay and we continue drinking! We now look to a bar or the government to set limits that we should be responsible for setting ourselves.
I realize that the intoxicated mind does not always make the right decisions, but the individual who makes the decision to get drunk should still ultimately be responsible for that decision.
 
There is no law in Ohio requiring bartenders to report drunken patrons who leave bars and get in their cars. Even if there was a personal issue between the bartender at the American Legion Post bar and the patron, the patron was determined by police to be drunk and therefore he is responsible for driving under the influence – not the bartender who served him and reported him.
 
As a nation, we are no better than the individuals who make up this nation and if those individuals are not held accountable for their actions – what can we expect from our nation?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Scoot Blog: A Gay NFL Player - Does it matter?
Are NFL teams asking players at the combine about their sexual orientation?  And if so – why?

The public and media buzz generated by the idea that NFL teams might be trying to determine the sexual orientation of young, prospective college football players speaks volumes about the hysteria and hypocrisy sweeping America on the issue of homosexuality and, in particular, same-sex marriage.

America’s obsession with sexual orientation is reflected in the current heated debate over same-sex marriage.   This obsession reveals the hypocrisy of those who believe the government should not intrude into the private lives of individual citizens.  And what could be more private than what a consenting couple does in their bedroom?

This topic brings up more than a few memories for me.  So, let me compress it into a paragraph or three:

When the Queen of Disco Donna Summer passed away, I talked on-air on WWL about the times during the Disco Era that my wife and I went to “gay bars” back when disco was becoming the new craze.  Back then, the gay bars in the French Quarter were the places that featured the newest disco music.  The fact that these bars were “gay” was an afterthought.  I had not even the thought of getting hit on.  And, back then, no one questioned whether you were gay because you went to a gay bar.  It was simply the best place to go for the best time!

Fast-forward to today.  If someone hears me say, “I was in a gay bar last night,” then the response is, “OMG, he’s gay!”  Um, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but no, I’m not.  Please note that this repeated response does stop me and a date from going to a “gay club” to meet with friends, and other couples, of all persuasions.

So, should NFL teams, or any company, judge any potential employee on sexual orientation?  And if your answer is “yes,” then I ask you: Where does the intrusion into an individual’s private life stop?  Should NFL teams and companies question future players about whether they watch porn?  Whether they participate in “S & M” or whether they are ‘swingers’?  And, can they ask a future player (or employee) their views on abortion and gun control?   And, in closing, do you mind if we ask who you voted for in the Presidential race?

If you think this struck a never, you are correct.   How could personal sexual activity within the confines of the four walls of a person’s life have any impact on an individual’s ability to perform on a football field?

And then there is the obvious question – what about being in the locker room with a player who is gay? Well, whether you realize it or not, throughout your life you have been in locker rooms with students and health club members who were gay.  And nothing happened, right? The issue should be about proper behavior and not sexual orientation. Being uncomfortable in those shared situations says more about you than the person that is making you feel uncomfortable.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution recognizes the precious right to privacy, one of the things that make America great.   Even if homosexuality is a “sin” in your mind, think about your favorite Saints or NFL player…Would their contribution to the team be any LESS because of what they do privately, and what they keep private?    

Because of my sexual orientation I have nothing to personally gain from the NFL accepting openly gay players or from the acceptance of same-sex marriage in America - other than knowing that I live in a country that respects the spirit of our right to privacy!
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