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Scoot's Blog

Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

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Posts from March 2014

Scoot: "Noah" movie is out and the Book was better
“Noah” opened this weekend and was the number one movie at the box office!  The controversy surrounding the movie leading up to its release obviously sent a lot of people to the theaters to see it and decide for themselves if it lived up to the controversy.

Whenever heathen Hollywood takes on the Bible, there will be controversy, and “Noah” is no exception. The story of the movie was taken from the Biblical story of Noah and his ark from Genesis. The criticism came from Christians who said the movie did not accurately tell the story of Noah in the Bible, and the word “God” was never used. "Creator" was the reference to God, but that was in accordance with the way people referenced God during those times.
Interestingly, much of the criticism came from Christians who hadn’t even seen the movie and based their condemnation on things they had heard about it. Sadly, that is expected from many overly sensitive Christians who are looking for excuses to bash Hollywood and the media for misrepresenting their faith. It’s a movie, and no one should be going to a movie expecting a Bible lesson. Movies are for entertainment.
Ty Burr, movie critic for the Boston Globe said “Noah” is “equal parts ridiculous and magnificent” and Russell Crowe was “perfectly cast in the title role.”
Ann Hornaday with the Washington Post wrote that the movie is “clearly deeply respectful of its source material but also at times startlingly revisionist.”
David Blaustein from ABC News said “Noah” is a “deft and daring exploration of Noah and his family, a film teeming with meaningless artistic choices that both lauds and curses faith in the very same breath.”
I saw “Noah” over the weekend and I think a better title for the movie would have been “The Bible Meets the Transformers!” To quote the Bible, “In the beginning…” the story in the movie was boring and a bit complicated for anyone who is not a Biblical scholar and has not memorized the family tree of Adam and Eve. But I was very surprised that “Noah” catered to sci-fi fans.
The Watchers, in the Bible, refers to angels, but in the movie, “Noah,” the Watchers were the Rock People – piles of rocks transformed into living, angelic creatures that help Noah and his family. Even with the suspension of reality, it was difficult to accept that these giant creatures made out of rocks had feelings and could even be killed. I didn’t think a rock could be killed!
There was some criticism of the movie for addressing climate change before the rain began, but frankly, it was so subtle that the criticism of the use of the movie to promote the liberal agenda of climate change is unwarranted.
The problem with the movie was that the meaningful messages were disguised in all of the animation and sci-fi ambience. The Creator (God) punishing man (and woman) for unholy behavior and for not taking better care of the Earth that God created may have been a worthy message, but you have to struggle to find it. Man’s vengefulness against one another and man’s responsibility to protect the innocents – the animals – were strong messages that were distracted by a man communicating with rocks!
At one point in the movie, a man making a sword-like weapon in fire was wearing a welder’s helmet! The movie was set in the first book of the Bible – there were no welder’s helmets!
Since art and entertainment are subjective – I hesitate to tell you not to go see “Noah,” but unless you are a Bible and a sci-fi freak – you might want to pull up to the movie theater – throw $10.00 out of the window of your car – and go home. You’re still out the money – but you didn’t waste your time.
Another criticism of “Noah” was that Darren Aronofsky, the director, is not a religious person. If he was religious, he might have prayed about whether he should have done the movie, and the God I know would have instructed him not to bother!
By criticizing a movie about a Bible story, I realize that there will be those who will interpret my criticism as condemnation of the Bible.  That possibility explains those Christians that looking to bash the media for attacking their Christianity. My faith leads me to define myself as a Christian and my criticism of “Noah” is criticism of a movie – not the Bible.
There were a few times during the movie when I caught myself thinking – “This is just unbelievable” – and then I had to consider that there are many, many stories in the Bible that are hard to believe from our modern-day reference to life. I cannot be critical of the movie “Noah” presenting an unbelievable story – but I can be critical of it for being a bad movie.
If movie-goers read a book before seeing a movie based on a book, they often say, “The book was better than the movie.” In the case of the movie, “Noah” – the Book is definitely better than the movie!
 (14) Comments

Scoot: Have Baby Boomers forgotten how wild they were?
Baby Boomers are now the Establishment, achieving a status never envisioned by the generation that was known as “anti-Establishment!” And looking back on how wild and rebellious our generation was – we should feel fortunate that so many of us made it to this point!
As a self-described “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation,” I often write about the hypocrisy and selective memory that is so prevalent today. When I talk about issues involving today’s young generation like the content of their music, the challenging fashion trends, and behavior that is deemed "anti-social," I am quickly reminded about what I witnessed with my generation.
If young people, today, were part of a rock music festival where widespread drug use and total nudity were flaunted and I talked about it on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, I would hear from callers denouncing the young people who were part of a music festival that blatantly included such debauchery. And yet, many of those who would be complaining would be part of the anti-Establishment generation that exhibited the exact behavior they would be condemning. 
The anti-social behavior of the young generation at Woodstock in 1969 is well-documented, and included drugs, drinking, nudity and even sex in public view. But the wild behavior of that young generation, which is now the Establishment, was close to home during the “Celebration of Life” music festival on the banks of the Atchafalaya River in Pointe Coupee Parish in 1971.
The scheduled 8-day music festival was shut down after 4 days. With temperatures in the 90's, a shortage of basic survival necessities, and behavior considered by law enforcement to be dangerous, the festival came to an early end. But it was actually shut down following a $700,000 Internal Revenue Service tax lien placed against the festival promoters, which prevented the festival from doing any business, including purchasing water for the hot, parched concert-goers.
To survive the scorching heat, many teenagers took off all of their clothes and frolicked in the Atchafalaya River and in the mud along the river’s banks. The heat may have been only one reason for the “freedom from clothes,” because this was a young generation that promoted freedom in every way possible. Young people naked in the river and covering themselves with mud became a public spectacle, with locals cruising the river in their boats to get a close up look at the nudity. A few seaplanes landed on the river, and there is a photo of an airline flying very low over the river, giving anyone on board a clear view of what this young generation naked in the river! Flight regulations for the airlines were a lot looser in 1971!
The governor of Louisiana, Governor John McKeithen, a Democrat, promised the citizens of Pointe Coupee Parish that he would personally throw out any “long-haired, dope-group anarchists” who attempted to put on a festival. Governor McKeithen represented the attitude of the Establishment about a young generation than many believed was completely “out-of-control.”
Contempt for a young generation that was part of the “Celebration of Life” festival, Woodstock or any of the events that attracted a young crowd in the late-60s and early-70s is no different from the contempt that young generation – now the Establishment – has for today’s young generation and the music, fashion, drug use, drinking and behavior that challenges what is considered socially acceptable now.
Beyond the hypocrisy and selective memory of the Baby Boomer generation, there should be the honest acknowledgement what we were really like as the original anti-Establishment generation.
The Baby Boomer generation proudly invented the phrase “sex, drugs and rock n roll!” and boldly lived accordingly.  But this is the same generation that as the new Establishment has condemned today’s young generation for its sexuality, drug use and rebellious music.
It is acceptable and expected for the Establishment in any era to set positive examples and teach younger generations from their mistakes, but the Baby Boomer Establishment’s condemnation of younger generations lacks any real admission of wrongdoing – and that is hypocritical.
The music that represented the young Baby Boomers was rebellions and filled with controversial lyrics, both sexually and politically. Fashion trends challenged the norms of “good taste” and sometimes even the law. And drug use and drinking were no different from what goes on at concerts today.  It was reported by a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine that there were areas at the “Celebration of Life” named Cocaine Row and Smack Street where 30 different mind-altering drugs were available for sale – only two of which could be smoked.  Plastic syringes were sold at $1 each.
One of the obvious differences today, is that guns are a problem, and that was never a concern in large crowds in the past. But other than guns, Baby Boomers forget how much they challenged society - and the law.
If you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation, challenge yourself to be honest about the wild, anti-social behavior from your youth, and don’t condemn today’s young generation as if they are the first to rebel against the Establishment! 
Many of those who were part of the drinking, drugs and nudity of the “Celebration of Life” are responsible businessmen and women. The lesson all this is that we think we became a responsible generation – and so will they!
Were you at the “Celebration of Life” or some other music festival where young people exhibited wild behavior?
What do you admit about your younger years?  Give us your comments!
 (12) Comments

Scoot: Christians criticizing "Noah" movie need to lighten up
The new movie “Noah,” based on the Biblical story of Noah and his ark opens nationwide this Friday, March 28 and criticism of the movie has now drawn criticism of the criticism!

Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Russell Crowe, who stars in the movie, called some of the criticism “just the assumption of what it could be, or how bad it could be, or how wrong it could be in their eyes, which I think quite frankly is bordering on absolute stupidity.”

Why are some Christians so quick to base condemnation on assumption?

The tendency to criticize any movies based on history seems to be gaining popularity. and when a movie is based on Biblical history, the criticism includes charges of blasphemy and feeds into the general belief that Hollywood is too secular and on a crusade to destroy Christianity.  But the criticism should lose all credibility when it is inspired by assumption rather than actually viewing the movie. Russell Crowe is right. Criticism based on assumption is absolute stupidity.

Regardless of any legitimate reasons for Christians to be sensitive about attacks on their faith, the sensitivity to Christianity being used in entertainment projects an overly-protective mentality that leads to a reluctance to ever reference the faith.

In an op-ed article on FoxNews.com, Christian Pastor Craig Gross writes, “It’s embarrassing to belong to a faith that attracts a group of people who always have to be right, and when something pushes them just a bit, they want to shut it down or keep people away.”

And for those Christians who are overly-sensitive to criticism of Christians – I am only referring to those Christians that possess a myopic view of their faith. If the Bible were written today those same overly-sensitive Christians would probably be critical of many of the parables and stories that Jesus told in order to convey his message to the people.  I am certain there would be much criticism of using the example of a prostitute to make the point that we are all sinners!

Through social media, critical assumptions quickly turn into hysteria over attacks on the Christian faith. “Noah” opens Friday and I plan to see it over the weekend and will talk about it next week on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, but unlike those Christians who are condemning the movie before seeing it – I will wait to see it before I comment on the actual content and message of the movie.

Some have criticized “Noah” for carrying a message about climate change. When did movie-makers lose the right to add political or social commentary to movies? It’s a movie – so what if it has a message about climate change?

When there was criticism of using Jesus as a character in a skit on “Saturday Night Live” about NFL player Tim Tebow, I sarcastically started a new campaign on the air – “Keep Christ in Comedy!” Obviously, there are limits, but if Christ or if the Christian faith are injected into various aspects of pop culture entertainment – how can that be perceived as a bad thing?  Getting people to think and talk is always beneficial.

Craig Gross also writes in his op-ed article, “I recently saw ‘The Book of Mormon,’ the Broadway musical. It is outrageous, irreverent and flat-out hysterical.  There is a reason it’s setting records all over the country. I didn’t know much about the Mormon faith, but I’ll tell you this: I have a better understanding and more interest in it after watching this play.” Gross continued, “Imagine what would happen if, instead of a heated debate about “Noah,” you just had people from all walks of the Christian faith get behind Hollywood for telling these great stories of faith.”

Russell Crowe said “You come out of this movie and you want to talk…about our stewardship of the earth, our relationship to animals, what is spirituality, who am I in this world – all these fantastic subjects for conversation. Art that can do that for people and it is a wonderful thing.”

It is about time we Christians unite and denounce those among us who have become insecure and overly-protective of the faith – to the point of trying to stop the use of Christianity in entertainment - which inspires meaningful conversations among us all!

Do you think movies about Biblical stories must strictly adhere to the actually stories in the Bible?  And are Christians wrong to condemn references to Christianity in entertainment?  Give us your comments!
 (19) Comments

Scoot: Pop music and positive attitudes
Last night, I witnessed confirmation of a new trend at the show by the band American Authors.

American Authors is a relatively new, young group that began their tour last night at House of Blues in New Orleans.  The music video for the band’s big hit, “Best Day of My Life” has recently been featured in the VH-1 “Top 20 Countdown” and the song is being played on radio stations across the country, including B97. I use the song in and out of breaks on “The Scoot Show” on WWL.

“Best Day of My Life” is from one of the groups that is defining this decade of music. It’s an upbeat, positive song with a melody reminiscent of the 80s’ sound and the style of the band, American Authors, is similar to many of the young bands that are becoming popular today.

What I noticed at the show last night is something I first noticed at a concert by the young band from Ireland, Two Door Cinema Club, which was also at House of Blues last year. There is a young generation that is dancing and singing to the music with their hands-in-the-air and their energy is positive!

In previous blogs and on the show, I have talked about how young generations have adopted the music of the 80s as their own – crowding into “80s Nights” at clubs around the country – including One-Eyed Jack’s in the French Quarter every Thursday night.

For the past 10 years, young adults too young to have been born when the songs that defined the “80s sound” were hits on the radio have been dancing to and singing every word of the songs we all remember from the 80s. The music of the 80s was generally upbeat, very danceable and positive and reflected a good time in America when the economy was booming and Americans felt good about the future and everything seemed possible.

It can be argued that every young generation is positive because they have their whole lives ahead of them, but much of the music of the 60's carried heavy messages along with a negative view of the future. The same can be said of the young generation that the grunge music of the 90's spoke to.

New artists like American Authors, Two Door Cinema Club, Imagine Dragons, Bastille, and Bruno Mars have been creating new music for a new generation that reminds me of the 80's sound. It is obvious that a young generation’s appreciation for the actual music from the 80's has inspired new artists to make new music that sounds like the 80's – and this is the music that will define the music of this decade. There are also similarities between some of the hair styles and fashion of the 80's that are now part of a “new look and sound.”

What I love about much of today’s popular music and the fashion is that it seems to represent a positive attitude of a young generation. Considering the job market and the economy, political debate that has become so hateful, the ever-present threat of terrorism and growing social and political tension here and around the world – I think it’s wonderful to see signs of a positive attitude coming from a young generation. Music is reflecting attitudes that remind me of the attitudes of a younger generation when the 80s were raging with hot music and a positive view of life.

I realize it is easier to be positive when you are young and you don’t have a big mortgage, car payments, health issues or the many problems that burden today’s Establishment generation, but I also think we should all learn to be more positive about today and the future.

As a radio talk show host, I hear how negative many Americans are about everything from Obamacare to the future of America. Approaching life with a negative attitude can only invite negative results.  Without being naïve to the realities we all know, we should stop looking for reasons to be negative.

The rhetoric from the right about Obamacare paints a picture that everyone has been hurt by it – and the truth is – not everyone has been hurt. And that’s a fact. There is hateful rhetoric from the left when it comes to condemning everything conservatives stand for – and that’s wrong.

The attitude of Americans may be changing, but we are still deeply divided along political lines and both sides seem more interested in advancing their party’s agenda than in doing what is best for America.

If you have bought into the common mentality that there is “no good music” out today and if you have failed to sample some of the new songs and groups with an open mind – then you may be robbing yourself of an opportunity to embrace the positive wave that is rolling across young America.

American society is NOT being destroyed by issues like same-sex marriage, as so many are predicting. America’s economy DID NOT collapse with the re-election of President Obama in 2012. In fact, there are many signs, locally and nationally, that the economy is greatly improving.

Don’t ignore your responsibilities – but maybe it’s time to stop living in the past and buying into all the dismal predictions about our future and learn from the music of a new young generation – be positive about life!

Are you positive about life – and America?  Why?  Or – why not?
 (6) Comments

Scoot: Media giving us exactly what we want with missing airplane saga
Does the news of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 warrant the massive media coverage it is attracting?

Last night on The Scoot Show on WWL, a caller said that all he keeps hearing from the multitude of experts is “maybe,” “speculation,” and “we just don’t know,” and yet, with so little known over a week after the mysterious disappearance of a Boeing 777, cable news continues to treat the story as “breaking news.” CNN has had almost wall-to-wall coverage. Is this story worthy of such attention?

Several CNN executives, who asked not to be named, have justified the amount of time the network has been spending on the disappearance of MH 370. One CNN executive said, “It is a tremendous story that is completely in our wheelhouse.” Another executive said, “It’s an incredible mystery full of human drama, with an international element.” He continued, “Anything international plays into our hands because we have more reporters to deploy all over the world.” Still another CNN executive said, “One way to define ourselves is to go all-in on stories of human drama.”

Some media critics have criticized the attention CNN has given the mystery, but CNN has seen a boost in their ratings. Something I talk about often on the show is that the news is designed to attract an audience, and therefore focuses on elements that are important to any good drama. One CNN executive said that the news story about the missing 777 is dominating “water cooler talk” in offices and has dominated conversations in party settings across the country and they feel like they are responding to the public.

In January, CNN’s ratings were among the lowest ratings in the cable network’s history.  If the goal is to attract he largest possible audience – then should CNN be criticized for focusing on a news story that is attracting attention and increasing ratings?

Critics have certain criteria by which to judge and analyze entertainment – from movies to the news – and that criteria is often different from how a mass audience judges entertainment. We can all think of movies that are our favorite movies and we know some of those movies did not win critical acclaim and may even have been panned by critics.  So, who is right – the critics or the audience?

This is a much-debated question. But as long as the goal of the news is to attract an audience, news programs will be driven by a desire to focus on stories that contain elements necessary in any successful form of entertainment – human drama, mystery, sex, and death. To say that “news is entertainment” is not to suggest that it is a fabrication or that it is fun and enjoyable. Defining “news as entertainment” simply means that news-oriented programs respond to the stories that are quick to capture and hold the attention of a mass audience.

I can’t talk to a friend now who doesn’t ask me, “Hey, Scoot, what do you think happened to the plane?” and I’m sure you have had a similar experience.  As humans, we are naturally compelled to follow mysteries, and the disappearance of a Boeing 777 – referred to by pilots and air traffic controllers as a “heavy” because of its size – is a mystery. And the agony of what family and friends of the passengers are feeling bonds us as human beings.

Planes close in size to the 777 were used as weapons of terrorism on 9/11 – America and the world are sensitive to the idea that a plane could be used for terror attacks. That possibility adds further intrigue to the mystery. Where is the plane? Is it being prepared to be used as a weapon against the United States or one of our allies? These are the unanswered questions that continue to feed this story.

There is a great temptation for people to criticize the media for not reporting “real” news that is important to us – and yet – it is the audience that is actually telling the media what to focus on.

If you don’t like what you see on the news – you might want to be honest about the things that attract and hold your attention as a member of the audience.
 (8) Comments

Scoot: On St. Patrick's Day, you're Irish first!
St. Patrick’s Day is a time when people go to their favorite Irish bars (or any bar for that matter) and embrace the fun-loving spirit of the Irish!  It’s said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! 

However, I doubt that most of those drinking and frolicking in the streets in New Orleans or other American cities spend any time honoring the life of St. Patrick. But as a good Catholic, I’m sure St. Patrick would still appreciate the frivolity of the celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day is known for drinking green beer, Irish whiskey, eating corn beef, cabbage and potatoes – but in more recent years St. Patrick’s Day has become a day filled with controversy.

The controversy over St. Patrick’s Day parades centers on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to march under banners that declare their sexual orientation.  The battle over the inclusion of gays and lesbians in New York City’s historic parade went to the Supreme Court.  The High Court ruled that since the parade was operated by a private organization – it could exclude gays and lesbians parading as a distinguished group within the parade.

This year, Guinness withdrew its sponsorship of the New York City parade over the controversy and the makers of Samuel Adams pulled their sponsorship of the traditional Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade yesterday.

Some bars in both New York and Boston threatened to stop selling Guinness and Samuel Adams if the companies refused to withdraw their sponsorships of the parades.

As far as I know, the controversy over gay and lesbian inclusion is not a big controversy in Ireland – so why should it be so controversial in America?

If you listen to The Scoot Show regularly on WWL – you know that I totally support gay equality and denounce any judgment of individuals based on their sexual orientation – but I think there are a few things we can all learn from the controversy about gays and lesbians parading in St. Patrick’s Day parades.

When this issue first became a controversy years ago, I remember reading that it was not an issue in Ireland, because in Ireland, you are considered Irish first – and gay or lesbian second.  This led to the realization that we are more divided in America and many define themselves as straight or gay or liberal or conservative or black and white first – and American second – when we should think of ourselves - and each other as Americans first!

We can learn from the Irish.  It is time for us to think of ourselves as Americans first – or in the case of St. Patrick’s Day parades – Irish first and sexual orientation is second.  

If proud Americans of Irish decent want to be part of a St. Patrick’s Day parade then their sexual orientation should not disqualify their inclusion.  And if proud Americans are gay or lesbian, then maybe the focus should not be on proclaiming their sexual orientation during a parade but their focus should be on the fact that they are Irish – or part Irish – and nothing else for that occasion.

This is not to suggest that gays and lesbians should not be proud of their sexual orientation and should not demand inclusion throughout society, but when it comes to a parade where the distinguishing factor is being Irish – then shouldn’t everyone accent their Irish heritage rather than their sexual orientation?
 (6) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Social Issues
Locations: BostonNew OrleansNew YorkNew York City
People: Samuel Adams

Scoot: Hot-heads with guns
A Houston-area dad shot and killed a 17-year-old teenage boy he caught in his teenage daughter’s bedroom.
According to police reports, one of the father’s other children alerted her father that  she heard someone in her sister’s bedroom.  About 2:20 am this morning, the father went to his daughter’s room with a gun and confronted to 17-year-old boy.  
The man’s daughter said that she did not know who the boy was and the father said he told him not to move.  The father told police he saw the teenage boy reach for something and then he opened fire - killing the teen in his daughter’s bedroom.
Police said the teenage boy did not have a gun and his 16-year-old daughter later admitted she did know the 17-year-old teen who was in her bedroom.
No charges have been filed against the father, and police investigators are going to turn the information over to a grand jury.  The name of the father was not initially released.  After the shooting, the father was taken to the hospital to be treated for what was described as an unrelated medical condition.
We do not know what happened in this tragic situation, but we do know that a 17-year-old is dead and there is at least a question about whether the father who shot him was actually threatened - or was he another hot-head with a gun?
It may not be a coincidence that several high-profile shootings have occurred in parts of the country where carrying a gun for protection seems to go beyond protection and includes the right to punish inappropriate actions or to avenge rage.
The case of 47-year-old Michael Dunn, who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis following a confrontation over loud music in the parking lot of a convenience store in Jacksonville, Florida is another case the attracted national attention.  A jury found Dunn not guilty of murder, but guilty on other charges that could lead to very long prison sentence.  Sentencing in that case has been delayed for a few days.
Michael Dunn was criticized by many who seemed to think that his life wasn’t actually threatened and that he used his gun to punish a teenager for being disrespectful to him by refusing to turn down the music in the car he was in.
Also in Florida, a 71-year-old retired Tampa police officer is facing second-degree murder charges for shooting a 43-year-old man following an argument over texting in a movie theater.  Curtis Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson following a verbal confrontation over Oulson texting in the theater during the showing of previews prior to the showing of the feature attraction, “The Lone Survivor.”
The retired police officer told police that he felt his life was threatened when the man hit him.  However, witnesses, including the police officer’s wife, told police they never saw Oulson hit Reeves.  Reeves is being held without bond.
One report indicates that Reeves felt his life was threatened when Oulson threw popcorn in his face.  Reeves had a previous encounter with a young woman over texting in the same movie theater.  So, is this another recent case of a gun owner who was too quick to use his gun - not for defense of his life - but to punish someone who didn’t listen to him?
Since any criticism of gun owners in America leads to the hysterical assumption that the criticism is motivated by an anti-gun agenda, it is important that I say that I favor legal gun ownership in America and I support the 2nd Amendment.  But what I do not support (and what I do criticize) is gun owners who use “stand-your-ground” laws to protect their belief that they can be proactive with their guns to punish someone in a moment of anger or disagreement.  Shocking as this may be to many gun owners and worshippers of the 2nd Amendment - that is not part anyone’s right to own a gun in America.
There is a distinct difference between self-defense and using lethal force against those who are disrespectful or disagreeable and any gun owner who does not have a clear understanding of the difference should not own a gun in America - 2nd Amendment notwithstanding.
In all of the recent aforementioned high-profile cases, we do not know exactly what happened, but we should have legitimate questions about whether the claim of self-defense was real - or simply justification for a hot-head with a gun to pull the trigger and hide behind the 2nd Amendment.
In America, you are not allowed to shoot someone who is disrespectful to you or someone who does not obey your orders concerning their conduct.  You are only allowed to shoot someone who is literally threatening your life, the lives of your family or your property.  There are a few other circumstances when lethal force is allowed, but no one is allowed to shoot someone out of rage, frustration or anger.
We should have a right to be honest about hot-heads and irresponsible gun owners without the extremists assuming that any criticism of gun use is a direct attack on the 2nd Amendment.  And extreme gun-control activists should not assume that every gun owner in America is ready to use his or her gun for any purpose other than protection of life and property.
Gun-rights supporters who automatically assume that the use of a gun in a shooting following a verbal confrontation is justified must realize that the actions of the irresponsible gun owners are NOT protected by the 2nd Amendment, and with the right to own a gun comes the absolute responsibility to use a gun properly.
Does this opinion inspire you to call me a “liberal,” as if it’s a derogatory label? For those who are so inspired - you might just be calling me a “liberal” on your way to prison!
God Bless America!
 (10) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Law_Crime
Locations: FloridaJacksonville
People: Chad OulsonCurtis ReevesJordan DavisMichael Dunn

Scoot: Might as well face it, you're addicted to phones
Today’s adult generation loves to criticize teenagers for their behavior, but adults are not exactly setting a good example.

I hear people say that “teenagers are not responsible! Teens text while driving! Teens don’t communicate anymore! They are addicted to their phones and computers!”  Ever hear yourself think any of those things about teenagers today?

A new study indicates that adults also show signs of addiction to their phones and computers.  Researchers at Boston Medical Center observed people in actual settings, and discovered that parents are spending time on their cell phones while their children are eating.

According to the researcher, 73% of adults spent time on their phones while their children were eating at a fast-food restaurant.  While preoccupied on their cell phones, the adults paid little or no attention to their children, and the children at the tables where parent focused on their cell phones tended to misbehave more than other children.  Furthermore, when parents who were preoccupied with their phones did respond to their children – it was usually negative.

About 1 out of 3 parents used their cell phones continuously through the meal, and about 15% did not begin to use their phones until they had finished eating, and then they used their phones while the children were still eating.  Observers concluded that the parents finished eating and started using their cell phone because they appeared to be bored.  If you are a parent and with your children eating out and you are bored after you finish your meal – there’s a problem – and it’s not with your children!

Have you seen parents in a restaurant or any public setting with their children and they are constantly focused on their cell phone – talking, texting or checking emails or Facebook and not paying attention to their children?  It is an all too common sight.

Parents criticize teenagers for spending too much time on their cell phones, and they attribute this to teenagers’ growing lack of communication skills.  I suggest that parents and adults, in general, are not much better than teenagers when it comes to being addicted to their cell phones.

When you pick your children up from school, a friend’s house or from your ex – are you on the phone?  If your kids have been away from you for a short period of time or an extended period of time that first moment you are with them should be totally focused on them – not your phone.  

Often children want and need their parent’s attention at home, but talking to the person you are having a relationship with or a friend or working on something for you becomes the priority.  And we wonder why a young generation is growing up so differently!

Criticizing teens for texting while driving is hypocritical too, because there are still too many adults who are doing the exact same thing and there is no significant difference.

We live in a society that has come to accept blaming someone or something else for the problems of a young generation, when we adults need to look at ourselves and realize that we are not always setting a good example and often their negative tendencies are actually our fault.  That’s hard to admit – but it’s true.

Your kids are watching you spend too much time on your cell phone texting and driving, drinking and driving and doing many of the things you criticize them for doing and that is hypocritical and unfair to a young generation.

There will also be things that adults can do because they are adults.  Drinking, and behavior that is restricted based on age are appropriate for adults to do in front of their children with the simple explanation that some things are just for adults, but when it comes to drinking and driving, texting and driving or other illegal and dangerous behavior – parents should not expect their children to respect what they tell them if they are doing the same things.

Are you really much less addicted to your cell phone than today’s teenage generation?  Think about how you felt the last time you forgot your phone?  Did you feel alone – isolated – missing something critical to your life?  Adults often condemn a young generation’s dependence on their phones.  Are you any different?  I doubt that you would be any less devastated than a teenager today if you lost your phone and all of the information it holds.

I realize that setting a good example for a young generation is not easy because it means we have to act like adults.  

So, before you are quick to criticize the behavior of teenagers today – take a long look in the mirror. And let's be honest - if we would have had today's cell phones, tablets and computers when we were teenagers - we would be just as bad!
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Scoot: Ego-driven politicians are not helping Louisiana
As the 2014 Louisiana legislative session gets underway in Baton Rouge, this is an excellent time to remind ourselves that many politicians seem to be more driven by their self-serving egos than by a desire to make the world a better place.

A proposed bill by Republican Representative Thomas Carmody from Shreveport to make the Bible the official state book serves as a perfect example of what drives many politicians.  I am not trying to single out Representative Carmody, because there will be numerous examples of other politicians doing the same things during this legislative session that will prove the point, but Carmody’s bill to make the Bible the official state book is one of the early legislative suggestions that demonstrates a politician’s desire to appear to be solving a problem, when in reality, the bill does nothing of the sort.

Since there is more than one Bible – which Bible would be selected to be the official state book?  Carmody is specifically recommending the Holy Bible published by Johannes Prevel, which is the oldest Bible in the state.  But any single Bible will not speak to the diversity even within the Christian faith.  And if the Bible were to become the state book, what would that say about Louisiana and the religious diversity that is part of our past?

In my previous post  “Should the Bible be Louisiana’s official state book?” (still trending on WWL.com,) I argue that since any legislation to declare Christianity the official state faith would be rejected, an attempt to declare the Bible the official state book may be a backdoor attempt to elevate Christianity to a state-supported status. That would be unconstitutional.

In the opinion poll on “The Scoot Show” last night the question was: “Are you for or against the State of Louisiana declaring the Bible as the official state book?”  At the end of the show at midnight, 61% were for the state declaring the Bible the official state book and 39% were against it.  However, not one person calling or texting the show could offer any specific suggestion as to how making the Bible the official state book would actually benefit the state.

Politicians campaign on the promise to make their state, city or country a better place and they are always looking for ways to show their voters that they did something positive while in office.  After all, the only goal after being elected is to get re-elected.  The problem is politicians, both locally and nationally, address concerns and propose legislation that only makes it appear as if they are actually contributing to making the world a better place, and sadly, the voters are not aware that they are actually being swindled by these politicians.

The proposed legislation that would declare the Bible the official state book of Louisiana will serve no real benefit to our state and yet, just the proposal is making some voters applaud the attempt to instill morals in the state government.  There is enough legal precedent to expose an attempt to make the Bible the state book as a mindless waste of time.

There has even been talk about trying to bring back Louisiana’s sodomy law in this legislative session!  The U.S. Supreme Court clearly ruled that laws banning sodomy are unconstitutional in the 2003 case of Lawrence v. the State of Texas. There will be those who are quick to say that I am not a Christian and I am promoting sodomy, when I am simply pointing out the obvious.  An individual’s right to privacy (which is what the Lawrence case was built upon) supersedes any activity that takes place in private setting, whether you agree with it or not.

When the legislature opens its session, it is like the regular season for political-watchers in the state and in many states across the country.  Local politicians, like state representatives, often act more from a grandstanding position than an informed about what is constitutional and fair to citizens.

Since Louisiana is seeking more and more ways to cut spending from the budget at the expense of important state services, why should voters tolerate politicians that are willing to put on a floor show in the legislature that will certainly put legislation on a collision course with the courts at great expense to the taxpayers?

As we venture on this journey through the 2014 Louisiana legislative session, and as we track some of the meaningless legislation proposed in other states, it is important to recognize those politicians who are not acting in the best interest of their voters - those politicians who are driven more by their self-serving egos than a desire to serve the community.

And those politicians who support meaningless, “feel-good” legislation should be acknowledged by the public and held accountable when the next election comes around.

We allow politicians to get away with stupidity.  Is it their fault – or ours?
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Locations: LouisianaShreveportTexas
People: Johannes PrevelThomas Carmody

Scoot: Should the Bible be Louisiana's official state book?
It is 2014, and there are still many Americans who do not seem to understand that Christianity is NOT the official religion of the United States. We have NO official religion and I suspect that’s exactly the way our Founding Fathers wanted it!

The 2014 Louisiana legislative session opened today in Baton Rouge, and one of the bills that will be considered by the lawmakers forces the debate about government-supported Christianity once again.  Republican Representative Thomas Carmody from Shreveport supports a bill that would declare the Bible the official state book of Louisiana.

A bill making the Bible the official state book of Louisiana is a superficial and exclusionary way to promote Christianity as an official state religion.  Specifically, Representative Carmody is proposing that the Holy Bible published by Johannes Prevel, which is the oldest Bible in the state, be named the official State book.  This is nothing more than an attempt to elevate Christianity to a level of official designation in Louisiana - which seems to me to be unconstitutional.

As a Christian, I am continually amazed at the countless efforts to promote Christianity - efforts that actually do nothing to promote Christianity.  And I wonder why some Christians as so intent on declaring Christianity a government-sanctioned religion. 

Though they will never admit it, I believe that many Christians are actually very insecure with their faith and feel the need to have some special government recognition of Christianity.  Whether it is a debate about making Christianity the official religion of America, or Louisiana making the Bible the official state book, or the never-ending efforts to place the Lord’s Prayer or the Ten Commandments on public property, there seems to be a general sense that it is imperative that Americans recognize an official status for Christianity.

A bill that would make the Bible the official state book of Louisiana is among the most inane and meaningless contributions to the state and to Christianity I have ever heard of.  

First of all, besides a state flag and maybe a state bird, designating material things as state-approved or state-supported is a monumental waste of time and even suggests that our lawmakers have time to waste of trivial matters.

If the Bible is declared Louisiana’s official state book, does that mean that Christianity is more important than all other religious belief systems in our state?  There is no precedent for having a state book and it almost seems that there is a belief that more people would read the Bible if it is declared the official state book.  Otherwise, what is the motive and what would be accomplished?

I can already hear the argument that if the Bible was our official state book, then Louisiana would become more moral, which is ridiculous!  Those who look for superficial, tangible ways to acknowledge Christianity are subconsciously suggesting that faith is weak and fragile. 

If any Christian’s faith if weak and fragile, making the Bible the official state book of Louisiana is not going to strengthen their faith.  And if a Christian’s faith could be strengthened by something as insignificant as declaring the Bible the official state book - then I suggest that that person’s faith was not that strong to begin with!

Faith comes from within, and true faith is not so fleeting that not declaring the Bible the state book would diminish faith; and declaring the Bible to be the state book will not strengthen faith.

For the record, my beliefs make me a Christian, but I think support for passing legislation that would make the Bible the state book is a desperate ploy to establish Christianity as more important than other religions. It may be to me and to you - but in the United States, or in the state of Louisiana, government does not recognize or sanction religion. and that should never change.

The brave people who started this country were seeking freedom from religious persecution.  The fact that they were predominately Christian does not establish Christianity as the official religion of America.  Superseding Christianity was the desire to be free from a government that supported specific religious beliefs. and even to this day. there are many Americans who still don’t understand that fundamental reality.

I cannot image that Representative Carmody’s region does not have many more pressing issues to be addressed by their elected official than making the Bible the state book!

Maybe the legislature should pass a bill declaring that some legislation is the official joke of Louisiana? 
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Scoot: Jindal's comments on Obama not good for GOP
With the 2014 midterm elections approaching and early positioning for the 2016 presidential election already underway, the Republican Party is still trying to figure out who they are.

This week, speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that he has been wrong about Jimmy Carter and that President Obama is the “worst president” in his lifetime.  Jindal also compared the President to George Wallace saying that Obama is “trying to stand in the schoolhouse door to prevent minority kids, kids who haven’t had access to a great education, the chance to go to better schools.”

And if that wasn’t enough, Gov. Jindal essentially said that President Obama is not very intelligent when he said, “We have long thought and said this president is a smart man; it may be time to revisit that assumption.”  Those who agree with Jindal questioning Obama’s intelligence reminds me of the many on the left who said that George W. Bush was not very intelligent because he had a “C” average at Yale. Really! He went to Yale! If he got a “C” he should still be considered intelligent!

Considering the national image of the Republican Party since the campaign of 2012, it is amazing that Republicans continue to perpetrate the negative stereotype of the party.

Recent Republican condemnation of very derogatory comments made by ultra-conservative rocker Ted Nugent seemed to indicate that the Republican Party was eager to reject what has been perceived as “hate talk.”  This week, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez publically said that the Party must change its attitude and even those who disagree with President Obama should tone down the rhetoric.

Jindal’s comments about President Obama, along with other things said by Republicans at the CPAC meeting this week confirm the Republican Party is still bipolar, and Gov. Jindal could be a poster boy for the party’s disorder.

Flashback to January 2013, only a few months after the surprising defeat of Mitt Romney – Bobby Jindal stood before the Republican National Committee meeting in Charlotte, NC and said that the Republican Party needs to “stop being the stupid party” and we “might need to change just about everything else we are doing.” 

Jindal also told members of his own party, “We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments.  I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.”  And from the same person who made those comments a little over a year ago, come these misguided comments about President Obama.

Disagreeing with this President or any President on policy and ideology are part of democracy, but America is tiring of personal, derogatory attacks from both sides of the political aisle.  MSNBC hosts have been guilty of hateful, derogatory speech that should be denounced along with the same attitude often only attributed to the “right.”  But Democrats are less in need of an image overhaul.

If the Republican Party fails to come together and rally around issues that resonate with Americans – especially Americans under 40 – the party will struggle to win the White House.  Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) was right when he told the CPAC meeting this week that the party needs to stand for something.  Although, I’m not sure Ted Cruz will represent exactly what that “something” should be.

The good news is that America is changing – the bad news is those who make up today’s Establishment do not seem willing to acknowledge a changing social and political climate. 

A new Pew Research survey, released today, shows that 50% of Millenials – the generation between 18 and 33-years-old – think of themselves as Independents. That’s up from 38% in 2004.  Currently, 27% describe themselves as Democrats and only 17% say they are Republicans.  Polls consistently show that Americans under 40 have a more liberal position on same-sex marriage and other social issues.  And yet, many in the Republican Party continue on a crusade promoting government involvement in social issues, which contributed to the defeat of Romney in 2012.

Many Republicans are fiscally and militarily conservative, but socially liberal, and there is a growing distaste for hateful, personal attacks on politicians.  As long as the Republican Party insists on forcing a right-wing agenda on social and moral issues – the Democrats will win even if by default.

The fact that 50% of a younger generation considers themselves Independents is further evidence of the growing discontent with both political parties.  When Gov. Jindal, who many still think could be a presidential candidate in 2016, says the Republican Party needs to “stop being the stupid party” and then a year later makes insulting comments about the President, that only confirms why so many Americans have become disgusted with politicians.

Bobby Jindal seems to think that he can be a legitimate presidential candidate – or at least a good choice for a running mate for the nominee. 

Bobby Jindal loves the art of politics – he is just not a very good artist!
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Scoot: Mardi Gras more than just the debauchery
The weather on Mardi Gras Day 2014 was very cold and rainy, and that was not what was expected considering that it was a March Mardi Gras, but we can look back on Mardi Gras 2014 as a success!

Since human nature seems to encourage more complaining than praise, it is important that we go out of our way to acknowledge the positive over the negative.

Every year there are complaints about behavior in the crowds and with some of the riders on the floats. As I hosted the WWL Mardi Gras Mambo Review yesterday afternoon, a caller complained about a group of young people that set up their temporary territory near his family and friends and vulgar music began to blare from their area. The man said the music was so offensive that he apologized to guests visiting from out-of-town and then moved his group to another location.

I can understand the man’s frustration and vulgarity in public is not a new controversy. I would never be accused of being a prude or overprotective of society, but I don’t think vulgar music should be tolerated in a public setting, like a Mardi Gras parade. But with great respect for the First Amendment, I admit that this is a difficult discussion.

While I would not judge what anyone listens to in their car or in the privacy of their home, we should all expect a show of respect for each other. Admittedly, that’s a lot to expect.

There were also the typical complaints about people along a parade route blocking others or even moving in front of those who had been in position for the parade for hours. Lacking respect for others is an annoying reality.

But when you consider the number of people in the streets for parades and in the French Quarter and compare the size of the crowd to the number of incidents that occur, you can’t help but have a positive impression of humanity. 

The police and city workers do a phenomenal job every year during Mardi Gras, but if it were not for the attitude and the behavior of the crowds, in general, Mardi Gras would not be such an amazing celebration.

So, as we pay tribute to the long hours on the job and the competence of law enforcement and city workers, let us also give ourselves credit for coming together in massive numbers for the simple purpose of sharing a moment of fun during Mardi Gras. If the people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas who participate in Mardi Gras every year were not good, tolerate and respectful individuals, Mardi Gras would be chaos and would have ceased to exist long ago.

Every year there are those who come to New Orleans and experience Mardi Gras for the first time and without any lessons on what to do and how to act, even the first-timers quickly fit into our cultural mayhem! We must be setting a good example.

In spite of the countless displays of vulgarity and disrespect, Mardi Gras does teach us that we can come together as a community and bond over what we have in common – rather than think about what separates us.

I often talk about the “nature of news” on The Scoot Show on WWL – which is to focus on the negative and outrageous, even in the face of much that is positive and normal. The “nature of news” is determined by human nature. We are more prone to complain than to praise and the news reflects that human tendency.

The news is more likely to present the confrontations and the problems over the endless examples of goodness in a crowd. That’s why it is important for us to take a look into society’s mirror once in awhile and recognize the positives that far outnumber the negatives.

I hope you can reflect back on Mardi Gras this year, and every year, and appreciate the positive things it says about us and our community.
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Locations: New Orleans

Scoot: Eight things you need to know about Mardi Gras

Today is Lundi Gras – the day before Mardi Gras!  During the Lundi Gras celebration, Rex, the king of carnival, arrived at Spanish Plaza and met King Zulu for a toast to Mardi Gras 2014. The celebration covered the riverfront from Woldenberg Park to Spanish Plaza with food and music.  Cowboy Mouth and The Topcats were part of the Lundi Gras celebration 2014!


Tomorrow is Mardi Gras Day – Fat Tuesday! On the Christian calendar it is a final day of debauchery before the beginning of the solemn and sacrificial season of Lent. Mardi Gras Day is the culmination of the Carnival season. Carnival comes from the Latin words meaning “farewell to the flesh.” And since this festive time is all about preparing for Lent and saying “farewell to the flesh,” you will see a lot of people showing their “flesh” for the last time before Lent.


This Carnival season officially began on January 6 – Epiphany - King’s Day – 12 days after Christmas when the Wise Men visited Baby Jesus bearing gifts. Epiphany is also the traditional season for King cakes. Legend tells us that the King cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular journey the Wise Men took to get to Jesus in order to confuse King Herod, who was planning to kill the Christ Child.

Originally, a coin or bean was placed in the King cake and whoever got the coin or bean in their piece of cake was believed to have good luck over the upcoming year. In Louisiana, the tradition of placing a plastic baby in the King cake was born and the person who got the baby in their piece was expected to have the next King cake party.


In the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a 40 day fast, which followed a brief period of feasting, wearing costumes and general misbehaving. Mardi Gras spread across Europe from Rome and eventually made it to the colonies of the New World. It is believed that the first American Mardi Gras took place in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. But in the 1730s, New Orleans began to mark the celebration with fancy balls and wild street parties – not much has changed!

The first parade in New Orleans is believed to have taken place on Fat Tuesday in 1827, but the first official parade was not recognized until 10 years later.


The tradition of wearing masks on Mardi Gras Day began hundreds of years ago. By wearing masks, the different social classes could intermingle and celebrate together without the restrictive separation of the classes. With a mask on, no one knew who was a member of which social class so all were treated equally in the celebration.


The tradition of throwing beads first began during Carnival in 1872 and the color of the beads, now the official colors of Mardi Gras, were selected by the king that year. Purple represented justice, gold was for power and green meant faith. Originally, the participants in the parade would pick out people in the crowd and throw the color of the beads that most represented the people whose behavior reflected each color’s meaning. Also, the first beads were made out of glass.

Some of the Christian groups that spread the message of Jesus to the rowdy, drunken partiers on Bourbon Street do not seem to be real Christians. Yesterday, while I was taking a picture of the banners that warn that everyone is going to Hell, one of the members of a Christian group on Bourbon looked at me and over his bullhorn addressed me, “Are you a man – or a woman? Do you have a mirror? Look at you? What are you – a man or a woman?” Then he proceeded to use profanity in describing behavior among gays and lesbians in public with children present.

A young woman from England confronted the Christian group and then told me that this “bull***t” would never happen in England!

There is a news story about one of the pastors on Bourbon Street, who was caught in the act of self-gratification in public in front of kids.

Don’t judge ALL Christians by the behavior of those who are misguided by their zealotry and hate.


The most important thing to know about Mardi Gras is that this is a time to celebrate the breaking down of social, economic, ethnic and all barriers that seem to separate us. On a daily basis, reaction to the news emphasizes the things that appear to separate us - as groups and individuals. The origin of wearing masks on Mardi Gras was to prevent distinguishing one class from another so everyone could come together. And that is what we should all celebrate about Mardi Gras – a special time when we remember that we can share a fun time together and maintain a cultural tradition – regardless of our place in society.

Happy Mardi Gras!
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