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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!"

Weekdays 1pm-4pm

Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
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Scoot: Proud of New Orleans then, proud of New Orleans now

Hurricane Katrina hit and there was virtually nothing anyone could do to stop the destruction. I was living in Denver, CO when Katrina destroyed my hometown and it was heartbreaking to witness the destruction - but the hardest thing to see was the human suffering.

For the native New Orleanians who were not here during Katrina, the emotions we felt for our city cannot be compared to actually dealing with the physical and mental devastation, but know that we were hurt because our hearts and souls were here and we felt the pain.

Having grown up in New Orleans and experienced other powerful hurricanes like Betsy, I knew what being in a hurricane felt like and was crushed to see the precious New Orleans landmarks so scarred by the storm and the flooding that followed.

New Orleans had been through setbacks before, but Katrina seemed to be the ultimate test. Even watching the darkest moments of the impact of the storm and the rising waters, I had faith that our city would come back – and come back strong.

Moving back to New Orleans about 5 years ago was a blessing for me, both personally and professionally, and I rejoiced in experiencing significant changes in the city. The most obvious change I noticed was the evolution of downtown New Orleans. There was a definitive new vibe about the city that was exciting!

For the first time in 50 years there was a major grocery store downtown and other businesses were geared to new downtown residents rather than only those who came into the city from the suburbs to work. I was also struck by a new influx of people who were moved by the visuals of the disaster to come to New Orleans to help after Katrina. They fell in love with our city and they stayed to make it their home, too. The new people in New Orleans chose to be here and they have contributed physically and emotionally to our culture and a bold new direction for New Orleans.

There will always be those who resist change – even a change in population, but the changes have contributed to the growth and current path of our city. New Orleans was built by many cultures and those who became part of our city in the aftermath of Katrina have reflected the diversity and the willingness to accept all that was the early and is now the current foundation of New Orleans.

No one would hope for a disaster – but the collective resolve of the greater New Orleans area turned tragedy into triumph!

Psalms 66:10-12
For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.

I was always proud of what New Orleans was – and today, I'm even prouder of what New Orleans is still to become!
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Locations : DenverNew Orleans




 

Scoot: Don't call me racist!

I have always said that judgmental hate comes from the political right AND the political left – and I now have a great opportunity to prove it. This will be particularly revealing, and perhaps quickly rejected, by those who think only the right-wing conservatives judge and hate.

Friday on The Scoot Show on WWL, I talked about the armed robbery ambush at an upscale New Orleans restaurant. I wrote a blog titled, "Was Patois restaurant robbery an act of revenge?" The blog was picked up by a few Twitter trolls and I was shocked by many of the comments, which were based on denial of reality and perhaps an effort to justify membership in the extreme left. It was obvious that many, if not all, of those Twitter trolls spewing their judgmental hate were quick to judge me based on the possibility of a motive I raised in the blog, rather than judge from knowing anything about The Scoot Show.

In the blog and on the show last Friday, I raised the possibility that there was an added motive beyond the money and valuable items stolen from the uptown restaurant's patrons. I simply brought up a possible added motive in the robbery from conversations I have had with blacks, whites and law enforcement. It was also based on my first-hand experience with being attacked by four young men in the CBD.

Here are a few excerpts from the blog:

The fact that an upscale restaurant in a predominantly white section of New Orleans was selected was not random. Not only were these three black gunmen looking for victims that would likely have money and expensive jewelry, but there was quite possibly a motivation for attacking whites in a setting that would strike fear in the white community.

Ironically, the victims in the armed robbery have probably contributed nothing to create the depraved mentality of the gunmen. If the gunmen were, in part, seeking to vent their frustration and anger over their positions in society, they should have targeted their own parents and their neighborhoods that subtly, over time, nurtured real-life monsters.

Generations of children having children, but not caring for or raising those children combined with a sense of hopelessness have greatly contributed to the disturbing proportion of crime in some neighborhoods in America.

If too many young parents have become parents as a result of submitting to the instinct to have sex with no thought of consequences and if a system supports and even encourages having babies as a career choice, should we be surprised that we have reached this point?

And if there are Americans who will have sex with no consciousness about the children they biologically create, then can we also assume they don't care about their children in the womb? I would image that there is extensive substance abuse during pregnancy in many cases. We know that a developing fetus can be physically and mentally effected by the over consumption of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Where are the studies of the life history and life patterns of today's young thugs?


The blog ended with these two thoughts:

The power to instill fear in others yields a sense of power to those who have no ambition to gain power on their own.

But the anger and frustration are misguided when the victims are not as directly responsible as their own parents and neighborhoods.


In that blog, I simply raised a possible additional motive, and that led to tweet and email comments that included calling me "vile," "an idiot" and a "racist" and a demand for an apology. I don't often feel the need to defend myself for expressing an opinion and especially not for opening the discussion about another possible motive that is based on not just my opinion, but the observations of others.

What struck me most about some of the hateful reaction was people labeling me a "racist." Anyone who would use that ugly slur to label me must have no reference of the show I do on WWL. I will not remain silent when the term "racist" is thrown around like a curse word in an effort to hurtfully label a talk show host, politician or any individual! For too long, too many Americans have gotten away with casually using the term "racist" to put down others in an effort to make themselves feel righteous. So, I am speaking out!

Here are a few of the tweets from what I consider hateful Twitter trolls looking to support their political ideology by misusing the political-charged word of "racist."

There were those who criticized the blog as bad "journalism" and challenged the "facts." A blog should not be considered objective journalism – it is a blog and often blogs are the expression of opinions. The only facts in the blog were the name of the restaurant and information about the suspects that came from NOPD. The rest of the blog was my opinion – based soundly on the First Amendment – and raising a "possibility" was not presented as fact. We should all be alarmed by the number of people who do not understand the fundamental definition of journalism or the difference between fact and opinion!

There were tweets that criticized me for describing the three suspects a "black males," but here is the information that came directly from the office of NOPD Chief Michael Harrison:

[#H-25146-15 64G/Armed Robbery (Gun) Unit 234C
23:05 hours 6074 Laurel Street P/O Castelin

Victims: 1) Patois Restaurant
2) Multiple Patrons


Gist: Three armed black males entered the business and robbed the business and patrons. PIO notified via Outlook.


To point out how obvious the judgment of the Twitter trolls was not based on any knowledge of The Scoot Show or the blogs I write and my general compassion for all minorities, here are a few excerpts from a few previous blogs:

Scoot Blog: What does taking down the Confederate flag mean to you? Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Why is it so important to flaunt a flag that no longer represents the mentality and direction of America? Why is it so objectionable to remove a flag that offends a group of Americans that were gravely mistreated? Is this not the time to conclude that if that flag is offensive to many Americans that it should come down? It seems the calls to take down the Confederate flag are the voice of Americans who understand that we have been too divided and we need to act in ways that more accurately reflect what this nation stands for."

"Recognizing the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate to many Americans and the support from both black and white Americans demonstrates a sense of coming together as Americans. And isn't that what we all are?"


Scoot Blog: Should the Confederate flag come down? Monday, June 22, 2015

"I can argue that the Confederate flag should not fly because it should no longer represent the America we live in today and that supporting the flag must mean support for an America controlled by the white population."


Scoot Blog: Where does an honest conversation about race relations begin – Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"We have heard different stories about life from our parents and grandparents and our perspectives on many aspects of life may differ."

"Black and white Americans should be willing to admit that each does not know what it is like to be the other and it is unfair and destructive to base criticism on the premise that you know how they should feel – because you don't."


These were a few excerpts from blogs that also reflected on-air discussions on race relations and judgment of minorities in America and anyone familiar with The Scoot Show and the blogs I write daily would not be so quick to call me a racist.

Almost daily, I receive text messages from listeners who blatantly accuse me of being a "N***** lover" or that all I do on my show is cater to "the blacks." One text last week said that Mayor Landrieu and my show "give" the blacks everything they want! I do a radio talk show and that person has elevated my show to a branch of the government! How absurd!

The main reason I was so infuriated by the Twitter trolls calling me a "racist" was because I realized how casually that word is used as a slur or a curse word or a quick way to take a cheap shot at an individual. It's time for more people to stand up and challenge the hateful labels some are so eager to use, especially in those cases where the word or term are used to unfairly define an individual.

There should be no doubt that baseless hate can come from the left just as quickly as it comes from the right.

Social media like Twitter and text lines have given prejudiced individuals with hate in their hearts a platform from which to spew their ignorant hate with the understanding that they are accountable to no one.

Over the years, I have received a lot of criticism because of my support of same-sex marriage and the idea of not stereotyping young black males – even though I was attacked by four young black males on a CBD street. And I have promoted equal pay for women. I have also been a champion on the air for not assuming that every Muslim is a terrorist. I have been accused of being every kind of liberal there is and that's why I was not going to stand by and not react to the senseless racist slur fired at me!

I have been called a lot of things and I realize that is part of my job, but it is time for us to absolutely call out those who are guilty of public cheap shots. It's only their opinion and often it is based on a hysterical reaction rather than the reality that defines an individual.

Before you call me, or anyone a "racist" – take pause to make sure they deserve it. And who knows – the next person you call a "racist' may not be as nice as I am!

Attempting to label me a "racist," after being physically attacked by four young, black males and refusing to stereotype all young, black males is blatantly unjustified!

And if my premise that instilling fear or seeking revenge against the white community by some African-Americans could never be a motive to be considered – then please explain to me why I was attacked by four young, black males – three of whom were laughing while the biggest one was punching me as I lie in the street and he patted my wallet and cellphone in my pockets but stole neither – explain to me what the motive might have been? What was the purpose of the attacking a lone white male walking down the street on his way to work?

Can you see the possibility that instilling fear could be a motive?
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Scoot: Was Patois restaurant robbery an act of revenge?

Imagine dining at an upscale restaurant in the exclusive uptown section of New Orleans at 11:00 pm on a Thursday night. Quiet conversations might have been about business, the kids or relationships.

Suddenly, the most civil of settings is interrupted by three gunmen wearing hoodies. It's an armed robbery and you have become a victim by doing nothing other than leading your peaceful, civil life.

Three gunmen walked into the upscale restaurant, Patois, Uptown on Laurel Street and robbed the patrons. In some cases, the gunmen pointed guns at the heads of diners, as they demanded money and other personal belongings. One can only image the fear felt by those who were there and how that experience will haunt them and maybe even cause some Uptowners to consider moving. And why? Because three thug punks target a restaurant where they believe people with money and expensive jewelry will be completely taken by surprise. It was an ambush!

The fact that an upscale restaurant in a predominantly white section of New Orleans was selected was not random. Not only were these three black gunmen looking for victims that would likely have money and expensive jewelry, but there was quite possibly a motivation for attacking whites in a setting that would strike fear in the white community.

The prevailing idea that whatever plight is faced by young black males in America can be entirely blamed on white America seems to have been adopted by many young blacks and part of the motivation may be a sense of retaliation or revenge.

Ironically, the victims in the armed robbery have probably contributed nothing to create the depraved mentality of the gunmen. If the gunmen were, in part, seeking to vent their frustration and anger over their positions in society, they should have targeted their own parents and their neighborhoods that subtly, over time, nurtured real-life monsters.

Generations of children having children, but not caring for or raising those children combined with a sense of hopelessness have greatly contributed to the disturbing proportion of crime in some neighborhoods in America.

If too many young parents have become parents as a result of submitting to the instinct to have sex with no thought of consequences and if a system supports and even encourages having babies as a career choice, should we be surprised that we have reached this point?

And if there are Americans who will have sex with no consciousness about the children they biologically create, then can we also assume they don't care about their children in the womb? I would image that there is extensive substance abuse during pregnancy in many cases. We know that a developing fetus can be physically and mentally effected by the over consumption of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Where are the studies of the life history and life patterns of today's young thugs?

The sense of entitlement reaches every segment of society and knows no socio-economic boundaries. Generations that have been raised on the premise that the government owes them something put themselves as a severe disadvantage.

On the affluent side of life, a sense of entitlement often comes from the benefits and expectations of wealth.

A sense of entitlement robs individuals of relying on own instincts and ambition to better themselves. Can you think about times in your life when you expected something to be given to you – something that you did not have to work for? A sense of accomplishment is lost when something is expected and given and it is the sense of accomplishment that builds the character of contributing citizens.

I fear that the entitlement mentality in America may have reached a point where some believe they are entitled to take what you have even if you worked for it and believe they are now entitled to instill fear in a community they falsely accuse for their position in life.

The power to instill fear in others yields a sense of power to those who have no ambition to gain power on their own.

But the anger and frustration are misguided when the victims are not as directly responsible as their own parents and neighborhoods.
 (24) Comments
Tags :  
Topics : Law_Crime
Social :
Locations : New Orleans
People : Paul Murphy




 

Scoot: Jared Fogle is a child pornographer; now what?

The wholesome face of Subway spokesman, Jared Fogle, is the face of a child pornographer!

Jared, who became a national spokesman for a major fast food franchise, is pleading guilty to child pornography and sex with minors. There were at least 14 victims – one as young as 6. Jared is pleading guilty to receipt of child porn and to one count of traveling to have sex with minors as young as 16. The minors were apparently teen prostitutes.

Jared FogleJared is a white male. Yesterday in our local news there was a story about a Gretna police officer arrested on child pornography charges. He is a white male. The overwhelming majority of those arrested on child pornography and child molestation charges appear to be white males. If it is justified to stereotype and judge black males or Muslims based on what we see on the news, is it fair to assume white males are sexual degenerates because "they" are the ones getting arrested?

Some will challenge this point-of-view claiming that I am defending "the Blacks" and "the Muslims." I consider this a case of simply recognizing the human tendency to harshly judge those who look differently from us.

I consistently talk about the flaw in judging black males or Muslims by the stories we see regularly on the news and if the majority of the child pornography stories on the news involve white males, then that should illustrate how unfair it is to judge groups by the stories that get attention on the news.

We innately defend those who look like us while being quick to judge others. As I white male, I don't want to be included in the stereotype of child pornographers and sexual deviants any more than I imagine black males or Muslims want to be judged by those within their group that commit horrific acts.

The first step toward righting a wrong is to recognize the origin of what is wrong. If human tendency makes it easy for us to judge others that we do not associate with, then we should all challenge ourselves to stop being quick to be judgmental. If we argue that we do not want to be judged by the behavior and actions of those who appear to others to be like us, then why are we guilty to the same judgment?

The human tendency to judge does not excuse the injustice.
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Topics : Law_CrimeSocial Issues
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People : Jared Fogle




 

Scoot: Archie Manning, Jimmy Buffet want Mississippi flag change

The recent crusade to remove the Confederate flag in 2015 is not part of a Northern Yankee liberal agenda. It was also supported by many, like myself, who are Southern natives.

Now, Archie Manning, Jimmy Buffett, author John Grisham and Morgan Freeman, all natives of Mississippi, have joined an effort to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag of Mississippi. All have signed a letter titled, "A Flag for All of Us," which states that "It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved."

Archie Manning played quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels when the Confederate flag and their mascot were offensive to many of their players and fans and many will disagree with Archie's position on the Mississippi state flag. And I'm sure there are many "Parrotheads" who completely disagree with Jimmy Buffett's insistence that the state flag is offensive.

Will anyone lose respect for Archie and Jimmy because of their position? Interestingly, many of those who were quick to criticize radio talk show hosts or TV hosts that condemned the Confederate flag may not launch the same harsh criticism against Archie and Jimmy.

When beloved celebrities take positions on controversial issues some allow themselves to see a different side of the debate, but others will still love and admire the celebrity and yet not change their opinion.

A willingness to accept the opinion of beloved celebrities without hating or condemning the person demonstrates how "hate" has become a common emotion in political debates. If one can disagree, but not hate Archie Manning or Jimmy Buffett for their support of removing the Confederate flag from the Mississippi state flag, then it is possible to disagree with but not hate others with differing opinions.
The growing tendency to condemn the person who expresses a different opinion on a controversial topic defies the basic respect we should all have for the spirit of the First Amendment.

Too often, hate becomes the key element in political debates. Passion is great – but not when it turns into hate for those who simply have a different opinion.
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Scoot: "Straight Outta Compton" is one powerful movie!

There is a generally held belief that rap/hip hop music inspires much of the violence that lives in the communities where the music has a high concentration of popularity. But does the genre inspire violent or negative behavior, or does it act more as a reflection of the violence and behavior that live in reality?

"Straight Outta Compton" was one of the movies that dominated the box office this past weekend and I would be surprised if the movie did not generate Academy Award nominations, including acting nominations.


The movie told the story of the controversial hip-hop group, N.W.A., which stands for "N***** With Attitudes." "Straight Outta Compton" is a biographical drama and even if you are not fan of the music, the movie is a compelling drama with excellent acting and direction and with N.W.A.'s hit song, "F*** the Police," deals with the sensitive issue of First Amendment rights.

Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E were among the creative forces behind N.W.A., but often with creativity comes chaos. N.W.A. was credited with telling the truth about violence in Compton, a rough area of Los Angeles and in particular, about the treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement and in one scene in the movie, even by a black cop.

The attitude by many in law enforcement toward young black males reflects the highly publicized news stories about white police officers using lethal, or in some cases questionable, tactics against young blacks.

The movie is honest about the backgrounds of some of the players and does not attempt to portray them as choirboys. If the lyrics of violence and contempt for law enforcement represent a reality in the black community and the lyrics are written by individuals who live that realty, then it's logical that the art imitates life. But we also see how life can imitate art.

Of all the characters, Dr. Dre was portrayed as an artist who understood, but did not want to be part of the real violence. When Ice Cube, known throughout the movie as "Cube," realized he was not being treated fairly by the record company, he took a baseball bat and literally destroyed the gold records in the office of the head of the company. And while you understood Cube's anger, violence should not have been the manifestation of that anger.

N.W.A.'s honest message about their world resonated with white America as well, and on tour in Houston in 1989, the audience was filled with young whites and blacks all singing their anti-establishment lyrics. N.W.A. tapped into a growing sentiment throughout America, even with suburban white youths.

Turmoil within the group led to Ice Cube's departure for a solo career and a battle ensured with Cube and N.W.A. using lyrics as bullets against each other in songs that became popular. At one point, Eazy-E suggested murder was a way of ending the lyric war.

One thing that stood out in the movie, "Straight Outta Compton," was the tendency to resort to physical violence to settle problems, which was what the artists knew as the only way to resolve conflicts. The music didn't inspire violence, but some of those who created the music were violent by nature.

Later in the movie, "Suge" Knight, the owner of a record company, joins the story and Dr. Dre starts a new record company with Knight. But Dre soon becomes critical of how "Suge" and his entourage are having fun while he creates the music.

Of all the characters in the movie, "Suge" Knight was the most violent. Knight is currently in jail held on a $10 million bond charged with murder. If his character were accurately portrayed in the movie, then no one would be surprised that "Suge" Knight might be in jail on a murder charge.

N.W.A.'s lyrics took on more meaning after the video of the Los Angeles Police officers beating Rodney King in 1991 and their message was the soundtrack for the attitudes that led to the L.A. riots after the 4 police officers were found "not guilty" of using excessive force.

Any music genre can become the music that leads the cheering crowd of any generation, but that does not mean the music is responsible for the crowd's behavior.

It's easy to blame rap/hip hop for real world violence, but doing so ignores the bigger issue of individual accountability for one's behavior. "Straight Outta Compton" showed that some of the artists came from violent backgrounds and their behavior before and after becoming stars did not change. But the music did not turn them or their audience violent.

Cheerleaders lead the crowd at a sporting event, but the cheerleaders are not responsible for the crowd's desire to cheer for their team to win – the crowd came to the stadium or arena with that attitude and the cheerleaders only reflected what they were already feeling inside.

"Straight Outta Compton" is an exciting drama with a lot of action, and for those who knwo nothing about the rap/hip hop culture, "Straight Outta Compton" is a lesson in sociology and explains the relationship between music and its audience.

Be warned: The running time of the movie is 2 hours and 27 minutes, but if they edited out the use of the N-word and the F-word – the movie would have been about 17 minutes!
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Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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Locations : HoustonL.a.Los Angeles
People : Dr. DreIce CubeRodney King




 

Scoot: Confederate statue controversy reflects divide in America

The debate over Confederate-era statues around New Orleans is as hot as the temperatures right now. The Historic District Landmark Commission and the Human Relations Commission both voted to recommend to the New Orleans City Council that four monuments be moved.

During the recent controversy over removing the Confederate flag that flew over the Capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu promoted the idea of removing the statues of Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle, Jefferson Davis on Jeff Davis Parkway, P.G.T. Beauregard at the beginning of City Park and the Battle of Liberty Place monument on Iberville from public view.

Mayor Landrieu seems to have made a controversy over something that was not previously part of mainstream conversations, but now, it is clearly a divisive debate in New Orleans.

Many have speculated that Landrieu is pandering to black constituents to secure his voting base for future elections. Only Mayor Landrieu knows for sure if he was motived by politics or a strong sense of equality, but the door of this debate has been opened and will not go away.

We've all heard the two primary arguments. One side argues that the statues are part of history and history cannot be rewritten to fit these politically correct times we live in. The other side argues that the statues represent repression of a race and serve as an offensive reminder of a terrible past. Who's right?

Both sides have legitimate arguments based on their perspective of life, but that doesn't mean that both sides are willing to look at the other side's point-of-view. And that is typical of so many of the passionate debates we have in America.

The first and biggest step toward uniting as a community and a nation is for both sides to understand that the other side has a point, even if it is a point that one disagrees with. Our opinions about politics and social issues are shaped by our specific perspectives of life and it's important to recognize that our perspectives are not the only way to view controversial issues.

It is true that the statues represent part of our history and history, by definition, cannot be rewritten. But the statues represent an oppressive part of our history and their presence is a daily, even if subconscious, reinforcement of that painful past.

It appears certain that the City Council will follow the recommendation of the Commissions and vote to have the statues moved to a museum setting. That decision will raise the very important question of how does a city that cannot afford to pay police officers and others what they deserve justify spending money to remove statues? Even those who argue that removing the statues is important would have to agree that removing the statues is merely a gesture in a city plagued by a rising murder rate. Perhaps money can be raised to pay for the removal of the statues so the city, itself, is not financing the project.

The controversy over removing the Confederate-era statues in New Orleans is a microcosm of the divide in America that is only perpetuated by such controversies.

Here's my perspective. If money can be raised for the removal project that does not tap into the city's budget, then the issue centers on the meaning and importance of the statues.

If the argument is that the statues represent history, our past, and should not be offensive to anyone because we have changed, then I could also argue that the absence of the statues should also not be offensive. Unfortunately, rigid positions of both sides fail to recognize the other side and each side is fighting as if removing the statues or keeping the statues represents some kind of victory for their ideology.

It's true – the statues represent our past and a past that can't be forgotten, but must be understood for the injustice it represented. No one today should view the statues as representative of who we are as a community or a nation. But while the statues should not be offensive, the absence of the statues should not be interpreted as offensive either.

And if the statues are removed, then where is the line drawn? Do we research everything everyone in history did or stood for? Surely, we can find negative things about the most honored heroes and positive things about the most hated. Do we change street names? Do people have their names legally changed? And the list goes on.

This controversy over the statues reflects the divide in America that prevents us from truly recognizing the past and moving on and living up to our name – the United States of America.

If the argument is that the statues should not be offensive, then the argument should be that the absence of the statues doesn't change anyone's Southern heritage or what lives in their hearts and minds.
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Scoot: Time for a "gut check" on the 2015 Saints

At this time last year, as the Saints prepared for the new season in the posh surroundings of The Greenbrier in the mountains of West Virginia, there was great optimism – not only in the WHO DAT NATION – but many in the national sports media were calling the Saints a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Last year ended with a 7-9 season and the Saints missed the playoffs.

As this new preseason begins tonight, it's time for a 'gut check' on the Saints for 2015. 'Gut check' is defined as an assessment of courage, character and determination.

One of the unknown variables with every team is injuries, and the Saints had their share last season. Injuries cannot be predicted, so based on the moves the Saints made in the offseason and the attitude of the coaches and the players so far, I have confidence in the Saints this season.

When the Saints appeared to be playing with a lackluster attitude, even during home games in the Dome, there was widespread criticism of the Saints moving their training camp to a resort in West Virginia, where the surroundings were luxurious and the temperature was pleasant. Was training camp not tough enough and was that the reason the Saints appeared complacent at times?

Saints Coach Sean Payton addressed that possibility when he said that there would be a new attitude and the players echoed that there would be a new sense of urgency at training camp this year. Today is the 46th consecutive day of temperatures in the 90s – the heat this summer has been brutal. It is logical to believe that the team will get more accomplished in their current environment than at their facility on Airline Drive.

Maybe the team was affected by training at a resort, but I don't think that will happen this year.

Last season, I saw the Saints play, even at home, without passion – almost as if they believed all the positive publicity from the local and national media. Knowing what I know about Sean Payton, I do not expect that to happen this season. Recognizing a fault is the first step toward correcting it and it appears that the Saints will not enter this season with any sense of complacency.

There is every reason to trust that the Saints front office and Coach Payton have made the moves they feel are necessary to build a winning season. The trade of TE Jimmy Graham shocked Saints fans and Drew Brees, but the team has made moves to build a potent offense without Graham.

New linemen, running backs and wide receivers and the return of players like Brandon Cooks and a new determination from Mark Ingram are signs that the Saints could have an explosive offense this season.
Last year, the Black and Gold defense was embarrassing and that did not go unnoticed by the Saints. Decisions were made to change the defense and there is reason for optimism on that side of the ball as well.
But let's remember that tonight's game is just the 1st preseason game and no one should get too excited or too discouraged with the outcome.

This 1st preseason game is similar to the early primaries in the presidential election. Those who do well in the early primaries will not necessarily be the ones who will make a serious run for the top spot. Preseason is a time for real football fans to pay close attention to the play of the players, especially the new ones. I realize we all care about the score – but the score is less important than the individual play of the players and the sense of organization of the team.

Enjoy the game, but we will all know a lot more about the Saints this season in the 3rd preseason game! At this point – I am very optimistic!
 (0) Comments




 

Scoot: Fox News and Trump kiss and make up

The Fox News Channel reached out to Donald Trump and Trump responded. That established a peace agreement of sorts between the two rivals. To describe the Fox News Channel and Donald Trump as "rivals" is contradictory to the ultimate mission of both, but it does explain how Fox used Trump for ratings, but Trump proved the power of being an independent spirit, even among Republicans.

There was no question that Trump, the candidate, was the star attraction for a Republican debate with 10 candidates over a year away from the general election. And yet, the Fox News debate attracted a record 24 million viewers, which is an astronomical audience for a cable news channel and especially for a debate.

From the opening of the debate, it was obvious that Fox News understood that Trump was the star and to satisfy the audience they wanted to demonstrate that he would be at the center of attention. Host Bret Baier opened the debate by asking which of the 10 candidates on the stage would make a pledge right there to not run as an Independent if he did not win the Republican nomination. That challenge was posed with the full knowledge that Donald Trump had made it clear on the campaign trail that he would consider running as an Independent. And following the script, Trump was the only candidate to raise his hand indicating that he would not pledge not to run as an Independent.

Fox News scored big because of the Trump factor. Trump was repeatedly put in the spotlight and baited with questions that tapped into all of the hot points that have led to his lead in the polls. Many argue that Megyn Kelly questioning Trump about how he addressed some women on his reality show, "The Apprentice," was an unfair question and criticized Kelly for asking it. Kelly says she will not apologize for doing "good journalism." I agree. I think the question was fair because it was an attempt to expose a candidate's attitude toward a dominant segment of voting America.

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog – I wonder how many of those critical of Kelly and Fox News would have deemed her question fair if it had been asked to a Democratic candidate during a debate?

Roger Ailes, the brilliant founder and CEO of the Fox News Network, opened a dialogue with Donald Trump to settle the tension between the two parties. Fox News needs Donald Trump. By reaching out to Trump, Fox News is also playing to their conservative viewers that support Trump and think the network did treat him unfairly. Remember, this is all about ratings!

At this point, Fox News needs Trump more than Trump needs Fox News because all of the networks have come to understand the attraction to Trump. Trump will get his exposure with or without Fox News.

But the reason Donald Trump is a hot media attraction right now is because of what he represents. What Trump represents is scaring the hell out of the media and the political establishment.

Trump's rise to political stardom is the direct result of America's growing contempt with the political system and the perception that the media is somehow a major partner. Every poll on the subject over the past few years shows an increasing distrust and disgust in politicians and the system.

By saying what he thinks without consideration of the political consequences, Donald Trump has tapped into America's disgust with "politics as usual" and because of that, Trump should now be taken seriously by everyone.

Trump has said things that would have destroyed the image of any typical candidate and the fact that people do not agree with what he says but agree with the idea that he says what he's thinking is what defines this campaign right now. And that also defines America in 2015.

On the other side, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a left-wing liberal, is attracting huge crowds for the very same reason. Sanders is not following the script of a traditional campaign and appears to represent an anti-political establishment sentiment. Over the weekend, Sanders drew 25,000 at a rally in Portland. That's a rock star-size crowd!

Though many on the right may think Donald Trump is too far out there to be elected and many on the left may think that Bernie Sanders is not electable either, both are demonstrating that the powerful voice of the American public is stronger than the political status quo.

Every other candidate running for president better figure out how to apply the Trump factor to their campaign if they hope to win the nomination and the general election in 2016.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders should be sending a message that is loud and clear – we are fed up the political establishment!
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Scoot: Is Trump too honest with his feelings to be President?

Donald Trump said he was not referring to Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly's menstrual cycle when he criticized the way she handled questioning him in the recent debate. "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes," he told Don Lemon on CNN, and then said, "blood coming out of her wherever." Maybe he's right. There are two parts to the process of communications – there is intent and reception, and often the two are completely different.

Trump may not have intended for us to receive his comment about Megyn Kelly as a macho-inspired putdown of a woman's menstrual cycle, but he should have been smart enough to understand that if he is condemning a woman who he perceives as acting in an uncharacteristic manner, there is the tradition of a man blaming a woman's behavior on the monthly shift in her hormones.

It is easy for comments to be taken out of context or completely misunderstood, but when a man is accused of making derogatory comments about women and his best attack of the woman accusing him includes a reference to "blood coming out of her wherever" – it should be assumed how that will be received. At best, you can say the Donald Trump thinks you and I are stupid! But during the debate Trump ranted about "stupid politicians."

Many of the Trump supporters who are coming to his defense agree that Megyn Kelly and the Fox News debate hosts were unfair and unnecessarily tough on the Republican candidates. Do you think any of those who accuse Fox News of unfairly targeting and attacking the candidates would have the same reaction if the candidates were all Democrats?

The negative reaction to the pointed questions asked by the Fox New debate hosts supports the idea that consumers of media are not as interested in fairness as they are in a bias toward the candidates and positions they support. There was at least a subconscious expectation that the hosts of the Fox News debate of the Republican candidates would do all they could to make the candidates shine in the national spotlight and not challenge them with questions and accusations that might expose faults or weaknesses to the national viewing audience.

That premise demonstrates that whether you consider yourself right, left, middle or independent, you tend to choose the media outlet that reflects your opinions rather than one that challenges them.

The diehard fans of the Fox News Channel honestly believe they are the most truthful and objective, while MSNBC is more biased toward the right. The dedicated viewers of MSNBC believe that Fox News promotes right wing ideology and is unfair to the left. Most people seek reassurance for their existing opinions.

In Diana Mutz's book, "Hearing the Other Side," she explores confirmation bias, which is the tendency to seek information that confirms preexisting hypotheses and discredit information that contradicts what is believed.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to challenge ourselves to think beyond what we have been conditioned to believe.
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People : Don LemonDonald Trump




 

Scoot: Fox News scored big with GOP debate

The Republican debate last night hosted by the Fox News Channel may have been technically defined as a political debate, but the audience in the packed arena made it feel more like a rock concert or a playoff game!

The debate was not fair to all candidates. Some were pushed into the spotlight more than others by the Fox News Channel moderators – Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier – and that was by design to add entertainment value to a political format that can be very dry and boring.

Of all the cable news networks, Fox News understands the "entertainment factor" of presenting news more than its competitors. An estimated 10 million people tuned in and watched the prime-time debate last night and that's over five times the normal Fox News viewing audience.



Fox News is known for its more conservative take on political and social issues, but I thought all of the moderators presented tough questions that challenged the Republican candidates.

Fox News purposely pitted candidates against each other and often asked one to address another. The intent to make the debate "entertaining" was obvious from the opening question when Bret Baier asked all the candidates if any would not take a pledge to not run as an Independent. Only Donald Trump raised his hand, which drew boos from the audience.

Trump has implied that if he does not win the Republican nomination that he will run as an Independent. Trump running as an Independent candidate would almost guarantee that Hillary Clinton or the Democratic candidate would win the general election.

Some candidates shined and others seemed to shrink in the spotlight. Ohio Governor John Kasich, who I said recently was an underdog to watch since he is a more moderate Republican, was one of the stars of last night's debate. Senator Marco Rubio increased his political equity - as did Dr. Ben Carson.

There was great expectation about how Donald Trump would perform in his first political debate and the reviews are mixed. I think that Trump advanced his popularity with those who are looking for a political renegade, but also exposed why his anti-political attitude is also a strong negative. Trump's exchange with Megyn Kelly on the subject of the degrading things Trump has said about women demonstrated that he does have an outdated view of women, who make up over 50% of the American voters.

Jeb Bush, one of the top Republican candidates in the polls, came off as tentative and weak. Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee both positioned themselves as true right-leaning conservatives, which will not enhance their chances in the general election. But the big loser last night seemed to be Senator Rand Paul, who took chances by going on the attack. Senator Paul's strategy was to stand out and he did, but unfortunately he did not handle the attacks and the counter comments in a positive way.

It's amazing that one performance can taint an entire candidate's image for the rest of a campaign and that may be what happened to Rand Paul last night. When a weakness is exposed during a debate, the public looks for opportunities to confirm their new image of a candidate. The other problem is that candidates often paint themselves further into a corner when they try to compensate for blunders.

The Republican debate on the Fox News Channel last night further confirms that news is entertainment, and no news outlet understands that better than Fox News. Many will criticize the debate format that allowed the audience to respond by applauding or booing, but that was precisely what made the debate compelling.

Asking humans to sit in an audience and not react to the emotions that politics stir in us is unnatural and actually distracts from the debate.

You may not like the idea that news is entertainment, but it is reality and I hope that any network hosting a political debate will learn from the way the Fox News Channel handled last night's debate.
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Scoot: Pope Francis boldly goes where no Pope has gone before

Pope Francis has once again boldly gone where no pope has gone before! Today, Pope Francis addressed an issue that is painful for many good Catholics who are divorced and remarried.

According to Catholic teachings, any Catholic who is divorced and remarried is not allowed to receive Communion, unless their previous marriage has been annulled. Divorced Catholics who are not remarried are welcome to take Communion. But today, Pope Francis said that divorced Catholics and their children deserve more compassionate treatment from the Church and should not be treated like they are excommunicated.

As a Catholic who has been divorced and remarried and is now single, this has always been a personal issue for me. Many Catholics may disagree with me and now Pope Francis, but condemning divorced Catholics who are remarried seems to contradict one of the fundamental teachings of the Bible and the Church – forgiveness.

We humans are not perfect and sometimes marriages fail. It's possible that a good practicing Catholic ends up divorced through no fault of their own and if they met someone, fell in love, and remarried, why should they not be welcomed to the table?

I enjoy going to church and I have asked forgiveness for my sins and my mistakes and I go to Communion. Many will argue that because of my views of certain hot-button issues, including welcoming divorced Catholics to Communion, I should not go to Communion, but for an imperfect church to judge an imperfect person seems hypocritical. There is a moment in the Mass before Communion when we all say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you." Isn't that an admission that we need not be perfect?

I have never understood why the Catholic Church has continued its long-standing judgment of divorced Catholics. I wonder if Catholic priests who were actively or passively involved in sex scandals receive Communion today. What may have been required of them? Confess their sins and they are welcome to Communion? Why would not the same rules apply to divorced Catholics?

And for those who argue that the Catholic Church should not change to fit the new norms of society, remember that the Church has made changes in the past. I hope no one is doing a bum rap in Hell because they ate meat on Fridays when that was considered a sin!
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Topics : Human InterestReligion_Belief
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Locations : Massachusetts
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Scoot: Comedian Amy Schumer advocates new gun laws

Comedian and actress Amy Schumer is supporting new gun legislation following the mass shooting in a Lafayette movie theater during the showing of her new movie "Trainwreck." The new bill is sponsored by her second cousin, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. Both spoke at a press conference yesterday in New York.

"People say, 'Well, you're never going to be able to stop crazy people from doing crazy things,' but they're wrong. There is a way to stop them," Amy said at the press conference.


The new gun legislation would attempt to improve an ineffective background check system by establishing monetary incentives for states that submit information to the federal database used to block sales to people with criminal records or with a history of serious mental illness.

The theater shooter, John Houser, bought a gun last year in Alabama because a background check failed to show that Houser had a history of psychiatric problems and was ordered to be held for a mental evaluation in 2008 after his family told law enforcement that Houser was dangerous.

Senator Schumer clarified that the new legislation is about improving background checks and does not place new restrictions on gun buyers.

Amy Schumer, who is known for her comedy on sexuality and gender inequality, was asked if she thought the gunman selected her movie because of his negative views of feminism and liberals. "I got about a million emails from friends telling me, 'It could have been any movie,' and I'm trying to believe that. But I'm not sure," Amy said. She said she expects criticism for her stance on supporting new gun legislation and "I've had death threats and a lot of hate directed toward me. But I want to be proud of the way I'm living and what I stand for."

In addition to establishing monetary incentives for states to report to federal databases, the legislation would also create penalties for failing to do so.

Legislation that attempts to fix a problem with background checks should not be labeled "gun control legislation," but there are already laws on the books that address this problem. New legislation is often nothing more than a superficial effort to make the voting public believe that politicians are actually correcting a problem.

The failure to report vital information about gun purchases to a federal database is the result of a dysfunctional government and I'm not sure incentives or penalties will address the issue of an already inefficient government.

Bureaucracies are intrinsically ineffective and the job complacency practiced by many government employees gives us little reason to believe that new legislation would inspire change within a system where change is not always celebrated.
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Scoot: Is the media to blame for Trump's popularity?

New polls continue to show that Donald Trump, a flamboyant businessman, is leading all Republican candidates in the race for the White House in 2016. In the face of gaffes on the campaign trail that would have taken down any other candidate, Trump defies conventional wisdom as he rises in the polls.

Trump, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are the only Republican candidates with double-digit numbers and seem to be distinguishing themselves as the top 3 leaders, according to the new Quinnipiac University poll. But one of the lower tier candidates, polling between 4% and 6%, is blaming the media for Trump's meteoric rise.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "If you [CNN] would give some other candidates time from eight in the morning to eight at night all day long for three weeks, I'm guessing some other candidates might rise as well." Rand went on to make his point saying, "So for example, while some people are hearing about one candidate all the time, very few people know I've offered a tax code, that you could fill out your taxes on one page (at) 14.5%." Then making his point about media coverage, Paul said, "So if I had a billion dollars' worth of advertising and every network going gaga over that, I think we could get our (poll numbers) to rise also."

Rand Paul is right, but the first question is "why is the media spending so much time covering the Trump campaign?" And the answer is – because that's what attracts an audience.

Perhaps the unfortunate reality of the news media is that the goal of news is to attract an audience. We may not want to admit this, but Donald Trump's outrageous style and persona are more interesting to more Americans than a discussion about tax reform or any of the more significant matters that really do impact our lives. So, is the media to blame, or is it the audience telling the media what they want?

The premise of the new news network Al Jazeera America is to present the news without bias or commentary and simply as facts. If you think about it, that premise is as un-American as the name of the network!

What we hate about the media is what we also celebrate about the media. American media exists and thrives in a free market without government intervention into political content, but it is the free market that makes the audience into the editors that decide which candidates and which stories get the most attention.


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Topics : Politics
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Locations : Kentucky
People : Donald TrumpJeb BushRand PaulScott WalkerWolf Blitzer




 
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