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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!"

Weeknights 8pm-Midnight

Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
Facebook: Scoot on the Air


Scoot: How the Pelicans can beat the Warriors

The city of New Orleans acted like a big-time NBA city Wednesday night when the Pelicans fought hard to beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-103 to advance to the NBA playoffs and take on one of the best team in the NBA – the Golden State Warriors this weekend!

The Smoothie King Center was packed and filled with the raw emotion of possessed Pelicans fans wildly cheering until the final tick of the clock because the win was never a guarantee against the defending NBA Champs!

During the season, the Pelicans struggled to draw big crowds in spite of having arguably the best player in the NBA in Anthony Davis. But in the final game of the season that would determine if the Pelicans had a ticket to the playoffs for the first time as the Pelicans, Anthony Davis led a team that was not to be denied.

The Pelicans enter the playoffs as the #8 seed and will face one of the elite teams in the NBA Saturday afternoon in Oakland. One of the biggest challenges the team and Coach Monty Williams face is more psychological than physical.

With the Pels eading by 23 at one point in the first half, the Spurs fought back and the outcome of the game Wednesday night was in doubt until the final few seconds. The Pelicans not only fought a physical battle, but also an emotional and psychological battle.

The defending NBA Champion Spurs roared back in the game and psychologically the Pelicans were challenged with remaining mentally tough until the end. Fighting an opponent mentally can drain a team as much as a physical battle and the most impressive aspect of the victory was the Pelicans winning that mental battle against a seasoned champion.

The fact that the game was intense on both the physical and the mental front made the victory and the trip to the playoffs this weekend even more celebratory!

The challenge now becomes how to use that impressive win over the Spurs to boost their confidence without it becoming so satisfying that the Pelicans lose their passionate edge.

This is a common challenge, not only in sports, but also in almost every aspect of life. In our daily lives, personally and professionally, we all must deal with the tendency to become complacent after experiencing the victory of reaching a major goal. It's human nature to celebrate a victorious milestone to the point of feeling satisfied. Therein lies the challenge.

Coach Monty Williams' message to his team must focus on how to use the final win to inspire the team rather than satisfy the team.

NBA Coach Phil Jackson was often called the "Zen master" because of his ability to get his teams to focus only on the moment at hand rather than past accomplishment. In any sport it is very difficult to repeat as champion the year after winning a championship and that speaks to the tendency to become satisfied by winning.

Phil Jackson won 11 NBA Championships – the most of any coach in NBA history. But what was most amazing is that with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson won three championships in a row. Under Jackson, the Bulls won the NBA Championship in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and Jackson led the Lakers to championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. To "threepeat" in any sport is an unprecedented accomplishment.

I always view sports as a metaphor for life and by following our favorite teams and players we can all learn about real life situations.

Most of the experts and NBA fans would be shocked if the Pelicans beat the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, but it is not an impossible task. The Pelicans have a top player in Anthony Davis who is playing with precision and passion and he is surrounded by players that compliment his innate talents. It is also fair to mention the human emotion of facing what you perceive to be an inferior opponent. It's conceivable the Warriors would take the Pelicans too lightly.

Yes, the Pelicans can beat the Warriors, but only if the coach and the team can use the win over the Spurs to build confidence and come to understand the "Zen zone" of sports and not allow themselves to be satisfied by what has been accomplished and look only toward what can be accomplished!
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Topics : Sports
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Locations : New OrleansOakland
People : Anthony DavisMonty WilliamsPhil Jackson




 

Scoot: Turns out that Marco Rubio loves rap music

Republican Senator Marco Rubio is considered to be one of the young, new faces of the Republican Party. Rubio is 43 and a first term senator with a great American success story as the son of Cuban immigrants.

As the Republican candidates line up in their fight for the nomination, each candidate will espouse the beliefs and ideology that they believe will most resonate with voters.

Marco RubioSenator Rubio has been open about his appreciation of rap/hip-hop music and many of the artists of the genre. If country music is traditionally considered the most popular music among conservative Republicans, then rap and hip-hop might be considered the least popular.

Senator Rubio has said he has admiration for Eminem and Tupac and once said that N.W.A.'s song, "Straight Outta Compton" was one of his favorite songs. This morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Rubio said he's a big fan of Nicki Minaj and personal friends with Pitbull. Asked if Pitbull would be at his campaign announcement, Rubio said that the artist had a scheduled trip to China. That begs the question – will Pitbull join Rubio on the campaign trail?

It may be hard to believe at times, but politicians are people, too! We should all assume that politicians, like everyone else, have their favorite music genres and artists. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who may be close to announcing he is running for president, is known for his appreciation of Bruce Springsteen. And maybe Christie likes "The Boss" for his music and not just because he is a New Jersey native. Senator Ted Cruz, who was the first Republican to announce his candidacy, said that he became a fan of country music after 9/11.

I don't recall any prominent Republican candidate being a rap/hip-hop fan – until Marco Rubio. As president, Obama has referenced the music of rap/hip-hop and the artists and he and the First Lady allow their daughters to listen to rap/hip-hop. I don't like to generalize, but it seems unusual for a Republican presidential candidate to be a rap/hip-hop fan! That may not be my favorite music, but I love when stereotypes are shattered.

But here is the dilemma for Senator Rubio and it is worth watching this because it might just reveal a lot about how politicians abandon what they really believe and tell potential voters what they think the voters what to hear.

Will Rubio use the music he likes during his campaign? Or, will he set aside his personal choice and associate his campaign with music that is more commonly appreciated by the greatest number of conservative Republicans?

The ugly underbelly of politics is coated with deception. Politicians will adopt positions on issues that appear to reflect their true personal feelings, when their public positions are fabricated to attract the largest number of voters.

I don't believe that every politician who opposes abortion in all circumstances would not allow their teenage daughter or someone close to them to have the option to choose. Former VP Dick Cheney was well-known for his strong opposition to same-sex marriage, but no longer in office, Cheney publically embraced the marriage of his lesbian daughter.

It's hard to believe that there are not Southern Democrats who politically support gun control, extensive entitlements and other issues for the sake of representing their voters, even if those positions differ from their personal beliefs.

The game of politics – and make no mistake it is a game – encourages hypocrisy over honesty and for that reason I think it will be interesting to observe Senator Rubio's choice in music during his campaign. If Rubio does distance himself from his appreciation and admiration of rap/hip-hop and some of the artists, I'm certain his excuse will be that he has grown out of that stage. But has he?

My appreciation in certain types of music has been relatively consistent over the years and I assume your taste in music is mostly consistent, as well. I have always loved new music and have quickly embraced it, but there is still a common denominator in the type of music that has always moved my spirit.

We should pressure politicians to be true to their beliefs and not be so quick to change or hide their true feelings simply to appease voters – us.

If you like what Senator Rubio stands for politically – I hope you support him even if he likes a type of music that you loathe.

And if the Republican Party is struggling to attract younger voters, maybe a Republican candidate that appreciates rap and hip-hop is a move in the right direction!
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Scoot: Senator Rand Paul may be dangerous to both parties

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) blamed both parties for the state of our nation as he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Sounding more like an Independent than a Republican, Senator Paul officially opened his presidential campaign by condemning Democrats and Republicans. Paul said that under both parties, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. He talked about work ethic and said that work is not punishment.

Republican candidates like Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Bobby Jindal, are blatantly playing into the hands of the Religious Right and the more conservative base of the Republican Party, holding the belief that it will take a very conservative, not moderate, Republican candidate to win the White House in 2016. And so the battle for the soul of the Republican Party begins!

The Presidential Election of 2016 will be a defining moment for the Republican Party. As many conservative Republicans work to pull the party to the right – many voters that felt disenfranchised by the influence of the party's conservative base will feel they are not welcomed back to their party.

Younger voters, women and minorities helped elect and re-elect President Obama and following the defeat in 2012, many Republican leaders, including Gov. Jindal, declared the need for major change with the direction of the party.

Churches in Iowa are already opening their doors to be courted by Republican candidates and expect to have direct influence on some candidates' policies, especially regarding social issues. Pastor Brad Sherman from the Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville, Iowa said, "I'm concerned that the truly conservative base will get split up so many ways and we'll end up with a moderate."

Some of Iowa's prominent pastors who get heavily involved in shaping the messages of politicians have bragged about uniting behind Senator Rick Santorum in 2012 and saw his popularity rise. In 2008, the support of evangelical churches in Iowa were part of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's success. But why would these churches promote that they had influence over two candidates that had no real shot at winning the Republican nomination?

Expect a political earthquake within the Republican Party during this upcoming presidential campaign. In many ways, the stage is set for the Republican candidate to win the White House in 2016, but not if the party rallies behind a right-leaning candidate that promotes a religious agenda that heavily depends on exciting voters over social issues.

Senator Rand Paul should be a serious threat to his Republican challengers and to the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Paul is a libertarian-leaning Republican and that will make his message very attractive to many of the voters who have joined the exodus away from the party.

Two major challenges for Rand Paul are his support from the Tea Party, which is viewed by many mainstream Republicans as too far right - and his foreign policy image. Paul's father, Congressman Ron Paul, has projected an isolationist strategy. Rand Paul has not been so extreme on that issue, but will need to assure voters that he will have a strong foreign policy as ISIS continues to define the political landscape in America.

Every poll shows that the great majority of the American people are disgusted with the status quo of political parties and he is wise to present himself more as an Independent who is a Washington outsider. Hillary Clinton will have to battle the perception that she represents the political establishment and Rand Paul is in a position to make her appear more of a Washington insider.

It is almost an eternity until the political conventions next year and a lot can happen to change the political climate - but right now, Senator Rand Paul is smart to position himself as a candidate who wants smaller government – not only fiscally – but also in the area of individual freedoms.

One of Rand's campaign themes is defeating the political machine and unleashing the American dream. Of course, we all know that every candidate starts out with grandiose ideas and promises and no voter should blindly follow any candidate. They will all tell us what they think we want to hear to win an election realizing that once in office voters rarely seem to hold elected officials accountable for their actions – or lack thereof.

It has always been the more extreme factions of any group that attract the most media attention and that's why it's time for the silent moderate majority to speak out and demand that the extremes of either party are defeated!

Share your thoughts and comments with me: Scoot@WWL.com

Photo via Michael Vadon, Flickr
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Scoot: Media frenzy over religious freedom laws continues

The continuing frenzy over the new religious freedom laws is not the result of the liberal media, and is certainly not a liberal "lynch mob" as conservative Newt Gingrich says. The attention to these new laws is the direct result of Americans reacting to laws that protect businesses that want the right to discriminate against the LGBT community based on their religious beliefs. It's 2015 and sad that this is even an issue.

This week, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana proudly signed the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Immediately, there was condemnation of the new law from top corporations like Apple and Angie's List to the NCAA, which is holding the Final Four in Indianapolis this weekend. Following the harsh criticism of the state and the call to ban future sporting events from the state, Governor Pence held a press conference and requested that the state legislature make changes to the new law so that it does not discriminate against the LGBT community.

Since yesterday, the media frenzy over this controversial issue has been fueled by more action on the part of those who think it is the American way to allow religious beliefs to justify discrimination.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said he would sign the state's newly passed religious freedom bill, but then "crawfished" his way back to saying he wants changes in the law.

Republican Newt Gingrich said that the opposition to the religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas are an example of a liberal "lynch mob."

A family-owned pizza parlor in Indiana publically announced that they are vowing to reject serving gay weddings because they are a "Christian establishment."

It is almost laughable that politicians and citizens are defending the new religious freedom laws by saying the laws do not allow discrimination against the LGBT community. Well, if that's the case – then what are the laws actually designed to do? I have yet to hear an intelligent answer to the question.

It is clear that the motive behind passing religious freedom laws is to protect businesses that refuse to do business with members of the LGBT community from discrimination lawsuits. That reveals that the laws do allow discrimination. Why are those who support these laws seemingly unwilling to admit that yes, the laws do allow discrimination. And if they don't, what do the laws do?

To further accentuate the irrational ignorance surrounding the issue of gay rights, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is arguing that his state's ban on same-sex marriage is not discriminatory because it applies to straight people too! That is not a misprint – that's what Governor Beshear said to justify the law. Hey, governor – "straight people" don't marry members of the same sex. Those who do are "gay people."

Rather than learning from our past, too many Americans are looking for reasons to discriminate and the last resort seems to be the use of religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is a precious right in America and the strategy for opposing gay rights is based on the idea that if a Christian business is not allowed to discriminate against the LGBT community based on their religious beliefs, then Americans are losing their right to freedom of religion.

To refuse to do business with the LGBT community based on one's religious beliefs is obnoxiously hypocritical unless a business refuses to do business with any sinner. Why pick and choose the sinners you serve? And who could even serve themselves?

From what I know about Jesus in the Bible – I cannot bring myself to believe that Jesus would refuse to do carpentry work for someone based on their sexual orientation. Were not those suffering from leprosy banished from society? Did Jesus reject them?

It seems obvious that Jesus set countless examples of inclusion that are being ignored today. And those ignoring His examples are the ones who are most loudly thumping their Bibles!

Since Arkansas is now working to pass a religious freedom law I wonder if the state will no longer be considered for the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the NBA All-Star game – oh wait…I guess they don't have much to lose!

Comments? Email me.

Scoot@WWL.com
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Scoot: Could an American flag T-shirt incite violence?

Our Founding Fathers would never have envisioned a day when wearing an American flag T-shirt at a school on American soil would be considered an act that could cause disruption. Welcome to America – 2015!
 
Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not take up a major First Amendment case involving free speech and a school in California.  The Court let stand a ruling that supported the decision by officials at Live Oak High School near San Jose to ban students wearing American flag T-shirts to school.
 
The controversy erupted on May 5, 2010 – Cinco de Mayo – which, in California and some parts of the country, is more than an excuse to drink, party and leave work early to hear your favorite band.  For Mexican Americans in places like California, Cinco de Mayo is considered a day of pride and a day to honor their ethnicity.
 
On Cinco de Mayo 2010, three high school students defied a school request not to wear American flag T-shirts to school on that day because that might incite students of Mexican heritage.
 
School officials believed the threats of violence against the students wearing the American flag T-shirts were real and the shirts should be banned for the safety of all students.
 
The three high school students charged school officials with violating their First Amendment rights to express their political opinions by wearing the T-shirts and sued the school.  A federal judge tossed the suit out saying the school officials had a “reasonable forecast” that the American flag T-shirts “could cause a substantial disruption” on the school’s campus.  That decision was upheld by a federal appeals court and by not hearing the case, the Supreme Court let stand the federal appeals court decision.
 
The lawyers for the three students in their suit against the California school cited a landmark decision about students protesting the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.
 
In the case of Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District in 1969, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of students who were suspended for wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War.  The Court ruled that school officials must respect the freedom of speech of students as long as the expression is silent, passive and does not cause disruption.
 
But the lawyers for the California school district used the same Supreme Court ruling to argue that the Tinker ruling gives school districts the authority to restrict the free expression of students if they fear a reasonable chance of disruption, which was the school’s belief.
 
The question is whether school officials correctly identified the threat of “reasonable disruption,” or if the threat was used to appease the high school students of Mexican heritage.
 
Attorney Robert Muise, who represented the students in California told Yahoo News, “It is far better in our civilized society to teach students about the First Amendment and why we tolerate divergent views than to suppress speech.”
 
I agree that students have a right to freedom of speech, but if schools have reasonable concern that student expression will lead to violence, then should the schools be allowed to make that determination?
 
I think it is also fair to point to the possible motive of the three students that challenged the school’s request not to wear American flag T-shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo.  Since that day carries so much pride and emotion for many students in a state with a heavy Hispanic population, like California, did the students decide to wear the American flag T-shirts for the purpose of taunting and inciting students of Mexican heritage?  If that was the motive of the students, then their actions could be considered antagonistic.
 
This case is a reminder of how divided we are in America.  A nation built on a concept of freedom and a nation supported by a Constitution that guarantees that freedom and diversity coexist, should not be a nation that is intolerant of certain groups of people.  I question whether the students would have worn American flag T-shirts on St. Patrick’s Day to make sure anyone Irish realized they were in America.  Fear and paranoia about some groups, like Hispanics, is irrational and un-American.
 
But it is also fair to consider that any students of Mexican heritage should be secure enough with their heritage to not allow the sight of an American flag T-shirt to have any impact on pride in their heritage.
 
Our Founding Fathers would never have envisioned a day when wearing an American flag T-shirt in school on American soil would be inappropriate, but our Founding Fathers would never have envisioned a day when people in America were so intolerant of each other.
 
We have a lot of work to do to live in a nation that embodies the spirit of everything America is supposed to stand for!
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Topics : Education
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Locations : CaliforniaSan Jose
People : Robert Muise




 

Scoot: Who is buying the Strawberry Fest poster?

By declaring the 2015 Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival poster racist, the NAACP and community leaders started a controversy that has fueled sales and the poster sold out before the festival even began.  Also, more posters have been ordered for sale off the festival grounds and online. 
 
If the goal of any festival poster is to sell as many copies as possible, then it is almost as if those who publically condemned the poster as racist and fought to have it banned from the grounds of the Strawberry Festival were working with the artist and the festival to increase sales.  But that was obviously not the motive of the NAACP and others who were offended by the image of two faceless black children carting strawberries.
 
Many people, both black and white, saw the poster as artistic expression that not only captured current day innocence, but also represented a time-honored style of black African art. 
 
Others said the poster was racist and should be banned from this year’s Strawberry Festival.  Initially, festival officials refused to honor requests to cease the sale and the display of the poster, but following a meeting with the NAACP and others who opposed the poster, festival officials apologized for the poster and announced the poster would be banned from being sold at the festival and would also not be on display this year’s festival.
 
Reaction to the decision by the officials drew both applause and criticism.  Those who considered the poster to be racist were happy it would not be sold or displayed at the festival and felt victorious that their objections led to the banning of the poster.  But many more were blatantly displeased with what they defined as the festival bending to pressure to censor art.
 
On the air, I received calls from both sides, but many of the calls critical of the decision to ban the poster were from callers who were African-American and saw the poster as a legitimate piece of art and not racist at all.
 
If the poster was declared racist and if that has led to the poster selling out and now more posters are being printed, then who is buying the Strawberry Festival poster?  Are they racists?  Or, are they appreciative of art – art that became more valuable as a result of the controversy?
 
The nature of art combined with the protected freedom of expression in America encourages controversy.
 
In the summer of 1989, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC displayed some of the artwork of controversial artist Robert Maplethorpe.  The works included art with homoerotic and sadomasochistic themes.  Conservative groups and politicians condemned the art as pornographic and a controversy over the National Endowment for Art exploded.
 
Liberals generally argued that art is art and attempts to ban art considered by some to be too erotic was declared to be a form of censorship.
 
If there are liberals supporting the banning of the Strawberry Festival poster, then they must not have defended the Maplethorpe exhibit as art.  And if there are conservatives supporting the artwork and display of the Strawberry Festival poster, then they must have argued that the homoerotic art of Maplethorpe is art and should not be censored just because it is offensive to them.  But I seriously doubt either is the case, which exposes the great hypocrisy in America.
 
The role that freedom of expression plays in American society discourages the support of censoring art – even art that is offensive to others.
 
So, who is buying the Strawberry Festival poster – racists or lovers of art?  Or, might some buy the poster as a way of denouncing censorship?
 
I would speculate that the great majority of people buying the festival poster are either appreciative of how controversy can increase the value art or are appreciative of the art itself or have been inspired to make their purchase a statement against censorship.  Or, perhaps all three reasons are igniting the red-hot sales of the poster.
 
Art is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something that is created with imagination and skill and is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or emotional feelings.”  There is not question that the poster for the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival fits the definition of “art.” 
 
And explain to me again what is the argument that “art” should be censored?
 (9) Comments


 

Scoot: Baby Boomers' fight for equality got lost along the way

The Baby Boomer generation rebelled against the Establishment through the 1960s and became known as the “anti-establishment” generation, standing up for equality, protecting the environment, which at the time was referred to as the “ecology.”  We were a generation that was deeply concerned about the population explosion and predictions that America would become overpopulated, and that there would simply not be enough food to feed all of the people.

Today in 2015 – the original “anti-establishment” generation is the new Establishment.  Overpopulation is not the issue it was projected to be and America isn’t suffering from a lack of food – America is experiencing an obesity epidemic.  Many of those who once promoted concern for the environment now denounce the dire predictions about climate change.

But the most striking contradiction between that generation then and now is the change in attitudes about equality.  Today’s Establishment generation was once the generation that condemned segregation and judgment based on skin color, religion or sexual orientation.  Now, that generation has equated the right to judge others as a freedom of expression issue.

Today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) signed a religious freedom bill into law. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows individuals or businesses the right to discriminate based on religious beliefs.  The popular idea of using freedom of expression as justification for discrimination seems to be abuse of the First Amendment.

Indiana may be the most recent state to grant religious freedom as legal protection for discrimination, but other states have joined this effort. States can pass laws, but any laws that are unconstitutional will ultimately be null and void and will prove to have been a waste of the taxpayers’ dollars in those states.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows individuals and businesses to refuse to do business with the LGBT community, as well as Muslims, blacks, Hispanics and others.

Businesses in the free enterprise system of America benefit from doing business in America in many ways.  Laws attempt to keep the marketplace safe and fair.  General police protection and infrastructure are other benefits of doing business in America.

When the fight for racial equality reached a milestone in the mid-60s with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, many Americans were taught that majority opinion does not trump the rights granted to individuals.  A majority in the South may have fought equal rights, but lost that fight, too, because a majority cannot vote or rule to strip individuals of their rights.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Baby Boomer generation prided itself on demands for equality.  Going dancing at a gay club on Bourbon Street was common among heterosexual couples.  Why has that same generation been an integral part of the crusade against gay rights?  That generation has evolved into a generation that is known for opposing gay rights and judging anyone straight person who dares go to a gay bar to dance.

Frustration over the continuing losses in the battle to stop gay rights and same-sex marriage has led to desperate attempts to invoke freedom of religion as a fundamental right to discriminate against others.

This is not the America I learned about growing up and this is not the America I knew during the impressionable years of coming-of-age during the 60s.  And ironically, the generation that fuels the fight against issues of equality is the generation that once proudly fought the Establishment for greater equality.

I haven’t changed – have you?  This is why I continue to call myself a “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer Generation.”   Care to join me?
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Topics : Social Issues
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Locations : Indiana




 

Scoot: Lawmaker compares police in America to ISIS

When state legislatures are in session across the country this time of year, there are always comments made by lawmakers that spark controversy.  State lawmakers are notorious for saying things and proposing legislation that is beyond controversial – it is often just stupid! 

Maybe state lawmakers suffer from what is known as “political envy.”  Some seem to wish they were bigger and more important than being a state lawmaker, so they propose grandiose ideas that can range from ridiculous to truly inflammatory.

During a legislative hearing last Friday, Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers compared police in America to ISIS - he said that if he decided to carry a gun, “I’d want to shoot him [police officer] first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do.” 

A state senator could not possibly justify shooting a police officer before asking questions and would have a difficult time drawing any logical comparisons between police in America and the Islamic terrorists known for beheading innocent people.  So, one must assume that Nebraska Senator Chambers was simply trying to get attention with his absurd comments.

Sadly, there will be those who do not consider Chambers’ comments absurd and agree that American citizens are terrorized by police every day.  Chambers also said, “The police are licensed to kill us – children, old people.”

Today is the first day I have seen the story about Chambers’ comments and interestingly, on this very day, there are two stories in the news that demonstrate why police officers have an instinct to protect themselves – and sometimes that means the use of lethal force.

In San Jose, CA, a police officer was shot and killed when he responded to a call about a man threatening to commit suicide.  Upon arriving at the man’s home, the police were met with rapid gunfire and 14-year veteran officer Michael Johnson was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

There is another story in the news today about a young Wisconsin trooper who was shot and killed in a shootout with a bank robbery suspect.  Both of these cases should be a reminder that law enforcement officers never know when they will be a target.  When there are altercations with citizens, every police officer must consider that he or she might be shot during an encounter with a suspect.

It’s easy for citizens to view video tape of confrontations with citizens and second guess whether the officer really needed to use lethal force, but at the moment of many of these encounters any officer must vigilantly assume that the citizen may be armed.  That reality would set up certain actions by officers that may not be obvious to the public that only sees how the situations play out.

There are police officers who wear a badge for the wrong reasons.  Some police officers totally abuse their power and position in society and no one should excuse their abusive behavior, but police officers are targets and do have a right to protect themselves as they protect all of us.

The recent high-profile confrontations between police and citizens that many say are examples of blatant police abuse did not involve officers entering a person’s home or private surroundings and confronting an individual.  Those cases that have attracted so much media attention resulted because of the behavioral actions of the citizens.

The Justice Department investigation that yielded no reason to file charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson may not fit the script of the political agenda of some, but it does raise the issue that Michael Brown’s behavior contributed to the confrontation with police in the first place.

The case of the 17-year-old from Reserve, LA, who was beaten during a physical confrontation with a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy is a perfect example of how behavior often impacts how law enforcement deals with different situations. 

The 17-year-old was white.  If he had been a 17-year-old black male the media would be dominated with the angle that the teenager was beaten by the deputy because he was black, rather than focus on the fact that his behavior toward police put him in that situation.

Since an investigation into that incident continues, it is unfair to completely defend or condemn the deputy’s actions.  There remains the question of whether the deputy beat the teen beyond a point of being able to restrain and arrest him.  But one thing is for sure – the incident probably would never have happened IF the teenager had not been extremely intoxicated and appeared eager to confront police.

When Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers compared police in America to ISIS and said that police terrorize us as people daily and ISIS does not, that suggests the behavior of individuals does not contribute to confrontations with police in America.

All police are not innocent of abusing citizens – but all police are also not guilty of abusing their power when encountering belligerent citizens.

While there are exceptions – if citizens act in a civilized manner and respect police – the chances of being the victim of police brutality drops drastically.

 
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Scoot: Sub-human criminals ambushed pizza delivery driver

What kind of person would call to have a pizza delivered to create an opportunity to shoot and kill the pizza delivery driver for whatever money he was carrying?  When you try to answer that question, you are struck with the harsh reality that there are people in New Orleans neighborhoods do not even qualify as human.
 
Police responded to a shooting just before 1:00 am Tuesday morning and discovered a 36-year-old Domino’s pizza delivery driver shot in his car in the 6100 block of North Roman Street.  The driver, who was shot multiple times, was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
In September of last year, just six months ago, a Domino’s delivery driver, 35-year-old Richard Yeager, was shot and killed in the 2800 block of St. Louis Street.
 
Police are collecting clues, looking for suspects and a motive in the shooting early this morning.  There are countless murders in New Orleans throughout the year, but the idea of ambushing a delivery driver by calling to order a pizza seems particularly evil.  The mentality of any person who would commit this type of crime is hiding in a body that only appears to be human.
 
Calculated crimes of this nature cannot be blamed on the lack of jobs or the lack of education.  The human-like beings that roam neighborhoods looking for innocent prey are the result of submitting to random sexual urges with no conscience about the possible results.
 
In addition, the U.S. government has created a system that rewards those who have no ability to control their sexual urges.  Two individuals were responsible for the sex act that brought every suspect and every murderer into the world.  Individuals were also responsible for ignoring their role in raising the young individuals that became suspects or murderers.  And this trend will only stop when that problem is defined AND addressed by politicians and communities.
 
Murders rarely occur in a vacuum and often people know who committed what crimes, and yet, there is a silence that allows the murderers to fester in neighborhoods where innocent people live.
 
Within the last two weeks, NOPD has partnered with Domino’s for a “Get Behind the Badge” campaign, designed to promote the idea of citizens choosing to become NOPD officers.  A message about joining the force is placed on pizza boxes. 
 
Since the pizza delivery driver had little money on him at the time of his murder, it’s only fair to wonder if retaliation against NOPD could have been a motive.
 
A 36-year-old man who was trying to earn an honest living by delivering pizzas late at night is dead because of a sense that with a gun you can take whatever you can get from others.  It’s an entitlement mentality.
 
The difference between the 36-year-old delivery driver and the person or persons who literally ambushed him for very little cash is that the delivery driver understood the fundamental concept of a civilized society that you work for what you receive in life. 
 
The suspect(s) have been taught, directly or indirectly, by parents and society, that if you don’t have what you want – you can just take it.  Along with a life in the process.
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Scoot: Is Ted Cruz too far to the right?

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has become the first Republican to officially announce that he is a candidate for the 2016 presidential election.  Between now and the end of the summer, as many as 11 other potential candidates for the Republican nomination are expected to announce their candidacies, including Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who says he will wait until June to make his announcement.
 
Let the political games begin!  Senator Cruz has been a Tea Party favorite and ideologically aligns more with right-leaning Republicans than with moderates or the Republican Establishment.  Cruz gained national attention when he was key player in the partial shut down of the federal government in 2013, but even some strong conservatives lamented that the stunt was ill-advised.
 
 Winning the most devout base of the Republican Party could be the strength for the more conservative candidates like Senator Cruz, but Republicans want to win the White House, and that’s where the debate over the party nominating a conservative or a moderate candidate gets interesting.
 
Many conservative Republicans argue that past candidates known to be moderate politicians, like Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney lost to the Democratic candidate because they were not conservative enough.  But a closer look at history will show that Dole, McCain and Romney were pushed to the right by the Republican Party and social issues became part of the campaign.  All of this was done in an effort to appease right-leaning Republicans. If each of those Republican presidential candidates had been allowed to adhere to their moderate stances on issues – they would have had a better chance of winning.
 
Modern political history shows that candidates for both parties with a more moderate image win the White House. Strong right-wing or left-wing candidates have not been winning the general elections. 
 
Many argue that Ronald Reagan was a strong right-wing Republican, but the elections of 1980 and 1984 reflected a different political time and it’s logical to think that if Ronald Reagan were a Republican candidate today, he would campaign as a moderate candidate. Reagan attracted so many Democratic voters that they were given a name – “Reagan Democrats.” 
 
In 1984, Reagan’s Attorney General Ed Meese launched an intense investigation of pornography in America, which some felt was a political kickback to the Religious Right for supporting Reagan in his reelection.  That was a sign that the Religious Right was not always totally enamored with Reagan.
 
The investigation on pornography was essentially a witch-hunt and some of its findings were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
During the campaign of 84, Reagan had fallen well behind his Democratic opponent Senator Walter Mondale, but Mondale was a weak candidate and Reagan won reelection.
 
George W. Bush ran for president as a “compassionate conservative,” suggesting a moderate stance.  Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both appeared as moderate Democrats during their campaigns, but arguably, both moved to the left once they were secure in office.
 
Contrary to the attention the right and left attract in the media, America is dominated more by moderate-thinking voters than by voters with more extreme views.  However, the more moderate voters do not get the same attention from the media.
 
There is also a growing number of independent voters, many of whom declare their political independence out of disgust for both Republicans and Democrats.
 
A lot can happen with candidates and with America between now and the presidential election in November of 2016.  It’s too early to say anyone doesn’t have a chance, but America’s more recent political history has been written by the collective moderate voters and at this point, there is no reason to believe that the election of 2016 will be any different.
 
The Republicans routed the Democrats in the mid-term elections last November and it should be noted that social issues were not a major part of the campaigns run by Republicans.
 
Modern history supports the idea that Americans are usually in the mood for change after two terms in the White House, and after eight years of President Obama, the stage is set for a Republican to win in 2016.  There are also signs in pop culture reminiscent of the 80s, when Reagan won two terms in office.
 
But if candidates like Ted Cruz, make social issues a major part of their campaigns and if the Republican nominee appears to be running for Chief of the Moral Police in America – the Democrat should win the White House.
 
The question remains – will the Republican Party’s base support a moderate nominee in 2016?
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