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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
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Scoot: Saints are #1 - at least for the moment

In the Bizarro World of the NFC South – the Saints lost 4 straight games at home in the dome and have won again on the road!
Last night, the Saints beat the Bears in the cold, wet setting of Soldier Field in Chicago 31-15! With that victory the Saints regain first place in the NFC South with the Falcons and the Bucs still to come. So, if the Saints beat the Falcons in the dome and the Bucs on the road in the final two games of the season – the Saints will host the first playoff game at home in the dome! Unbelievable!

Many are discrediting the Saints' win last night, attributing it more to the Bears losing than to the Saints winning. It's true – the Bears are a terrible NFL team this season – but they are still an NFL team. I listening to the game on WWL last night, but also listened to the Monday Night Football broadcast team of Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico.

While it is common for those in the national sports media to dismiss the Saints – last night, Jon Gruden praised Drew Brees and his performance against the Bears. Gruden described Brees' accurate passing and his athletic ability to elude the Bears' defense when the pocket collapsed. At one point, Gruden said that Brees' athleticism is often downplayed. I know Gruden and Payton are friends – but I respect Jon Gruden and do not think he would embarrass himself in a national broadcast for the sake of pandering the Payton.

I think the Saints deserve credit for an excellent performance last night!

I am wondering if Sean Payton's individual meetings with about 10 of the players had an impact on the team's attitude. Former Saints offensive lineman Steve Korte has said that coaches always have meetings with individual players - but I do get the feeling that the embarrassing loss at home to the Panthers last weekend instilled a sense of urgency in the coach and his team.

The performances against the Bears and the Steelers on the road prove that the Saints – as a team – have not been psyched for every game this season. Essentially, the same team that was humiliated at home against the Panthers went to Pittsburg and to Chicago and won. The up and down performances of the Saints this season point to a lack of mental preparation for games the Saints were expected to dominate.

Saints offensive lineman Zach Strief talked about the pre-game locker room attitude as a predictor of whether the Saints would win or lose and that exposes attitude as a key factor for winning.

After the game in Chicago – ABC News quotes Brees saying, "The tendency after success is to relax, and it's not time to relax." All season – I have felt as if the Saints believed the positive media reports about them and in the recent losses in the dome – it appeared as if the Saints thought they would win just because they are the Saints at home in the dome. The list of teams providing the answer to the question, "Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints at home" has grown. Especially, last week, the Saints were expected to dominate a Panthers team and from the beginning of that game it appeared the Saints expected to win.

The Saints have had opportunities to rewrite the script for this season and each time have failed to finish the new chapter. The Monday night thrashing of the Bears in Chicago is yet another opportunity to rewrite the course of this season.

My expectations of the Saints going into many of the games this season have been wrong – but I feel differently about my expectations as the team finishes the season. I expect the Saints to win in impressive fashion against the Falcons and the Bucs and they are in a great position to be the Cinderella of the NFL playoffs!

It doesn't matter how many ugly dates you had before the prom – as long as you have a hot date when you go to the prom – and, of course, know how to dance when you get there!
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Scoot: Pay NOPD officers - period!

How much are the police worth in New Orleans? The New Orleans City Council approved a pay increase for city from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. That's almost a 40% increase. Working a 40-hour week at $7.25 an hour, a city worker would earn $290.00 a week. The increase to $10.10 an hour raises their pay to $404.00 a week - an increase of $114.00 a week!

At the same time, the City Council approved only a 5% increase for NOPD officers. The 5% increase in pay to NOPD officers is a greater sum amount than the nearly 40% increase to city workers – but this is another example of the lack of priority we – as a society – place on law enforcement.

Police officers had requested a 20% increase and the police union argues that the 5% increase will be cancelled out by the increase in health benefits. With the ever-present threat of danger police officers face daily combined with the continuing lack of priority for paying officers a better salary – is it any wonder NOPD has seen its ranks fall well below the desired goal?

NOPD currently has about 1,000 police officers on the streets and the optimum minimum is 1,700 officers. Over the past 2 week period – it's reported that there were 52 violent crimes committed against people in the 8th District – which includes the French Quarter and The Marigny. Louisiana State Police – who had been assisting NOPD in the French Quarter – have now left their posts leaving NOPD to handle the Quarter without the extra officers.

As a downtown resident - who lives just off the French Quarter in the CBD – I consider the Quarter to be my neighborhood and I spend time there are a regular basis. In fact, I am writing this blob as I sit at a counter in a coffee shop in one of the most popular blocks of Bourbon Street. I see tourists strolling by, dancers standing in the doorway of clubs and I can hear the young kids playing the bottom of large plastic buckets as if they were drums hoping to impress the passersby enough to get a time in the empty bucket. I also see a mother and two of her children walking down Bourbon Street selling M&Ms.

This is the French Quarter on a weeknight in December in New Orleans. On any given day – between the residents and the visitors – the population of the French Quarter is about 50,000 and we all know that during much of the time many of the 50,000 are in a rowdy state-of-mind! Patrolling the French Quarter is a challenge.

I understand the complaint from citizens throughout the New Orleans area that the French Quarter gets a disproportionate amount of police protection – but it is needed for the residents and the tourists. Police say that most of the crimes in the French Quarter are committed against tourists. Tourists are easy prey for the predators that are quick to define tourists by their behavior and body language and their obvious lack of knowledge of the area.

But NOPD faces harsh challenges throughout many New Orleans neighborhoods. Many NOPD officers earn significant money working details – but the details are needed for officers to earn a decent living. However, the details mean officers are working very long hours every week.

In New Orleans, tourism is our #1 industry and we constantly hear local officials boasting about how tourism is booming and the city continues to attract record-breaking crowds with special events, conventions, party groups and individuals lured into the mystique of the French Quarter.

To say the French Quarter is the "crown jewel" of New Orleans is not to discredit other neighborhoods – but it is a special neighborhood that generate millions in revenue for the city.

It is amazing to consider that the French Quarter is one of the top tourist destinations in America – arguably the world – and yet, our city is broke and does not have enough money to offer cops a better salary? That is unthinkable – but reality!

The city of New Orleans has a responsibility to pay NOPD officers a salary that is a little more in line with the service they perform. At the current rate of new recruits – it will take several years for NOPD to reach the minimum number of 1,700 officers.

The recent misconduct by police officers creates a jaded and untrusting public that is not always eager to support increased pay for NOPD officers. We have reason to believe that the great majority of police officers are dedicated to protecting and serving their community and the community should unite and pressure the decision-making politicians to do what it takes to improve our police department and improves will follow a better salary to attract even more highly-qualified individuals to choose a career as an NOPD officer.

And in the meantime – the public should put significant pressure on the city of New Orleans to find the money to pay state troopers to return to the Quarter to join wit NOPD to provide a safer environment for tourists, residents and those who come from the suburbs and surrounding area to enjoy one of the most unique areas in America.
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Locations : New Orleans


Scoot: Grand jury charges white cop for murder of an unarmed black man

When it was announced that a grand jury in New York had decided not to indict a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black male – protesters immediately hit the streets of New York City to protest the grand jury's decision. The protests were peaceful compared to the looting and rioting that occurred in the nights following a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black male.

Tonight, protests continue in New York City, as well as in other cities across the country.

What did not get much attention in the news is a grand jury's decision in South Carolina to charge a white police officer with murder in the death of an unarmed black male. That decision came out the same day the decision was announced in New York City. The lack of attention to that decision to indict a white police officer tells us a lot about the news media and human nature.

Whether it is considered fair or not – the news stories that touch on past systemic oppression or that confirm the stereotypes that many Americans hold in their minds are the news stories that spark the most controversy and attract the most coverage.

A white police officer using - or appearing to use - excessive or lethal force against an unarmed black American fits the historic stereotype of white oppression of blacks and since that is a deeply painful image – it quickly resonates through the news media.

The story about the grand jury indicting a white police officer in South Carolina does not inspire the same powerful images of an unsettling time in American history.

When a male teacher has sex with a young female student it ignites more rage than when a female teacher has sex with a young male student because men raping women does more to recall the imagery of a society that had been defined primarily by a male-prerogative mentality.

The case of the grand jury charging a white police officer in South Carolina with murder in the death of an unarmed black male is certainly not the only case where a white police officer has been indicted. So we should be aware of the fact that the cases that attract the most media attention do not represent all of the similar cases.

White police officers are charged with using excessive or lethal force when dealing with black Americans and because those cases do not reach the same level of saturation in the news media – we should not assume that they do not exist.

It is human nature to react more to the negative than the positive. People were quick to protest the New York grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer. Wouldn't it have been nice to watch a big celebratory – yet peaceful – demonstration in South Carolina when the white police officer was indicted?
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Tags :  
Topics : Law_Crime
Social :
Locations : MissouriNew YorkNew York CitySouth Carolina


Scoot: Where does an honest discussion about race relations begin?

America has not suddenly reached a point where an honest conversation about race relations is needed. As a nation, we have been putting off this conversation for decades.

Recognizing that America is made up of many different races and there is tension along many different fronts, the greatest and most destructive tension lives between blacks and whites in America. When referring to blacks and white – I am not referring ALL blacks or ALL whites – but to deny that there is widespread tension between blacks and whites in America is to close your eyes to reality.

The problem with having an honest conversation about race relations is figuring out where that conversation begins. I think it begins with a few fundamental truths. First, black and white Americans come from different cultural backgrounds. We are different. We do not totally understand people who are different form us. We have a hard time understanding people who are just like us, too. We have heard different stories about life from our parents and grandparents and our perspectives on many aspects of life may differ.

However, recognizing our differences should not cause us to ignore the fundamental things we share. We are all human beings. We hurt, we laugh, we cry, we dream. We all strive to be happy and hope to provide a good life for our families and ourselves. We all want to be healthy and simply enjoy life – whatever that means to each individual.

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 based criticism on the premise that you know how they should feel – because you don't. We all have to be willing to admit that all white Americans do not hate black Americans and all black Americans do not hate white America. We have to admit that we have been conditioned by the national media to accept stereotypes as a norm for the group.

We also need to understand that there are groups and individuals that have gained power and profited by racial tension and maintain an interest in focusing on only injustice.

As a white American – I must understand that I do not know what it is like to grow up and live as a black American and black Americans cannot pretend to know what it is like to be a white American.

I get the impression that many black Americans believe that being white is a free ticket to privilege – it is not. There is no question that historically, being white has not been met with doors being closed – but I also know that things did not always come easily to me. Black Americans should not assume that white Americans have all had a easy path to whatever happiness they obtain. And as a white American – I should not assume that when I see black Americans driving Jaguars, Mercedes and Bentleys around New Orleans in great numbers during the Bayou Classic of Essence Fest – that those individuals benefited from special opportunities because they were black, like Affirmative Action. When I see those black Americans I think to myself, "Good for you! I need to continue to work hard for the things that will make me happy." But instead – we often look at each other with contempt.

The national news media – particularly the cable news channels – perpetrate the divide between black and white America. The goal of the news is to get ratings and ratings are easily generated by a conflict that reaches deep into the scars of slavery and oppression. I watch the national news shows consistently seek black experts to represent the black side and white experts to represent the white side of any controversy – when there are numerous black and white experts that side with the other group. But showing diversity is not as convenient as a display of deep-rooted conflict. The national media – whether consciously or subconsciously – strives to attract the attention of the largest possible audience by reducing complicated issues to simple equations. As consumers of the media – it is our responsibility to understand those motives so we do not allow what we see in the media to define us as individuals.

From a broad perspective of life on this planet – blacks and whites are more alike than they are different – as humans our instinct is to survive. The things that divide us are insignificant in relation to a basic desire to survive and live a happy life.

It is also unfortunate that in our individual lives – we generally get along with those we work with or those we socialize - regardless of skin color. But we are forced to take sides during national debates about race. On an individual level – we get along – as part of one group pitted against another – we don't appear to get along.

Remembering that this nation is a collection of individuals – the only way to change racial tension is for each individual American to work on projecting their personal relationships with each other to a national perspective of each group. Focus on those you know and how you interact with individuals and resist the temptation to be part of one group against another.

Understanding that conflict attracts more attention than harmony may be the first step toward rejecting the concept of a country where an entire group can never completely coexist with another group.

It is important to start an honest conversation about race relations in America – but we must understand that it will just be the beginning of that conversation.

Email me: Scoot@WWL.com
 (3) Comments
Tags :  
Topics : Social Issues
Social :
Locations : New Orleans


Scoot: Surviving Thanksgiving

The conventional vision of a traditional Thanksgiving gathering includes family and friends gathered around a table with a turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, yams, pumpkin pie and whatever else is part of your Thanksgiving feast. The setting is one of reflective solitude where thanks is given for the feast and the company of family and friends who are gathered at the festive table. But that thankful, peaceful image of is far from the chaotic reality most experience at their Thanksgiving dinner!

The ordeal begins with just getting there. If traveling by plane – a winter storm is leading to delays and cancellations.  This is also the time of year when all the amateur travelers board planes – and many with kids who don’t know how to act on a plane. For the record, it’s not that society has become less tolerant of children – it’s that society has become less tolerant of parents who can’t control their kids while traveling. DO NOT let your child kick the seat of the passenger in front of them – DO NOT allow them to lie in or run up and down the aisle. And we all expect them to be courteous of those around them. It’s simple – control your children or stay home! Other cultures do a better job than Americans when it comes to controlling children in public settings.

If traveling by car – prepare your children for the reality of the trip.  With today’s phones, tablets, etc. and games, movies, Facebook and texting - no child should complain about sitting in one spot for hours - isn’t that what they do at home? If your child does complain about being bored – use that opportunity to teach them that life can be boring at times – learn to deal with it! Teaching kids to deal with being bored sometimes is preparing them to deal with life.  You might actually use the opportunity of being together in the car to have a real conversation with your kids and give them a chance to talk to you. Make time to just talk with no distractions from electronic wizardry – and that mean you stay off the phone, too!  Talk about the trip, the sights and talk about America. Tell them things you think about and ask them what they think about. You might be surprised what your kids are thinking about.

And then there’s the madness of the Thanksgiving dinner. The house will be crowded with family members who don’t see each other often and family members that don’t get along. Not everyone in the same family shares the same views on political and social issues.  Political ideology is thicker than blood!

There are countless things that will inspire debates about politics at the Thanksgiving table from the price of the turkey to someone asking for “the right wing” or the “left wing” to the fact that the cranberry sauce is the color of conservative states! Relatives feel the need to set other family members straight on their political thinking and the longer it has been since you’ve seen a relative – the more they want to set you straight. Beware – you cannot change their minds and they probably can’t change yours. So, admit that the only result of those Thanksgiving debates will be strained feelings and ill-will. No matter how right you think you are – and I’m sure you are right – DO NOT engage in political, social or religious debates during the annual gathering that is supposed to be a peaceful moment to be thankful.

Try to be tolerant of the relatives that feel the need to brag about their lives and their kids and though it’s terribly rude, try to tolerate even the family members that must talk loudly on their cellphone to make sure everyone hears their conversation. And since you can’t train their children during this brief gathering and you can’t give them a lesson in parenting, then ignore the behavior of their children which makes it obvious they really have no control over their kids. Whatever you observe will make for a great conversation on the trip home.

In life, our expectation often supersede reality.  Rather than envision that traditional, peaceful Thanksgiving setting with family, friends and a bountiful of food on spread on the table, be realistic enough to prepare yourself and your family for the collusion of differing personalities and opinions that you inevitably encounter once a year.

The phrase we use when a storm is approaching may be good to remember this Thanksgiving – “prepare for the worst and hope for the best!”

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
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Scoot: Thanksgiving - a bipartisan holiday

Every day of the year we are reminded how divided America has become. We are divided along political, religious, racial, sexual orientation and gender lines and from there - we are further divided into countless subgroups. The sad truth is that we are hard pressed to justify calling ourselves the United States of America.

Thanksgiving should be appreciated as a bipartisan holiday. The origin of Thanksgiving is not based on politics or religion.  Thanksgiving should remind us to when come together as Americans and like the early settlers, celebrate what we have in common – not our differences.

Actual documents may not provide solid proof of specific details of the first Thanksgiving, but notes passed along throughout history do describe the first Thanksgiving. In 1621, the new settlers from England and Native Americans came together to give thanks for the first harvest in the New World. That first Thanksgiving was celebrated by about 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. It is believed that Native Americans helped the new settlers survive in the New World and the settlers were grateful. For that – they joined together and gave thanks.

Pilgrims and Native Americans were two totally different groups with different customs, appearances and lifestyles. If those two groups could come together to give thanks – then I would think conservatives and liberals, whites and blacks, Christians and Jews, male and female and straight and gay can all come together on this Thanksgiving with the same spirit of unity.

Daily we are reminded through the media all that separates us and it is the mirror accentuation of our differences that attracts the attention for the media. It might not be sensational and it might not generate a lot of buzz on the airwaves and on the cable news channels - but it is important for us to step back from the divisive debates that separate us and take a moment to appreciate all we do have in common. We may see different paths to our goals of happiness, but we all essentially share the same goals in life.

Even if it is for just one day – Thanksgiving Day – let us come together as families, friends and strangers - and as a nation for the simple purpose of giving thanks.  And when we focus on what we are all thankful for – we focus more on what we share than on our differences. 

It is a human flaw to always think about what we don’t have in life, but it is an important human quality to appreciate all we have been blessed with.  Look not at those who have more – look at how much you do have – even if it’s less than others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.  If we do come together this Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims and Native Americans did in 1621 – let’s hope and pray in the years to follow that we treat each other with a little more respect than they did!

Photo via Mike Licht, NotionsCaptial.com
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Topics : Religion_Belief
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Scoot: The definition of "a real man" in the NFL

With the rash of recent negative images of NFL players who hit women or beat children – it was heartwarming to see an NFL player act like a “real man” Sunday afternoon.
T.Y. Hilton – receiver for the Indianapolis Colts – played in the game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars after spending time in the hospital with his wife Shantell as she gave birth to their daughter only hours before the game.  In fact, T.Y. Hilton was expected to miss the game.  
Reportedly, with no sleep and missing the team’s pregame warm-ups, Hilton played a great game and caught a 73-yard touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter to extend the Colts’ lead over the Jaguars 20 – 3.  But what Hilton did to celebrate in the end zone was his greatest moment!
After scoring the touchdown – T.Y. Hilton cradled the football like a baby as he stroked it gently.  What a touching moment and a refreshing image of an NFL player starkly contrasting the recent publicity surrounding the violent behavior of a number of players in their private lives off the field.
And celebrating his daughter’s birth in the end zone was something Hilton was apparently thinking about throughout the game.  "I was holding her and just walking at about 11:15 [a.m.] then I said, 'Baby you want the game ball or touchdown ball?' That was my goal, to get both of those for her.” Hilton revealed.
During a post-game interview on camera – Hilton became very emotional and actually broke down while talking about the importance of scoring a touchdown for his new daughter, Eugenia.  When the network sports anchors come on after the interview – they applauded his willingness to show emotion.
NFL players, like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, have dominated headlines with acts of violence against a fiancée and a 4-year-old boy.  How wonderful it was to see an NFL player show signs of being a “real man.”
It doesn’t take a “real man” to respond to the macho instincts of strength and power over others who are weaker or vulnerable.  It does take strength and bravery for a man to expose his vulnerable side – especially while still standing on the field where men are expected to be macho and tough.
The men, women and children who follow the NFL witnessed a player showing what it means to be a “real man.” 
When T.Y. Hilton cradled and gently stroked the football in honor of his newly born daughter and when he allowed his emotions over her birth to define his presence – T.Y. Hilton gave us the definition of a “real man!”  And at the young age of 25 – T.Y. Hilton is more of a man than many of his older peers.
 (2) Comments
Tags :  
Topics : Sports
Social :
People : Adrian PetersonEugeniaRay RiceShantell


Scoot: Final thoughts on ball-snatching Saints fan

There are usually several reasons a seemingly local, isolated incident that has no direct impact on the masses attracts the attention of them anyway.  The Saints fan that stole a football intended for a Cincinnati Bengals fan Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has gone viral and attracted the attention of the national media.  The story is everywhere and people continue to talk about it!  The story may be coming close to eclipsing the attention Kim Kardashian’s bare butt has attracted on social media!
The Saints were embarrassed when Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton threw a pass the TE Jermaine Gresham.  After the eventual touchdown – Gresham spotted a Bengals fan in the stands and ran over to hand her the ball he just scored a touchdown with.  Saints fan Tony Williams positioned himself to literally grab the ball away from Christa Barrett, who pleaded with him to give her the ball that was unmistakably intended for her – Williams seemed to proudly refuse her request.  So, after the Saints were embarrassed before a TV audience – Saints fans and the city of New Orleans were embarrassed by the actions of a Saints fan.
This incident teaches us how wrong it is to judge a group by the behavior of an individual or a small group.  The overwhelming response from the WHO DAT Nation is that Tony Williams was wrong to keep the ball and do not want to be judged by his behavior.  That principle should also be applied to every group that is stereotyped by the extreme behavior of a member of that group.
The fact that Mr. Williams aggressively grabbed that ball leaves little doubt that was his instinctive behavior and many believe the idea of stealing it for his grandson was an afterthought to cover up his decision.  He also seemed to maintain a smirk-like smile on his face as he refused the opportunity to respond to compassion.
If the man was stealing food to feed his starving grandson, his selfish instinct might be more understandable – but to grab a football that was clearly intended for another person is wrong.
Mr. Williams says that he loves New Orleans and was not trying to make the city look bad.  Well, he failed at that attempt!  His wife said that it’s a free for all – something like Mardi Gras.  Does that mean Mr. Williams would rip the beads or another throw from the hands of a woman or child near him? 
I grew up going to Mardi Gras and I have always seen people catch throws about the same time as another person and then give it to them – especially children. Excusing that it’s like Mardi Gras is no justification for grabbing something intended for someone else.
Finally, with all of the publicity surrounding this particular football and the manner in which it was obtained – do you think Mr. Williams’ grandson will appreciate have the football?  And if Mr. Williams is 70 – then his grandson is probably old enough to know exactly how his grandfather obtained the football.
Tony Williams has been described as a long-time season ticket holder – a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather.  He may be all of those things – but he still stole a football from someone because he had the strength and opportunity to do it. 
Let’s apply Mr. Williams’ mentality to Mr. Williams – should we assume that if Mr. Williams was walking out of the dome that afternoon with the football and someone else had the strength and opportunity to just grab it out of his hands – would he say “that’s not fair!
We all want the Saints – not Saints fans – to be responsible for takeaways during a game!
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Tags :  
Topics : Sports
Locations : New Orleans
People : Andy DaltonChrista BarrettKim KardashianTony Williams


Scoot: Russian bombers over the Gulf of Mexico

This is perfect weather for talking about the start of a new Cold War!

With the news that Russian bombers will begin flying scheduled flights over areas like the Gulf of Mexico, comes the fear that the recent political and military tensions between Russia – the old Soviet Union – and the United States are escalating into a new Cold War.

The Cold War was a period of time that refers to the heightened threat of war between the major powers of the United States and the Soviet Union.  Though the dates of the Cold War as not definitive, it is generally accepted that it began a few years after the end of World War II and continued until 1991. 

President Ronald Reagan was an instrumental figure at the end of the Cold War.  Reagan used military force and diplomacy to pressure the Soviet Union – the center of the communist universe. The iconic moment when President Reagan told the leader of the Soviet Union to “tear down” the Berlin Wall that separated the West from the East is considered a flashpoint in time the proclaimed the end of communism.

Tensions between Russia and Leader Putin and the United States and President Obama have continued to intensify.  The disputes that have erupted over Putin’s aggressiveness with Crimea and the Ukraine have further chilled the relationship between the two super powers that still hold vast amounts of nuclear weapons.

The thought of those Cold War-ear Russian-built bombers patrolling our back yard is a sobering image to anyone who grew up when the threat of nuclear war was a reality to Americans.  Schools held drills to let teachers and students know what to do if there was a nuclear attack from Russia.  Some of the drills instructed students to get under their school desks in the classroom if a nuclear bomb was dropped.  Looking back on that – it is ridiculous to think hiding under your desk would somehow protect you from the blast of a nuclear bomb!

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has projected an aggressive attitude to the world in an obvious attempt to build Russia up as a dominant world power.  I assume Russia still has the nuclear weapons that were used to threaten the United States during the Cold War – but Russia is economically weak right now and not the military power of the past.

While the idea of Russian bombers patrolling the Gulf is unsettling - I think it is more a show of force than it is an actual threat, or a spark, that ignites a new Cold War. 

Since the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico are international waters – there is nothing the United States can do to stop the Russian bombers from patrolling the Gulf.  In fact, the United States has patrolled the international air space and the international waters near Russian for decades.  We are in no position to stop the Russian bombers.  I am certain the United States has plans to have our jets monitor these bombers near our borders from a non-threatening distance, but Russia is not violating our airspace, therefore, we can be vigilant, but not aggressive.

President Reagan brilliantly used diplomacy, but also a non-compromising attitude with our military to challenge the Soviet Union’s encroaching threats.  Many have criticized President Obama as being weak and tentative with our military that leaders, like Putin, are brazen enough to challenge the U.S.

Tensions will likely continue to escalate between Russia and the United States, but I do not envision tensions growing to the point where Americans live with the threat of nuclear war every day.  However, “cold” any new Cold War gets – I still have faith that neither country wants a nuclear war.

One of the most difficult things about trying to negotiate with today’s terrorists is the idea that many are martyrs and willing to die.  The one common ground we shared with the Russians throughout the Cold War was the fact that both cultures respected life and had a desire to live.

While the Cold War was still intense – Sting wrote a song titled, “Russians,” that perfectly reflected this shared common ground.  Here is the final verse of the lyrics:

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children, too.

Let’s hope that is still true today.
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Tags :  
Topics : PoliticsWar_Conflict
Social :
Locations : BerlinGulf Of Mexico
People : ObamaRonald ReaganVladimir Putin


Scoot: Americans keep voting for a Congress they hate

Why do Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress when Americans voted for those who make up Congress?

A tweet that is getting a lot of attention shows a picture of Congress in session with the words – Congress has an 11% approval rating – but 96% of the incumbents won reelection.  Is this true – or just social media hype?

Politifact investigated the outcome of the recent midterm election and here’s what was revealed:

·     The average of the approval rating for Congress in polls from Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN was 14%.

·     In the House – there were 390 incumbents with 4 races yet to be decided.  Of the remaining 386 incumbents – 373 won.  The means 96.6% of the incumbents were reelected.

·     In the Senate – with two races still undecided at the time of the fact-finding study – 23 out of the 26 incumbents won reelection.  That means 95.4% of incumbents won.

The tweet says that Congress has an 11% approval rating – according to Politifact – Congress’ average approval rating in media polls is 14%!  That’s close.

The tweet also says that 96.4% of incumbents won reelection – in reality, 95% of incumbents won.

Politifact reports that this tweet that some may question is actually very accurate.  But why do voters disapprove of Congress, but still support their representatives by continuing to reelect them?

Since incumbents represent the power and the clout to bring projects to their respective states and districts – voters will bash Congress as a group – but they are not willing to oust their elected official because of the money they represent for their state or district. 

Voters are obviously selfish and politically myopic.  As a group – voters refuse to look at the big picture and instead vote essentially for themselves.  If that is the mentality of the great majority of voters in America – then it is no surprise that contempt for Congress stops with your congressman or senator.

The selfish nature of voters is one of the reasons this country is in financial disarray.  When each voter reelects an incumbent – they are voting for projects that benefit their state or district and the many businesses and individuals that will be awarded huge government contracts.  The ripple effect of that across the nation means “pet projects” going to every state and every district as a mostly subtle political payback for an incumbent’s reelection.

“Pork” is only unhealthy for the diet of every other state and district – not yours – but the cumulative effect is too much “pork” everywhere and a federal government that is broke.

And the only ones to blame for this political phenomenon are the voters themselves.
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