Tag Archives: Georgia

Tide Rolls To Championship, Guerrilla Theatre Tonight

I’m still behind a post… got caught up watching the semi-finals for the BCS National Championship for college football. Or, at least, that’s what it seemed like, since the SEC Championship was between the No. 2 (Alabama) and No. 3 (Georgia) ranked teams. And it was a hard fought battle, perhaps the toughest game for both teams, apart from the single match each lost earlier in the season.

But Alabama won in the end, partly due to poor time management (which we nearly suffered from in the first half) and, ultimately, a slip of the foot. And, of course, 60 minutes of hard playing beforehand (though most of Alabama’s strongest plays came in the second half). And now, the Crimson Tide will be heading to the National Championship for the third time in four years, if I’m remembering correctly.

And after all that, I still can’t write a post to cover for yesterday because tonight is the last Guerrilla Theatre of the year.

I’ve talked about Guerrilla Theatre a lot, and I love going to it. It’s a chance for performers that would not necessarily be given a shot on stage to show their talents. It’s a chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity for. And it’s just a grand old time. Seriously, there’s some amazing talent that performs at these things. I’ve only missed one Guerrilla Theatre this year, and I hate that I did. I don’t plan on it again.

Per usual, doors open at 10:30, it starts at 11 and there’s a $2 entry fee. Get there early, like around 9:30, because the line is very often very long, and the UATD/APO family is huge, so spots are limited.

I’m sure I’ll come up with something new to write for yesterday tomorrow.

…say that 10 times fast…

Oh, and of course, Roll Tide.

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Tuscaloosa May Not Be Safe Today

I don’t know if you pay any attention to football… but here in the state of Alabama, it’s pretty much impossible to not hear something about college football. Here in Tuscaloosa, it’d take a very severe coma and being locked in a room 300 feet underground not to hear about it. Especially this year. The University of Alabama Crimson Tide was one of four ranked undefeated college football teams going into their game today.

And today, due to unfortunate faults in defense, crazily well-made plays by the opposing offense, turnovers and fouls (some of which were rather suspect in being called/not called), the No. 1 Crimson Tide lost 29-24 to No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies. It’s a rather crushing blow for fans of the Tide, who truly expected a repeat of three seasons ago, an undefeated season leading straight to the National Championship, which would be the third one in four years. Unfortunately, unless at least two of Notre Dame, Oregon and Kansas State lose a game, UA may find themselves going to the Sugar Bowl instead. They are likely to finish their last two games without defeats and be sent to the SEC championship against, most likely, Georgia, but the National Championship may be now out of reach with so few games left.

Football’s very important down here. I feel like writing about anything else would get me ignored/yelled at by the populous. So, I’m writing about this. Because, with the loss of Mitt Romney and the Crimson Tide in the same week, I feel that Tuscaloosa may not be the safest of places to live in at the moment. I might not leave my apartment tomorrow.

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How Are Committee Members Picked, Anyhow?

So, I dunno if you heard about this or not, but we have our second case of a GOP Representative and member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology saying something completely in disregard for any one of those subjects. First was our good friend Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin. But, hey. It’s okay. It’s not the House Committee on Women and How Do They Work Anyway. For Akin, I would assume that would be covered by the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Or perhaps the Ways and Means Committee.

This time, though, we get a special treat. This isn’t a member of the committee showing off his massive gap of knowledge and his immense ignorance on a specific subject, though I’m certain there’s some of that waiting in line to be mentioned next. No, this time we have a member outright stating his severe animosity toward the entire subject the committee is meant to cover. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun stated that “evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory” are all “lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

We’ve got a beauty over here.

Now, first, let’s talk about what the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology actually covers. According to Wikipedia, it has jurisdiction over non-defense federal funding for scientific research and development. In specific, the committee has jurisdiction over: NASA, the Department of Energy, EPA, ATSDR, NSF, FAA, NOAA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration and United States Geological Survey. In particular, funding for NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Geological Survey are the most disturbing to me.

See, those are organizations that do things like, say, research on global warming, or look into the history of the earth, or even look into the history of the universe. NASA searches for proof of the Big Bang, making telescopes that see further and further into the universe’s past. And considering he told the crowd, “You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says,” my faith in his belief of global warming is a bit shaky. Not to mention, my faith on his ability to comprehend scientific data.

Look, I don’t begrudge someone their religious beliefs. I have some, too. I’m one of those crazy cooks that believe in both science AND the Bible. It’s actually possible to believe the Big Bang and evolution occurred as part of God’s plan of creation. If you want to ignore how science works and be a young earth creationist, however, (which, by the way, I thought they believed earth was only 6000 years old or so…) that’s fine. Go ahead. But don’t be one of the people in charge of funding scientific research and discovery in this country.

To put it one way, having Broun on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is like having a white guy in the black caucus. Or, in non-racial terms, it’s like having a known child molester lead the National Children’s Advocacy Center. It’s an awful idea where fundamentals clash massively in an irredeemable way.

Which brings me to my initial question… how are committee members picked, anyhow? As I think throughout the past, say, decade or so that I’ve been vaguely politically aware, I recall all sorts of hilariously stupid things said or done by House and Senate committee members. For example, Rep. Mark Foley, chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, was found sexually propositioning young men (though not necessarily minors when the propositions occurred). Sen. Ted Stevens, once chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, referred to the internet as a “series of tubes,” to much ridicule by people that understand how the internet works. And, of course, during the SOPA and PIPA debacles, there were defenders of the bill (that I believe may have been members of either the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology or the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation) saying they didn’t understand the language of the bill and suggesting the “nerds” be called in.

I’ve railed against the ignorance of our Congresspeople before. It’s appalling that these people are the ones getting elected. It shows a desperate need for intelligent young people, not part of the political system and legacy, to start throwing their hats into the political ring. But beyond that, it’d be great if we started at least TRYING to pick people that are not intensely ignorant on certain subjects to be in charge of funding for those subjects. A Bible-hating atheist shouldn’t preach, and a science-hating Christian shouldn’t be on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Maybe Americans should vote on committee membership, too. Just vote people directly into committees. I dunno. Seems like it’d have to be better than what’s happening now, right? You’d think anything would be.

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We Need To Talk About Racism

When Senator John McCain gave his 2008 presidential concession speech, officially making Senator Barack Obama our first black president, some of the first responses I heard were those of my roommates, since we were all in the dorm at the time. Two of those roommates I went to high school with and we were all cool with one another. One voted for McCain, and had no real negative response, while the other voted for Obama, like myself. The third roommate was randomly put into our suite. He was from the woodsy, redneck part of New York (a.k.a. anything not New York City, apparently), and kind of resembled WWE wrestler and “The Real World” cast member Mike Mizanin.

His response was to curse and say he was going to grab his shotgun and go out in the streets to calm any uppity… well, I’m sure you can guess the word, but it’s a rather derogatory term for blacks that resembles an African country a bit too closely.

That was one of many reasons I really disliked that guy.

During President Obama’s time in office, there has been quite a bit of racism floating around the country. Some of the racism has been simply personal, like the allegations that Paula Deen and her brother behaved in racist ways at their restaurant. Other examples have been politically charged, often specifically targeting Obama, like a federal judge insinuating that Obama’s mother had multiracial and multispecies orgies, or the more recent bumper sticker that manages to be both racist and completely opposite of what it’s trying to say (to not renege would be to keep Obama as president).

But racism isn’t always about whites being racist toward blacks. There’s always whites putting down Latinos, too. Some of these cases have been mentioned before, like Arizona residents calling to whiten a school’s multi-ethnic mural and the school almost doing so, or Arizona and Alabama passing severe and quite possibly racially charged immigration laws. Of course, there’s more obvious racism, like Southern Mississippi band members shouting “Where’s your green card?” to Puerto Rican Kansas State basketball player Angel Rodriguez, and the more subtle racism, like GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum rather foolishly suggesting Puerto Rico needs to put more emphasis on English.

Heck, you could probably even rightfully make the claim of racially charged ideas behind attempts to pin Obama and former Harvard professor Derrick Bell as anti-American black radicals by lying about, misrepresenting or blowing out of proportion their stances and the things they’ve said.

And, truth be told, each of these stories has their own awful, disturbing flavor of disgust. The fact that racism is still so prevalent in America today is revolting and is something that should be confronted head on and destroyed the way a plague should be.

Which, of course, makes it all the more disturbing when blatant, violent racism that shows a gaping hole in the application of our judicial system goes almost silently by. I’m talking about the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

It’s very possible you’ve not heard the story, especially if you’re white. Somehow, the story has been talked about by black media personalities en masse, but the majority of the media has decided to stay mum on the issue.

The story, for those unaware, is shocking and disturbing, more so than probably any of the other aforementioned tales, which is saying something. On February 26, Martin was visiting a relative’s house in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., outside of Orlando. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, called police to say there was someone that looked “real suspicious.” The police informed Zimmerman they would be sending some people out and told him not to pursue the boy.

Zimmerman did anyway. Martin, returning from a store with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea, was confronted by Zimmerman, who had a 9 millimeter handgun. After allegedly engaging in a physical altercation, there was shouting. Then a gun shot. When police arrived, Zimmerman was covered in blood, and Martin was on the ground with a bullet wound in his chest.

Here’s the fun part. Zimmerman, who has confessed to killing Martin, has not been charged as he claims he acted in self defense. Zimmerman’s parents are claiming their son can’t be racist because… he’s Latino.

Even worse than the “I have a black friend” defense, it’s the “I’m not white” defense.

What’s hugely disturbing about all of this is the lack of public outcry. Imagine, if you would, the victim was a young white girl. The same way Natalee Holloway, Caylee Anthony or Amanda Knox were. How much national outrage would there be? How much attention would this story get? Probably even more than some of these other stories since Zimmerman is apparently Latino and it could be labelled as a “race crime.” Just against a white person.

But when the victim is a black teenager with a bag of Skittles, the culprit doesn’t even get arrested.

Am I suggesting that injustices like the Amanda Knox story shouldn’t be discussed? No. I’m saying justice should be blind. It shouldn’t favor the young, pretty white girls. It should favor all wronged people, no matter what race or creed.

If justice is not blind, it is not justice. The scales lose their balance when weighed with color and race and sexuality and all other defining characteristics used to separate people. If the scales are tipped, how can we trust our legal system to do what’s right?

And all this is without me even talking about how heavily stacked against non-whites our justice system is via the death penalty and other prosecution, such as the severely unjust execution of Troy Davis.

The first step to fixing these problems is awareness. If people are unaware of these events, the system will stay broken. You can help spread awareness by telling people about the story, or signing and sharing petitions like the one on Change.org.

But awareness isn’t enough. We need to raise hell. We need to let those in charge know we aren’t going to simply accept this kind of behavior. That we want liberty and justice for all. That we want awareness and fairness for all.

Otherwise, America will never be able to grow and become a great nation. We will fall into disrepair as a nation wholly unable to accept all its inhabitants and treat them all as equals. And history will mock us as we truly deserve.

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Christmas Came Early (Sort Of)

So, tonight, my family exchanged (most of) the gifts to and from one another. Tomorrow, we head off to Georgia to visit my grandmother and extended family on that side.

I actually do like going over there to visit. There’s some cool people that live over there that I don’t get to see often. But, there are some minuses.

Like a complete lack of internet.

Something I didn’t even think about affecting my post-a-day blog here.

…oops.

So, the way it works is my family leaves tomorrow morning. (Guess who hasn’t packed yet and can type without using his two thumbs? This guy! …I’m not using my thumbs, I swear.) But I have to come back on Monday for work. So, Monday, my dad drives me back (because he only wants to take one car). I go to work, he stays the night, Tuesday he drives back, leaving me by my lonesome until they all return on Saturday.

But what YOU all need to know is that this means I will be without internet for two (and the way Monday will work, practically three) whole days. Which is perhaps problematic for me when my goal is to have a post up at least once a day.

…so, I’m going to be writing a WHOLE MESS of posts tonight and hoping that the “set date for publish” function here on WordPress will work for me publishing things in absentia as opposed to changing “when I published it” and cheating ex post facto.

…guess who won’t be getting any sleep as he packs and writes posts likely to be put up way too late to be relevant all night? Hint: Same as the last guy!

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Private University Requires Morality Pledge: Yay Or Nay?

On the national political level, right now all the chit-chat is about Herman Cain’s potential downfall via sexual harassment charges. And Rick Perry’s New Hampshire speech that turned into a series of Howard Dean-esque “BYAAAAAH”s over and over again. Of course, I do love how “The Daily Show” put it all together

But, really, it’s been getting harder and harder for me to care about national politics at the moment. Everyone running for president on the GOP side that has or has ever had a chance at nomination seems to be either a complete moron, a flip-flop store or a crazy person. Sometimes some combination of those.

So, running into small politics stories sometimes interests me a lot more. Especially if religion gets involved. This time, the story is about Shorter University telling their faculty and staff that they need to sign a morality pledge.

This should be fun.

Shorter, located in Rome, Georgia, is a private Christian university. I’ve been there before, it seems alright. Personally, I prefer nearby Berry College, since it has neat stuff like being the largest college campus by area in the world and having more deer than students. But that’s beside the point.

If you read the article I’ve linked, you’ll find that Shorter is requiring its 200 some-odd employees to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement,” and The New York Daily News reports that those who don’t sign the pledge may lose their jobs.

In the pledge, there is a rejection of homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, a ban from teachers drinking alcohol in front of/around students and a requirement that employees be active in local churches.

Doesn’t that sound swell?

There isn’t really much here for me to violently react to. It seems so needlessly silly and obvious exactly the many things that are wrong with this. The employer is attempting to control behavior and enforce a morality clause of their own creation AFTER having already hired the people. This is something that should have been included in the hiring process, not added in as an addendum ex post facto. It also reminds me of ridiculous laws, like the anti-sodomy laws that Texas and the rest of the country were forced to overturn after the U.S. Supreme Court said no. I mean, how exactly do you check in on someone having premarital sex unless A) they tell you or B) you break their privacy like woah.

Then there’s the alcohol thing. Are students banned from drinking? What if a 21+ year old student goes to the bar and happens to see one of his or her professors there? I’ve seen many a grad student AND any a professor at the local haunts in Tuscaloosa, most often the Downtown Pub and Wilhagan’s. It’s not like such a situation is impossible to dream up. Would that professor be fired for drinking in public and having a student randomly show up and see him or her doing such? Pretty sure that Jesus and the disciples drank in view of other people before. And, not to be too asinine, because I’d never be that, but what about participation in Communion? If they go to a church that happens to serve wine for Communion and a student also attends that church… what then?

Which brings me to the part that actually annoys me the most. Which is saying something. The pledge requires employees to be active in local churches. Not only is that forcing a religion/religious activity on somebody, it also is extremely unfair. What if the employee finds no local church they feel comfortable with or agree with? And how active is active? Do they just get to attend on Sunday mornings? Must they sing in the choir or head a committee or teach a class?

But here’s the kicker: It’s a private university. That’s where everything kind of falls apart. As a private university, it may very well be that they DO have the right to demand certain moralistic actions of their choosing from their employees. It could be that they are separate and unaffected by the laws that more strongly govern public, government funded universities and colleges. If, for example, The University of Alabama did this, you can bet they would be backpedaling within a week, if not a day, due to the huge uproar it would cause. But Shorter, being a tiny, private university, and a Christian one at that, may well be within their rights to perform such stunts, as repulsive, annoying and un-Christian as it may seem.

What do you think? I personally think they shouldn’t be doing this, especially for things so private and personal as sexuality and sexual activity so long as it doesn’t break the law, and I think there are good, Biblical reasons not to do this, too. But it is a private university, so I recognize that they can do it whether they should or not.

…isn’t it great when the answer is unclear?

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