¿Who You Gonna Call?


In recent days, two television adverts, one for an insurance company and another for home security services, have drawn my attention for alleged customer testimonial that skipped over first responders. No, really:

• Crime, therefore call insurance company before callng police.

• Fire, therefore call home security company, who in turn called fire department for you.

In truth, I have no idea how to feel about this. And, you know, there was also something else that flitted by in those spots, but, honestly, the implications of spinning narrative would be entirely on my own conscience, and it’s not a pleasing prospect; even worse would be noticing something we are expected to notice—you know, a feature, not a bug. Never mind. It is enough to simply wonder at skipping out on first responders.

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Caption, Please?


To the one, there is such thing as a bad picture, and we all know it. Sometimes the camera just … you know, that’s the way it goes.

To the other, we usually worry about that when we are the subject of the picture, instead of merely a set piece.

Still, we sometimes find an unforgettable moment if only because it was captured in still life.

More the pity, I suppose. Something about that which we cannot unsee goes here.

Gov. Chris Christie addresses members of the Camden County police force, 2 November 2015. (Image credit: Emma Lee/WHYY)

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Image note: Gov. Chris Christie addresses members of the Camden County police force, 2 November 2015. (Image credit: Emma Lee/WHYY)

Ghosts in the Making


Summertime in Ferguson

When it was Trayvon Martin, I pitched a fit.

Michael Brown? Not so much.

It’s fair to ask why, and the answer is to simply look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-one thousand plus residents have seen their city torn to pieces, body and soul, as protesters and police battle over the murder of an unarmed black man by a city police officer whose record includes being fired as part of another small police department in Jennings, Missouri, that was disbanded by its city council for being so corrupt and generally awful. The town is in chaos; residents are intervening to slow the most vocal protesters, and are also reportedly attempting to prevent media from covering the events. Ferguson has become the latest incarnation of our nation’s sick heritage of deadly racism, emerged as a symbol of our dark slide toward militarized police, and found itself the butt of one of the worst jokes on the planet after a protester tweeted a comparison of the situation there to what is going on in Palestine, and instead of being indignant the Palestinians tweeted back with good-faith advice.

I first addressed the death of Trayvon Martin with friends on March 13, 2012, some weeks after the George Zimmerman stalked and pursued him for no good reason, shooting the seventeen year-old to death and then claiming self-defense. And when I first mentioned it, I did not expect what was coming. Certes, my gorge rose to learn the story, but like so many Americans the idea that an apparently murdered black man will die under the presumption that he needed to be shot just did not seem all that unusual. That is to say, like many I expected Trayvon Martin would become another forgotten lamb.

And, yes, I was wrong.

This time, the nation did not wait weeks. Before the name Michael Brown finished echoing after the first wave of press coverage the town was beseiged by chaos. Screaming and shouting from my evergreen corner of the country really doesn’t do me or anyone else any good.

And, yet, Justice still seems nearly destined for disappointing failure.

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On Christian Faith, American Politics, and Some Specific Human Conditions


It’s just one of those things: Can we laugh, now?

After all, some issues really are serious, and no matter how laughably absurd we might find a moment, well, it never is laughable if we find ourselves in the middle of it all.

Bryan FischerIn response to the influx of Central American children fleeing to the southern border of the U.S., the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is repeating his belief that all national borders were determined by God and therefore anybody who crosses them without permission is directly offending the Creator.

In a column for BarbWire today, Fischer writes, “What we learn from the Bible is that borders are God’s idea, and that such borders are to be respected. They are not to be crossed without permission.”

(Blue)

To the one, come on, that’s absolutely laughable. To the other, it would not be a particularly reliable promise that laughing our way through the current refugee crisis at our southern border would be an exercise of any useful function.

Right Wing WatchTo a third, one might notice that Mr. Fischer is invoking God’s judgment for earthly authority; we might imagine that his explanation of “what would Jesus do?” would be rather quite interesting. Especially considering the fact that Fischer’s exception to the rule is war.

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Blue, Miranda. “Bryan Fischer: ‘Our Southern Border Is There By God’s Design'”. Right Wing Watch. 10 July 2014.

A note to Alexandra Petri


A note to Alexandra Petri, when she is done swooning over Sen. Rand Paul:

Rand Paul hits that point, generally speaking, before most people. He hates those squiggly, new light bulbs! His toilet doesn’t work! He wants people to know! Probably the only reason he objected to the pat-down was that the screeners would discover his full-body tattoo of the Constitution in Braille.

But the man has a point.

I know that in America all people are created equal. But I didn’t realize that this meant we all had to undergo this much airport screening. Grandmothers. Granddaughters. People with metal hips who fought in the wars. Sen. Rand Paul.

Okay, so, just so it’s clear: We can all be outraged, now? That is, now that it’s happened to Senator Rand Paul, it’s officially out of hand, now? We can say all this stuff about TSA and not be denounced as terrorist sympathizers, and the like?

I mean, it’s Rand Paul, right? Which means it’s a credible civil liberties issue. Or is that only for the right wing?