The Big Picture
by Glynn Wilson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The dogwoods, azaleas and cherry blossoms are in full bloom a full three weeks before Easter here, but of course that’s no sign of global warming and climate change, according to the Republicans and the media in Alabamaland.
The so-called Christians could care less. It must all be part of god’s plan. Right.
Nevermind that if there was a god, even the people who know a little about science yet believe say he gave the human species free will, which has led him to greedy pursuits that in fact do impact the climate.
Now if I was a Christian and I was searching for an answer to this riddle, I would conclude that if there were any such thing as a plan based on a “creation” event, if there was a god he would hold man in contempt for screwing up that creation.
Clearly there is no plan, otherwise the guilty would be prosecuted for their crimes against nature. But they almost never are brought to justice, at least not in this life
Can we take any solace in saying the CEOs at BP, ExxonMobile, Southern Company and their lobbyists and the politicians who support them will one day burn in hell?
Not if that hell is right here on planet Earth and we’re all sweating in it and being eaten alive by killer mosquitoes.
Wise up people. Get to work on that list of things that would make up the world you would like to live in — and what it’s going to take to achieve it. That’s your only hope. Build a church around that.
Local Media Notes
Meanwhile, speaking of the local media in Birmingham, and maybe in your communities too — wherever Newhouse owns the monopoly press — it is literally hard to get a fact on the table, especially when the so-called alternative press just sucks up to the same information trough. Where Newhouse controls the narrative, it is nearly impossible to find out the truth.
In my home town — which I do not cover at the local level much and do not claim any responsibility for helping since I believe it is beyond help — there are now three alternative weeklies struggling to survive in a market that is not even big enough for one good paper. And not one of them has a reporter or a writer on staff who realizes that it was the trial lawyers who financed the political campaign of Judge Roy Moore. You know, the infamous Ten Commandments judge who just won the Republican nomination to regain his seat on the state Supreme Court.
Part of the problem with the media these days — in addition to a propensity to pander to the lowest common denominator of readers to maximize profits, as well as a complete lack of courage — is what seems like an almost total lack of institutional memory. I will not name any names or provide any links, because I believe it is in everybody’s best interest to spend the limited amount of time people have to consume media reading someone who tells it like it is. Infotainment might well be entertaining, but it doesn’t solve a single problem in our lives.
Besides, alternative weeklies were set up initially to take on the mainstream media narrative, not to follow it like a bunch of little whining lapdogs. Same for the blogs. But not here. Why do you think I call it Alabamaland?
I’m sure Moore’s victory befuddles people in other states. Or, perhaps they just believe what Bill Maher says about Alabama and think the entire state is Hickville.
I happen to know there are quite a number of progressive beer drinkers in the small cities of this state. They just have no intelligent media to turn to, except of course for The Locust Fork News-Journal.
Now I was living away in New Orleans back in 2002 and 2003 when Judge Moore defied the Constitutional mandate of the separation of church and state and snuck his rock, carved with the Ten Commandments, into the state judicial building in Montgomery one night. I was teaching journalism at Loyola University when the controversy started, then free-lancing as a journalist for the New York Times, the Dallas Morning News and the Christian Science Monitor when Moore defied the federal court order to remove the monument, for which he was subsequently convicted and removed from office.
But I still remember the controversy well. Here’s one of the byline stories I wrote as a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor out of Boston.
Does anybody in Alabama remember this? If so, why did they vote for Moore last week?
I will tell you why.
Because Jere Beasley of the Beasley Allen law firm and the Alabama Association for Justice, formerly known as the Trial Lawyers Association, which Beasley mostly controls, funded and supported Moore over Mobile attorney Charlie Graddick and Chuck Malone, who Governor Bentley appointed to the seat when the last Democrat on the court stepped aside.
Now I can understand why they would not support Graddick’s return to statewide office after what he did to this state and the Democratic Party in 1986. Graddick paved the way for the election of the first Republican governor in Alabama in more than 100 years when he encouraged illegal crossover voting in the Democratic Primary in 1986 and threw the election to Guy Hunt, the biggest goober to ever get elected to any statewide office anywhere.
I mean Fob James was freaking goofy. But Guy Hunt was a complete moron who was removed from office after it was proved he illegally used inaugural money to buy himself a marble bathtub for his double-wide house trailer in Cullman.
None of this has any consequence to the media in Birmingham, which just thinks the entire thing is funny. Nevermind all the poor people who can’t get work because the government never works in this state. Let’s just all have one big laugh at their expense.
When I try to get a fact on the table with this crowd, they all just side with the right-wing attack machine and claim I am not a journalist. This from people who have no degrees in journalism and have never even cracked a journalism text book, much less taught out of many, as I have.
Nor have they read a damn thing about American history either, apparently, because if they had, they would realize that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is pretty liberal about who gets to be a journalist in this country. There is sort of a such thing as free speech and a free press here, although they have no idea what that means. They think it means trying to be funny and getting lots of goofy anonymous comments to pump up their traffic — on the hope that one of these days they may make some money on advertising as a result.
While reflecting on Moore’s victory this past week, I was talking to a prominent attorney on the cell phone while he was in between flights in the Atlanta airport. In addition to confirming everything I just said about the trial lawyers supporting Moore, he indicated there are some reasonable Republicans in Alabama who are now horrified that Judge Moore is likely to return to the bench. I have not met any of these “reasonable” Republicans since moving back to my home state a few years back, perhaps because of what my source said next.
“They don’t control the Republican Party in Alabama anymore. It has been taken over by the extreme right and the tea party crowd. I guess with Moore’s election they will get what they deserve.”
The problem is, while they may get what they deserve, it is NOT funny to all the people who are going to be screwed even worse than they already are by a Moore-led Supreme Court.
The reason the trial lawyers supported Moore was because he is not a big, loud advocate for “tort reform.” Moore might well uphold some large jury verdicts and help make the lawyers rich, but the facts are, he does not believe in the separation of church and state or the rule of law. So he will screw women, gays and anybody else who comes before him, and use the Bible instead of the law to judge them.
There should be a rule written somewhere saying if you are convicted and removed from office for violating the rule of law, you should not be allowed to hold public office again. Unfortunately nobody, not even Morris Dees with the Southern Poverty Law Center, foresaw that Moore would return to the court again. So nobody ever filed a complaint to have Moore disbarred. If he had been disbarred, election requirements by the parties would have prevented Moore from running for judicial office again. He could have still run for governor or president, offices for which he had no chance of being elected. But he would have been barred from sitting on the state Supreme Court ever again.
Yet was this the controversy that dominated the debate this past week in Alabama in the local media? On Facebook? Or was it Christian Republican Rick Santorum’s victory in the state’s primary for president?
No, the alternative weeklies, the progressive blogs, the Democrat e-mail lists and Facebook groups went into an adrenaline frenzy over some comments made in the past by the Democratic nominee who will run against Moore, a Shelby County lawyer named Harry Lyon.
I kid you not. Or, as Dave Barry used to say in his funny columns, I’m not making this up.
Now I must admit that I do not know Harry Lyon personally or have any idea if he is truly qualified to sit in judgement on the state Supreme Court, or not. But I do know it is bordering on crazy for people who are sympathetic to the Democratic Party to spin their wheels attacking him when they should be going after Moore. If Lyon was not qualified, the Demorats should have put someone else on the ballot.
The problem is, the Democratic Party is deep in debt, and the only place they’ve had in the past to turn for money in judicial races were the trial lawyers. Since that group decided to give up on the Democratic Party this year and support a Republican like Moore, they walked away from helping this state and said, in effect, “to hell with it.”
As far as I’m concerned, they are as responsible for handing all three branches of government in this state to the radical right Republicans as the damn tea party.
For that Bill Maher ought to make fun of Alabama. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Just so everybody will understand what I am trying to say, let me make this explicit statement. The media in this country shares in the responsibility for what happens here. If that institution lets us down — as the founders knew when they gave the press special rights in the Bill of Rights — there is no hope for democracy.
Try laughing at that, idiots. Or this.
Now Back to the Weather
A Japanese cherry tree, planted by my own hands
For anyone who still doubts the existence of global warming and climate change due to the burning of fossile fuels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now reporting that there have been twice the normal number of tornadoes in the first three months of 2012. Nationwide, there have been 132 tornadoes confirmed in January and February, with preliminary reports of more than 150 already in March. This past Thursday, 36 states set daily high temperature records. So far this month, 1,757 places in the U.S. have recorded high temperature records.
That’s similar to the number reported during last summer’s heat wave, Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the NOAA, told the AP, which points out that two different weather phenomena – La Nina and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation – shift storm and temperature patterns through the world. And while careful scientists say you cannot link a single weather event to global warming, climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria says: “When you start to see the extreme events become more common, that’s when you can say that it is a consequence of global warming.”
See you in hell, I guess.
That’s not a subterranean place. It’s right down the street.
Sorry if I don’t find that funny.
© 2012 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.