Friday, 13 April 2012

Bold New Church World

This is what we know.  Out in Grapevine, Texas....there's this church.  The minister had this grand idea for Easter services.....bring in a lion.  So he found this guy who had a lion, and he set up two cages up on the stage....for "Clarence" (the lion), and one for "Larry" (the lamb)...note: these are my names for the critters involved.  Pastor Ed Young then tended to three sermons that day....at the Fellowship Church.

Naturally.....some humane folks got upset once they heard about this.  They felt that Clarence was being upset by this theater-like experience.  I'm guessing that Larry also felt intimidated.  They ran up to the local city government to complain about this episode and how a permit was allowed for this to occur.  In most cities.....there would be a permit issued.

Well.....the city guys kinda stood there and eventually admitted that they didn't have a real permit situation for this type of mess.  For a town of 43k residents....I'm guessing that over the past one hundred years....they hadn't had to face an event like this.  Most folks don't typically drag lions out to a church.....preach some Bible verses over the lion.....and get parishioners all peppered up over the church service.

I sat and pondered over this.  I spent a number of years under the Southern Baptist umbrella.  We had a fairly big stage and it might have been big enough for a lion cage.  I would imagine if I were a kid in such a church today.....walking in and noticed a lion cage up front with the minister....I'd probably move up to the front row to be entertained.  Typically.....no one ever sat in the first three rows....don't ask me why.

I would have likely sat there for an entire service and been fairly entertained by the lion.  To be frank....I doubt that I would have even remembered any of the Bible verses that the minister uttered.

The problem I see now.....is that fifty ministers across America are going to get this funny idea....of bringing in lions and tigers to a service.  There will be these professionally built cages designed for church stages and folks will come out in the thousands to see the service.

Later on, some ministers will bring out alligators and fancy peacocks....to entertain the folks.  Someday, some idiot will even set up a snake cage of sorts, with a boa on display as he does the sermon.

Eventually, some idiot will put an entire cage across the whole front....enter the cage....and try to do the sermon with the lion standing next to him.  Four thousand folks will cram the church to watch this event.  It'll end quietly and quickly.....as the lion gets upset by the failed AC unit and jumps on Reverend Clyde and rips him up in front of a pretty upset crowd.

Later, a congressional committee will meet and issue some law to forbid lions in churches.

Later, the Supreme Court will strike down the "no lion in churches" law because you can't forbid church folks from doing anything stupid or crazy.....by the Constitution.

Only in America.

A Few Words on Mike Wallace

Usually with most folks.....you can use the term "when he hit his peak", but with Mike Wallace....I'm not sure if he ever hit his peak.  I believe that says alot about the 60 Minutes journalist.

During the first fifteen years of 60 Minutes....I rarely missed an episode and considered the news show to be fairly accurate and honest over its reporting.   Mike Wallace helped to make it that way.  To be honest....over the past decade.....I probably wouldn't make that same judgement.

It took a long while for a guy to figure out that Mike was a liberal of sorts, but he had this unique ability to tell a real news story, without slanting it left or right.  As you look back over the 1960s, 1970s and to some degree...the 1980s....you still had these journalists around who could just report the news or facts.  It was something that you came to appreciate.  When that era ended.....you really missed professional journalism.  It had become like a high-school class of wannabe pretender journalists.  Your mute button is actually wearing out because of so much frequent use when the pretenders come on the air.

So a great reporter has passed on, and we will miss the guy.

The Zimmerman End

I've sat and watched the smoke clear and I'll make these five observations.

First, having watched enough Law & Order episodes.....I know the difference between murder in the second degree, and manslaughter.  A guy typically gets 25 years to life with murder in the second degree, and maybe ten to fifteen years (depending on the state) with manslaughter.  The degree of effort required?  The amount of evidence for a manslaughter conviction is not that difficult and you are simply saying the guy screwed up and did something stupid....so he has to pay some time.  You can figure twice as much effort for the murder charges, and the degree to convince the jury?  Maybe twice as much as well.  For this case?   I seriously doubt that enough evidence exists for the murder charges.....but then the parents probably demanded the superior charges.  The prosecutor warned of a loss or a hung-jury.....and they didn't care.

Second, the whole case is dependent on a Florida jury situation.  If any idiots remembered the Casey Anthony case.....convincing a jury really isn't that simple.

Third, the possibility of getting some idiot juror on the team.....who says he isn't sure about the guilt or innocence....but then two days into the case says he's entirely convinced and was lying when he told the judge of his initial feeling?  Better than fifty percent chance.

Fourth, if the prosecutor turns up with complex evidence with several jury members over 65 years old, and they just can't grasp what he means.....kills the case entirely, and help Zimmerman win.

Fifth and final.....there just isn't a huge amount of evidence existing here.  This case ought to end somewhere in the midst of the third week....and the jury spends maybe one day discussing it.  If the prosecutor wastes more than eight work-days on this presentation.....I think it's mostly hurting his case and causing the jury to question the value of whatever is put in front of them.

My humble guess?  Zimmerman either wins or there's a hung-jury.  The sad thing is that he could have been convicted in a manslaughter case (I do believe this would have been a simple case).  No one wants him to do just eight years with good-behavior for the situation.

As for the federal guys standing around and grinning over hate-crime charges after the win?  If Zimmerman wins this state case.....I'd double-down and bet the Feds can't win a case in a Florida courtroom.....with Florida folks as jury members.

There was a potential case here.....but it just doesn't look like one now.

The Spiral of Spies

In the old days, you had spies who mostly hung out in Europe....and peeked in on kings, counts and lords.  Somewhere along the way, you started to have spies who hung around the House of Lords in London and US nuclear development labs.  Then you had spies who got into secret technology centers.  Then you had spies who got around to military bases.  Then you had spies who found their way into US banks.

Well....this week, some goofball who had kind of gotten himself onto the Fox News Network....for the O'Reilly Show.....was figured out to be a "spy".  His act was mostly to cover Fox News, and then report back to Gawker website.  Fox fired the guy today.

I sat pondering over this.  You got some loser guy....whose best career dream is to spy on some network and then report the "real" truth?  That's the best you can do....as a journalist?  You could have gone to Microsoft, the Washington DC government, American Airways, and even the Dallas Cowboys.....but you just figure that some spy activity on Fox News will be your big opportunity?  I'm missing the big picture on this deal.

So to make news.....you spy on the news?  So if were Fox and had discovered your whole act.....I could have laid out a number of fake and bogus episodes....fooling you into reporting this back to Gawker, and done counter-espionage?

Where do you go from this point?  If the guy gets hired tomorrow by ABC.....you can't really trust him.  If the MSNBC folks hired him.....might he actually report some facts back to Fox News?  Well....you just don't know.  so I'm guessing he will find himself working at some library in Austin, Texas eventually.....unable to find a real company that can trust him entirely.

If you intend to be a real spy.....go for the gusto.....plant yourself at Burger King or Doctor Pepper.  Get some real juicy burger gossip.  That might be worth the effort.