Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Five Great Mysteries of Bama

Over the years, there are a couple of weird events....which I tended to view, as mostly unexplainable, and more of a mystery...from the state of Bama.

First, there is the 1965 event of "Bloody Sunday"....where cops from Bama got into a mess with black marchers....going from Selma....to Montgomery.  The mystery here....is how anyone could put together such a fifty mile walk....without any water stations or rest points.  Over the years....I've looked at the route and am generally amazed that anyone could be talked into this....especially in March.  It might have been a terrible mess in July....with the heat on....but still, March is not a great month to go walking in Bama.

In general.....you get the impression that the plan was thrown together at the last minute so no one could react to it much.  The reaction by the Governor?  Well....that's a mystery too.  There's no state law violated, and other than looking for trouble....that's mostly all that the Governor could pause and say.

Even if you came to me today and said we need to march fifty miles over to the West Virginia border....I'd be asking questions.  Where's the water and food?  Where do we camp on the way?  What if it rains? In this case....no one asked many questions.

The second mystery?  Back in 1957, over near Phenix City, Bama....some kid found a coin in a field from the island of Sicily....dated 490 B.C.  To this day....no one is saying much except wondering how it got there, and if a bunch of Italians were marching around Phenix City back two thousand years ago.  The odds?  Well....you just don't know.  They might have checked things out....found out it was "dry" county back then, and just left looking for a place where you could get a real drink.  You just don't know.

The third mystery?  At the 1860 Democratic Convention in Charleston....things turned into a literal mess. Stephen Douglass was pretty much set to win, and easily beat the Republican candidate.  But the Bama delegation came into play....demanded a certain platform that Douglass would not support (it'd screw up the votes in the northern states, had he gone to support slavery).  So at some key point, the Bama delegation got up and walked out (led by William Yancy).

The election?  The Democrats had to meet a second time...up in Baltimore.  This went swell for Douglass, but the southern Democrats got all hostile (thanks to the Bama group again), and got up a Southern Democratic Party candidate.

As you can imagine....Douglass simply could not win enough votes in the north, or the south, and sat there in a mess at the end.  In essence, the Bama group helped Lincoln win, and helped to start the Civil War.  And for what?  Just words on a platform, which typically mean nothing anyway.

Fourth?  Per square mile, Bama probably has a listing of more haunted places than any state in the US.  You stop any guy on the side of the road and ask for a local haunted site, and he'll likely throw three out at you...all within ten miles.  Why so many hauntings?  More disturbed Bama dead folks than over in Georgia or South Carolina?  That's a mystery.

Fifth?  Two guys walk into a Bama bar....total strangers.  It only takes a mere sixty seconds for a conversation between the two to start over: (1) NCAA football, (2) hunting or fishing, (3) Baptist revivals, (4) love gone wrong, or (5) the problems of digging up septic tanks.  You could put the two guys into a Wal-Mart, a Piggy Wiggly, or even a bait shop....and they'd still start talking over the same topics.  Fate or mystery?

The White House Thing

This week....the White House made the decision to shut down tours.  A bunch of folks have gotten upset about this.....with the general comment of this occurring....mostly because of sequestration.  After the comment is uttered, then the government usually says it's a woeful and terrible thing....with a sad puppy-dog look on his face.

The cost of the tour?  Nothing.

Who conducts the tours?  Well...it's an interesting thing.  They have a huge number of volunteers who do it for free, and the few federal employees involved ...are National Park Service folks.

The real cost?  Mostly security folks who check every single person, and ensure the absolute safety of the White House and the President.  So at this point....it's hard to say what these security folks will be doing for the next five months....or the National Park Service folks who ran the desk operation.  Sitting around?  Yeah....mostly sitting and waiting.

The folks could have started up a $3 fee and most everyone would have understood and readily paid $3 a person.  The problem then is that you would have shown something profit from this, and then been the only US federally-run operation in America....to make more money than it spends.  And you just can't have that.

The rest of this story?  Frankly....put yourself into this position.  You get elected to be President, and then have to explain to your wife Wanda....that the family must move from Bama....to Washington.  Then you explain you have to live in a 200-year old house....that is really more of a museum than an actual house.  Then you explain to Wanda and the kids that they'd best not break anything.  Then you explain that no one can walk around the house in their underwear or pajamas.  Wanda and kids would be fairly upset about this and ask if better accommodations could be arranged.

I can't think of anyone that would sign up to live eight years in a museum.  Even if you threw in a fancy pastry chief, or some cook who'd make the best pastrami sandwiches in the world.....I just wouldn't be interested.

Cable TV?  I'm guessing that the President probably has the 2,000 channel package....with a 60-inch TV in the bedroom....all compliments of the White House.  He's probably got a personal refrigerator by the bed, with various international beers inside.

The appeal of this tour-the-White-House thing?  I don't know.  I've been here three years and have yet to tour the White House.  On my list of things to do....it might be way down....maybe at number two hundred.

So if you were hoping to do a big three-day-see-all-of-DC trip this summer....you'd best adjust your viewing list and remove the White House.  Don't worry....there's still a bunch of things open and life is pretty much normal for the rest of DC, during sequestration.


Two Things

There were two minor stories of interest from Friday.

First, from Tennessee....there's a small town which had a number of problems with its cops....and racism.  Things got out of control.....so they fired all of the town's policemen.  They've gone out and hired a new chief of police.  And he's ready to hire new cops for the town, but there's one stipulation.  You have to take a law detector test, and prove you are not racist.

Based on two articles....it appears that there just aren't that many applicants for the jobs.  Most legal experts say it's legal, but they have doubts that it really works like it is intended.

Typically with a lie detector test....if you really believe you are pure and clean....you will pass, but after you get into a conversation.....you might easily demonstrate that you are racist, but you just don't know it or believe it.  So the test might be worthless.

I'm guessing some cops are just fearful they might be other questions, and get into details of their life that shouldn't be discussed in public....like doing drugs or handling stolen property.

Will it catch on?  I'm guessing some people will ask more questions about the test, and discuss the idea of opening it up for real police departments.  Value?  In my book....less than zero.  You could have a whole department pass the test, and discover that every member is Klan member tomorrow.

The second story?  Up in New York state....the schools got all hot for having cops walk the beat in schools.  So in the Highland Central School District....they had this episode occur. A cop was walking within the school's hallway, and his gun went off (accidentally, he says).  So far, the school is in the midst of an investigation....that mostly goes nowhere.

The likely scenario?  The cop probably has a gun with a safety that easily flips from safe to fire.  The cop rounds a corner....bumps the wall...it flips to fire, and with a hair-like trigger....it simply goes off.  Luckily, not hitting the cop or any kids.  Or maybe the cop actually pulled it from the holster and was playing with it (the Barney Fife-trick).  You just don't know.

What starts to get interesting now is that parents are concerned over the safety of their kids in the school.  It was bad enough to worry about some nut.....but you need to now worry about some cop and his gun. You might have to actually pass a law that guns are simply not allowed in a school period....even with the cops.