Arizona is Racist and Oklahoma Hates Women

That’s the only conclusion I can come up with to understand two pieces of legislation that became law this month. In Arizona, the governor signed a law that states the police can stop anyone and ask them to prove they are in the country legally. On the surface, that would seem to be a license to harass brown people and with Arizona sharing a border with Mexico, that’s exactly to whom the law was aimed.

The governor said the law will not institutionalize racial profiling because the law says race can’t be the only factor in deciding to stop someone. When pressed to determine what other criteria the police should use (the question being “What does and illegal look like?”) the governor said she didn’t know.

I guess the cops will just know it when they see it.

The governor also said she didn’t believe the law would have an economic impact on the state. Boycotts from around the country as well as a travel advisory from the Mexican government warning citizens not to visit Arizona say otherwise. Some of the Arizona border towns depend on the commerce of Mexicans who cross the border to buy groceries and other goods.

Protesters are showing up at the Arizona Diamondbacks games. The MLB All Star Game is slated for Phoenix this year. I wonder if it will actually happen.

Years ago, the Arizona voted to rescind its observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday. In response, they lost the SuperBowl. The next year, they voted to observe MLK day. I’m thinking the economic pain will change some hearts and minds.

I’ve seen reports that the mayor of Phoenix as well as some local sheriffs have decreed they will not enforce the new law. But there is a stupid (very stupid) clause in the law which says any citizen can sue the police if they do not enforce the law.

Unbelievable. It’s like they’re mainlining stupid sauce.

Then there is Oklahoma. The legislature just passed a bill that says doctors who decide not to tell a pregnant woman that her unborn child has a birth defect can’t be sued. Now picture that for a minute, all you tea baggers, libertarians, small government protesters and economic conservatives. In Oklahoma, a doctor can lie to a patient about her child without consequences.

Unbelievable. The governor vetoed the bill, by the way, but the legislature voted to override the veto.

So, if you’re a pregnant woman in Oklahoma, you can no longer trust that your doctor is telling you the truth. If he thinks bad news might lead to you seeking an abortion, he can lie to your face. But, for one second, take abortion out of the equation. Suppose you’re a pro-life pregnant woman. Your doctor tells you that everything is just fine, even though it isn’t. Even if the baby wouldn’t live more than an hour or so after birth, you’d carry it to term and then grieve. What you don’t want is for it to be a surprise.

Or suppose your baby will live, but will have special needs. You need to prepare for that. You need that information.

This law is bad legislating, bad public policy and bad medicine. A bunch of shit-kicker politicians have decided that they know what’s best for women in Oklahoma. I weep for them.


What the American People Want

People, we live during a time of the 24-hour news cycle, the year-round political campaign and fast food sandwiches that use fried chicken instead of bread. One thing I know for certain in the wake of all this is that I have no idea what “the American people” want. I know what I want. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what people like me want. But as a percentage of the whole, I really don’t know how close I am to the mainstream.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because during the health insurance reform debate and now during the financial reform debate, all these politicians are getting in front of the camera and claiming to know what the American people want or more specifically, what the American people do not want.

Rest assured, neither of my senators know what I want because 1) they’ve never asked and 2) they both just vote along party lines no matter what. My Congressman is a Blue Dog who has decided not to run again. So he no longer cares what I want.

President Obama has used the phrase in his speeches. Though he usually says “I believe” with it, which tempers the temerity a bit. As in “I believe the American people want us to pass this bill.” Instead of House Minority Leader John Boehner’s “The American people do not want us to pass this bill.”

I don’t really have a solution for this. I just wish they would all find some way to say what they mean and leave me out of it.

My son Max turned 12 recently, making me the father of a tween. His mom took he and his sister to some amusement center that included bumper cars, an arcade, laser tag and go karts. When I asked him about it later, he was vibrating. He described laser tag thusly:

“It’s like if you took Modern Warfare and mixed it with Star Wars and added black lights.”

Saw a little live theatre recently, and I don’t mean the old lady on the shuttle who was showing a sore on her bare foot to the woman sitting next to her. I went to Liquid Smoke with Badger and a play broke out. Patrons in the bar turned out to be actors. The bartender turned out to be an actor. The guy at the door turned out to be an actor. It was entertaining enough, but I left during the second karaoke intermission, so I have no idea how all the conflicts were resolved.

Last year about this time I was working on a freelance script for the adult assembly leader of a vacation bible school program. This summer, you may be seeing churches in your area promoting the “Galactic Blast” VBS program. In it, a mission commander and a green gorilla puppet talk to the kids with the help of a computer called the VBS GPS. I learned recently that the guys who created the DVD that simulated the computer interface (using my script) submitted it and won a Telly Award.

Congratulations to them.

I just turned in a script for next summer’s top secret VBS program. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.

By now you’ve seen the KFC Double Down – the new bacon and cheese sandwich in which the bread has been replaced by two pieces of fried chicken. I have yet to try this delicacy. But I’ve read a lot about it. The most intriguing thing to me is KFC’s defense of the product. According to the company, the sandwich is targeted to people with not a lot of disposable income. The idea is that you’re getting a lot of product for a small cost.

The KFC Double Down has become the benchmark by which other fast food is compared. I saw an article that compared fat content of other fast food dishes as a ratio of fat content in the Double Down. Another listed 10 fast food meals that were worse for you than the Double Down (including one of Wendy’s salads).

I have a complicated relationship with food and you’d think this “sandwich” would be in my wheelhouse. But, while the KFC Double Down is, no doubt, a delicious meal. I don’t think I’ll be eating one. You have to balance the experience with the self-loathing that will follow such an act. It’s not worth it.