Riff Raff: Federal idiots, Oprah, slippery slopes, and channel changes

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 986 views 

Encouraging more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education is great, but should it result in less education in communication skills? The best engineer in the world is no good if she can’t collaborate or communicate with peers. The best science is shared science. Is it just me, or are Arkansas officials doing all they can to delay availability of medical marijuana?

And then there are folks who maybe should communicate less. Like the newly confirmed director of the U.S. Health and Human Services agency, Alex Azar. He’s the former president of Ely Lilly, a drug manufacturer. He recently said there’s “no such thing” as medical marijuana.

Who knew one could drain a swamp with unlimited amounts of spousal abuse, $31,000 dining sets, stormy relations, and commercial feeder-lot amounts of BS?

Evidence grows almost daily of marijuana’s medical benefits, even with the disadvantage of being a federal Schedule 1 drug that limits marijuana research. Evidence grows almost daily that unfettered and questionable access to legal drugs produced by Ely Lilly and other drugmakers are responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Evidence grows almost daily that medical marijuana is a better substitute for drugs made by Ely Lilly and other big pharma companies. Maybe there should be “no such thing” as Alex Azar as the head of HHS.

• Something was once said about children being the future. Wallow away in the shallow pool of muddy understanding if it makes you feel better about believing future generations are all eating Tide Pods, protecting their feelings in safe spaces, and receiving only participation awards. Attend a junior high robotics event. Attend a junior high quiz bowl tournament. Attend a ceremony with young men and women not old enough to drink swearing in for military service. Conduct a modicum of research about successful entrepreneurs not old enough to vote. Or old enough to drive.

But they’ll soon vote. In droves.

Pew Research suggests a big shift in generational politics. On the way out are generations who vote and opine based on Bible school lessons, societal norms from the days when white men wrote and enforced societal norms, who watch Fox News, and those who believed what they were told about cigarettes and segregation.

“Generational differences have long been a factor in U.S. politics. These divisions are now as wide as they have been in decades, with the potential to shape politics well into the future,” Pew noted in this report. “From immigration and race to foreign policy and the scope of government, two younger generations, Millennials and Gen Xers, stand apart from the two older cohorts, Baby Boomers and Silents. And on many issues, Millennials continue to have a distinct – and increasingly liberal – outlook.”

Liberal. Increasingly so. Oh, hell. There goes the country. We’ll all be sharing bathrooms, baking gay cakes, kneeling during the anthem, protesting the police, converting aircraft carriers into homeless shelters and community gardens, and allowing Supreme Court justices to be picked by Oprah. (You get a black robe, and you get a black robe … )

But then again, folks once viewed as possessing liberal views pushed for the abolition of slavery, voting rights for non-property owners, voting rights for women, voting rights for blacks, the end of lynching, anti-trust laws, creation and protection of public lands, equal access to education, and, to name just a few, those far-reaching, anti-monarchical 10 Amendments. Progress is rarely the result of politics practiced by those who fear change.

• U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, isn’t sure about changing gun laws. Following the tragic Florida school shooting, Talk Business & Politics asked Rep. Womack about possible changes, including raising the age limit to buy weapons.

“Hard to say. I’m a big supporter of the Second Amendment. I think when you start trying to, from the periphery, going after fundamental parts of the Second Amendment, you’re on a very difficult slope there,” he said in this interview. “And you’ve got to be careful. Because then what’s next? Are we going to go after the First Amendment? Is there going to be Fourth Amendment issues? … And there are many examples out there where the law abiding citizen is the one that gets punished for the dastardly deeds of a very few people. And I want to be careful that we don’t go there.”

Am in agreement with Rep. Womack. Fully so. We should possess anathema for slippery slopes when it comes to overt tweaks to our unique and definitive civil liberties.

It would be nice if Rep. Womack was as concerned with slippery slopes for the other nine original amendments as he is the 2nd Amendment. Directly and indirectly, he’s supported FISA courts, enhanced domestic surveillance and other Patriot Act provisions, drug war actions – expanded RICO rules, police checkpoints – that abridge liberties, and “enhanced” interrogation of people brought to U.S. property. Such actions have created Crisco’d cliffs for at least the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments.

• Something must be done, and done now. The lady wanted to know what we were gonna do about KFSM Channel 5 moving to Northwest Arkansas.

Not a damn thing. Do I wish they’d stay in Fort Smith? Yes. But changing the present reality would require access to a generous multi-billionaire interested in acquiring the company just for the sake of keeping the main KFSM studio in Fort Smith.

KFSM is owned by an out-of-state multi-billion dollar corporation that decided being in Arkansas’ second-largest metro area and in one of the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas is better for business.

But I lied. A little bit. Access to a generous multi-billionaire would include a lot of deals other than a channel change.