Saturday, December 16, 2017

It May Not Be Spoken

... but it's OK if it shows in their behavior.

The Boston Globe recently did a series of articles probing Boston's reputation as the most racist city in America.
But this much we know: Here in Boston, a city known as a liberal bastion, we have deluded ourselves into believing we’ve made more progress than we have. Racism certainly is not as loud and violent as it once was, and the city overall is a more tolerant place. But inequities of wealth and power persist, and racist attitudes remain powerful, even if in more subtle forms. They affect what we do — and what we don’t do.
I haven't read the whole thing, but it triggered my thought from yesterday - there are topics we can discuss, like racism, and there are ones we can't discuss like cultural rot. When I started reading the Globe's work, I wondered, "What if there's a basis for the feelings? I wonder if they deal with that in the series."

I have a friend who is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive. They love to talk about racism and they have the obligatory lefty hatred of the South, particularly of southerners who still like the Confederate flag. In San Diego, there's an excellent soul food restaurant in one of our few black neighborhoods. The prog won't visit it because they don't feel safe. Personally, I've got no problem going down there and getting my fix of deep-fried okra. The prog will preach to you at length about how racist America is, but their actions show they feel there is merit to the racists' arguments.

There's the elephant in the room again. We can talk about the Stars and Bars, but we can't talk about the reality of communities where the traditional family has broken down. We clearly know what it means in terms of crime and ruined lives because we quietly avoid those places, but we dare not say what we're implicitly thinking.

Going back to Boston, how many of the readers of that series will be nodding their heads, thinking about how terrible it is that so many of their neighbors are such racists all the while never having shopped, eaten, worked, lived or gone to school in those neighborhoods because, well, look at them, they're such cesspits!

It feels like our conversations about race are really all about ourselves and whether or not we are virtuous. What would we discuss if our first priority were the people who live in those neighborhoods?

A park in Boston. There are no statues of Robert E. Lee, but plenty of racism. Hmm.

Friday, December 15, 2017

You Can Only Solve The Problems You Can Discuss

When my wife and I teach the remarriage class for the Diocese, we talk about the elephant in the living room. That's where a couple avoids discussing a major issue and it gets bigger and bigger until it's like having an elephant in your living room that you pretend you don't see. You never bring it up because you're afraid of the argument that will result.

I've been trying to put my finger on what really bugs me about the destruction of Confederate monuments. The two thoughts that keep returning to my mind have been:
  • If the monuments are so horrible, why are the pathologies in the black community the same everywhere, whether there's a statue of Robert E. Lee present or not?
  • What are we hoping to gain from this? Is there some metric of black success we expect to rise once the monuments are all gone?
I do understand that to some people, removing them itself is a good thing because of the nation they represent. I can respectfully accept that while disagreeing with it. To me, they represent men fallen in battle and removing those monuments is essentially telling the descendants of those soldiers, "Your ancestors were scum."

But that's not the elephant in the living room. Nor are any of the other Social Justice fads like cultural appropriation, whiteness, white privilege or what have you. No, the elephant in the living room is our debased culture.

I'm using black America here, but understand it's a proxy for all of American culture. It's handy because the statistics are stark and the national conversation is obsessed with race. I have argued before that skin color is irrelevant and I don't see the need to recap that here.

Going back to the culture and things we don't discuss, try this on for size. About 50% of all black pregnancies end in aboriton and of the remaining half, about 3/4 are single women having babies. That means that 7 out of every 8 times a black woman gets pregnant, her man won't commit to her and the child.

Civilization is built upon the family. Those stats reveal a foundation that is rotten to the core. I've likewise blogged incessantly about the problems that arise from broken families - crime, drugs, education, etc. Compare the effects of some statues in a park nearby and having your parents, grandparents, friends' parents and neighbors' parents unmarried and in transitory relationships. It's insane to suggest that the two have even vaguely equal value, but we discuss the statues/racism all the time and the culture almost never.

I don't know any racists and I'm a pretty gregarious person who travels all over the country. If racism was a serious problem, then statistically, I'd expect to know at least a few. I don't know any, as in zero. I know plenty of children from broken homes, though. It looks to me like one problem is solved and the other has been allowed to grow until it's huge.

That's because American family culture is the elephant in the living room.

We'd sooner pay for a massive remodel than discuss what it's doing in our house.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Little-Known Theology Fact About Bacon

We recently celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is a little-known fact that during one of Mary's visits with Juan Diego, she told him, "Cuando cocinas tocino, el bebé Jesus sonríe" - "When you cook bacon, baby Jesus smiles." He told this to his neighbor, Maria Consuela Roberta Chata Lupe Garcia-Garcia*. Recent research has revealed that Maria was granted a vision after Juan told her this crucial Catechetical fact. An angel of the Lord came to Maria that night and told her, "Cuando cocina tocino con manteca de tocino, el bebé Jesús sonríe con ángeles cantando, también" - "When you cook bacon in bacon grease, baby Jesus smiles with angels singing, too."

And now you know.

The Catechism is silent about what happens when you chargrill oysters, but St. Catherine Labouré was convinced it involved Cherubim.
* - Maria Garcia-Garcia was a proto-feminist. Although it was the 1530s and the patriarchy reigned supreme, she was a fiercely independent woman and refused to take her husband's last name, hence the hyphenate with her maiden name.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Problem With Being A Good Cook

... is that most restaurants disappoint.

I'm way down south in Dixie this week, my favorite part of the country with my favorite cuisines and outside of pilgrimages to Waffle House, where the company is more than half the attraction, and some fried chicken at Po Folks, it's been disappointing.

That's not unusual, most of the food in San Diego is disappointing as well. In the end, we go out to eat because we're tired or we want to go to a tap house for uusual craft beers. There are a couple of Italian joints in SD that my wife adores, but I can't tell them apart. Tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil and some pasta is all it is to me. Meh.

Yesterday, I had some Crawfish Etouffee. It was good, but mine is much better. I use homemade seafood stock and I do a lard roux that takes about 50 minutes. No restaurant is going to be able to do that.

Where local Southern eateries shine is when they can serve something you just can't find in SoCal, like crawfish. A crawfish boil, man that's some good eating and unless you want to pay big bucks to have them shipped in live, you can't get it in San Diego. Meanwhile, the rest of the food is pretty good, but I wouldn't go out to those places if I lived here. I'd stay home and cook it myself.

As for the fried chicken and biscuits at Po Folks, they were unreal. I do a triple coating for my chicken: seasoned flour, beaten eggs and Panko crumbs, but these guys look like they did a buttermilk soak and then just the seasoned flour. It was the best fried chicken I've ever had. The crust was crunchy and delicious, but not thick like KFC or mine. The biscuits simply dissolved in your mouth in a wash of buttery goodness. Fabulous.

OK, enough is enough. I need to get in to my local work site. It's going to be a 22-hour work day for me today, what with early morning work at the hotel and then flying home late tonight. Sigh. I wish I was taking some time off so I could scoot over and spend some time in Alabama. I loves me that state, I surely do.

Have a great day and I'll post again tomorrow.

I believe that an excellent way to understand Southerners is to spend time hanging out with them at a Waffle House. Try it a half dozen times and I would bet that any lingering prejudices you have about Dixie will be washed away.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Electing Robots

I had a few other posts in my head for today, but I decided to go to the Roy Moore card just by way of self-explanation.

The teen-girl fetish accusations from decades ago don't really bother me. I can't imagine what bland weirdos we'd end up with in the Senate if everyone was held to an altar boy standard for their entire lives before we let them run for office. They certainly wouldn't be representative of our porn-soaked population.

What really bothers me is the anger and judgment against gays that comes from him. Waving a Bible around and then screaming at any group is disgusting to me. It's pretty hard to work your way through the Gospels and then nod your head at Roy Moore when he starts going off. Truth be told, I'd have a really hard time voting for him today. I couldn't vote for the pro-abortion dude, either. What's his name? Doug Jones? John Smith? Joe Everyman? Hey, he didn't have a thing for teens, vote for him! Don't look at that mountain of dead babies behind him, we'll clean that up as soon as we get the elevators to the crematoria working again.


Pulling back up to the 30,000 foot level, these guys are just voting robots. The odds that the (D) candidate wouldn't vote in 100% lockstep with his Party masters is practically zero. He doesn't look like he's had an original idea since he discovered Crayons came in boxes larger than 8. Meanwhile, Roy Moore will be a reliable vote for his party as well. He does have original ideas, but they're all bad.

So what is it we're fighting about? A voting robot. Great.

With indescribable horror, Alex realized that both candidates were following, intent on inflicting their hideous stump speeches upon him.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Impeaching The Goose That Lays The Golden Eggs

As I was savoring yet another great week for my 401K recently, it dawned on me that yes, indeed, a rising Trump tide lifts all boats. There are a ton of state, local, university and union pension plans invested in the market that are in a world of hurt from over-promising their employees. They all assumed insane rates of growth in the markets to stay solvent and up until this year, a whole bunch of them were staring at bankruptcy.

Now we have insane rates of growth in the markets and, for some of them at least, things aren't looking so dire.

Now we must impeach the president.

Good idea. That won't put an end to this stock run that's saving their bacon.

President Trump is a clear and present danger.
How hard would it be to behave normally and just rip every word out of his mouth, but let him stay in office while he staves off catastrophe for the blue states and unions? In the old days, that's what wise politicians did on both sides. Now we're so enraged that we'll take fiscal collapse just to get rid of Trump. That many of their constituents and employees will see their pensions practically zeroed out is of no consequence to the crazies.

Can't anybody here play this game?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Some Unnoticed Ironies In The Roy Moore Imbroglio

Republican Roy Moore, sometime teen fetishist running for Senate in Alabama, is best known for his resistance against the Federal government, trying to keep the Ten Commandments displayed in his courtroom against the Separation of Church and State.

Separation of Church and State came in the 1940s from an Alabama Democrat klansman nominated to the Supreme Court by FDR.
Separation was a crucial part of the KKK’s jurisprudential agenda. It was included in the Klansman’s Creed (or was it the Klansman’s Kreed?). Before he joined the Court, Justice Black was head of new members for the largest Klan cell in the South. New members of the KKK had to pledge their allegiance to the “eternal separation of Church and State.” In 1947, Black was the author of Everson, the first Supreme Court case to hold that the first amendment’s establishment clause requires separation of church & state. The suit in Everson was brought by an organization that at various times had ties to the KKK.
In a second irony. Moore is runing to replace Jeff Sessions, a Republican who made his name prosecuting the Alabama Klan, sending one of their members to his execution and fining the Klan millions of dollars, effectively bankrupting them.

You've come a long way, Alabama.

You're also exquisitely beautiful.