Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Harem Scarum

--The Week magazine, 5.19.14 issue

Said I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown
Oba, ob-serving the hypocrites
As they would mingle
with the good people we meet 
--No Woman No Cry, 
Bob Marley 

Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me,
take a look at the one you're with
Woman is the slave to the slaves 
--Woman is the Nigger of the World, 
John Lennon

 “I have reason to believe Boko Haram
will see reason and let these girls go.
I think they will have a conscience
to let these girls go.”
Oronto Douglas, special adviser on strategy 
to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

The New York Times reported last week that Nigeria's army was "Holding Up the Hunt" for the abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. "Foreign diplomats say that the Islamist group Boko Haram appears to be winning the struggle with a weak military." Yet Nigerian President Jonathan's policy strategist says "reason" and "conscience" will hold the day.

Good luck with that. 

And ... why is it we care? Not in the human, Christian, Enlightened sense, but would we take any military action (U.S. Sends Troops to Chad to Aid Hunt for Nigerian Schoolgirls)? Puppies, kittens, girls -- most people become upset when the innocent are abused, but why would we risk even one soldier's life or limb over Nigeria's endemic problems?

Is it because this Muslim group chose a really scary name? It sounds like the bogeyman from hell. Is it because they're taking young women and returning them impregnated -- the oldest "survival of the fittest" ruse in the book? Are we afraid there are sleeper cells of Boko Haram in Detroit or Cleveland, or that they'll come over here to get our women and children? 

Islamist groups do these things, have been doing these things, for a long time now. Our intervention in the Middle East had nothing to do with it, unless you think they are clever enough to be committing these abductions to provoke the guys in white, like catnip to the cat. Nigerian's Islamic leader Abubakar Shekau said of the girls in a released video, "They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them"

If the military in their own nation is not too gung-ho on the matter, why should we be? Is it because we have a blackish President who is as angry over veterans dying for lack of medical care as he is over women in Nigeria nation being kidnapped? 

It's not our sense of immense paternalism toward the weaker sex, though I'm sure the military would like to feel or project the notion that they really are doing some good in the world. No -- if this were so we'd be intervening in too many countries to name that subject their women to servitude, prostitution and worse. Women will continue to be the Second Sex until enlightenment reaches all humans.

Since this has not happened here in the belly of the democratic beast, do not expect it to be enforced upon a tribal warrior mindset anytime soon.

No matter how many cups of tea you lay out, even with clotted cream, berries and scones.

No uh way.

[expanded version @ milpub]

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reform School, Redux

 Productivity is getting
higher and higher oh, oh, yeah

But profitability is getting

tighter and tighter oh, oh, yeah

--Think Visual
, The Kinks

Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events,

but we just got our asses kicked, pal

--Aliens (1978)

Status quo, you know,

is Latin for "the mess we're in"

--Ronald Reagan


{This is a re-post from 14 MAR 2009 @ RangerAgainstWar.}

DAV Magazine
reports this month, ""New VA Secretary Pledges Reforms." That the new Veterans Administration Secretary Shinseki "pledges reforms" does not fill Ranger with HOPE for CHANGE.

The dictionary defines "reform" as "a change from worse to better," "to amend by removing faults and abuses"; "an improvement via alteration." And just how, you may ask, will the VA accomplish this rectification?

It seems the VA, with the appointment of Shinseki --
the fourth consecutive U.S. military graduate to head the VA -- is hoping to hit a roving banker quinella. If these previous heads were so crackerjack, why does the DVA need reform? Since the previous appointments failed so spectacularly, one can see why they might think the fourth time will be the charm.

The VA has a
"dire backlog of 840,000 unprocessed disability claims" seven years into our elective wars. Shinseki, who is being touted as a maverick who spoke truth to power and was "unceremoniously ushered in retirement," is their magic elixir to turn things around.

Ranger wonders if any DVA Secretary has ever gone into a VA Outpatient Clinic for a medical appointment? Has Shinseki ever used the VA health care system?

Not to attack the man, but Shinseki did not oppose the phony and aggressive wars of invasion.
He simply did what a General does -- requested more troops, which probably would have contributed to that many more wounded and disabled veterans. To have opposed the war would have been an actually maverick and courageous stance.

Shinseki, like the rest of the officer corps (until they retire, that is) supported the illegal invasions, yet now he is being hailed as a role model.

He is no maverick. He is No. 4.


NOTE [20 MAY 2014]:

Five years ago, everyone was cheering on the appointment of Shinseki. However, not Ranger nor his buddy "Minstrel Boy", whose unedited comment we append below --
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...
there's a long, long, list of veteran's issues. many attribute the fall of rome to the generals of great personal wealth, like gaius marius, pompey magnus, crassus, and, after gaul and egypt, ceasar. the changing of the makeup of the legions during the 2nd and 3rd punic wars meant that many of the provincials, many of the urban poor, flocked to the standards when the property requirement for service was removed. many times, like during the years of hannibal running amok on the italian peninsula there would be promises of settlement in conquered land, or on public lands. with marius, pompey, and ceasar, when the state failed to compensate its veterans by keeping even a fraction of the promises they used their personal wealth to make good on those broken vows.

the upshot was that rome ended up with a military that held allegiance to a general, an admiral, or ship captain. they knew where the funds rolled from. this, in turn, led to many civil wars. for bloody conflict in the ancient world, it is impossible to be roman legions against roman legions. parnassus where caesar and pompey clashed was like a roman antietem. 5 hours of fighting and an ocean of roman blood.

after every u.s. war, one of the first orders of business in washington is to try and "move on" and find some way to forget the folks who fought for them. one of the few times that wasn't bordering on the criminal was after ww2. eisenhower knew what his soldiers and other men sacrificed and he would not allow things like the g.i. bill to be dismantled. it took reagan to do that. eisenhower made war, reagan made war movies. yet, they both had war stories. thing was, because his fighting front was in hollywood, reagan loved to tell his war stories.

when i was wounded for the last time, i was struck by how uncomfortable the sight of me was for my old buddies. the guys at silver strand training to go over there certainly didn't walk to look the fact that the shit's dangerous in the eye. i'm sure that even well intentioned soldiers feel that way.

when max cleland was in charge of the v.a. there was some progress made. max has a full and clear personal perspective on that system. absent a maimed or wounded vet who has dealt with that monolithic structure, how about nominating a doctor, or primary care giver?

i've met many doctors in the v.a. system who feel as obstructed and unable to do the work of healing as the patients they try bravely to bring care to. why not one of them?

rather than somebody with five rows of REMF ribbons on their chest, how about somebody who walks with a permanent limp, or needs a cane, crutches or chair?

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Is That Right?

Our faith is our strength
--motto of Tristan da Cunha 

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the
Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination
--John Keats 

Freedom is a bourgeois prejudice
V.I. Lenin 

"Truth", "Freedom", "Rights", "liberties", endowments ... these terms occur in our foundational documents, but have never been definitively explained. That is why a person like Edward Snowden is either deified or demonized -- we are not sure what we are allowed to do.

The most famous line from the Declaration of Independence (1776) states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

But in a society based upon laws, definition is important. How can these be "self evident" when at the time of the Declaration's writing, all men (= people) were not treated as though they had been "created equal[ly]"? If they are "truths", then they would have trumped behavior to the contrary.

It would take the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteen Amendments to confer freedom, full citizenship and the right to vote upon black males. It would not be until the 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920) that women would gain the right of suffrage.

Perhaps one may believe in universal equality of the construction of man, yet still believe that some few ubermensch retain the right to overmaster them. However, that is not societal equality, of the sort that a government document may confer. Further, how can it be "true" and "self-evident" that all are created equally when the observed evidence is so contrary. 

If rights are inalienable, they why need they be conferred by a "Creator"? If one were a citizen atheist, one still maintains his rights even though he denies they have been conferred upon him by a Creator. If rights are inalienable to my existence, then they need not be conferred, and are just a fact. 

If rights are "inalienable", then they are indwelling in the human, and may not be divorced by fiat or behavior. The Existentialists argued for man's radical freedom, even in cases of incarceration or death sentence, but that is a philosophical argument arguing for freedom in one's head space, a domain on which the government has not yet intruded. 

Justice Brandeis sought to protect that intangible freedom in his dissent in Olmstead (1934), when he foresaw a time when governments might develop and enlist technology to invade even that private sphere -- a "thought police", of sorts. However, one's actual physical condition may indeed be constricted, either by one's violation of his contract with the State or bad faith behavior of the State itself. So one's essential "liberty" is not a truth.

Liberty is not so much a right as a very tenuous condition. While an enlightened individual may eke out a mental zone of free thought when physical freedom may be denied to him, liberty is only the result of an agreement between the free man and his government, and only exists in the zone when both are performing their responsibilities correctly. Slavery and servitude is more generally man's state. 

"Life" is the one given among the "truths", but even it is not a "Right" -- life is simply a biological imperative. It is the seed seeking rich soil, the egg seeking fertilization, and then implantation. The impetus to life is a dumb fact if one is existing on this planet, much as when life has been extinguished, death and the absence of life will be a fact.

The Articles of Confederation also alludes to the “Great Governor of the World.” Were these references to a Big Guy just sops to simple people fleeing religious persecution? Many of the Founders were Deists, but they also believed in an "unmoved mover", a disinterested creator of all that is.

In Jefferson’s view, the rising generation, once sustained by complete liberty of conscience, would abandon religions based on biblical revelation in favor of those founded on reason. “There is not a young man now living in the United States,” he predicted in 1822, “who will not die a Unitarian.” (Separation of Church and State.) But reason had its day with The Enlightenment.

In fact, there are NO inalienable rights; ask Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. There are "rights" conferred by government, rights which may be abridged, abrogated or annulled, either judicially or extralegally.

We must be honest about who we are and what we want if we are to understand our present condition, yet who can do this even on a personal level? Our founders were brilliant and brave, their rhetoric soaring, but the words belie terrific contradictions and outright misstatements.

We are a riven society because men are riven, and men have created these concepts called rights.

[cross-posted @ milpub]

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Politically-Correct Bullies

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh Lord, please, don't let me be misunderstood 
--Please Don't Let me Be Misunderstood, 
The Animals  

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
 Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold 
--The Second Coming, W. B. Yeats

The outrage du jour in the comminteriat is the outed racial bigotry of Los Angles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling is now doing the requisite penance on his media rounds, insisting he is no racist. 

He is doing the walk of shame because the National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver has moved to force Sterling to sell his NBA franchise. This is all very understandable on one level as Silver and Sterling are both Jewish, and there is nothing that says you are an American patriot if you are Jewish like forsaking one of your brethren (or better, the State of Israel).

Surely we are not a post-racial society. The U.S. is post-Civil Rights and the enforcement of those equalizing statutes, but the law may not operate on our minds -- our preferences and perceptions. While some may feel that an Orwellian sort of mind reaming might help maters, we are not yet there. 

What about Sterling's right to privacy? "Under California law, all parties involved have to consent to the recording of private remarks. Even bigots." 

What we are is a contentious society that knows how to come out slugging. We have our petty social networking platforms on which to disgorge our bile, or in a national publication if we are a bigger dog. The silent majority doesn't participate and just wants chips and dip and to watch a ball game.

The last civil rights frontier is gay rights, and the liberals are coming out slugging, there, too -- as though the enforcement of gay marriage will make our society a more civil one. But we in the United States have a strong division between Church and State, and forcing the Church to perform a rite against its dogma is just wrong.

Of course all should be entitled to a civil union with their beloved, even objektophiles like USAF veteran Erika Eiffel. All people in committed relationship should be afforded the dignity to do so, and to enjoy the respect of their state's rights as a couple; state-recognized civil unions meet that bar.

But pugilist liberals are trying to hose down differences that do not please them, and to force acceptance of said differences. In the case of gay marriage, this would be a rupture of the protection afforded by the Church-State separation, and an enforced annihilation of Church doctrine.

This misbegotten crusading gives them a purpose, and a rationale for hiving at Starbucks amongst their fellows. But this coercion is not in line with our Constitution's First Amendment, and freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Fifth and 14th Amendments guarantee of equal liberty is only binding on the state and state employees. Constitutionally-speaking, everyone else is free to discriminate.

And for every push, there is a push back. The result is in an even more riven society, one which is already dangerously factionalized. Amongst the latest falls was the forced resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich after it was outed that he contributed $1,000 to a group supporting heterosexual marriage (which is to say, marriage.)

As an aside: Sorry women, but your day of equality has passed. Amusing in a slightly horrific way are the advertisements over the years for various household appliances-as-gifts for the married woman ("There need be no doubt in your mind as to what to give a lady ..."). The June Cleaver-like women are beaming in their cheery half-aprons, ready to do your bidding if you'll only bestow that new chrome appliance upon them.

But wouldn't we be appalled if the woman was black, with a rag tied around her head? The above ads says, "Merry Christmas. I'll be over for breakfast!" Just like that, the house frau is expected to perform. The Equal Rights Amendment could not muster enough votes to pass in 1972, and women still earn 77 cents for every dollar that a man does.

Interestingly, Mrs. Donald Sterling is calling the NBA sexist forcing her forfeiture of her 50% share of the Los Angeles Clippers if her husband does. Her voice as the little lady is very small, and shall be a footnote to history.

Gays are on top now, and our society seems more chastened, or perhaps, more vitiated. Societies behave like metronomes or perhaps, circle games, like Yeats' widening gyre, which eventually breaks apart.

It will all be coming around again, 'til the game stops.

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Free Throw

We have fallen down again tonight 
In this world it's hard to get it right 
--Everybody, Ingrid Michaelson

 [NOTE: Due to an editorial error, yesterday's post 
incorrectly contained two different pieces of writing.
 Today, we will publish Jim's portion. --ed.]

There's a lot of discussion and outrage about the racial remarks made by an 81 year-old billionaire  somewhere in a world uninhabited by people like this Ranger.

Even the President and Michael Eric Dyson have expressed their shock and ire at the comments. The NBA Commissioner Silver is moving to force Sterling to sell his team.

But wait a minute here. Doesn't Ranger remember 46 years ago taking an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic? Didn't I go off to war as a result of this oath?

Please correct my thinking, but isn't one of those things covered by this oath a little thing called "freedom of speech"? If a billionaire doesn't have freedom of speech then my oath of allegiance was certainly a wasted effort.

What is democracy without freedom of speech? Even if that speech is reprehensible.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

Vietnam Fell, and My Kooka Hurts

 ~What the hell do you know... 
~I know it's pretty damn weird to eat people
 --Sin City, Frank Miller

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn? 
--Where Have all the Flowers Gone,
Pete Seeger 

The biggest purveyors of hatred and violence
never wore combat boots or carried a rifle
--Ranger quote

Saigon fell to the Communists 39 years ago (30 May 1975), and we do not often discuss the legacy of that conflict in everyday terms.

We seldom discuss the exploitation today of the Vietnamese workers who labor in sweatshop conditions in a nation without human rights, a nation for which my fellow soldiers fought, and ultimately abandoned.

The military was amped up in its mission to squash the threat, and as a young man Ranger's world was surrounded by and dominated by hatred and violence. Most of his fellows were enthusiastic volunteers, certainly before the endgame emerged. But what did all of that ardor gain him, his little world, or his country?

With maturity came the insight that the world has enough hatred and violence without his adding to the mix. Hatred and violence backed by a Ranger or Special Forces tab is still anger and violence.

Mostly, our attention now is turned to the new thing, the Islamic Global Jihad, or whatever the term du jour is. Certainly Bernard Lewis's "Clash of Civilizations" is too brusque, too biblical. We do not want to play it too big, but neither diminish it to a graspable size.

The United States hated Communists then much as we hate terrorists today. We even called them Communist Terrorists (CT's), so threatening did they seem to our way of life. Yet today, the Communist nations that did not fall have integrated the most usurious parts of Capitalism into an odd griffon, and we are still fighting to "bring democracy" to fallow lands, forgetting that our democracy was never imposed upon us in the first place.

We speak occasionally with a polite and well-spoken Buddhist Vietnamese restaurateur about his country (to which he occasionally returns.) During our last talk he spoke of the Vietnamese labor protesters jailed late last year for speaking out against 12-hour days with no breaks; he said he had received a You Tube of the situation which the government had taken offline, but which a friend had copied and secreted out.

He said some advocates for the jailed protesters had been trying to present their plight to President Obama, but we could find no online sign of this. Groups like Human Rights Watch however have reported the move of various factories to Vietnam once they started getting flak for their sweatshops in South America.

The thread binding Capitalists and Communists is the goal of squeezing every drop of labor from the worker, sans protection or fair remuneration. Who could better produce the cheap underwear that we love than a Communist Capitalist? Costco and Vietnam exist, cheek-by-jowl, a world apart yet joined over the cheap XXXL sweatshirts we consume without conscience.

Lisa has even encountered people who should know better -- parvenue military history department grads who, when brought to the topic, actually have the temerity to say, "Is he still on that?" when the topic of Vietnam is broached. Maybe this is because we do not like sitting with their discomfort and ignorance.

But it does not matter if a thing is uncomfortable or simply an unknown to the listener -- the waves of the actions will continue to ripple out. Whether you are in the group who are blissfully unaware of the violence done in your name, atoning for or ruing your participation, insecure because you didn't participate, or still carrying the fight, war will not fail to impact you.

It is good that we can laugh when Snooki falls drunk off her bicycle and wonders if her kooka is hurt, right? That, too, is free market capitalism at work.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Combat Ineffective

Don't mention the war! 
--Fawlty Towers,
Basil Fawlty 

I'm what you'd call a teleological existential atheist.
I believe there is an intelligence to the universe,
with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey
--Sleeper (1973)


When a combat unit sustains 30% casualties, historically such a unit is considered "combat ineffective". Upon this designation the unit is reconstituted by filling it with replacements.

Now consider the following:

-- 47.7 million Americans receive food assistance (a 50% increase since 2009). 

-- 15%, or 46.5 million Americans, live in poverty

-- 49 million U.S citizens suffer food insufficiency

-- The poverty rate for unemployed Americans is 33%

-- 45% of U.S households headed by a single mother live below the federal poverty guidelines

If the United States were a combat unit, it would be approaching combat ineffective status.

In my NorthFlorida county, 30% of the total population lives in poverty. Does this mean that our social structure is ineffective? Have we lost the ability to fulfill our mission -- the  pursuit of life, liberty and happiness?

While becoming a warrior nation, we have ignored the plight of our people. When did this happen, and where? Why does the taxpaying public accept this gross miscarriage of democratic thought and action?

This essay was prompted by a United States Marine Corps ad which stated that the Corps was "defending the American way of life." The American way of life is being degraded by our focus on other efforts in other places which conveniently take our eyes off the ball. The "American Way of Life" being defended should not include hunger, homelessness, poverty and despair.

If the U.S. were a combat unit, we would be stacking arms and headed for the Prisoner of War compounds.

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Quarterback Sneak

 Everything is everything,
everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
change it comes eventually
--Everything is Everything,
Lauryn Hill

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,
vanity of vanities; all is vanity
--Ecclesiastes 1:2

Subtitle: Tres-passes

Final installment on sports and ethics (first are HERE and HERE.)

We are disingenuous when we feign outrage over each new offense by a sportsman, which is to say, any celebrity. Captain Renault is earning money for playing shocked at revelations of malfeasance, but we are not.

We bestow upon these people fawning adoration, and pay them inordinately to perform their deeds in order that we may be entertained. And we do not wish to be disappointed, for when they fail we do, too. Everyone's project become just a bit tattier.

The recent Sterling and Wilson affairs reveal our desire for distraction and outrage, but not rectification. And this is not the first time ball players have run afoul of the law.

In 1999, FSU's Peter Warrick, a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, and teammate Laveranues Coles were arrested for stealing clothes from a Tallahasseea department store. Fifteen years ago, the nation was a little less tolerant, and Warrick did not win his Heisman, though he did go on to a successful professional career. Randy Moss is another stellar example of the criminal-athlete from FSU who nonetheless went on to a stellar professional career.

Not only is our local Heisman Trophy winner out of bounds with the law, so is the university from which he hails. It was reported this week that Florida State University is one of 50+ schools charged with Title IX violations (55 Colleges and Universities Are Under Investigation for Title IX Violations Related to Sexual Violence.)

Title IX became law in 1972 to ensure women could participate in their own college leagues, and that they would enjoy protection from harassment, institutional or otherwise. It was meant to help level the playing field for women, and now many of those women have been betrayed.

But there is nothing surprising here. Violations will continue in a program riddled with participants and enablers who feel athletes are a group apart. The rest of us are complicit in our sports hero worship. Ball players are not hereos qua moving a ball on a court.

Among the talking heads denigrating Sterling was basket baller Isiah Thomas, a "disgusting sexual offender" according to sports columnist Christine Brennan. She said a jury awarded 11.6 million to a former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders back in 2007. Yet Thomas has been all over TV the last 24 hours denigrating Donald Sterling. (Thomas works for NBA.com and NBA television.)

"Someone like Isaiah Thomas is still around the NBA. And he did this awful thing, obviously terrible illegal thing, sexual harassment. How is he still around the NBA?" Pot calling the kettle black?

So we hop on the merry-go-round trumpeting our cause du jour, and our hypocrisy is complete.

The problem lies in us. We revere money, and we idolize people who have a skill in moving a ball in space. We forgo too many trespasses in the name of being entertained. And since the performers are often black men, we call it "one for affirmative action"; it is anything but.

In a world where money buys prestige, money and the desire for affiliation with the monied is sought at all costs. With money comes power, and power does what it wants.

These sexual scandals are but two rent pieces of the whole. Everything is of a piece. Why act aghast at the revelation of each new violation when the entire project is shot through with greed and vice?  We all know the score.

What is missing from the gestalt is care, respect, kindness ... all the things without a price tag, the things that earn an endeavor the title of "dignified" or "compassionate and egalitarian".

Today, we have transvalued those "traditional" values, as Nietzche anticipated. Some people are more equal than others, and "more for me" is the new mantra -- that's how the big boys play.

You can't legislate morality, specifically, the appetitive drives. Prohibition, the war on drugs and criminalization of prostitution prove that. You can criminalize the behavior, but you will not stop it. "What god do you worship?" -- that will determine your behavior and your valuations.

The Tweets continue apace.

That's about it.

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

No Laughing Matter

--JFK with miners in Mullen, WV, 1960 

...and when there was no meat, 
we ate fowl and when there was no fowl, 
we ate crawdad 
and when there was no crawdad 
to be found, we ate sand
 --Raising Arizona (1987)

 Well, either you're closing your eyes
To a situation you do now wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber
of disaster indicated 
--Ya Got Trouble, The Music Man

Since we are on sports ...

No sand for him: local Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was "cited" Tuesday for shoplifting crab legs, crayfish and butter from a local Publix grocer. Don't think he got off Scott-free; no sir -- FSU has slapped him with a $30 fine, and no more baseball this season.

The media was flooded with jokes and headlines about how funny this was. Just a youth funnin' around, right? YOU try and steal some crab legs and see how funny the authorities find you.

Overheard in town: "Why he do that? Boy's hungry, he go to MAC-Donald's. He got the whole world, and he go do a fool thing like that." Well, Jameis has already beat a rape rap, and that Heisman sure do look nice on his mantle, you betcha.

Mr. Winston's theivery and Mr. Sterling's ban from basketball got me thinking about ethics. Theft and bigotry -- one is illegal, the other is bad form, for sure, perhaps revealing a corroded soul, but not a jailing offense. Yet we laugh at the first one, and censure the latter.

Mr. Sterling was a Bad Man -- Old School; racist; an adulterer ... laughable and passe, right? Except, he is not passe. He's 80 years older than a baby, who is a lot younger than you. That's a drop in time. So our disrespectful stance towards older people-as-dinos is a canard. The problem lies elsewhere, and not in Sterling's unfortunately uncool age.

Listen to some rap lyrics to understand the hatred brewing in and being fed to the the youth. Sterling may line the pockets of b-ballers with his millions, but when the commentariat decides he's done, buh-bye. And really, isn't that what capitalism is all about? Use 'em up, wring 'em out -- next. Far more Ayn Rand than Golden Rule.

Schadenfreude is an added benefit for the louche Twitterverse. But I see a vast waste of effort there.

HERE is what matters:

  • The Council on Foreign Relations reported in 2012: "The real scourge of the U.S. education system—and its greatest competitive weakness—is the deep and growing achievement gap between socioeconomic groups that begins early and lasts through a student's academic career."

There are more things that matter, but problems tend to be depressing, and insoluble in 140-character bits. Maybe there are just winners and losers, and the poor will always be with us.

In the Randian universe, men are idealistic and  rationally self-interested. Sterling and Wilson qualified for the latter, minus the "rationality". But what happens to a society when rationalism, idealism AND compassion are foregone?

Maybe that is the definition of uber-capitalism, as capitalism is expeditious, above all else. If CAD-CAM can replace draftsmen, that's progress. Mechanization can provide a better, cheaper object, and we like Good Buys.

But back to race (if we really care): are we ready for a discussion on race free of blame, shame, Right, Left, arrogance, posture ...

No, I didn't think so.

And the commentariat will roar with howls of execration the next time bigoted words are secretly recorded and leaked, and we will Tweet and re-Tweet and FB the latest "gotcha".

And we will feel exonerated.

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