Sunday, June 30, 2013

Paula Deen: Southern Fired? / Rachel Jeantel's Testimony / Supreme Court Shoots Down DOMA

Chef, food entrepreneur , and Grande Dame of Southern fired everything, Paula Deen, is in trouble again. You'll recall that she had previously got herself in a bit of trouble when it came out that she had type II diabetes and was keeping it private amid her promotion of deep fried Southern cuisine (if one can call it that). This time, Deen mistakenly told the truth when testifying under oath that she had used the dread "N word". It should come of no surprised that the subject would even be broached...given that she's white, Southern, and all. Even the fact the question was raised seems to impart some sort of implied guilt; almost as if it was expected, but perhaps it was since the lawsuit was brought by a former employee who alleged sexual and racial discrimination by Ms. Deen and members of Paula Deen Enterprises.

Ms. Deen testified that she had been robbed by a black man at gunpoint when she had stopped at an ATM machine to get some money. The assailant held a gun to her head; waving it around her temple she said, and demanded her money. Shortly afterwards, when the angry and scared Deen was relating the incident to her husband the nefarious "N word" crossed her cornbread fed lips. Oh, and did we mention this took place about 30 years when she was still struggling financially to make ends meet and provide for her family? As if a backdrop was required, Ms. Deen mentioned that she had been born and grew up in the Deep and deeply segregated South.
Now, Ms. Deen has become persona non grata (which translates into Dixie as "ya'll ain't welcome") at Horseshoe Casinos, the Food Network, among others, while her sponsors like Smithfield drop her like a hot biscuit. Even her book publisher has decided not to publish her latest cookbook despite a record number of pre-publication book sales. Ms. Deen has made repeated public apologies, all to the glee of her envious critics. There's been a few brave souls to stand by her, and if there's any good to come out of this, Ms. Deen and Company know who her real friends are.

So, here's what I think. Get over it. What she said was out of fear and anger, and made over 30 years ago. If the same thing happened to anyone else, and I mean anyone else, would they do any less? I seriously doubt it. Yes, she grew up in the Deep South and is proud of her heritage. So what? In this politically correct gone amuck county , it's to the point where one has to be careful not to say or do something that someone else may not like lest being threaten with the race card and being required to dutifully don a scarlet "R". Well, too bad. There's also an implied "guilt" for being white or Southern, successful, or heaven forbid, all three creeping out into the open. Growing up in the South when I did, I heard far worse, and it wasn't always being uttered by a white person either.

What we should be looking at is the content of her character, and from what I've seen, it's about as innocent as an ice cold RC and moon pie on a Summer's afternoon.

Transcript of Paula Deen Testimony

George Zimmerman Trial: Rachel Jeantel's Testimony

Speaking of racially charged speak, did you catch the testimony of the "star witness" for the prosecution? The prosecution was hoping to demonstrate that the accused murderer of poor innocence Skittle totting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, an Hispanic by the way, was not only a gun toting Rambo-wannbe vigilante, but a raging racist too. Well, it turns out there were some racist comments, but they didn't come from Zimmerman.

19 year old Rachel Jeantel testified that she was speaking with Trayvon on his cell phone just moments before he was shot. Ms. Jeantel, a neighbor, made several statements whereby she claimed that Trayvon was in the process of being assaulted by Mr. Zimmerman . Statements which she later had to retract (admitting that she was not present and didn't witness the assault nor did Trayvon indicate to her on the phone that he was being assaulted).

When the testimony turned to racial undertones, it turns out that it was Trayvon who made the racial comments. Not Zimmerman. Apparently, according to Ms. Jeantel's testimony, Martin referred to Zimmerman as a "creepy- ass cracker"; the derogatory "cracker" reference to someone white is basically the equivalent of the "N word" to someone black. Apparently, however, Zimmerman made no racially oriented remarks to Martin. When questioned as to whether she thought that was an appropriate remark, Ms. Jeantel thought it was. She saw no harm in the use of the word, adding that its usage was commonplace among blacks.

Later, another witness and neighbor, Jonathan Good indicated that it appears that it was Martin appeared to occupied the "power position" in the fight with Zimmerman. Martin, it has been alleged by some media outlets, was known for gang activity and drug dealing, not to mention petty crimes and violence. None of these issues has yet been presented at the trial, but will no doubt be presented to the all female jury.

What may be of issue here is not the use of the pejorative racial comments made by Trayvon Martin (thought they would certainly be capitalized on if it had been Zimmerman who made them), but a cocky 17 year full of himself as most teenage males tend to be. Given that Zimmerman wasn't much older---he was 23 at the time---there was a lot of testosterone driven posturing going on, with Martin having the edge. Had Zimmerman not had a gun, Martin would have severely injured or even killed Zimmerman and it would be Martin on trial. So, did Zimmerman have the right to use deadly force to defend himself? Absolutely, at least based on what we now know. However, this was also a situation where Zimmerman should have listen to the 911 operator and backed off until the police eventually showed up. Certainly, as a block watch captain, Zimmerman should have had the training to know better. From what little has come out about Zimmerman pre-Martin, this wasn't his first dance. Bad judgment all around would be an understatement.

Supreme Court Shoots Down DOMA

The Supreme Court shot the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA for short). This has set off a plethora of marriage proposals and an all out sprint to the nearest minister or Justice of the Peace throughout California. The decision shot down California Proposition 8, which had been previously approved by popular ballot, and halted all gay marriages. The plaintiffs, Kay Perry and Sandy Steir, tied the knot immediately after the decision came down with California Attorney General Kamela Harris presiding in what became California's first same-sex marriage in 8 years . The ruling will likely open the door for same-sex marriages everywhere except where prohibited by state constitutional amendment. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if even those are eventually challenged.

But be that as it may, the core question remains. Namely, is the institution of marriage reserved exclusively for two individuals of the opposite sex who desire to make a public commitment to each, or is it open to any couple, regardless of gender, who are willing to the same public commitment? Most will argue that it's "unnatural" or "unbiblical" or "not in accordance with God's laws". Well, perhaps, but that too depends on which god you believe and how relevant those laws now apply. Remember for instance that in the Judeo-Christian bible, mixing cotton and wool were stoning offences! So, relevance does come into play.

For those who cite marriage as the foundation of family unit and basis of civilization, note that same-sex marriage does create a family unit, just not one that rest solely on procreation as its main purpose. In all other respects, it would seem to fit the criteria of creating a family unit. Of course, I'm speaking as a middle age straight male whose background is by and large traditional. However, I realize that things do change. We're leaving behind the strict hierarchical industrial age and entering the ever changing instant world of information where technology is outdated before it hits the store's shelves; Where horizontal corporate structures are the most adaptable, and ultimately the ones most likely to survive. Something the Federal and state governments will have to adapt to as well. Even stogy higher education has had to evolve to allow more online programs and degrees. The ivory tower are now computer towers and laptops.

It's also a world whereby not only are women the dominant gender in the workplace--something unheard of 40 years ago--but now many women are earning more than their husbands---unheard of just 15 years ago. People no longer have jobs for life. People have evolving niches of employment. We are more and more "contract employees"; many of whom work outside of a brick and mortar building. Working (and often successful) single mothers, a rarity not so long ago, is relatively commonplace now. So, it's reasonable then that with the evolution of society, that the core foundation of society too much change.

Gay Marriage get big boost in two Supreme Court Rulings

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