We watched the other night as a line of thunderstorms streamed across our part of the state, bringing with them torrential rain and tornadoes. All of the local TV stations interrupted their programming to carry live coverage of the conditions along with warnings for people to get into their safe rooms of their homes. On the ABC affiliate, WFAA-8, there was a football game. Duke and Indiana. Not exactly two power houses of collegiate gridiron tradition. True, it was a close game. But the weather trumped the4 excitement of one of 60 bowl games during this season of forgettable football. The stations even put the game up in a split window for the die-hard fans, until all hell broke loose on the east side of the city with people being killed and homes destroyed. The station cut away to full screen and full attention to the storms. And football fanatic started writing stupid hate emails to the station and tweeting all kinds of idiotic messages.
The station kept its coverage on the emergency at hand. Good for them. Countless lives were saved because people were forewarned about the on-coming monster (F4) that was barreling toward them with all kind of mayhem. No one was saved or spared anything by watching Duke and Indiana. You could read about the game in the nest day's paper, or watch highlights on ESPN later that night.
The people who protested the station's judicial switching away from a stupid game to life-saving information are the same kind of people who are currently being pandered to by the political parties.
It is time for America to become smart again. tolerant again. And patient with each other again.
I applaud WFAA 8 for their actions; and as for the naysayers, if your whole worldview is centered around Duke versus Indiana, you have a very shallow world. I pity you.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
I have been struggling for the last few days to try and articulate my utter disgust towards the governor of Texas and his small-minded play for ultra, right-wing support, by stirring up fear and xenophobia among the Texas electorate aimed specially at the refugees trying to escape the ravages of war in Syria. (Not that much needs to be stirred considering how backward most Texans think when it comes to choosing their leaders or to world views. Remember, the name of this blog is Lost in the Lone Star State.) So as I sat to draft about the tenth in a line of blogs, I came across James Ragland’s epic piece this morning in The Dallas Morning News. It says just about everything I feel, and he has done it without calling the governor a dick or a moron, which I was sure to have done.
I, in the name of public service, give you Mr. Ragland’s thoughts.
James Ragland: Welcome home, Syrian refugees
Published: 02 December 2015 10:28 PM
Updated: 02 December 2015 10:49 PM
Dear Syrian refugees:
Please accept my apology for our Texas governor’s failure to make you feel welcome.
Greg Abbott doesn’t speak for all of us — at least not on this issue.
He doesn’t speak for those of us who, while worried about national security and the threat of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, realize the moral imperative of opening our door to you.
The ideals we cherish, the compassion we have for humanity, should prevent us from turning our backs on you now or ever.
This isn’t a leap-of-faith conviction.
It’s a calculated risk that our nation long has accepted; it’s a defining characteristic of our identity as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.
We remain the light on the hill. We keep striving to live up to the uplifting words engraved on a bronze plaque tucked in the bowels of the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
But let’s be honest with each other. The world is a vastly different place now, and America’s role and resolve continue to evolve. Sometimes, we can’t tell the good guys from the bad.
Our sense of security was rocked on 9/11, when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes and flew two of them into the World Trade Center — about a mile away from where Lady Liberty lifts her torch.
We’ve been on guard ever since. I don’t travel nearly as much as I once did. I constantly worry about my son, who lives abroad. I fret over anti-Christian, anti-Western bigotry and violence abroad, and the virulent strains of Islamophobia infecting my fellow Americans.
The mounting terrorist attacks around the world — most notably the shootings and bombings in Paris that claimed dozens of innocent lives — underscore why many people are wound so tightly.
Yes, the terrorist threats are real.
But so, too, are the daily threats to your existence — the life-or-death dangers of a civil war in Syria that caused you to flee your homeland in search of a safe haven.
It’s incumbent on us as global citizens, as human beings, to understand the crisis from which you’re trying to extricate yourself.
And it’s our responsibility to help, as we’ve always done. As the International Rescue Committee points out, “The State of Texas has long been a safe haven for the world’s most vulnerable refugees.”
Again, I’m sure you can appreciate the unbridled fear behind the panicked reactions to news of your arrival. And I hope you can forgive the crisis in leadership that might make you feel unwelcome in Texas.
With a nudge from Abbott, our state Health and Human Services Commission filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to prevent the IRC from resettling refugees in Dallas later this week.
In Abbott’s mind, apparently, the only way to protect Texas — and the rest of the nation — is to turn our backs on you just when you need us most. Just when we have a chance to show the terrorists that our torch still lights the way to freedom, not just in New York but in Texas and every place in between.
Welcome to your new home.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
It took a few years, but California has joined four other states in allowing critically ill patients "assisted suicide" as an avenue out of their debilitating pain.
The Catholic Church fought it. Spent millions lobbying against it while medical associations were in favor of it, or at least neutral. Early on, the AMA had opposed states trying to pass the Death with Dignity Act (which started in Oregon in the late 1990's.) But after seeing the success that Oregon had, the AMA has changed its tune and now doesn’t fight the movement. Not all doctors are on board, but a growing majority reflect the view that a person should have more control on their own passing than currently is available to them in most states’ law.
Jerry Brown, governor of California has signed the legislation, Experts were watching which way his support would fall, considering he was a Jesuit trained seminarian for some time. But even Gov. Brown could see the benefit in this version of the act.
This act is the very foundation for my latest novel, The End just released by LULU Press. The End deals with a woman’s losing battle over cancer and her brother’s refusal to unplug her from life support.
Here is a synopsis:
Your final act in life is to ask your brother to do one last thing for you. But he refuses. He can’t. His faith won’t allow it. All you want to do is die in peace. This is the premise of John Crawley’s 15th novel, The End.
Released by LULU Press, The End is centered around the issue of a patient’s right to die with dignity. Set in Oregon in the late 1990’s, Lucy Brooks, a schoolteacher and her partner, Christine Bentley, a rising art star in the Pacific Northwest, are faced with the harsh reality that Lucy has a very aggressive strain of cancer that has metastasized throughout her body and she is going to die. But worse, the doctors warn them that this cancer is violently painful in the final days.
Lucy decides to seek assistance with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, a law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives at an appropriate time before long-term suffering ensues. Unfortunately for Lucy and for Christine, the state of Oregon does not, at that time, recognize their union as an official marriage. Christine can’t represent Lucy in any legal matters. When Lucy lapses into a coma before they can act on her life termination wishes, it leaves her estranged brother, Father Walter Brooks, as the sole next-of-kin, who is needed to sign the life termination documents.