Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I have been struggling with what to say about the Boston Marathon Bombings for the last couple days.  For most Americans the bombings came on "Tax Day," though, if you're a Bostonian you might have thought of Monday as "Patriot's Day," the annual observation of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

But I am not a Bostonian; I live in the New River Valley and for me April 15th will forever be "the day before the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings."  When those shootings happened in 2007 I was writing for Newsvine and I provided a moment by moment account of what we were learning as we learned it: I camped onto every local news station in the area; listened to police scanner feeds; called friends who were on campus; checked little known web-cameras; and basically did everything within my power (from within my locked-down office building) to work out, for people scattered all over the country, many of whom were trying to figure out if their sons and daughters were alive, what was going on.

I did my best to verify things before posting them but even as close to the events as I was the media echo chamber distorted a lot of what I was hearing and I was, eventually, forced to retract several things I'd previously asserted as true.

That was in 2007; things move much faster now.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

There Are No Accidental Racists

As a college educated liberal raised by two liberal midwestern professors, I have a confession to make: I rather like Brad Paisley. His music is twangy and rockabilly and kind of terrible but in an oddly afable way that seems to go well with warm summer nights here in south western Virginia.

But his latest album's big track, "Accidental Racist" is just rage-inducingly awful.  Paisley's balad in the key of "whining about being a white guy" tells the tale of him walking into a Starbucks with a Confederate Flag t-shirt and how he's bitter that everyone treats him like a bigot.  It also features L.L. Cool J rapping over-top of the latter half of the song in an attempt to validate Paisley's complaint which, while laiden with its own cringe-worthy lyrics and false equivalencies, at least serves to make the track sound a little more like a Confederate apologists' wet dream and a little less like a Klan anthem.

But back to that confederate flag t-shirt.

Monday, April 1, 2013

No Bad Ruling

Now that the Supreme Court has listened to the arguments over not one but two same-sex-marriage cases it'll be a few weeks before it delivers a ruling. When the Court does so it can essentially deliver one of three verdicts and while a lot of folks are going to be in pins and needles until the Court makes its decision, there is really no decision this Court can make which will mean anything bad for either marriage proponents or the left writ-large.  In broad strokes, the Court can do one of three things.