The Roy Moore Situation: Does the State of Alabama Have a Sense of Ethics?

I talked earlier this morning about there being an extreme likelihood that Roy Moore will stomp his victory stamp across the sleepy state of Alabama. I also talked about how Doug Jones seems placenta-filled, mild-mannered, and pathetic enough that he doesn’t come across as the ideal candidate to unseat decades of political certainty.

My previous post talked more about the electoral side of things. This entry will ponder the state of Alabama itself. Or, the state of the state of Alabama. It’s my opinion that Alabama is so steeped in an archaic sense of morality that any firebrand will do.

Establishment Republicans and Democrats would have a better chance of making Roy Moore run for the hills if they had evidence he took the lord’s name in vain or something. Well, it makes you wonder. Would anything be enough to permanently change the minds of Alabama Republicans? They’ve rationalized Moore’s ethical ills away to the detriment of their own ethical compasses. “Fake News” and so on. John the Baptist or some such. “Things are about to get Biblical” really doesn’t cover it.

The propensity to groupthink is never a good sign. There are also no scientific checks and balances down there. The Bible belt has been through the washer more than a handful of times, and yet, it comes out smelling brand new. Alabama is probably feeling invigorated rather than truly ambivalent. Sometimes the initial ambivalence predicts and ideological coalescing. Other times not.

What I’m concerned about is the very discernible odor of social change. Look at the rise of Donald Trump. The pardoning of Arpaio. Those Constitutional Sheriffs that are trying to “take their states back” by prioritizing state law over the constitution,…or something. Alabama isn’t immune to this shift. No state is immune, and those shifts are expressed differently depending on various factors. Some states absorb national changes via their own individualist strain. Consider, for example, how Alabama views the media. Mistrust of the Fourth Estate is fairly common already, and it seems like it’s only enhanced in that state.

You also have the issue with net neutrality, which will place a severe bottleneck on the flow of information on the interwebs, just another stair for the evolutionary throwback to fall down.

Seems like the usual tendency to focus on micro-politics needs to be opened up, then, that this just isn’t a problem with Alabama, and the anxiety over Roy Moore should also take into consideration wider social shifts that feed into each other. Finally, solely focusing on macro-politics leaves out important details. Certain states become refuges, or hotbeds even, of particular kinds of ideology. National shifts can increase those phenomena.

 

Will Roy Moore Win Alabama?

Despite several women coming forward and accusing Roy Moore of being an extreme pervert (my wording, and possibly that of others, I don’t know, I haven’t scoured the entirety of the internet), it’s still highly possible, even probable, that the “local firebrand born amid fierce saber-rattling” will take the Alabama ticket. What a shame. American politics was having such a good run.

I doubt Doug Jones, mild-mannered, and placenta-filled though he his, will take the state. Seeing how his mild-mannered-ness  is akin to marshmallow-stuffed sweet potatoes, it seems he won’t have the energy to galvanize the Democrats or take advantage of indecisive Republicans (are there any indecisive Republicans in Alabama?) It’s a highly evangelical state, so Roy Moore’s brand of religious goop is much more palatable to the masses down there than Doug Jones and his pro-life stance, which seems to me is the hot-button issue that keeps anemic Republicans from switching sides.

Not to mention, Mitch McConnell walked back across the bridge of actually taking a stand on something, saying that the voters of Alabama should decide. Well, that was helpful, he might as well not have said anything at all. Rewind, cut the film footage. Next scenario: Rewind, cut the film footage. I didn’t say that. Oh, but you did, and Roy Moore touched those women as sure as the good book will prop up the state of Alabama for the next century.

 

Meet Senator Tom Cotton, Trump’s pick for CIA

I’ve had a hard time encapsulating The Trump Age until very recently. To me, it seems like a waiting period. A narrow world waiting to expand to something much more life-altering. Just a few things.

Except that the blender-in-chief put rumors to rest that the antipathy-inspiring Secretary of State isn’t going anywhere (although Trump made a point to mention that he “has the final say”). So, this example and the Flynn thing do a good job of making me doubt labeling this period as “An Anxious Corridor.” Why? Well, we’ve been wondering about Tillerson’s ouster for months (at least, I have). Flynn has had a target painted on his back since not long after the inauguration. Essentially, we’ve waited for the political mushroom cloud to light up the sky, but as of yet nothing.

Maybe Anxious Carousel would be better? Still, sometimes going round and round wears down institutions that keep the status quo. Normally, I don’t care about keeping the status quo, but replacing it with this guy? Or judicial clones of him? Doesn’t seem like a sustainable way to live.

Or what if Father Pence becomes the next POTUS? There are a lot of aspects to think about, which could keep you occupied for days on end, and before you’re done fully contemplating them, more delightful baubles of chaos arrive.

A corridor? A carousel? A fascinating historical tube with no way out? Whichever way you choose to describe it, it’s a consistent opportunity for everyone to exercise a little narcissism.

You’re probably asking “is he going to end this post on a high note?”

Bhff-ter (Horror)

He was in the freezer, so what? He wouldn’t freeze. Everything was obeying the plan. Bhff-ter wouldn’t lie. It had said that Tommy could not be frozen to death. And like clockwork, Tommy was in the freezer shivering but far from shuddering out his last breath.

Bhff-ter emerged from the fog, gripping Tommy’s throat, its hands scalding his throat. Tommy struggled by thrashing his limbs. Bhff-ter didn’t so much as blink. Tommy noticed just then that the thing didn’t have eyelids. It was such a small detail he probably wouldn’t have noticed it if it weren’t for death closing in like white hot headlights.

He took a small icicle forming on the ceiling, and as the beast brought him back to Earth he stabbed it into its left eye. The screams shredded his eardrums, and everything turned black as a woman in a red suit approached. She was nondescript except for the two brilliant antlers on her head.

“You should’ve died from natural causes,” the lady said. She didn’t care to illuminate the consequences.

Tommy was almost glad she didn’t.

Blogging and its “Seven Holy Topics”

Smartblogger wrote an interesting article on, you guessed it, blogging. One of the bullets points they covered was the “seven major topics” that generate the most traffic. These are: social media, finance, self-improvement, parenting, gadgets, news, and business. These topics take up the crux of attention given to blogs, and the article goes on to say that writing in a niche that’s reasonably matured is your best bet. A common thread linking social media to parenting to news is that these topics will be eternal in their popularity.

It’s important to pick a niche that is broad enough and allows for maximum creativity and interest from you. The “holy seven” is a map that is easy enough to navigate. You simply have to think about the constellation of interests that form your personality and juxtapose them alongside the major topics that people are most interested in. Doing this will give you a holistic sense of what will and what won’t work in the long-term. Once this process has matured, you’ll be able to write about something that resonates with a particular group of people but that has staying power. You’ll be building a loyal following that is interested in the same topic as you, which will only fuel your own interests, giving a larger knowledge base and generating even more interest in your blog.

In other words, you’ll be building an audience, and as a prospective successful blogger, that’s invaluable. You simply won’t be able to reach everyone with your writing style and interests, so it makes sense to winnow those possibilities to something that is interesting to you but appeals to a particular group of people. Something with “staying power.”

So, you’ve built an audience. What now? Once you’ve truly settled on a subject and are generating a loyal audience, the rest will fall into place. If your audience is giving you permission to offer them updates via email on information that is relevant to them and their lives, your job just got several thousand percent easier. You won’t be fighting to get people noticed in what you have to say. It will happen naturally. They’ll want to hear your advice.

To boil it down:

  • Pick from one of the seven major topics available
  • Find your niche. Stick with it.
  • Let your audience build (this step requires no effort on your part)
  • Send them regular email updates

If you’re doing the above steps correctly, (and combining these steps with healthy and robust SEO practices, which deserve multiple separate posts), followers and search engine traffic should come to you. A firm principle to keep in mind is to see your potential adherents as having the same aspirations as you. They are combing the internet trying to find information relevant to their very individual experiences, and are most likely looking for something very specific. That is where you come in, to provide them with highly specific information that will keep them loyal and interested while generating streams of new traffic. Blogging is very much an exercise in self-exploration. You start to realize that you aren’t so different from other people, and that they require the same things as you do. You write for yourself. You write for them. Soon you’ll start to see the untainted fruits of your labor.

 

 

Chess Games with Kim Jong-un

The horse was in its special place
Waiting for an eye’s kind glint
To move authentically
Or to please a great leader

But neither strategy was to hold water
The horse would drown if it claimed victory
And a discernible nod of the head
Would be seen as cowardly
Fake
Indicative of poor character

So the player on the other side decided to do something radical
To masquerade a heart’s demise
While moving with great courage

The Blindfold is Passed On

He strolled across marble porticoes
Lingered on sweeping terraces
Below rested
Everything a man or woman could wish for
Great halls quivering with sumptuous meats
And the bounty from a grey urban space

They had won the drawing of straws
These lucky people who at the moment
Had other plans

Swords created deadly X’s
Bows strained to make music
Heads butted together

A lord was spared
He could work in the kitchens
Pay off his debt
There was resentment there, though
A lordly petulance

Luck

A loss of confidence

The man existed in his hovel
Eyeing the various portals of distraction
They would be short-lived
Every last one

The rectangle offering a glimpse into
The outside world seemed off-putting
His pile of food on the table was worse than the rectangle
A pair of dice in the corner shifted the blame
Onto the broken radio
But hope seemed like a false enterprise
So paying attention didn’t make sense
Things would remain broken

His spine tickled itself in pain
Wood underneath bone just didn’t give way
Though the green rabbits started to surface
Poking playful ears out from under various worthless things
They looked playful
A little confused
That was okay

This pleasure was incredibly fleeting, and had to be respected