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The Rant

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For the love of everything in this world sacred and precious to me — Krystals, Al Green, crushed ice, Summer Avenue, Law & Order: SVU reruns, the Big S Lounge, New Orleans, W.C. Fields, stewed oxtails, the Chrysler Building, cigarettes, lemongrass, Modigliani, To Sir With Love (movie and song), Truman Capote, Wheel of Fortune, potted mother-in-law tongues, Wild Bill's, gazpacho in August, Chopin's "Ballade in G Minor," cocktail onions, tiny shotgun houses, Paxil, cats making biscuits, disco, Horseshoe Lake, Geraldine Page, Bobby Womack's unplugged "Across 110th Street," first snow of the year, Eartha Kitt, Coro Lake, air conditioning, the Pancho's in West Memphis, pet squirrels, the Stax Music Academy, David Sedaris, Leontyne Price, cashmere socks, caviar, koala bears, Shirley Chisholm, David Bowie, Ripley tomatoes, meerkats, quiet forests, Amsterdam, old Pontiacs, yard sales, Bleecker Street, and tossing around the word "quixotic" in casual conversation — would someone much smarter than I (and that is so, so many of you) honestly and with a level head explain to me some things that my feeble little brain can't figure out? I know I tend to harp on things, but I guess I've become obsessive compulsive when it comes to sitting on the edge of the sofa, watching the news, and scratching my head at the world.

First, WHAT has Barack Obama done to deserve the kind of political slaughter being waged against him? Is there something I am missing that makes some people so vehemently hate him? And with so many people, it is not even his politics; it's downright personal. If the man ended terrorism today and achieved ironclad world peace in perpetuity, there are many who would criticize him for it. All this crap about the IRS and Benghazi. Talk about obsessive. For many of his critics you'd think he carried out or ordered the attack himself. And Gitmo. Do people not realize he has tried to close it but Congress and the Senate blocked him? It is not his "failure to close Guantanamo," as the press likes to reference it. It is Congress' and the Senate's hatred of him and I, for one, even though I hate to blame everything on race, think it is because he is black and they still can't handle that.

Second, WHY is gay marriage not legal yet in every state? It is odd to me that the same people who reelected former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford to political office again after he lied to the nation and had an extramarital affair with his mistress are the same people who think gay marriage will destroy their lives. I have nothing against Sanford and his personal life has no effect on me, so why should people think regular, nonpolitical people's personal lives are any of their business. I still agree with the great and wonderful Dolly Parton, who once jokingly said about gay people being able to legally marry, "Let 'em be miserable like everybody else!" And while we're on the topic, here's a big high five to NBA star and former Memphis Grizzlies center Jason Collins for being the first American athlete in professional sports to have the courage to publicly state that he is gay. Notice I didn't use what the press generally uses, which is "admit" that he is gay. Why would someone have to "admit" that? It's not like it's a crime or that he's done anything wrong. I'm surprised they don't use "confess." Anyway, kudos to the man and GO GRIZZLIES (not sure what their outcome in the finals will be by the time this column appears).

Third, THANK GOODNESS for the Westboro Baptist Church out of Kansas, which, along with protesting at fallen U.S. soldiers' funerals, is now blaming the NBA on the recent Oklahoma tornadoes because the organization is supporting Collins. I was always taught as a child that God has a purpose for everything on earth. I don't know that that is true and it would be easy to wonder why these whacko, child-abusing terrorists exist, but I see it this way: We, as a society, have come a long way in terms of tolerance, and it's people like this that make those on the fence become even more tolerant. So I'm glad they exist.

And now back to the so-called IRS "scandal." Why SHOULDN'T the IRS have exercised extra scrutiny on the Tea Party when they popped up and started trying to get tax-exempt status for the nasty little organizations? They may not be a formal political party but they certainly are a political organization — with the sole purpose of derailing Barack Obama's presidency — and political organizations don't get the tax-exempt ride. The funny thing about the "scandal" is that none of the conservative groups was denied the status by the IRS while some liberal groups were denied. I don't think there's any scandal at all here. The IRS was hit with a sudden mountain of applications, mostly from conservative groups with political undertones, if not overtones, and things just got out of hand. Tax-exempt status is for groups that offer social welfare, and I bet my poor dead pet squirrel's soul that the Tea Party, made up of people who despise paying taxes anyway, had much of that on their minds. And who really cares because they are all but a thing of the past.

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