Response to Roland
It's always a close call whether it's worth rebutting claims made by my friend, county commissioner Terry Roland, but, lest silence be seen as assent, I correct one claim about me which he was quoted making in a recent Jackson Baker Politics column (June 13th issue).
On school merger, Roland said that the suburban municipalities had initially agreed to the "chancellor model" of governing a unified district, where they would still have "autonomy," but Commissioner Walter Bailey and I said, "Heck naw, we gone sue!" (I trust Baker has done a fair phonetic rendering.)
Where to begin? Suburban leaders never agreed to the chancellor model claiming it didn't give them enough autonomy. I, however, was on record as a proponent of that model and would have been happy to settle for that. At any rate, this issue played no role in anyone's decision to go to court. The federal lawsuit started when the suburban school system sued the county commission and others, not the other way around. The county commission did eventually file a "third party claim" in that lawsuit, saying the state law on merger was unconstitutional, but A) the chancellor model was not involved, and B) the court agreed that the law was indeed unconstitutional.
Other than that, Roland's claim is accurate.
Comedian Marc Maron liked to refer to those all-American folks on the right as "sheeple." It was his contention that they would follow anyone whose rhetoric supported their prejudices and fears, be it Cheney, Falwell, Limbaugh, or any of the host of second- or third-tier fear mongers.
The paranoia seems to be growing. George Bush created the Department of Homeland Security in response to the attack on the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, he forgot to take military action against the country that supported the attackers and instead used the attack as an excuse for initiating payback to Saddam Hussein.
Since 9/11, the terrorist-industrial complex has grown by leaps and bounds. But since the sad happening at the twin towers in 2001, a total of 64 Americans have died in this country at the hands of Muslim extremists or terrorists. I'm sure supporters of the terrorist-industrial complex would argue these relatively low numbers are the result of the incredible vigilance by our protectors.
I'd like to propose we refocus to other areas where there is a genuine threat to the lives of all Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2011 there were 851 accidental gun-related deaths in this country. Compare that figure to the one Muslim-related homicide in the U.S. in 2011. Is it fair to say that perhaps our precious resources are being misdirected?
Many members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are agents of the same type of stiff resistance to human rights seen during the civil rights era. While debating the immigration reform bill that went before Congress, many of our law makers behaved like modern-day George Wallaces, promoting fear and hatred. Even though later in life he admitted he was wrong about his harsh segregation stance, Wallace in 1963 was a leader against equal rights for blacks. The voices heard in Congress today that are demonizing the path to citizenship in the immigration-reform bill are as off-base as those who fought to keep segregation in the early '60s.
It's obvious, watching the immigration reform battle in Congress, that Senator John Cornyn of Texas is the most polarizing Senate figure on the issue. Cornyn's true colors as the leader of the Republican anti-immigration pack are showing through, as he offered an "all or nothing" provision that is likely to sink immigration reform.
But what do you expect? In the House, Republicans will more than likely put the final nail in the coffin of a potentially historic immigration overhaul.
After spending years unsuccessfully trying to repeal "Obamacare," Republicans are now attempting to use and distort the landmark health-care law to derail immigration legislation. Have they no shame? Have they no clue how irrelevant to the general electorate the GOP is becoming?