Monday, January 15, 2018

Jim Bridenstine, NASA, and the Extent of Scientific Knowledge

In his never ending effort to place the control of federal agencies and departments into the hands of idiots and partisan political hacks, Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma congressman, James Bridenstine to head NASA last September.

Bridenstine's main qualification for the job, besides being a former Naval aviator and a fire breathing tea party/freedom caucus type, is he was once director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. That's as close as he comes to any sort of hands on expertise in science and space, or engineering.

Of course, as we all know, The Big Orange Guy is never one for details, or qualifications, so long as a nominee has his political back. How else do you explain the appointments of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and Scott Pruitt as the chief administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency?

So what else do we know about Jim Bridenstine? In 2013 he made a speech on the house floor during which he told the world, "Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago." He also claims same sex couples are immoral. Then there is a strange Azerbaijan fetish.

He made a trip there once along with nine other members of congress and assorted staff which was paid for by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic. While there the group pulled down enough swag the house ethics committee initiated an investigation. According to Wikipedia, after the inquiry began, Bridenstine returned a couple of rings worth thousands of dollars to the person who gave them to him. In addition he turned over the rest of the gifts to the House Clerk. Once everything was returned the ethics committee decided all the congressmen involved had no way of knowing the excursion was improperly funded.

That little brush with indiscretion behind him, in 2014 he accepted $29,000 in campaign contributions from, "The Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan," and the, "Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians." On its web site, the TCAE, as it calls itself, tells you it is a, " growing umbrella of Turkic American associations throughout the United States dedicated to pursuing the interests of Turkic Americans and friends of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan."

The iffy Azerbaijan stuff isn't the reason Bridenstine's nomination might die in the Senate though. Hey, he gave up the jewelry and other gifts, so no harm, no foul and, to paraphrase the wizard, pay no attention to the pro Azerbaijani cash.

No, as pointed out in today's, The Oklahoman, there are other ghosts in Jim Bridenstine's history which might bite him in the ass.

According to the story written by Justin Wingerter, the democrats have closed ranks against him thanks to the global warming speech, the homophobic rant, and Bridenstine's past habit of giving interviews to off the wall alt right commentators.

Wingerter quotes Senator Bill Nelson, D-FL, as saying, "His (Bridenstine's) nomination remains in serious jeopardy because many in the Senate agree that NASA needs to have a space professional at the helm and not a divisive politician."

Yeah, yeah, big talk from a guy who belongs to a party which controls only 49 of 100 possible votes, right?

Well it seems there might be a math problem after all. Wingerter points out in 2016 Bridenstine backed Ted Cruz in the early presidential race. During that time he appeared in TV ads and ham handedly suggested Florida GOP Senator, Marco Rubio would make a weak chief executive. In addition he supported the ultra conservative, Kelli Ward in her primary bid to unseat republican incumbent, John McCain.


Wingerter quoted one Senate aide as saying, "We can only lose one republican and we know that Rubio has very serious concerns." And what looks to be a keen memory. When it comes to McCain no one knows for sure and his health issues make his presence during the vote problematical. However, if he is there one can easily imagine him doing yet another dramatic thumbs down when Bridenstine's name is mentioned.

No one knows who Trump might pick as a second choice if Bridenstine's nomination does flame out. Perhaps he'll chuck all this partisan nonsense and go with actor William Shatner because of the vast experience in outer space he will bring to the job. If Shatner isn't available, he could choose, Walter Koenig. After all, he spent a lot of time on the bridge of the Enterprise with Captain Kirk playing a Russian for God's sake. And we all know how Trump feels about Russians.

Ah, we can only wish that would be the case.

No, the truth is, if it isn't James Bridenstine it will be some other monstrous conservative wanker who hasn't a clue about the difference between a theory and a hypothesis and is convinced the latest cold snap proves global warming is a hoax.

Trust me. It's a solid bet because, sadly--just like all those crazy right wing evangelical rubes it panders to--that's the extent of scientific knowledge the current American administration possesses.

sic vita est


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Teaching White Racism at Florida Gulf Coast University

One of the great and pervasive urban myths that circulates through large portions of the white American population is that racism is pretty much dead in this country. The logic goes this way, "Oh sure there are still pockets of it, but those hold outs are confined to a few crazy groups, like Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan."

There are several reasons for this. One, a lot of Americans of European descent would rather not talk about race relations because the nation's long tradition of racial repression makes them uncomfortable. They just want it to disappear from history, or in other, more warped cases, be able to deny it ever happened in the first place.

Along the same lines, the thinking is, yes, it was evil, but all of it ended years ago when black people were allowed to send their kids to traditionally white schools, eat at lunch counters with white folks, and drink from the same water fountain as us.  

Third, if you talk about it, many white Americans are forced to face the fact that at some point in their lives, they were fully functioning racists, but learned better. Or, even if they won't admit their past attitudes, they know in flashes of anger, or frustration, vile racist names and terms pop into their heads seemingly out of the blue. After those moments people, if they think at all, are forced to the realization the words came from someplace in their personal history. That's right, someone taught you what they meant and you just lashed out with them, even if silently.

No, it isn't as bad as it used to be, as anyone, like myself, born in 1950, can tell you. The election of Barack H. Obama was testimony to the progress that has been made. Conversely the Obama presidency also ripped apart the whole racism is dead fantasy. The entire birther movement reeked of it. So did many anti-Obama memes which showed up on conservative chat sites and in comments sections every where online. The one which immediately comes to mind was a cartoon that, on the surface, was an attack on the Affordable Care Act. It pictured a bare chested Obama festooned in an ostrich plume headdress, wearing a grass skirt, holding a spear, while sporting a large bone through his nose.

Yes, how non racist that was.

Skipping right past the whole white backlash to the Black Lives Matter movement and frantic legislative efforts to restrict voting rights, we come to one, Ted Thornhill. He is an Assistant Professor of sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University. This term he is teaching a class titled, "White Racism."

When word got out about the new course the reaction was swift and severe. Thornhill, who is African-American, turned over 46 pages worth of white outrage to CNN the other day.

Some of the messages were from parents who threatened to pull their kids and thereby their tuition money out of FGCU. Others wondered why it was called, "White Racism," when racism comes in all colors and cultures. At least one demanded he devote time in his class to black racism.

Those were the saner responses.

Others, not so much. CNN reports one email read, "Cancer (Stage 4) is what you and your family deserve for spreading hate, lies, and intolerance." Another said, "I would ask you to stop using the names Ted and Thornhill, as I feel you are using a cultural appropriation. Change it to Obongo Deviantray, you racist pig."

He also received messages calling him, "a pitiful little boy, a subhuman mongrel, and an alt left piece of shit."

Some other threats were apparently specific enough that Tuesday, the first day of the class, FGCU posted campus police outside the door of Thornhill's room. The Assistant Professor told CNN, "All that it takes is one person to act on their views. We've got to be cautious because you don't know what people are capable of."

Actually, professor, we know exactly what they are capable of. The presence of security at your door is not unwarranted.

Thornhill issued a written statement to CNN and other news outlets which read, "My White Racism course is not anti-white; it is anti-white racism. Clearly not all white people are racists; some are even anti-racist." He finished with, "However, all people racialized as white derive, in some measure, material and psychological benefits by virtue of being racialized as white."

If you think that last sentence isn't true, then you are delusional. And, yes, probably white.

Author's note: No, I'm not casting stones without sin.

sic vita est


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Another Bout of Breathless Speculation: Oprah Winfrey, the Next Great Hope of the Dump the Trump Crowd

God bless the modern media. While not the cold blooded purveyors of fake news as some would have us believe, let's face it, they are prone to bouts of breathless speculation and mass hysteria.

The most current phantasm which has swept through the national press like a California wildfire is the democrats--presumably--have found a new and dynamic choice as a candidate for the 2020 presidential election.

That's right, as soon as she finished her speech at The Golden Globes awards ceremony, Oprah Winfrey became the next great hope of the increasingly frantic dump the Trump crowd. This is especially true of those women who have been cruelly victimized by sexual predators and routinely discriminated against in a vast array of work places across the land. Not to mention the pro Hillary legions who ardently believe their candidate was--pardon the crudeness--screwed out of the election by a cabal of treasonous assholes and Russians.

The notion that the former Empress of Day Time Television is a viable presidential candidate comes as the rising tsunami of sexual harassment revelations and accusations roars through the streets of places like Hollywood, Washington, and Alabama.

"We're not going to take it any more!" women have collectively said. And Ms. Winfrey, with her perfect oratory, seemed to crystallize all their frustration, anger, and hopes the other night on a Los Angeles stage.

Well, why not, Oprah? After all it only took a single speech at a democratic convention to propel Barack H. Obama into the national limelight. At the time, unlike Winfrey's is now, his name recognition was somewhere around zero outside of certain sections of Chicago.

Unfortunately his anonymity gave Obama an advantage then, Oprah Winfrey will never enjoy in 2020. Not only was his name unknown, but so was his nearly non-existent track record.

That blank slate drove his opponents utterly insane. The right wing media was forced to make increasingly bizarre accusations about his past because they had nothing else to work with. You know, he attends a church where the black pastor sometimes accuses white people of doing bad things. He has hobnobbed with a known socialist. He is a sub rosa Muslim. He wasn't even born here for God's sake!

No one will ever be able to say Ms. Winfrey wasn't born in the United States, but, as The Washington Post pointed out today they can say plenty of other things.

Her South African exercise in altruism, The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was embroiled in it's own miasma of sex abuse allegations and law suits. While that ship might have been righted, at least for now, careers and reputations of school employees were destroyed and a number of students were expelled, or suspended.

She put her faith in Dr. Mehmet Oz, who she called, "America's Doctor." It turned out Oz has the disturbing tendency to recommend cures and treatments which have no scientific basis, or proof. The Post reports that after a group of doctors accused Oz of "quack treatments," two years ago, Winfrey fired him from her media network.

In the past, she has, on several occasions, plugged a self help program called, "The Secret." It assures people they can learn how to channel good thoughts in order to cure physical ailments plus solve emotional and financial problems--so long as they buy a set of DVDs .

She also went overboard praising James Frey's book about his drug and alcohol addiction, "A Million Little Pieces." Her book club promotion drove sales of the work into the millions. When it turned out much of the, "true story," was absolute fiction, Winfrey doggedly defended Frey. Then, after coming under fire, she condemned him on air while he sat there and took it. Five years later, she brought him back to the show and apologized for treating him badly. At the time he had a new book coming out.

Finally, The Post notes, right wing groups on air and online are grabbing up all manner of photos which show her happily hanging out with Harvey Weinstein. He is the Hollywood mogul and accused serial rapist whose fall has sent waves of recriminations and accusations throughout the film industry.

Yes, Oprah might appear exquisitely attractive to the democratic party faithful who are awash in mediocrity right now. However, if she runs, her campaign trail won't be without landmines strewn all over the place.

Indeed, if we know anything about the savages such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, not to mention evil fucks like Steve Bannon, and Don Trump it is all they need are the smallest kernels of truth to fuel the most vile lies and innuendos imaginable.

We also know they've all made successful careers out of doing it.

So don't get your hopes up America. Being smart, articulate compassionate, and even sweet won't get you far in politics these days. Hey, just look at who is in charge.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

The 25th Amendment, Donald Trump, and No Matter What, We Must Never Be Disgraceful

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

The opening paragraph of section four of the 25th amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

The 25th amendment was adopted in February, 1967, a little over three years after much of John F. Kennedy's brain was sprayed across the trunk of his limo in Dallas. The terrible event caused many to realize if JFK had somehow survived Oswald's kill shot, but been left with the mental capacity of a stewed tomato, there was no firm constitutional process in place which would allow for the transfer of power to his Vice President.

It also occurred to the same people that if someday America elected a person as President who, after assuming office, proved to be absolutely nuts there also needed to be a way to legally shuffle him, or her out of the oval office besides impeachment. After all, being bat shit crazy, or utterly incompetent isn't necessarily a high crime, or misdemeanor, but in the nuclear age both can certainly lead to untold disaster.

The second paragraph of section four deals with the procedure which would take place if some God awful power struggle were to take place between a mentally unstable President and his Vice President and cabinet. You know, a big time, reality TV version of  Herman Wouk's, "The Caine Mutiny."

All of which brings us to Donald John Trump.

Politico reports in early December at least a dozen members of congress, including one republican, attended a two day meeting with Yale psychiatrist, Dr. Brandy X. Lee. The subject of the meeting was Don Trump's mental health, or lack thereof.

Lee was quoted as saying, "We feel the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency."

Of course, Dr. Lee didn't enter the confab without some preconceived notions. She had already edited a collection of essays written by more than 24 psychiatrists which addressed the state of Trump's mind. The title of the resulting work is, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump."

Now we have a book from Michael Wolff which is called, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." Wolff claims he was the fly on the wall during the early months of the Trump administration and his version of what was and may still be going on is frightening.

That's if you believe him. The Washington Post, despite bearing the brunt of much of Trump's ire, declared many of Wolff's revelations are demonstrably wrong while others are, at best, unconfirmed and, or completely unverifiable. As the Post pointed out, the last thing anybody needs in this day of alleged fake news is for someone to print absurd falsehoods about Trump and his family.

Indeed, why give Don T. an opportunity to equate The Post, CNN, and The New York Times with some crude tabloid bottom feeder who makes shit up when the truth is grotesque enough?

In fact the only truly good thing to come from Wolff's extended screed, at least at the moment, is it ignited a feud between El Don and his former pal, Steve Bannon. Wolff quoted the chubby fascist as saying Don Jr. committed a treasonous act by meeting with Russians before the election. In response Trump said of Bannon, "When he was fired he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

Yes, well, there is a lot of that going around lately.

On Tuesday night, apparently in an effort to confirm Dr. Lee's prognosis, The Big Orange Guy tweeted, "North Korean leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the "Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times." Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is much bigger and more powerful than his, & my button works!"

Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-CA said of the tweet, "...this is not normal behavior." Former George W. Bush aid, Richard Painter went on social media and wrote, "This Tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th amendment. This man should not have nukes."

Today the White House issued a statement which said any questioning of the President's mental health is, "disgraceful."

Right. No matter what, when it comes to the presidency we must never tarnish the office by saying, or writing something on Twitter that is disgraceful. That privilege is strictly reserved for the President.

The terrible truth is the 25th amendment only works if people like Mike Pence, Rex Tillerson, Jim Mattis, Steve Mnuchin, Jeff Sessions, Rick Perry, and Ben fucking Carson, or a republican congress decide to pull the plug on Donald Trump. Even if all those fucks had the inclination and guts--and they don't possess either--the trailer park Nazis who make up the Trump base would consider it an illegal coup and the republic might come apart at the seams in the aftermath.

No, we're stuck with this psycho-narcissistic-man-child-beast. At this point I'm just trying to convince myself we don't deserve him.

Unfortunately, I'm losing that argument.

sic vita est


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Roy Moore Just Can't Take a Hint

You can say one thing about Roy Stewart Moore. He never takes no for an answer.

In 2001, while he was chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court he unveiled a massive granite monument of the ten commandments in the State Judicial Building. Two years later, after a federal court ordered its removal, Moore refused to comply with the decision. By the time the dust settled both he and the monument had been removed from the premises.

Inspired by the failed rebellion he ran for governor of the state in 2006 and 2010, but lost both times in the republican primaries. In 2012 he ran once again for the chief justice position and won a second stab at the job.

In 2015 the United States Supreme Court declared gay marriage to be legal. It was a ruling Moore described as, "...manifestly absurd and unjust...contrary to reason and divine law and not entitled to precedential value." He then ordered 68 state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Because of his illegal order the Alabama Court of the Judiciary--a nine member panel made up of judges, lawyers and citizens who oversee members of the state court system--removed him from office a second time. CNN reported that in the Court of the Judiciary written decision they used terms about Moore's conduct which included things such as, "grossly inconsistent with his duties, incomplete, misleading, and manipulative."

Moore's immediate response to his removal was, "This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda."

So what is a man to do after losing two elections and getting fired from the same job twice? In Roy Moore's case it was run for the United States Senate.

Actually it didn't seem like a bad idea once the chubby Nazi, Steve Bannon got on board and Luther Strange, a Trump endorsed candidate, was beaten like a bad dog in the GOP primary.

Then, as they always seem to do when it comes to His Honor, things went all to hell. Women came out of the woodwork with tales of not just past questionable behavior, but outright pedophilia. To make a long story short Roy Moore went from a sure thing to blowing the election by 1.5%. It was the first time a democrat won a U.S. senate seat in Alabama since 1992.

But never count ol' Roy Boy out. To this moment he has refused to concede the election and last night he asked an Alabama court to delay a state board from certifying democrat, Doug Jones as the winner. The reason? Why the great 21st century bugaboo of all far right wing losers--voter fraud.

That's right. If a white conservative loses an election in Alabama, or anywhere, it must be because either thousands of people of color voted illegally, or that Illuminati son of a bitch George Soros rigged the damn machines.

The motion cited three experts including one Richard Charnin who claimed the probability that the votes in Alabama were accurately counted are, "less than one in 15 billion." Charnin, who says he has three different degrees in math, has previously argued it is mathematically impossible for John F. Kennedy's assassination not to have been a vast conspiracy. He also maintains the 2004 Bush-Kerry presidential election was fixed, as were a couple of Florida and Wisconsin governors races, and that Hillary Clinton stole most, if not all, the democratic presidential primaries she won in 2016.

In addition, Moore issued a statement saying he took a polygraph test after the December 12th election which proved he not only didn't feel up the women who accused him of indecent behavior, but that he didn't even know them.

On the other hand the twice cashiered judge failed to offer any reason why he didn't take the test immediately after the accusations came to light. You know, before the votes were actually cast. Perhaps it was simply a matter of not being able to find the right sort of stooge to administer the thing in a timely manner.

In any case word comes this afternoon that the Alabama court rejected Moore's request and the Alabama State Canvassing Board, chaired by republican Secretary of  State, John Merrill, certified Jones as the winner.

So are we finally done with this crazy fuck? History tells us absolutely not. God only knows what Moore's next move will be. Further court challenges are a distinct possibility. However, even if they all fail--and one can't imagine them not--Roy Moore will find some other office to run for because that is exactly what he does.

Indeed, some people just can't take a hint and unfortunately for us all, this savage clown is one of them.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Parallel Universes, Being Even More Happy in Puerto Rico, and Merry Christmas America

The multiverse is a theory that states many universes exist parallel to each other.

Actually it isn't a theory. We have definitive proof alternate, or parallel universes do exist. That's because, as we all know, Donald John Trump lives in one.

After displaying his unique sense of Christmas cheer by posting derogatory tweets about Deputy FBI Director, Andrew McCabe, and FBI General Counsel, James Baker--acts which at least two legal experts said could be interpreted as attempts to intimidate potential witnesses--Mr. Trump gave his best wishes to all branches of the military via a video conference call.

During the call he saved his kindest words for the Coast Guard. "You've done such an incredible job in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico," he said. "Many republicans are very happy, but I have to tell you the people of Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico and lots of other states are even more happy. What a job you've done--saving thousands and thousands of lives."


Well let's give Puerto Rico a call and ask them exactly how happy they are this Christmas Day. Good luck getting through though. There are plenty of places on the island, which is sovereign U.S. territory, where phone service is either still unavailable, or spotty at best.

Tragically that's the least of their problems. Hurricane Maria blew across Puerto Rico on September 20th of this year. As of December 11th roughly 50% of the island's 3.4 million people were still without electrical power. The AP reports the town of Morovis, population 30,000, located in the central mountains is one of nine municipalities still waiting for even a single light bulb to work without help from portable generators, or converted car batteries.

According to the AP roughly 1,000 homes in Morovis lost their roofs and running water wasn't available until the first week of November. Until then laundry and bathing chores were performed in a nearby river. Representatives from FEMA didn't hit town until the first week of December and then it was only to, "assess the damage." As of Christmas Day not one of the American citizens living in Morovis has received a penny in federal assistance and those roofs remain mostly tarps hung by volunteers and the locals themselves.

Island wide, experts say the electrical grid is anywhere from 65% to 70% up and running, but they're unsure how the juice is distributed because the system which figures that out still doesn't work. The Army Corps of Engineers is now saying it will be May of 2018 before power is fully restored.

It is estimated 30,000 people lost their jobs as a direct result of Maria while a huge portion of the agricultural industry was wiped out. It has also been reported over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have fled to Florida and unknown numbers have moved to other locales on the mainland because of the disaster.

None of this horrific shit matters to Don Trump though. He signed some things, threw a few rolls of paper towels to the masses, then walked away. For him, in his parallel universe, Puerto Rico is fixed--it is, in the vernacular, old news and therefore nothing to worry about as he gets ready to tee off yet again at Mar-a-Lago.

A cynic might say the nightmare in Puerto Rico would already be over if it was part of the mainland U.S. and the first language of most of the population wasn't Spanish. However that would be an unsubtle hint the man in the White House is a racist asshole.

Oh wait. In my universe he is.

Merry Christmas America.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

George Zimmerman Revisited: Knowing How to Handle Assholes and Feed Alligators

During the years and months leading up to February 26, 2012 George Zimmerman had been a busy beaver. Wikipedia notes that between 2004 and 2012 he made nearly 50 calls to the Sanford, Florida police reporting everything from loud parties to open garage doors, and children playing in the street.

Despite his hyper active surveillance efforts, by the winter of 2012 the gated community where he lived, The Retreat at Twin Lakes, was apparently on a slow slide into chaos. In the prior 13 months police had been called to the 260 unit gated complex 402 times. Burglaries were on the uptick and there had even been a shooting. In response to the rising tide of crime in September, 2011 the residents, with police help, met to form a neighborhood watch program. At the meeting the ever vigilant, Zimmerman was named its coordinator.

The first and most steadfast rule police laid down for members of the new volunteer group was they could not be walking the grounds armed. After all, the last thing cops needed was a bunch of Wyatt Earp wannabe's roaming around at night taking pot shots at someone taking out the trash, or walking home from a 7-11.

George Zimmerman got the memo, but on the 26th, when he began to follow, "...a real suspicious guy," he was packing a Kal-Tec PF-9, 9mm hand gun. His excuse would later be since he wasn't officially on duty it was perfectly okay for him to be carrying a weapon. Hey, it's Florida for God's sake, everyone carries, right?

The, "real suspicious guy," he noticed was 17 year old African-American, Trayvon Martin. Martin was in Sanford with his father. They were visiting the old man's fiancé and her son at The Retreat at Twin Lakes. The younger Martin was returning from--that's right--a convenience store carrying a bag of skittles and a bottle of cold tea. He was also talking on his cell phone to a friend in Miami and wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up because it was raining.

Zimmerman told police dispatch, "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he is on drugs, or something." Moments later he said, "These assholes, they always get away."

Meanwhile, Martin was telling his friend, Rachel Jeantel over the phone that some strange guy was watching him from his car. She later testified she told him to run for the apartment where he was staying.

What happened next was a uniquely American tragedy. On George Zimmerman's part, it involves racial paranoia and assumptions, and the ability of anyone in this country to get his, or her hands on a gun, no matter what their qualifications, or judgment. As for Trayvon Martin, like so many young black Americans these days, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Despite the police dispatcher telling him, "We don't need you to do that," Zimmerman exited his vehicle and followed Martin. There was a confrontation. Zimmerman assumed he was facing a burglar. All Trayvon Martin knew was some strange dude--maybe a mugger, or sexual predator--was accosting him.

Zimmerman, predictably, shot the unarmed 17 year old to death during a brief struggle. Then all hell broke loose.

Thanks to George Zimmerman the ripples of that storm are still being felt. Two days ago the New York Daily News reported Zimmerman blew his top when a film crew shooting a documentary about the killing showed up at the houses of his parents and an uncle allegedly unannounced. According to him, executive producers JayZ and Michael Gesparro were indirectly harassing his relatives.

Well, sort of.

It turns out Zimmerman's main complaint is his ex-wife is getting paid an unspecified amount of money to participate in the documentary while the producers are refusing to pay his parents and family members anything.

The Daily News reports he told an interviewer on the website, "Blast," "I know how to handle assholes who fuck with me. I have since February, 2012. Anyone who fucks with my parents will be fed to an alligator."

Ah yes, there's the perfect response. Imagine the reaction of white America if O.J. Simpson went off on some filmmaker and told him something like, "Listen, I fucked up Ron and Nicole and if you don't pay my family for being in this movie, I'll do the same to you."  

Of course, this won't be the first time the Zim Man has tried to cash in on Trayvon Martin's death. In May of 2016 he put the gun he used that night up for auction on two different sites--the first one deleted the offer as soon as they realized who was selling what. Zimmerman wrote a blurb on the second site which said, "The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/12. Now is your opportunity to own a piece of American history. Good Luck."

To further hype the sale he also told people, the Smithsonian Institute had expressed interest in having the gun.

How very Trumpian of him.

The Smithsonian issued a statement immediately after they had been told of Zimmerman's claim. It read, "We have never expressed interest in collecting George Zimmerman's firearm and have no plans to ever collect, or display it in any museums."

God bless the good people at the Smithsonian. At least someone around here has retained a sense of decency. These days, thanks to the likes of George Zimmerman and others, it is, as we all know, an increasingly rare commodity.