Greg Williams, Guest Commentator
Greg Williams is the host of the internet radio talk show "Greg's List" and has hosted Sam as an on air guest on several occasions. Sam and Greg have also appeared together on the Georgia Public Broadcasting program "On Second Thought." Greg is active in the Republican Party in Metro Atlanta.
Observing the Washington DC theatrics regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has proven to be a full time job for many folks. Part Twilight Zone, part dystopic reality TV, the political theater has dominated the airwaves for more than a week, culminating in a Senate hearing held to investigate criminal allegations against Kavanaugh and presumably a full Senate vote sometime next week.
The social media mob has grown in size every day, with an increasing number of self-proclaimed experts on everything from the statute of limitations on reporting sex crimes to discerning a person's honesty through their body language during a televised interview.
Senate Democrats have reached proverbial new lows on a daily basis in their quest to prevent Trump from placing another justice on the Supreme Court.
The cavalcade of Kavanaugh accusers paraded out by attorney Michael Avenatti continues to mount, with each story more bizarre, salacious, and nonsensical than the preceding one. Accusations of sexual misconduct shouldn’t be dismissed or ignored, but it’s fair to question the coincidental timing and seemingly coordinated effort to besmirch Trump’s second SCOTUS nominee.
At this rate, I fully expect the Democrats to present High Priest Mola Ram at a presser, stating that Kavanaugh assisted him with Temple of Doom human sacrifices in 1936 India. Don't laugh too hard, I hear Ruth Bader Ginsburg was there too.
The emotive, partisan vitriol has spawned everything from valid, sincere debate to “jump the shark” histrionics. Republicans have thrown out the trite "Well, Bill Clinton did worse" defense while Democrats have threatened nearly every Constitutional right with their growing hysteria. Yes, Senator Chuck Schumer did say:
"There's no presumption of innocence or guilt when you have a nominee before you."
That sentiment flies in the face of a cornerstone principle of our Republic — the idea that one is presumed innocent and guilt must be proven.
Taken at face value, statements from leading Democrats threaten the very fabric of freedom enjoyed by citizens of the United States. Their hatred for Trump (and the fact they lost the 2016 election) blinds them from an unpleasant truth. They are espousing the same fascist views they profess to fight. Case in point the documented harassment and physical intimidation of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his wife at a DC-area restaurant the other night.
From an optics standpoint, I do believe Trump erred when nominating Kavanaugh instead of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, another highly qualified candidate. Undoubtedly, Barrett would have faced the same level of resistance as Kavanaugh, but it would have been somewhat unnatural for Democrats to run a hate campaign against a woman weeks ahead of the midterms. Their apparent gains among female voters during the past two years might have been mitigated in time for Republicans to maintain their numerical advantages in both the House and Senate. Retaining the Senate and possibly gaining a few seats should be the electoral endgame strategy of the Trump administration. Hold serve there and you have all the time in the world to nominate Justices for the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh was seen as the safer choice though, previously vetted six times by the FBI during his judicial career and considered a seasoned beltway insider.
The first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, does seem to have suffered a traumatic event. A possible case of mistaken identity has emerged, where two men have now come forward admitting their involvement with her.
While we won't “witness bash” and go into detail about each of the Avenatti produced witnesses, according to the sordid testimony, it seems the movie "Risky Business" was based on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's experiences in the early 80s.
Surely some of these stories would have been mentioned during the numerous FBI investigations Kavanaugh endured during his judicial career. Surely there would be corroborating witnesses as the events detailed dozens of attendees at the events in question. Instead, in less than two weeks, Senate Democrats have abandoned the idea of innocence before guilt and tossed out the notion that evidence should be produced when criminal complaints are made.
A recent facebook post opined about ending the drama:
“Two Republican senators in public opposition ends this. Just stand up and say no.”
I believe the corollary of this statement is true.
A handful of rational Democratic senators could end the charade. Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Manchin, the time is now, the American people need your voices. The states of Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia are watching. They are watching to see if you join the unhinged wing of your Party or come back to Earth and stress the return to rational, civilized debate.
It's not too late for sane Democrats to disavow this maniacal chorus of the absurd.
Sam Burnham, Curator
When Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas late last week, it left the state’s inundated with water. Major flooding created caused serious damage and loss of life. The coastal city of Wilmington was cut off from the rest of the mainland by flooding. over 30 people have died in this storm, mostly in North Carolina and mostly from the flooding.
One of my friends on Twitter pointed out a story in The New Yorker on his old hometown. I run into this publication a lot. It is one of those highly creditable publications. You know, the ones the big city people read and trust. But their coverage of The South is always predictable. You're probably never going to read a story about The South, especially small towns and rural areas, that isn't about racism. I guess that's what the the city folks want to read about, what the city sponsors what to fund, what the writers want to narrate. After all, that's the only thing going on in The South, right?
Yes, the Klan used to come to Whiteville. Apparently they had a march there in 1997, just a few months before I met my wife. That hardly notable demonstration was three years before our oldest son was born. He reports for boot camp in a couple months. A grown man has happened since that march, that's how recent it was.
The poet A.R. Ammons grew up in Whiteville and used the town and Columbus County in his poems. It's also the hometown of Ida Stephens Owens, the first black woman to receive a PhD in physiology from Duke. But yeah, the Klan used to march there.
In this story, the subjects are standing in the road watching responders drive by. It is said that the help wasn't coming there, wasn't going to stop because its a black neighborhood. Having over 20 years of experience as a responder and having passed many people standing in or near the road in disaster situations, I can tell you, if they go riding by and you don't flag them down or aren't in immediate danger, they aren't going to stop, regardless of your race. They likely have a destination and unless you say "hey, I need some help" they are going to continue on their mission.
With a population of about 5300, this town will not get the same response as Raleigh or Wilmington. Southerners of all races in small towns know they are behind the bigger cities. That's not just in times of disaster, that's on random Thursdays. We're always the low priority.
But what bothers me most, is the fact that amid reports of over 30 deaths, houses with water up to the roof lines, photos of boats cruising down the interstates, a city completely cut off by floodwaters, the big story is racism.
Donald Trump gets plenty of attention in this piece, as does the insinuation that anyone who voted for him is a racist. I probably just overlooked Charles Bethea's New Yorker article where he mentioned Barack Obama's disdain for the rural South and how he has yet to acknowledge the South Georgia tornadoes of 2016, much less respond to them. I'm sure I'll find it in his archives.
I didn't vote for Donald Trump. I doubt I'll vote for him in 2020. But this is yet another instance that makes it so crystal clear to me why so many Southerners did and will again. The constant barrage of hit pieces that continue to shove the remnants of a long gone evil that plagued this land into the modern narrative. The South, particularly the rural South, is a grotesque pit of racism where there's a Klansman behind every tree posing a much greater threat than entire counties flooded out could ever muster.
This one hits kind of close to home. My own hometown had a Klan rally a few years ago. About a dozen Klansmen from Michigan came to town and applied for a permit, which was granted as there were no legal reasons to deny it. Apparently we occasionally have to import Klansmen in Georgia now so carpetbaggers and scalawags will have something to write about.
If you take anything from this article, understand that the Carolinas are in rough shape. Cities are flooded. Farms are flooded. White people are flooded. Black people are flooded. The storm didn’t discriminate. They need any prayers and resources you can spare. They're evidently not going to be getting them from The New Yorker.
Ozark - Season 2
Sam Burnham, Curator
I recently did a review of Season 1 of the Netflix original program Ozark. Season 2 came out August 31 and I just finished watching the 10th and final episode of the season. I had planned to ration them out to try to spread out my viewing but that didn't happen ad now I'm stuck waiting for Season 3 like so many others.
The problem is, the suspense and enthralling story line draws you in. At the end of each episode, you don't feel that you can wait for to tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel to see what is going to happen, especially with that "Next Episode Starts in 4 Seconds" icon popping up in the corner at closing credits.
Season 2 is just as captivating to the audience as its predecessor. There seems to be even more twists and turns in the plot. If you do get bored with the road the action is on, just wait a minute, it will change. The Blue Cat Lodge, slowed by off-season at Lake of the Ozarks, is still a bustling scene as far as the plot goes.
This season gives us increasingly stronger female roles, but not in a smarmy or trendy politically correct way. Good writing and good acting bring us strong women characters. They’re smart, bold, and confident. You can see where this could cause some intriguing plot friction in Season 3 as these women clash with the strong male characters but not always as adversaries. I hope they exploit this effectively next season.
I’ve got to say that Julia Garner’s portrayal of Ruth is one of the most impressive parts of the show. This character, a troubled and conflicted young woman, is well written and Garner’s acting is superb. I have no trouble buying into the role. She makes you love and hate Ruth at the same time. She provokes both empathy and anger.
It is still a very dark show. Ozark continues to make great use of soundtrack and sound and the visuals are very compelling. Without giving out spoilers, some big characters die in Season 2. That’s just to be expected from Ozark. But there are some new faces as well. And as the Bydres dig harder trying to escape their predicament, the more entangled they become. With any luck, they'll keep digging.
Season 2 is worth the wait and lives up to the hype.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire