Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why bother with Presidential debates?

I tried to watch last night's first debate.  I managed to watch for more than thirty minutes, but less than an hour.  What I did see resembled something more akin to a grade school playground activity, than any real debate.

First of all, I do not think that it is a good idea to have a nationally known figure, especially a so-called newsperson, serve as moderator.  His role was doomed from the start, and he never made a serious effort to gain control, in my opinion.  Maybe the moderator should be given some real tool for control, like a button to turn off a participant's microphone when the participant speaks out of turn, or runs over, or strays too far off topic.  I say that because, from the little that I saw, Mr. Holt was not making much effort to keep things on track, and he allowed the proceedings to deteriorate very quickly.

I believe that a debate involving candidates for the office of President should be dignified, and should follow some simple rules of courtesy and decorum, but these things were lacking in last night's mess.  I think a part of that would include addressing the moderator as Mr. (or, Miss) Moderator, instead of as Lester, his first name.

Have you ever seen depictions of the famous Lincoln/Douglas debates, from the late 1850's?  The transcripts of those debates are available in .pdf format online, and perhaps worth a read.  What they show is that Americans had to be overall much more intelligent than we are today.  Both speakers used a vocabulary much more extensive than anything we see from today's politicians, for one thing.  Their eloquence was allowed a full one hour each, to begin with - without interruption.  They both displayed respect and courtesy towards the moderator, and they both stayed on point.  Granted, speaking for such a long time, and from prepared notes would tend to make that more possible.

I think the interesting thing about what those debates show is that the American people were capable of so much more in 1858, than they are today.  And, that underscores and proves why we are today saddled with such poor choices when it comes to choosing our next President.  We are simply too dumb to be able to listen to anyone with a modicum of intelligence on display.  They still say that had a lot to do with why Adlai Stevenson did not succeed in his attempts to be elected President; he was too much of an intellectual for the average man on the street.

Overall, I believe the idea of Presidential debates should be scrapped, and another way be sought to provide candidates with a platform.  Granted, we do not want even more money allowed in campaigning, but we have to have a way to let them show themselves.  Meanwhile, in addition to the debates having deteriorated to a circus side show, it appears very likely that most Americans had already made up their minds prior to the event.  All I see online today about the debates is each person referring to those parts of the debate that tend to support their previously settled opinions.

So, debates for Presidential candidates are ultimately a waste of time.  That's just my opinion.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


(Note:  This opinion piece recently appeared on Mr. Jaime Perez' fine new effort towards online and print news and opinion, "The Stallion Crest Messenger."  You can find it here, under his 'Mano a Mano' link:  (

Imagine, if you will, a world where adults can hold reasonable discourse on issues of the day, without one side, or the other, resorting to arguments ad hominen, or simple repetition of poorly thought out, and unreasonable position statements.  A world much like the American political scene of the 1950's and 1960's, where, believe it or not, laws were passed, and discussions were held within the Congress of the United States, without hate, name calling, and with the art of compromise shining through.
               Yes, Virginia, this really did happen frequently.  Not only that, but elected officials - who knew that they were in Congress to represent the will of the people - were actually polite to one another, addressing each other with terms like "my esteemed colleague," or "the gentleman on the other side of the aisle."  Really!  It was common!
               In a world such as that it would have been possible to hold a productive discussion on a topic such as the Second Amendment.  That's right.  Both political parties could have talked about that amendment, and its real meaning in the current world.  It is even possible that both sides could have come to an agreement about how best to interpret that amendment in today's world.
               Reasonably, I could say, for instance, that the Second Amendment was written a long, long time ago, when the world was a very different place.  That simple statement would not be met with derision, and I would not expect to be called names for saying it.  I could go on to say something like, "You know, the common firearm of the 1780's, when the Second Amendment was written, was a very simple device that was very difficult to load, prepare, aim, and finally, to fire."  At the time this amendment was written, and later, ratified by the various states, most homes, especially in rural areas, had at least one such muzzle loaded rifle, not just for defense, but also to help put meat on the table.
               I could go on, still reasonably, and point out that the reason why the framers of that 2nd Amendment talked about the need for a militia had as much to do with the fact that most of this nation was rural in nature, and that a means of rapid communications or transportation simply did not exist, directly leading to the need for some form of self defense.  Remember that this nation did not have a duly organized army at the time this amendment was written.  And, there is no mention, or even a suggestion that this nation had to do more than be concerned about general security.  No specific enemies were named or even suggested, nor was there any suggestion that either our own government, or a foreign government might be a threat to that security.
               And, still reasonably, I'd say that once an army was created, and once communications improved, and decent means of transportation were built and available, the need for militias pretty much disappeared.  Moreover, I would say that as single shot weapons became obsolete, any real need for an individual to possess more modern weapons was obsolete as well.  What need I, or you, of a weapon that will fire hundreds of rounds per minute against what threat to my security, or yours, in today's world?
               So, how about it?  Could we reasonably discuss the possibility that we might consider either applying the actual wording of that Second Amendment into this modern world - in its entirety, with emphasis on that pesky need for a well maintained militia? Or, more appropriately, could we discuss  rephrasing it to fit a world that has no need for a militia, and where we have adequate policing of our communities, and no more marauding people whose lands we've stolen, or outlaw gangs or wild animals that might pose a threat to our daily lives?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cable Television: Legal Larceny.

As you may (or may not) know by now, I have recently and proudly cut the pay per view cable.  I refuse to pay for my television reception any longer, unless I can be sure that what I receive is what I want and that what I receive comes without commercial interruption.

"What's that?" you say.  Think about this.  When I paid AT&T, or DISH, or Time Warner for any of their packages, I was actually paying for the questionable privilege of receiving mostly dreck which was always accompanied by commercials!  I had allowed these leeches to talk me into paying twice, in a very real sense, for garbage that I literally never watched.  In order to receive those few channels that I thought I might want to watch - occasionally - I had to pay for a ton of crap content that I never, ever watched!

Do you know anyone who ever watched any Jesus channel?  Shopping Networks?  Or, any of the myriad nothing channels that are all over cable, but not OTA?  Exactly!  So, why the hell should I be forced to pay for that shite if I am not going to watch any of it?  Meanwhile, those that are not selling me something outright, are selling their air time for commercials!

So, here's my thoughts.  If I cannot pick and choose only those channels in which I am interested, do not ask me to pay for any channels.  If I pay for a channel, then it better be commercial free!  That's right.  If your content is so damn good, broadcast it to everyone for free.  TNT, WGN, ACM, and all you others, I am talking to you.  I refuse to pay for your content.

Do you have any idea how many channels are available over the air, in most markets?  Granted, there are still some rural areas where no television is available, but let's be honest, the population living in rural areas today is tiny compared to what it was back in the early days of radio and even of broadcast television.  Right here in El Paso, Texas, I can pick up about twenty channels with an indoor antenna!  And, the picture quality is better than any cable or satellite!  For free!

And, before I forget.  Monday Night Football was so much better when it was broadcast over the air, via ABC, than it is now!  And, in case you did not notice, the commercials shown on ESPN are mostly for crap products because even Madison Avenue is aware that fewer people watch ESPN than ABC.