Friday, December 27, 2019

As we head towards what will be the very last weekend of this decade… wait, is that right? Does a new decade start on the ’00 or the ’01, I never can keep that straight. Anyhow, this time next week it’ll be 2020 & may the Lord have mercy on all our souls.

This are interesting times, brethren, and interesting times are not always safe times. Or comfortable times. Or restful times. We’re told the economy’s booming and everyone loves us, yet they tell us instead of paying us more they’d rather give us food stamps, and they’re trying to take that away. We’re told the military and police keep us safe while a drunken New York cop threatens black people in Nashville keeps his job and the president’s pardoning vicious brutes who’s own squads mates call foul and evil.

Well,…so what? What else is new? We’ve blown enough smoke up our collective ass to actually believe that life in these United States hasn’t been a flat-out ball buster for everyone who doesn’t bring home the equivalent of six figures. Even when we were developing a solid middle class (that we’d later take a hammer too), poverty was rampant and accepted as reality. The only difference now is that Our Betters actively try to make it harder to get by and just live, dammit.

Speaking of which, the state of Mississippi in all its well-oiled mendacity is filing suit with the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the recent massively harsh abortion restriction that limited in to 15 weeks. Well, one of them, anyway. In 2018, the state passed that ban and it was found unconstitutional by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Of course, while that was being kicked around the state passed an even more restrictive ban, limiting it to six weeks which, I’m told, is too soon to do any good.

It should be noted that the 5th is considered one of the most conservative courts in the country, but both laws were struck down by the same judge, one Carlton Reeves with the U.S.District Court. It should be noted that a 15-week ban in Louisiana hinges on whether or not this ban gets shot down by the Supreme Court or not.

Recall that Mississippi ranks dead last in child poverty, almost 20% of all children are below the level. It’s third when it comes to teen pregnancy. Forty-sixth in education, 48th in child welfare but we’re number one when it comes to infant mortality. I’m not here to argue the merits or morals of abortion and if a woman’s right to choose pisses you off, I don’t care.

What I’m saying is this state – my home, my roots – has a lot more to worry about than pretending to care about fetuses. I left 25 years ago and it was a goddamn mess. I came back two years ago and it’s somehow gotten worse. Even for adults it sucks. We’re 48th in quality of life and 51st when it comes to average income and median income. Can you wrap your head around that? We’re worse off than places that aren’t official states. How the hell do you manage that?

It is embarrassing to be from Mississippi and it’s embarrassing to live in Mississippi. If I had the ability to do so, I would have never come back. But it’s still home and my roots here run deep. I don’t care about me, I want it to be better for my cousins’ kids and grandkids. This world is about to get nasty enough without life in this state kicking the residents in the teeth.

So, I don’t know. Maybe what I’m doing with this I can turn it into something useful. God knows, this state could use some decent journalism. That Jackson Free Press link above? When I googled for the story, it was at the bottom of the page under papers from Raleigh and Saint Paul.

That is pitiful. Media, particularly broadcast media, in this state is done so poorly, I almost wonder if it’s on purpose. The Daily Journal is fine for what it is, if a little puny, and Jackson’s Clarion Ledger is all right. It’s a damn shame, though, when the best daily paper to cover the state of Mississippi is out of Memphis. My old home, The Itawamba County Times, is little more than a “community events” column with ads.

The state’s biggest “news” radio station in the state showcases conservative D-Listers out of Oregon – and no, I’m not giving that bore a link – and the public radio is okay, if nothing special. Like the Free PressMississippi Today is a useful source, but it’s trying so damn hard to be non-partisan it has no teeth. It’s one thing to say “do better,” and we should, but what do you do when it’s been allowed to degrade to this level. The people making money off crappy journalism don’t care how dumb we are or how dumb we remain so long as that cash keeps rolling in.

I do want to make one thing clear. What I’m doing here could be considered “journalism,” but it’s not by any stretch of the imagination “reporting”. For whatever that’s worth, and it’s probably not worth much. And in any event, I’m just here to have fun. I’m not someone you should pay attention to, but if the people with big pockets not only don’t care but will actively try to shut you down, what can you do?

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