Confederate monuments are the ultimate participation trophies

One of the things I’d like to see in my lifetime is the removal of every single Confederate monument displayed on public land. These monuments are the ultimate in participation trophies.

The people these statues attempt to glorify took up arms against the United States of America. They were also resoundingly beaten. The Confederates were forced to surrender in defeat because they were beaten into submission on the battlefield.

The Confederates don’t deserve statues or monuments. They didn’t earn them. Statues and monuments are for winners. Statues and monuments are for those who fought for what was right and just.

The Confederates didn’t do that. They fought so people could continue to own other people. They fought for one of the most revolting and disgusting reasons people can fight other people for: the continuation of slavery.

Just because you participate in something doesn’t mean you deserve a trophy, or in the case of the Civil War, a monument.

Robert E. Lee doesn’t deserve a statue displayed on public land. He was a traitor. He resigned his commission in the United States Army and took up arms against the United States. He was personally responsible for the death of thousands of Americans. He no more deserves a statue displayed for the purpose of memorization then does Osama bin laden.

Confederate monuments are the ultimate participation trophies - Bent Corner
Robert E. Lee and Osama bin laden

Robert E. Lee and Osama bin laden had a lot of common. They both sent men to kill Americans. Osama bin laden killed Americans in the name of Islam. Robert E. Lee killed Americans in the name of extending the institution of slavery.

I’d like to see each and every Confederate statue gathered up and dumped in the middle of the ocean. It’s what they did with Osama bin laden’s body. It strikes me as a fitting end for all the Confederate participation trophies currently littering our country.

The Ariana Grande Wacky Package sticker

I bought a pack of 2017 Wacky Packages 50th Anniversary stickers today at Target. Don’t judge. I went through them when I got home and when I saw the one featuring pop singer Ariana Grande on Starbucks’ inspired coffee cup, I thought Topps, the publisher of Wacky Packages, probably wishes they could have a do over.

How were they supposed to know that Islamists would use an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England to commit an act of terror?

At the very least, whoever approved this sticker probably wishes the words “More bang bang for your buck” weren’t included on the sticker. Twenty-three people were killed as a result of an improvised bomb detonated by a British-Muslim terrorist.

The sticker is supposed to be a play on the word Grande, the singer’s last name and the word Starbucks insists on using to indicate large cup of coffee.

Islamist terror attack in London kills seven, injures 48

Three Islamists killed seven people and wounded another 48 last night in England’s capital city. The attack involved ramming a fast-moving vehicle into pedestrians on the London Bridge.

The three Islamists then left their vehicle. All three were wearing what turned out to be fake suicide vests. They then began stabbing people in nearby bars and restaurants. Continue reading Islamist terror attack in London kills seven, injures 48

Trump bans citizens from seven countries from entering U.S.

President Donald Trump is unique from past presidents in that he seems to keep his campaign promises. I’m still waiting for President Obama to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Our new commander in chief signed an executive order that bars citizens of seven countries from entering the United States. This ban will remain in effect for the next 90 days.

These seven countries are:

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Yemen
  • Somalia

The Department of Homeland Security classified these countries as “countries of concern.” President Obama signed this classification into law on December 18, 2015, as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of FY2016.

This list was an augmentation to an earlier list of countries contained in the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. It added the countries of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

This temporary travel ban is being referred to in the media as Trump’s Muslim ban. That’s not correct. It was the Obama administration that crafted this list. Were countries added to this list because they have a majority of people who practice Islam? It wouldn’t appear so. There are other countries with far more Muslim people that didn’t make this list.

If I wanted to ban Muslims from traveling to the United States, I’d include the most populated Islamic countries to this list.

I don’t care if folks from these seven countries cannot come to the United States. Not once in my life have I wished my community had more Iranians or Yemenis in it.

Traveling to the United States is a privilege, not a right.

Even if the goal of the Obama administration’s list was to curtail Muslims from coming to the United States, I couldn’t care less. Not really. The religion you practice is a choice. Nobody is born Muslim. A person’s DNA does not decide what religion they practice. Religion is always a choice. People are no more born Muslim than they are born Pentecostal, Mormon, or Southern Baptist.

Religion, or the lack thereof, is always a matter of personal choice. It’s about time we stop pretending otherwise.

The First Amendment to our Constitution includes the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

I’m not a lawyer, but I have watched many episodes of Judge Judy. What these words in the Constitution mean to me is that you’re free to practice whatever kooky religion you wish without the government stepping in and endorsing it or condemning it. The government will not respect your chosen religion. The government will not prohibit your chosen religion.

That sounds swell to me.

I don’t support Donald Trump. I don’t like Donald Trump. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton. Is Donald Trump my president? According to the U.S. Constitution, yes he is.

2016 feels like the worst year ever

Planet Earth has finished yet another full lap around the Sun. It’s now the year 2017. The chronological tank of unprocessed sewage known as 2016 is finally over. When people say 2016 was the worst year ever, they’re opening the proverbial bomb bay doors and dropping a 50 megaton truth bomb. I feel like 2016 was the worst year ever. Personally speaking, I was ready to drown 2016 in a bathtub after only a few months.

Historically speaking, I know 2016 was far from the worst year ever, but emotionally speaking, it sure seemed that way.

Presidential election

The 2016 presidential election, both the run-up and the aftermath, had a lot to do with the perception that 2016 was the worst year ever. I believe Donald J. Trump will go down in history as the worst president ever, and that’s saying a lot. Then again, if Hillary Clinton would have won, I believe she too would have gone down as the worst president ever. I think that’s what made the 2016 presidential election such a massive kick to the reproductive organs: both choices were terrible.

I’d be genuinely surprised if Trump finished out a four-year term. If I was a betting man, and I’m not, I’d wager that Trump will quickly grow bored and resign. Being president isn’t the same thing as running for president.

Islamic terror attack at the Pulse nightclub

In June of 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old US citizen born to Afghani parents, went into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida with a SIG MCX assault rifle and killed 49 people and wounded 53. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS and on a 911 call said the attack was “triggered” by a recent airstrike in Iraq that killed an ISIS commander.  Thankfully, police killed Mateen in the nightclub. Mateen’s family buried his body at the Hialeah Gardens graveyard, the only Muslim cemetery in all of South Florida.

This attack bothered me on many levels. It made me very mad. First of all, I’m tired of gay people being picked on. For too long gay people have been singled out for discrimination and prejudice. I felt like things were finally getting better for gay folks when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples cannot be denied the right to marry. It made me feel proud to be an American. Then, an Islamic terrorist goes into a gay nightclub and slaughters 49 people.

Secondly, it turned out that Omar Mateen had been on a terrorist watch list two different times. We’ve been at war with Islamists since 2000 when the USS Cole was attacked by Al-Qaeda while docked in Yemen. The attack killed 17 sailors and injured another 39. We’ve been at war with these assholes for 16 years, and it doesn’t seem like we’re getting any better at it. The only thing stopping people like Omar Mateen from doing something similar is a lack of will on the part of the terrorist.

And finally, it makes me angry that Mateen was buried on American soil. Once again, an Islamic terrorist who carried out an attack on Americans is laid to rest in a Muslim cemetery in the United States. That shouldn’t happen. If you commit a terrorist attack on Americans, your remains should be handled like the remains of Osama bin Laden, dumped at sea in international waters.

A lot of good people died

It seemed like 2016 was a popular year for good people to die. The people we lost this past year, but not limited to, include:

  • David Bowie
  • Alan Rickman
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Garry Shandling
  • Prince
  • Anton Yelchin
  • Pat Summitt
  • Kenny Baker
  • Gene Wilder
  • Steve Dillon
  • Gwen Ifill
  • Ron Glass
  • John Glenn
  • Alan Thicke
  • Craig Sager
  • George Michael
  • Carrie Fisher

Some of these people passed away after living a long, full life. Others died way too young. The one commonality the people listed above all share is that their passing made me feel sad. That’s a lot of people to feel sad about in one year.

Somali refugee kills one and wounds 11 at Ohio State University

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old Somali refugee, used a car and a butcher knife to attack students at Ohio State University. Artan killed one person and wounded 11 in the attack.

Somali refugee kills one and wounds 11 others at Ohio State University - Bent Corner
American hero Alan Horujko

Artan first used a silver Honda to plow into people, then he got out and began attacking others with a butcher knife. He was then promptly shot and killed by OSU Police Officer Alan Horujko, a genuine American hero.

Artan and his family fled Somali in 2007 for Pakistan. I’m not sure how that’s an upgrade. Somali and Pakistan are both on my list of places I don’t ever want to visit.

Artan then moved to the United States in 2014 and was granted refugee status.

A refugee from what? Somali, a place he hadn’t lived in since he was nine? He came here from Pakistan, a country far more hospitable to his particular religious sensibilities than the United States.

He first attended Columbus State Community College for two years, earning an associate degree, before transferring to Ohio State University. If he was 18, that means he was 16 when he came to the United States and began community college.

This past August, Artan was featured in the OSU student newspaper, the Ohio State Lantern. In it, he complained about not having prayer rooms on campus and how people look at Muslims.

He said:

I just transferred from Columbus State. We had prayer rooms, like actual rooms where we could go pray because we Muslims have to pray five times a day. There’s Fajr, which is early in the morning, at dawn. Then Zuhr during the daytime, then Asr in the evening, like right about now. And then Maghrib, which is like right at sunset and then Isha at night. I wanted to pray Asr. I mean, I’m new here. This is my first day. This place is huge, and I don’t even know where to pray. I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But, I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.

His first day at Ohio State University and he complained about not having special prayer rooms and how the media portrays Muslims.

What an asshole.

It’s not the media that paints an unfair picture of Muslims. Muslims paint their own picture. Whether it’s unfair or not depends greatly on your perspective. I imagine the family members of the person killed yesterday are thinking the negative reputation Islam has is pretty accurate.

Now that he’s dead, it will be interesting to see what happens to his corpse. If his remains are treated like all the other terrorists who’ve killed Americans on American soil, he’ll get a nice burial at a normal, non-radical Muslim cemetery. His body will be buried next to other Muslims. For years, his family and other people will be able to visit his grave and pay their respects.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan deserves no respect. He was a terrorist. There should be a law against the burial of terrorists on U.S. soil. Instead of releasing his body to his family, it should be taken out to international waters and dumped at sea.