Part of the column writing biz is trying to make sense of it all, even if it just makes sense to me. If someone reads my column right before lining the birdcage with it, and something I wrote makes sense to them, that’s nice too. Or it’s indicative of substance abuse issues.

But that’s their problem. I’m here to make observations. So let’s get to it.

Witch hunt?
Since Mobile County License Commissioner and Revenue-Commissioner-in-Waiting Kim Hastie was found not guilty last month of 16 of 17 charges brought against her by federal prosecutors, she and her PR team have been working hard to convince the public an unnamed political cabal was behind her unwarranted prosecution.

Despite the fact I’ve heard that same thing said by almost every public official who has ever been accused of anything, I might be more likely to believe her if she would at least name one or two of these people who were out to get her and explain why they went to such lengths to bring down a powerful license commissioner. While she’s at it, Hastie should tell us why the man accused of jury tampering in her tax trial pleaded guilty last week.

Maybe there is a shadowy, politically connected group that wants to have 12-minute tags or something, but why would Jonathan Lawrence Oneal risk 10 years in the can and a $250,000 fine by pleading guilty to trying to help the Hasties taint the jury? More political shenanigans by the anti-Kim Illuminati? Do they have Oneal’s children in a basement somewhere?

Surely John Hastie Jr., who is Oneal’s boss, wouldn’t have somehow procured a list of 103 potential jurors and instructed his subordinate to contact one of them. That sounds like the kind of thing someone might do if he was really worried about being convicted.

Some readers may not be aware of Oneal’s plea since most local media didn’t report it — also a bit strange — but it happened. So now that the feds have Oneal, do they go after the Hasties again?

Oneal’s plea just piles on top of what we learned from her trial, despite the lack of convictions. The feds did a pretty good job of proving she manipulated the way her political consultants were paid. She was also shown to have lied to media and was recorded discussing ways to misinform the County Commission as to how much money her office was generating.
Too bad she gave the people out to get her so much ammo.

Thanks for the ‘tip’
Friday was not a happy ending to last week for the patrons of Ocean Sauna Spa and Win Spa, as Mobile County Sheriff’s deputies arrested five women and charged them with promoting prostitution, among other things.

In every place I’ve ever lived there have been these Asian spas that seemed be rather secretive and stayed open at really strange hours. They’ve all been widely rumored to be “rub-n-tug” places, if you catch my drift, but somehow stay in business for years and years.

I’m not saying these ladies arrested at Ocean Sauna and Win Spa are guilty of what they’re charged with, but let’s just say it’s been widely assumed for as long as I can remember that something a little different was happening there.

Perhaps the strangest part of the bust is that the Sheriff’s Office says the investigation was prompted by an anonymous tip to their website. Really?

So there was an anonymous tip on a place pretty much everyone I’ve ever met in this town believes to be a brothel? Captain Obvious must have sent it in. Or maybe it was a kindergartner who heard the rumors. Or a wife whose hubby used the wrong credit card.

I’m wondering if a hot tip on who the bookies are in town is next.

Double standard?
Over the past week there has been a tremendous amount of national media coverage concerning the shooting death of Christian Taylor, a 19-year-old student at Angelo State University in Angelo, Texas. Taylor was videoed damaging vehicles at a car dealership and then driving through the showroom window. A chase and altercation ensued and Taylor was killed.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the situation at the University of South Alabama almost three years ago when 18-year-old Gil Collar was shot and killed by a campus officer after acting erratically outside a police building on campus.

While the cases have similarities, they have differences as well. Certainly there’s a huge difference in the way they were treated nationally — and it definitely seems to be because Collar was a white student shot by a black cop and Taylor was a black student shot by a white cop. Google “investigation into unarmed college student shot” and up pops story after story about Taylor and almost every headline points out his race in the headline. Collar’s story only rates the first page if you include his name.

I can understand both families’ rage and sorrow over losing a son this way — even if it appears in both cases the young men were engaged in activities that placed them in harm’s way. But what is harder to understand is why our society now only seems to assign blame and outrage if certain metrics are involved.

Black cop shoots unarmed black guy. Yawner. Happened in broad daylight in Los Angeles about six months ago and no one batted an eye, not even the president, who seems fixated on the subject, as long as it fits the agenda. Black cop shoots unarmed white kid, so what? He was on drugs and dangerous. White cop shoots unarmed black kid, no matter what he’s doing? Bingo! It’s got to be racism, time to burn something.

Should there be investigations into police shootings? Absolutely. Cops aren’t always right nor are they always wrong when they shoot someone, even someone unarmed. But a climate has been created in this country where anytime the racial mix between cop and suspect is right, the cop is automatically wrong.

Black lives matter, but so do white lives. Gil Collar matters as much as Christian Taylor. But truth and reality matter just as much, and right now there doesn’t seem to be much of either.


(Cartoon/Laura Rasmussen)The independent panel investigating the 911 contract may have a hard time interviewing two employees.

(Cartoon/Laura Rasmussen)The independent panel investigating the 911 contract may have a hard time interviewing two employees.