Suspect Decisions – What Happens Next?

SawingTreeLimbHeisSittingOn-565x418News reports abound with stories of decisions made by governments, businesses, sports franchises, religions and many others that on the face seem remarkably suspect. Decisions that lead inexorably to pain, suffering, disenfranchisement, disillusionment, ennui, and any number of unproductive reactions.

It disturbs me that so often the question “what happens next?” rarely accompanies the story. I understand this line of thinking is not the purview of the neutral reporter – but where are the editorialists? Or the psychics?

Run it up the flagpole, let’s see who salutes


The Senate passed the “All American Flag Act” the other day, and assuming Obama signs it (what choice does he have lest he hand a club to his enemies with which to beat him silly), the act will become law of the land. It calls for all government-purchased American flags to be made 100 percent from materials “grown, produced, or manufactured in the United States.” No more importation of flags from such anti-American entities like China. The law’s sponsor, Sherrod Brown said “It is the right way to honor our veterans and it is the right way to support American workers and businesses.”

What happens next?

Most American companies in the flag manufacturing business suffer when they can’t easily procure all the necessary flag-making components (cloth, ink, thread, dyes, packing materials, from approved American vendors. Those that can have to jump through regulatory hoops to prove their “Flag Act” compliance.

Prices for flags sold to the U.S. Government soar as fewer companies can supply them, and those that do must pay 10 times the wages as their Chinese counterparts who are now no longer allowed to compete.

American companies that make flags for foreign countries are boycotted or socked with high tariffs in retaliation.

Hobby Lobby lobbyists lobby for hobbyists. Workers? Not so much


The Supreme Court allowed Hobby Lobby, a privately-owned purveyor of cheap framing supplies and other sundries, to refuse to provide health insurance coverage of their female employees’ contraceptive needs, as to do so would violate the religious sensibilities of owners of the company. Consequently, Hobby Lobby and their ilk have been freed to cherry-pick the things they don’t support in Federal laws and disobey them.

What happens next?

Private companies like Hobby Lobby are acquired by large corporations that are motivated to take advantage of the special Supreme Court dispensation to ignore laws. The acquiring companies, which may possibly be run by atheists or those who don’t share the beliefs of the original acquired company’s owners, nevertheless get to deny employees benefits and pass those savings onto … themselves.

Companies operated by Jehovah’s Witnesses decide to halt coverage of blood transfusions for their employees as such procedures violate admonitions set down in the wacky parts of the Bible. Other religions follow suit. On the chopping block: vaccinations, vasectomies, sex-reassignment operations, psychotherapy, and anything related to stem-cells.

New fringe “religions” crop up to exploit the religious-objection loophole formed by the Supreme Court. The IRS attempts to call them out as shams, but is vilified and emasculated by the right-wing for intruding upon the First Amendment. The new “religions” attract many new “worshippers” seeking self-actualization and tax breaks.

Facebook’s future revealed: Zuckerberg registers


Unbeknownst to about 700,000 Facebook users, the social media behemoth ran a psychology experiment on them – the type of activityconsidered unethical by the APA. Facebook skewed the feeds of these users toward overly positive or negative sentiments for the purpose of evaluating the tenor of their subsequent posts. Guess what! People who receive positive feeds post positive stuff! Same for the negative guys! Everyone hopes this cures cancer.

What happens next?

Facebook apologizes for the hundredth time for punking its user base, promising never again to . . . oh, nevermind.

Sitting atop so much “big data”, Facebook devises ever more sinister experiments to peer into the minds and hearts of its users, tailoring its products and acquisition strategy accordingly. That is to say, to monetizing every aspect of social media.

In five years, weary of the whole social media drudge, Facebook users bolt en masse, leaving behind a shell of a company with no assets worth shit.

North Carolina whistles past the graveyard


Prodded by tourism-based businesses, the NC Republican legislature decided to bury a long-range climate study that predicted a 3-foot rise in ocean levels by 2100 in favor of a whitewashed report that shortened the horizon to 30 years and the estimated rise to a mere 8 inches (or the length of an erection the legislature aspires to.)

What happens next?

North Carolina takes no meaningful steps to prepare for the onslaught of ever-rising ocean levels, and increasingly devastating hurricane surges. Tourism-based businesses benefit from lax taxes and regulations – for a while.

A Category 5 storm wipes out the Outer Banks. Cape Hatteras becomes Isle de Hatteras. North Carolina legislature (still dominated by climate-denying Republicans) calls for a Federal bailout, which they get on a silver platter. How do they spend it? Can you say “tax cut”?

The next chapter for A-Roid?


Unknown until now, the doctor in charge of overseeing drug use for Major League Baseball decided to allow now-disgraced Yankee Alex Rodriguez to use the performance-enhancing drug testosterone in 2007, the year he hit 54 home runs, had 156 RBIs, and was named MVP for the third time. Later on, this same transgression would earn A-Rod a lengthy suspension and forfeit his mega-salary.

What happens next?

Reinvigorated by the news of hypocrisy, Rodriguez’s people launch a PR campaign to get Major League Baseball to back off the suspension – an effort doomed to failure.

Undaunted, the lawyers sue hard, and sometime on or before 2020, MLB settles without admitting guilt.

To demonstrate their softer side as they’re called out for perfidy, MLB forgives Pete Rose and admits him back into baseball from which he has been banned since 1989. A long shot, but maybe Bud Selig plays Pope before his retirement next year and absolves sinner Rose.

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