The Exclusionary, Intolerant “March for Science”

The so-called “March for Science” happened in assorted nodes around the country today, while many of us were actually doing science instead of just talking and protesting about it. Yes, some scientists spend night shifts and weekends issuing severe-weather forecasts and doing prolific research into storms in slower-weather times, all for the goal of directly and tangibly serving the American taxpayer — including those attending assorted rallies and protests. You’re welcome.

I’m grateful and proud to be serving America this way, directly putting science to use for the public good on a daily basis, and thankful to be able to contribute scientifically and professionally to a system that unquestionably saves lives. As evident in the new bipartisan weather bill, which Trump signed into law and which Obama would have, it’s clear and heartening that even a deeply divided society and its legislative representatives can bridge the partisan chasm to come together for such a directly public-benefiting and worthy scientific cause. That’s what science should be about, above all else: serving others.

Obviously…it should go without saying, by virtue of being a published, public-facing scientist, I care about science and public service. Understand that above all else, as you read on.

As someone who is:
* A socially and politically conservative Christian who
* Partly for Biblical moral reasons, did not vote for either Hillary or Trump — the latter candidate whose victory obviously inspired this “March” (thereby guaranteeing its politicization) — and who is
* A scientist with multiple formal publications who works 8+ hours a day to apply my science directly to life-saving public safety,
I find assorted concerns about the politicization and left-wing bent of the March not only valid but resoundingly so. Please read these concerns from someone on the sociopolitical left who agrees with me that science has little to do with the March.

I also find the so-called “March for Science” to be not only unwelcoming, but outright hostile, to the minority of conservative+religious scientists. That is my perception, with abundant basis in the statements of March organizers and members. This event had potential, but failed to reach it as it should have, whether by not maintaining strict political neutrality and by not overtly welcoming the very minorities upon which it spits — and by minorities in this context, I mean conservative Christians. That includes the conservative Christians in science — and yes, we do exist. Why would that be? Amazing thing to learn, isn’t it?

The so-called “March for Science” instead looks self-serving, overtly politicized, clearly reactionary bastion of left-wing insularity. If it were about science, and only science, there wouldn’t be all this PC social-engineering blather about supposed “homophobia” and “ableism” and “marginalized communities”, and other bogus terminology representing manufactured artifices of the secular left’s cult of mass-victimhood. Instead it would remain neutral on social issues, stick strictly to support for and encouragement of science, and leave the sociopolitical statements out of the picture.

For all this talk about catering to “marginalized communities”, it’s more than a little hypocritical to marginalize a community within science, isn’t it? One thing is clear: This “March for Science” absolutely does not speak for all scientists!

To my left-leaning readers I make one request: instead of arguing with my perception (which is my reality), understand it. Practice the “empathy” and “tolerance” and “inclusion” you so often preach. Are you up to that challenge?

Thank You, Tony Romo

Thank you, Tony Romo: for your passion, drive, intelligence, skill, work ethic, thrilling plays, toughness, and overall excellence for the Cowboys over the years. If football foremost is an entertainment medium, you’re one of the best there ever was — for the right reasons. From your leadership and professionalism to your high-quality play on the field, you went far beyond anyone’s wildest expectations as an undrafted free agent, to become one of the top few quarterbacks in team history, a multiple Pro Bowler, the all-time Blue Star leader in both yards and passer rating, and the fourth-highest passer rating ever in the NFL. All that has been despite inconsistent, often inferior talent and a coaching carousel around you up until the last few years. That’s saying something.

I hurt for you that you never won a Super Bowl. You were more than good enough, and better than many QBs who did. Dan Marino may be the only comparably skilled QB in that boat, and he’s a Hall of Famer. Unlike Marino, you were grotesquely under-appreciated, disrespected and underrated nationally for many years, perhaps still today, even by many Cowboys fans — but not this one. I’m under no illusion regarding the capriciousness of Hall of Fame voters, but the way you carried and led this team so superbly for so long, with such drive and skill, with so many different players coming and going, there’s no doubt in my mind you deserve every honor the team and league can bestow.

No less authorities than Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach have called you a great quarterback. Their word should end the discussion. I’ll take it over any others’ because they — more than anyone else — know how it is to lead America’s Team under that withering spotlight, and to do so with skill, class, and excitement. And they had far better surrounding talent and coaching then you did for most of your career.

Then, just when that surrounding talent and coaching caught up to your own abilities, and you finally got an offensive line worthy of your talent: major injuries took their toll for a few years, then an unbelievable rookie (also a QB of uncommon smarts, athleticism, class, and poise) took your job.

What could you do? There was nobody to blame, nothing at which to direct rage, except perhaps just the bad luck of timing against an unexpectedly great development for the team. Ultimately, to you, it was about the team. So what did you do? You handled it with the most grace and class of any sports speech in decades.

Speaking of class — that’s Jerry Jones’ gesture to cut you and let you keep your signing-bonus money uncontested, and even leaves the door open to play again. Still, please don’t break any more bones. Take good care of that beautiful family of yours and enjoy the relative safety of the broadcast booth, and enlighten us all on football insight for decades to come.

Now for the memories…so many…so I’ll just share a few of the very best — some of the great plays that will go down in lore (YouTube links work as of this writing, even if embed play may not):

* 2006: I was in Texas Stadium, watching the game in person with Rich Thompson (Houston fan), when Bill Parcells inserted Romo late in the fourth quarter of a domination of the Toxins. We witnessed the first two NFL passes of Tony’s career: a long completion on 3rd down, then a touchdown.

* 2006: One of the first of many “Houdini” plays, fourth down against the Eagles, escapes one pass rusher and throws a first-down strike while being dragged down by another:

* 2012: Eagles blitz? Cowboys 3rd-down completion! Another “Houdini” play for Tony (link to video).

* 2007: Game-winning drive with no time outs, against Detroit and future Cowboys Jon Kitna and Rod Marinelli, overcoming his own fumble and completing a fourth-down toss. This drive might have convinced those guys to join Dallas and Romo…

* 2013: Romo throws a game-winning touchdown on fourth down to beat those awful, nasty, detested Redskins 24-23 (link, no embed enabled).

* 2009: Against the Falcons, six seconds left in the half, perhaps the greatest Romo “Houdini” play until the next one on the list (link only, no embed).

* 2014: J.J. Watt was going to crush Tony Romo…was. Touchdown Dallas.

* 2007: Snap sails way over your head on third and three? No problemo, mi amigo. Go back and get it, then run 37 yards for a 4-yard first down…utterly unforgettable! As the announcers said, it “puts him in the hearts and minds of Cowboys fans forever”. Yet folks forget that was a 2-minute-drill drive and Tony ran in the leading TD himself on third and 10 with 11 seconds left. The play is at 4:40, but fans really should watch this whole drive. Wow…

Finally, the NFL’s “Top 10” Romo moments, including a couple of the above, the “broken back” game and the “punctured lung” game (link only).

God’s speed, Tony. Now go excel in the broadcast booth like you did on the field, and you’ll be more than respected. Then when the time comes that the Boys need a new quarterback coach, another offensive coordinator…Jerry had better at least give you that call.

Guest Column on Tuesday’s Deadly Chase Wreck

by Steve Miller (TX)

[The following is reposted by Steve’s permission from a private discussion. It follows my post yesterday emphasizing the more general live-streaming angle. Our thoughts correspond strongly on this event and Steve states the issues well.]

I am not going to sugar coat anything. I understand that Kelley and Randall are nice, friendly guys. It is tragic they lost their lives and that I am posting this less than 24 hours after the wreck. I understand that I will come across as a cold-hearted asshole. I also understand I may not have “all of the facts”. Yes, I am not perfect and have made mistakes too. So please spare me these types of comments and responses. For if you feign outrage over that rather than the circumstances surrounding this event, then you are part of the problem.

Based on numerous conversations I have had with others, reviewing video from yesterday and prior instances, all combined with known behavior of some chasers in the past some of which I have personally witnessed, yesterday’s event was bound to happen sooner or later. I am not calling this an “accident” for a good reason.

First, the video of their live stream leading up the split second before impact. There were THREE roadway signs indicating a stop sign and intersection ahead. A “JCT” sign indicating a junction ahead. A yellow triangular sign with a red octagon indicating a stop sign ahead. And a green directional sign showing left/right turn destination towns. And the fourth sign of course was a stop sign.

It was quite clear that neither the driver, Kelley, nor Randall acknowledged the stop sign and pending intersection. There was no mention of it and no change in driver action such as slowing down. You can clearly see all of the signs as they go by them. How do two people miss those signs…particularly the driver? How can that be? At that point, I was still considering major distraction factors such as looking at laptops for radar, streaming feed, navigation, looking at the storm. Certainly they didn’t intentionally blow through that stop sign without even slowing down to keep up with the storm, did they? After all, I have seen it done before both on feeds and in person.

A few conversations and posts I’ve seen elsewhere state that Kelley has flagrantly blown through stop signs and intersections before as witnessed on their streaming feeds and personally. They aren’t alone however as I’ve seen this happen with other chasers, particularly a certain big orange/red “tornado chaser” pickup truck whom I have also had nearly run me off the road as they passed in a no-passing zone approaching a blind hill…in rain. There are LOTS of incidents of stupid and extremely dangerous behavior by chasers out there. Sure, the vast majority of chaser do NOT do this. And to be clear, I have been on chases and seen nothing but perfectly safe behavior. I am talking about a small minority.

The “justification” for blowing through stop signs and intersections are probably related to being out in a rural area and little to no traffic and a quick look to see if the coast is clear. A regular habit of that easily lulls one into complacency.

So, in my opinion, it is probable they blew through it intentionally. Is it also possible they simply did not notice the signs and the stop sign itself because of various factors such as driver fatigue and inattention? Sure. We won’t ever know for sure. At the very least, this was negligent and possible grossly negligent. The truly innocent victim here is Corbin Jaeger driving the vehicle which was struck. He could have been ANY one of us who chases storms. Let that sink in deeply for a moment.

How many of you out there witness reckless and dangerous behavior by other chasers (and the “locals” who are even more dangerous) and yet never do anything about it? How many look the other way when it is a “popular” chaser or a “nice guy”? How about if it is a friend of yours? Who has witnessed Kelley’s prior driving behavior and remained quiet?

Granted, it is a very dangerous thing in the “storm-chasing community” to speak up and call others out on bad behavior. Such “whistleblowers” can be savagely attacked, maligned, destroyed and even threatened in the “storm-chasing community”. Make no mistake about that. The intimidation factor is high when trying to speak out. Believe me, I know. It is also why I carry for self defense. There are some true psychopaths in our “community”.

With that said, some of the responsibility of yesterday’s accident also rests on the shoulders of the “storm-chasing community”. Hopefully, this is a huge wake-up call to start holding each other accountable for reckless and dangerous behavior out in the field. It just might save YOUR life, the life of your friends and family, and help prevent such tragedies in the future. And there WILL be more if the status quo remains unchanged. Next time, it could be a van full of storm-chasing tourists. It could be innocent locals in a church van or a school bus…or a family with kids.

Think about it long and hard and commit do doing something serious about it.

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