Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

Wednesday, May 09; Thursday, May 10; and Sunday, May 13, 2012
I have used this copout for many years to partially explain why I left college in the middle of my junior year: with all the cheating going on around me just what value is a college degree? It seemed to me that degrees awarded to those who cheated their way through college devalued every degree awarded. The practical value of a degree for getting a job wasn’t a factor. The emphasis on the word “cheating” is to slightly altar the meaning of the word from that which is commonly understood. I think I believed that corroboration outside the classroom sullied one’s efforts, and made the product – a finished homework assignment – not one’s own. Copying someone else’s test paper in class is certainly cheating in the traditional meaning. But, to what extent is one’s homework understood by the professor to be the sole effort of the student who turned it in? Could gaining cooperative skills be valued in the process; thus making corroboration not important as an argument against the value of the homework? I can remember incidents of students being chastised and flunked by teachers who determined their work was not their own because the teacher knew who’s typical work was represented on the papers. Of course if more than one paper is the same then collusion – versus corroboration – was evident.
I am forced to resolve the idea that gay marriage cheapens the traditional idea of marriage (i. e. the spiritual and physical union of a man and a woman). It is so easy to adapt either the conservative or liberal view without much thought. But, that is intellectual laziness. The very arguments, for and against gay marriage, should be considered; at least on an academic level. Can we ignore the effect of society’s accepting gay marriages be considered when thinking whether they are ok or not?
If I revisit my long-held opinion that the cheating that was going on around me rendered the results of my undergraduate studies worth less than in a pristine (non-cheating) environment, then maybe I would think that maybe my copout was just a copout. On a pragmatic level, who really cares?
When a certain Fr. Toner called me at my rooming house to forward the offer of an anonymous donor to pay for my next semester’s tuition, my opinion regarding the actual value of the degree may have clouded my thinking. I can imagine an extended conversation with Fr. Toner. I might have added my thoughts about how those who cheat their ways through college debased the degree I would have gotten if I had broken my commitment with the Navy and continued my university studies.
He might have argued that my degree would be as valuable as what I had actually acquired in the process. Seeing that, I might have re-thought my decision.
As for the marriage issue the same argument might be advanced separating heterosexual from homosexual marriages. The heterosexual marriage is only as valuable as the effort expended in making, and preserving it.
Sunday, May 13, 2012:
In today’s edition of the Kitsap Sun print edition, page 11A – below the fold, column’s 1 through 4 – is a column by Cal Thomas. It starts off with a typical conservative’s slant on President Obama’s evolved thinking on same sex marriage. He is not accurate in his opinion of Obama’s reason for delaying and finally arriving to the conclusion that we ought to allow gay marriage. It only reveals his cynicism. His opinion about why the conservative Christian’s stand can’t carry the day because of their inability to adhere to the teachings of the gospel as it teaches about the nature of marriage, that of not allowing divorce.
Garrison Keillor has a wonderful spoof of the proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. It proposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage the way it was in ancient times, and still is in some societies. The strongest argument against the new real proposed amendment is in the part of the spoof about a man doesn’t need to be a virgin but a woman does. This is great stuff.

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If anyone out there remembers the phrase “The rich get richer…” you might remember where it comes from. There is a song (I think it was written by Cole Porter) that says “The rich get richer and the poor gets poorer… In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun?” But go further and you’ll find it was a main theme of Communists (or was it the unions?) in the 20’s and 30’s. OMG!!! the pinko MSM is repeating commy propaganda!!! Can you dig it? Oh, I guess I should tell you how this popped into my head. I was reading a piece “Updated Study (headline:) Top 1% take record share of U. S. Income”. But wait, there’s more. This is a reprint from a N. Y. Times article by Annie Lowrey. I caught it at the very bottom of page 1 of today’s Seattle Times. When the Seattle Post Intelligencer was a competitor to the Seattle Times, the former was considered the liberal and the latter was the conservative.

This whole debacle about the “false(?)” arrest of the part time Elvis imitator, Paul Kevin Curtis, leaves a bad taste in my mouth (mind). In an article from Los Angeles Times and Associated Press and printed in today’s Seattle Times, it appears the only evidence the authorities had against this suspect was some letters (contents not divulged) and social media postings. Entering “Paul Curtis” and “Paul Kevin Curtis” both in the search window of facebook, and google turns up many hits. All of these sources taken together give us a good picture of the whole mess.

What bothers me the most is the way authorities use even the most innocuous leads to try to build a case for reasonable suspicion… or whatever criteria they use to arrest somebody. This leads to a precautionary admonition. Be careful what you post! If that sounds paranoid… welll… as the pundit once said, “Even the paranoid have enemies”.

Reading about the millions of dollars provided to ex presidents for benefits above and beyond what is made available by law evokes a sense of disparagement. But, why do perks to former presidents bother me? Is it a sense of moral outrage? Is it because of the principle of federal austerity that is prevalent in today’s economy? A case could be made for the latter. But I don’t get upset at the millions of dollars spent for “worthy” causes. Yes, I am (in the words of a former ship-mate) a “bleeding heart liberal”. I believe in the general principle articulated by President Obama, of helping those (only) if they are unable to help themselves. Ok, that’s not original, but appropriate when seeking to explain the expenditures for entitlements. Am I bothered by expenditures of billions for other ex-public officials? I would wax philosophical about them worth every penny given to them. I have another possible explanation. It is consistent with my state in life. I just wonder if it is a common position with other harsh critics of what seems to be excessive spending for those who can help themselves. That state is of continuous financial difficulties. I admit I am a poor handler of money and spend what I have rather than save it; even when I should be saving some towards a looming charge.

Perhaps those who squawk the loudest are those who just want more for themselves… let’s call it for what it is, greed. They would deny others what is given to them. I have to believe that, according to the news item, the amounts seem excessive… until you rationalize the expenditures. The most questionable expenditure, in my view, is $442,000 for office space. Isn’t that office used mostly, if not all, for his foundation? Could somebody make the case that it is unfair for the tax payers to shell out public funds for a private operation? Welll, maybe it would be; but how about all the taxpayers dollars spent for facilities for the wealthy. Or are airplane owners (for which public funds are expended for supporting their hobbies) due the moneys spent? There are lots of rationalizing involved when you get into public spending. Unless somebody raises an objection (the only way for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing) a lot of public money goes for causes better financed by private sources.

The item that caught my eye this morning was about a man who was freed after 20 years in jail. The link: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/51281108. I also posted some of my thoughts with the other link to the story on facebook.

It seems the D. A.’s office had instituted a “conviction integrity unit” to look into convictions that look wrong after new evidence is discovered. The story (as reported and its link posted on my facebook page) is pretty interesting. In my view it shows a challenge to a prosecutor’s office to be diligent in deciding when a case should go to trial. The evidence was apparently not available to the prosecutor’s office when the case was sent to trial, according to reports. It appears the witness that picked Ranta out in a line-up said he did not recognize Ranta but selected him after a detective told him to “pick the guy with the big nose.” Harrumph!

What I find equally abhorrent is how “A jail house snitch and his girlfriend, both of whom fingered Ranta as the shooter, also admitted to prosecutors that they made up their story to secure a favorable plea deal.” This kind of plea bargaining might save time and money but it surely seems to go against the interests of justice. With only what I read in news accounts of a trial I am usually skeptical of cases that hinge on a witness who testifies to get a better deal in their case. I expect corroborating evidence would be necessary for a good case. One might ask if the corroborating evidence is strong, then why use the “snitch”. All that is for a jury to decide, I guess.

“12 Angry Men” is another great study in jurisprudence. My feeling is “art imitates life”; and sometimes the reverse. That’s why the liberal arts part of my college days has become more important ,in my retirement years, than what I learned more directly useful to get (and keep) a job.

The prosecutor in the news story should be lauded for instituting the “conviction integrity unit” at the risk of losing his job. He is up for reelection. He belongs in Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage” or Kennedy’s daughter’s sequel “Profiles in Courage for Our Times”.

Oops! I just read certain cogent parts of the Wikipedia article about the book and, as the woman TV reporter in “Hero” (played by Gena Davis) stated with such great articulation in the acceptance speech for the “silver Microphone” award, there is more to the story than what we read. I will have to stop now before this extends into a major digression.

When I was in high school there were two noticeably dog-eared copies of two books in our library that had to be replaced because they got so worn out. There titles were “Street Rod” and “Hot Rod”. They were both riveting stories of young people driving crazily until disaster happened.

One very graphic depiction involved two cars full of young people careen down a back road – center line – with head-lights turned off. I can remember only one detail of the results that was so horrific that it sickened me.

I was affected by gruesome scenes like that. To this day I can remember a skeleton being shown in some crime movie.

But, more tot he point, which is about the analogy of two cars heading towards each other – in the dark – driven by irresponsible teenagers; applied to our national government being taken over by hose who cause massive job reductions by instituting a non-governance policy like the Mutual Assured Destruction of the cold war era. I guess those who embarked on this adventure figured we could work ourselves out of this mess like we did in the years following M. A. D. days. Maybe we will. But like all analogies, this one limps. Or are apparent differences not so true? How were nations’ economies stifled by building up to the nuclear option? David Halberstam garnered a Pulitzer in 1964 for international reporting and wrote “The Best and the Brightest” about the relationship between the best engineers of the era and the military industrial complex. It was said that the M. I. C. sucked the talent and left non-defense industries without their talents. I can guess that had something to do with the economy if that economy had been denied their talents.

I still have faith that Obama will finally prevail over the R’s efforts to sully his presidency, and the radical T-Party extremists, who reportedly welcome sequestration to reduce national spending. Their inability to perceive the consequences of our shrinking economy reveal their governing naivete.

An article by Patrick Condon of the Associated Press printed on page 9A of today’s print edition of the Kitsap Sun entitled “Strategist is central figure against gay marriage” gets my creative juices flowing… big time!
I will take the points I observe in order.
First, “…he jokingly calls `the forces of evil’” I would say, this is not a joke, and is not funny. It is tragic that a political shill enjoys credibility on the issues because of his success in persuasion. His strategy is employing academic arguments that sound good. These arguments only succeed if the person persuaded closes his/her mind and refuses to listen more reasoning. The other factor that leads to his success is the dearth of reasonable arguments with persuasive clout. This winning strategy does not make his argument right. It is a classic error of “might makes right”. I can only hope this writing can be a good weapon against the evil extant.
Being part Carl Rove is another factor that makes his quest a decent into hell. Carl Rove successfully got George W. Bush elected and reelected by appealing to the worst instincts of people. One of his strategies that typifies his wrongful way was the whisper campaign in the state that eliminated John McCain from the Republican primary in 2000. The campaign pushed a lie that McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child because of the child McCain and his wife adopted who happened to have dark skin. That will live in infamy in the history of politics. This kind of strategy is successful in furthering all manner of evil. The Pat Robertson part of his persona just confirms how religion can be misused to further evil.
“Five thousand years have shown that marriage between a man and a woman serves us well” is a really poor argument because it eliminates the possibility that including gay marriage could have served us just as well. Using a successful institution to argue against another is just wrong. It proves nothing to use the color red to argue that the color green is wrong.
What I find most amusing is the rest of that statement … it (heterosexual marriage) is “fundamental to our nature as people.” The alternative, he said, is a culture based on personal desires. Really? So, let’s adopt arranged marriages because most marriages are based on personal desires. And to enforce that let’s bring societal force to parents to do their duty in arranging marriages for their children.
“Gay rights organizers begrudgingly admire Schubert’s ability as much as they detest what he’s doing” is like arguing that allies admire Hitler’s ability to bring his country together ignoring the evils he spawned in the process. Don’t forget the German word for “great” is “gross”. Gross has become an expression of bad to the extreme. In that sense Hitler was gross. So is this Frank Schubert.
Schubert’s convoluted reasoning rises to the front in his feelings for his sister who is raising children with her lesbian partner. “I love my sister very much, and I want her to know that my working on this issue was not a reflection of me seeing her as a less valuable person” is at the center of the heartless campaign to eliminate a rightful joy from gay and lesbian couples and relegating them to a less valuable existance.
Schubert’s twice winning the MVP award bestowed by the bipartisan American Association of Political Consultants reduces the battle to that of two competing sports teams with no regard of whether one or the other is right. In fact neither sports team is more right than the other unless competing elements like money vs. love of sport is taken into consideration. In non-commercial sports neither team is more right than the other.
My attitude on his other effort to make divorce more difficult has definitely matured from the days when my first marriage fell apart. I would have agreed with him wholeheartedly then. But in retrospect I see all kinds of evils surfacing in a marriage forced to endure because of artificial strictures that only prolong the misery and inevitability of the break up. Viewing the movie “War of the Roses” can illuminate the tragedy of a marriage breaking up without a speedy enough resolution.
Schubert’s attending an all male Jesuit high school could very well have caused him to adopt a warped attitude towards homosexuality having probably witnessed it first hand in an era when it was considered evil and the prevailing doctrine was that it was sinful. He failed to mature past that failed policy.
Finally, I hope the trend towards tolerance continues against these efforts to enshrine outmoded doctrine based on emotion rather than reason.

Thomas Sowell’s column in today’s Kitsap Sun has 12 points; one of which is sensible. So, as one might pan for gold one can read a column like this and find a truth that, while having some profundity, cries for clarification. The paragraph:

“The real egalitarians are not the people who want to redistribute wealth to the poor, but those who want to extend to the poor the ability to create their own wealth, to lift themselves up, instead of trying to tear others down. Earning respect, including self-respect, is better than being a parasite.”

I would add that corporate America is all about efficiencies at the expense of employing those whose talents are meager; but who deserve a living wage. I wouldn’t do away with incentives to better oneself. Certainly a better material life and/or more leisure to pursue mind improving activities is/are (a) laudable goal(s). If the educational community would quit trying to tie every learning experience to job pursuit and promote bettering students’ minds they might get those who perceive the false hope of riches if you learn more, rather to concentrate on achieving a truly liberal arts curriculum.
Yes, liberal arts have earned a negative connotation by the giggling masses. If you would read (reread) Newman’s “Idea of a University” you might realize a more perfect goal for getting a degree. Follow this link for the complete text.
Oops! I started reading the preface and I find this startling message, “…that Knowledge and Reason are sure ministers to Faith.” Could I, by a careful reading of this treatise, be sucked (uh, I mean drawn) back into the fold?
So, my journey to add to Mr. Sowell’s nugget has taken me far afield. Maybe the simple addition of the concept of making more jobs available should be the supreme goal of corporate America. After all, it was Henry Ford’s wise idea to make his workers’ wages high enough to enable them to purchase the product of their labors that should be the supporting concept that would rationalize that supreme goal. The antithesis of that mindset is Walmart’s keeping workers’ wages low so they can only afford Walmart’s products.

Ok. I am a liberal; but I think I might go against my liberal tendencies to proclaim a certain lack of sympathy for those who demand privacy, if that privacy provides a screen to do evil. It is a matter of pragmatism over idealism.
An example of idealism to the extreme is detailed in the article on page 2A of The Kitsap Sun entitled “Bainbridge officer resigns ahead of being fired.” According to the article the officer secretly recorded the dialog in a meeting so she could “accurately type notes after the meeting.” I have to ask, “What’s the problem?” The state law governing recording a conversation without the speakers’ knowledge is a crime. If the intent of the recording is to entrap the unsuspecting I can see some need. But, if entrapment is not the goal then just what are we perpetuating by the necessary saving a record of the conversation? To me the rigid enforcement of this law can result in the speakers’ having carte blanche to lie with impunity. Could misspoken statements be recorded? Of course they can. But it might be incumbent on participants in important meetings to weigh carefully what they say and check their propensity to mislead as they speak.
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse”, it is said; but at what point do we get so focused on the letter of the law that we lose sight of the spirit? The outcome of this misstep would, it seems to me, bring a punishment way out of line in enforcing “law and order”. I would say that the officer’s attempt to ameliorate the bad effects of her action should completely absolve her of crime. The threat to fire her is pandering to legal absolutism. It also shows a definite lack of good sense to discriminate between really bad conduct by a police officer and that which has no evil intent and would be completely erased by subsequent actions.
“Brain-dead Island” is an often spoken phrase to demean those who inhabit this enclave of elitism. This is an example of brain-dead actions.

… is “bigot”
When you speak it you spit out; like a lunger that you hack up and discharge from your mouth, a disgusting solution of saline substance that you don’t want to destroy your appetite.