HuffPo's Howard Fineman actually explains the political battle going on in Madison, pretty well.
In the last election, the GOP had a chance to win 20 governorships but only won 12. According to Howard, they were stymied by the political efforts of public employee unions in the 8 they lost and he quotes a GOP operative saying:
"We are never going to win most of these states until we can do something about those unions. They have so much incentive to work hard politically because they are, in effect, electing their own bosses -- the Democrats who are going to pay them better and give them more benefits. And the Democrats have the incentive to be generous."
This is how top Republicans see the matter: a vicious cycle of union-to-Democrat-to-union power that they are determined to break.
He is quite right about this. And he goes on to show just how much political muscle and money the unions have to elect their own bosses.
It's not just the GOP who should be concerned about this. It's taxpayers, who are finally coming to understand how crooked and expensive this racket is to them. Democrats are much more likely to be willing to raise taxes to pay the people who work to get them elected. This puts them at odds with the vast majority of taxpayers.
For years, Democrats and to some extent Republicans have played this political game. But it is no longer affordable or political feasible.
This is not only how top Republicans see the matter, it is how any honest political analyst sees the matter as well. Fineman, an MSNBC regular, gets it, even if he hesitates in saying so. It's not what most MSNBC hosts want to hear.
President Obama signed a bill in December to repeal the ban, called “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which required gay troops to hide their sexuality. However, the ban will stay in effect until the secretary of defense certifies that repeal of the policy will not hurt combat readiness.
Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that the old DADT policy required gay troops not to flaunt their sexuality and commanders not to pursue the subject.
But the idea of even an hour of sensitivity training leaves much to be desired. All that needs to be said on the subject can be found at the end of the article:
“Professionalism is the expectation across all the services,” Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Steven Hummer, the team’s chief of staff, told the Pentagon‘s news service
“This is a disciplined force, and we expect to see that as the training and repeal go into place. Lastly, respect is what everybody expects to receive and what everybody should give.”
All the "training" that is needed is the command to "respect" each other and do your jobs. That means, bevavior or actions intended to embarrass or take the dignity of a fellow soldier for whatever reason, will be confronted as inappropriate and properly dealt with.
But be assured that the sensitivity training professionals and community would not sit still for that.
" Funny....I don't remember CREW filing any complaints about the "personal benefits" that President Clinton received in the Oval Office. "
1. Fondling and/or receiving sexual favors from an intern is not taxable event, though it might raise a few questions about the professional and personal ethics of persons engaged in such behavior on government property.
2. CREW wasn't founded by liberals until 2003 until it was needed to watchdog a Republican president.
And still, heh!
UPDATE III: Here's MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell accusing Rep. Jason Chaffetz of being a tax criminal. Decide for yourself who comes off better from the exchange.
UPDATE IV: There seems to be a little confusion among some commenters. Congressmen are entitled to take a $3,000 a year living allowance deduction. If they sleep in their offices, it does seem fair that they don't take the deduction. Right.
Here stand the Democrats, avatars of reactionary liberalism, desperately trying to hang on to the gains of their glory years - from unsustainable federal entitlements for the elderly enacted when life expectancy was 62 to the massive promissory notes issued to government unions when state coffers were full and no one was looking.
Obama's Democrats have become the party of no. Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.
In Delaware, the state Human Relations Commission found that it was illegal and racist for a theater manager to tell a mostly-black crowd to turn off their cell phones and be quiet during the show. The HRC fined the theater $80,000. It took the state Supreme Court to overturn that idiotic decision.
One of the aggrieved was the then head of the state HRC itself.
One person in the theater who stood up and announced her opinion that the manager's actions were racist was Juana Fuentes-Bowles, then the director of the state's Human Relations Division, according to the ruling. Fuentes-Bowles, who apparently did not announce her title but said she was "an attorney or someone who worked for an attorney," then collected names and phone numbers of patrons who were offended. A division employee then called patrons and organized a meeting, including Fuentes-Bowles, after which a complaint was drafted.
Fuentes-Bowles also initially signed on to the complaint with 33 others, but later took her name off it so she would not be "a distraction," according to the ruling.
Faced with stifling debt, bloated pensions, and intractable government unions, liberal Midwestern legislators have fled those states — paralyzing Republican fiscal-reform efforts. Like Monty Python’s Brave Sir Robin and his band of quivering knights, these elected officials have only one plan when confronted with political hardship or economic peril: Run away, run away, run away.
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker crashes a meeting of the Wisconsin state teachers association.
And at the Boston union protests, how about mixing in a couple of Trashbaggers, guys?
Sam Ferrainola, the former director of the Glen Mills School, died Saturday. Over the course of 32 years, he took a beat-up reform school for boys and turned it into an educational powerhouse and a model for how delinquent behavior in boys should be addressed. He was a giant in his field.
He was one of the more interesting people I have ever met. He was smart, cagey, funny, and charming. He was also combative, vindictive, ruthless and demanding.
He had his flaws as a leader and a man but they were miniscule compared to his talents and his accomplishments. (You can read more about those here.)
Every now and then WaPo's Richard Cohen comes through with a corker. Here's one.
In New York City, the No. 2 guy in the fire department retired on a pension worth $242,000 a year. In New York State, a single official holding two jobs and one pension took in $641,000. A lieutenant with the Port Authority police retired with an annual pension of $196,767, and 738 of the city's teachers, principals and such have pensions worth more than $100,000 a year. Their former employer, it goes almost without saying, is steamed. Their former employer is me.
Read it all.
Meanwhile, Cohen's colleague Ezra Klein writes something that is stunningly stupid:
And let's let go of the idea that the public is on the hook for unions made up of government workers but not for unions made up of janitors in Las Vegas hotels. If private-sector unions negotiate higher wages that lead to higher corporate costs, those costs are passed on to the consumer.
Klein does not seem to understand that if Las Vegas hotels pass the higher corporate costs on to the consumer, at least the consumer has the choice of staying at the hotel in question, going to another hotel or staying home. Whereas, if public employees negotiate higher wages and benefits with politicians, they are paid for by taxpayers who have no choice but to pay the bill, unless they are willing to move to another state or another country.
At Columbia, a war hero is booed, jeered, and laughed at for suggesting ROTC should be allowed to return to campus, especially since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been overturned.
Not good enough. The U.S. military still discriminates against all manner of trannies.
"Transpeople are part of the Columbia community," said senior Sean Udell at the meeting, referring to the military's current ban on transgender soldiers.
Ah, there's nothing like an Ivy League education to open one's mind.
Thank goodness there isn't a U.S. military recruiting station in Haverford. It might find itself in violation of the township's new anti-discrimination ordinance. It protects trannies from such disgusting treatment. Yea!
Does anyone else find it odd that an elementary school needs the police to explain bullying to kids, why it's wrong and how to deal with it?
You'd think teachers would be able to handle that. I mean, we are talking about 10, 11, and 12-year-olds here.
Nothing wrong with having cops come to your school to talk about whatever. It's good for kids to see cops as friendly, helpful adults and authority figures.
But when it comes to a standard of behavior at a school, teachers, administrators and other staff should be able to mold and enforce it without much help from local law enforcement.
These anti-bullying programs are generally for the birds. They are a one or two shot response to a media event. For a school to maintain a culture of civility, bullying and disrespectful behavior has to be confronted daily. This has to be implemented from the top down and it has to be a major priority of the adult professionals at the school. It requires effort and constant vigilance. It is very easy to let disrespectful behavior slide, especially when it is directed at others. Too many adults in schools and eslewhere take a "it's not my job" approach to policing the interactions of students, even when some kid is obviously being picked on.
It shouldn't be up to kids to ask an adult to intervene on their behalf when they are being disrespected in plain sight. Running to a teacher just makes the kid a "tattle tale" and a "snitch." Teachers should be trained to confront negative behavior as a daily part of their job. Such a confrontation, often should only take seconds. As in, "Yo, Johnny! You know that's not how we treat each other around here."
Cops should be enforcing the law. Teachers should be in charge of monitoring and enforcing a positive culture in their schools. And they should be required to do so by their principal who should lead by example.
And if teachers and administrators can't muster the energy to do that, they should find another profession.
UPDATE: Then there's this. Sounds like the school got it right. The cops zero-toleranced themselves into a stupid arrest.
Uh oh! We have a civility problem in Madison. Government workers, teachers and other public employees are engaging in hateful and extreme rhetoric that, you know, could get someone shot.
... Scott Walker is asking the state’s public employees to start contributing to their own pension and health-care benefits and limit their collective bargaining rights to negotiations over pay rather than benefits. His plan is sparking furious protests, with demonstrators holding up signs saying “Heil Walker! Stop the Maniac,” accusing the Wisconsin governor of “exterminating union members,” and calling him a “Fascist Union Community Killer.” Governor Walker is referred to as “Governor Mubarak,” a “Midwest Mussolini,” “al Qaeda Scott,” with some slogans reading, “Scott Walker = Adolph Hitler.”
Where's Paul "It's Palin's Fault" Krugman? Is he counseling progressives to tone it down? No, he's egging on the unionists.
Where's President Obama? Calling for calm and people to "disagree without being disagreeable"? No, he's calling Walker's efforts "an assault on unions." His political arm is sending reinforcements in an effort to intimidate Wisconsin Republicans into backing down. It ain't working.
Meanwhile, Democrats have fled the state to avoid a vote on the GOP proposals. At least when Obama was in the Senate he voted "present."
There are many other "civility" hypocrites on the left.
Pete Wehner has it right:
The game that’s being played is obvious. Civility has no intrinsic worth for these individuals; it is merely another weapon in an endless political battle.
George Will goes to Madison and talks to Gov. Scott Walker about the public employee union protests.
Such unions are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it always wants to do anyway - grow. These unions use dues extracted from members to elect their members' employers. And governments, not disciplined by the need to make a profit, extract government employees' salaries from taxpayers. Government sits on both sides of the table in cozy "negotiations" with unions.
A few days after President Obama submitted a budget that would increase the federal deficit, he tried to sabotage Wisconsin's progress toward solvency. The Washington Post: "The president's political machine worked in close coordination . . . with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals." Walker notes that in the 1990s, Wisconsin was a trendsetter regarding school choice and welfare reform. Obama, he thinks, may be worried that Wisconsin might again be a harbinger.
My friend Alex Rose sat down with our ex-Congressman Joe Sestak to talk about his plans for the future but, as per usual, Joe's answers raised more questions than they answered.
Among the things we don't learn:
1. Why does he, a private citizen, have a spokesperson?
2. Does he really think that U.S. Patent Office will be the source of such significant revenue and opportunity that doubling the size staff there will make United States of America a significantly better place.
3. Would he run the U.S. Patent Office if President Obama offered him the job?
4. If the rise of the Tea Parties was a signal that the American people were losing "faith" in both political parties, why did Tea Partiers overwhelmingly vote for Republican candidates?
5. How would he propose to get the U.S. government's unsustainable entitlement spending under control?
6. What does he think of President Obama's universally scorned budget proposal?
7. Who paid for his "Thank You" tour of Pennsylvania?
8. In what state does he plan to live next year?
9. In what state does he think his dog, Belle, will be living next year?
Governor Walker and the Republican legislature of Wisconsin are demonstrating principled leadership and fortitude. In a nation wracked by recession and wearied by liberal excess, these taxpayers' champions are "manning up" against the wrath of a bloated Big Labor and their Democrat partners.
The outrageous sick-outs and inflated sense of entitlement exhibited by the teachers and public service unions will do more to promote fiscal sanity than any budget analysis or rehabilitative legislation. But Governor Walker promised the voters he would rein in public sector collective bargaining, and he's keeping his word...what a concept.
If you have any doubt that the inmates are running the asylum, get a load of the demands of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association last summer. While budget shortfalls were causing layoff notices to go out to 482 teachers, the union was arguing for a $786,000 Viagra benefit to their taxpayer-funded health plan.
When told that Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and other erectile dysfunction drugs were used primarily for recreational sex and not medical necessity, the union screamed discrimination. Even when the cost of this atypical benefit was identified as the equivalent of rehiring twelve first year teachers, the union chose to litigate for these pharmaceutical sex aids, rather than negotiate for the kids.
Wisconsin represents a long-awaited day of reckoning for a Liberal/Labor agenda that lost its way some time ago. Thank you Governor and all the good people who are "manning up" in Madison based on the courage of their convictions rather than the potency of their little blue pills.
The wave of hate crimes and racially motivated incidents throughout Pennsylvania in recent months has left me shocked and saddened.
With the state and nation becoming more and more diverse, we should be celebrating our differences, the richness of cultures that makes our society better. But some people are reacting to this diversity with anger, threats and acts of violence.
What’s even more disturbing is many acts are being committed by young people.
Please! What Waters describes is hardly a "wave," it is the tiniest of ripples, if that.
He cites a handful of unattractive racial incidents and calls on all Pennsylvanians to condemn them. Fine! Hate crimes are bad. People shouldn't do them.
Now how does Rep. Waters feel about the real problem of black-on-black crime that is seeing hundreds of young black men killed each year, thousands of black citizens robbed or shot or assaulted each year and thousands of young black men incarcerated each year?
Waters quotes James Carville's old line about Pennsylvania being Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between, as if more rural Pennsylvanians were a real and growing threat to black people. We all know how scared and clingy they are to their guns and religion.
It is especially galling to be lectured by Waters, whose history as a law-abiding citizen is not exactly pristine.
From a Pottstown Mercury story last year on State reps with criminal raps in their past...
Rep. Ronald Waters, D-Philadelphia, received a five- to 23-month sentence in 1981 after he was found guilty by a jury of possession with intent to deliver drugs. Court records show a police search of a Chester apartment turned up more than three ounces of methamphetamine, a drug-cutting substance, ammunition, cash, cocaine residue and two handguns with obliterated serial marks.
An informant had told police about drug sales at the apartment, police said in court records. A judge ruling on the legality of the search wrote that police said Waters told them he had no connection with the apartment, but investigators found his mail and prescription drugs inside and said he had a key that fit the lock.
In a sentencing transcript, Waters asserted his innocence and said he would appeal.
"I was at the wrong place at the wrong time," he told the judge. "I have always had a good reputation in west Philadelphia and it is just not my nature and I happened to be there." The judge chastised him for his lack of cooperation with Chester police.
Fine, he was a much younger man at the time, but 31 is old enough to know better. At the very least he should realize that real problems that African Americans face in this state are not from a few insensitive white kids.
If this is the best the head of the Black Caucus can come up with to "celebrate" Black History Month, God help his constituents.
I am writing to you about your column concerning the "Bullying Incident Blown Out Of Proportion. First, I was shocked by your insensitivity for the victim! According to you, since there was no physical damage to this young boy, no "nose-cracking punches, the kicks to the groin,the tooth-rattling slaps in the face, " there is no 'scary and 'disturbing' violence." You also assert that "...it was a fairly standard case of bullying, a low- violence , but highly intimidating exercise in humiliation." Are you joking? The perpetrators hung the boy up on a fence after being hung up on a tree! The psychological damage to this boy can be devastating for many years to come. One does not need to suffer physical scars when being abused. Perhaps, you've never heard of verbal abuse?
What is amazing to me is that you never mentioned how long this bullying went on. From the information I received, this went on for a half-hour! Secondly, you said that this was "dumbly captured by one of the perpetrators themselves for all the world to see." In other words, it was okay to do the bullying as long as they didn't video it. I believe your column is irresponsible and it begs these questions: 1) Have you ever taken a course called Psychology 101? 2) Do you have children, and if you do, would you feel this bullying would be "blown out of proportion " if it was one of your children?
In my assessment, and I feel I speak for many others, is that the youth who took the video is just as guilty as the others. Gee, do you think he was videoing this bullying as a public service to show the world the horrors of bullying? No, he couldn't wait to show it on YouTube so that others could see how "bad" or "cool" his crowd is. This is mob violence and these perpetrators should get the maximum penalty for what they did. But, of course they won't and this young victim will undoubtedly have more emotional turmoil to deal with in the future. Nothing good can come out of this "standard case of bullying."
Finally, I would like to make a proposal for you and I to discuss your column in a public forum before any high school or junior high school audience which would include students as well as parents. Perhaps, then we will see if this "bullying incident is blown out of proportion."
I eagerly await your response.
It seems I am always shocking people with my insensitivity. But the main point of the column was that the police over-charged the juveniles in this case ("Kidnapping" was one of the charges) and described the attack, which resulted in only the most minor of physical injuries, as "brutal," "vicious," "heinous," etc.
I have no truck with bullies or bullying. It's how it is dealt with that matters. In this case, the courts agreed with me, dropping all the most serious charges against the young men accused.
In my column, I have defended juvenile bullying victims before. There was one case where a Rose Tree Media middle school girl who being bullied by several classmates was forced to eat lunch by herself in the nurses office because the school district thought that was the best way to protect her from her tormentors. Isolating the victim instead of punishing the bullies seemed to me to be a fundamentally wrong-headed approach to the problem. The girl was eventually allowed to change schools districts at RTM's expense.
In this case, I had serious doubts about the parading of 13-year-old Nadin Khoury on national TV, making him the poster child of an anti-bullying campaign and whether it would be good for him. But it may have won him a scholarship to attend the private Valley Forge Military Academy in King of Prussia, which beats attending an alternative school in Upper Darby any day. So maybe I was wrong.
As for Jay's proposal to debate me in a public forum, I'll say no thanks for now.
Unless I am mistaken, Jay is the same Jay Gullo, who bills himself as a "respected and gifted psychic/medium."
According to his bio:
"He can get messages from specific spirits from the other side. Jay has been teaching classes on metaphysics and reincarnation in the West Chester Adult School for over 10 years. Jay has a full time metaphysical practice which includes spiritual and clairvoyant counseling, astrology and past life information.
How could I be sure during our debate that Jay wasn't enlisting his entire spirit army to crush my arguments and then haunt me like that demon thing from the movie "Paranormal"?
So, like I said, I think I'll pass.
UPDATE: A new E-mail from Jay admitting to his scary talents and awesome resume.
I just received your email with your snide attempt at being funny by putting the word "gifted" in quotation marks. You certainly are open-minded I can tell. But, yes this is who I am in addition to being a retired school teacher.
First, what does this have to do with the email I sent you? Secondly, I could retaliate, as a retired English Teacher, as to your word usage as a "professional "columnist; but I was hoping for a more substantial dialogue. Is this not possible?
As I thought I made clear earlier, I do not publicly debate ANY ISSUE with self-professed "psychics," especially those, like Jay, who claim they "can get messages from specific spirits from the other side."
Is Southeast Delco janitor Robert Strange the sort of maniac who charges into a 5th grade classroom and beats up a 12 year old boy in front of his teacher and fellow students, thanks everybody and then leaves?
UPDATE: Superintendent Butz also said that the school's investigation into the matter revealed the possibility that the boy in question may have sustained an injury during or after school that day that had nothing to do with the wrestling match with Strange. A couple of fellow classmates told school staff that the boy had fallen outside, possibly from a slip on ice.
Butz is playing it all very close to the vest because any injury to the boy on school property could result in litigation from the family. It remains quite possible that if the boy was injured during even a friendly tussle with Strange, the school would be legally culpable as well.
The most important thing right now is that everybody understand that the criminal charges against Strange that assert he intentionally sought to inflict serious injury on the boy are highly questionable. There is nothing in his past that suggests a violent character. And everything I've been told suggests he is held in high esteem by the staff and students at the school and his boss. He needs to get back to work to support his family.
Butz said he would have liked to have been able to talk to the boy and his parents about the incident but so far they have shown no interest in helping the district with its own investigation into the matter.
Is "gender bias" the reason there are fewer top female scientists than men? Uh, no. A new study backhands that shop-worn claim.
The voice of reason is easy to shout down but hard to vanquish altogether. This week it turned up in an unlikely place: an academic paper about gender bias in the sciences. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a coolly objective paper on the hot, politicized subject of bias against women in academic science.
In “Understanding Current Causes of Women’s Underrepresentation in Science,” Cornell professors Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams provide a thorough analysis and discussion of 20 years of data. Their conclusion: When it comes to job interviews, hiring, funding, and publishing, women are treated as well as men and sometimes better. As Williams told Nature, “There are constant and unsupportable allegations that women suffer discrimination in these arenas, and we show conclusively that women do not.” Put another way, the gender-bias empress has no clothes.
Now, that I'd like to see.
But this gender-bias farce has cost the American taxpayer millions of dollars. As Christina Hoff Sommers reports, congressman from both parties, have awarded activist professors millions in grants to combat this non-existent problem. It should stop. But it won't. Read the whole thing.
Having passed it's new anti-discrimination ordinance last night, Haverford Township is now pregnant with it's own Human Relations Commission. It will give birth shortly. It will be fun to watch the HHRC grow into a quiet and useless creature with little or nothing to do. Or evolve into a hectoring, busy little beaver. You never know with these things.
In any case, the proud parents, were congratulating each other Monday night on their baby's conception. Commissioner Larry Holmes, who endured months of fertility treatments...
thanked the gay and lesbian couples, all the people “who stood up and exposed their lives to us, and told us about things they’ve suffered, and asked us to make this a better township for them. ... I appreciate my colleagues’ courage on this vote, but it is the people who spoke tonight who I honor.”
“I’m so happy,” said Lou Devecchis, the resident who initially requested legislation to protect members of the LGBT community.
I tried to talk these two out of this. But when people are in love with an idea, it's hard for them to see any downside to it.
The ordinance, though proposed specifically to protect needful gays, will cover the whole panoply of protected classes including "Race, Color, Religious Creed, Ancestry, Age, Sex, National Origin, Handicap Or Disability, Use Of Guide Or Support Animals Because Of The Blindness, Deafness Or Physical Handicap Of The User Or Because The User Is A Handler Or Trainer Of Support Or Guide Animals, Or Because Of An Identity Or Gender Expression."
No wonder the head of state HRC, Stephen Glassman, recommended the hiring of a full-time staff person at $60,000 a year, when Doylestown considered its own anti-discrimination ordinance (It failed). Protecting people from perceived discrimination can be a time-consuming and expensive business. (Glassman claims the PHRC is sadly underfunded.) Of course, if the law is being passed as a symbolic gesture with no intent of real enforcement, well then that's a different story.
One group it will not cover is people who suffer from pedophilia (or pediophilia, for that matter). Doing so would be vile, bizarre, warped and ignorant. The commissioners have made that very clear.
No doubt Larry and Lou and the rest will be proud no matter how their spawn turns out. Whether it is a fat, lazy do-nothing or an aggressive little cuss who drives the neighborhood crazy, it will be theirs to feed and care for.
This comes anonymously but from someone with the handle of "gymstar2222":
To the editors of Delco Times:
I am writing to express how extremely disappointed I was with the Sunday Feb 13 2011 edition of Delco Times because of Gil Spencer's bigoted and ignorant article. I am normally a proud Delco resident and avid reader of the Delco Times, but Spencer's column made me embarassed (sic) to even live in the same area as Mr. Spencer and also made me reevaluate purchasing this newspaper. I am not going to spend money on or support a newspaper that allows Mr. Spencer to write not one but two full-page articles in which he spews his ignorant, homophobic, and downright vile opinions. I am all for free speech, but Mr. Spencer has clearly crossed a line when his articles defend pedophiles and lump them in the same category as homosexuals. In the Feb 13 edition, he mentions that he has received other letters from readers who are appalled at what he has wrote, but he does not address WHY those readers were upset. Instead, he belittles the person for a spelling mistake. Mr. Spencer is ignorant enough to not know the definition of "sexual orientation", as he believes that could include pedophiles, so why didn't anyone just give this guy a dictionary or some education instead of letting him write 2 articles about it?? This is not simply a matter of not agreeing with someone. Of course I, and many other people, completely disagree with Mr. Spencer's beliefs that it is fine to discriminate against homosexuals and that ordinances making this kind of discrimination illegal are "unnecessary" and "agenda-driven". It is clear Mr. Spencer is uneducated and homophobic, and I respectfully disagree with him, however any respect I would have for him was thrown out the window when he started defending pedophiles, belittling readers, and comparing homosexuals to pedophiles. In the future, if you'd like to keep readers and remain a respectable and unbiased newspaper, please do not allow Mr. Spencer to continue such ignorant and hateful rants! Myself, my friends, and my family will not support a paper that runs hate speech.
So this is gymstar's idea of "respectfully" disagreeing with me, by calling me and my opinions vile, homophobic, ignorant, bigoted, and hateful. And also by asking my editors to censor and silence me and my "hateful rants." Gee, "gymstar," thanks for the respect.
For the record, I did not compare pedophiles to homosexuals. I compared them to heterosexuals. Read the original column.
I did not "belittle" an anonymous reader and commenter for a spelling mistake, although I did find it amusing that someone who accused me of being homophobic confused pediophilia (the sexual attraction to dolls) with pedophilia.
Furthermore, I do not think "it is fine to discriminate against homosexuals..." I just don't believe such discrimination to the extent that it exists should be criminalized. And because Haverford is hardly a bastion of anti-gay hatred what's the point? (I explain the point here.)
As for my "ignorance" in not knowing the definition of sexual orientation, I still contend the issue is far from settled in behavioral psychology and/or etymology. The definitions of terms change all the time. I freely admitted to having overlooked the definition of "sexual orientation" buried down in the Haverford ordinance. It still, however, amazes (and amuses) me that in criticizing my column,the Haverford commissioners failed to clearly state the language of their own ordinance in defense of it.
At least when the Haverford Five respectfully misrepresented my position, calling it vile, bizarre, ignorant and warped, they had the guts to sign their names. In pointing this out, I respectfully acknowledge gymstar's right to feel "belittled."
Prof. Lionel Tiger points out a few interesting things and provides some canny observations:
Historically, women prefer to marry men who are slightly older and wealthier than they are, if for no other reason than to have an available breadwinner during the five to eight years the average mother withdraws partially or entirely from the labor force. And 85% of women have children, which explains the factoid that women earn 77% to the male dollar. It's accurate only in the literal sense, since women are forgoing annual increases for significant years or electing to take part-time jobs to raise kids.
Women can control their reproductive lives, which is as it should be. But to coin a phrase, men are becoming alienated from the means of reproduction, which presumably no one wants.
Is there anything to be done to reverse this trend? A good first step is for women to ease up on the patriarchy yammer, especially when it comes to romance: Ideology has no place in the nation's bedrooms.
“She was exiting the trolley at the terminal when (one of the girls) pushed her from behind as she was going down the trolley steps,” Criminal Investigator Charles Missimer wrote in the affidavit. “The victim fell face first onto the ground. The (trio) started to punch the victim about the face and head,” until transit police approached and they fled.
Too bad there's no video but it sounds like here they've got a pretty strong case of a serious assault. Sounds like U.D.'s bully girls are more violent than its bully boys.
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden, an avowed friend of good government, is giving it a bad name. With great fanfare, he went to Philadelphia the other day to announce that the Obama administration proposes spending $53 billion over six years to construct a "national high-speed rail system." Translation: the administration would pay states $53 billion to build rail networks that would then lose money -- not a little, but lots -- and, thereby, aggravate the budget squeezes of the states or federal government, depending on which covered the deficits.
There's something wildly irresponsible about the national government's undermining states' already poor long-term budget prospects by plying them with grants that provide short-term jobs. Worse, the high-speed rail proposal casts doubt on the administration's commitment to reducing huge budget deficits (its 2012 budget is due Monday). How can it subdue deficits if it keeps proposing big new spending programs?
In response to yesterday's column about the Haverford Township sexual orientation ordinance, Commenter "Calzone" sez:"
While it is perplexing to me that any town needs to establish an ordinance against this type of discrimination, it is also perplexing to me why Gil Spencer needs to stir the hive of politicos who aren't, in my view, doing anything wrong. So what? They made this ordinance and they can call themselves progressive. Politicians are always grandstanding. There haven't been complaints in response to Swarthmore's ordinance, so, on the flip side, it's hard to see how political mischief and misdeeds would ensue. What I'm thinking is: Gil Spencer's column is a convenient way to skewer commissioners he doesn't like. "
Human Relation Commissions, whether they be federal (EEOC), state, or local, have a history of dragging people in front of them to answer bogus charges of discrimination.
Philadelphia's famously charged Joey Vento with discrimination for posting a sign in his cheesesteak joint asking people to order in English. The board backed down in the face of public outrage. The Pa. HRC ordered WYSP to pay $600,000 to an employee/plaintiff who claimed he was discriminated against by being asked read a book called New Dress for Success. The award was thrown out by a state court. The EEOC has the worst record of bringing politically loaded cases and ironically has been sued itself for discrimination more than any other federal agency. Just because Swarthmore hasn't seen its share of dumb cases being filed yet, doesn't mean these boards are a good idea.
Local municipalities are being pushed by gay-rights activists and their liberal cheerleaders to create these boards because there is no wide support in the state to include "sexual orientation" in the group of protected classes. The idea is to grow support from the bottom up by accusing opponents of anti-gay bias and get publicity for doing so.
The head of the PHRC, Stephen Glassman, who testified in the Haverford debate, is himself a gay activist, and is part of this campaign. This is the same campaign that led the fight in Philadelphia to deny funding to the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts of America because of its hesitancy to accept openly gay men as scout leaders.
Could the same thing happen in Haverford Township? Of course it could.
The assertion that I don't "like" the Haverford commissioners, is false. I don't know them. I have only briefly talked to a couple, including Larry Holmes, whom I found to be a very affable fellow.
Shakespeare never fails. When I read that Gaia’s First Messenger Here on Earth, the very face and clammy palms of global warming itself, Al Gore, had invited the Edward R. Morrow of the Twitterverse, latterly of the compulsively progressive MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, to join his Current TV cable network, the familiar “Let us not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments” unfailingly suggested itself.
Gore-Olbermann: never so fruitful a partnership since Gilligan and the Skipper.
As I blogged earlier this week, five Haverford Township commissioners signed on to a letter to the editor reacting to a column I wrote a couple of weeks ago criticizing their proposed ordinance to protect gays, cross-dressers and transexuals and outlawing discrimination against them.
Why, I wondered, shouldn't law-abiding sufferers of pedophilia also be covered by the law.
The reaction of the Haverford Five was outrage. How dare somebody suggest that someone who suffers from a deeply ingrained psychological disorder might or should be protected from discrimination in their township.
"Vile," "Warped," "Ignorant," "Bizarre" are just some of the words they used to describe the the column.
There was a day, not too long ago, when the same words might have been used to describe the very idea of same-sex marriage. Now, same-sex marriage is described as a civil rights and justice issue and being imposed on society by federal and state judges, often over the objections democratic majorities.
Anyway, the column I wrote began:
With Haverford Township poised to be the 19th municipality in the state to pass a non-discrimination law to protect gays and form their own Human Relations Commission, the supervisors may want to rethink the wording of their new ordinance.
After all, “sexual orientation” covers more ground than they would like to think.
In their angry letter to the editor condemning the column, the Haverford Five, failed to point out that their ordinance contains clear language defining "sexual orientation" to mean "homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality." While, there is certainly an argument to be made that there are other sexual orientations to be found within the realm of human desire and behavior, the ordinance, as worded, made my hypothetical case, basically moot.
The commissioners could have easily said so, but for some reason, chose instead to mislead and mischaracterize the argument raised in the column, and to ignore its substance.
Comes from Diane in reponse to the Haverford vs. Spencer and the "bizarre," "vile" and "warped" question I raised about the definition of "sexual orientation."
There are already efforts to desensitize us to sex between children and adults. A 2002 book written by Judith Levine, Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex? was widely promoted as a book to challenge "widespread anxieties" about pedophilia. Publisher University of Minnesota Press called Levine's book "a radical, refreshing, and long overdue reassessment of how we think and act about children's and teens' sexuality." James Kincaid, author of "Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting," called it "a crusading book that is also kind, a very rare phenomenon, and it comes down always on the side of trusting not only our kids and their pleasures but our own." There are indeed other sexual orientations beyond the standard definition "homosexuality, heterosexuality or bisexuality" contained in these ordinances. In the near future there will be an effort to include sadomasochism in these definitions.
Which is to say after the passage of the township's new anti-discrimination ordinance feel free to show up a Haverford diner dressed like this:
UPDATE: Comment of the Week II...
"Logic and Reason" said...
Pediophilia is a crime. Child molestors are criminals. It is not a sexual orientation, it is criminally deviant sexual abuse. The GLBT community does not embrace or endorse pediophilia or recognize pediophiles as a "sexual orientaion" deserving of equal rights or protection. Mr. Spencer, you have spun your lurid scenario to sell papers and entice debate. Why? Probably to fan the flames of discrimination against law abiding and productive members of society. Your homophobia is showing.
Mr. Logic is confused.
While child molestation is a crime, pedophilia is not. It is a psycho-sexual disorder as described in the DSM-IV. (On top of this, Mr. Logic confuses pedophila and pediophilia, which is the sexual attraction to dolls.)
People who suffer from pedophilia may be much more likely to commit the crime of child molestation, just as alcoholics are more likely to commit the crime of driving under the influence. But it is no more against the law to be a pedophile than it is to be an alcoholic.
What the GLBT community embraces or doesn't embrace is completely beside the point. If Haverford Township isn't more specific in terms of the sexual orientations it wants to protect, the whole kit and kaboodle can slide in demanding protections and fairly so.
As for my intentions in raising this issue, I have been quite clear. I personally find actual discrimination against gays to be fairly ridiculous and wrong. Most Americans take a live and let live attitude toward gays, although many remain skeptical of, if not downright hostile to, the agenda of the gay left on issues like same-sex marriage and the normalization of some of the more extreme gay lifestyles. (See above.)
In Haverford, gays are not as a matter of routine being denied public accomodation, jobs or places to live. The motive behind passing the ordinance is, in my opinion, purely symbolic, political, unnecessary and unpopular.
The most "heinous" case of bullying Upper Darby police superintendent Mike Chitwood has ever seen has been knocked down to a handful of misdemeanors.
All charges were dropped against one of the accused. Five others admitted to wrong-doing in the incident, the last proclaimed his innocence and demanded a trial.
From our story:
Defense attorney Tracie M. Burns, who is representing one of the defendants, said her client has accepted responsibility for his actions.
“It was a fair outcome,” she said.
One of the defendants, a 15-year-old who entered an admission, stood before Durham and said, “I’m sorry for what I did.”
That boy’s attorney, Daniel McGarrigle, later said the outcome was “an appropriate resolution.”
“These are the appropriate charges,” he said, adding that some of the comments made by police “ramped up” the situation and turned it into something it really wasn’t.
He declined to name any police officer or official in particular, but said labeling the teenagers thugs and hoodlums was over the top.
“He is a 15-year-old who made a mistake,” McGarrigle said of his client. “Who hasn’t made a mistake when they were 15?”
I don't expect Mike Chitwood to admit a mistake in ramping up the situation into something it wasn't. But I do expect him to know it.
As for the kid going to trial. He may not be guilty of a crime. But if he was there witnessing what the others were doing and not doing anything to stop it, he is guilty of gutlessness. Who among us has not been guilty of the same sort of cowardliness, especially when we were 15?
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday declared that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it. "We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," he said in a television interview in which he declared the concept a "failure."
British Prime Minister David Cameron last month pronounced his country's long-standing policy of multiculturalism a failure, calling for better integration of young Muslims to combat home-grown extremism.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's former prime minister John Howard and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar have also in recent months said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants.
America has been encouraged down this road of identity politics too. For 200 years a guiding principle of this nation has been assimilation. E Pluribus Unum - Out of many, one. Then the multi-cultists went to work on college campuses and into government, stressing the importance of ethnic, religious, racial and sexual identity. It is and has been a divisive and often ugly project.
Old-fashion liberals understood multiculturism's perniciousness. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote the Disuniting of America back in 1992. Not surprisingly, it received negatives reviews from far leftist professors committed to the idea that America was worth disuniting. It could use a re-read.
Spent the day writing a column about the Upper Darby 7, the accused teenage bullies that had Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood in such a lather and the rest of the civilized world outraged and weeping for 13-year-old Nadin Khoury.
As of an hour ago, all charges have been dropped against one of juveniles, five took plea deals that will get them sent home or placed in some sort of juvenile program and one has decided to go to trial. I'd love to talk to his lawyer.
As I predicted in my column the ludicrous kidnapping charges were dropped against them all.
Wednesday night, on our new little Live from the Newsroom video show, Chitwood lamely defended the kidnapping charge but was otherwise eminently reasonable about the case. What was revealed on the video didn't match the descriptions being thrown around in the media. Brutal, vicious, violent. It was ugly and humiliating but not wildly violent. Nadin didn't have more than a couple of scratches on him.
The family does have a lawyer now. Given the publicity, it would be hard to for the kid to return to school, though none of what happened occurred on school property.
On the day of the incident, Nadin was serving a suspension for, we have be told, telling one of his teachers to "go F--- himself." Nadin may be a crime victim but he is no shrinking violent.
The district will have to decide the most appropriate setting for Nadin to now get his education. His family's new lawyer ought to be able to help in that regard.
In the meantime, Nadin's learned that being a victim can get you a lot of positive attention and presents from cruises to meeting your favorite pro football players.
As for the young perps, here's hoping they've learned a couple of lessons too. Don't video yourself ganging up and assaulting people. There's no future in it.
In responding to a Letter to the Editor signed by five Haverford Township commissioners that appeared in today's paper, (see below), I wrote that it seems I "hit a nerve."
A perceptive commenter to that blog item, avers that my "strong response" suggests the letter struck a nerve in me. He is quite right.
Misrepresenting what I wrote and then characterizing it as "vile," "bizarre," "warped" and "ignorant" offends me.
I challenge every Haverford commissioner who signed that letter to defend it. They should be able to tell me why people who suffer the stigma of being pedophiles shouldn't be covered by a law that purports to protect people from discrimination based on their "sexual orientation."
In other words, they should put up or shut up.
Furthermore, Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young has called this newspaper to clarify that in her testimony arguing in favor of the anti-discrimination ordinance she never used the word "boon" to describe the economic benefits she believes have accrued or will accrue to Lansdowne thanks to its new law. The word was used in a news story describing her testimony and again in an editorial lauding the idea citing her testimony. She did not say the word does not reflect the substance of her testimony.
They are protesting a D.C. museum guard's ignorance of the federal law that permits breast feeding in public.
Although, according to the story:
The museum quickly apologized to Aita and posted a note on its Facebook page, saying it had made its "security staff aware of the federal law allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location. . . . We regret that this incident occurred and we apologize for the frustration it has caused."
Wait a minute, does that mean lactivists are entitled by federal law to barge their way into anyone's private residence and start breast feeding their babies? Or is that just a poorly worded apology?
UPDATE: The law (H.R.2490, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 200 Public Law No: 106-58 (Sec. 647):
Authorizes a woman to breastfeed her child on Federal property if the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.
So, if you don't want strange women breast feeding on your own property you are within your rights to order them to move along.
UPDATE II: In 2007, Pennsylvania passed its own law permitting a woman to breastfeed anywhere she has a right to be, "public or private." So the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners can rest easy. There is no need for them to pass their own ordinance outlawing discrimination against those who engage in public breast feeding. I know they'll be relieved.
Holman Jenkins on Madoff, the Mets and Ponzi Schemes:
To a certain kind of dyspeptic teenager, the Madoff-Mets saga will make perfect sense. Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and siblings got their business empire, including the New York Mets, not through cleverness but luck. The cleverness was Bernie Madoff's. Their luck was to have been his patsies.
We say patsies. Irving Picard, the lawyer assigned to recover assets for Madoff's victims, calls them "willful" participants. The Wilpon-Katzes are accused of taking out $300 million in "fictitious profits," but the family is also worth much more than that, which makes them irresistible targets for the fatal "or"—they knew or should have known that Madoff was a fraud. Hence the Picard lawsuit's demand of an additional $700 million in principal the family had withdrawn over the years.
Read it all but the best part is the finish:
Ironically, Old Joe's (Kennedys) words echo more broadly today in light of a Ponzi scheme more disturbing than Madoff's. A perfect example are recent comments of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and a group called Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength agitating for higher taxes to sustain the federal government, even though the federal fisc is saddled with commitments doomed to outrun any plausible scenario for future revenues.
Not that these agitators propose to make up the shortfall out of their own pockets even if it were possible (which it's not). They know the real money lies with the middle class—the comfortable and very comfortable, the almost rich and nearly rich. The patriotic plutocrats seem to think the rest of us should be inspired by their example to dig deep and keep the game going a while longer. They are the Wilpons of the welfare state.
For those who missed it, five members of the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners have signed a letter in response to a column I wrote criticizing their proposed ordinance to make it illegal in the township to discriminate against anyone based on their "sexual orientation."
The column can be found here. The letter, in full, is below:
To the Times:
While everyone is entitled to an opinion, Gil Spencer’s Jan. 30 column criticizing the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners’ approval (on a first reading) of an anti-discrimination ordinance is so vile and ignorant it demands a reply.
First, every commissioner has publicly endorsed the purpose of the law, although some voted against it for financial reasons or because they believed such legislation should be enacted in Harrisburg and not by individual communities. Not one commissioner has adopted Mr. Spencer’s bizarre view that the ordinance would protect individuals who engage in or desire to engage in illegal activity.
According to Mr. Spencer, the ordinance — the same ordinance the Daily Times praised in a recent editorial — would, for example, require landlords to rent to known pedophiles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither the Haverford Township ordinance, nor any other similar ordinance, protects a person’s right to engage in illegal activity. Rather, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based upon a “person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” and affirms that a person should not be discriminated against based upon his or her sexual orientation.
The Board of Commissioners has been debating this ordinance since last fall, and we have heard some extreme opinions, but none of them as wrong and warped as Mr. Spencer’s. Rather than demonstrate why the ordinance should not be approved, all Mr. Spencer’s column does is demonstrate his lack of judgment and, correlatively, the Daily Times’ questionable judgment in publishing such an irresponsible column.
WILLIAM F. WECHSLER MARIO A. OLIVA ROBERT E. TRUMBULL DANIEL J. SIEGEL C. LAWRENCE HOLMES
Haverford Township Commissioners
Vile? Ignorant? Warped? It's seems I have hit a nerve. Such a nerve as to reduce a majority of the Haverford Township board to name-calling and a demonstrable misrepresentation of what I wrote.
The column being referred to in the letter does raise the question of whether pedophilia can be asserted to be a "sexual orientation." As the fictional plaintiff argues in the column; Heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite sex, homosexuals are attracted to the same sex, pedophiles are attracted to children. It is thus arguable that pedophilia is a "sexual orientation." In fact that essential argument has been made for years by the folks at NAMBLA (The North American Man-Boy Love Association).
The column, I believe, accurately predicts the reaction of a Haverford Human Relations Commission (board, council, whatever) should such a case ever be brought to it. The petitioner would have his case denied and he would fairly (in my opinion) call the board-members a bunch of hypocrites.
The commissioners attribute to me the "bizarre view" that their ordinance "would protect individuals who engage in or desire to engage in illegal activity."
The column did NOT say or suggest that Haverford's ordinance would "protect a person's right to engage in illegal activity." That is a lie! And adding the "or desire to engage in illegal activity" is a weasel way to protect their false assertion.
It is NOT ILLEGAL for a person to admit to that he is sexually attracted to children. It is illegal for a person to ACT on that attraction, just as it was once illegal for homosexuals in this country to act on their attractions. Times change.
The Haverford Township commissioners now wish to make it ILLEGAL for a landlord, employer or restaurant owner to deny a place to live, a job, or service to anyone based on their "sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression" under punishment of a $10,000 fine. They would like to be held in high esteem and congratulated for doing so. And they are, in some quarters. But in others, township residents (many of them) are expressing dismay at what they see as the commissioners' unnecessary foray into America's culture war.
In their response to my column the commissioners say they have had to endure listening to some "extreme opinions" during their hearings on this obviously divisive issue, though none as vile, warped and ignorant as mine. But they have also heard ridiculous claims that gone into the public record that have gone unremarked upon. The most glaring comes from Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young who testified before the Haverford board that a similar ordinance passed in her town has been an "economic boon" to the community. Would Mayor Young care to provide any proof to that claim?
Finally,I suspect that the real author of this letter is its final signatory, Larry Holmes, and the others obediently signed on. (They can correct me if I am wrong.) This has, after all, been a pet cause of Mr. Holmes from the beginning. He and I have discussed the issue and we respectfully disagree on the merits.
I do not think the proposed ordinance is vile, bizarre, ignorant, or warped. I think it is unnecessary. Swarthmore Borough passed a similar ordinance three years ago and has not had a single complaint filed in all that time. There is no evidence that anti-gay discrimination is anything close to a serious problem in Haverford Township. Gays are not being denied jobs, service in restaurants or places to live, any more than people with freckles are.
I think that if this ordinance were put to a vote in the township, it would lose in a landslide. And not because a majority of Haverford residents are homophobes but because they see this as being part of an activist political and social agenda with which they disagree.
They may also understand, as I do, that the continued proliferation of government boards to police the behavior of citizens create opportunities for official mischief and injustice.
My column raised a serious and, I think, interesting question about the meaning and definition of "sexual orientation." Obviously, it is one the promoters of this ordinance would rather not think about. But that doesn't make it vile, ignorant, warped, or bizarre. I challenge them all to read the column again, especially Mr. Holmes, and to fashion a response that is less insulting, less misleading and more to the point.
UPDATE: Kudos to DelcoPop for getting it in the comments section to the letter.
CORRECTION: The earlier version of this post said the "entire" Haverford Board of Commissioners signed the letter. Only five (since corrected) did.
Ever wonder what happened to former Delaware County Congressman Bob "The Rev" Edgar? Today he is the CEO of a liberal activist group called Common Cause.
Under his leadership, Common Cause is turning into a McCarthyistic smear group. It recently filed a frivolous complaint with the U.S. Justice Department asking it to investigate Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas for joining the majority in the Citizens United v. FEC. decision.
The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto accurately describes CC's smear campaign and its hypocrisy when it comes to its sanctimonious calls for civility.
I've always thought Edgar was a phony of leviathan proportions. He's proving me quite right.
Esteemed Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe writes a clever OP-ED for the New York Times tut-tutting the unconstitutionality of Obamacare and predicts the Supreme Court will do the right thing and toss aside the legal challenge to the government's power to mandate individual participation in the scheme.
Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. This includes authority over not just goods moving across state lines, but also the economic choices of individuals within states that have significant effects on interstate markets. By that standard, this law’s constitutionality is open and shut. Does anyone doubt that the multitrillion-dollar health insurance industry is an interstate market that Congress has the power to regulate?
Tribe attempts to set up a few of the justices in the court of public opinion. Antonin Scalia won't rule against the law because he is man of high intellect and integrity. Chief Justice John Roberts and Sam Alito, generally regarded as moderately conservative when it comes to their judicial philosophies won't vote against Obamacare because of the courts' obeisance to congress since the New Deal.
Only a crude prediction that justices will vote based on politics rather than principle would lead anybody to imagine that Chief Justice John Roberts or Justice Samuel Alito would agree with the judges in Florida and Virginia who have ruled against the health care law. Those judges made the confused assertion that what is at stake here is a matter of personal liberty — the right not to purchase what one wishes not to purchase — rather than the reach of national legislative power in a world where no man is an island.
Yeah, that "no man is an island" standard can be found in the poetry section of the "living constitution" written by Chief Justice John Donne.
No doubt Prof. Tribe is brilliant, or he wouldn't be on the faculty of Harvard and such an influential fellow. But even brilliant people do unbrilliant things. Like the private advisory letter he wrote to President Obama last year during the search for a Supreme Court replacement for Justice David Souter.
In arguing for his collegue Elena Kagen to get the nod, Tribe trashed Obama's eventual choice, Sonia Sotomayor.
Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court on issues like those involved in the voting rights case argued last week and the Title VII case of the New Haven firefighters argued earlier, issues on which Kennedy will probably vote with Roberts despite Souter’s influence but on which I don’t regard Kennedy as a lost cause for the decade or so that he is likely to remain on the Court.
It's seems to me only a crude legal partisan would write such a thing. But is it any wonder that in his most recent OP-ED effort Tribe didn't mention anyone in the lock-step liberal wing of the court. Sotomayor might not be nearly as smart as she thinks she is, but she's probably smart enough to know when she's been insulted by an Ivory Tower academic.
It would be a hoot to see her vote against Tribe's "no man is an island" standard. But I'm not counting on it. My own crude prediction is when the time comes the court will rule 5-4 in favor) of the constitutionality of Obamacare (thanks to the swinging Kennedy). All the more reason to vote for a Republican president in 2012.
In the meantime, under the Tribe doctrine, American citizens need not ask "For whom the bell tolls..." Under Obamacare, it tolls for everyone.
Only a crude prediction that justices will vote based on politics rather than principle would lead anybody to imagine that Chief Justice John Roberts or Justice Samuel Alito would agree with the judges in Florida and Virginia who have ruled against the health care law.
Oh, come on. Tribe's rhetorical move has become comical at this point. It reminds me of an old-fashioned mother exerting moral pressure on a child by telling him how sure she is that he is such a good little boy that he could never do whatever it is she doesn't want him to do. Put more directly, it's an assertion of authority: I'm telling you what's right and if you don't do it, you'll be wrong. Could the Justices possibly yield to pressure like that? It's crude to think that they would, isn't it? It's an insult both their intellect and their integrity.
And yet, Larry Tribe does think it, right? That's what's behind his rhetoric. I believe. Crudely.
Clarification: Sotomayor was nominated to the court in 2009, not last year. Kagan was eventually nominated and took her seat in 2010.
Actually, as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.
And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike.
Income tax payments this year will be nearly 13 percent lower than they were in 2008, the last full year of the Bush presidency. Corporate taxes will be lower by a third, according to projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Buried 10 paragraphs down in the story is any mention of historic levels of federal spending.
There may be a day when an argument can be made for tax increases. But everyday an argument can be made against a federal government that is too busy, too big and profligate beyond all reason.
Is there a profit to be made in sheltering stray animals in this county? My print column is up.
Commenter "Jiminy Cricket" very reasonably points out the "minor" expenses of creating and running a new shelter. The staffing, vet bills, utilities, building costs, computers, etc. That's why I pointed out that the municipality involved in forking over the land would probably have to allow the entrepreneur involved another profit-center.
Still, this isn't a kidnapping case. And this needs to be said too. Boys will be boys. This is a juvenile case. As bad as the video is, in the end, the victim wasn't injured enough to even require medical treatement. The punks involved are just that, punks. And as offensive as their behavior is, they have been over charged. No doubt that will be taken care of as the case works its way through the juvenile court.
They are, however, where they belong for time being, in the county Juvenile Detention Center.
As for the victim, he seems like a real good kid. He wants to be a Marine when he grows up. I hope all the publicity surrounding this matter, his photo and his name being out there, doesn't make his life extra-difficult in the meantime. Because it could.
Just how broken is the corporate tax system? Consider the tax rate paid by two of America's biggest companies — Wal-Mart and General Electric. Wal-Mart paid 34 cents in taxes for every dollar of profit it made in the past three years. General Electric paid just 3.6 cents on the dollar.
Welcome to the mysterious world of the corporate income tax, says tax expert Len Burman at Syracuse University. "There are big companies that consider their tax departments to be profit centers," he says.
That's right; instead of concentrating on making light bulbs, power plants or whatnot, companies use the tax system to boost their profits.
Could it have anything to do with GE CEO Jeff Immelt being best buddies and advisor to President Obama? No. But if Haliburton paid so little in taxes during the Bush years liberals would have gone bat guano!
The kid was the son of the school's Athletic Director. He played football even though he wasn't very good at it. He was nice, friendly kid, slightly overweight, who did no harm to anybody.
I don't remember if the incident happened during football season or not. But the kid, who was 17 or so, was in the boys locker room changing his clothes when a small mob of other young men grabbed a hold of him and dragged him out of boys locker room, stark naked, and pushed him into the girl's gym while a class was going on. The door was held so the boy could not get out.
I don't believe I actually saw any of this happen. As I recall a friend told me about it. But I can still picture what I saw in my mind's eye: a young man, naked, humiliated, curled up by a door, while girls his age - some giggling, some horrified - gawked at him. I still cringe thinking about it.
I am quite sure the boys involved this prank at my school were not arrested. I don't believe they got more than a slap on the wrist as far as punishment is concerned. This was way before cell phone cameras that allowed such meanness to be videoed and disseminated to a gaping public.
The outrage exhibited over this more recent incident by Upper Darby Police super Mike Chitwood and Cap. George Rhoades is more than justified. The arrest and charging of these punks is a good thing. At the very least it could serve as a lesson to others that such behavior is not only criminal but intolerable.
If I am not mistaken, the kid from my high school transferred to a private school. He shouldn't have been the one forced to leave.