Sunday, May 31, 2009

Justice Sotomayer and the Ricci decision--Affirmative Action in the Crosshairs:

Justice Sotomayer has been relentlessly attacked mostly by the right wing for her decision with respect to the Ricci case concerning the white fire fighters in New Haven. She decided on the affirmative action side and against them. She has been ridiculously called a racist as if white men for over two hundred years did not have power. I say there is no such thing as neutrality. We are ALL (justices included) tainted by who we are and it is through that lens with which we perceive the world. I am not a fan of affirmative action because I think it does minority groups an injustice too by allowing others to view their success due to the special consideration given to race.

Having said that our culture has had a special history with respect to race. The conundrum for our nation is that it professed one unique and, indeed glorious, set of ideals expressed in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution but did quite another in practice for over two hundred years with respect to the African American community. Without question our nation treated that group abysmally. History has consequences and, I believe, through various profound decisions in our courts, laws in our Congress and in the changing attitudes of our people we have tried mightily to adjust the playing field. The consequences of our history toward mainly one group because of their visually obvious different skin color have been profound and tragic for all of us. It is because of this horrific injustice, I believe, we still need to level that playing field. We experience, it is true, an occasional inequality to whites, the dominant group, because of it. Perhaps, however, this is the price the future generations of those who ran slave ships from Africa pay for the egregious sins of their forebears. We have reaped what we have sown and for that reason I still acquiesce to the payment for past wrongs and the present remedies affirmative action affords.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Boy in the Striped Pajamas: I posted my review of this film on IMDb the film link. It is not the best I have ever written because I did not take the time to hone it. It was in response to some which criticized the film for various reasons. I thought those reasons trivial. It gets my point across. This film is highly recommended by me and is in rental and On Demand. Do so if you get the chance.

I thoroughly loved this film. I do NOT care one wit that one could say this was not probable or that was not probable. This is based on a book of fiction BUT it had HUGE NON-fiction things to say about the complexities moral and otherwise of the Holocaust. It had HUGE things to say about the innocence of childhood and how a child tries to make sense of things that make NO sense at all. It may not have been absolutely accurate in terms of possibilities of what could or could not have occurred but it is ABSOLUTELY accurate as to the essence of the character substance and in the horror of the undeniable.

This was not only a good representation of the nature of the camp and the juxtaposition between the "other" the Jew and the privileged Nazis who lived normal lives next door to insanity it was a WONDERFUL representation of the nature of this beast of humanity that was the Holocaust. It matters NOTHING whether Shumel could have entered the camp or whether he could have talked to the boy or whether he could have gotten clothes for him or not gotten clothes. THOSE THINGS ARE TRIVIAL.

What is NOT trivial is their friendship and our age old questions of how did this possibly happen. How could it have happened in an advanced culture and how could ADULTS do this to other human beings even children? It shows how the youth were indoctrinated and it shows how some such as the mother had a DEGREE of humanity and morality that put her at great odds with her husband the commandant. We KNOW some Germans rebelled against this moral insanity. Bruno is the child who sees the unseeable and cannot get it. It makes NO sense to him. It makes NO sense to me either. It is the one occurrence in human history that is INEXPLICABLE if I lived to be 1000 I could not understand it. It IS BEYOND comprehension to a moral adult as it WAS to the boy of eight.

It is man's shame, it is his eternal crime and it should NEVER be forgotten EVER no matter what ignorant human tries to deny it. They cannot. History speaks. As long as there is a planet earth the Holocaust will be remembered forever. This film speaks volumes about its essence, volumes about man's cruelty and volumes about the innocence of childhood and the joys of simple friendship one human being to another which could never be in life. Only in death could they be equal and together. It is too bad adults have to lose that innocence. Once lost it can never be regained. It is a film for all time including and most especially our own. This film was, in my opinion, SUPERB!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama's Choice: I am elated about President Obama’s selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayer as Justice Souter’s replacement on the US Supreme Court. Not only is Judge Sotomayer eminently legally and scholastically qualified having graduated first in her class at Princeton and having been editor of the Yale Law Review but she also has served in a varied capacity within the law from a criminal prosecutor to a litigator in a corporate law firm.

More than even all of that, however, is the essence of who she is and the background from which she emerged which makes her a uniquely American story. Only in America can someone from a housing project in the Bronx escape the shackles of neighborhood drug dealers and the omnipresent crime it engenders to avoid that which could have imprisoned her for life. She is testament to the importance of family and the values it bestows as the vehicle to avoid a life of grinding poverty, hopelessness and sometimes even death before one’s time. Judge Sotomayer has risen above the hardship of the early death of her father, the hazard of a difficult milieu in which to thrive, a mother who sometimes worked two jobs and even the onset of diabetes at age 10 to show what desire, fortitude and positive family values will do to escape the seemingly inescapable.

Judge Sotomayer is the first Hispanic woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court. She is all that is excellent about this country and that which reinforces time and again my love for it. Where could the great odds against her be overcome any other place on earth? People come to our shores risking life and limb for a reason. The life of Judge Sotomayer gives answer to the question why and credence to President Obama’s campaign essence: Yes we can!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Updated Opinion: I thought about this more especially after seeing the president deliver the speech. Perhaps, he hit a home run and really served more to illuminate how recalcitrant the hardened opposition is. Possibly this served to reach out to those Catholics who are reasonable, moderate AND moral. He did more to infuse his presidency yet again with rational thought. His delivery was perfect.

I take my opinion back ... just a bit. The hardened religious right will never capitulate on abortion, gay marriage or any other hot button issue but the center truly is the important venue and Obama, as usual, played to that with clarity, empathy and prescience. Who in good conscious could disagree with what he said? Probably not many. So, kudos yet again to this most articulate, engaging, and brilliant man. It is unique that we should have gotten this man elected since we were so many years in the desert. There's a Biblical metaphor in there somewhere!
I refer to this blog:

Pig headed Protest: I agree with most of what was said in this particular entry. I, however, disagree with some, of it. To me, abortion is NOT horrific. What IS horrific, in MY opinion, is taking a fetus to term when it is not wanted, when the mother cannot afford to raise the child, when it will be raised in a toxic milieu, when the mother is drug addicted, and when the fetus will develop significant deformity including retardation profound and otherwise. There are a host of other rationales for someone choosing abortion and we know the litany well: rape, incest and the health of the mother to name an additional few. All of the profound rationales for abortion discussed above, as I see it, are the most horrific scenarios of all and the main rationales for choosing to terminate a pregnancy. I do NOT think birth control is the main reason for abortion. How much easier it is to use a birth control technique then to suffer a surgical procedure with the risk that entails even WHEN it is in sterile conditions not to mention the psychological humiliation that some women encounter when seeking abortion at a paucity of clinics in various states. Currently even in an affluent suburb of Boston there is conflict as a clinic seeks to move to a larger location but because of the protest of the pig heads (as I call them) seeking to make the woman feel even more agitated than she already may be, its construction is in a state of limbo.

Contrary to the thrust of one idea of reconciliation of the two sides of the abortion debate, I believe that the secular world and the religious arena will ALWAYS be at odds with respect to the abortion issue. Those who disagree with a woman's right to choose do so primarily because of religious rationale and it is often sponsored by those bastions of virtue the Catholic Church, fundamentalist Protestant churches and, of course, the population explosive Mormon Church. If one equates a fetus, dependent on the mother for continuance, with a full term human being of say age 22 then the argument is closed. The religionists will never compromise. I believe the two sides are going to have to agree that they will always disagree and I believe, the president quite rightly said that. The question is whether the two sides, most especially the religiously fanatical side, will do so without violence. When one absolutely knows god is on one's side and one is on a crusade then what does one have to lose? If they do NOT protest they think they will lose their immortal soul. End of argument as they have, as THEY see it, nothing to argue. There is no possibility of reconciliation if the other side is implacably recalcitrant.

Part of me thinks, although most at Notre Dame were supportive of the president, that he did not need to subject himself to the onslaughts which would, of course, ensue when speaking at an institution which is part of the Roman Catholic aegis. I thought those who protested this gifted, brilliant, moral and accomplished man did him a grievous insult and Obama gave himself one by accepting their invitation. Just my opinion.
The Community that I Know and Love: I had the pleasure of taking a tour conducted by the Historical Society of my town of some of the oldest and most historical housing . I had never done it before. It was eminently satisfying. I wish I had realized as a young child how much history this town has to offer. The homes on the south side AND on the north side that we toured were beautiful, interesting and rich with history. I met some residents and was thrilled at the many discussions I had with many diverse and very lovely people. Yes, the town has changed since I knew it many years ago BUT there is still so much good that this town has to offer. No one or nothing is perfect. I STILL love it and continue to think it is a wonderful community in which to live. Like all things in life if one wants to find good just look for it. It's all around - simply take the time to see it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stream of conscious to the president: I sent a stream of conscious to the president. Here's what I said. It's just off the top of my head but not releasing the torture photos made me mad. I think Bush et al should be prosecuted. Look at what they have done and I see Obama as capitulating. I think he is afraid of them and I don't know why. So I said the following:

I am feeling one HUGE disappointment after another. Today the president decides NOT to release the torture pictures. He doesn't want to prosecute CLEAR illegalities. He sides with the Bush administration on failing to prosecute phone companies on NSA spying, he hires Wall Street cronies to run the bail out, he allows bonuses and he ramps up war and who knows when or even IF we will be out of Iraq. He is turning out to be NOT what I thought he would be.

So what if there were dems involved in sanctioning torture? Let the chips fall where they may. They have to know there are consequences for illegalities. These illegalities have gotten people killed and our own security is compromised.

He was SUPPOSEDLY the most liberal member of the Senate then why isn't he more behind the Dawn Johnson OLC nominee. She is FANTASTIC and yet he is weakly pushing for her even though she would make it without filibuster. It just seems every single day more and more and more things come around that are a disappointment.

Don't as k don't tell the president writes letters of support for a fabulous guy who was a West Point grad and then fired when he came out on the Rachel Maddow show. It was a SIN to fire him. Then the president does not do a thing to advance the cause against it as more and more service people GOOD ones who know Arabic get fired. He could in one second by executive order rescind that guy's termination. Is the president SO afraid of the extreme right that he compromises at every turn? What about the left who got him in there?
I don’t even trust the president’s words on the economy as too big to fail banks get bailed and the average person is suffering with foreclosures, credit card debt, unemployment and no healthcare. And WHY is single payer NOT on the table? Why did not the cram down legislation pass? I don't like Geithner and I don't like Summers never have. I think they are in league with Wall Street and NOT Main Street and I am beginning to think the president has bamboozled us all. I hope I am wrong. Dismayed!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trouble in Newspaper City: Jeff Jacoby's May 6 editorial "Liberal bias isn't killing newspapers" in The Boston Globe is, in my opinion, correct. It is not whether a newspaper is labeled liberal or conservative that accounts for the difficulties in which newspapers find themselves. The reason, as he stated, is man's technological advancement which has always transformed the way we live. The telephone, automobile, television and now the Internet have changed our lives in too many ways to count. I never thought that the liberals controlled all media as some incorrectly say. There are too many that fall into the so called "conservative" category for my taste for me to perceive that as true.

I am one of the small percentage, about whom Jacoby talks, who read at least one newspaper (usually The Globe) every day. I know I do not like staring into a computer screen for my morning dose of news, nor do I love looking at the same old talking heads on TV. Newspapers and their cousin the book offer unique and unparalleled ways to concentrate and to learn. Reading the actual newspaper or book is as good as reading it on the Internet if not better. I can sit, relax, have a cup of coffee and simply turn the page. Better still my back does not ache and my eyes do not blur. The newspaper itself is the best way to soak up the daily news and opinion no matter what your political stripe.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Profiles in Courage? -- Jeff Jacoby's May 3, 2009 Boston Sunday Globe editorial "Courage and the lack of it," strains credulity. Mr. Jacoby put Ms. Prejean and Professor Glendon into the courageous category. Ms. Prejean, beauty pageant runner-up, is an unsophisticate who has absolutely no understanding of human sexuality but touts her religious belief as the gold standard of behavior to which she would like all of us to conform since if she and her church had their way -- and sometimes they certainly do -- they would be making decisions for millions who were born gay and want the freedom to choose with whom they construct a committed life. Ms. Prejean said something which had a destructive impact. Perez Hilton gave this person a forum to achieve sainthood from religious extremists who try to spew their venom into policy. Professor Glendon, a member of the Bush II administration, and one who refused to share the same podium as the current president because of his views on choice, is Mr. Jacoby's other profile in courage. She cares so much about fetuses but could not, obviously, care enough when George Bush supported capital punishment, to refuse to be a member of his administration because of it. I thought her church was against capital punishment. She is a threat to full term human life since she would rather see a pregnant mother who emotionally, economically and sometimes physically cannot take a pregnancy to term, sacrifice her own full term life and die from a botched illegal abortion.

Ms. Prejean is a buffoon and Professor Glendon is a hypocrite. One was employed in an utterly immoral administration taking us to war based on lies killing thousands and the other, dawning a postage stamp-size bathing suit, complete with exaggerated endowment, was involved in a sexist beauty pageant that makes women look like, what conservatives would call, perverted sex toys. I thought conservatives were about morality in media. Both women and the groups that love them wreak havoc on our society. It is shocking, that Jeff Jacoby, a man of letters, could write such editorial nonsense. I would have expected a little bit better analysis by him of just who is a profile in courage and who is not.