Archive for the ‘society’ category

Supreme Court strikes blow against death penalty

June 25, 2008

The state of Louisiana allows the death penalty, but it won’t get the opportunity to put a convicted ABC News photochild rapist to death, a Supreme Court ruling says.

The 5-4 decision was a blow to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which supported the execution of Patrick Kennedy, who was convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

The Court’s liberal majority stood by the precept that putting people to death is brutal and demeans us as a society.  The conservative minority stuck firm to the notion that heinous crimes deserve heinous penalties.

Regardless of the opinions, at least for now, justice has been done.

Movies and media blamed for suspected teen pregnancy pact is

June 23, 2008

Seventeen high school girls allegedly created a pregnancy pact in Gloucester, Mass.  Although she woudn’t confirm that such a pact to become pregnant actually exists, the mayor of Gloucester, Carolyn Kirk, was quick to lay blame for the creation of such an absurd pact. 

According to Kirk, the movie industry and media coverage of pregnant teen celebrities, like Jamie Lynn Spears, creates a “glamorization of pregnancy,” which ultimately led to 17 girls at one Gloucester high school becoming pregnant; all of the girls are under 16.

Kirk also took a shot at President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, arguing that too much time and money are dedicated to NCLB, leaving little for health programs that might teach young girls about safe sex.

One must wonder if Kirk left those most to blame unscathed. 

What about these girls’ parents? 

Are parents ever to blame for America’s wayward youth?

Immigrant naked in sauna questions American democracy

June 17, 2008

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris tells a fascinating story about a Russian immigrant, who was arrested when he refused to stop taking saunas in the nude at a health club. 

Considering that the nudist is a 78-year-old man, the nudity itself isn’t what makes the story fascinating.  Now, if the column were about a 21-year-old Swedish bikini model. . . well, we better not go there.  What makes Morris’s article interesting is that the man, Lazar Balshen, who refused to put clothes on when told, is questioning the freedom that America provides.

This, too, might not seem shocking, until you learn that Balshen came here at 62, never worked a day in the states and has been receiving $677 in monthly Social Security since arriving.  Many of Morris’s readers were in an uproar over America’s generosity, far more than over Balsen’s nudity.

Anyone reading this space knows by now that I’m certainly in favor of civil rights and civil liberty.  The complaining Balshen, though, is taking things a little too far.

Teachers in UK being investigated for shouting

June 11, 2008

The Daily Telegraph reports that teachers are being investigated for, get this, yelling at students.

Education Department officials are investigating teachers for shouting at students to “put that down”, “leave him alone”, “sit down” or “pick up those papers” and demanding to know, “who told you that you could go there?”

Not surprisingly, the teachers are upset that the Ed Dept. is trying to undermine their authority.

Sounds to me like they never had any.

Pajama Press off the mark on Obama and church

June 10, 2008

I like the Pajamas Media.  This is a blog-lovers blog.  A collection of all sorts of opinions and news that offers readers a cornucopoia of thought-provoking prose.

A recent post, though, about Barack Obama and the Trinity Church, in which Bernard Chapin says that Obama, the church and outrageous reverend Jeremiah Wright will forever be linked as “inseperable peas in a leftist pod” is a bit over the top.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama may well be our next president, but he is surrounded by individuals who have nothing but disdain and contempt for our nation. He even shares a bed with one. Clearly, Reverend Wright was no aberration because his replacement, Otis Moss III, is an ideological clone. Moss is well known to Obama, who described him as a “wonderful young pastor.”

Like most political miscues (Bill Clinton sleeping with an intern and Hillary Clinton being linked to white supremicists in her early legal career, to name a couple) are soon forgotten.

Barack Obama will be measured by the decisions he makes as president, assuming he wins in November.  Americans will praise hime, when unemployment declines and vilify him, when universal health care flops.

As far as Obama’s religious choices, most Americans will view these as the average Catholic treats the weekly obligation — it’s only important when others are watching.

And they won’t be watching Obama on Sundays.

ANWR drilling unburied

May 24, 2008

President Bush, a whole host of Republicans and virtually every oil speculator in America would love nothing more than for the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to be opened for oil exploration and drilling.ANWR resident

Last week, the most recent push for such exploration was again shot down by the U.S. Senate.  Republicans argue that ANWR holds the answer to our oil crisis (one barrel now costs over $100).  They’ll even argue that the teensy-weensy area that drillers would desecrate amounts to nothing.

Of course, cooler heads, like former presidential candidate John Kerry, have already demonstrated the potential harm in exploring ANWR.  Kerry and other environment-friendly people argue that in addition to killing many of ANWR’s species, the process of getting at any oil that actually exists and developing a system for producing this crude could take up to 25 years.

Imagine what could be done with this time, money and manpower, if it were put to creating a better way to energize our cars and our country.

Do polygamists have rights?

May 23, 2008

It looks like mothers at the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints will be getting their children back — at least for now. 

According to a CNN report, a Texas appeals court ruled this week that the state had no right to remove hundreds of children from the polygamist sect at the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado.

Falling under the bigamy law, polygamy is illegal, and the leader of the YZR fundamentalists has been imprisoned.  The issue in Texas, though, is about the state’s right to forcefully take children away from the their polygamist mothers.

For the time being, the court says the state does not have the right to do so.  An appeal, however, may be forthcoming.

The children were taken, because state officials believed they were being abused.  Of course, the mothers at the YZR say otherwise.

One must wonder; even if there is no physical abuse, can a child of polygamists really live a normal life?