George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London,
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will offer fresh,
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military campaigns,
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will always
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
and NOVEMBER 1, 2003
Today is time to catch up on some recent very informative articles
on issues of the day.
By this time, you have discovered a pattern here, relating to the Wall
Street Journal, the best and most balanced newspaper published today.
At least it is a good antidote for addiction to the New York Times.
On our education system, public and otherwise: "It's Not About
The Money", by Rod Paige, WSJ Thursday, October 30, Opinion, pA16;
Say 'Adieu' To Foreign Languages", by Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ Thursday,
October 30, Personal Journal, pD1; "The Devastating Climate At Our Universities",
by Thomas Merry, WSJ Wednesday, October 22, Letters to the Editor, pA21.
will be hard-pressed to find any good news here. Wake Up, America!
The foundation of a viable democracy is education and information.
Several articles and stories chronicle the turn-around taking place
in the economy. And then there are the "but-heads" who
have a "but" for any bit of good news (read "Democrats"). The recent
article by Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, is
right on point: "The 'But' Economy", WSJ Thursday, October 30, 2003,
Opinion, pA16. A historical perspective regarding the Democratic
take on the whole subject is given by Robert L. Bartley: "The New Deal:
Time for a New Look", WSJ Monday, October 20, 2003, Opinion, pA19.
Also "Capitalism's Savior", by Conrad Black, WSJ Wednesday, October
29, 2003, Opinion, pA20. Joblessness will continue in some sectors
of the economy. That has already been addressed in several earlier
offerings in this section.
Regarding Iraq and the Middle East, one can do no better than to read the
book by Bernard Lewis, referenced above and entitled "What Went Wrong?",
and also the recent article by Professor Lewis and by R. James Woolsey
(former Director of the CIA) entitled: "King and Country", WSJ Wednesday,
October 29, 2003, Opinion, pA20.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2003
Like everything else in this election season , the Medicare Bill
is being hotly debated by Republicans and Democrats. In danger of
being lost in the debate are the critical issues:
So, let's do the possible, the rational. The Medicare Bill under
current review should be passed; and it will be signed by the President.
A lot of people will benefit.
The present system will fall of its own weight as the baby boomer generation
reaches "the golden years", any day now. Part of the system
must be privatized in order to save it.
Means testing should be part of any Medicare and/or drug bill.
We cannot afford - and should not offer - another general entitlement without
regard to ability to pay. Democrats, Senator Kennedy and "greedy
geezers" take note!
A "one-payor" universal system of health care run by the federal
government would be a disaster for the quality and availability of health
care. America must choose between two options: pay whatever
it costs to receive whatever medical science can offer; or ration health
according to medical need, without regard to ability to pay.
The argument about the importance of "preventive health care" as
a reason for passing universal - governmental coverage is disingenuous
and even cynical. Everybody knows or should know that fully 50% of
health care costs today are directly related to unhealthy lifestyles...something
that only individual citizens can change.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER
27 through 29, 2003
More on Iraq. The President gave a clear outline yesterday
in his press conference regarding why were are there, what our goals are,
what the problems are, and why there are no alternatives consistent with
our national security. Of course, that has not stopped most of the
Democrats from their constant carping while offering no clear alternative.
No alternative, that is, except the one clearly articulated by the internationalist
Clark, most recently in an interview today on the Today Show with Katie
Coric. Even a cursory reading of his book reveals him to have long
favored our giving up our national security and even some of our sovereignty
to that bastion of accomplishment, the United Nations. At least he
provides a clear choice: national security and national sovereignty
versus major reliance on a discredited institution. As noted
in a recent offering in these pages, more must be done, and soon,
by this administration in Iraq if it wishes another term. But the
whole situation reminds me of the choice that faced England and Prime Minister
Chamberlain before WW2. Rather than going down that dead end, the
News editorial yesterday probably voiced the predominant opinion in
the country today:
"Take Off Gloves In Bloody Iraq".
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2003
And then there is the matter of Justice, occasionally divorced from
Law. An example of that disconnect has reached its 20th
anniversary this month: "Mashantucket Pequot Indian Land Claim Settlement
Act of 1983". Anyone living on another planet - or at least
not in Connecticut - may be unaware of this Federal action, which ended
up creating the largest gambling casino in the world (Foxwoods), soon joined
by another casino nearly as large nearby(Mohegan)...and by Indian casinos
scattered all over the country. For the history of this occurrence,
the book by Jeff Benedict (Without Reservation) is required reading.
It reads like a Tom Clancy thriller...and it's all true. For the
latest update on the pros and cons in the continuing controversies, today's
series of articles and the editorial in The
Day are excellent (in Perspective, Section C, p1-4). For a broader
historical view of the saga of Indians and white men in America, and for
its relevance to today's hyphenated America, please see my offering on
this web site entitled: Christopher Columbus and the "Indians"...Facts
and Deductions (in The Involved Citizen, Miscellaneous). I have
nothing to add at this time, except "Happy Anniversary".
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24
and 25, 2003
Has anyone noticed what has happened to our System of Justice, of
Law and Order?
In the criminal justice system, where the mental intent (mens
rea) must be proved, and the criminal act performed or conspired in
(actus reus) must also be proved:
In Civil Law cases:
In the O.J.Simpson trial, police and prosecutorial ineptness and
Judge Ito's paralysis forever precluded the truth from being known;
In an incredible and increasing number of death row cases, the requirement
of "beyond a reasonable doubt" has been replaced by much more than reasonable
doubt resulting from police and prosecutorial misconduct, inadequacy of
defense, myopic eye witnesses, new results of DNA tests, and by the research
at Northwestern University that led the then-Governor of Illinois to overturn
an large number of death row convictions last year.
The continuing travesty of the Amirault cases in Massachusetts,
where panic reminiscent of the Salem witch trials and the joke of "repressed"memory"
(read "manipulated memory") carried the day. (See the recent WSJ
editorial: Gerald Amirault's Day).
Sexual predator cases, with sexual offender lists that...long after
the jail time has been served, continue to incarcerate the felon.
There are other ways to protect the public without violating constitutional
due process for anyone.
Sexual assault cases, where the accused is in effect now guilty
until proven innocent, and the victim or "victim" is off limits to the
Jury Nullification, wherein juries so disposed have been allowed
to ignore both the law and the facts in declaring their "verdict". What's
The Bar, both plaintiff and defense, in both criminal and civil cases,
has often been allowed to ignore the co-equal part of the dual role
to be played by attorneys; ie., as Officer of the Court, charged
with never misleading the Court and with never suborning perjury.
Justice should be blind-folded; but it should not be blind, deaf and
dumb. The entire system needs reforms, before cynicism
regarding the Rule of Law leads to contempt and general lawlessness.
There are already many signs of that, at all levels of our society.
Once again, as stated in an earlier offering here, it is the People,
informed and involved, energized and politicized, who must make this happen
- or it will simply not happen. In a democracy, the People always
get what they deserve.
"Justice delayed is Justice denied", and it happens all the time.
Exorbitant awards that should "shock the conscience of the Court"
but that rarely do.
A trial Bar that owns Congress, on a par with the NRA.
Judges who are either too lenient ("social workers of last resort";
corporate welfare donors in the form of ridiculously low penalties); or
too strict ("three strikes, you're out"). Or judges who don't judge
at all, but rather think of themselves as the wall in a hand-ball game.
(See "When Judges Won't Judge", by Philip K. Howard, WSJ
Wednesday, October 27, 2003, Opinion, pA20.)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2003
Today, my wife and I had our hearing checked. My diagnosis: she
doesn't hear. Her diagnosis: I don't listen.
If you have been reading the speeches and comments made by President
Bush during his current multi-nation Asian trip, you will have had
a good lesson in leadership. Not "wet finger in the air" leadership
of the prior administration, but actual "follow me" leadership. A
strong case has been made by others that the bold actions taken by world
terrorsts and their supporters against American interests in the last decade,
culminating in 9/11, were invited by our weak-kneed responses to those
prior attacks, beginning with the killing of over 200 Marines in Beirut.
(This is the anniversary of that slaughter). No more.
But nobody's perfect. We can only conclude that the continued
arrogant and wrong-headed actions by Israel's Sharon have the tacit
blessing of this administration, evidently intimidated by its fundamentalist
conservative base. As discussed several times in earlier offerings,
these are not strategies for peace in the region, but rather tactics to
gain and hold the Israel of the Bible at all costs, even at the cost of
world war. "He who seeks equity must do equity". If the situation
in the Middle East is worse rather than better by next Fall, President
Bush will lose the election...and he should lose.
When is a "leak" in Washington not a leak? When the material
is leaked by its author...which is probably what happened with Secretary
Rumsfeld's "memo" to the Pentagon. He was starting to notice
shortness of breath in the rarified air "out on a limb" of the administration.
He decided to climb back a little. Maybe now he and the Pentagon
will get real: propose a fair military draft, and double the size of our
forces in Iraq...with the imposition of martial law in some areas to restore
order for all. Those decisions can't wait for the 2004 elections
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER
20 through 22, 2003
The common message to be derived from today's group of insights
is reminiscent of what the people of California have just done: the
people must take important matters into their own hands and out of
the hands of our often-cowering representatives. For, whether we
look at politics or at the passage of laws or sometimes even at the decisions
of the U.S. Supreme Court, our "leaders"do not lead us; rather
they follow the lead of public opinion, or of the most vocal or most connected
or most wealthy or most demagogic of its expressions.
To run for elected public office is a great experience for any American,
win or lose. (I have run four times, and won three times).
But it is also a large, even massive undertaking. But getting and
being "political" is not. Again, California! Get informed!
Get involved! Get political! Get effective! Do it
for yourself...and for the sake of this country, whose "democracy" is coming
under siege. It works!
Without even discussing the general topic of abortion, which is opposed
by over 70% of Americans, the issue of outlawing partial birth abortions
should have been a "no-brainer". And yet, it has been argued within
our government since 1995! Who are our "leaders" leading with
these actions and inactions? Certainly not the vast majority of the
American people. And even the finally imminent passage of a Federal
law outlawing these acts of barbarism will be contested in court. To
those obstructionists of justice and morality: have you no shame?
The issue of school vouchers continues to be argued when it also
should be a no-brainer. (See "Congress Flunks Test On Vouchers",
by Don Pesci, The Day Sunday, October 19, 2003, Perspective, Section C,
p1---See also many other offerings on the subject on this web site under
Involved Citizen, Public Education Politics). To those "usual suspects"
chronically opposed, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary: have
you no shame?
The successful mapping of the human genome, and the rapidly developing
field of Genomics is already beginning to produce dazzling new discoveries
regarding health, disease prevention and treatment. And it is also
producing massive moral dilemmas which - if not addressed and resolved
- will produce a de facto class of "unter-menschen" in this
country...as unprotected information regarding their (our) genetic make-up
gets into the hands of their employers and their insurers, rendering them
un-employable and un-insurable. And yet, proposed legislation
to prohibit the use of human genetic information in making employment and
insurance decisions has gone nowhere, strongly resisted by the insurance
industry and by the business world. Have they no shame?
Of course not.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2003
Regarding the Middle East crises and world terrorism, and to
quote one of the authors listed, the following are "...required reading
for everyone but the most wilfully ignorant". (Timku Varadarajan)
Yes, folks, we are in a war. And our only choice is whether
we want to defend ourselves on American soil or on the soil of our opponents
and their supporters. All the rest is wishful thinking, cynicism
How We Got Here: Please refer to the books mentioned in Rapid
Response, Friday, October 10, 2003. In addition, the excellent
book written and submitted before 9/11 by Bernard Lewis, entitled What
Went Wrong: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East,
Perrenial - Harper Collins, 2002; "Lewis of Arabia". by T. Varadarajan,
WSJ Tuesday, September 23, 2003, Opinion, pA24; "Conspiracy of Silence"
- Book Review by Eric Lichtblau of "Why America Slept", by Gerald
Posner (NYTimes Book Review, October 12, 2003, p26.
Where We Are Now: "The Least Bad Option", by Thomas
L. Friedman, NYTimes Sunday, October 12, 2003, Op-Ed, p11 wk; also
articles in the WSJ by Colin Powell and by Donald Rumsfeld.
Where We Are Going: "Lessons of Terrorism", a book
by Caleb Carr; "Small Wars Manual - United States Marine Corps - 1940",
Sunflower University Press.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2003
A somewhat different message today. The flu and pneumonia season
is beginning. Timely immunizations are the best defense, especially
in view of increasing antibiotic resistance. Both Influenza Vaccine
(yearly) and Pneumovax (every 6 years) are strongly recommended
for all. In addition, receiving DT (diphtheria - tetanus)
for all (every ten years as a routine) and Hepatitis B vaccines
(for health care and emergency workers) should be discussed with one's
personal physician. The story regarding Smallpox vaccination
or re-vaccination is unclear at this time. Other childhood immunizations
and special situation and travel recommendations should also be kept in
mind. Immunizations are the best and cheapest protection you can
buy. Please see also the offering on this web site under: "Allergy
and Immunology...The Bigger Picture".
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2003
"HOW ABOUT THAT?" You could hear Mel Allen, legendary
sports announcer for the New York Yankees, repeat his trade-mark exclamation
from his ultimate box seat if you were awake early this morning.
As a native of the Bronx, what else can I say? Except that it was
poetic justice for Pedro Martinez after his outrageous actions the other
night. But you've got to admire those Red Sox...a great team this
On the local level, in New London, CT, three issues warrant comment.
The Day editorial (theday.com) today got it just right regarding the tawdry
actions of the Connecticut College administration toward Lyman Allyn Museum.
Good times administrators are a dime-a-dozen; bad times administrators
are worth their weight in gold...and just as rare. Come on, folks:
find a more decent way to solve your problems.
The continuing farce called the New London Board of Education has
yet more egg on its collective face, this time regarding the soap opera
called "the Julian Stafford story". Never mind "fuggedaboudit".
Take whatever civil action the case warrants...and then go home.
This entire Board should disappear come this Election Day.
Regarding the New London tax referendum, I have yet to hear from
an opponent of the budget already passed who can give me any idea of "what
then?" "What should be cut?" Meanwhile, we hear that new funds
have recently become available to the city to bridge the $600,000. amount
in contention. Will anybody give the citizens some facts before Election
TUESDAY through THURSDAY, OCTOBER
14 through 16, 2003
Congratulations and all blessings to Pope John Paul II on this,
the 25th anniversary of his papacy. In a world beset with evil, venality,
stupidity, and just plain human nature, to continue to experience
the life and work of a likely Saint in our midst is as uplifting
as it gets. Especially for this active, vital man to work through
serious disability in plain sight of the world is inspiring and Christ-like.
I believe that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, news of his death is premature,
and that there is more of his legacy to be created by him.
And what is his legacy? The most traveled Pope. The
most accessible Pope. The most ecumenical Pope, as regards other
Christians and also as regards Jews. One of the few longest-serving
Popes. One of the most consistent Popes in his insistence on 2000
years of traditional teachings in the face of World Wars and unprecedented
social upheavels...a never failing compass. A rare Pope who, by actively
intervening in world politics, avoided likely nuclear war. We as
Catholics, and all others of good will, can deviate from or dispute the
direction he points out for us in our efforts to save our souls.
But we can never allege ignorance of that direction. Pope John
Paul...per centi anni.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2003
Many Muslim leaders just don't get it. As reported in an
AP story on Saturday by Patrick McDowell ("Islamic Nations Call for
GIs to Leave Iraq"), the first gathering of the 57 nation Organization
of the Islamic Conference since 9/11/01 could so far come nothing more
insightful than that "the war against terrorism has turned into a war against
Muslims". Wrong! Despite the overwhelming preponderance
of despots and tyrants running these nations, with the accompanying enslavement
of women and the general absence of anything resembling human - to say
nothing of civil - rights, the United States has been willing to deal with
these nations...to help them, to do business with them for their benefit
and sometimes for ours. But we will not tolerate terrorism against
our soil or our citizens, either by the terrorists or by anyone supporting
them in any way. And the Bush Doctrine reserves to us the right of
pre-emptive self-defense. So, don't take it personally...just
get the message!
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2003
Happy Columbus Day. Persons of Italian-American heritage
rightly take pride in this particular event yearly, notwithstanding the
facts that Cristoforo Columbo, an Italian, was born in Genoa of Jewish
parents and sailed under the Spanish flag as Cristobal Colon.
For those who believe that Americans make too much of this holiday,
please refer to my offering elsewhere on this web site: The Involved
Citizen, Miscellaneous Topics, "Christopher Columbus
and the 'Indians': Facts and Deductions".
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2003
Sorry about the delay this week in posting these "responses". Technical
difficulties, now resolved.
Often, there are articles which just should not be paraphrased,
but which should be read in the original. Three of these follow:
One issue not mentioned for a while relates to the abomination of Abortion.
As noted by Ann Coulter in her recent books, the stickiest glue that
holds ultra-liberals together is their pro-abortion stance...which
has resulted in the killing of over 40 million babies in the last 30 years.
record. Meanwhile, an increasing majority of just plain Americans,
now well exceeding 70%, are anti-abortion, regardless of religious
persuasion. So we all hope that voters in the next election cycle
will be different from many others since Roe v Wade who used a candidate's
position on abortion as a litmus test for consideration. We have
been stuck with many mediocrities, at all levels of public life, as a direct
result of that distortion of the political process.
The Double Benefit of Tax Cuts, by Becker, Lazear and Murphy (three
economics professors, one a Nobel laureate in economics), Wall Street
Journal, Tuesday, October 7, 2003, Opinion, pA20.
To Find The Center, Turn Right, by Daniel Henninger, WSJ, Friday,
October 10, 2003, Opinion, pA14.
The following Whine is best taken with a bit of Cheese: Local
Educators Slam Federal Education Act, by Eileen McNamara, The Day,
Friday, October 10, 2003, pA1.
Now, you didn't really think that I would have
nothing to say until after the World Series, did you? Only when the
claque, from individual citizens to TV "anchor-persons" that call themselves
show signs of learning from history will I become speechless. Three
devastating expose's have recently been published on the subject, thoroughly
annotated to primary source material. Two are by Ann Coulter:
and Slander (Crown Publishers, 2002, 2003).
The other is by Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, USAF (Ret) and is entitled:
of Duty (Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington D.C., 2003).
As Ms. Coulter states in her Conclusion, after having documented the fact
conclusively: "Liberals have been wrong about everything in the last
half-century". (Also see other offerings on this web site
under: The Involved Citizen; The Clinton
Presidency). There is a saying in the world of common sense:
"If when you are young you are not a liberal, you have no heart.
If when you are older you are not a conservative, you have no brains".
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2003
When joking with my more elderly patients... more elderly than
I, of course...I give them this advice: "before you get out of bed in the
morning, do a 'Review of Systems', just as your doctor does
when completing a medical history. 'Do you have headache, dizziness,
blurring of vision, spots before your eyes, bleeding from your nose, ringing
noises in your ears, etc., etc., etc. If you have fewer than ten
of these, you can get up. Otherwise, stay in bed for the day...and
call your doctor". Well, with the California Recall vote just ended
and the Playoff - World Series season just beginning, we Americans need
to keep somewhere in mind a national "review of systems".
But all of that can wait. Let's see if the Yankees can handle
all of these underdogs. First things first!
The burst Wall Street bubble, with massive money and job losses;
That"great sucking sound" of jobs being lost permanently to the rest of
the world as a result of GATT, NAFTA, WTO, and other threats to our national
A loss of trust in that American engine of business: the stock market;
A failed public education system;
An inadequate health care system, where over 40 million Americans risk
or end up entering bankruptcy largely because they have no health care
A system of election financing that awards public office to the highest
Afganistan, and our responsibilities there;
Iraq, and our responsibilities there, and in the rest of the Mid-East;
A Military Establishment that is in denial over the inadequacy of its current
levels of manpower needs for the 21st century;
A political "dialogue" that produces much more heat than light.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER
6 through 8, 2003
California Wins! "In a democracy, the people always get
what they deserve." And in this democracy, a young and penniless
foreigner can still come to America and accomplish whatever he wants...with
talent, self-confidence, and a massive amount of hard work. Foreigners
have always known this. Young Americans, take note!
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2003
The Middle East, again.
Terrorists hit Israel, again, on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Does Israel have the right of pre-emptive self-defense, as we have
asserted for America in the Bush Doctrine? Of course; and that is
precisely what Syria just experienced today. Meanwhile, the current
leadership of Israel continues to poison the waters in the entire Middle
East by establishing further illegal and unwise settlements in areas
which it knows are not and will not be its own. "He who
seeks equity most do equity". And the U.S. must now "help" Israel
to do the right thing. Besides, our nation's prestige, future, resources
and lives are being lost in part because of such actions. What
is this administration waiting for? Hopefully not for the strict Conservatives
in this country to come around - they who are embracing Israel right or
wrong, in an embrace that the Israelis may soon find too tight.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3 and
California. This is why, on the average, well over 50%
of American voters fail to participate in the political processes of the
greatest democracy in the world: 1) possibly the purest forms of public
action, recall and referendum, are denounced by the "democrats"
as forms of mob rule; and 2) character assassination is one of the
"rules of the game". Both of these tactics are being employed right
now by Governor Gray Davis and his supporters in desperate attempts to
save his failed administration. Whatever the results in California
Davis out, Arnold in), we just plain citizens should work to guarantee
the rights of recall and of referendum in every State of the Union
- and then we should actively participate. The "political
class"in this country needs to be taught a lesson in basic civics, and
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2003
"What's happening? Is there a full moon? Has Halloween
come a month early this year? First the allegation (only that so far) that
respected journalist Robert Novak participated in an illegal act
by "outing a CIA agent", and for political purposes no less. Then
we learn that Rush Limbaugh has made yet another "outrageous statement"
that is being called "racist"...followed by allegations that he has in
the past heavily abused prescription drugs. And Arnold certainly
should have known better. Whether these stories are distortions fed
by political agendas, or whether they are true, the following is right
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend by the name of Common
Sense who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old
he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valued lessons as knowing
when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that
life isn't always fair.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies(don't spend more
than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies(adults, not kids, are
His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but overbearing
regulations were set in place.
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing
a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch,
and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental
consent to administer aspirin to a student but could not inform the parents
when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Finally, Common sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments
became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better
treatment than their victims. Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after
a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot , spilled
it in her lap, and was awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust,
his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason,
He is survived by Two Stepbrothers, My Rights and Ima Whiner, Not many
attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER
29 through OCTOBER 1, 2003
The news is heating up again.
Three upsetting stories have come out in recent days, all having to do
with hazing and other intentional harm inflicted by some students on other
students. Whether called "teasing" or "bullying" or "hazing",
occurrences like the stories out of Long Island and Wilkes-Barre, Pa. boil
down to only two things: criminal assault and battery, and civil rights
violations. Parents of the victims should be very aggressive
in pursuing both criminal and civil actions against the attackers, their
parents and - where appropriate - the school districts in which these actions
occur. There are a lot of Stupid People out there; they need
to get a message that they can understand.
As described in a recent book review, the "Faustian bargain" that
the founding fathers of Israel made in order to produce a viable nation
- deferral of a decision on whether Israel was going to be a democracy
or a theocracy, reminds me of the similar bargain made by our Founding
Fathers regarding slavery. We know what this nation had to go through
to resolve that issue 80 years later. ("Black Hats and No Hats",
about the book Real Jews, by Noal J. Efron; N.Y.Times
Magazine section, Sunday, September 28, 2003, p20). Perhaps the people
of Israel, or at least their current leaders, at some level have decided
that prolonged war with their Arab neighbors is better than facing internal
turmoil. Another bad choice.
Lord, save our children from their public education "friends".
Despite the massive evidence that continues to pile up about poor methodology
(most recently involving "homework", or what passes for it today) and poor
outcomes, unrepentent liberals led by an increasingly incoherent Senator
Edward Kennedy continue to fight all efforts to give parents the right
of choice through the mechanism of "vouchers". When does all this
become criminal? "Is anybody there? Does anybody care?"