Monthly Archives: July 2009

So What Did The “Witness” To Gates Incident Say?

The ongoing saga of what actually happened and what was said in the now notorious case of Henry Louis Gates has raised more questions than answers. Lucia Whalen reported the incident and says she told the operator that an elderly woman had stopped her to report two men trying to get into a house. Whalen says she initially saw two men pushing on the door, but later stated one of the men entered the house and she did see two suitcases on the porch. “I don’t know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key. But, I did notice they used their shoulder to try to barge in and they got in.” She originally did not mention race of the men but was pressed by the operator and said “one looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure.”

According to the report submitted by Sgt. Crowley he claims Ms. Whalen “went on to tell me that she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch.” Her lawyer says Ms. Whalen never mentioned the race of the men to Crowley.

It is quite clear there are now three versions of what happened– Gates, Crowley, and Whalen. Are we to assume Ms. Whalen will get an invitation to the White House to sit in on the now famous chat?

Nicaragua Bans All Abortions!

The government of Nicaragua has banned all abortions regardless of how the woman was impregnated or whether or not the pregnancy is a threat to her physical health. Amnesty International discovered that many young girls who have been subjected to sexual violence by family or friends are forced to give birth to children who might be their own brother or cousin. Statistics reveal a record number of pregnant teenagers who committed suicide by consuming poison and about 33 girls died in pregnancy last year. Former radical leader Daniel Ortega who once fought for women rights decided getting elected was more important than adhering to principles of social justice. Once elected he pushed through a blanket ban on termination of any pregnancy.

The lunacy of the ban on abortions includes criminal penalties against doctors and nurses who treat a pregnant woman or girl for illnesses such as HIV or cancer if such treatment could cause injury or lead to the death of the embryo or foetus. As Amnesty International executive deputy secretary general noted: “there is only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua–sheer horror. Children are being compelled to bear children.”

How can any church support such laws and term themselves followers of Jesus Christ?

Nicaragua Bans All Abortions!

The government of Nicaragua has banned all abortions regardless of how the woman was impregnated or whether or not the pregnancy is a threat to her physical health. Amnesty International discovered that many young girls who have been subjected to sexual violence by family or friends are forced to give birth to children who might be their own brother or cousin. Statistics reveal a record number of pregnant teenagers who committed suicide by consuming poison and about 33 girls died in pregnancy last year. Former radical leader Daniel Ortega who once fought for women rights decided getting elected was more important than adhering to principles of social justice. Once elected he pushed through a blanket ban on termination of any pregnancy.

The lunacy of the ban on abortions includes criminal penalties against doctors and nurses who treat a pregnant woman or girl for illnesses such as HIV or cancer if such treatment could cause injury or lead to the death of the embryo or foetus. As Amnesty International executive deputy secretary general noted: “there is only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua–sheer horror. Children are being compelled to bear children.”

How can any church support such laws and term themselves followers of Jesus Christ?

Mugabism In Practice Ensures Violence

In Mugabeland, the rule of law means each and every individual obeys the dictates of the One and only Ruler, his royal highness, the good Lord of Violence, Robert Mugabe. Tendai Biti might be Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, but he belongs to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change which means, by definition, his fate is destined to be a short one. Mr. Biti received a letter and a bullet delivered at his home, no doubt by one of the loyal thug stooges of Mugabe. The note in Shona said simply, “prepare your will” which was a message informing the Finance Minister that the president of the nation did not either like what he was saying or doing. Mr. Biti responded by saying, “violence is the language of the intellectually defeated. I am undeterred.”

Mr. Biti, for some strange reason, turned the evidence over to the police. That is the equivalent of turning over drugs to a Mexican drug lord for safe keeping. Most probably, the crime of Mr. Biti was to send inflation downward from its height of 2,300,000%. In Mugabeland, the grand wizard is the only one who accomplishes anything.

No More Lying About Afghan Body Counts

The Vietnam War was characterized by daily “body counts” that were simply daily lies about people who were dead and no one really knew if they were innocent civilians or Viet Cong. the body count charade began in Iraq and has continued in Afghanistan. The United States military has decided to cease providing such numbers because it serves no purpose and distracts from issue that decide victory or defeat. Actually, the number of Taliban who are “killed” does not offer any concrete evidence that something has been accomplished in destroying the power of the Taliban. According to General McChystal, the toll of supposed dead militants “distracts from the real objectives and isn’t necessary to communicate what we’re trying to achieve.”

A basic problem of body counts is believing someone flying in a jet plane in the sky knows if his bombs killed “Taliban” or not. In too many cases, the “enemy killed” turned out to be the civilian dead.

Obama Works For Peace In Middle East-Termed “Racist”

George Mitchell, the Middle East envoy sent by President Obama in order to work with Palestinians and Israelis for peace, told Palestinians he is still on the task, but has not yet reached the end of the process. He told President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority Israel has yet to agree on the West Bank settlement issue. “We are discussing the issue but we didn’t conclude an agreement yet with the Israelis.” Unfortunately, the former US senator might talk and talk but he is dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu who would run in the opposite direction if given an actual plan that would bring peace to the people of Israel. Mitchell emphasized that President Obama is not backing away from the peace process and intends to work toward resolution of the West Bank settlement problem.

A Rabbi Eliezer Waldman from the West Bank told the press that President Obama was “a racist.” This comment exemplifies the level of intellectual discourse within Israel on the topic of peace. I am perplexed. How can Obama be a “racist” in regard to Israelis? Is the assumption of the good Rabbi that Jews are “a race?” If so, perhaps he can explain to the world to which race do Jews belong.

Israel must compromise in order to achieve its half century goal of peace.

Sgt.Crowley Made A Stupid Mistake-He’s Human!

I have spent over twenty years teaching courses on “The History of Crime” and have been pleased to have many members of the police force as my students. I have the highest respect for those who risk their lives to serve the public, but, one thing has become clear to me after 53 years of teaching over 15,000 students. We all make mistakes. I am certain Sgt. Crowley is an excellent police officer, but he blew it this time by over-reacting. I begin from the premise that anyone who interacts with the public is prone to making errors of judgment. I assume that among my thousands of interactions with students I allow my emotions, my prejudices and experiences to get in the way of my normal sense of objectivity. I am human. This means I must have made at least two hundred mistakes in my life as a teacher.

Yes, those who work with the public, on occasion, allow emotions to get in the way. For example this past semester on nine occasions I contacted a student after class and apologized for being too curt in class, for making a grading mistake or for not grasping the point they made in class. I have worked with over 2,000 student teachers and the first lesson they learn is whenever there is a disturbance, restore order, don’t make threats, and above all, don’t send anyone to the principal’s office until you have had a chance to deal in a calm manner with the situation. I assure those of you who have never taught, that any normal, honest teacher can recount hundreds of times when it was necessary to bite one’s tongue, to be overly pleasant and to ignore rudeness and insults because acting in anger only created more problems.

I contacted a former student and asked for his opinion on the Gates situation.(I can not reveal his name). He responded by saying his initial focus is to restore calm to a situation., He refused to judge Crowley, but said if he had responded to the burglary call, his first comment to Gates would have been: “Sir, we have a report of a burglary. Are you OK? Is there anything I could do for you?” He said when the door is opened by an elderly man, you assume he will be upset and distraught because he is frightened and confused so get him sitting down, get him water to reduce his anxiety. My former student said words to this effect: “professor, I work in St. Louis which is mainly African American. If I entered a home where a black elderly man said he was a professor from Washington University, the first picture in my mind is to get things calm or I will wind up on the front page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I have a family, I attend night school, I don’t have time for filling out papers and getting into a mess.” He said he next would have asked Gates if he wanted him to contact Harvard or get a neighbor or family member over to the house to help him. Then, he would have apologized for any inconvenience, given his name and told Gates if he needed any further assistance to contact him.

Everyone in the public eye has made the Crowley mistake, we allowed our emotions to get the upper hand and lost sight of what we all desire –peace and calm in our lives and no shouting and screaming. I recently received an email from students I taught in 1959 and one said she could never forget how sometimes when the lesson was going poorly, I would stop, apologize to the class for my failure as a teacher and promise to do better the next day.

An article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch quotes a detective from Queens: “If you locked up everybody that was technically disorderly – you’ve got to know which battles to fight.” Wise words. That is my mantra to new teachers, keep it cool, keep it calm, but know when you have to take a stand. An elderly man who is distraught at an incorrect burglary claim is not the place to take any stand. Just say you are sorry and get on with your life if you have a brain in your policeman’s head.

I find fascinating how many have rushed to the defense of Sgt. Crowley. I assume when they are stopped by the police for not coming to a complete stop at a Stop Sign or pulled over for speeding, the first words out of their mouth is to thank the police. I’m normal. I grit my teeth and mutter curses under by breath. As NY State Senator Eric Adams, a retired New York City policeman, commented: “If it’s their house, they’re allowed to call you all sorts of names. A man’s house is his castle.”

You blew it Sgt. Crowley, but don’t worry, at least you are human.

Is There A Palin In Your Future?

The departure of Sarah Palin from the leadership of Alaska is undoubtedly a good thing for people of that state, but it is still unclear how that impacts the remainder of this country. The mouth that never met an idiotic idea she would not embrace is now free to roam the TV and air waves of the United States speaking nonsense in her inimitable style of winks and sighs and incoherence. She leaves Alaska with several ethic issues still to be resolved as well as a mountain of debts, but Ms. Palin wants the world to know she will not cease speaking for good things like ending sex education or denying aid to those seeking abortions. The good news is Palin pledged that she would campaign for those “who believe the right things regardless of their party label or affiliation,” but the bad news is that she will campaign for those “who believe the right things regardless of their party label or affiliation.”

Among the amazing aspects of the American political scene is emergence and disappearance of “shining lights” such as Palin. They appear in a moment, utter words that attract a portion of the population, gain adoring followers, and along comes a failed love affair or incoherent words revealing their intellectual low IQ and then off to the book publisher, the tour, and several stints on FOX News. We cam expect in 2012 Sarah Palin performing on CNN expert panels while the hubby is off moose hunting.

Language Police In Charge In Slovakia!

These days the language police are active throughout the world ensuring people speak and write correctly according to standards of excellence identified by those in charge of governments. The Slovak government two weeks ago signed into law that use of minority languages in their country(usually, that means Hungarian) on official documents or in communications will be subject to strict control. The use of minority languages in official documents of municipalities with an ethnic minority of less than 20% will be banned. The language police even made legal that the Slovak writing on monuments must always be in larger print than any other language. Several European Union officials claim the Slovak law violates EU law.

I was raised in a bilingual immigrant family where most people spoke at least two or three languages. I grew up to write a history of America which suggests my sense of nation was not damaged by being able to speak other languages. It is more important in life to speak multiple languages than a single one. Anyway, I enjoy learning other languages when I see signs in non-English ads.

ARE THEY IN THE US ARMY OR NOT?

Once again, the United States armed forces are looking in the direction of private contractors to handle guard duty that historically has been handled by members of the armed forces. Military authorities are examining the possibility of hiring private contractors to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases in Afghanistan. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has termed the use of private contractors in certain areas of Afghanistan, “vital” to the maintenance of security.

Members of our armed forces undergo extensive training to become proficient in the duties they will carry out once in combat. They are under the command of those who are trained and adhered to military regulations and procedures. We have had enough of private contractors who lack military discipline and all too frequently have wound up causing problems, if not actually killing innocent civilians. If the armed forces require more troops, it should come from the regular army, not from mercenaries. It is about time the American people provided support to those who serve, including re-institution of a draft.