Monthly Archives: December 2010

Tit For Tat In Gaza Area

A major problem in the Gaza area is deciding who fired the first shot in renewed firing of rockets and missiles. Rockets are fired from Gaza, they fall into Israel–one landed near a kindergarten over the weekend– but each side claims the other fired the first shot and they are simply retaliating. This dialogue of blame has gone on for years and it has reached a point where deciding whoever fired the first or the second shot has lost all meaning. No one will ever know the instigator because the process has simply gone on too long. The central issue at this time is not deciding who is “guilty” but focusing on ways to end any firing of missiles or rockets. There simply has to be a ban on firing anything. In all honesty, for the first time in over sixty years Palestinians finally have a government which is serious about peace, but it comes at a time when Israel does NOT have such a government. So, what to do?

We need a time of quiet and peace. In a sense such a period is simply a prelude to begin the process of peace. In all honesty, there is doubt if both sides can even agree to a moment of peace in the Middle East.

Sex And Teaching-The Unspoken Story

After fifty years in teaching during which time I have worked with 12,000 teachers, the one topic that few in education will discuss relates to how teachers fantasize about sexual relations with their students. Every time I raise the topic in a class of teachers, there is silence and people shuffle their feet and heads go down. No one wants to admit that on occasion, they have thought about certain students in sexual ways. I once interviewed 50 secondary teachers about stress in the workplace and seven admitted to having sexual relations with a student. If a teacher in her/his twenties is teaching a high school class, male students in the class are sexually active and female students could just as readily be of age to date the male teacher. After all, many men date women who are five to seven years younger than themselves. I urge teachers to admit to themselves about fantasy and admit they have passionate feeling for some students. The act of affirmation allows one to confront an issue from an honest position.

A twenty five year old female Physical Education teacher in NSW, Australia, was sentenced to two years in prison for having sex with a fifteen and a sixteen year old boy. She drank alcohol with them, send nude pictures of herself, and text messaged sexual invitations. At the trial, she blamed everything on drugs and alcohol. My experience suggests teachers fall in love with students, they want to have sex with them and it has nothing to do with alcohol or drugs. It is simply being normal. There is a difference between having normal feelings and emotions and acting upon them.

Honoring Traitors-Southern Celebration!

They gathered in Charleston, South Carolina this past weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the day their ancestors announced a declaration of secession from the United States. Over 200 people at this gala ball were dressed in 19th century costumes, and when the document was once again signed, they rose and sang, Dixie, the song which was sung by Confederate soldiers who were engaged in a war to end their nation. Michael Given, defended honoring those who began a war that resulted in the death of over 500,000 men and wounding of nearly a million. He denied it was about slavery, and defended his ancestors for standing up for state rights. ‘It’s about honoring our ancestors for their tenacity. It’s about the bravery and courage of our ancestors.” Like most in the audience, the Civil War had nothing to do with the issue of slavery, it had to do with defending state rights. As Professor Blain Roberts of California State University put it, the South may have lost the battle of the Civil War, but, “they won the memory of the war, at least.”

Fast forward to 2139 in the city of Munich in Germany. A group of Germans have gathered to celebrate the beginning of World War II which, in their view, was war about restoring the honor of their nation which had been humiliated in 1918 after losing WWI. The Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler had nothing to do with the issue of Jews, OK, a few died, but the real reason for this celebration is: “to honor the bravery and tenacity of German soldiers. They must be honored for their bravery.”

As I recall, when Muslims in America wanted to build a mosque near Ground Zero they were accused of humiliating those who died on 9/11. Yes, 2,900 died on that day, but 500,000 died in the Civil War and no one is protesting celebrations of those who did the killing.

Life And Death In The Catholic Church

The ethics committee at St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix, Arizona was confronted with a moral decision. Doctors who were treating a pregnant woman who ad a history of abnormally high blood pressure, but during early stages of her pregnancy her condition grew worse and before long her pulmonary hypertension had begun to deteriorate so badly that her life was threatened if she continued the pregnancy to birth. Consultations were held with the patient, her doctors, her family and the ethics committee as to how to handle the situation. The hospital’s president, Linda Hunt concluded the decision to terminate the pregnancy was: “consistent with our values of dignity and justice. If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible we will always safe the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case.”

Unfortunately, Bishop Thomas Olmsted did not see it that way. He stripped Arizona’s largest hospital of its Catholic affiliation and made clear it can no longer be regarded as a Catholic institution. He also excommunicated the head of the ethics committee which allowed the abortion to proceed. What can one say about this decision? Medical professionals made an informed choice, one that does not fit into Dr. Olmsted’s medical opinion. It is time for members of the clergy to allow medical professionals to make decisions.

UN Checks On US Torture

As I recall, candidate Barack Obama made clear he regarded treatment of prisoners under the Bush administration to be a violation of human rights. He promised once in office to restore the reputation of America by ending mistreatment of those in military prisons. Bradley Manning is guilty of a heinous crime and is currently in solitary confinement in a military cell. Did he kill people? No. Did he cause harm to captured prisoners? No. Did he rape? No. Did he murder anyone? No. Was he guilty of racism and spreading hatred among fellow soldiers? No. Was he a spy for terrorist groups? NO. What then was his terrible crime? He provided emails to Julian Assange that created a furor among diplomats. For this unpardonable crime, Bradley Manning is confined to a cell. He is not allowed to speak to anyone. He eats alone. He is not allowed to exercise other than walk around the 12 foot long, six feet wide cell. He is not allowed to do push-ups. He is only allowed a single newspaper or book that meets military criteria as proper to read. He is limited in being allowed to have visits from family members.

The United Nations is conducting an investigation as to whether treatment of Bradley Manning fits the criteria of torture. Of course, if we had a president who was familiar with constitutional law, Bradley Manning might be treated with respect for his human dignity. The bottom line is no one died as a result of his “crime.” Embarrassed, yes, a few were.

Compromise On Health Care For 9/11 Responders

The Republican Party is owned the gratitude of Americans for its decision to stick to principles against raising the national debt. Perhaps, Republicans could have reduced the $900 billion tax cut which provides over a hundred billion in give away to wealthy people, but to do so would have crippled economic recovery. Perhaps, Republicans could have reduced expenditures for fighter planes that have no opposing fighter planes to challenge their supremacy, but to do so would have sent a message of defeatism. After considerable reflection, Republican leaders finally identified an area in which they could save at least $3 billion. Instead of providing 9/11 Responders with a ten year program of health benefits that cost $7 billion, they reduced it to five years at a cost of $4.3 billion. The American people should be grateful to these men and women of the Republican party who do not intend to allow anyone to halt their efforts in protecting wealthy folk in this nation.

The message is clear. If you were a 9/11 Responder and have serious health problems such as cancer, get the damn thing cured in five years! Which comes first: protecting wealth of the wealthy or protecting your damn illness. Next time be more careful and you will not get ill.



Alexnader The Great Rules In Belarus

Alexander Lukashenko used to live in the Soviet Union and today he rules the nation of Belarus. Alexander decided a few months ago to show the world that stories about him being a dictator were exaggerations of reality. He decided to hold an election, or what passes in his view, for an election. Of course, he became confused on discovering when one holds an election in which people can select anyone they desire that idea makes difficult conducting a free election Belarus style in which the leader is ensured of at least 98% of the vote. Alexander believes it would be a mark of dictatorship to attain a 100% vote total. Of course, in olden days in Chicago, Mayor Daley could ensure the vote total was 110%, but that was Chicago, not like the modern democratic nation of Belarus. Upon realizing opposition candidates were receiving some votes, Alexander ordered the police to beat the hell out of the opposition and when he says, “beat the hell” it means physically beat the hell out of anyone stupid enough to believe he was entitled to votes that belong to Alexander.

Oh well, that damn European Union became upset, but dear old Prime Minister Vladmir Putin in Russia agreed this was a democratic election.

Israel Jews Forget History

I was born in 1930, a time when Nazi and Fascist groups roamed the streets of America demanding the nation get rid of Jews and other foreigners who were taking jobs away from decent Christian God-fearing Americans. It was a time when people purchasing homes in many parts of the United States signed a statement they would never sell their home to a Jew or Catholic or Negro. It was a time when Jews could not even rent apartments in certain restricted areas of cities, and, all too often Jews lived in a ghetto environment with only those of their religion. Under the Nazis, a common cry was for Jews to leave Germany and go back to where they came from. I lived at a time when some of the most prominent gangsters were Jews like Bugsy Siegel or Louis Lepke or Mickey Cohen and many newspapers wrote stories about the “Jewish criminal element” which made life unsafe for decent Christians. Heck, a woman could not even walk around at night without being approached by those Jewish male leaches. Fast forward to Israel, 2010. Hundreds of Tel Aviv residents marched through the streets demanding expulsion of foreign workers and refugees. They held up signs saying: “No More Fear In The Neighborhood, send the infiltrators back home.”

When I see Jews holding aloft signs that read: “No To Racism — Send Infiltrators Home– Keep Bat Yam Jewish– I can only sigh and think of my childhood when Jews were “the foreigners.” When will bigots ever learn the ones they hate today suffer the same indignities as Jews did yesterday??

Pope On Child Abuse

Pope Benedict XVI gave his annual speech to assembled cardinals and bishops and he discussed issues related to an issue that has plagued the church–child abuse. “We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our way of living the Christian life to allow such a thing to happen.” Fair enough question. He made clear the Catholic Church was aware of sins committed by some priests, but also thought it important to reflect on the “context of these times.” He went on to note “there is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times.” Naturally, these developments stemmed from moral relativism which left people without a set of fixed values. “Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.”

I got lost somewhere around moral relativism. What does child pornography have to do with priests who abandon their vows and abuse children? Ironically, the abuse of children was carried out by men who had absolute beliefs in what was right and wrong so why blame moral relativism for the actions of true believers. We could also cite Nazi Germany or Communist China as societies which did not tolerate moral relativism and in the process killed millions of people.

The bottom line is priests did not carry out their moral values.