Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Shame on McCain for his hypocrisy, which exacerbated the Franken-Lieberman brouhaha. You're dragging the Senate down, Senator.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times has shown that teachers in LA are routinely given tenure at the end of the two years, without any meaningful evaluation of their performance. Ramon Cortines, the LA superintendent, told the L. A. Times, “This is about to change. We do not owe poor performers a job.”
Cortines is on solid ethical grounds; it’s not a close call. The Golden Rule requires us to look after the weaker members of our society. Who weaker than schoolchildren? And the responsibility falls especially heavily on people who are paid to look after the weak.
So why are so many education bigwigs fighting Cortines? A. J. Duffy, head of the teachers union, objects thus: “Administrators are not properly trained to evaluate teachers.” Julie Slayton, a teacher at USC and former head of research and planning for the school district, blasts Cortines for a knee-jerk reaction to outside pressure.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Dick Cheney, on last night’s Hannity show on Fox: “I think it [trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York] will give aid and comfort to the enemy.”
First, do no harm.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Senator Max Baucus (R-MT) is the President’s lead man on health care reform in the Senate. Politico is reporting that he recommended that Obama nominate his girlfriend to be a United States Attorney.
What was he thinking? His office says she was nominated because of her qualifications, not because she was sleeping with the senator. Yeah, sure. Ever hear of conflict of interest, senator?
It’s behavior like this that’s sparking the rabid anti-government movement in America. Time for the Dems to do the right thing: expel Baucus from the Senate.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Here’s hoping the Oregon Ducks win tonight’s football game with Oregon State, the traditional season-ender known as the “Civil War.”
It would give Oregon its first Pac 10 Championship since 2001, but more important ethically, it would give the nation reason to pay attention to Chip Kelly, Oregon’s young coach and an exemplar of ethical coaching.
Back in September the Ducks lost their opener to powerful Boise State, and at the end of the game Oregon’s top player, star running back Legarrette Blount sucker punched a Boise State player. Kelly wasted no time suspending his star for the rest of the season. (By comparison, Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer suspended his top defender for one half for attempting to gouge out the eye of an opponent.)
Adding to Kelly’s ethical résumé, he allowed Blount to keep his scholarship, thus preventing Kelly from recruiting a replacement. Kelly reasoned that Blount’s penalty should be losing his place on the team, not his education.
After weeks of good behavior by Blount, and after his substitute, freshman LaMichael James, had unexpectedly performed like a super star, Kelly allowed Blount to rejoin the team.
Sadly America mostly subscribes to Leo Durocher’s dictum, “The nice guys are all over there, in seventh place.” An Oregon win tonight will let America get to know a nice guy who finished first.
Let’s go back to allowing a Nativity scene in front of the courthouse, as we did for nearly 200 years. It made Christians feel good and reminded them what Christmas was about. The Right is exorcised about a “war on Christmas,” and they have a point.
The Bill of Rights says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”Allowing Christians to put up a Nativity scene is not establishment of religion, but denying them is interfering with, if not prohibiting, the “free exercise thereof.”
Nativity scenes were on public property in every town until an organization called Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State, or POAU, was formed in the late 1940’s and began campaigning against any recognition (let alone, "establishment") of religion by any governmental entity, including the public schools. Thus was the war on Christmas born, although, like World War 1, it didn’t get its current name until years later. Bill O’Reilly named it in 2005 and began to fume about it.
Hard for a liberal to admit, but O’Reilly was right. Denying religious groups (Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims) the use of public property is interfering with the free exercise of religion. When we interfere with strongly held beliefs people get angry, and bad things happen. Better to return to the words and meaning of the Bill of Rights.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Ah, the holiday season is upon us. Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men. Merry Christmas. Or Happy Holidays. But be VERY careful what you wish people. Some people will respond angrily if you get it wrong.
Let’s see. It’s always ok to say Merry Christmas to a Christian. It’s ok to say Happy Chanukah to a Jew. It’s ok to say Happy Kwanzaa to an African-American, but not if he’s an evangelical Christian. And wish your Muslim friends a Happy Muharram and Hindus a Happy Diwali. And if you’re not sure of the person’s religious beliefs, Happy Holidays covers all. Or Holiday Cheer.
That’s what retailer The Gap thought when it called its campaign Holiday Cheer. But the American Family Association has called for a boycott of Gap, along with Old Navy and Banana Republic for similar sacrileges. It turns out that in our land of religious freedom, you’ve got to watch your mouth.
And your step. Want to put up Christmas decorations? If you’d like to use the village green, or the nice lawn in front of City Hall you’ll risk a law suit from Church-State separation fanatics. And if you’re the music teacher make sure the December choral concert is multi-denominational. Or non-denominational. The only safe route is to hibernate all December. Oops, that’ll get you in trouble with the American Family Association.
What would an ethicist say about all this seasonal Bad Will Toward Men? All religions and secular ethicists teach us to treat others as we’d want to be treated. They all (now) teach tolerance toward people of other beliefs. Let Christians have their mangers and Christmas trees. Let Jews have their menorahs and eight days of presents. Let Muslims have their quiet reflection on the coming year. And let the lawyers take the month off.
As Rodney King asked, “Can we all get along?”