Friday, September 23, 2011

Did you know ... ?

Some news items that may have escaped your attention:
  • That Ground Zero mosque -- which is two and a half blocks from Ground Zero -- that raised such a hullabaloo last year quietly opened to the public Thursday Sept. 22 with an exhibit of photos of New York City children of different ethnicities.  The photos were taken by Danny Goldfield, a Jewish photographer.  There were no protesters.
  • Some, not a lot, but some potential employers actually advertise on job sites like and seeking applicants who are currently employed.   This is pretty outrageous.  Legally, prospective employers cannot discriminate against applicants due to race, age, gender or sexual orientation, but they can blatantly advertise their discrimination against the unemployed. Of course, potential employers can actually discriminate against all those categories because, as long as they don’t say it or write it down anywhere, who’s going to know.  Still, what’s the point of stealing employees from one company for another when there are so many equally qualified unemployed to fill those same slots? 
  • Speaking of discrimination, a recent poll by the Brookings Institute and the Public Religion Research Institute found that 46 percent, or nearly half, of those polled agree that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against minority groups.  A slim majority, 51 percent disagree.  Well, this is fascinating.  I was not only totally unaware that whites experienced much in the way of discrimination, I was also unaware that it is a big problem.  Maybe somebody out there can enlighten me as to how we whites are so abused. Not every instance of a black person getting a job you were competing for or an Hispanic store clerk being a little slow to ring up your purchases is discrimination against white people.  Maybe it's you.

  • We  seem to believe in religious freedom for some. That same poll showed that while 88 percent of Americans agree that religious freedom is absolute bedrock of our nation’s values, 47 percent agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values.  And, while two-thirds did reject the idea that American Muslims want to impose sharia law as the law of the land in the United States, six in 10 Republicans (almost the exact reverse) who “most trust Fox News” believe they do.  This fear of Sharia law is, of course, absolute lunacy.  Our nation’s 300-year-old body of common and statutory laws will never be replaced by sharia law any more than they will be replaced by the 10 commandments. Where would that leave our three million lawyers? Religious law of any stripe is just that, laws or commandments followed by that religion’s followers, if they want to follow them.  The rest of us will never be required to do so.  Don’t worry about it.
  •  It seems to me that people (and cable “news” organizations) set up straw men to worry about when we have plenty of real problems to solve.  Another example is the “English as the Official Language" movement.  The simple truth is, children of immigrants learn English, even if the first generation doesn’t.  It has been this way with every immigrant group since the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1700s.  There’s no real problem there to worry yourself to death over or pass laws about.
  •  Rick Perry’s claim that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme is nuts.  It can become that only if we allow the Republicans to rip it apart, but we can protect it from insolvency if we have the political will to do so.  Republicans need to stop scaring the next generation about Social Security.  See this article.
  • The Justice Department really didn’t pay $16 per muffin for a 2009 legal education conference as NBC reported earlier this week.  Or probably not.  In any case, a $16 muffin beats the hell out of a $71 straight pin that should have cost 4 cents or a $1,600 roller assembly that should have cost $10, according to a recent Department of Defense Inspector General’s report on Boeing Co.’s overcharges for helicopter parts.   Where was the Mainstream Media’s reporting on that?
  • We really, really have to look at defense spending for areas to cut.  Why are we still building multi-billion dollar planes, tanks and aircraft carriers to fight the Cold War that have never, and will never, be used?  Why do we need 900 military bases around the world?  Why are we still furnishing troops for South Korea, Japan and Germany while those very flush countries go about the business of making money and not providing their own defense forces?  This too is nuts.

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