Open Forum! (Whew, That Was A Close One…)

I’ve been running back and forth to the hospital, fielding phone calls, dealing with a dog with some kind of digestive issue, and looking at some of the damnedest ethics stories I’ve ever seen ( like this: “UFO shot down by $400K US missile may have been a $12 hobby balloon: report”), so I came within a hair of forgetting to open today’s Friday Open Forum.

Not knowing it was Friday didn’t help.

These have been excellent lately. Keep it up!

26 thoughts on “Open Forum! (Whew, That Was A Close One…)

  1. Here’s something that’s grating me. I placed it as a comment on Jack’s post regarding a Harvard sponsored law review screening submissions by their author’s marginalized person quotient.

    There’s evidently a “minority” professional golf association, open, I presume, only to “minorities,” in order to diversify college and professional golf. From its website:

    The Advocates Professional Golf Association was established in 2010 as a non-profit organization with the mission to bring greater diversity to the game of golf. The APGA Tour Board of Directors work to accomplish this by hosting and operating professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentoring programs and by introducing the game to inner city young people.

    The APGA Tour consists of up to eighteen tournaments nationwide with over $800,000 in prize money. The Lexus Cup Bonus Pool provides an additional $30,000 for APGA Tour members. In addition to a professional division, each APGA event features an amateur division for players with handicaps of 5 or less.

    To develop the next generation of minority college and professional golfers the APGA Tour Player Development Program provides free clinics, mentors, equipment and complimentary entries fees to young golfers.

    To bring greater diversity to the game of golf the APGA Tour has partnered with inner city youth organizations to introduce both boys and girls to the game. APGA also sponsors Diversity Symposiums where leaders of the minority golf community gather to discuss ways to best diversify the sport.”

    The PGA Tour tournament a few weeks ago in San Diego provided two exemptions to black guys from the APGA Tour. The PGA Tour tournament this week in LA is doing the same. And crowing about the whole thing. Unbelievable. How’d you like to be a struggling white pro golfer who’s looking for any paying tournament to enter to pay for his rent and car payment? “Sorry, fella. Whites need not apply. Don’t you see the sign?”

    When is the NBA going to start a league to bring greater diversity to the game of basketball? Why isn’t there a white guys’ league, or maybe an American white guys’ league to bring even a smidgen of diversity to the game of basketball. The only white guys on NBA (mostly benches) teams are typically foreign born.

  2. Real Life Scenario:

    I was called in for jury duty. I showed up and was put in one of four groups of potential jurors being vetted for suitability. The first thing we were is that this was a child molestation case. Crap. Then both the prosecutor and the defense attorney began the process of asking jurors questions, largely about our ability to be fair to the defendant. Unfortunately, questions were also asked about which jurors had either been victims of sexual crimes themselves or knew someone who had.

    Now it is possible that some jurors faked it, but at least half of the first group raised their hands. Then the second group came up and about half of them raised their hands. And the third group. By that time, the defense attorney muttered, “Wow”. Even the prosecutor realized how difficult this was becoming and tried to convey to the jury, “Nobody likes crimes against children, but it is the hallmark of our system that everyone is entitled to a fair trial.”

    The questions being asked pretty much set the stage for what this trial would be about: a foster child accused a foster parent of molestation. There is no evidence, just the child’s word. They somehow managed to get 12 jurors but the defense attorney could not have been happy with who was left.

    Then the opening statements began. The defense attorney included information as to how the state had continued to send foster children to this person’s home over a period of years and apparently had no problem with him. Prosecutor objected and the judge sustained, advising the defense attorney to not use his opening statement to argue his case.

    He started again, did the same thing and had another objection against him sustained.

    By that time, technical problems in the room had us removed to the jury room, ostensibly to move us to another courtroom. After a short period, the judge came in and told us that she was forced to declare a mistrial because we heard things in the opening statement that we shouldn’t have. My guess is that the defense attorney shouldn’t have given us evidence during that time.

    My question: I’m not a lawyer. I have no idea if the defense attorney deliberately botched his opening statement so that a mistrial be declared in order to get a better jury, but I’m leaning that way. He did it twice, after all.

    But it is the attorney’s job to defend his client to the best of his ability. Assuming the defense attorney knowingly forced a mistrial to get another shot at a potentially less hostile jury, is that legal? If so, is that ethical?

    Dozens of us showed up and wasted most of a day, the court had to pay us anyway and the trial got postponed at the cost of taxpayers, after all.

    What do you think?

  3. In the eastern portion of Ohio, not too far from the Pennsylvania border, lies the city of Youngstown, a rust belt, post industrial city whose best days are long gone. About 20-25 miles south of that lies the village of East Palestine (pronounced pal-eh-STEEN not pal-eh-STINE, don’t ask me why), renamed from Mechanicsburg in 1875 (long before the advent of the State of Israel) together with some other Biblically named communities (sort of like in the Lehigh valley in PA) because there was already a community called just Palestine a lot farther west in Ohio. For most of its existence it was a quiet small industrial community among many quiet small industrial communities in the area. The main employers in the area were Edwin C. McGraw Tires, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and W.S. George Pottery, which at one point employed 1/3 of the village’s labor force in the making of shaving mugs, soap dishes, and most especially hotel plates. Around the 1920s they also started orcharding. Between all this and the supporting businesses you had a pretty good mostly blue-collar economy. The area, just like most of Ohio away from the major cities (over 80%), was predominantly white and mostly conservative. Things were just fine and most people were ok with them the way they were.

    Well, W.S. George went bankrupt in 1960, and McGraw Tires went the way of all tire makers that aren’t named Michelin, Goodyear, or a handful of others. The quality of life slumped, but the village lived on, still predominantly white, still predominantly conservative, like all the other small towns and villages in the area where Friday night meant bowling league or a visit to the repertory theater, wedding receptions were in the church basement or the volunteer fire department hall, and most conversations were about people’s kids.

    Well, these quiet, conservative people got their lives turned upside down recently with a train derailment. For reasons not entirely clear at this point, a Norfolk Southern train, several cars loaded with chemicals inimical to people, animals, and the environment generally, jumped the track, resulting in a disastrous fire comparable to anything in a major city or unregulated forest land. Firemen had to come in from 70 departments, some as far away as West Virginia, to get the blaze under control. Unless you read beyond the headlines or you were a fire buff like yours truly, you probably had only a vague idea of what was going on.

    The governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania ordered evacuations in the area, fearful of explosions. The railroad conducted a controlled burn of released chemicals, creating black clouds that would make you think you were in a war zone. By February 9, everyone was allowed back into their homes, but soon found wildlife dying in large numbers. Gaseous pollutants dissipate quickly, but dioxins, not so much.

    The railroad and state officials have been working away, but you know who has been slow to respond? The feds, although 4 agencies are now on the ground. Know who isn’t among them? FEMA, because this supposedly doesn’t qualify as a disaster. Know who else hasn’t put in an appearance yet? No, not the president, although he also hasn’t, but our crack Secretary of Transportation, Mayor Pete. Oh, he fired off a couple of tweets (hmmm, who did his party criticize for that?), But this past Monday, 8 days after the fact, where was he? Was he on the ground in his raid jacket, making damn sure things happened? Was he glad-handing locals, assuring them the Feds were there for them? Was he even in his office, making sure requests for help got processed and the investigation was conducted right? No. He was in a meeting with the National Association of Counties talking about the main problem infrastructure being too many white guys in hard hats. And what did he do when this was pointed up? The age old response to any criticism of this administration: it’s Trump’s fault, not ours, for withdrawing a proposed rule that require trains carrying certain forms of dangerous chemicals to use electronically controlled pneumatic brakes which were not used here.

    I wish I could say I don’t understand this. I understand it all too well, though. Say all you want about Bill Clinton (and there’s plenty to say, but that’s a separate discussion), but he knew when it was time to give problem officials the boot. He canned Jocelyn Elders as Surgeon General when she went so far off the reservation as to become a political liability. It’s unknown to this day one way or the other whether he demanded Les Aspin step down as Secretary of Defense following Aspin’s brush-off of the military’s request for armor and additional air support in Somalia and the embarrassing losses at Mogadishu that followed. However, given the timing and the fact that Clinton made it clear he was not involved in this specific decision, I think most of us can connect the dots. Even Obama had enough gonads to get rid of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense when it became apparent that an antiwar senator was not a good choice for a job whose raison d’etre was winning wars. However, that was the only major firing in his administration, and there should have been many more, starting with Eric Holder. Hagel was a Republican, so he wasn’t in the club, but almost everyone else who was in the club and loyal stayed without fear except Rahm Emanuel, who was in the club, but annoyed somebody who was in the inner inner circle (never a good idea). That’s how things work in the Democratic Party, be loyal and don’t piss off anyone higher up the chain (especially not significantly so), and you can commit almost any kind of malfeasance and be safe.

    Mayor Pete, however, has cross the line from malfeasance to nonfeasance. It’s not that he is not good at the job, or is doing the job badly, it’s that he isn’t doing the job at all, and really isn’t interested in even trying to do the job. Every time the last three Republican presidents dared to leave Washington for camp David or their personal retreat, we heard about it and just how many times they’ve done it, and what the expenses were. Every time they played golf, the mainstream media made damn sure we knew about it. However, there were always lots of flattering pics of Clinton on his bike or Obama playing basketball or doting on his daughters. That said, these weren’t all at crisis times. Whenever there is a crisis that falls into Mayor Pete’s bailiwick now, however, he not only never seems to be at his post, but he always seems to be the place he’s least able to do anything from and doesn’t care that he is. Supply chain crisis pushing inflation up? He’d love to help, but he’s taking 2 months off “doing joyful work” with the twins he and his husband adopted. Railway strike in the offing? Sorry, you’ll need to call the unlisted number for his villa in Portugal, but don’t be surprised if he’s out at a wine tasting. A train derailment in white, conservative Ohio? Puh-lease. Call him when there’s a derailment in a majority-black city and maybe, just maybe, mind you, he’ll think about considering showing up for a photo op, because the boss will be a pain in his butt if he doesn’t.

    That’s the other point. The federal government is supposed to be the government for all people in this nation, protecting and helping all people in this nation, not just those who vote one way or have a certain level of melanin, especially not while thumbing its nose at those who are too light or voted too red. This is how governments become distrusted and even hated to the point where they will never be received favorably. That’s how society becomes unglued. I hope it was worth it so that Joe could score a few political points and Mayor Pete could use it as a path to a four year vacation on the taxpayers’ dime.

    • The only way to get the attention of that self-absorbed, arrogant little weasel, is immediate termination.
      I cannot think of another way to wipe that smug, “Iamuntouchable” look off his boyish puss.

      Woke dems get all frothy discussing white privilege and yet this waste of space is the poster child and not a peep.

    • I don’t know why this is a surprise to anyone. He was mayor of South Bend, IN. All he had to do was keep the colleges and universities there happy, ensure the traffic lights and roads worked, and make sure the police were doing their jobs. He screwed that up, leaving behind a police department embroiled in a public relations mess with the Black community, which alleged excessive use of force by the South Bend police department. And now, this bozo has the temerity to claim that infrastructure jobs were filled by white guys, especially when those self-same white folk were being poisoned by chemicals spilling out of derailed trains? What an incompetent fool. Congress should impeach him.


    • The derailed train did not catch on fire. The government and the railroad set the cars on fire. On purpose. The EPA would have had to sign off on this burn. Vinyl Chloride is a hazardous chemical that is well known to cause respiratory problems, skin problems, and cancer. It is heavily regulated by OSHA in the workplace for exactly this reason. Yet the current progressive federal government saw no problem with burning millions of pounds of the stuff right outside a majority conservative town.

      I do not see how there is any plausible interpretation of this series of events that does not make it a blatant, purposeful chemical attack on the current federal government’s political opposition. No one is this incompetent. They knew exactly what they were doing.

  4. Another day, another heaping helping of “California logic”:

    Since the start of this school year, freshmen and sophomores in Culver City have only been able to select one level of English class, known as College Prep, rather than the previous system in which anyone could opt into the honors class. School officials say the goal is to teach everyone with an equal level of rigor, one that encourages them to enroll in advanced classes in their final years of high school.

    “Parents say academic excellence should not be experimented with for the sake of social justice,” said Quoc Tran, the superintendent of 6,900-student Culver City Unified School District. But, he said, “it was very jarring when teachers looked at their AP enrollment and realized Black and brown kids were not there. They felt obligated to do something.”

    Culver City English teachers presented data at a board meeting last year showing Latino students made up 13% of those in 12th-grade Advanced Placement English, compared with 37% of the student body. Asian students were 34% of the advanced class, compared with 10% of students. Black students represented 14% of AP English, versus 15% of the student body…

    • I tried to volunteer at the local high school to help out the AP English teacher. It didn’t work out. She didn’t want anyone in her classroom who wasn’t on board with the indoctrination she was involved in. But I have to say I was shocked to find out EVERY senior was taking AP English! Why didn’t they just call it Senior English? All the “AP” evidently indicates is the teacher follows the curriculum the College Board dictates.

    • We can assume Harrison Bergeron will not be on the reading list of the new English classes?
      This sort of thing raises the question: Are these people truly stupid or just so devoted to wokeness and virtue-signalling that they don’t actually care about the consequences of their actions? This sort of thing helps no one, harms the performing students, and lowers overall school performance stats.

      Frankly, common sense and most any real teacher can tell you that there’s a limit to what schools can do to overcome differences in students’ home and social environments. Though there are programs that may help somewhat, this ain’t one.

  5. I don’t know if this article is behind a paywall but I am going to post it here:

    Back story: Texas residential evictions have skyrocketed since rent relief monies and eviction diversion programs have ended or have effectively dried up and died on the vine. The rules are still in place, though, especially rules issued by the Texas Supreme Court governing eviction cases at the justice court level. One of the rules is a 60 day abatement if the tenant and landlord agree to participate in rental assistance programs. As most government funding is gone, there is only private/charity funding available (e.g., Catholic Charities).

    This article, though, is terrible because of the obvious bias and ignorance of the reporter. I know this because I was involved in that docket and, yes, it was a huge docket (consisting of 250 cases on the 8:00 a.m. docket and another 220 on 1:00 p.m. docket – many of those cases on those dockets had been reset from prior hearings for one reason or another). That reference to the “prominent landlord lawyers” was a reference to our firm and ignores the fact that the judge hears attorney cases first to minimize the amount of time the lawyers are sitting in court waiting for their cases to be called. In fact, the court staff organizes the docket by law firms, grouping them together to hear those firms’ cases at the same time. Seems efficient to me.

    If you can access it, there is a lead in story about a young Black woman approaching the bench with a long stem rose. Well, it appears that the whole thing was set up, probably by the legal aid organization, who had contacted the reporter before hand to let her know that this might be a docket she’d like to cover. The young lady’s case was the first case on the docket (mine, too!). When the judge/court called the case, she proceeded into the courtroom carrying her Valentine’s Day rose. It was odd – who brings a rose to justice court for an eviction docket, especially the one getting evicted? The judge asked the questions. The tenant didn’t dispute she was behind on rent, hadn’t paid in months and knew she was facing eviction. She told the judge she came to court to see about her options. Obviously, the judge can’t and won’t give legal advice and suggested she see the legal aid lawyers out in the hallway. Yeah, the case took 90 seconds, but considering that she didn’t have a defense, what should the judge have done?

    I am also annoyed that the article is effectively a press release for Lone Star Legal Aid. There is a ton of information about the do-gooder legal aid lawyers and their fight for “justice” for the poor, destitute, downtrodden and abused tenants, but none about the nameless, faceless, big money landlords and their ignoble lawyers. She overlooks that many of the landlords are individuals or small businesses representing themselves.


  6. In last week’s Open Forum, I mentioned that I emailed my Representative regarding Rep. George Santos. Some of you chimed in with good thoughts regarding his response to me. Well, I emailed a response to him. I have not yet received a reply, but I’ll be very interested to read what – if anything – he writes.

    Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with me, not only regarding this particular issue, but everything else as well.

  7. For those who wonder how best to resist the insidious oppressive woke religion; here is an article that specifically addresses that question. Most of it is quotes by two men who would know because they lived it. Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vaclav Havel
    I found the article to be inspirational and encouraging because we as individuals still have, always have, transformative power. It isn’t a long read and I highly recommend.

    Some excerpts:
    Lying has always been used for political purposes. Lies cover up corruption, past mistakes and hidden motives, and they are an essential ingredient in political campaigning. Sometimes, however, political lies take on a much more sinister form. The lies become all-encompassing, embrace all aspects of life and infect every corner of society. This occurrence is a sign that totalitarianism may be rising. For as the political philosopher Hannah Arendt noted, totalitarianism, at its essence, is an attempt at “transforming reality into fiction”. It is the attempt of corrupt and pathological state actors to impose a fictional account of the world onto the entire population. In Nazi Germany it was the idea of a superior race and an unclean people that formed the big lie, in the Soviet Union it was the belief that state communism could work and that all could be made equal.

    When a state turns totalitarian the individuals who live in these societies are not merely its victims. All the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century rose to power amidst thunderous applause as many citizens openly called for the brutal control that defines this form of rule. Without mass support and compliance, the great minority in the ruling class would be but paper tigers. The responsibility for the oppression, suffering, and loss of life that comes in the wake of totalitarianism, therefore, cannot be placed exclusively on politicians and bureaucrats. A large portion of responsibility must be placed on the citizens who support this form of rule, or else do nothing to resist. Vaclav Havel explains in his book The Power of the Powerless:

    • Thanks for that link, Batman.

      I used a chapter from Havel’s Living in Truth in my Advanced Play Analysis class several times. (I’ve also directed one of his plays and acted in another.)

      Since my retirement, I’ve started selling or giving away a lot of my books. Not Havel’s. They occupy a place of honor on my bookshelf, and will continue to do so as long as I am sentient.

  8. Here’s one of the most egregious” Republicans pounce” headlines to date. As though people are too stupid to even think something is amiss.

  9. I know I’m really, really late to the Open Forum game this time around, but…

    I’ve been saying for a while now that…

    “The political left has shown its pattern of propaganda lies within their narratives so many times since 2016 that it’s beyond me why anyone would blindly accept any narrative that the political left and their lapdog media actively push?”

    Knowing that, seriously consider the tactics being used by our Pravda-USA media outlets and what’s coming out of politicians mouths with the narrative on the war in Ukraine, absolutely everything I’m hearing via the political left’s Pravda-USA media outlets and Democratic Party politicians is pro Ukraine (the oppressed) and against Russia (the evil) and as history has shown us over and over again that war is rarely as simple as one side is evil and the other is the oppressed. I remember back when the Ukrainian war started our Pravda-USA media and Democrat politicians were tarring anyone that questioned their narrative as pro Putin, pro Russia and it seems that that tactic has worked well. Even the political left’s “fact checkers” are coming out of the woodwork using the same kinds of “fact-checking” routines they used on President Trump and they’re using it on Putin’s every word. Remember how Trump was tarred as being mentally insane, what have they been saying about Putin. It’s become clear to me that the political left and our Pravda-USA media are pushing the exact same propaganda narrative (no dissent in the ranks whatsoever) using the exact same propaganda narrative tactics they’ve been using for the last 10 years.

    I’m no Putin fan but, in my opinion, something is not right with the narrative that’s being pushed, it’s 100% anti-Putin across the board and any opposition to the narrative has been effectively eliminated.

    Be honest with me, am I seeing a pattern that’s not there?

    • Are we as citizens of the United States effectively been put on a war footing mentality?

      I could very well be wrong; but, isn’t it kind of rare to switch political parties in the White House in a national presidential election when the country is on a war footing that’s promoting national unity to support a war effort? You know what I mean, the “we should stand together in unity against the evil we confront” mentality.

      • Steve if you look at the major conflicts with US involvement you find that we did switch parties in the Whitehouse or that the conflicts were too short to be impacted by a presidential election. It was only during WWII that not switching parties occurred.

        Mexican–American War (1846–1848) Too short
        Spanish–American War (1898) Too Short
        World War I (1917–1918) Too Short
        World War II (1941–1945) Democrat only
        Korean War (1950–1953) Switched Parties
        Vietnam War (1965–1973) Switched Parties
        Gulf War (1990–1991) Too short
        Iraq War (2003–2011) Switched Parties
        War in Afghanistan (2001–2021) Switched Parties

        I think the Ukraine conflict is useful to the media and Democrats for two reasons. It perpetuates the Russia is evil narrative from the Trump presidency. It also serves as a distraction from domestic problems in the US that have been either caused, ignored, or exacerbated by this administration.

        • Tom P wrote, “Iraq War (2003–2011) Switched Parties”, “War in Afghanistan (2001–2021) Switched Parties”

          I think that’s only partially true.

          George W. Bush was reelected at the height of war footing and patriotism. After that the White House switched a number of times Obama, Trump then Biden made the final pull out of Afghanistan.

    • Honestly Steve, the Russia/Ukraine conflict is not at all as the MSM would have us believe and it does not require much digging to see what is really going on.

      • Batman wrote, “Honestly Steve, the Russia/Ukraine conflict is not at all as the MSM would have us believe and it does not require much digging to see what is really going on.”

        Please share some links to sources that conflict the pre-approved Pravda-USA narrative.

        • Respectfully, have watched a number of talks and interviews on YouTube and read a variety of articles but do not have the time to recount all of that here now.
          I do not trust Zelensky any more than slo-jo and his crack head son.

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