Open Forum!

Gee, I can’t imagine what the commentariat might want to bat around today. Freak-outs over CNN daring to host a forum with a the leading candidate to oppose the President in 2024, the news media rushing to dismiss evidence of the Biden family’s access peddling, Rep. George Santos being indicted, the stampede at the border, the Marine who interceded with a rampaging homeless man on the subway indicted, a Squad member holding an anti-Semitic event at the Capitol…yeah, just another sleepy Friday.

Personally, I’m rooting for you to avoid all that stuff and leave me something to write about.

17 thoughts on “Open Forum!

  1. I’ve been thinking about Gavin Newsom’s reparations statement. I ironically, I think he inadvertently asked the quiet part out loud: If reparations are due in 2023, how do we account for the trillions of dollars expended to fight The War on Poverty since its commencement in the mid-1960s? Shouldn’t there be some sort of offset or credit thrown into the calculation? If you received welfare or food stamps or public housing or a free cell phone or a Pell Grant, should that be subtracted from your reparations payment? If reparations are paid, should the entire social safety net be disassembled? Should reparations payments be deemed ordinary income and taxed as such? Damages that are tax free? Once all the recipients become millionaires (a family of four will be multi-millionaires), shouldn’t they be subject to some sort of Bernie Sanders millionaire tax? And won’t there be a significant wealth gap between the poor whites and the now wealthy blacks that will need to be addressed in the name of equity? Don’t we need a guaranteed minimum net worth as well as a guaranteed minimum income regime?

    • All good questions. I would also suggest that we give a present offset for the values of lives lost before, during, and after the Civil War by those who fought to end the abomination that is slavery. Methinks that it would be a net zero in terms of total payouts.


  2. Having moved to get more medical aid, I have gotten a whole team for my daughter’s health. That medical team strongly recommended that I get a multifactored evaluation done through the school district so that we could define all of her learning disabilities and start working to remedy them. I homeschool, so now I have to sign a document saying that I have declined a Free and Appropriate Education for my child through the school district.

    Setting aside the “appropriate” part of this for the time being, how can anyone claim that a public education is free? State and federal money flows into the school coffers on top of the insane property tax that this city charges for its schools. The popular vote just gave all schools in this county even more money. Claiming that public education is free is preposterous.

    As for appropriate, I obviously don’t agree that the public school education is appropriate or I wouldn’t be homeschooling. I can cite posts on this site weekly at least that show that generalized public education is lacking. I can refer to many things in my city to show that this city’s education is lacking, and all of the other parents who send their kids to private schools would agree with me. I can even define the education that I think of as appropriate, and I can show that it is not offered in this town or the very expensive private schools nearby.

    I had to sign the form, or they could not allow me to homeschool my daughter, but what insanity is it to force people to sign a legal document declaring that “it isn’t what it is”?

    This to me seems to be yet another sign that the public schools are inappropriate places to have children if they claim on legal forms that they provide free education.

    • Having attended Catholic schools from K through 12 and then law school (private, non-sectarian, other than WASP, undergrad), I’ve always admired the mostly Irish inclination to educate one’s kids as you see necessary and appropriate and don’t leave it to anyone else. Our kids were sent to private grade and high schools and only our son went to a public university (where he was happy as a clam). Ironically, my aunts and many of their children and grandchildren taught/teach in public schools. All the cousins went to public schools. But molestation aside, Catholic schooling is a rational necessity that’s always been met by the Catholic faithful, praise Allah.

      • I would like to argue one point here. “Molestation aside”. Granted ONE child molested is too many and I am upset by the fact that any children are molested, much less ones in Catholic schools and churches. However, you are less likely to be molested in a Catholic school than a public one. Catholic priests are no more likely to molest than any other clergy, and clergy is safer than a standard teacher.

        Some numbers suggest that for an expansive definition of molestation closer to what I would call sexual harassment harassment, 25% of female students will be molested by a school adult (meaning janitors and such are included with teachers and principals) in public schools. Admittedly, that is on the high side of the range, but even at 10% (the lowest side of the range I have seen and usually for boys not girls), that is WAY too high. If you go with the more central values of 14-19%, this still figures higher than most parochial schools or homeschools unless your studies on those types of schools are mainly conducted by finding those who have complaints with those specific type of schools, rather than a much more random sample.

        I agree that Catholic schools may be a rational necessity for many families, but the one that is now close to my family is not one that I’m enthralled about. I’ll keep homeschooling. On the other hand, it is far superior to the mess that is the public education system.

        • Fair enough. Among other rumored and suspected misconduct, a good high school buddy was propositioned by the guitar mass brother at my high school. So, my personal, albeit secondhand, experience colors my take. Of course, my college girlfriend was raped by a professor at my WASPy college. I’m tempted to tell her about the statute Jack discusses in the following post. The rape occurred fifty years ago this Labor Day weekend, but what’s a half century among litigants and it happened in New York state!

          • Thank you. I hadn’t seen that one. The one I referenced obliquely above is far more recent and suggests some numbers keep getting worse. I always like new reading material.

            • Sadly, too many people excuse sexual abuse by teachers.


              Robin • a day ago
              The report calls this kid a “victim”????

              Man I wish I was victimized like that when I was in High School 🙂

              jamessavik • 2 days ago
              I’m sure he hated every minute of the orgy.

              BTW- wtf is he suing over. Most of us have to pay big bucks for a night like that.

              Bill Agans jamessavik • a day ago
              it wasn’t an orgy. it was a 3some. he’s not the one suin’. his mom is.

              SoonerRed Bill Agans • a day ago
              He got his, mom wants hers. It’s the American way… /barf

              OverTheEdge789 jamessavik • 17 hours ago
              The kid’s mother had to be the one behind the lawsuit. No one else involved would want it.

              sbut01 OverTheEdge789 • 9 hours ago
              Dad was too busy high fiving him and saying “that’s my boy”!

              Benedetti jamessavik • 2 days ago
              Parents are suing,he isn’t

              42n81 jamessavik • a day ago

              RatBastard • 2 days ago
              If the kid was my son I’d high-five him and buy him a beer.

              thefireman RatBastard • a day ago
              Where were those teachers when I was in school?

              cydcharisse thefireman • 6 hours ago
              They were there. They just weren’t interested in you.

              scott RatBastard • a day ago
              I’d ask for Parent-Teacher conference, at her house.

              Bob G RatBastard • a day ago
              No, I’d beat the snot out him for opening his big mouth and not letting his old man in on the action.

  3. OK, Jack, you asked for something different so here goes.

    For the past six or so months, I have not been particularly active on EA. This was due to having been diagnosed with lung cancer and focusing on other priorities. While I will throw in some ethical questions, this is mostly a PSA. I will attempt not to be too lengthy.

    In 2019, my wife was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart condition. While accompanying her to her cardiologist’s office, I saw a message board in the exam room urging current and former smokers to get screened for lung cancer. The message board also advertised various drug products.

    Lung cancer risk factors include smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, Asbestos fibers, or Radon gas. As a former smoker, I checked all four boxes.

    During my 2020 annual physical, I requested a lung cancer screening. Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) is used to screen for lung cancer. The process is painless and non-invasive. It takes about 15 minutes and fasting is not necessary. This first CT scan revealed a very small spot on my left lung, but they didn’t know what it was. I was told we should monitor the spot for changes. After multiple CT and PET scans and a needle biopsy performed over a two-year period, I was finally diagnosed with lung cancer this past February. On March 10th,
    a lobectomy of my lower left lung was performed. Pathology revealed the cancerous tumor less than an inch in length was some cancer cells in 2 adjacent lymph nodes. My cancer, because of the lymph node involvement, was classified as stage 2b. Very survivable but it requires limited chemo. If I had surgical intervention sooner, the tumor could have been removed potentially before it became cancerous. It also could not have necessitated the lobectomy.

    My physician never suggested lung cancer screening. Additionally, my physician did not keep track of my follow-up LDCT scans. I had to ask for it. Had I not seen the ad, I would not have been screened. If my wife did not have a rare heart issue, I never would have seen the ad.
    In speaking with friends, none of them have been screened even though they have risk factors.

    I consider myself to be very fortunate for insisting that I have the screening done. Usually, people with lung cancer don’t have any symptoms until the cancer is quite advanced. A friend’s father just died from lung cancer and he quit smoking 30 years ago. His cancer was not diagnosed until it reached Stage 4. I know of three other people diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and two of them never smoked.

    I urge everyone who might be at risk for lung cancer to get screened.

    Ethical question #1: is it ethical for physicians to advertise drug company products in the doctor’s office?
    Ethical question #2: Screening saves lives. Is it ethical for the government not to do PSA for lung cancer screening?
    Ethical question #3: Who is responsible for your health care? You? Your doctor? The government?

    • For question 3, I think the answer is pretty straightforward. Primary responsibility falls on individual to keep on top of their own health, with secondary responsibility falling on the doctors. Patients aren’t trained in medicine and cannot possibly have the expertise to keep up with all the newest advances in medicine. They should ask their doctors for all the relevant information in regards to their own health, but doctors need to be thorough and attentive to their patients, keep themselves updated on the latest advances in their field, and provide all relevant information to patients so they can make informed decisions. I don’t think the government really has any role to play in the equation. There are millions of parameters to consider for the health of the public at large, and government is incapable of even basic competency for simple matters. They cannot possibly be competent at relaying the relevant personalized information each patient needs in regards to their healthcare decisions.

      Question 1 I am more equivocal on, since the advertisements present pros and cons. They are fertile ground for kickbacks and bribery, but also may provide information on drugs patients were not previously informed about. It may be useful to patients, or may indicate a predatory relationship with a drug company on the part of the doctor. I would lean towards avoiding them, but I wouldn’t say it is starkly unethical for doctors to present them so long as they contain accurate information and the doctor legitimately believes in their efficacy after careful study of the data.

      Question 2….I don’t think that is the role of the government. Medical clinics and the creators of the screening technology can advertise their technology themselves. Government involvement only gives weight to some medical problems over others, provides incentives to medical researchers to prioritize some research over others, and makes a mess.

  4. Gun Control News
    Pistol Bans Edition!
    A Federal judge in Virginia has ruled the ban against 18 to 20 yr olds being able to purchase handguns as being unconstitutional under SCOTUS’ Bruen decision, and granted plaintiff’s request for summary judgement. Amicus briefs pro the ban from the Brady and Giffords gun-grabbers, and Bloomberg’s Astroturf “Everytown” argued that the controlling period for considering standards should be 1868, after the 14th amendment, rather than post colonial Constitution era. The judge did accept one of their arguments that there is scientific evidence that teenages are more impulsive befcause of still-developing prefrontal cortexes. Unfortunately for them she noted: “This supports the notion that teenage impulsivity long predates modern society”. Essentially, “Yeah, they were that way in 1788, too.”

    The bump-stock ban may also be on a downhill slide after a January 13 to 3 Fifth Circuit ruling against the ban (and resumed sales in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi), and an April Sixth Circuit 3-judge panel rejection of the regulation. The Biden admin. has appealed to the Supremes, which many pro-gun advocates see as an eventual win, considering the Bruen and EPA rulings and the current court makeup.

    • It won’t matter. Despite EPA v. West Virginia, the EPA just introduced new emissions rules that will drive coal and natural gas out of the energy sector shortly. That is exactly what EPA v. West Virginia said they couldn’t do, but they don’t care. The EPA also has a new rule that carmakers will have to have a CAFE of over 105 mpg soon, effectively outlawing internal combustion engine cars and trucks. Unless the Supreme Court finds a backbone, they will be irrelevant soon. Since these agencies just blatantly ignore the Surpeme Court rulings, about the only option the court has is to rule these agencies unconstitutional. If they rule that commerce is the buying and selling of goods and interstate commerce is the buying and selling of goods where the goods cross state lines FOR THAT TRANSACTION, then these agencies are unconstitutional. Of course, the Supreme Court won’t do this, so why should the government/media/academia listen to them? It’s like inner city voters. If they will NEVER vote Republican, why do Democratic politicians ever need to even listen to them?

  5. “The Julie Principle: The Julie Principle comes into play when an undesirable or annoying characteristic or behavior pattern in a person or organization appears to be hard-wired and part of their essence. In judging such a person or entity, it is useful to keep the lyrics of Julie’s song from “Show Boat” (“Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man O’ Mine,” lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein Jr., music by Jerome Kern) firmly in mind, when she sings…

    Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…

    I’ve gotta love that man til I die

    Can’t help lovin’ that man of mine!”

    Rationalization #25B “I Can’t Help Myself” in part states:

    “The distinction between “I can’t stop myself” and “I don’t stop myself” is filament thin, as can be discerned by speaking with any alcoholic.” and ““I couldn’t help myself!” is far too easy a dodge, and while there might be the rare occasions when that description is accurate, it is far more frequently used as an excuse to keep indulging in selfish, personally beneficial, anti-social and unethical conduct, and to try to attract sympathy for being “unable to stop” doing so.”

    This seems to defy the “shoulder shrug” that is essential to the mercy granted by the Julie Principle as the user appeals to the principle.

    Rationalization #38A “Mercy for Miscreants” in part states:

    “Advocates of this rationalization are prone to say things like “Move on!”, “Let it go,” and “Stop beating a dead horse.” Unethical people count on this: their persistent unethical conduct wears us out. Nonetheless, The amount of criticism for actual wrongdoing should be directly and exactly proportional to the extent and seriousness of the wrongful acts.”

    Those using this rationalization are making a direct appeal to the Julie Principle also. Whereas the Julie Principle applies to those who are “worn out” by a friend’s unethical or annoying conduct “just moving on”.

    Rationalization #46 is the most obviously reliant upon the Julie Principle, “It’s Complicated” states in reference to Ray Rice’s fiancee making the ultimate Julie Principle excuse:

    “Ray Rice’s fiancee will allow him to escape accountability for criminally assaulting her, thus putting herself and other women in mortal peril as well as encouraging similarly irresponsible and reckless conduct from similarly deluded and vulnerable women. It may be complicated, but its still wrong. If we don’t criticize people who do obviously wrongful, self-destructive, anti-social things, like marrying domestic abusers and allowing them to avoid the consequences of their actions, then such conduct appears to be acceptable in the eyes of society.”

    The Julie Principle is 100% driven by Cognitive Dissonance and Ethics Accounting. We value our friendships and relationships because of what they do for our base needs for community. And we use that value to diminish the negatives that they also bring to the table. If this is valid, as the Julie Principle posits, then the rationalizations are not rationalizations. However, the rationalizations all rely on two key things the Julie Principle doesn’t discuss:

    1) The level of “bad” the friend engages in. At some point, such as in the Ray Rice episode – the Julie Principle excuse maker is being *too* merciful in light of unethical conduct.

    2) We are all obligated to try to correct unethical behavior, but the friend who applies the Julie Principle excuse to continue being friends with the unethical is at some point completely powerless in their effort to correct the behavior.

    So, I think the Julie Principle has to be re-worded to address those aspects of *when* it’s “ok” to use the principle, versus when, as a matter of fact, a person is obligated to confront their friend/relationship who is in error.

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