To say "other schools are doing it" is an unworthy excuse re: academic shenanigans in the football program that should be beneath the dignity and honor of students and alumni of UNC-Chapel Hill, nor should it have been regurgitated without comment by the writer of this story. The University should stand for more than the lowest common denominator when it comes to academic requirements for all students, including high-profile-sport athletes,. It probably isn't an excuse offered by 99.9% of UNC students, graduates and faculty. Those students, grads and faculty members likely are as outraged as anyone that UNC athletes didn't do the work, violated the University's academic mission, and are angry UNC's football program apparently encouraged such a development and some faculty members participated in the scheme while the BOG, University President and Chacellor were asleep at the switch and didn't see the coming train wreck.
But to take a different logical viewpoint re: graduation rates, consider this: in most cases a low graduation rate means higher, not lower standards. Consider, for instance, examples in the miltary, i.e., the Navy Seals, the U.S. Army's Delta Force and Special Forces, plus FBI and CIA agents or even NASA's astronaut program. Many were called but few were chosen. So one shouldn't dismiss the possibility that low graduation rates at, for instance, UNC's Law School or the School of Design or Nuclear Engineering School at NC State meant those schools' academic requirements are set with a low bar. It is possible, given NCSU's actual academic displines, they might result in a low graduation rate for athletes (at one time, that clearly indicated laxness in recruiting academically unqualified student-athletes--see latter stages of the Jim Valvano era). But that scandal ultimately cost Valvano and the NCSU chancellor their jobs. Moreover, it didn't occur so far in the past that NCSU administrators didn't learn a valuable lesson. Despite its image as "Cow College," please look at NCSU's course syllabus sometime. It might explain that school's low graduation by athletes as they're now held to the same standard as other students.
On Aug. 15, the Burlington newspaper published a story across the top of A1 that noted U.S. ICE officials had evaluated the Alamance County jail and found it to be in compliance with 287(g) requirements. Terry Johnson's deputies run that holding facility. It is true DOJ has not pressed for information about the sheriff's alleged illegal immigration policies because DOJ refuses to allow the county attorney or his representative to be present at interviews of county law enforcement officers. I don't know the exact law, but it clearly appears DOJ has been pushed into a fishing expedition by activists in Curham and Chapel Hill. Several demonstrators a year or two ago were arrested for blocking entranceways to Alam. County judicial buildings -- obviously a publicity stunt. Deputies followed procedures and asked the demonstrators to move to an open area so they would not block the doors but they refused, demanding to be arrested. The show made the local TV evening news stations and newspapers. So it is understandable Sheriff Johnson and Alam. County officials would be leery of allowing DOJ to ask leading questions of employees in an attempt to elicit potentially incriminating information. I would be inclined to allow DOJ a set number of interviews outside the county attorney's presence, but not an unlimited number of interviews so the fishing excursion could continue until DOJ uncovers a perhaps disgruntled employee. And Johnson has fired people. The main problem with Alam. County's Latino traffic stops is with almost no driving laws enforced in Mexico and many Latin American countries, Hispanics are some of the most unknowledgeable about U.S. traffic laws and regulations of any segment of the population. It stands to reason they will be involved in more driving violations, not because of lack of ability to learn good driving skills but lack of proper training in U.S. driving regulations. If an arrested driver turns out to be undocumented, well, whoops -- they suffer the consequences. With so many illegals in Alamance County, that routine traffic stops would lead to 14 percent arrests -- because tha number includes those arrested for being undocumented-- should be no surprise. And why is that? Terry Johnson is tough on undocumenteds because they are involved in almost half the illegal drug possession, sale and intent to sell cases in Alam. County while comprising about 1/5 of the total population. Johnson was the SBI's most decorated undercover anti-drug cop when he worked for that agency, so stopping drugs is his speciality. And a lot of that work was done in northwestern NC, where few illegals lived 30 years ago when Johnson worked there. The guy's doing now what he knows best how to do. A little more digging by your reporter into Johnson's background might have uncovered these facts. Or maybe they did.
Disregarding (for the moment) the politics of American society and the N.C. legislature, the moral question remains "Am I my brother's keeper?" The question first appears in Genesis, but it is a disingenuous answer made by Cain to God AFTER Cain had killed his brother Abel (notably, in a fit of jealousy -- which easily translates into modern terminology as class envy). God already knew the answer (of course), but Cain still made a futile attempt to deflect/hide his responsibility. For generations political entities have adhered to two basic approaches as governing solutions -- forced confiscation of privately-earned funds from successful people to "care" for less fortunates (the Democrat style) or attempts to teach individual responsibility so that each citizen may learn how to provide for himself or herself (Republican). Well, at least that's the basic difference but; as others have pointed out, in recent years these distinctions have blurred. Still, Democrats appear to favor confiscation of wealth from wage earners, not from any heightened sense of duty to the down-trodden but in order to secure votes and retain political power.As proof watch any of Obama's recent TV ads smashing Mitt Romney's past business practices and Romney's wealth. Moreover, it is clear since the New Deal that holding onto power is the main goal of Democrats, at the expense of the poor and middle class working people. They have no ingrained need to help less-fortunate Americans. If they did, their nearly unbroken domination of both the N.C. and Congressional legislative houses would have resulted in better living conditions and more upward mobility for the poor. But the legacy of Democrats is political attacks on the "wealthy" who "aren't paying their fair share," but meanwhile the conditions of the poorest citizens (with only a scattered few exceptions and those came through nearly 100% exraodinar individual talent or effort) remains almost constant after nearly 80 years of Democrats playing this cynical political charade on state and national levels -- while retaining and using taxing powers in legislatures and the U.S. Congress..It's no wonder many Americans are sick of the Democrat approach -- not because they hate Democrats but because Democrat economic tactics simply don't work and are sending the country deeper into debt while helping no one. People also are coming to understand the rising tide of individual liberty raises all boats, rich and poor -- and ultimately resuls in more government revenues. Or at least there's hope the Republicans and Romney can offer practical working solutions to economic woes for everyone. It's not that anyone is 100% sure this will occur. We're just totally convinced it won't happen with Democrats in control.
If one thing is clear, it’s that people with “a dog in the hunt” almost always seek an edge so their “side” or viewpoint prevails. Translation: People cheat to win.
That’s why thorny disagreements – i.e., who is responsible when an automobile accident occurs and who gets custody of the children when a divorce happens – often are settled by a judge’s interpretation of legalese after hearing from lawyers who try to “spin” their own interpretation of the law so their clients will prevail. But we elect judges who, hopefully, are able to decide what the actual intent of laws is and how the law applies to real issues; we mostly disqualify judges with a history of one-sided decisions, either liberal or conservative. We desperately need judges who don’t try to appease either side but hold to the law’s meaning and can’t be swayed by extra-judicial incentives (cash or other items of value).
A good law should be broad enough, yet specific enough, to apply to many situations.
So we come to Amendment One to the N.C. Constitution, a change that would define marriage as the only legally-recognized union of a man and woman.
A lot of people have got their panties or tighty whities in a twist, mostly because of “spin” put on this proposed amendment’s language. It seems clear that traditional-marriage advocates (a majority of Christian church goers, pastors, priests, political conservatives) approve of Amendment One while gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual advocates and their supporters face them across a wide chasm.
A few facts:
* N.C. law already bans same-sex marriages;
* Other forms (see above) of domestic arrangement already exist, and the state is powerless to amend or stop them;
* People are making inaccurate claims about Amendment One’s intended/unintended consequences;
It might be a good time to look at the amendment’s actual language:
SECTION 1. Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding the following new section:
"Sec. 6. Marriage.
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."
I italicized the last sentence because opponents rarely mention it. Why, what does it mean, and why do they ignore it?
Well, I’m not a lawyer nor a legislator and not likely to become one, but it appears this ignored part of Amendment One indicates if the proposal becomes law, no one involved in a non-traditional partnership will be denied anything, nor their children – but that’s not what opponents claim.
In other words, the crafters of the amendment realized some people might oppose it because they might think they’d be denied certain rights. However, this clause seems to erase that worry – or should have. But opponents ignore this sentence because it removes the bullets from their rhetorical guns.
For example, a gay person right now may pay for his partner’s health insurance or name his partner (in a will) as beneficiary of his estate. That’s already current law. A lesbian couple currently may obtain health insurance for themselves or their children. Again, the law. Nothing stops or amends these rights, nor does Amendment One. Their kids also are still eligible for public-school-offered insurance, plus benefits available to other children. The couple would have to pay for school insurance, though, just as currently occurs for everyone. The school system is prevented by law from discriminating against students, and private contracts for insurance have little financial incentive to be prejudiced. Also, think about this: Any private company (or governmental agency) that would deny benefits to alternative-lifestyle employees would be making a terrible business decision. What if the smartest computer scientist in the world, who happened to be gay, applied to work at Company A? Do you think these days Company A wouldn’t hire that computer whiz because of the applicant’s sexual preference?
Also, hypothesize for some crazy reason a company didn't want to allow a gay employee to cover his/her partner with company insurance? That's one court trial away from a definitive equal-protection argument and judicial win and a juicy, large and lucrative settlement. The negative publicity for such a company would be devastating as well.
The charge that “domestic unions would be threatened” (you and your honey go to Dillon, S.C., to get married before a justice of the peace) is obviously untrue. Amendment One has no effect on domestic unions (which also could mean common-law marriages). It only addresses non-man-and-woman marriages.
So why was Amendment One put on the ballot?
As near as I can tell, this whole deal was a political exercise to flush out anti-traditional marriage advocates and tie them to the Democrats (you’ve probably seen demonstrations in Raleigh or read letters to the editor in newspapers, magazines and posts at web sites).
Amendment One apparently was devised by crafty Republicans to gen up interest in going to the polls during November and opposing Obama (the President already is on record as opposing Amendment One as has most of N.C.'s Democrat representatives and senators). It was brilliant political strategy by the GOP and worked exactly as intended.
The amendment (Senate Bill 514) also says only a simple majority is needed for the amendment to become law, not a 3/5 majority.
Interestingly, the Amendment One was opposed by Democrats as a public-ballot item, which is pure democracy in action and portrays the Dems as heavy-handed and anti-American (score another one for the Repubs). Although Republicans said it’s too important an issue to be settled by the legislature (a perhaps reasonable claim), I suspect they decided there’d be more grief than possible benefits if they decided Amendment One in Raleigh in the legislature. Also it’ll be done by secret ballots, and Obama and the Democrat Party will have been outted as opponents to a traditional, widely-popular American institution.
What a remarkable cry from a padded cell. And if Hal be against ye, who shall be for ye – everyone else, a simple or three-fifths veto-proof majority? Probably. I don't think I've ever read a column, and I don't read all of them, dripping with more venom toward a particular political party (Republicans) and exultingly declaring today's GOP primary combatants and their followers have created hell in the United States of America. Yet, the people continue to blunder their way toward full lives, go to church, care for the sick, love their families, do their jobs and support our soldiers – which leaves Crowther & Co., on the outside looking in and planning in their mind-ravaged jealousy to band together and smash a window or two, occupy a park or set fire to something owned by someone else -- or slime young minds. None Dare Call It Anarchy? Crowther was right in that Democrats are generally kinder and more trustworthy than their leaders, so in a world that semi-likes political throwdowns and to the winner go the spoils, where does that leave crazies? It's no wonder Mr. Hal feels a little more comfortable with Ron Paul, the ideologue's ideologue. I bet Hal would willingly share una buena cervaza fria with Fidel, who is a bona fide monster who has eaten and continues to eat his own people and is proud of it because los Americanos don't have his cuhones to do it right out there in broad daylight. The proof Hal's delusional? Diggin' up 2000 Florida presidential election and repeating the lie that G.W. Bush stole the election, even after the valid recount by the Miami Herald showed Bush defeated the Inventor of the Internet, Al Gore (the pre-count called winner by the saintly Dan Rather – who lost his job over presenting fake National Guard records that tried to prove GWB hid out from active service during the Vietnam War). It is not surprising Hal writes from Key West. Things take on a different view down there; maybe it's the rose-colored glasses, too many pina coladas and hard-bellied slim dancers wearing wigs, heels and slinky dresses in the nightclubs. Hola there, cutie, want to come hear my Judy Garland songs in my apartment? If the society truly is going down like the Titanic, and a few life boats exist, please don't put me on one with Hal. One of us would have to go.
It’s not surprising, given the current trailer-park concept of marriage in the country (and watching our Hollywood heroes’ couplings and dissolutions, such as Britney Spears/Jason Allen Alexander, Dennis Rodman/Carmen Electra, Jennifer Lopez and a cast of dozens, Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries and Demi Moore and an increasingly younger set of husbands) that the in-crowd might have a twisted sense of what entails traditional marriage.
Most of the rest of us who have jobs, house and car payments (into which we put $4/gallon fuel), grocery and medical bills, pay insurance and increasingly high taxes, buy groceries, clothes for the wife and kids and watch our public universities raise tuition semi-annually and must decide if we should rob a bank to pay for it all or hope to hit the Education Lotto are mystified (a) why anyone would choose to join our happy group or (b) why we should give up what little respect we have for the institution of marriage by changing the game plan to allow non-traditional life-stylers to reap what few benefits we receive for being members of the club.
Marriage is mostly a special deal for people who have committed themselves to one another for a lifetime (well, at least those are the traditional words) and it almost always involves a man and a woman who anticipate loving and caring for one another “until death do us part.” Some take that literally when things get bleak and take things into their own hands, but the majority of us believe we’ll ride things out for better or worse to the end of the string. Marriage for any society interested in preserving itself also usually involves children we will produce, small persons we will love, nurture and try to instruct in how to live good and decent lives and be kind to others. Well, at least that’s the plan.
And where does the plan come from? Usually the wedding and its vows. Of sure, in the pre-nupt festivities the guy’s buddies may hold a bachelor party with an excess of alcohol and a lovely young thing providing lap dances while the women (I hear) have sex-toy/lingerie parties. Plus, I don’t know many women who would spend $5,000 to wear a wedding gown to the courthouse (hell, there’s even a TV show about picking out wedding dresses). All this is in anticipation of walking down the aisle with one’s intended.
And the aisles most often are in a church where things get real serious when the minister has the happy couple repeat their vows and promise to love, honor and cherish one another until the credits roll. I don’t know many middle-class folks who say those words in front of God, friends and relatives and who are joking The gravity of the commitment comes from the setting, I believe (notwithstanding the .0001% of uncles who will pop open a beer on the back row). The seriousness of a church wedding has been a good beginning of most successful unions, I’d guess, and even though not all dogs go to Heaven, it’s a sure thing the road is a lot tougher, if nigh impossible to negotiate, if you both start out on the road to Hell.
Marriage between humans, in fact, in The Book is compared to the marriage of Christ and the Church. I understand that makes some folks nervous.
But back in the days of Rome, it was known by all citizens the strength of the Empire rested in its families, especially the emporer’s family. Good Roman rulers, unless a bachelor, always had a strong wife and family. The two examples where that didn’t work out so good were Caligula and Nero. I won’t go into their familia peccancies, but they were, for lack of a better word, non-traditional and hastened the fall of that civilization. It is written that Caesar Augustus, who ruled during Rome’s great Pax Romana, was a wonderful family man. He outlawed prostitution and strange sexual practices throughout the empire as a threat to the family. But enough of that.
I suppose Americans (and others) who have no truck with churches just aren’t familiar with what they teach or the founding document.
American governments, state, federal and local, always have preferred traditional marriages and once gave families a few benefits, such as tax breaks or credits. So it shouldn’t seem odd that a system which has worked more or less well for 200 years won’t change the rules anytime soon, no matter how many panties get in a twist or who’s wearing them.
I think most of us who have played by the rules would be a little upset if the rules get switched and give advantage where none are deserved.
I could not care less which body part enthralls a member of any sex, and if people want to dive into a lifestyle, just be discreet and not in front of the children, on the street, in the bathroom at WalMart or in a public park (New Orleans is fine, but one last night of Mardis Gras may make you regretful and cause you to yearn for Knightdale).
For Biblical revisionists, Jesus agreed with Caesar Augustus. He forgave a prostitute but he also said, “Go and sin no more.” I think she got married later, had a family and a nice life.
Crowther is a brilliant wordsmith who promotes the socialist line, which I'm sure he'd admit at a dinner party after a few martinis. At the risk of stating a cliche, there are two competing philosophies of government in the world, one pro capitalism and one pro socialism/communism. They always have and always will be locked in a death struggle for dominance. If one looks at the history of Europe and Asia, it is clear parts of Europe/Asia, especially Russia and later the satellite nations (East Germany, Poland, etc.) chained to the USSR, were forced at the barrel of a gun and threat of imprisonment, torture, execution, etc., to live under socialism/communism for a while. But the overwhelming will to obtain and enjoy human freedom, like water over a rock, eventually wore down socialism's flowers of evil, mostly in the West (China still carries the Red flag at the governmental level but has compromised communist economic theory and permits limited capitalism so its people won't starve under a hard-line, Red-based theory of work that prohibits escalating profits for workers). Some day that rock also will crack. People, in short, when given a choice, would rather take their chances in a system that permits individual initiative/rewards (read B.F. Skinner) than live under a dictatorship of the proletariat. Crowther clearly prefers the leftist form of dictatorship, over capitalism -- corporations are people, at the base level, just as banks are created by depositors, all you numnut no-nothings. Aunt Tilly and Uncle Schmo get dividend checks so they can live out their retirement years in relative comfort and in their own homes -- which must, in order to retain power, create attendant and abundant horrors, such as gulags and re-education camps (re-read Pasternak's "Dr. Zhivago" or Solzenitsn's "The Gulag Archipelago" or check the actions Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge used to destroy opponents -- mass murders and mass graves, mostly by beheading, was a favorite tactic -- check Schanberg's "The Killing Fields"). Today we have cops using pepper spray on a few Occupiers (at the orders of Carrboro and Chapel Hill mayors, duly elected by a majority of voters) and Crowther wants to compare the Chapel Hill cops to the Gestapo? Does he think people willingly will drink that Kool-Aid?
Of course there are problems with American capitalism, but most of it has been brought on by politicians lining up to be bought off. The solution is simple -- term limits. A state's governor or a Senator or Rep (state or federal) gets two terms and that's it and can't become a lobbyist until 10 years pass since his/ her last day as a people's representative. No tax money to fund political campaigns either -- you either have been able to drum up enough support from voters to pay your own way or you can't run -- that means having a better idea. That don't take a lotta money -- just enough to file as a candidate, then call a press conference or go visit the local newspaper editor, then participate in candidate forums. The problem with that approach nationally, however, is the very people who will have to vote term limits, etc., into law are now enjoying the largesse of being elected national Congressmen. One other thing: Crowther is totally wrong (and the stax prove it) on gun ownership. In every state where concealed carry has gone into effect, violent crime (and other crimes) have decreased. It's not hard to figure out -- criminals are reluctant to take on armed citizens. And in order to get a CC permit, one has to go through a training course for gun safety and its legitimate defensive uses. The proof is towns, cities and states with CC laws have not turned into the Wild West, as twisted thinkers and anti-personal protection demagogues have predicted . Still ain't convinced? OK, do ya think those people who fell victim to Wendell Williamson's bloody shootout on Franklin St. a few years ago would have liked to have taken him down before he killed and injured several people? Better yet, if you can't remember that far back, do you think Eve Carson might have chosen to have had a Ladies' model .32 pistol on her belt when DeMario Atwater and Laurence Lovette came calling while she was jogging in Chapel Hill March 5, 2008?
All Comments »
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation