Archive for September, 2009

Is Roman Polanski Above the Law?

September 30, 2009

Supporters of convicted criminal,  movie director Roman Polanski believes he should be allowed to get away with skipping out on sentencing 32 years ago.  He had originally been charged with giving  a 13-year-old  aspiring  model champagne and  part of a Quaalude and then raping and sodomizing her among other charges in spite of her pleas that he stop.  According to the girl’s  grand jury testimony he photographed her topless, ostensibly for a magazine, and then had her completely disrobe before attacking her.

He managed to plea bargain the charges down to a simple unlawful sex with a minor charge.   However, he fled the country when it appeared the judge might sentence him to a longer jail term than what he had agreed to in the plea bargain.

As many people know, male Hollywood producers, directors, etc. have long had a reputation for requiring woman who wanted to succeed to grant them sexual favors via the casting couch.  Polanski possibly thought this tradition meant he could get away with attacking a young girl  who wanted to become a model.

40-year-old men who rape 13-year-olds usually are sexual predators who have preyed on more than one  girl.  I wonder if there are other girls who were raped by Polanski but didn’t report it because  they were ashamed, considered rape part of the cost of getting in show business,  felt it wouldn’t do any good to charge someone so well known or were paid to forget the incident.

Polanski has avoided arrest for 32 years because France allows it criminals to return home without fear of being extradited for their crimes.  French leaders apparently believe it is perfectly acceptable for French citizens to rape American girls.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was quoted in French media as saying, “In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face.”  French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told France-Inter radio that he and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that Polanski be released on bail, calling his arrest  a “bit sinister.”

French opposition shouldn’t be too surprising considering the country’s past support for accused artists.

Polanski has been flaunting the law for 32 years.  It’s time for him to be returned and serve out his sentence.

Ordinary citizens who have done the same have been required to  return to jail.  Why shouldn’t  big shot  film makers?

Are entertainers in particular or the rich in general above the law?  Are they only required to pay compensation to their victims and check into rehab when they get caught breaking the law?  Do the entertainers who support Polanski believe rape of children by film directors is acceptable behavior?

It’s not like Polanski questioned the charges by attempting to establish his innocence in a trial like Michael Jackson did.  Jackson challenged the charges against him and the jury found him not guilty.  Polanski readily admitted his guilt by agreeing to a plea bargain that implied only a minor violation of the law.

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Imprison People for No Insurance?

September 27, 2009

Ultimately the government’s ability to force people to comply with its regulations involves the threat of imprisoning those who refuse to comply. If the Democrat controlled Congress decides to arbitrarily force some people to purchase health insurance will it adopt severe measures to insure compliance with its requirement.

Will any government requirement to purchase health insurance include the threat to imprison those who refuse to purchase insurance or pay a fine? Will government confiscate money or property from those who refuse to purchase health insurance or pay a fine?

According to Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold anyone failing to purchase insurance would face a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty.

President Barack Obama falsely compares the purchase of health insurance to auto liability insurance. “What it’s saying is … that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you any more than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance,” he said.

I don’t know if Obama is deliberately lying or he is so ignorant he doesn’t understand the difference between auto liability insurance and personal health insurance. States don’t require everyone to purchase auto liability insurance. States only impose the requirement on those who want to own and drive motor vehicles to insure that drivers who cause injury or property damage will be able to compensate those who suffer loses. Motorists typically have the option of substituting proof of financial responsibility, such as posting a cash bond, in lieu of insurance.

Different couples with the same income might not have the same ability to pay for health care. A young couple might have two large student loans to pay off and still want to start purchasing a house or newer vehicles. A couple might decide to take the risk of going without health and life insurance to start their own business. Some couples may be providing assistance to a disabled parent.

Many of those who could afford insurance do without it because they believe their healthy lifestyles reduces their need for medical care. They don’t want to have to pay to subsidize the habits that increase medical costs like smoking, unhealthy eating and drinking habits, failure to exercise, etc. Insurance companies use money taken from healthy people to pay for the medical care of unhealthy people. Democrats who favor compulsory insurance should ask themselves if they want to be forced to pay for Rush Limbaugh’s prescriptions.

Who is best able to determine if someone can purchase health insurance — wealthy members of Congress, government bureaucrats or individual couples?

Is this still the land of the free or is it a police state like the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany?

Obama’s Desperation on Health Care

September 23, 2009

President Barack Obama needs to abandon his obsession with the Democrats’ clunker health care proposal. His public relations campaign indicates desperation and an unwillingness to recognize that this clunker needs a new engine rather than a slick advertising campaign.

Obama started out wrong by attempting to force the very complex measure through Congress with limited debate. This high pressure salesmanship approach created a suspicion that something very bad was hidden in the fine print of the measure because high pressure salesmen often hide important information of contracts.

Most of us are especially suspicious of politicians when they ask us to trust them after presenting a measure so complex that it might take a decade of lawsuits to figure out. The claim about so-called “death panels” might have been false, but many so distrusted the measure that they readily believed the claim.

Suspicions about Obama’s intent also caused many to believe that he had some ulterior motive with the public option provision. Obama’s frequent public appearances may be counterproductive because he comes across too much like the stereotypical used car dealer who runs ads every half hour. Democrats need a new health proposal not an expanded public relations campaign to sell the current clunker.

A successful president needs to follow the advice of the “Gambler” in the Kenny Rogers song. He needs to “know when to hold ’em [and] know when to fold ’em.” This is the time for Obama to “fold ’em” on health care and wait for Congress to deal a new hand.

Down Syndrome Doesn’t Stop Eagle Scouts

September 18, 2009

Lucas Wondra has achieved something only about 4 % of those who enter scouting achieve. He has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

His achievement is particularly significant because the 16-year-old Hutchinson (Kansas) High School student has the genetic disorder Down Syndrome. Lucas is one of many who are demonstrating that individuals with Down Syndrome can be productive members of society. Maybe they are not capable of performing brain surgery or becoming professional athletes, but then neither are the vast majority of the rest of us.

Individuals with Down Syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 , a condition called trisomy 21, which can cause physical and mental disabilities because having three copies of some genes interferes with the normal operation of cells and development. Down Syndrome children may not be geniuses, but many of them are able to attend classes with other students instead of being limited to special education classes as was once the case.

The cause of the extra copy of the chromosome is unknown, but it is known that an extra copy may be received from one of the parents or the extra chromosome may appear during the embryonic stage of development resulting in some cells with the extra copy and some with only two copies of chromosome 21. The possibility of an extra chromosome developing in embryonic cells is a major reason why embryonic cells may be unsafe to use in treating human disorders

Lucas isn’t the first Scout with Down Syndrome to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. For example, Adam Townsend of Mesquite, Texas, became an Eagle Scout on June1, 2009. A. J. Trueblood of Lakeland, Florida, became an Eagle Scout in August, 2006. Clayton “Trey” Henderson of Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Florida, became an Eagle Scout in April, 2006.

Down Syndrome scouts have to meet the same requirements as other Eagle Scouts if they are physically able to do so. A. J. Trueblood didn’t even mention that he had Down Syndrome on his application.

Lucas is unable to swim so he substituted a 20 mile hike. He also completed five 10 mile hikes. I don’t know if I even hiked 20 miles when I took basic training in the army, although it sometimes felt like 20 miles.

Lucas is physically unable to speak but can communicate using sign language and a PDA with voice software. He used the PDA to communicate with a congregation while serving as a chaplain’s aide including offering a thought for the day and leading in the Lord’s Prayer.

Many of those with Down Syndrome never had the opportunity for achievement that these Eagle Scouts had because their mothers listened to ignorant, prejudiced doctors and others who persuaded them to have abortions. Many share the prejudiced (or is it bigoted) view of Nicholas Provenzo that “a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision.”

Provenzo obviously doesn’t understand what those with Down Syndrome can do. I wonder how many of those who think Down Syndrome individuals cannot do anything had the drive to become Eagle Scouts.

Perhaps the lamest argument for aborting Down Syndrome babies has been suggested to students on more than one occasion by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Professor Albert K. Harris. “In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome #21, and abort the fetus if it does. The brain is the last organ to become functional.”

“I know somebody who had a child like this, and it ruined their life,” he said.

Down Syndrome babies do require more time and effort than some other babies, but that doesn’t mean they should not have the opportunity to be born and live.

Active “normal” children may actually require more supervision than Down Syndrome children because they may be physically able to get into dangerous situations faster than Down Syndrome children.

Potential parents who are concerned that a child with Down Syndrome might require more of their time should reconsider the decision to become parents. Down Syndrome isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a child.

A child could be afflicted with a fatal form of cancer or Muscular Dystrophy. A child might be severely injured in an accident or abducted.

A child might require greater effort from parents because of hyperactivity or autism. A “normal” child may decide to get involved with drugs or gangs.

These and many other problems that can occur with children can adversely affect families, but the problem isn’t with the children. Major illness of the death of a child from any cause potentially can destroy a family if parents start playing a blame game. The problem in these situations is with parents who cannot accept adversity.

Sue Thomas was born in May, 1950, and was a normal child until she suddenly lost her hearing at 18 months. The “experts” told her parents that she would never amount to anything and should be institutionalized. Her parents ignored the advice and made sure that she had the opportunity for as normal a life as possible including attending school with children who could hear.

At the age of 7 she became the youngest Ohio Champion free style skater in history. In 1979, she became part of an elite FBI surveillance team. In 2002 a tv series Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye debuted based on her career, although many of the episodes dealt with the type cases facing the FBI at the time of the series rather than cases from the 80’s. The Gospel Music Channel is bringing that series back on September 14.

Some people try to define others by what they cannot do instead of what they can do. Lucas Wondra, Adam Townsend, A.J. Trueblood and Clayton Henderson have done something I couldn’t have done when I was their age. They have become Eagle Scouts.

I was a Cub Scout, but my family moved to another town when I was in the 6th grade and I never became a Boy Scout. Even if I had participated, I doubt that I could have fulfilled the requirements for an Eagle Scout because I was the stereotypical “98 pound weakling” in high school.

I cannot play a musical instrument like Sarah Itoh who has Down Syndrome and who was playing the clarinet by the time she was11 years old. She is an accomplished public speaker who particularly enjoys telling audiences how she enjoys Special Olympics. At her age I had enough trouble just repeating lines in a church Christmas play.

We all have different abilities and disabilities. We can do some things that others cannot do and they can do some things that we cannot do.

Sue Thomas responded to her loss of hearing by learning to read lips. That skill got her a job as an FBI agent because she could what other FBI agents could not do. She could tell what a suspect under visual surveillance was saying without the need to plant a microphone near him.

We don’t know the full potential of what individuals with Down Syndrome can do because for many years people just labeled them “retarded” and assumed they couldn’t do an
Lucas Wondra has achieved something only about 4 % of those who enter scouting achieve. He has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

His achievement is particularly significant because the 16-year-old Hutchinson (Kansas) High School student has the genetic disorder Down Syndrome. Lucas is one of many who are demonstrating that individuals with Down Syndrome can be productive members of society. Maybe they are not capable of performing brain surgery or becoming professional athletes, but then neither are the vast majority of the rest of us.

Individuals with Down Syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 , a condition called trisomy 21, which can cause physical and mental disabilities because having three copies of some genes interferes with the normal operation of cells and development. Down Syndrome children may not be geniuses, but many of them are able to attend classes with other students instead of being limited to special education classes as was once the case.

The cause of the extra copy of the chromosome is unknown, but it is known that an extra copy may be received from one of the parents or the extra chromosome may appear during the embryonic stage of development resulting in some cells with the extra copy and some with only two copies of chromosome 21. The possibility of an extra chromosome developing in embryonic cells is a major reason why embryonic cells may be unsafe to use in treating human disorders

Lucas isn’t the first Scout with Down Syndrome to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. For example, Adam Townsend of Mesquite, Texas, became an Eagle Scout on June1, 2009. A. J. Trueblood of Lakeland, Florida, became an Eagle Scout in August, 2006. Clayton “Trey” Henderson of Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Florida, became an Eagle Scout in April, 2006.

Down Syndrome scouts have to meet the same requirements as other Eagle Scouts if they are physically able to do so. A. J. Trueblood didn’t even mention that he had Down Syndrome on his application.

Lucas is unable to swim so he substituted a 20 mile hike. He also completed five 10 mile hikes. I don’t know if I even hiked 20 miles when I took basic training in the army, although it sometimes felt like 20 miles.

Lucas is physically unable to speak but can communicate using sign language and a PDA with voice software. He used the PDA to communicate with a congregation while serving as a chaplain’s aide including offering a thought for the day and leading in the Lord’s Prayer.

Many of those with Down Syndrome never had the opportunity for achievement that these Eagle Scouts had because their mothers listened to ignorant, prejudiced doctors and others who persuaded them to have abortions. Many share the prejudiced (or is it bigoted) view of Nicholas Provenzo that “a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision.”

Provenzo obviously doesn’t understand what those with Down Syndrome can do. I wonder how many of those who think Down Syndrome individuals cannot do anything had the drive to become Eagle Scouts.

Perhaps the lamest argument for aborting Down Syndrome babies has been suggested to students on more than one occasion by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Professor Albert K. Harris. “In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome #21, and abort the fetus if it does. The brain is the last organ to become functional.”

“I know somebody who had a child like this, and it ruined their life,” he said.

Down Syndrome babies do require more time and effort than some other babies, but that doesn’t mean they should not have the opportunity to be born and live.

Active “normal” children may actually require more supervision than Down Syndrome children because they may be physically able to get into dangerous situations faster than Down Syndrome children.

Potential parents who are concerned that a child with Down Syndrome might require more of their time should reconsider the decision to become parents. Down Syndrome isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a child.

A child could be afflicted with a fatal form of cancer or Muscular Dystrophy. A child might be severely injured in an accident or abducted.

A child might require greater effort from parents because of hyperactivity or autism. A “normal” child may decide to get involved with drugs or gangs.

These and many other problems that can occur with children can adversely affect families, but the problem isn’t with the children. Major illness of the death of a child from any cause potentially can destroy a family if parents start playing a blame game. The problem in these situations is with parents who cannot accept adversity.

Sue Thomas was born in May, 1950, and was a normal child until she suddenly lost her hearing at 18 months. The “experts” told her parents that she would never amount to anything and should be institutionalized. Her parents ignored the advice and made sure that she had the opportunity for as normal a life as possible including attending school with children who could hear.

At the age of 7 she became the youngest Ohio Champion free style skater in history. In 1979, she became part of an elite FBI surveillance team. In 2002 a tv series Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye debuted based on her career, although many of the episodes dealt with the type cases facing the FBI at the time of the series rather than cases from the 80’s. The Gospel Music Channel is bringing that series back on September 14.

Some people try to define others by what they cannot do instead of what they can do. Lucas Wondra, Adam Townsend, A.J. Trueblood and Clayton Henderson have done something I couldn’t have done when I was their age. They have become Eagle Scouts.

I was a Cub Scout, but my family moved to another town when I was in the 6th grade and I never became a Boy Scout. Even if I had participated, I doubt that I could have fulfilled the requirements for an Eagle Scout because I was the stereotypical “98 pound weakling” in high school.

I cannot play a musical instrument like Sarah Itoh who has Down Syndrome and who was playing the clarinet by the time she was11 years old. She is an accomplished public speaker who particularly enjoys telling audiences how she enjoys Special Olympics. At her age I had enough trouble just repeating lines in a church Christmas play.

We all have different abilities and disabilities. We can do some things that others cannot do and they can do some things that we cannot do.

Sue Thomas responded to her loss of hearing by learning to read lips. That skill got her a job as an FBI agent because she could what other FBI agents could not do. She could tell what a suspect under visual surveillance was saying without the need to plant a microphone near him.

We don’t know the full potential of what individuals with Down Syndrome can do because for many years people just labeled them “retarded” and assumed they couldn’t do anything. Maybe none of the Eagle Scouts mentioned will become an astronaut like Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong or a movie director like Eagle Scout Steven Spielberg. However, drama student and cheerleader Clayton Henderson might become a successful actor like Joseph “Chris” Burke who has Down Syndrome and was a star of the successful tv series “Life Goes On..”

How many of us could star in a tv series?

Some people claim that Down Syndrome children cost to society in the form of government programs that have assisted them. I doubt seriously all Down Syndrome individuals together have cost society nearly as much as Bernie Madoff. ything. Maybe none of the Eagle Scouts mentioned will become an astronaut like Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong or a movie director like Eagle Scout Steven Spielberg. However, drama student and cheerleader Clayton Henderson might become a successful actor like Joseph “Chris” Burke who has Down Syndrome and was a star of the successful tv series “Life Goes On..”

How many of us could star in a tv series?

Some people claim that Down Syndrome children cost to society in the form of government programs that have assisted them. I doubt seriously all Down Syndrome individuals together have cost society nearly as much as Bernie Madoff.

Obama, Show Us the CARFAX [tm]

September 2, 2009

President  Barack Obama  resembles the  used  car dealer in  the CARFAX commercial.

You’ve probably seen the commercial.  A sleazy used car dealer is attempting to push a customer into buying  an apparent clunker.  The  customer  says he won’t buy without seeing the CARFAX which would provide a history of the car so the customer would know what he was getting.

Obama has been pressuring Congress to  adopt  some type of health care related program without the lengthy debate that should precede any major change in health care.  Obama’s attempt to force the issue implied a major flaw with the proposal, perhaps something so unpopular that he was afraid people would find out about if the measure wasn’t adopted quickly.

Used car salesmen long ago gained a bad reputation as a group because some of them have misrepresented  the condition of the vehicles or the mileage they get.  Southern California used car dealers once supposedly would misrepresent a car’s use by saying it had been owned by a “little old lady from Pasadena who only drove it to church on Sundays.”  Or at least they did until the Beach Boys released a song about “The Little Old Lady from  Pasadena”  who was “the terror of Colorado Boulevard”  in her ” brand new shiny red super stock Dodge.”

Some of today’s used car   dealers will sell cars that have been wrecked or in a flood to unsuspecting customers who don’t insist on seeing the vehicle’s  CARFAX.

Comparing presidents to used car dealers isn’t new.  In the late 60’s the question was asked about Richard Nixon, “would you buy a used car from this man?”

Did Obama try to force the issue because his proposal really isn’t about providing better access to health care but providing money for the health care industry, including insurance companies?

Forcing people to purchase insurance whether they want it or not would certainly increase insurance company revenues.  The public option would provide billions more in income for health care providers so that more hospitals can afford to pay administrators such as Michelle Obama $300K salaries.  The public option can make it easier for insurance companies to reject those with medical conditions and let the government pay for treatment.

Perhaps Obama is worried people will discover the Massachusetts Plan he wants is a clunker that the state is considering a plan to ration health care.

Obama’s attempt to force the issue provided  the atmosphere in which a fear about “death panels” could develop.   The idea may have originated  from  statements by some of those associated with Obama who might play a role in implementing any legislation than specific provisions in the act.

Contrary to denials by Obama supporters, an increased government role in health care could create virtual death panels.  Having government control access to health care could  create virtual death panels.    If a private insurance denies coverage for treatment of a potentially fatal disorder, the patient has the option of  asking friends and family to raise money for the treatment.  If  government  took control of health care,  that option might not be available.   A government  agency decision to deny payment for treatment might become a death sentence because private financing might not be allowed.

I might have purchased a used car from Richard Nixon, at least before Watergate, but there is no way I would buy one from Barack Obama.