Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bits & Pieces from the Attic in My Mind (December 2, 2011)

  I follow up last week’s cornucopia with this potpourri. As the year winds down I decided to empty the attic in my mind where I stored these bits and pieces.
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Like she’d done many times before, last June Stella Harville and her black boyfriend visited her parents and attended the family’s all-white church in rural Kentucky. After the service, a member of Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church told her father that his daughter’s boyfriend, who had sang before the congregation during one service, couldn’t sing there anymore.
However, after that, church members, with their attitudes firmly rooted in the 19th century, voted 9-6 to bar interracial couples from church services and functions after members of the congregation said they would walk out the next time Chikuni sang.
By the way, funerals were the lone exception to the ban. Good to know they at least respect the dead.
The motion that the church “does not condone interracial marriage” drew an avalanche of criticism and leaders scrambled to overturn it when the church’s national organization was inundated with angry phone calls, as well as a deluge of e-mails.
They pastor nullified the vote last weekend, but his reason wasn’t exactly humane or righteous. Pastor Stacy Stepp said that the decision was reached because the vote “violated church bylaws” since it was not done in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.
Does that mean if a subsequent vote is taken months from now and the rules are followed, the pastor would allow such segregation IN A CHURCH?
We’re a decade into the 21st century and Southern white Christians act like the Civil War just ended.
So much for inalienable rights and equality IN CHURCH!
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When one youngster recently asked where the North Pole is during a geography lesson, the teacher, at a school in upstate New York, apparently told her class of second graders that there is no Santa Claus and that Christmas presents were brought by their parents.
Like the church members in Kentucky (see above item), here’s another example of an adult with little compassion. Or maybe the Nanuet, NY educator was just rehearsing to play Scrooge in a local production of “A Christmas Carol” and was taking the “Bah, humbug” routine way too seriously. 
The Santa myth was debunked again a few days later when a news anchor for Fox News  the defender of fair and balanced reporting — in Chicago told her viewing audience that kids should be told Mr. Claus is just a myth.
The teacher and the female anchor should get coals in their stocking this Christmas.
C’mon, we were all young once and even those of the Jewish faith, like my brother and I, and other non-Christians at one time may have believed that a stocky bearded man, sometimes known as Kris Kringle, brought all the toys. Or was it Hanukkah Harry?
There’s no reason to lie to children, especially if they’re old enough to understand the truth.
Let’s not forget the last part of the 1897 New York Sun editorial, published after an eight year old Manhattan girl wrote the newspaper to inquire about St. Nick’s validity: “Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
“…he lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
For a child, believing in Santa Claus is comparable to an adult having faith in a Supreme Being  you either have it or you don’t.
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It’s time our federal — and state and local — lawmakers think about this. When they make laws, they should not be exempt. Laws should apply equally to everyone — rich, poor, senators, representatives, judges, etc. If they don’t like it, they need to find another career path.
They make the laws, but they should not be above the law.
Last month, the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” ran an eye-opening segment alleging that some of our senators and representatives have been making money by indulging in the type of insider trading in the stock market that would probably have most of the rest of us thrown in jail.
This week, the House Financial Services Committee proposed new restrictions to limit insider trading to restore a degree of confidence from a nation that likely has more faith in Santa Claus (see preceding item) than our elected representatives.
What’s most upsetting is that past attempts to ban the practice met with little support in Congress. But now that some light has been shed on the issue, all of a sudden there’s a rush to end it.
First of all, none of the investments made by senators and representatives, which reportedly reaped them healthy profits, was illegal. Furthermore, previous studies have indicated that lawmakers’ portfolios tend to do better than that of your average investor.
 “60 Minutes” reported that the insider trading was bipartisan with both Democrats and Republican partaking, including House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The report indicated that due to members of Congress being privy to specific information as they consider legislation, they have legitimate access that the public does not, which, because of a lack of regulations, allows them to make investments that may add to their annual incomes.
Congress only seems to be taking up this issue at this time to prevent its approval rating, which was about 9 percent at the moist recent polling, from falling any further. Alabama Republican Spencer Bacchus, chairman of the committee, promised a vote next week to restore the public’s trust, adding “If this is the answer so be it.”
In other words, Congress knows this trading on information not available to the public looks like they have an advantage over the average investor, so they better make some changes before OWS protesters are joined by more of the 99 percent to march on the Capitol.
This is just another example of the arrogance of some politicians who, once they take office, tend to legislate what’s not necessarily best for constituents, but rather what will likely benefit them. Any elected representative who follows that career path, not only should be exposed and voted out of office, but deserves no respect.
To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest and cronyism, Congress must create reforms with rules that put an end to legislators and their families trading in stocks based on any information obtained as part of any Congressional activity.
After all, when America adopted the phrase “In God We Trust” as its motto 55 years ago, it didn’t give our lawmakers leeway to toss aside the trust we should have in them.