So what's on your mind as we enter the second-to-the-last weekend before Christmas? Done with your holiday shopping?
(Assuming you engage in that American pastime!)
Two U.D. students have sued the university in Federal court, claiming the school has violated their free speech rights. It involves t-shirts of questionable taste, but the legal dispute may center on copyrights and intellectual property. University officials blocked Benjamin Goodman and Adam Bloom from selling their own t-shirts at the 2012 homecoming, emblazoned with the words, "U can suck our D".
The students apparently emailed their Facebook followers about the shirts; university officials got wind of it; and some university functionary responded with a cease-and-desist order.
The students claim someone at the university had earlier advised them they would not be infringing on the university's trademark as long as they didn't use the interlocking U.D. logo.
Perhaps the university is using the trademark argument as a subterfuge to suppress suggestively vulgar - but legally protected - free speech?
The Delaware Compensation Commission has a recommendation from Governor Markell's chief of staff to increase the salaries of several state Cabinet secretaries; the state judiciary is also pushing for raises for the state's judges. A few days ago, state G.O.P. lawmakers recommended against any pay raises for state lawmakers. The compensation panel convenes every four years to consider possible salary increases for people in the higher tiers of state government. Unless state lawmakers vote down the entire package, the commission's salary recommendations prevail. The stickler always seems to be judicial salaries. The argument goes something like this: Delaware derives a certain financial benefit from the reputation - and quality - of its judges. If the state can't attract and retain the best judges through competitive salaries, the state would lose its competitive advantage. But judicial salary hikes inevitably go across the board, not just the judges involved with corporate law. And the judicial salaries generally get linked to the other recommended salary hikes, such as with Cabinet secretaries.
People are still commenting on the decision by New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi to gut the smoking ban around county buildings.
An uproar at Penn State University, a week after a photo of Chi Omega sorority sisters at a caricatured Mexican-themed party went viral: The sisters wore fake mustaches and sombreros. A sign in the photo reads: "Will mow lawn for weed + beer". The student group, "PSU for All Student Equality" staged a march, calling for better recruitment and retention of Hispanic students and faculty in State College.
Another U.S. military escalation? U.S. Secretary of State Leon Panetta has signed an order to authorize the deployment of four hundred troops to maintain and operate two long-range Patriot missle-defense batteries along NATO ally Turkey's border with Syria. This decision, at least theoretically, puts U.S. troops near the front lines of Syria's bloody civil war. Cause for worry?
Somewhat of a bombshell: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice withdraws her name as a candidate for Secretary of State, saying the Administration could not afford a "lengthy, disruptive, and costly" confirmation fight over her Benghazi statements.
So what do you think? Did she withdraw on her own, or under White House pressure? Did President Obama leave her to twist in the wind? Did the President decide against nominating her simply to avoid long, potentially painful hearings about Benghazi (especially amid indications that Secretary of State Clinton may not testify at this time)?
Bloomberg News reports former U.S. Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel will be President Obama's pick for Secretary of Defense. Hagel would doubtless breeze through the U.S. Senate, just like Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State (When it comes to Cabinet nominees, Senators tend to favor their own, even across party lines... remnants of the old Senate collegiality.) But Hagel - something of a maverick in the U.S. Senate, and aligned with John McCain - raises hackles in the G.O.P. these days. Based on some of his previous statements, some fear he's something of a dove with regard to Iran.
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at The White House Thursday, amid absolutely NO signs of progress over the so-called "fiscal cliff". The long-time observers I consult are divided over whether this thing gets resolved just before the stroke of Midnight, or whether BOTH sides risk going down the "cliff" -- or "slope" -- only to cement a deal early in 2013. Some predict the Republicans will cave on tax hikes for the wealthy and entitlement reform, only to deliver payback - hold a new Sword of Damocles - over the President in the new year in negotiations to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
A California judge has come under a barrage of criticism for his remarks in a rape case: Echoing the "legitimate rape" comments from defeated G.O.P. Senate candidate Todd Akin, Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson suggested if someone doesn't want sexual intercourse, the body "will not permit that to happen". The judge did not impose the recommended sentence for a convicted rapist.
The co-inventor of the bar-code -- Norman Joseph Woodland -- died last Sunday in his home in Edgewater, New Jersey. He was 91. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease. The original patent for the bar-code portrayed a circular emblem of lines. Woodland had also worked on the U.S. military's atomic bomb development team, the Manhattan Project.
BREAKING NEWS (Friday): The Connecticut school shootings. Some commentators, especially outside the U.S., marvel at how these tragedies keep happening, yet we have no serious debate about guns, even assault weapons.
Posted at 8:45am on December 14, 2012 by Allan Loudell
Allan tells about: "An uproar at Penn State University, a week after a photo of Chi Omega sorority sisters at a caricatured Mexican-themed party went viral: The sisters wore fake mustaches and sombreros. A sign in the photo reads: "Will mow lawn for weed + beer". The student group, "PSU for All Student Equality" staged a march, calling for better recruitment and retention of Hispanic students and faculty in State College."
If these women had instead held a party where they dressed up as Italian gangsters (fedoras and pinstriped suits... black shirt/white tie) with a sign that said, "Hey Vito, I need yous guys to go knock off some punks over on the east side", would there have been an uproar? Probably not, yet they were using an age old stereotype that Italian men are in the mob. Double-standard.
They definitely were poking fun at Hispanics using the stereotype of Hispanics being lawn-care workers who'd work for weed and beer (those are probably all white upper-middle class and upper-class women who probably had Hispanics working at their homes cutting their families lawn). Maybe they've experienced some lawn-care employees being drunk or stoned while at their homes working. Again, what happened to free speech for all Americans?
But isn't that essentially what comedy is, poking fun at someone else or someone's misfortune. Fat people quite often are targets for jokes; after all aren't all fat people jolly? For the guy getting kneed in the nuts is not funny to him, yet for some reason women always laugh. Have we in America become so uptight that we've lost our ability to laugh at each others' funny stereotypes without taking offense immediately? What makes stereotypes funny is there is an element of truth as there probably are some Hispanic lawn-workers who would work for weed and beer, granted most are probably sober, hard-working folks who are trying to feed a family on puny lawn-care wages. Just as all Italian men are not in the mob, but there are some who are.
Of course in comedy, you know the person telling the story is trying to be funny, and THAT is an important difference. Were these women trying to be funny or were they expressing some hatred or disdain for an entire race of people? It gets down to heart attitude.
Would there be a protest if next week, if an Hispanic group of women dressed up as Yuppies with a sign that read, "Oh my, oh my, like gag me with an entire place setting, I must go and tell my therapist about my breaking another finger nail?" Probably not. We'd all get a good laugh at the Valley Girls' expense.
The Double Standard in this stuff is what I'm against.
Fri, Dec 14, 2012 12:40pm
Wondering aloud on why the fiscal cliff negotiations do not center on "defense" spending which is, by far, the largest part of our government spending.
Notably, this week, Brigadier-General John Johns wrote an editorial piece stating that the Pentagon should cut over $700-billion in spending on nuclear warheads over the next ten years, saying that nuclear stockpile came out of the Cold War, which ended more than 20 years ago.
Logically speaking, a collection of about 10 nuclear warheads (aimed at strategic locations) could destroy the entire planet, so logically speaking, it makes no sense to stockpile 6,000+ warheads that are costing taxpayers so much money and widening our national debt.
Get rid of the nukes and our national debt goes down, and our national security is still preserved, along with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Fri, Dec 14, 2012 4:28pm
I agree, the Chi-O's of Penn State should not be penalized for what they did... The Italian don characterization is a perfect example of pointing out the double-standard..... Hat's off on that one example... :)
Mexican men are very forward in soliciting friendship, so one part that is overlooked here is how repetitive rapprochements affect the attitudes of these college girls who get hit on simply walking to and from class....
In Mexican culture (Mediterranean ones too) the male makes repeated multiple overtures to win a female's affection. The female politely turns him down maybe 20 times (she's probably receiving the same from 8 other guys) before agreeing to go out on a first date.... This custom seems to have deep roots that come from the belief that if someone is serious about their love for another, they will work very hard to achieve it; whereas if they give up on you before the first day; they will as well, after the marriage is consummated. So this forward tradition actually has some merit.
However, American females are used to saying yes or no immediately if someone asks them out, because in America we think it's improper to ask someone out for whom we don't have strong feelings. American girls are extremely put off by such forward requests for affection... Their reaction is "ewww, why would I want to kiss you? I don't know you!"... And it doesn't help forge respect that usually those Mexican men making the improper requests are either drunk or stoned....
I believe the best approach for PSU is to support that the Chi-O's have every right to make very mild party jokes at Mexicans' expense, and that the Hispanic community has every right to use that, to bring their overall plight to the attention of the community.... Both are acting in mature fashion and the school needs to have no part in that.
Both are simple expressions of one's beliefs.
I think what is wrong, is to take having a little fun out of perspective and treating it like a tumor. Humor is not to blame. One must be careful never to punish the humor, only the intent when humor is used to bludgeon someone for no reason....
As the Italian Don characterization above so well points out.
Fri, Dec 14, 2012 4:38pm
And Tea Time. The answer to your question about the defense budget is answered by this great interactive website originally put up here by Earl Grey....
Though the numbers of defense spending are huge when seen by themselves, they are dwarfed by the numbers provided by increasing new revenue and slivering a few cuts to entitlements....
Those two are the wild elephants fighting in the room and all the other pets for a moment, kinda' get ignored....
(As a plug for that link, you should try to balance the budget yourself based on your own interests and priorities.) If every American did, it would shut down controversy from both sides, since everyone would know exactly what must be done to fix the crises, and we could all begin now to make plans for the upcoming changes.) Remember Y2K? That was a crises we got ready for... and look what happened... It could have been completely different...
Fri, Dec 14, 2012 4:47pm
It would be wise to keep the shootings in Connecticut in perspective. There are 39,200,000 elementary students in the US...(public and private)...
Lined up side to side, they would form a line 7424 miles long. That is like going from New Castle to Carmel, CA and back again, and then ending near St.Louis. Out of that we lost 18.
We truly do live in a very safe environment and statistically, our children are far safer in schools today than dying from an earthquake, volcano, lightning storm, or riding with mom and dad to the grocery store....
Let's not lose perspective and go overboard in costs and restrictions of freedom...
39,182,000 elementary children are just fine....
Sat, Dec 15, 2012 12:56am
As a father of three little ones I can't imagine the pain these families in Connecticut are suffering. Is anywhere truly safe from evil?
It's not so much the weapons used as it is the action against these innocents...the same end result could happen with a knife, a home-made explosive device, poison or any number of ways...it's the pure evil behind the act that needs to be contained in some way.
There are usually signs in these tragedies...Harris & Kleybold of Columbine offered plenty of troubling clues. The Batman/Joker killer cried out for help from multiple sources, and the Tuscon,AZ shooter Loughner had exhibited erratic/violent behavior for years.
My prayers go out to all those families...
Sat, Dec 15, 2012 4:04am
Tonight, some parents will come home to presents that will never be unwrapped by the party for which they were bought. Pillows will never again feel the head and hair that used to spend the entire night there. Toys on the floor that once elicited an angry response, now... bring guilt and emptiness.
It is a very sad night.
Sat, Dec 15, 2012 10:33am
Teatime: Yeah, let's get rid of the nukes so Iran can nuke us and all the rest of the world. Where's your common sense? Haven't you seen the bumper sticker "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws would have guns"? Well, if we get rid of nukes as General Johns proposes, then only rogue states like Iran will have, AND USE nukes.
Sat, Dec 15, 2012 5:35pm
Mr. Pizza, you missed Teatime's reference. It would take Iran decades to acquire enough the nuclear weapons to become equal to the current US arsenal. Both General Johns and teatime are asserting we already have enough counteractive punch, and we certainly do not need to invest in making $700 billion more.
Sun, Dec 16, 2012 6:02am
Kavips: Perhaps that's true, but the next logical step would be to destroy the weapons we already have. Let's make sure if we're going to quit making weapons of mass destruction that we still maintain the ones we have, and in good condition.
Excellent perspective on the safety of schools. To add to your point, it appears that any nutjob that wants to shoot up a school or any other place with lots of people in it will always find a way to crack whatever security they have.
The only true security is in Christ Jesus and they need to stop outlawing God in the name of "equality" if they want real protection from harm.
Mike from Delaware
Sun, Dec 16, 2012 2:02pm
mrpizza, having Christ as your Lord and Savior does not keep bad things from happening to you nor will you become wealthy because you're a Christian. That's the Prosperity Gospel of such preachers like Joel Olstein, etc. Which implies that if you're not rich or something bad happens to you, some how you've not been a good enough Christian. Sounds like a works mentality to me. It's not Biblical.
Look at the persecutions the early followers of Christ(Martyrs)went through, yet they had Jesus both the physical and after the Resurrection as their Lord and Savior. There are many Christians around the world today who are hurting and dying for their faith, some are poor and starving, some right here in America, etc., etc. There are also many bad evil people who are prospering. Jesus didn't say life on earth would be a easy; he said it would be harder, because of being his follower.
However, IF all America were to seriously proclaim Christ to be their Lord and Savior, this would be a far nicer, safer, nation to live in, no doubt. But as earth is not heaven, rather it is a fallen world, there will always be problems, bad things will still happen to good people and good things will happen to bad people; etc., etc. We won't see paradise until we're with Christ in heaven.
I do wish though that political correctness wasn't trying to muzzle Christian voices, because the Good News of Jesus Christ needs to be heard by all. God won't eliminate all hardships (However, without us doing a thing, He might help you to avoid some pitfalls for sure, and when hardships do happen, he'll be with you every step of the way, helping you to get through the hardship.
Our job as Christians is to help lead as many folks to the Risen Christ so that they too can experience His love, forgiveness, and grace, so that they too can have their name in the Lamb's Book of Life and be counted as a Sheep, not a Goat, and have eternity with Christ and his Father.
Sun, Dec 16, 2012 2:59pm
Mike brings up an interesting paradox. When religion and government are together, it causes the demise of religion, with fewer and fewer people interested. But when you have a government that is hostile to religion as was ancient Rome, it grows.
Sun, Dec 16, 2012 5:08pm
"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."~Matthew 2:18
In order to kill the child King born in Bethlehem...Herod ordered the Massacre of the Innocents...this verse quotes from the Book of Jeremiah to show that this event was predicted by the prophets.
Mon, Dec 17, 2012 1:59am
MFD: If you want to reject the "Prosperity Gospel", as you call it, that's your problem. If it weren't for ministers such as Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland, I may well have committed suicide when I was going through my most horrendous financial mess. I never said that bad things don't happen to good people, but you're too willing to just put up with the devil and let him run over you and everybody else. Well, you can stay in that mess if you like, but I'm moving forward and taking the authority that's mine in Christ Jesus. I only have so much time on this earth, and I'm sure not going to waste anymore of it letting the devil steal my finances, my health, or my peace of mind.
What you fundamentalist Christians fail to understand is that the purpose of prosperity is not for selfish indulgence, but rather for the equipping of the saints to fulfill the great commission. If American Christians didn't curse the Prosperity Gospel, a whole lot more poor and downtrodden folks both here and abroad would be reached for Christ. Yeah, there are prosperity "pimps" out there, such as Peter Popoff, who mostly "pops off" at the mouth, but don't lump Joel Osteen or Kenneth Copeland or the late Kenneth Hagin into that bunch. This has nothing to do with being a millionaire in the first place, but rather it's about believing God to bless you beyond your paycheck so you can have more resources to reach the world with and enjoy what's left over. Everything these people teach is found in scripture, some of which I've already pointed out to you. So, either you believe the Bible or you don't. You can't have it both ways.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 17, 2012 8:43am
Mrpizza: I've been a United Methodist Christian for the past 19 years and have been studying Lutheranism for the past 5, and might even become a Lutheran. Neither are considered fundamentalist. In fact, most fundamentalists I know don't consider any mainline denomination, including Catholics, to be saved, because they aren't fundamentalists.
Nowhere in either Martin Luther's or John Wesley's teachings or sermons have I seen anything remotely like what Joel Olsten and that group preach.
That is why there is more than one Christian denomination as we all believe the bedrock points of Christianity, but do we baptize babies, sprinkle, dunk? Is Holy Communion symbolic (Baptist and fundamentalist view) or does Christ dwell in the consecrated elements, but stay as bread and wine(Lutheran/Methodist view), etc., etc.
As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians, we all see through smoked-colored glass and won't see clearly until the perfect comes. We both love the Lord and are following him, but as frail humans we also can and do have different understandings of what we read in the Word. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this particular issue, but we're still brothers in Christ. We both worship the same Risen Christ. Be at Peace.
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