Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Erev Pesach 5774


Still in creativity burn-out mode (but have a few ideas that need to get beyond the writer's block stage).  My wife, all the more; she has had some very, very intense professional activity during the past two months.  My son, now in Israel, has been on an emotional roller coaster for various reasons (yes, his interactions with a woman play into the mix), kind of like what I was going through when I was his age and trying to balance the educational, occupational, and social spheres of life.


But tonight, my wife and I will be spending some quality time together on a worthwhile venture:  The Passover Seder.  Tonight is the first night of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew).  The sun will set in just a few hours.  It will be just me and my wife tonight; possibility of two guests tomorrow night.  We are looking forward to it.  Even the smallest Pesach seder is a big event!  It makes the Jewish people who we are.  And my wife and I look forward to being reinvigorated by the experience.


L'Shana HaBa'a B'Yerushalayim!



Wishing all of our friends a Chag Sameach Pesach, or a Happy Easter, as the case may be.


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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Playing the Race Card in a Strip Poker Game


I've basically been occupied, sleep-deficient, and burnt out.  Nothing to be overly concerned about, but it has sapped my creative juices, and I have come up with little worthy of posting on the blog.  Just going through one of those downer phases, I suppose.


Bernice Youngblood is a resident of the East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Babylon, NY.   She is afflicted with dementia.  The nursing home is a component of the Cassena Care Network chain of nursing homes.


Seems that the residents there took a vote and approved, as a recreational activity, the engagement of a male stripper performer.  This performer was photographed in the proximity of Bernice, and the photograph found its way into Bernice's belongings, and was subsequently discovered by Bernice's son Franklin.


So Franklin, on Bernice's behalf, is now suing East Neck.


Bernice/Franklin's Lawyer, John Ray, stated, "This might be great for 32-year-old single girls, but this is an 86-year-old traditional, African-American woman who doesn’t want white men sticking their private parts in her face.”



My take on the whole thing:


Firstly, I cannot really get upset about a nursing home accommodating the entertainment requests of its residents.  Having had to place my Dad into such a facility for the last few months of his life, and now, my Mom, I have had several occasions to observe some of these places firsthand, and even more occasions to compare notes with other Baby Boomers who are also dealing with the problems of their aging parents (including my wife, whose Mom is also in a senior residential facility and who needs a higher-than-average degree of care).  Unfortunately, there are too, too many nursing homes and senior residential facilities that do damn little to keep their residents occupied and engaged.  As with any other sample population of more than 10 people, there are bound to be a few unenthusiastic persons in the crowd for any choice of entertainment.


Secondly, nursing homes are expensive in the extreme, especially if the operator is a commercial venture with a motive to return profits to investors.  I do not per se object to such entrepreneurship if it is done responsibly, which Cassena seems to do at a reasonably acceptable level.  So, just as medical malpractice lawsuits are primarily a means to finance health care, so, too, are many tort lawsuits against nursing homes.


Thirdly, the plaintiffs' attorney, John Ray, is known to me mostly by reputation (though I have had occasion to say "hello" to him at various lawyer functions in the county).  John is not without his flamboyant qualities, but, unlike many of the legal profession who take on cases for the disadvantaged underdog, advancement of a partisan political agenda does not seem to be his primary objective in the cases he handles.  And now that John Ray has made a statement invoking race, it is relevant to note that he himself is white.



The way I call it:  The lawsuit should probably be booted out of the courthouse door with all deliberate speed.  Nevertheless, in light of my personal experiences with my parents and my mother-in-law, I do have a considerable amount of empathy for Franklin Youngblood.



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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Predictive Analysis: A Rose by Another Name

Newsday has an "exclusive" in today's print edition [the Newsday website has a paywall and lots of flash player apps that crash browsers; this link is safer.]:  "New Way to Fight Crime," "LI Cops credit data-driven approach as key to historic drop."

Seems that the police in Nassau County and Suffolk County are using a statistical technique known as "predictive analysis" as an aid in their police work, and are quite pleased with the results.  So is this Long Island resident.  I applaud the law enforcement agencies in their very honorable achievements, and would be pleased to no end to see crime drop even further.

But, pray tell, what happens if the "predictive analysis" techniques cause the law enforcement officers to focus upon individuals who belong to social and ethnic groups which the liberals have labeled as downtrodden and disadvantaged, and which have accordingly been adopted by the liberals as surrogate victims for whom their hearts can hemorrhage a few pints of blood?  Wouldn't the liberals call it "profiling?"

How soon will a lawsuit be brought against the police in Nassau and/or Suffolk County, alleging that the same techniques now showcased and lauded by Newsday actually constitute "profiling?"  And how will Newsday, with its decidedly leftist slant on the news, slant that story?

Just wondering.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Purim 5774

Blog postings here have gotten sparse, but I now take this opportunity to squeeze in my wishes to all for a Happy Purim. Today's world has so many Hamans, to whom I say, G-d never lets you prevail in the end.

For me, this year's Purim is another low pressure cell in the perfect storm of grading my students' midterm exam papers, litigating some cases, getting my tax returns prepared and filed, dealing with some family matters, attending meetings, and providing some back room support to some friends who are countering a few modern day Hamans.

Have no idea when my next posting will be made, but please rest assured that all is well with me as I attend to my obligations.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Left is Left Out in Left Field

This is not the time and venue to go into a deep analysis of the current situation with Russia and the Ukraine, though it does have potential repercussions worldwide.  If Putin retakes the Crimea, for example, what will his thoughts be regarding Alaska?  If the United States is perceived as weak and unwilling to flex its military and diplomatic muscle, then will the Japanese decide to depend upon themselves for military defenses?  And if so, what will be their designs on Korea? (Remember that unrestrained Japanese military power has brought about incidents at Pearl Harbor, Bataan, Manila, Nanking and Alexandra Hospital, et cetera).  And so on.

My perspective is colored by the fact that I am a Jewish American, and all four of my grandparents came here from what is now the former Soviet Union.  Two of my grandparents were from the Ukraine and one was from the Crimea (which had not yet been officially turned over to the Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier who himself was from the Ukraine).

I am concerned for the safety and well-being of the Jewish communities in the Ukraine and the Crimea. Historically, neither the Russians nor the Ukrainians have been particularly friendly towards us, nor have many other ethnic groups in the mix, including the Crimean Tartars, many of whom collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.  On the other hand, I have no quarrel with the Russian or Ukrainian or Tartar or anyone else who lives his or her life and minds his or her business and does not assault or attack others.

The situation is very complex, and very dangerous, to say the least.

On the college campus where I teach, there is a small but vocal group of leftists (or rather, far, far left of the left leftists) who regularly set up tables to pass out their pap propaganda in support of all kinds of leftist causes (and against freedom and American causes, but that is redundant).  Today, their tables were not set up in the usual locations, and the useful idiots were nowhere to be found in the Student Union building.

My foray to the Student Union building (I had a meeting with someone whose office happens to be there) was just a sample of one.  But I cannot help but wonder what the Red Lefties are trying to mentally wrestle with when they know that they will receive ridicule at best for backing the Comintern Conspiracy, and are too much owned on a lock, stock, and barrel basis by the Communist Party  to back the Ukrainians.

These are not fun times to be a leftist.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inequality and the NYPD

Today's Quote of the Day (selected by the City & State website people) is from New York City Commissar Mayor Bill de Blasio:

" I don’t tell the NYPD how to do their work when it comes to protecting me—they’re the experts. I respect that. So, in any given moment, they may see something I don’t see. They may act in a way that isn’t immediately understandable to me. But they’re trained to handle things in a certain way."

This comment refers to the Mayoral Motorcade being observed violating multiple traffic laws, even as de Blasio attempts to ram legislation through City Council to lower the speed limits in New York City.

Very interesting, Bill!  You seem to have no trouble micromanaging New York's Finest when they try to protect the public from terrorism.

So it is one standard for Comrade Bill and the Nomenklaturaniks in his Politburo, and another standard for the rest of us.

So this is what he means by the Tale of Two New Yorks and the inequality crisis?

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Politics and Archaeology, and Hygiene

Archaeology has always had lots of political baggage.  Now, it seems, New York City politics may have some archaeological baggage.

Some urban archaeologists have uncovered a two-century old buried mass of trash on the grounds of City Hall.

"The centuries-old trash, in a pile found three feet underground and extending to a depth of about six feet was also filled with liquor bottles and various items associated with food waste, suggesting it may have all came from one celebratory event."

There are endless possibilities for historical political repercussions in the highly unlikely event that the item's former owner is ever identified.

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