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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why the Battle of Albany was Lost

Until now, I really, really, have been too engrossed and occupied to comment on this same-gender marriage law enacted by the New York State Legislature. This one truly causes conflicting sentiments.

On one hand, I abhor and detest the very thought of same-gender sexual relationships.

On the other hand, what consenting adults do or do not do in that aspect of their lives is, all else being equal, a private and personal matter into which nobody should intrude, least of all the government.

The two men (or two women) who live together in a homosexual relationship, all else being equal, are not threatening anyone else's lives, safety or marriage. And so, as much as I disapprove of such relationships, I do not view it as any business into which I should personally insinuate myself.

The problem is that there is an extremely nefarious element amongst the homosexual community. There are those who actively seek to impose their own sexual values upon the rest of society, including and especially the recruitment of adolescent youths (and, for that matter, younger individuals).

There are many who claim that this so-called "gay marriage" law is merely a civil rights matter, and that all they wish to do is live and let live. But too, too many of these same advocates of "same-sex marriage" have tolerated if not encouraged the active participation of groups such as NAMBLA in their "gay pride parades" and other events. NAMBLA's unabashed agenda is very coercive, brutal and violent, and a menace to society.

There is a need to make distinction between the civil rights of individuals who happen to espouse homosexual preferences, and those who would use the civil rights line as an instrument to advance their violent and evil agenda.

The two most vocal lobbies against the legislation in Albany were the Catholic Church and the Agudath Israel of America. Why did they fail to stop the legislation?

My theory is that each of those two organizations has, over the past 10 or 20 years, ceded the moral high ground which they had previously occupied. And each of those two organizations has gotten a little more than a tiny bit arrogant in claiming the high moral ground they in fact have been in the process of abandoning.

Others who are or were more intimately involved with the Catholic Church can certainly provide more detailed accounts of the Church's lapses; my expertise in this area is effectively limited to what I read in the media, mainstream and otherwise.

But, as reflected in prior postings, I do have firsthand personal knowledge of the Agudath Israel of America and its strengths and weaknesses. The Agudah's stances on sexual misconduct have been too hypocritical for them to effectively hold the moral high ground, and have been exacerbated by their support of the wrong side in criminal matters other than sexual misconduct.

Sexual matters notwithstanding, the various religious Jewish organizations, including but not limited to the Agudath Israel, have made another mistake which has served to compound their losses of stature as exemplars of morality, namely, they have played the wrong political cards. For many years the religious Jewish newspapers have all been fawning over Sheldon Silver, the powerful New York State Assembly Speaker, because he happens to be a nominally religious Jew and he happens to be a Sabbath observer. They have done this even when they disagreed with his political stance. And, in the case of the same-gender marriage legislation, the Agudath Israel got bitten in the toochas by its inane presumption that Shelly Silver's religious values would trump his political agenda for such an important issue.

Before the Catholic Church and the Agudath Israel of America can deign to dictate morality, they will need to clean up their acts and reclaim the moral high ground. As matters currently stand, Governor Andrew Cuomo's morality score is, in many respects, higher than that of either organization.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Unsafe Haven

The big front-page story in Suffolk County, NY is now the quadruple homicide at Haven Drugs in Medford. It is too early to come down with too much in the way of definitive statements as to the motivation behind the crime, inasmuch as more and more facts seem to surface with time. It is the worst multiple homicide in Suffolk County since the now infamous six-victim Amityville Horror in 1974.

It seems that the alleged perpetuator, David Laffer, may well have had some accessory aid and abetment from his wife.

It is very disconcerting to me for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that my after-school job during senior year of high school was at a local pharmacy. In those days -- well before HIPAA and the big deal that is now quite appropriately made over health care information confidentiality -- the Old Man told me in no uncertain terms that he would chew me out if I came in late or had a fender-bender with the delivery station wagon (which he did to me for the former, and to my successor for the latter), but that there would be no second chance if I were to disclose anything regarding what prescriptions were being dispensed to a customer.

In the big drug chains today, the pharmacy operation is basically separate and apart from the other retail business. Without in any way denigrating any of the pharmacists who are employed by a big chain pharmacy (the ones at the local big chain outlet where my wife and I have our prescriptions filled have, with few exceptions, proven to be quite knowledgeable), it takes a certain kind of person to be in the independent pharmacy business.

My observations:

1. The brutality of this crime should give opponents of the death penalty pause.

2. Would the incident have been quite as tragic if the perpetuator had tried to pull off something similar at the independent pharmacy establishment of Jerome Ersland?

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Checking In

By "checking in," I refer not to soon-to-be-ex Congressman Anthony Weiner's checking into a rehab facility, but rather, to me just checking in with this brief posting to assure everyone that I am still alive, well and functional. The whole month of June is busy for me this year, what with teaching, law practice, editorial submission deadlines, and lots of personal things. Scheduling was not made any simpler by the Festival of Shavuot, which was last Wednesday and Thursday (though my wife and I did enjoy the holiday immensely). Depending upon how my schedule plays out, there might or might not be further postings of any substance this month.

I really, really, was not intending to post anything on the Weiner story. I don't live in his district, and wouldn't vote for him if I did. His actions speak for themselves, and the less said about him, the better (though the demand by Nancy Pelosi for an ethics investigation provided some much-needed comic relief).

What amazes me is not the media feeding frenzy on him so much as the public obsession with the story. One of our house guests this past Shavuot (known as "He" in past postings) has, to say the least, a fascination with politics. And, having arranged access to the newspapers before the Shavuot holiday, "He" was reading them, and all that "He" could talk about was Weiner, Weiner and more Weiner. Hey, enough already!!

But like the proverbial broken clock, which tells the correct time twice each day, the New York Times got this one right. They buried the story of Weiner's wife's alleged pregnancy somewhere on page 20-something.

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