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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

States' Rights as a Sword

States' Rights as a Sword

Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is not particularly nefarious as far as our Congresscritters go.  And he certainly can show intellect, accomplishment, and talent, and can argue with the best of them.  I have not to date had occasion to personally meet him, but would be pleased to do so should the occasion arise.  But he is an African-American Democrat representing a densely-populated urban district.

Since the New Deal era of FDR, the position of the Leftward side of the political spectrum has basically been to impose federal constraints upon the Constitutional rights of States.  Ghosts from the slavery era continue to implicitly drive that Liberal political posture.

I therefore note the irony of Mr. Jeffries's invocation of States' rights, with the objective of facilitating New York's imposition of additional taxes upon residents of other States.  It doesn't fit the stereotype.  But then again, neither does Congressman Jeffries.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nothing At All Sterling, This One

This whole Donald Sterling situation is:

A.  Irrelevant.
B.  Sickening.
C.  Comical.
D.  All of the above.

Answer is D.

I am no great fan of Donald Sterling, and don't really care one way or the other how he fares in any of his business deals that do not concern me.  I cannot say that his being banned for life from the NBA is particularly unjust.

What bothers me about this entire Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers affair (which will not be linked to in this posting)?

While I do not in any way endorse or identify with the contentious comments that came from his mouth and were recorded for posterity, there is some concern about the right of free speech some might see as having been abridged.  On the other hand, he is an accomplished businessman, and all of the proceedings with the NBA seem to be pursuant to one or more contracts into which Mr. Sterling knowingly entered.  So this aspect doesn't bother me.

Does the apparent pandering by the NBA to the b-l-a-c-k community (if indeed such a group exists in anything resembling a monolithic form) bother me?  Denial of this would constitute something less than candor on my part.

Yes, this apparent race-pandering does, to some residual extent, offend my sense of propriety and justice.

What bothers me and offends me exponentially more, however, is the NBA assuming the position of an exemplar and arbiter of ethics and morality.   Since when is the NBA's ethical and moral standard so sterling?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Disaffirmative Action


I have a little time today, and need a break.  So, what to blog about?


The guilty plea of William Rapfogel, former CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, to stealing about $5 million from widows and orphans?  A religious Jewish boy misbehaving.  Notwithstanding my contentious issues many years ago with the Met Council, back during my college days, I'll pass on this one (for now at least), other than to thank Willie and his co-codefendants for giving me some belated vindication.


New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer's latest Report on "The Growing Gap:  New York City’s Housing Affordability Challenge," which whines about how the cost of rental housing is rising faster than income?  Hey, Scotty, for many years, you and your liberal ilk before you took pains to make sure that New York City provided top dollar welfare payouts, and you continue to give all kinds of entitlements and lagniappes to illegal aliens, criminals, those who refuse to hold down jobs, and everyone else.  So the resulting population increase (notwithstanding the city's abortion rate) increases the demand for housing relative to the supply, thereby driving up the cost relative to income.  This is Econ 101, nothing to blog about.


The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's latest report that the IRS has given monetary rewards to employees who have disciplinary problems and tax filing issues?  Hey, when I was with the IRS I had neither disciplinary issues nor tax filing issues.  Howcum I didn't get anything in addition to my salary?  This story already has legs; I have nothing to add other than to state the obvious:  The policy of administering cookies for bad behavior and electric shocks for good behavior goes a long way towards explaining the IRS's dysfunctionality.


So what to blog about?  I'll blog about Kareem Potomont.  He's the gangster thug who fired a weapon at one of his rivals, but in the process, one of the fired bullets struck and seriously injured Gama Droiville, a 13-year-old innocent bystander.   I note the quote from Potomont's lawyer, Audrey Thomas, who said that Potomont "said was forced to leave high school in the eleventh grade due to gang pressure."


THAT is the problem.  Those social groups commonly associated with success in America have long pressured their youth to STAY in school.  Back during my adolescence years, I had certain behavioral issues in school.  One evening, my father came to me to express his displeasure at one particular incident, noting that he had heard about it from a neighbor.  I said something to the effect of "Why is it any of her business how I behave in school?"


An uncle of mine, who ended up doing much to prod me onward towards the straight path of success, chimed in, "When you disrupt the educational process, then it is everybody's business!"  I wouldn't say that my behavior immediately reformed over night, but Uncle's words did stick with me, have remained to this day, and did positively influence me.


Gangs pressuring people to drop out of high school?  That is the antithesis of affirmative action!  It is DISAFFIRMATIVE ACTION!


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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Contrary Son


Our Passover Seder was just me and my wife.  For some very personal and positive reasons, it was even more uplifting than either of us had anticipated.  We missed having company, but then again, having some time alone with one's spouse also has its rewards.


The Hagaddah is the book that contains the order of the Pesach Seder (the word "seder" is Hebrew for order).  The Seder begins with discussion of The Four Sons:  The Wise Son is to be instructed in all of the details of the seder.  The Contrary Son (in Hebrew, "rasha" (evil)), who excludes himself from the practices and principles of the Torah is to be told that the Seder is for what G-d did for us (and not him) when He brought us out of Egypt; had the Contrary Son been in Egypt he would not have been redeemed.  The Simple Son, who asks "What is this," is given a simple answer to the effect that it is gratitude to G-d who brought us out of Egypt.  And the Son who Cannot Even Ask a Question must be told the story of the redemption from Egypt.  The remainder of the Seder essentially consists of telling that story for his benefit (and our own).


One Contrary Son is former attorney Stanley L. Cohen, who, the day before Pesach (Monday, 14 April 2014), pled guilty to various federal tax crimes, and, upon such plea, ceased to be an attorney in New York.  This Stanley Cohen (I have known throughout my life a handful of other individuals also named Stanley Cohen, and feel bad for them on account of this besmirchment of their good names) is the disciple of another Contrary Son, William Kunstler, and a former law partner of terrorist lawyer Lynne Stewart.  If the name Stanley L. Cohen sounds familiar, it is because he has just come off of defending Bin Laden's son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith.


Understand that the criminal defense attorney is an indispensable component of the justice system because in criminal prosecutions, it is absolutely essential that the government prosecutors be held to the requisites of the United States Constitution, no matter how heinous the criminal, and no matter how obvious his or her guilt.  Anything else would be an unchecked government, the effects of which we see today, before our very eyes, as the Obama administration views itself as being above the law.


Nor is there anything inherently wrong with a Jewish lawyer serving as a defense attorney for an enemy of the Jewish people (of which we have plenty); the criminal defendant may be the nominal client, but the truly diligent defense attorney is really defending the U.S. Constitution.


Cohen was not defending the U.S. Constitution; his objective has long been to enable the enemies of America and of the Jewish people.  He is a self-hating Jew.  He is truly the Contrary Son.


This post shall not link to Cohen's website, where he whines about how the U.S. Government has been on a witch hunt in his prosecution.  Hey, Stanley, you didn't file your taxes for six year, and you concealed big bucks in income.  You and your radical comrades talk about sharing the wealth; how about sharing the more than $3 million in your accounts?


When Stanley does his prison time, his fellow felons will, no doubt, have read about the big bucks he handled.  They are likely to presume that he has more stashed away, and take various measures to prevail upon him to share his wealth.


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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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