Greeting the New Year
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The Spectator
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 by Laramie Boyd
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
        This is the time of year when New Year's resolutions are made. Some are kept, some not, probably most are not. Sometimes our resolutions tend to relate to some of the problems and challenges that will need to be met in the new year. (I have decided to attempt to cut down on my sugar intake, to get more exercise, such as walking and bike riding, and keep a closer eye on government manipulations. Good luck, huh!) Wouldn't it be a grand gesture if members of government, at every level, would share some New Year's resolutions to seriously try to solve some of the critical problems in America, rather than stumbling along in their partisan, name-calling, self-destructive patterns of behavior that they must wrongly believe is what governing is all about? I found some interesting quotes in The Desert Sun and Wall Street Journal that seem to identify some of the bumps in the road ahead that may lend perspective to how times are a-changing, and point out some challenges involving somewhat "under the radar" issues that might occur in 2014. And the list of issues that need to be addressed seems endless nowadays.
        News stories claim that many retirement fund monies are getting so low that promises made of paid pensions, to those who legally qualify for them, may not be able to be kept. (Unbroken promises sounds familiar, doesn't it?) Pension money supporters argue whether or not the names and dollar amounts of retirees' stipends be made public, as they sometimes are, especially those of high paid executives? These supporters say, "Think about the outrage that would rise up if the names of people on welfare and food stamps, along with their "unearned" government subsidies, were printed."
        In the past, judges were bound by a code of ethics that forbid them to comment on cases in any court, demanding instead to be seen as totally impartial. The attitude that "the court speaks through its opinions" is the traditional stance. One Judge, Richard Posner, has written a book that does not carry on that tradition, but gives opinions on cases. A U.S. District Judge, Richard Kopf, advises him, "It's not your job to save the world. Do law, leave justice to Clint Eastwood."
        The United States Marine Corps has, as a standard, a requirement that a Marine be able to do 3 pull-ups in their annual fitness test, and 8 for a perfect score, to be eligible for a combat role. But they recently decided to delay the requirement. Why? Because at Parris Island Marine Base in South Carolina, "More than half of female Marines can't do 3 pull-ups," and "all service branches are looking to revise their standards to accommodate a move to open thousands of combat roles to women." Would it be politically correct to say that women are not as strong as men, and therefore would be at a disadvantage and quite dangerous on the front lines in battle? Does an opinion have to be politically correct? \
        The Pasadena, California Rose Parade added a new attraction on January 1, 2014. Two men, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair, legally got married on the Aids Healthcare Foundation float. (Are aids healthcare and gay marriage intertwined?) Eighty million people will have a chance to witness the union between these two men. Protestors claim the ceremony will be an insult to the people in the 32 states where same-sex marriage is still illegal. They ask, "Pot smoking is legal in some states too. What's next for the Rose Parade? A float touting medical benefits of smoking pot, and on-float instructions and examples of how best to take a drag?"
        An Ontario, Canada Court of appeals has ruled that "Outlawing brothels exposes sex workers to added danger by forcing them onto the streets." They added, "A law that prevents street prostitutes from resorting to a safe haven while a suspected serial killer prowls the streets, is a law that has lost sight of its purpose." Prostitution is not disallowed in every U.S. state, and that begs the question, again, what about entering a float in the Rose Parade, including instructions and examples, of the oldest profession? The possibilities are endless.
        A Los Angeles area school teacher was sentenced to 25 years in prison for 6 years of lewd acts against students. These acts did not cost him his job, and a ballot measure may be coming up that makes it easier to fire tenured "bad teachers." The common excuse for "bad" behavior that "What is done in one's private life, behind closed doors, is no one's business" seems to be carried a bit too far in the teacher's case, wouldn't you agree? Is this an insane situation, or what?
        Aren't things totally getting out of hand with the over and over "anything goes" mentality of some citizens and most every level of government? Is the good old U.S.A. dying a not so slow death by way of fewer social restrictions, redefining morality, and an "I don't care" attitude? Kathleen Parker asks, "Why aren't irresponsible parenting and rampant "gang" wars and other behavior treated as abhorrent as say, smoking?" Shouldn't they be just as reviled, and action taken to attempt to eliminate them, on a grand, national, scale? (The University of California and California State University systems are taking steps to stamp out smoking entirely on their campuses, and will surely succeed.) Even China has jumped on the no-smoking bandwagon. Surely there are other examples of behavior that need that kind of "stamping out."
        Do the record 20 female members of the U.S. Senate, where their influence could perhaps do some good, really go all out to try to make a difference in solving some of the many issues in America, now that they have a seat of equality in that privileged body, rather than just "going along" with the "old boys" mentality in existence? The new members of Congress and governors of 36 states elected in the 2014 elections will surely have some say in the direction the country takes. Shall we hold our collective breaths until they change the course of America and take the better, kinder, road "less traveled by?"