Sunday May 19
I'm walking through Heartwell Park this morning saying my affirmations and no one else is out and about doing same. In fact, only one man (late 40s or early 50s) was fishing in the pond. I was thoroughly enjoying the quiet beauty of the scene.
I was delighted to see a mother duck and eight little ducklings crossing the wide grassy expanse from the pre-school to the pond. The mother was walking proudly, as her little babies were having trouble keeping up. I was engrossed in their comical antics, when two male ducks approached.
One immediately grabs the neck of the mom, as the babies tumble every which way. There is much confusion as I immediately rush into action, chasing the two males off. But they are totally focused on the mother. All I can think of are the babies, as I'm running around like a mad woman. All this commotion caused 12 other ducks to awaken. Unfortunately, they were all males, and came running at the mother. (All I could think of was that I thought ducks were mated pairs . . . So where was the father? And I was remembering—several weeks prior—a man who was stuffing all the ducks into a large wire cage. Did he take mostly females?).
The mother finally made it to the water, and she and her babies hopped in. Only one male duck was slowly swimming toward the group from the other side of the pond, and I was thinking, oh great, here comes her mate, as he slowly moved up to her, and they touched beaks. How sweet, I thought. Wrong.
Then he immediately grabbed her neck and pulled her under the water, as the babies flew every which way, and the gang of ducks jumped into the fray. The two ducks stayed under water for a long time. I didn't stick around to see if they ever came up. I was going nuts, thinking that neither the mother nor the babies would survive this experience, and there was nothing I could do to help matters.
I know it's mating season, but this was not what I had ever heard or read about ducks. As I walked past the fisherman, I loudly complained that gang rape of 15 against one was not acceptable, and so forth. The man didn't turn around or even acknowledge my presence. (He was probably thinking I was just another nutcase running around in the park, and he didn't want to encourage my ranting and raving. Either that or he was deaf). Anyway, the beauty and serenity of my morning was dashed by these disturbing events, and all I'm left with is the question: Is this normal duck behavior?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg
Saturday May 18
In your Beachcomber commentary of May 17, 2013 – “Take Government Out of Religion” – you criticize a judge’s decision to remove a prayer from the wall of a public high school auditorium. Of course, it is your right to criticize such a judicial ruling. However, I would hope that your arguments would be based on fact and logic. Unfortunately, you fell short on at least one major point.
In an obvious and most glaring factual error, you wrote that the U.S. Constitution states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those words you quoted are from the Declaration of Independence – not our Constitution. The U.S. Constitution is the highest law of the land. The Declaration of Independence has no legal weight or standing whatsoever in our governmental system.
Our courts have played a critical role in interpreting the First Amendment’s clauses relating to the free exercise of religion as well as establishment of religion. These cases have proven to be difficult to decide and oft times have been controversial. However, the Courts have decided based on the words and spirit of the Constitution – not those of the Declaration of Independence.
People like Jessica, the young plaintiff in the prayer-posting case, by bringing such cases to court, have helped us in interpreting our Constitution such that we can balance the freedoms of expression and religion. Ours is a representative democracy – not a theocracy. Americans, under the protections of their Constitution, have a right to expect religious sensitivity for all – regardless of their religious faith or lack thereof. Many of the Framers of our Constitution knew of the religious intolerance and persecution that too often occurred in Europe. They wanted a Constitution that would neither establish an official religion nor force religious orthodoxy.
Children in school can be a very impressionable, “captive audience.” We need be careful to make sure that they are free to believe as they wish and that their beliefs are neither condemned nor sanctioned by their public school. Posting of a prayer could be seen by many as a form of sanctioning certain religious thoughts or beliefs.
This is the America I believe in – one in which all are free to believe what they wish. Mine is an America where governments – including school districts – do their best to maintain a neutral stance on religious matters. Our Constitution has stood the test of time because of the wisdom of our Framers. Had ours been theocracy , I do not think we would enjoy the freedoms we so cherish today. Just look to other areas of the world today where religious orthodoxy has been imposed at a heavy cost to personal freedom and well being.
John Van Tress
You are absolutely correct in bringing to my attention the "glaring factual error" in my article. My rough draft did refer to the Declaration of Independence. However, when typing I substituted the Constitution and in my mind in re-reading I read right over it. I should have caught it because I even removed a sentence separating the two. My mistake that is quite embarrassing to say the least.
Accuracy matters along with maintaining a level of quality and integrity. Your words are well received and I appreciate your effort in correcting me.
Friday May 17
If government-sponsored racial profiling is a crime and a civil rights violation, doesn’t the Internal Revenue Service profiling based upon political persuasion qualify as the same egregious constitutional crimes?
We now know that since June 2011, prior to the presidential election, the IRS has been targeting for special scrutiny any groups applying for tax exempt status that had the terms, Tea Party, Patriot, or any group that focused on the Bill of Rights. When you talk about the Bill of Rights, think about the 2nd Amendment and the Liberals’ many attempts to destroy it. Are members of the NRA and gun owners also on the IRS enemies list?
If this abuse of power scandal had occurred during the Bush administration and Liberal groups had been targeted, the left would have called for his impeachment. They would have claimed that George W. set the tone that signaled to the IRS that profiling democrats was not only legal but necessary to silence them.
Obama and his liberal cadre have set the tone that encouraged this despicable violation of our Bill of Rights. In the past, Obama has called the Republican Party the enemy; in August 2009 Nancy Pelosi called Tea Party members “Nazis”; Vice President Biden has called republicans “Terrorists & Barbarians” and George Bush has been routinely called Hitler.
The rhetoric of Obama and the liberal Left set this evil abuse of power in motion. The power of the IRS to tax an organization unfairly is the power to destroy that group and violates all that is sacred in our Constitutional and Bill of Rights. The IRS is one of the most feared Federal agencies and they have now been corrupted to do the “wet work” for the Liberal Left.
Today they came for republicans; who is next?
Brick & Mortar
Friday May 17
Taylor Ramsey has it right. Having been “Brick & Mortar” for over 40 years as Pat’s Calculator Service it was time to quit. The self employed don’t retire, they just quit. No 90 percent here.
The new internet buyers didn’t consider the 10 years of factory schooling on my product. The set up, delivery and factory warranty were performed by the “go to” guy, the owner. No excuses. Fortunately my customers – usually CPAs or CFOs – recognized the benefits of dealing with a local brick and mortar business.
Try same day service or getting a qualified answer on the internet. My customers always got an honest deal, just ask around. So turn a page in your catalog and good luck. You will probably recycle more often than this brick and mortar guy and his Victor calculators.
Propes for President
Friday May 17
My head was exploding as I was reading his analysis and observation about the MedPot issue in Long Beach. As I am deeply involved in re-opening qualified and regulated dispensaries in LB, I can only push as hard as I can. But with thoughtful reporters like Propes assessing and -- you brave editor and publisher -- allowing him to speak truth to power warms my Woodstockian soul.
Please help this tortured City Council to reopen the qualified, regulated shops.
Thank you again Steve Propes for some sanity in that sea of madness we call the LB City Council ... with notable exceptions of Dr. Lowenthal and Dr. Garcia who have shown that they have compassion. You might call it a smart political move on their part. They want to be on the right side of history. Like alcohol, the people have already spoken. Ask Gerrie Schipske to republish her survey about the MedPot issue. Regulate and tax like alcohol already.