Sunday, May 24, 2009

13th Amendment ignored if not repealed

In few words, it says, "1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
(Note, by the way, the reference to "their" jurisdiction. The Constitution was still acknowledging that these United States compose a union of sovereign states.)
"Involuntary servitude," in other words, is thenceforth, illegal.
Yet this story appeared in the TFP Saturday, 23 May, on Page A1: "Arrests near for jury-duty dodgers."
"Two Hamilton County residents will be arrested for failing to show up for jury duty, officials confirmed Friday.
"The arrest warrants are the first to be issued since Tennessee's new, tougher jury rules went into effect at the beginning of the year."
So, someone who finds it abhorrent to put another human being into a cage will himself be put into a cage?
Or someone who has been out of town and didn't get his mail is now subject to being jailed?
Or, even more basic, a citizen, a human individual, can be forced into being on a panel that might put another human being into a cage?
And what are the reasons for that caging? Perhaps that human being ingested some substance that doesn't have official approval?
Still, let me re-stress that basic point: How can a country that claims to be free in actuality force allegedly free human beings into servitude -- by definition involuntary servitude?
Jury duty is something an awful lot of people actually fear.
Probably tens of thousands of people across the country never register to vote purely out of the fear of being called for jury duty.
Now, of course, the statists and collectivists use driver license lists as well as voter rolls, and sometimes other lists, to find victims for the conscription.
Finally, consider the ridiculous contradiction of forcing people to be jurists, based on the paradox that the jury system protects freedom.
Probably that part is true: Juries can provide a bulwark against tyranny, as witness some great trials in history when the jurors refused to accept the court's orders, even risking punishment themselves to stand for right.
(I recommend you check into the Fully Informed Jury Association.)
Juries are, and are so told in, for example, Georgia, arbiters of both the law and the facts in any individual case.
But in far too many states, juries are lied to and told they must rule according to a judge's instructions, and phooey on the immorality or irrationality of any law.
Try, though, to volunteer for jury service. Try it.
In most states, if not all, that is not allowed.
Jurors are selected only from a bunch of coerced people who mostly don't want to be there.
Someone defined a jury as twelve people who are too dumb to get out of jury duty.
Very cynical, perhaps, but it is also a truism that lawyers often want the dumbest people possible on a jury.
There must be a better system. Coercion is always wrong.
Maybe someone reading this will offer a more reasonable plan.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pot suspicious of kettle

"Morley Safer," reads the headline, "suspicious of the blogosphere."
In the TFP of Thursday, 21 May, in the section called "People in the News" which is usually reserved to stories about show biz folks, is the Associated Press story about the "CBS News veteran" saying "he trusts citizen journalism as much as he would trust citizen surgery."
Safer, 77, "said good journalism needs structure and responsibility."
Most rational and knowledgeable people agree that CBS has been responsible, responsible for some mighty dishonest and biased reporting for a mighty long time.
From my childhood, CBS was known as the "Communist Broadcasting System" for its far-left orientation.
The only thing worse than the CBS bias was the CBS sanctimony when people expressed their belief in its bias.
To this day, the "Rather-biased" Dan tries to insist he believed his obvious forgery about George W. Bush's National Guard service, and swears it's true ... despite all the evidence.
Are there ignorami, paranoiacs, wackos, liars, and propagandists among the blogosphere? Yep. Just as there are among the CBS "news" people.
Which is not to omit NBC and ABC from this charge. ABC, for example, used to carry signs to '60s demonstrations to be sure it would have plenty to take pictures of.
With the blogosphere, though, we have a lot more options and we can make comparisons of some different perspectives we never get from those networks.

13th Amendment Repealed?

"Truant's parent given jail time," reads a front-page headline Thursday, 21 May.
In a story by the unfortunately named ChloƩ Morrison (not that there's anything wrong with "ChloƩ"), we are told a juvenile court judge in Marion County sentenced "the mother of a Whitwell Elementary School second grader to 48 hours in jail for not getting her child to school."
Here is the astonishing news, leading to the headline on this post: "School leaders said they are forced to crack down on parents of truant students because federal law requires schools to have high attendance rates."
Knowing the very low quality of "school leaders" in this part of the world, I suppose it is quite possible they actually believe the hogwash quoted here.
In fact, though, there is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that allows any federal official or agency to "require schools to have high attendance rates."
However, perhaps the gimmick is the one so many of us tried to warn about, the unconstitutional law that says, Obey our orders or we will cut your funding.
"School leaders" across this once-great nation have foolishly, and perhaps criminally, been suckered by the promise of "free money," and continue to pant and beg for it even after they learn about some of the catches, including having to match or more than match that "free money" and, worst of all, unquestioned obedience to the "education czars," although it is far less about education than about schooling.
Ironically, the "No Child Left Behind" concept was accountability, but the actual result has been obedience to educrats, far less knowledge among the youthful victims, and a huge growth industry in layers of bureaucrats among school districts across the country.
Neither the 13th nor the 10th Amendments allow such federal intervention, but the cowardice of "school leaders" has over-ridden the law.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Writers should know correct English first

Before trying to be cute, reporters and editors really should know the English language, then understand the variations and dialects.
In the fyiWeekend insert, the entertainment magazine published each Friday, there is this sentence in an article about the "Legendary Loretta Lynn," which she truly is.
"When Loretta Lynn sings about whooping a rival after her man ..."
"Whooping" is what certain cranes do, or perhaps partiers, along with "hollering."
What writer Barry Courter meant was "whupping," and if the TFP had any competent editors, that is what the printed article would have said.
There is also some confusion about just when the Loretta Lynn show will be: The final sentence says, "She said fans who come to the show Saturday will hear 'whatever comes to mind and whatever people holler out. That's what happens. We just let it happen.'"
Unfortunately, the schedule, in the inset box and earlier in the copy, says the show is Sunday.
If lots of people show up Saturday, the TFP could have an exclusive scoop, with photos of an angry mob.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Deserved mention: TFP gets TV Times right

This should have been written sooner. I'm often very quick to point out the errors and stupidities of the TFP, and therefore when it gets something right, I really ought to mention it just as quickly.
Well, after futzing around for weeks, and making the situation worse each time, the people in charge of the TV Times insert finally got the program listings right.
The magazine finally has figured how to keep the number of pages down but still list all the programs scheduled.
It continues with two pages for all the daytime programming but now manages to get in all the movies, such as on TCM and AMC, and other variations, such as at USA.
It took them a while, but By George they got it.

TFP's Department of Redundancies Department

Newspapers are slowly disappearing from our lives.
I would like to think that one reason is people's disgust with the general sloppiness and poor quality. I don't think it, but would like to.
If, though, the Times Free Press were losing readers because of linguistic incompetence, then it lost another batch with a headline of Wednesday, 13 May. The story is about the mini-city of Ridgeside, which somehow came into existence though entirely enclosed inside Chattanooga.
The headline: "Surrounded on all sides."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hate surprising even for today's climate

People like Sean Hannity and Monica Crowley manage to personalize the political arguments and make them difficult ever to resolve.
But the right-wingers, even the most rabid, can't seem to equal in venom, in sheer nastiness the hate-mongering racism of certain leftists, especially one letter writer to the TFP.
In the Monday, 4 May, edition, one Rickey Spivey, Sr., makes this astonishing comment: "All right already, Columnist Thomas Sowell. Black and white folks get that you're the black journalist who doesn't agree with the black president. Uncle Tom would be proud."
This hate-filled ignoramus obviously knows nothing about Dr. Sowell, who is not a "journalist" but a scholar, author of dozens of books, and one of the most highly admired economists in the world.
Dr. Sowell, whom I have severely criticized (see, "Sowell sells out" and started life in segregated poverty, and pulled himself up by his bootstraps, making himself into a highly educated and brilliant scholar.
Rickey Spivey, Sr., whose shriveled soul is destined for a place even hotter than a Chattanooga summer, concluded his screed with this paragraph: "You mentioned witch hunt and people being 'demonized' for disagreeing with the Homeland Security paper. Didn't Bush and the boys demonize people who disagreed with the war in Iraq? Now will be a great time to have a federal police force to keep those stay-at-home terrorists and you at bay."
Childish writing, fascistic ideology, and psychotic rhetoric all in one letter -- another reason the TFP is having to cut back on pages and staff.