Why Whites Can’t be Hate Crime Victims

Wow!  I didn’t expect anyone to actually come right out and say it.  It’s something that’s bothered me for a long time.  But during the July 13th broadcast of “CNN Newsroom,” Ebony Magazine Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux stated that she disagreed with (President Obama’s) characterizing the shooting of Dallas police officers as a hate crime and using that term for “a group of people that have a history with African-Americans that have been abusive, and we can apply that to either police officers or to Caucasians, I think, gets into very tricky territory.”

Of course that isn’t what the law says.  But the tricky territory she’s talking about is how we all perceive the law.  For most of us we may say Civil Rights but we hear Black Rights.  Despite the awkward euphemisms her message is clear, “Whites can’t be the victims of a hate crime because they are the bad guys.”  She sees the law as a kind of declaration dividing Americans into two classifications, “the haters” and “the hated.”  What bothers me is I see the law that way too.  Now if an old white guy like me and a young black activist woman share the same perception of the law, perhaps everyone in between does too.

That would go a long way in explaining why we can’t heal old wounds.

The Sparrow Math Series

This video series is designed for students of all ages who want to improve their math skills.  Singapore Math has been incorporated in the curricula in many primary schools.  It has  proven that these skills can be mastered faster and retained better by teaching student to picture the solution.  The Sparrow Math series takes this principle above and beyond into higher levels of math.

Can Senator Grassley be Both Honest and Fair?

I’ve been a lifelong supporter of Senator Charles Grassley not because he is a Republican, but because I know him to be, above all, an honest man.  Champion of the whistle blower, he has been steadfast in encouraging others to come forward with the truth even against the most severe forms of intimidation from employers or peers.   As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Grassley knows that above all, he must be fair and I trust that for the most part he has shown us that this “simple Iowa farmer” can chair this prestigious committee with dignity.

And I have no doubt that Mr. Grassley is loyal to the Republican Party, perhaps to a fault.  From all appearances, Mr. Grassley has agreed to take the heat for a controversial and politically charged decision so his fellow Republicans won’t have to.  Senator Grassley says he will not hold hearings on whomever President Obama nominates to replace Justice Scalia.  It does make sense; Chuck Grassley is the closest thing to a “sure thing” in American politics so he’s not risking his Republican seat in the Senate, while many of his colleagues can’t afford to be seen as blatantly partisan in this election year.  This is in fact a really strange election year where even within their own parties candidates call each other liars and where we might be just gullible enough to believe them all when they say it.  The stakes seem higher than ever and apparently lying is a small price to pay.

But the one constant is “Chuck Grassley will not lie” and I predict he will in the end allow hearings for the Merrick Garland nomination.  I’m not even going to ask him to reverse his decision; I’m just asking him to answer one simple straight forward question.

Would you block these hearings, if any nominee was being put forward by a Republican President, almost a year before the end of his term?

I don’t think he will answer this question, “Yes.”  Known for his straight forward language, I don’t expect him to evade the question.  Certainly he doesn’t want to let his fellow Republicans down, but he will.  You see, I don’t think it’s about his senate seat or his influence in the party and after all, his fellow Republican knew they might have to take the heat from their own decisions when they chose to run.

More than anything else Senator Grassley wants his legacy to be that he was both honest and fair and that he showed the same character as the whistle blowers he championed to come forward with the truth even in the face of intimidation. 

I’d like to add one final thought.  I was wondering if the Democrats really want him to allow the hearings; after all this gives them plenty of political fodder to chew on.  And wouldn’t it be ironic if the best way to negotiate and actually get things done was to call your opponents honest, fair and loyal instead of the nasty rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to.

Keystone, the Jobs Pipeline to Texas

Sending our jobs to Texas in a pipe isn’t patriotic; it’s just stupid! As the Big Oil spokeswoman says on TV, “Now, that’s something we can all agree on.” Look at the map and tell us why we would want to pump crude oil from border to border when all the finished products have to be trucked back north again.
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Can’t we all just get along?

I’ve been attending an interesting “Bucket Course” with this title at Grinnell’s Drake Library given by Dr. J.R. Paulson. This quote by Rodney King, actually, “Can we all get along?” poses some challenging questions about human behavior. One of Dr. Paulson’s main themes is,

“Belief comes first, explanations for beliefs follow.”

The only problem I have with this is it demonstrates what Dr. Paulson calls the “framing bias.” The word “Belief” implies we are talking about something the individual believes to be true. I doubt that I am only speaking for myself when I say my beliefs are hardly ever grounded in truth and almost always represent a concession I have made “just to get along” in society. This makes Mr. King’s statement more an enigma than a question. Continue reading

When LaPierre says gun owners will not accept responsibility, he’s got it wrong.

Actually what National Rifle As­sociation CEO Wayne LaPierre said was, “Gun owners will not accept blame for acts of criminals.” It may seem like I’m parsing words here but the only difference between the two words is that “blame” implies we have no control over the situation and that simply isn’t true. And either way, he’s got it wrong, because the gun owners I know want to take responsibility and they only need a little help from lawmakers who just don’t seem to get it. Continue reading

The Deposit Advance Loan — How Wells Fargo and the FDIC both got it wrong

cakeYou might well imagine that when I proposed to my colleagues in the banking industry that 100% of the fees collected for deposit advance loans should be given back to the customers as dedicated long term savings funds, it was met with skepticism.  But I’m not so easily deterred.  I will admit it is a bizarre notion Continue reading

Bernie Sanders has earned the support of this long-time Republican

Bernie Sanders has earned the support of this long-time (50 year) Republican, by simply taking on the biggest issue facing the American people and the biggest threat to the American economy, income disparity. Raising the minimum wage is probably the only “quick fix” available to us now. In the long run I believe minimum wage has done more harm than good to the American worker and in fact it has created the need for a quick fix. Continue reading