Disabled parking placards sent to dead people; God and man; budget cuts at the courts
I read with interest the article about the misuse and misunderstanding by many of the disabled placards because I encountered this dilemma when my mother passed away several years ago.
Her updated placard came in the mail, with a letter clearly stating that if the recipient had died, the placard was to be returned along with a note explaining that the person had died and to obviously stop sending them. We never received another placard.
People need to take responsibility and stop pretending this is about someone else’s incompetence.
Each mailed placard also includes a card that includes the name, birth date and address of the recipient. Instructions indicate that this receipt must be presented “to
any peace officer upon demand.”
How often do police and parking enforcement officers observe someone leaving, entering or sitting in a parked car with a placard? All they have to do is ask to see the receipt.
It doesn’t take a statewide “sting” to stop this deception; all it takes is cities willing to enforce parking regulations that assist the disabled.
God, man and the unknown
The fact that we have a hardwired moral sense can just as easily be viewed as evidence that God exists, as C.S. Lewis said. More broadly, there is plenty of evidence for believing, as well as evidence for not believing.
But, as Blaise Pascal noted, the costs for mistakenly not believing are much higher than the costs for mistakenly believing.
So the reasonable thing to do is to cultivate one’s faith. And doing so does not require one to ignore things like history and science: Lewis was a renowned man of letters and a classicist, and Pascal was, among other things, a pioneer in chemistry and mathematics.
The etymology of the word “religion” comes from the roots “to tie back.” Though some may argue this implies bondage, it might also be understood in terms of connectedness.
If we move beyond the shopworn image of God as an anthropomorphic judge and open the God metaphor to, say, beauty and awesomeness, might we agree that evolutionary science doesn’t necessarily contradict the religious impulse that acknowledges the web of existence? Setting up the straw man of a literal anthropomorphic God, as J. Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer do, weakens their argument since it denies any evolving understanding central to contemporary theology.
When we use the term God, we rely on metaphor, because what we attempt to express is beyond definition.
My Christian mother unintentionally began curing me of religion at age 8 when she told me that my cocker spaniel, Gina, would not join us in heaven because she had no soul. I was stunned: How could heaven be perfect without Gina? By age 13, I accepted that Christ was neither the son of God nor my savior.
As a biologist, I understand the natural basis for how life, including humans, originated and evolved. I am baffled by why so many intelligent people accept ancient beliefs about our origins despite current scientific knowledge.
Nevertheless, these beliefs in the divine drive artistic creation and serve as an important moral force. Thus, I cannot imagine a world without religion for a long time to come.
Brian A. Federici
Many religious pundits would like to relegate me to the position of hand puppet to their psychopathic version of God. Smug scientists would like to relegate me to a series of adaptive devices. Both leave me stranded in a narrow, bitter and sad world.
As long as we’re imagining things, I am now happily imagining a world without both these groups.
To paraphrase Robert Ingersoll’s central difference between science and religion: In science, when the evidence goes against the theory, the theory is rejected. In religion, when the evidence goes against the theory, the evidence is rejected.
Religion has constantly battled the sciences, including astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology. Now it faces the refutations from psychology and sociology.
On July 8, I was installed as a new judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. As the ceremony began, we proudly pledged allegiance to the flag and “to the republic, for which it stands; one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” How easily those words flowed from our lips.
But California’s final budget package cut $350 million from judicial branch funding, on top of $300 million cut in previous years. Some courts have already started laying off staff and bench officers and closing courtroom doors.
Our courts are not an optional item or an entitlement program. They are a coequal branch of government and a pillar of our democracy. They must be preserved and protected, lest our future judges (and children) learn a sad
new pledge, ending with “liberty and justice for some, on certain occasions, if possible.”
Russell S. Kussman
Out of touch
I find it interesting that Julius G. Getman doesn’t talk much about the person unions are supposed to serve: the employee. If a group of employees desires a collective bargaining agent (a union), they may pursue that goal without retribution from their employer. If the employer does try to interfere, it must deal with the National Labor Relations Board.
The real problem here is that the unions have lost a great number of members and a great amount of revenue. This is about money and power. The unions of today do not serve their members well, with some exceptions, and that is why workers have ditched unions.
The everyday working guy wants to be treated fairly, and who doesn’t? But today’s big unions care more for money and power than fairness.
I would like to underline David Ropenik’s point about the need for the 48 states that allow a religious exemption from vaccinations to require verification that the parents’ faith precludes it. But I would go further.
Many religions do not absolutely preclude vaccinations but do so strongly discourage them as to “preclude” them in practice. I grew up in such a religion and as a boy contracted measles, chicken pox, mumps and several other ills. My parents’ religious beliefs precluded even getting a diagnosis unless mandated by law. School officials forced me to be cleared by a doctor before I could be allowed back into the school population.
That’s why the law, based on scientific evidence, has to remove such exemptions and save children from their own parents’ beliefs.
I’m all for religious freedom, but parents’ right to act based on their beliefs is greatly outweighed by the child’s right to optimal healthcare.
The writer is chairman of Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty Inc.
UTLA’s new guy
Regarding quantitative measures of teacher performance, new United Teachers Los Angeles President Warren Fletcher remarked, “You can’t fatten a pig by weighing it.” That’s true. However, weighing the pig is a very good way to measure your progress.
Dismissing the use of quantitative measures of student progress as one of the tools to assess teacher performance sounds a lot like the reactionary, knee-jerk response of the old UTLA. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
To carry Fletcher’s analogy a bit further, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
A cure for the common opinion
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