Saturday, May 30, 2009


So Mel Gibson, Mr. ultra conservative Catholic, has a girlfriend while still married and now has his eighth child, this one out of wedlock, on the way. Now this type of behavior and outcome would normally get a pass from me. Not that I condone it but I am not in a position to condemn nor do I want to take that moral high road less my failings get scrutinized.

The issue with Mel is on how he has criticized Catholics for not being Catholic enough. He even went so far as to start his own church. Apparently saying the Mass in Latin is how one can truly reach God, whereas that pesky commandment dealing with adultery can be completely ignored.

“My marriage was over three years ago” he is quoted as saying. OK, them things happen, but you also took a vow in a Catholic Church, that, in the eyes of Catholics, is a sacrament. For an “old fashioned Catholic” you should know how this works. If, not - go ask your daughter the Nun.

How can a man with such high morality, so much so that he sours his friendship with Heath Ledger because of Brokeback Mountain, allow himself to not only file for divorce but boink his new girlfriend enough times to get her pregnant. How is this behavior rationalized by him in the face of all his moral outrage about non-important stuff like the selection of the Pope and Vatican II?

I will never understand how some people can be so appalled at others morality while never turning the magnifying glass on themselves, or, worst yet, forgetting about morality altogether when it no longer suits their situation. How do people like Mel reconcile this behavior when it is obvious to anyone that sees it, including their God, that it is as morally wrong as all the other behaviors they have railed against.

Moral Mel - in flagrante delicto!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

10-10-10 = Null

I am still amazed at some peoples “brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence” (i.e. gall). Suzy Welch is out promoting her “proven strategy for making difficult decisions and clarifying life choices” which she calls 10-10-10. Why does Suzy have a lot of gall? Let’s look at it from what she says and compare it to what she did.

“We all want to lead a life of our own choosing.” Suzy chose to become involved with a married man, Jack Welch, the GE Chieftain, at the same time she was covering his business as the Harvard Business Review Editor.

“But in today’s accelerated world, with its competing priorities,” Suzy’s priority was to get corporate titan Jack Welch, a multi –millionaire.

“information overload, and confounding options,” Should Suzy put aside her journalistic integrity and have an affair with a man her employer writes about and force him into a nasty divorce or shuck it all for love!

“we can easily find ourselves steered by impulse, stress, or expedience” Oh really? Impulse and expedience played no part in this clandestine relationship that cost Suzy her job and him a $75 million dollar divorce settlement.

“Are our decisions the right ones?" No, Suzy yours were not, and I did not need the “clarifying” strategy of 10-10-10 to derive at this conclusion.

"Or are we being governed, time and time again, and against our best intentions, by the demands of the moment?" Gee golly wiz Suzy, how profound. What were your best intentions for Jack’s wife and your kids? But it does not really matter for you does it? You got a rich husband and enough stupid people out there to buy your self-help books.

“With 10-10-10, Welch proposes a transformative solution to deal with this pressure, as she shares her own life-tested strategy to help us regain control of our choices - and reclaim our lives.” Suzy, interestingly enough, designed this 10-10-10 process “a dozen year ago” – which means it must have been the life management technique she used to when starting the affair. She admits that she “failed to 10-10-10 because I was overwhelmed by events.” Which makes me wonder just how good of a “proven strategy” it could be? I mean, after all, if the inventor can’t make it work with all her smarts then why would us little folk find it a useful tool?

To me, using Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 strategy makes about as much sense as buying a Bible edited by Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

Source 10-10-10 website and Time June 1 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Losing the Bubble.....

I have not wavered on my opposition to the use of torture as a means to secure information. Although I cannot honestly rule out a situation where I could approve the use, I believe that the acceptance and attitude towards it, fostered and promoted by the Bush Administration is morally and legally egregious.

The argument for the use, or, more specifically, in support of those that initiated and those that carried out the deed, is based on one of three belief foundations:
  1. Would you do whatever it takes if it would save another’s life?
  2. We will receive worst treatment by them in a similar situation.
  3. Making them uncomfortable is not torture.
As stated earlier, I cannot rule out the first if in a situation I knew, or strongly believed, that torture might yield the information needed to save lives. Do I now lose my ability to criticize others that were actually put in this situation?

NPR ran a story on Col. Steven Kleinman, an Air Force reservist and experienced intelligence officer, who was mentioned in the recent Senate Armed Services report on the abusive treatment of terrorism detainees. Col. Kleinman analysis and critique sums up my feelings on this topic better than I could ever hope to do in this blog. Torture, like all other moral slippery slopes, starts out with a good intention that always degrades quickly.

“And so, people were reaching out to other methods, not understanding the subtle yet profound difference — using a method that was proven successful in obtaining propaganda, while on the surface it seems very effective, underneath it all it is very ineffective and counterproductive. … Any individual can force any other individual to admit to practically anything, but that's not the purpose of interrogation. I could see these people had lost the bubble on that.”

“And the reason I was unpopular is that people couldn't understand why I had stopped an interrogation, and the rationale that I heard repeatedly was …"If I had been captured by al-Qaida or some of these insurgents, that's how I would expect to be treated." And my response was always … "Let us not let the adversary set the standard, especially if it causes us to lower our standard.””

I guess deep down, it is my fundamental belief that the basic tenants of Christianity; love thy neighbor, forgiveness, turn the other cheek, the Golden Rule…. are standards worth having and maintaining. To put aside one’s basic animal instincts to dominate, strike first, to aggressively protect the pact, and to survive at all cost, and replace it, voluntarily, with a set of standards that runs counter to this is what morality and humanity is all about. Even though we can, even though we may have the need, possibly even the right, does not mean we should.

“What makes us who we are and who we can be standing on the shoulders of giants is this national character that does not bend to anyone’s standard but our own.”