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Comments made by Jerry_L

New California Law Requires Doctor's Note For Vaccine Exemptions... But There's An Out

This story is reprehensible and should be taken off the air. The story as written here on the web page is more neutral, but the audio broadcast version definitely gives the impression that it is recommending that, if parents want to avoid the "hassle" of going to a doctor where they would be informed of the pros and cons of vaccinations, they should lie on a form, and falsely claim a religious exemption. The story also gives the impression that a doctor has a veto power over the personal belief exemption, and might deny it, but this is wrong. The doctor is merely being asked to inform the patient, and then sign a form validating that she has done this. (See the Exemption Form effective 2014:

Some people do have genuine religious convictions which prohibit them from seeking medical advice or treatment, and I approve of Gov. Brown's accommodating their ability to freely exercise their religion. But to treat this lightly as a convenient "way around" a very serious provision of the law, or to recommend that other people do, is deplorable.

January 2, 2014 at 5:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Roe v Wade: 1973-2012

Never mind. I found it: Tonight, March 7, 6:30-8pm, at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center as part of its Teen & Parent seminar series. (According to SDMetro.)

March 7, 2012 at 12:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Roe v Wade: 1973-2012

I caught the tail end of the interview. Thanks Maureen. It was refreshing to hear someone speaking some sense about these issues. I think you said Sarah was going to be speaking somewhere in the area soon, but I've been unable to discover where or when. Does anyone know?

March 7, 2012 at 12:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Film Club of the Air: Best and Worst of 2010

Just to clarify, Anders Wright misunderstood what it was I perceived to be mind-rape in Inception. The victim was the 'mark', the character played by Cillian Murphy. Just because he's played loathsome villains in previous roles shouldn't justify his victimization in this one. My criticism was the lack of moral compunction in the perpetrators, DiCaprio and Ellen Page. Page is after all a member of the crime team. It is possible that their mistreatment of Murphy pushed my buttons, and I over-reacted. I would have to see it again to know, but I have no plans to.

As to the debate about Scott Marks as a critic, I am very glad that Anders Wright has joined the program. Marks is an expert on some technical aspects of film making. If he restricted his remarks to lighting and camera angles I would be happy. Because when it comes to content -- not the technical but the human dimension -- Scott is almost always wildly off the mark, in my opinion. When you add to that his history of suddenly, without warning, giving away the ending to the movie on this program (I've more than once turned the radio off in disgust after he's done this), I would have to give his performance, on average, a big thumbs down.

January 11, 2011 at 9:51 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Film Club of the Air: Best and Worst of 2010

In the broadcast, Anders Wright wondered why some people didn't like Inception. I, for one, HATED Inception. I walked out on it about midway through. But I think my reasons may not be shared by many, alas. I hated this movie on moral grounds.

What bothered me was that attractive people with whom we are expected to sympathize -- DiCaprio, the bad-boy love-crossed trickster and Ellen Page, the innocent-faced intern, barely more than a girl -- do horrendous things for money without, apparently, ever considering the morality of their actions. It's one thing to go along with a clever robbery caper. It's another, I would have thought, to subject someone to a brutal mind-rape of escalating intensity along the way. I didn't stay long enough to learn whether the victim somehow deserved such treatment. But the perpetrators had no reason to believe he did. What they did was far worse than water boarding. It was intense, mind-destroying mental torture. This might make sense if the perpetrators were really tough hombres. But the girl was just a clever programmer with no criminal background. DiCaprio wasn't supposed to be cruel or a psychopath. These characters apparently simply lacked a conscience. They never even considered right and wrong.

What I don't understand, and worries me, is that audiences go along with such creations. To me it's like seeing people walking around with no heads. That's not realistic. People aren't like that. But audiences don't seem to notice or object, so maybe I'm wrong, and people really are like that. If someone promised you a big payoff, would you slice out a stranger's heart and regard it as good fun?

What I hope is that people really do have consciences, but somehow their moral sense stops working when presented with really bizarre fictional situations, as in Inception, or a movie I hated for similar reasons, Being John Malkovich. Maybe the mental work of keeping track of several levels of stories within stories also stymies the conscience. I hope it's something like that.

January 8, 2011 at 10:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is San Diego Finally Addressing Long-Term Debt?

I was outraged to hear Bob Kittle attack Prop D and complain about the pension situation. Kittle, as much as any other person (maybe more) is RESPONSIBLE for San Diego's pension debacle. From his influential perch at the Union-Tribune, he helped make it impossible for government to pay for itself, by making 'taxes' a dirty word. In a healthy city, the citizens take pride in their government. They recognize that it provides value and is worth paying for. In Bob Kittle's San Diego, the mayor and city council could not even consider, let alone argue for, raising taxes to meet expenses, so they had to sneak around and make short-sighted deals in order to fund what needed to be done. Bob Kittle was the influential editor of the U-T when all of this went down. The city made a deal with its employees, that they would forego wage increases in exchange for higher pensions down the road, and then the city in effect raided the pension fund to meet current expenses. If taxes had been adequate to meet expenses, or if people could have had a rational discussion about the proper levels of taxes and government services, none of this would have happened. Now Kittle is blaming city employees for a situation he helped cause, and he continues to oppose paying for our government.

I rejoiced when Bob Kittle was fired by the U-T and disappeared from KPBS. He wielded too much power for too long, to the detriment of this city. I'm disappointed that he has rejoined the Editors' Round Table.

October 8, 2010 at 10:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Documentary Attempts To Lift The Curtain On Prop 8

Here's an interesting connection: while watching the documentary, a name I was familiar with popped up -- Robert P. George. He's a very influential politically conservative Catholic who is an expert at disguising theology in secular vocabulary. I regard his writings, for this reason, to be extremely dishonest. His name popped up in the film as a covert link between the Catholic hierarchy and the clandestine Mormon campaign for Prop 8.

Now who's face should I find talking to me over the KPBS logo on July 4 (actually 12am July 5) but Robert P. George's. He was one of several conservative Catholic ideologues featured in the Catholic propaganda film "Birth of Liberty", which was purportedly a film about the history of the rise of the ideas of liberty and equality in the West, but was a completely one-sided argument for why we owe everything that's valuable in our political heritage to Christianity, with special adulation for the Catholic middle ages (not dark at all, we are assured, but all sweetness and light.) If you think America is a Christian nation, based on Christian values, you'll love this program.

Although I found "Birth of Liberty" interesting, for what it told me about a very skewed point of view held by right wing Catholics, I had to ask myself whether this belonged on public television, complete with misleading program notes supplied by the producers. (Check out the web site of Acton Media to get a taste of where this comes from.) What kind of decision process went into the decision to screen this gem on KPBS? It reminded me of another Christian historical documentary, one which helped launch the pro-life movement back in the 70s: "How Should We Then Live" by Francis Schaeffer. It seems to me this belongs on a Catholic or Christian television network, not a publicly funded channel.

Perhaps KPBS should consider screening something as negative about the influence of Christianity and Catholicism as "Birth of Liberty" is positive.

July 5, 2010 at 8:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political Analysis: Town Hall Health Care

I understand Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck better after reading Levin. They often makes the same points. Today Rush was defending depicting Obama as Hitler because national socialism was a form of socialism, but more important, because it's working: the Democrats are on the run.

In Germany in the thirties, yes, there were economic problems and social dislocation. The populace was fearful. But what was needed before liberal, multi-party democracy could be overthrown was an ideology that motivated people to support an extreme right wing takeover. The way Levin talks of "Statists" reminds me of the way Nazis talked about Jews, insidious, evil, enemies of the nation, who must be ripped from the levers of power before things can be set right by a radical overhaul of the government, the judiciary, and society. I think the styles of thought of Levin/Limbaugh and the Nazis also bear a striking resemblance. There is a total disregard of truth, a reliance on sweeping generalizations about the evil motivations of their opponents, the gleeful incitement of anger with baseless accusations, and a smugness that comes with having a monopoly on patriotism. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in characterizing political opponents as fascists, providing that the shoe actually fits.

Right now this extreme right wing faction is successfully derailing much needed health care reform. But if it turns out they are defeated (as I dearly hope they are), I am concerned about what their rage could morph into.

August 19, 2009 at 2:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political Analysis: Town Hall Health Care

According to Mark Levin, Conservatives are in favor of liberty, and everybody who is not a Conservative is what he calls a "Statist" and is in favor of tyranny. It's not just a matter of a difference of opinion about the role of government in society. It's not about striking a balance between values we all share, of personal liberty versus responsibility to ensure a just or fair or economically secure society. It is about a clash of absolutes: Conservatives, who are true to American ideals, defend liberty, and Statists, the enemies of everything good and true, seek to dominate true Americans by establishing tyranny over them. "For the Statist," Levin writes, "liberty is not a blessing but an enemy.... The individual must be dehumanized and his nature delegitimized. Through persuasion, deception, and coercion, the individual must be subordinated to the state." For Levin, "monarchism, militarism, fascism, communism, national socialism, and economic socialism" are all just forms of Statism. "They are all of the same species -- tyranny." Indeed, the language applied to "the Statist" seems very much like the old cold war obsession with Communists as insidious internal enemies. But it is worse than that. For Levin, "during the Great Depression, the Statists successfully launched a counterrevolution that radically and fundamentally altered the nature of American society." Yes, FDR was a Statist, and the Supreme Court supposedly buckled under pressure, and ever since has betrayed America's founding principles and the Constitution. Social security, welfare, and the progressive income tax are all unconstitutional. And, since "the Statist has an insatiable appetite for control," further usurpations are constantly being pushed for, and must be resisted, and our country must be reclaimed.

So when demonstrators hold signs depicting Obama as Hitler, and at the same time accusing him of socialism, it is this ideology which is being expressed, which doesn't distinguish between extreme left and extreme right, and views all non-Conservative opinions not as legitimate policy differences, but dastardly attempts to steal their birthright. I don't think it matters to these people what is in the bill. They are convinced that Democrats are enemies of liberty, and, when they get together and yell and scream, they believe they are the only voice of patriotism, because America is under attack from sinister forces. If the health care bill provides for "death panels", that does not surprise them, because it's just the kind of thing a Statist would do.

August 19, 2009 at 2:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political Analysis: Town Hall Health Care

There's something I've discovered recently that I think has been missing from discussions of the outrage heard at town halls. It's all very well to note the economic conditions that have caused some people to feel insecure and fearful, and the special interests and political operatives who may be instrumental in ginning up some of these events (although what liberal is against political organizing?). Bogus stories about actual provisions of the health care bills also play a part. But just as important is the role of ideology. That's what I want to talk about.

Awhile back I went down to the post office, and there happened to be one of those "tea party" demonstrations, and who should I meet there but my landlady, carrying a sign. We got to talking. She was very enthusiastic. She'd been listening to Glen Beck. Now this is not a poor woman. She owns several apartment buildings. She'd never been politically active before, and had come down on her own initiative, out of patriotism, concern and anger. Since then we've had several discussions about politics, and we made a deal that each would read a book recommended by the other. I gave her Paul Krugman's "The Conscience of a Liberal" (she said, "But he's a socialist!" but gamely agreed to read it), she gave me "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto" by Mark Levin, which she highly praised. Neither of us has gotten through our assigned reading, understandably, because it is hard to read a book you despise. But I'm glad I've been forced to read Levin, because it was eye opening.

August 19, 2009 at 2:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )