Race: Not a Black and White Issue

Interesting story about a man who refused to answer the “What is your Race” question on a form when applying for security clearance. It raises some interesting questions about what race is, and equally important, why people want an answer to the question.

Read on for Kick the Mongrel, by Les Earnest. (It’s also in the comp.risks archive, but doesn’t appear to be archived anywhere else, so I duplicate it here, formatted for HTML.) He describes this in 1988 as “a trilogy of true short stories that I posted on the Stanford bboards two years ago. The incidents described span a period of twenty years ending 25 years ago.”

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The cost of free money

It’s a purely American delusion that there exists such a thing as free money. (Allow me my sweeping generalizations, please.) More services and less taxation? Sure thing — that’s more in my paycheck, right! Rebates on my purchases? What a bargain! Suing my doctor for malpractice? Bonanza!

What’s never counted is the cost of free money. But this amazing essay shows starkly the cost of medical litigation — steadily worsening medical care. (Thanks to overlawyered.com for the link.)

Some choice quotes:

our judicial system appears to have so easily dispensed with the basic elements of tort law: In order to have a claim, a defendant must have been negligent, and that negligence must have caused injury to a plaintiff … [but] only the degree of injury, not negligence, predicts how a jury will decide a malpractice case.

This is … unfathomable. How do these cases even survive in the court? There seems to be this impression of plaintiffs, and apparently perpetuated by the judiciary, that if something bad has happened, someone must be negligent. And we’ll damn well sue until we find them.

Another quote, from a juror of a successful plaintiff who sued after her husband hit an overhead wire with a metal pole:

“Oh, we didn’t think the electrical company did anything wrong, but this way the children will be taken care of.”

But is she truly willing to pay for their care, I wonder?

Theological porn, delivered to your inbox

There’s nothing like the Christian fringe to turn any day into Aneurism Day for me. So imagine my apoplexy at seeing, on the MSN home page this morning, the question “Is the Rapture upon us?” No, Billg’s house organ is not stumping for apocalypse… but some very wealthy Christofascists are. It was a banner ad
for Left Behind – Interpreting the Signs, a/k/a the Left Behind Prophecy Club.

I took at deep breath and clicked the link to find, in screaming type, “Will WAR IN IRAQ launch an unstoppable chain of events that lead to ARMAGEDDON? Find out when you subscribe to the Left Behind Prophecy Club.” (Note the lack of subject-verb agreement there.) In other words, it is yet another revenue stream for Tim LeHaye and Jerry Jenkins, who must be God’s favorite moneychangers in the temple. For just $29.95 a month, you can get even more dangerous twaddle about world events piled into you inbox!
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