Monday, July 28, 2014

The weekly Daley: Good news, bad news or not even news?

From page A4 | May 16, 2014 |

It’s prom season and the prom fashion police appear to be out in force. Reports abound that this girl or that boy has been denied entrance to the prom because she or he was wearing an outfit that didn’t suit those in power in their school or school district.

CNN online gives a brief history of incidents wherein the kids were banned from their prom over the past several years for wearing a dress that showed too much cleavage or was too short according to school staff’s standards. In a couple of cases boys were refused entry because they were wearing dresses and either admitted they were gay or otherwise broke with convention. One lad wasn’t allowed to wear his family’s kilt because it seemed somehow inappropriate to those in charge.

Other cases said that the students weren’t admitted even though their dresses were longer than the minimum required length. Several lawsuits are pending apparently. If you’ve been on a high school campus lately you’d be hard-pressed to believe that a dress at or below the knees wouldn’t get past the prom police.

On the good news slate, from our very own Bakersfield, a little boy was riding a tiny little bike on the sidewalk when a dog attacked him. It wasn’t much of a dog but it might have outweighed the boy who looked to be 3 or 4 years old. The dog grabbed the boy by the leg and pulled him over onto the sidewalk, and clamped on to his leg. Suddenly from out of nowhere, a good-sized cat joined the fray, jumping and crashing into the dog. The dog fled and ran around the back of a vehicle parked in the driveway of the house with the cat in hot pursuit. Later photos showed the boy’s leg with a couple of bite marks and stitches. Evidently the cat belongs to a neighbor, but it was not clear who the dog belongs to. It’s a great David and Goliath story. It seems the video was shot by the boy’s father but that’s not 100 percent clear. It seems like if it was the dad, he should have been out chasing the dog off instead of waiting for the cat to do it. But I may have that wrong. It’s 20 seconds of pure fun except for the part where the little boy gets bit and needs stitches.

Twenty-five percent of the world is anti-Semitic, according to a survey sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. Included in that figure are apparently millions of Asians and Africans who have never met a Jew and who have never heard of the Holocaust. The way the survey was constructed asked the respondents to say yes or no to questions like, “Do Jews control the world’s finances?” and “Are Jews only interested in their own welfare and well-being?” Not surprisingly, most of the middle east and north Africa showed the highest rates of anti-Semitism.

In 2014, that’s just chilling. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same percentage knows exactly who Donald Sterling is but maybe don’t know that he’s Jewish, which is a statement only on media coverage and not on overall intellect or education.

Remember Cliven Bundy? Yeah, me neither. Remember Malaysia flight 370? Me neither except for the breaking news every six minutes that reports nobody knows anything more than they did six minutes earlier, and they think maybe they were looking in the wrong place. But they’re going to continue looking in other places unless or until they decide not to. Who’s planning to pay for what’s already been done and for what is yet to be done is also unclear.

If you’ve been in a coma or out of the country, you may not know that the St. Louis Rams have drafted and signed the first openly gay football player to make it to the National Football League. Pictures show him in tears kissing his boyfriend after hearing the news. If there’s any justice, he’ll be a premier star in the world of football on the basis of his athletic skills and savvy and not some kind of anomaly that stays as headlines for the next many years.

Should Nigeria trade incarcerated Boko Haram members for kidnapped girls? Well, there’s one for the philosophers, political mavens and moral experts. I’m inclined to say yes. They can always go after the rebels later. Whether or not it’s good business to do business with so-called terrorists is the up-in-the-air question. Sometimes it probably is and sometimes it probably isn’t. In this case it probably is — as long as there’s a plan in place to secure girls in the future. If not, then it won’t solve anything except bringing the actual victims home. That’s a good start. How to protect them and others in the future is yet to be worked out.

Practicing one’s religion in many places is likely to end badly. A Christian woman in Sudan has been sentenced to death for allegedly converting from Islam and marrying a Christian. Both actions apparently are capital crimes under Sharia law so the combination of both is deserving of particularly strenuous punishment. Our good friend Saudi Arabia is on the list of the top eight countries with the worst anti-religion laws. There is no religion other than Sunni Islam that is tolerated in the kingdom.

China, Iran, Burma and a couple of others like Uzbekistan are on the list for the least tolerance of religious diversity. As luck would have it, I’m not interested in going to any of those places anyway, and that’s just another good reason not to.

Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.





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