Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Getting Government Priorities Right

31.07.2002 (8:45 am) – Filed under: Politics ::

Johnathan Alter wrote a terrific opinion piece recently for Read it!

His main point: our government needs to work together, not bicker about party politics. Seems obvious, doesn’t it

North Korea Relations

31.07.2002 (8:28 am) – Filed under: Korea ::

Colin Powell met with a top North Korean cabinet member yesterday. Read about it on

This is a positive step in U.S. foreign affairs. Despite a shaky reputation and unbalanced leadership, North Korea can be salvaged. She need not be part of the axis of evil.

Fraud Legislation

30.07.2002 (7:40 am) – Filed under: Business,Finance ::

President Bush has signed the Accounting Industry Reform Act. Read the CNN article by Suzanne Malveaux.

The real question is obvious: will it be enforced? If so, America may well be rewarded by a healthy Wall Street. If not, how can a small, “outside” investor reasonably put money into a game that is highly likely to have been rigged?

The 11th Commandment: “Don’t be Ridiculous!”

30.07.2002 (7:34 am) – Filed under: Free Speech,Religion ::

A homeless, unlicensed Texas lawyer is making a name for himself by suing the state over a monument of the Ten Commandments. Read the AP article about it.

This case is similar to the Pledge of Allegiance case in California in that both deny the fact that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Like it or not, that is the way it was. Tolerance, not removal, of other points of view was the Founding Father’s aim.

Texas Day Care Online

29.07.2002 (1:09 pm) – Filed under: Child Care,Law,Technology ::

Texas’ working families get some good information on day care facilities from the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. Read the AP story about its new online database.

This is a great use of technology and is long overdue. Now, what’s needed is a feedback mechanism so parents can rate facilities and inform potential clients about a facility’s real quality. Good work TDPRS, now take the next step!

UNC Requires Islamic Reading

29.07.2002 (8:12 am) – Filed under: Education,Media,Religion ::

The University of North Carolina is in hot water over its required summer reading program. Read about in at

The real problem, however, is not the required reading of Islamic passages. The real issue is the size of the uproar that would burst into being if students were required to read similar Christian passages.

The purpose of education is learning. Students must be exposed to different points of view, assess arguments, and make decisions in order to grow. Frivilous lawsuits do not further this aim. Learning does.

Baseball Strike: I Dare Them!

26.07.2002 (12:10 pm) – Filed under: Sports ::

Baseball players and management are talking strike again. I hope they do strike. That way I can wash my hands completely of the sport.

Who do these pampered brats think they are? I’ve barely watched a game since their petulance cancelled the World Series some years back. The World Series, for Pete’s sake. That’s equivalent to calling off the World Cup in soccer. Unthinkable.

Baseball is already a second tier sport. Ask any eight-year old kid who his favorite sports star is. Betcha don’t hear one baseball player’s name. Strike, major league baseball, I dare you. And I am not alone.

Cuba Restrictions Outdated

24.07.2002 (10:25 pm) – Filed under: World ::

It is one thing to stand up against a rising tide of Communism as the U.S. did for four decades; it is quite another to old a personal grudge against the leader of a tiny, insignificant nation such as Cuba.

Based information that is available, there is no reason for the U.S. to continue sanctions against Cuba. Apparently a new generation of House leaders agree. Read about bills that will ease these sanctions.

Certainly Americans at large do not agree with our country’s policy in this matter. Read about illegal tourism and who is doing it.

Perhaps there is something in the U.S./Cuba relationship that merits our response. If so, it is not public knowledge.

Final Frontier Justice

24.07.2002 (7:19 am) – Filed under: Crime,Space ::

In a new and bizarre case, junior-level employees of NASA have been accused of stealing valuable moon rock samples and attempting to sell them. Read the report by Mark Carreau and Roma Khanna of the Houston Chronicle.

Amusing, but nothing more than another case of good employee gone bad, right? Not so fast, says Thom Marshall, also of the Chronicle. Read his editorial regarding alternative punishment.

Makes sense to me. In cases where it is appropriate, restorative justice seems likely to do all parties involved more good than a standard jail sentence for the perpetrator.

Bonfire Lawsuit Ruling

24.07.2002 (7:04 am) – Filed under: Education,Justice,Texas ::

In a ruling that will be appealed, a federal judge has issued mixed ruling, indicating that Texas A&M University cannot be sued in federal court while at the same time indicating he may have felt the school was negligent. Read the Associated Press article in the Houston Chronicle

As one who has attended several bonfires in the past, it saddens me to think there will be no more of the kind built while I was attending A&M. It is a sign of the times we live in that the university is being threatened in court over this matter. Certainly it is a tragedy that a dozen young people were killed. Nonetheless, how many of them would favor their parents’ litigious vengeance? Few things worth doing in life are without risk. Because an accident occurred doesn’t mean that someone or something must be held responsible. Nor does it mean that traditional events with an element of risk must be re-examined “intellectually”. Some things are worth doing simply because we can.