Archive for the ‘Public Policy’ Category

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Gender Nonconformity

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

From National Geographic Magazine, January 2017 –

“Still, one finding in transgender research has been robust: a connection between gender nonconformity and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to John Strang, a pediatric neuropsychologist with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Gender and Sexuality Development Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., children and adolescents on the autism spectrum are seven times more likely than other young people to be gender nonconforming. And conversely, children and adolescents at gender clinics are six to 15 times more likely than other young people to have ASD.”

Robin Marantz Henig, Rethinking Gender, National Geographic Magazine, January 2017, Vol. 231, No. 1, pg. 59.

Comment: So we’re now operating on and pharmaceutically stopping the adolescence of autistic kids?

© Copyright 2017, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Medical Districts and Their Arterial and Access Streets Should be Off Limits to Demonstrations

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

With demonstrations an almost daily occurrence in Chicago, it now makes sense to bar demonstrations from medical districts and from the arterial and access streets leading to those districts within a two mile radius.

While police can sometimes allow emergency vehicles to pass through a demonstration, too often surgeons, physicians, nurses, technicians, expectant mothers, the ill, the elderly, and critical supplies, if not organ donations, are delayed in traffic to and from hospitals, particularly Northwestern Memorial, especially by demonstrations along the Magnificent Mile. Ohio and Ontario Streets, Lake Shore Drive, and all streets leading directly to and from, should not be obstructed by demonstrations within two miles of Northwestern Memorial.

The same should go for the Illinois Medical District on the Near West Side, and for the University of Chicago Hospitals.

There are plenty of places in Chicago where demonstrators can make their point. But their point should not come at the cost of putting the medical care and health of others at risk. Health care providers and critical supplies should at all times be able to travel to and from medical centers unimpeded. Expectant mothers, senior citizens, and the ill should not be stuck in traffic for hours because of the demonstration du jour, however worthy the cause.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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African American Legislative Caucuses Commit Slow Suicide by Supporting Abortion

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Despite the African American total fertility rate in the US shrinking to less than the replacement rate for the African American population, African American legislative caucuses continue to commit slow suicide by supporting abortion. With each redistricting to come, whether in civic, state, or congressional elections, the number of predominantly African American legislative districts will continue to shrink, despite activist politics at redistricting time and more and more ludicrous gerrymandering.

There is no fighting demography in the long run. As the African American population shrinks in the US due in no small part to abortion politics, so will shrink the hard-fought political gains of African Americans. African American legislative caucuses are beginning to die by their own hand. After 2030, if present abortion trends continue in the African American community, it is possible that African American legislative districts at all levels could shrink by 40% to even 50%.

This self-inflicted blow was first struck by now elderly legislators of the Civil Rights era who bought into supporting abortion in order to gain and retain power. These foolish elders have dealt their own legacy a death blow, but given the human life span, they will likely not survive long enough to witness the bitter fruits of their own stupidity.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Lead Piping and the Chicago Plumbers Union in the 1980s

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Many have forgotten, but I didn’t. The removal of lead pipes and lead solder from water piping installations was fought bitterly by Local 130 of the plumbers union in Chicago in the 1980s, prior to federal legislation later in that decade that overruled local legislation and banned such use of lead. This is one clear case in US history in which organized labor defended a dangerous environmental hazard with which we are living today.

Here’s a quote from the Chicago Tribune on March 30, 1986 from an article by Casey Bukro: “More than a decade after other major American cities outlawed lead in drinking water pipes, Chicago officials hope to overcome resistance from the influential plumbers union and enact a similar ban here.” Read in the light of 2016, the rest of the article is damning.

Nowhere in the many lead-in-the-water stories today does one find the role of plumbers unions in fighting the removal of lead from the water piping installations, which was clearly and indisputably documented by the Chicago press in the 1980s.

Unions do many good things, but in some cases such as the above, when they put their own interest above the public interest, they can harm the common good.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Prediction on SCOTUS

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Prediction:

If Loretta Lynch indicts HRC 4 top secret e-mail breach before November 2016, Senate will confirm Lynch for SCOTUS.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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How to Fix the Chicago Schools Without Building More of Them

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

In a few neighborhoods in Chicago, there is a call for building more public schools due to overcrowding. But when one looks at vacancies in public schools adjacent to these overcrowded schools, one often finds excess capacity that can accommodate more students. It is therefore apparent that some schools are overcrowded because they are schools of refuge from less desirable schools. Nevertheless, the public constituency for what I refer to as “refuge overcrowding” calls for the building of new schools rather than fixing the adjacent schools that are less desirable.

Because neither the state, nor the county, nor the city have enough money, the means to build a new school of refuge is usually a Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF. A TIF is basically a public means to rob Peter to pay Paul, through public financial slight of hand that prevents Peter, Peter being whoever loses in the TIF deal, from ever finding out the truth of the matter. Even so, the public sector bears an undue capital burden to build a new school when an adjacent school has excess capacity. The public sector in Illinois, be it state or local government, barely has enough money to avoid bankruptcy and utter collapse. Despite this fundamental change in the fiscal position of government, public leaders continue to argue for capital expenditures as if we were in a period of growth, which we are not. This wishful thinking is sheer folly, since their proposed new capital expenditures cannot be completed to a high degree of quality, nor sustained and maintained in a declining future.

I therefore propose a different way to think about preK-12 schools, and that is to think of all such schools, be they public, charter, parochial, or private, as all one educational system. If we look at the capacity of this combined educational system of all schools, there is more than enough capacity to educate all the available children. But what is seemingly missing is a financial mechanism to fund all the schools.

I wrote “seemingly missing” because the financial mechanism is educational or school vouchers which are unpopular with a vocal fraction of the political sector. Educational vouchers help prevent needless capital expenditures on new public school buildings by funding the more efficient use of all existing educational buildings. They are a better use of public funds for education primarily for this very reason–that they preclude the need to build new schools by funding the whole educational system rather than funding new capital improvements for the often stressed or dis-functional public fragment of it.

Educational vouchers would easily allow non-public schools to accommodate many of the students facing overcrowding in nearby public schools when one factors in the reduction in capital outlays. Due to the dire financial condition of the public sector in Illinois that prevents capital expenditures, there is presently a real opportunity to make the school voucher argument as a way to reduce the need for future capital spending. It is therefore surprising that the argument for vouchers is not made more forcefully at this very time of opportunity for school vouchers by educational, non-profit, and religious leaders responsible for non-public schools. This could be due to lack of insight, to distraction, or perhaps, to cowardice.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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How to Resolve the Illinois State Budget Deadlock

Monday, January 18th, 2016

With news in the WSJ that poor students have to drop out of college in Illinois because of the budget deadlock, it is time to apply extreme pressure on the Illinois legislature and governor to pass a budget for FY2016. My solution to the Illinois state budget deadlock is therefore quite simple:

Congress can pass a law that no federal transportation funds can go to a state that does not have a legislated budget in place for its current fiscal year contemporaneous with the federal fiscal year in which transportation funds are allocated to states or spent by states, including funds allocated from previous fiscal years.

Because the Illinois political gravy train runs on road repairs and the money the contractors and unions kick back to politicians from road repairs and from other capital spending (haven’t you noticed that every single road in the Chicago area is under construction despite the State of Illinois having not passed an FY2016 budget?), the Illinois politicians and their political funds would shortly be brought to their knees if federal transportation funds dried up. With no capital funds to dole out, and projects put to a halt, Illinois politicians would soon have no power to make anyone rich, and few would have any money to give to politicians. Such a move by Congress would end the Illinois budget stalemate pronto.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Start by Enforcing the Mandated Reporting on Police Excessive Use of Force per the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, co-authored by Vice President Joe Biden when a senator, contains language mandating the reporting of local police “excessive force” to the federal government. According to reports, local police departments stonewall, and do not adequately report police “use of excessive force” as required under this Act.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is the ancient Latin phrase depicting the dilemma of finding someone to guard the guardians.

It is shameful that local police departments are out of compliance with federal law on reporting police use of excessive force. Had both local and federal government officials taken this reporting obligation more seriously, we might not be seeing as many deaths and the consequent social disturbances from police shootings. Perhaps there is something this present administration and Congress can do about getting better compliance to a law so closely connected with the Vice President. Certainly, a bi-partisan issue. . .

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Podcast of 10/07/14 Talk on St. John XXIII and his Pacem in Terris

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Just in time for today’s 10/11/14 first feast of the newly canonized St. John XXIII, I’ve posted the podcast of the just-completed 10/07/14 talk entitled, St. John XXIII and his Pacem in Terris, which was presented as part of the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Chicago.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Fighting College Sexual Assault Without Addressing College Alcohol Abuse Won’t Work

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

The President and Vice President unveiled on 9/19/14 a national effort to reduce sexual assaults on college campuses.

While the President’s statement mentioned a few tips about protecting inebriated students from harm, addressing college alcohol abuse itself, so closely related to college sexual assault, is apparently not front and center in the President’s campaign.

The President’s statement enumerated a long list of individuals responsible for addressing the problem of college sexual assault. But he left out mentioning the liquor industry, of which several state legislatures are wholly-owned subsidiaries. The liquor industry makes big money off of college alcohol abuse, and this alcohol abuse helps drive the economy of many a college town. College sexual assault is one of the sad results.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
Each year an estimated 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol related sexual assault or date rape.

I applaud the President’s effort on reducing college sexual assault. But I caution that this effort will not address a root cause of college sexual assault unless it also comes to terms with the very strong link between college alcohol abuse and college sexual assault, and changes the way the liquor industry interacts with the college-age population.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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