Letters Gay Adoption We write in reference to News’ decision to run an advertisement titled, “What’s so gay about it?” in its July 15 edition.The Anti-Defamation League is one of the nation’s oldest civil rights and human relations agencies in America, combating anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, as well as promoting understanding and diversity throughout the United States and abroad.We firmly believe that the advertisement contained odious and offensive homophobic stereotypes. There is no doubt that the News had the First Amendment right to accept the advertisement. However, the publication’s right to publish the advertisement is not the issue.The First Amendment provides all Americans with great freedom. Indeed, certain hate and other offensive speech protected by the First Amendment are unlawful in Canada and other western democracies. But with great freedom comes important moral and ethical responsibility. Especially in light of The Florida Bar’s diversity, we believe that the publication’s decision was irresponsible, inappropriate, and divisive.Andrew Rosenkranz Florida Regional Director Anti-Defamation LeagueDavid Barkey Southern Area Counsel Anti-Defamation LeagueI find myself abashed at the response of my professional colleagues to the “What’s so gay about it?” advertisement in the July 15 News. That so many representatives of the profession could be so illiberal as to refuse to allow or conceive of a voice in disagreement with their views is astonishing.It appears from the correspondence that the author of the ad should never have been allowed to publish heretical views.The advertising policy of the News clearly indicates that it does not endorse any opinions included in its advertising — it would be foolish to think otherwise. Attacking the paper for publishing a paid advertisement does not strike me as appropriate. The corresponders do not describe a single incident from the advertisement that violates the policy as to derogatory or demeaning content. The terms are bent wildly out of shape in the correspondence to include the mere offensive. If we go that route, who shall speak at all?The substantive argument is far less important than the core issue of freedom of speech.However, I note that several of the letters attack the advertiser’s biases and sources of information without acknowledgement of their own biases and agendas. Personal experience as a basis for opinion is attacked as invalid without peer reviewed study (indeed, one who relies upon his own experience is implied a bigot). Is no opinion sufficiently valid without a poll or approval of the ministry of truth? Another goes so far as to dictate to the author the scope of argument that would be acceptable. This is vitriol and dictation, not debate.The effort to silence dissent is perfectly objectionable regardless the political/social views of those who would presume to assert such authority. These corresponders attack both the content of the speech and the opportunity to have published it. I have heard it said historically that one would oppose the view but defend to the death the right to speak it. Not so these days.What “has no place in civilized society” is domination to enforce the compulsory silence of dissent. One must fear for freedom in days wherein those sworn to uphold the Constitution cannot abide the speech of others.Terrence L. Lavy Ft Myers Justice Teaching As a Justice Teaching (JT) volunteer, I would like to relate my personal experiences with this worthwhile program.Following JT training, I was assigned to Park Vista Community High School in Lake Worth. There, I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Douglass, a legal studies instructor. Prior to delivering the JT classes, I toured Ms. Douglass’s classroom and reviewed her legal studies lessons. I also provided her with the pocket Constitutions and lesson plans that had been given to me by JT. Ms. Douglass was very enthusiastic about JT, and worked with me to develop a schedule to teach the program to five successive classes of juniors and seniorsWhile delivering the JT classes, it was obvious that her students were enthusiastic about the political process. One of the most controversial topics that we dealt with was whether the 26th Amendment should be changed so as to increase the voting age from 18 to 21. The students, many of whom had voted for the first time in the 2008 presidential elections, were opposed to this. They reasoned that if they could be drafted at age 18, then they should be able to vote. Nonetheless, as had happened frequently, this took the discussion down another avenue, as one student suggested that a constitutional proficiency test might be given as a pre-requisite for 18-year-olds to vote. But then, someone else pointed out that this would be an administrative nightmare to manage. Another student asked, after completing the FCAT, how many tests did teens need to take to prove their intelligence levels? Someone else commented that if the state saw fit to confer high school diplomas on them, then this was sufficient to qualify them to vote.One fact became clear: Any preconceived notions that I might have had regarding teenagers being apathetic about government and politics were quickly dispelled based on my experiences with JT.It has been my pleasure to serve as a JT volunteer, and I look forward to delivering this program to Ms. Douglass’s 2009-2010 legal studies students.Kathleen M. Bonczyk Boca Raton Involuntary Servitude I was just reading about the unfortunate soul who got appointed against his will to a multi-count RICO case over in the 12th Circuit.The September 1 News took up quite a bit of space explaining how the Second District Court of Appeal reached its conclusion that the appointment of counsel to criminal cases is permitted even if the particular attorney involved neither seeks nor desires to be appointed on the case. The court went to great length to justify its decision employing all the legal reasoning as is appropriate to the occasion.It just reminds me of George Orwell’s admonition that sometimes an idea can be so far-fetched that only an intellectual would subscribe to it. No one who knows me has ever accused me of being an intellectual, but to me the analysis is really quite simple. This issue was conceived in the very foundations of our once great nation and was decided on the battlefield.The debate passed through several stages with compromises passed by Congress in 1820 and again in 1850. Then in 1854, President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act into law which all but guaranteed the great conflagration that began at Fort Sumpter in April of 1861. It ended at last at Appomatox Courthouse in April of 1865 when that truly great and heroic American Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia, which fought valiantly to permanently enshrine in our law the right of free men to do what our appellate judges just did, to the equally great and heroic American general and later president, Ulysses S. Grant.It was here, when Grant accepted Lee’s surrender, that the issue of whether involuntary servitude could be foisted on a whole class of people was ultimately determined. What followed then was the passage of the 13th Amendment that permanently guaranteed that this sort of thing would never again come to pass in this country.Nowadays, with the Constitution being less and less relevant, we have attorneys who are forced to take cases against their will. The rate at which they are compensated doesn’t really matter and isn’t really the issue. What matters and what is the issue is the fact that they are forced to take on work that they don’t want to do in the first place. What about lawyers who do civil work? Should they not have to take on mortgage foreclosure defense cases? And shouldn’t other practitioners have to represent people in civil rights and other types of claims?It is that government can control every facet of our lives, including what work we do and how much we’re paid through the guise of “social justice,” that is really disturbing and should be resisted at every turn.Ernie Mullins Kissimmee Disciplinary Actions The August 15 Disciplinary Actions reported 18 cases of misappropriation of trust funds, and three cases of lawyers misrepresenting deposit of funds when there was no deposit, out of 42 reported cases.The losses amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars suffered by the public and undoubtedly disruption of lives and stress and anguish. This is shocking and disastrous news and impugns the lawyers’ image and trust.I suggest that controls must be considered to avoid this continuing problem, or else lawyers should not be trusted with clients’ funds and safeguards must be instituted to prevent these losses. This should be a primary issue for our leadership to address.Samuel I. Leff North Miami Beach President Zack I read with interest the August 15 News front page article on my friend Steve Zack. The penultimate paragraph says the he “will become the fifth Florida Bar member to hold” the post of ABA president.I thought you and your readers should know that the current ABA President Carolyn Lamm, a University of Miami School of Law grad, is — and has been — a Florida Bar member her entire career.Thus, among Steve’s many “firsts,” is that he will be the first Florida Bar member to succeed another Florida Bar member as president of the ABA.Peter Edward Halle Washington, D.C. September 15, 2009 Letters September 15, 2009 Letters
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dart EGGS KOURA youngsters were rampant with a record 8 to 1 victory against Gadota in the Kauka darts association competition at Kira Kira village on Saturday. Koura opened the session with a much needed win in the team event with Lahui Tuku who registered their first win. Tuku contributed scoring three 100’s and pegged four checks in the men’s doubles and won his singles event. He has hit form at the right time and will need a lot of match time to get to the top. Other players who also contributed in the win include Alan Kevin. Vero Mairi, Gaina Rabura and Nobert Kunia. The win has elevated Koura to third position on the point’s ladder behind Rome 2 and Rome 1. In the other exciting encounter, Munidarava caused the upset of the round at defeating Hunters with close 5/4 blow. Muni veteran Kabua Patana Snr broke the silence with an affordable peg on double 15 in the team event that opened the passage for Bobby Pana, Ela Saia Baeau Gabutu and Ata Geita to have clocked wins. The current top five on the point’s ladder is Rome 1 at the top and Rome 2 (second), Promote (third), Koura (fourth) and Badu Sharks in fifth placing. The other teams that are trailing closely are Spartans, White Cliff, Waga Rats, Gadota, Hunters, Muni Darava and Eggs Koura two. Waga Rats have registered fair bit of win in the singles events but are yet to reach their peak as yet. The next couple of rounds will be crucial for all the teams and it is going to be a win- win situation for them to get their acts together.