Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lawyer in Alex P. Vidal vs. Freddie Roach case dies

"Mr. Vidal, do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God? You may proceed to the witness stand," ATTY. BOB McNEILL to client Alex P. Vidal during the Stanley Mosk Courthouse trial in Los Angeles in 2009.

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I join the legal community in California in mourning the loss of legal legend, Attorney Robert H. McNeill, Jr., on April 17, 2016.
McNeill, Jr., 75,  was co-founder of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt, California’s largest African-American owned law firm.  
Affectionately known as “Bob,” McNeill, Jr. had been a fixture in the Los Angeles community for over 50 years. He was born on January 7, 1941.
McNeill, Jr. was my lawyer in the criminal case I filed in 2009 against Hall of Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
According to the IMW (Ivie McNeill & Wyatt) website, "McNeill, Jr. tried numerous jury trials during his outstanding and versatile legal career." 
The website said he successfully litigated many cases in both federal and state courts and in a wide range of practice areas, including medical malpractice, contract, business commercial disputes, real estate, criminal, construction defect, civil litigation, and family law.  


He served as co-counsel in a highly successful litigation involving a multimillion dollar health care class action lawsuit which changed the terms of insurance coverage on behalf of insured men and women in California. 
The American-African lawyer successfully defended several death penalty cases in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, including one in which he obtained not guilty verdicts on all charges, consisting of four counts of first degree murder with special circumstances.
McNeill, Jr. was admitted to the State Bar of California in May of 1979.  
He served as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles and as Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles. 
He went on to be appointed to the Los Angeles County Commission on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in 1993 on the nomination of County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, and served more than three four-year terms until his resignation in 2008.  


McNeill, Jr.  served as a Deputy County Assessor from 1963 to 1977, and served as a member of the Los Angeles County Capital Case Fee Committee from 1993 to 1998 by appointment of the Supervising Judge of the Los Angeles Municipal Court. Bob was appointed to the Board of Directors of the California Science Center in Exposition Park by California Governor Gray Davis in 2001 for a four-year term. In 2015, Bob was inducted into the John M. Langston Bar Association’s Hall of Fame.
During his career, McNeill Jr. and the Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt law firm received numerous awards and recognition. 
In 2006, he was selected as one of The Top 100 Attorneys in the State of California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. 
Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt received the Minority-Owned Law Firm Client Services Award in October, 2005.  In 2013, Bob was selected as one of L.A.’s Most Influential African-Americans by Los Angeles Wave Magazine. 


He received Southwestern University Law School’s 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Black Law Students Association and the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement and Dedication to Society Award from Virginia State University.
McNeill, Jr. was a highly sought after legal commentator during the O.J. Simpson trial who served as a legal consultant for National Cable Television News.
While he earned many professional achievements throughout his career and will be missed as a litigator, words cannot describe the void left in the Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt family by his departure as a friend, a mentor, and a business partner, the website added.

SC tie means agony of undocumented continues

"We should embrace our immigrant roots and recognize that newcomers to our land are not part of the problem, they are part of the solution." ROGER MAHONY 

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The 4-4 deadlock decision of the US Supreme Court on President Barack Obama's contested immigration policies on June 23 means the agony of millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States will continue.
The word TNT (Tago Ng Tago) was coined by a Filipino who went to the United States without any intention of going back to the Philippines. 
Most common of all the reasons is economic. 
Like many people around the world, Filipinos think the United States is a land of milk and honey, a fulfillment of their dreams for a better life. 
Filipinos are not the only TNTs in America. 
In fact, of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, six million are Mexicans. 
Hundreds of thousands are Latinos, Chinese and Koreans. Most of these undocumented immigrants made it to the land of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck via "over the bakod" or over the fence (crossing the US-Mexican border illegally). 
Undocumented Immigrant is defined as a foreign-born person who lacks a right to be in the United States, having either entered without inspection (and not subsequently obtained any right to remain) or stayed beyond the expiration date of a visa or other status. (Nolo law for all).


These are the warm bodies that may benefit from the S.744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," otherwise known as the comprehensive immigration reform law, which the US Senate passed by a 68-32 margin in 2013.
The bill was not yet a law. It needed the approval of the House of Representatives which would either modify it to reconcile with the senate version and approve it or kill it before it could reach the office of President for signature.
But the GOP-controlled Lower House refused to bring it to a vote. 
The bill is called "comprehensive" because it deals with border security, enforcement, immigrant visas, and nonimmigrant visas.
Title one of the bill and its preamble address issues of border security, the oversight of the border, and the security goals (“triggers”) that must be achieved before other provisions of the bill are implemented. This part of the bill establishes that the security of the border is a primary concern as part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure a functioning, fair, and effective immigration policy.


The title "Immigrant Visas" addresses permanent legal status in the United States. 
It creates a Registered Provisional Immigrant program for undocumented immigrants and incorporates versions of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS, for undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children and for agricultural workers, respectively. 
It provides sufficient visas to erase the current backlog of family and employment-based visa applicants in the next 7 years, eliminates or changes some family-based immigration programs, and creates a new merit system that is based on points accrued through education, employment, and family ties. 
The subtitle "Legal Immigration Reforms" lays out reforms and new components of the immigration system and addresses backlogs and immigration levels. 
In particular, it creates a new merit-based point system with two tracks that award points to immigrants with educational credentials, work experience, and other qualifications. 
It will function alongside the current family-based immigration and employment-based immigration programs, which allow U.S. companies, citizens, and legal permanent residents to file petitions for relatives or employees.
The title "Interior Enforcement" addresses DHS’s ability to enforce immigration laws while correcting many procedural problems with the immigration system. 
Central to Title III is a phased in, mandatory E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. 
The bill also addresses important refugee and asylum issues, enhances due-process protections in the immigration courts, increases the oversight of detention facilities, and toughens penalties for gang-related convictions and other offenses.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Terror after terror: Now it's Istanbul

Let's renew our call for world peace and pray more as terrorists made another blistering attack in Istanbul, Turkey. Here's the link:

Here's the full report from CNN:

ISTANBUL -- Gunshots, screams and explosions pierced the air Tuesday at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, as three terrorists armed with bombs and guns attacked passengers at one of the world's busiest travel spots.
Witnesses described deadly carnage and crowds in a panic as the attackers struck.
At least 36 people were killed, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, in the terror attack, one for which there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Another 147 people were wounded, Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said
Sue Savage was in the airport to see a friend off when she heard gunshots and then an explosion, which she knew was a bomb. Then more gunshots and another boom, she told "Erin Burnett OutFront."
She ducked into a men's prayer room and then into a men's toilet, where she hid in a stall with a young woman. They came out, perhaps 20 or 30 minutes later, and heard more screams and gunshots and ducked into a room where luggage is inspected.
She and about 30 people were herded into a women's prayer room until authorities led them out and down an escalator into the main terminal hall.
"There was a lot of blood," she said. The floor was marked with bloody boot marks and she saw a woman's scarf on the floor. The group was herded around to the other side of the room.
"There was so much glass on the floor they were scuffing it aside so we didn't slip," she said.
Video from inside the airport terminal shows people racing away as fast as they could and the bright orange flash of fire from one of the explosions. Victims stagger and some fall from the now blood-covered, slick floor.
Another video shows a man walking with a gun, which he drops when he apparently is shot by a security officer. The man slumps to the ground and the officer briefly stands over him before running. About 10 seconds later, there is an explosion.
Traveler Laurence Cameron described what he saw after he stepped off a plane.
"It was just a massive crowd of screaming people. Some were falling over themselves. A poor chap in a wheelchair was just left, and everyone just rushed to the back of the building, and then people ran the other way and no one really seemed to know what was going on," he told CNN. "Where you normally hail a taxi, that is where the attack happened. The ground is just kind of shredded. There are bloodstains on the floor as well."
Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said the three terrorists were also killed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a unified international fight against terrorism, saying: "Make no mistake: For terrorist organizations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago or Antalya and Rome. Unless all governments and the entire mankind join forces in the fight against terrorism, much worse things than what we fear to imagine today will come true."
The attacks happened on a warm summer night at the airport, east of Istanbul, which is the 11th busiest in the world in terms of passenger traffic. CNN's Ali Veshi said Ataturk is a modern, sophisticated airport.
"There are all of the major European and American boutiques there," said Velshi, who has traveled through Turkey many times. "... You see people of all shapes and colors, in all sorts of dress. If you want to target the cosmopolitan nature of Istanbul, this is possibly the most cosmopolitan, heavily populated part. You can target tourist areas, but this is the part where the world comes together."
Flights into the airport were diverted to the capital of Ankara and other cities, airport spokesman Erhan Ustundag said.
"The terrorists came to the airport in a taxi and then carried out their attacks," Yildirim told a national audience. "The fact that they were carrying guns added to the toll. Preliminary findings suggest all three attackers first opened fire then detonated themselves."
Yildirim didn't say why, but said signs pointed to ISIS being behind the attacks, which occurred with a little more than a week left in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Multiple U.S. officials told CNN's Pamela Brown and Elise Labott that the early thinking among U.S. intelligence officials was that ISIS or an ISIS-inspired group was to blame. Like the Turkish prime minister, the officials said there is much more investigating to be done.
One official said the attack bears the hallmarks of ISIS because of the target and the method. And a senior US official pointed to the way it was coordinated using weapons and explosions.
It would be a "big surprise" if it was the PKK -- or Kurdistan Worker's Party --- based on how the attack was conducted. The PKK tends to target military and security installations, other officials said.

Suspicious relationship

"To be suspicious is not a fault. To be suspicious all the time without coming to a conclusion is the defect." Lu Xun

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- It is the custom to look upon friendship between men and women with suspicion.
The hard-headed wisdom of the world finds it difficult to admit that there is any such thing without the entrance of a baser motive, Dr. Frank Crane explains in Everyday Wisdom.
At the same time there have been as many enduring friendships between men and women as there have been friendships between men and between women. 
There is no doubt, Crane adds, that the play of sex instinct, in what may be called a secondary or tertiary place, is as stimulating as those of more immediate contact.


There is something in the companionship of men and women that is distinctly stimulating and creative. 
According to Crane, it is allied to, and germaine to, that creative instinct which enables people to do their best work in the world.
The greatest poetry, if not the greatest prose, has been written under the inspiration of the opposite sex.
“There is no doubt but that the companionship is dangerous in a way but all precious things are dangerous and this should not induce us to question our friendships. There is something peculiarly stimulating to a man in the friendship of a woman which he does not find in that of a man,” Crane writes.
He said there is such a thing as sex in ideas and in personality and point of view, as well as more bodily functions; and there is little doubt but what each member of the race is stimulated to do the best work under the influence of the opposite sex.


Boys are better trained if they are allowed to associate freely with girls, and men acquire a smoothness of manner under the influence of women more than they do by themselves. 
In fact the question of educating each sex by itself has found considerable opposition from those who are best acquainted with the fundamentals of human nature, he elaborates.
Whoever made the human race, male and female created He them, and it is intended for them to best develop their personality and live out their lives by being in constant contact one sex with another.  
It is pretty well demonstrated that a life can only find its proper stimulus and interest in the presence of the opposite sex, Crane stresses.
He sums up: “It is doubtful whether a man has ever attained distinction without the presence of some of those women who are called ‘femmes inspiritrice’ by the French which means those women who are especially endowed in inspirational ability.”

Monday, June 27, 2016

Talkative Bato

"I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers." Khalil Gibran

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- If I were police Chief Supt. Ronaldo "Bato" dela Rosa, I would refrain from issuing threats to members of the underworld, particularly the drug lords, even after I have assumed as PNP director general.
I would not telegraph my punches if my intention is to eradicate the drug lords.
I would neither give a deadline nor predict a timetable for the drug lords' demise.
I will just do my job. I will let my performance do the talking. 
I'm a law enforcer, not a debater.
I will only implement the law and protect the civilian populace.
I will let my boss, President Rody Duterte, do all the noise. 
Duterte's locomotive tongue is enough to send shivers down their spine, but uprooting them in their cocoons will take more than a lip service.


Drug lords are not patsies. They, too, have connections all over the archipelago.
They have branched out not only in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, but also in other Asian and even American countries where they maintain a symbiotic business relationship.
They have the money to burn, so to speak. 
They have in their payroll not only rogue cops and jail wardens, but also corrupt journalists, powerful politicians, and hoodlums in robes--fiscals and judges.
Drug lords may also have protectors not only in the judiciary but also in the legislative branch.
They reportedly bankrolled the victory of some lawmakers. And this is a common knowledge. 
We won't be surprised if some solons are drug lords, too; or are in cahoots with drug lords.
In fact, we doubt if all drug lords in the Philippines will be wiped out in six months. 
Some of the small fries maybe, but not those in the hierarchy.
Drug lords have links in other parts of the world. Their cohorts are also well-connected and well-entrenched. 
In this age of technology, they swap support in many disguises and networks.


Their operations are not peanuts. They operate using hi-tech gadgets and can afford to give away hundreds of millions in bribes and other operational expenses. 
Predicting their downfall in only six months is like predicting Dracula to reject blood for his drink.
Instead of talking a lot, Dela Rosa should begin with a house cleaning in the PNP without any banter and blunderbuss.
According to Rappler, while Dela Rosa’s pending appointment did not surprise Camp Crame officials, it has raised some eyebrows.
Rappler reported: "His taking on the highest post in the police force means his upperclassmen – from the Philippine Military Academy classes of 1983, 1984 and 1985 – will miss their chance at the PNP’s top post. Born on January 21, 1962, Dela Rosa is set to retire in 2018, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.
"Assuming he begins his stint by July 2016, Dela Rosa would serve as PNP chief for at least one and a half years. His term would be a little longer than current PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez's 12-month stint, but shorter than that of President Benigno Aquino III's favorite cop, sacked PNP chief Alan Purisima.
"Purisima was appointed chief of the PNP in late 2013 and was not set to retire until November 2015, which meant an almost 2-year-old term. But Purisima was suspended in December 2014 and later, dismissed by the Ombudsman over a supposedly shady deal in Camp Crame."

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Care)

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

In caring, what we know and how much we know are not important. It's how far are we willing to get involve with and how deep are we willing to understand.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Unanswered Prayers)

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Advice)

If your strength is small, don't carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don't give advice.

He who gives unworthy and unsuitable advice is like a blind leading another blind to the abyss. He who chews more than what he can swallow is like an overloaded train travelling on a plastic railroad. 

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Inner Peace)

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.

Life is neither a walkathon nor a marathon. Our movement is a journey, not about winning or losing a race. We set a motion to give justice to our physical and spiritual existence and provide itinerary to our voyage in life.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Saying Something)

When you have nothing to say, say nothing.

It’s better to be suspected as ignorant for being silent on issues we are not familiar with, than to be exposed as idiots after criticizing something we don’t understand.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ilonggo unsung heroes of 'Dinagyang Sa New York'

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Unknown to many people, several New York-based Ilonggos silently did a yeoman's job to ensure the successful staging of the recent "Dinagyang Sa New York" during the 118th Philippine Independence parade in Manhattan.
Aside from the full support from the Philippine Consulate General headed by outgoing Consul General Mario Lopez De Leon Jr., Tribu Salognon, this year's Dinagyang Festival champion in Iloilo City, Philippines, made it in the parade on June 5 through the help of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI).
PIDCI also facilitated Dinagyang's past participation in the same parade through the efforts of past president Joji Jalandoni.
Jalandoni, who is from Victorias City, Negros Occidental, coordinated with Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Dinagyang Foundation executive Ramon Cua Locsin.


Mabilog, Locsin and Iloilo City tourism chief Junel Ann Divinagracia led the delegation during the parade on Madison Avenue.
Jalandoni, a registered nurse, worked with PIDCI media liaison officer, United Nations-accredited journalist Jay Balnig, and factotum Robert Aguirre. 
Balnig, now with Cream Magazine, coordinated directly with Jalandoni to communicate with Iloilo city officials.
Aguirre helped arrange for the delegates' accommodation and acted as their regular guardian.
Aside from Jalandoni, Balnig, and Aguirre, another Iloilo native and New Jersey-based, Shirley Cordova, helped prepare the delegates' meals and other itinerary during the duration of their stay in New York and New Jersey. 


Known as "matriarch of Ilonggos in New York" because of the quality of services she provided the delegates, Cordova also accompanied the visitors in their visits in various New York landmarks.
"I just love to serve my fellow Ilonggos without any publicity," said Cordova, who is married to Anthony Chahu.
These Ilonggos, known as the "unsung heroes of Dinagyang Sa New York," did not receive a single centavo for their time and services, it was learned.
Their assistance helped fast-track the Dinagyang's participation in the biggest Filipino parade in the United States and reduced the work load of consulate officials.

'My nephew was a victim of summary execution'

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- A year after her nephew was allegedly summarily executed by unidentified cops in Negros Occidental in the Philippines, a nursing assistant here wants the incoming Duterte administration to reopen the case "and give justice to my nephew who was killed like an animal."
Orchid Telleran said Berlyn Evangelista, 21, was mistaken as drug peddler and was first arrested by armed men believed to be cops before his body was discovered with gunshot and stab wounds  in a sugarcane field in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Murcia town on June 7, 2015.
"He was definitely salvaged," sobbed Telleran, who works for an elderly in Manhattan.
Telleran said she was hoping Evangelista's case would be properly handled by authorities concerned, but after a year, nothing happened.


Telleran said she feared Evangelista could not get justice because the suspects were reportedly members of law enforcement, but now that the new president, Rodrigo Duterte, is known to be iron-fisted and does not tolerate abuses by authorities, she is hoping that the case will be investigated again.
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Negros Occidental chief Romeo Baldevarona had earlier expressed fears Evangelista's case could fall under extra-judicial killing.
The CHR conducted a motu proprio investigation but no culprit has been reportedly charged in court.
Evangelista's case has remained unsolved, Telleran said.
Telleran added she saw the video of Evangelista's execution where the 21-year-old tricycle driver was pleading for his life.
"I couldn't take it. I couldn't watch it further. It pained me so much," Telleran protested. "I knew Berlyn since he was a child and he was not a bad guy. Gin plantidan lang sia. Ang masakit gin video pa nila (they just planted the evidence. What pained me most was that they also recorded the murder on video)."


It was within CHR’s power to come up with an investigation report if there is no walk-in complainant in incidents considered extra-judicial killings and other celebrated cases involving police and military officers, it was reported.
Senior Superintendent Melchor Coronel, then officer-in-charge of Bacolod City Police Office, had denied the alleged involvement of his men in Evangelista's slay.
Coronel said he had seen the video that showed two unidentified men forcing the victim to board a black vehicle.
Telleran said Evangelista's mother is her sister, Jocelyn. He left three small children.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Lie)

By a lie, a man annihilates his dignity as a man.

Lying degrades our personality. Habitual lying destroys our character. Perpetual lying demolishes our soul. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Misconceptions of human fluids

"I think there's a general misconception that anything written quickly lacks quality, and I don't believe that." Michael Connelly

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The celebrated Greek doctor Hippocrates postulated that all human emotions flowed from four bodily fluids, or humors: blood (which makes us cheerful and passionate), yellow bile (which makes us hot-tempered), black bile (which makes us depressed), and phlegm (which makes us sluggish or stoic).
Though the good doctor's humors have given behavioral scientists a nice structure for examining personality types (sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic), the idea that our bodily fluids makes us angry, depressed, or elated died out in the 1800s, according to The Fascinating Book of History.


The withering of the Hippocratic belief in humors proved to be good news for patients who were not thrilled with the practice of bloodletting, a process of opening a patient's veins to lower blood levels in an attempt to bring the humors into balance and cure all manner of mental and physical ills.
Bloodletting, with a knife or with leeches, was an accepted medical practice from the times of the Greeks, Mayans, and Mesopotamians, and it was going strong at the end of the 18th century, when George Washington had almost two liters of blood let out to cure a throat infection. (He died shortly afterward.) 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why we shouldn't waste money

"Waste your money and you're only out of money, but waste your time and you've lost a part of your life." MICHAEL LEBOEUF

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- It is foolish to despise money. We all work for money. We all want all we honestly earn. 
Money means advantages for ourselves and those we love. 
Of course, there are higher aims in life than money, but to attain those aims we need first to settle the money question intelligently. 


We ought to earn our money honestly, to save it carefully, to spend it prudently, and to invest the surplus wisely so as to insure ourselves against sickness and loss.
If we get the money question straight in our minds it will do much toward realizing our happiness and success.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I challenge you to a duel!

"Sometimes in politics one must duel with skunks, but no one should be fool enough to allow skunks to choose the weapons." Joseph Cannon

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- There was a time when rivalries were settled only after one of the protagonists has been killed.
David bludgeoned Goliath. Lapu-Lapu bar-b-qued Ferdinand Magellan. Julius Caesar decapitated Pompey. Pizzaro burned Atahualpa. Emilio Aguinaldo executed Andres Bonifacio. Vladimir Lenin bashed Leon Trotsky. Fidel Castro defrocked Fulgencio Batista. To name only a few. 
Immediately after her defeat (she claimed she was cheated) to former Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos in the 1992 presidential election, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago challenged the former Marcos general to a fistfight.
President-elect Rody Duterte once challenged rival Mar Roxas to a slapping match. Roxas challenged him to fisticuffs.
But the most controversial showdown in history happened between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.
Burr had a knack for making enemies out of important people.


George Washington disliked him so much from their time together during the Revolutionary War that as president, he had Burr banned from the National Archives, didn't appoint him as minister to France, and refused to make him a brigadier general, according to The Fascinating Book of History.
Burr became a lawyer in New York after the war, frequently opposing his future dueling partner Hamilton.
But it wasn't until Burr beat Hamilton's father-in-law in the race for a Senate seat that the problems between them really started.
Burr ran for president against Thomas Jefferson in 1800. The candidate with the most votes got to be president back then; whoever came second became vice president--even if they were from different parties. 
When the election ended in a tie in the Electoral College, it was thrown to the House of Representatives to decide. After 35 straight tie votes, Jefferson was elected president, and Burr became vice president.
Like Washington, Jefferson didn't hold Burr in high regard. So in 1804, Burr decided to run for governor of New York. 


When he lost, Burr blamed the slandering of the press in general and the almost constant criticism from Hamilton in particular.
Hamilton later shot off at the mouth at a dinner party, and Burr decided he'd had enough. After giving Hamilton a chance to take his comments back (Hamilton refused), Burr challenged him to the famous duel.
On July 11, 1804, Burr and Hamilton met at Weehawken, New Jersey. Some say that Hamilton fired first, discharging his pistol into the air; others say that he just missed.
Burr, on the other hand, didn't miss, shooting Hamilton. He died the next day.
Burr fled to his daughter's home in South Carolina until things cooled down. He was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey, but nothing ever came of it, and he eventually returned to Washington to finish his term as vice president. But his political career was over.
Burr decided to head west, after his term as vice president, to what was then considered as Ohio and the new lands of Louisiana Purchase.


It seemed that Burr had things on his mind other than the scenery, however. According to some (mostly his rivals), Burr intended to create a new empire with himself as king.
As the story goes, he planned to conquer a portion of Texas, still held by Mexico, then convince some of the existing western states to join his new confederacy.
Called the Burr Conspiracy, it got the attention of President Jefferson, who issued arrest orders for treason.
Burr was eventually captured and brought to trial in 1807. But he caught a break. The judge was Chief Justice John Marshall. The judge and Jefferson didn't get along, and rather than give his enemy an easy victory, Marshall demanded that the prosecution produce two witnesses that specifically heard Burr commit treason.
The prosecution failed to come up with anybody, and Burr was set free.
Burr then left the United States to live in Europe. Returning to New York in 1812, he quietly practiced law until his death in 1836.

Visions of the Virgin

“Only a Woman, divine, could know all that a woman can suffer.” 
Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Do you believe in miracle?
Pious Catholics hold a special place for Mary, the mother of Jesus, praying for her daily for favors and blessings.
Some say that the virgin has appeared to them right here on Earth. 
Many of these claims are not verified--dismissed as products of overactive imaginations or as outright hoaxes--but two apparitions, which defy scientific explanation, have stood the test of time and remain highly cherished by Catholics around the world.
The Fascinating Book of History tells us that in February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, a poor, sickly 14-year-old peasant girl, was gathering firewood near a stream when she suddenly had a vision of a beautiful lady dressed in white. 
Overcome with fear, she rushed home to tell her mother, who told her to keep away from that place.
However, Bernadette returned and would repeatedly see the Virgin--18 times in all.


One message stood out: A chapel must be built on the site where Bernadette had first seen Mary.
Bernadette's parish priest was highly skeptical of the visions and dismissed the little girl and his childish fantasy.
In spite of ridicule, Bernadette stuck to her story. It was only after people began reporting that their ailments had been cured after washing in the stream where the visions occurred that the church decided to endorse the apparition.
A shrine was built on the site and, to this day, is visited annually by millions. These pilgrims flock to Lourdes, hoping to cure physical ailments by washing in its now famous waters.
Hundreds of miraculous healings have been reported, all of them verified by church and medical experts.
In May 1917, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco were tending their sheep in the town of Vila Nova de Ourem in the parish of Fatima, Portugal.


Suddenly, they saw a tremendous flash of light. Thinking it was lightning, the children rushed for cover, only to see the same flash again.
The children described seeing "a Lady more brilliant than the sun." This was the first in a series of Marian apparitions reported by the children.
Mary impressed upon the children the importance of daily prayer (especially reciting the rosary) and penance. She also told the children that there would be a second war, much worse than the first.
When World War II began almost two decades later, many saw this as the fulfillment of the prophecy. The Virgin also gave the children a brief glimpse of hell and further revealed a mysterious secret, which church authorities kept under wraps until 2000. (The third secret was revealed to be a vision of the deaths of the pope and other individuals.)


Word of the apparitions soon spread, and by October 13, 1917, a crowd of 70,000--believers and skeptics alike--flocked to Fatima on the hot rumor that a miracle was about to occur.
They were not disappointed. Newspaper reports of the day document how onlookers saw the sun burst through rain clouds and then begin dancing and spinning across the sky in a zigzag pattern, trailed by a brilliant ray of colors.
The so-called "Miracle of the Sun" solidified belief in the apparition, and a shrine was built on the site. 
Each year, scores of pilgrims visit the site, hoping to get the graces of Mary first experienced by the three children. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Best types of education: general and specialized

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."  Nelson Mandela 

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Which type of education is best? 
A "general" education in cultural subjects or a "specialized" education in one particular field or occupation?
Both types of education are actually necessary if based on standards and demands of today's society.
Education is the process of developing or perfecting human beings. It tries to cultivate the humanity of man by developing his specifically human excellence--both intellectual and moral. 
The ultimate goals of education are human happiness and the welfare of society. Its produce are good men and good citizens.
If the ancients were asked whether education should be specialized, Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, director of the Institute for Philosophical Research,  says they would answer that it should be conceived in terms of man's specially human nature. 
"If they were asked whether it should be vocational, they would say that the only vocation with which it should be concerned is the common human calling--the pursuit of happiness," explains Adler. 
"What we call specialized and vocational training--training in particular jobs--they would regard as the training of slaves, not the education of the free man."


The classical view of education has prevailed right down to our own century, adds Adler. It is reportedly reaffirmed as late as 1916 by none other than John Dewey. 
In Democracy and Education, Dewey declares that merely vocational training is the training of animals or slaves. It fits them to become cogs in the industrial machine. 
Free men need liberal education to prepare them to make a good use of their freedom.
"While the ancients had the correct view of education as essentially liberal, they did not think that all men should be liberally educated, because they did not think that all men are fitted by nature for the pursuit of happiness or citizenship or the liberal pursuits of leisure," stresses Adler. 
"But we today, at least those of us who are devoted to the principles of democracy, think otherwise. We maintain  that all men should be citizens, that all have an equal  right to the pursuit of happiness, and that all should be able to enjoy goods of civilization. Hence we think that a democratic society must provide liberal schooling for all."
Vocational training for particular tasks in the industrial process should be done by industry itself and on the job, not by the schools or in classrooms. 
The curriculum of basic schooling from the first grade through college, should b wholly liberal and essentially the same for all. 


In view of the wide range of abilities and aptitudes with which the schools have to deal, the curriculum must be adapted to different children in different ways. 
We must solve the problem of how to give children--the least gifted as well as the most gifted--the same kind of liberal education that was given in the past only to the few. 
Upon our success in solving that problem the future of democracy depends.
Three experts -- Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University; Ludger Woessmann, professor of Economics, University of Munich; head, Human Capital and Innovation Department, Institute for Economic Research; and Lei Zhang, senior Fellow and Assistant Director of the National Institute for Fiscal Studies of Tsinghua University -- recently posted a "new international evidence"  about education type and life-cycle employment opportunities in rapidly changing conditions: 
First, in most countries there are noticeable differences between those entering into vocational education and those pursuing general education. 
Second, since many countries place vocational education within a general, country-wide arrangement, understanding its overall effect requires looking across countries. 
Third, there are huge measurement problems, because what is vocational education in one country might not look much like that in another.