Monday, February 11, 2008

Boro Council Meeting

Just a few quick comments here.

During work session Richard Higgins did a marvelous presentation on railways and Flemington with fantastic graphics and excellent commentary. Noting the advantages of rail travel for students, seniors, the disabled and tourists, he drew the lines and connected the dots about tracks already laid down and those needed to be added for continuity. The immediate concern is of course parking. Folks, right now this is a back burner issue maybe on our wish list, more or less, but it is how new ideas get explored. A tip of the hat to Mr. Higgins for such interest and the work he did to make this informative presentation.

The budget meeting was held on Saturday and department heads presented their budgets for explanation and review. The next one will be held Saturday, February 23 at 8:00 AM at Boro Hall. All are invited to attend.

Reports were given.

Red Vanilla on Main Street is opening its doors on February 20.

Boro Council is exploring the idea of hosting a bike race.

Several ordinances were updated and moved.

The meeting was short and productive.

For more details please check the minutes on www.historicflemington.com.

Stay tuned.

17 comments:

MediumPetey said...

Now, that is what a "community" blog should be---just reporting what goes on in the COMMUNITY, without stirring up adversarial controversy.

What the Council did. What stores are opening up. What events are being planned.

Now, you've got it. Keep this up, a better approach than diatribes against the Hispanic community, accusing them of being "illegals" 'cause you see them getting off school buses. Or calling someone "Anti-American" because they have a differing opinion.

By jove, I think you've got it. Keep up the good work.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

To my Readers,

The topics chosen for discussion on this forum are at my discretion and will continue to be so. Regarding appropriate content for this forum, Mediumpetey speaks for himself here.

Blogs are opinion pieces not newsy items per se as any seasoned blogger is aware, such as blog posts on the abolition of death penalty. As I have said in my initial posts, any topic from all vantage points can be discussed in a gentlemanly fashion. We do not have to agree. In fact disagreement makes for the discussion.

I have participated in numerous such discussions on other sites as well as these kinds of debates in philosophy departments. There is no inherent necessity for ugly commentary from those with differing views. Debate can be very enlightening and growth producing. All discussants bear the responsibility of maintaining dignity.


Mediumpetey,

When you assert someone is a racist, the discussion becomes personal and adversarial. You hence invite strong response as opposed to me falling on the floor in a flutter in a heap of crinolines.

I believe you have some valid views on the immigration issue and I am far from having any definitive resolution to the issue...I really do not know where I stand...when you accuse someone of being a racist, no constructive discussion will occur... and we missed an opportunity for a good one. I will not suppress the exploration of ideas...I see world-wide bloggers capable of interesting commentary and I believe we in Flemington are also capable of good and vital commentary beyond informing when Red Vanilla is going to open...

But I am very clear that I will be treated with respect and those who engage me, wanting dignity and respect, should be sure to extend it likewise...it is a two way street. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

I certainly do not see supressing commentary as an option, rather we rise to the occasion.

Linda in NJ said...

Joan,

I'm loathe to step into this mess you have started. But I have to speak.

When you assume that "Hispanic" people are 1)immigrants and/or 2)here illegally, that is racist.

A person with skin darker than yours isn't necessarily from Mexico, or Central or South America.

Whe you see those "Hispanic" kids get off the bus, you assume that these people are immigrants. They could be natural-born Americans. Or naturalized Americans. Or visitors. Or immigrants with visas. The point is: You don't know.

To assume, as you do, that they are "immigrants" is racist.

MediumPetey said...

And, Mrs. Greiner, I will follow your chosen criteria for your blog as the parameters of my post-blog-comments. The posts chosen for my commentary will be at my discretion, and will continue to be so. And, you have stated the obvious---I will always speak for myself, as I always have.

And, as far as disagreeing, but not being "disagreeable", I assert that is exactly what I have been doing. I further assert that you simply do not like or agree with my assertions, so you take them as a personal affront.

I still assert [as others have] that the assumptions upon which your assertions were made were racist assumptions. I never called you a "racist" per se; I asserted that your assertions were based on certain racist assumptions.

It is regrettable that you took that assertion so personally as to think I called you a racist personally.

It seems to me that a strong argument can be made that your "IF/THEN" assertion is based on a false premise. Please correct me if I am wrong.

You asserted that:

--->There was an increase in "illegal immigrants" in Flemington [your term, not mine. I use "undocumented aliens", to be more specific and exact as to the status, not personal trait of the individuals in question]

--->Your "proof" of this was that you observed more Hispanics getting of the school bus.

So, your IF/THEN assertion can be boiled down to IF there are more Hispanics on the school bus, THEN there must be more "illegal immigrants" in Flemington.

Your assertion can only be true IF AND ONLY IF: That all Hispanics are here as undocumented aliens; and all the people you observed on the school bus and identified as "Hispanics" are truly Hispanic;

Both are faulty premises, and the first premise that "all Hispanics are here as undocumented aliens" is a racist one based on an untrue stereotype of people of Latino heritage.

If you don't find my logic persuasive, then ask your Latino friend if she/he thinks if all Hispanic people are here illegally.

And, yes, sometimes the discussion on blogs may become adversarial. On this issue of undocumented aliens/illegal immigrants, we are adversaries. I have no problem with that. We each have differing opinions on the issue, based on a differing set of values. That's the American way, fully constitutionally protected. I like it that way!

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Linda in NJ,


According to Webster’s, ‘racism’ is “ the belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determines cultural or individual achievement, involving the idea that one’s race is superior; a local government based on that doctrine; and a hatred or intolerance of another race.”

I am hard pressed to see how simply noticing another person's nationality is racist. Please explain your assertions.

The legality of immigration has nothing whatsoever to do with skin color... it has to do with legal residency status. People here with legal residency can have any skin color there is in the array of shades.

If anyone is interpreting me as saying people with certain skin colors should not be here, you are not interpreting me correctly. In fact you have no basis to draw such a conclusion from my articles.

Quite frankly I think this is pretty clear. I am discussing what is an issue of national concern. Our presidential candidates are talking about this in terms of national policy. That is all I am saying here. So let me clear up any misconceptions.

Those who label me racist will do so for their own purposes, no matter what I say...Those who are honestly trying to understand my points will accept my explanations about what I mean here.

I do not consider those who disagree with me to be my enemy...not at all...to me that is what diversity is about and to me that is what the American way is about...realizing that no one has a monopoly on truth, we are entitled to our opinions, and we are all learning as we go...

Rather than calling me a racist, I would be interested in hearing how you would handle the illegal immigration issue in the US. There is quite a price tag that may be a burden for Americans on fixed incomes for instance. How would you address this issue?

Betsy said...

Regarding appropriate content for this forum, Mediumpetey speaks for himself here.

Sorry to disappoint, but MediumPetey speaks for more of Flemington than you have up to now regardless of your writing style that claims otherwise.

Linda in NJ said...

If anyone is interpreting me as saying people with certain skin colors should not be here, you are not interpreting me correctly. In fact you have no basis to draw such a conclusion from my articles.

No, what I am saying that to assume a person with darker skin is 1)Hispanic, 2) an immigrant, and/or 3) here illegally is racist.

And there is a difference in calling you a racist and calling your assumptions racist. I am NOT calling you a racist. I am telling you that your assumptions are racist.

As for the immigration problem, it is too vast for me to deal with here or in any blog. However, I am confident that you never hire people to tend to your lawn or do repairs in your home who are not legally able to work in this country. To do so would be hypocritical. And you aren't that.

MediumPetey said...
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MediumPetey said...
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MediumPetey said...

Dictionary.com:

racist

As an adjective:

1. based on racial intolerance; "racist remarks"
"
2. discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion

As in "racist" premise. Your assumption that Hispanics who are on the school bus are proof that there are illegal immigrants in Flemington is racist----"discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion".

Your assumption is casting a 'discriminatory" or "stereotypical" attribute on to all Hispanics, solely on the basis of their race. And, unless you can assert otherwise, you are identifying those who are on the bus as "Hispanic" on the basis of skin color. You asserted that you "observed" them getting off the school bus ---which would speak to the fact that you drew your conclusions that the students were Hispanic based on "observation". Did you interview each student as they descended from the bus to ask them their ethnicity and immigration status? No, you did not. So, how do you know their ACTUAL ethnicity and immigration status? Again, you do not. You were making an assumption about 'ethnicity' and 'immigration status' based on a premise that was "discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion.". End of story.

From your assumption may extend a specific set of other premises or actions from Borough Council or the state government or the federal government or society in general, if left unchallenged or unchecked---which gladly, in America, they are not.

And you know what happens when you assume? Well, at least it happens to you.

My solution to the immigration problem? Well, first of all, I would not have given the massive tax cuts that were given by the Republican Party's president, paid for in large part by equally massive cuts in the INS and Border Patrol's budget, that left them inadequately prepared to do their job. That certainly did not help the issue at all. Bush is to be blamed for that.

But now, with up to 20 million plus undocumented aliens in the US, I think we need to have a multi-tiered program to lead them on a path to citizenship. Guest worker program. Increased border patrol. The "fence" is a solution that will simply not be adequate.

Several levels: If you are here illegally for seven to ten years, with no incidents of felonies and currently hold employment, I would allow a small fine, a period of one year probation, and if no further incidents, they can apply for citizenship like anyone else.

If convicted of a felony during that time, and now out, and productive, a higher fine, a two to three year probationary period, with no incidents, same as above.

More than one felony, and they face deportation.

If the minor child of an undocumented alien, who is born here----they stay, they are Americans.

If the minor child of an undocumented alien, who was not born here, tougher issue. Still don't know.

I agree with Senator Menendez approach ---S. 2205, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2007---. And a guest worker program, subject to addressing certain concerns by unions.

Stay lampooned!

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Mediumpetey,

The quote is ”who appear to be Hispanic and may be illegal”. This requires no empirical validation. It is a hypothetical. It is conjecture, speculation. Therefore, it is not declarative and hence has no truth- value, or logical necessity for verification. I would not and did not declare it as fact for the very reasons you cite. I have no proof. I am not looking for any. It was a pedagogical device to initiate discussion, not a pivotal fact to initiate action and certainly not undertake any sort of discriminatory action. Never said any such thing, never would. But if illegal immigration is not addressed, discrimination, as I alluded to regarding having a second- class citizenry, will undoubtedly follow. The above is my explanation as to what the phrase means and how I used it. I cannot help what you want to believe about me…but I have clarified my use of that phrase. Time constraints do not permit me to address the Republican points you have made immediately but I will look over your points and get back to you.


Linda et al,

Words in our language like “racism” have a specified meaning, which I called to your attention. We operate on the assumption that we use words based on their accepted meaning. If not, how can we possibly communicate? Wars start when we do not observe a word’s meaning. So it is wise to respect the meaning of a word, especially those that are emotively charged like “racist”.

Personally, I do not know how we can look at people and not see what they look like. Hear people and not know they speak a different language. But if for you identifying immigrants or people who are Hispanic as Hispanic and speak Spanish, is a “racist” activity or assertion, you need to justify that claim. If you cannot, stop saying it. Repeating it over and over is not a justification of calling that action racist. Specifically, I need to know how observing someone is Hispanic or is an immigrant, legal or not, translates into racial supremacy or inherent racial inferiority, discrimination etc which are the concepts racism minimally entails as per the definition of the word. You claim it is, so tell me how.

Perhaps you should investigate the national immigration issue and become familiar with the legitimate questions attendant to it before casting your vote in November.


Folks,

You repeatedly cite my “racist assertions”. But my commentary has nothing to do with race or racism. It is about the problems the US faces about illegal residency status. Despite your attempts at painstaking word-smithing here such as “racist assertions”, you use the term “racist” with little regard for its accepted usage. To me it is an attempt to cast me as being racist …it is an absolutely inflammatory word. I am sure you are skilled enough to make your points without resorting to that kind of libel and sophistry. If you are not meaning to depict me as being racist, you need to be very clear and find a less controversial way to make your case and clarify that you are not trying to make me out a racist. I want no stigma attached to me or my good name. Furthermore, no one will approach this blog if this is the kind of treatment they may face when they do not see things your way.

If I see the word “racist” or any type of verbal abuse connected to me in any further commentary, be assured I will not respond. To me verbal abuse is no different than someone slamming you against a wall. It is just as violent and destructive. It is no more justifiable than phyical violence. At times I have seen it on other blog sites. It has no place here.

You all have passion for your positions and I think we could be a core group for many a good discussion. I would like that. I think we can do in Flemington what is done world- wide, have challenging and informative discussions. Why don’t we all put away our swords and get a cup of coffee and let’s kick around our thoughts more creatively and respectfully with regard to people’s feelings and dignity?

MediumPetey said...

There you go again...and again.

Your comment of "..who appear to be Hispanic and may be illegal” [referring to those students who got off a school bus]---is STILL based on racist assumptions. It matters not that your commentary may be "hypothetical...conjecture...speculation."

Your "hypothetical...conjecture...speculation" can STILL be based on assumptions that are racist.

Why is that you speculate that some one who appears to be Hispanic may be "illegal"? What is it for you about someone who 'appears to be Hispanic' that compels you speculate about their legal status?

Would you "speculate" that a student who got off that bus who appeared "Jewish" was cheap, arrogant or had a big nose? Or would you hypothesize that a student got off that bus who appeared to be black was lazy, or part of a family on welfare? Or would you "speculate" that a student that got off that bus who appeared Italian was involved in organized crime? Or would you hypothesize that a student who got off that bus who appeared to be gay had AIDS or was effeminate?

No, you would not ---at least I hope you would not. But with your previous assertions, I just cannot be sure.

Such racist and homophobic stereotyping does nothing to "to initiate discussion" about the immigration issue ---and is most certainly not a pedagogical device to enhance learning.

I am completely dumbfounded as to how someone of your self-reported training and supposed intelligence can make such a claim, and then hide behind some assertion that you are just trying to stimulate a community dialogue on the issue of immigration issues. Do you really think that anyone of Hispanic heritage would find your comments anything but based on racist assumptions?

Once again, your observations do nothing at all but inflame the discussion, and most certainly do not invite critical thinking on the issue. It is most certainly not a “pedagogical device to initiate discussion” ----your assertions do not advance any learning on the issue of immigration.

And once again, you make a point where there is no point. Your latest post just clouds the issue with a lot of disconnected assertions that are 'straw-man' arguments, defending points that no one here on this blog ever wrote about, or ever asserted.

Once and again, I stand firmly on all previous assertions made.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Mediumpetey,

As an analytic philosopher, I will tell you that if merely observing someone’s ethnicity is racist, then we are all de facto racists through no fault of our own. Your litmus test here is so broad based that the term ”racism” is meaningless. “Racism “is understood as discrimination if based on ethnicity if or when we take unjust action against such a person, as in the Rosa Parks case. Here based on her skin tone, she was deprived a seat on the bus. People simply observing she was black have done nothing wrong and to suggest otherwise, as I said, makes everyone de facto racists because of their own powers of observation. There must be unjust action predicated on that observation for an act to be considered racist. Regarding racism, your interpretation is not a tenable position. I never suggested any action of any sort be taken based on my rough observations as you well know.

The dialogue here is now over for me as you will not accept my explanation but have a vested interest of some sort in casting me as racist. I will no longer dignify your assault. If I explained myself to others, they would accept my explanation of my intent...This I know I cannot reason you out of...it is not a matter of reason here for you...


Regarding you ideas in dealing with illegal immigration, they seem pretty reasonable to me in a lot of ways…fairly even- handed…

Here are a few thoughts …

-how are these people identified and organized into the various categories you cite?

-some immigrants may not want to be citizens. There are people here working with the idea of sending money to their families…they may not intend to become citizens…how is this situation handled?

I doubt there is any slam/dunk answer here. One of my major concerns regarding illegal immigration is the financial toll it takes on middle America… as a matter of fariness, our children should not have to re-locate from this expensive state while taxpayers are supporting entitlement programs for people who are not here legally. In a sense as expensive as life is here, many are not in a position to support a non- legal population. I do not know if it is doable but legal or not, there should be a tax structure in which all workers must kick into the pool that pays the bills…here mainly education and medical. We may never get a handle on or really slow down the immigration from our southern borders but maybe we can get more to pay more of the bills. Somehow, everyone, legal or not, should be contributing to the benefits that are available.

Finally, from the more global perspective, nations of the world need to expand programs like the Grameen Bank that makes miniscule business loans so the average “Joe” can become an entrepreneur and raise his own standard of living. This program has been successful in the Third World. I see this as a long- term solution, making native lands more attractive, giving people hope for their future without having to do risky things like illegal migration.

MediumPetey said...

I will tell you that if merely observing someone’s ethnicity is racist, then we are all de facto racists

No, you most certainly did not "merely" observe "someone’s ethnicity" ---such as in "Hey, look there are Hispanic students getting off the bus!".

Your quote, describing the students who were exiting the school bus was "...who appear to be Hispanic and may be illegal”.

So, there were two operative elements to your observation:

1-the ethnicity of the students by your own undeclared set of criteria

2-the assumption based on premise [1] that they may be illegal.

Both are stated together; both are to be taken together as your assertion. One was contingent upon the other ---that they looked Hispanic, and therefore possibly here illegally.

Once again, your IF/THEN syllogism is faulty. Just because they looked Hispanic, does not mean they may be here illegally.

I still stand by all my previous assertions ---not motivated by anything other than the difference in our values systems as illustrated by your statements.

Linda in NJ said...

Joan,
Answer one question:

Assume that all Hispanic-looking people ARE Hispanic.

Are all Hispanic people immigrants?

Yes on No?

Courier News Flemington blog said...

mediumpetey,

Modus ponens is one of the syllogistic argument forms in formal logic, the one to which I believe you refer.


Modus ponens

Premise (1) -All Polish people like sauerkraut.

Premise (2) -John is Polish.

Conclusion- Therefore, John likes sauerkraut.


Or, stated another way….


(1) If A is a Polish, then A likes sauerkraut.

(2) A is Polish.

Conclusion Therefore, A likes sauerkraut.



Or, stated again


Modus Ponens

(1) If A, then B

(2) A

Conclusion Therefore, B



ANALYSIS

These are all declarative statements. This argument illustrates a logically valid deductive inference or conclusion reached by following the deductive argument form, Modus Ponens. It is logically valid but nevertheless it is not true because Premise (1) is, by observation, false--- namely “All Polish people like sauerkraut.” is a false statement. There are Polish people who in fact do not like sauerkraut. So even though the argument or deductive reasoning is logically valid according to rules of formal logic, it is not “sound” or true…it does not depict the state of affairs in the world. In other words…reasoning in formal logic can be correct if it follows certain rules, but at the same time it does not mean the information in those arguments forms is accurate. So premises in this argument form require the second step of being empirically verified. Correct form is not sufficient for the argument to be accepted as true.


Now let’s look at a more complex statement…

Let’s say Jack tells his wife, Jill, upon meeting John that John appears to be Polish so he may like sauerkraut. This statement is not transposable into Modus ponens because the information in this statement is not declarative. This statement embodies speculation, conjecture and possibility i.e. John appears to be Polish but may not be…John may like sauerkraut but he may not like sauerkraut. The qualitative difference between Jack’s observations and Premise (1)” All Polish people like sauerkraut” is that Jack’s observations are not declarative but speculative and encompass all possibilities…John appears Polish or (P) or ~(P), John may not be Polish …and John may like sauerkraut (S) or ~(s), he may not like sauerkraut. For the logician this means that all possibilities in the universe are stated in Jack’s statement regarding John and his ethnicity and his relationship to sauerkraut. John is either Polish or not Polish...John either likes sauerkraut or he does not like sauerkraut. So a logician would say Jack’s statement about John is trivially true…it gives little accurate information about John but Jack’s comment is speculative and covers all the possibilities about John’s ethnicity and affection for sauerkraut. I am aware of no formal system of logic that can accommodate possibility statements…typically because you have the contradictions I noted like (P) or ~(P) inherent to the argument form

Premise (1) If (P) or~(P), then (S) or ~(S)…

Therefore (P) or ~ (P) or (S) or ~(S)

This conclusion is no deduction other than the trivially true one that it includes all possibility, (P) or ~(P) and (S) or ~(S). Such statements are trivially true but tell us nothing…like it will rain or it will not rain or specifically John may or may not like sauerkraut, appears Polish or but may or may not be Polish….

Note this argument

(1 ) All Hispanic people are illegal residents.

(2) Those on the bus are Hispanic.

Conclusion Therefore, those on the bus are illegal residents.

This is the position you insinuate I have taken. But I did not argue that position. I cited appearance and possibility, speculation and conjecture. Possibility type statements do not comport to syllogistic argument forms in formal logic. No one would argue this above- mentioned position, I daresay, because Premise (1) is false by observation. We know all Hispanic people are not here illegally so the inference or conclusion that follows from Premise (1) is also false.

FYI: In the rigorous discipline of philosohpical argumentation there are informal fallacies that would not be acceptable argument styles such as argument ad hominem, argument ad misericordiam , argument ad populum...

MediumPetey said...

This is what you wrote:
Note this argument

(1 ) All Hispanic people are illegal residents.

(2) Those on the bus are Hispanic.


Actually, that's not the assertion you made previously. The statement you made was:

"...who appear to be Hispanic and may be illegal”.

Which is most definatly NOT the same as your statement above. As you have done in the past, you try to 'clean' up your assertions, after you've made them.

Breaking down the actual statement you made, and not the 'cleaned-up' version, in to the IF/THEN syllogistic form---

1-The students who appear to be Hispanic

2- ...may be here illegally.

One must also add to this mix the "unstated assertion"---the one that you're unwilling to be tied down to, but you assert none-the-less----, is the assertion that since there is a national immigration issue, and that some Hispanics may be here "illegally", this somehow in some convoluted way gives you the moral authority to initiate a dialogue on the matter, using the Hispanics in Flemington as your spring board.

Once again, this type of reasoning does nothing to enlighten a true dialogue in the real world. Your comments only serve to inflame an already critical situation