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Bob Russell

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Everything posted by Bob Russell

  1. Merlyn, we are looking at this, each seeing discrimination from a different angle. You see the discriminatory Boy Scouts, where I see an organization exercising its constitutional right of free association; a right recognized by the US Supreme Court. I see a government so fearful of religious expresion that it will deny access to public property to avoid it. My contention is that if the government allows access to some groups, to deny THE SAME access to Boy Scouting is government discrimination on account of religion. If the schools do not allow access to any outside groups, fine. But the
  2. "So sue. Powell had to; it's taken nearly five years, and it isn't even over yet." No thanks. Lawsuits are unpleasant, and will help drain the school budget, and the issue simply isn't that important. Not every issue needs to be litigated. But I don't think that the Powells should have sued either. She could have handled it far better than saying to her son "They don't want our kind." She, along with the ACLU, should instead follow the advice of the bumper sticker that says "Celebrate Diversity" but by allowing diversity of opinion, rather than just the diversity that they approve of
  3. Rooster, your comment on how much we should hold our scouts accountable for events outside of scouting has been one I have been thinking a lot about since this thread began. As I said in an early post here, I would certainly talk to the scout privately, but I would not have taken it further. But as I reflect on the discussions, I still wonder where to draw the line. The cheating example I believe warrants a private discussion, but not a suspension. Your fighting example is different, because of the physical harm and because in a boy-led organization, we have to be careful of allowing someo
  4. Merlyn, you have sidestepped my question. You talk of special access, saying that the Boy Scouts get to recruit when other groups do not. I was very specific, inquiring whether Boy Scouts should be able to recruit IF other groups, such as athletic leagues, get to. So I will ask again: IF other groups get to recruit during school hours, would not prohibiting the Boy Scouts from the SAME ACCESS be discriminatory. I live in Portland, and know this case pretty well. I also experience the way the Portland Public Schools treats scouting at this time. I formerly handled the school recruitin
  5. Merlyn, you agreed with OGE's example of scout recruiting in the evening. In the Portland case, scouts are now probably not allowed to make a presentation during school hours. But if the school lets other groups make presentations, are not the scouts now being discriminated against? If a local soccer or baseball league can make a presentation, and scouts cannot, because of their religion requirement, then the scouts are being discriminated against on account of religion.
  6. Sctmom, with regard to physical hazing, you say that you are trusting the adults to not tolerate. Don't be afraid to discuss this in detail with the adult leadership of the troop before your son joins. As a scoutmaster, I want to hear comments, both good and bad, from our parents, and I want to hear of ways to make the troop attractive to each scout, so that they want to stay. With respect to your comment regarding parents making their children stay involved in activities, I believe that as parents it is our duty to keep our children involved. I have three children in scouts (1 girl sc
  7. Being self-employed, I don't get hit up by United Way. My wife is a federal employee and does contribute to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). She splits her contribution between Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Even though we give directly to both organizations, giving a small amount through CFC or United Way shows these groups that there is community support. If people quit direct giving through United Way, the spin placed on this would be that the public no longer supports scouting. So we give to CFC to keep the groups in the campaign and to make a public statement.
  8. This thread has gone from the issue of the state's discrimination rules to a discussion as to whether homosexuality is biological or environmental. This is a debate that will go on forever, and will simply not be resolved here (or anywhere else). I will therefore not go there. In discussions, I have defended the BSA rule (which I disagree with), and I always point out that it is not a discrimination issue, but a morals and values issue. Scouting involves values, and the leaders are role models for the scouts. The organization simply must have the ability to decide who the role models are,
  9. I sometimes hear of problems that our scouts may have been involved in. Depending on the transgression, I will sometimes, as Scoutmaster, discuss the matter privately (within the rule of not being alone with a scout). This is not done to penalize or discipline the scout, but to reinforce that the Scout Law and Oath are not just items to recite, but guidelines for life. I find that the scouts will usually admit the transgression, and a productive discussion will take place, with the goal to reinforce proper behavior in and out of scouting. I believe the key is to not punish or embarrass in
  10. Eisely, do patrol outings actually require 2 adults present? Our troop has not had patrol outings where 2 adults were not present, but I remember scout outings I went on as a scout, too many years ago, where only the scouts were present, no adults. This included day hikes of considerable distance.
  11. Alex, The solution you want, which is to compete in your regular patrols, would appear to be the only solution that is proper. I am assuming, from your discription, that your troop has 2 patrols, one with the older scouts and one with younger scouts. You said that your rules require natural patrols, and to do otherwise would result in your troop breaking the rules. I would take the position that the two regular patrols must compete as they regularly exist. Remind everyone that a scout is trustworthy, and that this requires that you obey the rules.
  12. I find the ACLU's position somewhat interesting. They support the Girl Scouts, because they do not discriminate! Funny, I think they are the GIRL Scouts for a reason, they take only girls. Just as the Boy Scouts take only boys (at least in the cub and boy scout programs). They appear to label some things as discrimination and other things apparently must be "targeted services" or some other excuse. What I find sad about the ACLU is that it once was a defender of civil liberties, as its name says. Civil liberties generally involve relationships between citizens and the State, meaning gover
  13. I just completed Wood Badge this past weekend. At the morning flag ceremonies, a different historic flag was raised each day. We saluted when the current American flag was raised, but not for the various historic flags. However, our SPL did tell us that it is proper to salute the Star Spangled Banner (15 stripes/15 stars) as the only exception. I've tried to verify that, including a review of the US Flag Code, but have been unable to find any independent confirmation. I think the choice you made is a good one. Respect toward any of our historic flags is certainly in order, and only a
  14. Rooster, I agree with your point on how something can be perceived when reported in the media. Having been quoted on numerous issues over the years, I find that, no matter how careful I am when I say something, the quote, especially in the newspaper, generally sounds either dumb or the opposite of what I said. This is because the short quote in isolation is often taken out of context of the entire statement. With respect to the claim of discrimination, I never concede that BSA is discriminatory. I respond that the Boy Scouts has standards, as does any voluntary group, and that a values
  15. Rooster, regarding your comment that the "other side" will claim it's their slogan - this is precisely my reason for using the phrase. As Eisely says, the need is to reach out to the middle, who are ambivalent, generally unknowledgeable on the specifics of the issue, but reachable. The press has its favorite issues and positions, and the average viewer or reader often accepts things as presented. Therefore, pro-choice is used instead of pro-abortion, because people will more easily accept freedom of choice. Because the terms freedom of choice and diversity are used overwhelmingly by the me
  16. The article in the Flint Journal notes that 50 Flint-area protesters were involved. Actually, this protest was the statewide protest in Michigan sponsored by Scouting For All, a part of their nationwide protests last week. A portion of the announcement on their web site for the Flint protest reads as follows: "We plan to hold a Rally at the Tall Pine Council building. Statements will be read by a variety of people. We hope that every town in Michigan will be represented. Please come with a sign that includes your city's name. Let's make a difference. We support Scouting for All." A
  17. For a number of years, my family has owned an older Suburban as a camping/Scouting (Boy Scout/Girl Scout) vehicle. Both troops appreciate the people and cargo carrying capacity, and because its an older vehicle we can afford to let it sit while my wife and I drive better vehicles, with better gas milage, on a day-to-day basis. I always carry a tool box, spare oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, jumper cables, tow strap, etc. to help out when my or another vehicle has a problem. However, even with the best of planning, things can go wrong, and the best equipment you can carry is t
  18. Each time I see an article on another United Way agency cutting off the Boy Scouts, I get more frustrated that only the Boy Scouts get singled out, and only for gay rights. A review of each United way's policy will show that the agency prohibits discrimination on account of sex, religion, race, etc. But the Boy Scouts are not cut off for sex or religious discrimination, and the reason is that the United Way funds numerous agencies that restrict (i.e. discriminate) on account of sex and religion. Numerous agencies provide assistance only to battered women, women in other forms of crisis, imm
  19. As jmcquillan says, we can poke fun amongst us, as we all are in this together, and believe strongly in what we do for Scouting and our Scouts. But when we are attacked, we join ranks, and defend what we know to be a great program for our youth. I just got back from our troop's summer camp, an independent camp where we spent a week on an island in the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, sailing, boating, etc. Almost 100% participation for our Scouts, and great adult participation. Amongst adults on the trip, we poked fun at each other, and I often bear the brunt of it, as o
  20. Stan, I may have you beat, because I'm a lawyer. Can't get much lower than that. Could be worse though, I could consider being a politician. On second thought, no.
  21. I think that it is too early to judge what is happening here. I have long ago learned not to react to what I read in the newspaper, because it is often reported wrong or incomplete. Once the policy itself is available for review, we can better judge what is happening. An interesting portion of the policy as reported is that scout leaders "will not expose their sexual orientation one way or the other." Excuse me, but would I have to take off my wedding ring, and would I now have to refer to my wife by some neutral term? Of greater concern to me is the statement that the Council will not di
  22. Eisely, you asked about DEET and synthetics. I have never had any problem with DEET in insect repellant when used sparingly. However, I learned a lot about it on a backpack trip to the Brooks Range in Alaska many years ago. I had several small plastic bottles of insect repellant in an outer pouch of my backpack, along with other small pieces of equipment. On the plane flight to Fairbanks, my fork punctured one of the bottles, and it leaked into the pouch. The coated nylon kept it contained and the pouch was ok, but all plastic in the pouch, including my compass and plastic eating utensils
  23. OldGreyEagle, I would encourage you to plan for a Mt. Hood climb for your older scouts. However, if you come to Oregon rather than Washington, the hike to the summit will be a lot shorter, and you won't have to cross the Columbia River. (just kidding). I have climbed Hood over a half-dozen times, including a climb May 2000 with our scout troop. The South Side route is technically not difficult. We left the Timberline Lodge parking lot at 11:00 pm, climbed thru the night, and reached the summit in early morning. This is recommended as at night the snow is frozen. There are professional g
  24. The Onion is a parody, not a real news source. Check out today's main page of the Onion for articles on the Primates Choice Awards, the 2001 Charlie Horse Research Appropriations Act, etc. I have seen others cite the Onion on various message pages on the web, because the authors do a great job of copying real journalism style. That said, there is accuracy to the underlying facts in the article, which is what makes the parody so effective. Sections of the gay/lesbian community are definitely not appropriate for children, or for many adults. However, the same can be said for segments
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