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Joe Arcieri Songs: Rescue Me

Joe Arcieri is a friend of mine who I worked with for many years during my ten years working for Acme Markets.  Joe, when not stocking milk or saving lives as a nurse, is an excellent guitar player.  I have had the privilege, from time to time, of (badly) plunking my bass guitar with Joe as he melts a face or two with a great solo.

As great musicians do, Joe has written some of his own songs and keeps a soundcloud site to post them.  When I have opportunity, I will post his music here as well.

Here is his composition called “Rescue me” which you can find here.

Here are the links to the previously posted songs by Joe:

HOORAY FOR AMERICA

Check out this post to Faye Cohen’s blog Toughlawyerlady!   

                I recently returned from a lovely trip to Prague, the Czech Republic and Rome and Sorrento, Italy. Although I have visited Italy many times, and I am always impressed by its beauty, history, excellent food and fine design, the trip to Prague was an adventure for my bucket list.

                My parents were born and raised in Poland, and survived their stays in various Nazi concentration camps. I was born in Bergen Belsen, in Germany. During the war Bergen Belsen was a concentration camp. In fact, it is famous for being the camp where Anne Frank died.  After the war it was a relocation center for misplaced persons. After the war my parents, me, my father’s sister Mary, and two of my father’s cousins, emigrated to America. They represented the few survivors of their formerly large families. My father’s other surviving sister, Gegna (Jean, remained in the Czech Republic (then known as Czecholosvakia)) as she had fallen in love with a Czech man, Rudy, and they married and raised two sons there. I only met her and her husband once when they came to America for my cousin’s wedding. The Communist regime did not allow their children to come with them, so I never met my cousins. I have always wanted to meet my cousins, and I was able to meet my first cousin Stanislov (“Stan”), and his son, John on this trip. Unfortunately Stan’s other son, Zybnek, died prematurely only months before while on a trip of an apparent genetic problem he wasn’t aware of.

                Not only were we generations apart, but the stories of their lives led me to believe we are almost a world apart in our lifestyles. They live in a small but beautiful area which is forested and has hiking trails and ski spots. Although they do not appear envious of the material wealth in America, when I mentioned we were traveling to Italy they stated they had only been there once, although it is a not a long drive there, and they had to bring their own food, or forage for it in farmers’ fields. Their family raised animals for food and crops and were self-sufficient. They have memories of sleeping in an enclosure their family built, really a shack by our standards, in the summers. Yet they felt they were surrounded by love, happiness, and friends.

                It made me think of where we come from and how far we have come, and how grateful we should be to live in America, where we live without fear of what we say, what religion we practice, being free to pick what schools we go to and what work we do. When I told a staffer at the hotel we stayed at in Prague that we have met members of this family twice, he was amazed that we will most likely meet this part of our family twice in our lifetimes. My cousin Stan is the only Jewish person in his town of 10,000, his wife and children are not Jewish, and his son had not been told of the family history, to protect him it appears from anti-Semitism and Communism, and he was very curious about us and our lifestyles.

Utah Supreme Court: Lemon Test Is No Longer Controlling

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Williams v. Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roy, Utah(UT Sup. Ct., June 3, 2021), the Utah Supreme Court vacated the trial and appellate courts’ dismissal of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Elders of a Jehovah’s Witnesses church. At issue was the manner in which the Elders conducted an investigation of whether a 14-year old girl who was raped by a congregant was herself guilty of the sin of “porneia”. The state Supreme Court said in part:

Although the conclusion reached by the district court and the court of appeals may ultimately prove to be the correct one, we note that in reaching that conclusion both courts relied on the excessive entanglement test established in Lemon. But … Lemon has been overtaken by more recent Supreme Court cases.  Because the district court applied the excessive entanglement test from Lemon instead of the approach followed in these more recent cases, we vacate the district court‘s decision and remand for any additional proceedings necessary to adequately conduct the Supreme Court‘s current approach to the Establishment Clause.

… [T]he district court should focus on the particular issue at hand and look to history for guidance as to the correct application of the Establishment Clause…. [T]he court should identify ―an overarching set of principles and explain how those principles should be applied in this case.

Ogden Standard-Examiner reports on the decision. 

You can learn more about this issue here.

Templeton Project: Who and What is Evil?

Back in October 2015 I wrote about the inauguration of the Abington Templeton Foundation (see here).  The project is now underway (see here) and I will be posting our writing here.

Check out the latest piece entitled “Who and What is Evil?”

See also:

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In the American political arena insults are daily exchanged between antagonists.  At times, even the word evil is dropped to describe opponents.

Who is evil?  What are the criteria for calling another evil?  It is not necessarily one’s political ideology that makes one of evil opinion. Many political ideologies and positions fall within ethical parameters. Moreover, political ideology is not an appropriate or adequate measure for dividing evil from good. The judgment of another’s opinions as evil should be based on principles that transcend political philosophy. A certain political philosophy may be evil on the basis of universal principles of ethics. Nazism was evil, because it maintained a philosophy that sought the destruction of certain people like the Jews, Christians, Gypsies, those with disabilities, minorities with different sexual orientations, and political opponents.  Such a view contravenes the principle of love of neighbor, even the enemy.  Christ is the embodiment of this love.

To be a Republican or Democrat is not intrinsically evil.  But, to hold certain views destructive of others is evil.   One may ask then, are those who support abortion evil?  A strong case can be made for this view, based on the example of Christ and universal Christian principles.  Can you imagine Christ saying to someone, “Yes, I think you should get an abortion?”

What is the difference between being evil and a sinner?  A sinner repents to the Lord for his/her evil and attempts to do better by the grace of God.  Evil people do not repent; but, persist in their evil.  Do evil people know when they are saying or doing evil?  Their response may be that they deny that they are doing evil, or they may delight in the evil they are doing and will persist in it. If they know they are doing evil and persist in their evil-doing without repentance, they are not only sinners but evil.   No repentance means no forgiveness, thus no salvation.  Most evil people very well know that they are serving darkness.  They are the advance guard of Satan.

It must be made clear that evil is perpetrated in what we say and what we do.  Speech and deed are under God’s judgment.  We must repent in thought, word, and deed as we do in liturgical confession.

The universal principles that we are to use to make ethical judgments derive from the Christian tradition.  The Holy Scriptures,  the Church Fathers, the confessions and pronouncements of the Church, and contemporary reflection in the Christian community (in convocation) are the sources of authority and our guides.  The Holy Scriptures are the primary source of authority that judge all other authorities.

When one is witnessing, it is not enough simply to make an assertion without backing it up.  For this reason, many people do not believe they are adequate to the task of apology and witness.  But, we must witness.  If we need to defend a position that we are unable to do at the time of a conversation, we can tell our adversary that we will acquire the information we need to complete the point we are making at some later date.  Our sources of information could be our pastor or another knowledgeable person on the subject,  Bad information never helps us in a debate.

All along we must be respectful. If someone seems to be inclined toward evil, we need to find a way to express our concern for what another is saying or doing with hopes that either we come to realize that we have made a false judgment about the other or the other amends his/her ways.

We must be concerned with another’s salvation.  This means that not to find a way of expressing our concern is to forsake the other to the powers of evil that inhabit our world.  As the Scriptures say, his blood is on our hands (Ezekiel).

Michael G. Tavella

September 21, 2020

Joe Arcieri Songs: Girl Crush

Joe Arcieri is a friend of mine who I worked with for many years during my ten years working for Acme Markets.  Joe, when not stocking milk or saving lives as a nurse, is an excellent guitar player.  I have had the privilege, from time to time, of (badly) plunking my bass guitar with Joe as he melts a face or two with a great solo.

As great musicians do, Joe has written some of his own songs and keeps a soundcloud site to post them.  When I have opportunity, I will post his music here as well.

Here is his composition called “Girl Crush” which you can find here.

Here are the links to the previously posted songs by Joe:

Ami Horowitz on Police Brutality and Race

Every now and again I come across something the warrants posting here; I recently came across this a video which, I thought, was pretty insightful. Be edified.

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LAWYERS DESERVE RESPECT TOO

Check out this post to Faye Cohen’s blog Toughlawyerlady!   

                Recently a prominent female Philadelphia lawyer was quoted in a newspaper article about an equal pay settlement she had reached with her former law firm, stating that she would never encourage her daughter to become a lawyer. Her opinion surprised me because her career was commendable and encompassed practicing with a large national law firm, having a top position as a lawyer in local government, and starting and operating her own law firm. I don’t agree that law is a poor career choice for women, but it is definitely a difficult career which requires working long hours, suffering frequent stress, and sometimes receiving little gratitude from the very people lawyers try to help. As a result, it is important for lawyers to develop thick skins in order to receive the most job satisfaction from practicing law.

                There are many areas of legal practice, and not all of them involve dealing with the general public and/or regularly appearing before courts and legal forums. Often the stress of law involves being expected to bill a certain number of billable hours.  Depending on one’s area(s) of practice, there are two primary means in which lawyers receive payment. They either bill in increments of an hour at an hourly rate, or if there is a contingency fee agreement, they collect their fees at the end of a case, it is  tried or won in court. Sometimes there is a hybrid arrangement, which is the combination of the above two kinds of billing.

                I have retained and paid lawyers for legal matters, so I am in the same position as my clients, but I respect lawyers, even if I wasn’t thrilled with the results, or I wasn’t pleased that I had to hire lawyers, because I felt the lawyers provided me with the best service they could. LET ME BE CLEAR—VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE HAPPY TO PAY THEIR LAWYERS. But, lawyers have to work within the legal system, which makes many demands on them. Although I respect lawyers, that respect is often lacking in others. Most lawyers have been on the receiving end of comments from former, current and potential clients which are rude, obnoxious and abusive. I can’t think of any other profession whose members have to endure this type of behavior. This abuse generally arises because: 1) the client is not happy with their situation or the legal process, and takes it out on the lawyer; or 2) the client is trying to avoid paying their bill and comes up with every excuse under the book to avoid payment.

                For some reason clients forget or ignore that law firms are businesses, and not charities. I would love to be able to call the IRS and all of my creditors and tell them that as they obviously have a lot more money than me, so they should waive what I owe them. Of course this is ridiculous, yet it is a request I hear every so often after the client has exceeded their retainer and requests or requires additional services.  Recently a client stated that it was not Godly and moral for me to request payment, after owing us an amount for years, because she allegedly can’t afford it.  Although we are often willing to work within a client‘s budget, our bills must be paid. We have salaries and bills to pay, an office building to maintain, and we also support other businesses whose services we use for supplies and various reasons. It is not fair not when clients ask us to feel their pain, but they don’t feel they have to treat us fairly.

Here are common questions clients have about bills:

Clients sometimes express surprise that lawyers charge for phone calls and e mails on hourly rate cases, although this occupies a large part of their day. With the advent of e mail, clients often send many e mails a day and expect a quick response. Our fee agreements clearly states that we bill for these services. Let’s see how it works out if we didn’t charge for this time. As an example, let’s say there are 7 billable hours in a day (although my days are far longer), or 420 minutes. If I spend time on behalf of 15 current clients for e mails, or I spend time on calls with or regarding them, and I spend an average of 12 minutes on each call or e mail, that is 180 minutes or 3 hours. If 15 potential clients call or e mail me and I spend an average of 6 minutes speaking with them, that is another, 1½ hours or 90 minutes. That leaves 150 minutes or 2½ hours for me to attend meetings with other lawyers, clients or staff, or dealing with correspondence or legal documents. Using my $280 billable hourly rate for 2013 (which, by the way, is far too low based on my level of experience), and I don’t charge for the 3 hours above, I am losing potential fees of $840 a day, or $4,200 a week, or $210,000 a year. I would never ask my clients or any other professionals to work 3 hours a day for free.

People don’t often realize that lawyers, including me, contribute a great deal of unpaid time as they don’t charge for every minute of their time, they try and counsel people who aren’t certain how to deal with the legal system for free, and they often do some firm of pro bono work. WE NOT ONLY DESERVE SOME RESPECT, WE DESERVE A LOT OF RESPECT!  

Ministerial Exception Leads To Dismissal Of Part of Nuns’ Sexual Harassment Claims

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Brandenburg v. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, (SD NY, June 1, 2021), two nuns who formerly worked at a Greek Orthodox monastery sued the Archdiocese and several clergy members for sexual harassment by Father Makris at the monastery. One of the plaintiffs also sued over the conduct of Father Makris when he was Dean of Students at the religious college she attended in Massachusetts. When the student reported a sexual assault by a male student, Makris made her marry her attacker to cure the assault.

Invoking the ministerial exception doctrine, the court dismissed plaintiffs’ sex discrimination claims and their retaliation claims to the extent they are based on tangible employment action (hiring, firing, job assignments, promotion, compensation).  However the court held that the claims for constructive discharge survive, as do the claims for retaliation to the extent they are based on harassment and not a tangible employment action. Some of plaintiffs’ defamation claims also survived the motion to dismiss.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Templeton Project: Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John–Pilate

Back in October 2015 I wrote about the inauguration of the Abington Templeton Foundation (see here).  The project is now underway (see here) and I will be posting our writing here.

Check out the latest piece entitled “Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John–Pilate.”

See also:

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Pilate’s first response to the leaders who brought Jesus to him was that they should deal with Jesus themselves.  The Jewish leaders reminded Pilate that they did not have the authority to execute Him.  Pilate then interviewed Jesus to find out the facts of the matter.  In this part of the conversation our Lord asserts that He witnesses to the truth to which Pilate asks, “What is truth?”  Ironically, truth stands before the governor in the person of Jesus Christ.

Pilate was insistent that he found no guilt in Jesus, yet handed Him over to His foes to be crucified.  When Pilate once again resisted attempts to kill Jesus, Jesus’ enemies said that if he released Jesus, he was no friend of Caesar, that is, he who governed the entire Roman Empire.  Finally, Pilate gave Jesus over to be crucified.

At least , three things about Pilate we observe here.  First, Pilate tried to get out of his responsibility; second, he avoided recognizing the truth; and third, he relented when the pressure was on so that he ended up doing the wrong thing.

When we Christians witness to those in civil authority, we must recognize any number of dynamics including the ones above from the Gospel of John.

  1. Avoidance of responsibility.  Politicians do this quite often in the twenty-first century  and at all times.   They do it primarily to remain in power.
  2. Avoidance of truth.  Politics is not about truth.  It is about power
  3. Avoidance of pressure. It is always present when one is trying to do the right thing.  It is often reduced when doing the wrong thing.

Always keep these points in mind when you are before the civil authority.

MIchael Tavella

August 3, 2020

Joe Arcieri Songs: Minnie The Moocher

Joe Arcieri is a friend of mine who I worked with for many years during my ten years working for Acme Markets.  Joe, when not stocking milk or saving lives as a nurse, is an excellent guitar player.  I have had the privilege, from time to time, of (badly) plunking my bass guitar with Joe as he melts a face or two with a great solo.

As great musicians do, Joe has written some of his own songs and keeps a soundcloud site to post them.  When I have opportunity, I will post his music here as well.

Here is his composition called “Minnie The Moocher” which you can find here.

Here are the links to the previously posted songs by Joe:

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