Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Places I've Lived

I think this list is pretty complete.  Some of these places I was only in for a few months, and others for many years.

1826 Carlton Street  Charleston, South Carolina
Latitude 32.855524  Longitude -79.966847

88 & 90 Air Street  Dayton, Ohio
Latitude 39.773784  Longitude -84.171956

11 Rita Street  Dayton, Ohio
Latitude 39.776313  Longitude  -84.167765

331 Hickory Street  Dayton, Ohio
Latitude 39.750750  Longitude  -84.181834

751 Spartan Avenue  Vandalia, Ohio
Latitude 39.897148  Longitude  -84.184964

495 Stonequarry Road  Vandalia, Ohio  (this residence also used the addresses 3787 and RR2 Box 108)
Latitude 39.872024  Longitude  -84.206937

1262 Snow Valley Road  Zanesfield, Ohio
Latitude 40.318913  Longitude  -83.674055

1200 Redwing Place SE  Albuquerque, New Mexico
Latitude 35.062297  Longitude  -106.596430

437 Grove Street SE  Albuquerque, New Mexico
Latitude  35.069401 Longitude  -106.562511

3113 Morris Street NE  Albuquerque, New Mexico
Latitude 35.118348  Longitude  -106.524768

200 Vassar Drive SE  Albuquerque, New Mexico
Latitude  35.079005 Longitude  -106.614333

Casa Vieja Guard Station  Inyo National Forest  Tulare County, California
Latitude  36.201968 Longitude  -118.268799

210 Margarita Avenue  San Luis Obispo, California
Latitude 35.257141  Longitude -120.667785

17 Villa Court  San Luis Obispo, California
Latitude 35.243121  Longitude -120.677116

1235 Cayucos Drive  San Luis Obispo, California
Latitude  35.254247 Longitude -120.684766

59265 California Hwy 168  Lakeshore, California
Latitude 37.235638  Longitude -119.156673

41810 Toyon Lane  Shaver Lake, California
Latitude 37.107126  Longitude -119.320008

Monache Guard Station  Inyo National Forest  Tulare County, California
Latitude  36.216175 Longitude -118.193394

865 Walnut Street  San Luis Obispo, California
Latitude  35.283986 Longitude -120.665441

41950 Foxtail Lane  Shaver Lake, California
Latitude  37.108624 Longitude -119.319525

41924 Huntington Lake Road  Shaver Lake, California
Latitude  37.108905 Longitude -119.319363

41692 Chipmunk Lane  Auberry, California
Latitude  37.079148 Longitude -119.429545

35000 U.S. 395  June Lake, California
Latitude  37.753371 Longitude -118.983157

Ediza & Ritter (NE corner)  Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Ranger District Mobile Home Housing
Latitude 37.647919  Longitude -118.965776

8th Avenue & Teller Street  Frisco, Colorado
Latitude 39.574433  Longitude -106.091583

10181 Indian Jack Road  Truckee, California
Latitude  39.331724 Longitude -120.190300

15562 Waterloo Circle  Truckee, California
Latitude  39.354411 Longitude -120.100710

44 Nevada Road  Rovana, California
Latitude  37.414569 Longitude -118.610636

1521 Lazy A Drive  Bishop, California
Latitude  37.381079 Longitude  -118.421597

4 Ascot Pkwy Vallejo, California
Latitude  38.112190 Longitude -122.196142

192 Xining South Road  Taipai, Taiwan
Latitude  25.040273 Longitude   121.505998

Current Home

Some of the actual buildings I lived in are gone and/or the roads, etc, changed and the area looks a lot different.

Recent Facebook Debate-*

Why I Am a Catholic…
…is a very difficult question to answer, not because I don’t have a good answer, but because I have too many answers.

Chesterton sums up this quandary in his delightful book Orthodoxy:
    But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, “Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?” he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, “Why, there is that bookcase . . . and the coals in the coal-scuttle . . . and pianos . . . and policemen.” The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible.
So, in 17 words:   God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Mama Mary, Intellectual Depth, Merciful Humanity, Profundity, Beauty, Love, & Hope.

I've attended hundreds of Protestant church services and Scripture studies over the years.  I think that most Protestant Churches teach truth about Jesus, but fail to teach the whole truth.  There are things they aren't able to believe or understand for reasons I don't fathom.

So, my belief that the Catholic Church is the true church, that it was founded by Christ, initially led by Peter and that the authority Christ gave Peter was passed on to others down through the ages and now rests in the hands of Benedict the 16th, has not wavered.  I am a Catholic because I sincerely believe, by virtue of much cumulative evidence, that Catholicism is true, and that the Catholic Church is the visible Church divinely-established by our Lord Jesus, against which the gates of hell cannot and will not prevail (Mt 16:18) and that it possesses an authority to which I feel bound in Christian duty to submit.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says "And so I say to you, you are [Rock], and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."

It seems pretty clear to me that this was an initial step in Jesus' creation of his church and he put Peter [Rock] in charge of it.  Peter, for all his faults, is obviously the most important Apostle and, after Christ's ascension, their leader.

For me to believe that the Catholic Church, the only church that claims to be the true church and the only one that has any valid historical claim to existence from the days of the Apostles, isn't the true church would mean that I would have to believe that Jesus was wrong.   I would have to believe that Christ built a church that went into apostasy - in other words, the church He founded on Peter [Rock] was defeated by "the "gates of the netherworld" even though Christ claimed that this couldn't happen.

In Jesus' Farewell Discourse in the Gospel of John (17:21-23) Jesus says: "[S]o that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me."

How does this command of Jesus' for unity work with 30,000 different flavors of Christianity?

Many Protestants say that Jesus is talking about the unity of the invisible church of all true Christian believers and that there is no need for the church to be visible to all, believer and non-believer.

I find this idea non-supportable given Jesus' words in Matthew 5:14-16.  "You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father."

It seems to me that Jesus clearly foresaw a visible Church that all could point to.  In Matthew 18:15-17 He says "If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector."

What does this statement of Jesus' mean if "your brother" can go to one of 30,000 different "churches" until he finds one that tells him that he has not "sinned against you."

St. Paul tells us, in his first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:15), how important the church is.  "[Y]ou should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth."

And I have to ask, "You think it's an invisible pillar and foundation of truth?  How does that work?  How do we know the truth if its pillar and foundation are invisible?"

It seems to me that Christ and St. Paul both expected a visible church, one that would be obvious to all who cared to know.

I don't find the way that Pastors are selected in Protestant churches biblical.  Usually the duty of finding new Pastors and Ministers for a Protestant church is delegated to "Elders" or a "Search Committee" but the congregation selects these groups, so essentially the congregation chooses their own Pastor.  The sheep are to be tasked with selecting their Shepard?  Inconceivable.

Christ chose the Apostles.  After Christ's Ascension, Peter looked at Scripture.  The book of Psalms said whose office is empty let another replace him.  Peter went to Scripture for the answer to Judas' rejection of the Faith and the Apostles chose the new "Apostle."  It wasn't left to the believers at large to select the new Apostle.  The Catholic Church still does this - the area’s Bishop chooses Pastors - the direct clerical descendant of the Apostles, and Bishops are chosen by the Pope, Peter's heir.

The Catholic Church is the only church that takes Jesus' words in the "Bread of Life Discourse" (John 6:22-59) seriously.  Catholics believe that Communion is much more than a memorial service using grape juice and crackers.

In John 6:51 Jesus tells his followers, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."  His followers immediately express doubt (John 6:52), so He repeats himself in John 6:53-58.  But still his followers doubted - John 6:60 "Then many of his disciples who were listening said, 'This saying is hard; who can accept it?'"

And what was the result of Jesus' insistence that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood?  John tells us, "As a result of this, many (of) His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him."  Do you think that it is just a coincidence that the "Mark of the Beast" is 666 and that the verse that tells us that many of Jesus' initial followers would not accept his teaching is John 6:66?  Also bear in mind when Judas left the 12 to betray Jesus - immediately after Jesus instituted the Eucharist ("Holy Communion") at the Last Supper.  There's something about the Eucharist that many cannot accept.

Historical doctrine
Who "sent" pastor
Doctrine - church choice

Protestantism is seriously deficient in its interpretation of the Bible ("faith alone"), compromised morally (abortion, homosexuality, invitro fertilization, stem cell research, contraception, divorce), and unbiblically schismatic, anarchical, and relativistic. I don't believe that Protestantism is all bad, but these are some of the major deficiencies that are fatal to Protestantism.

I feel I should clarify something. Occasionally, I will post my thoughts regarding whether the Catholic Church's claims are true. But my approach has probably led people to think that my main purpose is to show "who has the right interpretation, sucka" regarding various, highly specific debated issues in Scripture. Actually, that isn't, in my opinion, the real question.
Instead, the question is this: "Which is true – that it is simply impossible to know for certain what Christ meant by this or that teaching (and so we are left to whatever private interpretation we come up with) OR that it IS possible to know because Christ made certain a true understanding of his teachings would be passed down from generation to generation?"
The first side of that either/or is a kind of Christian agnosticism regarding the teachings of Christ. "We just can't know for certain what he meant." In the past, different denominations were fairly staunch in their assertion that they had a firm grasp on the right interpretation. Other denominations were, for reasons that were pretty unclear, simply misled. These days, however, people would rather live and let live. Why berate one another about the correct interpretation? Why should I assume I got it right and this other fellow got it wrong? I agree. At least, in the sense that I have no reason to believe I am much more on target than this other fellow. But I don't agree with the built in agnosticism, the sense that "we have been left with no means to know for certain." Christ taught many things quite forcefully, as though they genuinely matter quite a bit.
The fall back position of focusing on one's relationship with Christ and not worrying about "being right all the time" does get one thing right – knowing Christ is the most important thing and truth without love is empty. However, there is an assumption built into the fall back position with which I strongly disagree. And that is that the truth regarding matters like baptism, the Lord's Supper, free will, etc. can safely be set aside because there are no real consequences. I would suggest, instead, that there are consequences. It matters a great deal, for example, whether baptism genuinely makes us a new creation, an adopted child of God, or whether, as Luther would have it, there is no supernatural transformation and we remain the same but helpfully covered by Christ's blood – a "snow covered dung heap," as he put it. The first thing that will pop into folk's heads, it seems to me, is that might matter because it could affect a person's self-esteem. But that is nothing – let me emphasize that with a pause – nothing compared to how such a teaching, if Christianity is the foundation of a culture, will affect how people come to see the world around them and make laws and form traditions. Imagine a society built upon the assumptions of Calvin: that some souls quite deliberately are created for the trash can and others created for heaven. It's not Truth or Consequences; it's Truth and Consequences.
So "getting it right" has to be seen way, way, way beyond the hyper-individualism we've come to. Truth forms societies. And that is why I cannot accept the notion that Christ did not make a way for "what I meant by that" to be passed down faithfully from generation to generation. When he sent the Apostles out on the Great Commission, he actually said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." How is that last challenge possibly accomplished in future generations – if private interpretation is our rather unfortunate fall back position and it's every man for himself? Or if the proliferation of literally thousands of denominations leads the reasonable person to shrug helplessly and cling to Jesus?
I reached the conclusion that Jesus would not provide a network of truths that was eventually to collapse into obscurity. Apostolic Succession, someone taking over for Peter and then someone taking over for him, guided and protected by the Holy Spirit, is Christ's means of getting the truth to each generation. "He who listens to you, listens to me." And much more explicitly, "For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." Many people cannot accept, however, that the Catholic Church is the two thousand year old expression of this principle, because they look at specific Catholic teachings and balk.


Mary Cahalane (not our Irish cousin)

"Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob."

Robert Goodman
‎"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
P.J. O' Rourke

John Lawes ‎
"Giving money and power to rapacious banksters and then letting them use them to manipulate government is like placing your penis on the dining room table and giving a ball-peen hammer to your ex-wife."

Tom Locker ‎
"Giving politicians the ability to sell the government's power and ability to use force to rapacious bankers, greedy unions, amoral businessmen, criminals and other special interest groups is a major cause of the world's problems. Rapacious bankers, greedy unions, amoral businessmen, criminals and other special interest groups come and go, but government is forever."

John Lawes
That'd come as a surprise to the Roman Senate, Louis XVI, the authors of the Articles of Confederation, and the city council of Bayocean, Oregon.

Tom Locker
You’re confusing government (the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the inhabitants of a community) and regime (a mode or system of rule or government).

Rome, France and the US have all changed regimes (in some cases many times), but throughout those changes “government” has never disappeared. Government always maintains control of the inhabitants of the community (“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!”). There maybe short-lived periods of anarchy immediately following a regime change, but government quickly reestablishes its control. In fact after most regime changes, the government becomes more powerful and has even more control over the lives of the inhabitants of the community

I was in Rome a few years ago, I guarantee you that they have “government.” I noticed many of the government’s employees walking the streets armed with submachine guns ready and willing (eager?) to implement the government’s will with force and violence.

I was in France this summer, I guarantee you that they have “government.” I noticed many of the government’s employees walking the streets armed with firearms ready and willing to impose the government’s will with force and violence.

I live in the US, I guarantee you that we have “government.” In fact I used to be one of the government’s employees who walked the countryside armed with a firearm, ready and willing to enforce the government’s will with force and violence.

I have also worked for private, capitalistic, businesses. When I was their employee I was not armed with a firearm, and was not ready or willing to impose the business’s will with force or violence.

As for Bayocean, why didn’t you use Atlantis for your example? I guess I should have said government lasts as long as the community exists. BTW, I’ve been to Tillamook County many times (once I was there for law enforcement related reasons). I guarantee you they have government, many levels of it, and those governments also have employees ...


Statistical Analysis of a Region 5 Hiring Decision.

    In 1991, Region 5 made 15 selections for DFMO positions. Many have alleged that the outcome of these selections would have been different absent discrimination.
    The probability, and thus an estimate of fairness, of these selections can be determined using statistical analysis. There are two valid, commonly-used methods of analyzing "rare events." The first is the Poisson Distribution and the second the Hypergeometric Distribution. As there are only eleven possible outcomes, the Hypergeometric Distribution was used for this study.

                105 Men Applicants
                 10 Women Applicants
                 15 Selected

    The eleven possible outcomes are zero women & 15 men selected, one woman & 14 men selected, two women & 13 men selected, and so forth up to 10 women & five men selected.

    The results are plotted in the following graph, but it turns out that, assuming equal distribution of merit, competence, experience, talent, ability, etc, between sexes, the selection of six women and nine men (the actual outcome) is an extremely rare event.
    If you ran an experiment (with assumption of equality between sexes) on this data 36,714 times, you could expect to randomly select 6 or more women once. The other 36,713 times you would expect to select five or less woman. About 88% of the time the experiment would result in the selection of 0, 1 or 2 women. Another 10% of the time you'd select three women.
    If these selections were purely based on merit, the extreme difference in selection ratios requires that one accept that women are, on average, more meritorious than men. The most commonly used statistical tool for this kind of problem--estimating the "factor" by which women are more meritorious--is simply the sample ratios, 6/10 over 9/105 = 7. In other words, if these selections were based purely on merit, these data tells us that the women who applied for these positions were, on average, about seven times more meritorious than the men who applied.
    Two closing points: Later that same year, 1991, Region 5 selected nine "Accelerated Development" candidates. I have been reliably told that 62 men and 24 women applied for these positions. All selectees were women. The same analysis methods tell us that this outcome would occur about once in every 352,113 trials.

    Lastly, many people question the veracity and reliability of statistical analysis. The book ”How To Lie With Statistics• is frequently used to validate this distrust. I would suggest that the reason that book "had" to be written is because numbers carry an inherent truthfulness and making them lie requires expert manipulation. Words, unfortunately, are another story, no one ever had to write ”How To Lie With Words•, that seems to come naturally to many of us.


      If you are interested in the subject of reverse discrimination or the results of the multiculturalism laws being enacted around the nation, you might be interested in some of the activities along these lines being initiated by the U.S. Forest Service.
      In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Region Five of the Forest Service, most of which is in California, enforced a quota system to hire a designated percentage (43%) of women. It tore the agency apart, creating animosity and mistrust between men and women, management and workers and lowering the agency's ability to do its job. Now it's preparing--nationwide--to enforce quotas to achieve "diversity."
      An examination of this Region of the agency and its programs could help in the analysis of how widespread quota programs will ultimately affect our society.
      In 1971 a Forest Service employee named Gene Bernardi was denied a promotion. She filed a sex discrimination suit which eventually became a Class Action (Gene Bernardi, et al. Civil Action C-73-1110-SC (CW)). Region Five of the Forest Service was never found guilty of discrimination nor did it admit to any, but agreed in a Consent Decree to take certain measures to remedy the alleged discriminatory practices. It is reasonable to assume that the Forest Service and other organizations will use the same tactics to "solve" the multiculturalism "problem" as were used for this program.
      This agency is responsible for managing the resources of our National Forests. Its practices are under increasing scrutiny from timber, mining and grazing interests on one hand and environmental groups and consumer watchdogs on the other, but the agency spends considerably more time, energy and money social-engineering its own workforce than carrying out the mission Congress has assigned it.
      Region Five is large. It oversees 20-25% of the land in California---some of our nation's most productive and beautiful. It employs thousands of people from many different professions---wildlife biologists, firefighters, foresters, police officers and outdoor recreation specialists to name a few.
      Promotions and bonuses for top management personnel are based on their performance ratings. Because a large part of these ratings is based upon meeting Consent Decree or diversity goals (read quotas), management is not interested in hiring the best person for the job. They are interested in their careers. And if that means creating unfair hiring practices, ignoring Equal Employment Rights and allowing our precious natural resources to be exploited or mismanaged---Well, it's a tough decision, but careers must come first.
      This essay will focus primarily on how this Consent Decree has effected firefighting efforts within the agency. However, there are similar effects in every functional area of the Forest Service.
      Many who, in the past, would have been considered excellent candidates for promotion today are not. Why? Because all they can offer is experience, knowledge and competence. They can not perform the task most vital to the agency---"contribute to a federal workforce reflective of the nation's diversity with respect to race, color, religion, sex or national origin."
      Yes, that's true. Because of the Consent Decree and diversity "goals" the most important factor in obtaining a job or promotion within this agency has nothing to do with individuals' abilities or skills or what applicants have achieved and accomplished in their lives. What is important is what group they happened to be born into.
      Recently a new firefighter, an 18-year-old white male, was telling of his hopes and dreams for a career as a firefighter, what educational steps he intended to take, places where he'd applied and so forth. Then he said, without hostility or rancor, just matter-of-factly, "I know since I'm a white male I'll just have to take anything I can get."
      How can this be! This child never discriminated against anyone. What kind of a country do we have where we punish an innocent person?  Where we tell someone he'll have to put his dream on hold while we virtually beg another person to take it?
      Public attention needs to be focused on this issue. If taxpayers see the tremendous waste this affirmative action program is creating and when ordinary citizens see the pain and unfairness it's causing, they may have second thoughts about supporting others in the future.
      Some examples of the confusion of priorities and waste this has created:
      The chief law enforcement officer on the Stanislaus National Forest stated in a letter to her Congressional Representative that her supervisor had given her direction that if she had to make a decision between managing a Consent Decree administrative issue or continuing a drug investigation, she should drop the drug investigation.
      The Forest Service sometimes has female apprentice firefighters work overtime (for which there is no need) so they will have the required number of hours to convert from apprentice to journeyman level by a given progress report date.
      It is not uncommon for job vacancies to be announced three or four times because the applicant pool wasn't "diverse." In other words, only white males applied. White males are told they must "sell themselves" to get a promotion, but we need to "recruit" women and minorities if we have a job to fill.
      To get more women and minorities to apply sometimes a job is announced as an "upward mobility" position---hiring a less qualified person at a lower level and promoting them later. This is called "strengthening the competition." It really means lessening the competition. Instead of filling the job with a person who is capable and qualified to do it at the required skill level, it is possible to hire a less qualified candidate at a grade lower than the job really requires. The chosen candidate, virtually always a woman or minority, is then non-competitively promoted to the target grade after meeting time-in-grade requirements.
      This creates waste. In addition to the administrative costs of announcing a job vacancy several times, the person in the job is unable to perform adequately when first placed. Others must train the incumbent as well as do the actual work. Often the person doing the training and necessary work is a subordinate who wanted the job but was denied the opportunity for discriminatory reasons.
      Any Forest Service worker can tell stories of time wasted in meetings and training sessions about new Consent Decree regulations, requirements and reporting procedures. The Forest Service reported that it spent more than $21 million on Consent Decree related administrative costs between 1988 and 1991. The Consent Decree began in 1981.
      Only a government agency could be burdened with a program this cumbersome and expensive. If a court required a business to do the things the Forest Service agreed to, it would soon be out of business. If taxpayers thought of themselves as the stockholders in their government they would throw out a board of directors that allowed this!
      Nationally, there are few women firefighters. There are many reasons why. For one, many, many more men than women are interested in it. Nationally, 99 percent of all volunteer firefighters are men. An examination of applications for Forest Service firefighter positions show the ratio to be 10 to 1 or greater.     A few charts may illustrate this point.

                                       *       *
                                    *             *
                                  *                 *
                                *                     *
                              *                         *
                            *                             *
                          *                                 *
                        *                                     *
                      *                                         *
                    *                                             *
                 *                                                   *
             *                                                           *
       *                                                                     *

      Lesser                                                          Greater

      This is a rough approximation of a bell-shaped curve. Its height at any given point represents the number of individuals from a given group who have a specific amount of whatever we're measuring. Height, singing ability, shoe size, anything measurable will be predictably distributed in this pattern.
      The bell-shaped curve always has the same basic shape but its size is relative to the total number of individuals represented. With groups of different sizes, the sizes of their respective bell-shaped curves will be different. In the graphs below, the * curve roughly represents the distribution of aptitude for some specified skill in a group of 10,000. The # curve roughly represents the distribution in a group of 1,000. In the curve for the larger population group, there are more individuals at every level---good, bad or indifferent.

                                       *       *
                                    *             *
                                  *                 *
                                *                     *
                              *                         *
                            *              #              *
                          *            #       #            *
                        *            #           #            *
                      *            #               #            *
                    *           #                     #           *
                 *          #                             #         *
             *          #                                     #        *
        *           #                                             #         *
              #                                                       #

      Lesser                                                          Greater

      Assume the * curve represents the distribution of firefighting aptitude or potential in the population of men interested in firefighting and the # curve represents the distribution in the population of interested women.
      The curve for men is higher at every level, but only because there are more men interested in firefighting than women. If we were looking at aptitude for occupations which attract proportionally more women, for example nursing or elementary school teaching, the pattern would be reversed.      Below is a magnified view of the right side of these bell-shaped curves.

          *                        |
            *                      |
               *                   |
                  *                |
        #              *           |
                             *     |
               #                   |*
                       #           |        *
                             #     |                  *
                                   |#                            *
                                   |        #                                 *
                                   |                  #
      Lesser                                                          Greater

      Assume there are a number of firefighting positions to fill. If aptitude is the sole criteria, only those to the right of the vertical line will be hired. If hiring is based solely on aptitude more people from the group with greater intrinsic interest (men) must be hired.
      Some might call this sexism---it's not. It's the result of basic laws of statistics and population dynamics. No legislation, no court decision nor all the wishful thinking in the world can change it. You might as well legislate the value of pi.
      If a decision to hire approximately equal numbers of each group is made, it is inevitable that people hired from the group with less intrinsic interest will be less apt, as a group, than those hired from the group with more intrinsic interest.
      Something like the graph below will result. Only men to the right of the vertical line and women to the right of the + line will be hired.

        #              *       +
                             * +
               #               +    *                      |
                       #       +            *              |
                             # +                      *    |
                               +    #                      |     *
                              +            #              |                  *
                               +                       #   |
                               +                           |
      Lesser                                                          Greater

      The difference in aptitude levels of those selected is obvious. There will be women Fire Chiefs and Assistant Fire Chiefs who will not be as knowledgeable or competent as lower-ranked male firefighters.
      These men realize that many women have not earned their positions (Region Five "reserved" 65 percent of the slots at its 1991 Basic Firefighting Academy, where the agency gets its new firefighters, for females). This creates resentment and anger even among people who would otherwise strongly support the hiring of women and minorities. This is happening in the firefighting branch of the Forest Service now.
      Many would say racism or sexism causes this resentment. There is evidence that this isn't true. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 9, 1991 focused on the high percentage of Asian-Americans enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley.
      Although Asians comprise about 35 percent of the freshman class, there is apparently little or no resentment of them on the part of white students. Whites say they feel that Asians work hard, get good grades and deserve admission. On the other hand, Hispanics and African-Americans do seem to resent Asians' disproportionate representation, saying that Asian students have upper-middle class parents and access to better schools.
      Firefighters are afraid---physically afraid---of what may happen as a result of the Consent Decree and diversity forcing less skilled and experienced people into decision-making positions in fire.
      In other functions within the Forest Service incompetence can result in resource damage and economic loss---a timber stand could be over-cut, a poorly designed road can wash out or the agency might not get fair value on a land exchange. But in addition to resource damage and economic loss, incompetence in firefighting can result in injury and death.
      Decisions on fires must frequently be made quickly. Employees writing an Environmental Analysis, marking timber or designing a new campground have the luxury of consulting with more experienced co-workers or weighing multiple alternatives. On the fireline there often isn't time for this.
      In a discussion of this issue former Regional Forester Paul Barker said it was not an important concern because he knew of no instance where a fatality was shown to be caused by the inexperience of a person whose promotion was quota driven. Is this the level of concern for safety now---don't worry until it kills someone?
      Many in the agency feel that gender harassment charges and accusations of creating a hostile work environment are being used to quiet discussion of the Consent Decree and diversity programs within the agency.
      When one white male firefighter was told of the accusations that he and his peers were "creating a hostile work environment," his response was, "We're not creating the environment, we're reacting to it."
      He was referring to unfair hiring practices, but another firefighter had a different view of this alleged "hostile environment." He said, "Fire is a hostile environment!"
      He was referring to the physical environment, not the psychological one. And he's right. Wildland firefighting is dirty---many have gone seven days without a shower or change of clothing; dangerous---virtually every firefighter has been injured at one time or another and fatalities are all too common; the hours long---36 hour shifts without sleep on initial attack; and the pay is nothing special---a study reported in the Reno Gazette-Journal a few years ago put the average salary of high school dropouts at about equivalent to the GS-7 level. Most Forest Service firefighters are GS-6 or under.
      The turnover rate has always been high among novice firefighters, male or female, and the fact that the turnover rate is higher among females than males isn't because of sexism or harassment. The physical differences between men and women simply make the job harder for women.
      A firehose doesn't care whether it's being dragged by a man or a woman---it always weighs the same. But it's harder for a 120 pound woman to drag it across the fire ground than it is for a 160 pound man. A 5'9" man crashing through three-foot-high brush doesn't work as hard as a 5'3" woman. Carrying a 60-pound pack for two miles up a steep hill to an isolated lightning fire is difficult for anyone, but the smaller you are, the tougher it is. And as a group, women are smaller than men. That's a fact, not a sexist statement.      As a result of these physical differences, the bell-shaped curves used earlier to explain skill levels might actually correlate is this manner:

                                       *       *
                                    *             *
                                  *                 *
                                *                     *
                              *                         *
                            *          #                  *
                          *        #       #                *
                        *        #           #                *
                      *        #               #                *
                    *       #                     #               *
                 *      #                             #             *
             *      #                                     #            *
        *       #                                             #             *
          #                                                       #

      Lesser                                                          Greater

      The curve for women shifts to the left, relative to the men's, because of the differences in physical robustness between the sexes.
      Many more men are interested in firefighting than women. The primary cause of the disparate interest levels is probably the much different acculturation that boys and girls receive. But surely firefighting's physical challenges are an important factor as well.
     An example of these differences in acculturation is Nancy Kerrigan, the Olympic Bronze- and Silver-medal winning figure skater---obviously a superior athlete. During the '92 Olympics it was reported that she had once wanted to be a hockey player, but was advised by her mother not to try the male-dominated sport. No one can say if Nancy could have become a hockey player, but her lack of opportunity was not a result of discrimination, unless one submits that her mother's advice was discriminatory.
      The role of women in society and their own function in the creation of that role can be argued. Some defend quota policies favoring women by saying that men have created an inequitable situation for women and that these policies are fitting retribution.
      But think rationally about women's role in society for a moment. Historically, their role in the determination of societal mores and values is as great as men's---they have been the primary raisers of children and thus have had great influence on children's values and priorities.
      There is an old saying, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." Have women been raising their children to support equal rights for women? Have they taught their children they can do whatever they choose in life or do they encourage them to follow gender stereotypes? Do they teach their children to question authority or to blindly obey the values of whichever culture they happen to have been born into? Have they chosen spouses for their commitment to women's rights or have they chosen men who are aggressive and money-driven?
      The point is that woman aren't simply innocent victims of society---they're an integral part of it. They have been just as responsible for the creation of modern western values as men, and ought to start shouldering their share of the responsibility.
      Regardless of where the "blame" lays, and many believe it is equal, this fact remains true---white males were and are discriminated against in current Forest Service hiring practices.
      The Consent Decree and other affirmative action programs have institutionalized discrimination. In the past discrimination was thought of as wrong. Ethical people strove to eliminate it from society. Now we've chosen to "eliminate" discrimination by deliberately favoring certain groups. Few seem willing to admit this is just another form of discrimination. A system that isn't fair to everyone, isn't fair to anyone.
      This brings up the subject of multiculturalism, the theory developed to justify discrimination. It submits that the values of all cultures are equal and that the American ideal of the "melting pot" is essentially racist.
      A comment by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese in her book, Feminism Without Illusions, is relevant, "A society unwilling or unable to trust its own instinct in laying down a standard ... does not deserve to survive and probably will not survive."
      The values of western civilization are among the great achievements of mankind. Its ideals compare extremely well against all other cultures. These values have produced the greatest amount of freedom and highest standard of living ever known.
      Additionally, no culture in history has supported the rights of women as individuals more than Western European culture. Women in our culture criticize many aspects of its treatment of women, but let them point out a major culture of today or the past in which women have greater freedom and dignity.
      It seems that few of those clamoring for change realize the basic incompatibility of feminism and multiculturalism.
      Some of the cultural values we would need to nurture and protect under the guise of multiculturalism include legal murder of unfaithful wives, arranged marriages for nine-year-old girls, acceptance of wife-beating, polygamy, immolation of widows, clitoridectomy, infanticide of female babies and abortion of female fetuses.
      Islamic fundamentalists and other non-western religious leaders denounce the idea of equality of the sexes as solely a Western value. The only civilization making an effort to overcome its sexist (and racist) traditions is Western European culture.
      As Dr. Kenny Williams, a black woman literature professor at Duke University, once said, "Think about all of the primitive cultures the multiculturalists gush over, saying things like, 'Oh, it's so marvelous.' But how were people treated in those cultures? How was the individual's freedom dealt with, or an individual's privacy? These are all Western ideas."
      It doesn't seem to occur to the supporters of multiculturalism that perhaps immigrants---and especially women immigrants---came here and are continuing to come here because of our cultural traditions, not despite them.
      Returning to the Consent Decree and other quota programs, the morality of using evil means to achieve good ends has been debated by philosophers and scholars for ages. But history reveals one certainty---evil has a way of prevailing over even the purest intentions.
      For example, many studies show that the results of affirmative action programs aren't as positive as hoped. There is evidence that those who profit from affirmative action have problems with their self-esteem---feelings of dependency and inferiority because they haven't "made it on their own" (see Shelby Steele, Content Of Our Character and Steven Carter, Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby).
      Other studies show that these social programs often don't benefit the intended group. Programs designed to help poor and disadvantaged women and minorities are being manipulated by well-off women and minorities.
      These men and women, comparable to any white male in education, experience and access to cultural resources, utilize affirmative action programs to avoid honest competition and gain promotion, money and power. Their advancement can be much quicker because they're only competing against disadvantaged people who look like them (see Thomas Sowell, Preferential Policies: An International Perspective).
      Columnist William Raspberry once commented on this phenomenon. After a discussion of the educational and cultural resources and other advantages available to his "certifiably black" children he said, "My children are [in reality] unconvincing as objects of special help. But if instead of talking about their resources, I can get you to focus on the color of their skin ... they [can gain] special help."
      Those with good memories may remember that many black activists of the 1960s believed that affirmative action programs were a way for the establishment to "buy off" black achievers and thus prevent them from working towards the resolution of the fundamental problems facing black society.
      And some women in Region Five reaped a bitter harvest after their previous Consent Decree advantages---the Consent Decree became a numbers game, having nothing to do with justice, if it ever did. When applying for promotions, women already in the Region Five workforce---including class members---were at a disadvantage when competing with women from out of Region Five. Why? Because the percentages were better for the Forest Service if it hired a woman from out of the region. Promoting a woman from within Region Five only moved one up the ladder and left a hole to be filled---it didn't help the percentages. It was much more effective to hire a non-Region person.
      Questionable hiring procedures became so blatant and common and created so many morale problems that many of the original members of the Class Action suit which resulted in the Consent Decree retained a different attorney to try to stop it. However the Judge and the Monitor of this Consent Decree refused to listen to the class!
      In fact, virtually every Forest Service employee believed that agency hiring practices were suspect. Among Forest Service employees there was a mistrust of the organization's promise to reward good performance and loyal service. In many hard ways explicit and implicit promises had been broken and people were justified in their disappointment. Every major ethnic, racial and sexual group felt the need to file complaints in an attempt to keep their Merit Promotion rights from being compromised.
      Perhaps these problems led to hypersensitivity---and thus all the gender harassment complaints. Were white males not allowed to feel---and express that feeling---that they were being unfairly treated? Is stating a fact harassment? Where does freedom of speech end and harassment start?
      This brings up another legal and ethical point---why do the parties in consent decree actions have the liberty to bargain away the rights of other innocent employees? If there was discrimination at the time of Bernardi, the people who created it were safely retired, but their legacy damaged people who were in school or not even born then.
      The idea that diversity within the workforce helps to change the agency's values to more closely reflect society as a whole is another theory being discredited by recent research. A Claremont University study of the Los Angeles police department indicates that this isn't true. This study found that newly hired minorities and women quickly adopt agency values and no significant change in departmental attitudes or opinions occurs.
      There seems to be a conscious decision on the part of Forest Service management to stifle discussion of this issue. Management can not be allowed to punish employees who participate in good faith debate and questioning of such a controversial policy. Debate is the soul of democracy. No issue can ever be considered closed to discussion. Even if the questioners in this debate are wrong, they're still entitled to their opinions. How can Forest Service managers be so certain of their wisdom and insight that they can decide which opinions can and which can not be expressed?
      Many believe they know they're wrong, that they know they've made serious errors in judgement, but their careers are more important to them than truth or justice. Some think they're trying to suppress dissention to avoid the glare of public scrutiny. But honest debate could lead us to a better method of assuring that all are treated fairly in the job market.