The Bouncing Ball today at Bel Air, next week back at the Luxe
WVRC on the 24th of March
Yes, we continue our gypsy ways back at the Luxe on the 31st. But let’s talk about Today. I am personally pleased to report that we had a good turnout so I won’t be calling anyone, after all. The Pledge was led by Rotaractor Michelle Lee. LENNY FRIEDMAN, hale and hearty after his surgery, then took us thru I been working on the RR ALL the verses. JACK HARRIS handled the piano, and it was fun. PP BOB WESSLING, perhaps preparing for the birth of his SECOND grandchild later this week, gave an excellent Invocation and as they say, preparation does show. Thanks, BOB.
PP STEVE SCHERER was pleased to introduce our newest member, PEGGY BLOOMFIELD. He pointed out that PEGGY had known about Rotary since 1966, when her husband, BILL, had joined. In a nice touch, PEGGY plans to wear BILL’S pin and she brings a lot of background along with her. Welcome Aboard, PEGGY! RALPH BEASOM didn’t feel there was anything new to report about BRUCE ROLF, but visitors are still most welcome at Berkeley West, which is at 17th and Arizona. PDG ANDY ANDERSON reported that we have 31 signed up for the Magic Castle, which will host us on Sunday the 10th of April tab is $40, and ANDY or ED GAULD can sign you up. SEAN McMILLAN reminded us that the Japanese Student Exchange is fast approaching these kids, aged 15 to 21, spend four weeks in Japan, and then they host the Japanese students on their return from Japan Dates for our kids visit starts on June 27th, until July 30th.
PP STEVE SCHERER rose to ask if we were introducing Guests of Rotarians, and who should this be but his son, BEN, who is here on Spring Break from the institution often mentioned by PP BOB WESSLING. That would be DePauw, in Greencastle, Indiana, and Senor RUDY pointed out that it’s not every undergraduate who knows a Trustee of the University he is attending. This is, of course, Mr. WESSLING, which will not surprise those of you who avidly follow the athletic fortunes of his DePauw Tigers.
MADAME WU introduced her granddaughter, Kelly Wu.
I reminded one and all that the District Conference is coming up in Palm Springs, at the Doral Desert Princess Resort in Palm Springs. Dates are April 28th, to May 1st, and the favorable room rates expire at the end of THIS month. I have Applications. There was an agreed-upon fine of $100 for someone involved with Rudy’s World, but I missed who it was. I’m sure my compatriot, Mr. NELSON, will recall.
Program Chair and PP MIKE NEWMAN introduced our Speaker, Ramona Ripston. I have a minor bone to pick here one of the areas we wanted to change in the “new” Windmill was to shorten the Intro of the Speaker, since it was already covered in the previous week’s Windmill. It’s hard to resist ‘saying a few words’, but that was our intent when we embarked on this “new” format, so let’s try to keep that in mind, please.
Ms Ripston has headed the Southern California ACLU since 1972 (when, apparently, she was just 16 years old a good line that she came back to several times). She is in charge of all aspects of the American Civil Liberties Union S.C. office, and supervises 46 employees so it’s a busy place. Their local membership is 35,000. She started early, at 12:45, and had a 30-minute talk prepared, allowing 15 minutes at the end for questions.
The ACLU has been defending the American Constitution for over 80 years that’s their mission. Our First Amendment, Free Speech, is the primary bulwark we have against those who might like to shut us down. They do not endorse candidates, but will take positions on issues, and their intent at all times is to be even-handed. The one exception to this non-partisanship this year could involve nominees to the Supreme Court.
The Bill of Rights was intended to insure the rights of liberty to all, and they consider defending that principle to be a primary objective. She reminded us that when you do what is principled, rather than what is popular, you do get criticized. Among the misconceptions that are ‘out there’ is that they are anti-religion. They have ministers on their Board, and many of their employees are themselves religious. For instance, they defended the high school basketball player who refused to play on Sunday, since it was not an appropriate activity on a day that many consider to be holy. She gave several other examples. They even supported Jerry Fall well in a case he was involved in 2002 and you can’t get much more even-handed than that!
There is controversy over the clients they represent. They claim that their primary client is the Bill of Rights, and in some cases, the logical extension of that is that they are supporting an unpopular client. She reminded us that the ACLU carried the case of the woman who wanted to join Rotary all the way to the Supreme Court an unpopular, but correct advocacy. They carried the case allowing racial intermarriage to a successful conclusion. They supported the right of the San Fernando Valley to secede, even thought they did not agree with that action. Even bad ideas should be presented the best ideas will win. She named the several Clauses of the Constitution, and in each case, the ACLU comes down on what is right, not necessarily on what is popular. Government must play by the rules, and the law must apply equally to all sides.
Q&A, I asked how they select their cases. A lawyer brings a case to Ms Ripston, and if she agrees that it is within the area of their charter, it is then presented to a Committee of eight senior lawyers and judges. PP JOHN SINGLETON Why do you question the use of a cross in a government seal? It is not appropriate to advocate religion in a diverse society such as ours. This case will be implemented as new printing is done, so it will not mean the discarding of present material. The Schiavo case Her husband says she wanted no heroic activity, and the Federal Government has no right to interfere. (Maybe here is one where most of us could agree, right?) ED GAULD The ACLU has done some good things, but have you run out of issues and are now just making work for yourselves. Her example was the Boy Scout issue gays cannot be scoutmasters. SHANE WAARBROEK In the Abuse cases in Iraq, since they are not American citizens, why are you involved. Because the perpetuators are American. So, as expected, some of what Ms Ripston said was controversial it was a good program, I believe.
Michele Lee, Rotaract, gave the toast “May your blessings each day be the blessings you need most”.
Remember, next week, the 31st, back at the Luxe, OK?