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Month: February 2018

Attending the 2010 Howard University Law School Graduation

Posted on February 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

This spring, as happens every year, thousands of prospective lawyers graduated from law schools throughout the nation and the world. These ambitious young people are on the threshold of new careers in which many will excel and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Looking at people in high government offices, elective positions, and corporate leaders, it is well known that lawyers are among the most populous of the occupations from which these individuals who are leaders within the nation come. Although there are jokes made about lawyers on a regular basis, it is a fact that it is a prestigious profession which generally commands respect and honor.

There was a period in history when Japanese Americans became lawyers but could not get jobs because of discrimination and prejudice against them before World War II began. They faced much of the same discrimination that was hurdled at African American young college students at that time.

It was my privilege this year to attend the graduation ceremony of the Howard University School of Law to which we were invited by an outstanding young friend who was in the graduating class of 2010. Seeing and hearing from these young people as they embark on the next phase of their lives was inspiring.

Howard University was chartered by the United States Congress as a coeducational private institution in Washington, D.C. in 1867. Howard is a historically black institution which offers an exceptional educational experience to students from many different backgrounds. Although it is still primarily a black university, it embraces many different cultures. Howard University is located in northwest Washington, D.C. with the law school on a separate campus about fifteen minutes away.

The Howard University School of Law was opened in 1869 at a time when there was dramatic change going on in the country. Black lawyers were being trained who had a strong commitment to helping black Americans secure and protect the rights which they so recently had obtained. The six students in the first class met in the evening in the homes or offices of the part-time faculty members. The law school has been fulfilling its mission for social justice for more than 133 years.

Howard University School of Law was originally created to provide a legal education for Americans who were traditionally excluded from the profession. The law school today is continuing the important work for which it was started.

Many outstanding young people graduate from the various schools of law throughout the country each year with high hopes and great ambition. They will study hard for a few months before they take the bar exam. Then they make their mark as they enter the prestigious vocation of the practice of law and become full fledged attorneys in an ever changing and challenging world where their leadership will be needed.

The Mormon Alliance With Boy Scouting, the Issue of Homosexuality, and the Sophistic Robert Gates

Posted on February 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

The Mormon Church, a nickname for the officially designated Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), has had an affiliation with the privately established, and operated, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since late in the year of 1938, an affiliation hardly known among the American public. The Mormon relationship with the BSA began quite ordinarily in 1913, as it had started with numerous other religious organizations that had sought affiliation with the Boy Scouting movement. Yet, when the first ward, or local congregation, of the Mormon Church requested and obtained a charter from the National Council of the BSA to sponsor a Boy Scout troop in the second decade of the 20th Century, no one had envisioned what that association would become in a span of 25 years. At that time, in 1913, the Salt Lake City Mormon hierarchy had made it an option for wards to obtain troop charters from the BSA, and those wards that had elected to do so admitted boys, in the States of Utah and Idaho, from other different religious sects and denominations to participate equally with the Mormon boys. Catholic, Luthern, Baptist, Methodist, etc. boys could attain, and, over time, hold the various troop leadership positions according to their individually earned merit, in strict accordance with the official scouting rules. These positions currently were, and still are: 1) patrol leader, 2) senior patrol leader, 3) assistant patrol leader, 4) troop guide, 5) quartermaster, 6) scribe, and 7) instructor. The competitive and meritorious attainment of these troop positions, in accordance with National BSA Handbook, continued until around 1938, when the Mormon Church had succeeded in amassing enough corporate financial clout (a net worth of 2.8 billion dollars) and political influence (many Mormons, by that time, had achieved high ranks the federal and State government bureaucracies) to buy-into the BSA with a hardly publicized agreement with its governing National Council. This contractual agreement was unlike any other charter-arrangement with any other social or religious organization. In 1938, there were approximately 11,500 LDS wards and branches around the United States. When the BSA was offered a nation-wide ward/branch charter affiliation by the Mormon Church, plus a generous yearly donation (millions of dollars), the BSA’s National Council very greedily, and quickly, accepted the offer. The secret terms of the agreement between the Mormon Church and the BSA were kept so-secret that very little information about it leaked to the media, and from there to the American people.

Having formerly been a Mormon elder for over 40 years, from 1971 until 2013, and a scoutmaster and scout troop committee chairman in four different LDS wards, at different times, around the nation, I believe that I possess the qualifications to speak objectively about the characteristics of the Mormon scouting program. Most 20th and 21st Century American people, who have not been, and are not currently, affiliated with the Mormon Church, presume that boys, twelve-and-over, of all church affiliations have equal-standing with Mormon boys in Mormon ward scout troops. Well, this is not true, and it hasn’t been true since the turn of the year 1939. The aforementioned agreement that was made in late-1938 between the Mormon Church and the BSA was that, in return for the Mormon Church making the BSA program a requirement in every one of its 11,500 wards ( a total of 36,500 in 2015), and their donating a hefty sum to the BSA every year, the Church was permitted by the BSA to nationally incorporate their ecclesiastical priesthood program into every ward/troop organization.

What this essentially means is that, at the age of twelve-years, every “worthy” Mormon boy (as deemed worthy by a ward bishop) is ordained a deacon in the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood and graduated, by virtue of attaining that Aaronic Priesthood Office of a Deacon, into the ward scouting program. All Mormon boys are currently as expected to enter the Scouting program by the Mormon Church hierarchy as they are to go on 2-year full-time missions after high school graduation. By the Mormon rites of religious passage, the general rules of Boy Scouting were altered to inseparably connect the general scouting ranks attained in the ward troops with the three ascending ranks of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood, which are 1) deacon, 2) teacher, and 3) priest. This is where the blatant discrimination and inequality occur in Mormon BSA troops, and why you don’t see boys from other churches mingled with the Mormon boys. To illustrate, let’s say that a dynamic and precocious 14 year-old Lutheran boy, who has attained-early the rank of Life-Scout and is eager to become an Eagle Scout, transfers from a Lutheran troop to a Mormon troop. He can’t do this without encountering severe prejudice from the Mormon troop organization. Immediately upon entering such a troop, the Lutheran boy is regarded as inferior to less-qualified Mormon boys of lesser-rank simply because he is not a member of the Mormon Church, and a holder of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Even if he is more eminently qualified than the Mormon scouts, he will not have the opportunity to be an officer of the LDS troop because he is not a Mormon, and a priesthood-holder. Having also seen and compared the achievements of many Mormon scouts with the achievements of other scouts in troops sponsored by other churches, I can say without hesitation that those other scouts are much better qualified and trained than the Mormon scouts. In the Mormon troops that I have mentored as a scoutmaster, in Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and California, the Mormon parents, and the troop merit badge counselors, don’t require the LDS scouts to be disciplined and individually accountable for demonstrating the strict requirements set-down by Scouting for the merit badges that they routinely receive. In many cases, merit badge counselors in Mormon troops don’t press their boys for full achievement, and the parents do most the work required in typical Eagle projects for their sons, which, instead, should be totally done by the individual scouts for them to be properly credited for the achievements. I have felt sorely at a loss while at Council Courts of Honor, when Mormon Eagle Scouts have been ranked as equal to other non-Mormon Eagle Scouts, when the blatant inequality was staring pointedly at me in the face.

This is, truly, something that the honorable originator of Boy Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell, would have vehemently opposed, if he had lived to see it happen. You see, Lord Baden-Powell was a British Christian, and created the ideology of Boy Scouting under a banner of Judeo-Christian morality and standards. Duty to God was understood by Baden Powell as the predicate for all of the endeavors made and achieved in Boy Scouting. He said, in 1937, “There is no religious “side” of the (Scouting) movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.” This idealism that was espoused by Baden-Powell, and bequeathed by him to Scouting, was what made extremely odd the very unethical 1938 agreement negotiated between Mormonism and the Christian-oriented National Council of the BSA. Since its 1830 inception, Mormonism has been regarded by outspoken Christian theologians as un-Christian in theology and doctrine, and I, unfortunately, spent over 30 years of my life in the Mormon Church not fully realizing that it conceals beneath its false Christian facade a polytheistic trheology epitomized by the doctrinal statement made by one of its esteemed prophets, Lorenzo Snow, in the late 19th Century. “As man is God once was, and as God is, man may become.” In other words, the Mormons doctrinally believe that God the Father was once a mortal man, and that all worthy Mormon elders can become father-Gods. The well-known, if not infamous, Mormon Prophet Brigham Young also said in one of the LDS General Conferences in Salt Lake City that “There are as many Gods as there are stars, and as many saviors as there are Gods.” The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has even officially published on its BGEA website that the Mormon Church is not Christian, but a pagan cult. Therefore, if the National Council of the BSA made an agreement with a polytheistic un-Christian religious organization, such as the Mormon Church, just three years before Lord Baden-Powell was laid to rest, in order to give special consideration to Mormonism in exchange for money, they must have realized that they were making a deal with the devil. I know, for a fact, that Lord Baden-Powell was not a pragmatist, and would not have negotiated, and comprised, with evil to any extent; for he was an idealist who believed that there was a right, and a wrong, to every question about life. By not believing, and promoting, that there is a right, and a wrong, to all questions about morality, and life in general, evil compromises, and unholy alliances with evil frequently occur in today’s world; which are abominations in the face of God.

Now comes an expanded discussion about the grave topic of homosexuality in Scouting, the statements and advocations of the pragmatic politician Robert Gates, and a delineation of political correctness and its inherent integration with evil, its only derivative. First-off, Lord Baden-Powell, though a devout Anglican throughout his life, did not base his beliefs about morality on Anglicanism. He, instead, predicated his idealism of universal morality, and of God, on the holy Judea-Christian law, the Ten Commandments. He also said, on several occasions, to his associates, “I’m sure that there were other important commandments that God could have added to the Ten Commandments, but He, no doubt, thought that man would use common sense to avoid committing those sins against nature.” Without a doubt, if Lord-Baden Powell were here today, he would still be a fervent moral idealist, and would regard homosexuality as a sin against nature and as a psycho-sexual disorder, and would endeavor to keep as great a distance between Scouting and homosexuality as possible.

Apparently, the moral idealism embraced by Lord Baden-Powell, and the original Scouting program, was abandoned by Robert Gates during his very questionable ascension in governmental authority and power, after he had earned Scouting’s highest award. When Gates earned the rank of Eagle Scout, he did so in a Lutheran Church troop in Witchita, Kansas, under the moral scrutiny of a kind elderly Lutheran priest. When Gates’s became a Boy Scout, be took the Scout Oath, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout law; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight,” and he reiterated the oath when he was conferred the Eagle Award. Later, in his university studies at the College of William and Mary, Gates learned the perverse value of pragmatism in what he accepted as the “necessary compromise with evil,” and realized that he could obtain greater personal rewards by making opportunistic deals with the emerging immoral power-structures, and became known to the federal government for his willingness to compromise. His graduate studies at Indiana University and Georgetown University were immersed in the black arts of sophistry and political compromise, and were all about how to succeed in getting unconstitutional and immoral policies pass through compromises with wealthy, powerful, and highly placed people in government. His compromising posture made him a perfect candidate for Secretary of Defense under Obama, and before, during, and after, his control over the CIA, he had acquired a penchant for deceiving people into believing his sophistry, which amounted to an acquired skill of convincing a large portion of the American electorate that what is as dark and malevolent as sin is as white and pure as the driven snow. And now, at 72, as he stands behind a lecturn on national television representing the Boy Scouts of America, and advocates that homosexuals should be allowed to lead scout troops, he is still practicing the black art of sophistry. Moreover, the other BSA National Council leaders, in Irving, Texas, are, for all intents and purposes, apparently in favor of, and are following, the sophistic lead of Robert Gates. My take on the matter is that, if the BSA would have compromised its moral integrity through an immoral long-lasting agreement with the Mormon Church, in 1938, it wouldn’t have any qualms about dispensing completely with the standards of Godly morality by admitting homosexuals to the organization in 2015.

Electronic Brainstorming – An Innovative Framework

Posted on February 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

1. Introduction

Brainstorming is a group creativity activity designed to generate a large number of raw ideas in order to derive the solution to a problem.

1.1 Background: During the late 1930 ‘s and early 1940 ‘s, advertising director Alex Osborn developed a technique for generating new product slogans and ad campaign ideas amongst his employees. He would meet with his group around a table, outline the problem and then have them generate ideas willy-nilly. Out of the scores of ideas generated, a few would turn out to be real gems. This idea-generating activity evolved and became to know as “brainstorming” and top companies and creative individuals all around the world are still using it. In 1953 the method was well popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in a book called Applied Imagination. Osborn proposed that groups could double their creative output with brainstorming. ( Osborn A F, 1963)

1.2 Advantages: Some of the major advantages of the Brainstorming are as follows

(a) One can use it to generate superlative ideas for business or any other activity that one is involved in, either through traditional group brainstorming sessions or through solo ‘wildcatting’ brain storm sessions.

(b) Allows one to generate a large quantity of ideas in a short period of time.

(c) Aims to bypass the logical ‘censor’ mind and access the more creative parts of one’s brain.

1.3 Disadvantages of Brain Storming

Some of the disadvantages of the Brainstorming exercise are as follows:

(a) In a group, participants have to listen to others and may spend time repeating their ideas until they get sufficient attention.

(b) Advising participants to let others speak without making them feel offended or intimidated can be difficult.

(c) Participants, with the ability to express their ideas faster and more effective, gain the general attention of the group. Some form of leadership can be formed in this way within the group, which might make participants feel intimidated.

(e) On the one hand, people are not very skilled at controlling their non-verbal reactions and might influence the creativity of others with their posture, gestures or facial expressions. On the other hand, attempting to control their non-verbal behavior might inhibit their own creativity.

Numerous attempts have been made to improve brainstorming or use more effective variations of the basic technique. From these attempts to improve brainstorming, electronic brainstorming emerged out. Mainly through anonymization and parallelization of input, electronic brainstorming enforces the ground rules of effective brainstorming and thereby eliminates most of the deleterious or inhibitive effects of group work.

2. Electronic Brainstorming

In a sophisticated environment, Electronic brainstorming often employs special software that collects one’s ideas in a group and shares them with other group members to promote faster collaboration. Professor Alan Dennis and Bryan Reinicke, an Indiana University doctoral student in information systems, surveyed a group of managers and professionals enrolled in the Kelley School’s part-time MBA program in Indianapolis and asked them about how they prefer to brainstorm ideas. In that survey with a sample of 131 professionals, most did not see any qualitative benefits in using electronic brainstorming tools, including people who had used them. This finding provided the initial momentum towards yet another creative thinking. ( IU Homepages, Indiana University dated 20 Aug 2004).

3. An Innovative way of Electronic Brainstorming – A new Concept

Getting into innovative patterns of teaching and learning is an evolution. While numerous sessions of traditional brainstorming were undertaken since 2006 with different category of participants, be it defense personnel, Management students, Chartered Accountants or corporate professional, one very important issue that was observed was that of vociferousness. As brainstorming targets quantity rather than quality, the so called vociferousness is inevitable. Albeit, the situation has never been out of control, it was indeed a challenging situation at times. This provided the stimulation to think out of box and create a different pattern in the structure of traditional as well as Electronic Brainstorming. Thus evolved Electronic Brainstorming ( E-Brainstorming) with a difference. Here the technology that is implied is Grass root technology.

4. Grass root Technology

A Technology that has “low tech” and “low cost” could be possibly termed as Grassroot technology. In order to define a little bit more on the focus of Grassroots, here are some of its characteristics.

(a) All necessary materials are locally available,
(b) Only an Internet connectivity and the IP messaging system needs to be installed.
(c) People don’t need special or high tech knowledge,
(d) No or a few external resources are necessary,
(e) Users can apply and operate widely on their own,
(f) A very limited or no environmental impact is caused.

In fact, Many variations of creativity laboratories have been already experimented. Some of the prominent ones are

(a) Text messaging services like Google Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, etc.
(b) video/Web conferencing using Skype.

The primary objective was to generate creative thinking among the participants under a limited sophistication i.e unlike the actual E-Brainstorming where one makes use of specific Software and generate new ideas among the participants as indicated earlier or Brainstorming carried out on virtual basis where the participants could be net connected across locations. Ultimately generating ideas in real sense of originality without making use of worldly ideas which are easily available by a click of a button is the essence.

5. Shaping the Concept

Keeping in view the objectives such as Stimulating one’s thoughts towards specific issues, accelerating original thinking capabilities, providing opportunity for exploring creativity, avoiding vociferous situation, Inducing fun learning through effective use of Grass root technology, the innovative concept in the E-Brainstorming was framed and is a step towards achieving resource utilization and creating a benchmark in the discussion arena.

In order to give shape to the innovative concept, a pilot study of the first E- Brainstorming session was conducted for the General Management and Communication Skills ( G M C S) batch of Jan 2009 comprising of 50 practicing and potential Chartered Accountanta. And the response from this batch was phenomenal. It provided the author with the much needed fillip to proceed further. Two years down the line, the journey for the innovative E-Brainstorming activity was never ending but rather was given facelift in its facilitation based on the feedback generated. And if one start pondering on what all is that innovation in this brain stimulating but non storming session which normally goes anywhere between 90 minutes and 200 minutes, the answer is in the modus operandi that was formulated and appended below.

5.1 Initiation

The first step is to create an understanding of the requirement to think differently. In order to reach this to the participants, a short exercise such as the following could be given.
Following a specific pattern, What would be the next sequence?
The above exercise has been identified to get resolved by roughly about 2% of the participants which justified the primary objective of such an innovative session.

5.2 The Instrument

The Instrument that is being used to conduct the exercise is a technique called Internet Protocol (IP) Messaging System and this system has been the driver of this E- Brainstorming exercise. Let us know What exactly is this IP Messaging system.

5.3 IP Messaging System

Many of us must be familiar with the Instant Messaging (IM) services that are provided by various Internet portals. IM services have historically been PC based although they have begun to penetrate into wireless domain. For the rationale of this article, IP messaging refers primarily the IM like services that run over Internet Protocol networks.

5.4 Registration

As the entire structure of the session is woven around the technique involving IP messaging system, the first step towards the above mentioned exercise is creating a familiarization of the IP messaging concept along with registration method to all the participants in the Lecture hall before entering in to the modalities of the exercise to be carried out in a Computer Laboratory.

5.5 Creating Unique Identity

As a part of the registration, every participant segmented into different groups is required to create an unique identity in a specific format say the group 1 team leader creates the identity Group 1 TL and the first member as Group 1 A and so on. This creation of identity is utilized towards framing the user name and group name in the registration process. By following a specific format, the entire registration process is standardized and free of Conflicts in the IP system.

5.6 Demonstration and Instructions

Once the creation of identity is completed, a demonstration of the working is carried out in order to get a feel and familiarization of the entire exercise among the participants. Specific Instructions which are appended below are passed on to the participants at this point in time.

(a) Participant member of each group will only interact with the Group Team Leader and not with any one else.
(b) The Group Team Leaders will interact with their respective member participants only and with the Moderator.
(c) No participant will turn on to internet or the information available thereon. This is a mandatory rule in order to stimulate original thoughts among the participants.
(d) Each Participant member can keep sending the original thoughts to the Team Leader and in such case the Team Leader may create an open file to save those ideas or the Participant member himself/herself may create an open file and towards the end may transfer the open file with the ideas collated to the Team Leader.

5.7 Actual Working

After the demonstration and subsequent clarifications, if any, the participants are instructed to proceed to the Computer Lab and to take position one on one with a Personal Computer. Here care needs to be taken that the group members get the position at random and do not cluster at same place. As per the instruction, each participant completes the registration and confirms readiness for the exercise.

5.8 Silent Discussion Topics

Each group is provided with TWO DIFFERENT WORDS which each participant of the group along with the Group TL requires to associate in all possible creative ways using original thinking only. They are encouraged to think out of box. Say for example CAR & BALLOON, DIGITAL & PHYSICAL WORLD etc. The time duration for the exercise is stipulated as 20 minutes and within this time duration, each group collates the ideas through its Team Leader. In the mean time the moderator also registers and moderates the exercise through his interaction with the Team Leaders only. The entire exercise takes place in absolute pin drop silence. A Silent discussion intra group. Isn’t?

At the end of the stipulated time duration all the participants sans the Team Leaders are instructed to close the PC and proceed to the Lecture hall. An additional 5 minutes is allotted to all the Team Leaders to consolidate their respective collated ideas or the documented open file into a presentable format. This document is then forwarded to the moderator ( the author ) for record and evaluation.

5.9 Interaction

The moderator prepares two copies of the report submitted by the Team Leaders. One copy for the group and the other for the purpose of evaluation. Each group then takes turn to describe the ideas as generated by the member participants. In order to create a competitive environment, the description is subjected to defense and challenges and also subjected to peer evaluation. The group with highest evaluation rating is declared ultimate out of box thinkers.

5.10 Outcome
Upon successful interaction and ultimate thinking, quite a few innovative and out of box thinking have emerged such as Balloon lifting the Cars during traffic congestions ( based on the two words CAR & BALLOON), An artificial refrigerated closed beach ( based on the two words REFRIGERATION & BEACH) and the exercise of E-Brainstorming using IP messaging system ( using the words DIGITAL WORLD & PHYSICAL WORLD).

6. Limitations

The above described effort has a major limitation in the Technological front. As Internet Protocol (IP) system is completely dependent on the internal Network system, any technological failure or system break down will certainly lead to disruption and discontinuity in the E-Brainstorming exercise.

7. Conclusion

This exercise is motivated to fulfill the objectives such as Stimulating one’s thoughts towards specific issues, accelerating original thinking capabilities, providing opportunity for exploring creativity, avoiding vociferous situation which leads to the situation being uncontrollable at times, collation of quality ideas and thoughts which many a times give a slip during the traditional Brainstorming exercises and also Inducing fun learning through effective use of Grass root technology. This initiative is also a step towards achieving resource utilization and creating a benchmark in the discussion arena.

It is said that for a journey of 1000 miles commence with the first step. Let this initiative be the first step of the future prospects of such low cost and low tech method.

8. References

IU Homepages vide

Osborn, A.F. (1963) Applied imagination: Principles and procedures of creative problem solving (3rd Ed.). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons