Absentee Oscars, Abortion and sustainable meat: Things we should know


WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, November 27, 2014 – Information assaults us from every angle.

We live in a world where computers spew information from numerous sources, updating it every minute, and we can access still more information on demand.  Even billboards, once single-dimensional advertisements, now boast changing neon signs blinking and scrolling information at us in five-second increments.

Despite all this information, there are many, many things most of us fail to store in our brains.  Either it is information that has been distorted so much over time that we accept the inaccurate portrayal as correct, or we were not listening when we came across the information, or we never thought to ask.

Who snubs the Golden Man? The talk around the Academy Awards usually centers on nominees and those who The Academy ignored, on gowns and who-is-with-who gossip.

But what about the actors who choose not to participate in the much-watched awards ceremony?  Dudley Nichols, a screenwriter in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, won an Oscar in 1935 for The Informer, about the Irish War of Independence.

Nichols declined the award because of a writers strike at the time.

George C. Scott refused an Oscar, and even turned down an Oscar nomination for The Hustler.  He also declined the award when he won for Patton. Scott said, “The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”

Marlon Brando not only refused his Oscar for The Godfather, but sent someone to refuse it for him.  Sacheen Littlefeather, who said she was an Apache, said Brando sent her to protest the way Hollywood portrayed and treated Native Americans.  Ironically, Sacheen Littlefeather was actually a Mexican actress, portraying an Apache.

Even Woody Allen, who the Academy has nominated a whopping 23 times, has expressed distain over the ceremony.  Not only has he never attended an Oscar ceremony when he was nominated, he also said, “I have no regard for that kind of ceremony. I just don’t think they know what they’re doing. When you see who wins those things — or who doesn’t win them — you can see how meaningless this Oscar thing is.”

Why is the legality of abortion argued? Abortion, and the Supreme Court Decision Roe v. Wade, is an area we all think we understand but truly may not.

The reason the Supreme Court made abortion legal in the United States centers not on the question of legality or morality of abortion, but on the right to privacy.

Roe v. Wade struck down a Texas law banning abortion except when the life of the mother is in danger.  The Supreme Court issued a majority opinion, ruling 7 – 2, that the right to privacy, “is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

The ruling also stated that the word “person” in the 14th Amendment did not include the unborn, who are not in a position to have rights prior to viability.

The Court suggested that the right to privacy is implicit in the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.  Pro-choice advocates also note the Fourth Amendment protection for citizens to have “the right to be secure in their persons” and the wording in the Thirteenth Amendment that “{n}either slavery nor involuntary servitude … shall exist in the United States” bolster the right of women to choose to terminate their pregnancy.

As an interesting aside – and more information we should know – The Constitution does not explicitly provide a right to privacy to citizens.  The Bill of Rights implies some rights to privacy, but again does not specifically state that American’s have a right to privacy.  Judges frequently interpret the Ninth Amendment as providing a blanket of privacy.  That Amendment says that the “enumeration of certain rights” in the Bill of Rights “shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.”  That, however, is open to debate or at least interpretation.

Now something you may never have asked:  Is there any meat you can eat without killing the animal?  The answer is yes!  To eat stone crab, a sweet, seasonal, Florida delicacy, you need not kill the animal.

Crabbers trap the crabs, remove a claw, and return the crab to regenerate a new claw.  Florida law previously allowed crabbers to remove only one claw, but recent University of Florida studies show that removing both claws forces crabs to eat highly nutritious sea grass, which is healthy to the crab, causing claws to regenerate more quickly than if crabbers only take one.

Therefore, the State changed the law to allow taking both claws.  Either way, diners get delicious crab meat without killing the animal it comes from.

So the next time information comes streaming at you, catch a piece of it.  You might learn something new.

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Lisa M. Ruth
Lisa M. Ruth is Editor-in-Chief of CDN. In addition to her editing and leadership duties, she also writes on international events, intelligence, and other topics. She has worked with CDN as a journalist since 2009. Lisa is also President of CTC International Group, Inc., a research and analysis firm in South Florida, providing actionable intelligence to decisionmakers. She started her career at the CIA, where she won several distinguished awards for her service. She holds an MA in international relations from the University of Virginia, and a BA in international relations from George Mason University. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of Horses Healing Hearts, and is involved with several other charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and AYSO.