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Re: totally inappropriate... (Damn right)

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In a message dated 98-01-28 13:10:58 EST, Christopher Wright wrote:

<< The main point is whether he's committed an impeachable crime, namely did 
 he in fact obstruct justice by telling what's-'er-name to lie under oath. 
 If she really did lie under oath. If not telling the truth about one's 
 personal life were a crime, there'd be no one outside prison minding the 
 store. All the Presidents in modern times told whoppers, 'forgot' things, 
 or left their hearing aids on the night table. Do we think less of 
 Eisenhower's character when he denied the U-2 shoot-down or George Bush 
 when he claimed he was out of the loop?
 There's a real world out there--I don't like parts of it, but it isn't 
 going away. The people we work for don't tell us the truth; others lie 
 under oath and still others boink their colleagues, employees or 
 neighbors and deny it. Hell, I hear some engineers even stamp other 
 peoples' drawings. We're never going to resolve America's love of 
 salacious gossip and the prudish streak that gave us prohibition. Let's 
 concentrate on our own moral dilemmas and get back to engineering. >>

[Bill Cain]  Having served on the "other side" as an elected official in two
separate areas on the local level (former City Council Member and current
member of the local Board of Education) I have had the opportunity to observe
other elected officials from a unique perspective.  I have observed those with
high moral standards and those with low.  I frankly have seen little
correlation between moral standards and effectiveness.  The key thing seems to
be if the public believes the official is taking care of their interests and
issues (and that evaluation doesn't take a rocket scientist when the interests
and issues are usually economic (what taxes they (the public) are charged or
what services they get) and not who is screwing who.  That is reality. The
public seems to want results, not angels.

The obscene abuse to me is what a Special Prosecutor is doing spending untold
millions and three years investigating a failed $250,000 land deal with NO
PRODUCT (Expense to cost ratio=120:1, Benefit to Cost Ratio=ZERO) then
expanding an investigation to who got into who's pants or who was in the "Oral
Office" or what either person told the other person.  From this mornings
polls, it appears the American people don't care about about those issues.
They just want their "goodies" and feel they got them in the "State of the
Union" speech.  

Why don't we just accept that people may screw or get a blow job and really
don't want to tell the world they did, get on with life and spend the money on
educating our kids rather than Special Prosecutors.  The $30 million or so
spent to date could have paid the yearly salary and benefits for another 600
teachers or built the state of the art high school for 1000 students my
community needs to replace a seismically deficient one built in 1933. From all
the sidebars in the newspapers over the past week, it appears that most every
President has done something "unseemly" (and that is from both sides of the
political spectrum).  After all they are (were) all human although I guess we
could argue about the one that resigned [although to his credit, he left some
positive legacies too].  

One thing that has never made sense to me is charging a subsidiary action
(perjury or suborning perjury, conspiracy, etc.) as being worse than the act
to which it relates.  It didn't make sense during the demonstrations about the
Vietnam War and it doesn't make sense now.  

As for the appropriateness of this thread on the listserver, I think it gives
us a chance to celebrate the ethics that most structural engineers hold.  Last
survey I saw said that engineers, in general,  are held in high regard by the
public and people tend to believe us much more than say lawyers or politicians
(So I guess that makes me only half believable  :<O  ).   From my
participation in the list, I have seen some outstanding examples of people
trying to do what's right.   Having a discussion of this type shows our
community (those on the listserver) are multi-dimensional and diverse. It also
helps us to explore our ethical foundations and to understand one another a
little better as people.  It also is theraputic to vent to friends!

Sorry for rambling!

Bill Cain, SE
Albany, CA