Posts Tagged ‘justice’

purplemapJaquandor asks:

How do we solve the police brutality problem? To what extent is it a part of a larger problem with our society, indicating a deep and abiding devotion to punitive violence? I see police brutality as another facet of the problem that leads to our awful prisons and our enormous prison population.

First, I need to note the killing of two New York City police officers on December 20. It was correctly described as an assassination, and I mourn their deaths.

At the same time, I believe the remarks of Rudy Guiliani, blaming their deaths on President Obama as amazingly irresponsible, as well as untrue. The problem of excessive force by the police exists in a small, but significant number of cases. And it’s not “anti-police” when New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who is white but married to a black woman, instructs his children, and especially his son with the great ‘fro, in specific ways to cautiously and politely deal with the police.

Others, including former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who had some legal problems of his own a while back, suggested that the shootings were ultimately encouraged by de Blasio and the Rev. Al Sharpton, and that “they have blood on their hands.” He told Newsmax: “The people who encouraged these protests — you had peaceful protesters who were screaming ‘kill the cops’ — the so-called peaceful protesters. Who was encouraging these protesters? De Blasio, Sharpton and other elected officials and community leaders. They encouraged this mentality. They encouraged this behavior.”

Anyone who has ever been to a protest – I have attended more than a few in my time – knows that there are occasionally outliers at these events, people whose positions don’t jibe with the organizers’ intents. So would it be better that such Constitutionally-protected demonstrations be quashed?

That, BTW, was what the Tea Party folks said when a couple people killed two Las Vegas police officers in June 2014, that those cop killers, who had rallied with Cliven Bundy, along with people who POINTED GUNS at law enforcement officials, did not represent the movement.

Jon Stewart got it right when he said one can grieve the loss AND worry about the police overreach; they are NOT mutually exclusive.

To the question: I should note that not all the excessive violence is directed toward young black males. For instance, TX SWAT team beats, deafens nude man in his own home, lies about arrest; judge declines to punish cops or DA. There seems to be a need by some police to quash all possibly illicit behavior. If Eric Garner WERE selling individual cigarettes in Staten Island, it certainly wasn’t a felony.

I’m not sure of the cause of ALL the violence. I once posited on someone’s website the theory that these first person shooter games might have some effect on the cognitive understanding of life for some people, but was told by gaming experts that there’s “no relationship.” Maybe, maybe not. I’ve wondered about this at least since Vietnam, when one could drop the precision bombs without having any discernible understanding. And now war can really tidy, with people in the middle of the US dropping bombs on people half a world away; looks very much like a video game to me.

I AM convinced that the tremendous rise in the prison population, mostly for non-violent drug use, which I wrote about extensively, is a major contributor. Prison is, I’ve been told, a great school for becoming a better criminal.

Surely the militarism of the police, with all that post-9/11 money doled about by the federal government has led to a war zone mentality. But even in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military had a plan of engaging with the communities, whereas in the urban centers of the US, some of the residents feel like the police are an occupying force.

Maybe all the things that keep us disconnected from our surroundings – surburbia, synthetic food, our personal electronic devices, the bile that comes from commenting anonymously on social media – matter. SOMETHING is fueling a general rage – road rage, online rage.

Bottom line, though: the anger in the community is not just that there are excessive uses of force. The problem is that there appears to be lack of accountability for the actions. I’ve heard the body cameras for police will be a solution. But there WAS footage of Eric Garner dying. Police video would have not likely change the “no indictment” outcome. Did you see that the Ferguson prosecutor allowed witnesses that were “clearly not telling the truth” to the grand jury?

It may be that guns make police less safe, their jobs more difficult and communities less trusting. Or maybe it’s just the human condition.

This is a long way of saying, “Makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands.”

Uthaclena wonders:

Okay, here’s one of my ponders: can the United States survive as a united entity? SHOULD it be a united entity, or would it be better off broken up so that the racist, theocratic barbarians can abuse themselves and leave the rest of us alone?

There are lots of precedents in the 20th century suggesting that this is a terrible idea. The creation of the state of Israel did not lead to peace in the Middle East. I learned from watching the Sanjay Gupta episode of the PBS series Finding Your Roots Read the rest of this entry »

CourtroomHere’s something I’ve thought about a lot, and for quite a long time, but an incident a while ago reminded me that I need to put it out there. If I am ever in a situation that would involve the criminal justice system – whether as victim and/or witness or defendant – I will not comment on what I might testify about until the trial is over. I won’t talk about it, and I certainly won’t blog about it. Read the rest of this entry »

New-Soft-War-on-WomenOne of the problem with the term War on Women is that it all seems to be about sex. And talking about sex seems to make some people uncomfortable.

And it’s even not all about sex, though having access to birth control is part of the issue. I’m still mortified by what happened to Sandra Fluke in 2012 after she testified about the need for contraceptives in context of overall women’s health. Part of her testimony:
Read the rest of this entry »

President Barack Obama Honors TeachersI know judging a two-term presidency with 36 months to go is a dodgy proposition, but what is the point of writing a blog if not to make these brilliant observations?

I had great hopes because the very first thing he tackled was wage discrimination. He was stuck with a horrendous economy in freefall, and the stimulus, despite spending that ought to have been better targeted, had overall good effect. GM and Chrysler were saved from almost certain death, which would have had a huge ripple effect on other parts of the economy.

The Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, was not what I wanted, as I think his team took the single-payer option off the table WAY too early. Still, the fact that it doesn’t doom persons with pre-existing conditions to, likely, no insurance is a plus, and I appreciate the provision of keeping young adults on their parents’ policies.

Although he may have become more directed on the issue because of something his Vice-President said “too early,” Read the rest of this entry »

People don’t actually like creativity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Why it’s lousy for the environment and food safety and US sovereignty, not to mention creators’ rights, and why you’ve probably never heard of it.

In this clip, Carl Sagan passionately defends science, with a grave warning.

Secessionists on the ballot.

I mentioned the FOCUS church’s long struggle to feed the hungry. Here’s a print news story and TV story about the cut in food stamps affecting local pantries.

Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty by The United Methodist Church for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding; his response.

Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate; my, when I saw this story on TV I got really ticked off. Will they also accept povertenza as a defense? Didn’t think so.

The former editor-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine believes it is no longer possible to believe much of clinical research published.

I didn’t write about that Duck Dynasty cable TV guy, mostly because of time, but also because I didn’t have a fresh angle. Arthur wrote about him, and about his reluctance to write about the issue at all, and it’s pretty much my position too.

How fashion can be used as camouflage from face-detection technology.

There’s a new film about Walt Disney and the making of the movie Mary Poppins: watch Harlan Ellison on “Saving Mr. Banks”. For another new film, Philomena, read this article from three years ago, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, for background.

This Man Rescued Over 600 Jewish Kids from Nazi Camps. He Doesn’t Know It Yet, But He’s Sitting with Them.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed… And Pioneering Photographer Robert Cornelius Credited With World’s First Selfie, c. 1839.

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness.

Melanie: Reading, Russian, and the Soviet Union.

Sit Still, and Follow the Stick.

Always hated end-of-the-year lists that come out in early December, because the year isn’t over. Still, 45 powerful photos and NPR’s 100 favorite songs and the best and worst media errors and corrections and worst words and phrases and the Jibjab piece
what brought us together.

21st Century Punctuatio​n; this is a non-issue for me. The frontiers of American English usage involve Death Metal English.

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults, and 5 Reasons To Stop Checking Facebook At Work.

Jaquandor: “Bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed.” I agree with that. He also mentioned SamuraiFrog’s situation, linked therein.

Speaking of SF: 50 Shades of Smartass, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, which you should check out, even if you don’t read the others, because now the truly awful stuff is being eviscerated. Or wait until Chapter 8, when the sex stuff starts. Would someone who liked this book please write me and tell me why?


The status of Jaquandor’s Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).

The “radio call” of the miraculous Auburn win over Alabama, both a faux one and the real thing.

Another Kennedy Conspiracy Theory, involving a Superman comic book from around the time of JFK’s assassination, with a happy ending.

Don McGregor on Marvel Comics’ First Interracial Kiss.

Now I Know: rabbit show jumping and the history of flatulence humor.

Michael Feinstein talks about the Gershwins and play some of their tunes for an hour.

Tony Isabella’s birthday wish list.

Amy Biancolli has a new blog. She’s a writer for the local newspaper I’ve met once or twice. As she noted in her first post, ” In 2011, my beloved, brilliant husband, Chris, committed suicide. This left me and our three unbelievably spirited, beautiful children with a task ahead of us: to live.” So she’s FSO, Figuring Stuff Out, such as Things. Except she doesn’t say “stuff.”

Of all the noteworthy people who died this month – Ray Price, Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin – the only obit I link to is Harold Camping? OK, here’s one for Price, and for O’Toole.

Food Fight Muppet episode featuring Gordon Ramsey.

Mark Evanier has been blogging for thirty years! I didn’t even have Internet access at work TWENTY years ago.

Unexpected singers: Run Joe by Maya Angelou from the Miss Calypso album. And Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out by Richard Pryor.

Arthur answers my question about Maori representation in New Zealand government and religion and genealogy, among other things.

I wrote: 50 is the new 65, and not in a good way.

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