March 2015 Archives

Progressive Punishment

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Good idea that should be in place in the US

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It's a tradition referred to in Finland as "progressive punishment," and driving fines are charged as percentages of income. For Kuisla, who earned €6.5 million on his 2013 tax return, driving over the speed limit cost tens of thousands of euros.

Kuisla took to his Facebook page to speak out against the decades-old practice in Finland. "Ten years ago I wouldn't have believed that I would seriously consider moving abroad. Finland is impossible to live in for certain kinds of people who have high incomes and wealth."

And it's not the biggest fine in Finnish history. In 2002, a Nokia executive was fined €112,000 for speeding on his motorcycle. And Finnish ice hockey player Teemu Selänne was fined about €39,000 for speeding in the 90s.

What's your craziest speeding ticket story?

Parallels With the Past

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Why Reconstruction Matters

Eric Foner

The surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, 150 years ago next month, effectively ended the Civil War. Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time, Americans will probably devote little attention to the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict. This is unfortunate, for if any historical period deserves the label "relevant," it is Reconstruction.

Issues that agitate American politics today -- access to citizenship and voting rights, the relative powers of the national and state governments, the relationship between political and economic democracy, the proper response to terrorism -- all of these are Reconstruction questions. But that era has long been misunderstood.

Reconstruction refers to the period, generally dated from 1865 to 1877, during which the nation's laws and Constitution were rewritten to guarantee the basic rights of the former slaves, and biracial governments came to power throughout the defeated Confederacy. For decades, these years were widely seen as the nadir in the saga of American democracy. According to this view, Radical Republicans in Congress, bent on punishing defeated Confederates, established corrupt Southern governments presided over by carpetbaggers (unscrupulous Northerners who ventured south to reap the spoils of office), scalawags (Southern whites who supported the new regimes) and freed African-Americans, unfit to exercise democratic rights. The heroes of the story were the self-styled Redeemers, who restored white supremacy to the South.

This portrait, which received scholarly expression in the early-20th-century works of William A. Dunning and his students at Columbia University, was popularized by the 1915 film "Birth of A Nation" and by Claude Bowers's 1929 best-selling history, "The Tragic Era." It provided an intellectual foundation for the system of segregation and black disenfranchisement that followed Reconstruction. Any effort to restore the rights of Southern blacks, it implied, would lead to a repeat of the alleged horrors of Reconstruction.

Historians have long since rejected this lurid account, although it retains a stubborn hold on the popular imagination. Today, scholars believe that if the era was "tragic," it was not because Reconstruction was attempted but because it failed.

Reconstruction actually began in December 1863, when Abraham Lincoln announced a plan to establish governments in the South loyal to the Union. Lincoln granted amnesty to most Confederates so long as they accepted the abolition of slavery, but said nothing about rights for freed blacks. Rather than a blueprint for the postwar South, this was a war measure, an effort to detach whites from the Confederacy. On Reconstruction, as on other questions, Lincoln's ideas evolved. At the end of his life, he called for limited black suffrage in the postwar South, singling out the "very intelligent" (prewar free blacks) and "those who serve our cause as soldiers" as most worthy.

Lincoln did not live to preside over Reconstruction. That task fell to his successor, Andrew Johnson. Once lionized as a heroic defender of the Constitution against Radical Republicans, Johnson today is viewed by historians as one of the worst presidents to occupy the White House. He was incorrigibly racist, unwilling to listen to criticism and unable to work with Congress. Johnson set up new Southern governments controlled by ex-Confederates. They quickly enacted the Black Codes, laws that severely limited the freed people's rights and sought, through vagrancy regulations, to force them back to work on the plantations. But these measures aroused bitter protests among blacks, and convinced Northerners that the white South was trying to restore slavery in all but name.

LHC Is Monster

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Forget-Me-Nots

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andreas-lubitz.jpg"Attention, passengers, tis is your co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, you are about to cement my place in history, I thank you for your sacrifice.

That is all."
















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Another example of where human vanity can have lethal results.

Mercy

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Today's sermon from Rev Jim at the local Baptist congregation of friendlies was from the Mount where Jesus lays out the concept and powerful magic of Mercy. He said:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

The change in perspective and reference frame that comes if one allows that:

In Mercy He does not give us what we deserve

summated in "There but for the grace of God go I"

or "Why to stop judging others as the fundament of being merciful."

Imagine letting go of road rage as a conscious elevating exercise.

Integrity Can Be Everything

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I disagree with Capehart's interpretation, but not with his desire to take such a potentially unpopular stand. He is showing a tremendous amount of personal integrity


Black Snitches (see White Snitches)


Expanding the Human Umwelt

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As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. "Our experience of reality," says neuroscientist David Eagleman, "is constrained by our biology." He wants to change that.

His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces -- such as a sensory vest -- to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.

The practical implications of this are astounding.

Let Your Little Light Shine

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City of Madera Police Department

Last night Jose Espinoza fled from a stolen car. Officers arrested Jose later in the evening after he fled a second time. This time Jose spray painted his face black in an effort to camouflage himself. The camouflage was ineffective. Jose was booked at MDOC. JA 3597

White Snitches

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Dr. Jason Johnson is a politics and culture analyst and a professor of Political Science at Hiram College

He writes about being brave in the face of your own ilk.

OpEd: SAE Fraternity and The 'White Snitch' Phenomenon

Way back in 2004 the press and pop culture became obsessed with the "Stop Snitching" campaign.

Snitching -- which is really just a layman's term for whistleblowing -- was seen as the lowest form of betrayal. Rappers, law enforcement, criminals and pundits argued over this idea that you don't rat out your friends, co-workers, or even criminal conspirators because betrayal is a worse crime than whatever it was you're going to the authorities about.

But the truth is, almost nothing in America has ever progressed without a few snitches here and there. And nowhere is that more evident than in the recent scandal of the racist chant caught on video, as performed by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma.

The SAE scandal is the manifestation of the racist's biggest nightmare in the Obama era: they are losing their safe spaces.

There are plenty of legal, social and financial implications of this scandal to unpack, but the most overlooked aspect of the story is that somebody, on that bus, snitched. And despite all of the ugliness revealed by that video and the young men involved, the fact that we even heard about this story is a sign of amazing racial progress in the Obama era.

The University of Oklahoma and the SAE national fraternity were swift to punish the students involved in the racist chant. The fraternity brothers laugh and cheer as they sing about how black people should be lynched and how they'd never allow African Americans in their frat. It's pretty evident that this chant has been around for a long time, despite preposterous attempts to pin it on rappers. The conversation about the origins of the chant is just a red herring.

While I do not believe that students should be expelled just for saying racist words -- they are entitled to free speech and they were not using University equipment, or making explicit threats -- the wrangling over the legality of his action should not overshadow the significance of how this entire situation came to be known.

SAE wasn't exposed because of some dimwitted Facebook post of a racist dress up party, or some equally obnoxious Instagram. Someone on that BUS, most definitely a white person, and quite possibly a member of SAE filmed their chant and felt compelled to report it to authorities.

A bus full of white frat boys in Oklahoma used to be about the safest space for open air bigotry in America - but after this scandal, even that can be called into question.

The SAE scandal is the manifestation of the racist's biggest nightmare in the Obama era: they are losing their safe spaces.

There used to be a "Mad Men" type time in America when you could spout your angry racist invective and know that other white people -- whether they agreed with you or not -- would maintain that wall of white silence. Not anymore.

Some of the biggest racial controversy stories over the last few years have not been African Americans exposing white bigotry but white people exposing other white people for being bigots.

In 2013, when Paula Deen's accuser Lisa Jackson said "I may be a white woman, but racism still hurts," that wall started to crumble. In 2014 when North Carolina school teacher Cynthia Ramsey was suspended for reportedly saying she would "kill all black people," I'm sure she was shocked when it was a white parent that reported her.

When Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R- WI) can't make racial jokes about Michelle Obama in a white senior citizen's church bazaar because FLOTUS has fans, the world is changing. A bus full of white frat boys in Oklahoma used to be about the safest space for open air bigotry in America - but after this scandal, even that can be called into question.

It cannot be understated that there is a hero in the midst of this scandal who clearly put his moral conscience above his own safety, his own social standing, his fraternity and most importantly his racial privilege.

It is never easy to be a snitch, especially when the organization that you're about to expose is one that you have pledged loyalty to for the rest of your life. Nevertheless it cannot be understated that there is a hero in the midst of this scandal who clearly put his moral conscience above his own safety, his own social standing, his fraternity and most importantly his racial privilege.

There will likely never be a point where there aren't racists in America, and certainly the millennial generation is no panacea of racial progress. However, like President Obama so eloquently said in his speech last Sunday in Selma, we can't give in to cynicism either.

Fifty years ago when this chant was probably recited before every meal at SAE, nobody in the fraternity even had a problem with it, let alone felt morally compelled to bring scorn and condemnation to the organization over the chant.

When the whitest of white spaces, the hallowed chant of a white fraternity in Oklahoma is no longer a safe space for bigotry, we're seeing progress, and that's something worth celebrating.

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Bongeziwe Mabandla

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I really love this music.

59

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Darkness Has No Power To Extinguish Even One Candle

Harry Baker



Sermonette # 10

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American Denial

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You can't feel the heat until you hold your hand over the flame
You have to cross the line just to remember where it lays
You won't know your worth now, son, until you take a hit
And you won't find the beat until you lose yourself in it

That's why we won't back down
We won't run and hide
Yeah, 'cause these are the things that we can't deny
I'm passing over you like a satellite
So catch me if I fall
That's why we stick to your game plans and party lives
But at night we're conspiring by candlelight
We are the orphans of the American dream
So shine your light on me

You can't fill your cup until you empty all it has
You can't understand what lays ahead
If you don't understand the past
You'll never learn to fly now
'Til you're standing at the cliff
And you can't truly love until you've given up on it

That's why we won't back down
We won't run and hide
Yeah, 'cause these are the things that we can't deny
I'm passing over you like a satellite
So catch me if I fall
That's why we stick to your game plans and party lives
But at night we're conspiring by candlelight
We are the orphans of the American dream
So shine your light on me

She told me that she never could face the world again
So I offered up a plan

We'll sneak out while they sleep
And sail off in the night.

@kerk8472jim #25




About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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