Monday, May 12, 2014

NRU mishmash -rants included

I started this NRU with some hope and a plea for perspective; I ended deep in outrage, ranting ... so you are warned.

This is another story to file under forgiveness -- and, at the same time, it is a powerful reminder why we shouldn't confuse revenge/vengeance with justice.  It also provides some perspective on the value of the death penalty and the way we administer it.  Obviously the anti-death penalty author is not going to suggest a better way for the death penalty to be administered, but the perspective he offers on the distancing ourselves from the process as well.  When we put layers of procedures and anonymity between the act and the actors, then we take the bite out of the action for ourselves.  But what do we gain as a society?

Steve Lopez over at the LATimes outlines his view of the silver lining in the Sterling story.   I was drawn to his description of the comments he has long received because he carries the name LOPEZ even though he considers himself white.  It is telling that one's perspective about your own *race* is irrelevant in the face of racism.  He is right, however, if we never talk about it, we don't have a chance to stop the cycle.

Far too often, I don't learn about someone whose life is inspiring until that life is over.  Such is the case as I read Jack Agueros' obituary in the NYTimes.  I share it here for others that might not have known about him and for those who did because it is a lovely tribute to the life of an activist.

This piece provides another reason to add to the list "why we should legalize marijuana:" safeguarding the environment and non-smoker health.  Poisoning the researcher's dog is sad, but the real tragedy here is that we continue to put up roadblocks to legalization even though marijuana production appears to be more dangerous than issues of addiction.  It makes me wonder who is really behind the criminalization -- the prisons?  Someone is making money off of this issue besides the cartels.  Clearly, we non-smokers of marijuana are the real losers as our environment is poisoned, our health threatened and our safety shattered.

When we discuss the wealth gap, we forget how far down the chain the disruptions occur.  This article crystallizes, in my opinion, why the wealth gap is dangerous to our society on all levels.  If you are not sure about my logic, consider this:  if the young men engaging in this activity were black or brown, what would the commentary (that is in the comments section) be?  Why is perfectly okay to these commenters for the young women to objectify (dare I say, prostitute) themselves and what the young men are doing a harmless way to handle conflict?  I guess you also have to follow this community's previous problems with cheating in order to understand how the slippery slope has already begun.  Well, I guess we shouldn't be surprised at the young men since our society glorifies this same behavior, sans the cash, in shows like The Bachelor.  [Note they were shamed into making a Bachelorette show, some of their contestants have committed suicide, and the shows still haven't included an actual man of color.  What should white men think about their ability to wield power in our society?]  The article has gotten a lot of traction on the objectification of women -- I see that and note it is a problem.  But the greater societal problem presented is that rich people should be exempted from the rules -- ultimately the rules will become museum artifacts.  For me, when you create a set of acceptable social mores for one group and another set for those with more money, the societal schism may be irreparable.  The viewpoints expressed in the comments sections beseeching the LATimes to stop paying attention to this and defending the practice ("tradition") also may help us to understand the human trafficking problem -- we just don't have a problem with the buying and selling of humans, particularly women.

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