Monday, June 30, 2014

NRU mish mash

Some of these have been sitting in my to read pile, so they are a little old.  I mean old in internet time -- as in a few weeks ago, not a few months or years ago.  Enjoy...

This pair of articles discusses the trio of anti-Latinolegislation ushered in over a few years back in the 1990s under Governor Pete Wilson.   It was as one interviewee in the article stated, a cynical attempt to demonize Latinos in California – to lump all together immigrant and citizen.  Also as stated in the article, the policies backfired on two counts: 1) much of the most egregious legislation (187) was declared unconstitutional, and 2) the trio of laws caused a generation of Latinos to become more politically relevant.  The surge in both voter registration and greater representation in the legislature may have come about due to the growth in population, or it might have taken other draconian measures to force California Latinos to recognize the power of politics.  Now these legislators try to turn the tide, make their mark and remedy what they see as stains on our state.  It remains to be seen what kind of backlash, such as the Asian American response to the push to repeal 209, will emerge.  We are living in different times with a different population – but many of our wounds remain.
There is nothing but heartbreak in this story about fourteen-year-oldGeorge Stinney.  I am against the death penalty.  I restate it lest anyone accuse me of not being forthright.  This story about railroading this young man should put into perspective, however, how death penalty equals nothing more than vengeance.  It is not about justice.  As the editorial states, justice would have had some hallmarks we might recognize:  competent representation, a jury of our peers, cross examination, alibi witnesses, lawyers present at so-called confessions.  It would be easy to pass this article by – there are so many contemporary examples of just this sort of injustice.  However, I think this article aptly demonstrates the way racism has always been a part of this equation … and why so many of us continue to argue that until we can apply this kind of penalty equitably, it should not be applied to anyone.  May George rest in peace, and may justice for him bring some solace to his sisters who never saw him again.

There is so much about our own bodies and brains that we don't know. It is heartening to know that mother's mental illness is being considered by more scientists and included in more health plans. This piece in the NY Times sheds some light on the issue and how some are tackling it.

So this NRU got a little dark, so to lighten it up a bit, I am going to change gears a little:  I used to read a section in the AP news called odd or weird or something ... and it was a guilty pleasure.  There is no need for the section in most newspapers, though, because I think they pull from that pile first when they go through the AP articles.  Like a train wreck, it is hard for me to look away ... so I am going to share some of the silliness.  

If ever you were going to build a case for tea partiers being off their meds crazy, you might start with this little story.  A tea party Republican challenger in Mississippi had this supporter who thought the absolute most helpful thing he could do was to sneak into the nursing home housing the incumbent's wife and snap some photos.  I would stop there because that is a bad episode of some crazy dramedy I don't watch on TNT or USA.  But, there is actually more ... after his candidate did not win, said supporter took his own life.  If you just read the headline, you could decide it was because challenger didn't win.  I cannot tell if the AP reporter's tongue was in his cheek or if he really felt like he should include the quotes about the man who committed suicide's integrity.  I mean, may he rest in peace, but his actions don't really scream integrity in any way.  I was slightly more interested in the fact that the challenger's name was not mentioned in the headline, rather the incumbent's was.  Sarah Palin really is the tea party's spiritual mother.

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