Friday, January 16, 2015

NRU and more

Looking for something fun and FREE to do on MLK, Jr. Day?  Well, looks like the National Parks are offering free entrance ... here is the LATimes top five picks that are close enough to Los Angeles to take advantage of the freebie.

Earlier this month, I attended a talk by the widow who forgave the woman who killed her husband by driving under the influence of drugs.  It was powerful ... not just the story because I had already heard about the act of forgiveness. It was powerful because she was not just talking about one event, she was talking about a movement.  At the heart of her calculations, she had two facts that screamed to her forgiveness as the right answer:  1) what her husband would want to come from his death, and 2) the cost of incarcerating.  It turned out her last job had been to calculate, literally, the cost of incarceration -- she can rattle off the monetary statistics in terms of jailing as well as catalog the other long-term costs to the person incarcerated as well as to the society at large.  These calculations, both the personal and the monetary, are important to all of us.   We live in a society that increasingly wants to warehouse people who make mistakes rather than even attempt restorative justice.  This despite what we know about the rates of recidivism.  This despite the fact that greater and greater numbers of people are unwilling to pay for social services.  This is a lose-lose for all concerned.  This is why Erin's movement is so important.  I was moved to write about this now because I read yet another story about not knowing how to treat people like people ... this story about a hard-working man's impending deportation is another heartbreaking story of our lose-lose mentality.

Another side of this coin is the way students (particularly those of color) are treated at schools... here's hoping this latest report signals a change in course for good on how to discipline students. 

It is too bad that this report on secular parenting was in the Op-Ed section of the newspaper because it makes it seem like it is a position piece, which in the end it may be.  However, the study it uses as its basis, or at least as its lead in, is a real study by Pew, which carries its own sense of less bias (I can't quite bring myself to claim anything truly neutral).

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