Sunday, December 18, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Comment Response re "Shame Killing"

To “Anonymous”, who commented on my “Shame Killing” blog:

First, thanks for commenting; the first comment I found; I was afraid there was no one out there finding or reading the blogs I wrote. Second, to get a mechanical question out of the way, I don’t know if it would have been your true preference to be “anonymous" or if this site doesn’t provide any reader with an easy way to provide their identity. I guess you could always choose to identify yourself with name and/or email address if you wanted to, but it should prompt you to do so, by default, and without requiring you to do so as part or your comment, within it. I should also be able to respond within the blog on which you commented and not have to publish a separate blog in response to a comment on another one. But, in this case, it can’t hurt to do so. I’m sure there is a way, but I don’t yet know it – instructions on a lot of these mechanics weren’t very clear – I’ve spent a lot of time and effort just to get this far.
Third, I guess its incumbent upon me to further think and clarify my thoughts on the apparent contradiction between saying, “I ‘respect’ the beliefs of those who differ from mine” and saying, “I ‘DISrespect’ people” whose beliefs I characterize as “backwards”. Upon further thought, I’d have to say that I respect their “right” to think individually and even to express their thoughts. And, I respect and value “diversity", in general. But, not all beliefs warrant equal merit; there are definitely beliefs, themselves, or conclusions, which I do disrespect and which I think are destructive and the result of ignorance and/or stupidity. Some examples of these are most forms of bigotry, espousal of violence, and those which attempt to justify pure sadism. There may be exceptions to some of these; for example, “espousal of violence” in necessary self-defense is something I might agree with. But, in the case of the “honor” killings I took a position against in the blog on which you commented, I have no trouble saying, without fear of self-contradiction or inconsistency, whatsoever, that I completely condemn and, yes, completely, even passionately, disrespect them.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor and Eugene McCarthy Seen Going Out Together

Both were semi-iconic figures of “our" generation. Richard was, himself, an older-end “generational member”, although he preceded the “baby boomer” designation. As all good semi-iconic members of my generation would be, they were both what I’d call “free thinkers”. And both were strong proponents of the Truth, in their respective fields. Courage was another essential characteristic they shared. They both died on Saturday morning, the Tenth of December, just two days after the 25th anniversary of the murder of an even greater mega-icon to our generation, John Lennon. The news clips I found listed Richard’s death at 8:00 a.m., but I could only find “early Saturday morning” for the former Senator. So, who knows if, indeed, Richard was prior? Both were as notable for their potential contributions to our world as for their actual ones, in my estimation. McCarthy provided hope to us idealists as to our ability to revolutionize our political system, with its corruptness and “evilness”. But, alas, we were na├»ve, lacked organization and savvy, and it was not to be, at least to the extent to which we dreamed it would. So, McCarthy’s actual accomplishments were limited by the depth and vastness that the “evil” was (is) entrenched within our society, without the contravening power on the other (“our”) side. Pryor’s contribution to the world of comedy and creative expression was cut short by his debilitating progressive illness. I look forward to a world that is much more generous in its actual delivery relative to its potential, probably arriving well after I, too, am gone.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Shame Killing

I just heard an NPR segment about Iraqi “honor” killing.  It should be known as “shame” killing – and I don’t mean the shame of the victim, I mean the shame the killers bring on themselves.  I’m all for cultural diversity and respect for the beliefs of those who differ from mine, but I completely DISrespect people whose backwards beliefs are rationalizations for perpetuating paternalistic killing and brutalization.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Redistribution of Wealth

How about the rich adopt a needy American family? For example, if a family (or individual) that makes $500,000.00 a year adopts a needy family of four and sets aside only 20% of their annual income for the adopted family, this latter one will do great, while the donor family (or individual) is still doing four times as great! What average, struggling family of as many as four couldn't do well on $100,000 a year? As a father of two kids and with a wife, I know I'd be willing to participate if I were in the "rich" category and it were a somewhat widespread practice to be thusly philanthropic among those of us who could afford it. It would also help the tax base. More people would have more resources, so that even the former strugglers would be happier and more generous (have things or money to be generous with). Everywhere we went, rich and otherwise, our social environment would be light years better. So, it’s in the best even self-interest of the rich to share on this scale by contributing tremendously to the quality of the world they and their families live in. It would be a great mistake for them not to.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Pete Pearlman Posted by Picasa

Prison Reform - Where Are True American Values?

The first thing I'm going to write about is prison reform. By in large, Americans are insulated and self-interested. As a result, issues like prison reform get worse shrift than the "proverbial?" "back burner". In fact, it's even questionable whether they make it anywhere near the kitchen, never mind the stove. Why? Because how many of you out there, or Americans, in general, have ever been in prison - or know someone who has? Precious few, I'll tell you - and this, despite the dubious (if "dubious" means, "doubtful", then I don't mean "dubious", because there's no doubt about it; it's a fact) distinction of the United States having the most prisoners per capita of all nations in the world! Was it Marx who said you can determine the degree of civilization of a nation or society by the number of prisoners it has? I could be wrong, but it doesn't MATTER who said it - the fact is, I'M saying it because it's true, regardless of the speaker. So, considered with this perspective, what does it say about our society - how civilized are we? The thing is, we've gotten increasingly away from caring about almost anyone beyond they who are in our own immediate circle. And, therefore, is it any wonder or coincidence that we (and, by "we", I mean, "America, in large"; not "me" or others on my side of the fence) put (notice I say "put", not "elect" - but I won't go there any further here, now) in office a man/regime who/that doesn't give a shit about what anyone else in the world thinks? It's this "me, myself, mine, and only those close to me" philosophy or perspective that is responsible for both reprehensible incarceration statistics and practices and running roughshod all over the globe, becoming increasingly notorious and hated for killing, atrocities, and all kinds of violation of human rights. I would be remiss, here, if I didn't point out the shameful connection between Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, secret "tribunals", secret Eastern European (and elsewhere) prisons "we"'ve apparently set up, and the horrendous "prison industrial complex" we've set up, here at home. We're also the only major western country that currently has the death penalty. It's all about not caring what goes on outside our own selfish realms.