Monday, December 28, 2015

Is This Justice?

I'm shaking my head in dismay over the FAILURE of that Cleveland grand jury to indict the officers in the death of Tamir Rice.  If you haven't heard or read reports, here's the one from The Guardian.

That prosecutor, McGinty, should be totally ashamed of the way he handled the case.  Of course, he probably is immune to that feeling.  And the grand jury? Really, people, what does it take to hold cops accountable?  

NPR News has a follow-up article with reactions.  I could barely get through McGinty's.  Check out the article's quote from Aviva Shen of Think Progress. And Radley Balko of the Washington Post had some good comments - a snippet: "We shouldn't be asking if the police actions were legal or within department policy; we should be asking if they were necessary. Or if you'd like to use a word with a bit more urgency behind it, we should ask if they're acceptable."

Then there's the shooting of Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier in Chicago.  The cops couldn't hold back even a bit while Bettie was "in the way"?  And why was their first option shooting - when LeGrier wasn't carrying a gun?

We had all better wake up and start demanding accountability, demand better policing, and work to address the problems in our justice system at the very least.  Just remember ---- what affects "the others" today may affect you tomorrow.

Oh yes, remember to vote in the poll to your right and that feedback as per the post previous to this would be soooo welcome! 

And of course your thoughts and comments on this or other posts would be great!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blogging Into the Future... Anyone There?


Well, I don't know if very many readers saw this post - maybe everyone was preoccupied with holiday thingsI was hoping it wasn't too close to Christmas when I originally posted, but maybe?  Anyway, the idea of doing the poll occurred to me and I wanted to do it before I forgot all about it.  

I REALLY, REALLY  would love some feedback about future blogging and anonymous comments.  Connecting to readers is why bloggers blog, right?  So I would love to hear from some of you, as per:

I have been thinking on and off about my blogs - maybe even moving them (google/blogger can be a mess sometimes).  Then I had a time trying to reply to my last comment from Nancy.  I finally was able to do so and in endeavoring to find out why I had such a problem, found out this:

Allowing the option of anonymous comments is important to me.  I'm sure at least some folks are concerned about privacy and also ad tracking.  Well, it turns out that in order to leave an anonymous comment here on blogspot, you have to enable third-party cookies.  What?  Basically that means more ad tracking at the least.  And you HAVE to do a captcha - although I started using that a long time ago, I no longer can turn off that requirement.  And since I've not put an e-mail contact here, I would basically not know if anyone has had any problems trying to post a comment unless maybe someone who knew me personally had problems and complained to me, but no one has.

So I thought a good step would be to do a poll to see if anyone has had problems or has any feelings about this.  The poll is located in the "navigation bar" or whatever just to the right of the posts.  I'm going to reopen the poll and leave it open until 11:59 p. m. on Jan. 4.  That should give plenty of time for feedback.  I did a quick test of a prototype and I believe you should be able to vote without enabling third party cookies. I encourage you all to vote!

Now I'm also going to ask for any ideas or info you good folks could share.  I've looked into a couple of ways to do alternatives to comments.  I thought of a guest book thing.  However, guestbooks are sort of "old-fashioned" and there are very few hosts - and they also might need more cookies and ad tracking.  I also looked at doing some sort of web form.  I even got so far as finding some model html commands and was able to do a "mock up" except for one thing.  If you do - I think it's "mailto" -  it opens a warning box to users and might also expose e-mail addresses.  I think I read that a better way would be to do some things in php language, but I really don't know code, and php looks REALLY bizarre to me, anyway.  Any thoughts or ideas on alternatives?

Or are there thoughts on moving my blogs to an alternative or using some alternate way to publish content?  I'd almost hate to do that -  it could get messy and trying to get you good readers to the new place might be just a bit of a challenge.  But I might be open if there's a good option but let's leave WordPress and facebook OUT of consideration here (all right, I am picky, but there are certainly way too many privacy concerns for me to even consider facebook).

So there it is.  Would really love getting some thoughts and input - and poll participation!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fight the Bile (With Updates!)

I truly shudder at the vile atmosphere the U.S. seems to have descended into.  It seems the mood is increasingly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, among other things.

I am heartsick that anyone favors Donald Trump and his vileness.  His rhetoric is nastily divisive and his proposals unAmerican and definitely unDemocratic (well, aren't we supposed to be a - Democracy, Republic, something?).

How can we just brush aside the indignities and real threats so many American Muslims are facing right now?  Glenn Greenwald did an overview of some very recent incidents at The Intercept.

Then I just read a heartbreaking story on Yahoo news about the effects such hateful rhetoric is having on Muslim children.  And what have THEY done?

And what else?  Trump actually encouraged supporters to assault a heckler.  Now, if that happened in another country, wouldn't we UNIVERSALLY AND QUITE STRONGLY condemn that?  In fact, if any other presidential candidate here did that, I think their campaign would be in serious trouble if not over.  Juan Thompson at The Intercept wrote about visiting a Trump rally and the the ensuing poor treatment of him and also those who came to protest.

That Trump isn't alone is scary.  Just a couple of weeks ago during C-Span's Landmark Cases - Brown v. Board of Education episode, a caller started spewing the most vile racist filth.  Sue cut him off, but really not soon enough.  I keep asking myself, what year is this?  Many disparate people of good will for centuries have tried to bring us into a society closer to our ideal of  "All men (and I'll add women!) are created equal."  Have we forgotten their struggles?  Have we forgotten to what we're supposed to aspire?  I shake my head and pray.  Pray hard.

It was at least some measure of hope that many added condemnations of this dangerous person to The Guardian's Guardian Witness "assignment" of "# We Do Care" in response to Trump.  I didn't see mine there, though?  What's up Guardian???

Moral of the story:  we must fight the bile.  We must reject hate, fear-mongering and divisiveness.  And we need as many persons of good will as possible to do this.  Stand up NOW!!!


I don't know if anyone saw this since I so very recently posted it, but I just got on to this story via a report from one of my mailing lists.  It is so excellent - although I don't favor the expletives, just be aware ... Don't Hate All Muslims...

I didn't dare watch that GOP debate; I knew I wouldn't be able to stomach it.  And I was right.  The canddates were competing on - who can drop the most bombs - not seeming to care about civilian casualties?  Check this out.

Related Posts: (in addition to the few just preceding this one:

 Equality Begins With Respect, And... (with Update)

Equality, Equality

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fear-Mongering Alerts - II

Greetings ----

In the previous post, we looked at fearmongering and demonizing groups.  But there's also another dimension to the fear-mongering that's being presented to us, which is: clear threats to our civil liberties.

The Intercept has a very interesting article out. The Pres., intelligence community are really fighting to either stop the spread of end-to-end encryption or mandate that tech companies put in backdoors that intelligence spies and Law enforcement can use.  BAD IDEA!!!  Backdoors just make everyone's data LESS safe.  And that's not just me, but the conclusion of a cyber expert quoted in the article.  And the FBI is calling on tech companies to open backdoors to encryption.  Is anyone paying attention?  Why aren't we howling until this spying is radically scaled back, until mass surveillance is truly stopped???

Then there's Hillary, who in addition to worrying about encrypted apps said:  "And this is complicated. You’re going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, et cetera..."    FREEDOM OF SPEECH is now a "complaint?"  I thought it was a portion of The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to our Constitution, which is supposed to be the supreme law of the land.  You know, Hillary, our freedoms are not pesky handcuffs for law enforcement or intelligence spooks.  They were written to ensure liberty and some protections against government abuses. And a certain clown running for President also wants to talk about "closing the internet?"  Trump is really dangerous; more needs to be done to expose his poor fit to be a U. S.  leader I find a general lack of respect for civil liberties and human rights that makes me shake my head in dismay when I look over the field of main Presidential contenders.  I'm not optimistic.
And look at what's going on outside the U. S., too.  Say, France.  The French are considering some really draconian legislation -- included on the "wish-list" is banning public wi-fi if there is a state of emergency and outlawing TOR browser.  They also have harassed climate change protesters in Paris. Demonstrations have been disallowed and some key protesters placed on house arrest.  From the article: 
Some protesters argue that the permission granted to football matches, trade fairs and Christmas markets in Paris over the summit period suggests that the authorities’ real concern is to suppress dissent.
“We are trying to find grey areas in the law,” said John Jordan, a prominent activist. “At the moment, a demonstration is legally defined as more than two people who share a political message. We are trying to find creative ways around these laws.”

Oh no, the real intent just couldn't be to stifle dissent, now could it?

And the UK is no slouch, either, in the give-the-spooks-what-they-want department.  

It's time to start realizing that this is NOT about keeping us safe.  Not by a long shot.  There is absolutely NO evidence that mass surveillance has foiled ANY large terror plot. Really do some critical thinking, then, about why there is so much push for surveillance and tracking.  Really think about the kind of world we're building.  Really think about not buying into "the internet of things", not buying that new, more invasive gadget, or being so willing to be digitally tracked by ---- whatever site, ad tracker, offered loyalty card, or nefarious government agency wants to.  Wake up, it's getting late.

Related Posts:

My Update on a Classic

Any More Doubts? 

Any More Doubts (2)? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fear-Mongering Alerts - I

The news lately has been fairly abysmal, especially after my last post.  The tragedy of San Bernadino certainly dominated headlines.  And there didn't seem to be much other good news around.

But look at what's going on in the aftermath of San Bernadino.  Why the media is giving the extremely dangerous, divisive Trump ANY airtime or credibility is beyond me.  I cringe just seeing his face on news reports.  Literally.  And he has now hit an even new low for him, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.  On what?  Suspect data, that's what! Then there's Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, urging students to carry firearms.  Seems as though clarifications were issued and the University issued a statement.  Ok, but I will say that Mr. Falwell, Jr.  should pay strict heed to the Moody Blues: "Say What You Mean"  Might help avoid gaffes.

At this point, let's remember a few things. (Since I am a Christian, this comes from this perspective ---- and I hope it's clear that ALL faiths should be respected:) Jesus talked graciously with the Samaritan woman at the well.  Yes, a Samaritan woman, and she noted Jews then generally had no dealings with them.  And what about the parable of "The Good Samaritan"?  We certainly concentrate on the kindness of that stranger in the story, but are we losing another point: that the do-gooder was "one of them (not us!)?"  And I must now include one of my favorite Bible verses here: Acts 10:34-35: "And Peter opened his mouth and said: 'Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him."  (RSV)

We need to reject demagogues who want to demonize whole groups.  We need to see common humanity and use some common sense when addressing "threats."  We need more media folks to expose demagoguery, false data, and bogus claims.  And we need people to wake up to the dangers even such ill-advised remarks have; and ENSURE their rejection in practice.

(Part II is coming...) 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Excursion Together

Thnking about - we are all fellow travellers!


Our ride in space has brought us
Millions of miles from yesterday
And all across the same globe
Billions of eyes will see the same Sun,
Then gaze at the stars and other planets
So why is it that too often
We do not recognize the stardust in each others’ eyes,
The Earth-dust from each others’ journeys?
Open eyes, open hearts
Must connect us travellers;
Isn’t the universe too big to be travelling alone?
Isn’t the world too small not to cooperate
As we seek to complete one more day
And find ways for our spirits to thrive?
For who knows where our journey will find us
When we’re millions of miles away into tomorrow