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Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman

Today we are going to get final arguments in the Trayvon Martin trial. I expect that the case will go to the jury today. Millions of Americans have followed this case, just as we followed the OJ Simpson trial from years ago.

A couple of thoughts:

As far as I can tell, there are no heroes in this case.

No matter what the verdict there are going to be some folks that are very, very angry. A young man is dead. There is nothing that we can do to bring Trayvon Martin back. Another young man is on trial for murder. George Zimmerman isn’t a model citizen. He is like most of us, a flawed individual.

Once again, we see a close-up view of our legal system. Once again, we see that our legal system isn’t close being perfect.

I think that it is clear that if this happened 20 years ago there wouldn’t have been a trial. The police would have swept this under the rug. “There is nothing to see here… move on.” The fact that we have a trial is testament to the power of the internet and social media.

Neither attorney in this case has impressed me. (Granted, I haven’t followed every minute, or even every day, of this case.)

One big question that will not be answered in this trial concerns the role of the police. Will the police department get a critical review by an independent body?

In a nutshell, yuck. Simply yuck. There will be a verdict. There will be a movie, and probably a mini-series, which will be watched by millions. Look for several books which will do nothing to resolve the national debate but should make several folks a large pot of money.

By |2013-07-12T21:24:55-04:00July 12th, 2013|Civil Liberty, Legal, Party Politics|2 Comments

Slavery by Another Name

My sister asked me to watch the PBS special, Slavery by Another Name. I don’t know about you, but I have really have to psych myself up to watch one of these specials. I find them very, very depressing. The show was fascinating, enlightening and damn depressing. In a nutshell, Whites used various methods from the end of reconstruction to 1940 to re-enslave Blacks. Now, I paid attention in high school and college. I don’t remember one lecture on this stuff. I knew that during reconstruction there were several Blacks who were voted into Congress from the deep south. Many Blacks opened businesses and bought land. Then something happened. It all vanished. Basically, a series of laws and statues were passed that said in essense – if you are Black, you ain’t got nothing. Tons of laws were passed that criminalized things that you and I would not think of as crimes – playing dice, walking on railroad tracks, the inability to prove that you are employed at any given moment. Once you were arrested, fines were thrown at you. If you couldn’t pay the fine, you had go to jail. The city or state would then rent your services to local businesses. You became cheap labor, cheap and expendable labor. The Master didn’t own you like in the past. Now, you could be shot by your boss. You were buried and your former boss would go and get another loaner (slave) from the state. Peonage. What the Hell? I had to go look that up. I have never heard the word peonage (the use of laborers bound in servitude because of debt). Cheap Black labor became the engine that pulled the deep south of poverty. At the end of the Civil War, there were four million poor Blacks and four million poor Whites in the south. By 1940, there were eight million Whites living in the middle class and millions of Black Americans were simply out of luck. They didn’t even get a little taste of prosperity for their hard work. I highly recommend Slavery by Another Name, but you might want to take a little something to help steady your nerves before watching. It is a very powerful program. I’m reading the book now. So, you might note that my mood is a little testy!

By |2012-03-06T07:14:57-04:00March 6th, 2012|Race|Comments Off on Slavery by Another Name

Head in Sand Syndrome – Getting Fluke’s argument wrong on purpose

Sandra Fluke

Many people have completely missed the point of Sandra Fluke’s testimony. Several commenters, on my blog and elsewhere have asked why they should pay for somebody else’s contraception. This would be a perfectly reasonable argument if it had anything to do with what we’re talking about – it doesn’t. In the make-believe world of American politics, you can argue about whatever it is you want to argue about. Like, let’s argue over the government forcing religious institutions to subsidize women’s contraception. That’s a nice argument but that’s not what were talking about here. Let’s look at the facts.

Georgetown, a private Jesuit University, requires their students to have health insurance. You can have your own health insurance or you can pay for the university’s health insurance. Here is a statement from the Georgetown websiteFor all students, good health is essential to achieving educational goals. Because maintaining good health requires access to health care when you need it, Georgetown University requires the students described below to have health insurance. So, let’s all agree that were not talking about providing services to those who are not paying for it. This has nothing to do with Obama Care. This has nothing to do with government takeover. Instead, it has everything to do with students paying for services and only getting a portion of what they paid for.

Now, let’s look at Sandra Fluke’s testimony in front of the Democratic forum. She said, “I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan.” She went on to say, “…without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.” So, in a nutshell, what these women are asking for is that the health insurance that they’re currently paying for extend its benefits to cover women’s contraception. I just don’t see how this is unreasonable. Those institutions that are religiously based and are opposed to contraception for whatever reason could easily offer an alternative insurance plan that would be completely maintained and administered by a third party so that there is no religious objections. It seems that compassionate alternatives like this simply escape many of these religious institutions. There is no excuse for people who are paying for health insurance not to get the comprehensive health insurance that they’re paying for. That is the argument here. We are talking about students who are paying for comprehensive health insurance getting something less than comprehensive for their healthcare dollars. Questions?

By |2012-03-05T15:43:36-04:00March 5th, 2012|Healthcare, Party Politics|5 Comments
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