Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are They Cops or Military?

This was a timely article to me: Open thread for night owls: America's police are looking more and more like the military

I'm reading Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces by Radley Balko and this is definitely something that worries me. Even as a UMC White woman, I'm aware of just how wrong a police encounter can go and it's worse for minorities, especially African-American men and boys. So why are we OK with giving police even more power and arming them like soldiers? Are we really so afraid of terrorists and other boogeymen that we'll allow the police to arm themselves to the teeth? Balko makes a good point when he says allowing the police to arm themselves like soldiers just increased their "us versus them" mentality. As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail. I think there are good cops out there but they're immersed in a culture that expects, and finds, violence.

Anyone who's watched prime time  TV has seen countless arrests. Complete fiction! If arrested or even questioned, get a lawyer and don't say a thing until you have counsel.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

More Non-Essential Government.

No NTSB investigators for deadly bus crash because of government shutdown
So investigators for the NTSB are considered non-essential. Words just fail me. I really hope I don't start writing about kids dying of cancer or people sickened by food-born illness next.

Daily Reads October 3, 2013- Insanity Edition Day 3

Even Hastert Doesn’t Think Boehner Needs To Follow Arbitrary ‘Hastert Rule’
So we're holding the government and the people of this country hostage because a few uber-right Republicans don't like Obamacare? Makes perfect sense to me.

Poll: Tea party approves Republican shutdown, everyone else disapproves
Fully 72 percent of Americans disapprove of shutting down the federal government over differences on the Affordable Care Act; just 25 percent approve of this action. Republicans are divided: 48 percent approve, while 49 percent disapprove. Most tea party supporters approve of the government shutdown - 57 percent of them do.
I'm so glad the Tea Party is getting their jollies. Now can they please go sit back down at the children's table and let the grown-ups run the country now?

Troops could still lose special pay during shutdown
Plus with the civilians who support the military on furlough, even the benefits they do get may be on hold depending on who's in charge of authorizing them.

This does NOT address the issue of medical or disability benefits being cut or death benefits being denied to surviving spouses. Good thing we support our Troops!

Everything the Republicans Need To Know My Dog Learned in Obedience School
I love Margaret and Helen:
Michele Bachmann and friends can pose in front of a war memorial all they want pretending their not the ones who closed it. Clearly, they take us for fools. Well as the wife of a WWII veteran, I’d like to introduce my rather large foot to their sorry asses. I can promise you my late husband is rolling over in his grave knowing that affordable healthcare for 40 million people has shut down the very government he fought to defend.
 Yes, by all means. Let's shutdown the country we supposedly love in order to make a political point on a subject that the majority of Americans agree with. And we call these the patriotic people? Patriotism isn't slapping a Made in China "Support our Troops" bumper sticker on your car and call it done. It's making sure that our Government represents ALL the people and that the business of governing gets done.

Government shutdown: VA backlog at risk
For those who've given enough, please give a little more.

Non-essential Government

Yes, it's been a while. You can blame a lot of factors, work, grad school, life in general. But in the interest of household tranquility (in other words, so I stop yelling at the TV), I'm back to blogging.

There's a lot already said about the government shutdown, which is a blazing display of congressional stupidity, but the two things that jump out at me are non-essential workers and use of the word partial.

Here are a few jobs that are considered non-essential:
The National Guard
contractors supporting the military
Researchers at the CDC and NIH
technical staff who run the various governmental databases like e-verify (used to verifiy people for employment), PubMed (medical publication database that relies on government imput), FBI background checks (hope you didn't want that conceled cary license).
Pretty much any agency that uses government funds or people for scientific research like NOAA.
Food safety inspectors at the FDA
OSHA inspectors

and the list goes on. Each one of those people have families that rely on them, they rely on those jobs to pay bills, save for college or retirement, buy groceries, everything that people do in order to live. Not only are those people out of luck, the people who support them are also in jepardy. Food service workers who don't have a cafeteria to work in. The hot dog cart vendor on the street who doesn't have tourists or workers to buy his food. Cleaning crews who aren't needed to clean office buildings. 

Non-essential means the job can be put on hold for the short term but that will have repercussions which will only get worse the longer this shutdown goes on.

Which brings me to the word 'partial' to describe the shutdown. This isn't 'partial'. There is nothing about this that's 'partial'. Just because some aspects of the government are stil functioning (with the exception of Congress), that doesn't mean everything is hunky-dory, nothing to see here, lalalala, let's get on with life.  Partial makes it seem like this isn't really a big deal, like we're all over-reacting, which couldn't be further from the truth. This has a major impact on everyone, whether they realize it or not. 

The CDC will not be monitoring flu season, which means the flu vaccine may or may not be effective. The NTSB will not be monitoring safety standards for cars and trucks, which could halt production. The NIH isn't doing research or accepting new pations, which means people will die. The Head Start progams nationwise will start to close, which means children will lose access to early education and parents will have to scramble for childcare. The WIC and SNAP programs will lose funds which means low income women and children won't be able to eat. 

National parks and monuments and muesums are closed and that's lost income for the people who work there and maintain them (and for the people who enjoy them) but the impact is far, far greater than the little inconvienece the word 'partial' implies. These are people's lives that are being destoyed in the name of political ideology and that is just disgusting. Our congressional leaders have the lives of the American people in their hands and they're treating us with such breathtaking disrespect, it's beyond shameful.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reading List July 15, 2013

The "Hell Yes I'm Furious about the Acquittal and I Intend to Remain So" Edition

I'm glad Rick Perry thinks our justice system is color-blind but but that man wouldn't know justice if it bit him in the ass. That would give us a better understanding of karma, however.

Our real problem is white rage:
The day before a jury delivered an acquittal in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith gave a national press conference to appeal for a peaceful reaction to the verdict — regardless of its outcome. 
Eslinger, who is white, said “We will not tolerate anyone who uses this verdict as an excuse to violate the law.” 
The veiled threat of an aggressive police response to imaginary civil unrest belies the very logic that led to Trayvon Martin’s death to begin with. For, you see, African-Americans are never protected or served by the law enforcement apparatus — yet they are always subject to its military might. 
Sanford police coyly “tolerated” the actual killing of an unarmed black child, but yet refuse to “tolerate” any anger expressed for the acquittal of his murderer. 
This is the new Jim Crow realized.
Right because you can be angry enough to shoot a child but you're not allowed to be angry over a child being shot.

We Are Not Trayvon Martin but we sure as hell stand by his side.


No, not the snack food, of which I'm a little too fond. The word "cracker" and the attempt to make it equivalent to the n-word (hell no, I'm not going to use that word).

Give. It. Up.

There is simply no way to make it equivalent. Cracker may be a pejorative in some cases but it doesn't have the history or weight of injustice that the n-word has and still has to this day. I can't even think of any time I've ever heard Cracker used outside of my grandparents' house and that was my Grandpa prompting me to call myself a Georgia Cracker.

This scene repeated countless times:
I'm sitting on Grandpa's lap, with strawberry blond hair in curls and big blue eyes wearing a t-shirt that says "My Granddaddy is a Shriner" and he asks me "Are you my Georgia Peach?" he'd ask me and I'd giggle and say "No! I'm a Georgia Cracker!"

If someone said it to me now, I'd probably just laugh. Somehow I fail to see the equivalency there.

Acquittals and Privilege and Race and The Damned Unfairness Of It All

I sound like a whiny child on the playground, the World is Unfair! Yes, it is but in this case it isn't the other kid who gets the lollipop that I want, it's a mater of life and death and treatment by the law.

One of the reports on NPR this morning was how the outcome of the Zimmerman trial would effect The Talk:  The Talk: What Did You Tell Your Kids After The Zimmerman Verdict? The talk wasn't a part of my life, being an UMC White girl. The closest thing I came to The Talk was "be respectful and if you get a ticket for speeding, we're taking your car." One of my coworkers told me years ago how closely he policed his son's closet and behavior and it never dawned on me that it was a matter of self-defense. I feel like an idiot that I never thought of that and I'm sure my co-worker was just shaking his head and sighing.

I was driving this weekend with my boyfriend to visit his parents when I cop pulled in behind me. Now I will confess, I'm the reason super-speeder laws were invented. The aforementioned coworker actually got out of my car once and threatened to kiss the ground after a short trip to dinner. So when Mr. Officer pulled in behind me, I checked my speed and I mentally verified my license and insurance were on me. Just in case. I've been pulled over before, usually for lights out or (thank god rarely) for speeding. Privilege comes in to play because I didn't once think about driving a good car in rural Georgia and whether or not I'd be pulled over because of the color of my skin. I didn't have to think about what to do to be less threatening, I didn't have to worry about being arrested because I was "mouthy". I can be assured if I'm pulled over, I probably deserve it. So today I think about my friends and co-workers who are rightfully afraid for their children and I wish desperately this world were different and that I could do more to change it. Because it's just not fair.