30 September 2009

Racial Profiling Is Not Just Morally Reprehensible

"There are constitutional arguments against stopping people based on the fact that they “look Muslim”, but there are also practical arguments—namely that terrorist organizations are quite aware of the lure of racial bias as policy for some Americans, and as far back as 2005 were “looking to create cells of so-called white al Qaeda, non-Arab members who can evade racial profiling used by police forces.” … It’s impossible to get good human intelligence if people see you as the enemy. Were the government to adopt a policy of racial profiling as [Michelle] Malkin suggests, it would alienate the population we’re depending on to feed us information about potential attacks. Also, if you’re worrying about ethnicity rather than evidence, you’re going to waste a lot of resources chasing innocent people. So not only is racial profiling morally reprehensible, it’s also just a bad policy. Unless of course, you see all Muslims as the enemy and you want to punish them for simply existing."

A. Serwer, “Racial Profiling Is Bad Policy,” The American Prospect (via thesmarttart)
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29 September 2009

don't give me that look


don't give me that look you little shit. I know you are seeing someone else.
don't give me that lookSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

25 September 2009



This dude is searching.

found/photographer unknown
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11 September 2009

Remembering Eight Years and Beyond

Sometimes it seems that life is just a process of losing things: innocence, youth, dreams, health, time and life itself. One might wax mystical about it and say that it is the way we achieve freedom from all that binds us to this temporary existence. It sounds good on paper, but it’s a drag when it’s happening.

Days tick by like minutes. They say that old men spend their time looking back. I’m getting older, and I don’t want to slip into that trap, but it’s hard sometimes to stay out of the past, to forget the rush of time and stay focused on what yet needs to be done.

A friend sent me a picture of her daughter who is starting the fourth grade this year. As I looked at the child’s picture, it occurred to me that, in the year I was in the fourth grade, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Whoa. Talk about “seeing your life flash before your eyes.”

Today we remember another day as traumatic as the Kennedy Assassination, the 9-11 attack. Eight years ago, 19 religious fanatics hijacked commercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania. I can’t add much to what has already been said about the searing wound this act did to the national psyche. I suppose we will commemorate it for the next fifty years or so, until the memory slowly fades from the collective psyche, in the same way the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 is fading today.

The 9-11 attack essentially destroyed the Bush presidency. The administration was quick to declare the attack to be “an act of war” and to define itself as a “wartime presidency.” I believe that this was a profound error. In my opinion, the 9-11 attack was a crime perpetrated by a group of suicidal lunatics. When an event is determined to be “an act of war” there are legal implications to such a definition. Civil rights are handled differently during wartime than in peacetime. The president has certain powers during wartime that are not available to peacetime presidents. These include the authority to commit the armed forces to battle and the suspension of habeas corpus. The Bush administration was too quick to seize the opportunity and use 9-11 as the raison d'ĂȘtre to settle old scores in Iraq. It would prove to be their undoing. It resulted in the most unpopular presidency since Reconstruction.

Today, Al Qaeda is a shattered band of renegades scurrying around the tribal areas of Pakistan; Saddam is dead; the Bush presidency is just a bad memory, but the trauma of 9-11 remains. Troops are still deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and we’re still arguing about it. There is still just a big hole where the World Trade Center used to be. We still prattle about “the war on terror.” Has anything been learned, or are we pretty much where we started out, but with a Texas-sized grudge toward all things Islamic?

One thing we obviously haven’t learned is that you cannot wage war against an idea. You can only wage war against people and their governments. You can’t shoot an idea or carpet bomb a concept. It just doesn’t work. We also haven’t seemed to learn that you don’t make friends with people by shooting at them. These things seem like no-brainers to me, but some folks still don’t get it.

I hope we have learned that we can never allow the United States to be governed by fear. Also, I hope we have learned that not all Islamic people share the same ideology with the Al Qaeda nut cases. We’ll see. I’m not at all sure.

A moment of silence for all of those who died in the attack and the wars that followed.

A moment of somber reflection on how stupid we can be.

A moment of hope that good will ultimately triumph over evil, and that maybe, through it all, we will come through it wiser, steadier, and maybe even better.

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09 September 2009

Boorish Behavior in the House

Tonight while President Obama was giving his health care speech, we witnessed something truly appalling. When Obama got to the place where he declared that his health care reform policy did not provide for health care for illegal aliens, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted, “You lie.” I don’t recall any other president being heckled that way during an address to Congress. Even at his lowest ebb, no one treated George W. Bush that way. Even Bill Clinton at the worst of his tenure was not heckled and insulted like this.

I have been trying to get on www.joewilson.house.gov with no success. Apparently, there are a couple of other folks who are outraged by the representative’s behavior. The intemperate representative quickly issued an apology, saying that “I let my emotions get the best of me…” Sorry, Joe, but that’s not good enough. Barak Obama is our president. He is President of the United States of America. His office and his person demand our respect, regardless of whether we agree with him on policy points or not. An insult to the president is an insult to us all, regardless of our politics or affiliations. I would suggest that Rep. Wilson resign since he is obviously incompetent to hold the office of a United States Representative.

Our culture and society depend upon respect for our traditions and institutions. There is a basic level of respect and civility that we extend to our institutions and representatives, not because of the personalities involved, but because we have recognized that these institutions of society and government are necessary and valuable. I’m not terribly wild about Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor. I think she’s a racist and sexist, but by golly, she’s also a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and I’m going to treat the lady with respect regardless of whether I like her positions or not.

When our elected leaders fail to model the respect and decorum required by the institutions of our society, how can we possibly hope to solve the difficult problems facing us? Representative Joe Wilson has brought shame on his party and his state. His behavior was uncivilized to the extent of being barbaric. We can only hope that in the next election, South Carolina will produce a better quality of representation.

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08 September 2009

07 September 2009


Preston 9.7.09a

My homeless friend Preston, 9.07.09
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03 September 2009



found/photographer unknown

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