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The Myth of Racial Harmony: Dumb and Dangerous

I recently heard on the radio 45% of American Black males do not graduate from high school. Why does their education end before their 18th birthday? Is there something culturally askew where education has no value? Are they born not to succeed in life? Is there a genetic code that denies them fruitful opportunity for living? The answer to those questions is a resounding: No!

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Violence as Commerce in the Urban Core

Based Violence for Profiton our conversation yesterday in the comments thread for my Red in Tooth and Claw: The Language of Killing article, I am curious to know your thoughts on the following matter.

Do you believe violence — as framed in the context of yesterday’s article — creates or serves as commerce in the urban core?

Is the infliction of physical suffering a necessary city commodity from which secular humanism rises?

Or does violence only eat itself by gnawing and clawing away at its inborn behavior until red is all that’s left?

Violence for Profit

Judging a Book by its Cover: Dress White and Play Nice

A friend of mine is a criminal defense attorney. His job is tough and dirty. He deals with Racism on both sides of the justice scales. Lives hang in the balance on his shoulders. Some of his clients are guilty. His job is to defend them anyway. Some of his clients are set up by police, or enemies, or mistaken identity. His job is to defend them anyway.

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The Food Police Live Inside of Your Mouth

Do you believe your local government exists to protect you? Does your local government have the right to decide what you eat and how you eat it?
On Tuesday, New York City announced plans to require all trans fats gets cut out of your diet when you eat out whether you want it that way or not:

The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously yesterday to move forward with plans to prohibit the city’s 20,000 restaurants from serving food that contains more than a minute amount of artificial trans fats, the chemically modified ingredients considered by doctors and nutritionists to increase the risk of heart disease. …

If approved, the proposal voted on yesterday by the Board of Health would make New York the first large city in the country to strictly limit such fats in restaurants. Chicago is considering a similar prohibition affecting restaurants with less than $20 million in annual sales.
The New York prohibition would affect the city’s entire restaurant industry, by far the nation’s largest, from McDonald’s to fashionable bistros to street corner takeouts across the five boroughs. …
Officials said that the typical American diet now contains 5.8 grams of trans fats per day, and that a single five-ounce serving of French fries at many restaurants contained 8 grams of trans fats.

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To Live is to Remember: A Brief History of AIDS

HIV and AIDS are infections that still plague the face of the earth even though there are drug treatment therapies that can buy time for those infected.

Without medical intervention and treatment the average incubation period for HIV is 9-10 years and death after a full-blown AIDS diagnosis is still only 9.2 months.

People and their deaths are not best understood on timelines and statistical averages. The value in the human component of living is in remembering those who have suffered and fallen before you.

To live is to remember.

I remember in the mid-to-late 1980’s how this unnamed “Gay disease” we now know as HIV/AIDS was eating people alive. It was a frightening time because no one really knew in a shared, universal societal understanding, how HIV was being transmitted or how AIDS was being contracted.

There were rumors in the mainstream community you could get AIDS — no one really understood the HIV component until years later — by sitting on a toilet seat or by someone sneezing on you or by just shaking hands with an infected person.

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Underage Backstage at Barrymore’s Bar

Barrymore’s Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska is unique. It is located in the backstage area of what used to be the Stuart Theatre. You enter the bar through an alley. The bar entrance was the performer’s stage door when the theatre opened in 1929.

Barrymore’s was always dark and musky and smelling of sawdust and rope. The Stuart theatre is still a performance space with seats and a stage and on the other side of the fire curtain remains Barrymore’s — still backstage — and still thriving with life and ambition and still giving off a strange ambience of being someplace you don’t belong but were always meant to be in the end.

Barrymore’s is where the radio people I used to work with would hang out before, during and after work because the station was on the eighth floor of the same building. If I joined them during the day I always had a pop while those around me would slowly make their way into the slosh. One day my friends and I were hanging out downtown after school and we decided to go into Barrymore’s.

Barrymore’s was an upper class bar. It wasn’t like the bar troughs clotted along downtown where University of Nebraska-Lincoln students would head for the cheapest buzz they could find. The five of us sat down together at a tiny round table. The waitress came over and smiled and asked what we were drinking as she placed a cocktail napkin before each of us. She said drinking in such a way we knew she mean alcohol and not pop or water.

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When Drowning is Not Good Enough

There have been rumors swirling since September 2005 that instead of evacuating bedridden hospital patients in the post-Hurricane Katrina aftermath, some doctors used lethal injections to euthanize patients who had previously signed DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) waivers.

Choosing not to leave behind those patients to the chance of a successful rescue or a certain death by starvation or drowning, the very doctors sworn to “First Do No Harm” shattered that covenant with a single plunge of a syringe. December 2, 2005, The Mercury News reported:

Authorities investigating whether hospital and nursing home patients were put out of their misery during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath are testing as many as 100 of the dead for lethal doses of morphine or other such drugs. 

Continue reading → When Drowning is Not Good Enough