Time creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Pessimistic, troubled Macbeth thought life a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. But Shakespeare never met Voltaire I suspect, who wrote of the expectation of living, rather than the reality of it. Yes things often don’t go as we wished. Rather they often go in ways we would rather they did not. But that’s all in the tapestry of time—existence in all its richness and flavor sweet and sour to be savored for what it is—not what it might be nor not be. Without the troughs we cannot feel the thrill of climbing the peaks. We make of it all what we can, what we must. Not a tale told by an idiot at all—but by a jester perhaps or a coach/trainer of sorts.
Saw a shared item on Google + by Gina Drayer yesterday. A picture, of course, is worth a thousand words. But let me offer just a few after the image.
I have a term for this, intentional incompetence. It happens with both genders as a means to limit tasks one might have to do. After all, there are only so many brain cells available to do tasks one prefers to do or must do. If some tasks can be avoided, then one has reserved brain capacity for the others. Or at least that’s my theory. So for guys, they feign ignorance (or through concerted effort avoid learning anything about) cooking, doing laundry, etc. Similarly, the wife knows nothing about how the car or other mechanical things work. The benign or even positive aspect of this is that each can then appreciate what the other does–so it’s not all bad. But in the image, it sure is funny.
OK, there’s no such legal offense, but you wouldn’t know it from what happens in Jefferson Parish schools according to a request by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that the U.S. Justice Department investigate the system. SPLC’s original complaint in 2012 resulted in a U.S. Department of Education investigation–
“into the disproportionate number of African-American students arrested for minor rule violations in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public School System, the problem has worsened, the SPLC told federal authorities this week.”
Recently, a 10-year old girl with autism wound up handcuffed on the ground with the knee of a police officer in her back. An eighth grader was hauled away in cuffs and spent 8 days in juvenile detention for throwing Skittles in class.
Something seems very wrong with this public school system when, instead of customary in-school discipline by teachers and administrators the police are used to aggressively over-enforce rule violations by students. The SPLC report says this about the system:
Jefferson Parish stands out in Louisiana as the school district with, far and away, the most school-based arrests and law enforcement referrals. The overwhelming majority of these arrests are for nonviolent, minor student misbehavior. African-American students are disproportionately targeted.
The supplemental complaint describes how 80 percent of the district’s school-based arrests during the 2013-14 school year were African-American students – even though they are only 41.5 percent of the student population. When the SPLC filed its initial complaint in 2012, African-American students comprised 76 percent of school-based arrests despite being 46 percent of the student population.
When two men opened fire in Garland, Texas, Pamela Geller called it an attack on free speech. The men, Muslim roommates from Phoenix, Arizona, took it upon themselves to attack a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon event sponsored by Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative. It’s important to distinguish Charlie Hebdo from Geller’s group and the attack in Texas. Hebdo was an equal opportunity offender against any and all religions, not just Islam. As most anyone who reads print news, watches TV or gets information from any other sources knows well, Islamist extremists attacked and killed members of Charlie Hebdo, a French publication. Geller’s group specifically targets Islam for criticism.
The event in Texas was intended to award a prize for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad. As it happens, Islam has an express prohibition on depicting Muhammad, God and any other religious figures. They have no images, idols or other sacred objects as are common to other religions. Instead, they revere, for inspiration, geometric shapes. So it is to be expected, based on past events, that Muslims would take great offense at the cartoon contest. Most would stop short of trying to kill someone for the insult to their religious sensibilities. But knowing what has gone before, it came as no great surprise that some would. The upshot? An ostensible confirmation of the violence that Geller and her cronies attribute to Islam generally.
Is that a fair assessment? The Southern Poverty Law Center labels the American Freedom Defense Initiative a hate group in it’s Intelligence Watch list. Here is what the SPLC says about Geller:
Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals.
In Her Own Words
“Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
— Pam Geller On Fox Business’ “Follow the Money,” March 10, 2011
Geller also runs the Stop Islamization of America group. The Anti-Defamation League (a Jewish organization) has called out Geller and her groups for promoting hatred and intolerance. So if a Jewish group is critical of an anti-islamic group as being extreme, that might be a clue that it really is.
Coming Friday, May 1st, is the next edition of the Eagle Peak Quarterly. This will mark the 1st anniversary of the web only magazine. Features in this issue include:
- Part 2 of Becoming a Writer–more how-to information
- An extended sample from Waiting for Westmoreland in honor of the memoir now being available in all eBook formats at $3.99
- The publisher’s take on some inspirational quotes from Daisaku Ikeda
- An essay on Beating the Work/Life Balance Myth
- An introduction to another of the web links on Eagle Peak Press–the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue
One more feature, a first time editorial perhaps or a surprise. Check it out here on May 1 or after.
We love living in the Southwest, especially nearly in that corner of New Mexico known as “the bootheel. ” Here we have the agave that grows at the speed of bamboo and road signs that warn of dust storms in terms that invoke the spirit of Jean Paul Sartre or Albert Camus. Below is one of the signs:
For those who have not seen how quickly the agave rises, below are two images showing just two weeks of growth–from April 4 and 18. The second image shows a stalk at near seven feet. In another couple weeks it will have doubled in size again and begun it’s bloom. It will flower once, for several weeks. While in bloom the local wildlife will enjoy it. The elk or the deer, the birds or the ants will happily feast on the abundant nectar. Then the seeds will drop, the stalks will brown and the base will die.
Below are the seedpod/flowers, at least the top, in a bloom from a previous year:
Thanks to Cronin Detzz, who posted this on Google +. It serves as a reminder that May 1, the next edition of Eagle Peak Quarterly will include the next instalment on writing techniques. As it happens, I am still working on it. Haven’t quite totally defeated the devil known as procrastination, although I have him subdued most of the time, allowing him freedom only on my most tired or brain-dead days. By the way, there will be other wonderful things in the next edition. I will say more about that next week.
A startling statistic. Almost a 10-1 ratio of executions to exonerations during the same time period. There were 10 prisoners freed from 1973-1976. So it’s 142 freed versus 1,404 executed. The average time spent on death row was 11.2 years among those who were exonerated. So who can say how many of the 1,404 who were put to death were actually innocent? A scary and disturbing thought. “Oh, but we only execute those who were actually guilty?” Well, probably not, given these statistics. Does this give anyone pause who fully supports the death penalty? “Well, if a few innocent people (who probably really are guilty of something) die in order to ensure that the really evil people are executed, that is the price of justice”–is that a reasonable counter argument? No, I don’t think so. But if you still believe in capital punishment, keep this in mind the next time someone is given a death sentence in America. Continue reading 152 Death Row Inmates Exonerated in US Since 1973
The Pumpkinskin Press announced today that it is awarding its half-decade prize for investigative journalism to little-known writer Ulysses X. Binnick. Through an exhaustive series of secret interviews with warehouse workers at Mattel, Binnick confirmed his suspicion that certain employees had been supplying Donald Trump with rejected strands of the artificial hair used on the head of the famous Barbie dolls. Spokespersons for Mattel insisted that the company had no knowledge of the unauthorized removal and sale to Trump of the “hair,” nor its use by Trump on the billionaire’s own head. Casual observers of “The Donald,” during his frequent appearances around the country had voiced their suspicions on the origins of Trump’s “hair” for some time. Until now, no one had come up with the “smoking flat iron.” Now the story has come out. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, a side-by-side photo comparison of Barbie and Donald to verify the Binnick investigation cannot be included with this special April 1st post.
Just in case you are paying attention, I am moving from a new post every five days to a once a week schedule. The NEXT post HERE will come on Wednesday, April 1 and each Wednesday thereafter.
Since I have two blogs, this will afford me more time for quality content while providing more time for working on my novel and other writing projects. As always, your comments are most welcome as are subscriptions.