READER COMMENTS ON
"Billboard of the Moment: Land of the Free?"
(30 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 12:21 pm PT...
Well, I promised myself that I would work today and stay off of blogland...alas...
The billboard is stating what I presume to be a fact...an unfortunate one. The implication from the website is that we should take the money we are using to incarcerate and instead educate. Pretty catchy phrase! Do they mean to shut down the prisons, release the prisoners, and then educate them? I doubt that, but my quick read did not uncover a succinct goal...I have downloaded the report and will read it when I have more time.
For now, I researched 77091 of Houston Texas.
According to this website:
The total crime is 130% of the national average.
Murder is 175% of the national average. Where in K-12 do they teach you that it is wrong to murder? Is this something we missed"
Rape is 128% of the national average. Maybe rape is not covered until the 7th grade health class--perhaps they are dropping out before then.
There are no public schools in this zip code, so lets look at 77026, another RED zone. I randomly picked Barbara Jordon High School. Here are some stats:
Student/teacher ratio: 13.5
Discounted/free lunch: 53%
Test scores: poor in math.
When I grew up, the student/teacher was about 30. I bought or brought my own lunch. I did well in math.
Now lets look at 77098 a GRAY zone.
Lamar High School
Student/teacher ratio: 18.4
Discounted/free lunch: 39%
Test scores: good (not great)
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 12:48 pm PT...
Houston is down W way, down Karl avenue, down the yellow brick road trail:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality --- judiciously, as you will --- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
(Karl Christian Rove). It would be "easy" to call Karl up and have him create a different reality doncha think?
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 1:16 pm PT...
Which of the other areas in the report would you like for me to analyze?
How about Los Angeles. I believe both Senators from CA are Democrats. And, correct me if I am wrong, is not Hollywood nearby? Imagine that...the bastion of liberal thought and activism and look at those poor numbers. We can study NY if you like...
So Dredd, I am trying hard to stay with a rational discussion so that perhaps within this little blogworld, we can arrive at some new idea...at a minimum, perhaps the liberals here can educate me. It serves no purpose to bring up Karl Rove. It may score points here, but I would much rather discuss the numbers.
What is it in the statistics that is not explaining the poor performance and the incarceration numbers? Is more money the answer? How would it be spent (getting the S/T ratio to five or two, or one)?
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 6/13/2011 @ 3:00 pm PT...
Davey Crocket @1 wrote:
The implication from the website is that we should take the money we are using to incarcerate and instead educate...Do they mean to shut down the prisons, release the prisoners, and then educate them?
No, Davey! I believe you're look at the problem bass ackwards.
If, as a society, we were devoted to health and education of all citizens, from cradle to grave, if we did not waste money on the military-industrial complex, the so-called "war on drugs," real wars carried out to make the world safe for the oil cartel bottom line, the prison-industrial complex and corporate greed, crime would itself be far more infrequent.
The fact that the U.S. houses so many in its prisons is a reflection of just how harsh our society has become. It is a reflection of a sick society in which extreme wealth in the hands of the privileged class trumps all concepts of res publica and the commons. And that is why the article references "misplaced priorities."
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 3:06 pm PT...
Thanks for posting the awesome sign Brad.
Is Italy pulling ahead of the US in the democracy thingy? DU has a you tube up (couldn't get the link to work) ..referendum on nuclear power and privatizing water..the good guys won over there.Scott Walker and the boys were going to privatize their energy plants.
Maybe one day we'll be free like them.But right now, the US is more like a police state than democracy.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 3:14 pm PT...
Put on your coonskin thinking cap bro, 'cause the Brad Man was looking to the GOP debate tonight, the election. So lets follow his lead.
Karl Christian Rove has nothing to do with that?
If you believe that you have evidently graduated from the Karl Christian Rove Imaginary University too.
I am not poo pooing your citations to crime statistics, I am poo pooing the resort to magic as a method of dealing with the real world.
Karl has lots of imaginary scenarios, in fact he has a limitless supply. Those he mentors can not help but be influenced while they are in Karl's magic sand box.
Those who cannot see how drastically our nation has degenerated under the "guidance" of Karl's voodoo economics, voodoo crime handling smoke and mirrors (private for-profit prisons), Karl's invade them to bring them peace at the point of a gun foreign policy, are simply too far gone into Karl's World to grasp reality any more.
California was recently cited by the Supreme Court for not playing well with others, that is, for having too many people in prison without just cause, just conditions.
Remember too that Karl's close pals have been bragging in open public about torture (Dick, George).
When are you going to get a fucking grip dude?
Reject Karl, Dick, and George, publicly denounce them as criminals, and we have a platform to begin a discussion going forward.
Read my "conservative" post Bush II Eradicated The Robber Barons - 3, the last of a series, which explains why Robber Barons are not part of your prison statistics.
You see Davey, the worst who are now too big to jail should be in prison, not the wee people who are too little not to put in jail.
As Brad said, they GOP will likely not get out of Karl's World during the "debate".
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 3:53 pm PT...
"If, as a society, we were devoted to health and education of all citizens, from cradle to grave, if we did not waste money on the military-industrial complex, the so-called "war on drugs," real wars carried out to make the world safe for the oil cartel bottom line, the prison-industrial complex and corporate greed, crime would itself be far more infrequent."
Such a society does not and will never exist...in my view. It would a pretty nice, but somebody would screw it up before long.
The NAACP does address the war on drugs, but not the military-industrial complex (I did not see it). I have gone back and forth on the war on drugs...probably in the middle now.
We have spent lots of money on education and welfare and look where we are. I pointed out the class size of the affected areas...more than adequate to provide a good education, yet those areas still produce criminals.
So, if I were to interview one of the criminals, say one that committed a murder. Would his reason be M-I Complex? Would he say that his class size was too large? Would he say that he was hungry? Would he say that he was destitute and there was no support system in this country? Which of these would be the reason? Will he say that Wall Street fat cats are getting rich so I killed my brother?
You may not like the MI Complex and I am OK with that. If you hate the drug war...fine too. You can hate Wall Street...fine again. But lets try to understand the root of why the criminal decides to rape or kill or...
On the drug-war issue...perhaps the argument could be made that crimes are committed to support drug habits. I have not looked the numbers, but that is plausible I suppose.
There are many factors to the criminal element. One central one is the breakdown of the family.
I tried to find statistics on the incarceration rate in N. Korea. My guess: it is zero.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 3:55 pm PT...
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 5:37 pm PT...
It's the drug war Davey, don't be obtuse. at least 3/4 of all incarcerations can be tied directly the drug war. Including the violence. Most of which flows directly from prohibition.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 6/13/2011 @ 6:09 pm PT...
Davey Crocket suggests that a society that devotes more to the general welfare of its people, include health and education than to wars, including the phony "war on drugs," the military-industrial complex and the scams of the privileged few, "does not and never will exist?"
Really, so the European nations, like Sweden, who have single payer healthcare and devote more to education than they do to weapons and prisons combined is a figment of our imagination?
The problem with you, Davey, is that your head is so deeply embedded in the hard-right's vice-into-virtue philosophy that you actually can't see that a better world with appropriate priorities is not just possible but vital if we are to survive as a species.
Truly sad, but not unexpected.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 7:31 pm PT...
You are a master of debate!
Move to Sweden!
When you get there, don't light up..."The Drug policy of Sweden is one of zero tolerance, including cannabis,..." http://en.wikipedia.org/...ki/Drug_policy_of_Sweden
Yep, it is the drug war.
Dan in Pa,
OK, it is the drug war, not education. Very good. And certainly nothing to do with the family unit.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 9:07 pm PT...
D, E, DPa,
I have read through about half of the report so far and will check out for the night. Indeed, much of the blame is on the drug war.
I would suggest, as a budding liberal, to divert funds to government funded abortion clinics in all red-zone areas. Put some in the gray zones too I suppose.
Good night gentlemen...looking forward to the pounding I will get tomorrow!
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 6/13/2011 @ 11:26 pm PT...
Hello Davey Crocket,
When I read your comments I have the feeling of being with a troll. If you are not you should not use the voice of a troll and the misinformation of a troll.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 4:47 am PT...
Family cohesion has suffered over the course of the last few decades, this is very true. And no one great cause can be pinpointed. But, the rise of inflationary monetary policy that all but guarantees a year to year increase in costs to the family unit has done a great deal to destroy the traditional family unit. A single bread winner with a stay at home mom is but a pipe dream these days. And knowing that finances are the #1 contributor to divorce, it's pretty clear that monetary policy at the federal level which favors the lenders at the burden of the borrowers plays a not insignificant role in the demise of the traditional family unit.
America has drifted from a traditional long term investment style economy to one of a short term maximum profit style investment. And this drift has been decades in the development and shoehorns quite well with the Reagan/Friedman/Hayek model of trickle down economics that suggests (Falsely IMHO) that if you place enough free capital in the hands of the investment class, it will trickle down. It hasn't quite gone like that, as you know, tax policy that allows short term gains to be taxed at 1/2 the rate of traditional earnings encourages profit taking rather than structural investment.
Throw in the obscenity known as the revolving door lobby shop/congressional corruption scheme and you have an entrenched Wall St all but guaranteeing that the traditional family unit is forced to struggle more and more just to meet basic needs.
here's a great example of the Revolving door Lobbyist scheme:
And hey, I was very fortunate to have 2 parents who stayed together through some very difficult financial struggles through the 60's and 70's and that made a difference for myself and my 6 brothers and sisters.
But when finances tears a family apart, it's even worse for the single parent. And you know, kids raising themselves or being raised by the TV or the Playstation because Mom and Dad are both busy working 60 hours a week to make ends meet, does not make for well adjusted kids.
And this is the reality today.
Again, "It's the economy stupid" is the reality. When whole regions are dealing with long term economic hardship, drug and alcohol abuse skyrockets. Depression and disaffection does this to people and it's been that way for millennia.
The war on drugs is a pseudo military response to what, I feel, is essentially, a failure of economic policy that favors the "investment class" profit taking over middle class financial stability.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 6:51 am PT...
You allowed for "other reasons" on family breakup and I would accept "finances" as one of them. I think that a strong moral code and a willingness to practice God's intent for marriage ("the two shall become one") is a big factor as well. The divorces in my circle of acquaintances have had nothing to do with finances. I have been married for 35 years. I hope to married for 35 more!
I agree 10000% with your playstation comment!
My red-zone, comment was more directed toward kids having kids. I have concluded (after many years on the other side) that they should have abortions instead. This is very hard for me--I have arrived here after much contemplation and prayer.
Regarding Wall Street...I agree that there should be a greater focus on "structural investment" Somewhere on this blog, vulture capitalists were denigrated. Most VCs are structural capitalists...at least the ones I have dealt with.
Consider the day-trader. He does not drive on highways and roads, has a very small carbon footprint and gets taxed at the marginal rate on his profits. The problem, of course is that it would be better for us all of the day-trader created something rather than trading on other's mistakes.
Regarding lobbyists, I could not agree more. Washington is corrupt to a large degree (subtle in many ways). My core belief is that DC should be smaller not bigger. They should control less money not more. With DC in the healthcare business...it will only get worse.
The WOD is executed too late in the lifecycle...the war should start much earlier and the battle should be for the heart and soul...long before drugs can enter the picture.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 8:39 am PT...
Who's moral code should the nation adopt?
I expressly and emphatically reject the moral code of dominionists like Sarah Palin and Rick perry and will fight to the death to ensure their theocratic leadership model is never adopted at the federal level.
When you decry the "moral breakdown", you should take into account how much more difficult it's become, financially, to even have a traditional family. You can cry about Hollywood's influence, but to me, I see the inability to have one parent providing guidance in the home as a greater negative influence on the breakdown of the traditional family.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 9:28 am PT...
My moral code is based on Judeo-Christian teachings--aka the Bible. So, the ten commandments would be a good place to start.
Do you think consumption has anything to do with the financial difficulty?
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 9:39 am PT...
no where near as much as the pundit class would have you believe
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 9:45 am PT...
"My moral code is based on Judeo-Christian teachings--aka the Bible. So, the ten commandments would be a good place to start."
Ok, fine. Our law to some extent is based on that (stealing, perjury, murder).
And that is good, it is just that our system is out of balance, focusing on punishment in an obsessive way.
We make a mountain out of the marijuana molehill, such that, emptying the jails of those there on marijuana charges would be a helpful first step.
Crack convictions were 10 times more harsh than cocaine, so a lot of African-Americans should be freed if their sentences were more than white cocaine users.
That would ease the prison population problem too.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 9:55 am PT...
Yes, legalize marijuana. Have held this position for a long time.
My consumption comments based on personal experience and observation.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 10:20 am PT...
My comment is based upon personal experience as well, having lived a homeless and hopeless existence for a period.
You believe yours is the superior argument based solely upon your experience?
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 10:27 am PT...
You are putting words in my mouth...I never said "superior" nor did I imply it.
I have never been homeless so I cannot speak from that experience. I have however, taken homeless persons into my home for an extended period of time and once a took an abused youth into my home. Moreover, I give to charities that assist those in need.
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 10:58 am PT...
Well done. No criticism for caring.
Just sayin, personal experience of abuses or foolishness is not necessarily indicative of the whole.
S'all good. I had a good life before I went homeless and hopeless. But when I was homeless and hopeless, it opened my eyes to the injustice that our economic system is rife with.
I voted for Reagan. Twice.
I didn't yet understand that trickle down economics was actually faith based economics.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 6/14/2011 @ 3:04 pm PT...
What's with the "move to Sweden" argument, Davey Crockett? Are you suggesting that if I take exception to the vice-into-virtue philosophy of the plutocrats who now control the U.S. that it's "America love it or leave it?"
As far as comparisons to Sweden, aside from the fact that Sweden, like every other industrialized "democracy" treats health care as a right as compared to the U.S. where the profits of health insurance CEOs are exalted above not only health but the lives of 45,000 Americans who die each year simply because they can't afford coverage.
The U.S. is ranked no. 1 in military spending. The $663.8 billion in direct military spending does not include the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize winning economists estimated in 2008 had already cost $3 trillion in direct and indirect costs for Iraq alone.
Even if you discard the direct and indirect expenditures for those wars, China, at number two, spends less than 1/6 the amount the U.S. spends in direct military spending.
Sweden ranks 31st in military spending at $5.2 billion. We have single weapons systems in the U.S. that cost much more than the entire Swedish military budget.
In Sweden only 79 out of every 100,000 inhabitants are in prison. In the U.S. it is 682 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants.
Yeah, narcotics are indeed illegal in Sweden, but it is the U.S. that has simultaneously squandered billions on interdiction at the same time the CIA has often funded its empire-securing efforts by drug smuggling into the U.S.
When you clear away the "love it or leave it" crap, you begin to see that there are indeed societies where the priorities are not so perverse as our own, and you begin the understand that, we too, could have a better society if we worked towards it.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 3:15 pm PT...
"we too, could have a better society if we worked towards it"
Gotta love your spunk for sure.
I have a more pessimistic view.
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 6/14/2011 @ 5:28 pm PT...
Drug War Politics:The Price of Denial--
is an excellent guide for understanding the multi-layered ways our "drug wars" are dysfunctional, counter-productive, and cost ineffective.
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 6/15/2011 @ 7:48 am PT...
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 6/16/2011 @ 7:22 am PT...
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 6/16/2011 @ 7:40 pm PT...
Uh, huh. And why stop with flogging? If you jaywalk, they should take away your legs.
Brilliant is "Returning To The Teachings" by Rupert Ross. It's about restorative justice. THAT'S brilliant because it looks at the interconnectedness between society and behavior; to the ripple effects unwanted behaviors can have; to their deeper causes and effects. Tries to get at and address the underlying issues/problems from whence problems of behavior arise so as to address the causes rather than just the symptoms. As opposed to our system and this article which look at behavior in isolation as something to be controlled through punishment. Rather than punishment, brilliant would look like an understanding of the need to restore harmony to our relationships. All involved parties working together. Much more thorough. Much more involved. Much more holistic. Much more demanding. Much more of a commitment to community. That would be brilliant.
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 6/21/2011 @ 4:12 am PT...
Road to the Truth can be found at the following address: truenewworld.com
(attention, it is not the ad of the site - it is the ad of the Truth).