Sunday Roast: Do we deserve to kill?

Earlier this week, The Rachel Maddow Show played a portion of the above TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson.  The Maddow Blog introduces Mr Stevenson:

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and part of his Big Idea is about kids in prison, and the country that keeps them there until they die (that’s us).  America is the only country in the world with kids serving life in prison without parole (LWOP) sentences for crimes they committed as children.  And that, Stevenson says, changes our identity as a country.  It changes us.

Rachel’s interview so moved me, that I had to hear him speak more fully, hence the above TED Talk, which was provided on Rachel’s blog.  Please watch the whole video, you won’t be sorry.

Part of this country’s identity is that we have the fifth highest rate of incarceration in the world, behind such countries as China and Iran, and the incarceration rate is abnormally high in this country among people of color.  We lock up children as young as 13 years old for life, for things they did before their brains are finished developing.  And please, to anyone reading this who thinks that because my bleeding liberal heart doesn’t believe in locking children up for life, then that means I believe no punishment should be given at all — get a friggin’ grip on reality, okay?

In this country, we are “treated better if we’re rich and guilty, than if we’re poor and innocent.”  He who can hire the best lawyer (or team thereof) has the best chances of getting that “not guilty” verdict, or at least a lighter sentence.  Wealth shapes outcome, that’s true, but it could also be said that social class and the color of one’s skin shapes outcome as well.

But we don’t like to think about those kinds of things in this country.  Hey, if it’s not happening to me or my family, why should I care?  America, love it or leave it!  We’re number one!!  American exceptionalism rules!!

Except when it doesn’t.  As long as there is inequality, suffering, discrimination, poverty, and hate in this country, none of us are free — let alone exceptional.

We are, above all, human.  Our humanity is the only thing we bring into the world, and our humanity (or the shreds thereof) are all we take out of this world.  Our humanity is all we have and all we are, and if we want to find a solution to the terrible social ills afflicting this country and the world, we should start there.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss amongst yourselves.

92 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: Do we deserve to kill?

  1. Governor Tom Corbett legalizes marijuana in Pennsylvania…

    Late yesterday evening, Governor Tom Corbett stunned both liberals and conservatives alike when he drafted and signed an executive order that legal experts believe legalizes the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana, commonly referred to as “weed.”

    Corbett, who served as Attorney General before he was elected Governor, had generally been known as hard on drugs and an advocate of zero tolerance by law enforcement personnel. Sources close to Corbett are stating on condition of anonymity that the Governor has been under a lot of stress lately in his tenure, receiving criticism from virtually every group except wealthy drilling executives.

    In recent months, these same sources report, Corbett has taken to locking himself in his office for hours at a time, blasting Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and King Crimson to “deal with the stress for just a minute.”

    The order legalizing marijuana was reportedly written during one of these hours-long sessions.

    The text of the order, which aides say was personally drafted last night by Corbett himself, has an unprecedented length of a mere single sentence. The full text of the order is as follows:

    “As Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania I hereby order that weed is now totally legal, like for everybody.”

  2. April 1, 2012
    Republicans Reveal that Entire Presidential Race was a Prank
    April Fool’s Day Announcement Brings Practical Joke to an End

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) � In an April Fool’ss Day announcement that took the political world by storm, the Republican Party revealed today that its entire presidential race had been an elaborate prank.

    “April Fool!” exclaimed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at a press conference in Washington, where they were joined by fellow merrymakers Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.

    Moments after revealing that the GOP primary had been one long practical joke, Mr. Santorum explained the rationale behind staging such a complicated and expensive prank.

    “A lot of Americans are suffering right now and need a good laugh,” he said. “I think my colleagues and I can be justifiably proud of the entertainment we provided even if it meant me wearing these ridiculous sweater vests.”

    Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain agreed that the prank had gone well, but added, “I’m just amazed that the American people never figured out we were kidding.”

    “I mean, I kept saying ‘9-9-9’ every four seconds, which was total and utter bullshit,” he said. “And everything out of Michele’s mouth made her sound like a mental patient.”

    “True that,” Rep. Bachmann agreed.

    Texas Governor Rick Perry said he worried that “every time I screwed up at a debate people would figure out I was pulling their legs,” but added, “The American people seemed to accept the idea that a Governor of Texas could be a blithering idiot.”

    When one reporter mentioned that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was not at the press conference, a sudden silence fell over the gathering.

  3. Criminalizing children at a younger and younger age. These children should have consequences for their dangerous actions, and the parents should be brought into it in the manner of parenting classes or whatever is needed, but arresting them like this is another sign of the illness of our society.

    Did these children learn anything from this except fear of the police, adults should not be trusted, big people scare little people, and (in their little brains) further loathing of the child they beat up?

  4. Sadly, this one is not an April Fools joke…

    PA’s Gov. Tom Corbett To Bar Food Stamp Recipients For Having Assets

    Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has announced a major assault on the food stamp program that feeds 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, including 439,245 in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfareannounced that on May 1, people under 60 with more than $2,000 in savings or other assets will be barred from receiving food stamps. People over 60 would have a $3,250 cap.

    So if the car you’re living in is worth more than $2000, your kids no longer get to eat. Awesome.

    • When Tom Corbett was AG of PA, he would just as soon throw someone in jail as look at them. He is an awful person. Corbett, along with the other teabagging Republics, are just following the ALEC script. Pennsylvania is the ONLY state that has gas drilling where the drillers don’t need to share their profits with the state. Gov. Corbett has made major cuts in education funding. He gets very little press and the protestors get very little press. Yet, he is just as evil if not more evil than Gov. Walker. The PA Constitution does not have recall. The legislators can impeach the governor but that will never happen with the Republic controlled state House and Senate.

  5. Nascar runs today at one of my favorite tracks, Martinsville, Virginia. The winner still gets a grandfather clock (made locally), and a famous Martinsville hotdog is still just two dollars. It’s the one track I’d like to watch a race at that’s not a road course. Gary Sinise was to be Grand Marshall of the race, but didn’t show up, so Richard Petty gave the command to start engines.
    There was no Nationwide race this weekend so no Danica report.

    I have been following Mugsy’s comments at Crooks and Liars on Sunday mornings. He has to start with Fox News Sunday, then Meet the Press, and then This Week. Today was the first time I was able, thanks to a new configuration of electronics, to DVR MtP and This Week, and watch FNS, because all three are on at 8am here. Later I was able to watch the first half of the newly expanded Face the Nation, where the part I saw had an interview with Joe Biden. Then the local CBS station brought on the usual church program so any local Reich wingers missed the Republican rebuttal, Ha ha!
    On FNS, Howard Dean did OK against Haley Barbour, head to head. with Chris Wallace moderating. Barbour lied his ass off about gas prices, and the brief moratorium on deep water drilling in 2010, as though that had any effect at all on current gas prices.
    On This Week, George Stephanopoulos moderated between Paul Ryan and Chris Van Hollen, and I thought Van Hollen did pretty good too.
    The panel on This Week had Ann Coulter. Watch for the threads quoting her at various sites throughout the day.
    Meet the Press had Samantha Guthrie subbing for David Gregory, and she did her best to emulate him by asking questions and then interrupting the answer, especially when she had on Chuck Schumer. The panel was hosted by Morning Joke team Joe and Mika, with Tom Friedman, David Brooks, Jon Meacham, Fmr. Rep. Harold Ford. Friedman actually is the most left-wing of that crew, and made several statements that I agreed with.

    • Observing that GBH cam reminded me of how fortunate we are to be gazing upon such magnificence for in the name of “fashion”/vanity/thoughtlessness:

      Hats Off to Audubon
      In 1886 Frank Chapman hiked from his uptown Manhattan office to the heart of the women’s fashion district on 14th Street, to tally the stuffed birds on the hats of passing women. Chapman, who would later found the first version of this magazine, was a talented birder. He identified the wings, heads, tails, or entire bodies of 3 bluebirds, 2 red-headed woodpeckers, 9 Baltimore orioles, 5 blue jays, 21 common terns, a saw-whet owl, and a prairie hen. In two afternoon trips he counted 174 birds and 40 species in all.

      Women sported egret plumes, owl heads, sparrow wings, and whole hummingbirds; a single hat could feature all that, plus four or five warblers. The booming feather trade was decimating the gull, tern, heron, and egret rookeries up and down the Atlantic Coast.

  6. It’s Sunday noon time and Jesus wants to sleep and the teabaggers are enjoying their freedoms by their firing automatic weapons less than 2 miles from my house. By the number of rounds that are rapidly being fired, my guess would be that the teabaggers are using extended cartridges. Hey, you can’t stop a deer unless you fire 30 rounds and hope that one of them hits the deer. That’s Pennsylvania for you… guns, more guns, and pretend religion. It’s off to church in the morning, home for a quick bite to eat, and then it’s time for the guns. I sometimes wonder, what do these teabaggers worship more? Their guns or their god?

    • I guess we’d find if the baby Jesus come down from heaven and said, “Sorry, no more guns for you.”

      How hard could it be to hide the bullet-riddled corpse of baby Jesus?

    • The difference being that there was an actual investigation when the black kid was the shooter, and there seems to be more of a case for having shot someone who was actually attacking him.

      • “Justice is a blind god, to that we blacks are wise.
        Her bandage hides two festering sores that once perhaps were eyes.”
        Langston Hughes

    • She’s contemptible. Racist indeed. She’s no understanding – apparently doesn’t want to understand, that Blacks are followed by security and police for just being Black.
      Her ‘outrage’, that Lester Holt and another Black anchor relayed how life treats/treated them, as being meaningless or having no bearing on the subject tells us thatTrotta’s hard-heartedness belongs on Fox.

  7. I have no idea why we believe someone can be too young at 13 to hear the f-word in a movie and yet old enough to put in jail for the rest of their life.

    Oh, and for the Honorable Governor of Pennsylvania, Fuck You!

  8. Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi wins in Myanmar by-election

    The people of Myanmar got their first taste of democracy in two decades Sunday when they elected popular opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a seat in parliament, according to her party, ushering in a new political era in the long-isolated Southeast Asian nation.

    Hundreds of people cheered and shouted when a large screen outside the offices of her National League for Democracy party announced a large win estimated unofficially at 82% for the pro-democracy icon. The party also claimed it had won at least 10 other seats in the 45-seat contest. During the campaigning, supporters waited hours in the searing heat to catch a glimpse of her.

  9. preparing wild salmon to be baked and topped with a chimichurri sauce, along with roasted baby carrots, and Dutch yellow baby potatoes. Searching under sofa cushions, and car seats to come up with enough change for a bottle of Gewruztraminer. It’s Sunday Roast btw. 😉

  10. Well, I’ve done my taxes and filled out the forms for deferment of some of my student loans, and now I’m cranky.

    I have no idea if I did either set correctly, but I’m not really caring. Boo.

    • I’m doing mine as well. I thought I would have to file for my mother’s estate as it had interest income, but no, not unless it’s more than $5m. I did learn that one is allowed to claim the child tax credit if their child has been kidnapped by someone other than a family member.

      • Are you not allowed child tax credit if no one kidnaps your child?

        That could be a growth industry waiting to happen if not…

          • Ummmm, Zoo 3? 😉

            Zoo 2 could be a real drama queen sometimes, and being that he was blond & blue-eyed and supposedly prime kidnapper bait, he’d say that he was going to run away and the kidnappers would him, and I’d never see him again.

            I told him they’d bring him back as soon as they had to feed him or buy him shoes. 😉

  11. Mitt Romney’s staff played an epic April Fools’ Day joke on their boss | The Ticket – Yahoo! News

    Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson—two key Romney surrogates here in Wisconsin—were in on the joke. Ryan introduced the candidate as planned in the empty room, as Romney and Johnson listened off stage. But as Romney prepared to enter the room to his usual soundtrack of Kid Rock’s “Born Free,” his staff warned him that turnout at the event had been lighter than expected.
    “I go in there, and it’s completely empty. There’s nobody there!” Romney giggled, as he later recounted the prank to his audience at the real event. “I thought, oh boy, this is going to look really bad on the evening news, let me tell ya.”
    The worst part, Romney explained: The prank was caught on camera.
    “They turned me into the April Fool this morning!” Romney laughed, admitting he had forgotten about the holiday. “This is known as forgive, but remember. I tell ya, we’re going to remember this.”

    Of course, one wonders where the joke is. Remember this at Ford Field? And that one wasn’t a prank.

  12. Smarter at 22 months than I was at 12 years…

    BadmoodGrandson (sing-song to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”, in the car as we wait at a stoplight):

    “Where is green light? Where is green light? I don’t know.”

  13. Taxes done, what a f***ed up country – that’s my American experience everytime I have to do my taxes….. no other country is as f***ed up as this.

    And I’m paying in – which would have been cool *if* id earned anything with it.

    • Heh, I got $804 in unemployment last year. I have to pay $10 to the state of Idaho.

      $10 isn’t much, of course, but when I think about Exxon and other companies that paid nothing…it’s bizarre.

  14. I just finished watching a documentary about Wernher von Braun called Missile to Moon. I didn’t know that in the 1930s, Huntsville was known as the Watercress Capital of the World.

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