Tag Archives | Freedom
What does freedom mean to you? In a much talked about Facebook post, the California Department of Corrections rang in the 4th of July with the below caption and image of a prisoner sewing American flags at ten cents an hour, which they saw as a cheery and appropriate way to commemorate a day celebrating the values of America:
Happy Independence Day from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation! (Photo: A female inmate works on an American flag while working in the Prison Industries Authority Fabrics program at the Central California Women’s Facility.)
Reports the AP via CBS News:
More than 2,000 people who were falsely convicted of serious crimes have been exonerated in the United States in the past 23 years, according to a new archive compiled at two universities.
There is no official record-keeping system for exonerations of convicted criminals in the country, so academics set one up. The new national registry, or database, painstakingly assembled by the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, is the most complete list of exonerations ever compiled.
The database compiled and analyzed by the researchers contains information on 873 exonerations for which they have the most detailed evidence. The researchers are aware of nearly 1,200 other exonerations, for which they have less data.
They found that those 873 exonerated defendants spent a combined total of more than 10,000 years in prison, an average of more than 11 years each…
Donna Williams, a self-described "mad, autistic artist"— as well as a teacher, author and consultant — wrote an article for American Chronicle that boldly questions whether our technology-oriented, individualistic society is creating more infants with reactive attachment disorder and autism. She writes,Is possible that we’re living in an age where some pregnant mothers being so busy with cerebral, passive interactions with technology and its related increase in time use that they don’t have the range of movements, emotional experience, that it’d be conceivable some don’t develop the same full prenatal bonding with their child that may have been more common before the '80s and '90s?
Viewed in the context of most everyday activities and situations and in line with Aristotle’s idea of the “Golden Mean” (which states that virtue lies at the midpoint between two vices; i.e. courage lies between cowardice and recklessness, etc.), it could be said that a moderate stance is generally better than an extremist one. For example, being a moderate drinker seems to strike a pretty good balance between being healthy and having fun, as opposed to the opposite extremes of being an ascetic teetotaler or a raging alcoholic. Likewise, being politically moderate, if nothing else, tends to generate far less strife during dinner conversations amid mixed company or at large family gatherings.
Then again, for some activities moderate is still too far from the bell curve – particularly in cases where conventional wisdom has taken up residence at one of the distant ends of the spectrum of possibilities. For example, while being moderately racist may be an improvement over being a hate-filled white supremacist neo-Nazi skinhead, it still leaves a lot to be desired if hoping to join enlightened humanity in recognizing equal rights for all people based on our shared human condition.… Read the rest
Alexander Furnas writes in the Atlantic:
… Read the rest
Pre-crime prevention is a terrible idea.
Here is a quiz for you. Is predicting crime before it happens: (a) something out of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report; (b) the subject of of a Department of Homeland Security research project that has recently entered testing; (c) a terrible and dangerous idea which will inevitably be counter-productive and which will levy a high price in terms of civil liberties while providing little to no marginal security; or (d) all of the above.
If you picked (d) you are a winner!
The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology, which is some crazy straight-out-of-sci-fi pre-crime detection and prevention software which may come to an airport security screening checkpoint near you someday soon. Yet again the threat of terrorism is being used to justify the introduction of super-creepy invasions of privacy, and lead us one step closer to a turn-key totalitarian state.
The American was voted the winner in a contest run by the National Army Museum to identify the country's most outstanding military opponent. He was one of a shortlist of five leaders who topped a public poll and on Saturday was selected as the ultimate winner by an audience of around 70 guests at a special event at the museum, in Chelsea, west London. In second place was Michael Collins, the Irish leader, ahead of Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. At the event, each contender had their case made by a historian giving a 40 minute presentation. The audience, who had paid to attend the day, then voted in a secret ballot after all five presentations had been made. Dr Stephen Brumwell, who had championed Washington, said: "As British officers conceded, he was a worthy opponent."
Reports Eleanor Beardsley for NPR:
… Read the rest
In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He’s taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.
Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier’s parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.
LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn’t even get credit at the bakery if you didn’t go to mass every Sunday.
LeBouvier grew up in that world and says his mother once hoped he’d become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free thinkers.