Thursday, July 15, 2010

Should Lindsey Lohan Go To Jail? Why This Celebrity Means Something To You.

There is a debate raging over at my favorite blog the ABA News today over what should happen to "poor little Lindsey Lohan". For the uninitiated, She has been in two drug related DWI's she has completely destroyed her probations and she has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and rehab. She then fired her attorney (yes it must be their fault that you are a F.U. and need to be ib jail the way fish need to be in water)and demands that she get a "pro bono" lawyer. Her rep said she had already paid for two lawyers and now the government should pay.

She is pathetic but aside from that, should Lindsey go to jail and for how long. You may be wondering why I care. I suggest to you that we should all care. Not only about Lohan, but Gibson, and Spears and a number of other A-list stars who while the tabloids make them fodder, corrupt our corrections and criminal justice systems.

Hat tip: ABA New Now

Look, in our system, “punishment is not meant to fit the crime” it is meant to fit the criminal. Despite the BS from “victim advocates” Corrections is about correcting. It costs us way too much money to incarcerate people who do bad things but whom we can handle in other ways.

I get really frustrated every time I hear a crime victim cry out for jail time. You want jail time, you pay for it. I only want jail when it is needed to get the person back into life and being a productive tax paying entity. I don't like crime and I feel bad for victims but not at the expense of my family and yours. Restitution and knowing that the perpetrator is being addressed so as to reduce the chance someone else will suffer, is all that a criminal justice system owes to the victim. If they want more, they can avail themselves of the civil Justice system. The Criminal Justice system owes me and you however a corrected and useful member of society. A person who can carry their own weight without again becoming part of the system again. It owes us some semblance of safety as well. Lohan is not a mass murderer, though she has been lucky not to take a life. If we incarcerate her without getting her help, she just comes out an older addict just as likely to re-offend and kill or maim someone. Hence Jail for Jail’s sake is a waste of my tax money and everyone's time. I abhor such waste especially by government.

Lohan is not just a person, she is a product. Just like Mel Gibson and Britney. Because of them, many people have jobs. Many more will have jobs and those people pay taxes and help an economy that we all rely on. Staff, record company employees, ticket takers and pop corn salesmen, people who clean up stadiums and offices, parking attendants, all have jobs because of people like these. So do the folks who feed these other people (like the lawyers who serve those people) (not the stars but the help staffs and others)need them working. Who gets really screwed in a baseball strike? The vendors and the fans. The superstars come out just fine. It is very much a butterfly effect. We need to remember this

I suggest more jail is needed for Lohan, not because I want to see her in jail, but because she is an addict and has an addict’s view of the world that needs to be addressed before she can begin to become productive. Until she is brought to bottom, she will not be receptive to the help available to her. She still see’s it as being all about poor little Lindsey. When it becomes about “look what I am doing to all those that depend on me, all those who believe in me, my fans family (as it is constituted) etc, that is when she will begin to be ready to get the help she needs.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why Are American's So Dumb?

This post is a rant, so if you don't want a rant, go elsewhere.

I am sick of seeing a bunch of lunatics try to run our nation on half lies and rumor. I am also sick of people trying to use half-wit reasoning and because they bellow the loudest they get treated like they actually know something. Let's have a nation where everyone's freedom of speech is appreciated and coveted and not just the people with whom we agree.

About a month ago, Helen Thomas went nuts in an impromptu interview with my old (like 40 years long)friend Rabbi David Nessenoff. Now David is one of my oldest and dearest friends. He is without a doubt one of the finest and bravest people I know. He was absolutely right to air his interview with the octogenarian Thomas and he was entitled to draw the opinion that Thomas was both biased against Israeli interests and that she maybe hit an age where she ought best to retire. The former opinion could be gleaned from her statements that Israeli's ought to get out of Palestine and go back to Germany and Russia. For this she shows a bias, but she is entitled to her opinion and no one, and I mean no one should have been asked to remove her from her job. She was a op-ed writer and to do that job she has to have an opinion. I am often moved to want to fire Rachel Maddow, Ariana Huffington, Anne Coulter, and a number of other people who think that debate is nothing more than a bunch of sarcastic comments strung together with a ridiculous idea to make one sound as ludicrous as possible. Then when she has insulted the other side enough she is crowned a spokeswoman for her side.

Not one of these people could hold a lamp to a William F. Buckley, Joan Didion, George Will, or John Galbrith. What passes as debate in today's hip-hop world is not the stiletto sharp barbed airing of ideas but the in your face name-calling that neither educates nor leads one to think. It is all pop and no corn. What's worse is that when we don't agree with them, we try to hound them off the air making them inconsequential.

The latest "High tech lynching" is over at CNN. I am speaking about the firing of 20ish year veteran Octavia Nasr.
She dare tweeted that she was sorry that Hezbollah leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah had died.

Now personally, I am not all that fond of this guy. He rooted for the destruction of Israel, and blessed the guys who later blew themselves and the US Embassy and a Marine Barracks (killing a number of Americans.) I think he is more terrorist and criminal sympathizer than hero, but I can understand Nasr's appreciation of his pro-women's stance in Islam (now that is something different) and that one may argue that as a Hezbollah leader he has a legitimately obtained dislike for Israel. (Legitimately in that he comes by it naturally having grown up Muslim in the mid-east and didn't come to his position by other choosing).

Of course that "serious" misjudgment that she may have an opinion other than those of her viewers caused CNN to shut her down. Now I get it. We here in the USA like Israel for a number of reasons both good and bad. However to act like a wounded dog and hound her out of a job she did pretty well shows the tolerance of a 3 year old. Freedom of speech with a large part of what makes debate possible. Intelligent debate requires that people who differ and have reasons. I am sure I could make a better case for Fedallah's death than can be made for him being a loving Human Rights figure. That is not the point. Nasr had a right to her views and I a right to disagree. I do not have the right to order her off the air to assuage my feelings.

I am just saying I guess that we aren't going to grow any more smarter just listening to those that agree with our position.

I am just saying...

Monday, July 05, 2010

Of Regan, Kennedy, and Rockwell: TIme To Reflect On Being An American Not a Republicat or Demorican

A very interesting exhibit opened at the Smithsonian Art Museum In Washington DC. this Fourth of July weekend. It is a retrospective of the works of Norman Rockwell, as seen through the eyes of two of America's greatest living movie directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Each has lent parts of their extensive Rockwell collections to the exhibit.

Rockwell is remembered as a artist who captured America and Americans at their best in worst times. Central to his work were the pieces that became known as the "Four Freedoms."

Rockwell told our story, the American story of the 1930's through the 1960's. His paintings captured the fear and strength of an emerging superpower. He captured our sense of wonder and our sense of determination. He was oft criticized for only capturing our "good times", but anyone who has ever really looked at his body of work, especially at "Southern Justice", and "The Problem We All Live With" knows that Rockwell understood both the American ability to do absolutely the right thing and the most horrible things. He just chose to most often show us, and remind us, of our best moments. His work reinforces that we proceed the farthest the fastest by working together.

In a like way, John F. Kennedy asked us to do the same thing. No one since Lincoln had been more divisive than the Boston Brahmin-like , Harvard educated yet Roman Catholic JFK. Our first WWII vet President and War Hero he was from an old line political machine yet like Theodore Roosevelt spoke like a populist.

He won a contested election. The nation was 50/50 for and against him, and yet Kennedy is revered by most Americans not only because he was killed by an assassin's bullet, but because he called on us to serve each other, to do not what was best or expedient for oneself but to do what was best for our nation. He ushered us in with a feeling that we could do ANYTHING. Land on the moon. Sure! Make the world safe for democracy. Absolutely! Equalize race relations. Without a doubt! We believed because he did. We believed because, our leaders, split as they were against each other, made it their job to do a job.

Ronald Regan. An Actor. A liberal labor leader turned Goldwater Republican. Was gonna lead us into war with the Soviets. Was going to destroy the poor and trample on the rights of everyone he didn't agree with.

Nope. He too saw the shining light on the hilltop as our nation. He engineered the fall of the Soviet Empire, and the rebirth of our nation as a superpower of import without firing a single shot. He stabilized our economy and made us proud of ourselves. Not by focusing on the things that kept us apart, but rather focusing on what brought us together. He fought with leaders of the left, and they with him, but the name calling we were now? The garbage that passes for political debate today? Non existent under his watch.

Regan Kennedy and Rockwell all understood the limits of America, but they called on us to remember not who we weren't but who we were and more importantly whom we could be.

To my Tea Party and Liberal friends, CUT IT OUT! Please don't send me another piece of E-mail that attacks President Obama or Senator McConnell. I don't care at this point where the hell Obama was born. I don't care that Michael Steele took some conservative yuppies to a burlesque show. Please never say "Rush Limbaugh" or "Rachel Maddow"to me, even in a joke.

I care that I want health care. I want my employees covered and I want to be covered. I know you want that too.

I want to be able to afford a vacation and still be able to retire some day. I know you want that too.

I want to give less money to the government and I want to make more money than I do. Who doesn't want this??

I want then poor to have shelter, and education. I want there to be no poverty in our nation. Republicans and Democrats want this too.

I want to live free. I don't want to have to be screened to get into my local library. Don't we all want this?

I want to save the environment and to know that our earth will feed my great great grandchildren someday. It isn't just my dream is it??

I would like you, as my elected officials to only tell me how you will do this. I do not want to hear your critique of the other guy's idea. (I am smart enough to do that critique myself, thank you.)

If I like your ideas better than the others that I hear, I will vote for you, donate to your campaigns and respect you.

If you shout down your opponent, call him or his ideas names mis-characterize his programs and act like a spoiled child if he wins the election, I will not vote for you, I will not support you and I WILL NOT RESPECT YOU!!

I ask, no I beg, the Sergeants at Arms of the United States House and Senate to post a print of Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech" at the door of each chamber. Maybe that will remind you those guys of what this is really all supposed to be about.

Hattip: NY Times

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy Fourth of July: Ray Charles Sings America The Beautiful

This is an ode, a love song to a country. My Country, Our Country. I love to hear Ray Charles sing America the Beautiful. Please listen to it with me today and all weekend. The words to the original are printed here below:

America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

I cannot say it better than they did. Please have a safe and happy Fourth of July.