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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlottesville

Glenn Greenwald had a good run early on when he went after the Bush Administration (eventually) over at Salon, but eventually got tiresome, especially his inability to take criticism. But, he did and at times does provide value, including a lot of links to material that is helpful for others to use in their more short form analysis and comments. He does this as well when defending the ACLU after the problems in Charlottesville.

I know this is not the first thing that comes to mind here, including after Trump had to go all "both sides do it" when first talking about the protest and deaths arising from it (two police officers in copter and a woman rammed into by a car, others injured too).  Still, it's something that is out there, including in multiple threads about the events on this blog. There has in the past been protests that led to violence, including to fight racism.  There is room for debate around the edges here regarding time/place/manner and a special need to have the right sort of police presence, which in this case was argued to be selectively soft on violent protesters.

The overall idea from my understanding is that the protesters wanted to stage their racist show in a park [critics of "free speech zones" repeatedly speak of the need to protest where there is the most emotional salience tied to the thing protesting, such as in front of an abortion clinic or outside a convention] where a Lee statue was being removed. The city wanted it in another park, which it argued provided a better place for crowd control and the like.  This also might have made it harder for a car to ram into a bunch of people.  A judge agreed with the protesters [the ACLU worked with the conservative Rutherford Institute here; I think the latter would have won anyway, without the value of the ACLU presence].

I would need to examine the facts to really tell if a compelling argument was present that the different in locations was worth the First Amendment penalty of not having the protest in the original location.  I might be wrong, but am inclined to think the nature of the protesters and so forth had potential for problems either way.  It is simply a danger we need to accept on a certain level or again various other protests that led to disorder would have been blocked too.  Still, I'm open to the idea that the size of the crowd etc. warranted another location. As to them being armed, local law apparently allowed that, but it would to me likely be appropriate -- especially in a "sensitive place" like a crowded park -- to not allow.
The monuments should go. Some of them simply should be trashed; others transmitted to museums, battlefields, and cemeteries. The heroism and losses of Confederate soldiers should be commemorated, but not in everyday public spaces where the monuments are flashpoints in poisonous racial contention, with white nationalists often mustering in their defense.
There is also the issue of taking down Confederate statues, which was the subject of an eloquent speech by the mayor of New Orleans.  I'm not gung ho about self-help here, though it isn't top on my concerns, you know, property rights and concern others will decide to take down stuff I like etc.  The statue there honored Confederate soldiers, which is better in a fashion than a Lee statue, but honoring fighting for treason in front of a courthouse seems a tad off.  I do think there is a place for statues and other displays with the proper context.  The displays in place are selective honoring of racism and defense of slavery.  "Southern heritage" is not about five years, is it?  But, simply destroying them all might not be necessary.

[The link is from National Review, which had it right at times. I'm actually not totally on board with tossing out Roger Taney, who was after all a Chief Justice of the U.S.  Perhaps, his one opinion -- actually not a unique expression of his views on slavery -- damns him.  And, giving a honor of dominating an area as compared to one of many representations of Maryland history etc. is a problem.  Still, perhaps, he is someone who with the proper context might warrant a statue though the context might not please some of his supporters, at least past ones.]

The Unite Right rally was somewhat counterproductive for the participants though they did have an enabler in Trump. A range of Republicans, including very conservative ones, spoke out against them.  Their message of hate was strongly denounced.  I appreciate such criticism though the Republicans enabled them all the same, including by supporting Trump.  The march again showed the value of promotion of truth in collision with error (the metaphor has dark implications here).

Finally, the crash is being investigated by the Justice Department and the details are not all clear.  I'm inclined in these situations, unless there is a problem, to let local authorities punish the wrongdoer. I understand that a national interest against inequality and national freedoms are at stake too. And, here, the person from my understanding came from out of town.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Building a Bridge

The author is a Jesuit priest who was on the Colbert Report (don't think he was on the current one; too bad) and wrote books on humor and advising an alternative play on the trial of Judas Iscariot among others. The subtitle of this book is "How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity." It is in effect a speech/essay to a unity group (it's a two way effort) plus some bible story lessons (and a prayer for someone struggling). Nice effort though an uphill battle as long as the Church is not fully loyal to its no "unjust discrimination" doctrine.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Book and Film Review

Read the quick reading Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation, which is largely lead-up, coming from both ends. Author is an amateur historian of the era, so it isn't as deep as some might like, but is overall a good read for the average reader. Also, watched the rape exploitation film Lipstick (well most of it), particularly notable for Mariel Hemingway's supporting performance. It is professionally made etc. and knows how to play with your emotions.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

August

More blah. Some are on vacation this month. I'm not. So, it's just hot and unpleasant.

ETA: Oh, got around to seeing Breakfast with Scot again. Enjoyable film with some serious stuff going on, including dealing with being different and being okay about it.