An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Florida’

Florida, as well as America, Wants Stupid Kids

Americans should feel ashamed, and the sad fact is that most of them probably have no idea about this.  The Florida Board of Education has recently made a decision to dramatically lower the standards on the writing exams that they give 4th, 8th and 10th grade students at public schools.  This comes on the heels of their last test periods showing dramatic failure of the writing portions.  Among the cited reasons from educators as to why this happened is because these tests now count punctuation and spelling, but hadn’t done so before.

First, a test administered to 10th grade students didn’t test punctuation and spelling?  The levels of failure for such a fact are so ridiculous.  The fact that our education standards are so low is appalling.  This country’s education system is a joke to the rest of the world, as it should be.  The students are not held to anywhere near an appropriate standard.

One of the first problems is that we think that a test is going to tell us what we need to know about a student.  Florida is a perfect example of how that is wrong.  Gauging the success of schools and students solely by what we think is a “one size fits all” test is beyond ridiculous.

A lot of people will blame the teachers for this failure, which is totally unfounded.  Teachers at public schools in this country are among the most underappreciated groups of people in this country.  There was a great sign at a rally talking about how much work a public teacher puts into their job for which they get no respect.

If teacher just worked and 8 hr. day, your student would get:
NO graded papers
NO letters of recommendation
NO tutoring
NO school plays
Fewer coaches
NO IEP
NO concerts
NO parent emails, online grades; H.W.

And that’s the absolute truth of the matter.  Teachers are working very hard to do a job for which they won’t get any respect.  The failure of this lowering of standards falls many places.  The first is the parents.  Parents in this country hardly ever hold their children up to any standard.  It all starts at home. A kid who feels like their parent supports them will work harder at school.  The next is the education system.  Teachers aren’t able to teach to their own style, aren’t able to put learning above testing, so instead of getting integrated places where knowledge can be gained, we have teachers teaching to tests and students who clearly don’t understand how those tests work not able to get it.

When one looks at this issue, along with the fact that the educators in this country are treated like America’s dog, it is becoming increasingly clear that no solution for ground-up reformation of this country’s education system is ever forthcoming.  It will be just another issue that we can chalk up to a bureaucratic mess that will never be solved.

America is a nation which is failing, consistently.  Our infrastructure is falling apart.  We don’t have universal health care.  There is a war on drugs that has made America famous for having 25% of the entire world’s prison population.  We are spending more on our military than any other nation combined, along with being involved in pointless wars that are giant iron balls around the ankles of America’s economy.

This is another issue which is such a gimmie, such an easy thing to grab, but this country won’t do that.  It is so pathetic how this country’s government can’t even do this.  But as Cenk was saying on The Young Turks, this is a macro problem.  The culture doesn’t demand execellence.  The culture of this country is accepting of stupidity, accepting of failure, accepting of the worthlessness of the people in it.

Once again, as George Carlin put it –

Garbage in, garbage out.

America, our youth are getting stupider, and we are falling further and further behind the rest of the industrialized world.  Do you even care?

Probably not.  So You Think You Can Dance is on.

Internet Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Well, the truth may never truly be explained about what happened to Trayvon Martin.  The one piece of evidence that has been determined is that Zimmerman’s story is a complete farce.  This man lied outright about being in danger, and the world knows it.  But he still walks free.  This man is getting away with murder.

Or is he?

Enter the internet.  This lovely domain where all ideas are welcome, and anybody can voice an opinion.  Along with the internet has come a new form of group-mentality.  The mentality is that the group comes to consensus about something, and it spreads.  For things like this, when an injustice is committed, it spreads across the internet, and from there, the bulk of the people are able to get involved.

So what does that mean for Zimmerman?  That means that the internet has crucified this man.  Rightly so.  Regardless of the truth, Zimmerman is a murderer.  He killed this kid, who was screaming, in cold blood.  These are now facts, now that the 911 tapes have been released.  Like wildfire, it spread across the internet, and the entire blogosphere and mediasphere has come alive.

There’s a new saying – what enters the internet is forever.  Sarah Palin, the quitter governor of my state, found this out herself after that Gabby Giffords shooting.  A graphic she had on her Twitter got her the lambasting and ridicule of all reasonable people.  For good reason, it was incredibly inappropriate.  But it’s proof that she is forever tarred and feathered to the public, and she lost any and all remaining credibility.  (what little she had left)

What does this mean for Zimmerman?  It maens that the rest of his life, this is going to follow him around.  In the racist communities of Florida, it probably won’t.  But his face is known, now.  He is a pariah of racism and murder.  He escape justice from the legal system, however, he will never escape the hatred of the internet, and since the internet is so key in our lives, he will never escape hatred.

To go anywhere and receive looks of hatred.  To know that never will you be welcome, truly welcome, anywhere, because the people will know that you are a cold-blooded murderer.  To never have a home that you can truly belong to.  Perhaps that is a greater justice than any jail cell could ever have been for Zimmerman.

Another place this justice goes is toward the cops.  They are complicit in lying for this man.  Their version of events is that George Zimmerman was screaming.  Why?  Was he scared of Skittles?  They are terrifying, I know, but this kid was unarmed.  The screams are from Trayvon.  You know this because the screams suddenly stop after he is shot.

The internet has also shown the pathetic either open racism, or open corruption of the cops.  It’s becoming more and more a trend that America has no love for the police.  Where once the children were told that the officer if their friend, they are now told that the officer is not to be trusted.  For good reason, too.  They officer isn’t to be trusted.  The cops know all of what has happened here, and yet, they have (so far as I know) done nothing.  They have sat back and watched this play out.

But the internet has crucified them too.  It’s almost beautiful how social justice is becoming more powerful than official justice.  You got to jail, so what?  You kill a kid, you’re known forever as a murderer who killed a guy who was trying to bring Skittles home to his brother.  His brother probably got upset that his Skittles were late, not knowing that the man who was going to bring them to him is lying dead in the street.

It’s a beautiful day for online justice.  A beautiful day.  This is something that needs to grow, because if the police won’t do the right thing, and show these people for who they are, we have to.  Now, I am not arguing for vigilante justice.  That won’t get us anywhere.  I am arguing for something worse – social outcast syndrome.  Make them never feel welcome anywhere.  Being alone, now that’s true punishment.  And hopefully, it will last forever.

That’s how we can avenge Trayvon Martin’s death.

Peace out,

Lefty

When government condones crime

In Morocco, a girl was forced to marry her rapist.  That’s the baseline for what an article posted about this tragic story.  This girl, 16 years old, was forced, by law, to marry the man who had raped her.  The parents charged the man with rape, and the courts decided that apparently it was a good thing that she was being forced to marry him.

The article above calls him “her huband,” which is an outright lie.  The girl committed suicide, and they say it was because of “the horror of rape,” which is also not true.  This man is no more her husband than her brother.  He is her rapist.  And the rape didn’t kill her, it was the horror of being forced to marry this man who hurt her.  It was little more than slavery.

Morocco is supposedly one of the more “progressive” Muslim nations, and this is happening.  The government there is in total collusion with this, helping the rapist to get away with his crime.  A lot of people have spoken out in defense of this kind of thing, because it is the same “punishment” in the Bible.  They say that it is perfectly acceptable to do that, because it is a reminder of the fact that he raped them.  Never mind that it gives this person more opportunities to rape women.  Of course, many Christian circles still reject the notion that a wife can be raped.

Next up, we’ve got a story right here in USA.  This is in Florida, where a black teenager was killed, outright murdered, by a white man in a gated community.  He saw the kid, carrying only a bag of skittles for his little brother, and an iced tea for himself.  He shot the man, killing him.  The boy was only 17 years old.  The man who shot him is 26.  He told the police that he did it, and yet, no charges have been filed.  Not one.

This is another instance where the law knows the situation, knows exactly what happened, but is choosing to do nothing.  Just like they have with Anthony Bologna at Occupy Wall Street.  Just like they have with the police at UC Davis.  Just like all the other times that authority figures have done anything and go away with it.  The guy was white, and living in a gated community.  Obviously, he came from money.  He kills a man and tells the cops that he did it, and nothing happens.

While the title of this post says that this is the fault of governments for not standing up for what’s right and bringing the hammer of justice down on these monster, it isn’t.  This is about the people of the world, and how pathetic it is that we tolerate this.  We tolerate this kind of disgusting actions.  We tolerate this because the bulk of the country is too apathetic or too worthless to be bothered to care about what happens to the people.

This is an insult aimed directly at the worthless public of this country, who can’t be bothered enough to stand up for what is right.  Who can’t be bothered to demand real justice, instead of this fake crap that we all like to think is justice.  Because that’s just too hard, and the people of this country are weak.  The human race is just too weak.  All of this can be traced to the weakness of humanity to do the right thing, and it makes me sick.

How about you?

Peace out,

Lefty

Are We in Danger From the Law?

There was a story that I wrote for the latest article I submitted to the paper.  It examined a topic that I actually think is pretty serious.  The typical American is told when they are born that the police officer and the soldier are your friends and that you should trust them.  They are told that they are the people who protect you in times of trouble.  This is a lesson that everybody is given, and that people are seeming to agree with blindly.  Part of the problem these days is that people don’t want to be critical of law-enforcement personnel and soldiers.  But that is something people should be critical of, and there are some very good reasons why.

A few weeks back, in Miami Beach, Florida, a man named Narces Benoit was out with his girlfriend.  He got to see a rather awful event unfold in front of him.  Nine cops were firing with abandon at Raymond Harisse.  He was sitting in his parked car.  The evidence points to him not having shot back.  The cops claim that there was a gun hidden in his car.  If that is the case, how would have have been able to shoot at the cops, get hit numerous times, and have hidden the gun?  There is a logical disconnect happening with their story.

These nine cops, if they were firing a standard-issue Glock 22, potentially fired 135 rounds.  One bystander reported that their guns were clicking on empty.  That’s 135 rounds that not only went in Harisse, but also into four bystanders are the scene.  These cops killed this man in cold blood, and why?  Because he had run over a police officer earlier that day.  Instead of taking him to jail, these cops decided to outright murder this man.

The police are a unique thing to watch right now.  Here is an interesting practice that happens in this country – the cops will take people’s stuff and sell it.  For real, this isn’t a joke.  To make up for the unbelievably low wages this country forces our cops to accept, they have started routinely taking people’s stuff without even charging them for a crime.  They take people’s stuff who aren’t able or who don’t have to money to fight for what is taken.  They typically target low-income persons with a couple of charges under their bealt, so they won’t choose to fight.  This is a fairly common practice among police officers in this country.

And brutality isn’t really just an every once in a while occurence either.  A young black man in Houston, Texas was running from the cops.  However, when his path was cut off, he got on the ground and put his hands behind his head in surrender.  He has submitted, and the cops, instead of just handcuffing him and throwing him in the back of a car, they just, for 30 to 40 seconds, just beat him mercilessly.

And these are just some local examples.  Then there is what American soldiers have been doing overseas.  The biggest, and worst of these stories being one that appeared in an article in Rolling Stone magazine.  It talked about a group of soldiers in Bravo Company that they dubbed “The Kill Team.”  These guys not only killed, completely in cold blood, four Afghani civilians, but they were planning to kill more.  Had they not have been stopped, the killing would have continued.  One idea that they were throwing around was to go up to a bunch of kids and thrown candy out the windows of their vehicle.  Then, when the kids came to grab it, they would open fire on them.  But one of them thought – why waste the bullets?  Why not just throw candy out in front of their vehicle and run them down?

These are American soldiers.  These are people who are supposed to be able to respect the lives of others.  And we have a group of men who killed and mutilated four people.  One of them was from Wasilla, Alaska, the town I grew up in.  There were pictures of them with severed heads.  This is not the activities of a civilized society.  And the sad fact is that all of the areas of law enforcement are becoming that way.

The TSA’s new pat-downs have been a source of controversy in this country for some time.  But recently, it has taken an even uglier turn.  The TSA told the daughter of a 95 year old leukemia patient to take off her soiled adult diaper.  The elderly woman’s mother, was very stoic.  The daughter bursted into tears.  She had every reason to hate this.  Not only is this not dignified, the fact that our government has given a branch of law enforcement the power to do something like this is just plain sick.  That’s a fact – it’s sick.  To even ask somebody to do this is wrong.  The head of the TSA should have apologized, but they didn’t.  What did they do?  They said it didn’t happen.  That was their response – to deny the allegation completely, and pretend it didn’t happen.  And with the government pretty much giving them a blank ticket anymore, they can do that and it can work.

And of course, the great example of how the law can have unlimited power and can suffer no consequences – The Patriod Act.  This is a hopelessly abused weapon of the system designed to keep an eye on the common man.  Using it, they have been able to detain people for no reason, tap phones and enter homes without a warrant.  They have even been able to torture people and have the military not be able to be prosecuted for this.  It has been proven over and over that torture doesn’t work.  A skilled interrogator who is good at reading people is worth more.  But instead of following historical evidence, they decide to just keep at this broken system.

The big quesiton that needs to be asked – are we in danger from the law?  The answer is looking more and more ugly.  And what happens when this abuse happens to people?  Who is made to pay for the violation of rights that is occuring?  When a cop maces a 15 year old girl who he has pinned down on the hood of his car, with her hands cuffed behind her back, who gets retribution?

The problem is that so many people don’t allow these kinds of discussions to happen.  They simply choose to say that the law is right, no matter what.  Questioning if something is right is never a bad idea, never.  People need to realize that, because if cops can shoot a man in cold blood and the complain about the media attacking them because it would hurt their case, who is being helped?

Peace out,

Eli

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