Archive for the ‘Popular culture’ Category

The 1,000th US execution & why I support the death penalty but not the way it’s done now

December 2, 2005

North Carolina being North Carolina of course it was almost inevitable that we’d be the circus, eerrrr, site of the nation’s 1,000th execution since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 and last night’s dinner and floor show at Central Prison, located about ten miles or so from my house, didn’t disappoint.

I am of firm conviction but mixed mind when it comes to the death penalty as it’s done in the US.

The warrior in me cries out that in time of war that all spies caught on the battlefield and all truly treasonous traitors who sell out my, YOUR country for whatever reasons to our avowed enemies (as opposed to those who lawfully oppose and protest this or that government policy concerning said war or anything else) be excuted swiftly once caught, and I’m human enough to say that any sub-human animal that kidnaps, rapes and murders a child or commits other similar truly heinous crimes such as the cold-blooded murder of a frontline law enforcement officer should die at the hands of state legal system justic, but the way that the death penalty is used in this country, basically to kill only those too poor or too without any influence on the legal system is not only immoral and wrong but is truly a travety and afront to human dignity.

When you throw in the truly horrifying fact or at least should be reason by itself enough to immediately mandate a moratorium on enforcement of the death penalty that time and time and time and time again prosecutors/Distric Attorneys have knowingly withheld exculpatory evidence, created false evidence, coerced perjured confessions and generally done anything they could to get death penalty convictions knowing full well that the citizen charged with said capital crime was innocent, well, don’t get me started on this.

Let’s just say I have and will always say that when someone, anyone in a position of legal authority who abuses their power for whatever reasons to send any innocent person to jail let alone send them to the death chamber, then I truly believe that legal official – when caught – should lawfully receive the same punishment they callously inflicted for their own selfish gain and reasons upon that innocent person they chose to use for vendettal scapegoat, and yes, if said DA or whoever wrongly, knowingly and willfully prosecutes someone they know to be truly innocent of a captial crime and that person is eventually executed, then said District Attorney should be charge with muder since that’s what they did, cold-bloodedly murder an innocent person and then on top of it cowardly used the power of the state to do so, and then put to death themselves, truly an eye for a eye.

But until there is a complete and total transparency of the legal process of prosecuting someone for a capital crime (shoot, for all crimes), traceability of all evidence and complete accountability for all actions on both the defense as well as prosecutor’s side, remember the prosecutor has to prove the defendent guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense is not required to prove anything, then let us follow “The Golden Rule” and treat all our bretheren the way we would wish to be treated and end the current horrendously flawed system of occasionally putting an innocent man to death along with a whole bunch of crearly guilty ones – just to satisfy a small segment society’s need for bloodlust vengence.

The death penalty can and should be appropriate in some circumstances, but the current system is not the way to do it.

Thanksgiving, the most special of holidays to me

November 24, 2005

 

Being a Christian, you would think Christ-Mas would be the most special of Holy-Days to me and it actually is, but we’re talking “Old Christmas” which is generally celebrated on March 6th or March 8th either/both of which are probably a lot closer to the day of Jesus’ actual birth than the Roman holiday of Saturnalia (which was always celebrated on December 25th, BTW) which the early church fathers in the second or third century AD/ACE  hijacked and misappropriated in order for the “new” religion of Christianity to be better able to compete with the old Roman religions which weren’t old when Christianity was still quite new to the world, so in the light of “Western culture Christmas” on December 25th being a total and near-shameful sham to me, being a native-born American (born in Columbus, Ohio but brought to Cary, North Carolina as an adoptee at age seven months old which is why I claim to be a Cary and North Carolina native despite my physical birth being somewhere else, my metaphorical re-birth through adoption landing me in Cary instead of Columbus), ever since I came to consciousness at age five, Thanksgiving has become the most welcome if not important holiday to me.

The whole PC/politically correct-thing about what it does or doesn’t represent to American Indians aside, while most holidays are at least happy if not joyful, I find that our American Thanksgiving has high degrees of both somber-ness and reflectiveness about it which I find totally refreshing, kinda like a gentile Yom Kippur but with football and better food.

The purpose(s) of this or that holiday shouldn’t all be the same, anyway, and what makes Thanksgiving such a totally unique American holiday is that, for 95%-98% of all Americans, on each year’s Thanksgiving we as Americans find ourselves so blessed that almost all of us have much, much to be thankful for and so much of the rest of the world, without getting too esoteric or maudlin-ly philosophical on you, really doesn’t have much of anything on any given day to be thankful for, not usually, and definitely not as much as America and Americans does and do, and I’m not talking just about material stuff, I’m talking about (while recently eroded because of such patently anti-American laws such as the so-called “Patriot Act”) are our basic freedoms, basic “natural rights” freedoms such as, to give you one quick real-time example, the Freedom Of Expression and The Freedom Of The Press both of which are totally embodied in my now-expression of those two typical American freedoms by my writing this tome and publishing it in this-here blog of mine, two expressions of basic human rights-freedoms which a couple-billion of Chinese citizens don’t have, at least not wholly and fully like I do as an American.

That’s what and why I am thankful for, this and every Thanksgiving: that, by the literal grace of God of being in America and living as an American, that I have more freedoms and opportunities and blessings to be thankful for every single day of every respective year – not just on this one special day per year which focuses and acknowledges them more – than I would have otherwise had I been born anywhere and anytime elsewhere and elsewhen in this world’s timestream.

 

Once again, “Medium” stikes a chord

November 16, 2005

As those of you know who’ve been following my blog for a while now, I’m a huge fan of the NBC show “Medium” which comes on Monday nights at 10PM because, well, I, uhhhmm, I geuss you could say I’m a “medium” too…I don’t see myself as that, I see myself as an “empath” (I HATE the term “psychic”), but the show is giving a common language and a common bond to all of us who are like or even somewhat like even a little the show’s main title character “Alison” as played by Patricia Arquette.

This season’s first 2-3 shows were so dumb, their scripts were, that they ventured into downright hokey territory and past the pale of even remote believability, but last night’s show was back on that dead-on mark that was hit almost every time last season (the series first season was last year) that it was like welcoming an old friend back home.

The show dealt with the day-to-day reality that as an empath, errrrr, “medium”, that when “Alison” or anyone with any empathetic ability gets a vision, in last night’s episode it was Alison being flashed by a vision from her husband and/or his old lover he hadn’t seen in 15 years as his old lover and her new husband accidentally met her and her husband at the movies and then from there the plot thickened, the very real hilarity and simultaneous poingnancy being when Alison saw the memory of her husband and his former (just a one-night stand, though!) lover in bed in the way back, yeah, she reacted very human and got very hurt and very angry at this high-amplitude vision was “broadcast” to her more or less against her will and definitely without her consent, and how she dealt with, how she dealt with that mental-psychic-based-DVD-loop of her husband jumping the bones of another woman albeit years ago before she and Joe – her husband – ever met made for a truly classic episode.

If you do or don’t believe in ESP and psychic powers or psychics or mediums or empaths or little green men from Mars (the show doesn’t deal with aliens and that sort of nonsensical stuff, thankfully, just issues of being a psychic in a world filled with 99.999% NON-psychics), it’s still a very well-written show with lots of human drama and interactions and always, always some interesting plot lines and plot twists, do give it a surf-in one Monday night, you’ll be glad you did.

In reluctant praise of “ER”

November 4, 2005

I have to admit that I’m a closet fan of the stalwart NBC show “ER” despite myself.

I mean, there are so many good reasons not to like the show, its pedantic and pompous and grandious and and preachy and stylized over-the-top self-importance just makes me want to vomit at times, but yet every week (when I can) I do tune in to watch and don’t surf out usually but a couple of times though I still feel like a cat who’s desperately digging its claws into a blackboard so they won’t be taken to the gas chamber in the next scene and yes I do surf out when they begin doing the ER-Alphabet-Soup of medical abbreviations and nomenclatures and terminologies just to show off (hey NBC, if I was a producer of the show, I could also hire an MD to review scripts and fill them full of nonsensical blabber and inside jokes that serve no other purpose save try to create an atmosphere of Holier-Than-The-Typical-Demographic-Viewer) and then immediately surf back in for the almost-Dickens-ian characters and plotlines and storylines, storylines about characters real enough to be real people in any hospital in the country who speak real colloquial American-English and have real joys and sorrows and great happinesses and worse tragedies and lots and lots of petty nonsense and more boredom than the law should allow, just as we all do in our lives, most of us at least, well, at least I usually do, which is why the show despite my best efforts to find that one extra reason to strain credibility and make suspension of disbelief all but impossible ever again never the less keeps my skinny behind on the bed as I stetch out to relax and partake of its best script writing on network TV before I turn out the light (usually, unless I have enough energy to watch a new episode of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central) and dream of something other than high soap operas.

I may or may not post something this weekend, I will say that the ease of WordPress’s blog software makes my posting here more likely most days, but if I don’t then you good folks have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week, Smile!