Thursday, April 24, 2008

Land of the Free?

From the New York Times: Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment.
Indeed, said Vivien Stern, a research fellow at the prison studies center in London, the American incarceration rate has made the United States “a rogue state, a country that has made a decision not to follow what is a normal Western approach.”
Unfortunately, most of the rest of the article is crap. Once they move from stating numbers to analyzing them, the article goes downhill. The conclusion they come to is that the high incarceration rate is due to our democracy. Utter garbage. What they, not surprisingly, fail to mention is the privatization of our prisons and the rise of for profit prisons in the US over the same time period that the prison population started rising. They also don't mention the racist factor to our prison system. For example, while African Americans make up a small minority of our overall population, they constitute a much larger percentage of our prisoners.

So, just look at the numbers and ask yourself, are we really a free country?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SC Insanity

"His name is so close to Osama I feeling might be Islamic therefore he doesn't recognize Christ," Pastor Byrd said.

If you think the story is ridiculous, you must read the comments. Here is an example:

Russia still has a large nuclear arsenal. Barack Hussein Obama is a muslim name. If Americans elect Obama this country deserves to be nuked.
Is it just me or do you also feel like you are surrounded by crazies? One day I will leave this state and never look back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


An unfortunately common conversation at the University of South Carolina:

Random Guy: "We have to do everything we can to protect Israel because the Bible says..."

My husband: "Yes, we should base all of our foreign policy on a book of mythology."

Random Guy: [visibly shocked] "You don't believe in the Bible?!?!"

My husband: No.

Random Guy: "I see you are wearing a wedding ring. You should get divorced. Marriage is a Christian construct and if you do not believe in the Bible, then you shouldn't get married." [Blah, blah, blah, more religious nonsense, etc...]

My husband: "You think Christians are the only people in the world who get married?"

Random guy: [obviously puzzled because the concept of marriage across all cultures and religions had never crossed his mind] "I don't want to talk about this anymore, I don't want to get in a shouting match."

[End Conversation]

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do Something

On Friday, Bush outwardly admitted to approving torture, yet the media is silent like it has been about every other important issue over the past 7 years. The illegal war is still raging, harsh interrogation techniques (read torture) are still being used, and our rights are being destroyed. Yet, the majority of Americans continue to be misinformed and silent. Do we fall into apathy? Or, do we do something?