Monday, January 29, 2007

Sentencing for domestic crimes; justice for killer Moms

I often observe the different ways our society treats men and women. Little is more reflective of this than our courts.

Today I read in the paper that a drug addict step-mother killed her step-child and was sentenced to life without parol.

I can buy that justice in our society, but I note that there is no sense of redemption allowed her.

I was somewhat shocked at this sentence, however, because I've read a couple of little blurbs in the paper about men killing their wives or girlfriends and getting sentences under 10 years (not the famous cases, of course)!

So I found this explanation:

JStor article

The article basically argues that in general, we punish economic and predatory crimes more than domestic crimes (e.g. the average guy's going to get a worse sentence for killing his average neighbor than his average wife), but women generally commit domestic murder (in fewer numbers), and women's sentences for those crimes are generally full force.

Women pay more whether we're the victims or the perpetrators.

We should know this. It also underscores how much the structure of our criminal sentencing devalues families and the fundamental trust we should have in our relationships. I'd be happy to see our criminal justice system place ANY family crime as the worst crime of all (instead of singling out moms' crimes).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Iraq and Obama

So I heard two things on Air America today:

A reporter from Dubai pointed out that the mission that Bush is sending our troops into is worse than ever. That he wants us to defeat the Medhi army (why are we doing that?) when we haven't been able to do it when we were stronger and they were weaker. Now they are very strong, and we won't be adding very many more troops. I am disturbed that the White House plan suggests that we will not be in charge of operations, whereas there are Senators making noises that we MUST be in charge of command operations (seeming to suggest that we won't be). They seem to be doing this in order to blame the Iraqis for failure...isn't anyone catching this huge problem in the press?

Obama's trip to L.A. is THE thing to go to. Clinton is seen as old news.

Toy shock, where's the dignity?

Okay, I think celebrating Valentine's Day with your child can be fun and lighthearted, but shouldn't be as big of a deal as celebrating it with your spouse, but buying this for your little girl is beyond the pale!! Just imagine buying it for a little boy! The line between public and private, a line of civility and human dignity for me, is being blown apart in toy stores.

I got this as part of an e-mail advertisement!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Dear Hillary,

I congratulate you on being the media's front runner, however, I am deeply saddened by the amount of private capital that is needed to run successful campaigns. The other day I heard a reporter praise your campaign because he respects money. Because of the way our elections and lobbying efforts work now, I think politicians represent property over people, which seems to explain nearly every one of our policies, from Iraq to health care. Does this bother you at all and do you have any plans to support state and federal reqiurement of publically funded campaigns?

I believe the citizens of this country could fund services to qualified candidates; direct mail, the internet, as well as TV commercials, debates, and travel expenses. What else do the voters need from candidates? I would be happy to hear that you're using the master's tools to tear down his house.

Thank you

Home Depot pays millions less to new CEO

Hmm, it looks like Home Depot is one of the first major companies, and hopefully not the last, to reduce the enormous salary for it's CEO. The former CEO made over $20 million, the new one over $8 million. That still seems out of proportion, but at least it's a start in the right direction. I guess they were only prompted to do this because that even more enormous salary was cutting into stock holder profits, I don't think they're considering bumping the average worker's salary, but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Clinton Years, and the next election

I must admit I was happy and didn't pay much attention to politics during the Clinton years. I remember having one argument (mild) with another liberal about Cuba but don't remember what the issue was. They were either for or against the embargo, I think I was against it.

There are two things about the Clinton Democratic agenda that I wonder about.

One is the lunatic in charge of the DCCC who is a great fundraiser but manages to tick everyone off and who operates with a slash and burn mentality. I am pleased that Pelosi did not give Emanuel the job he wanted--I don't support rewarding bullies no matter which party they belong to. If it wasn't for Howard Dean, we would not be where we are today, and Senator Webb would not have stepped up last night as the greatest Democratic leader we've seen in a long time.

Second, James Carville is either a spy, or the Clinton Democrats are Republicans in sheep's clothing. That man gives key campaign information directly to the Republicans through his highly connected Republican wife. Who needs enemies when you've got friends who leak your strategies?

The fact that Hillary Clinton has hired James Carville for her inner circle makes me think that A) She will lose because he'll sell her out, or B) She is really a Republican in sheep's clothing.

I wasn't ready to rule her out as my Presidential candidate until she hired James Carville.

What's ironic is that the Clinton years seemed good for nearly everybody, and they actually tried to get healthcare coverage for us, but our government and our corporations have spun out of control and I think the Clinton's helped rather than hindered that direction. So maybe the Clintons are really Republicans-lite, as in "Let's let the rich rob the poor here and abroad while we support social programs (except welfare) and look like we're gunning for healthcare." Hardly progressive. Perhaps the right wing was hating that which was most similar to them, but not them (now that I think about that, that actually rings true with the personal morality issues!).

So now Howard Dean is campaigning for the DNC's war chest for whoever the Democratic nominee may be. There are a few good men running, and I suspect more will join. I wonder if this has traditionally been the DNC tactic, or if Emmanuel wants that money to run Hillary (I don't think she needs it). It really speaks volumes to me that Clinton has raised so much MONEY. The wealthy like her, very, very much. Someone should ask her if she supports publically funded campaigns!!

I know I'm not the first to observe this about the Clintons, I just wondered what any readers thoughts might be on this!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm a vegaquarian

I'm being true to my intentions and am only posting good political news, and wow, there's nothing like the personal becoming political when one restricts their diet to certain animals. One look at Wikipedia and I got primer on the politics of calling myself a vegetarian. Lest a purer vegetarian be offered a plate of fish against their will, I will forever call myself a vegaquarian until there is a more established term (if that's not it).

So I suddenly realized that we've just banked our family's health on wild fish and in today's natural environment that seems like a risky, perhaps short-lived idea. And yes, Science magazine reported that all the world's wild fisheries could die by 2050, but check THIS good news out:

"The [Monteray Bay] aquarium also works with major seafood buyers to help shift their purchases to sustainable seafood items. In just the last year, companies including retailing giant Wal-Mart and Compass Group North America, the largest contract food service company in the western hemisphere, have announced plans to buy only seafood from sustainable sources."


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The House became a nursery!

I've been trying to upload a picture from the day Pelosi became the Speaker, but alas, Blogger is not cooperating. Anyway, most of us have seen her with the kids and grandkids of House members at the podium. I particulary like the images of her with her grandchild. They may only be symbolic and no reflection of her private life, but so be it, symbols are powerful (especially when they are truthful and even when they are hypocritical)!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Anger Management

In order to lessen the number of times a day I get outraged, I will try to post the good news instead of the bad news, neither one of which I can control, but one I can celebrate!

Happy New Year!!

Peace and Happiness

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Our future soldiers--why not your kids?

I just saw snap shots of an L.A. ROTC weekend retreat that took place with 14 - 18 year olds. There were hundreds of young cadets in uniform at the event but my friend said there were only one or two "white" kids.

What is this? Where are the kids from Beverly Hills H.S.? The officers couldn't answer that question.

The social inequities involved in our military services place a deep wound on the moral "leadership" of this country like little else.

I do not want a universal draft, and of course, the rich and influential will always find ways to get out of their duty to our country, but at least we'd have some racial and ethnic equity--and we might start to care more about why we wage wars.


From Rush's mouth to our ears...lies, lies, lies

This post is not about Rush Limbaugh, it's about cable channel commentators and lies delivered during almost any general news cycle.

I think about how easy it is for many who are aligned with the conservative agenda to lie (I know, a few Democrats lie too, let's get them too). Right now, there are far more lies being generated to make Democrats look bad in the media.

MSNBC and Fox News are the worst. They have people (I won't name the bastards but you can find them on Media Matters) saying that Democrats in congress aren't doing anything to help national security, even though 9-11 panel recommendations implemenation is part of the first 100 hour agenda. Someone else said that Democrats squeaked by to win Congress--nevermind that more Democrats are in the House now than any list of Republicans since 1994.

All these little lies and inuendos add up to make big misunderstandings in the real world. Liberals find themselves having to correct their conservative or even independent colleagues on these minor points, thereby making us look like know-it-alls and bringing about a feeling of embarressment for the misinformed (too many of us, with the exception of certain "journalists", seem to have a need to be right all the time, we could work on that as a nation).

Where I grew up, these corrections rarely take place at all and there is sometimes no suspicion that the media would lie about Democrats.

I don't take these little lies lightly; they add up to discredit news, politicians, and our country's principles. More alarming to me is the disinformation that corrupts our national psyche--and in particular our population's ability to discuss governing and politics on a level playing field.

Our dishonest media divides and conquers the People's ability to engage in civil discourse. It is wrong and I believe there should be civil penalties for journalists who exhibit an ongoing pattern of factually dishonest journalism about our country.

What is truth without justice?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Starting the new year with the demonization of motherhood

Every now and then I think about a remark a Contra Times said about our culture, that it should be a nursery for our babies. Amen. But I usually think of that remark with cynicism, as a sharp contrast to what actually exists here.

The highest ranking video on a news website was the story about the toddler who walked out onto the highway. My heart jumps out of my chest with desire to help take care of that little boy, and his little sister who have been horribly neglected. Several men on the highway did just that, praise be to them. The children have been removed from their home and the mother has been taken into custody. That seems just as it should be.


I can tell you that I live a life of privilege. I have all that I need at my disposal, and I feel blessed every day to be with my husband and young son. But I still have a strong taste of what it is to feel alone and completely at a loss on how to cope with motherhood--I have to actively seek family, community and friendship and it is a daily struggle for me.

As the condemnations and judgements of this mother (she will be the latest symbol in the string of insane moms that have abused their children--which we seem to hate and accept while ignoring causes) start to balloon, how many of us will think about the circumstances that have brought about these conditions for this family, for them and the children's father?

How many real, easily accessible resources do parents have to help raise their children? How many of us live away from our biogical families? How many of us have supportive neighbors and a large community to draw help from? How many of us have partners? How many of us can afford mental health services?

How many of us feel like this country is a nursery for babies?

That family lived yards away from the highway.