Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Fascinating book out by NPR media reporter, David Folkenflik, entitled Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires that explores the strange world of publisher Rupert Murdoch. Gobbler of such English-speaking newspapers as The News of The World, The Sun, The Wall Street Journal, and The Times, Murdoch is mostly known for his media collaboration with Roger Ailes in the development and promotion of Fox News, the Right’s mouthpiece of choice. Until his inglorious dismount from credibility in the London Phone Hacking scandal where a Murdoch newspaper employee was convicted of hacking the telephone voice mails of murdered British teenager, Milly Dowler, Murdoch had personified all that is unseemly about tabloid journalism. The personification of Charles Foster Kane, Murdoch fed the Right the red meat of dissention blending news with opinion and relying on practices that were criticized by honest journalists (even conservative ones) around the world calling it right-leaning tabloidism (here).

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

I have been reading about the latest Breitbart-inspired dire prediction of the nefarious ( and possibly illegal) machinations of the Obama Administration. You know “Green Paper-Gate.” It’s the one where the conservative blog, Breitbart,  reports that a draft solicitation proposal for purchase of green paper issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services definitely means that the Obama Administration is secretly planning a massive amnesty campaign of undocumented aliens. And, worse still,  that it’s keeping that secret until after the mid-term elections as a boon to Democratic candidates. I went back and took a look at the proposal and here is the offending language: “The requirement is for an estimated 4 million cards annually with the potential to buy as many as 34 million cards total. The ordering periods for this requirement shall be for a total of five (5) years.” A draft RFP issued a few days later contains the same language but adds the following: “In addition, the Contractor shall demonstrate the capability to support potential “surge” in PRC and EAD card demand for up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” You can view the proposal (here) and the RFP (here) and then read all the GSA bureaucratic verbiage for yourself. Have a good time.

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1408390089660_Image_galleryImage_Officer_DARREN_WILSON_pic1408392017717_Image_galleryImage_Piaget_Crenshaw_who_livesA former Missouri police chief is publicly saying that the Justice Department is actively leaking reports that it has found insufficient evidence to support federal charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. There is certainly a long and controversial history of the Justice Department leaking stories to the media to pressure targets or to prepare the public in otherwise secret or confidential investigations. While threatening witnesses and others over any disclosures, the Justice Department does not hesitate to make such leaks for political purposes. The question is whether the recent uptick in leaks is such a campaign. There has been an increase in such stories coming from unnamed Justice sources and former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says that the evidence has supported the officer on a number of points, including a struggle within the cruiser.

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Richard_Posner_at_Harvard_University

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. (more…)

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Good afternoon folks, and welcome to the sports holy day known as NFL Sunday. We mostly all love it. The collisions, the sparkling cheerleaders, the feats of athleticism that would have made an ancient Greek Olympian proud. It’s all there – drama, excitement, pageantry, bright colors and morality. Yep there’s bad boys (think Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens) and good guys (anybody named Manning or Russell Wilson) and there’s music – marching bands, pep bands, loud speakers blaring just about any rap, punk, pop, or country song you like depending on locale. Football is king! Long Live The King!

But the king has had better seasons.

From the professional gladiators to the high school gladiators-in-training, football’s morality play has come off the skids. The carefully cultivated image of athlete as hero that echoes through the centuries from the plains at Marathon to an Olympic stadium in 1936 Berlin overseen by a bad man with a bad mustache, yes, and all the way to modern day techno-proficient, thunder booming, firework blasting sports theatres, Football America is suffering.

Maybe it was avarice or a sense of invulnerability or most likely hubris. All of football was riding high early this year. The NFL was enjoying record profits even having the audacity to ask its halftime acts to pay it for the privilege of sweating it out before millions of Americans at home and in person.  It was pushing the Old Man of US sports, Major League Baseball, from the headlines by moving its pre-season draft of players to prime time in … gasp … May, smack in the middle of  baseball season. The colleges had just finished a game of musical chairs and chicken all at the same time and got the venerable, doting NCAA to approve a bowl championship, an acknowledgment of the 5 Big Boy Conferences, and the shunning of anything approaching governing the Big 5.

Yes football was riding high — but there were signs of looming disasters to come.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an ongoing series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes live among us and that their service is quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward  – and ours, too. You can read all of the Grace Under Pressure series by going to the blog search box and typing in the word “grace.” 

Rachel Kohnen was afraid her baby would be born in the car.

Rachel Kohnen was afraid her baby would be born in the car.

The contractions were coming fast and furious when eight and a half-months-pregnant, Rachel Kohnen, summoned her husband to get the SUV started at around 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  No novice to child-birth or false labor – Rachel has three kids already — she told him the pain was very different. It felt like the baby was coming and now was “go time.” True to his uxorious duties, husband Ben revved up the engine and the couple sped along an Iowa highway towards a hospital always too far away when you need one.  As speeds approached 85 miles per hour, the vehicle attracted the attention of the  Ft. Dodge (IA)  highway patrol. Rachel tried to call 911 to explain her situation as her husband managed to keep the SUV between the white lines but the dispatcher couldn’t understand the frantic words because of the incessant shouts from waves of pain.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Can religious beliefs actually retard our intuitions for justice and fairness? Research seems to suggest it might well. The Christian religion has imbued Western thought with the fundamental belief that God presides over a just world – one where sin is punished and rightly-held beliefs and actions are rewarded. We see this attitude in every aspect of human interaction. Today, in some sparkling sports stadium an earnest athlete is bound to thank his deity of choice for the good fortunes that befell his team or his game changing performance. By extension, the loser ( a value loaded word if ever there was one) will decry his lack of luck. From the Book of Job to Pinocchio and Cinderella, this belief in what some psychologists call “immanent justice” or “The Just Word Hypothesis” seeks to explain our plight and our success. It also hardens our attitudes about the poor, victims of crimes and those folks either buoyed or sunk by pure chance.

The Book of Job gets us into the mindset. A saintly man if ever there was one as the Bible itself acknowledges, God allows Satan to test Job with all manner of suffering to determine his worthiness. Stripped of his wealth, prestige and power, Job then loses his children and ultimately his health and vigor. Still, Job endures and never ever curses his fate – or his God. He does consult his friends for some inkling as to the cause of his travails. Their answer, which comes like a thunderclap is: “Behold,” one of them declares, “God will not cast away an innocent man, neither will he uphold evildoers” (Job 8:20). Classic “Blame the Victim” mentality from this coterie of advisers.

Puzzled but resolute, Job however concludes that despite his worldly righteousness, he can never know divine justice and according to the story prostrates himself silent before his Master’s “Just World.’ For that, he is rewarded with the resumption of his wealth and status. He even replaces his children with seven new ones. The clear message to the world however is the same: God handles the world’s justice and we are powerless to exact our own except on only the most superficial level.

Jesus himself gets in on the act in the New Testament. Addressing the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, he has two distinct things to say about justice and our expectations of it: Blessed are…..those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) and Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10). In modern speak, “Don’t worry God will handle it in his own way and, if you let him do so, you’ll get the whole enchilada. The pearly gates, the mansions, those singing and harp-playing cherubim … you, my faithful believer, get it all.”

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