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Updated: 10/23/2004; 11:54:11 AM.


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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The Wall Street Journal doesn't like PBS's program about Muhammed, which is actually not bad (I'm no sympathizer).

What the producers think is pretty clear. They tap several Muslim Americans to talk about the faith and its founders in terms that certainly will appeal to Americans. One wonders, though, how much these domesticated views really have to do with the Islam of the Taliban or the Iranian mullahs or Saudi Arabia's viciously anti-Semitic Wahhabi imams or Malaysia's President Mohammad Mahathir, who said recently that "some countries need good dictators." Not much, probably.

Hmm. I wonder if the Journal also feels that any documentary about Jesus should also mention the Inquisition? Or genocide in California at the hands of the missionary priests? Not really, probably.

9:54:00 PM  Permalink  comment []

Debunking the Youth Crime Wave Myth. Mike Males, a senior researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, and sociology professor at UC Santa Cruz... [TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime]

Excellent post. The fear industry wants us to think that there's some sort of epidemic of youth violence, but it just ain't so:

"Meanwhile, felony arrests of California teens plunged from 148,000 in 1980 to 106,000 in 2001, topping national declines. Yet, because crime authorities rigidly insist that adults "age out of their crime-prone years" by 30, the graying of America's criminals has gone mostly unnoticed. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention finally broke the official silence: "Juvenile superpredators are more myth than reality," it declared. "The age group with the greatest increase in violent crime arrest rates is persons in their 30s and 40s."

"The middle-aged crime scourge is devastating. Prisons across the United States, especially in California, overflow with aging addicts, burglars, embezzlers and domestic abusers. California -- which spent $1.3 billion in 2001 caging inmates older than 40 -- and the rest of the nation remain woefully unprepared to manage mushrooming numbers of older convicts whose health costs may be staggering."

"Advocates of tougher sentences and cutbacks in prison rehabilitation services failed to anticipate today's murder and violence surge, as tens of thousands of parolees are released every year without drug treatment or job prospects."

"Nevertheless, crime and law enforcement authorities continue to repeat the same alarmism that teenagers, particularly dark-skinned ones, augur more crime. Yes, blaming unpopular demographic groups is routine, wins funding and shields policymakers from accountability for ineffective strategies. But crime authorities' elevation of anti-youth prejudice over science and their warping of data to fit ideological ends remain a disservice to California and the nation that can only be termed criminal."

So they make us scared of these crazed kids and persuade us to support tougher and tougher sentences, with little attempt at rehabilitation. Meanwhile, those who first got this tougher treatment are getting out of prison. Since we thought we should just lock these guys up 10, 20 years ago, and not try to do anything for them while they were in, now that they get out, predicatably, they're the ones committing the crimes.

Of course the lock 'em up crowd says that they should still be behind bars. No parole, life sentences for most everything.


9:48:51 PM  Permalink  comment []

Be afraid.... be very afraid.... of anti-war activists.. On December 4 the FBI issued an advisory warning corporate entities of possible danger of attack from anti-war activists. Tom Paine believes this could be an attempt to scare the public, smear the antiwar movement and discourage antiwar protests. What do you think? According to the FBI advisory, this week, December 15-21, has been set aside as a "week of... [No War Blog]
7:46:46 PM  Permalink  comment []

Paul McCartney changes writing credits on Beatles songs from "Lennon-McCartney" to "Paul McCartney and John Lennon" [FARK]
5:04:49 PM  Permalink  comment []

The Two Towers

My son saw the movie last night at 12:01 am, and enjoyed it, but from what he said, it sounds like what lots of people have said, that it suffers from "middle chapter" problems. He also really didn't like the grafted-on love story. I'm about half way through the novel (first time in about 20 years) and am enjoying it but losing patience a little.

In Salon, David Brin writes a fascinating piece on looking at the story from the Dark Lord's point of view. There's also a posting of it at Brin's own site, apparently longer (I read that one). Well worth reading, contrasting the romantic, backward-looking view of the world, with a more optimistic, forward-looking view. Highly recommended.

4:34:00 PM  Permalink  comment []

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