The rise of racism in the US

Theodore Parker (1810-1860) was an abolitionist who once said:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

This was abbreviated by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech of August 1967 where he said that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
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The Ferguson shooting and the grand jury system

The grand jury has decided against bringing in a criminal indictment against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9.

The question of who should get to decide whether a case should go to trial for a criminal offense is an important one. We do not want to clog up the courts with cases that should never have been brought but at the same time we need to ensure that people do not escape prosecution because officials in the legal system and law enforcement were protecting them. Grand juries (called such because they consist of a much larger group of people than regular juries) are one of the means that prosecutors use to decide if there is enough evidence to bring a case.
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When people try to be heroes

Last Friday, Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgeman were released from prison after serving 39 years for a crime they did not commit, convicted purely on the testimony of a then 12-year old boy Eddie Vernon who now admits that he did not see them commit the crime. There was no physical evidence connecting the men to the crime. The boy says that after he initially told police that he had witnessed the crime, they later coached him on what to say at trial. A third person Ronnie Bridgman, Wiley’s brother, was released in 2003 after serving 27 years.
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Glenn Greenwald takes apart Sam Harris

While Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins are seen as leading lights of the New Atheist movement of which I consider myself a member, I have come to detest their views on a large number of political and social positions, seeing them as lackeys of the neo-imperialism that is driving the western assault on the rest of the world and responsible for immense amounts of suffering. There is an overweening smugness about their sense of their own, and their tribe’s, superiority over those dastardly Muslims that I find unseemly.
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College rape culture out of control

Rolling Stone has an explosive story about rape at the University of Virginia, where the culture of drinking and rape and sexual assault centered around fraternities seems to be out of control. The report has rocked the campus and the university’s president has suspended the fraternities until the beginning of the next semester. The story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely is both shocking and disgusting in describing what female students went through.
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Was Obama’s move brilliant?

In the face of furious hyperbolic opposition from the Republican party who warned him that he was threatening to undermine the very foundations of democracy in the US, president Obama has gone ahead with his plan to use his executive powers to temporarily spare anywhere from three to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation for three years by offering them temporary legal status.
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The success of the propaganda system

On November 19 I tuned in to the radio news program The World and a story was already in progress. In it a voice with a British accent was describing his treatment at the hands of his captors. He described being tortured, stripped naked and beaten, threatened with execution, and heard the sound of a woman screaming in the next room and was told that it was his wife being tortured.
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