Definition and Purpose of Marriage

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The following quotes all occur within a few pages (or paragraphs) of each other.

Quote 1:

The territorial, state, and federal governments of the United States were built upon a particular vision of civic responsibility—that men, as heads of households, entered civic life on behalf of their dependents: wives, children, servants, and slaves. The political system of the United States was predicated upon this vision, overwhelmingly reserving suffrage, jury service, elected office, membership before the bar, and judicial appointments to white male heads of household and limiting the legal rights of all others by their degree of separation from that ideal.

Quote 2:

These ideas clashed forcibly with the conceptions of kinship and social order that existed among the Upper Midwest’s long-established Dakota, Ojibwe, and mixed-heritage communities.

Quote 3:

Marriages of all kinds, and the households that marriages created, were inextricably bound up with questions of nation and identity for the Dakota, the Ojibwe, mixed-heritage individuals, and Americans alike.

Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country by Catherine J. Denial

Article about this book: There’s never been ‘traditional marriage’ in Minnesota, says author Catherine Denial, Minn Post, Amy Goetzman | 09/27/13

Of By For

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Of By For is a documentary about the American political system. I enjoyed the film and recommend watching it…..but…..Yes, there’s a but…

Frankly, the interview conducted, the things said, and the history illustrated is BOTH important and frequently covered. I found myself thinking that I’ve seen another version of this movie a dozen times  before and I can’t remember the names of any of the other films.

Then Dan Rather spoke.

Dan Rather made some very heartfelt comments about the loss of a spine within the American press. He commented on the loss of checks and balances that the press is, theoretically, supposed to provide and the fact that ‘reality television’ can be done without consequence while true hard journalism comes with the potential of facing a lot of very hard, expensive and potentially career ending consequences – even with the journalistic work is good, professional, ethical and legal.

This reminded me of Puerto Rico’s “most trusted journalist” as covered on the Daily Show: La Comay on SuperXclusivo. Perhaps we need more puppets asking questions and fewer journalists acting like puppets.

Of By For resources:

Corruption or Opportunity?

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In the West, and among some in the Indian elite, this word, corruption, had purely negative connotations; it was seen as blocking India’s modern, global ambitions. But for the poor of a country where corruption thieved a great deal of opportunity, corruption was one of the genuine opportunities that remained.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity by Katherine Boo

From the epilogue:

The events recounted in the preceding pages are real, as are all the names. From the day in November 2007 that I walked into Annawadi and met Asha and Manju until March 2011, when I completed my reporting, I documented the experiences of residents with written notes, video recordings, audiotapes, and photographs. Several children of the slum, having mastered my Flip Video camera, also documented events recounted in this book….When I settle into a place, listening and watching, I don’t try to fool myself that the stories of individuals are themselves arguments. I just believe that better arguments, maybe even better policies, get formulated when we know more about ordinary lives.

Super-Predator Mythology

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The predictions of “super-predators” proved wildly inaccurate. The juvenile population in America increased from 1994 to 2000, but the juvenile crime rate declined, leading academics who had originally supported the “super-predator” theory to disclaim it. In 2001, the surgeon general of the United States released a report labeling the “super-predator” theory a myth and stated that “[t]here is no evidence that young people involved in violence during the peak years of the early 1990s were more frequent or more vicious offenders than youths in earlier years.” This admission came too late for kids like Trina, Ian, and Antonio. Their death-in-prison sentences were insulated from legal challenges or appeals by a maze of procedural rules, statutes of limitations, and legal barricades designed to make successful postconviction challenges almost impossible.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

James Monroe and the American People

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JAMES MONROE FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1817

The American people have encountered together great dangers and sustained severe trials with success. They constitute one great family with a common interest.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

 

Leadership Within

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“True leaders, I learned, have heart and noble purpose. They draw strength from within to effect change in the wider world.”

Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World by Alyse Nelson

The Opposite of Poverty is Justice

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“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

James Monroe and Political Finances

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JAMES MONROE FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1817

The Executive is charged officially in the Departments under it with the disbursement of the public money, and is responsible for the faithful application of it to the purposes for which it is raised. The Legislature is the watchful guardian over the public purse. It is its duty to see that the disbursement has been honestly made. To meet the requisite responsibility every facility should be afforded to the Executive to enable it to bring the public agents intrusted with the public money strictly and promptly to account. Nothing should be presumed against them; but if, with the requisite facilities, the public money is suffered to lie long and uselessly in their hands, they will not be the only defaulters, nor will the demoralizing effect be confined to them. It will evince a relaxation and want of tone in the Administration which will be felt by the whole community.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

 

Punishments Create Crimes

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As one reads history, not in the expurgated editions written for school-boys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time, one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment, than it is by the occurrence of crime.  It obviously follows that the more punishment is inflicted the more crime is produced…The less punishment, the less crime.  When there is no punishment at all, crime will either cease to exist, or, if it occurs, will be treated by physicians as a very distressing form of dementia, to be cured by care and kindness.  For what are called criminals nowadays are not criminals at all.  Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime.  That indeed is the reason why our criminals are, as a class, so absolutely uninteresting from any psychological point of view.

The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wild)

Financial Inequality and Legal Consequence

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Many states utilize “poverty penalties”—piling on additional late fees, payment plan fees, and interest when individuals are unable to pay all their debts at once, often enriching private debt collectors in the process. Some of the collection fees are exorbitant. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, and Florida allows private debt collectors to tack on a 40 percent surcharge to the underlying debt.

Two-thirds of people detained in jails report annual incomes under $12,000 prior to arrest. Predictably, most ex-offenders find themselves unable to pay the many fees, costs, and fines associated with their imprisonment, as well as their child-support debts (which continue to accumulate while a person is incarcerated). As a result, many ex-offenders have their paychecks garnished. Federal law provides that a child-support enforcement officer can garnish up to 65 percent of an individual’s wages for child support. On top of that, probation officers in most states can require that an individual dedicate 35 percent of his or her income toward the payment of fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution charged by numerous agencies. Accordingly, a former inmate living at or below the poverty level can be charged by four or five departments at once and can be required to surrender 100 percent of his or her earnings. As a New York Times editorial soberly observed, “People caught in this impossible predicament are less likely to seek regular employment, making them even more susceptible to criminal relapse.”

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander