Everything You Need to Know About Justice in America

Travyon Martin.

Because we’re only as just, as honest, as fair, or as mentally stable as the George Zimmermans among us.   Our police are only as good as their most incompetent peers.  The same for our lawyers and judges and leaders.

George Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has never been taken into custody.  His account of the events that found him shooting an un-armed black student were taken as fact by the police who responded.  Zimmerman claims self-defense. Witnesses within ear-shot say Martin cried for help before he died.

Zimmerman leads his Neighborhood Watch.  He’d called police 46 times since the beginning of the year.  On the day he killed Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman had crossed over into delusional vigilante of imagined trespasses. Excerpted from Think Progress:

Zimmerman called the police to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.” Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: “There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away” [Orlando Sentinel]

Zimmerman pursued Martin against the explicit instructions of the police dispatcher:

Dispatcher: “Are you following him?”
Zimmerman: “Yeah”
Dispatcher: “OK, we don’t need you to do that.”

[Orlando Sentinel]


Clearly, Zimmerman is mentally unstable.  That doesn’t excuse his crime.  But it does expose another layer to the issues of race, power, and justice in America.  Why is no one holding Zimmerman accountable?  Because he’s not black?  And why hasn’t anyone hauled him in for a psychiatric evaluation?  Is it because he’s not quite white, either?

LaMonique Hamilton writes about the case from a very personal place.  A place I know I can’t, try as I might. But Trayvon Martin is my son, too.  And he’s yours.  He’s your son, America.  What will you do with him?

Tiffany Erkisen is raising money for clean water, and there’s a really cool art piece in the mix. Check out her most recent post!

Vintage Pages

When I have little to no clue what I’m doing here, in this life, with these dreams, and with my junk drawer of mismatched talents.

I just don’t get it.

My life at times seems to resemble that bag that Mary Poppins had- she just kept pulling things out here and there, things that didn’t seem to fit, things that may not have made sense, other things that were simply magical, yet they all served some purpose to her. What do you do with what you have when it doesn’t seem to fit together?

You throw it out there and you let the pieces lay where they fall. *

*Disclaimer: this is in no way foolproof.

This past year had been such a fun and incredible journey with The Adventure Projectand I have enjoyed every step of it. I knew that I would be part of typeTAPagain this…

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My Twitter Screed on War With Iran

Read from the bottom up.

Am I totally off?  I am blind to the new reality that says in the absence of sane regimes, pre-emptive wars are okay?  And if I’m wrong about that, then everyone who was or now is against the Iraq war was/is wrong about that.

Let’s not forget that with the Iraq war, there’s some legal cover.  After all, that regime was in open violation of the terms of the Gulf War cease fire. I’m not saying that makes it right, but it might make it legal.  What similar precedent do with have with Iran?

You want to change the regime in Tehran?  So do I.  Is this how we’ll do it?  Good God, what have we learned?


The New York Times Exposes Apple, Foxconn, and the 2 Percent

Tim Cook, Apple COO, in january 2009, after Ma...
Tim, you can fix this in an instant. Stop subsidizing the human cost of your devices.

In this case, the 2 percent refers to this:

Fortunately for the bottom line, the touch-screen hungry public doesn’t seem to mind: “In a national survey conducted by The New York Times in November, 56 percent of respondents said they couldn’t think of anything negative about Apple. Fourteen percent said the worst thing about the company was that its products were too expensive. Just 2 percent mentioned overseas labor practices.”

So, 2 percent of people responding to that November survey had the dangerous conditions in the Apple production line on their radar.  Hopefully, that’s starting to change. Unfortunately, conditions on the ground in China aren’t.  Read the NYT‘s huge, detailed portrait of these conditions, published yesterday, here.  Thanks to New York Magazine for the heads up.  Thanks to Mike Daisey for putting this on America’s moral agenda.  We’ve been talking about it here for over a year.  When I wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on The Huffington Post after Steve Jobs’ passing, I didn’t know that one of Cook’s former gigs at Apple was “guy in charge of finding the cheapest production lines possible” and “guy who found Foxconn.”  Still, Tim, the challenge stands.  Change Apple’s ethics abroad, and create your own Apple legacy now.

The High Cost of Cheap Goods, Our American Life, and Mike Daisey

The Atlantic recaps recent events at Foxconn and notes that Mike Daisey will be on this week’s This American Life:

Daisey goes to Shenzhen, China, where Foxconn employs over 400,000 workers. He talks to both factory workers and businessmen, gathering chilling information about the situation at the factory, discovering suicide nets, 36-hour shifts, 27-year-old burn outs with dismembered limbs and underage workers. Wouldn’t Apple, a company obsessed with details — so obsessed it even programmed Siri to avert uncomfortable questions about its origins, as host Ira Glass discovered — pay attention to these very problematic details, wonders Daisey.

You might remember Daisey from a few posts I did here about the high cost of cheap goods and Daisey’s interviews on TechCrunch last year.

And if you haven’t seen it, please read and share my note to Apple CEO Tim Cook  in HuffPo Tech.

UGI Paid $40 Million on Improvements Last Year, Quintuple that Amount to Investors

When I humbly tweeted UGI asking them to hold back some dividend payments and spend more this year on fixing the aging pipes under homes and businesses in Allentown, I didn’t know things that make the negligence that killed 5 city residents last year even more despicable:

  • UGI has paid dividends EVERY YEAR SINCE 1885.  So their dividend streak is about as old as the pipes that need replacing.
  • Dividend payments to investors last year totaled $207,000,000.  $207 million dollars.

Responding to my tweet, the PR operative charged with doing such things pointed out that UGI spent $40 million last year replacing old pipes. Excuse me if I don’t quite understand how that absolves the company from having totally corrupt priorities. Last year, when 5 people died because they had the misfortune of living above UGI’s compromised pipes, UGI, formerly United Gas Improvements, paid out $40 million on said improvements and  five times that amount to investors in the form of dividends.  That’s not technically a crime, but it probably should be.