Monthly Archives: April 2008

she said she liked the ocean

I’m on vacation in California, so I’ve got some simple beauty for today.

And below the cut, video blogging about 31 Cent Scoop Night.

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Filed under Random

Yale or Jail?

Every once in a while, there comes a time when society has to take step back and ask if its norms and laws really reflect the values of its citizens. After reading these startling statistics about our prison system in the New York Times and Washington Post, I can’t help but think that now is the time.

Did you know that:

*America has less than 5 percent of the global population but more than one quarter of the world’s prisoners;

*1 out of 100 American adults is now in jail;

*1 in 9 black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars;

*state governments shell out nearly $50 billion a year and the federal government pays $5 billion more to lock up our citizens

What the heck is our problem, people?

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Filed under Education, In The News, Politics

The Oppression Olympics

Is Hillary’s femaleness or Barack’s blackness a sole justification to vote for either leader? Absolutely not. Are the symbolic power of their respective identities incentive — in addition to their policy positions, their track records, and their values — to vote for them?
Of course.

As Katha Pollit put it so succinctly in The Nation, “It’s crucial not to get into an oppression sweepstakes.” We shouldn’t let the media pit us against one another so that we waste valuable energy defending our own victimhood. Instead, we should be doing the difficult work of coalition building, embracing multiple issues as critical to our collective liberal agenda to make America more just and equal on all fronts. We must focus on the more important question: is America ready to believe in its own power to overcome? If it’s either a white woman or a biracial man who walks into that White House, our country will never be the same. If McCain walks in, well that’s gonna just suck.

After the cut, check out this amazingly hilarious video from my boy Ramin’s show (aka The Daily Show).

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Filed under Generation Overwhelmed, Politics

Monday Brag Round-Up, April 28

Courtney Martin

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Reasonable Doubt

2006_12_qnsshootprot.jpgContrary to the sign held by a woman at a December 2006 rally, 50 shots + New York City cops does not equal murder. It equals not guilty.

I was sitting on JFK-bound Jetblue flight when I heard the verdict. The miniature TV screen streamed live footage from outside the court house, occasionally cutting to video of Nicole Paultre Bell’s car en route to Sean Bell’s gravesite.

Across the aisle, a balding man in khaki shorts was watching the same channel. He nodded affirmatively to his wife. Indicating that justice had been served.

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Filed under In The News

Do Something Daring

Her name is Madeline. I didn’t expect to be writing about this, but it came up. I’ve spent the last 24 hours with her and today I watched her learn something new. I don’t have many growing babies in my life, but every so often I get to be Aunt to a friend’s new puppy. In this case, Madeline is a 12-week old St. Bernard dog, which means all fluff and paws. If you don’t know what these animals look like, look it up. I could be ga-ga-annoying about her cuteness, but I’d rather broach a simple topic–the importance of CONSTANT new challenges.

We just completed her first epic hike of 2 miles on a fairly steep uphill and then 2 miles back down. For a puppy, that’s a lot. On the way up, she refused to walk across the wooden plank over the rushing creek. She just shoved her rump into the ground–scared and un-budge-able. But hours later, on the way back down, she turned on the focus (her back legs quivering) and made it across the plank. Amazing. A hurdle. A confidence gained.

We should all be doing something daring every day. Why does this impulse fizzle when we hit adulthood? It doesn’t have to be crazy; you don’t have to spend your last nickel, get on a plane to the Congo and go trekking alone. I mean, you could decide to eat a banana even though you’ve hated them your entire life. You could be ballsy and say that thing you’ve always wanted to say to that person. You could pencil dive into that very high, icy cold gorge. It’s too easy to get on the train and coast. Let’s face it, the rut may be comfy, but wow it gets boring. Without some nerves (discomfort), we stop learning. Some people think sinking deep into the familiar is good. I don’t disagree. But I’ve always feel brighter after my heart races a bit.  

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Filed under Orienting, Random

One of Those Days

Remember that joke from elementary school– “My dog ate my homework!” If only. My 175-pound dog has systematically destroyed my ibook. So you find me writing you here, from a library, with only 16 minutes left before I must relinquish my spot at a functioning computer. Long story short: Porter loves lattes. Perhaps more than I do. Which says a lot. And I left a latte unattended by my laptop, so I can go ahead and accept full responsibility. When I returned, the giant mug was empty and rocking on top of my keyboard. To add insult to injury, milky brown spots can be found splashed across the printer, the wireless mouse I just bought, my books, my notes, everything. It’s not the end of the world, but it does feel as though I might fade into obscurity as a writer without a computer in this tech age. That’s all I have this week, friends. Any sage advice for recovering computers or sanity would, of course, be most appreciated.

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Filed under All The World, Writing