In the Name of Jesus, Stop Executions

I am thoroughly pro-life in all its forms.  Yes, abortion kills a living being but so does war and executions. Pro-life means believing in the sanctity of life before and after birth. Jesus made that pretty clear in his teachings and I intend to follow him in that and most all other regards.

Some folks will argue that the death penalty is necessary for the most heinous crimes, the “worst of the worst.” But it is increasingly clear that when it comes to executions in America, we are not killing the worst of the worst. We are killing the poorest of the poor. One of the best determinants of who gets executed is not the atrocity of the crime, but the resources of the defendant. As renowned death penalty lawyer Bryan Stevenson has said, “Far too often, you are better off being rich and guilty, than poor and innocent.”….

Geography often determines who dies. Texas is the death state, accounting for roughly half of all executions. This year six of the 15 executions in the U.S. were in Texas, and every remaining execution of 2016 is in this one state…

It blows my mind and breaks my heart that we continue to trust our very imperfect government with the ultimate and irreversible power of life and death. It is time to end the death penalty in America. In the name of Jeff Wood. And in th2016-08-20_06-47-21e name of another executed man … named Jesus.

 

Source: In the Name of Jesus, Stop Executions – Red Letter Christians

It is amazing to me that one State is responsibly for half the executions in this country.  What is it about Texas that makes it the execution capital of the world? Why are they so intent on vengeance, even wrongfully pointed vengeance? There must be something significantly different about the people in that region of the country than the rest of us. Anyone who has read many of my posts know I don’t have much respect for the State of Texas. For being such a bible-thumping State they just don’t seem to care about people, especially people different from them.

Geography,  race, and wealth,  have much more to do with who dies by execution than the type of crime committed. Thanks again Shane for helping me remember that….

 

It’s Hard To Be A Law Abiding Citizen..

I will say again but this time add a kicker, It’s Hard To Be A Law Abiding Citizen…When So Many Aren’t. It just seems human nature, the dark side that is, to not want to do what you are told. This is characteristic of our teenage years but goes way beyond that for too many of us.   We know there are concepts of the common good and the rule of law but somehow they don’t apply to us.

What brought this thought up was my recent uRV trip to southern Illinois. As usual I traveled almost exclusively state and county roads and quickly discovered that enforcement of traffic laws in that part of the country seems to be ZERO.  I never saw a police car during my total seven hundred miles of travel.

I want to make a blanket statement and that is at least 90% of the adult population in the U.S. break the law weekly if not daily. No, they might not rob banks or kill anyone (although with all the guns and taverns around I wonder why) but what they do is totally ignore our country’s traffic laws.  They run red lights on a regular basis and most often exceed the clearly posted maximum speeds by at least 10 to 20 mph. There are also the tailgaters, I seem to get the most upset about them!

I make it a rule while traveling the country in my tiny RV to never go faster than the posted limit but that is very difficult to do without a lot of stress. Here I am going 55 mph and many are passing me going 70 or more. Some dangerously so… They pass on curves with double yellow lines!   Even 18 wheelers were ripping by me and within a minute or two were gone from site they were going so fast..

2016-07-11_12-42-37.pngThe “rule of law” as far as traffic laws are concerned is just totally ignored in many parts of the country.  It seems law enforcement agencies have raised a white flag and handed over our streets to speeders and reckless drivers.

Just for the heck of it I looked up the statistics of the worst drivers by State.   It surprised me that Illinois is about in the middle of the pack.  Montana is the worst but as usual Texas isn’t far behind in any “worst” category.

2016-07-11_12-20-58.pngDon’t even get me started on the “distracted drivers” out there. It seems every other car had a driver with a phone welded to his ear and was more involved in conversation than with driving! I do like my road trip around the USA but I just wish people would drive more sensibly, at least while I am around.  🙂

Sadly I know there are too many people that have so little control over their lives that they think they have to constantly risk it on the road in order to get someplace a few seconds earlier. They just don’t think they have the time to obey traffic laws. The absence of law enforcement means lawlessness, especially on our roads.

Oh Texas, There You Go Again…

2016-05-24_07-55-55.pngAfter traveling through all fifty States I can’t help it, I have my most favorite States and my least favorite States.  Texas is in the latter category. In my mind Texas, at least the most vocal of Texans, are the epitome of bravado, arrogance,  and most sadly vengeance.

A textbook proposed to help teach the cultural history of Mexican-Americans in Texas public schools is under scrutiny by scholars, some of whom decry the effort as racist and not a reflection of serious academic study.

The textbook, titled Mexican American Heritage, describes Mexican-Americans as people who “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”

The book also links Mexican-Americans to immigrants in the country illegally, saying illegal immigration has “caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation”…

The Texas Board of Education’s members sanction textbooks for use statewide in a process that has for years been marred by ideological fights over lessons on subjects including evolution, climate change and the influence of biblical figures such as Moses on America’s Founding Fathers.

SOURCE:  Mexican-American history textbook proposed for Texas schools called ‘racist’ by scholars | | Dallas Morning News

I simply get tired of hearing how big Texas is.  I admit that Texas is a big desert State. Nothing seems to grow there but sagebrush. At one time it must have been lush to have made all the oil underground but that was eons ago.

There seem to be a lot of shows in the home flipping and custom auto variety on the air right now. From my observations I have deemed most of those from Texas as “lipstick on a pig”. They all just seem to cover up all the underlying problems with a coat of fresh paint and then try to sell it for a big profit.

Sadly most of the school books used throughout the nation come from Texas companies. I don’t know why that is? As cited in the article above they often try to put a “Texas” slant on them. Mexicans  come to our country wanting to destroy our society and bring drugs and crime with them. But then again that does sound a lot like one of our presidential candidates doesn’t it? I suspect he won’t have any problems winning Texas in the fall elections.

Anything that differs from their biblical interpretation of creation is flat out wrong to them. Climate change is also wrong because the Bible doesn’t mention it. To them, contrary to the facts, all the founding fathers were Baptist style Christians. Just don’t try to confuse Texans with facts…

Texas, along with Florida, execute more people annually than the other 48 States combined. They  seem to be a society founded around vengeance.  I mourn all the innocent people who have been executed by the Texas rush to judgement.

Now I am sure that there are many very nice people in Texas that don’t fit my view of that State but I just don’t personally know of them. Many in Texas often rant about how they should be a separate country; sometimes I kind of wish they were…

Texas GOP Declares: “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools”

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2016-01-18_09-18-02.pngIs our country about “obedience training” or critical thinking? That seems to be the question at hand at least for the Texas GOP. Should we have a subservient society or one that is educated to ask questions? Many of the leaders in Texas seems to think the former and like so many other things are trying to force that opinion on the rest of us!

If you haven’t figured it out by now I don’t hold Texas politics in much regard. There are just too many nuts that have come from their in recent years. Some became president and some want to get there now.  There is just too much swagger in Texas politics, and even Texas in general, for my liking.

Being a critical thinker I can’t even imagine a country whose citizens are discouraged from asking  questions. Critical thinking is what has made our country great and the lack of it will surely be our downfall. When we fall in line with whatever our leaders tell us we are on our way to becoming something other than the great democracy we have been. Stifling critical thinking is what allowed Hitler such a strangle hold on Germany for so many years. I regrettable think that it is possible for us to turn that way if the Texas GOP has there way! When critical thinking ceases then propaganda becomes “fact” and that is a scary thing!!!

In the near future I will be showing you more details about the critical thinking process in order to illustrate just how insane Texas politics is in this, and in fact most other areas of life.

 

A Snippet….

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The one thing that will sink the GOP’s chances of taking the White House is their sense of priority.  Let’s face it most people just don’t give a hoot about what the GOP screams the loudest about… and of course Texas, as usual, is screaming the loudest of the loudest…

What Is It About Texas???

2014-05-28_08-05-59Tea Party cruises to wins in Texas Republican primary runoffs Texas Republicans aligned with Tea Party darling Ted Cruz were projected to win primary runoffs on Tuesday for two of the state’s most powerful posts, SOURCE: Tea Party cruises to wins in Texas Republican primary runoffs – Yahoo News.

What makes Texas so different from the rest of the U.S.? They seem to be off the edge in so much of what they do.

Maybe its the water? They have lots of two foot deep reservoirs built by a Democrat LBJ while he was in Washington. Maybe they have a one-of-a-kind fungus that affects the brain.

Maybe it is all that dust and sage brush? – I have been to Texas several times. A few of those trips were by car and I can say Texas is mostly parched land and sagebrush. Maybe something about that affects people?

Maybe it is those longhorn cattle? – You just don’t see those cows anywhere else.

I just don’t know what makes people who live there as strange as they are.  When the company I was working for shut down the Indianapolis facilities I moved to New Jersey for four years to finish out my pension.  My best friend of a couple of decades moved to Texas. But something happened to him and his wife. We kept in touch for a few years but their strange behavior caused us to go our separate ways.  We visited them once but they were just not the same people they were. Another glaring thing was that the house they lived in, although recently new construction, was falling apart. There were cracks in the walls, molding coming loose, paint peeling and the strange thing was they didn’t even seem to notice?

Ted Cruz seems to be the darling of so many of those folks. I just can’t understand that! What is it about Texas?

Florida Confuses Me….

FloridaMs. Alexander was found guilty in May 2012 of discharging a deadly weapon near her estranged husband and newborn baby. She countered that she had long been abused by her husband and had fired the shot as a warning for him not to get any closer to her during what was becoming a physical altercation. He was not injured.

Under Florida law, people have no duty to retreat from danger before fighting back, even with deadly force. But a judge ruled that the stand-your-ground law didn’t apply in Alexander’s case. After a jury found her guilty, the judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison, citing Florida’s tough minimum sentencing laws, even though Alexander had never before been in trouble with the law.

SOURCE: Florida mom to get new trial: Did court detect a ‘stand your ground’ inequity? – CSMonitor.com.

I might be coming to a conclusion on not enough facts but this story seems to reek of racism to me.  A black person who simply discharged a gun near someone who is allegedly abusing her gets 20 years in prison even though no one was hurt and a person who shot and killed a kid who was simply walking in his neighborhood gets off free! I know there is a wide variety of so-called justice within the States but I can’t understand how these two events could happen under the same judicial system?

But then again the folks in Florida continue to confuse me.  If we are to believe the common knowledge Florida has a much higher population of senior citizens than most other State. I am one to believe that as we age we gain wisdom that we didn’t have in younger years. I know that is certainly true for me! But that doesn’t seem to be the case in this instance.

Florida just confuses me I guess. How can a State that is made up mostly of senior citizens be so careless in dishing out “justice” and where is the outcry if that is not so? Now Texas I can possibly understand in these modes. They have an inordinate amount of “shoot-from-the-hip” cowboys in that State who relish living in the 19th century. To them the only really important things are their guns and their particular version of God. They seem to have little compassion or understanding for anyone else. But Florida, at least demographically, is much different.  Could it be the polluting effects of the Bush boys being governors? 🙂

I guess now that I have  dissed both Florida and Texas in another post I better stop.  But as my hero Will Rogers says they are the ones giving me the material, I just report it with my version of spin…..

The Deadliest Month….

ExecutionsOctober is America’s Deadliest Month of 2013

Unless we pray and work to change things, 8 people are set to be killed in October.

Marshall Gore on October 1 in Florida – KILLED LAST NIGHT BY THE STATE OF FLORIDA

Michael Yowell on October 9 in Texas

Edward Schad on October 9 in Arizona

William Happ on October 15 in Florida

Larry Hatten on October 16 in Texas

Allen Nicklasson on October 23 in Missouri

Robert Jones on October 23 in Arizona and

Arthur Brown on October 29 in Texas

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/upcoming-executions

SOURCE: Shane Claiborne: October Executions | Red Letter Christians

Since this data directly relates to this mornings post I though I would include in a afternoon post.

Let me say up front that like Shane Claiborne who authored the above post I am pro-life.  That means I value life before it is born and after. Unlike many of my conservative friends who are only against abortion, Shane and I and millions of others don’t think that any government or any earthly body should decide who should live and who should die. That decision must be left up to God and God alone.

It is interesting to note that five of the eight executions that are scheduled this month are from Texas and Florida. Another rouge State, namely Arizona, accounts for two of the other three.  Why these three States execute several more people than the other forty-eight combined?  What is in the mentality that causes this to happen.  I would really like to know? Are the people of those States aligned with their leaders in government  in this regard and if they aren’t then why do they continue to elect them to office?

I mourn all life that is taken at the hands of men and that certainly included the victims of the above group but execution is not justice it is pure and simple revenge and the Almighty made it clear that vengeance belongs to him not us.

Being Poor In Texas or Florida…..

Uninsured Rates

It is a fact that when you look at Texas and Florida they are first in many areas. They are the execution capitals of the world. They do the most to inhibit the vote. They are two of the most radically conservative States.  But, now I learn that they  also have the highest uninsured rates in the country.

It seems that Texas and Florida just don’t like poor people very much. They have the highest uninsured rates and they are determined to remain so by not producing a Statewide exchange.  That fact does not really surprise me at all as they are so adamantly against anything that is associated with Democrats.  The folks who they choose to run their states live up to the phrase “biting off your nose to spite your face”. After the massive plant explosion recently in Texas I know they don’t do much to protect their citizens in any regard. Even though these State are supposedly the heart of the bible belt the “least of these” seem to mean nothing to them.

I really want to believe that the folks in these two States are caring and loving individuals but from what I can glean from recent events that just doesn’t seem to be the case. I hate writing off entire groups of people. I would love to hear some stories about how these folks live up to the title of being a caring  and compassionate with those outside their immediate families.

Cowboy Boots & Fire Codes….

Flag of TexasTexas has always prided itself on its free-market posture. It is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.

But Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012. Compared with Illinois, which has the nation’s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs…..

“The Wild West approach to protecting public health and safety is what you get when you give companies too much economic freedom and not enough responsibility and accountability,” said Thomas O. McGarity, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and an expert on regulation.

SOURCE:   After Explosion, Texas Remains Wary of Regulation – NYTimes.com.

The source article above is about the fertilizer plant that blew up a few months ago and killed many people in the area.  But the primary stimulant for this post was another article that showed that Texas is the number one State when it comes to nursing home abuse. They get a solid “F” in that area. Plainly speaking, they just seem to be more interested some self-perceived independence than they are about the safety and security  of their citizens.  Especially those who can’t take care of themselves.

Texas has always been a very confusing State to me. The mentality there seems to be all about bravado.  In order to avoid confusion here is the definition I am using for bravado: a pretentious, swaggering display of courage.  Synonyms –  brag, bluster, bombast. Many, including their most recent U.S. Senator are just too pretentious (I am trying to be polite by using this word) for me.

Texas just seems to be the ultimate dichotomy.  They are a glowing example of opposites. On the one hand they probably have more Christian mega-churches than any other State and they scream the loudest when it comes to certain Christian principles but they are also the execution capital of the world.  If they really held to their Christian principles they would understand the concept of  their bother’s keepers.  But instead they repeatably try to  repeal a health care law that would provide healthcare to 30 million of their brothers and have nothing to replace it with. They just seem to have no understanding of being a good Samaritan really means.

They elect the most radical of radicals to represent them in Washington.  Are the people themselves actually that much distanced from the rest of us.  Texas just plain confuses me? At times I kind of wish they would go off and form their own country as they frequently threaten….

Fertilizer plant that exploded in Texas carried $1M policy

Fert plant“The bottom line is, this lack of insurance coverage is just consistent with the overall lack of responsibility we’ve seen from the fertilizer plant, starting from the fact that from day one they have yet to acknowledge responsibility,” Roberts said.

Roberts said he expects the plant’s owner to ask a judge to divide the $1 million in insurance money among the plaintiffs, several of whom he represents, and then file for bankruptcy.

He said he wasn’t surprised that the plant was carrying such a small policy. “It’s rare for Texas to require insurance for any kind of hazardous activity,” he said. “We have very little oversight of hazardous activities and even less regulation.”

Source: Fertilizer plant that exploded in Texas carried $1M policy – CBS News.

I have long known that Texas is the execution capital of the world but didn’t know about its dismal lack of oversight until I read the above.  For six years I was a sole-proprieter cabinet maker. I sold a few thousand dollars worth of furniture and cabinets each year; not enough to make a living on but it did supplement my pension. In that small non-hazardous (except maybe to me) business I carried a $1 million insurance policy. That is just standard in this part of the country.

When I learned that a large fertilizer plant near such a dense population carried no more than I did I was just astounded! How could oversight body have allowed this? They say there were no inspections of the plant in several years due to the lack of taxes to fund them.  I’m sure that the hundreds of people who were killed or maimed or their families now regret allowing such disgraceful oversight by their government officials.

Fodder For Our Prison System??

jail cell 2HOUSTON — As school districts across the country consider placing more police officers in schools, youth advocates and judges are raising alarm about what they have seen in the schools where officers are already stationed: a surge in criminal charges against children for misbehavior that many believe is better handled in the principal’s office….

Such criminal charges may be most prevalent in Texas, where police officers based in schools write more than 100,000 misdemeanor tickets each year, said Deborah Fowler, the deputy director of Texas Appleseed, a legal advocacy center in Austin. The students seldom get legal aid, she noted, and they may face hundreds of dollars in fines, community service and, in some cases, a lasting record that could affect applications for jobs or the military.

Source: With Police in Schools, More Children in Court – NYTimes.com.

As if we needed more opportunities to put our citizens into the prison system; we are far and away already the number one incarcerater in the world. Now it seems, especially in Texas that we are dipping into the youngest generation for additional fodder.

I don’t know how the NRA feels about our prison system. Since they seem to have so much sway with our government representatives maybe they should chime in here with their opinions. I know that our prison systems were severely privatized by Mr. Bush and most Republican governors in the last decade or so. I also know that those corporations are among  the most profitable in America. But to increase profits, and isn’t that the sole purpose for corporations, means more prisoners.  I know there are documented cases of judges getting kick-backs for sending more people to prisons but I just don’t know how wide-spread this is.

Lets get back to the core of this post. More police in our schools as the NRA is advocating is adding to misdemeanor tickets in a serious way.  Is that a necessary requirement for protecting them from a nut job with a legal assault weapon?  Maybe there is some grand conspiracy that I am missing out on here. 🙂