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Dear friends,

Here in the US this is one of two big "family & friends ritual" days. The other is Christmas.

For this one today, we have a small turkey from Whole Foods, wine from Trader Joe's, vegetables from Farmers Market, fresh bread from Great Harvest bread. Just the 3 of us plus 2 pussycats. NPR music if we want, books, weather permitting we could go for walk in the park; alternatively Yvette and I will go to see J Edgar at Cinemart at 4. 

Caroline and Rob will have a roast duck.

Yvette primed to watch Thanksgiving Day parade in front of Macy's "in order to see Johnny Weir."

I shall force myself to phone my mother and try to keep the conversation short.

On Jacquie Lawson there's a lovely meditative card which pictures a fall day in somber autumnal like colors; we are told to click on the picture to start the music. We see leaves falling, then a squirrel taking an acorn (large on screen), then pull back to see a harvest scene with a bird alighting on carrots.   Then the frame moves slowly so we see the area from a picturesque standpoint, then at a distance, framed, we see a house, someone (male it seems) arrives in a late Edwardian style carriage, drawn by horses; children rush out to greet the person and all go in. The bird returns and sits on an acorn.  The music is Simple Gifts done in stately slow fashion by light instruments. I find I like it; it soothes me; I've listened several times now.

Just now Yvette has a male tenor singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" (from Oklahoma) on her stereo equipment and the sun is shining into her room. Clarissa (the cat) is at her post at the window behind Yvette's computer. Ian is squatting warily but peacefully somewhere in the front of the house.

I have read two peremptory questions (one on livejournal here) and other on another site, what are you grateful for?  They reminded me I need to read William Godwin's Equity and Justice where he has a whole chapter demonstrating how pernicious is the inculcation of this slave-binding emotion.  I will try to find it and put some of what he says on this blog eventually. For my part I regret that I did not see the Woody Allen documentary last Sunday and hope to watch Part 1 and Part 2 online separately. And most immediately this morning really hated how hard it is for me to find how from the PBS site when any particular program is playing on our local PBS channel here in the DC area.

As a general social comment on our society for this ritual day: Last night I watched and listened to Amy Goodman Democracy Now on the terrors and brutality going on in Cairo (gov't still supported by millions from the US, the tear gas supplied by a US company). She also interviewed Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle and was very moved. It bothers me a news report describes them as "saying" they didn't kill the people they were accused of killing not simply that they didn't. A friend, Rachel, commented: "Also saw this interview on Democracy Now, Ellen; devastating story."  To which I replied: "One element was Sunny Jacobs spent more than 5 years in solitary confinement. Atul Gawande has written persuasively that solitary confinement is a form of torture. He writes huge numbers of people are regularly punished this way for years; the three cases he discusses may have come to Gawande's attention because the people went mad. Jacobs (as we saw) had the strength to endure. What I now think is not just huge numbers of people but most people are put in these tiny cement rooms; US citizens' taxpayers' money is paying private companies to set up such places; Gawande says solitary confinement is very expensive and counterproductive (it makes people less social, robs them of social skills), and now it's torture. There is no public board screening what happens in these prisons, so this technique is a small visibilia that tells us what we don't see is as bad."

And on Al-Jazeera read Hugh Grant's statement on being hounded by the unscrupulous British press: the man has an absolute right to privacy.

I've now broken my usual silence about "celebrity" people (Allen, Grant) in the press in public than I have in
hundreds of blogs.

I'm now "following" the Trollope Society on twitter and the thought for the day from AT is: "I love to have my teacup emptied and filled with gradual pauses so that time for oblivion may accrue and no exact record be taken."

I hope all spend this declared or official "interval" with satisfaction, contentment, in peace.  A friend wished our table to be serene and festive. Amen.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2011 12:37 pm (UTC)
Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle
My friend, Mike, commented: It seems to me that the unexamined side effect of the Sunny Jacobs story is that her husband Jesse was executed for a crime that he didn't commit. After he already was dead, another man confessed -- the same man who originally fingered Jesse.You're right.

I replied: Thank you for bringing that home to me again. I did realize it while I watched. This is one I should write a blog on; instead I'll include it in today's personal Sylvia blog.
Nov. 24th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
Jill: "This is why the death penalty should be ended. It is neither economical, nor moral, and innocent people are too often murdered."

It also easily could be us. e died horribly too, burnt to death in effect -- chained to the chair which didn't work right. Not uncommon.

Nov. 25th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Death penalty
An old argument in favor of the death penalty was that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a lifetime of free housing, food, and healthcare for the worse society has to offer. But it's been proven that it costs more to go through the appeals process (and even then, too many innocent people are murdered) than it does to just house them for the rest of their lives, keeping the rest of society safe from them."
Nov. 25th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
It's wrong

"Either killing other human beings is wrong, or it isn't. If it's wrong, then the State has no business doing it, any more than I do.

I happen to be of the opinion that it's wrong. Now, some people will argue from boundary cases -- "what if they're about to kill you" &c -- but that's not relevant, not what is under discussion. The State is not intervening with deadly force during a violent incident, it's systematically, cold-bloodedly prosecuting the death of a citizen.

We should indeed be implementing restorative and rehabilitative systems within our prisons. Recognizing that some offenders are beyond near-term redemption, we have to be able to keep some locked up indefinitely, even for life. But there are literally hundreds of thousands of inmates in the prison system who could be useful citizens and happy human beings, if only given the opportunities.

I don't feel that the argument about cost is made in good faith. It's just back-dooring the desire to get revenge and inflict pain and terror on the offender."

Edited at 2011-11-25 08:07 pm (UTC)
Nov. 25th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
It's wrong; appeal I try to make
Yes I agree with Mike. It's wrong. To make an appeal I suggest to people they are endangered, all of us. But the core argument is it's wrong.
Nov. 25th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
capital punishment
Jill: I agree that it's plain wrong, as is torture, child labor, slavery, etc, but there are a dismaying lot of people who do not regard it so, and for them it's efficacious to offer other arguments

Me: When the subject comes up in classrooms (not often) I usually begin by talking of the 18th century when 200+ capital crimes were put on the books. I suggest to them the kinds of crimes you could be killed for went down because capital punishment threatens everyone. then I try to persuade them that people killed are not strange monsters -- this couple shows that. Then I make my pitch about how it threatens them and even me. The black people in the room hear me; recently the arab or middle eastern and south asian men hear me and increasingly men with spanish origins. I tell the girls so many more women are in prison and nothing secures them from rape, their children taken from them. Now we see solitary confinement as a matter of course. Jill is unfortunately correct that the act of killing is not abhorrent in itself to enough people unless _they_ or theirs are threatened by it.

Edited at 2011-11-25 10:45 pm (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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