Have you seen the 1957 movie 12 Angry Men? I highly recommend it. It was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, produced by Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose; Best Director, Sidney Lumet; and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Reginald Rose. Continue reading Reflecting on the movie "12 Angry Men" →
After George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin death in Florida, the New York Daily News did a piece When will it end? Deadly racial targeting of black men and teens is hardly ancient history.
So I find it difficult to look at the case as a singular event but in the context of a social pattern. Black-on-black murder doesn’t make headlines, unless it hits an epic proportion, as it has in Chicago recently. Black-on-white murders statistically draw tougher sentences. So there is always uneasiness when a white-on-black killing takes place. Continue reading Florida: race, murder, self-defense →
The question on Facebook the other day, I’m only mildly paraphrasing: “Should the US government be condemning a movie” – we know which movie, I think – “to improve diplomatic relations?” For me, it’s an unequivocal “yes.” Not that that the audience of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s denunciation really cares. They seem to be of the opinion that the United States should arrest the filmmakers, or worse.
This leads me on all sorts of further questions. Should a government official comment on art at all? I use the term “art” loosely. In 1992, Dan Quayle, then the Vice-President, complained that TV character, Murphy Brown, deliberately had a child out of wedlock. Should he have been allowed to do that? Indeed, there are devotees who believe Continue reading Mocking Religion →
The one television program the Daughter and I watch together is an NBC show called Who Do You Think You Are? It involves stars looking back at their genealogy. An episode we saw recently featured actor Blair Underwood, which I hope you can find here or here or here at the third notch 21 minutes in, with him walking down the steps.
What Underwood discovers is that one of his ancestors at the end of the 18th century, Samuel Scott, actually owns property in Virginia. He is distressed, though, to discover Continue reading V is for a Virginia Slave Law →
John Edwards (D-NC), the 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee on the John Kerry ticket, is on trial for misappropriation of 2008 Presidential campaign contributions in order to support Rielle Hunter, his former lover and mother of his youngest child. This was going on while Edwards’ wife Elizabeth was was dying of cancer; a sordid affair. Edwards was offered a plea bargain that would have given him months of jail time, though he would have lost his law license; he could get 30 years. I suspect he turned down the deal because he thinks he can win in court. The crux of the matter is whether those payments to Hunter were actually campaign contributions.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Melanie Sloan notes “Sen. Edwards’ conduct was despicable and deserves society’s condemnation, but that alone does not provide solid grounds for a criminal case. DOJ’s scattershot approach to prosecuting public officials is incomprehensible and undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system.” Continue reading John Edwards, George Zimmerman trial prediction →
Shooting Parrots, from across the pond, as they say, decides to try to confound me.
Okay, here is one of those moral dilemma questions for you:
Your closest friend wants to talk to you about something, but you have to promise that it is just between the two of you. They then tell you that they ran someone over with their car last night and drove off without stopping to see how they were.
The following day you read that the person died and their body had been hit by several other cars. One of those drivers has been arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving. Worse still, it appears that driver may have been drunk.
You don’t know whether it was your friend that killed the person or the cars that came later, but at the very least it was your friend who put the person in a situation where they would be killed.
You try to persuade your friend to turn themselves in, but they flatly refuse. Meanwhile, an ‘innocent’ driver may go to jail because of it and carry the guilt of it for ever.
You have no idea Continue reading Mr. Parrot's & Tom the Mayor's Moral Dilemma Questions →
I was reading Tegan’s blog a couple weeks ago. She was telling this really interesting story about some friend of her who had purchase an e-book for his Kindle or Nook or whatever, and wanted to lend the book to his wife. But because the DRM restriction he was unable to. Then Tegan found for him a, let’s say, non-standard copy of the book. The act of obtaining the pirated copy may have been – OK, almost certainly was – a legal wrong, but Tegan categorized it as a moral right; I found myself agreeing with her assessment.
I know I’ve done similar things for the greater good. The only example that comes to mind involves the purchase of marijuana for a friend’s uncle who was on chemo. This was – the statue of limitations has run out, I’ll put it that way.
Which always brings me back to Dickens: Sometimes, at least, “The law is a ass.”
I always notice when people put the wrong word in an article Continue reading Musings →