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Chicago: The False Confession Capital – 60 Minutes

Chicago: The false confession capital – 60 Minutes.

This is very challenging for me… After the summer of 2006 when I worked at a summer camp filled with inner-city youths I will never again be able to approach this topic without a sad heart, even for those who actually committed the crimes that they’re serving time for, as their formative years were almost surely lived in the trenches of warfare. Feel free to let me know what you think, but I think that you should watch this video before you do anything else:

Do you remember that feeling in grade school when it felt like the world had altogether decided to turn it’s back on you? Was that just me? I don’t think it was. I felt like the emotional roller coaster that I rode in my youth relationally was often unbearable. I remember having incredible feelings of self doubt when friends/classmates would turn against me. But of course I loved the times when I was “cool” again (especially in 5th grade when I dressed up like an old woman and dang the first verse of Rapper’s Delight, like in The Wedding Singer in the talent show… I was very cool after that). Of course growing up as I did is not equal in magnitude to the refection that some of these men have felt, but for me to ever attempt to find sympathy or empathy in my heart for them I must find the rejection in my life that is equivalent in my life (meaning that it has been the greatest rejection that I’ve faced). I can’t imagine being sent to jail or death row for something that I didn’t do, and being the rebel of the family it’s really difficult to imagine watching someone else in my family being hauled off to an unjust incarceration… Especially my sister Carrick (if she goes to jail hell has frozen over…).

Hearing statistics about African American incarceration rates in this nation (which is the most incarcerated nation in the world) absolutely breaks my heart… This is not to say that it’s all a matter of oppression, but there is an element of that, like the drug war (not promoting drugs, just abolishing all of these pointless black markets that create so much violence). Race issues, and prisons (especially now that they’re a part of private industry) are incredibly disheartening to me, and I think it’s time that we have a real conversation about these things.

The prison system makes me truly sad as I think it is populated demographically in such a way that tells us that if the American Dream is alive and well the some people are just better than others… I’m more inclined to believe that we have a perversion of fairness in our world.

For example, I am from, and now again in Oklahoma where the female incarceration rate is the highest in the country… I feel like the women I’m around and know in my state are in general wonderful people, yet the prison demographics tell me that Oklahoma women are way more likely to be “outlaws”. I just have a hard time feeling surrounded by justice when I know that my home has the highest incarceration rate among women in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world…

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I’m not sure what I should do about all of this, but I’ll gladly speak up and say that if we are a society that believes in Bell Curves (as our education system tells us we do) then being the extreme on this scale should be wildly unacceptable. I just challenge my friends and family to consider what we’re faced with here in my home state and country so we can begin an important conversation.

-Grady

The Pledge: Grover Norquist’s Hold on the GOP – 60 Minutes

The Pledge: Grover Norquist’s hold on the GOP – 60 Minutes.

When I first discovered who Grover Norquist was about 5 or 6 years ago I found him to be a fascinating figure, who managed to both inspire and flabbergast me… I would love to see Grover in more regular debates with people from outside of his ideological circles, as he has done a few times on Real Time with Bill Maher. I personally feel that this pledge, that he invented when he was 12, has become a cancer in our nations governing bodies, but I am open to hearing why people would support it. And of course the reason why I’m posting this now is due to the pledge’s impact on the upcoming negotiations in congress over the fiscal cliff and increasing tax revenue. Well, I hope that you enjoy the video, and I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Oh, and apparently in Washington D.C. Grover is regarded as one of the best amateur stand-up comedians around… I can definitely appreciate that about him, and I’ve only been able to find one good clip of his set. Please send more my way if you come across them.

Rodriguez: The Rock Icon Who Didn’t Know It – 60 Minutes

Rodriguez: The rock icon who didn’t know it – 60 Minutes.

This is an incredible story about a man who was living a modest life as a laborer, who was considered the rock n’ roll icon of a generation without knowing it… It’s an incredible true story. I can’t wait to see the film “Searching for Sugar Man” by Malik Bendjelloul.

Three Million Open Jobs in U.S., But Who’s Qualified? – 60 Minutes

Three million open jobs in U.S., but who’s qualified? – 60 Minutes.

As we have this widely contentious conversation about jobs in America this is a pretty interesting report. It is actually kind of a swipe at the American workforce, and maybe it’s time we start having a more comprehensive conversation about how we prepare our workers in this country. People do have a lot of freedom to excel in virtually any industry, but maybe we need to educate our students better about their aptitudes and what kind of jobs are to be expected from certain educational backgrounds. I’m not advocating any kind of policy with this post, just a better conversation. Maybe the platform for that conversation is still just somewhat lacking, and someone like TED Talks could help us explore new avenues to have these conversations… I don’t know, but I hope that you find this segment useful.

Born Good? Babies Help Unlock the Origins of Morality – 60 Minutes

Born good? Babies help unlock the origins of morality – 60 Minutes.

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I have a lot that I want to say about all of this, but I would prefer that you pay more attention to the real reporting, so please ignore the stuff below if you only have time for the video.

This video made my brain go in many different directions. The 2 most conversationally challenging are the ones I’d like to address. This segment challenged me to think about genetics and science, and it also brought to my mind the spiritual implications of this for the many people in my life who I’ve had discussions with about the concept of “original sin”. I still consider myself a Christian, but in many ways I am disenchanted with Christian culture. I don’t say this to throw all Christians under a bus, but I have had trouble having patience with people who don’t want to learn things because it will challenge things that they already believe.

On Evolution / Adaptation:
These days (and by that I mean everyday since I first read the book I’m about to mention) I find myself almost constantly approaching people with a new platform of understanding thanks to my favorite book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. The book is about exceptional people, or at least people with exceptional stories, and it asks questions about why they are/were so exceptional. The main theme of the book is that being exceptional takes often hard, but definitely very dedicated work. It also explains that if examined closely these stories all seem to have another correlation, which is the exceptional opportunities that were provided to these people. It really is an amazing book (I’d suggest that it be your next read if you have yet to read it).

Well, in a portion of the book Mr. Gladwell talks about the importance of family heritage and inheritance in our experiences (be they biological or cultural). He describes the way that some people have a stronger desire for justice, and personal pride in one’s property. These people tend to have grown up in cultures described as “cultures of honor”, and they tend to come from cultures that descend from herders, who would’ve had to protect their livelihoods much more violently and personally than say a farmer. Even though the people who live with that stronger sense of personal/clan protection might not be herders themselves they still live as though they were in many regards. Gladwell explores this phenomenon.

When I think about this and ponder the nurture vs. nature side of this narrative I can’t help but think about the different behaviors of different breeds of dogs. Often “herding” dogs don’t have to be told to become upset when a group is parting ways, they just do it. In the same way I wonder if the question about being team oriented and justice oriented could be relatable for breeds of dogs and human babies. What do you think?

On theology:
Let’s talk about the meaning of life… Or at least, let’s talk about who we think we are really quick. I was raised in an incredibly loving home, and we went to a conservative Christian church. To this day that church is my home, even if I do have inquiries into certain theological principles. I won’t get too specific about that right now, but this piece from 60 minutes brought up a lot of unorganized thoughts in my mind about different churches and groups who I came in contact with growing up. The biblical idea of “original sin” has long been, and continues to be, something that is understood differently by many different people. For some the idea of original sin is that people are born with a blank slate, but that we all eventually choose to do bad things (Jesus being the only exception to this rule), and then we need a savior (Jesus). There are others who believe that we are all born sinful, and the only reason that Jesus (the savior) was not is that he was born of a virgin (meaning that you are to bear the sins of your ancestors). The second approach in my experience has been surprisingly common, and I say “surprisingly” because we live in a society that is so centrally based on the virtue of personal responsibility that the idea of atoning for the sins of those before you doesn’t necessarily match up as far as I can tell outside of the story being kept in tact regardless of cultures it may have endured.

By the way, I posted previously about Mormonism in the Election because I was struggling to understand why so many outspoken Christians seemed to go after the politics of convenience when it came to Romney’s religion. I’m not saying this to be partison, it’s a matter of consistency and accountability. The reason that I bring this back up is because the idea of “original sin” bypassing Jesus due to the virgin birth doesn’t match up with Mormon doctrine (Mormons believe that Elohim/God had sex with Mary). So if that is actually important to you make sure that you understand what you are making exceptions for.

Ok, sorry if that all seems off topic, but it really is all connected. This idea of babies and their morality should all be placed inside of this discussion, but we need to make sure that we are honest with ourselves. It’s ok to say I don’t know everything, but it’s very important that we don’t simply join theological teams out of convenience. In the video they discuss a babies tendency to have teams of us and them, and to desire punishment for “them”. I believe that this basic neurological reaction is the driver of political and theological inconsistencies based on conveniences.

Basic Summary:

-The babies were not vindictive until teams were established

-Religions/political parties/social groups have teams like this

Sometimes these teams change, the all important follow up question becomes about whether the realignment was based on principle by conviction, or out of populist convenience.

This baby video could inspire many fascinating debates and discussions, but I’m glad that you now know better how it challenged me.

-Grady

Has College Football Become a Campus Commodity? – 60 Minutes

Has college football become a campus commodity? – 60 Minutes.

Has college football become a campus commodity? - YouTube

If you knew me 10 years ago you were likely to get an earful about college football if we spoke for more than a couple of minutes. I still have love for the game, but it is not quite as simple a storyline in a history as we might think. With the money, injuries, and lifestyles that this “game” creates there is a lot to be examined.

 

Lara Logan: The Longest War – 60 Minutes (Full Video)

Lara Logan: The Longest War – YouTube.

I had a lot of thoughts about this report, and for some reason it seemed like a better idea to just put them in a bullet point format. Long story short, I think that we are being told that things are better off in Afghanistan than they really are. The next big problem is that this isn’t necessarily because we are failing, we just might be facing an unwinnable situation (go as the Russians what they think about war in Afghanistan…). The fact that our troops are getting killed by the Afghan troops who we’re training is unacceptable… But if we leave are we just giving up? You don’t have to go through my bullet pointed thoughts, but I do recommend at least watching the report, and if you are still interested watching the BGA conference video. Feel free to let me know what you think.

 

The Longest War Video

 

And at a conference by an organization called the Better Government Association Logan talked about what it meant to be a part of this report, and why she is disappointed with the politics of today.

BGA Conference

 

Thoughts about the war:

  • I want the truth
  • I love Lara Logan, I think that she’s a Great reporter.
  • Republican’s have cried wolf for so long about so many things it has been difficult to listen to them about most things. They have behaved very disrespectfully, and the biggest problem with this is that they have made it difficult to hear even the strong points that they might make. Democrats might pander about Afghanistan, and about what happened and is happening with the attack on our service members in Libya – and if they do I want to know about it.
  • Even though the Republican’s have been difficult to deal with both Vice-Presidential candidates in their debate agreed that Al Qaeda is getting weaker in Afghanistan – so we’ll need to see why the agreed if that’s not true, and whether or not they are being unfair if they decide to start disagreeing
  • We have spent too much money
  • Things are not safe enough
  • What does this mean for the President?
  • How do we deal with this war in a tribal culture
  • The government says we’re virtually one drone strike away from winning, Logan says that this isn’t true
  • If President Obama is in the wrong about his rhetoric about this war in Afghanistan we need to demand better – But we can’t forget that this is not simply indicative of him, and this is not the first time anything like this has happened (The Pentagon Paper, and “No End in Sight”)
  • This as an issue in American politics is very,  very tricky…….

What Happened at Bin Laden’s Compound that Day? – “Mark Owen” Interview on Seal Team 6

(MARK OWEN) INTERVIEW-NO EASY DAY – YouTube.

 

Did you hear about that navy seal from seal team 6 who “went rogue” and wrote a book about what happened on the night that we killed Osama Bin Laden? Well, as it seems to me, he hardly went rogue, he just wanted to get the story straight, and in so doing he had support among the other seals. This was really a chilling interview… I recommend watching it, especially considering that the idea that it seems to have taken politics out of the equation (even though I am proud of President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for being the only one’s brave enough in the decision room to say that we should go own – but this video doesn’t talk about that).

I really admire this man (who used a false identity), and the rest of the seals who were a part of this operation. The last political thing that I will say about this whole story is that I’m completely ashamed of Fox News for deciding to release his real name, and place not only his life in jeopardy but also the lives of those close to him… Seriously, how could they justify compromising the life of a member of our military like that?… I won’t be putting his real name in this post. I’ll get off of my high horse, but I’m also going to include the 60 minutes interview with Leon Pannetta about his job, and the mission to get Bin Laden.

 

The Story of Seal Team 6’s Mission to get Bin Laden

 

Interview with Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta

60 Minutes: Saying Farewell to the Extraordinary Mike Wallace

Saying farewell to the extraordinary Mike Wallace – YouTube.

I remember Mike Wallace, mostly for his voice, and this segment about his life and Career at 60 Minutes is really extraordinary. He passed away in April of 2012, but losing a cultural giant like Mike doesn’t become irrelevant in the span of months… I love a good old fashioned journalist, and Mike was truly an old fashioned reporter. I would love to add my commentary, but I don’t think that there is much I can say that would add to this story. I only want to mention that as much as I’m drawn to the public square (whether that be politically ideological debates, or making room for challenging stories), watching a video like this really moves me to keep asking questions.

60 Minutes Presents: Honoring our soldiers

60 Minutes Presents: Honoring our soldiers – YouTube.

I have been listening to the 60 Minutes podcast on iTunes for a long time now (it’s free, and I love free info…). After discovering that they put all of their stories on YouTube I decided a couple of things: that I will be blogging my favorite stories, and that I am in love with Lara Logan… It’s not my fault, she is just really pretty, and she seems nice, and she is more informed than I am…

Moving on, I decided to make my first post about an amazing story… This story is inspiring, but also completely gut wrenching… Dakota Meyer was honored with the first Medal of Honor presented to a member of the United States Military in 38 years. Needless to say his story is remarkable

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