A Chance for Criminal Justice Reform




From ACLU.org:

Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to vote on a bill called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act – the most significant criminal justice reform legislation to be considered by Congress in the last five years. It will essentially ban juvenile solitary confinement in the federal system and retroactively reduce overly harsh drug sentences.

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Justice For All


Important Victory in Push to Demilitarize Police

Courtesy of FreeFoto.com

Courtesy of FreeFoto.com

“President Obama just banned the federal government’s transfer of certain military vehicles and weaponry to local and state police departments across America.”

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Our Communities Are Not War Zones!

I recently received this message, and an accompanying petition, in an email from the ACLU:

“On August 9th, local police fatally shot an unarmed African-American 18-year-old named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the days that followed, there have been massive protests in Ferguson and heavily armed SWAT teams are roaming the streets in response. Our communities are not war zones.”

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Primate Socialism

Tanya’s Thoughts: Click on the above link to see video. This is a video from the blog “Whisky And Tea” that shows two monkeys being rewarded with food for doing a task for a researcher. The monkeys both know each other. At one point, they are placed in separate cages that are clear so that each monkey can see what the other is doing and what reward each is getting.

Each time a monkey gives a small rock to the researcher from its cage, it is given a cucumber as a reward. Both receive the same reward at first, but the researcher then switches things up by giving one monkey grapes, while still giving cucumbers to the other. Comedy ensues, as well as an interesting lesson in animal intelligence and the innate need for fairness.

This species of monkey, called Capuchins, like grapes more than cucumbers. So when the cucumber-rewarded monkey sees that his friend is getting grapes for the same task, he gets a temper tantrum. He throws the pieces of cucumber back at the researcher! He then bangs his little hands on the table where the cage is set and shakes the doors of the cage!

What this says to me is that monkeys are a lot more intelligent than we think, and that there may be an innate need for fairness and justice in many animals other than ourselves. Both very thought-provoking concepts.

Whisky and Tea

Because it’s the end of term:

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Bloggers For Societal Change: Group Proposal

Photo courtesy of hd-wallpaper.us

Photo courtesy of hd-wallpaper.us

After reading a post from the blog Deconstructing Myths, as well as a post by Oneness Of Humanity, I’ve come up with an idea to create an online group/league of bloggers who write about societal issues, be it racism, injustice, global warming, animal rights, and the like, and are interested in progress to create a better world.

I was also inspired by this Gandhi quote I posted a little while ago that I found on  EMILY LOUISE BIEHL‘s blog:


It made me think of what I, and many other bloggers, see as the purpose of our blogs. But since we are currently not organized or connected in a formal way, it feels as if each blogger is on his or her own. I think that if we formed some kind of group, we may feel more united in our efforts, and can therefore be more effective in creating the change we want to see happen.

So here are my ideas:

1) There are many bloggers who already write about societal issues, so there will be no particular requirements. Each blogger will just keep doing what they already do.

2) The thing that would connect us would be a logo with the title of our group (I’m thinking something like “The Determined Spirits Blog Group”). You can also give any suggestions you have for a title. The logo will link to a page that provides a list of all the bloggers in our group, so that visitors can look at our blogs and see what we’re about. and hopefully be inspired in the process.

3) There won’t be a formal application process for entering into this group- anyone can join.

4) The only blogs that wouldn’t be appropriate for this group would be those that are primarily about the blogger’s own personal life, such as your shopping habits, who you hang out with, your significant other, dating, pictures just of yourself, etc.  Blogs such as those would seem out of place, since the focus is not on society, the environment, etc.

5) Blogs in which the primary goal is to sell a product are not appropriate, either. No marketing allowed! If you are someone who writes about a variety of things and has just a picture of your product or only refer to it occasionally, that’s fine. If you’ve written a book and the cover of it is on your site, that’s no big deal.

6) If you are an artist who’s art is dedicated to the kinds of things we’re writing about, you are welcome to the group, as well.

7) If you blog about things meant to improve people’s lives, such as physical or mental health, or any kind of inspirational stuff that improves or enlightens people, you are also welcome. 

I think the best way to get this started is for people to either comment on this post or write me a message on my About page. If you want to join the group and/or have some more ideas and suggestions for the group, include that in your comments.

Thanks and take care 🙂

Petition: Drop Charges Against Black Teen Who Was Choked By Police Over ‘Dehumanizing’ Stare

Tremaine McMillian - photo courtesy of Change.org

Tremaine McMillian – photo courtesy of Change.org


The events that led up to the petition, as described by the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an article:

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