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NYC_SKP's Journal
NYC_SKP's Journal
October 20, 2014

Be well. Best wishes.

The offer stands, and, more often than not, advice has been sought for loved ones, not for DU members.

My friends here know of my background working with incarcerated youth with manifest challenges including being victims of molestation, beatings, and even rape.

You know you have a sad group of age 14-18 children when on one day three are in tears simultaneously during class, one of whom suffers from incontinence of his bowels.

In respect of him, I won't share publicly the personal history that this boy bears that lead to such lack of control of his bodily functions.

Many of us here struggle with life's challenges and sometimes that comes out as expressions of belligerence and anger.

Depression and despair know no theistic or gender or other demographic bounds, I think you know that.

Finally, there is no new group, simply a discussion about a forming a new one.

If one is formed, I imagine membership would be open and voluntary, consistent with the Apatheistic point of view.

Good night to you.

October 18, 2014

Jail Doesn't Help Addicts. Let's Stop Sending Them There.

We need to offer a range of inpatient and outpatient recovery services, not jail time.

Jail Doesn't Help Addicts. Let's Stop Sending Them There.


By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 11:17am

Misti Barrickman has scoliosis. Since she was a teenager, it's been debilitating. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to stand up.

She started taking Oxycontin to help with the pain and became addicted. She came to Seattle to find large quantities of the drug. Unable to find it and feeling increasingly desperate, Misti tried what was readily available: heroin. For the next seven years, she struggled with addiction. She lived between a tent and a jail cell, racking up charges for possession and prostitution.

Her story is all too common.

Almost 30,000 people were arrested for drugs in New York in 2012. Over 117,000 people were arrested for drugs in California in the same year. Nearly 10,700 people were arrested for drugs in Washington that year.

More at the link: https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform-prisoners-rights/jail-doesnt-help-addicts-lets-stop-sending-them-there

Why do we do things like require 12-step programs, then violate the meth addict that refuses to go, then have to pay out $2,000,000 to the meth addict (who might well still be struggling with addiction) and not learn the lesson that jail time doesn't help anyone, and requiring faith-based programs as a part of recovery ain't gonna work for men like him?

I love and support the ACLU. Money well spent!

October 18, 2014

ACLU Defense of Religious Practice and Expression (including in the workplace)

As a service to any who might be confused about the rights of workers to to openly express their beliefs, and the sometimes contradictory rights of others to feel free of pressure to conform to religious practices observed at one's workplace, I'm starting this thread with a few links that may help to clarify.

AFAIK, a private business owner may practice openly, and even hold a daily prayer during the workday, and violate no laws. That doesn't mean that there isn't pressure to nonbelievers who work in this same place.

However, if that business works with public funds, then anyone objecting to such practices might have a case against such practices, though I'm not certain.

Any articles or insights you can offer would be most welcome, especially if it describes policy and legislation in your city or state, distinct from national policy.

This first article is less about the workplace than about defending expression publicly.

ACLU Defense of Religious Practice and Expression

The ACLU vigorously defends the rights of all Americans to practice their religion. But because the ACLU is often better known for its work preventing the government from promoting and funding selected religious activities, it is sometimes wrongly assumed that the ACLU does not zealously defend the rights of all religious believers to practice their faith. The actions described below – over half of which were brought on behalf of self-identified Christians, with the remaining cases defending the rights of a wide range of minority faiths – reveal just how mistaken such assumptions are. (The list below includes only recent examples.)

More at the link: https://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a Q&A page about workplace discrimination specifically:

[div class="excerpt"]Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with at least 15 employees, as well as employment agencies and unions, from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It also prohibits retaliation against persons who complain of discrimination or participate in an EEO investigation. With respect to religion, Title VII prohibits:

---treating applicants or employees differently based on their religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – in any aspect of employment, including recruitment, hiring, assignments, discipline, promotion, and benefits (disparate treatment);

---subjecting employees to harassment because of their religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – or because of the religious practices or beliefs of people with whom they associate (e.g., relatives, friends, etc.);

---denying a requested reasonable accommodation of an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – if an accommodation will not impose more than a de minimis cost or burden on business operations; 1 and,

---retaliating against an applicant or employee who has engaged in protected activity, including participation (e.g., filing an EEO charge or testifying as a witness in someone else’s EEO matter), or opposition to religious discrimination (e.g., complaining to human resources department about alleged religious discrimination).

The following questions and answers were adapted from EEOC’s Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination, available at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/religion.html, which contains more detailed guidance, legal citations, case examples, and best practices. It is designed to be a practical resource for employers, employees, practitioners, and EEOC enforcement staff on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination, and provides guidance on how to balance the needs of individuals in a diverse religious climate.


This question of what is allowed is not new; The Clinton administration in 1997 addressed it quite clearly:

On August 14, 1997 the Clinton White House released one of the most far-reaching set of guidelines for religious expression. Far from limiting conversation about faith, these guidelines outline the tremendous freedom Americans have in the Constitution to speak about faith as well as explaining rules about what is inappropriate. -

Those guidelines: http://clinton2.nara.gov/WH/New/html/19970819-3275.html

See more at: http://centerforfaithandwork.com/article/guidelines-religious-exercise-and-religious-expression-federal-workplace#sthash.rcxWMaR2.dpuf

This "workplace prayer" predicament is not one that I've personally encountered, though I have felt pressure to do other social things that the boss and others enjoy that I do not.

I'm uncomfortable with the idea that a supervisor might "strongly encourage" participation in a religious practice, especially if it's a business working with public funds, but I also go along with the crowd in saying the pledge or singing the Star Spangled Banner; I choose my real life battles differently.

Generally, I think the rights of believers need to be in balance with the rights of atheists and agnostics, that's the only way to ensure comfort for all.


October 12, 2014

Urban Aviculture and Agriculture...

How do members of our DU E&E group feel about adopting a vacant lot to raise chickens and their eggs, tomatoes, and more?

Done responsibly, is this wrong? Is it better to just leave the lot barren or with native grasses, or are community gardens a better use?

I strongly support projects like the one developed my my friend in Chicago. It builds community and serves as a learning opportunity for school age kids.

To me, it's a move in the right direction-- away from hyper development and toward a sustainable SYMBIOTIC relationship among humans, animals and plants, and the earth.

What say you?


And it has useful links:

Producer Pam Grimes and Photojournalist Steve Scheuer contributed to this report.







These links are for wild bird rescues in the Chicago area:



October 1, 2014

Garrison Keillor on "Interventionist versus Laissez Faire" approaches to threat management.

I think the dynamic applies to the battle over gun control legislation, but also to other questions about where responsibilities rest.

I was listening to the Prairie Home Companion on Sunday and Garrison Keillor told a tale about a woman, Irene Bunsen, who was gardening when a bear came along, so the rangers were called.

The rangers said that they could come tranquilize the bear and then take it miles away but it would cost $1,350. But who would pay the cost?

The story goes on to discuss the two sides of the matter of what to do: The Interventionist versus the Laissez Faire approaches.

--- The Interventionists say "But what if there was a child, is a child not worth $1,350?".

--- The Laissez Faire people say, "Teach your children to watch where they're going. The world is full of bears."

Garrison noted that both sides are right, it's not often that you get an argument like that where you get two sides that are absolutely right yet disagree completely.

It's a short piece and really worth the few minutes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/apm-prairie-home-companions/id215352157?mt=2

In case it's not self-evident, the analogy here is that some on the left would look to laws and government to be responsible for preventing calamity, to prevent irresponsibility, to "ensure" safety, while others among us prefer the notions of self-determination, responsibility, access to the tools to take care of ourselves, and training our children and family members to be aware and to be safe.

Well, neither side is completely wrong (except to any extent to which we insist the other side is completely wrong); the solutions probably exist in the universe that treats BOTH sides as valid arguments.

Most of us who support the Second Amendment also support UBCs and strict penalties for misuse and violent used of firearms, and most on the gun control side see a place for education and awareness and grant that some ownership rights are beneficial.

In any event, I really loved the piece on radio and hope you'll all take a listen to it. I'm sorry I couldn't find a written transcript.

And remember:

The world is full of bears.

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http://www.democraticunderground.com/12593371#post1 [div class=excerpt]http://www.democraticunderground.com/124384291 http://www.democraticunderground.com/124384554 1. It need not be unanimous. But there must be the consensus. I tend to think that if one person is strongly opposed to a lock, and is making that stand based on some principle they are able to articulate, then that position should be respected and consensus does not exist. But if some people are just-kinda-meh-not-sure opposed to a lock, then you can assume that consensus exists. But I think the bigger picture is that if everyone is doing the job in good faith and being polite to each other, then it should not be very hard to determine if consensus exists and act accordingly. http://www.democraticunderground.com/12595617 [/div] ~~~~~~ Hi Jerry!!! :thumbsup:[font color=blue][b][link:http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=forum&id=1269|Visit the new DU \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Progressive Media Resources Group\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"][/font size][/font color][/b]:thumbsup: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/121223012937-11-obama-face-1223-horizontal-gallery.jpg :thumbsup:[font color = blue][b][link:http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=forum&id=1269|Visit the new DU \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Progressive Media Resources Group\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"][/font size][/font color][/b]:thumbsup: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/121223012937-11-obama-face-1223-horizontal-gallery.jpg [b][link:http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=forum&id=1269|[font style=\\\"color:#0000ff !important;\\\"]:thumbsup: Visit the new DU Progressive Media Resources Group] http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/Shockwave_73/warren_2016_bumper_sticker.jpg blue color is color:#0000ff
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