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Friday, May 16, 2003  

On and off the Web

•Off the web

Dream, dream, dream. I am not one to pay much attention to dreams, probably because I'm not a believer in portents or the deep power of the subconscious. Advice on writing I don't follow includes keeping a dream journal.

Yet, a dream I had last night struck me by its oddness. I dreamed about horses. Miniature horses. You know the ones -- they're about the size of big dogs. What am I to make of this? (It seems to beg that I make something of it.)

I haven't given the topic much thought, but I'm not sure I approve of people breeding animals just for novelty. The fainting goat community seems rather cruel to me. Are these the early stirrings of attraction to PETA?

Aren't horses supposed to represent eros? Does the dream mean I'm interested in mini-eros?

•On the Web

Angry Bear has thoughts on affirmative action and the way some people are trying to make Jayson Blair a poster child for it similar to mine.

CalPundit has a post that largely echoes a conversation I had last night on the subject of whether Affirmative Action leads to promotion and hiring of less qualified people. I said, "sure, you can find instances of it, but you can find instances of hirings of unqualified people for a variety of reasons". The variety of reasons I had in mind is reflected in the aphorism, "it's not what you know, it's who you know", and in the phrase "old boys network", and in the practice of legacy admissions and so forth. Because of slavery and Jim Crow, Black Americans have only had a bit less than 40 years to develop legacies and old boys networks and connections, which is a bit less than the 400 or so years white Americans have had. So I said that, on balance, affirmative action is a reasonable counter-balance. If you looked closely enough, I am sure that for every Jayson Blair out there, you could find an instance where affirmative action lead to a minority being hired instead of the boss's imbecilic nephew.

I've pretty much honored my pledge not to impose the bile of most Right Wing bloggers discussing the Blair affair on you, but will mention the impressions of reasonable people.

On a related note, there is a new study that reveals white bigots actually go through psychological and physical changes when they interact with people of color. So much for colorblindness, eh?

•On and off the Web

Like most writers, I am more an observer than an activist. However, I may become involved in the Kendra James affair. She is the young, pregnant Portland woman who was shot by the police two weeks ago. Initially, it was claimed James was somehow at fault. First, that she had a gun and fired it at police. Then, that she tried to run over them with the car. Neither allegation has been sustained.

Fred of Rantavation states the dilemma of these cases. Suffice to say that:

1.) Running from someone with a gun, when they are legally empowered to use it to stop you, is never a really good choice.

2.) The doctrine of "deadly force" is flawed when the military has stricter rules of engagement than law enforcement does. What judgement is in force when the adrenaline is coursing through your veins and you're uncapable of seeing anything but red?

The FBI has begun an investigation at the behest of Police Chief Mark Kroeker.

A group of Portland ministers has taken up James' cause.

Pastor LeRoy Haines, one of several Albina Ministerial Alliance leaders who participated in the funeral, said he thinks the FBI inquiry is "a good step in the initial process, but there's a lot more the city has to do."

As have many community members, Haines called for a review of the bureau's deadly force policy, a statewide look at ways to make the grand jury process more open to the public, improvements in cultural diversity training among all ranks and improvements in community policing.

Those are good ideas, but I would like to see a couple more close-to-home things done:

•An investigation imto the event by qualified private investigators on the James' family's behalf, and

•A fund set up to care for her two small children while the shooting is still on people's minds.

If no one else makes these suggestions, I may do so myself.

8:26 PM