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Jesus and Wall Street, Zero Tolerance, Zero Intelligence, 9/11’s Controversial Photo: The Live Wire

| October 25, 2011

From Audubon's Florida's Specuial Places album (© Marc Stone)

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9/11’s Most Controversial Photo

Thomas Hoepker's Young People on a Brooklyn Waterfront, Sept. 11, 2011

The German photographer Thomas Hoepker writes: “This image happened, in passing, so to speak, when I tried to make my way down to southern Manhattan on the morning of 9/11. I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and, being a seasoned photojournalist, I followed my professional instinct, trying hard to get as close as possible to the horrendous event. When I heard that the subway had stopped running I took out the car, only to get stuck immediately in traffic on Second Avenue. I took my chances by crossing the Queensborough Bridge. Then, turning south into Queens and Brooklyn, I stayed close to the East River, stopping here and there to shoot views of the distant catastrophe, which unfolded on the horizon to my right. The car radio provided horrific news, nonstop. The second tower of the World Trade Center had just imploded; estimates of more than 20,000 deaths were quoted and later discredited. Somewhere in Williamsburg I saw, out of the corner of my eye, an almost idyllic scene near a restaurant—flowers, cypress trees, a group of young people sitting in the bright sunshine of this splendid late summer day while the dark, thick plume of smoke was rising in the background. I got out of the car, shot three frames of the seemingly peaceful setting and drove on hastily, hoping/fearing to get closer to the unimaginable horrors at the tip of Manhattan.”

The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones writes, more recently: “The critic and columnist Frank Rich wrote about it in the New York Times. He saw in this undeniably troubling picture an allegory of America’s failure to learn any deep lessons from that tragic day, to change or reform as a nation: “The young people in Mr Hoepker’s photo aren’t necessarily callous. They’re just American.” In other words, a country that believes in moving on they have already moved on, enjoying the sun in spite of the scene of mass carnage that scars the fine day. Indeed, I can’t help thinking the five apparently unmoved New Yorkers resemble the characters in the famous 1990s television comedy Seinfeld, who in the show’s final episode are convicted under a Good Samaritan law of failing to care about others. Rich’s view of the picture was instantly disputed. Walter Sipser, identifying himself as the guy in shades at the right of the picture, said he and his girlfriend, apparently sunbathing on a wall, were in fact “in a profound state of shock and disbelief”. Hoepker, they both complained, had photographed them without permission in a way that misrepresented their feelings and behaviour. Well, you can’t photograph a feeling. But another five years on since it surfaced in 2006, it seems pointless to argue about the morality of the people in the picture, or of the photographer, or his decision to withhold the picture from publication. It is now established as one of the defining photographs of that day – with the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Centre’s destruction approaching, the Observer Review republished it this August as the 9/11 photograph.” The full piece.

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Zero Tolerance Is Zero Intelligence

From the Washington Post via Jim Guines: “Steve Teske doesn’t hold back. He’s a Southern judge, with the boom and flair of a preacher, who has risen to national prominence arguing that too many students get arrested or kicked out of school for minor trouble. “Zero tolerance is zero intelligence,” he likes to say. His plea for common sense follows two decades of increased police presence at schools across the country, including in the Washington region, and coincides with a growing concern nationally about campus arrests and suspensions. Teske wants people to know that students regularly show up in the courtroom who shouldn’t be there. That a schoolyard fight or a moment of mouthing off at a teacher is no reason to pull out handcuffs. That African American and Hispanic students are sent to court in disproportionate numbers. “Kids are wired to do stupid things,” he tells a North Carolina crowd here one fall day. “Hello? Right? How many of you in here committed a delinquent act at any time when you were a teenager?” […] His success as a juvenile court judge in the outskirts of Atlanta has propelled him to the forefront of a national debate about the effects of harsh approaches to student discipline. […] Teske brought together educators, police and social service and mental health counselors, parents and students. After nine months, leaders settled on a new protocol for four misdemeanors: fights, disorderly conduct, disruption and failure to follow police instructions. Now, instead of making arrests, police issue warnings for first offenders. Repeat trouble means workshops or mediation. Only then may a student land in court. For chronic offenders, a system of care is in place to help resolve underlying problems. School referrals to juvenile court fell more than 70 percent from 2003 to 2010. “The cases we have in court now are the burglars, the robbers — the kids who scare you, not the kids who make you mad,” Teske says. Police were wary of the change at first, says Lt. Marc Richards, then assigned to a middle school where he averaged 100 arrests a year. “Police officers are A-type personalities, black and white, by the book,” he says. “With this initiative, there was a lot of gray.” But over time, he says, “it became an extremely effective tool.” With fewer arrests and a more preventative focus, police-student relations improved, he says. So did tips about serious offenses.” The full article.

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The Other Ron Paul: Repealing Roe v. Wade

So much for getting government off your back. Ron Paul, the alleged libertarian, wants to repeal Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. From the Raw Story: “I see the attack on the unborn as an act of violence and it should be dealt with at the local level,” Paul said. “What I want to do is repeal Roe v. Wade. And the best way to do that is to eliminate the federal jurisdiction. So, we could have done that 10 or 15 years ago. We should have done it when the right to life majority was in office.” Paul said it wouldn’t have been a perfect solution, but it could have stopped abortions in many states.

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“Homeland” Paranoia: The TV Show

Claire Danes is watching you (you wish)

From The New Republic: “I think the show is clever, confident, cruel and—just like “24”—torn between profound insight and ratings. This is what you need to know; this is what you have to decide whether you can trust. A very jittery CIA operative, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), hears that terrorist pressure has turned an American prisoner-of-war. Then, after eight years of captivity, Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is rescued in the Middle East. He comes back a hero, but Carrie thinks he may be a spook and she tries to get her old boss, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), to support an investigation—what would you call six implanted video cameras in the Brody household? For the sergeant has a wife and two children. The kids barely remember him and the wife, in the dark for eight years, was having an affair with a friend of Brody’s. […] In other words, the melodrama of espionage intrigue is tangled up with the unfairness of the ways we are allowed to see things. I suspect an ultimate purpose of “Homeland” is going to be to reveal that the people in security and insecurity are ruined by it, and that’s a great advance on “24,” where the superlative prowess of Jack Bauer merged with Kiefer Sutherland’s position as an executive producer and profit participant. There is always the danger that these magnificent set-pieces of disorder and narrative surprise will turn crazy before their finale, or stay so obscure that there is no prospect of a second series (remember “Rubicon”). If the world is really on the brink of survival, then thought of sequels and syndication should be set aside. Authentic drama depends on something that can happen just once.” The full review.

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What would Jesus say about Wall Street?

El Greco's 'Christ Driving Money Lenders Out of the Temple' (Click on the image for larger view.)

From Red Letter Christian, by way of our friend Beth Gardner: “What would Jesus say about Wall Street? It doesn’t get much better than Luke chapter 12. Jesus begins by saying, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And then, as per usual, he tells a story. The story is about a “rich man” whose business makes it big. He has so much stuff he doesn’t know where to put it all. So he decides, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones… and I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’” But Jesus says God looks down and is not happy. God says to the rich man, “You fool! This very night you will die — and what will happen to all your stuff?” And Jesus ends the teaching by saying this is how things will be for folks who store up stuff for themselves. It does make you wonder what to do about 401k’s and pensions. But it seems pretty clear that Jesus isn’t a big fan of stockpiling stuff in barns and banks, especially when folks are dying of starvation and preventable diseases. One of the constant threads of Scripture is “Give us this day our daily bread.” Nothing more, nothing less. Underneath this admonition is the assumption that the more we store up for tomorrow the less people will have for today. And in a world where 1% of the world owns half the world’s stuff, we are beginning to realize that there is enough for everyone’s need, but there is not enough for everyone’s greed. Lots of folks are beginning to say, “Maybe God has a different dream for the world than the Wall Street dream.” Maybe God’s dream is for us to live simply so that others may simply live. Maybe God’s dream is for the bankers to empty their banks and barns so folks have enough food for today. Woody Guthrie may be right. If Jesus came to Wall Street preaching the same message that he preached in Galilee… he might land himself on a cross again.” The full post.

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About Asparagus Pee

Shereen Jegtvig at “Eating asparagus gives urine a distinctive odor that’s sometimes described as being sulfur-like or something similar to cooked cabbage. The odor is due to your body’s reaction to some of the natural chemicals found in the green stalks. If you’ve never eaten asparagus before, smelling that odor for the first time could be quite alarming, but it’s a normal reaction and there aren’t any dangers related to having “asparagus pee.” As far as I know, no products or cooking methods change the effect. Asparagus has been around for over two thousand years, but the odor of asparagus pee may be a newer phenomenon, or at least it didn’t appear in any literature until 1731 when John Arbuthnot wrote about it in An Essay Concerning the Nature of Aliments. Benjamin Franklin wrote about the aromatic benefit of eating asparagus as an example of how the various things that go into the body can affect the odors that come out of it in a historical document urging scientists of the day to create a drug that might change the offensive odor of expelled gas.” The full story.

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The SNL Steve Jobs Skit You Never Saw

Fred Armisen’s Rupert Murdoch says: “Steve Jobs used new media to make the world a better place, and I used old media to make it a much, much worse one. For example, on the day Steve unveiled the iPhone I launched a new London tabloid called, ‘The Snooper.’ It just follows celebrities going to the bathroom, I love it. … Steve Jobs made the iPad; it’s $500 and opens up a world of information. I made the New York Post; it’s 50 cents and I dare you to find a full sentence in it.” Watch:

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5 Responses for “Jesus and Wall Street, Zero Tolerance, Zero Intelligence, 9/11’s Controversial Photo: The Live Wire”

  1. Jim Guines says:

    I hope some local leaders–sheriff, judge, superintendent– get a chance to see the article about zero based tolerance and another way to handle it in the school system. It is a more intelligent way to handle behavior situations with students.

  2. NortonSmitty says:

    Regarding The Most Controversial Photo of 9/11, I don’t see the controversy. They were sitting there watching the event. They are supposed to be crying uncontrollably, running in circles and tearing their hair out? They aren’t news anchors!

    I think their are more controversial pics by far. Like this one about the five Israeli citizens filming the planes crashing into the towers on 9/11. Don’t worry, they were immediately released when they told the FBI they weren’t involved, they were just there to film the event. (!)

    Or how about this one about World Trade Center #7 falling into it’s own footprint 7 hours after the first two towers fell. Never heard of Building 7? Don’t feel bad, the 9/11 commission report never mentioned it either. No Jets, no jet fuel, two blocks away with a couple of minor fires, silly firemen say they heard a string of explosions just prior to it falling. Somehow it fell beutifully even though this video shows the fires were about out when it happened.

    Google “Building 7” if you dare. It may not turn you into one of those crazy Conspiracy Theorist 9/11 Truther idiots you have been warned about, but then again it might. The fact you have never heard of the third building that collapsed, or very little, should at least pique your interest.

    Now THAT’S controversial!

  3. Liana G says:

    Dr Guines thank you for finding this article and posting it. We need you back on the board!

  4. Liana G says:

    Walter, your obvious need for any kind of attention have you deserving of a Darwin Award!

    I nominate Walter Sipser for the Darwin Award!

    @Northon, thanks for feeding my conspiracy theorist mind.

  5. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    I remember the day and following days of President Kennedy’s assassination. Many of my friends were upset because their schedule was interrupted by the funeral. They whinned about businesses being closed on their days off. They took days off to “mourn” and planned other activities. The American Way

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