Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top Posts of 2013 on "Scarry Thoughts"

I'm counting down to the New Year by looking back at some of the posts on Scarry Thoughts that were viewed most often in 2013 . . . and my own personal favorites . . .

#1 !!!


There has been a good sign in 2013, in that many people have become outraged about government surveillance. A recent Pew poll found that Americans are now more worried about civil liberties abuses than terrorism. I believe a big question in 2014 will be whether challengers successfully address the issue of NSA surveillance in their campaigns.

(See What Will Election 2014 Boil Down To? )





#2

Five big realizations I'm taking away from the 2013 CODEPINK Drone Summit "Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance" in Washington, DC.

(See The 2013 DC Drones Conference: 5 Big Takeaways )






#3

Re-reading George Orwell's 1984 recently made me see at least 15 ways 2013 is like the world he describes in the book . . . .

See 2013 = 1984 ?






#4

"Although we know the end from the very beginning," says Walker, "the story is no less compelling to watch." A man, gloriously alone (except for his own reflection) on an ice-covered lake; the soothing pastel colors of the distant sky; and what seems surely to be a circle he is digging around himself with a pick-axe. A perfect parable for our headlong rush toward climate crisis?

(See How Do You Say "Suicide Narcissus" in Chinese?)




#5

When you go to the UN website, it says, "Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world."

Garry Davis saw that, as long as nations are calling the shots, the way of the world will continue to be "might makes right" and more war. The only solution is to have a higher authority and a higher loyalty. A case in point is the United Nations' role in stopping and prosecuting the crimes of the United States.

Let's hope that, as the UN turns its focus to drones, it gives us something Garry Davis would have been proud of.

(See The United Nations, Drones, and Garry Davis)





#6

October 18, 2013: A new U.N. report makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.

(See 2014: The Year of Transparency (for U.S. Drone Use)?)








#7

Isn't now a moment when, instead of falling back into our existing habits of trying to change America's war-making ways, we should put our recent experience under a microscope? And ask what we can learn from this experience? Can we make 2014 the year that we sort the wheat from the chaff in Congress? And get the control over war and peace back into our own hands?

(See Election 2014: The Moment of Truth for the US Antiwar Movement?)




#8

Cook County Jail is the perfect example of the nationwide injustice that Michelle Alexander described in her groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration, focused principally one people of color, in which "crimes" (often related to drug possession or other low-level offenses) become the mechanism for entrapping people in a cycle of incarceration that is brutalizing and often begins a downward spiral of lifetime discrimination.

(See Free Them All )



#9

The biggest idea coming out of the 2013 Drone Summit? We will only deal successfully with the crimes being committed using drones when we understand them as part of the much larger war against communities of color . . . .

(See Drone Gaze, Drone Injury: The War on Communities of Color )







#10

In a 1979 essay, Isaac Asimov wrote, "I feel confident that attempts to use robots without safeguards won't work and that, in the end, we will come round to the Three Laws." What are the laws that Asimov predicted would be used to limit the potential for injury from robots?

(See A Modest Proposal: Debate the Drones )







And here are some of my personal favorites from 2013 . . . . 

#1

I love to walk around North Pond here in Chicago and notice the asters as September stretches into October. They make me think of my mom . . . .

(See Asters for Eva )





#2

I believe when Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine and said "Remember me this way," he was much more interested in encouraging us to keep having conversations -- conversations that really matter -- with others . . . and finding ways to be in relationship with our neighbors  . . . all the while reminding us "never underestimate the power of food"  . . .

(See Get Outside Your Comfort Zone and Have A Conversation Today (Welcome to the Ministry))

#3

A big Hollywood production of Ender's Game is scheduled for release on November 1. It's a perfect opportunity for us to ask: Are we happy seeing our schools turned into "Battle Schools"?

(See "Ender's Game" and the Militarization of Youth: Can We Talk About This? )

#4

A group of us from St. Luke's Lutheran Church Logan Square  was in Springfield with thousands of other Illinoisans to encourage our state legislature to pass the marriage equality bill (SB10). Even if you weren't there, you can get a sense of what it was like -- raindrops and all! -- thanks to the dozens of photos my friend Frank took. Enjoy!

(See Marriage Equality Is a Human Right )



#5

In Taiwan, HHH is to film as Huang Chunming is to literature.  Take, for instance, the story, set in a fishing town on the east coast of Taiwan, about a prostitute who determines to have a baby, and so selects as the father a likely candidate from among her customers (most of whom are workers in the local fishing fleet), gets pregnant, and heads back to the tiny town in which she was born, in order to have the baby.

(See Days for Looking at the Sea )
#6

"How can it be that no one is speaking directly to what happened?" I wondered. "Should I say something? Is it just me? Can it be possible that most people aren't like me, tremendously troubled by how we should respond to what has happened in China?"

(See Remember June 4)






#7

What would Christians think if someone proposed carving out a slice of their Sunday services to worship the God of Entombment? Wouldn't they think that was absurd? After all, if Christianity is anything, isn't it the religion of "UN-entombment"?

(See When is Christianity Going Back to Being the Religion of "UN-entombment"?)

#8

The Ames Middle School in Chicago serves a largely Spanish-speaking community. Is the militarization of Ames anything other than a signal of what the Democratic party means by equitable treatment for immigrants?

(See The Militarization of Ames: The Real Meaning of the DREAM Act )



#9

 "In whom and in what should we be putting our faith?" If not in Manning -- and the Manning Principle -- then in whom, and in what?

(See The Path to Peace: Why Not the Manning Way?)








#10

As the Obama administration pivoted from its focus on Syria to something truly startling -- talking to Iran! -- it became especially important for the American public to some time and energy to learning and thinking about Iran, the history of the U.S.-Iran relationship, and what the U.S.-Iran relationship means in the larger context of the effort to reduce the risk of war and violence in the world.

(See IRAN: 3 Reality Checks on the Emerging U.S. Narrative)