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Wednesday, Jul 27th

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Editorial

Camp 14, Hitler, and Playing the Odds

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It depends how you view it:  How lucky, or unlucky, can any one person get? Here are two books arguing wildly separate cases, two more books identified as must-reads.  It is uncertain who among us will turn-a-dumbed-down-and-blinded, societal eye to either:  Who will bother to low-crawl beneath the barbed-wire past of one of them -- whose head is not already filled with too many fears regarding America's future to sift through the other?  Odds seem heavy against both.

Taken together, this pair speaks of real-life nightmares, cold, bracing bookends embracing all that is harshly dismal and bleak -- salted with flecks of astonishing insight, peppered with humanity.  If you are worthy of the trek, and can bear up under issues of such formidable size, and can render hefty sighs, these are for you.  The books are compelling and will propel you to pinpoints in time and space where no one will hear you screaming -- or, even if someone should, they themselves might be screaming, too.

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Designed To Fail

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Trayvon Martin was killed last month for the same reason Eugene Williams died 93 years ago in Chicago. A white man decided Williams was where a black man shouldn’t be … so he killed him. The white man was tried for Williams' death and acquitted. Trayvon Martin died because The United States of America is still … one evil son of a bitchin’ country to live in if you’re not white.

There are about a dozen holocaust museums in the United States. The largest is The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.. It is dedicated to “helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy.” The most visited exhibit at the Museum is made up of more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters showing historic film footage and eyewitness testimonies. Nazi Germany was one evil son of a bitchin’ country to live in if you were Jewish.

9,000 miles from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is the American War Atrocities Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Stuff Happens, Cross Your Fingers.

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Humanity has a bunch of rabidly-serious, snarling-mad problems, not the least of which is a god-complex that sooner or later gets in the way, swaggering in, sure we can save the day. Otherwise, humans tend to be binary, mostly switch off, do little to nothing constructive, leaving end-results to The Fates, to an assortment of denominational gods and goddesses.

In the latter scenario, we eventually despair, throw ourselves on the fire of last resort -- Science -- and expect its wizardry to sort everything out, help remove our well-toasted behinds, roasted glutes, and charred butts from the inferno.  The track record here is spotty, maybe 50-50 on a good day, despite some really impressive showstoppers -- returns from the space program, amazing leaps in medicine, too.

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Another Steam Plume - Epilog

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More than a month we are now from Trayvon Martin's killing, still unable to get any clean traction of facts amid all the slipping and sliding of local cops tripping all over stand-your-ground laws.  So, here we are, wondering why it is we have to step back to take in this view, a scene that seems pretty cut and dried, simple for anyone to understand why this teenager died.

Racism never likes to announce itself, though. As drivers of action, it's quite retiring, instead preferring to hang in the background, make excuses, nudge other notions closer to the front as reasons for things people do.  See:  Racism understands that if it came right out and spoke its mind, truth would be revealed:  I don't like you because you are different from me.

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Another Steam Plume - Part 3

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A Florida teen was killed more than a month ago and no arrest has been made.  Taking of human life without penalty cheapens life, laughs at our laws.  Many people are steamed about this.  We should have pillars of steam rising over our heads, too -- clouds of moisture running away as fast as it can from our great source of heat, we should be scorching, burning up mad over such things.

These killing events are tragic and keep repeating.  We plop bad laws onto the books, imbue them with pet names to make them seem housebroken, like humans are still in control.  These pet peeves, these pests answer to the name of "stand your ground," although "paranoid shooting gallery" would do just as well.

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Another Steam Plume - Part 2

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More than a month ago, Trayvon Martin was killed.  We are still trying to find out what happened, precisely, amid cascading failures by local police, temporary steps and side-steps to shore up this or take a peek into that.  The static view to date of these "stand your ground" killings shows us later-stage symptoms of an American disease no longer in remission: Racism.

You need not be an expert to know something has gone terribly wrong in life and liberty here, and feel a cold, clammy, unsettling change in the American character and nation, whatever its superficial and surface appearances may say.

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Another Steam Plume - Part 1

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Half-promised this would not happen again, trudging down these muddied and bloodied paths again, sledging through this sludge, examining the worst possible aspects and traits of human beings -- yet, here we are, we keep arriving here once again.

Geologists will tell you, in nature, steam plumes are necessary for relieving pressure building up inside something, that they keep things from exploding.  Good enough.  We'll run with that relief for the moment, and ignore the fact that those columns of super-heated steam are also signs of imminent danger right under us, just beneath our surfaces, where no-one can see.

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