Showing posts with label Amnesty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amnesty. Show all posts

Friday, December 27, 2013

Everyone Has Real Choices?

I met someone once who wondered if anyone has a real choice the way something fell in his lap. I said, "Happy Holidays" as we shook hands across what he called my "well-appointed desk."

My meteoric career had only just begun. But his comment confirmed he'd probably never exchanged compliments across any level of executive's desk before. Slightly amusing me so I interviewed him with interest in his life because there was no pressure. I already knew I wasn't giving him any job. 

His spur-of-the-moment suit didn't fit as he'd apparently neglected an even short inspection by the executive who'd recommended he fill our equal-opportunity quota of dead-beat white guys. I repeated it to myself like a mantra. I'm not giving him any job. But the form had to be filled out straight from the potential hiree's mouth, so to speak. Regulations can trump custom sometimes.

I was also curious if there was a real reason for Herb's recommendation. Because the story around the office was he was caught walking the halls unescorted. Supposedly looking for Herb. But our receptionist said she had just stepped away for a moment. A real scene. Eileen was offended and confronted the messenger about his not waiting at the front desk at all. Taking extreme liberty. There was yelling about calling security. Then Herb came back, smiling as always, and recognized the package and courier and covered with "the smart-aleck" was just mimicking him. While the lawyers got their kick out of the commotion, laughing in their stern, consistently ticking, billable hours way. 

Consequently companies remember how money disappears. Even our president had to be told about that lost half-hour. So it was a little shock when Herb recommended for our mailroom, this particular bike messenger. Who probably cut his own hair and shaved as if it didn't matter. And sat forward in his seat complimenting my "well appointed desk" and effusively thanking me "for this opportunity." 

Everyone's polite in interviews. I said, "You're welcome. Everyone has something to offer. So. Let's find out what you're capable of here." I soon raised my eyes from his application asking, "You graduated high school, but left college without graduating? It appears you stayed long enough. Five years? Why didn't you finish?"

He said, "It sounds arrogant."

Which made me smile, so I said, "Then tell me, by all means. Arrogance is business' most interesting part." 

He officially stopped smiling and said, "Well. I always wanted to be an historian. But at the precipice, from my student's perspective, professors are required to periodically publish quality which is daunting. When I learned I wanted to write something like Russia's Nineteenth Century novelists who influenced the revolutionary Twentieth Century." 

I wanted to say uh huh. But in my position said, "Intriguing. And how is that project working out?"

He shrugged and there's a lesson. Even if it's your answer, don't shrug your shoulders in a job interview.   

I said, "Let's move on. I see you've been a bike messenger for a decade?"

"Courier," he said.

I said, "What's the difference?"

He said, "Professionally it's very significant for some people. Couriers carry packages that's commerce. While messengers carry messages people prefer not to deliver themselves."

Maybe that's what Herb thought? He could communicate directly with messengers. Correctly citing their delivering what we didn't have to ourselves. But giving up a degree to pretend to be a Russian novelist? It was doubtful he could communicate with anyone. Because so far his only duty was to impress me and he'd failed, miserably. Plus since I'd pre-judged him unsuitable anyway, I was ready for him to leave and cut the interview short. I said, "You've been with three courier companies. Any reason to fire you?"

He just grinned without volunteering an answer. I said, "Something amusing?"

He said, "Yes and no. What happened scared the crap out of me. So technically it wasn't amusing and I wasn't actually fired. Technically."

Relating I asked what the technicality was so his review of me would be I was polite. But, seeing nothing in his application, I said, "This is just conversation to learn from. Companies hiring and firing aren't often born of incidents." I wondered if he caught I meant his interview was a lark? 

But he ignored me, reflecting, then just started in. "In 1986 I was technically fired," he said. "A dislocated disc in my back probably irritated me and I forgot I was asked a few months before to make sure this specific delivery went smoothly without a hitch."

So the applicant was giving me a story when I distinctly just asked for an explanation. Then he just stared over my shoulder out my window. Ignoring my whole facial expression telling him to just wrap it up. His commitment was to explaining in my office what seemed to gain steam from his staring harder out the window as if his listening was as important as mine. 

He said, "I'd made my central location an area of Madison Avenue in the vicinity of Rockefeller Center at 49th Street. Lately I wait for work at the New York Public Library at 40th and Fifth. But back then, 49th and Madison was my spot. Tragically I liked carrying this particular company's correspondence. The telephone in the lobby of their office building is an art installation and the company is The Carnegie Corporation, no less. The philanthropy built by the fortune of Andrew Carnegie who practiced the policy of paying workers less, when he could afford more, because workers would just drink more alcohol to their detriment. In retrospect not really what expanding capitalism is about. But the benevolent Carnegie Corporation has contributed to bettering discrepancies. I got to ride the elevator from their floor to the first, alone with the famous journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. I embarrassingly asked if she was really herself and she said she was and pronounced her name and, well, it really was a very nice introduction."

I was waving both a pencil and pen, ready to be rude too and intrude. 

He said, "It was morning. I'm hanging around not making money because my back is bad. If you can't keep the pace no one is giving you money. So I'm no smooth operator but the beeper beeps and I'm given this special delivery and right away I lose it thinking some big deal dropped in my lap. My dispatcher asked if I was clear about what I was doing." 

He sighed but still beat me to speaking and said, "I told the dispatcher Michael, 'Yes, I was clear.' But really, I somehow forgot I'd been asked earlier to deliver this specific envelope without a hitchI was already there waiting so I took time to write a poem to where the envelope was going. The sanctioned country of South Africa did not have a Permanent Mission to the United Nations then. But they had an office on 46th Street between First and Second Avenues. A nice building I guess they sold because the South African Mission is on East 38th Street near First Avenue now. 

"When I picked up the package from The Carnegie Corporation, the African-American woman I received the package from, second-guessed sending it with me because I said something about doing the right thing. But I reassured her and I don't think I was lying telling her it would be okay, nothing would go wrong."  

He saw me look at my watch and continued as if the clouds outside were all he needed following him. He said, "Well, apartheid like religious war are bad traditionsI wrote five copies of the poem before picking up from Carnegie. I walked right in South Africa's first-floor office entrance after I imagine I was buzzed in. But I don't remember that detail, except it felt like I just waltzed right in the perfectly sized Reception Area without room for requiring crowd control." 

He smirked. "I really had no way of thinking through what I was doing. I went to the Front Desk bullet-proof partition and put the envelope in the trough with the poem on a small piece of paper. The room was how I'd thought it would be with a table lamp and couch, so I backtracked circling the room placing copies of the poem until before reaching the two chairs the powerful South African official's voice stopped me declaring, 'What is this?'

"Unbelievable. I was just trying to seriously convey racism should end without violence. There was bounce in my step back to the window where I pleaded, 'Come on. I didn't mean to sound mean. It's just time. You just have to stop the violence.

"He said what I did would not be taken lightly and I'd lose my job and he wouldn't take the package. I wouldn't stop smiling and he said I'd done a very bad thing interfering where I don't belong. He had me pick up the other poems while the whole time I'm apologizing for the extreme voice I used in the poem. It was the poem that made me beg. The act was supposed to be about acceptance and tolerance but the poem lacked any sentiment. I was apologizing profusely how sorry I was, please. I didn't mean to sound so mean, it's just, I said, 'I meant to emphasize how rude callous is. You have to stop the cycle of revenge.' 

"But what I wrote was,
Black backs brought your wealth from the ground.
Black backs enabled your wealth to grow beyond profound.
Give back their ground and get out of town.

"I think South Africa actually kept the package but the man at the desk promised it wouldn't be opened and I never returned to The Carnegie Corporation again. When I left the building a female and male New York City Police Officer stopped and questioned me. Patting me down they found my wide back-brace belt which caused them a short alarm. But somehow my numb smiling calmed the officers and I explained my bad back problem probably caused my frustration inside that the cops said 'happens all the time.'

"Hence why I was asked to deliver that package without a hitch dawned on me. Knowing next I'd face my ruthless boss. No one ever yelled at me like him."

He sighed again and said, "Everyone acted their roles and my boss didn't fire me but I've never set foot in The Carnegie Corporation again. Turned out the package was paperwork for Archbishop Desmond Tutu's visa to the United States that was a prickly issue for them in their efforts to stem worldwide sentiment. And I'd broken my boss' word. I should have recused myself. Because not only had I ridden in the elevator once with a civil rights icon, Charlayne Hunter-Gault. But when I was around maybe five years old, I was dressed up with two other guys as The Three Kings to sing the hymn before the whole church. Before while preparing our robes in our Sunday School classroom a kid in the back said I was the black one. And not only that. My home I was raised in was an African-American funeral home in a white neighborhood whose mortgage paid for my university education. And after hearing Reverend Ralph Abernathy speak at my school he stepped from the aisle down my row to shake my hand and we said some things. Apparently I forgot a lot and moved on bare instinct. Even though I had no choice I still feel a little grateful South Africa reconciled so however insignificant my interference was the dream is above sabotage." 

Then he stood and shook my softly offered hand and walked to the door concluding, "Underneath all the publicity, history is mostly a big oh well. But how long is civilization meant to just sit on the precipice?" And left winking, singing, "Not your stepping stone." 
Take aim beyond mere protocol President Putin, please?

Denial's As Damaging As Racism

Thursday, November 7, 2013

America's Mayor? Or Power Of Façade

October 24th's Ten Years a Prisoner by Mikhail Khodorkovsky in The New York Times drew my recurrent thought this was written by a Russian prisoner? Considering the  circumstances, the open honesty of both his personal and thorough national introspection makes it possible to pretend to hope this essay isn't just totalitarian tactics including room to breathe to not break? Because flexibility is the key to success, ruthless or not? 

Really? Censorship has come so far? Russians know the safe views while foreigners can think what they want. Since history's horizons are ridden on clichéd points of view anyway. Why not?
What if American amusements fashioned after military obstacle courses were all over the place? Say Palestine? Kids hopping all over, smiling and laughing while adults join in glee or agree in observation it's just a toy, who does it harm? Successful America plays soldier everyone wants to, too. And when leadership by example is the only way, there should have always been Congressional Investigations into answering the jihadists' anger imagery when there's no such thing as a holy war none of us have any business being in. So what if we're winning the technology of war military historians all attest is all war ever was and not the solution. 

Russian Miracles Never Cease  

According to The New York Times. October 23 
Russia Reduces Charges in Greenpeace Case 

Good news for Greenpeace activists  notoriously arrested in the Arctic. Unfortunately the lenient concession from Russia's legal system doesn't mean political reality isn't just our pretending the same old surprise isn't already firmly in our laps because Stalin claimed he wasn't responsible for the political labyrinth beneath him, too. 

As is? November 6th Sky News reported Dutch Take Russia To Court so the procedural grind is the same. Meaning clearly there's no secret why humanity doesn't relate well to nature. Tolerating dirty air when we can't even stop terrorizing ourselves. So. To the levers of justice striking accord. And the memorialization of President Putin's integrity. This generation's Gorbachev or ruling elite crown prince? Soapbox View I only wish for Vladimir's best.
The November Election
New York City voted a progressive liberal Bill deBlasio into office while the whole country's entertained by big battles for political celebrity. 
And Now Something On No One's Ballot
Solve Inflation so Minimum Wage is no longer just pretending to catch up with A Living Wage. 
Economists have raised realistic entrepreneurs for generations taught the advantages of exploiting inflation. And if we all weren't so processed to be "realistic," it would be real economists responsibility to change and adapt us out of an unconscionable system of devaluing the real money people have in their hands. Geez. What other weird populist ideas could this political madman from New Jersey inspire? 
If you have a moment and missed one of civilization's great strides, from the October 15th, 2013 TriplePundit? 
A Brief History of Cycling in Denmark & Netherlands 

Slaves of the Internet, Unite! by Tim Kreider

An essay in support of commercial liberty in 
The New York Times, October 26, 2013However near or far we are from a mythical free utopia, it's not writers' responsibility to  miserably miserly lead?
“It’s flattering to the American people that they have to be lied to.” Christopher Hitchens
c/o Critical Mass Hungary Facebook page. "As a kid I had a dream - I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed." John Lennon

What's too difficult to ponder

Monday, August 19, 2013

Incarceration Or Not To Be Is A Question?

Buster Keaton - Rationally Speaking?
Whether its nobler to lock Everyone up and Pragmatically throw away The key for Insurance Against Immorality. Resolved, Incarceration Solves Everything

Isn't that the dream? 

That moral rectitude supersedes the actual inhumanity in prison that's also just a Casualty of Cultural War?

You'd think in general locked-up people would get better treatment than Charles Manson?

But brand spanking new days are ahead if the pictured right smiling faces of Russian political stars Medvedev and Putin was their actual reaction to learning of last Monday the 12th's announcement by United States Attorney General, Eric Holder that the American government intends to reduce our prison population. Thereby following Russia's noteworthy lead in this new trend toward de-incarceration after President Putin's June 21st decree releasing a portion of their economic criminals.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikov
Twin Events that could no doubt soon be recognized and remembered for what's allegedly already thought throughout the world. That however benignly money can be calculated, the ruthlessness in the criminal enterprise system is just capitalism too. Why not just count us all out?

Clarence Darrow
Clear a path for the lawyers to come through? Yet while litigation can solve and lay bare the various nefarious transparent motives underlying criminal intent, the desperation behind crime continues unresolved. Such that a criminality that's as much cultural as criminal co-finances the ruthless Drug War's enforcement of an intolerantly framed public mind? A nanny state cultural prejudice, and all that jazz, that doesn't just incorporate inhumane punishment, but violates The Constitution against obstructing liberty?

Let The People Go?

There'll be those who'll not Manage life's hard knocks And earn punishment, but Not the crime punishment
Prison an architect's Dream? Hovels to the nth DegreeWhat is there to advocate but hope logic comes to pass?
From THE ASSOCIATED PRESS as Obituaried in 
The New York TimesAugust 14th
Jack W. Germond, Longtime Political Columnist, Dies at 85
Jack Germond's punditry on The McLaughlin Group has been characterized as old-timer cornpone schtick journalism from, among other things, his admission to hanging out in Bars for real inside information. Retires from the business, and now, passing, leaves his wife and family and recently finished first novel of a political reporter involved in intrigue. Published last Friday, August 16th, A Small Story for Page Three
Caricatured Lower Left

Show Nemesis
Remember Jack's seated stretch?Tightening a pant leg for effect then squinting as his head reared in reactionary awe, injecting, "Aw c'mon" into some preposterous discussion that contradicted decent judgement? 
According to AP in "Fat Man Fed Up," Mr. Germond wrote, "after 50 years of exposure to thousands of politicians, I am convinced that we get about what we deserve at all levels of government, up to and including the White House."

Egypt's Facing Tragedy?
Aug. 14 Death Toll In Egypt Climbs To 525 
Aug. 19 is 800 + & Soapbox View

Apparently the "we dare you to shoot us" attitude of the demonstrators was the official explanation for Muslim Egyptian protestors deaths last week though justice is not revenge. Especially when gathered as political pawns and nothing good ever comes from violence.

Of note is The New York Times August 17th editorial, Let Our Client Go by Ross Douthat summarizing the assessment "a great power that thinks it's buying influence is often buying into trouble instead." 

While Egyptian Authority cannot bring President Morsi back? Nor look less authoritarian? But understandably as the military was always in charge, they should act more like it than killing civilians with feudal outlooks or not. 
But guns are coups so Egypt needs more vision for compromise? 

Perpetual Debtors' Prison
So the last word should be Politics?
What’s Worse Is The Claim Two Wrongs Make A Right?
Friday, August 9, 2013