aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Hoxie: The First Stand & a lesson waiting
I just finished watching David Appleby’s documentary, Hoxie: The First Stand, about the voluntary integration of the Hoxie, Arkansas school district in 1955. The Hoxie school board - six white men believing the Brown v Board of Ed decision was good and reasonable and just - voted unanimously and stood together for a year under intense pressure to become the first of the 17 states which had mandatory segregation prior to Brown to integrate.
White supremacist activists from outside the area converged on Hoxie, and political leaders from throughout the South attempted to reverse the decision. All failed. Appleby interviews people from all sides - the school board, press, pupils, pols and lawmen - and illustrates their story with photos and footage, most powerfully of the political leaders of the period.
The documentary was completed in 2003. Julian Bond narrates. I am left deeply moved. The closing lines:
Meant to be, or made to be, the path they showed us remains a vivid reminder of the road not taken by so many others… Perhaps the Hoxie outcome could not have been duplicated throughout the rest of the South. Perhaps the next 20 years of struggle were inevitable. But the lesson, that racism fear and bigotry might be subdued by good leadership, rather than harnessed for political gain, is one we’re still waiting to learn.
Emphasis mine. Sadly, we’re still waiting.
Here’s a short Columbia Journalism Review piece on the film, which won a duPont award, a Peabody and a regional Emmy.
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Jeffrey Rosen discusses neuroscience law on Fresh Air
It’s about an emerging field of study called “neurolaw,” which combines neuroscience and the law. He writes about how evidence from brain-scanning technologies are being used in the courtroom to explain away criminal behavior.
The topic appeals to me for its call to rethink the notion of Retributive Justice, ascendant, Rosen tells us, since the 1970s. There is a scary side. The last paragraph of the Times piece:
As the new technologies proliferate, even the neurolaw experts themselves have only begun to think about the questions that lie ahead. Can the police get a search warrant for someone’s brain? Should the Fourth Amendment protect our minds in the same way that it protects our houses? Can courts order tests of suspects’ memories to determine whether they are gang members or police informers, or would this violate the Fifth Amendment’s ban on compulsory self-incrimination? Would punishing people for their thoughts rather than for their actions violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment? However astonishing our machines may become, they cannot tell us how to answer these perplexing questions. We must instead look to our own powers of reasoning and intuition, relatively primitive as they may be. As Stephen Morse puts it, neuroscience itself can never identify the mysterious point at which people should be excused from responsibility for their actions because they are not able, in some sense, to control themselves. That question, he suggests, is “moral and ultimately legal,” and it must be answered not in laboratories but in courtrooms and legislatures. In other words, we must answer it ourselves.
Critics say the technology changes nothing. Cynics say it is over-rated. That it will play out as we now envision is unlikely; that it raises questions we will be forced to face in my lifetime, much more so.
A man has to move his family because he is in violation of sex offender zoning.
Many of his patients, he explained, must pay for their drugs out-of-pocket, and yet even the generic drugs at pharmacy chains like Walgreens, Eckerd, and CVS could cost them dearly.
So Wolf began snooping around and found that two chains, Costco and Sam’s Club, sold generics at prices far, far below the other chains. Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. Here are the prices he found at Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac:
Sam’s Club: $15
Those aren’t typos. Walgreens charges $117 for a bottle of the same pills for which Costco charges $12.
I was skeptical at first. Why on earth, I asked Wolf, would anyone in his right mind fill his generic prescription at Walgreen’s instead of Costco?
His answer: if a retiree is used to filling his prescriptions at Walgreens, that’s where he fills his prescriptions — and he assumes that the price of a generic drug (or, perhaps, any drug) is pretty much the same at any pharmacy.