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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stuff from all over

I have this problem when there's tons happening in the news and around me. I want to cram it all into one blog post. I'm trying to break myself of that habit, but no luck yet. So right now I'll compromise and instead of five or six items that'll take you 20 minutes to read, I'll limit this post to four short items.

Bad Karma: Two numbnuts in Miami killed the fruit lady, not a drug dealer or a jewel thief, or a sexual predator who had been harassing children in the neighborhood, not a criminal of any sort. They killed a 47-year-old married mother who sold fresh fruit and vegetables from the back of her pickup truck for a living. Who's so hard up for cash that they beat and shoot a fruit vendor, an unarmed mom? Whether these guys are caught or not, they have a lot of negative energy headed their way. And I hope it finds 'em in spades.

To legislate, or not: City of Miami officials are considering a ban on panhandling in parts of downtown, so as to cut back on harassment of downtown workers and tourists. Miami already lost an ACLU-filed lawsuit to a homeless man about 12 years ago, after a court found that police and other city workers were systematically hassling the homeless in unlawful ways. I'm not calloused to homelessness. But I'm all for the panhandling ban. I've written before it's like walking a gauntlet of outstretched arms, open palms, and sometimes harsh or loony words, in some parts of downtown Miami just to get from one end of a block to the other.

Shameless self promotion: I keep forgetting to post my articles. I've been writing a lot of profiles lately. No rhyme or reason. Just coincidence. Here and here are my two most recent.

Real talk: That's what the kids call it, when you're speaking bluntly and honestly and not pulling punches for the wrong reasons. So lately more and more politicians have made public calls for "real" conversations about race relations in the U.S. Apparently it's the latest chic thing for them to say publicly. Clearly they've been reading from the playbook of some major media pundits - TV and print, who like to wax poetic about how "we," whoever "we" are should be having deep conversations about the things that make us different...and similar. I personally don't think it's possible for politicians to have such conversations though, 'cause they would be required to sometimes speak in politically incorrect terms. And they would be forced to admit that they don't know everything about every race/ethnic group. Then again that hasn't stopped some of the pundits. So for the foreseeable future, every Thursday or Friday we're going to have a "real" conversation about race right here on Burnettiquette. No worries. It won't be a black and white conversation. It'll be black, white, Asian, Latino, and so on. You can post questions in advance by emailing me, and we'll discuss them. Or I'll pull something from the headlines and break it down and you can give your take. Maybe sometimes we'll do both. Let's hope we all learn a little something.

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  • I read the story about the fruit vendor and was so shocked. You hit the nail on the head - who is that hard up for cash that they kill a fruit vendor? Pathetic and absolutely inexcusable. There's a special place in hell for people like that.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 11:55 AM  

  • yeah, there is a special place for them, melissa. btw, i haven't forgotten the meme. i'm late and slow, i know. but for the world of me, it's the toughest assignment i've had in a long time. i've gotten tagged for another meme now, though. so i have to try to do them both...quickly.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:45 PM  

  • Just give the assholes the cash.Then there's no excuse for killing. I hope that's what happened. Then you can put them away forever, and when they die to escape that little cell, there's that special little place in hell for them. Not that I have an opinion, naturally.

    I agree with the ban on panhandling, but I appeal to reopen the asylums that were Federally funded and closed by Reagan in 1981 dumping an enormous number of mentally ill onto the streets to beg. Those who are trying to game the system, forget it, let them work like the rest of us.

    I like diversity. I don't want everyone to be like me. I want some people to be like Hearts, some like WnG, some like your wife. Guys, uglier than me and in wore shape. Is that open enough?

    By Blogger The CEO, at 8:11 PM  

  • Why pick on an unarmed fruit seller? Cos she's a soft target, that's why!
    They were stupid, & evil, for what they did, but not dumb enough to pick on someone who stood a chance of giving them grief by fighting back hard!

    Homeless? We have the Big Issue charity here (UK), among others, which offers the homeless a hand up. So I'll give to them, rather than to panhandlers - cos some of them like their guilt-supported way of life (in Fla at least). Besides that it's a jolly good magazine.

    As for covering may subjects in one post - I often do that. Partly cos I ain't got a single-track mind, being female & all, & partly cos I think it might interest more readers.

    Whether it does or not . . .

    By Blogger Bronchitkat, at 7:24 AM  

  • I look forward to your new Thurs and Fri format conversations.

    My question: What do you think about the Absolut controtversy?

    By OpenID jalishouse, at 11:25 AM  

  • I don't think the ban on panhandling works. It just makes the pan-ees move to another location.

    By Blogger SWF42, at 1:47 PM  

  • Those guys probably didn't kill her for the money. So sad.

    The second link didn't pick up your story for some reason. The guy in the cape (first link), however, is a great read. You must have fun finding and interviewing. I enjoyed your race car article (and video) a while back, too.

    Did I ever mention that I was majoring in journalism in college -- that is what is was called back in the dark ages -- before I quit and started raising a family. I live vicariously through your great stuff.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 9:00 PM  

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