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Sunday, December 15, 2013

How The Ethan Couch Case is About The Advantages of Wealth, Not Race

The Ethan Couch case is about the advantages of wealth, not race, and if we want to overcome the prejudices against the impoverished black community as a whole, we need to understand that.

If you just think about it with me you'll see why. Take this scenario: a well-dressed, wealthy good-looking young black man (who probably gets straight As and comes from a "good" family) approaches you late at night on the street, dressed in a button-down shirt and tie or at the very least a polo and khakis, and he asks you the time in "perfect" polite English. Now, a dirty-looking white guy with his pants hanging down around his knees, a du-rag wrapped around his head, long-hair and a cigarette in his hands slouches towards you asking you the same question in slurred, cursing speech. Who makes you uncomfortable?

Most people, regardless of race, answer the white guy, if they really think about it. Most importantly, MOST PREJUDICED WHITE PEOPLE today would answer the white guy JUST because of the way he's dressed. If you don't believe me, ask your slightly-racist white friends, if you have any, and I bet you $50 the majority of them will answer the pants-down guy.

There's nothing wrong with wearing a du-rag, wearing your pants kind of down, or having long hair as a male; smoking's legal if he's over 18, and lots of nice people curse (like me, dammit). Middle and upper-class Americans just have cultural stigmas against those things. Now, my pants-down-white guy is wearing a stereotype that's unfortunately been applied to black people because inequalities in American history put a disproportionate number of black people in lower socio-economic tiers. But today's prejudices against black youth really are related to Povertenza, not "black-enza."

Now put the well-dressed black youth and the pants-down white guy in court, and you see what I'm getting at. I'm not saying that, all things equal, a well-dressed educated black man and a well-dressed educated white man will have the same outcomes, because honestly, those cases don't comprise the majority of the "unjust sentencing" stories you hear about--so we don't know. Look back at the news over this year: in almost every major case of unjust sentencing against a black person where the black person LOST, the black person came from a lower socio-economic tier. Every time the black person comes from a higher socio-economic tier (like when the stupid white policeman tried to arrest a black Harvard professor entering his own house), there's a better outcome (the stupid white policeman got in trouble). All things equal, class is a much more damning factor because we still judge by appearances. We've all heard in school that racism's bad, and that's made a difference in how the country thinks. But no one goes around teaching the kids about classism, which is arguably a deeper wound against the black community. Instead, we've got wealthy and middle-class folks white AND black telling their kids that poor black people just didn't work hard enough, rather than trying to give a kid a hand.

Ethan Couch got off because of affluenza. No one on the defense said he should get off because he's white. I think that's very telling about where our court system's come from, and how far our society still has to go before it finds true equality.

Oh, and if you asked your slightly-racist white friends about this scenario, you owe me $50. My paypal is petrepan at gmail. (Help me overcome my new-found povertenza)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Heart Health Benefits of Red Wine--and Local Wine-Pairing Program

Tomorrow, on Saturday, July 27th, Charlottesvillians and food enthusiasts of Albemarle county will gather at Ducard Vineyards for a continuation of the Food and Wine Pairing Program.
"These will be small group, seated tastings in the new barrel room where we'll have in-depth tastings of our current releases," said a Ducard representative in an e-mail to Examiner.

The menu, according to Ducard's website, will showcase various summer-vacation-style items including crabcakes, cheese, bruschetta, sausage, and chocolates.

Visitors will also try vintage wines straight from the barrel in the 60 degree Fahrenheit cellar, said the Ducard representative--a welcome escape from the sweltering summer vacation heat.

Alcohol produces tissue-damaging ketones that promote oxidation and free radical production, primarily in the liver; Charlottesville's red wine, however, may promote heart and vein health, according to a June 27 study in Autonomic Neuroscience this year.

Scientists have long suspected that antioxidants called polyphenols in red wine and grape juice may prevent or treat hypertension, or high blood pressure, but they hadn't fully studied the effects on cardiac autonomic function, according to the June 27 study. This means they didn't know how red wine affected the heart's control of its beat.

So how does red wine affect your heartbeat? Read more here!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nine tulip flavors for salads & appetizers from Charlottesville's organic tulips

Tulips of different flavors offer different tastes, which gives aspiring appetizer-artists and salad-creators a number of options. Before buying tulips, it may help to know which flavors offer which colors, so here Charlottesville's Nutrition Examiner presents a list of nine flower-flavors for Charlottesville's explorative organic eaters.
Some thoughts before consuming petals: EcoTulips Vice President Keriann S. Koeman recommends thorough washing to remove pollen, which will give a strong peppery taste that burns the back of the throat. She implores consumers to avoid non-organic tulips for consumption: the powerful pesticides used on normally non-food flowers may be harmful to human health.

Nutritively, there's little information on the value of these petals, but certain colors in vegetation often indicate the presence of certain nutrients, says Koeman. The red and orange, for example, usually indicates the presence of beta-carotene, a substance that helps vitamin A improve skin, eye, and immune system health. While there aren't many documented tulip consumption allergies, data mined from dictionaries and encyclopedias indicates that some people do have dermatitis reactions in response to petal consumption. Animals who have eaten the bulb and the petals have died because of the anti-nutritives in the bulb, so it's important to look at preparation warnings before bulb consumption; offers several tulip cooking ideas.

Without further ado, click to discover nine tulip petal flavors, or visit an organic tulip festival to try other varieties in person.

5 ways for Charlottesvillians to eat organic tulips

Keriann S. Koeman started Charlottesville's local EcoTulips with her Dutch husband in 2009 with an emphasis on pesticide-free, farmer-friendly tulip growth. Like Charlottesville itself, the company's success grew out of international influence, and influence from local farming backgrounds.

Now, EcoTulips sells tulips at $1 per stem during picking season, and online for a bit more for the rest of the year. The company recently branched out to sell USDA-certified Dahlias, and they run a partnership program for schools, churches, and nonprofits interested in using tulips for fundraising.

While most customers arrive to the field to see and maybe smell the flowers, Koeman offered several tips for taste. Nearly--nearly is the key word here--all the parts of a tulip are edible and like lettuce or other greens, relatively healthy.

Read on for five edible tulip tips.

Ch-ch-ch-chia Charlottesville: Where to buy chia's top 3 health benefits via

  Chia seeds, once popular as the 1980's green-haired clay pet, have made a comeback as a health-food throughout the nation--and Charlottesville--with rumors of weight loss, high-protein energy, and even diabetic help.

Chia seeds first became popular with the Mayans, who drank them, ground them into flour, and mixed them as oils as early as 3500 BC; the later Aztecs believed one tablespoon could sustain a warrior for 24 hours, and they treated chia as a sign of strength. When the Aztecs conquered other peoples, they demonstrated that strength by demanding chia seeds as tribute, symbolically as well as literally "sapping the strength" from their enemies.

Today's chia-consumers may see chia differently--more as a food for "back-to-nature" health-hippies than violent warrior's fare--but the nutritional requirements remain the same. To help health-conscious readers track down the elusive black-and-white marbled seeds, Charlottesville's Nutrition Examiner contacted grocery stores across Charlottesville to discover who's stocking. When possible, Examiner dug up prices to help Charlottesville's health-nuts compare cost. Charlottesville-area chia shopping grounds include:
  • Kroger on Barrack's Road (1159 Emmet St N) stocks three or four varieties ranging around $9.99 for a small bag.
  • Kroger at 1980 Rio Hill Center stocks a 16 oz box for $9.49 and a 1 lb bag $21.99.
  • Whole Foods on 1797 Hydraulic Rd stocks several different brands between $6.99 and $17.99. Organic varieties begin with a Whole Foods Brand 15 oz bag at $18.99, Nutiva brand $16.99 for 12 oz bag, and Navitas $17.99 for 16 oz bag. Conventional brands stocked include Spectrum, at $12.99 for a 12 oz bag, and The Chia Company on sale through end of April 2013 with $6.99 for a 5 oz bag, 17 oz bags for $16.99, 12 oz bags for $15.99, and 35 oz tubs for $26.99.
Are the health benefits worth the costs? Our Charlottesville Nutrition Examiner checked current scientific research to find out. Click forward for the top 3 scientifically-proven health benefits of chia.

Three protein-rich international drinks for Charlottesville's culinary explorers via

Charlottesville's surrounded by local farms celebrating sustainable and 'Down-to-Earth' food choices and the city's filled with international influences drawn by the University of Virginia. These two factors create a mixing-bowl of health lovers and brave culinary adventurers, making Charlottesville a food haven for residents interested in wild homemade shakes.

Sometimes blending these two interests so inherent to Charlottesville's culture presents a challenge from a health perspective, especially as someone searching for high-protein shakes. Everyone enjoys wild eats, but making them healthy? These three recipes bring Latin America, East Asia, and Europe into the kitchen without sacrificing too much health-wise: The first two drinks pack gobs of healthy protein almost unrivaled in the plant kingdom.

The last drink, a new twist on a Danish dish, trades some health for ingenuity, but the drink remains high-protein as promised. Each recipe includes local shopping tips to make it easier for Charlottesville's oral explorers to enjoy world-wide muscle-building tastes.

Read the rest of my article here:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jedi Mind Control: Serious Gaming for the Human Brain via InsertQuarterly

It’s time gamers took gaming more seriously.

That’s not a cry commonly heard from our friends, families, or even the rest of the gaming community, although analysts are now yammering about changing the way we value games. A while back the popular Extra Credits game analysts chastised video game critics and developers for focusing on “fun” at the expense of artistic expression: we put art in a suffocating and ultimately withering box, they say, when we forget that games have other intellectual value besides Mario-parties in our brains. Games are not just fun–they’re a legitimate and serious artistic outlet.

It’s a decent argument, but not a common one, and while arguably many game developers–especially indie outfits like ever-philosophical Daniel Benmergui–do focus on art beyond fun, we rarely talk about games in the mind of the consumer. If critics need to take games as art more seriously, maybe there’s an even greater need for

FOR WHAT??? AND WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH JEDI??? Well you'll have to click for that, won't you. 
Check out the rest here!