Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In The News


Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all. Do you need any additional reasons to go get drunk? Consider the following:

Blackwater: the gift that just keeps on giving.
As you probably know, the case against Blackwater for opening fire on innocent civilians in Iraq is ongoing. But now new allegations have surfaced that Blackwater paid for the services of a (most likely trafficked) prostitute with tax dollars, and falsified travel records in order to defraud the government of thousands of dollars. Is anyone surprised by this? Sadly, no.

In education news:
Potomac students get fliers saying therapy turns gays straight
The fliers are sent out along with student report cards because the schools are required "to distribute literature that isn't deemed hate speech from any registered nonprofit organization." My question is, how is this not hate speech? The fliers inform students that "every year thousands of people with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave a gay identity" and encourage them to seek out therapy. If telling students that The Gay is something you can - and should want to - be cured of isn't hateful (in addition to being astonishingly dishonest), then what is? If the school district wants to send the clear and consistent message that there's nothing wrong with being gay, then this needs to be classified as hate speech and disallowed.

In other education news, a bilingual school secretary in NC was fired for speaking Spanish to a distressed parent who couldn't understand English. The parent believed her son had been sexually assaulted at school, and was unable to communicate with the school principal, who had recently banned all school employees from speaking with parents or students in Spanish. Given the fact that the school claims to be all about "Cultural and Academic Diversity," it's hard to comprehend why they would want to obstruct communication with parents about their kids and shame people for using their native language. This kind of policy is supposed to improve student academic performance how, exactly? It's also interesting to note that the lawsuit in this case represents the employee who lost her job, but nobody is talking about the rights or interests of the parents who are barred from communicating with the people who are interacting with their kids for 7 hours of the day 5 days a week.

And finally, there's the story of Hank Skinner, who's scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on Feb 24th for the murder of his girlfriend and her two sons. There are some huge problems with Skinner's case that the state is refusing to acknowledge or address. First, Skinner's appointed defense attorney was a former prosecuting attorney who had brought charges against Skinner in previous cases, and who had lost his position due to allegations of misconduct. Claims have been made that this attorney was appointed to Skinner's case by a friend to help him make some of the money he needed to handle his own legal expenses. There's also reason to believe that this attorney "failed to adequately investigate other potential suspects."

Second, in this case there's a ton of evidence available that the state has resolutely refused to perform DNA tests on, and Skinner claims these tests would exonerate him. Items that haven't been tested include "clippings from [the victims] broken fingernails, a rape kit, two knives from the crime scene, a bloodstained dish towel and a man’s windbreaker with sweat and hair on it." If the state of Texas is truly convinced that Skinner committed the crimes, what do they stand to lose by testing the evidence? When a person's life hangs in the balance, shouldn't they make every effort to prove that this person is truly guilty of the crime for which he's being executed? I understand that DNA evidence is often untested because of financial and time constraints, but you would think that a justice department that was truly invested in justice would make sure that all the available evidence was examined in capital cases. You'd think.

I propose we drown our dismay at the sad state of affairs in whiskey and jambalaya. Cheers!

17 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/16/2010

    I'll be drowning my sorrows in beer, not whiskey. Also, if we're celebrating fat tuesday, shouldn't we also be discussing what we'll give up for Lent?

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  2. So now you have a current events section?

    Maybe you missed it, but you seem like a person that should be uniquely qualified to speak to the recent activities concerning Amy Bishop Anderson.

    If you missed it she is the Harvard PhD that recently decided to assassinate her colleagues during a staff meeting at the University of Alabama, Huntsville because she pissed because she wasn't being granted tenure and was going to lose her teaching position at the end of the term. So…she pulled out a 9mm handgun, walked around the table and shot five of her colleagues in the head and a final one in the chest. She only stopped when the gun jammed. Even for a Montana guy that is a bit cold.

    By way of background, she had previously killed her 18-year-old concert pianist brother with a shotgun blast to the chest back in 1986. This was followed up by her being the prime suspect in an attempted bombing of her faculty advisor at Harvard in 1993 after she received a negative review of her work. Somehow she wasn't charged in either of those exercises. Go figure.

    I'm just thinking that since you are also a female PhD that I imagine would like to have tenure maybe you can share some first person experiences and perspectives with your fans on the issue.

    I would think this activity would deserve at least as much righteous indignation as you were so quick to spew concerning George Sodini. I'm kind of wondering why you didn't jump on this news as I'm certain it couldn't be due to gender bias, could it?

    3-7-77

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  3. Burn,

    Are you suggesting that I'm armed and homicidal? How bizarre and amusing.

    I don't know much about the current case, but in the Sodoni case, he specifically targeted his victims because of their gender, and much was made of this in the resulting media coverage. That's what made it a feminist issue.

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  4. melbatoast2/16/2010

    I suggest that Burn give up making inflammatory statements for Lent.

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  5. Anonymous2/16/2010

    @melbatoast
    LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!

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  6. skeptic2/16/2010

    I suggest that Rachel give up troll-baiting for Lent.

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  7. That whiskey and jambalaya is sounding better by the second.

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  8. Rachel,

    Nope, I don't think you have the balls to arm yourself. I can't speak to your homicidal tendencies as I don't know your ex. I also didn't bring that up as an issue, but nice effort at levity.

    I'm just saying...common occupation & demographic. When you read up on it you'll probably note that multiple parties have already mentioned the issue that if this had been a guy he probably wouldn't have survived the first two felonies.

    So actually, yep it is kind of an issue if this chick wasn't prosecuted for killing her little brother because she was a woman and then went on and butchered three people because of it. That may sound kind of old fashioned on my part but what the hell.

    Melba - Why is it inflammatory? This lady killed her little brother with a shotgun and then drilled a bunch of PhDs. Now if you're thinking that the PhDs aren't that big of a deal I agree with you, but killing a little brother isn't cool.

    3-7-77

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  9. Anonymous2/16/2010

    OK, Burn. Here's a demographic observation. Almost all rapists are male. You're a male, aren't you Burn? Right? Aren't you a male? So...........connect the dots.

    Don't try to play stupid and pretend that we don't get what you're implying. It's offensive and inflammatory.

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  10. Anonymous,

    Now Darlin', don't get angry. Why is it whenever you morons want to connect the dots in a logical way from your perspective it is OK, but when it doesn't fit your political agenda it's offensive and inflammatory?

    You are correct in one area though I am a Dude. So let's follow your logic a bit...since most people that get arrested, cuffed and jailed are Dudes does that make Rachel a Dude, or maybe a Tranny? I'm just saying. I've always wanted to be smart like you folks so I'm kind of learning as I go along.

    What do you folks think? Frankly I think she's a Chick, but who knows? I always try to steer clear of people that get arrested so my first hand experience with those types is limited.

    3-7-77

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  11. Burn,

    "Tranny" is an offensive term, and in the future any comment that uses it will be deleted. I honestly don't care what gender or orientation you think I am. But using a pejorative term like that is unacceptable here.

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  12. diamondsforhorses2/16/2010

    Mm-hmm, yeah. People who drive with a BAC of 0.01 are dangerous, hardened criminals, and you're well-advised to steer clear of them, Burn. They're a real danger to both society and themselves.

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  13. Rachel- If it was so offensive I'm surprised you haven't already bounced it. Hasn't stopped you in the past. Actually I thought I was being inclusive in my comments due to your positive influence on my views concerning gender. I guess I failed. Now my feelings are hurt.

    Diamonds - Not what I said Darlin', but nice try. I said I try to steer clear of people that get arrested...and you folks think that I have reading comprehension issues… My point was that even given as much hell as I've raised in my life, I've never been arrested, cuffed or jailed. Additionally, I don't have any relatives that have been arrested nor do I have any friends that have ever been arrested. The only people I know that have been arrested have been people that had it coming from a criminal fraud standpoint that I subsequently sued on a civil basis. So…sorry, but that's my experience. In any case, as Rachel said, she didn't blow in the field, which isn't uncommon because most police don't have the equipment in their cars. No big surprise there. Also no big surprise that she blew .01 much later at the station. As you probably know BAC drops over time.

    I don't know why she got cuffed / jailed and frankly I really don't care. Neither you nor I were there. That said it is what it is. It appears Rachel has already primed her pump of Righteous Indignation about how unfairly she's been treated and knowing her she will have the last word concerning this clear violation of her civil rights, regardless of whether she was right or wrong. By the time she is finished with the local police they will most likely wish they'd never heard of her or her advanced education. I'm thinking that Laramie cop probably woke up that morning plotting how to arrest someone for no reason, just for fun. I hear that's how they roll…

    3-7-77

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  14. Wow, Burn. You honestly think my BAC could drop 7 hundredths in the 20 mins it took to get downtown? Seriously? I have a fast metabolism, but nobody could have that fast of a metabolism and live to tell the story. But it is amusing that you think it's possible. And the tax payers around here have shelled out a nice chunk of cash to put portable breathalyzers in every police car, which the cops use liberally when they're convinced that the person is drunk. When it seems pretty likely that the driver isn't anywhere near drunk but they want to hit their quota? Then not so much. Basically this makes it so that anyone out driving after midnight is fair game for a DUI arrest, regardless of whether they've actually been drinking or not. And this amounts to holding the whole city hostage, because even though these arrests are routinely dismissed by the municipal court, being arrested for a DUI involves one hassle after another, and ends up costing you significantly, even in cases like mine where I so obviously wasn't drunk. And that's why in other more sensible jurisdictions they can't even bring you in without the field breathalyzer test. Because that's how you protect people's civil liberties.

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  15. Rachel,

    Kinda defensive aren't we? I really don't care about your metabolism and I didn't say you were drunk. Jesus Christ.

    Maybe it's just me, but frankly I don't take stupid chances with my life, career or future. If I'm buzzed or drunk and out drinking I either get picked up by a friend, have a designated driver or call a cab to get home. This is a pretty basic life skill and I don't even have a fucking PhD. I try not to give third parties control over my life. I suggest you do the same. Trust me, things go smoother if you do.

    Everyone with a brain knows you don't want to get stopped by a cop, sober or drunk, period. I think we can all agree that while policemen are generally a good thing, it would be foolish to assume you are going to be treated fairly by the police 100% of the time. That wouldn't be realistic based upon what we know about people in general. There are various reasons for this, but I believe it's a safe thing to say. So the smart money is on not putting yourself in a position to get stopped…like driving around in a college town after midnight after you've been to a bar. I love how one of your bloggers empathized with you…you know the one that was driving around at 4:00 A.M. without a drivers license and got picked up...and then they wonder why they have bad outcomes.

    I know it's very fashionable, cool and politically correct to claim that the evil authorities have a plot and they are after all of the regular, god fearing citizens of Laramie, but frankly I think that will be a tough sell for you locally. It also isn't true. The drama will probably play well at the university and in the bars though.

    Spare me your condescending bullshit about civil liberties. No one in America has more advantages than white women. If you screwed up its on you. If you decide to make a crusade of it I suggest you think it through before doing so.

    Also - what's with the bounce on my 3 of 3 post? Are you becoming shy about your accomplishments?

    3-7-77

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  16. Burn,

    It's not illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.01. It's just not. And it turns out that there are a number of people around here who have spent the night in jail and been charged with a DUI after blowing all zeroes, seeing as they hadn't had a single drink. Enough that the municipal court is getting fed up with the workload of processing pointless cases that waste the time and resources of the court and city offices. Like I said, just being out driving after midnight makes you eligible for a night in jail and a DUI charge around here. Are you now going to suggest that we all stay home and never leave our homes at night?

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  17. No Shit. Good grasp on the obvious. Hopefully you'll do the "deep dive" on this plot to subvert the justice system. I'll bet it goes all the way to the Top!!

    Like I originally said, I'm certain that the Laramie Police are stopping all of you geniuses for no reason at all. Maybe you should have a community outreach or do a march this weekend. It's important you stand up to this injustice. Do a press release, print tee shirts...the whole fucking deal.

    That's probably just about as much drama as you can manufacturer up there in Wyoming. Cabin fever and boredom are a bummer. Maybe when the snow melts sanity will return.

    3-7-77

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