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!