aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, April 15, 2007
It’s cold here. But I’m glad I’m not in Boston. For the marathon. CNN:
The storm forced the cancellation of five major league baseball games Sunday and gave runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon something to worry about besides Heartbreak Hill. The race-day forecast called for 3 to 5 inches of rain, start temperatures in the 30s and wind gusts of up to 25 mph.
Duke: black & white & right & wrong
I haven’t posted on the dropped charges. The Sunday chat show blather has pushed me to say something: no shades of gray are possible in either our media or legal systems. Life, truth, lives in shades of gray. I’m sorry for the injustice done to these three men. I can’t help but believe if they had been black and the accuser white we’d have seen a different outcome. And I stand by my Duke Mistakes post, repeated verbatim here.
Did you catch the parents of those accused in the Duke case last week on 60 Minutes?
“My son said, ‘Mom, when is it going to stop? When is this insanity going to stop?’ Knowing that he was still being charged with crimes that he didn’t do,” Kathy Seligmann recalls. [...]
“You have to remember that this has never been about the evidence. Never. If it were about the evidence, nine months ago, this case would’ve been totally dropped. This is about a man who chose to use a troubled young woman’s story of fantastic lies to advance his own political career, which was crumbling. He needed something big. He needed that magic bullet, and he shot it. He shot it at our sons,” says David Evans’ mother Rae. [...]
“We’d be hard-pressed to send Collin back to an environment where Mike Nifong is the newly-elected D.A., where the Durham police department is at his beck and call, where the leadership, the administration of Duke, when given the chance to stand up for our boys does not. It would be very hard as parents to send our sons back into that environment,” says one of Collin Finnerty’s parents.
Lesley Stahl, oozing empathy, didn’t ask tough questions. The media narrative had shifted. Kathleen A. Bergin of Feminist Law Professors, reacting to CNN’s Duke retelling special, “A Question of Race,” points out:
The disconnect between legal culpability and social responsibility simmers just below the surface of reporting on the Duke sex scandal… conspicuously left out of CNN’s [AJ: and CBS’s!] broadcast: (1) that team members called the two women “niggers” and “bitches”; (2) one threatened to rape them with a broomstick; (3) another spoke of hiring strippers in an e-mail sent the same night that threatened to kill “the bitches” and cut off their skin while he ejaculated in his “Duke-issued spandex;” and (4) one shouted to the victim as she left the team’s big house, “Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt.” These facts are undisputed and highlight the sick and wretched depravity of this racialized episode.
Back on 60 Minutes, said David’s dad:
“It was a mistake, that was poor judgment. But then what you need to do is separate that from felony charges, talking about moral questions. These are felony charges. And if they did make a mistake, even though they did what many other students have done, they have paid for it dearly,” says David Evans, Sr.
Ok, fine. First, let’s do something serious to stop so “many other students” from doing it. And second, let’s not lose track of the fact that it was wrong and bad and deserving of some serious punishment.
Where have all the honeybees gone?
Cory Doctorow thinks cellphones might be killing bees:
It’s been long understood that bees respond to electromagnetic radiation. Dr Jochen Kuhn at Germany’s Landau University has shown that bees don’t return to their hives when cellphones are present. The study doesn’t prove that cellphones are responsible for CCD ["Colony Collapse Disorder,” (science-ese for “we don’t know where all these bees have gone")], but it does provide evidence that mobile phones are implicated in the death of hives.
Color me skeptical. And I’m not finding a link for Kuhn’s study.
I just finished the powerful, riveting and disturbing documentary, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple by Stanley Nelson, Marcia Smith and Noland Walker and presented by American Experience. I had nearly forgotten and never really knew:
Although Jim Jones Jr. says that everyone who went to Jonestown was a “shareholder” in utopia, word filtered back to San Francisco that members were being held against their will. Bay Area congressman Leo Ryan took a small delegation to Jonestown in November 1978. The trip started well, but calamity unfolded quickly, much of it captured on film.
After escaping a knife attack by a cult member at the Jonestown compound, Ryan and his delegation fled to the airstrip, where Jones’ goons opened fire, killing Ryan and four others.
Jones then gathered his flock for a final sermon, insisting that the government would torture all in retaliation. It was time for the final communion.
The audiotape is chilling. Jones cries “Hurry, children, hurry” against a background of screaming women and children. He praises the mass destruction as an act of “revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.” Jones didn’t drink his own poisoned Kool-Aid, though. Instead, he died from a shot to the head.
A sobering reminder of the flip-side of the wisdom of crowds. Catch it if you can. The trailer: