Thursday, February 19, 2009

One of the Most Disturbing Stories I've Read, Ever.

It is rather difficult to surprise me when it comes to corruption in the criminal justice system. I grew up acutely aware of its power over people, particularly poor people/people of color, and while I'm no Hobbesian, I'm not one to always assume the best in people. And specifically given how long Radley has been chronicling (and thus I have been following) the Stephen Hayne debacle in Mississippi, I didn't think it could get much worse.

I was wrong.

As Radley stated when reason published the story today, a description of it doesn't really fit well into a soundbite. Suffice it to say, the article describes a tragic miscarriage of justice, gross incompetence by nearly everyone involved, and a criminal act by charlatans that should throw into question every word of testimony ever given in court by the perpetrators--and that includes potentially thousands of cases. I can't recommend strongly enough that you read it.

A Chimp, the President, and the New York Post

As you may imagine, this editorial cartoon from the New York Post is causing quite the stir:

People see Stimulus, they think Obama, they see monkey, they think RACISM!!!!

One teeny little problem: Obama didn't write the Stimulus bill. A bunch of Congressional staffers with begging lobbyists and drooling localities' governments blowing up their phones did. And, consequently, the Stimulus bill has about as much chance of stimulating the economy as something a trained chimp could come up with.

Now, had the cartoon read "Now we'll have to find someone else to fill in the Illinois senate seat," THAT would be racist...but given the intelligence shown by Senator Burris, not completely unfair if his race were different.

So, yes, it is wrong and racist to make monkey comparisons to black people. However, referring to the government generally as something akin to a trained chimpanzee isn't. It may, in fact, be unfair to trained chimpanzees.