Tuesday, May 18, 2004
USATODAY.com - Family of Abu Ghraib detainees say abuse culprits should face death: "ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (AP) On the eve of the first court-martial in the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, relatives of those still held at Abu Ghraib prison said Tuesday the only suitable punishment would be death illustrating the potential gap in expectations in the case. "
I think this is a rather unreasonable request. Yes, the abuse was awful and should not be allowed. Yes, those responsible should face consequences. I don't see how execution is a proportional response, however. They took pictures of detainees naked so they should be killed? I can't imagine the Iraqis would be as sanguine about it if Iraqis who abused Americans were summarily executed as a punishment.
What was done in that prison was a crime. Let's let the punishment fit the crime.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Yahoo! News - Progress Made in City's Schools, but More to Go: "While there are still sufficient numbers of white students in the Topeka school system to foster diversity, the trend lines point in a troubling direction. The proportion of minority students in Topeka public schools has been increasing nearly 2 percent per year, from 30 percent in 1991 to more than 51 percent today. In some Topeka schools, nearly four-fifths of the students are nonwhite.
'If these trends continue, we could soon be back to where we don't want to be,' said Russ Hutchins, principal of Ross Elementary School, which is 73 percent minority. The school district would then face the difficult choice of accepting the inevitability of resegregation, or considering more politically controversial alternatives, such as redrawing school district lines or additional busing."
I'm afraid I don't see the problem here. Forced segregation is wrong, yes. I don't see anything in this story that indicates that this situation is anything but the natural result of demographics. Are we supposed to bus white kids into these neighborhoods just to balance out the color scale? That's silly. As long as these schools are getting their fair share of the funding and are doing the best possible job of educating the children what difference does it make that they happen to be mostly nonwhite? As long as they aren't being segregated intentionally I see no reason to DEsegregate them intentionally.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Pet peeve #2: News stories about some new safety innovation that "prevents death."
It doesn't prevent death. It postpones death. We're all going to die eventually, it's just a matter of when. Eat healthy, exercise, don't smoke, drink only in moderation, live well and you will still die. You'll just die later and have a higher quality of life beforehand.
Pet-peeve #1: When reporting accidents the media says "Police have not yet determined if speed was a factor."
Of course speed was a factor. Stationary objects don't crash into each other. What they mean to say is "Police have not yet determined if speeding (or excessive speed) was a factor."
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Yahoo! News - Lawyer Says Accused U.S. Spy May Have Abuse Proof: "TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (Reuters) - A lawyer for a Syrian-born U.S. airman accused of espionage said on Tuesday that potentially damaging evidence of how detainees were treated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba may surface during his client's court-martial hearing. "
Maybe they will...maybe they won't. Clever ploy for his lawyer though to make such a threat at this point in the political landscape. Hoping the government will drop or bargain off the charges in exchange for keeping any allegations of impropriety at Gitmo quiet.
Politics News Article | Reuters.com: "'I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations, while our troops, our heroes are fighting and dying,' he said.
'These prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations,' said Inhofe, whose senatorial Web site describes him as an advocate of 'Oklahoma values.'
'If they're in cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands and here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.' "
Well...looks like there may be an opening in the Senate next election. I understand what Mr. Inhofe is trying to say but I'm afraid this is a very ignorant position to take. Aside from the fact that the very foundation of American justice (and the Geneva Convention which we have always been staunch advocates of) abhors treating prisoners in this manner, a recent Red Cross report casts a lot of doubt on the actual guilt of most of those in these prisons.
As far as I know most of the prisoners depicted in these tapes have never actually been convicted of anything.