Blogvation

Okay, now that I got those two posts below out, I'm going into dramatically reduced blogging mode (alright, I was already there) until January 2 when I am back at work.  It is just too hard to blog with dial-up.  And, as of Christmas day, I'm going to be pretty busy playing the new Nintendo Wii that David (and me) are getting for Christmas.  Merry Christmas, should it apply, and should it not, a generic “Happy Holidays.”

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Duke Lacrosse and media coverage

I'd really been meaning to do a thorough Duke Lacrosse posting this week, but just ran out of time in the rush of things to get done before leaving town.  After watching today's coverage of the news that Nifong had dropped the rape charge, I've got to take a minute and write something, though.  Nifong basically had to drop the rape charge after it was revealed that DNA testing from months ago had in fact identified the semen of five men on the victim, none of whom were Duke Lacrosse players.  And, just has bad, Nifong had, unconstitutionally, in fact, kept this information from the press until now.  After dropping the rape charge, the defendants are still up on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, which do not rest on the physical evidence to the same degree.  I was incredulous to hear national news reports saying this morning that this could, perhaps, strengthen the case.  That proposition is just absurd and outrageous.  These two latter charges depend quite considerably upon the testimony of the alleged victim, who has now completely impeached her own credibility in saying she's not actually sure she was raped.  Yet, the national media just go with their ludicrous, “he said, she said” frame and pretend as if there is actually a legitimate case for Nifong left to prosecute.  There is not.  Anybody who has followed this case and simply watched a half dozen Law and Order episodes should now enough by now to know that there is absolutely no way that these players could be convicted of this crime and that they are almost certainly innocent of the charges against them.  But, the news is almost always too timid to actually call things as they are– be it politics or a high-profile legal case. 

I'll end with a snippet from today's Charlotte Observer editorial (via KC Johnson, who writes an amazing blog covering the case):

The paper?s editorial board notes that the dismissal of the rape charge ?came, conveniently, after the discovery that Mr. Nifong might have asked a DNA lab to selectively report its findings.? It concludes, ?This latest twist leads you to conclude either (a) Mr. Nifong has been misled by an uncertain or unreliable witness; (b) he is incompetent; (c) he skillfully manipulated a case charged with racial and class overtones in an election year where he faced a challenge; or, (d) all of the above.?

(d) would seem like the correct answer.

Happy Festivus!

Today is Festivus, the anti-Christmas holiday created by Frank Constanza on a classic Seinfeld episode back in 1997.  Rather than celebrate with peace, goodwill, and a tree, the centerpiece of Festivus is a bare aluminum pole and festivus activities include the “feats of strength” and “airing of grievances.”  I just read in the paper, that a Wisconsin company is now actually selling Festivus poles that you can buy.  The perfect gift for any Seinfeld fan. 

I read in another article (which I cannot find now– dial-up internet connection for the holidays) that a politician was proudly displaying his Festivus pole, but felt compelled to take it down after Michael Richard's racist rant.  This is an extraordinary and abuurd example of the lengths that politicians will go to in order to avoid contreversy and offending constitutents.  By his reasoning, perpaps I should burn my Seinfeld DVD's so my students don't get upset.  No, politicians should not try and offend their consitutents, but if they are this afraid of doing so, you really have to wonder about just what they are made of. 

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