Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Red state news

These West Virginia trailer-dwellers kidnapped a black woman, held her at their place for more than a week, raped, tortured, choked and beat her. They made her eat animal feces and drink from a toilet. They're facing an array of charges, but hate crime isn't included, even though the victim was called a "nigger" throughout the ordeal.

Meanwhile, remember sleepy old Jena, Louisiana?
This story is enough to make the older folks positively nostalgic. Some Black kids wanted to sit under a whites-only tree at their school. Nooses appeared on the tree as a warning: this led to a slap on the wrist for the students who placed the nooses, and a few fights. A white kid shouted some racial slurs and got himself beaten up, although he was well enough to go to his graduation ring ceremony the same evening. The county prosecutor charged the six Black students involved with attempted murder.

One of the "Jena Six," a 17-year-old convicted as an adult of the reduced charge of "aggravated battery"
by an all-white jury, just had his conviction thrown out by an appellate court, which ruled that he should have been tried as a juvenile. He remains in jail, however, where he's been since last year, because the DA and the judge failed to show up for a bail hearing. The other five kids are still awaiting trial. A rally that promises to dwarf the population of the town is heading to Jena to have a word or two with the good ol' boys there.

Finally in today's news, a student at the University of Florida at Gainesville, imagining that he had the First Amendment right to freedom of speech at his university, tried to ask visiting speaker John Kerry some questions. As the video of the event indicates, this is not permitted in Jeb Bush's Florida: the young man was mobbed by several cops, and Tasered in the chest after he had been thrown to the ground and restrained. Perhaps the worst part of the video is the sight of the other students just sitting there letting this happen, like a bunch of anesthetized sheep--a reprise of Stanley Milgram without the lab. Meanwhile, FauxNews anchor Gregg Jarrett praised the police, saying that the student deserved what he got. Hey, America, I know you're busy exporting freedom to the four corners of the earth, but leave a little for the folks at home, OK? (H/t Rob Maguire.)

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