September 26, 2007


The MSNBC Democratic Debate just finished, and aside from my monumental disappointment in Chris Dodd for being a Red Sox fan, there was a great deal that the candidates left to be desired. The debate, to which the link provided is a synopsis posted by MSNBC, featured discussions predominantly concerning the Iraq War and healthcare. It was around those subjects that the candidates seem to be taking ballet lessons.

While some questions were answered directly and honestly, a host of questions were either skipped over, used as a pulpit by which to preach a wholly different issue, or in one notable instance, refused completely. Senator Clinton flatly refused to say whether or not Israel would be justified in attacking Iran if it found that the Iranians possessed nuclear weapons and would potentially use them on Israel. A number of other questions received similar treatment, although rarely as overtly. When the candidates did answer the question, they often devolved into ranting diatribes about "my contribution, my experience." Either that, or they evaded the question completely, speaking of B when the question was actually about A.

What seems to be lost on the candidates is that the people who are watching the debates this early in the election are nerdy enough to spot the maneuvers and BS. People who are watching these debates don't need the candidates experience, that is information they either already know or can look up themselves. What is important is how the candidates feel and how they would address the issues, we don't watch the debates to see how deftly politicians can get out of answering a question they don't want to answer and deliver a totally unrelated diatribe. They're politicians, we're well aware that they're capable of such maneuvering already, it's in their blood, or at least the blood they've sucked (I'm sure you don't need an explanation on the joke of the definition of "politics").

No Homosexuals in Iran

As I'm sure everyone is aware of, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rapped up his trip to America yesterday. It was a peaceful trip, full of sight seeing and picture taking. Well, actually, it was a trip filled with heated debate and controversy (not to say that pres. Ahmadinejad didn't snap a few pictures while he was here). For starters, President MA (has he will from no on be referred to) wanted to make it a point of his trip to visit Ground Zero, as if nobody here would take issue with that. After being denied this harmless request (HA!), he proceed to Colombia University to give an enilightened speech on topics ranging from women's rights, the holocaust, and the myth of homosexuality.

“In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it.”

"Given this historical event [Holocaust], if it is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it."

I submit to you all that this man is a product of his surroundings, just as we all are. By no means am I supporting the man, I just acknowledge that he truly believes this nonsense and he should have the forum to speak just as we all do. His problem is that he is not in Iran. He is not even in other sympathetic Middle East regions. He is in the liberal East. While he automatically assumes the right of free speech when he arrived on our shore, he must be aware that his ideas and beliefs must be backed by facts, not strong diction or a powerful tone. That doesn't (usually) fly here in America.
He is approaching his backwards and immoral personal stances and beliefs from what he calls an 'academic' perspective. He is taking radical views and veiling them as academia. I personally believe that it was a mistake for Columbia to host him, especially after hearing his introduction by Columbia President Lee Bollinger where he reffered to Pres. MA as a "petty and cruel dictator"

He goes on to confront Pres. MA even further by saying "Mr. President. I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions." Bollinger hit is right on the head...

Welcome to America Mahmoud, enjoy yourself and have a good time, but expect ZERO respect!

Why I Distrust the Police.

A previous post about the tasering of a University of Florida student got me thinking about all of the police abuse I've witnessed or heard about growing up in Gainesville. To be honest this incident is only remarkable because it actually made the news. From causing minor annoyances to killing innocent people I can't really think of a time where there wasn't anything other then hatred for the UFPD and its citywide counterpart GPD. I was pleasantly surprised when arriving at AU I found out how kind and gentle our public safety officers were, and for that matter the DC metro police as a whole.

Since the seventh grade it had been standard practice for our teachers to tell their students at least once a year to never talk to a police officer without a lawyer, even if you didn't do anything wrong. My first personal experience with UFPD came on July 27, 2004. I remember it well because it just happened to be the very first day I had my driver's license. After playing pool at the university rec center I was driving home with a friend of mine when I was pulled over on campus for what I would later find out was suspicion of a stolen vehicle. After being spread eagled on the front of the officer's patrol car, patted down and having my car searched for almost an hour the officer laughed at me for being pulled over on my first day and sent me on my way. This was the first of seven such incidents. Each time I was let off without so much as a warning. I have been pulled over by Gainesville police for everything from suspicion of illegal U-turn to having out of date tags on my license when in fact they were in date. Each time I was verbally abused and patted down. After the first time I wised up and no longer permitted any kind of attempt to search my car. If I added all of my friend's stories this blog would run on forever.

These are only petty grievances, something to complain about to your friends but nothing worst then a sprained wrist or a weekend in jail. The reason I wrote this post was for two incidents far more serious then even last weeks tazing.

The first is a 2003 incident that sadly was never given its full day in the media spotlight because the victim was far too ashamed to come forward. A nineteen year old University of Florida student was raped in the Alachua County Jail by his fellow inmate. While prison rape is not uncommon, this particular incident stood out for several reasons. The kid was serving his first of four weekend sentences for attempting to distribute marijuana. He was placed in a cell with Randolph Jackson, a thirty-five year old convicted rapist who had also been accused of raping three previous cellmates. After placing him in his cell the cops simply walked away, having to know what was going to happen. Jackson, who is HIV positive, quickly forced a ballpoint pen to the kid's throat. In the aftermath the kid required several stitches in his rectum. Of course nothing ever happened to the officer's involved as the whole episode was said to have been a simple fault of jail overcrowding.

Corey Rice is a name some of you may foggily remember hearing about several years ago. This happened on one of my favorite streets in Gainesville, known for countless late night adventures. Around 1 am on June 30, 2001 thirty year old Corey Rice, an architecture grad student, was pulled over for failing to stop at a stop sign by Officer Jimmy Hecksel. As the officer approached his window Rice slowly backed up, and then began pulling away. Claiming Rice was trying to run him over, Officer Hecksel unleashes seven shots with his forty caliber, hitting Rice three times. Rice would die several hours later in the hospital. While I could not find the video itself, stills from the video show that it looked like at no point was Officer Hecksel in danger.

While countless pages have been given to the tasing, little was made about these previous incidents. As a result I was only able to find small press releases about this incident. Police Brutality Prison Rape Corey Rice