Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Imagine a justice system where every time a crime is committed, you had to gather your things, put your jacket on, drive over to the local police station, and prove your innocence. Sounds like one of those apocalyptical fictional stories found only in Hollywood, or in Orwell novels. In fact, we pride ourselves as models of justice with our hackneyed dictums like �innocent until proven guilty� or �guilty beyond a reasonable doubt�, and of course our enforcement of those inalienable rights that require warrants, and sound reasonable cause before any indictments. But are there exceptions ? If the evidence for a crime was not as forthcoming, and the resulting set of possible suspects included the entire population of a town, or a state, or the entire country, are we still following these creeds? The notion of �innocent until proven guilty� just may be a little to idealistic to be practically applicable.

This question has come up in light of the DNA sweep that is being performed in a town in Cape Cod Massachusetts. In an effort to identity the suspect responsible for the murder of Christa Worthington–an investigation that has been ongoing for 3 years now, investigators have asked all 790 male denizens of the town of Truro, to provide samples of their DNA so that it may be compared with–what forensics believes– is the DNA sample of the suspect. In essence, they�re asking the entire male population of this town to �prove� their innocence�provide a DNA sample to be removed from the list.

fair? Ummm… no.

Here�s the news story if you want to read more.

Bush’s Nominees

You got to give it to him. Dubya has a knack for appointing high-ranking officials. Now that most of the cast involved in Act I of the Bush Administration have pushed and shoved their way in line, handing over papers of resignation, Bush is trying to reshuffle the cards and in the process– spilling the deck all over the table.

First blooper, a replacement for Sec. Tom Ridge of Homeland Security with Bernard Kerik, the former NYC Police commissioner. And of course, turns out this guy has a messy criminal record with indictments of conspiracy, an FBI probe for alleged fraud, and various acts of infidelity not quite the unadulterated record we’re looking for in such a high appointment. Needless to say, Kerik has withdrawn from the nomination.

Second blooper, the replacement of Attorney General John Ashcroft; you may remember him from such works as “The Patriot Act” and “Liar Liar”. And for this replacement, the Bush administration nominates Alberto Gonzales, a former White House council that has been intimately tied to prisoner abuse scandals in Abu Garib. Another Swing and a miss.

Well, so far he’s 0-2. My question is: how much longer till a Supreme Court Justice appointment?

Election Recounts

Let the recounts begin!

Although recounting the votes will never change the results of the past presidential election, certification of the election results is absolutely necessary. It may seem fitting for the sore loser to wallow over the final score, fret over the bad call, ostracize the interfering fan, and churn up a deluge of “what if’s” and “should of’s”, and although the timing of the situation may seem to be in favor of this assessment, I don’t feel this is the motivating factor behind these recounts. Even if things miraculously turn up different during this recount, if we find that John Kerry may have actually won Ohio, there is no way an ostensibly disinterested and republican-owned congress would certify any one less than George Bush as President; and I think many wrongly consider the re-counts as a ray of hope in such an abdication. John Kerry formally stated that he was not participating in the recount, not to be misunderstood as deprecation, but done primarily to discredit this misinterpretation that democrats have called for this action as a last ditch efforts to usurp Dubya.

The acutal goal of the recount is to bring to light a clear problem in our election process, particularly with the shortage of voting machines and of miscounted absentee ballots, both happening to appear in Ohio, a critical state in this election. I think the goal is that in going forward, for future elections, if these issues in our election process are not addressed now, we may run into the dire predicament where the wrong candidate comes out winning the election. Take election 2000 (Gore/Bush) for example (I’m not bitter–okay, maybe a little).

Stern No More

Seeing that I am knee-deep in winter vacation, rare are the mornings that I’m up early enough to listen to one of my favorite morning radio programs, Howard Stern. But those days are now behind me, but not by choice. Citadel Broadcasting, the media conglomerate that owns the RI stations that air Howard Stern (106.3,102.7,103.7) have pulled the plug on Howard’s 4 hour morning show.

As sad as it is, there is some sense in this decision. Howard certainly does plug his scheduled move to Sirrus Satellite radio quite frequently, and if these radio listeners start purchasing satellite radios, they would probally never listen to regular radio ever again. Also, the timing is right, if we in providence don’t hear Stern, we may eventually forget about the show and forget about his move to satellite radio, and may just continue to live life as before, somewhat-satisfied with our AM-FM receivers–and continue to daze through the bromide of overplayed and tired commercials indicative of damn terrestrial radios. It is the right move for Citadel, but it is still a sad thing for Howard Stern fans.

This is just one of those instances where the decision of a company runs contrary to the wishes of their consumers.

Flirting with the Yellow Line

Guest Blogist: Joyce Satgunam

For the past week I have experienced the fast-paced life of NYC. Financial consultants, brokers, lawyers, and other city workers rush to the subway to make it to work on time. I have an idea….why don’t they leave their apartments 10 minutes earlier? Just a thought.

They all arrive at the subway station and if they’re lucky wait for the subway to arrive. If you’ve taken the subway, you know about the 2-foot wide yellow line bordering the waiting area. The purpose of this line is to warn people to keep their distance from a moving train. Why when there is so much room to wait for the subway do people feel the need to stand in this caution area? Do they have some need to flirt with danger because of the high stress in their life?

Today I was taking the subway and noticed several people flirting with the yellow line. Some looked as if they were doing the hokey-pokey with one foot in the area and one foot out. Others would walk along the yellow line as if it were a pier and the surrounding area the deep, blue ocean while others would waver between being completely on the line and in the regular waiting area. There was even one guy I saw who walked up to the very edge of the yellow line and peered over into the tracks. It seemed that a simple startle would have made him fall into the track pit.

What the significance of all this is, I don’t have a clue, but something tells me that some people get some kind of satisfaction by flirting with the yellow line.