Hot Air

Criminals

Justice has been served. Truth will out. The law triumphant. Huzzah, and all the rest of the holy horseshit prosecutors, moralists, and plaster saints will toss our way now that those eight Atlanta teachers have been sentenced to prison for the unforgivable crime of participating in a test cheating scandal.

Oh, and guess what — they’re all black.

Who’da thunk?

Three of them were given 20-year sentences (seven in the joint, 13 on probation plus $25,000 fines). The other four got lesser prison terms and fines. The judge in the case, one Jerry Baxter, was livid as he sentenced the criminal bastards. “Everybody starts crying about these educators,” he ranted. “There were thousands of children harmed in this thing. This was no victimless crime.”

Baxter

Judge: Everybody’s Crying

[Image: Kent D. Johnston/Reuters]

Baxter did not elaborate precisely on how thousands of school kids from slum and ghetto schools that were in danger of being closed had their average test scores not reached a certain level would be harmed. Presumably they’d grow up thinking its fine and dandy to cheat when neighborhoods are in danger of losing their schools and teachers are liable to lose their livelihoods.

Which is unforgivably wrong.

Tests, BTW, of which there are altogether far too many in the first place, sucking up time and energy that could be devoted to something like, well, education.

Oh, yeah, that’s right — they are educators.

Or were. They’re convicts now.

Something the following esteemed citizens are not:

  • George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their Halliburton co-conspirators who lied to the world and pressured this holy land into a senseless war costing more than half a million lives
  • Jamie Dimon, Angelo Mozilo, Jimmy Cayne, John Thain, Lloyd Blankfein, Hank Greenberg, Dick Fuld and their consiglieres affiliated with the credit ratings agencies, the state and federal regulatory agencies that winked at their three-card monte financial instruments, and the politicians who helped them all set up the biggest economic bubble in the Earth’s history and the economic disaster that followed its bursting in 2007-08
  • The dons and capos in charge of the world’s biggest polluters including ChevronTexaco, Exxon, BP, Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell, British Coal Corp., Peabody Energy, BHP Billiton, and the rest of the 90 state- and investor-owned corporations that are responsible for two-thirds of the global warming-causing emissions on this gagging planet
  • Every cop who has shot a brawling black man but did not do the same to any such white men

And…, oh, I could go on and on. But you get the point. Wealth has its privileges. Skin color has its perks. But those cheating teachers, man, they belong in prison for chrissakes!

The Board Reacts?

Bloomingfoods petition man Keith Taylor says he’s learned the Board of Directors of the local grocery co-op is having a special meeting today. Could it be in response to petitioners who are demanding the the Board come up with a plan of action to deal with all the crises B-foods faces these days?

B-foods

We’ll see.

They Are What They Are

Those four Blackwater triggermen who were sentenced Monday to prison for whacking 17 innocent Iraqis at a roundabout in Baghdad? Let’s stop calling them “security contractors.”

Let’s call them what they are — mercenaries.

Sure, the term carries emotional and judgmental weight. It should.

News anchors and reporters have been referring to them as security contractors, which makes them sound like trained technicians who are performing some necessary task for the good of us all. In reality, they’re killers for pay.

Now you might argue that all soldiers are killers for pay — there’s a grain of truth in that. But, traditionally, soldiers in this holy land and likely all the self-described holy lands of this mad planet have been dragged into the uniformed life pretty much against their will. Even during the “good war,” World War II, guys who got their notices from their local draft boards opened those missives with with dread. Popular depictions of guys who were gung-ho about going into the army rarely were complimentary. Such characters were seen as, well, loons.

And that’s precisely what guys who worked for Blackwater are. (The defense contractor is now called Academi — Blackwater has such a negative connotation; Academi sounds sort of excitingly futuristic. Let’s not participate in the company’s PR campaign, alright?) Anyway, Blackwater employees were (and are) guys who want to go to war. They want to carry big guns and shoot other humans. They dig the blood, the gore, the spilled intestines, the rush of fear, the flood of adrenaline.

Nisour Square

Blackwater, Red Rivers

[Image: AFP]

They got all that and more at the Baghdad intersection in 2007.

Mercenaries.

Get It First But Get It Right!

From The Pencil Department of Corrections: A clarification. In my Monday post referring to Jeffrey Wolin’s Pigeon Hill: Then & Now retrospective, I noted that you can see Wolin’s pix at Pictura Gallery, which you can. But the specific exhibit on Pigeon Hill is at the Monroe County History Center.

[h/t to Mike Burns]

Gone

Percy Sledge — November 25, 1940-April 14, 2015.

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