Hey, guys. Well, it's Tuesday. Icky Thump, the new White Stripes album, is released today (looking forward to hearing it), and the ACL Fest schedule was released today. I'm already pissed off that two of the bands that I'm most excited about seeing at the festival, Wilco and My Morning Jacket, are scheduled directly against each other. What kind of bullsh*t is that? That totally sucks, and it makes me wonder what the hell the organizers were thinking (or whether they even care about trying to create a schedule that allows people to see as many of their favorite bands as possible- I think it would be pretty obvious to most music fans that Wilco and My Morning Jacket are going to have a big crossover contingent in their audience). Also, Arcade Fire and The White Stripes are mostly playing at the same time, so once again, that's a kick in the crotch. I know these scheduling decisions have to take the wishes of the bands into account (and other behind-the-scenes factors), but what good is it to have 4 of your favorite bands playing at the festival if you can only see 2 of them? These kinds of decisions show the same extraordinary problem solving ability that the festival organizers demonstrated when they addressed the heat and dust problems by scheduling the festival a week earlier in the summer. I know that everything can't be perfect, but can't we try a little harder, ACL Fest? Oh well, I'm sure I'll still have a good time, but these things really piss me off.
Anyhoo, last night I just hung out with Mandy, had some dinner, played with Max and Lucy, and watched a Boston Legal episode from the DVR.
And a couple of people have asked me what I thought about the treatment that Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case, is getting (i.e., disbarrment, lawsuits, and possible criminal indictment). I guess the short answer is that I guess he pretty much deserves whatever he gets. I don't believe in punishment for prosecutors who are simply wrong (the job inherently requires people to make important decisions, sometimes based upon limited information), but Nifong ignored crucial evidence while seeking indictments, witheld exculpatory evidence from the defense (a huge no no for prosecutors), and may have even perjured himself regarding the availability of certain evidence when responding to inquiries by the court. In short, he turned the prosecution of this case into some kind of personal vendetta or quest for professional glory and seemed willing to potentially sacrifice the freedom of innocent defendants in order to do it. The only thing that I find remarkable about the case is how much retribution is being heaped upon Nifong for his overzealous prosecution. I say this not because he is undeserving of it, but because this is probably not an etriely isolated incident in which prosecutors are aggressively and unethically prosecuting defendants whose guilt they have very good reason to doubt (they may do this for reasons of career advancement, politics, or -and this is the most troubling- simply because they have become jaded and have come to see every defendant that they encounter as undoubtedly 100% guilty and deserving of punishment from the moment that they start to work on a case). For the typical low-income, uneducated, oftentimes minority defendant, however, justice may be a lot harder to come by than it was for the affluent, white, upper class lacrosse players of Duke University. Even if overzealous, unjust prosecutions result in a correct verdict and exhonerate some wrongly accused defendants, the typical low income defendant is unlikely to see the kind of justice meted out against an overzealous prosecutor on their case the way that it is currently being delivered to Mike Nifong. I'm not saying that this type of behavior is in any way common, but I think it's laughable to believe that Mike Nifong is the only prosecutor in this country who has been guilty of it.
But to get back to the original question, I think Mike Nifong is due some pretty stiff consequences. Society invests a lot of trust in their prosecutors and needs them to do the right thing (or at least try to do the right thing), and if we can't count on them to be objective and fair, than the role of prosecutor can become, without a doubt, a very scary one. Prosecutors need to understand that there can be consequences if they abuse their power to pursue their own personal agenda rather than objectively pursuing the enforcement of the law, and the public needs to understand that sometimes mistakes can happen within the criminal justice system. Nifong's actions weren't simple mistakes, though. He told a series of lies which indicate that he was willing to sacrifice defendants who were very likely to be innocent. You just can't let that kind of behavior slide and still expect people to have faith in the justice system.
Blah, blah, blah.
Ooookay. I'll rap at you cats later.
Oh crap. I almost forgot. Happy Juneteenth to everybody! It's a good holiday. It marks one of those occasions when that little ol' flame of human rights (and with it, enlightenment) began to burn a little brighter in our great state of Texas. So everybody go out there and enjoy it!