Sunday, October 07, 2007

News roundup

While I was busy writing, a whole bunch of blog-worthy stuff happened that I had to ignore.

Locally, there was the Jena 6 protest in Jena (pronounced "JEE-na"), Louisiana. Not much to add at this late date, other than to say that there as a whole lot of anti-black paranoia among locals. One person at work asked if we were "ready for the looting". Apparently white Jena residents ran out of town, afraid of what would happen. (The protests were mostly peaceful.)

I'm of two minds on the attack myself. On the one hand, it seems that the local justice system treated various incidents too lightly until it looked like a race war was developing, at which point they treated the next incident severely, an incident that just happened to include black kids. On the other hand, inequality doesn't justify six kids beating up another kid. On the other, other hand, what's the point of having one set of laws for kids and another set for adults when you choose to try kids as adults seemingly on a whim?

The biggest issue is that the actual events of the affair is not well known, largely due to the filters applied by the people repeating the story. The Jena 6 are not the martyrs that is now being portrayed. The local portrayal (which I've seen on news sites and in the office) that this is another "O.J." (i.e. blacks playing the race card to get away with a crime) is very wrong, and just masks the general level of racism that's common in northeast Louisiana.

The best account of the incidents is this article from the Associated Press:

On the national level, Alberto Gonzales quit. I'm actually surprised at this. I didn't think Gonzales would remember how to write a resignation letter.

On the international level, the Canadian dollar is now trading at a higher level than the U.S. dollar.

First, the serioius part. The fact that the Canadian dollar is worth more than the U.S. dollar is not readily understood by Americans. Part of the reason for the higher Canadian dollar is a need for Canadian dollars to purchase Canadian oil. Another reason is because problems with the U.S. economy mean that outside investors no longer think the U.S. is quite as good a place in which to invest. Gee, you think maybe giving tax cuts to the rich while paying for an expensive and unnecessary war, and the resulting explosion in the deficit, isn't a good idea?

On a less serious note, I am now officially accepting apologies from all those Americans who made fun of the 65¢ Canadian dollar a few years ago. Please post your apologies here. No, it's okay, I'll wait...

There were other items, but I'm too tired from watching the Grand Prix of China (and despondent over Lewis Hamilton's big mistake that stopped him from finishing and might just have cost him the Formula One championship) to go into them right now.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Although I don't recall actually making fun of the Canadian dollar, if I did I apologize. I was looking forward to visiting my family in Canada this year before life crushed those dreams. I already know what it's like to have to shell out double or more of one's own currency in order to visit another country. I just hope it doesn't get worse before next spring.