In RE: The Rule of Law v. Justice
Justice Cooperman, in acquitting the officers, asserted from the bench that inconsistent testimony by, and prior criminal records of, prosecution witnesses, principally the victim's friends, "had the effect of eviscerating" their credibility.
Not only was Justice Cooperman's means of arriving at his verdicts wrong, it was broadly outrageous on its face, and it speaks to the distortion of justice by courts over which preside judges who use their position to promote their own classist views. The detached assertions of The New York Times notwithstanding, the use of courts to craft justice by class has the invariable effect of promoting racism, sexism, and all manner of other ills the elites would furiously disclaim as their intent, even as they repeatedly ensure the endurance of inequality in both their refined and brutish instrumentalities of maintaining the status quo.
The rule of law cannot exist when, in any way, justice is shaded to the victim's general righteousness, nor should the quality of that victim's grievance before the bar of justice be diminished by some diffuse notion held by a judge that testimonial evidence is "eviscerated" when those who have already been marginalized by the courts, the police, and the larger society are invited to speak to the matter at bar. The misunderstanding of such fundamental principles is one of the primary means by which defense attorneys have historically elicited not guilty verdicts from juries, and it is appalling that any judge, extensively trained and long in experience, would allow such tactics by defense counsel to have any impact whatsoever on trial outcome. To the extent that Justice Cooperman is certainly not alone in permitting his court to become a proving ground for the character and quality of victims and their witnesses, the courts of this land allow themselves to become yet one more formidable wall by which law enforcement authorities deter citizens from seeking redress within the justice system.
That a sitting judge would be so essentially, fundamentally flawed in reasoning that he would incorporate into adjudication his own biases, shaped as they are by his own socio-economic standing, is outrageous on its face. That he would actually speak in his opinion of how he found wanting and thereby suspect the words and demeanor of the prosecution witnesses speaks not only to his classist mentality, but also to a deeper elitism inconsistent both with proper judicial temperament and, indeed, with any claim to legitimacy as a representative of a society that poses to render equal justice for all.
A trial court finds facts; it then applies the law to those facts it has derived from material, circumstantial, and testimonial evidence.
The judge's finding of facts was wrong: it was wrong because he found facts based upon the divergence of his preconceived expectations of testimony from the reality of those providing that testimony whose degraded experience in the society and with the courts had already individually and historically marginalized them.
The verdicts in this case were not examples of the rule of law protecting society and its enduring principles; these acquittals of policemen who used 50 bullets to butcher an unarmed, innocent man were the pernicious rule of an elite advancing the interests of his own class.
Res ipsa loquitur: the thing speaks for itself.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
The Dark Wraith Lecture Series: Lecture 2
Lecture 2: "Agency"
Size: 52.6 Mb
The Torch and the Spear
In early January, the community college at which I teach finally posted a position for a full-time faculty member who could teach economics, finance, business law, and accounting, a daunting combination for which I have more than two decades of classroom experience. It seemed to me that the position had been crafted for me, and I almost got the impression that this is, indeed, what had been done. I’ve been at this school (while teaching at others off and on) now for five-and-a-half years. I had once been passed over when a position opened and an administrator was slotted into it via a back-door contract provision available to those who serve their time in administration. I imagined in January that, given the requirements for this new faculty position, the Powers That Be were constructing a means by which old matters would be tied up as the school moved into an era of rapid growth, prominence, and independence from the nearby state university that had been, as if by some divine right, forever imposing its will upon higher education in the region.
The grueling process of faculty hiring moves through ponderously slow stages. First, public notice is given in professional publications; then a slate of eight preliminary candidates is selected; then those individuals are each given a phone interview by the hiring committee, which, in this case, included the chairwoman, herself, and two solid friends of mine. After the phone interviews, the list of candidates is culled to four, each of whom is brought to campus for a series of on-site interviews and to deliver a teaching demonstration.
From early January, this process finally came to its conclusion a week ago last Thursday. That day, after I had taught my own classes, I was “brought to campus” for the big interview. I had already arranged for several other faculty members to make the recommendations they are allowed to do as part of the evidence that is used in the hiring decision, so I had those recommendations, along with three of the six members of the hiring committee fairly certainly in favor of my appointment; in addition, I had a whole slate of credentials, including my Faculty Member of the Year award from last year. It did not hurt, of course, that I have published over four hundred articles on the Web, many of them nothing other than teaching exercises in economics, business, and related fields; and it did not hurt, of course, that the New Age information technology fad had not eluded me one bit, what with how I manage not only to podcast my lectures, but also to ensure that those podcasts are available from heavy-hitter sites like Apple iTunes, Yahoo! and other places virtually no faculty member could dream of designing RSS feeds to accommodate.
Geez, what more could a college want? Unless one of those other finalists was a Nobel Prize winner, I had it in the bag. Thursday was going to be a great day.
Because of morning classes I teach, I was already on campus before the interview. Such convenience! They did not even have to drive to the airport to pick me up; I just wandered over to the office of the Division Chair, the first person with whom I would meet so she could explain in detail the position, the salary, the duties, and all of that. I met her, and we spoke at length on matters of which we both knew, agreeing in many ways on issues having to do with the school and the important things coming to the fore in this period of substantial growth through which the college is now going. This particular woman has been quite a star since she took over from the gentleman who preceded her. Everyone has been impressed both by her ability to get things done and by her interest in creating more cohesiveness among faculty she oversees in business, economics, social sciences, and computer software skills and office technology. I have considered her something of an ally of mine and have introduced her to some of my articles published here at The Dark Wraith Forums.
After I had my meeting with her, I was taken to meet with the Director of Education, an old, retired astrophysicist from a monster-big university. He had held a grudge against me for some years because of a math program I fielded that was very popular with the community but was condemned (in the newspaper, no less!) by the chairman of the math department at that nearby university. That was an ugly affair, one for which I was blamed, that caused a rift between the community college and the university. The old astrophysicist had wanted a scholarly, interactive relationship with the hard science people over at the university, and my blustering, high-profile program (sort of like a math boot camp) had disrupted that. Interestingly, though, in that meeting Thursday, the Director of Education and I spoke in an entirely amicable, mutually edifying way about all the things upon which we agree about the state of education and the political landscape of modern America. It was almost disconcerting how well and how comfortably we spoke. It was like two old curmudgeons sitting on a park bench railing against the bleak prospects offered by the pervasive ignorance of modernity.
After that relatively short meeting came the full-blown, one-hour interview with the six-member committee, which included, as I noted, the Division Chair, two faculty members whom I consider good friends and solid colleagues, one faculty member who does not dislike me on a professional level (but probably does, to some extent, on a personal level), a representative from Academic Advising (a lady with whom I have worked productively in the past), and a representative from Information Technology Services (a young man who seems unaware of the long-running war between older teachers and the technology-is-everything crowd in ITS).
In that interview, I answered a battery of questions with what I considered excellent, well-worded, highly informed responses. I was right on my game: I had all the right answers for the sake of political correctness, with just the right measure of independence of thought to make for a productive professor who would never rock the boat so much as to tip it over. Nods, smiles, and positive facial expressions abounded.
The last part of the day's agenda was the teaching demonstration. I used the occasion to present one of my locally famous lectures, one that involves everything from graphs of money supply, inflation, and economic growth to rubber chickens, Kool-Aid, apple pies, and the theme from the '60s television show Gilligan's Island. Students young and old just love this one. (I simply must figure out a way to make a video of this to publish here.)
At the conclusion of the teaching demonstration, the head of the division told me that a decision would be made within two weeks, and she would be personally calling each of the four candidates to convey the news about the hiring decision. Actually, the decision was going to be made the next afternoon; I knew that because I had heard that this was when the committee was going to meet. The two weeks was for the Board of Trustees, itself, to internally signal an “official” decision.
I left campus that Thursday feeling quite good. Although I had not been my best in that teaching demonstration, I had gotten pretty darned close. As I was walking through the parking lot to my car, something entirely strange, fleeting, and most subtle happened to me. It was such a brief incident, too quick to rattle me even though it should have, given how genuinely odd it was. As I thought about it later, I concluded that it had been something positive; but at the time, I misunderstood why.
I was not on campus very long the next day, Friday, but I was there long enough. No one said a word about the meeting, but it was pretty obvious to me. Indeed, the sense I had was palpable.
I had not been selected.
All my fantastic thoughts, convictions, and certainties were gone. I had finally opened my eyes.
For just a momentan awful, long momentsuch a wave of sadness overcame me: that impenetrable, inconsolable grief no longer held at bay in forethought, no longer to be set aside for another time.
Then came relief: utter, complete, life-giving relief, as if from a great and terrible illness, years in its duration, I could not help but arise.
I departed the building in which my department is located, and as I was walking through the parking lot, I understood why what had happened there in that fleeting moment at that same place just the day before was not merely a good sign, but something better than I had been given in many, many years. I wish only that I knew whom to thank for it.
Today, official confirmation came. I was given face-to-face notification. I had the vague sense of being consoled like a favorite pet whore; but that's alright. I am not. At peril are the apparachiks of the establishment, the jackboots of government, the politicians, the Right-wingers, the Leftists, the Democrats, the Republicans, the religious zealots, the science lovers, the technologists, and all the other authoritarians, imbeciles, and fools who would think otherwise.
I am set to the task of regaining my concentration now that I am once again, as always, free.
Destiny lights the way; fate then rends from darkness the future.
The Dark Wraith has so much work to do.
The Dark Wraith Lecture Series: Lecture 1
Lecture 1: "The Road Ahead for the American Economy"
Size: 28.1 Mb
American Food: The Blow-Chow Festival Continues
Just as the deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control admits little progress in the fight against food-borne illnesses, the Food and Drug Administration is announcing that at least 23 people in 14 states have contracted salmonella from several cereals sold under the Malt-O-Meal name.
That's right: cereal may now be added to the list of foods that can make you sick or kill you because of lax federal regulation, sloppy corporate manufacturing processes, free-market greed, and disdain by this Administration and its apologists for the essential role of government in providing basic protections for its citizens.
Sooner or later, perhaps Americans are going to notice that, not only does the Bush Administration's miserable incompetence let foreign terrorists kill thousands of our citizens, but that same stunningly incompetent horde of ignoramuses, neo-cons, religious zealots, and simpletons lets foreign and American corporations kill, maim, and otherwise harm a whole lot more than thousands of our citizens. Maybe once citizens figure that out, some people might want to ask their leaders why more than half-a-trillion dollars has been spent on a never-ending War on Terror when that money could have been used to prosecute a far more productive war on corporate greed, sloth, and mendacity. It's certainly a fair question; but it's not one for which Mr. Bush and his Republican corporate apologists will ever have to answer.
They're going to get away with what they've done.
The Dark Wraith recommends cooking everything to well-nuked before eating.
In Cheney's Sunglasses
Some observers are of the opinion that Mr. Cheney is looking at something naughty, but others are of different opinions, so your host here at The Dark Wraith Forums decided to do some computer enhancement of the image reflected in each lens. A different enhancement technique was applied to each reflection to provide differing perspectives. Readers should be aware that computer enhancement entails both technical skill and some degree of subjectivity, and the end result, at least in this case, is open to some interpretation. Ultimately, it is up to each observer to decide what he or she is seeing in the final renderings.
Look at the original image above, then click on each link below to see the computer-enhanced version of the reflection.
The Dark Wraith awaits opinions on what Vice President Cheney was looking at.
Special Blog Poll: Condoleezza Rice as McCain's Veep?
Whatever. It's good political gossip, and it's breathing press attention into McCain's campaign, which has recently been so unnewsworthy that even the mainstream media hasn't been able to think of any way to hype it.
So, in the interest of keeping the Arizona senator and his fresh-out-of-new-ideas candidacy from disappearing into yesterday's news cycle, readers here at The Dark Wraith Forums may voice their opinions on what a McCain/Rice 2008 ticket would mean in the general election.
Have your say in the poll; then, if you so choose, have your say in the comments.
The Dark Wraith awaits the considered opinion of the readers.