Teacher Claims to be a Racist as a Defense Against Charges of Indecency With a Child

From The Houston Chronicle:

A first-grade teacher at an Humble prep school cited her racial prejudice against black students in denying allegations that she fondled a girl in her classroom last month, according to court records.

Esther Irene Stokes, 61, of Montgomery, was charged with indecency with a child April 10, court records show.

The 7-year-old student told police that Stokes, her teacher at Northwest Preparatory Academy Charter School, sent all the students out of the classroom and touched her on her “private part” on the outside of her clothes on March 1, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

Humble police met with Stokes after she failed a polygraph examination. Stokes denied touching the girl “on any part of her body,” prosecutors said.

“The defendant stated that she doesn’t like black students because she was prejudiced,” the complaint states. She told police that “she does not like the complainant” and has “very little to no interaction” with her.

Great Job Reporting a Phantom Arrest CNN!!

I stopped watching the news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing Monday night when they cut to the talking heads. I read some of the coverage on Boston.com today and the only 2 facts that seemed to have appeared since Monday is the number of injured and that the bomb was inside a pressure cooker. How the news networks have stretched this story out by pouncing on every piece of rumor is just sickening.

Homophobic Lawmaker’s Attempt To Make Sodomy And Oral Sex Illegal Fails Miserably

From AddictingInfo:

As we all know, the Supreme Court case Lawrence Vs. Texas overturned the nation’s sodomy laws. However, there seems to be one person who wishes to revive the fight. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli petitioned the full United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Court, seeking to reinstate Virginia’s “Crimes against Nature” law, which would effectively criminalize all oral and anal sex. In other words, this is clearly aimed at gay sex. He got nowhere with his request, though, as there was a unanimous response to the petition by the Fourth Court, which issued an order rejecting the petition. Perhaps the most notable part of the entire affair is that no judge on the panel wished to poll for the petition.

Charles Stross: Ignore the News

Boy, is he ever right about this. I turn the news off after they start bringing in “experts.”

Just a brief reminder that news is bad for you. No, seriously: publicly available news media in the 21st century exist solely to get eyeballs on advertisements. That is its only real purpose. The real news consists of dull but informative reports circulated by consultancies giving in-depth insight into what’s going on. The sort of stuff you find digested in the inside pages of The Economist. All else is comics. As there’s an arms race going on between advertising sales departments, the major news outlets are constantly trying to make their product more addictive. And like most other addictive substance, news is a depressant, one fine-tuned to make you keep coming back for more.

When a particular incident like today’s bombing of the Boston marathon kicks off a news cycle, a common pattern asserts itself. First, there’s photographic evidence and rumour. Then there’s some initial information—immediate numbers of dead and injured, scary photographs. But the amount of new information coming out tapers off rapidly after the first hour or two, and gives way to rumour and speculation. There probably won’t be any meaningful updates for a couple of days: but the TV channels and newpapers have to fill the dead air somehow, to keep the eyeballs they’ve attracted on the advertisements, so they cobble together anything they can grab—usually talking heads speculating without benefit of actual information. Such speculation in turn increases anxiety levels and causes depression, bringing the onlookers back for more.

The Saudi Marathon Man

From The New Yorker:

A twenty-year-old man who had been watching the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of a bomb. He wasn’t alone; a hundred and seventy-six people were injured and three were killed. But he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in “a startling show of force,” as his fellow-tenants described it to the Boston Herald, with a “phalanx” of officers and agents and two K9 units. He was the one whose belongings were carried out in paper bags as his neighbors watched; whose roommate, also a student, was questioned for five hours (“I was scared”) before coming out to say that he didn’t think his friend was someone who’d plant a bomb—that he was a nice guy who liked sports. “Let me go to school, dude,” the roommate said later in the day, covering his face with his hands and almost crying, as a Fox News producer followed him and asked him, again and again, if he was sure he hadn’t been living with a killer.

Why the search, the interrogation, the dogs, the bomb squad, and the injured man’s name tweeted out, attached to the word “suspect”? After the bombs went off, people were running in every direction—so was the young man. Many, like him, were hurt badly; many of them were saved by the unflinching kindness of strangers, who carried them or stopped the bleeding with their own hands and improvised tourniquets. “Exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood,” President Obama said. “They helped one another, consoled one another,” Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, said. In the midst of that, according to a CBS News report, a bystander saw the young man running, badly hurt, rushed to him, and then “tackled” him, bringing him down. People thought he looked suspicious.

What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone. The police reportedly thought he smelled like explosives; his wounds might have suggested why. He said something about thinking there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders. If that was the reason he gave for running, it was a sensible one. He asked if anyone was dead—a question people were screaming. And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?