If business hasn’t already ground to a halt due to this free-falling economic crisis, it surely is slowing rapidly in the waning weeks of 2008 and the imminent onslaught of the holiday season.? But just because none of us can afford to travel, buy gifts for our loved ones, or even ship the re-gifts we’ve scrounged from the back of the closet, it seems as though the world at large has been nipping the egg nog a little more often than usual.? Scapegoating and a crashed fighter jet, a prison sentence that some are calling long overdue, corruption (rather: more corruption) in the state of Illinois, heinos terrorism in Mumbai, while through it all our lame duck president has become lamer and our beacon of change is stagnant. WTF.
Here in California two recent stories have found a near-permanent loop on the lower-third ticker tape.? The first is that of the fate of Los Angeles Schools Supt. David Brewer agreeing to have his contract bought out by the state, effectively removing him from his position.? LA County schools have most certainly had their share of hardships — steadily increasing class sizes, a gross lack of funding, and declining test scores over the past ten years — but LA County schools have also begun to turn around in more recent years.? However, Supt. David Brewer’s lack of such intangibles as being able to deal with the media, the beauracracy, or instill hope for the schools in the public has placed him in a position to be removed from his post.? This quote from the Los Angeles Times explains that Brewer does not want to turn this into a racially driven argument:
“As an African American, I’ve experienced my share of discrimination,” he told reporters, school board members and district employees Monday. “I know what it looks like, smells like, and the consequences.”
“Although this debate is disconcerting and troubling, it must not become an ethnic issue. When adults fight, it can manifest itself in our children,” said Brewer, the district’s second African American superintendent. “This must not become an ethnic or racial battle that infests our schools, our campuses, our playgrounds. This is not about settling an old score; this must be about what is best for every LAUSD student.”
However, many civil rights activists are crying foul, saying Brewer is being used as a scapegoat, that a decade’s worth of problems can not be expected to be solved overnight, that one’s race can not be overlooked.? I suppose it really is one step forward, two steps back.
A more tragic story occured Monday when a disabled F/A-18D fighter jet crashed and exploded in a residential area in San Diego.? After losing power to one engine and then losing power completely, the pilot ejected safely from the spiraling plane.? Upon impact with the ground, the jet ignited into a massive fireball, destroying two homes and killing a grandmother, mother, and young child.? Another child is still missing.? The Marine Corps. has yet to comment on further details of the malfunction.
OJ Simpson became plastered on the news once again, thirteen years to the day since his heavily-debated acquittal.? This time, Simpson was tried and found guilty on 12 charges, conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery, assault and kidnapping with a deadly weapon stemming from a September 13, 2007, incident at Las Vegas’ Palace Station hotel and casino garnering him a sentence of up to 33 years in prison and the possibility of parole after 9.? Although the Honorable Judge Jackie Glass stated that the circus of thirteen years ago played no part in either her or the jury’s conviction, it’s hard to imagine something as ingrained in the public consciousness could not play some part.? Simpson’s apology was heartfelt and laden with emotion, but it was brushed aside by Judge Glass who simply stated the sentence without much regard for the emotion.? Of course, protestors and denouncers alike gathered outside the Nevada courthouse, and for some Simpson got what had been thirteen years coming, for others, well, he’s still just a victim.? However, it turns out that the evidence did fit this time around.
The appalling acts of terrorism seen in Mumbai from November 26th to the 29th are still being sorted out.? Although many signs are pointing to Pakistan as the terrorists’ country of origin, the evidence remains far less than concrete.? This trajedy continues to unfold its gloom, an attack killing at least 188 people and injuring at least another 290.
And most recently in the wave of WTF inducing events is the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich of the state of Illinois.? This morning, at around 6:30 AM Blagojevich was taken into FBI custody after wire taps in his home and campaign office led to enough evidence for corruption charges.? Most horrific of the alleged corruption charges involves the selling of the Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Barack Obama.? Illinois has long been said to be the most corrupt state in the U.S., and it’s stories like this that continue to solidify its position as such.? Perhaps the look and feel of Chicago came in second when Christopher Nolan, director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, chose to use the city as the location of the notoriously corrupt (and fictional) city of Gotham.? Perhaps it was the very real political seediness that made the decision a no-brainer.
And all the while the economy continues to be volatile, bail-outs are being proposed and given and denied, even the Screen Actors Guild is on the verge of strike in Hollywood.? Is there any good news?? Well, at least the rapper Common feels that Barack Obama will help to change the face of hip-hop — a face showing a more positive outlook with more hopeful themes.? That’s good news, right?? How about the gas prices?? They’re approaching a five-year low!? Good news?? Good news is hard to find when so much of the 24 hour news cycle is dominated by WTF inducing stories.? My suggestion: turn it off for a while, enjoy the holidays, enjoy your family, friends, fellow humans.? Make your own good news, because the world at large sure isn’t going to without all of us pitching in.? Happy holidays, all.