I Report, You Decide – Justice, Golfers, Wolves and The Road

7 12 2009

Driving on the interstate in the USA gives you time to ponder the real questions of life.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is a major piece of engineering but it is the driving equivalent of shopping at IKEA.

Useful if you need something specific, worthwhile if you don’t have the time to waste in searching for alternatives but boring, draining and ultimately without any real soul.

With the exception of IS-26 in North Carolina from Mars Hill to Johnson City – which is a lovely, scenic drive.

However, it is easy for the mind to wander when you are pootling through the states, miles being eaten up beneath your wheels. And that is when you can do some deep thinking whilst trying hard not to be overtaken by elderly drivers in Florida, or being undertaken by yet another Wal-Mart lorry anywhere on the highway.

Questions filter in, distracting the mind from the delicious aroma of roadkill ;

  • Where is everyone going?
  •  Where they have been?
  •  Will they ever get there if they continue to weave in and out of traffic like a drunk leaving a bar at closing time?
  •  Why do so many “drivers” actually have no idea how to drive?
  •  Would anyone really decide to get a vasectomy after spotting a roadside advert?

Of course, it also gives you the time to consider what has been going on in the world.

And for some the last week has been one that they may wish to forget.

Tiger Woods, Amanda Knox and the scientists at East Anglia University may wish that all they had been doing was sitting in a car and watching the scenery flash by.

Woods, who had been in a car at least,  proved that he was not the perfect golf robot that I thought he was by having to admit that he had “sinned” and that he would try to be a better husband and father.

The fact that he crashed in his own driveway proved to be the least embarrassing fact for the most successful golfer of all time as a succession of cocktail waitresses came forward to claim that they may have seen more than just his pitching wedge (I was going to make some comment about the 19th hole, but that would have been crude).

Amanda Knox, who had taken her Study Abroad experience to new levels by sampling not just the culture and fine wines of Italy but by apparently murdering her British roommate, was sentenced to 26 years in jail by an Italian court.

Her family were outraged and feel that the jury were prejudiced against the 22-year-old American student and that the trial was a travesty of justice.

 Prejudiced? Knox and her boyfriend were convicted of killing Meredith Kercher after a sex game went wrong and then tried to make the crime look like a bungled robbery.  Justice? What about the family of Kercher, where is the justice in having your daughter taken from you.

 I have never had the joy of experiencing the judicial system in Italy but to my mind a jury (in the western world at least) can only make  decisions based on the EVIDENCE that they have been given. It is down to the DEFENSE lawyer to prove that the PROSECUTION is flawed, and the jury will provide a judgement on the arguments presented.  I rest my case.

On the eve of the Climate Change discussions in Copenhagen, those who believe that the whole global warming debate is nothing but an attempt by Al Gore to release An Inconvenient Truth 2 : The Planet Strikes Back were cheered by the discovery that scientists at the University of East Anglia had been presenting doctored figures.

ClimateGate, yet another fabulous melding of the word gate to anything vaguely sensational, has been seized upon by the nay-sayers who feel that we have all been deceived by those who actually study the effects of human and animal activity on the environment.

As we speak the city of Norwich in the UK has been surrounded by a ring of old fridges and Glenn Beck is calling for a worldwide 10 minute mass aerosol spray into the air. The Chinese have remained very quiet and are waiting to see how their subsidiaries react before making an official comment.

However there has been some “good” news.

The long-awaited decision by President Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan was announced in front of a full house of soon to be deployed young people at West Point. The continuing war against terror will receive an extra 30,000 troops from the USA, with NATO contributing an additional 7,000 bodies  to get near the 40,000 General McChrystal believed would be needed to complete the job. Not wanting to be left out of the chance to send more young men and women to their possible death, the UK will provide an extra 500 soldiers. But at least there is apparently an “exit strategy”……which will be translated from the original Russian documents.

And the draw for the finals of the World Cup – a global football/soccer event in which teams from other nations play for the right to be part of a mass marketing exercise – took place in South Africa. A ceremony which dragged out the act of removing balls from goldfish bowls and handing them to Charlize Theron for an inexplicable three hours, whilst ensuring that David Beckham had a chance to show off his new haircut.

But it did ensure that on June 12th, 2010 the eyes of the world will be on the tie between the United States of America and England. The highlight of the draw (although Brazil vs Portugal should be good), and something that most Englishmen will be looking forward to as we attempt to forget the unfortunate tea incident in 1773 and being beaten one to nothing in Brazil in 1950.

And on a final note, I did see the film New Moon this week. Two hours plus of glowering, shirtless youths morphing  into wolves whilst a pale man attempted to distance himself from a stroppy teenager who seemed determined that she had the right to be turned into a vampire.

Maybe that should have been Amanda Knoxs’ alibi.

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