June 26-July 3, firstname.lastname@example.orgMercenaries find silver lining in radical Islam
Blackwater, the privately owned company of mercenaries, is in the news again. Last year it made headlines after Blackwater personnel were found to have committed “unjustified” killings of Iraqis in a firefight that left 14 dead. The company’s license to operate in Iraq was revoked after that incident.
Now Blackwater is hoping to use Shari’a — the Islamic code of justice — to wriggle out of a lawsuit filed by the widows of three American soldiers who died on one of its planes.
Arguing that the crash of Blackwater Flight 61 occurred in Afghanistan and is therefore subject to Afghan justice, and not U.S. laws, attorneys for Blackwater have asked a federal court to adjudicate the case according to Shari’a. If the court agrees, the case will most certainly be dismissed, as companies are not held liable under Shari’a for the actions of their employees.
“Wait!” you say. “Isn’t Shari’a the same rather primitive legal code that calls for thieves to have their hands amputated, liars to have their tongues cut out, and adulterers be stoned to death in public?”
Why, yes, it is. How culturally astute of you!
Sadly, this isn’t a joke. An American company really is trying to use a code of laws that punishes “fornicators” with flogging or death in order to escape any potential liability in the deaths of three American soldiers.
We’ll bet the fatty parts of three sacrificial goats that Blackwater wasn’t making the same argument last year when a judge found that
Blackwater employees had killed 14 innocent Iraqi civilians. Odds are they weren’t saying a thing about Shari’a back then. Nope.
What’s the penalty for murder under Shari’a?
We’ll give you one guess.The real jailbirds
Despite sophisticated equipment used to search visitors at a prison in Marilia, Brazil, the jail has seen a sharp increase in drugs and cell phones among prisoners — something that puzzled officials, who questioned how inmates could be acquiring the illicit contraband. That is, until they spotted distressed pigeons fighting to remain in the air.
It turns out that prisoners, motivated by the lure of getting high and texting their BFFs, came up with a low-tech but effective scheme to bypass prison security. Inside the prison, inmates bred and trained carrier pigeons to smuggle phones and drugs on their little bird bodies via cell-phone sized pouches strapped to their backs.
Upon hearing of the plight of these pigeons, born into the life of a smuggler, we at Boulder Weekly wondered how the birds are feeling now that they are free. We spoke with one such pigeon earlier this week. The pigeon, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the worst part (aside from being enslaved by a faction of convicts, of course), was carrying the weight of the world’s communication on his back.
“Those damn cell phones were heavy!” the pigeon exclaimed. “I mean, you might not think so, but relative to my body, it’s like having a giant ball chained to your talons — and being expected to fly.”
In fact, after a thorough check up by one of Brazil’s best veterinarians, it’s been found that many of the birds, including the one we spoke with, suffer from chronic health issues, including severe flank pain and unusual molting.
But a lack of government-funded animal insurance has left many of these pigeons without access to proper medications. The result? Many of the former smugglers we spoke with have resorted to relieving their pain the only way they know how — a little trip to the prison’s drug lord. Grandpa’s rotting in his bed
When it comes time to put your spouse or one of your parents in a nursing home, take time to read the small print. According to the Associated Press, a Senate committee investigating nursing home abuses found that these warehouses for the elderly are increasingly adding provisions to their contracts that prevent people from suing them if they abuse and neglect their patients, forcing outraged families to submit to arbitration instead. Although we appreciate efforts to prevent frivolous lawsuits, nursing homes should be held accountable when Grandpa dies because his maggot-infested bedsores got infected from long-term exposure to his own feces.
Clearly, it’s more cost effective for nursing homes to hire unskilled labor and let our revered elders — wait, do we revere our elders in this culture? — linger unattended and untreated in their beds. But a society ought to be judged not by how well its richest and most privileged get along, but by the way it treats its weakest, most vulnerable members. Any nursing home that can’t provide quality care for its patients ought to find its doors closed and its corporate pockets empty.
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