America just celebrated the season of giving with Hanukkah and Christmas presents, year-end charity donations and soup kitchen volunteering. It is a time when Americans demonstrate the generosity, caring and kindness that define them as a people. Now, however, Americans may suffer the season of GOP taking.
Mayra Arce even resembles Esperanza, the protagonist in The House on Mango Street, one of the 80-plus books that were part of the Tucson Unified School District's K-12 Mexican-American studies curriculum before the program was dismantled under Arizona House Bill 2281. But Maya isn't the main character of a book. She's the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against Arizona.
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This week provided some notable examples of Crime and Punishment in modern America. First, football star Ray Rice received a two-game suspension for knocking unconscious his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator. His coach promptly proclaimed Rice "a heck of a guy." Earlier in the week, Lane Johnson, another NFL player, was suspended four games for taking a performance enhancing drug -- a transgression apparently twice as bad, in the NFL's eyes, as beating up your soon-to-be-wife. In Arizona, the execution of murderer Joseph Wood went seriously awry, leaving him gasping for air for close to two hours before dying. Despite this grotesque death, Gov. Jan Brewer declared that Wood "did not suffer," but didn't explain how she could possibly know this. And, finally, there was a very different kind of punishment served up for our entertainment as the trailer for Fifty Shades of Gray was released, attracting nearly 7 million views in just 24 hours. Somewhere, the Marquis de Sade is smiling.