Look away

Kidney broker Haley Barbour of Mississippi

Kidney broker Haley Barbour of Mississippi

Republican Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour has suspended the life sentences of sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott, convicted of armed robbery in 1994 and eligible for parole in 2014. According to Reuters, a condition of 36-year-old Gladys Scott’s release is that she donate a kidney to her 38-year-old sister, who requires daily dialysis.

The sisters’ attorney, Chokwe Lumumba (love that name!), has said that Gladys Scott is giving up her kidney voluntarily, but hold the phone. Aren’t Mssrs. Barbour and Lumumba guilty of trafficking in human organs? Or does bartering not count as trafficking?

Moreover, Barbour, who is rumoured to be a 2012 presidential hopeful, has characterized Jamie Scott’s medical treatment as creating “a substantial cost to the state.”

His point being?

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To review … A white Republican governor has brokered a deal whereby two black women convicted of stealing eleven dollars sixteen years ago will be released from prison if one of them gives a kidney to the other. In Mississippi.

To speculate … The governor’s consiglieri have advised him that improving the Mississippi penal system’s bottom line in this way will improve his chances of becoming President of the United States. Doesn’t that follow? Do presidential hopefuls ever make a public move that isn’t calculated to enhance their electability?