aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The GOP on YouTube: “A greasy-haired bunch”
So the sissy Republicans who tried to avoid their YouTube debate are finally facing The People.
Anderson Cooper acknowledges the concerns about the kinds of questions asked last time but only manages to insult the entire field of questioners by featuring the stupid moments. Thanks, Andy. Next we have a song about the candidates that is an utter waste of time. We have more than 10 minutes of preambles, taking up the chance to add two questions. And I’ll waste a line of pixels noting that none of these guys believes in blow-dried hair. It’s a greasy-haired bunch.
We have the same formatting problem from the last debate: the videos are a small screen on a screen. And worse, they’re sometimes out of sync. And dark and unwatchable.
We start with a tribute to Lou Dobbs: immigration.
Finally, question No. 1: A New Yorker asks Rudy Giuliani about New York being a sanctuary city. Rudy says that New York was not a sanctuary city but on my TV, CNN’s transmission glitches and we missed a few crucial words from his answer. Rudy defends himself; Mitt Romney goes after him; Rudy attacks back, saying that Mitt had illegal immigrants working in his mansion. Mitt calls foreigners “people with funny accents.” Fred Thompson jumps into what is looking like a schoolyard squabble.[...]
Finally, we get off immigration but land on someone pushing Ron Pual on conspiracy theorists and the Trilateral Commission. Jee-sus. This is our national election? These are what CNN thinks are what we think are the most important topics in this election? What a cartoon.
Activist judges or willfull prosecutors?
This quote from the AJC’s story on Josh Widner’s plea deal merits emphasis:
Constitutional law expert Robert Shapiro said Floyd’s decision to clear the way for Widner’s release was highly unusual. It showed the discretion prosecutors have in finding a fair result.
“The fairness in the system may depend on prosecutors following the principle of fairness,” said Shapiro, a professor at Emory University law school.
Conservatives have been incredibly successful at promoting the construct of “activist judges.” Worse, they have successfully codified it into onerous limits on judicial discretion to right obvious wrongs. Liberals should not just fight back this challenge, they should take on willful prosecutors. We need a justice system that includes real safeguards against willful and/or discriminatory prosecutionS.
The indisputable fact is that the vast majority of all cases prosecuted never get to court. They are, instead, settled in negotiated plea bargains. And the decision of how, what and whether to prosecute is decided entirely through Prosecutorial Discretion:
Courts recognize a prosecutor’s broad discretion to initiate and conduct criminal prosecutions, in part out of regard for the separation of powers doctrine and in part because “the decision to prosecute is particularly ill-suited to judicial review.” In the absence of contrary evidence, courts presume that criminal prosecutions are undertaken in good faith and in a nondiscriminatory manner. So long as a prosecutor has probable cause to believe that the accused has committed an offense, the decision to prosecute rests within her discretion. A prosecutor has broad authority to decide whether to investigate, grant immunity, or permit a plea bargain, and to determine whether to bring charges, what charges to bring, when to bring charges, and where to bring charges. [...]
There are other limits to a prosecutor’s discretion, and the judiciary has a responsibility to protect individuals from prosecutorial conduct that violates constitutional rights. Such conduct usually involves either selective prosecution, which denies equal protection of the law, or vindictive prosecution, which violates due process.
Emphasis mine. It’s time that liberals right the wrong of willful and discriminatory prosecutors and do it in a manner similar to - and with as much vehemence as - the way big ‘C’ Conservatives have taken on activist judges.
Richard Moran, a professor of sociology and criminology at Mount Holyoke College, has documented that there is malicious prosecution:
My recently completed study of the 124 exonerations of death row inmates in America from 1973 to 2007 indicated that 80, or about two-thirds, of their so-called wrongful convictions resulted not from good-faith mistakes or errors but from intentional, willful, malicious prosecutions by criminal justice personnel.
It’s time we on the Left do something about it!
Hacking my life
Speaking of the web as mind, my own is too often filled with cob webs and clutter and would benefit from some optimization. At 53, I’ve developed my tech habits over decades and they’re rusty. It’s time to change but there’s so much to change to that it’s hard to keep up.
Oh to be young again!
To wit, I’ve been tweaking my inputs and workflows over the last few months. I have successfully adopted the InBox Zero methodology of email processing and it’s changed my life. I’m a free man; I feel the love!
I started by watching this presentation Merlin Mann did at Google:
I’ve also set up an I Want Sandy account, but have yet to get my Jott accont synched with it and all of the speed dials and email shortcuts set to effectively use it. And, finally, I’ve set up one GrandCentral phone number so far. (If you need an invite drop me a line; I’ve got a few left.)
The way I’m using it is to give friends a single number that will ring my cell, Doug’s cell and our home. It might be handy to get a second for work to allow the Dean and other VIPs to have single number access to me wherever I am but I’ve yet to set that up. And I’m not sure those folks want yet another number for me, even if it is a master number that can reach me anywhere.
The key to adoption for me in all of this is to enlist students and friends to use these services. Then they can show me how to better use them myself!
The Web as human mind
The future of the Web is coming fast and furious:
Though the favorite metaphor to describe the Web has long been a highway, or for some, a “series of tubes,” the man credited with inventing it all thinks of the Web more like the human mind.
“Lots of people are doing research around the Web...and there are interesting results, but a lack of a core curriculum in the universities,” Tim Berners-Lee told a gathering of scientists at HP Labs and other Silicon Valley executives here. “I’ve been told the Web has 10 to the 10 to the 11 (number of) Web sites. The brain we study as a complex system.” So why not the Web? [ERAD ON]
Josh Widner accepts life sentence for release
I promise you, I’m not second guessing the young man. What choice did he have?
Like Genarlow Wilson, Joshua Widner received a mandatory 10-year sentence for nonforcible sexual activity with a fellow teenager.
Like Wilson, Widner argued through his lawyer at the Supreme Court of Georgia that his sentence was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual.
Widner last year lost in a unanimous decision from the high court, while Wilson last month prevailed in a 4-3 ruling. One key difference between the cases, the court’s majority said, was that Widner was about 4 1/2 years older than the 14-year-old girl involved in his case, while Wilson was about two years older than the 15-year-old girl in his case.
But on Monday, a Henry County, Ga., judge signed off on a plea deal that will allow Widner out of prison within days, less than five years into his sentence. [...]
Widner still will need to register as a sex offender, McGarity explained to him. That was a primary complaint by Wilson’s supporters about his sentence.
Asked about the sex offender registry, Widner’s lawyers said they didn’t think they should look a gift horse in the mouth.
Unfortunately, that’s a gift horse that promises to keep on giving. While Georgia’s draconian sex offender residency restrictions have been struck down by the GA Supreme Court, Maggie at Of Counsel suspects they’ll be back soon:
...Law enforcement had decided that it didn’t matter that the law was unconstitutional and they were going to enforce it anyway. The Attorney General has thankfully clarified the issue, telling police that unconstitutional does in fact mean unconstitutional, no matter the person’s circumstances. However, it’s not the end. In this article, a Republican congressman from Sandy Springs says the legislature will re-draft. Based on my reading, it seems all they’ll have to do is allow grandfathering of sorts, that offenders can stay where they are if something new shows up after a certain date. I’m betting that’s the route they’ll take, though it completely ignores the bigger issue.
I recently attended a JUSTGeorgia Town Hall meeting. The group aims to rewrite the juvenile justice code in Georgia. They are conducting a survey right now which can be found here. If you care, as I do, about the serious injustices we are perpetrating on our youth through an inadequate and outdated legal system, take a moment to complete the survey.
In the meantime, good luck Josh. We’re pulling for you.