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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Dr. Steger, Do the Right Thing.

Okay. Enough is enough. People who advocate gun bans and other restrictions on honest citizens must be held accountable. Yesterday's murder of 32 students at Virginia Tech University is a tangible result of all the talking and talking and talking our country has engaged in over gun violence.

In 2005, The Board of Visitors at Virginia Tech decided to disarm its student body. At that time the President of Virginia Tech, Dr. Charles W. Steger, did not resign.

Honest people can disagree. At that time, many argued that properly licensed students should be permitted to carry weapons. Those who argued against the possibility of self-defence prevailed.

But now the results are here. The people who prevailed in 2005 were completely and utterly wrong.

Consequences?

We are not naive enough to believe that the local district attorney will be filing criminal negligence or manslaughter charges against those who disarmed these students and denied them the right to protect their lives. But, we are encouraged by the example of Budd Dwyer and would urge Dr. Steger to follow his example. Then we will believe that he is “indeed horrified” at the deaths of 32 students under his charge.

It is simple logic. Once you deprive an individual of his right to defend himself, you assume the responsibility for their safety. If you fail at that responsibility, there must be a consequence. Now, if the law will not do the right thing, then the responsible party must do the right thing and accept the consequence of his colossal failure in the execution of his duties. Very simple. Mr. Dwyer only disgraced his family and those who placed their trust in him with their money -- he chose to shoot himself. Dr. Steger has failed young, bright, tuition-paying people at the cost of their lives.

in loco paternis

Sending out an email hours after the initial double murder -- no gun found at the scene, shooter still at large -- constitutes gross negligence, which becomes criminal negligence when the result is 32 dead students. A single gunman with two pistols on a defenseless campus is a scenario that should have been prepared for by even the most sunnily optimistic of administrators. Evidently, the possibility escaped Dr. Steger.

The weapon above is a .44 magnum. It was Mr. Dwyer's choice and we think Dr. Steger should call his own press conference and show the country how truly sorry he is for his failings.

Yesterday Dr. Steger was unwilling or unable to say the one thing that had to be said: that whatever decisions he and his factotums made they failed in their principal mission to protect the students of Virginia Tech. Now it is time for Dr. Steger to do the right thing.




Sunday, April 15, 2007


Privilege

Terry Moran

THE OTHERS. Terry Moran of ABC News says, " Don't Feel Too Sorry for the Dukies." I also heard right-wing Philadelphia Talk Radio (WPHT) host Dom Giordano disagree with Moran this afternoon, but only slightly. Giordano thought Moran was too harsh but he seemed to agree that 395 days of facing 25 years in prison was more or less appropriate if you'd ever attended a wild undergraduate party. Right. What percentage of college kids today hasn't attended a wild party in the last year (or the last month)?

Screw Moran. Screw Giordano. Look at Moran (above). Now look at Giordano:



Let's face it. Same guy. You know what I mean? Enough said.

Here's what I'm tired of, from both the left and the right. Because you're a successful jock at Duke, you're PRIVILEGED. This means you're automatically guilty of something, especially if your parents can pay full boat tuition,  because there are Others who can't.

I have a question. Why do we ask our children to excel in school, to get A's, to score well on their SATs, to earn Varsity letters and participate in all the extracurriculuar activities it takes to be admitted to Duke or UNC or UVa or the Ivy league when all we're going to do when they get there is call them PRIVILEGED and penalize them to the max if they ever come into conflict with the BETTER people who go to crummy colleges or drop out of school altogether or wind up in prison or get arrested for some offense we insist the system overlook unless they've worked their ass off to get a chance at achieving something truly worthwhile?

Terry Moran and Dom Giordano wouldn't be pleased as punch if their kids got into Duke? Bet they would. Neither Terry nor Dom went to elite schools. Hmmm.

Aaaahhh. Couldn't be we're looking at garden variety jealousy, could it?

Yes, it could.

For the rest of you, I'll repeat the main question: Why do we ask our children to excel in school, to get A's, to score well on their SATs, to earn Varsity letters and participate in all the extracurriculuar activities it takes to be admitted to Duke or UNC or UVa or the Ivy league when all we're going to do when they get there is call them PRIVILEGED and penalize them to the max if they ever come into conflict with the BETTER people who drop out of school or wind up in prison? And why do the people who care so much about our kids always insist on a second chance UNLESS the kids in question managed to study, work, and achieve enough to get admitted to an elite university -- which somehow makes them overprivileged parasites.

Looking forward to your answer(s).




Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Imus Thing

Our Pride and Joy

NEW YORK. Everybody's got this all wrong. It's not about race. It's about New Jersey. And I'm fed up.

New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and even tiny Delaware's parochial DuPont chattels all make sport of this state precisely because New Jersey is the only part of the northeastern U.S. that doesn't make overweening egotistical claims about itself. Philly is one of the worst run cities in the country, permanently cursed with an inferiority complex caused by its proximity to New York, and therefore consoles itself with the fact that it's just across the river from Camden, a much much smaller and poorer city which nevertheless produced a greater poet -- Walt Whitman -- than any in the whole history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. New York is even worse. Having used the northeastern corner of New Jersey as the perennial dumpsite for New York City's trash, New Yorkers look across the water at the one small stretch they have ruined and regard the whole state as an inferior and disgusting indentured servant.

Never mind that the smartest of Manhattan's workforce live quite happily in New Jersey, or that the vaunted football Giants play all their home games in New Jersey. New Yorkers to a man (and woman) insist on identifying the stinking five-mile segment of the NJ Turnpike closest to their prideful metropolis as little more than their own private latrine. And if you're looking for a flashpoint, look no further than the 2006 Rutgers football team, which finished the season ranked higher than any New York college football team in the last 50 years. How humiliating.

That's why Imus forgot his manners. Rutgers. New Jersey. The Turnpike State. Yuck. First, Rutgers football. Now, Rutgers women's basketball.  Better than NYU, Hofstra, Columbia, Syracuse, Cornell, Rochester, blah blah blah. New Jersey. They must smell bad. They must be inferior, and ugly, and laughable. He would never have said anything as incredibly nasty about the CUNY women's basketball team. His universally shared geographic prejudice was so huge that it blinded him to the fact that he chose words which made his Manhattan bias sound racist.

And this is my only objection to the response made by the Rutgers basketball players. Of course they were insulted. Of course they should be offended. Their appearance on television demonstrates beyond doubt that they are attractive, smart, and poised -- more than I'd expect from the Lady Volunteers of Tennessee, to be brutally candid -- and they are entitled if they choose to confront Imus and demand an apology. But what they should be calling him on is not his racism, but his automatic contempt of the place they were born. That creepy old bastard didn't just smear black women who go to Rutgers; he smeared everyone in the state of New Jersey. How dare he trash our young people, our students, our beautiful daughters, our hard-working champions?

What they should say is not "Screw you, you nasty old rich white man," but "Screw you, you parochial Manhattan bastard. And screw all the New Yorkers who think it's okay to insult anyone as long as they're from New Jersey."

Here's the deal. New Jersey is the greatest state in the union. For so many reasons that it's impossible to list them all. Okay, I'll list a few, but there are many many more. New Jersey is:

The most topographically diverse of all 50 states, ranging from mountains to salt marshes and everything in between, including the best farmland in the world for growing vegetables, a beautiful and lightly populated bay shore that flows from one of the mightiest and most beautiful rivers in the country, one of the largest wilderness areas in the U.S. (the Pine Barrens), and horse country -- and horses, by gar -- on a par with anything you'll find in Kentucky.

An architectural treasure and time capsule containing houses dating back to the 1600s and some of the best surviving specimens of colonial patterned brick houses, Victorian gingerbread, and Industrial Revolution commercial buildings.

The only state in the union that honored all its treaties with the Indians.

The site of the colonial town (Greenwich) Rockefeller tried to buy before he settled for Williamsburg, Virginia.

The site of the turning point in the American Revolution, the Battle of Trenton, and the only history changing duel in American History, the gunfight between Burr and Hamilton.

The home of a cattle brand older than any in the whole state of Texas.

Home of a greater university than any in New York or Pennsylvania -- Princeton -- and the only state university in the country -- Rutgers -- asked to join the Ivy League conference at its inception because of the school's history and academic excellence. (Not to mention the fact that the first college football game ever played was between, you guessed it, Princeton and Rutgers.)

The birthplace of country music and, indeed, much of the recording industry. Jimmie Rodgers and numerous other artists cut their first albums at Victor Records in Camden.

The birthplace and/or home of numerous historical figures, writers, comedians, musicians, and actors, including Aaron Burr, Grover Cleveland, Molly Pitcher, Betsy Ross, Norman Schwartzkopf, Buzz Aldrin, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth, William Carlos Williams, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Bill Evans, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Ed Harris, Jerry Lewis, Ernie Kovacs, Eva Marie Saint, Meryl Streep, Ray Liotta, John Travolta, Bill Murray, Michael Douglas, Kevin Spacey, Kirsten Dunst, James Gandolfini, Joe Pesci, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O'Neill, Derek Jeter, and Martha Stewart.

The only state in the union which eschews jingoism for humility. New Jersey people root for the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers and the New York Giants, Jets, Yankees, and Mets, and they represent in many cases the majority constituencies for these teams and don't even demand acknowledgment of their cross-state support from people who uniformly laugh at the mention of their state's name. They're the same way when they travel; people who have never been to New Jersey at all laugh immediately and scornfully pronounce the clicheed "New Joisey" trope that makes rubes from Nebraska to Alaska feel more sophisticated than they have any right to. New Jerseyans laugh right along with them, soak up what they have to offer, and ultimately move back to the greatest state in the union, where there are thunderstorms but not tornadoes, droughts but not uncontrollable wildfires, tremors but not earthquakes, rainstorms but not hurricanes, overflowing streams and rivers but not floods, and snowstorms but not blizzards.

Born to run. All of us. Boats, cars, bikes, and everything else. It's called balls. You New Yorkers could look it up.

We love you, ladies of Rutgers. But please stand up for all of us. Against the real insult. Which has gotten really really old.




Wednesday, April 11, 2007


InstapunkDiplomaci

Pelosi Diplomaci


Pelosi and the Dance of the Seven Veils

REASON. So now Pelosi's going to Iran, maybe. We can see it, we really can. She'll do a Sheherezade kind of thing with President Ahdumjihad, distract him from building nuclear weapons by entrancing him with her magnetic, um, personality and fantastical stories that keep him guessing until yet another deadline has passed. She must have a thousand of them, and each one more frankly incredible than the last. Here's just a small sampling of what she has to draw on.

Ali 'Bama and the Forty-Nine Thieves. About a young man who uses the magic words "Open Sesame" to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions and thus prevails over a posse of corrupt, thieving Republicans who want to destroy everything of value in the world.

The Adventures of Clinbad the Satyr. A magnificent seven-part epic that begins with the youth of the hero in the kingdom of Ar'kan-Sa and follows him through a series of the most daring amorous exploits ever told, as well as deadly encounters with such monsters as the Wicked Witch of the West and the evil djinnh Sta'ahr, until he arrives safely in the harbor of hundred-thousand-dollar speaking fees, multi-million dollar book contracts, and as many harem girls as there are grains of sand in Arabia.

Al-Axxa and the Wonderful Lantos. The haunting tale of a misunderstood imam who travels to exotic Caliphornia, where he becomes rich, famous, and wise enough to make peace between the imperialistic people of his birth and the extraordinarily reasonable and sensible people who have vowed to exterminate his ancestors to the last man, woman, and child.

Ja'kerri and the Star of Silver. A fable of courage, injustice, and ultimate redemption chronicling the story of a great warrior who shot a man once on a battlefield and, after receiving great honor for it, realized that every other warrior on his side was a murderous torturing barbarian. But then he makes it up with a handful of the murderous barbarians he served with personally, only to be reviled and slandered by hundreds of thousands of the murderous barbarians he didn't make up with, until he lost the election and had to go home to the largest treasure house ever acquired by marriage.

Harrun Al-Rich-Reid and the Game of Shells. An amusing episode in the life of the infinitely clever wizard who outwitted absolutely everybody by making a huge profit selling land to himself through corporations made of seashells and innumerable layers of indecipherable marks on paper. Sheer magic.

Al-Addled and the Dangling Chad. A comic tale of a perpetual youth who discovers, on the verge of losing everything, that he might be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by counting things that aren't there until everybody is too tired to object. Except that it doesn't work out. Because of the evil djinnh. Bummer.
 
The Fishwife and the Empire State. A fascinating bit of folklore about how a drab, humorless. piano-legged fishwife somehow managed to convince the subjects of a vast imperial kingdom to choose her as emperor and let her use them for her own selfish purposes, exactly as long as she wanted to and no longer, without incurring even a moment of wrath or outrage.

Ali Murtha and the Counterfeit Sheiks. A cautionary episode in the life of a great, fat, old warrior who was almost prevented from saving the world because he once thought about accepting a bribe that was not really a bribe from sheiks who were not really sheiks, which made the whole thing moot, although the evil djinnh tried to make too much of a big deal out of it later, when there were real sheiks on the scene who weren't even offering bribes but just wanted to kill everybody and could only be appeased by a total, unconditional surrender, which  nobody but a fat, old, corrupt ex-warrior could possibly know how to deliver. The surprise ending on this one is a killer.

The Poisonous Shrub and the Beautiful Gardener. A lyrically told confrontation between good and evil. The shrub is really really bad and inarticulate and stupid and conniving and low-class besides being poisonous and devilishly cunning, which is why the beautiful gardner has to thrust her proud breasts right out there and go to the near east to negotiate her own private foreign policy with the people who have amassed the largest available supply of herbicide. Sometimes, to save the garden, you have to kill the plants. And the seeds. And the pollen too.
 
The Caliph's Brother and the Underwater Chariot. An ancient myth that almost nobody remembers anymore, about the deeply caring brother of a deeply caring caliph and another deeply caring caliph. Both of the deeply caring caliphs got shot to death in acts of insidious treachery. Then the brother is tragically slandered, and libeled, and mocked, simply because he leaves a worthless ill-bred woman of easy virtue to die at the bottom of a river after a chariot accident that could have happened to anyone. Ahdumjihad will be crying his eyes out when he hears this one.

The Adventures of Sheehan the Shrieker. Once upon a time, a woman lost her son in a war. Then she immediately set about committing treason against the nation her son fought for by courting and praising every single mortal enemy she could find of her son's country. Something about the mystery of woman in this one. The Iranians will no doubt understand it better than we do. Especially the way Nancy tells it.

Jeff-ar-Sin and the Magic Freezer. A long long time ago, in a kingdom far far away, there was a magical box that could turn everything you put into it into ice. Including paper currency. What happens, though, when the evil djinnh shows up and reveals the secret? Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. But maybe there's still a trick ending waiting.  That's the hook.

Al-Addled and the Warmed-Up Globe. This one's a total fantasy. Just for fun. We're sure the Persians will be immensely amused.

Obviously, this is a diplomatic strategy that will require some patience. We urge everyone to give Ms. Pelosi more time to execute it than the Democrats usually have. And we also urge the Speaker to invest heavily in the secret techniques the original Sheherezade employed in her own dealings with the potentates of the near east. She may need more than these kinds of plotlines to save the day.





Coward

Nancy Grace

COUNSELOR
. Who else besides me made a point of tuning in to the Nancy Grace show on CourtTV today to see if she'd have the guts to show up and report the dropping of charges against the Duke lacrosse students? (Uh, click on the link and read the entire article. Then throw up in the nearest trashcan and finish this post.)

She didn't, of course. Despicable, libelous, dishonest, biased, and vicious. She should be run off CourtTV and made a permanent figure of contempt and derision.

And where is this pitiful excuse for an officer of the court?


Wendy Murphy, Psychopath, Esq.

These media prosecutors are not peripheral to the case. They are the reason Mike Nifong needs to be not only disbarred, but put in prison. There is in this country a malevolent perversion of the legal process. Prosecutors have as their mission justice, not convictions. Yet the media lionization of lawyers which has occurred since the O.J. Simpson trial has revealed the existence of a monotonously Stalinist stratum of jurists known as "former federal prosecutors," including Nancy Grace, Wendy Murphy, Cynthia Alksne, and God only knows how many others who never saw a defendant who wasn't automatically guilty unless his name was William Jefferson Clinton.

Prosecutorial misconduct is not an aberration in this country. It is a culture -- practiced by people without conscience, without respect for the spirit of the law, without reverence for the ideal of justice. They are little better than John Wesley Hardin in a three-piece suit -- or a red jacket and a black pencil skirt. Killing people under cover of law is an avocation of callow narcissists. How surprising is it that so many of them wind up on TV?

The only good news is that the ones on TV aren't prosecuting real cases. What ordinary citizens must demand is that the various bar associations stop permitting and encouraging functional psychopaths with law degrees to build careers for themselves by overcharging defendants, cutting corners to convict them, and getting away with it scot free.

Mike Nifong has in all likelihood been a rogue prosecutor for his entire tenure in the D.A.'s office. Like hundreds, maybe thousands, of other unscrupulous attorneys.

It's time to nail his ass to the wall and send a message.

Won't happen, though, will it? Feel free to comment, all you lordly lawyer bloggers...




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