Political correctness strikes again . . .
Heaven forbid anyone ask tough questions. We might hurt somebody's feelings, you know.
Fired Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede
has some supporters rallying to his side.
DeFede, as you may remember, was a Miami Herald columnist who covered Arthur Teele, Jr.. Mr. Teele committed suicide earlier this week.
Interesting thoughts, including the surprising analysis that DeFede may not have violated the law.
The moral decay of Western Europe.
How far is too far . . .
in media coverage of politicians accused of corruption?
I don't pretend to know the answer. I believe that corruption in government is a problem, more so in some areas than others, and that politicians who abuse the public trust should be punished. (That, by the way, is why I am strongly in favor of term limits -- limiting the amount of time a politician will be in power is a good way to limit the opportunities for corruption.).
But when the media sensationalizes events, emulating the worst tendencies of the tabloid press, seeking to destroy individual's lives as opposed to simply reporting on corruption -- well, that often goes too far. If an individual politician is corrupt, report the corruption and let the appropriate authorities investigate, indict, prosecute and convict him. Do media coverage should be as apolitical as possible. Focus on relevant information, and move on. Media attempts to personally attack, embarrass or scandalize the individual politician or, worse still, his or her family, is not only unnecessary -- it is unworthy of the aspirations and ideals that the media claims to cherish. Such reporting seeks to humiliate and destroy an individual rather than seeking to protect the public trust.
Apparently, the kind of muckraking that often passes for modern journalism became too much for Arthur Teele, Jr., a former Miami [FL] Commissioner, yesterday afternoon.. In a phone call yesterday afternoon, Teele asked a Miami Herald columnist, "Who did I piss off in this town?" His voice, according to the columnist, was thick with emotion. He was, in a word, distraught.
Later that afternoon, Teele decided to take stronger actions than simply crying out to a long-time critic in the local press.
According to local sources, Teele
walked into the lobby of The Herald building Wednesday evening and shot himself in the head. He died less than two hours later at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Teele, a Republican, had recently been convicted of threatening a police officer and had been sentenced to two years probation. He was set for trial this fall on a variety of corruption charges. According to the Miami Herald:
During a 15-year political career, Teele became one of Miami-Dade's most influential politicians, serving on both the Miami City Commission and the County Commission. But his life ended in a cascade of arrests and humiliating disclosures that reached a crescendo in recent weeks.
Two weeks ago, Teele was indicted on 26 federal charges of fraud and money laundering -- his third arrest in a year. On Tuesday, a probation officer filed papers seeking to revoke his probation from an earlier conviction and send Teele to jail.
. . .
In addition, Teele was buckling under chronic debts and legal bills; a neighbor said Teele recently asked him for a $200,000 loan. And Teele knew that state prosecutors were planning to file additional corruption charges against him, perhaps in the next few weeks.
Now, let's get something straight: Teele sounds like a very crooked politician, and like a poster child for why we need corruption investigations. But there are a few more facts out there that need to be emphasized.
First, his conviction this past Spring. Teele was convicted of threatening a police officer who was conducting an undercover investigation related to the current spate of corruption charges. Apparently, Teele believed the officer was stalking Teele's wife, and threatened him if he continued. In the words of long-time Teele critic and recently terminated Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede, those charges should never have been brought against Teele.
I can understand -- and would probably have threatened someone I believed was stalking my wife, too.
A piece that came out yesterday in the Miami New Times, an "alternative newspaper", ratcheted the personal attacks to a new level. In addition to recounting past and present corruption charges against Teele, the New Times article contained witness statements (from questionable sources, including prostitutes and an individual serving a lengthy sentence for drug charges) indicating Teele's marriage was a sham, accusing him of rampant, ongoing drug abuse, and years of gay affairs with pre-operative transsexuals. [Note: these links will likely die within a week when the new issue comes out. You'll have to go to the Miami New Times Archives.]
Frankly, given that this story came out yesterday, I believe the media overlooked (or ignored) whom Teele was really visiting yesterday afternoon. I don't believe Arthur Teele went to the offices of the Miami Herald so much as he went to the offices of Alvarado's "newspaper", the Miami New Times. Both companies are housed in the same building.
Alvarado's "story" cuts and pastes old corruption charges and pending corruption charges, then blends in salacious and personally humiliating accusations based solely on the "testimony" (not under oath, mind you) sources whose credibility wouldn't stand up for ten seconds in any court in the country.
That's the kind of "corruption investigation" that we can do without. It is uncouth, unnecessary, and brings little to our political institutions. Frankly, it degrades them nearly as much as actual corruption.
The author of this hit piece, Francisco Alvarado, discounts any chance his sleazy hit piece may have increased the pressure on Teele to the breaking point:
"It's just a surreal coincidence that he did this on the day my article came out," said Alvarado. "I really feel bad; I would never want anyone to harm themselves over something I wrote, but at the end of the day, I was just doing my job."
. . .
[Alvarado] said he was sorry that Teele was dead but recalled him as egotistical and abrasive.
"Obviously the pressure got to him," [Alvarado] said. "I mean you are presumed innocent until found guilty but there were a number of charges he was facing at the federal and state level, lack of money to defend himself, an extended jail sentence, loss of power and authority and prestige. Obviously, at the end, he couldn't handle it.
"But we're all adults and all actions have consequences," [Alvarado] said.
Just doing your job? I'll buy that -- but only if you stipulate that your "job" is much more akin to that of a common pornographer than to a real journalist.
As to the claim "we're all adults and all actions have consequences" -- well, let's just say I find that somewhat hypocritical of you, Mr. Alvarado.
I find your focus on sex and drugs more reflective of an adolescent mindset than an adult one, Mr. Alvarado. You sought to destroy Mr. Teele personally, relying upon sources that are questionable at best to support the sex and drug claims you knew would garner attention for yourself and your "newspaper." As to consequences -- Mr. Teele faced corruption charges. Those are the consequences of his actions. If he would have been found guilty, he would have certainly gone to prison -- that would have been a consequence. He did decide to shoot himself and, as a consequence, died.
Where are your consequences, Mr. Alvarado? Your story almost certainly was a motivating factor that pushed Teele over the edge (no, I don't buy the whole 'it was just a surreal coincidence' garbage you spouted for the Miami Herald. Is your consequence that you "really feel bad"? Is that it?
Let's presume that Teele had not committed suicide. Let's presume that he had gone to trial and was convicted on all corruption charges. Let's also presume that he was tried for the sex and drug claims you mentioned in your "story."
If the only basis for such accusations was the testimony of the witnesses mentioned in your "story", I seriously doubt he would have been convicted. Presuming he was found not guilty, what consequence do you think you should face for your muckraking? Where should Teele have gone to clear his name of the drug and sex claims you made? Would you have felt remorse if Teele had been sexually or physically abused while serving time on his corruption charges? What if the abuse occurred in part because another inmate had read and believed your "story"?
Again, if Teele was corrupt (and it certainly looks like he was), then charging, prosecuting and convicting him (and covering the story in the press) is not only important, it is necessary and vital to our political system. Journalists have an important responsibility to keep the public informed.
Dragging his personal dalliances through the mud, particularly on such thin "evidence" as the unsworn statements of convicted prostitutes and other criminals, is a grotesque abuse of those responsibilities.
Arthur Teele asked who he had pissed off in Miami. He had not been convicted of corruption charges, denied any guilt, and was set for trial this fall. He faced daily media attacks that, in an effort to maintain public interest on an issue that had been beaten to death in the papers for the previous year, became more and more sensational in it's coverage to the point that no accusation appeared too scandalous or irrelevant to publish. It is this, the "trial by media", which I criticize here. Yes, Teele probably was corrupt, based on media reports.
Many people thought the same thing, however, of Raymond Donovan, President Reagan's Secretary of Labor. Donovan was also accused of corruption and endured a lengthy media trial in which the tone of coverage inferred Donovan was absolutely guilty of corruption.
Donovan was indicted in 1981. In 1985, Donovan resigned his position in Reagan's cabinet after failing to get the indictment dismissed. Two years later, following a nine month trial which featured more than 40 prosecution witnesses and thousands of documents, a jury acquitted Mr. Donovan on it's first vote (following a mere nine hours of deliberations).
Of course, media coverage of Donovan's acquittal was nowhere near the pretrial levels. Afterwards, Donovan posed a simple question to the prosecutor and the media:
"Where do I go to get my reputation back?"
A computer submerged in oil?
And still running. This German computer geek has submerged his motherboard in a fishtank full of vegetable oil and kept it running (including the fans, which circulate the oil) for over a year. Were I still looking for ways to decorate a dorm room, I'd have to strongly consider this idea.
What's next -- ride-by shootings?
Amish teen goes gangsta. Weird.
Long overdue followup . . .
on the attempt by administrators at Mifflin High School in Columbus, Ohio, to cover up the sexual assault of a disabled student by two classmates.
Last Spring, I blogged on this story here, here, here and here.
Now, disgraced Principal Regina Crenshaw has decided to fight 4th degree misdemeanor charges for failing to report child abuse.
Her attorney says that the Columbus Public School system discouraged principals from notifying police about possible crimes on school property. Ergo, I presume, Ms. Crenshaw should be given her job back because "she was only following orders."
Right. Is that the best you've got?
Nope. Not even close. Apparently, Ms. Crenshaw believes she is the victim of racism.
Racism? A black principal in a majority-minority district is crying racism?
You see, according to her attorney, Ms. Crenshaw isn't being prosecuted due to the high profile and horrific details of this attack. No -- it's due to her race.
Sigh. That old, worn-out, dog-eared race card is way past its prime. How about some personal responsibility instead?
Or am I asking too much?
This is just wrong . . .
Joe Huffman was a senior cyber security scientist with exceptional performance appraisals at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
He just got fired.
Because he enjoys exercising his First Amendment right of freedom of speech and chooses to talk about (on his own time and off-hours, to the best of my knowledge) -- GUNS!
Horrors! The scandal! Why next, he might talk about supporting President Bush and other Republicans! We just can't have that!
Joe is considering a wrongful termination lawsuit. If you can spare a few bucks, head over here.
Our collective moral impulses continue to decline . . .
and we wonder why things like this happen.
Why in the heck would a 40 year old woman think it acceptable to provide booze and drugs to her kid's teenage friends? And what, pray tell, made her believe that having sexual intercourse with said teenage kids would make her "cool"?
Instances like this cause me to lament the demise of the stocks and concomitant public humiliation.
Hat tip, Southern Appeal.
A new addition to the blogroll . . .
(as soon as I have time to update, that is): WuzzaDem!
The site is similar to Dinocrat in that it is run by a former Democrat who enjoys poking the Democrats, mainstream media and Intellectual Elite with a stick.
The difference is WuzzaDem is hilarious! Check out today's entry featuring a game show interrogation of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts by the Senate Judiciary committee.
Every internet user has, at one time or another, wished . . .
violence on the idiots who clog up email accounts and slow down systems with pointless, offensive spam.
Now, it appears the top Russian spammer has been murdered in his apartment.
A human tragedy, to be sure, but not terribly surprising, given (1) that spammers are now more despised than used car salesmen (or lawyers like moi, for that matter); and (2) the long Russian slide into lawlessness.
There's a moral in here someplace, but darned if I can find it.
British police accidentally kill innocent man . . .
and a commenter infers that a call for stronger measures on terrorism is now a "sad little axe."
Yes, tragically, the victim of the police shooting did turn out to be someone unaffiliated with the bombers. That is a tragedy and should be investigated.
Rather than rebuff the gist of my prior comment -- that for too long, Europe has closed its eyes to the dangers of radical Islam in its midst -- it actually supports it. Had the Brits been paying attention before the bombings, they might well have had better intelligence to either stop the first round of bombings or, at the very least, to know for whom they were searching.
For what it's worth -- it appears that he decided to run from police when confronted -- and made the fatal mistake of trying to run away by entering a high-priority target -- a subway station. Police shot him when he tried to enter a crowded train.
Given all the circumstances, the recent spate of bombings in subways, the man's failure to stop when ordered to do so (on multiple occasions, it appears), and his attempt to move into a train full of passengers -- I'd have shot him, too.
I'd have been personally very torn up about it afterwards. Taking a life is not an easy thing to do in any circumstance. Too often we rush to condemn the police who have to make a split-second decision, balancing their action or inactions against their consequences, all under severe stress and almost no time.
Sometimes they err -- as happened here. Such errors are very unfortunate, to say the least.
One tragic incident such as what happened to Mr. de Menezes is not, however, a reason to call off heightened security measures.
A new fun site . . .
John Hawkins runs RightWingNews. Good, thoughtful, and generally a fun read. Give them a try.
London police are moving very fast
on the second round of bombings. It appears that, once one wipes the multi-cultural pap from one's eyes, the blazingly obvious miraculously appears.
For YEARS, certain mosques in Britain have been preaching jihad, anti-Westernism, and hate. Now, it appears, the Brits are recognizing that some of the congregants actually BELIEVED that hateful religious rhetoric and are acting appropriately.
It's about time. Hopefully, we can stop this death cult before it pushes somebody too far, and invites a horrific response.
More on why I'm glad she's gone.
Okay, so most people on the Left and Right agree -- John Roberts is a brilliant legal mind, possibly the best appellate advocate of his generation, and a person who will make an impact on the court for years to come.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's comment?
""He's good in every way, except he's not a woman."
Sigh. She just doesn't get it.
Thank goodness her opinion will no longer matter more than any other citizen's.
New addition to the Blogroll
Rhymes with Right is a good source of conservative views on everything from politics to baseball. Greg's stuff is a good read and worth your time.
The Moonbats take flight!
More amusement from our friends at the Democratic Underground as they react to Roberts' nomination:
Bush's pick is a direct assault on the social progress of the 20th century. This creature, Roberts, is the spawn of the Federalist Society a twisted, sick and perverted "school" of "scholars" whose theories on the Constitution are warped and distorted with no basis in fact and with no fidelity to nearly 250 years of American jurisprudence.
As of tonight - unless we act - not only is Roe v. Wade overturned, but so are ALL federal powers to enforce fair commerce, ensure safe products, food and medicine, not to mention the rights and civil liberties of anyone not fortunate to be born white, male and Christian.
Bush was elected - excuse me, selected - for the sole purpose of destroying social progressivism and returning the country to the post-Civil War level of individual protections. NO MATTER WHAT this person says, he WILL overturn the laws his conservative masters desire him to and there will be NO way of stopping him.
Or this from DrDon32:
Goodbye Roe ; Hello Back-alley Butchers
Amazing how people forget before RVW.
Rich people will fly to europe to get abortions.
Poor people will get coat-hangers, pelvic infections , sterility and possible death.
Or this from Erika:
The Age of Taliban in the U.S.
Provided by W and the religious right extremists.
Or this from ollie79 (here's hoping there aren't 78 others):
The chimp has lost it! The chimp nominated a right wing, para-military gun, womb raiding nut! Oh well, we got to bust him up in the hearings.
Sigh. What ARE they drinking at the DU?
Wow! I got it right!
Of course, now that the war has been declared, it's off to the trenches.
One admission -- I had never heard of Roberts before late this afternoon. I chose him after reading his bio and the law.com article linked below. I just never really believed that Bush would pick anyone predicatble, both due to his personality (he likes to surprise people) and political considerations (a less visible nomination would draw less fire).
When I read some information about Roberts this afternoon, it all just clicked. He is a terrific nominee, and will be a superb Justice.
My prediction for O'Connor's replacement:
John Roberts. He fits the mold.
Bush likes to think of himself as conservative, but independent in his thinking. Bush enjoys surprising people by going against conventional wisdom. He also wants a candidate who will atempt to depoliticize the Court, and who will be difficult to oppose in the nomination battle. Finally, he wants the opportunity to nominate more than one person to the Court.
John Roberts fits the bill.
Roberts is reportedly a very conservative individual, but has only been on the Court of Appeals for 20 months, so there is not much in the way of a paper trail with which he could be hammered. Roberts is reportedly pretty even handed, and an excellent jurist (thus far). Roberts is also a favorite of Chief Justice Rehnquist, who might view a Roberts nomination as a message that he can safely retire without worrying about who will replace him on teh Court.
Finally, Roberts apparently opposes labelling judges by their political affiliation. That is a good thing -- the Court needs people who will interpret the laws and constitution, not ones who will look to the political interests of one or the other parties.
Anyway, that's my two cents -- let's see how it goes.
Hat tip to Southern Appeal.
This would never have worked for me . . .
Online Law School at Abraham Lincoln University.
I went to the University of Oklahoma. There is nothing to compare with sitting in the forum between classes, talking with other students, and listening to everyone else's answer to the ubiquitous first-year law student's question: "what the heck did he/she just say about that case?"
I also gained a lot from the semi-Socratic method used by many of my professors. For those of you unfamiliar with this procedure, it is a traditional teaching method practiced largely on first year students and involves interrogation techniques that would be banned from Gitmo. The professor calls on you, asks you a question about an assigned case you either didn't read, read while drunk, or glanced at (along with two other cases) in the five minutes immediately preceding class. You are then required to answer the professor's questions, which often amount to very absurd and/or abstract arguments, until the professor feels that you have had enough.
Picture a cat toying with a mouse, and you get the idea. For many law students, these techniques are embarassing and humbling. They also tend to teach you how to think like a lawyer (which is the point, after all).
I don't understand how this can be accomplished in an on-line or correspondence setting. Much of the art of teaching otherwise normal, mentally healthy human beings to think like lawyers is by placing the students under the pressure of thinking quickly and speaking before one's peers. How do you get that from a correspondence school?
This is not to disparage all correspondence schools. My lovely and talented wife is currently pursuing her Master's degree in education from the University of Phoenix. I have seen the work she is performing, and seen her participate in what boils down to a USENET style discussion board involving various issues and problems for her classes. She is learning, and will come out of her Master's program better equipped to do her job.
But even in that environment, I see some shortcomings. For example, her classes often require group projects. Several students from different locales scattered across the country have to come together to develop a project. The inability to physically meet, divvy up the work, give immediate feedback, brainstorm, read body language, etc., makes this a more tedious undertaking than it would be if the students could physically meet. The end product suffers somewhat (IMHO) as a result, and the entire process is inefficient.
The same would be true, but more so, for a long-distance legal education. It wouldn't teach me as much as I learned in traditional law school -- but more power to those who can do it and succeed.
Please welcome . . .
Dinocrat to the links list!
Dinocrat is a good resource for you Democrats (like my father, father-in-law, etc.) who are thinking about leaving the increasingly leftist leadership of the modern Democratic Party behind. It's also a good daily read for the rest of us.
For Andrew Sullivan . . .
it still all comes down to a person's sexual preference.
Rather creepy, actually.
Category: Things I Already Knew About Myself
|The Deviant Geek|
You answered 84% of the questions as a geek truly would.
|You're a geek and you know it. You've got all sorts of fringe hobbies and socially unacceptable tendencies. Chances are, whenever possible, you hate to be grouped with other people and sometimes go out of your way just to be different.
You're smart too. You're more willing to depend on your own brainpower to solve problems, instead of relying on others to pull you through life. You probably read a lot, and generally enjoy learning new things.
So what's it all mean? You may be considered by some to be uncool, but you probably don't care either. In social situations you may be either slightly passive or slightly loud (geeks always fall into the extremes). In a nutshell, you answered enough questions correctly supporting a geek philosophy to be considered a more potent geek than 60% of the population.
|My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
|Link: The True Geek Test written by ambientred on Ok Cupid|
I really can't make this stuff up. . .
San Bernadino wants to incorporate "ebonics" into their general curriculum for black students.
Does anyone doubt that, had this been proposed in Midlothian, Texas, or Okmulgee, Oklahoma, or Smyrna, Georgia, that the cries of "racism" and "stereotyping" would be well nigh deafening?
Why we should bring back public floggings . . .
This idiot T-Ball (frickin' T-BALL!!) coach didn't want to play a kid who possessed some unnamed mental disability but lacked any particular skill at the game.
So, did he ask the kid not to play? Nope.
Did he, perhaps, speak with the kid's mom and dad about the matter? Nope.
Did he maybe fall back on that true and tried method of dealing with bad players and put the kid in FAR left field? Nope.
Instead, he offered another eight year old kid $25 to hurt his untalented teammate and keep him from playing.
Mark Downs is a coward and a bully. What other kind of person would do such a thing?
North Koreans find government spy movie totally unbelievable . . .
The movie is about a North Korean spy captured during the early part of the Korean War and held by the South Koreans for over forty years. The spy and 62 other communists refused offers of amnesty and citizenship from the South Korean government and were repatriated to North Korea in 1993.
The North Koreans welcomed the spy as a hero. A great movie was made celebrating his ordeal.
And that's where the believability factor comes in.
You see, during his imprisonment, this spy engaged in hunger strikes. Average North Korean audiences, many of whom have personally experienced malnutrition or known people who died from starvation, found the concept of refusing a meal totally beyond belief.
Couple that with the unrealistic idea that someone could be in prison, have access to three meals per day and adequate healthcare, and survive for more than ten years, and, well, you have a movie that just can't resonate with the average Pyongyanger.
Strange, but true.
And, as usual in times of tragedy . . .
the moonbats come out in force.
Take TankLV (please), who seems to think that this attack is just another attempt by Bush to boost sagging poll numbers. OhioBlues somewhat agrees, asserting that Bush and Blair are either "impotent or in on it."
Fooj puts an anti-Semitic spin on the story. JohnnyBoots implies Rudy Giuliani might be a factor.
Joey Liberal, on the other hand, lays all blame squarely at Bush and is prepared to surrender. lildreamer316 agrees, believing this will happen again and again until we "get rid of " Bush. As for Bush himself, Prodemsouth thinks he is enjoying the spectacle.
No wonder the Democrats have been losing power for years (warning - large PDF file -- hat tip, Dinocrat). As the activists become more and more extreme in their rhetoric and actions, the Democrats will lose more and more people offended by those who claim to speak for the party.
Why Alberto Gonzales should not be named to the Supreme Court
The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is.
'Nuff said. Nominating Alberto Gonzales would be the equivalent of spitting in the eye of all conservatives. The Republicans do so at their peril.
Still having a lot of problems with Blogger. I don't know why the enormous white gap occurs, but am tempted to strip out the sidebar and see if that helps.
The new job is going well -- good folks, good work. I hoped to post more today, but I spent the past 45 minutes trying to get Blogspot to display my stuff correctly, so that ain't happening.
In any event, I hope to begin more regular posting shortly.
Problem fixed. Thanks to Terri for her suggestion.
For those wondering
here is a short summary of why I am glad Justice O'Connor is retiring. On social issues, she is left of center.
Sandra Day retires from the Supreme Court
effective upon the confirmation of her successor.
In other words, she'll get to go RV'ing in about 2012 or so. I mean, this would be an "extreme circumstance" justifying a Democrat filibuster, right?
Look for Bush to nominate someone OTHER than Alberto Gonzales to this position. Justice O'Connor's replacement will likely solidify the conservative wing of the court, as Justice O'Connor has been a swing moderate on several key votes in the past twenty years.
Bread and circuses for all us political junkies. The liberal's reaction should be very interesting.
First morning at the new office . . .
and things are slow. I think it will be next week before I get some good projects, but that's okay.
Also, Blogger seems to be acting up -- so if you see large gaps of white space in the posts, fear not. Blogger is just being goofy.
Today is my eldest son's ninth birthday. About this time nine years ago, I had just gotten off the phone with my law school prof explaining why I wasn't at my 8 am class, and was busy washing my newborn son. Now, he is playing baseball and beating me in video games. Tonight, we are celebrating with a surprise pool party (last night, we engaged in an elaborate deception to make him think we couldn't do anything more than a small cake and a couple of friends over -- he was sad, but bore it well).
How the time flies. He is halfway to manhood. Each day becomes more precious as he slowly grows more independent.
I love you Philip Reagan. I hope you will always love me, too.
A very proud Daddy.