Admitted wrongful execution in the US

October 15, 2009

Well it is official.  While I think there are others, a South Carolina pardon and parole board voted unanimously that the state wrongfully executed four INNOCENT African-American men in South Carolina in 1915.  And, (shock!) race was a factor.  In South Carolina in 1915, HUNDREDS of white community members tried to secure a pardon because they did not believe the men did it.  That’s pretty extraordinary for South Carolina in 1915, dontchya think?  But, they were executed anyway.  I really don’t think there is anything else to say.  The death penalty has really got to go.  This isn’t even an interesting post because it is so obvious.

Follow Up to LB’s Whoopi Goldberg Post

October 14, 2009

From one of my favorite writers, Calvin Trillin, in The Nation:

What Whoopi Goldberg (‘Not a Rape-Rape’), Harvey Weinstein (‘So-Called Crime’) et al. Are Saying in Their Outrage Over the Arrest of Roman Polanski

A youthful error? Yes, perhaps.
But he’s been punished for this lapse–
For decades exiled from LA
He knows, as he wakes up each day,
He’ll miss the movers and the shakers.
He’ll never get to see the Lakers.
For just one old and small mischance,
He has to live in Paris, France.
He’s suffered slurs and other stuff.
Has he not suffered quite enough?
How can these people get so riled?
He only raped a single child.


Why make him into some Darth Vader
For sodomizing one eighth grader?
This man is brilliant, that’s for sure–
Authentically, a film auteur.
He gets awards that are his due.
He knows important people, too–
Important people just like us.
And we know how to make a fuss.
Celebrities would just be fools
To play by little people’s rules.
So Roman’s banner we unfurl.
He only raped one little girl.

I should add for the benefits of any completely tone deaf readers that Mr. Trillin is a noted satirist (as opposed to a noted satyr), and that this is meant as sarcasm.

It seems to be OK to refuse business saying, “No Shirt, No Shoes.” Can we say the same about Pig Headed Values?

October 12, 2009

Would it be legal for the Rams’ owner(s) to refuse Rush Limbaugh’s offer to buy the team?  And, if they did refuse, could they sell it to someone else for even for less money?   Is it necessary to state a reason for refusing to do business with someone?

Does cash trump conscience in the NFL today as this writer says?

In Defense of Jennifer Valdividia

October 12, 2009

12 year-old Jennifer is attending a Florida Marlins game. Ryan Howard, of the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, hits his 200th career home run. Jennifer catches the ball. Jennifer is hustled by stadium security to the Phillies locker room, and gives up the historic (and valuable) ball for a less valuable ball autographed by Mr. Howard. Parents sue. Mr. Howard returns original ball you young Jennifer. Jennifer and parents are excoriated as thieves, lawsuits condemned.

This is one of those areas where lawyers view the world differently than other people. Jennifer is a minor — and a pretty young one at that. The ball exchange was a contract. Minors are legally incapable of consent, and therefore cannot enter into binding contracts. Jennifer gets the ball back.

One of the most important functions of the law is protecting the rights of the weak from the desires of the strong. Mr. Howard and the Phillies are the strong. Jennifer was the weak. If Mr. Howard wants to make a deal for it as a keepsake, let him negotiate the price with her parents, who have the legal right to enter into a contract on behalf of their child. If they want more than an autographed ball, if they are obnoxious and mercenary, too bad. That’s the price for living in a world where adults aren’t allowed to take advantage of children in commerce.

Annals of Zero Tolerance

October 12, 2009

I realize that this is like shooting fish in a barrel (has anyone ever shot a fish in a barrel? Isn’t it likely that the bullet would pierce the barrel and make it spring a leak?), but here’s another one of those insane overreaction stories, from this morning’s Times — about a six year-old in Delaware.

Zachary’s offense? Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.

For Delaware, Zachary’s case is especially frustrating because last year state lawmakers tried to make disciplinary rules more flexible by giving local boards authority to, “on a case-by-case basis, modify the terms of the expulsion.”

The law was introduced after a third-grade girl was expelled for a year because her grandmother had sent a birthday cake to school, along with a knife to cut it. The teacher called the principal — but not before using the knife to cut and serve the cake.

We can all pretty much agree that this is batshit insane, right? Well, everyone but this guy:

Charles P. Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at the University at Buffalo Law School who has written about school safety issues, said he favored a strict zero-tolerance approach.

“There are still serious threats every day in schools,” Dr. Ewing said, adding that giving school officials discretion holds the potential for discrimination and requires the kind of threat assessments that only law enforcement is equipped to make.

Right.  Only law enforcement officials (a/k/a to cops) are qualified to decide whether a Cub Scout camping utensil is a serious threat to classroom safety.  I am generally a good liberal and all of that, but this is the kind of stuff that makes me want to pull my kids out of the public schools and move to a cabin without electricity  in Montana.

Seriously? It wasn’t “rape-rape”?

October 3, 2009

Good Lord.  The idea that anyone even has to post in 2009 about this is crazy.  So Whoopi Goldberg and the women on The View put women back another 50 years.  Now a 40 year old man who admitted having sex with a 13 year old girl (oral, anal, and vaginal) after giving her drugs and alcohol did not commit “rape-rape”?!?!?!  WTF?

So — by law you cannot consent to sex if you are 13  — IN ANY STATE.  Also, you cannot consent on drugs and alcohol.  SO by definition there was no capacity for her to consent.  That’s why “sex with a minor” is A CRIME.  Duh.  Sex without consent = rape.

Aside from deciding you can never look at Whoopi Goldberg or Melissa Gilbert without puking a little bit, if you watch the video, you can watch the women ridiculously misuse the word “allegedly.”  There is no “allegedly” about it.  HE PLED GUILTY to sex with a minor.  It was part of a plea agreement – he was charged with rape and pled down to “sex with a minor”.  So um . . . he did this.   He admitted it.

Finally, don’t get me started on the victim not wanting to go forward with this.  The case is THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA versus Roman Polanski.  The state of CA and all of us have an interest in bringing criminal rapists to justice and in hopefully deterring future rapists.

Did I seriously even need to write this?  Is there any possible argument that he should not be extradited?  Is there any argument that this was somehow not rape?  He got away with it for years because he is famous.  But Karma’s a bitch.

And Whoopi Goldberg is an idiot.  Who knew?  Dear Whoopi — great book for you it is called, Real Rape by Susan Estrich.  You can buy it here.

PS — if I have not convinced you, cruise by any middle school and look at a 13 year old girl — they are babies.