The Spectacle Blog
Well, until Al Gore chimed in about the NSA wiretapping story, I was convinced the President had the authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct warrantless searches and surveillance to protect the USA against foreign threats. In fact, I was under the impression that every President since Jimmy Carter had maintained that despite FISA (signed in 1978 by said Georgia peanut farmer), the executive had the inherent and irrevocable authority to conduct such operations. No less than Bill Clinton and Al Gore's own Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick maintained that presidential authority in testimony before the Senate. And then there's the whole FISA Court of Review opinion from 2002 that affirmed the president's warrantless surveillance authority (the Supreme Court subsequently declined to hear the ACLU appeal of the matter thus settling it for the time being). But pay no mind to all that.
John: So if the recidivism rate were as high as I claim - and I think we can both dispute the numbers - you think it wouldn't make any difference whether Hulett was imprisoned for sixty days or sixty years? I give up. I'd rather imprison the guy for the max (which, in this case, would be about sixty years) and thus preventing him from committing more child rapes in that period. So what if treatment may work in some cases? The sentence provided by law should be imposed not only to punish but just as importantly to prevent the criminal from committing more crimes while he's in jail. This judge imposed a sentence that abuses the law. He should be removed and Hulett jailed for the maximum sentence.
I watched part of the first season of 24 and a couple of episodes last season. But you can't miss an episode if you want to catch every plot twist, and I guess I've never been convinced that it's worth the commitment. (Another factor: My bride-to-be is uninterested. There aren't many shows that I watch alone anymore.)
I generally find the Globes less frustrating than the Oscars, so I usually catch them. Steve Carrell's hilarious acceptance speech alone was worth my time. As far as Davis is concerned, I didn't really have a dog (figuratively speaking!) in the Best TV Actress fight, so I wasn't too upset. (I can't really comment on the Best Drama award -- I'm not a good enough person to have seen Brokeback Mountain yet.)
John: Obviously you are not a 24 fan as you chose the Golden Globes for your post-season Monday Night Football night TV-filler. What a shame. An awards show that honors Geena Davis and her heavy-makeupped performance in Commander in Chief instead of a show that keeps up the fight between good and evil free of the Left Coast's melodramic. Give it a try next Monday night. The only good thing that came out of the Golden Globes tonight was that Kiefer Sutherland's real-life father, Donald, didn't win for his uber-aggressive imitation of a "Republican" in Chief.
The real question, though, is when the Nielson ratings come out tomorrow who will the real winner be? 24 or the Globes?
Paradise Now won for best foreign film. Its country of origin? Palestine. This brings to mind Cathy Seipp's account of a conversation with Oliver Stone:
[H]e went on to say that he'd just returned from Palestine, where he'd been interviewing Arafat. I asked if that was a package tour that included stopovers in Utopia and Xanadu. The conversation kind of went downhill from there, and luckily the valet soon pulled up with Stone's car.
Jed: If it were true that pedophiles have a nearly 100% recidivism rate, then it wouldn't really matter if Hulett were released in 60 days or 20 years, since he'd be all but guaranteed to prey on another kid. Indeed, getting him on easy-to-break parole, making it possible to impose a life sentence without him actually hurting another child, would be ideal. Fortunately, that's not true at all.
Here's some data on the subject. The most pessimistic study cited shows a 53% recidivism rate for child molesters. And while the data isn't quite conclusive, there is indeed some evidence that treatment makes a significant difference.
John: It is absolutely not any more complicated in any respect. It's absurd to say, as the judge did, that he is more concerned with rehabilitation than punishment. This judge and his apologists are setting up the idea that this man is susceptible of rehabilitation, which is contrary to ALL the available data. The incidence of recidivism in pedophiles is nearly 100%, regardless of treatment, counseling, clay modeling or singing Kumbaya in group therapy. What purpose does our criminal justice system serve if not to protect the innocent -- especially the defenseless -- from those who will do them harm?
The judge had an obligation to take this animal off the streets. He didn't do so. That judge is allowing a convicted child rapist out on the streets again to victimize more children in less time than a shoplifter might serve in jail. The sentence should be -- and, I expect will be -- and the judge removed from the bench forthwith. If I had small children and this animal were roaming around, I couldn't let those kids out of my sight. Should that be my burden?
Careful there, Jed. The story's a bit more complicated than that.
Because Hulett was a first-time offender, Corrections Department officials told the judge that he wouldn't receive sex-offender treatment while in prison. The judge worried that without treatment, Hulett would go on to abuse more children as soon as he was let out of jail. He set the sentence at a 60-day minimum so that Hulett could be released under stringent conditions, including a treatment requirement. The judge made some mush-headed comments about "punishment" not being important, but his basic contention that sex-offenders need therapy isn't wrong.
Now that the state is offering Hulbett treatment in jail, one expects that the judge will reconsider the sentence.