The Spectacle Blog

Re: Moussaoui Lives

By on 5.4.06 | 8:38AM

Whatever one thinks of the sentence, can we agree that it is disturbing to see the jury list the following as mitigating factors in its decision not to sentence the defendant to death?

-- Nine jurors found that the defendant's unstable early childhood and dysfunctional family resulted in his being placed in orphanages and having a home life without structure and emotional and financial support, eventually resulting in his leaving home due to his hostile relationship with his mother.

-- Nine jurors found the defendant's father had a violent temper and physically and emotionally abused his family.

Long Live The Electoral College

By on 5.4.06 | 7:49AM

In other news, the flag has dropped and the rush is on for would-be Dem presidential contenders to denounce the Electoral College as not "appropriate" to our "modern era" -- and not coincidentally as the only reason why George W. Bush was elected in 2000. But try as Evan Bayh might, federalism is still a good idea, and the College is vital in its (usually) quiet function. Just ask Joe Biden...

Re: Moussaoui Lives

By on 5.4.06 | 7:40AM

Jed, I'm fairly confident Moussaoui will be kept under wraps. Then again, I was sure Vicente Fox would sign that drug bill, too...

Stealing from Consumer, Giving to Bureaucrats

By on 5.4.06 | 7:11AM

That's the best one can say about the price gouging nonsense the House passed last night. The bill would authorize the Federal Trade Commission to define price gouging -- in other words, passing the buck from lawmakers to unelected bureaucrats.

Further, in a market of choice between competitors, how would price gouging exist? I've heard commercials by local news stations with hot reports about how "customers paid $5.75 a gallon before they knew better." That sounds like uninformed customers not making a responsible market decision. The price of a good is what people will pay for it. That "gouging" station will gouge for a short period of time before his customers dry up, and he has to lower the price to bring them back. Accordingly, if costs (like, say, crude oil) go up for all retailers, they'll all increase prices at the same time.

Re: Moussaui Lives

By on 5.4.06 | 4:54AM

If I were to overhear someone plotting a murder which later took place exactly as plotted, I would not be legally culpable in any way for not reporting said plot to legal authorities -- so long as I am not a police officer or a lawyer. Moussaui was haled into civilian court on charges that could be called "trumped-up."

No mistake, he belongs behind bars. But he should have been an enemy combatant from the get-go.

Re: Moussaoui Lives

By on 5.3.06 | 9:12PM

Jed, James: There are lots of implications to this verdict that defy easy analysis. Does giving Moussaoui life show that we're better than our enemies, or weaker than our enemies? Do enemies in the War on Terror belong in the civilian court system? How would Moussaoui have faired before, say, a military tribunal?

These are hard and interesting questions, worth chewing over. The question of whether Moussaoui will ever be let out of solitary to become a prison preacher, however, is pretty easy: No, not a chance. No advocate for Moussaoui's rights would even try to get him moved into a general population, where he'd be murdered in a wink. Instead, he'll spend the rest of his life here:

Since opening in 1994, Florence ADMAX has become the new, state-of-the-art Alcatraz for the most violent and escape-prone prisoners.

There are 399 inmates in the prison, which has a capacity of 490 and is run by a staff of 298, said Krista Rear, Florence ADMAX spokeswoman.

Despite the roster, most prisoners lead lonely lives.

Hearing Hearings Rumors

By on 5.3.06 | 7:36PM

I usually hate to publish something that is just a rumor, but when I hear the same rumor from two different good sources -- although, in this case, both of THEM said their own sources were only of the rumor variety, so it may just be the same folks talking to the same folks without solid sourcing -- and when the rumor is important and timely, it's worth airing just for the warning value.

ANYway, I'm hearing that Sen. Specter may be coming close to caving in (and going against what top staff last week had indicated was his own firm decision) by letting the Dems put court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through yet another hearing. On the one hand: Fine. Brett will handle himself well and make the Dems look, again, like jerks. But this is still a very bad development, because it means a delay of AT LEAST one week, almost certainly two weeks, and perhaps even three weeks, before Kavanaugh finally gets out of committee -- meaning it becomes that much more difficult to get him a floor vote before Memorial Day, much less get other nominees the floor votes they deserve.

Re: Moussaoui Lives

By on 5.3.06 | 6:24PM

James: Do you harbor any doubt that the ACLU and some court will combine, in the next few years, to release him from solitary? I sure don't.

Harris Matters

By on 5.3.06 | 5:59PM

We're hearing that Republican Florida House Speaker Allen Bense (R) is quietly talking to state and national GOP fundraisers about challenging Rep. Katherine Harris for the Republican Senate nomination. The filing deadline is May 12. Harris has been under intense pressure to back out of the race in light was a series of gaffes, whiffs of ethical impropriety and staff defections. A candidate should knows she's cooked when her own campaign advisers go public with information that her opponents would normally leak. Timing here, obviously, is critical. Sen. Bill Nelson, who at one time was considered to be a beatable candidate has raised upwards of $10 million, and his seat is now considered safe. All of this comes at a time when national Republican leaders are getting an earful about the dire condition of the party leading into the 2006 election cycle. Day-after reviews of polling numbers in Ohio raise a number of red flags about party enthusiasm and the ability of some candidates to get out the vote.

Moussaoui Lives

By on 5.3.06 | 5:13PM

...and I can live with that. Although terrorism walks a purposefully narrow line between crime and war, Moussaoui's role in the death and destruction of 9/11 is not quite close enough to qualify as murder and not far enough from the event to remove him from enemyhood. Everyone would be content for a really blood-soaked man like Bin Laden to simply disappear, hounded out of existence. If that sort of life sentence for the Prince of Terror satisfies the soul, surely this formal one for a third-rate maniac and evil lummox satisfies too.

Of course, Jed, if they let him out of solitary, that would be the can't-gettingest of no satisfactions.