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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Surgeons General (Scroll down: Frank Powers' letter)

Frank Powers doesn't have it quite right (Letters, Boston Globe, July 13th. 2007, A14).

He is correct that both the Reagan and Clinton administrations had health issues they didn't want talked about (AIDS and needle exchange respectively).

However, only the Bush administration appointed a surgeon general who knuckled under to political pressures. Those in the Reagan and Clinton administrations spoke out forcibly on the issues.

The Matthew Effect

I am writing to complain about the incomplete identifying information given about your op-ed writer, Nigel Hamilton (The resurrection of Bill Clinton, Boston Globe, July 12, 2007, A15) who was identified as being a fellow of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies.

Now, you and I know that the McCormack School is at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

But I wonder how well this is known among all your readers. If it is not known then, absent complete information, it is likely that they will attribute the location of the McCormack Center to one of the more prestigious Universities in town such as Boston College, or Boston University, or even to one of those across the river, Harvard, MIT, or Tufts.

Please give complete information in the future.

Sent to Boston Globe

Kennedy & Kerry on Finneran

Senators Kennedy and Kerry have been vocal in their condemnation of President Bush’s commutation of Lewis Libby’s jail sentence. Yet at home they are actively promoting what seems like a “senatorial pardon” for former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran.

In the early fall – aided and abetted by Governor Patrick and several of his predecessors – they are planning on attending a massive fund-raising dinner (tickets $2,500 and up) to honor Mr. Finneran and raise money for his foundation which will provide funding to a variety of local charities.

The local organizer, Robert White, claims that the expected outpouring of affection for Mr. Finneran will nullify his conviction on Federal obstruction of justice charges: "Whatever misconceptions the federal government had about this man’s public life will be assuaged by the public demonstration for this event."

If the Senators believed in equal justice before the law, they would have no part in this charade. If they want to support charity they can do so directly without honoring Mr. Finneran as well.

Sent to Washington Post

Vice President Cheney

All that! And you are still not calling for Vice President Cheney's resignation or impeachment.

Why not?

Sent to The New Yorker

Reed Hillman

I am a long time lefty -- but I think Brad Jones is right on this one.

Sent to Boston Globe

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Commutation for Lewis Libby

With unerring skill, President Bush has chosen the worst of the three options open to him in dealing with Mr. Lewis Libby's conviction (The Prison Sentence ... Is Excessive, Washington Post, July 3, 2007, A4).

He could have done nothing which would have enraged his base but signaled his wish to uphold the rule of law. He could have pardoned Mr Libby which would have enraged his critics, but energized his base. Or he could have, and did, show clemency for Mr. Libby by reducing his sentence. This has enraged his critics and done much to signal his contempt for the rule of law -- as if another signal were needed.

His decision to reduce the sentence has also damaged Mr. Libby. By stating that he respected the jury verdict, he has seriously jeopardized Mr. Libby's ability to appeal the verdict. By reducing the sentence, he has jeopardized the carefully thought out balance between the seriousness of the crime and Mr. Libby's prior service. By appealing to our sympathy for Libby's wife and children he has undermined universalistic principles that underlie our laws. After all, many felons have wives and children who are not considered when sentencing occurs.

With all the legal talent at his disposal, how could he have made the worst of choices? By not seeking out or listening to advice. Yet another example of his administration's addiction to "groupthink."

Sent to Washington Post

Monday, July 2, 2007

Justice Scalia

However much one disapproves of Justice Scalia's views and the damage they are causing to the US, one has to admire his honesty (Even in Agreement Scalia Puts Roberts to the Lash, New York Times, June 28, 2007, A1 and A16).

Of course it was impossible for Justices Roberts and Alito to sign an opinion that explicitly overturned a prior Supreme Court Ruling. After all these gentlemen had, in their confirmation hearings, piously stated that precedents were sacred and that they would not overrule them (the doctrine of Stare Decisis).

Their actions in the last few decisions have indicated that this was all talk and that they had no intention of conforming to precedent.

These justices lied to get confirmed. On those grounds they should be impeached.

Sent to the New York Times