Monday, March 31, 2008

A Solution for the Democrats

Normally, this blog deals with more conservative and Republican issues, but in the interest of fairness, I'm devoting this blog post to the Democrats.

Recently, prominent Democrats have been pushing for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the Democratic nomination race. In turn, Hillary's supporters have said Barack Obama should drop out of the race. As bitter as the two sides are towards one another, they give the same reason why the other side's candidate should withdraw: for the good of the party.

This is a noble gesture to say the least. To give up a chance at the White House for the good of the many within the Democratic Party is a huge sacrifice, and it takes a tremendous person to agree to that.

That's why neither Obama nor Clinton will do it.

On the one hand, we have Obama. For all of his high-minded rhetoric, in recent weeks he's been caught in one stupid lie after another. From his position on NAFTA to Rev. Wright to his denial of taking a survey showing him to be far more liberal than moderate, Obama has gone from above the fray to in the mud. And some of the lingering questions about his true feelings about race relations and his inexperience are starting to wear on the minds of potential voters.

On the other hand, there's Hillary. She was all but a lock last year at this time, but now she's looking vulnerable and unqualified for the White House. Almost all of her trial balloons have popped in her face and have become the stuff of late night talk show jokes. Seriously, Hill. Thirty-five years of experience? You've only been elected to the Senate twice. That's one more than Obama has, and last time I checked Senate terms are only six years. The Bosnia flap all but cemented her position as a self-centered, yet utterly clueless politician.

When you boil it right down, Obama and Hillary are two examples of what's wrong with government these days. They don't care about what's best for their party or their country. It's all about them. But as promised in the title of this blog, I have a solution, a way to resolve who should drop out of the Democratic nomination hunt.

How about both of them?

Start fresh with a new candidate. (And, no, I don't mean Al Gore. He's worse than Hillary and Obama combined.) Someone who can unite the party, end the bickering, and maybe, just maybe, pull victory from the jaws of defeat.

And then running that candidate in 2012 because 2008 is toast for the Democrats.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Case For the Death Penalty

The Mumia case has reopened debate about the death penalty and its merits (or lack thereof). For all the rhetoric being thrown around, the issue really isn't that complicated. It boils down to what we should do with those people who have been convicted of willingly taking a life.

The anti-death penalty people say leaving a convicted murderer in prison is more humane because we don't stoop to the killer's level. Sorry, but that's bogus. By putting a murderer like Mumia to death, we're not doing what the murderer did. The murderer acted as judge, jury, and executioner, giving no consideration to any pleas for mercy or evidence that would exonerate the victim. The state allowed the alleged murderer to get a lawyer, have a trial, have a sentencing hearing, and stay in prison while the trial and wait for the final outcome. And the murderer can file appeal after appeal to try to overturn the conviction.

Did I mention the murderer gets to do all of this on our dime while he or she is still living?

Maybe it's me, but I don't see life in prison for someone who took a life to be an acceptable punishment. You can talk about how life in prison is more humane and elevates us as a society all you want, but the fact remains that a murderer given life in prison beats the rap.

And what of the victims' families? Every anti-death penalty advocate out there should take a look at what Maureen Faulkner has endured for over a quarter century. The emotional pain of losing her husband, the anger at the lies being told to save Mumia, the psychological impact of having to relive her husband's death with every new hearing and the lack of closure, the sheer frustration at having to try to educate people about the facts of the Mumia case over and over again. Putting Maureen Faulkner through that is humane?

In a recent discussion, someone told me that getting rid of the death penalty in favor of life in prison elevates our society. I asked how, and I'm still waiting for an answer. What does leaving someone like Mumia alive do to make our society better? I've looked at it from every angle I can find, but I keep coming up with the same answer: it doesn't.

But it does elevate the egos of those who think keeping murderers alive behind bars keeps us more civilized. Make no mistake, the anti-death penalty side is motivated by selfishness, by and large. Because they don't want to kill the murderer, they think no one should, and it makes them feel better (or even morally superior) for taking the stance they do.

Does it? Not from where I sit. In essence, they want to give the guilty a level of mercy the murderers failed to give their victims, all to "prove" that we're more civilized than the murderers are. It's a noble sentiment, but one based in fantasy. All we're doing by keeping murderers in jail is keeping them out of sight without doing anything to really address the problem. What happens if a murderer escapes and kills again? You already have him or her on one life sentence, so another one would be pointless.

And let's face it, the people on death row more often than not aren't peaceful people who just got a bad break or framed for a crime they didn't commit. Many are unrepentant and do not have a high regard for the lives of others. What socially elevating reason is there to keep these people alive? There is none.

Case closed.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Contempt of Court

When it comes to the Mumia Abu Jamal case, every victory seems to be bittersweet. Today's announcement that Mumia would get a new sentencing hearing is no different. A three judge panel upheld his conviction for murdering Danny Faulkner over a quarter century ago, but ruled that he should get a new sentencing hearing due to what the judges felt was misleading jury directions given by the judge at the original sentencing hearing.

The one where Mumia Abu Jamal was sentenced to death.

Now, Maureen Faulkner gets to go through the whole process again based on the opinions of judges who weren't even in the courtroom for the original sentencing hearing. One of the judges even gave the Mumia side a sliver of hope by raising the spectre of racism in the jury selection process, a spectre that has been debunked several times over simply by looking at the court records. Whether the judge did it out of ignorance or pity, I cannot say and won't speculate. What I can say is that he's wrong.

In fact, this whole charade created by Mumia and his followers is wrong. In the quarter century that Mumia has been under the legal microscope, he has never once denied shooting Danny Faulkner. Not one time. Instead, he rejects the charges brought against him. And in that quarter century, his appeals have been rejected multiple times because of a lack of evidence to prove he's the victim of racism or that someone else shot Danny Faulkner or that the ballistics tests prove there was a gun other than the one Mumia had on his person used to kill Faulkner. A quarter century of harebrained conspiracy theories that divert the court's attention away from the facts of the case and give his supporters more time to spin the facts to an unsuspecting and uninformed public.

At this point, there are no excuses for the sentencing of a man who deserves to die for murdering a police officer in cold blood to take even a day more. Over twenty five years is too long for a case that was shut and case from the very beginning. Mumia deserves the death penalty, and Maureen Faulkner deserves closure.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into cyberspace...

Yep, I'm back and blogging! Through some unforeseen circumstances involving a well-known ISP who shall remain nameless, the old Bottom Line Blog had to die a quiet death. But thanks to a little thought and a little direction, I've resurrected the ole girl.

That's right. You get to see me pontificate once again. And I know how much that thrills the 10s of 10s of my fans out there.

So, kick back, enjoy a cold beverage, and enjoy the fun again!