Friday, May 30, 2008

Letting go

I have to let some of them go. I cannot respond to absolutely every message board comment and blog post that I want to. I just don't have the time to take on every stupid, ill-informed, ill-thought-out, or just plain offensive opinion I read on the internet. There are just too damn many of them. Today, I have read many, many things on many, many topics that just set me off. I can't take them all on. I have to pick my battles.

I don't have time to reply to absolutely everyone who has posted somewhere on the internet about their disdain for the California Supreme Court's ruling opening marriage to all desiring couples or the NY Governor's declaration that his state will give full faith and credit to California marriages. I applaud those decisions, but I cannot take on absolutely every idiot out there who insists on considering homosexuality "unnatural" or "odious." I just have to let some of them go.

I don't have time to take on every idiot who got their panties in a twist over the paisley scarf Rachael Ray wore in a Dunkin Donuts ad. If you really want to think Rachael freakin' Ray was supporting terrorism, I will not attempt to stop you. Nor will I point out the fundamental problem with associating a type of scarf worn throughout the Arab world with terrorism. Although it should be obvious that not everyone in the Arab world is a terrorist and lumping all Arabs in with terrorists is stereotyping of the worst and most dangerous kind. But I can't let it be my problem every single time.

I don't have time to challenge every person who takes swipes at "feminism" instead of recognizing that their particular beef is probably with a small subset of the whole.

I don't have time to rip into every blog poster who willfully misreads other bloggers. If you really want to take one line out of an entire article and use that line to say the author's point is the exact opposite of what anyone who read the entire text would clearly see was the point, I will not let it bother me. Well, I'll still let it bother me, but I won't waste my time explaining to you the error of your reading comprehension.

I have other things to do. I have a job and friends and a really cute dog. I have dishes to wash and laundry to do. I need to mow my lawn. I have to accept the fact that it is not my responsibility to take on absolutely every opinion that I think needs to be challenged.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I am glad to see this story has been making the rounds on all the major news websites today. But it really shouldn't take this much media attention to get a district attorney's office to get around to retrying a case after a court order.

Man on death row despite high court ruling Multiple sclerosis has Paul House in a wheelchair. A tenacious prosecutor has him on death row, deemed too dangerous to be released two years after the U.S. Supreme Court said he likely isn't guilty.

It never ceases to amaze me how some prosecutors will fight tooth and nail against letting go of a conviction that nobody else has any confidence in. Now, in this case, the DNA evidence certainly does not prove Mr. House did not commit the murder. I acknowledge that. The presence of what we now know was her husband's semen does not prove anything about who did or did not kill her. But, the state's theory at trial was that House killed her in connection with a sexual assault. That theory was based on the fact that they knew semen was present. But in 1985, the tests to determine whose semen that was did not exist. So it stands to reason that the verdict might not be the same had the jury known that the state's theory was wrong.

In light of the new DNA testing which goes against the state's entire theory of the case at trial, and new evidence pointing to the victim's husband, the U.S. Supreme Court expressed no confidence in the verdict. A U.S. District judge has ordered the state of Tennessee to retry Mr. House or release him. Why hasn't anything happened yet? The D.A. has insisted he will take the case back to trial, though he has decided not to seek the death penalty again. How generous.

The defendant's mother thinks the state is secretly hoping that Mr. House, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years into his stint on death row, will quietly die before a public re-trial that might well end in an acquittal.

Why don't we demand more from our prosecuting attorneys, who are public servants after all? Multiple judges at various levels have expressed the belief that Mr. House is more than likely not guilty. The state's theory of the crime as a rape-murder has no support in the evidence. There appears to be credible evidence pointing to another suspect. I think we should expect prosecutors to take action quickly when a case like this, especially involving a death sentence, is questioned on so many levels.

It is possible that the prosecution knows far more about this case than I do and does have a good-faith reason to believe Mr. House is guilty of this murder. But if that's the case, then let a new jury hear all that good evidence of guilt you've got. It's the height of arrogance for a prosecutor to think his judgement of the evidence is superior to all others: judges, the media, even possible future juries. It isn't the role of a prosecutor to decide definitively who is and is not guilty. The role of the prosecutor is to produce evidence to a jury so the jury can decide if a particular individual is or is not guilty.

If the prosecution is delaying because they are concerned that they won't be able to get another guilty verdict, well, that's just all the more reason for acting quickly to retry Mr. House or flat-out release him. If you can't convince a jury that he's guilty, the only just result is an acquittal. Is it too much for me to expect prosecuting attorneys across this country to understand that?
It's never too late to do the right thing.

Man hanged for murder 86 years ago pardoned. An Australian governor gave a posthumous pardon Tuesday to a man hanged 86 years ago for the rape and murder of a young girl, after new research discredited the evidence used for his conviction.

Well, I guess it's way too late for this poor guy, but at least his family gets some relief. But not like any of his immediate family who actually knew him. Still, it's better than nothing.

This case is more evidence for my argument that any conviction based on hair evidence is suspect unless that hair was still attached to the follicle and yielded DNA. Otherwise, any claim that hairs can be matched to the defendant just by a microscopic comparison is bogus.

More importantly, this type of case is my rebuttal to those death penalty proponents who insist that we abolitionists in the US can't point to a single case of an innocent person being executed. Are you really, really sure that in the entire history of this country, we don't have a conviction and execution like this? That was just the way cases used to go: no scientific evidence at all, only a few months between crime and execution (meaning very little time for investigation, review, or for passions stirred up by the crime to die down). And let's not ignore the reality of our racist past. How many black men in the south were executed for raping white women or murdering whites? But I'm supposed to believe that not one of those men were wrongly accused?

It seems utterly implausible to me that we've never executed an innocent person, Justice Scalia's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Now, even if not one innocent person has ever been executed or ever will, I'd still be opposed to the death penalty. It's just wrong to kill. But please stop using as an argument for the d.p. the claim that we can't show that this country has ever executed an innocent person. Aren't we all too smart to pretend?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Let's not go to prison

Most of my clients are in custody. If I want to see them, discuss important case strategy, or get their signatures on paperwork, I have to go to them. The thing is, I really don't like going to jail or prison. I know, I know, no one likes to. It's a hassle. They stamp you with that invisible stamp that, secretly, you worry must possess carcinogenic chemicals. You have to go through the security, get an escort to the visiting room, which is never as confidential as it should be. You have to see your client in ugly scrubs and slippers, usually in shackles. And there's usually some sort of power play by the prison officials. They tell you you can only stay for half an hour or you can't bring certain papers in or try to get a guard to stay in the room or make up some ridiculously arbitrary rule that serves no purpose but to remind you exactly who's in charge.

I don't enjoy any of that, but my main problem with going to visit my clients is that I just can't stand being behind bars. I hate driving up and seeing the barbed-wire fence with the sniper tower. I silently cringe each time I go through that first metal door. When it clangs shut behind me and I'm in the sally port, all I want to do is bang on the door and beg them to let me out.

The last time I went to prison, they took me to the cell house where I get to meet with my client in a private room. In this room, they insist on putting my client into a cage, so we can't have any sense of normalcy during the meeting. I find this infuriating, because I resent the idea that I should have anything to fear from my clients. I assure you, I am not afraid of any of them. Naturally, I want the door shut so the nosy guards can't hear what we're talking about. As the door shut this last time, I realized there was no door knob on the inside! There used to be, but they'd removed it! (Side note: why? Are they seriously afraid that someone would remove that doorknob and turn it in to a weapon? Has this actually happened or are they just that paranoid? If they're seriously worried about this, can't they just check to make sure the doorknob is still there when they come back into the room to take the inmate away?)

Without a doorknob, how was I going to open the door to get back out? I scanned the walls and discovered that there was no panic button! Now, I have never felt the need for a panic button. In all my client visits in all my years, I have never felt threatened by a client. But when a prison door closes with me on the wrong side of it and there is on apparent way for me to open that door, I want a panic button!

The whole time I was meeting with my client, I couldn't stop thinking about that damn doorknob. I kept half an eye on the guard station to make sure there were still guards around. Someone needed to be around to let me out! My mind went through all sorts of wild scenarios that would get me stuck in the prison overnight. Irrational, obviously, but I was getting a bit panicked.

What I worried about the most, though, was that my client could see my tension. I was freaking out because I might have to stay behind that door 2 minutes longer than I wanted to. He has to stay there probably for the rest of his life. How selfish am I? I don't ever want any of my clients to see how very uncomfortable I am with being behind bars. I hate myself every time for being too eager to end the meeting and get the hell out of there. I overcompensate and tell them I've got all day and am in no rush, but surely they can see through that. I try not to run too fast from the room when we are done, but I know they must be able to see an urgency in my movements.

On this last visit, it turned out that all my worries about that missing doorknob were for naught. The door proved quite easy to pull open without a knob. I bolted out of the room and tapped my foot impatiently while waiting for my escort back to the front door. I walked briskly back towards that front sally port, feeling relief with every step. I went through that last sally port with a bunch of guards at shift change. I practically knocked one of them over in my rush to put my wrist out under the uv light so the guy at the door control could see my stamp. Then I ran out to the parking lot and reveled in my freedom. And all the while, I hated myself for it.

I hate taking such joy in leaving my clients behind. I hate thinking I could never survive in a place like that while all of my clients face decades. I hate knowing that they probably know how much I hate being there. I hate even more that they would all probably tell me that it's all right for me to feel this way.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Feminism is not a dirty word

Feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Gee, that sounds pretty good to me. Something along the lines that all persons (not just men) are created equal. All persons should have equal access to education, health care, and the legal system. All persons should have equal say in the political process. That sounds like something that the vast majority of Americans would agree with, in fact.

So why are so many American women so insistent that they are not feminists? And why do they say it with such righteous indignation, such a sense that "feminism" is bad and evil and so very, very beneath them? What is so damn wrong with identifying with the idea that men and women are equal under the law and in inherent value as humans??

I am so sick of women who have gone to college and have careers in whatever field they wanted and can express their sexuality without facing unwanted pregnancies and have the right to vote and know they can be taken seriously as political candidates or social leaders claiming they want nothing to do with the very philosophy that made all of those opportunities possible. This new generation of young adult women can take for granted the fact that we truly can follow whatever path we want without anyone telling us we can't. But we shouldn't turn our backs on what got us here.

When my grandmother was born, she was born to a woman who wasn't allowed to vote. Fortunately, feminists (those radicals who thought men and women were equal) fixed things so by the time my grandmother was 21, she did get to vote. She was smart. Until the last year of her long life, she was one of the best-read, best-informed people I've ever had the privilege to meet. She wanted to go to college. Her parents told her no. They needed to save money to put her four younger brothers through college so they needed her to get a job and help out. Sadly, my grandmother was too dutiful a daughter to disobey her parents, so she never got to go to college. But nothing was going to stop her daughter from going to college and graduate school. And you can bet she was thrilled to know that her two granddaughters grew up in a different era when no one would tell them they had to defer to the boys. I think she loved finding out that I had surpassed her brother, the retired lawyer, in courtroom experience. For her sake, and the sake of all of the other women of her era who were discouraged from pursuing an education, let alone law school, I loved it, too!

I will never distance myself from the movement that made it possible for me to live my life without arbitrary, unfair limits placed on me for something as arbitrary as my sex. I will never be ashamed to say I believe that all people, regardless of sex or gender, are equal and should be free to pursue whatever path they want. Thanks to feminism, women on the whole are valued members of the workforce and men are more involved fathers. These are good, good things.

I am a feminist and I am damn proud of it. I am ashamed of the women of my generation who would deny that label for themselves.


My birthday is still over a month away, and already I'm dreading it. It's kind of a big one this year. I've never been one to shy away from how old I am, but it's hitting me hard right now that I am going to be as old as I am and have so little to show for it. I'm deeply in debt (home and student loans, the debt that everyone has, but I hate it). My career feels like it's on the downhill path. I definitely hit my peak a few years ago and have no sign of getting back to that point. I do not have it all.

So I'm just warning you. Don't wish me a happy birthday. Don't plan a party or lunch or dinner. I do not want to celebrate it. I just want to sit at home and cry about all the ways in which my life has not turned out the way I wanted it to. Thank you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here is the story of 3 middle school students suspended for refusing to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. (Yes, this story's been out there for a while now. Cut me some slack for being late in getting to it; I've had a hard week.) I sympathize completely with those students because back when I was in school, I didn't recite the pledge, either. Not for any religious reasons. Just because I think it's wrong to require it.

It astounds me that in a free country, anyone still thinks it's appropriate to require people to pledge allegiance. Requiring a pledge of loyalty is antithetical to the very idea of a free society. Requiring someone to pledge allegiance doesn't establish that the required party respects her country or her flag or whatever it is that you want her to respect. All it shows is that she respects your power to inflict punishment or shame if she refuses. To be truly meaningful, a pledge of allegiance must be absolutely voluntary, uncoerced by school officials or peer pressure.

I went to a pre-school graduation a few days ago where the Pledge was recited. I believe I was the only person who chose not to stand and recite it. Does that make me less of a patriot? Or just a free-thinker who expresses her love of country in her own ways? I resent the intrusion of the national anthem in every sporting event I attend, as if that will make me more of a patriot to engage in that show on a daily basis. I don't think it does. I certainly don't think it makes me less of a patriot that I wish most regular sporting events would stop playing the anthem before every single game.

What I really object to is the notion that there are certain things that we all must do to prove our love of country. Never mind that the flag is not a terribly meaningful symbol to me, I need to stand and salute it. Never mind that the national anthem is usually not sung well when sung at a baseball game, I need to stand at rapt attention with my hand over my heart. Never mind that Congress bastardized the Pledge of Allegiance 50 years after it was written to add two words that seemingly exclude me from being part of the nation, I need to stand and affirm my loyalty. Do these things and your patriotism cannot be assailed (regardless of your stances on things like first amendment rights, police powers, etc); Don't do these things and you obviously hate your country and should move.

Here's the thing: I really shouldn't have to prove my patriotic credentials to anybody. I spend each and every day defending the damn constitution, after all. But nobody else should have to prove their credentials, either. Because I'm such a patriot, I affirm and defend the rights of those students (and anyone else) who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on command. What truer form of patriotism can there be than standing up for (or in this case sitting down for) our individual rights not to be forced by our government into making any statement?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Stirring up Trouble

I seem to have been stirring up a fair bit of trouble on the internet in the past week or two. I've been kind of growly in person, causing me not to pull any punches via the safety of the internet. I've been finding prosecutors' blogs and commenting on them, challenging their assumptions. In one case, I called the prosecutor absurd. Twice. I'm sure they've loved my blog if they followed my google profile over here. Especially the post that tells how I feel about prosecutors.

I've been getting involved in newspaper website discussions. All of the major newspapers in my region have fairly robust discussion boards. I try to stay out of it, but sometimes I just can't. I usually try to be very reasonable in my tone, but it seems lately I've been a bit more confrontational. There are a couple of commenters in particular whose schtick has gotten old so I've been calling them on it of late. I'm kind of turning the corner from being reasonable to just plain ranting.

Then my friend has a nice, sweet blog. Or it was until I showed up. Lately, it's gotten a bit more, um, active in its discussions. I kinda started that, albeit unintentionally. I didn't even think what I posted was all that controversial, but I guess it struck a nerve. She says she wanted to get her blog back into more political topics and she doesn't mind robust discussion. I hope she means it, because in my current mood I'm having a hard time letting things go. This is the same friend who calls me optimistic for getting into these internet discussions, so she probably does recognize my good faith motives, even if she doesn't agree with my statements.

I guess I'm doing what I set out to do when I started this blog: reach out beyond my choir of like-minded friends and co-workers. That's good. Reasonable discussion between people with differing views is never a bad thing. I just hope I can meet my goal of broaching those discussions in ways that don't just piss people off. Mostly. Some people really need to be called on their b.s. See, there I go again. Stirring up trouble.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

You know you're a grown-up when...

the foundation repair guy gives you a quote of $5,000 and you breathe a sigh of relief because you can afford that!

It will wipe out most of my savings account, but I can write a check today for $5,000 without going to credit cards or begging to my parents. And without missing a single mortgage payment.

I feel like more of an adult now than I did when I was admitted to the bar, argued before the state supreme court, or bought my house. Because today, I have established that buying a house was not a foolish pipe dream. I was not going beyond my means. I am a responsible home-owner who can afford to do the necessary maintenance on her house. Who would have guessed?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy or Compassionate?

Headline on Yahoo! news today:

"Conservatives Happier than Liberals"

The story went on to explain that conservatives score better at rationalization, which helps them to rationalize away inequalities. Liberals suffer more of a psychological toll from inequalities in their society. As a result, 47% of conservatives described themselves as "very happy" compared to only 28% of liberals.

So I'm more depressed, but a more compassionate person? I think I'll take that trade. I'd rather be sadly aware of the inequalities around me than blissfully ignorant. At least awareness brings with it the opportunity to try to change things.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From MSNBC's story today about Jenna Bush's wedding:

WASHINGTON - Talk about hush-hush wedding planning. First daughter Jenna Bush was the last in the family to know she was getting married.

Months ago, her fiancé, Henry Hager, told Jenna's twin sister that he wanted to propose. Then at the Camp David presidential retreat, Hager asked President Bush and first lady Laura Bush for their daughter's hand in marriage.

For weeks, the president and Mrs. Bush kept their lips zipped.

Seriously? Are we still doing this? Asking anybody other than the woman for her "hand" in marriage?? 'Cause I thought it was 2008.

I really don't understand why this is considered a good tradition, or a respectful one. It shows very little respect for the autonomy of the potential bride. What sort of a woman needs to have her parents sign off on her life choices before she even knows there's a choice pending?

I get that it's tradition, but do the people who still follow it really think about why they do it or what it means? I'm not a big fan of holding onto traditions just because it's how it's always been done. It's just how it was done when women were considered something a little less than fully autonomous people. It's just how it was done when men paid dowries to take women away from their parents' homes. I don't think it's how it should be done now, when women support themselves, pay their own way through school, own their own damn homes. Other than reinforcing out-dated, patriarchal stereotypes, I fail to see what purpose this tradition serves.

In the pilot episode of Alias, Sydney Bristow's boyfriend calls up her dad and asks for Syd's hand in marriage. I have always loved Jack Bristow's response. He told the boyfriend he was asking the wrong person. His facial expression and tone conveyed the depth at his annoyance. I think he was annoyed to realize his strong, independent daughter was wasting her time with a doofus who didn't appreciate her. I certainly hope that is the reaction my father would have if any man of mine ever tried this nonsense.

And we're back

Well, that was a really pleasant 7 months. But now it's over. Georgia just killed a guy tonight, officially ending the moratorium on state-sanctioned murder. And now the machinery of death is warmed up and will soon be at full strength. More killings are scheduled for the month of May. Then there's a whole slew of 'em coming in the summer. Yippee.

Why I Shouldn't Watch Nancy Grace

Tonight, Nancy featured the sad case of Erica Rutledge, a single 24 year-old mother whose 6 year-old daughter died in an apartment fire. (4 year-old son survived.) The mother has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Nancy began the discussion by telling us, with her regular tone of horror, judgment, and disgust, that the "mother" (you can practically feel the air quotes around that word) was out at a club while her poor, innocent child died. The tone clearly conveys that Nancy thinks the woman is pure evil for having the nerve to be at a club ever. Nancy thinks, "She has children! She is not allowed to have any thoughts but those that pertain to those beautiful little angels. Only a truly horrible mother would spend any time at all away from her precious children!" Might have been an appropriate moment for a caller to ask Nancy where her two beautiful children are each night while she's spewing her crap on t.v. But I digress.

My first assumption from the way Nancy spoke of the horrible "mother" was that she must have left the kids home alone. But in that case, I would actually agree with Nancy that the mother is pretty bad to go to a club, and that can't happen. So there must be more to the story. Sure enough, there was a man at the apartment. But Nancy says he didn't even know he was supposed to be in charge and didn't know the kids were there! Well, ok, that's still not great parenting on Mom's part. If that's true. Of course, Nancy takes the man's story at face value and automatically discredits any claims by Mom that she really did leave someone in charge of her kid.

Here, Nancy and I finally fully diverge. Phew! It feels wrong to be too closely aligned to her in opinion. Thank God it never lasts long as she always omits key details. Key details like, Mom didn't leave home until 12:30, so at the time of the fire, she'd been gone for one hour. One single hour. She didn't skip out on bed time or meal time. The fact that this all happened after 12:30 also explains why the man left at the home was sleeping. Ok, so maybe this woman isn't such a terrible mom.

Another pretty key detail that Nancy omitted is this: the daughter wasn't supposed to be home that night. When Mom left the apartment, daughter was supposed to be settled in at a sleep-over. No reason to ask the babysitter man to take care of the daughter because Mom would be home before her daughter came home in the morning. Hardly negligent or irresponsible parenting. For some reason, the sleep-over hosts brought the daughter home sometime after 12:30. So Mom didn't know the kid was home. Seems that this also explains the man's statement that he didn't know he was supposed to take care of the girl. Hmm, now that we think about it, his statement was confined to not realizing he was responsible for the girl.

Nancy had a fire investigator on to discuss the possible causes of the fire. They think it started in Mom's room. Could have been mechanical. Could have been matches. Could have been a lit cigarette. Nancy instantly discredited the first two possibilities. Mom clearly left a lit cigarette in her room. Couldn't have just been random chance, couldn't have been the little boy who was sleeping in that room playing with matches, and the fire investigator couldn't possibly be wrong about what room the fire started in.

So let's recap: According to Nancy Grace, Mom is evil, irresponsible, and should go away for life because her daughter died in an apartment fire while Mom was out at a club. A fire that Mom undoubtedly started by leaving a lit cigarette in her room. Her little lackey, Sue Moss, who clearly aspires to be the next Nancy, even emulating the contemptuous huffs, the snarky comments, and the sneer, was right there agreeing with Nancy on everything.

Now let's de-Nancy Grace this story and find the reality. A single mom went out for an hour or two. Is she really not allowed to go out once in a while? We have no knowledge that she does this every night or that she ever leaves her kids alone to go clubbing. She left her 4 year-old at home with a friend and her 6 year-old at a sleep-over. How on earth does anyone get criminal behavior out of this scenario?? That's not even negligent parenting! Even if the guy wasn't the best babysitter in the world, so what? She didn't leave her kids home alone and the fact is that the guy got the boy out of the apartment. He says he didn't know the girl was home or he would have gone for her, too. So the babysitter fit the main criteria we have for babysitters: take care of the kids if some emergency happens.

Now, maybe she did leave a lit cigarette (hardly a proven point and requires a lot of faith in fire science, which I do not have), but the crux of Nancy's complaint with this woman is that she's such a negligent, irresponsible person for leaving her kids to go out. The real question I have is what is up with the sleep-over hosts who brought that girl home so late at night? Did they make sure the adult at the home knew the girl was back? Did they try to call the girl's mom? If they just brought the girl home and let her slip inside the apartment, don't they at least share some morally responsibility for the girl's death? Several times in my childhood, my parents had to take one of my friends home from my house at a weird hour. They never did so without making contact with the friend's parents. My parents would have walked that girl to her door, knocked on it, and made sure the babysitter woke up and saw the girl was back home. Isn't that what any adult entrusted with the care of another woman's child should do?

The bottom line here is that this all only happened a few days ago. Nancy doesn't know all the details. There is no final report from the fire investigator. No witnesses have yet testified in court. We don't really know any of the witness statements in full. No one seems to know any information from the sleep-over hosts. Basically, we don't know jack squat right now. The investigation and trial process usually helps flesh these things out pretty well. The picture at the end of a trial is usually pretty different from the picture a few days in.

And here's what's so wrong with Nancy Grace. She doesn't know much at all about how this situation will appear once all of the witnesses testify and all the evidence comes in, but that doesn't slow her down at all in passing judgment. She has already got this mother convicted in her mind. She got there by ignoring details, assuming others, and accepting at face value any piece of possible evidence that points to her conclusion. She dismisses with much derision anyone who dares to speak a word in defense of a suspect. There's no room for sympathizing in any way with the person who has been branded the suspect. (At one point, she made a very nasty comment about Mom crying in the courtroom. Nancy told her to stop crying about being in the jailhouse orange. Gee, Nancy, she couldn't possibly have been crying for her dead daughter, now could she?) She speaks with contempt of the presumption of innocence, due process, and defense attorneys. All this from a former prosecutor who is supposed to be respectful of our system of justice.

And people eat it up. Every single caller starts with, "You're the greatest Nancy," "Love your show, Nancy," or "Yours is the only show worth watching, Nancy." And my favorite, "Thank you for all you do for victims, Nancy." Makes me sick. No wonder we have more people in prison than any other country. This nation is just full of idiots who always want to blame, judge, and condemn others. No thoughtful analysis of evidence, thank you. No careful consideration of the individual's actual moral culpability. No honest recognition that sometimes people just die and there really isn't anyone to blame. At least not from Nancy Grace and her dittoheads. (Yes, I'm borrowing from Rush here, but it really fits, because no one who calls in to Nancy's show ever expresses any dissent.)

So this is why I shouldn't watch Nancy Grace. It isn't entertaining or edifying. It just pisses me off. And it adds to my ever-increasing dismay about our general public's attitudes towards crime and those unfortunate enough to be suspected of committing crimes. But I'm kind of addicted to getting pissed off and I do think it's important to keep tabs on the bad, sensationalist media types so we can try to counter them. Still, I can't keep doing this to myself. My blood pressure doesn't need to be so high and I can't take it upon myself to debunk each and every one of her shows. So I'm not gonna watch her again. Not for a long time. At least, not until tomorrow night!

(The last two sentences are quoted from one of my favorite movies. Maybe a bit obscure as a quote, but it's always been one of my favorite moments. Points to the first person who can identify it!)
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