Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2004

We Wish You A Merry Whatsit

T’is the season to be secular – and litigious. In Kirkland, Washington, a high school principal this year refused to allow a production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” because Tiny Tim, the character in the tale who melts the stony heart of Scrooge, was incautious enough to pray, “God Bless everyone.” The “G” word rarely has been in favor among secularist censors, and this year was no different. On most occasions, one may expect an eruption of righteous anger when books are banned by school systems that object to ribald language or offensive messages. When Huckleberry Finn was dumped from libraries by timid administrators unnerved by the “N” word, a tortured cry went up from defenders of the First Amendment. But not this time. Florida and New Jersey school districts have banned Christmas carols altogether, perhaps fearing the litigious American Civil Liberty Union lawyer hiding under the school nurse’s bed. In Somerville Massachusetts, the mayor formally apologize

Michael Ross, Governor Jodi Rell and Norman Patiss' Strange Delusion

Norman Pattis, a defense attorney in New Haven has weighed in on Governor Jodi Rell and the Michael Ross case. What is it about the death penalty, other than its finality, that makes anti-death penalty proponents vacate their craniums when they begin to think about it? “Michael Ross was sentenced to death almost two decades ago,” Pattis wrote in a recent op-ed column , “and his case has bounced through the court system for more than a decade.” He almost got it right. The case has been dribbled through the court system by public defenders who, for twenty years after Ross had been prosecuted and found guilty of murdering four women, strung out the litigation through appeals over the objections of their client. Ross, who murdered eight women, has said that he wants justice to be done, so that the suffering of the families of his victims may be finally resolved. This may be Ross’ finest hour in a life full of murderous deeds. Ross, Pattis continues, “has declared a desire to e

Michael Ross, The Death Penalty and Connecticut's Press

In a recent column in the Journal Inquirer following Governor Jodi Rell's public announcement that she would not reprieve Michael Ross' death sentence, the paper's editorial editor, Keith Burris, ventured far out when he wrote that Connecticut had no standing in executing Ross, a murderer who strangled eight women, raping most of them. "I would not blame the loved ones of any of Michael Ross' victims for killing him, and I would not vote to convict any parent of any one of his victims for doing so," Burris wrote. "Call it an eye for an eye or a crime of passion. Ross' victims and family have standing. "I also think Ross is entitled to take his own life. (Go for it Mike.) "But I do not see how the state does. And I do not see how the state upholds justice if the state kills him." There is a great deal of confusion here, particularly since Burris wrote in the same column that he agreed with Cardinal Bernardin's notion that the Ca

A Brief Sermon on Lowell Weicker, Roger Williams and Religion in America

It is not at all surprising that former senator and governor Lowell Weicker, the prime mover in the enactment of an income tax that has doubled state expenditures, should now be spending his twilight years in retirement bemoaning – high taxes. Weicker’s entire public life has been wasted in attempts to pound square pegs in round holes. In addition to high taxes, Weicker also is troubled by what he perceives as a dangerous and possibly unconstitutional religious resurgence in America, an alarming turn towards faith that apparently has not affected public education administrators in Maryland who, eyes cocked in the direction of mischievous suits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, have developed curricula pointedly not mentioning that the Puritans were preeminently a religious people who often thanked God for their good fortune – as was the case during Thanksgiving. “Too many Americans,” Weicker writes in Northeast magazine, a Hartford Courant publication, “have the view th