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Showing posts from March, 2005

Witness Against The Prosecution: The Ross Case

The execution of serial killer Michael Ross was stopped in its tracks several weeks ago by the unorthodox intervention of U. S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny.

Those tracks are miles long. Both Ross and his living victims, the family members of the nine women he murdered, have endured a long trial, an automatic review by Connecticut’s Supreme Court, a penalty hearing at which Ross was sentenced to death, an appellate decision that occasioned a second death penalty hearing, and a second sentencing hearing during which new evidence was considered by a second jury that sentenced Ross to death a second time.

This process of seemingly endless litigation finally was interrupted by Ross himself. Professing a concern for the family members of his victims, Ross discharged his public defenders and engaged a new lawyer, T. R. Paulding, to represent his interests. Ross had decided to forgo any further appeals and accept his sentence.

In this effort, Ross was opposed by his former public def…

Edith Prague And The Coming Destruction Of Catholic Education

Edith Prague, D-Columbia, the co-chairwoman of the legislature’s labor and public employees committee, is to unions, roughly, what Robespierre and the sans culottes were to the French Revolution.

It was only a matter of time before the destructors-elect of urban public education should turn their eyes towards the further destruction of Catholic and private education in Connecticut.

Prague is the author of a stupid bill that would, according to most news accounts, “empower Catholic school teachers to bargain collectively.” No doubt that is how the bill was described in the press release media outlets uncritically reproduce in their stories.

The bill would unionize Catholic school teachers. If Prague’s bill is enacted by the legislature, it would in fact drive up costs, largely by increasing the salaries of Catholic school teachers to such a point as to cause the closure of yet more urban parochial schools that are an embarrassment to public schools -- because Catholic schools provide a…

Why Referendums Are Necessary

The question of referendums has arisen in connection with civil unions. The yeas and nays, naturally, are polarized. Once a question has been proposed and answered, sure as shooting there will be polarization – even if the question is: Should there be non-binding referendums?

Decisions of any kind are necessarily divisive. Once I’ve decided that binding referendums may or may not be advisable, I have courted opposition from everyone who believes that my decision – whatever it may be – is wrong. Once I’ve decided to leave my house and travel to a store to buy shoes, I have set my face against those who believe it would be much better for cows if I should go barefooted.

An artful distaste for polarization – as if any chosen course of action may be implemented in a democracy without divisions – has caused supporters of civil unions and marriage for gays to argue that even a non-binding referendum on the question of “civil unions” would be needlessly divisive.

Non-binding referendums, it …

Johnny We Hardly Knew’Ye

It’s all over – but for the clanging shut of the prison door. The fat lady has sung, and the long, luxurious days of schadenfreude are quickly drawing to a close.

As prearranged by prosecutors and his defense lawyer, former Governor John Rowland presented himself before Judge Peter Dorsey for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to a single felony count: conspiracy to steal honest services, a combination of mail and tax fraud.

Just as the U.S. military goes to war with the Army it has, so prosecutors and defense attorneys go to sentencing hearings with the deal they have arranged. Had prosecutors not been satisfied with sentencing arrangements, they might have gone to trial. At the last minute, the prosecution attempted to inflate the agreed upon sentence guidelines, but judge Dorsey, electing to enforce the prior arrangement, sentenced Rowland to a year and a day in prison.

This did not satisfy the street-theater people, one of whom, dressed in a Satanic looking mask and carryin…

A Better Terrorist Mantrap

Very likely the answer to Islamic terrorism, when it arrives, will have a spiritual component. Terrorists in Syria, Iran and Iraq are driven by a vision of conquest and glory, as was Mohammad in the 10th century. The West, outwardly materialistic and secular, is driven by a different vision. As Islamic purists might see it, we are the flesh, they are the spirit, and the two are at war with each other.

Profound secularists in the West and terrorists in the East do not understand that for much of human history the two have commingled and informed each other. A war between the flesh and the spirit in which one of the two permanently vanquished the other would lead to a tyranny of angels or devils. The struggle before us in the 21st century occurs in a theatre of thought and action in which lions may lay down with lambs, provided there is no final victory between, to put it in modern terms, the claims of science and the claims of religion.

But in the mean time, terrorists are roving the wor…

Why Not Harems?

This is the stuff of which sociological studies are made.

A gentleman was shot in a bar after an altercation involving a woman. The gentleman was laid to rest, and the usual obsequies were observed. In attendance at the funeral were the four women with whom the gentleman once had intimate relations, along with the gentleman’s twelve children. The gentleman was not married to any of the four mothers of his children, all of whom who spoke in glowing terms of the deceased as a wonderful father and a “good family man.”

The occasion, featured on the front page of a state-wide Connecticut newspaper, produced the expected stir, and in due course a letter appeared in the paper written by a lady of liberal persuasion.

“Over the years,” the aggrieved correspondent wrote, “I have come to accept a broadening definition of marriage and the family.” Connecticut is now on the legislative brink of broadening the definition of “family” to include persons of the same gender, and a stretcher bill extending…