I Love Grover Norquist

Also published on BuzzFlash at www.buzzflash.com and on Democratic Underground at www.democraticunderground.com and on BartCop Reader at www.genslab.com/bcreader on March 26, 2002, and on www.makethemaccountable.com.

This past week, I sat in the audience and watched two performances in Washington, D.C. The first, a debate at the National Press Club, got me laughing and cheered me up. The second, a comedy show at the Improv, depressed me deeply.

The debate, sponsored by the American Prospect magazine, read more

Make DNA Testing Universal and Repeal the 21-Day Rule

(Published in the Culpeper News, 8 June 00)

I took him four months, but Governor Gilmore has now decided to grant a request for DNA testing that could for the first time release a wrongly convicted Virginian who spent time on death row, namely Earl Washington. At the same time, Texas Governor George W. Bush – whom many accuse of denying DNA testing in cases of dubious guilt and going ahead with executions – has for the first time blocked an execution until testing can be done.

“Any read more

Toleration

February, 1999
In April of 1995 I wrote a paper for a graduate philosophy class at the U of Virginia with professor John Simmons. We were reading Rawls, and the paper was called “Reason and Religion in Rawls.” It’s 17 pages long but makes a simple point that is not specific to Rawls. Recently I found the same point made – the only other time I’ve seen it – in a paper by Stanley Fish in “The Revival of Pragmatism,” edited by Morris Dickstein. read more

Town Manager is Sacked

Town Manager Tony Hooper has been fired.
Following a 40-minute discussion in closed session
Tuesday night, Town Council returned to open session
and voted, 8-1 with Sam Found in opposition, to fire
Hooper effective immediately. His pay ($76,694 annually)
will continue through May 31, including

Harry Potter

I spent Memorial Day 2001 reading the first of the popular series of “Harry Potter” children’s books. I also caught some of the usual blurbs on the news about a president, whose family’s wealth got him out of going to war, honoring those who had gone off to murder people of other nationalities — whether by following the “proper rules” of war or by slitting the throats of women and children (the way one American war hero did in an incident that hit the read more

Supermaxes

The Washington Post reported Oct. 3, 2000, that people locked up in a supermax prison in Virginia were complaining of excessive force, including the use of guns, stun guns, and restraints. But why are such things “excessive”? If you are going to lock people in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and treat them as worthless, it is unavoidable that they are going to lose their minds and attack you and pelt you with feces and urine. This experiment of isolating people was run nearly read more

Earl Washington is Free!

24 February 2001 (published at http://www.justicedenied.org)
For the first time, someone has moved from Virginia’s death row to exoneration, pardon, and freedom. The case of Earl Washington Jr. has generated a great deal of press and some limited legislative efforts to find other innocents in Virginia prisons and to prevent future false convictions. But action appears unlikely on three fronts: halting read more

Otalp

“The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature.”

Emerson said that. He also said that if superior men departed on a voyage in chains, one could be sure that the chains would be on the captors by the end of the voyage. From what I am about to tell, it may appear that I bring this up in order to claim superiority. I do not. Rather, I wish to point out a particular case read more

PIRG

Publications Essay Question 2000
Please write a one- to two-page essay on how you would address the following problem:

The essence of PIRG is political. To put it crudely, bad things are happening in our society because people in power gain by allowing them to happen. In order to reform society, we need to not only expose and document the problems and figure out how to solve them, we also need to fight like hell against the powers that be to make reform possible. To put it another way, we need read more

Right to Work

My state, Virginia, is doing pretty well in the great grand scheme of things. Sure, we’re only in second place in importing trash and in killing convicts. Several states are outpacing us in both incarceration rates and growth of sprawl. But we’re cutting down forests, defunding education, and selling cigarettes as fast as anybody in the area, and we can stand proud as Virginians with the knowledge that our Commonwealth is the home not only of Oliver North, Ken Starr, Pat Robertson, read more