The Catholic Church decided in the Middle Ages that too many people were getting convicted of crimes that they hadn’t committed. They instituted a rule that said nobody could be convicted without either two eyewitnesses or a confession. Convictions became difficult to obtain. Since it was not possible to obtain extra witnesses, the Church decided to torture defendants until they confessed.
Today we have a legal system with many safeguards for defendants’ rights. However, in our heart of hearts, we don’t believe that we could convict enough defendants if we actually gave all of them all of their rights. Consequently, we set nominal penalties for crimes at absurdly high levels, e.g., “life plus 100 years.” The actual penalty received by 95% of the people who commit such crimes is in fact 12-15 years. This is what they get if they agree to a plea bargain. However, if they choose to exercise their right to trial, they face the nominal penalty of life plus 100.
Having these really high penalties is more subtle than physical torture, but the basic idea is the same and probably a fair number of sensible people are pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.
EPA chief Lisa Jackson suddenly resigned last week because she was convinced that President Obama is planning to green-light the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Post has learned.
If this is what we get for winning an election, I’d hate to see what losing looks like.
The New York Times
Janis Lane, president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party
According to a new Zogby Poll the wheels are close to coming off the Romney campaign. President Obama leads Mitt Romney among NASCAR fans, 48%-41%.
My fellow Americans, can I have a moment of your time?
It would appear that, following yesterday’s leaking of a video that shows me effectively writing off half the nation’s voters, we can pretty safely say my presidential campaign has come to an end. Oh, technically it may still exist, sure, but let’s be honest with each other: It’s all over. And I have fully accepted that reality.
So, with that in mind, I would like to use my few remaining weeks in the public spotlight to tell the nation all about a truly great religious organization called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
You see, folks, I speak to you now not as the Republican Party’s failed nominee for the presidency, but as an ordinary American whose life has been changed by the vision of a very special man named Joseph Smith.
Do we make both a conceptual and analytical mistake when we refer to student loans as a form of “financial aid”? Should that term be something to be resisted? Demos’ Tamara Draut brought up this point in a conversation recently, and I think it needs to be explored further, because it frames how we speak about student loans.
Nice piece on mislabeling student loans “financial aid.” In politics (and pretty much everything else) language is everything.
Fred Clark is an evangelical blogger with some heavy-duty religious credentials, and that adds a particular gravitas to his August 29 blog detailing 533 lies told by Mitt Romney in 30 weeks. That’s right, 533 verifiable, checkable lies told by a candidate running for the top job in the country.
Mitt Romney has told 616 verifiable lies in 33 weeks.