Media Social Justice Shorts

Social Justice Shorts



Tuesday’s London Telegraph says Barack Obama may have a difficult death penalty issue facing him in the extremely near future.

Unlike presidents Bush and Clinton, there’s one potentially controversial issue in the United States that has yet to seriously trouble President Obama – the death penalty. That could be about to change.

A death row prisoner with a particularly strong claim that he was wrongly convicted could be just weeks away from execution. Would the president stand by and let that happen? It might be difficult for him if he did. Here’s why.

The case in question is that of Troy Davis, a 40-year-old man who has been on death row in the state of Georgia since 1991.


So, why should this concern a popular president,
burrowing through an enormous in-tray 500 miles away in Washington? Well, on the one hand Barack Obama is unambiguously pro-death penalty in what he calls the “most egregious” or especially “heinous” crimes. Last year he disagreed with a Supreme Court ruling that outlawed the execution of child rapists receiving death sentences and he’s said he’d want Bin Laden executed. Okay, so far so what? This is no different from most mainstream politicians in pro-death penalty USA.

But, Obama is also heavily associated with Illinois where, as he delicately puts it, they “had some problems … in the application of the death penalty”. In fact, the problems included the then Governor George Ryan being confronted with the fact that during his governorship more death row prisoners had been released from prison on the grounds of innocence than had been put to death. Death row was running at “a loss”. As a lawmaker in Illinois Obama helped introduce new measures for videotaping police interviews and he says he’s “proud” of his role in “overhauling a death penalty system that was broken”.

Read the rest.

And WLA’s repots on Davis are to be found here.

Here’s Amnesty USA’s page on Davis complete with an interview.


Presumably you know that NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd
was accused of lifting a paragraph from a previous column by journalist/blogmeister Josh Marshall and depositing it whole in her own column on Sunday. Dowd made matters worse by coming up with a ridiculously unlikely excuse, and quite a kerfuffle ensued with a great many people tossing around the P word, plagiarism.

Josh Marshall had been silent during all the commotion but now he has replied. He was gracious. And also right.

I generally think we’re too quick to pull the trigger with charges of plagiarism. I haven’t said anything about this because I really didn’t think I had anything to add. Whatever the mechanics of how it happened, I never thought it was intentional. Dowd and the Times quickly corrected it, which I appreciated. And for me, that’s pretty much the end of it.

As well it should be. All schadenfreude aside, the fact is Dowd screwed up, she got publicly slapped for it. That’s enough.



“Google is one of those companies that we generally refer to as a frenemy,” said New York Times executive editor Bill Keller at his semi-annual newsroom question-and-answer session, informally called Throw Stuff at Bill.

The remark came as Keller was talking about various revenue
models that the Times is examining. The paper wants to charge for its web content, but still protect its high traffic, which will be a neat trick to pull off. (Good luck. We won’t hold our breaths.)

One idea that Keller mentioned is the notion of embedding ads in NYT copy, so when blogs and aggregators clip pieces of the paper’s text, the ad would automatically come along with the content.

It’s not a strategy that is going to save the newspaper business all by itself, yet it’s more innovative than resorting to the pay wall again.

And about the Frenemy business? Chill, Bill.



The National Law Journal asked a bunch of constitutional lawyers and Supreme Court scholars
to say who, in their opinion, should be on Obama’s short list to succeed David Souter.

Is New York Law School’s Annette Gordon-Reed,
the Pulitzer Prize-winning law professor/historian, on President Obama’s Supreme Court “short list”? Or, Alabama lawyer Bryan Stevenson, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award recipient and tireless advocate on behalf of indigent defendants and prisoners? How about veteran consumer rights champion Alan Morrison and University of Notre Dame Law School Dean Patricia O’Hara?

Probably not. But they appear on the short lists of more than a dozen constitutional law and Supreme Court scholars asked by The National Law Journal to step into Obama’s shoes to pick a nominee to succeed retiring Justice David Souter……

They have lots more on the subject here.


  • On Davis, go to to the Governor of Georgia. He holds the cards now – not Obama. This is a state issue.

    – – –

    the fact is Dowd screwed up, she got publicly slapped for it. That’s enough.

    But, if she had been a conservative, liberals would be demanding that she be fired. Bush and Cheney have been “publicly slapped,” so will you drop the attacks against them?

    – – –

    when blogs and aggregators clip pieces of the paper’s text, the ad would automatically come along with the content

    Good idea. Another radical idea for the NYT is to write articles that don’t represent only the interests of the Democratic Pary. That’s the ticket!

    – – –

    An Obama nomination for a Supreme Court justice will have one overriding requirement…that person must give only secondary consideration to the Constitution in deciding cases. Emotion, “empathy”, international laws and court rulings, and radical left-wing politics are more important to Obama and the Democrats, who use the courts to twist through specific legislation that would never pass with voters. They’ll find “rights’ that our framers and legislators never even considered.

    From the article: they all agreed that the president should select a woman or another nominee who would bring racial, ethnic or background diversity to the Court.

    Why? Our laws are neutral. Is it so that people can “feel good?” Even the gays are demanding that some queer be nominated. I heard that reg is leading the list.

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