Archive for November, 2004

Who cares about Scott Peterson???

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

Why in the name of all that’s holy does anybody besides the families of Scott and Laci Peterson care about the Scott Peterson case? Why is it on page one of all the newspapers, the lead story on all the radio and TV news broadcasts? Does the case have some sort of historical significance? No. Does it raise some new theory of criminal liability? No. Is there some unusual type of evidence being used that could set a precedent for other cases? No. Is this the first case where a cheating husband has killed a pregnant wife? No.

So why do we care? There are some 16,000 murders in an average year in the United States. What is it that sets this case so dramatically apart from all the other murders that it has garnered the kind of frenzied media attention that it has gotten? Beats the heck out of me. This case is fundamentally a run-of-the-mill, ho-hum, routine homicide. Neither victim nor perpetrator has (or had) any kind of public-figure status that might warrant this sort of attention.

It seems to me that indulging the American taste for this sort of “news” story is nothing short of titillation. It’s not bread and circuses, it’s BLOOD and circuses. It’s disgraceful that so many people let themselves get so caught up in the private lives and miseries of other private people, and even more disgraceful that the media feeds that interest (and feeds on it, itself).

Shame on us all.

Election Day 2004 … plus two

Thursday, November 4th, 2004

You remember yesterday President Bush made conciliatory noises about wanting to earn the trust of the 49% of American voters who voted against him… and I said I didn’t believe him? Seems to me today he showed why people like me don’t believe him.

He held his first post-election press conference. “I earned capital in the campaign and now I intend to spend it,” Bush said. “And I’m going to spend it for what I told the people I would spend it on. … Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I will reach out to every one who shares our goals.”

“Bipartisan effort” meaning “all you Democrats and Independents now have to do what I want”? And everyone who doesn’t share the President’s goals … everyone with whom compromise might be required… be damned?


Yesterday he said: “We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us.” That’s beginning, once again, to sound ominous:

One Ring to rule them all,

One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all

and in the Darkness bind them…

Election Day 2004… plus one

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

John Kerry showed he’s more of a class act than most Republicans would have dreamed possible. He took a look at the numbers, realized there was nothing to be gained by prolonging this, and did what he needed to do — he conceded. He did so graciously, with an appeal to unity.

And the President sounded like he was at least going to give lip service to the same interest: “[T]oday I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.”

The problem is, I don’t believe it. And I don’t think he believes it either. I think he believes that he’s entitled to whatever he wants because he has the power to get it (or at least to try to get it). And what I’m afraid he wants more than anything else is a country made over in his own religious-zealot image.

The acid test will come with the first appointment he makes to the U.S. Supreme Court: when William Rehnquist steps aside or dies, watch to see whether we get offered an appointee for Chief Justice who is a total idealogue.

I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to be proved wrong. But watch for it. And then don’t say I didn’t warn you…