Sunday, April 16, 2006

Still Stuck in Stupidville
When cable TV news producers dream, they dream of weekends like this:
On Thursday, a little girl gets eaten by a bear.

On Friday, a suspected cannibal is arrested in Oklahoma. On the same day, the cat trapped in a New York City building for two weeks is rescued.

Yesterday, there's an arrest in the Natalee Holloway case.
If Angelina Jolie or Katie Holmes gives birth today, the Rapture could happen and they'd never notice.

(When I was reciting this litany of stories to The Mrs. this morning, she added, "And they found those two missing boys in Milwaukee." To which I responded, "Yes, but nobody cares, because they're black." Sad and harsh, yes, but also true.)

So none of the issues at stake in the stories I've found on the Web today stand a chance in hell of breaking through, especially with all the cute Easter features that the cable channels need to run. But if you're reading this, chances are you'll be interested, so here you go:

A legal blog called Concurring Opinions analyzes an article in the New Republic by a Harvard Law School professor who argues that personal privacy and government transparency make it difficult for the government to function effectively. Yup--if the government could snoop more and reveal what it's doing less, we'd be better off. At Daily Kos, Armando notes that the professor is a specialist in Christian law theory and strong supporter of the Iraq War--and so it's not surprising to me that he'd argue, at this moment in history, that the government should be more obtrusive and less accountable. (Wonder what he'd think if John Kerry had won in 2004.) In the end, I'm with Atrios, because he's thinking along the same lines I was last Thursday: "I understand that September 11 drove a lot of people a bit nuts, but I really don't understand why they're still stuck in stupidville. . . ."

Also worth reading today is the post at Orcinus on "round 'em up and send 'em back" anti-immigrant rhetoric. One of the things people forget is that the Constitution protects everybody in the United States, even if they're not citizens of this country. Of course, you can't necessarily blame people for forgetting this, because the administration has ignored it since 2001.

The News Blog has an analysis of the Duke lacrosse scandal that cuts through the story that the stripper was already injured when she walked in the door of the house where the infamous party took place. Short version: Not likely, once you know how college jocks think--and the purpose of the post is to explain how college jocks think. The News Blog also found an interesting story last week that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere--the one of the lacrosse team captains is the son of the vice president for government relations at Merrill Lynch, which may explain the sudden presence of high-powered Washington lawyer Bob Bennett defending the players.

For good measure, here's a story the cable channels probably will find time for: If the lame storylines on Desperate Housewives this season haven't already caused it to jump the shark for good, perhaps this will: the main street of a new real estate development in the Madison suburb of Verona will be called Wisteria Lane, with adjoining streets to be called Bree Circle, Gabrielle Circle, Hatcher Road, and Lynnette Drive. Columnist Susan Lampert Smith of the Wisconsin State Journal gets Quote of the Day for today: "As a cynical newspaper person, I must also point out that Wisteria Lane has a major crime problem. Recent episodes have featured murder, arson, adultery, embezzlement, statutory rape and hiding a fugitive. Hope the Verona cops are ready."

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