Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
- I haven't written much at all about the Trayvon Martin case -- I feel like a lot of what has gone on has just added a whole lot of noise and little light to the process -- but I was happy to hear the announcement that his killer George Zimmernan will be prosecuted. I am not sure that the prosecution can make its case stick, but I am confident that had Trayvon been a white 17-year old that this case would have been handled rather differently from the outset. I hope now -- however futilely -- that everyone can take a step back and let the facts of the case unfold in the criminal justice process. I know I have my own strong gut feelings, but these should never be confused with facts, evidence, meeting burdens of proof, etc. I wanted an arrest and a prosecution because it seems to me the few facts one could ascertain in the media seemed to warrant it. Having crossed that important threshold, I'd like to see the rest left to the attorneys, the judge and the jury.
- Has anyone else been troubled by the dual role of Al Sharpton in the Trayvon affair and the fact that MSNBC has let him play both advocate and journalist in the process? I am not a fan of false journalistic neutrality - too often it comes with its own built in biases that obscure rather than highlight truth. But it seems awfully strange to have a guy both handling a press conference with a rather vehement point of view and then have that press conference broadcast on his daily show. I have to confess I am not and never have been a big Sharpton fan. He will always be a bit of a charlatan in my eyes and I think he is a horrible television host in terms of his skills. It's hard to exaggerate how much of an improvement it would be to have Chris Hayes get a nightly show in his stead. And if MSNBC would like to have an African-American host -- which I support -- it has a couple of very talented and telegenic women who would do a far better job than Sharpton. Indeed, I'd like to see Sharpton and Ed Schultz sent to the showers and have Hayes and Melissa Harris Perry or Alex Wagner pick up their slots.
- Speaking of prosecutions, Nancy pointed out this disturbing case in comments below -- about a poor woman in Idaho who is being threatened with imprisonment for inducing her own abortion with Mifepristone. I am hoping that some people in the reproductive rights community will come to her defense. There are some astonishingly good legal minds in the pro-choice legal community -- I've had the pleasure of reading some of their briefs before and they are truly first rate -- and I am sure that they could be of great assistance to this poor, isolated woman.
- Ezra points out the degree to which the Democrats have been shifted to the right by the Bush tax cuts, such that the strategic electoral tactic of focusing on raising taxes on only the highest earners has now become a policy position. Personally, I think all of the Bush tax cuts should be phased out in all income levels and that a couple of higher brackets -- a 45% and a 50% bracket -- should be added to kick in when incomes reach $750,000 and $1.5 million. I would also phase in a 28% tax on capital gains, dividends and interest. We need substantially more revenue than we currently have to do all of the things that need to be done, including getting the long term fiscal house in order.
So what do you all think? And I was encouraged by one frequent commenter to try to lure the lurkers out there to join in the fray. We would love to have a few more voices join in the mix.