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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Crimes and Misdemeanors QUESTIONS

It's the dog days of summer when "nothing" happens, except that, of course, it does. In addition to this month being the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, it is the 40th anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders by the Charles Manson "family" and the 35th anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon. So please answer one or more of these questions.

1. Susan Atkins is "gravely ill with a brain tumor". Her release would save the cash-strapped state of California thousands of dollars per year. Should she be released? Should Leslie Van Houten be released? Filmmaker John Waters, who has befriended her, says yes: "Leslie has taken responsibility, and she has followed the rules — the rules that they have told her to follow to get parole. ... She's the poster girl for the California prison system."
In Atkins' case, I just don't know enough to say. Is she penitent? But in Van Houten's case, I agree with Waters: "I do believe in rehabilitation."

2. When Richard Nixon resigned, it was with such mixed emotions. On one hand, I was glad he was gone. On the other hand, I wanted him to suffer more for his "high crimes and misdemeanors" as "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Watergate mess. I'm STILL not convinced that Gerald Ford should have pardoned him a month later, certainly not without some responsibility taken by Nixon; I suppose I was looking for some sort of contrition over what he put the country through.
But what say you?

3. There were 104 names on this list of baseball players who, in 2003, tested positive for some sort of controlled substance. The list was supposed to be confidential, as the official MLB ban on these products didn't take hold until 2004. Yet the names drip out: Bonds. Sosa. A-Rod. Ramirez. Big Papi. All the players of that period, including the ones not guilty of anything, are tainted by suspicion. Should the list be released? Should the Players' Association agree to such a thing? I think the constant drip...drip...drip of names is so harmful that I hope the association agrees to the release. Your thoughts?
Oh that's a LIFE magazine pic of Paul and Paul. My father had some Les Paul/Mary Ford singles, as I recall.



Greg said...

I hope that Branson Arroyo's interview this week about taking all sorts of supplements helps goose things along a bit. Only sportswriters seem to care about steroids, and they keep banging the moral drum even though they could have exposed the usage years ago but they chose not to. It's ridiculous. Both pitchers and batters used, so who knows who had the advantage? Plus, no one really knows how much, if any, steroids help you. It's the same thing with marijuana - no one can do any testing on them because the federal government banned it before anyone could do testing on it. MLB should just announce that they're releasing all the names of everyone who ever tested positive and that it shouldn't have any effect on HOF voting. But they won't, because they're just as hypocritical as the sportswriters.

Rebecca Hickman said...

Hmmmm . . . I am known for being wishy-washy, but I will try to give you three solid answers.

1. It disgusts me that the Manson and his followers have become pop icons. I have no sympathy for murderers. If CM had been tried in Texas, he would be where he belongs by now.
2. I was just a kid during all of the Watergate hoopla. I think it would have looked bad if the president had to do time. Was the government able to sue him for his crimes?
3. What a mess. I hope my beloved Derek Jeter stayed out of trouble.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

1. My first reaction is, let them die in prison. But I wonder if my reaction isn't because of the celebrity nature of the crime. So, I just don't know.

2. It's easy for us, now, to have second thoughts and questions about the pardon, but at the time I think we had a collective desire to move past it, to end, as President Ford put it, "our long national nightmare".

I think it would have been at best unseemly and at worst a major Constitutional crisis for an ex-President to be tried for crimes committed while president. As Ford himself said later, the fact that Nixon accepted the pardon is a de facto admission of guilt.

If I blame anyone for short-circuiting justice on this, it's Nixon himself who resigned rather than face inevitable impeachment and removal from office—under the Constitution. By taking the coward's way and quitting, he alone denied the only certain Constitutional way to punish him for his crimes.

But really, are Nixon's crimes worse than Bush/Cheney's? I don't think so, and we'll never see Bush/Cheney brought to justice, much less behind bars, either.

3. I have no real opinion about the scandal as such, but I tend to think that drip-feeding the release of names serves no one's interests. It will all eventually come out, anyway, so they may as well get it over with all at once.

Janie said...

I don't care about sports, but so many of the players are on steroids that it seems they might as well give up talking about it.
I hate to see Presidents who broke the law get away with it. Shouldn't they have to live up to the same standards as everyone else?