Patterico's Pontifications


Liberty Alliance

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 10:39 pm

Patterico has joined the Liberty Alliance of blogs dedicated to helping Spirit of America do good work in Iraq — and spread the word to Iraqis about the good things that are happening there.

To donate, go here.

P.S. Why the Liberty Alliance? You gotta love the underdog.

Editorial Writing Lesson

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 10:23 am

Here is an example of how a newspaper can write a reasoned, balanced, fair editorial against overly harsh punishment under the Three Strikes law. The editorial appears in the Sacramento Bee. The following quote is a representative excerpt:

In May 1996, Ramirez walked out of a Sears department store with a $199 VCR. He surrendered to authorities without incident. This crime is a petty theft misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in county jail. But Ramirez had two prior convictions for taking merchandise from a Lucky’s grocery store and a K-Mart department store in 1991. No weapons were involved. But because the getaway car driven by another person ran over a security guard’s foot in one incident, and Ramirez pushed a security guard with his open hand as he ran out of the store in the other incident, prosecutors charged him with second-degree robbery – defined as a “serious felony.” For both crimes, he served a single sentence of six months and 20 days in county jail.

The questions seem obvious and so do some of the answers. Does it serve society’s interest to have Ramirez serve jail time for stealing a VCR? Yes.

Does it serve society’s interest to have him serve a longer term because he has two prior theft-related offenses? Yes.

Does it serve society’s interest to give him a 25-years-to-life sentence for his crimes? The answer is not so clear cut, but on balance it seems to be no.

See how the author included all of the relevant facts of the defendant’s criminal history?

How is it that the Sacramento Bee is able to include these facts in an editorial — but the Los Angeles Dog Trainer can’t be bothered to include these facts in a news story on the same topic?

More Editorial Comment on the Front Page

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 8:45 am

The RantingProf makes a good point about today’s New York Times front page. Focus on the bottom right-hand portion of this captured image of today’s front page:

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