Green and the Number Seven

April 23, 2013 at 11:13 pm (By Tim) (, )

As something of the Official Bostonian on this site, I have had a few things to say about the Marathon bombing and its aftermath. Now, however, I’m done, and I won’t importune you any longer. But I do want to say one more thing—not that it’s original in any way. That is, this horrible event and the following week gave many of us a view of news reporting we might not have had otherwise. There have been some unexpected bright spots of sheer competence, but far more sinkholes of inadequacy.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to complain about them, not even the bloviating sophisticates in New York and other international locations who have no clue about life in Boston but write about it anyway.

No, I’m going to leave the subject with a quote from Garrison Keillor. Years ago, he was in the midst of controversy, mostly with the St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press (“Gastric Distress” as Keillor called it), and mostly about his morals.  I recall him saying something like the following on his radio show:

If you know the reality of a situation, the relationship between truth and a newspaper is like the relationship between the color green and the number seven. Occasionally you will see the number seven written in green, but you learn not to expect this.

I’ve seen a few green sevens, mostly painted in Boston, but far more blue, red, polka-dot and paisley ones than I like to think about. Time to pick another number.

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What, Oh What, Will the Talking Heads Say?

April 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm (By Tim) (, )

For those set a-worrying about Miranda warnings and Constitutional rights, there is this little PDF. I know—it could all be made up and a sham, as an army of conspiracy theorists are saying everywhere on the internet. But just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend this actually happened:

tsarniev-hearing-transcript

ADDED:  At the same moment yesterday this indictment was being presented in as prompt and vanilla-flavored a way as possible in a hospital room, I walked into the cafeteria at work. The TVs were on CNN, showing three pinch-faced talking heads on a three-way split, all decrying the lack of Miranda warning and what a terrible violation of rights this was, and that the Justice Department was not even going to allow defense counsel, and how could the Judiciary, of all branches, go along with this, and how terrible, terrible this all was, and we all should fear for our inalienable rights that George Bush…er…well…um….you know…(Obama) was letting people trample on, etc., etc.

Sometimes, the Theme of the Day doesn’t quite work. But, hey, there’s always tomorrow.

Sorry to sprawl on valuable real estate, but this is where our transcript gets good, if vanilla-flavored:

MR. FICK: Good morning, your Honor. William Fick
for Mr. Tsarnaev.
THE COURT: And you have had an opportunity to
speak with him?
MR. FICK: Very briefly, your Honor.
THE COURT: So you have your lawyers here.
THE DEFENDANT: (Defendant nods affirmatively.)
THE COURT: Mr. Tsarnaev, I am Magistrate Judge
Bowler. This hearing is your initial appearance before the
Court. We are here because you have been charged in a
federal criminal complaint.
At this hearing, I will advise you of your
constitutional and legal rights. I will tell you about the
charges against you and the penalties that the Court could
impose if you are found guilty.
You have been charged with (1): Use of a weapon of
mass destruction, in violation of 18, United States Code,
Section 2332a(a); and malicious destruction of property
resulting in death, in violation of 18, United States Code,
Section 844(i).
Mr. Weinreb, what are the maximum penalties?
MR. WEINREB: Your Honor, the maximum penalty on
each count is death, or imprisonment for any term of years,
1or life.
THE COURT: Is there a fine?
MR. WEINREB: A fine of up to $250,000.
THE COURT: I will tell you about your right to
counsel, and I will consider conditions of release pending
further court proceedings; that is, whether or not you
should be detained and what amount of bail should be set.
This is not a trial, and you will not be called upon to
answer the charges at this time.
If at any time I say something you do not understand,
interrupt me and say so; is that clear?
THE DEFENDANT: (Defendant nods affirmatively.)
THE COURT: All right. I note that the defendant
has nodded affirmatively.
As a first step in this hearing, I am going to tell you
about your constitutional rights.
You have the right under the Constitution of the United
States to remain silent. Any statement made by you may be
used against you in court, and you have the right not to
have your own words used against you.
You may consult with an attorney prior to any
questioning, and you may have the attorney present during
questioning.
Counsel will be appointed without charge if you cannot
afford counsel.
If you choose to make a statement or to answer
questions without the assistance of counsel, you may stop
answering at any time.
This right means you do not have to answer any
questions put to you by law enforcement agents or by the
Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Weinreb.
I want to make it clear. You are not prohibited from
making statements, but that if you do, they can be used
against you. You are not required to make a statement at
this initial appearance, and any statement you do make may
be used against you.
Finally, if I ask you any questions here in this
hearing or at any future hearing which you think might
incriminate you, you have the right not to answer.
Do you understand everything I have said about your
right to remain silent?
THE DEFENDANT: (Defendant nods affirmatively.)
THE COURT: Again I note that the defendant has
nodded affirmatively.
As I said earlier, you have the right to retain
counsel, to be represented by counsel, and to have the
assistance of counsel at every critical stage of these
proceedings.
You have the right to an attorney at this initial
appearance, during any questioning, at any lineup, and at
all proceedings in court.
You also have the right to have this Court assign
counsel if you cannot afford counsel or if you cannot obtain
counsel.
Can you afford a lawyer?
THE DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: Let the record reflect that I believe
the defendant has said, “No.”
I have provisionally appointed the federal defender,
Mr. Fick, to represent you in this matter….

What is a poor pundit to do when a Federal Judge reads this defendant his rights and has the temerity to release a transcript that gets posted on the internet?

Maybe wait 24 hours and make up something new?

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Dear Dzhokhar

April 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm (By Tim) (, )

Along with Kevin Cullen’s Boston Globe article I linked in the last post, this, to me, is an important piece. There is anger, but a refusal to hate, a Christian understanding of evil, the possibility of repentance, and what needs to be done, in fact, to keep everyone safe.

Dear Dzhokhar

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A Tale of Two Immigrants

April 21, 2013 at 8:55 am (By Tim) (, )

This, especially for non-New Englanders, is a must-read. I’ve commented on how tough it can be for newcomers in the Boston area. As a newcomer myself 30-odd years ago, I can tell you stories. But one point of Kevin Cullen’s piece is that the Tsarnaev brothers settled in Cambridge, one of the most open and welcoming places in the US. They did not find themselves in some tight little neighborhood, like I did, where nobody had moved in or out for 100 years, very common in Boston and environs when I showed up.

Of course, many things have changed in 30 years, one of which is Cambridge has gotten even more open and welcoming, for all the good it did here.

I hope this story stays up for a while. Linked to what is usually a paid newspaper site, it might not.

A Tale of Two Immigrants – Metro – The Boston Globe

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