Monday, May 12, 2008

Dissing the Dearly Departed Is Downright Treasonous

One of the most famous (and earliest) graduates of Yale University was Nathan Hale who is generally considered to have been this country's first spy.

You might recall that when asked by the British just prior to being executed as to whether he had any last words, he is reputed to have said; "My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country."

The statue of Nathan Hale on the campus of Yale.

Given the tendency of history to make one more eloquent with the passage of time than they were in the heat of the moment and add to that the fact that he had both hands tied behind his back at the time, I suspect that what really emerged from his lips that day was much closer to the verbal equivalent of the one finger salute.

By my reckoning that would put Hale on record as being the first documented case of anyone ever talking trash to the Tories.

This is a roundabout way of getting around to the fact that I'm blogging today from New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, and the place where I'm staying, the "charming" Hotel Duncan, hasn't had its technology updated since Nathan Hale skulked around the freshman quad of this hallowed institution.

The hotel's elevator has a sign that proudly proclaims that it is "the oldest hand operated elevator in the state of Connecticut," which is why I gladly climb the five flights of stairs to my room.

As you may have guessed by now, there is no Internet access in the hotel. No wireless, no wired, heck, they don't even have an adult channel on the TV, which I imagine was also the case back in Nathan Hale's day. Well, at least it's a color TV.

Who would have ever thought that blogging from New Haven would be a bigger challenge than blogging from Beijing?

Being 3000 miles away from home means that two pots I've been watching will undoubtedly boil over this week. By my reckoning we are long overdue for decisions in two court cases involving the News-Press; a ruling from a federal judge on whether or not the eight fired journalists will be immediately reinstated to their jobs and a decision from the California Court of Appeal on whether the News-Press' libel suit against Susan Paterno will finally be tossed out of court.

I'll be doing my best to stay on top of these two cases and this is as good a time as any to formally introduce you to the newest feature of my blog, which I implemented last week called "up to the minute posts." If you look over at the right hand column directly underneath my picture you'll see it. Using my cell phone and a web service called Twitter I can immediately post a short update to my blog from just about anywhere.

If you click on the the link under each post showing when it was updated, you can even "follow me" and get alerted on your computer or cell phone whenever I've updated my blog between my regular daily posts.

So if there's any big news on the News-Press front, that's where I hope to have it first.

* * *

Has News-Press editorial page editor Travis Armstrong, ever taken a cheaper shot than the one he took last Friday in his op ed page column at the late Judge Joseph Lodge?

Lodge passed away last Monday after a long battle with lymphoma. Sunday's L.A. Times carried his obituary.

Armstrong talks about some sweetheart plea bargain Lodge allegedly signed off on in 2002 for "one of the county's wealthiest and biggest donors to liberal politicians." The donor, reportedly originally stopped while driving and arrested for a plethora of drug and weapons charges, ultimately pled guilty to only a reckless driving charge and one minor drug offense.

The implication being that the "liberal" Lodge allowed a fellow liberal to skate.

Of course, any of the surrounding circumstances which might shed light on the appropriateness of the plea bargain (factors such as were there witness problems or search and seizure problems?) and whether the rest of us should be as outraged by this as Armstrong would like us to be, are all conveniently omitted as well as the name of the person who was the beneficiary of all of this judicial largesse.

So in a judicial career that spanned 50 years, Armstrong brings up this one lousy case the judge handled as an example of Lodge's legacy on the bench?

It's believed to be the the first drive by ambush of a deceased jurist.