It's a good news/bad news kind of day.
The good news is that one out of every one hundred of our fellow Americans are incarcerated tonight. Indeed we can boast that we have a higher percentage of our population locked up than any other industrialized nation. Or should I say de-industrialized nation? But I digress. The foundation that announced this fact spoils the party by complaining about it. Why I wonder. Surely this is a testament to our being a nation of laws with a reasonably effective law enforcement arm. Perhaps the Pew trust thinks that all those people just happen to be in prison. My guess is that they were found guilty of something by a jury of their peers. It's a rare feeling for me to be proud of my country, I wish they wouldn't ruin it.
Which reminds me of a story. Two Englishmen are shipwrecked during the sixteenth century and come ashore somewhere in the tropics. They know nothing of where they are and are dreading what they might find. They set off inland only to find a hangman's scaffold. "Ah what a relief says one Englishman to the other, we've landed in civilization." The point of this story is that people who have experienced real savagery know the value of setting and enforcing social limits.
The bad news of the day is that Congress wants to add Roger Clemens to that prison population. That congress should busy itself with the lives of Baseball players when there are so many pressing issues send shivers down my spine. Is there nothing to trivial for these clowns to pry into? Don't these characters realize that thanks to CSPAN we can actually see and hear them in action? Has no one told them how asinine they appear?
Finally, it seems odd to me that the passing of Bill Buckley has evoked so little interest on the boob tube. He was after all a publisher, columnist, television personality, political candidate and author. Usually the media covers their own with fawning attention. I guess that doesn't apply to right wing writers. As much as he threw in his lot with the ghastly neo-cons towards the third act of his life, he did have an amazing influence on national politics of five decades. When Studds Turkel or Pete Seeger die I'm sure the media will fawn all over them. The bright flame of engagement seemed to go out of Buckley after he had a head injury decades back. From that time on his columns and Firing Line just got more and more boring. Hemingway also seemed to lose his focus after a blow on the head. Maybe Congress will pass a law that me all need to wear helmets when leaving our homes?