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Monday, January 29, 2007

Truth and punishment

Adam Liptak, in today's New York Times, writes about the McDermott case being tried before the 9th Court of Appeals in DC. Congressman McDermott made public (through the Times) the Newt Gingrich `phone call (accidentally intercepted by a FL couple) to John Boehner (currently House Republican whip & the one suing Rep. McDermott) about how to evade ethics charges. The law holds it a felony to tap `phone calls (or intercept them) as well as to publicize what's heard. The law was obviously made before video existed. Also before cellphones. Consider the publicity (via YouTube video) given former VA senator Allen's casual racism & bigotry during the last campaign. Most people in Virginia evidently agreed he deserved to lose re-election based upon that truth about him. I certainly did. Of course, Allen was speaking in public. But we all know cellphones are little radios. Their signals are broadcast, not sent to the recipient on landlines. So aren't cellphone signals more like video? Gingrich, like Prince Charles, was apparently too stupid to realize he was broadcasting his criminal intentions. I don't think the law should protect stupidity. I like the ability--the right--to know the truth about public officials. And everyone else, for that matter. Language began with gossip, after all...

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