The Worst Op-Ed Writing and the Best and Worst Jurisprudence in Maryland Seven Months into 2008

If I may, just a few words on this last day of July about the continuing low order, liberal dominance of Maryland print media and our courts.

On the former matter, the op-ed page of The Baltimore Sun has the most inane and specious column of the most overrated thinker in America, Garrison Keillor.

He states, “I can’t remember a summer I loved so much as this. This is a factor of age – time is more precious when there’s less of it remaining – and partly it’s anticipation that the dogs of war who slipped in the back door eight years ago will soon be gone. In a month, the Republicans will convene a few blocks from my house and I’d like to stand across the street with a sign, but I can’t come up with the right wording. “Bleaughhhh,” maybe, or “Arghhhh.”

My year-and-one-half-old niece is more substantive.

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Lest you think this paragraph is an exception, let me offer a later paragraph: “It’s no surprise that John McCain likes to bring out his 96-year-old mother Roberta, I suppose. The problem is that she is a lot perkier than he. The gentleman has had a few bad weeks, thundering in a dithery way about America’s enemies, looking vaguely purposeful campaigning up and down supermarket aisles as if he couldn’t remember what kind of cheese he’d been sent to buy. He surely will hit his stride after the Republican convention, but at the moment he looks to be eight years too late. The brash Bull Moose independent of 2000 has made all sorts of accommodations since, abandoning common sense when necessary, and his unsteadiness over the past couple of weeks makes his age an unspoken issue: Anyone who remembers the Iran-contra years and the president who couldn’t remember is not anxious to see a genial oldster dithering in the Oval Office. There is more to the job than flashing a big grin. You do need to make sense now and then.”

To be fair, my niece wouldn’t be able to reference the Bull Moose party.

To the courts: kudos to the Baltimore Sun for exposing in a lead piece retired Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney’s long-term coddling of the dangerous William Vincent Brown. Judge Sweeney’s freeing of Brown on bail led to the mutilation of a woman who also was raped and nearly killed. In the years before this latest legal outrage, the same judge gave Brown break after break, leading to other horrendous attacks and death of innocent citizens. Enjoy your retirement, judge — doesn’t affect your life.

Maryland judges are not uniformly dangerous to the public, however. As reported on the Sun’s inside pages this day the excellent Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory, calling a man who had attacked and repeatedly viciously stabbed an 82 year-old woman a “predator” whom the judge wished he could give a longer term, sentenced Rozza Alston to 23 years in prison. The exceptionally brave victim, Lilli Siegel whose life is understandably she says “changed forever” appeared in court to testify against this low-life.

Just a few examples above of today’s good, bad, ugly and inane.

Richard E. Vatz is professor of political communication at Towson University

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