Today's Blogs

No Clemency

Bloggers are weighing in on Tookie Williams’ execution Tuesday morning. They are also outraged that a deceased U.S. soldier was reportedly sent home as freight and amused that Chris Wallace supposedly said his dad Mike has lost it.

No clemency: Stanley “Tookie” Williams was executed by lethal injection in San Francisco’s San Quentin prison early this morning after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a bid for clemency by Williams, a Crips co-founder and convicted murderer whose subsequent anti-violence activism won him an international following.

Williams’ status as a cause célèbre didn’t extend to the blogosphere, even among dealth-penalty opponents. At Washington Monthly, Political Animal Kevin Drum writes:  “Regardless of what he’s done since, the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy.” Liberal Atrios is pragmatic:  “I’m against (the death penalty) for numerous reasons … but I really can’t quite see how Stanley Williams is really the poster child for the cause.”

Author and Vanity Fair columnist James Wolcott, however, is disgusted with the Governator and blames politics: “I held out the fugitive hope that the moderate side of Schwarzenegger might prevail as his wife tugged him in the direction of leniency and mercy. What a fool I am. … Capital punishment must be de-politicized, and as long as politicians make the final decision, depoliticization is impossible. So abolish it.”

But this reaction by Ace of Ace of Spades is more typical: “It’s a strange compulsion of the radical left to excuse the worst of all crimes – murder – simply because someone may have a bit of creative talent or literary potential. Tookie Williams murdered at least four people. But he wrote a children’s book. This absolves his sins?”

At Captain’s Quarters, Ed Morrissey has a thoughtful post explaining why he’s OK with this execution despite his opposition to death penalty on religious and practical grounds:So why am I not up in arms about Tookie? As I wrote earlier, the people of California decided that they do want the death penalty. … One day, perhaps, they will change their mind and commute the sentences of people like Williams to LWOP [life without parole]. Until then, the people deserve to get the justice they’ve chosen.”

The next death-row dispute gaining attention is that of Mississippian Cory Maye. On this one, both Atrios and Drum think there’s a real case to be made. Washington Monthly and Crooked Timber both link to a blow-by-blow breakdown of the Maye case on libertarian Radley Balko’s blog The Agitator.

There’s a detailed log of events before and after Williams’ execution on Ordinary Everyday Christian. It includes personal observations from several media witnesses, several of whom were haunted by, among other things, the 12-minute search for a vein in Williams’ left arm.

Read more about the Williams execution.

Wallace vs. Wallace: Fox News Sunday anchorman Chris Wallace—son of 60 Minutes star Mike Wallace—has been quoted saying his father has “lost it.” The younger Wallace was responding to a Boston Globe interview with his father in which the veteran newsman criticized President Bush.

“He’s lost it,” Chris Wallace said on Boston radio station WRKO. “The man has lost it. What can I say … He’s 87 years old and things have set in. I mean, we’re going to have a competence hearing pretty soon.”

Where bloggers stand on this father-son matter mostly depends, of course, on where they stand politically. The Left Coaster had this to say: “Remember when Chris Wallace got his show on Fox, and there was some initial talk that he was a serious, down-the-middle sort who could be counted on to at least make an attempt to be evenhanded in his punditry, and not mouth the RNC and White House talking points as fact? Forget it.”

The Moderate Voice’s Joe Gandelman likewise thinks it wasn’t a wise thing to say: “This statement won’t help the younger Wallace’s image. It suggests a Brian Williams/Peter Jennings, he ain’t. And if it was meant as humor, a Jon Stewart, he ain’t.”

Meanwhile, on Cave News and Views, Perry Peterson says it isn’t senility setting in: “Maybe it’s just the same old Mike Wallace shoot-from-the-lip-style belting out his usual radical liberal views. The older he gets, the less he tries to hide his anti-conservative venom.”

Read the Globe interview, and read more about Chris and Mike Wallace.

Freight flap: A San Diego couple expressed outrage that the body of their son who died in Iraq last month would be arriving home as freight on a civilian aircraft, a local TV station reported. The station said that after the family contacted Sen. Barbara Boxer, Matthew John Holley’s casket was draped with the U.S. flag and greeted by an honor guard.

“God forbid they are treated with proper honor and respect,” huffsDaily Kos. “Notice how Barbara Boxer had to get involved.” 

Right-leaning Iowa Voice, no fan of the Democratic California senator, says good job nonetheless:(H)onestly, it should just go without saying that he shouldn’t have been treated this way. There’s no excuse for it, period.” The Voice goes on to fret that the left may use this to attack President Bush, “as if he personally ordered this.”

Read the story and view the news report. Read more blog posts about the matter here.