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Sunday, March 28, 2004

60 Minutes
Shorter Bob's rant on 60 Minutes: Rice bad, Pickering okay, Adu--can't wait until Saturday!

I just watched 60 Minutes. It's hard to imagine that Condiliar convinced anyone with her performance. She practically gave away the game anyway by saying that they continued with the Clinton anti-terror policy for eight months (and the questions aren't so much about the policy, anyway, as they are about how diligently they were pursuing it). She cited long-standing precedence, supposedly, about National Security Advisors not appearing before Congress. But the 9/11 Commission isn't Congress, or even Congressionally-appointed, and besides, who cares? As Ed Bradley said, why not waive precedent for an unprecedented event like 9/11? Clarke 2 billion, Rice 0.

The segment on Charles Pickering was certainly interesting. Maybe it was a setup, but I thought Judge Pickering came off looking great, while his critics like Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) looked petty. Sixty Minutes had several people, mostly African-Americans who have dealt personally with Pickering, vouch for him. The only argument presented by Schumer was that in one case, Pickering reduced a sentence for cross-burning from 7 1/2 years to 2 1/2 years. Pickering made a reasonable explanation for his ruling, I thought. I don't know what would actually be an appropriate sentence for cross-burning, but it certainly seemed as though Pickering took the defendant's previous record (none) into account and lowered the sentence in at least an arguably reasonable way. Mandatory minimums are not a good idea, even for hate crimes, IMHO. Overall, Pickering made a pretty good case for a long pattern of fair and non-racist behavior on his part, and Schumer could only respond by taking a single case and blowing it out of proportion without really considering the facts (very much like Bush's current attack ads on Kerry).

And then there was this:

Charles Evers: You know, maybe you don't know, you know that Charles Pickering is a man helped us to break the Ku Klux Klan. Did you know that?

Clarence McGee: I heard that statement made.

Charles Evers: I mean, I know that. Do you know that?

Clarence McGee: I don't know that.

Charles Evers: I know that. Do you know about the young black man that was accused of robbing the young white woman. You know about that?

Clarence McGee: Nope.

Charles Evers: So Charles Pickering took the case. Came to trial and won the case and the young man became free.

Clarence McGee: I don't know about that.

Charles Evers: But did you also know that Charles Pickering is the man who helped integrate his churches. You know about that?

Clarence McGee: No.

Charles Evers: Well, you don't know a thing about Charles Pickering.

Clarence McGee heads the NAACP in Hattiesburg; Charles Evers is the brother of murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Both are black.

Maybe the whole Pickering thing was 60 Minutes' way of making up to the Bush administration for the Clarke and Rice interviews. But unless the whole thing was faked, I think Democrats like Schumer look really stupid trying to attack Pickering as a racist. Complain about his position on abortion or find something else, but don't pick one case out of hundreds to label him a racist without talking to the people who have worked with him.

And then there's Freddie Adu, the 14-year-old soccer phenom who will debut for DC United next Saturday. The kid is amazing, and just as likeable as can be. I'm a soccer nut, and I can't wait to watch him play!