Two things are on my mind tonight.
First, my friend Judge Born was at a candidate's forum of some sort Tuesday night. (Personally, I think they are boring and useless, wouldn't be caught at one if they were giving out hookers' service coupons as door prizes, and those are just my positive thoughts about them.) The Fairmont Times-West Virginian covered the event. Judge Born's opponents (friends, good lawyers and fine people all, one of whom is my dear partner, Amy Swisher) had their comments reported extensively. Judge Born's presence wasn't mentioned at all. Was this a mere omission? Oh, come on, you gotta be kidding me - all newspapers tout their fairness, courage and accuracy. (In fact, however, owning a news outlet gives corporations a pistol to hold at the knee of any citizen they don't like for any reason, including personal ones, with the threat to "kneecap" them if they don't kiss the ass of the newspaper.) Were the Times-West Virginian to publish an editorial endorsing a candidate and even damning the weaknesses of the others, nobody would have a legitimate complaint. The candidates are public figures so far as their campaign is concerned, so there is a large privilege to publish everything but malicious falsehoods about them in the political realm. It's the First Amendment in action. Pushing your political or personal vendettas disguised as news coverage is totally gutless and dishonorable. Oh, so I'm not a hypocrite myself, let me say that we have a delinquent advertising bill with the paper.
In a further effort to avoid hypocrisy, let me say that I noted with some (sad) satisfaction that the drug task force raided "Smoker Friendly," a business which sells beer, tobacco, and other socially irresponsible things. For months, they have had a sign outside offering "Glass tobacco pipes." Some months ago, I saw that and called the drug guys, just to make sure that I wasn't being unfair to these business people. I knew from countless drug cases that people smoke crack cocaine and other stuff in glass pipes, and had never heard of them being used for tobacco. At my question, the officer I talked to started laughing, and assured me that in his opinion they were openly selling drug paraphernalia. I made a "citizen's complaint" at that time, and nothing happened. Last month, I was at a hearing involving that business as the "victim" of a theft, and the self-righteousness oozed off of the company representatives like malodorous slime. That evening, I went with my family to Say-Boy's Restaurant, right beside one of the Smoker Friendly outlets and, wouldn't you know, there was the sign offering "glass tobacco pipes." As I age (55 tomorrow), I've started to channel Louis Schoolnic a little bit -- Louis was a wonderful guy and a highly respected lawyer who was honest and blunt. I'm not in his class, I'll be the first one to admit. But I try. And so, I wrote a rather lengthy letter to the Prosecuting Attorney again complaining that the hypocritical bastards were still selling drug paraphernalia. (I can't find it on this computer, or I would publish it here.) The paper said today that the raid was the result of a number of citizen complaints. So, Smoker Friendly, I was one of the citizens who complained. Just wanted you to know that.
I much prefer dealing with criminal clients who admit that they are flying the Jolly Roger and that they know that they are breaking the law. They're criminal, but they're honest about it.