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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No medal for NBC

Remember when the Olympics opening ceremony was just a parade of athletes and a torch lighting? God, I miss those days! Bigger is not always better.

Also, could NBC be any more Ameri-centric? I realize it's an American TV network broadcasting to an American audience, but don't the honchos there understand this is a worldwide sporting event? Once all the athletes were in the stadium last night, the only thing NBC showed was the ceremonial action of the moment and the reactions on the faces of the US athletes.

And to watch NBC's broadcast, you'd think the only two black people in the stadium were Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Note to NBC: Not every great athlete is white, and your broadcasts should reflect that fact.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've always been a bit on the fence when it comes to the death penalty. In general, I favor it, but only for the most heinous crimes and only if the evidence is irrefutable.

In the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, the evidence against suspect James Eagan Holmes seems, indeed, irrefutable. And a conviction is virtually assured.

Which is why I think he should be allowed to live. For as long as possible.

Yes, you read that correctly.

A painless death — lying back on a gurney and drifting away peacefully as poison is injected into his arms — seems too good for such a scumbag. None of the 12 people Holmes is accused of slaughtering early Friday in a dark movie theater was allowed such ease in passing from this world to the next. To the contrary, they were brutalized, their bodies pumped full of hot lead, some of them left to bleed to death slowly and agonizingly.

One of the victims was 6-year-old girl, for God's sake! How can anyone be so sick, so heartless, so callous, so destructive, so unfeeling as to violently end the life of a 6-year-old girl?

And the pain inflicted on Friday goes well beyond the 12 people Holmes is accused of killing. Let's not forget the pain that will be felt by the loved ones of the dead for years to come. And let's not forget that the gunman wounded an additional 58 people. The fact that they survived the massacre hardly means their lives will return to normal in a matter of days or weeks. My guess is their lives never will return to normal — physically or psychologically.

It seems the only appropriate punishment for a person who causes such suffering is that he be forced to suffer, too. And because our laws do not allow inhumane executions, the next best thing is to throw him in a tiny, solitary-confinement prison cell for the rest of his life. Make him sleep on a cement floor. Provide him with the bare minimum of food needed for survival. Never let him outdoors. Give him nothing but a small hole in the floor for his bodily functions. If he vomits from time to time, let him clean it up.

There can be no excuse — NONE — for what the Colorado gunman did. Likewise, there would be no excuse for our legal system allowing him either a quick and painless death or a lengthy life in which he is afforded the "comforts" provided to too many of our nation's most despicable criminals.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Deja vu all over again

On Friday, as I was putting together the front page of this morning's Freeman, it occurred to me that the two news stories on the page were about a deadly shooting rampage in suburban Denver and Woodstock festival promoter Michael Lang talking about his plans for concerts on the Winston Farm in Saugerties.

Someone apparently has hit the "replay" button in my life.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Crisis of confidence (in AP)

Going through Associated Press stories this afternoon, I came across the item on Jennifer Lopez announcing that she's giving up her job as a host on Fox TV's "American Idol." Her announcement, as you may know, comes on the heels of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler announcing that he, too, is quitting as an "Idol" host.

The "slug" on the Lopez story (that's newspaperspeak for the name given to an article by a reporter or wire service) was, I kid you not, "American Idol-Crisis."

Crisis? Seriously?

The financial meltdown of 2008 was a crisis. Watergate was a crisis. 9/11 was a crisis. The stock market crash of 1929 was a crisis.

Steven Tyler and JLo leaving "American Idol" is just a tad less significant than those events, wouldn't you say?