Steve's Blog

Green Jobs and the Death Penalty

Two headlines in the Cincinnati Enquirer this past Sunday caught my attention. They were both on page A-23 (yes, I try to read/skim the newspaper cover to cover.) One headline read – “Report: Green Jobs Program Didn’t Work”; the other, “Poll Indicates More Oppose Death Penalty.”

First, the “Green Jobs Program Didn’t Work” article. Well, no surprise there. We’ve known for some time now that most of the Stimulus money was wasted – particularly the “green jobs” portion of it. (Can you say Solyndra?)

According to the article, the $500 million green jobs program was supposed to put 80,000 people in new jobs. Instead, only 8,000 were employed, 10% of the target. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa stated that “This report paints a pretty bleak picture of the program’s effectiveness in job creation.”

And now President Obama wants Congress to pass Stimulus II (he calls it his Jobs Bill), chock-full of new so-called “green jobs.” He’s now dashing around the country (mostly to swing states) bashing Republicans for not passing his bill (even though quite a few Senate Democrats have said they don’t support it either.) There’s a saying: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” I think it applies here.

Okay, the second headline – “Poll Indicates More Oppose Death Penalty.” Now what the headline fails to say, and something that isn’t even mentioned in the entire article, is that the American people according to the Gallup poll, still overwhelmingly SUPPORT the death penalty, 61% for it, 35% against it, and 4% undecided. So almost 2 out of 3 people polled are FOR the death penalty, and the headline reads “Poll Indicates More Oppose Death Penalty.” Do you think someone has an agenda here?

I’m actually surprised that as many people support the death penalty as do today, when you consider the slanted coverage this issue usually gets in the mainstream press. Whenever an execution is to take place, the overwhelming attention is on the poor, misunderstood (and probably innocent) defendant. Scant attention if any at all, is paid to the now long-dead victim, or the still grieving friends and family of the person whose life has been snuffed out, almost always in a most callous manner. All the promise, all the things that could have been but never will; weddings, children and grandchildren, holidays with family; all up in smoke. This side of the equation – virtually ignored when murder and the death penalty is dealt with by the mainstream press.

I’ve worked on various victims’ rights issues over the years, and with various victims’ rights organizations. One of the greatest honors I’ve ever received was when Parents of Murdered Children (headquartered right here in Cincinnati) presented me with the Empty Shoes Award for 2000, for my work on victims’ rights. The empty shoes represent the loved one who is no longer with us due to a murder. I’ve worked with and spoken to many in our community, and around the nation, who have dealt firsthand with the tragic loss of a loved one. It’s something that stays with you, always.

Let me conclude with this. The death penalty is still a legal option in most states, and it certainly is at the federal level (remember Timothy McVeigh – who deserved its imposition more than he?) And as long as it is, I think the public deserves a balanced coverage of it by the press. And we don’t get it now.

Let me know what you think.

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