A badly timed call for bail reform

On Monday, three House Democrats sent a letter to New York’s district attorneys asking for answers on what they describe as the prosecutors’ use of “excessive” bail in the city’s court system as well as ways to deal with unsafe conditions at the infamous jail on Rikers Island.

“We have grave concerns that excessive bail amounts are leading to unnecessary pretrial detention,” said Carolyn Maloney, Jamie Raskin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a joint statement.

The timing of the announcement could hardly have been worse. On the same day as this release about bail being set too high, it emerged that the suspect in the vehicular attack on a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in which five people died and forty-eight were injured, was out on bail from a domestic abuse case. Darrell Brooks had been released after posting a $1,000 cash bond. The Milwaukee Country District Attorney’s Office has subsequently conceded that the amount was “inappropriately low.”

Would the trio of lawmakers worried about “excessive” use of bail like to tell us what an appropriate figure would have been for Brooks?

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The post-Parnell Pennsylvania GOP

Sean Parnell, the Donald Trump-endorsed frontrunner candidate in the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, has suspended his campaign after losing a custody battle with his estranged wife, who had accused him of abuse.

Trump is reportedly annoyed at his son, Don Jr., for pushing for an endorsement for his friend Parnell. The demise of the candidate Trump tied himself to leaves a wide-open race for the GOP candidacy in a crucial midterm Senate battle. TV doctor and Oprah protégé Mehmet Oz is said to be preparing to enter the contest. According to Politico, donors want Dr. Oz to put his own money where his mouth is before they stump up any cash.

One possible candidate who could fit the Glenn Youngkin mold that worked so well in Virginia is David McCormick, the CEO of investment firm Bridgewater Capital. McCormick is a Pittsburgh native, a veteran of the First Gulf War, has a PhD from Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and served in the Treasury Department under George W Bush. McCormick’s deep pockets and impressive résumé would make him a formidable candidate.

Whoever nabs the primary win will be in a tight contest to hold on to the seat being vacated by outgoing Senator Pat Toomey. In 2016, Toomey’s margin of victory was fewer than 100,000 votes. The GOP cannot maintain any realistic chance of gaining control of the upper chamber if they lose their Pennsylvania Senate seat.

Jefferson comes down

A statue of Thomas Jefferson was removed from New York City Hall yesterday. Officials decided on the move because of the fact that the Founding Father owned slaves. But the removal is a disgrace, for it feels like an attack not just on Jefferson but on the ideas for which he stood (however hypocritically) and put into action. (For more on what’s wrong with the move, I recommend reading Samuel Goldman’s piece from the time of the decision.) For now, suffice to say that the pictures of the bronze likeness of the author of the Declaration of Independence being boxed up hardly look like a step in the right direction.

‘News whiplash’ claims an unlikely victim

Anyone with the faintest knowledge of CNN’s talking heads will know that Brian Stelter, host of the a media commentary show called Reliable Sources, is something of a news junkie. So much so, in fact, that he even named his son Story.

And so it was odd to see Stelter complain about “news whiplash” in a monologue on his most recent show. “Every day, every week there’s a new narrative, some new extreme,” lamented Stelter. The grumble shows an impressive lack of self-awareness form a man who spends his time pontificating about the news on television. I tentatively suggest that cable news hosts long ago forfeited their right to complain about short news cycles and never-ending controversy.

“The news is always up at a ten or eleven. How do you bring it down to a five or a six,” asks Stelter with a straight face. Put the phone away, Brian. Turn the TV off. Go for a walk.

What you should be reading today

Ben Sixsmith: Kid Rock conservatism
Cindy Yu: The sinister Peng Shuai ‘proof of life’ video
Alexander Larman: The unstoppable Meghan Markle
Gerald F. Seib, Wall Street Journal: The three I’s that could dominate 2022 midterm elections
Dhruv Khullar, New Yorker: How will Covid pills change the pandemic?
Kevin D. Williamson, National Review: The Fox fix

Poll watch

President Biden Job Approval
Approve: 41.3 percent
Disapprove: 53.4 percent
Net approval: -12.1 (RCP Average)

A hypothetical three-way Texas governor race
Greg Abbott: 37 percent
Beto O’Rourke: 26 percent
Matthew McConaughey: 27 percent (Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler)

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