Remember Eastern Hancock High School, where I taught for three years in uncomfortable undergarments? One of my more memorable and perplexing students was the skinny, red-headed Radley Balko: insanely bright, pretty lazy, smirky, snarky, ultra conservative, argumentative and highly opinionated. He was one of those kids you don't forget, even if his name isn't Radley Balko. I was his English teacher freshman year, and again his junior year for AP English, where I gave him a B for sheer laziness, even though he was by far the smartest kid in the class, the best thinker, and the best writer. As I recall, he had the good sense not to argue with me about that, but he argued with me about just about everything else. One debate I recall vividly was about the death penalty: Radley was outspokenly in favor of it, and, I believe, may have even cited the Bible (an eye for an eye) to support his argument (yes, Radley, I'm having fun at your expense).
So these days, Radley blogs at the libertarian blog The Agitator, which I've been reading fairly regularly for about a year now. He's also a senior editor at the libertarian rag reason. Among Radley's passions as an investigative journalist are criminal justice and helping to exonerate innocent folks on death row (yes, I'm trying very hard not to smirk). I'm happy to say that Radley has grown up to be insanely bright, hardworking, and only occasionally snarky (and then only when it is well deserved). Most of the time, though, I find him remarkably earnest and even a little bit sweet, and as for his political views, I only disagree with him about half the time, and I respect him all of the time.
Radley just published a disturbing, smoking-gun expose entitled Manufacturing Guilt? about two medical examiners in Mississippi who have apparently been manufacturing evidence that has landed at least several -- perhaps many more -- innocent men on death row. You should all head on over to reason and check it out. This is Radley at his best. (I'll warn you, the article contains some pretty gruesome images of an autopsy of a toddler.)