Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of

Articles by Josh

About 15 years ago I wrote a controversial article in The New Republic arguing, on very hard evidence, that it simply wasn't true that Americans were more supportive of the death penalty than nations in Europe. Mainly the issue was that European political systems were less responsive to populist support. It's probably a mix of structural (parliamentary) and cultural differences (less populist). But the decline of violent crime, not surprisingly, has rapidly reduced Americans' support for the death penalty. Look at this chart.

Let me just say it: No, no, no, no!

We're hearing this morning - intentionally hearing, since these reports are clearly trial balloons of some sort - that the US is again considering releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. To review, if you don't know the backstory: Pollard was a civilian working for US Navy intelligence who was arrested and convicted for passing copious classified information to Israel. The fact that Pollard was a Jew spying for Israel made the case extremely charged, for good reasons and bad. Not surprisingly, the Israeli government has been lobbying for decades to get him released. No big surprise there. We try to get our spies released too. But if the White House is seriously considering using Pollard as a bargaining chip at this stage of the negotiations they've totally lost their minds.

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I came in this morning a little bummed that there may not be many more CNN whackadoodle missing plane coverage jokes left. But I think we're good. Last week we found out that CNN failed in its efforts to rent a 777 to fake crash into the Indian Ocean. But just a few moments ago I saw that CNN is up with new reports from their flight simulator up in Canada doing a simulated search for plane debris over what the host helpfully referred to as "simulated water." I was convinced by the simulation. It's pretty hard to find small parts of a plane flying over vast tracks of ocean. (Actually, when I first saw it I thought they were flying off the coast of British Columbia or something pretending to look for plane chunks.) We'll have the breaking video shortly.

Update: And here's the video!