There it is, in black and white: Everything we need to know about the validity of polls.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation and Gillette Men's Health Survey interviewed 1,572 men and women, releasing the findings before Father's Day.
One particular part of the survey is very revealing. It turns out that 36 percent of men surveyed, and 32 percent of women, believe women are at risk of getting prostate cancer.
The results mean that one-third of all adults are dumber than Champ Walker. (If you're one of these folks, here's a hint: Women don't have a prostate gland. So they can't get prostate cancer.)
Now that we've had the biology lesson for the day, there are other parts of the anatomy to dissect in our body politic: The gut. And the heart.
Specifically, it's time for a lot of people to check them both after this past week's announcement that Superior Court Chief Judge William Fleming is stepping down.
In discussing his departure, Fleming said he's proud of the fact that his judgeship has been scandal-free.
Wow. I guess that's true if you don't include the vendetta against Judge Duncan Wheale, who had the guts to challenge the former system of assigning judges to hear cases. Or if you ignore the off-the-public-radar legal tactics the case management system created by steering cases to specific, well-connected attorneys in order to shop their cases to - or away from - specific judges.
All the public thinks is that they don't need to know anything about the court system until they need the court system. Then, that system either lets them down badly, or empowers them undeservedly, depending on their connections or financial status.
Hey, just ask Paul Matthew Colohan III, who sat in jail for 16 months on a false accusation of rape. Think anyone in our legal system gave a hoot about him? Just another two-bit loser taking up jail space, unable to afford a high-priced lawyer to spring him; what do we care?
We care only when it's us, or a family member, stuck in that cell. Sadly, caring about that legal system then extends only to who can help us out - doing the right thing isn't very important. Heck, when a third of us believe women can get prostate cancer, we may not even know what "doing the right thing" is.
There are some really talented people now wondering what the right thing is as they consider whether to sign up next week to run for Fleming's seat. They're having serious gut checks, pondering whether they are willing to risk facing Fleming's chosen successor.
The worry is legitimate. Augusta's legal community, collectively, is gutless; how else did the awful case management system for judges survive locally so long, without open criticism?
The statistics since then are clear: That archaic system denied justice by delaying it. The number of disposed-of cases doubled when the case assignment system went into effect.
What took so long? The legal community, even when Wheale stuck his neck out, wouldn't buck the system. Who among them now will be willing to likewise stick their necks out to say that a powerful judge's authority doesn't extend to picking his successor?
That question isn't just a gut-check; it's a test of heart. Who is bold enough to grab the rare opportunity to seek an open judgeship?
The person I have in mind is experienced enough to inspire, but young enough to be untainted by the old system. His heart is in the right place.
And he's smart enough to know women don't have prostate glands. That puts him at the top two-thirds of the food chain, which is more than I can say for many in Augusta's legal system.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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