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Priorities, priorities

Two judicial proceedings were conducted at the same time today. In one, a defendant pleaded guilty to a felony with a maximum punishment of five years, and the government will be asking for a fifth of that.

In the other, high-powered lawyers argued about the constitutionality of Virginia’s $3 billion transportation plan, which includes projects, taxes and fees that affect everyone in the state. Guess which hearing attracted 31 satellite trucks and a Richmond Times-Dispatch blogging crew that included at least four reporters and an editor?

Granted, the criminal case involves conduct by one of the country’s best known athletes that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell succinctly described as “cruel and reprehensible.” But the relative attention given Michael Vick and the most important public policy issue confronting the state suggest that it’s all celebrity, all the time for the media.

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