Wednesday Morning Reads: Well, isn’t that special?

Good morning, do you ever get that kind of feeling, where you want to scream as loud as you can into a pillow…maybe if you don’t have a pillow handy, a member of the Georgia Pardon and Parole Board will do.

When I saw that Davis was denied clemency yesterday, it made me realize that here we are, in the second decade of this twenty-first century, and a man can be sent to death with nothing more than a couple of witness’ testimony, and a shitload of doubt.  Who needs physical evidence?  Troy Davis Is Denied Clemency in Georgia –

“Whether the trial witnesses against [Troy Davis] were lying then or are lying now, by fighting against his requested relief Georgia is saying that its interest in the finality of its capital judgments is more important than the accuracy of its capital verdicts.”

Andrew Cohen, who has served as chief legal analyst and legal editor for CBS News, wrote those words regarding death row inmate Troy Davis on yesterday. They come near the end of a vitally important essay in which Cohen spells out “how far we have to go toward fair and accurate capital punishment in America.” I read them over and over, because as a person who has been advocating for Davis’s clemency bid, they struck me as frighteningly true.

This morning, Mr. Cohen’s analysis was proven accurate: Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles announced that it is denying Davis clemency. He is to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow for the 1989 murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail.

It doesn’t take a legal expert to look at the public record and see that there is nothing approaching “beyond a reasonable doubt” here. But a long list of legal experts have, in fact, come forward to say that the case against Troy Davis is far too thin to support the death penalty. The list includes about 1,500 names, ranging from Andrew Cohen to former state Supreme Court justices to author and capital punishment expert Scott Turow. All of these authorities are in agreement that there is simply not enough there to justify killing a man.
The entire case against Davis is based on eyewitness testimony — and seven out of nine eyewitnesses have either recanted or changed their testimonies. Several have testified that they were coerced by police, and one of the remaining two witnesses (Sylvester “Redd” Coles) has been implicated as the real shooter. (Indeed, according to numerous affidavits, Coles has publicly boasted of getting away with the murder.) There is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. Just the word of people who have since said that they were frightened into lying.

I am not judging whether this man is innocent or guilty…but one thing seems obvious…if you are going to execute a person, you had better make damn sure there is no doubt whatsoever that the man is guilty.  So, with just a few eyewitness accounts, which are really not 100% reliable in the first place, a man can be executed in the State of Georgia.

The notion that those engaged with this nation’s justice system would allow Troy Davis to be killed under these circumstances fills many of us with a kind of shame that we have never before felt. I do not know how I will explain this to my children, to say, “This is what justice looks like in your country.”

There is still one more chance: Amnesty International is calling on Larry Chisholm, the district attorney of Georgia’s Chatham County, to seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency, and if Chisholm does so, Davis may yet live. Not walk free. Not make up for years lost. Not build a family and get a job and gather a pension as his years wind down — just live. In prison. For the rest of his life. But he would be alive. And where there is life, there is hope. Hope not only for Davis, but for us, as a country.

If, on the other hand, we really are a country that would rather kill potentially innocent people than accept the reality of doubt, I’m not sure we have much hope left.

No hope left…sad indeed.

As far as our economy is concerned, it truly seems that there is no hope left for it either. MoJo has a post up that breaks down the sad state of our economy into numbers that read like a rundown list of failure… Our Sputtering Economy by the Numbers: Poverty Edition | Mother Jones

Last month, we detailed the dismal state of the nation’s economy. Now that the Census Bureau has released new poverty figures, we wanted to give you another snapshot of how Americans are faring more than two years after the recession.

Americans below the poverty line in 2010: 46.2 million

Official US poverty rate in 2007, before the recession: 12.5 percent

Poverty rate in 2009: 14.3 percent

Poverty rate in 2010: 15.1 percent

And those unemployed by the numbers:

Official unemployment rate in August 2011: 9.1 percent

Total unemployed people in August: 14 million

People who were employed part-time for economic reasons in August 2011: 8.8 million

People not counted in the labor force who wanted work: 2.6 million

Net jobs created in August 2011: 0

Long-term unemployed people as of August 2011: 6 million

Unemployed workers per job opening as of July 2011: 4.34 (3.2 million openings and 13.9 million unemployed people)

And then there are these numbers:

Percentage of American households that had enough to eat throughout the year in 2007: 88.9 percent

Percentage of American households that had enough to eat throughout the year in 2010: 85.5 percent

Well, at least the wealthy one percent can fill their bellies.

There is another fight coming, on the disaster relief front.  GOP Likely to Prevail on Limiting Disaster Aid; Expect to Avert Shutdown – Dan Friedman –

The House is set on Wednesday to pass a continuing resolution that contains $3.65 billion to replenish a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster aid fund. Reid called the amount inadequate, and said he will offer an amendment attaching $6.9 billion in FEMA funding that the Senate approved last week. The Senate bill does not offset the funding.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that the GOP-run House could not pass the bill if the Senate adds the amendment.

The House’s failure to back the bill would leave Congress without a continuing resolution that both chambers can approve, although lawmakers would have the option of staying in session next week, when they are currently scheduled to be recessed, to work on a deal.

The heat was being turned up on 10 Senate Republicans who last week voted with Democrats, in a narrow 62-37 vote, to support the funding without offsets. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., missed that vote and will support Democrats on the amendment.

Those Republicans need “to put aside petty politics” and “stand up for their states,” Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, D-La., told reporters.

Wait, “stand up for their states” that is one hell of a loaded statement. Especially when you have a group of representatives who have taken “the pledge” to someone other then the people they represent.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sounded confident on Tuesday, flatly responding “no” when asked whether there is any chance of another government shutdown. McConnell predicted the Senate will complete its work on Thursday night.

Reid, however, citing McConnell’s remark, said he was not as certain. “We’re not gonna cave on this,” he said.

Okay, place your bets…do you think they will cave? I really don’t have any kind of confidence that they will stand strong.

Speaking of disasters, I had no idea a huge typhoon was bearing down on Japan, and it is heading for the parts of Japan that were affected by the tsunami:  Japan typhoon alert as Roke threatens tsunami zone | World news |

More than a million people in central Japan have been urged to evacuate as the country braces for the arrival on Wednesday of a powerful typhoon.

Reports said evacuation warnings have been issued to 1.3 million people, including 800,000 in the city of Nagoya, 170 miles west of Tokyo.

Typhoon Roke is thought to have killed five people even before it makes landfall. Police in Gifu prefecture said a nine-year-old boy and an 84-year-old woman were missing after reportedly falling into a swollen river. The body of a middle-aged man was discovered in a river in Nagoya early Wednesday morning.

Rolling TV weather forecasts warned that Roke would make landfall on Wednesday, bringing torrential rain and violent winds.

It is expected to cling to Japan’s south-west coast before moving north-east over Tokyo and on to the north-east region affected by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Nuclear officials played down fears the typhoon could cause further damage to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, where workers are battling to cool reactors that melted down in the March disaster.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator, said cooling systems used to keep the reactors stable would not be endangered by the typhoon. Every possible measure had been taken to prevent leaks of radioactive water, he said.

I swear, that whole Mayan end of the world thing is looking like a pretty accurate prediction to me.

I will end this morning post with the image of a cave, and it is not the Obama or Democrat kind of cave…Bats only roost with their closest buddies | Biodiversity | EarthSky

Image Credit: Jessicajil

Image Credit: Jessicajil
Bats prefer to rest with their closest pals rather than with bats they don’t know very well, researchers have discovered.They found that although bats change where they sleep every few days, they nearly always roost with the same bunch of bats, forming tight-knit social groups with exclusive membership. Tom August from the Center for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), is studying the bats as part of his PhD at the University of Exeter. He said:

Bats build long-term companionships with other individuals, and these companions are members of exclusive social groups that can last for many years.


Bat experts have long known that they often rest together: males roost on their own, or sometimes in small groups; while female bats establish so-called maternity colonies around June when many soon-to-be mothers come together to have their pups.

But this is the first time researchers have shown that bats form exclusive social groups – at least in the UK.

I just find it amusing that there are so many members of the Animal Kingdom who form themselves into social groups…from tiny ants to big elephants, being connected to others is so important.

That is all I have for you this morning, I look forward to “connecting” to you all later in the comments…

20 Comments on “Wednesday Morning Reads: Well, isn’t that special?”

  1. Branjor says:

    Actually, Minx, there’s hope (vis a vis Troy Davis, don’t know about anything else). Just read an AOL headline that the Supreme court has granted a stay of execution.

    • Branjor says:

      Oops, sorry. Just read that was another case, that of a Cleve Foster. Just assumed it was Davis as he’s the one who was in the news lately.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I think the only way for Davis to get clemency is if the original judge who officiated at the trial, rescinds his order. Or…Obama steps in…but I don’t think either is going to happen.

      • dakinikat says:

        I can’t wait to hear their reasoning on this one. This is a white guy–cop–that killed a woman and there was DNA, gun residue evidence and everything.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Tonight’s evening news reads may be a bit late…

    Here are some updates:

    Typhoon hits Tokyo, heads for nuke crisis zone – CBS News

    Typhoon Roke’s projected course was to take it near the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, where a small amount of radiation is still leaking after three of its reactors melted down when the tsunami cut off power to the plant and its back-up generators.

    Takeo Iwamoto, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates the plant, said the cooling system for the reactors, crucial to keeping them under control, will not be endangered by the typhoon.

    He said some construction work around the plant was canceled and utmost efforts were under way to prevent leaks of radioactive water and other material from the typhoon.

    Hillary Clinton Promotes Women’s Rights Treaty That U.S. Has Not Yet Signed

    Together with a selection of major female world leaders, including Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, and Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile and the head of U.N. Women, Clinton put her name to a document calling for developing countries — especially in the changing Middle East — to clear the way for women to hold leadership roles.

    The joint statement read:

    We call upon all States to ratify and fulfill their obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and to implement fully Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and Peace and Security and other relevant UN resolutions.

    There was only one problem: the United States is the only industrialized nation — and one of only seven in the world — that has not yet signed onto the CEDAW treaty.

    Although Clinton did not mention America’s conspicuous absence from the CEDAW list of signatories, both she and President Obama have repeatedly stated they would like to see the treaty ratified in the Senate. But while CEDAW has been in the hands of the Senate for more than 30 years — ever since President Jimmy Carter signed it in 1980 — it has never so much as gotten a vote in the full chamber.

    WRAPUP 1-Greece to outline more austerity to secure loan | Reuters

    The Greek cabinet was expected to outline major public sector layoffs, more spending cuts and tax increases on Wednesday to secure a bailout instalment crucial to avoid running out of money next month.

    Greece is the front line in a euro zone sovereign debt crisis that also engulfed Ireland and Portugal and now threatens Italy, Spain and some of Europe’s biggest banks, risking plunging the West back into recession.

    Officials said European governments are looking seriously at steps to recapitalise banks most exposed to sovereign risk after initially rejecting an IMF call last month for urgent action.

    Fears of another credit crunch or recession due to Europe’s inability to overcome the debt crisis have dominated the run-up to this week’s IMF/World Bank and Group of 20 meetings of finance chiefs in Washington.

    A Greek government spokesman said austerity measures negotiated in tough talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund officials would be announced in the afternoon after a special cabinet session.

    My eyes hurt…see y’all later tonight.

  3. fiscalliberal says:

    As we know Numbers can be made to lie and liars figure. So in the end, Obama’s credibility is based on the numbers he used.

    Pat Monahan said: you are entitled to your opinion but not your own set of facts.

    A flag is being raised by David Walker who was in the rose garden during the Obama speech. He endorsed the Obama plan immediately.

    Then he got to the fine detail later and promptly withdrew His endorsement. He contends Obama is using his own set of numbers. Further detail in this article.

    President Obama’s Deficit Plan ‘Worse Than Nothing’ Says Former U.S. Comptroller

    Some how the President needs to get to a set of accepted numbers and not create his own. His own numbers could be credible, given enough time to develop. Doing it this way opens the door to easy criticism

  4. paper doll says:

    Terrific round up, thanks!

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    The Davis case is a stark illustration to why we must be rid of the death penalty.

    I have no idea as to this man’s guilt or innocence but reasonable doubt exists. The courts of Arkansas recently freed 3 young men, one who was facing death, because there was never any evidence at all that they were present when 3 young children were murdered 18 yrs ago.

    The public fears, and justifiably so, that life in prison does not necessarily mean that murderers will not be released back into society and feel that putting them to death will ensure they do not.

    • Gregory says:

      The death penalty is just not an appropriate means of carrying out punishment for a variety of reasons; however, convicting people and giving them the ultimate penalty without evidence has to be as egregious as any.

      I think as a people we cannot overcome our own natural biases and see our own arrogance and shortcomings. There is no doubt that the prosecutors, judges, and police officers involved in these situations all feel they are 100% correct and they have the right people and nobody wants to see a guilty person go free to commit other crimes. This puts people in very bad situations especially after they become emotionally entangled. So they trump up evidence, coerce witnesses, anything they have to do to get the conviction. We see it over and over again.

      I agree with you that the death penalty has got to go except maybe in extreme cases such as with Timothy McVeigh. I don’t think it serves any real purpose though. It doesn’t deter crime and it isn’t a cost effective either. Can’t think of any positive things to say about it.

  6. paper doll says:

    The state will assert its self given right to kill whoever it pleases….that’s the alter this poor man
    will be sacrificed on. As far as the state is concerned, who killed the officer is not nearly as important as someone pays for it and they have the right to say who.

  7. Peggy Sue says:

    I don’t know all the particulars on this case but from what I’ve read there was no physical evidence and five out of seven witnesses have recanted and said they were coerced to testify. That in and of itself presents reasonable doubt in a death sentence case. And this is what–the fourth stay of execution? Doesn’t make sense. If anything, it’s a damning argument against capital punishment. Sessions, a former director of the FBI, has said this case, the evidence presented, does not meet a death sentence standard. And yet the gears of the machine keep on rolling. As a country, we’re really losing it, tossing every value in the dumpster.

  8. Fannie says:

    The justice system, pure torture!

  9. paper doll says:

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Two Americans jailed in Iran as spies were released from Tehran’s prison on Wednesday after more than two years in custody.

    Thank you ,Hillary Clinton

    but please , hiking? I’m suppose to believe anyone would “hike’ there?

    • Woman Voter says:

      The funny part of the story is what country they were ‘hiking’ in when they got LOST! Yea, some do some pretty dumb things…the Gore TV crew comes to mind…

    • Branjor says:

      They were apparently ‘hiking’ in Iraq when they inadvertently wandered over the unmarked international boundary into Iran. I guess it’s possible to be hiking in Iraq if one is far enough away from the war zone, but I could think of better places.
      If not hiking, then what?

      • fiscalliberal says:

        Well said – it might be better if these two guy’s not reproduce

      • paper doll says:

        Spying? How do such people even get the visas and paper work to get to the border between Iraq and Iran to somehow “cross over by mistake” who are not a military contractors at the very least. Who travels 9,000 to hike in a war zone , and somehow get so off course, they wander into another country. The Gore TV people had a better cover…the TV thing . Stupid hiking is not enough of a cover.

        What are they gonna do when Hill leave State? I would not hold my breathe for Kerry to help anyone

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    This latest tragedy and the loss of a child due to bullying surrounding his sexual orientation has made me sick to my stomach.

    And I hold those politicians who object to accepting gays equally responsible for the tone that this invites.

    I’m talking to you Perry, Romney, Bachmann and all the rest who view biology as an “abomination”.

  11. northwestrain says:

    executioners who kill an innocent man are guilty of murder.