Thursday, September 29, 2011

A question for Christians

Adrian Gonzalez, being interviewed after the Red Sox lost tonight to end their season, just said that he believes that God has a plan for us and it wasn't in God's plan for the Red Sox to be in the playoffs.

So what do you think? Does God care who makes it to the World Series, or at least the playoffs?

Why would he?

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Fated to be the white man's salvation

Once again, Pat Boone has shown himself to be at the cutting edge of the culture.

It could be that you know him best for this, when he demonstrated that rock 'n' roll maybe isn't quite as universal as you thought:

Or you might remember his heavy metal days:

So what can he do to top himself?

You had to ask, right?

Former singing star and now Republican activist Pat Boone has repeated his assertions that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and therefore illegible to be in the White House.

In an appearance at a Republican convention in Los Angeles, Boone, a member of the Beverly Hills Tea Party, told reporters: “I was in Kenya a year and a half ago and everybody said, ‘You know, he [Obama] was born here.”

He added: “Why else would he be hiding all his records? He is spending millions of dollars so we do not have his records. And experts have already looked at and been able to verify that this long form document is a fraud. But the media ignores it; a total fraud. A photoshopped fraud.”

I'll leave it up to you which of these makes him a bigger clown.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Texas abolishes "last meals"

Texas inmates who are set to be executed will no longer get their choice of last meals, a change prison officials made Thursday after a prominent state senator became miffed over an expansive request from a man condemned for a notorious dragging death.

"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, wrote in a letter Thursday to Brad Livingston, the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Don't you think it would be nice if they would make an exception when they're going to execute somebody who actually didn't do it?

In 2005, Texas established a government commission to investigate allegations of error and misconduct by forensic scientists. The first cases that are being reviewed by the commission are those of Willingham and Willis. In mid-August, the noted fire scientist Craig Beyler, who was hired by the commission, completed his investigation. In a scathing report, he concluded that investigators in the Willingham case had no scientific basis for claiming that the fire was arson, ignored evidence that contradicted their theory, had no comprehension of flashover and fire dynamics, relied on discredited folklore, and failed to eliminate potential accidental or alternative causes of the fire. He said that Vasquez’s approach seemed to deny “rational reasoning” and was more “characteristic of mystics or psychics.” What’s more, Beyler determined that the investigation violated, as he put it to me, “not only the standards of today but even of the time period.” The commission is reviewing his findings, and plans to release its own report next year. Some legal scholars believe that the commission may narrowly assess the reliability of the scientific evidence. There is a chance, however, that Texas could become the first state to acknowledge officially that, since the advent of the modern judicial system, it had carried out the “execution of a legally and factually innocent person.”

Just before Willingham received the lethal injection, he was asked if he had any last words. He said, “The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for twelve years for something I did not do. From God’s dust I came and to dust I will return, so the Earth shall become my throne.”

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A question for you

Here's a question you can only answer for yourself.

Two men died yesterday, both before their natural allotment of years.

Troy Davis was 42 at the time of his death. There is very little question about the facts: he was almost certainly innocent of the crime for which he was executed. Nevertheless, the mechanism of the state executed him, celebrating, in the immortal words of that thug Antonin Scalia, that "This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is "actually" innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged "actual innocence" is constitutionally cognizable."

The other premature death yesterday was Lawrence Russell Brewer. 44 years old, he was in prison since 1999. There is also no doubt about the facts of his case. He was one of two white supremacists who chained and dragged James Byrd to his death in Texas in 1998. It was a crime that horrified everybody I know.

Did you have the same reaction of revulsion and horror at Brewer's execution as at Davis's?

I sure didn't.

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Friday, September 09, 2011

TPM crashed by cyber terrorists

UPDATE: TPM is back up and running. they have the full story on their site, and no further direct evidence of the involvement of "Anonymous" at this point, but the story is still developing.

This evening Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo posted a note on TPM's Facebook page describing a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) that caused the site to crash at about 5:00 this afternoon.

There has been no claim of responsibility, but the attack comes on the heels of TPM's publication of fourteen mugshots of members of Anonymous, the "hacktivist" group that has been linked to related attacks on media and other outlets for taking action against Wikileaks.

This attack on freedom of the press is a serious threat, and demonstrates an ugly totalitarian streak in an organization that has allegedly taken a position in favor of public dissent.

Anyone who has been supportive or sympathetic of Anonymous to this point should reconsider supporting an organization that appears to be attempting to crush, rather than support, dissent.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Cruel and Unusual?

Or just business as usual for Arizona?

Having worked with clients in prison, I would have thought that maintaining family ties would be a good thing, and keeping prisoners incommunicado a bad thing.

Apparently Arizona is making a different choice.

For the Arizona Department of Corrections, crime has finally started to pay.

New legislation allows the department to impose a $25 fee on adults who wish to visit inmates at any of the 15 prison complexes that house state prisoners. The one-time “background check fee” for visitors, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, has angered prisoner advocacy groups and family members of inmates, who in many cases already shoulder the expense of traveling long distances to the remote areas where many prisons are located.

Are we sure they haven't elected Sheriff Joe governor yet?