Tag Archives: death row

Friday Evening News Roundup

For some reason, I got a call from the Republican National Committee. The guy started off with some small talk and then said that he knows I’ll agree that President Obama has not handled the economy in a responsible way (I’m paraphrasing). I said, “No, I don’t agree with that statement.” He hung up. 🙂 Let’s skip over the fact that somebody placed me on the RNC call list. Let’s think about this statement just for a second. President Obama has mishandled the economy. How? What was he supposed to do? Economists almost universally agreed that we needed a stimulus package. We needed a stimulus package that equalled somewhere around 10% of GDP. That would’ve been a stimulus package of $1.5 trillion. He was barely able to get a package through Congress that was half of what we needed. So, when economic growth petered out after 12 months or so, who’s surprised? Who were the ones who limited the size of the stimulus? Was it the Democrats or was it the Republicans? Again, I would ask what was Obama supposed to do? More tax cuts which don’t work?

Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, has passed a bill which alters the filibuster. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it alters it. I’m not sure I completely understand this.

Gaile Owens was released from prison in Tennessee. She was on death row but the governor pardoned her last year. She was placed on parole today. Read about her story here.

As most of you know, the predator drone is this small attack airplane that is flown via remote control. Well, it seems that some computer virus has gotten into its system. This can’t be good. This seems like an episode of NCIS – LA.

Rick Perry just stated at the Values Voter Summit that “every human being is entitled to life.” I guess that doesn’t include the 234 people that have been executed while he’s been governor of Texas.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has proposed zero corporate tax if corporations bring their money back from overseas. Of course, he wants us to forget that this has been tried before and it’s been nothing but a windfall for big corporations who momentarily bring their money back only to open new tax shelters overseas.

There’s some serious concern that Monarch butterflies, which fly from as far north as Canada and then roost in Mexico won’t make it through Texas. Read more here. (This has nothing to do with Rick Perry and the death penalty, I promise.)

More e-mails have been released from the White House regarding Solyndra, the failed solar panel company. Just for a second, let’s get some perspective. We, the American people, have been paying somewhere around $4.5 billion per year in tax deductions, preferences and credits for the oil and gas industry. Let’s see… $4.5 billion verses $535 million. Secondly, even those guys who understand money, venture capitalists, don’t get 100% return on their investment. Instead, they’re expecting a 20% return on their investment. They’re expecting that only one or two companies out of every 10 that they invest in to make it big. They are expecting several companies to break even and a couple to fail. This is their business model. Their business model isn’t 100% success on every investment.

It seems that AT&T wants to stick it to customers.

The new job numbers are out. They were slightly better than I expected.

I guess that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor does not like democracy. He seems to have some issues about Occupy Wall Street. He says that he’s becoming increasingly concerned about the “mobs.” I guess he should’ve been equally concerned about the Tea Party.

Read the compelling stories of the new Nobel laureates for Peace. Very powerful.

Occupy Together is the unofficial hub of all of the events going on around the country. Check it out.

So, what’s on your mind? What stories are you following?

A Case for Fairness in Our Society

There’s been an outpouring of support for Troy Anthony Davis. Mister Davis, 42, is on death row in Georgia. He is accused of killing an off-duty police officer.

First, before I go on, we need to set the ground rules. I believe that capital punishment should be reserved for the worst of the worst. I believe that capital punishment should only be applied in extremely clear-cut cases. With capital punishment, we must be 100% correct, 100% of the time. There is no excuse to execute an innocent person. None. Timothy McVeigh is an excellent example of someone who deserved the death penalty, in my opinion. We had the evidence. We had his confession. We had his accomplice. There was no doubt that he was the one that bombed the federal building in Oklahoma.

Back to Troy Davis’s case. There are several places on the Internet where you can read up on his case. (Here, here) Basically, there was a fight in the parking lot back in 1989 in Savannah, Georgia. An off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail, steps in to restore order. The off-duty police officer gets shot twice. The police officer dies. At trial, there are several eyewitnesses who testify that they saw Tony Davis with a gun. Davis maintains his innocence. Davis gets convicted for the murder of Mark MacPhail. There is no physical evidence. So, basically, the whole trial boils down to a combination of he said, she said. In subsequent trials and appeals many of the eyewitnesses stated that they were coerced into their testimony. Troy Anthony Davis is set to die, tomorrow.

There are only a few of us who have brains that actually act as a recorder. There are some remarkable individuals who can remember almost everything, down to the most minute detail. Most of us remember bits and pieces of an event. Later, when we are retelling the event, we fill in the details with pieces of our imagination. This is the way our minds work. For the majority of what we do as human beings, this is perfectly adequate. If you’re trying to remember how to get home, you don’t need to remember every single detail of every single street in order to get back home. Instead, all you need to remember is a few details, landmarks, and you can get home every single time. (Read more on eyewitness testimony – here and here.)

Our brains fail us in times of stress. There are multiple reasons for this which I will not go into. Basically, in times of stress, fight or flight, your body is primed for survival. You have a surge of epinephrine and multiple other hormones and cytokines that are designed to give you strength, speed and agility to preserve yourself. These hormones also give you the ability to block out extraneous information and focus intently on survival. Because of this, you’re not focused on the face of the stranger that is attacking you. There are many psychological studies which have shown this to be true. We also know that cross-racial identification is extremely poor. Therefore, all witness identifications should be thought of as suspect and unreliable. They may be true; on the other hand, they may not be true.

So, what do you do with Troy Anthony Davis? I do not know if there’s enough evidence to say that Troy Davis is completely innocent. I do know that there isn’t enough evidence to say that he is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Because our system is designed in such a way that you’re innocent until proven guilty, the State must NOT execute Troy Davis. In my opinion, it is the right thing to do. (f you want to do more, if you want to fight for justice – Amnesty International.)