Daily Archive: September 24, 2011

On Protecting The Innocent, Or, Is There A Death Penalty Compromise?

I don’t feel very good about this country this morning, and as so many of us are I’m thinking of how Troy Davis was hustled off this mortal coil by the State of Georgia without a lot of thought of what it means to execute the innocent.

And given the choice, I’d rather see us abandon the death penalty altogether, for reasons that must, at this moment, seem self-evident; that said, it’s my suspicion that a lot of states are not going to be in any hurry to abandon their death penalties anytime soon now that they know the Supreme Court will allow the innocent to be murdered.

So what if there was a way to create a compromise that balanced the absolute need to protect the innocent with the feeling among many Americans that, for some crimes, we absolutely have to impose the death penalty?

Considering the circumstances, it’s not going to be an easy subject, but let’s give it a try, and see what we can do.

On This Day In History September 24

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

On this day on 1789, The Judiciary Act of 1789 is passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. That day, President Washington nominated John Jay to preside as chief justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson to be associate justices. On September 26, all six appointments were confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. Supreme Court was established by Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution granted the Supreme Court ultimate jurisdiction over all laws, especially those in which their constitutionality was at issue. The high court was also designated to oversee cases concerning treaties of the United States, foreign diplomats, admiralty practice, and maritime jurisdiction. On February 1, 1790, the first session of the U.S. Supreme Court was held in New York City’s Royal Exchange Building.

Cartnoon

This week’s episodes originally aired October 11, 2003.

They Stole Dodgers’ Brain Episode 15 Season 1

Late Night Karaoke

If This Were The Tea Party

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The silence of the traditional media on the Wall St. protest that has been going on for a week is deafening. As Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore point out of this were the Tea Party, it would be all over TV and the papers. Last, Mr. Moore expresses his outrage of over the murder of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia and his support of the Innocence Project and Get Out the Vote in Georgia.

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Another Attorney General Joins Foreclosure Fraud Investigation

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

There have been a couple of new developments in the foreclosure fraud investigation that was initiated by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The coalition of state AG’s who want a real criminal investigation and oppose the 50 state settlement proposal of Iowa AG Tom Miller has grown by one with Kentucky’s AG Jack Conway adding name. From David Dayen at FireDogLake:

The latest AG to stand with Schneiderman and against the attempts to whitewash the fraud of the big banks is Kentucky AG Jack Conway. He is up for re-election this year, and is known nationally by virtue of his unsuccessful challenge to Rand Paul for Senate in 2010. Conway, in conjunction with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, sent an email to supporters aligning himself with Schneiderman.

   The same Wall Street banks whose irresponsible actions led to our nation’s economic collapse are now pressuring all 50 states to give them legal immunity. The banks want to block any criminal or civil accountability for actions that have yet to be investigated.

   Attorneys General from Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada and New York have been fighting back. Today, I want to make a clear statement in support of Wall Street accountability and against immunity for banks – and I ask you to join me on this statement:

   “Today’s economic crisis was caused by Wall Street acting improperly. Every American has paid the price – with families losing their homes, investors losing their money, and many Americans losing their jobs. There should be absolutely no criminal or civil immunity given to banks for activity that has not yet been investigated.”

Several things are important here. Kentucky didn’t really have a big housing bubble – Conway is supporting this on principle, rather than in service to a wide swath of dispossessed and struggling borrowers who are victims of fraud. Second, he writes this in the context of an election which has tightened up minimally. So he obviously finds this to be a winning issue on the campaign trail. Third, it would be tempting to just ignore a proposed settlement that isn’t going to happen. Conway sees political advantage in stamping on this process, which is already flailing.

In another development in Nevada, an attorney has filed criminal charges against Wells Fargo accusing the bank of forging loan documents:

In court papers filed this month in Clark County District Court, attorney Dave Crosby alleged bank employees committed forgery and fraud in making a $350,000 loan to a father of four who was unemployed at the time.

“They forged signatures, they backdated documents,” Crosby said. “We’ve got them cold.”

Crosby said the bank has presented two deeds of trust for the same property. One bears the signature of Olivia A. Todd, who on Jan. 27, 2010, was identified as an assistant secretary with MERS, Inc., a mortgage servicer from the Phoenix area and a co-defendant in the lawsuit.

But on Feb. 16, 2010, Todd’s signature appears on a second deed of trust, where she is identified as the firm’s president. Both assignments were notarized as authentic, Crosby said in court papers.

Crosby made his allegations in a request to have a judge review three failed mediations between him and his clients, Ryan and Mical Henderson of Las Vegas, and lawyers with Wells Fargo, formerly Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Buried deep in the story was this interesting note:

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is expected to file criminal charges against bank and title company employees, as well as notary publics, over allegations of robo signing.

The paltry deal of $20 billion by AG Miller that would let the banks off the hook for most civil and criminal liability seems hardly adequate when you really examine the scope of the fraud nation wide.  

Drone = Terror

The issue of today is US drones.

Only drones.

The situation is, that via attack (and ‘surveillance’ too ultimately) drones, the US thinks it can wage undeclared wars in half a dozen countries with impunity. Today, the US employs cowards, who sit in Nevada, VA, or New Jersey, and kill people for money–then go off to little league.  


CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – From his apartment in Las Vegas, Sam Nelson drove to work through the desert along wind-whipped Highway 95 toward Indian Springs. Along the way, he tuned in to XM radio and tried to put aside the distractions of daily life – bills, rent, laundry – and get ready for work.

Nelson, an Air Force captain, was heading for his day shift on a new kind of job, one that could require him to kill another human being 7,500 miles away.

Seated in a padded chair inside a low, tan building, he controlled a heavily armed drone aircraft soaring over Afghanistan. When his shift ended, he drove 40 minutes back through the desert to the hustle and neon of Las Vegas.

Drone pilots and crews are the vanguards of a revolution in warfare, one the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have bet on heavily. The first Predator carrying weapons was rushed to Afghanistan just four days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Today, the Air Force is spending nearly $3 billion a year buying and operating drones, and is training pilots to fly more unmanned than manned aircraft. Demand is so strong even non-pilots such as civil engineers and military police are being trained.

More than 7,000 drones of all types are in use over Iraq and Afghanistan. The planes have played an integral part in the offensive now being carried out in Marjah, Afghanistan, by Marines, British and Afghan troops.

The Pentagon has adapted consumer-driven technology such as satellite television and digital video to give pilots, combat troops and commanders at headquarters a real-time look at the enemy on computer screens. For the first time in warfare, troops on the ground can see the enemy miles away on live video feeds.

Drone strikes in Pakistan are part of a separate CIA program that has killed more than two dozen senior al-Qaida and Taliban figures, including two leaders of the Pakistani Taliban in the last six months.

But the attacks also kill civilians, inflaming the sentiment the United States is fighting an undeclared, illegal war from the skies over that country. Some critics say the problems are so serious the entire program is counterproductive and should be shut down.

 

Random Japan

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YEAH, THANKS FOR THAT…

At a ceremony in Boston, the president of the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. The honor was in recognition of the man’s efforts to promote “friendly Japan-US relations by raising awareness of the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth,” whatever that is.

Reassuring absolutely no one, newly installed Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa labeled himself an “amateur” when it comes to national security issues.

Meanwhile, the new justice minister “expressed reluctance” about enforcing the death penalty.

An advisory council reporting to the culture minister recommended that Japan nominate Mt Fuji and the city of Kamakura as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

One year after the Akatsuki planetary probe failed in its attempt to enter the orbit of Venus, JAXA says the spacecraft may be capable of making another try in 2015.

Popular Culture (Illness) 20110923: Remedies for the Common Cold

First, please join with me in wishing Youngest Son a very happy 22nd birthday!

Now to the topic at hand, which is timely for me since it seems that I am getting one.  I had a scratchy throat at bedtime last night, but with the change in the weather here in the Bluegrass beginning yesterday, I just sort of did not pay attention to it. When I awakened this morning, it was a different story.

I had fever.  I am extremely sensitive to changes in body temperature, because my normal is around 97.7 degrees.  Thus, when I hit 99, I am SICK!  I also had the scratchy eyes and the runny nose.  As the day wore on, and I did not get better, I decided it was time to act.  I took aspirin for the fever, a gram of ascorbic acid and 50 mg of zinc to boost my immune system.