Friday, August 27, 2010

If these candidates were the answer, WTF was the question?

After getting their teeth kicked in during the 2008 election, everyone who follows politics wondered what the Republican party was going to do. The Sarah Palin pick had proven to be a horrible idea. Sure, it "fired up" up the base, but only the extreme right of the base. Like a fluorescent light in the bathroom, the Palin pick highlighted every crazy flaw on the GOP's mug. Palin appealed to the ignorant, sexist, racist and crazy. Yep, that pretty much sums up dedicated Glenn Beck watchers.

Smart and thoughtful Republicans like former Utah Governor Jim Huntsman realized the GOP had lost the moral soapbox though their actions over the previous 8 years. Huntsman thought the loss could ultimately prove to be good for the Republican party, as it would have to wander out into the wilderness a little and "find itself." To Huntsman, that meant coming back to real conservative fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, that hasn't worked out. The Republican party seems so intent on steering into the crazy skid at this point, that it's caused true deep thinkers like Huntsman to bail (Huntsman saw the delusional writing on the asylum wall and made a break for it, becoming President Obama's ambassador to China).

The simply truth, is one David Frum admitted to the world back in March.

Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we're discovering we work for Fox," Frum told ABC's Terry Moran. "And this balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party.

Frum is right. Since the 2008 elections, Fox has embraced the loons and by doing so, has further and further legitimized them until it has reached the point where the loons are the ones the herd follows. The sane folks in the Republican party have created a monster that they can no longer control. If it wasn't so damn scary, it would be comical.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No more shenanigans, tomfoolery or ballyhoo for Ken Mehlman

Hey, sweetheart...Kenny is just not that in to you. But the strapping young buck making sexy eyes...please give the former RNC Chairman a call.

Former George W. Bush campaign chairman and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has publicly come out and admitted that he is gay.

"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life."

Really? You think working with people and for the political party that pushed making gays second-class citizens contributed at all to your level of discomfort, Kenny?

Mehlman acknowledged that if not for his secret, he might have been a voice for a more conciliatory approach to gays, according to the interview on the Atlantic's website.

"It's a legitimate question and one I understand," Mehlman said. Now, he said, he will openly back gay marriage as consistent with such GOP principles as "individual freedom."

Nice of you to talk about legitimacy now Ken. 'Preciate it. We hope you get to enjoy the same rights as everyone else one day. And we hope you work like hell to make it happen. You got some penance to endure.

Karl Rove offered Mehlman this advice: "Ken, the pressures, and I'm not judging them...I'm not labeling them...but they are destroying your potential..."

Karma: Frivolous lawsuits coming home to roost...

Anyone who lives in South Carolina, heard all about how Henry "Foghorn Leghorn" McMaster "pushed back" at President Obama and the Washington Radicals when they "pushed their unconstitutional takeover of health care."

Of course anyone who paid attention during US Government class understands that the Affordable Healthcare Act is not unconstitutional. Remember all that talk by Congressional Republicans about how things needed to go slow because health care was such a huge part of our economy? Ok...then hows about googling the "interstate commerce clause" and get back to us.'s hard to become attorney general and not have some general idea about the Constitution. So it's pretty safe to say all the AGs who signed on to the Obamacare suit have heard of Congress having the power to regulate interstate commerce. So why join up with a ridiculous and frivolous lawsuit? Political grandstanding of course. Henruh, as the commercial linked above shows, was in the middle of running for Guv'nur. How'd that work out for him? Not so good.

Last night, another original member of the dirty dozen AGs that first jumped aboard this lunacy train found out how well a campaign tactic this silly lawsuit was. Florida AG Bill McCollum lost the Republican gubernatorial primary to Rick "Moneybags" Scott.

That sparked us wondering whether the bizarre campaign strategy of wasting tax payers' funds on a frivolous lawsuit actually benefited any of these AGs. Our cursory research reveals that it certainly does not appear to have been a viable strategy. Alabama AG, Troy King lost big in the Republican primary. Michigan AG Mike Cox was another Republican trying to move up to the governor's mansion and lost in his party's primary. Utah's AG, Mark Shurtleff (R) must have seen the writing on the wall as he decided it would be better to serve out his term as AG rather than lose his bid for US Senate.

All told, we didn't find a single one of these original AGs, who was in a contested race, for whom this odd tactic proved successful. That doesn't really fit the anti-Obama, anti-socialism, tea party narrative, does it? We suppose it's fitting. After all, the folks above are all Republicans, the party that for decades have proclaimed that stopping frivolous lawsuits would solve all types of problems. Bit of karma that their reliance on a frivolous lawsuit has now bitten them in the ass.

Hattip hambypcnn via coreyhutchins

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Terror? Hey...must be the money

Meet Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. No...he's not some supercool cop or private investigator as his kick-ass 'stache and Raybans would lead one to conclude. As Benen points out, according to FOXNews, he's the "questionable ties" funding the Park51 center. And as Nelly once sang...must be the money!!!

Former Bush administration official Dan Senor appeared on "Fox & Friends"
and pushed a fairly specific angle: "The Kingdom Foundation, which has been a
funder of Imam Rauf in the past, the Kingdom Foundation, so you know, is this
Saudi organization headed up by the guy who tried to give Rudy Giuliani $10
million after 9/11 that was sent back. He funds radical madrassas all over the
world." Brian Kilmeade added, "And he funds this imam."

We were all set not to believe a word of this (it is FOXNews, afterall) until we discovered the Prince has far more sinister ties: outside of the Murdoch family, Prince Al-Waleed is the largest shareholder in News Corp.'s a pic that just came out of the Prince meeting with News Corp executives. That means he not only funds "terror mosques," but he also funds hate-&-ignorance-peddling news programs like Fox & Friends. Wow...this is awkward. And damn funny. Just watch Jon Stewart:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

At this point, it's no shock that FOXNews feels comfortable with this kind of duplicity. It's par for the course. Their viewers obviously have no desire to actually be told the truth. But the hypocrisy is entertaining.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lindsay Lohan is still an idiot

After watching Lindsay's mom, Dina, being unable to count Lindsay's trips to rehab, we suppose more reports of her being stupid should not surprise us. But the sheer audacity of the ignorance still manages to impress.

Today, WWTDD has a post up with this:

According to Lindsay Lohan’s latest medical report from UCLA, the actress was not addicted to cocaine as once suspected.

Instead, it is believed she was misdiagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder and given the prescription drug Adderall, which may be to blame for triggering her often bizarre behavior.

Now Lohan apparently wants some form of apology or compensation from the courts.
“Lindsay is fuming – she is really upset that the courts put her through all this,” a source told.
In her doctor's defense...Cocaine has been known to give people Attention Deficit Disorder. So she probably should not have done those bumps before the doctor came in on for her checkups. Keep holding your breath for the court's apology, sweetheart. Let us know how that goes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sexual Napalm's Roster is set

We had our fantasy football draft today and we are pleased to unveil this year's roster. We had the #1 pick and wrestled with CJ or ADP. A coin flip decided it for us. (Round drafted)

QB = Phillip Rivers (5)

RB = Adrian Peterson (1), Cedric Benson (2) , Michael Bush (7), Ricky Williams (8), Toby Gerhart (12) & Bernard Scott (13)

WR = Brandon Marshall (3), Mike Sims-Walker (6), Malcolm Floyd (9), Bernard Berrian (10), Santonio Holmes (11) & Nate Burleson (14)

TE = Antonio Gates (4)

K = Dan Carpenter (16)

DT = Miami D/ST (15)

Hey...3 guys from just about every site's top 20: (ADP, Benson & Marshall). Hope they're right.

Rivers has a rookie RB and his stud LT is holding out. So we're a little nervous about that. But dude has a quick release and let's face it...until last season when Vincent Jackson blew up, when has Rivers ever had a stud WR? We think getting rid of LT is gonna actually free that offense up some more and they're gonna be a more explosive.

Pretty pleased with the RBs, as Benson's surprising survival to us for our 2nd round pick allowed us to get another top-10 back to pair with ADP. Ricky Williams will get a decent number of points each week and will have some weeks where he blows up. Gerhart and Scott will hopefully never see the "field" for the 'Palm but if they have to, at least we've got 'em.

Took Gates earlier than we've ever taken a TE. It was between him and Dallas Clark. If we wanted an upper-tier QB, we were going to have to pull the trigger and Clark and Gates are worth taking a little early. We figure Gates is gonna see a lot more chances with Vincent Jackson's holdout and LT now gone. We're hoping all those short goal line runs Norv wasted trying to keep LT happy are now play actions to Gates.

WR is a little weak. Total projection on Marshall and we may have let our heart have a little too much sway. But the guy is a beast and we think he's gonna be fierce down around the goal line. Floyd has the chance to be the man now with Jackson's holdout (we think Jackson is gonna be traded anyway). Burleson is reunited with Scott Linehan. Last time they were together, Nate had his best season being option B to a physical-freak WR named Randy Moss. We're hoping Nate and Linehan reprise that role with Calvin Johnson. We had Berrian last year and he did absolutely nothing for us. But with Rice and Harvin ailing, Berrian should be the # WR target for HIM to start the season. Like Gust said...we'll see. Hopefully, we'll be sitting a little better after week 4 when Holmes' suspension ends.

Obviously Carpenter and Miami D were homer picks. But we think Nolan's unit is gonna get after it.

So there you have it. Sexual Napalm 2010...championship.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Death Penalty

Recently, there was a trial here in Florence involving a defendant who had been 17-years old at the time he and a co-defendant had attempted to rob a WWII veteran, Clair Chaffin. A jury found defendant Dondre Scott guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life imprison.

During that trial, there were several comments and remarks we noticed popping up in the cyber world about the criminal justice system and the death penalty in particular. They ranged the gamut from ignorance (why didn't the Solicitor seek the death penalty--uh, he couldn't under the law) and racist (just look at some of the comments over at SCNow), to sympathy for both the Chaffin & Scott families.

It always surprises us to hear the certainty with which some people can make statements and claims about such an ultimate issue when they most often know nothing about the criminal justice system at large, the actual details about the application of the death penalty in our system, the laws concerning that application and the specific facts any particular case.

We have been fortunate to never have had a loved one or close friend the victim of the type of heinous crime that would even broach this punishment. We hope we never are. So it's impossible for us to sit here and try to say how or what we would feel if we were put in such a terrible position. But we would like to think that even then, we would understand that nothing that happened would bring our loved ones back. Nothing that could possibly happen to the person who harmed our loved one would have any effect on the life that had been taken. We can understand how others would not feel that way. But regardless of what your position is on the death penalty, what do you really know about it?

The Sun Magazine has a good interview up with Sister Helen Prejean. Yes...Sister Prejean is the woman portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the movie Dead Man Walking. Since she has dedicated her life to assisting those on death row, she has a unique perspective on the subject of the death penalty.

The death penalty is the most important civil-rights issue of our time. It’s a deeply symbolic issue, because it says that the way we’re going to solve problems is by violence. It says that some among us are such a danger to who we are and what we stand for that they must be eliminated. To arrive at this mind-set, human beings have to flip a switch inside themselves. Deep down we know we are brothers and sisters and are all connected. For the death penalty to exist, we have to throw some switch that says, “The Other is not human like us,” and so we can do whatever we want to them. And of course the execution must be removed from the public eye. The chamber is behind prison walls, and we don’t hear about what goes on inside it.

Yes, we incarcerate more people than any other country in the world. Prison is an industry from which certain people benefit: Politicians benefit because they get elected by claiming they are tough on crime. Businesses make money off prisons. That keeps the system going. Two-thirds of the people in prison are there for nonviolent crimes, like bad checks or drug possession. Why do we use such excessive punishment? What does it mean for us to take a woman who writes bad checks and separate her from her family for five or eight or ten years? What is the effect of that? Is that what she deserves?

As a society we have to examine our belief that severe punishment is the way to restore order. The main objective of prisons is to keep society safe, not to cause prisoners pain simply because they caused others pain. People who have committed violent crimes need to be imprisoned to keep the public safe, but we must also strive for rehabilitation. We know that prisoners who get an education tend not to reoffend, but we’ve cut most educational programs from prisons — really, any program that might restore humanity to the prisoners. Restorative justice would improve our society instead of simply throwing people away.

Some people approve of the death penalty because they think it is cheaper than life imprisonment. Actually the death penalty is more expensive. That’s why more and more states with budget crises are doing away with it. A capital-murder case, as one prosecutor says, is the Cadillac of the criminal-justice system. It takes multiple trials, requires airtight evidence, and uses more expert witnesses than any other type of case. Then you have to build a special section of the prison and hire personnel to staff it. Often death-row prisoners are not allowed to work to defray the cost of their board and keep. In California it costs millions of dollars a year to house more than seven hundred people on death row.

In response to these arguments, I share stories about people I know. When New Jersey did away with the death penalty, sixty-two murder victims’ families testified that the death-penalty process had only prolonged their agony. They had been told it would provide “closure,” but in reality it meant they had to witness the death of another person, often after waiting ten or fifteen years to do so, and this death would do nothing to bring back their loved ones. During the waiting process, their story is in and out of the spotlight. It makes their wound public, and the healing doesn’t come. Many murder victims’ families have been prominent in the abolition movement.

I also point out that the death penalty is not reserved for the most terrible murders. It’s more common in cases where the victim is white, for example: approximately 80 percent of death-penalty cases involve the murder of a white person, yet 50 percent of all homicide victims are people of color.

Whether the death penalty is sought comes down to the decision of the prosecutor. Thankfully juries have to be told now that they can sentence someone to life without parole even when the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty. In the past juries were not given that information. They thought the death penalty or freedom were the only options. Even in Texas death-penalty sentences have diminished because of this. Juries — which are made up of ordinary citizens entrusted with godlike power — have a terrible responsibility

Some other interesting points from the article:

-93 percent of the world’s executions take place in five countries: China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and the U.S. Hellified company to be keeping, eh?

-Less than 1 percent of the roughly fifteen thousand people who commit homicide each year are selected for death. Ninety percent of the prisoners who do end up on death row were abused as children. Nearly 100 percent are poor.

-the U.S. has almost 5 percent of the world’s population and almost 25 percent of the global prison population.

We have the privilege of getting to know some of those who stand in the way of the freight trains in this defenders. One such fella was our man of the year for his willingness to fight for his clients, Bill McGuire. It's a field we are readily admit we are in awe of. It seems to be such a thankless job, in fact...scorned by many who don't understand the true nature of defense, which would enact a terrible price on one's heart. We salute those who fight this fight. Moreover, we hope that everyone takes the chance to really evaluate their ideas on the subject. The severity of it demands at least that much.

Hattip Savitz

LeBron James is b*tch

Evidently comedian Mike Polk didn't hear that LeBron is keeping mental notes on those that cross him. Or Polk doesn't care. Either way, pretty funny...

Magnum, P.I. gets a remake

Check out the new Magnum, T.I. show for the fall.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Which President Go-Gos on "vacation" more: W or Obama?

We recently were around some folks who were complaining about how much "vacation" President Obama has taken. Well...let's break it down, tale of the tape-numbers style, shall we:

This is Mr. Obama's 9th vacation since taking office. As of today, he has spent
all or part of 38 days on "vacation" away from the White House. He has also made
14 visits to Camp David spanning all or part of 32 days. It brings his total
time away to all or part of 70 days.

It's less than the "vacation" time
taken during the same period by his immediate predecessor. (Former President
George W. Bush gets the quotation marks too.)

As of this point in his
1st term, Mr. Bush had made 14 visits to his Texas ranch spanning all or part of
102 days. He also made 40 visits to Camp David spanning all or part of 123 days.
His "vacation" total at this point in his presidency was all or part of 225 days

Now..."vacation" is a relative term. No president leaves the White House and isn't working. And we don't know many people who are gonna head to the beach, lake or mountains this afternoon and be back at work Monday morning who would consider that a "vacation." Be that as it may, we know these folks weren't bitching about W's "vacations." We're sure it was because W was down there in Crawford clearing brush and not because they just oppose everything about Obama. Right...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Breaking News: Sarah Palin loves Freedom of Speech more than Freedom of Religion

This is not gonna play well with the religious right, but apparently Sarah Palin believes the 2nd Amendment is more important than the 1st Amendment.

How do we know this? Because Palin has publicly disagreed recently with the very American and fundamental belief that private citizens should be allowed to worship how they please on their own land (google Palin + 9/11 mosque or Palin + refudiate [sic]).

And today we learn that Mama Grizzly is throwing her support behind Dr. Laura. Apparently dropping the N-word 11 times on air is not as insensitive as someone simply practicing their personal religious beliefs out of public sight and sound.

So, if you're scoring at home...using offensive racial term 11 times on the air not insensitive. Building a building out of sight and sound from the WTC site that will house a place of worship, "stabs hearts."

Of course, Palin has different standards for democrats (see Emmanuel, Rahm).

We could engage in a long soliloquy on how philosophically dishonest these contradictions appear. We could point out how it's another example of how racism just seems to follow Palin wherever she goes (What a coincidence that Palin is ok with Dr. Laura's insensitivity to persons of color and not ok with persons of color wishing to exercise their rights). Or we could simply let this post serve as further documentation of the fact that today's leaders on the right feel no need to be consistent with their opinions, because the zealots they're talking to are gonna drink whatever they hand them. We're gonna simply do the latter.

Regardless...we're sure the ACLU will be glad to know about their newest freedom of speech lover.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Big Trouble in NC crime labs

We had a post recently about the wrongful conviction of Michael Green. More recently, we have been having a discussion with some folks over the $4.9 million dollar settlement the City of Atlanta agreed to with the family of a 92-year old lady that was killed when cops raided her home. Three cops are in jail as a result of that incident for, among other things, falsifying information on an affidavit, which means somebody lied to get the no-knock warrant they executed.

As we were stating in that discussion, cops are just like anyone else. They get biased. They get lazy. They get mad. All that can lead to cutting corners or maliciously screwing with people. Now...that's no different than any other job. But when that shit happens in the criminal justice field, the consequences can be disastrous.

Then today, we see the results of the audit report of North Carolina's Serology labs. Oops...

Problem is, oops doesn't cut it with this:

The new report outlines "serious issues" with the SBI's blood analysis unit's work between 1987 and 2003 in cases involving more than 269 people.

According to the new review, the cases involved SBI lab reports that were overstated, misleading or omitted important information about negative test results that would have been favorable to the defendants. The SBI's lab work is often powerful evidence in criminal cases, shaping decisions at the heart of a defense that include decisions about plea bargaining or how to cross examine witnesses.

Of the questioned cases, 80 of the defendants are still in prison, the report says.

Three of the defendants have been executed.

Four are on death row.

Five died in prison.
Ladies and gents...that's 8 people who have died. That's a problem. Most of the people who are "CSI" people are not scientists. They think of themselves as law enforcement and are approaching these tests to "prove" something, never to disprove it. The hallmark of science is the scientific method, which does exactly that...seeks to disprove things. Only after your hypothesis has stood up the rigorous crucible of cross-examination, have you scientifically proven something.

NC isn't the first to have this problem. There was a well-publicized scandal with San Francisco's crime lab that has resulted in hundreds of cases being dropped and thousands of convictions reviewed. NC won't be the last. So...the next time you see that slam-dunk case in your paper, realize it may not be what it seems. The scientific evidence is only as good as the science. And the science is only as good as the "scientist" conducting the science. You're going to continue to see this kind of stuff. Get used to it.

Dr. Laura has got the Fever...and the only cure is more N-word

In case you missed it, a black woman in an inter-racial marriage called Dr. Laura Schlessinger's radio show last week to complain about the relatives of her white husband 's family members and friends making racist remarks around her. Dr. Laura proceeded to pretty much blame the caller, calling her "hypersensitve," and then dropping the n-word almost a dozen times.

Despite coming out and saying she regretted her remarks and calling them wrong, Dr. Laura has now decided she loves the n-word so much, she's quitting her radio show so she can have the freedom to spend some more time with it.

So kudos...Dr.Laura. You're never too old to follow your dreams. And if your dream is being a racist, bigot...god bless you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mosques, unicorns and Martin Niemöller...

The brouhaha over the falsely labeled "Ground Zero" mosque has become a prime example of what's wrong with issue discussion in this country. There is no real issue. Why? Because there is no mosque. See the pic to the left? Well...there are no plans for anything like that at the Cordoba House site.

Plans call for a community center that will have fitness center, childcare, bookstore, culinary school and food court. Yes, there will be a "mosque," but not in the sense most people think. There will be no towering minarets or a dome visible. No daily prayer calls blasting over the city. No signs that anyone could visibly or audibly see from the WTC site at all.

Even if they were going to build a mosque like the one pictured, there's no call for insensitivity here. Why? Because the site is not IN or ON Ground Zero. It's been described as just "two blocks" from Ground Zero. But that's not really correct. It's "two" blocks from the nearest corner of the former WTC site, which is huge. It's actually more like 4-5 blocks from the area where the towers actually were and where the 9/11 memorial will be.

You know what else is within a couple of blocks of the World Trade Center site. Strip clubs. Tell us how hallowed that ground is again. New York Dolls??? That's not even Scores...

So completely lost in the shrill screams from the right about this place are the facts that this project is neither at Ground Zero nor a towering classic mosque to rub salt in victims' families wounds. Those things, in this case, are like unicorns...existing solely in the unconscionably, flammatory minds of the Glenn Becks, Sarah Palins, Newt Gingrichs and their ilk. They've managed to scare chicken-shits like Harry Reid into forgetting what this country is all about: Freedom and tolerance.

It is ridiculous, intolerant and downright un-American to think this project should be stopped.

We know a lot of people don't agree with Keith Olbermann. But his Special Comment last night was dead on.

BTW, we first learned the Martin Niemöller quote Olbermann begins with in the 9th grade, when Eva Grant taught us about the constitution. We pulled it out during the Bi-Centenial competition that year. Even back then, we were able to grasp what Niemöller was saying. Damn shame designated "leaders" in this country can not. We dare say they wouldn't have been able to cut it in Eva Grant's classroom. Newt...CORNER!

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Newt thinks you're a moron

Newt Gingrich's Twitter status today is:

President Obama profoundly wrong in misrepresenting ground zero mosque.There is no issue of religious liberty. He won't face truth

Won't face the truth, huh? That's rich. Say Newt...if religious liberty has nothing to do with the brouhaha over the Cordoba House, what's the fuss all about? As Benen points out:

If Feisal Abdul Rauf wanted to build a coffee shop at Park51 in lower Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero, would anyone even think to care? Would it be the subject of an intense national debate? Would conspicuously unintelligent demagogues refer to it as the "9/11 coffee shop" and/or the "Ground Zero coffee shop"? Would there be an expectation that mainstream Muslim Americans "refudiate" the coffee shop out of sensitivity to the victims of 9/11?

These need not be rhetorical questions, and this isn't intended as some kind of joke.

What if Rauf wanted to an up-scale clothing store? Or a Barnes & Noble? Or a place for consumer electronics? Or a nightclub? Would it be the "9/11 nightclub" and/or the "Ground Zero nightclub"?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that no one would care. Local officials responsible for reviewing building plans and zoning regulations would consider the proposal and make a reasoned decision. It'd generate a blurb in the local section of some NYC dailies -- if it even got that much attention.

But Feisal Abdul Rauf doesn't want a coffee shop or a nightclub. He found a location that used to house a Burlington Coat Factory -- not the Twin Towers -- and he wants to build a community center. The building would include a restaurant, a performing arts center, a place for worship, and a swimming pool. You'll notice that "terrorist training facility" is not included in the description

So let's really face the truth here. Newt Gingrich is a dishonest, morally corrupt POS, willing to say or do anything because his sycophantic peers and constituents have repeatedly rewarded him throughout the years with misplaced respect and status despite the fact that he routinely says things he knows to be intellectually dishonest or just downright false.

Newt...if you're audience were really the residents at a mentally handicapped center and you kept telling them bullshit like this, what would be the appropriate punishment for you?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hey, Gohmert...there's a gaping hole alright...

Thing's a gaping ASS-hole. And it's you.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is the man that walked onto the floor of the United States House of Representatives and starting talking nonsense about terror babies. If you wanna know how big of an ass he is, just watch this video.

Hey, Louie...why would the terrorists have to birth babies here to grow up to be terrorists, when they could birth 'em here to grow up to be President, like we're sure you believe they did with President Obama?

Whenever you have an innocent person convicted, you have a triple tragedy.

Meet Michael A. Green. The NY Times has an article up detailing Green's case of being wrongfully convicted for rape and serving 27-years before recently having his conviction overturned.

Green, who is now 45, was convicted when he was 18 for the rape of a white girl in Texas. It is a sad tale, especially when you read about what happened to Green in jail. He talks about how he became so angry and violent that his constant fighting led him to very early on (1985) be confined to a segregated unit, where he spent all but 2 hours a day in his cell. He spent the last 25 years like that, agonizing day after day about what had gone wrong...why he had been convicted for something he did not do.

So what's the problem? A simple one: human memory. See...Green was convicted the way many people are: by eyewitness testimony. But as we all know, we don't alway see what we think we saw. Much like Bushwick Bill once sang, our minds can indeed play tricks on us. With every year that passes we are seeing more and more exonerations of people who were convicted, in large part, because victims got on the stand and testified that they were absolutely sure the Defendant was the one who robbed/raped/shot/etc. them.

The sad truth is that often, these victims and eyewitnesses are wrong.

Long before DNA was introduced, studies of wrongfully convicted people had shown that eyewitness identification was implicated in the majority of such cases. Wells at 48, e.g. Borchard, E., Convicting The Innocent: Errors of Criminal Justice, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1932); Frank, J. & Frank, B., Not Guilty, London: Gallanez (1957); and, Huff, R., Rattner, A., & Sagarin, E., Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Crime and Delinquency, 32, 518-544 (1986).

But it was with the advent of forensic DNA testing that we have been able to definitively uncover cases of wrongful convictions. According to The Innocence Project, 179 of the first 239 DNA exonerations were cases in which eyewitness misidentification was the central cause. That means that approximately seventy-five percent (75%) of wrongful convictions involve mistaken eyewitness identification.

In fifty-percent (50%) of those 179 cases, eyewitness misidentification was the sole cause for conviction. That means that eyewitness misidentification is the sole cause for approximately ninety percent (90%) of the DNA exonerated wrongful convictions. There can be no question that science has proven, and continues to prove, that not only are eyewitness identifications unreliable, but they also are often the sole reason why people are wrongfully convicted. (see Innocence Project website at

In our legal system, one of the most important cases regarding eyewitness identification is the SCOTUS case of Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188 (1972). In Biggers, SCOTUS set the standard for the admissibility of testimony concerning an out-of-court identification of an accused. The Biggers standard is that where there is a very substantial likelihood of misidentification, such likelihood violates the accused’s right of due process.

The Biggers court set up a two-pronged analysis. First, was the eyewitness identification unduly suggestive? Crap like roll-up IDs (driving a victim up to a Defendant in handcuffs or vice-versa), single-person show-ups, single-person photo IDs, improper photo arrays (all white, but one black person in lineup when the suspect is alleged to be black) are pretty much disfavored automatically. However, the Biggers two-pronged test says just because the procedure used for the identificiation was unduly suggestive, it doesn't mean it's not admissible. Courts must then move to the second prong of the Biggers test, which is to consider the "totallity of the circumstances." How does one do that? The Biggers court said you do that by considering the following factors: 1) the opportunity of the witness to view the criminal at the time of the crime; 2) the witness’ degree of attention; 3) the accuracy of the witness’prior description of the criminal; 4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the confrontation; 5) the length of time between the crime and the confrontation.

Due to the biological nature of the DNA evidence that has led us to uncover most wrongful convictions we know of, a large majority of these DNA exonerations deal with cases involving sexual assault. In other words, in the vast majority of these cases where we know mistaken eyewitness identification has played a major role, the mistaken eyewitnesses have most likely: 1) been in close proximity to the criminals; 2) experienced heightened degrees of attention; and, 3) had ample opportunity to observe the criminals. Since these cases resulted in convictions, we can assume that the degree of certainty with which these eyewitnesses made their misidentifications was high. In short, science has proven the second prong of Biggers and its consideration factors obsolete.

So consider, if you are one those folks dropping comments over on SCNow about how Joe Blow should fry or be hung every time there's an article posted about a crime or a criminal trial, stop. Take a deep breath. Realize that science is proving to us every day, that the people most likely to know what happened during any given crime, are often dead wrong. And if they're dead wrong, what's the likelihood of you being wrong? We don't know what you would think of those odds, but we bet you wouldn't be willing to bet your next paycheck on them.

As for Mr. Green, he's trying to decide whether or not to take an offer from Texas of $2.2 million or sue. Green says it's hard to put a price on what happened to him and he has concerns about not having what happened to him exposed in court. While he ponders that decision, Green will pass his time working to free other wrongfully convicted people as a clerk with the Innocence Project. Green will probably also spend some time thanking his lucky stars that he was convicted in the circuit where Patricia Lykos was elected DA.

In 2008, Patricia Lykos, a former judge and police officer, was elected district attorney, and one of her first acts was to reverse the office’s longstanding reluctance to admit mistakes. She assigned two assistant district attorneys and an investigator to do nothing but comb through about 185 cases involving requests for DNA tests as well as about 75 other innocence claims. So far, the unit’s work has led to the release of three men, including Mr. Green.

Ms. Lykos has been pushing for a new regional crime lab to help expedite the cases. Not only were innocent men imprisoned, she said, but the victims were denied justice and the actual culprits remained free to commit other crimes. “Whenever you have an innocent person convicted, you have a triple tragedy,” she said.
That, my friends, is what a prosecutor is supposed to be about: Justice. Hoozaahs for Mrs. Lykos. It's refreshing to see a former cop and Judge who has gone into prosecution and carries with her such ideals. As one of the Assistant DAs Lykos assigned to the case, Alicia O'Neill noted, having Green walk out of jail "It's what you go to law school for." Damn right it is.

None of the above should be considered legal advice. It is being offered purely for entertainment purposes only. If you need legal advice, you need to contact an attorney. Support Freedom, Liberty and the Constitution...hire an attorney.

Own a little piece of The King

Big fan of The King, Elvis Presley? Ever wished you could "take care of business" with your own pompadour the way is your lucky day. A jar full of Elvis' hair is currently being auctioned off. But beware, owning a piece of The King ain't cheap. The high bid right now is $13,000.

So what does one get for $13,000? Why this:

An incredibly rare opportunity for the serious Elvis Presley collector. We offer not just a strand or two, not just a small lock, but uncounted thousands of strands cut from that trademark Presley pompadour by his personal hair stylist, Homer M. Gilleland, contained in a 2" x 2.5" jar. Elvis Presley's hairstyle, though it evolved a bit through the years, was as much a part of his "brand" as the swiveling hips, curling lips, and versatile vocal stylings. At the beginning of his career, he made the decision to dye his mousy blond hair a deep black and fashion it in a ducktail with a long pompadour front and long sideburns. This style was instantly copied by millions of young men worldwide. Adolescent girls (of all ages) also loved his hair and were horrified when, on March 25, 1958, Elvis received his famous first G.I. haircut after which he remarked, "Hair today, gone tomorrow" to the press. can't make this shit up. Here is, we presume, the actual jar. Yep...looks like $13,000 to us.

Hattip Pop Candy

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The truth about conviction rates

As most of you know, here in the 12th Circuit, there is a contested race for the Solicitor's office this November. We've made our support of Ed Clements pretty clear.

Throughout the race, there has been a lot of talk about conviction rates. Specifically, by the challenger, former Assistant US Attorney Rose Mary Parham. Mrs. Parham and her supporters have repeatedly stressed her "98% conviction rate."

To John Q. Public, we're sure that seems awesome. But the truth is, prosecuting cases in the Federal Court system is a completely different enterprise than prosecuting them in State court. Anyone associated with the criminal justice system knows this. This isn't to disparage Mrs. Parham, who we are sure was a fine AUSA, but to simply point out that anyone who wishes to compare her record as a AUSA to Clements' record as a solicitor is comparing apples to oranges.

But you don't have to take our word for it. Just listen to former Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-CA). "The Duke," after serving 4 years behind bars, has himself seen the light:

"The USA has more prisoners than any other nation, including Russian & China," he writes. "The US Attorneys win 98% of their cases and if you do not plead in which 80-90% is not true they threaten your wife children etc with prison time."
Now...the Duke got it a bit wrong. The U.S. Department of Justice's 2009 statistics show that federal prosecutors won only 94.1% of their cases. But, and this right here is indicative of just how much tougher a row it is for defendants to hoe in the federal system, 96% of those convictions were guilty pleas before trial. The reality of the federal system is that the entire system is set up to hammer the hell out of any Defendant that does not cooperate thanks to the sentencing guidelines. That pretty much forces many a Defendant to cop a plea in an effort to get some help on the guidelines.

So, if you really think conviction rates are important, you need to understand them. A state solicitor cannot be compared to an AUSA. If you want to compare a solicitor's performance, you have to compare it to the other solicitor's offices in the State. In our case, the 12th Circuit Solicitor's office under Clements is at the top. That, coupled with the fairness and honesty with which our current Solicitor's office handles cases, is why we support Clements.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sweet site for pop furnishings

We've been thinking about a new coffee table and we may have found one. Check out these possible, courtesy of Jellio. Jellio describes itself as "the world of fun childhood memories brought back as unique home furnishings."

Hattip Pop Candy

Idol says bye-bye to JLo's booty...

Jenny from the block, we barely knew ya. Word has it, incoming American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez has been canned before she actually got hired. Seems Fox got just a little too tired with all her demands and the negotiations are over.

While we can understand Fox getting upset with her demands, we kind of feel sorry for JLo. Come on...check out that posterior. We get the feeling JLo grew up with not a lot of men willing to tell her no about anything. Not with that thing to your left in their face.

But JLo apparently has not realized, that just like Thom Yorke once sang, "gravity always wins." Here's Lopez this past New Years. got to lower your demands now, sweety. You ain't Ms. Thang anymore. In fact, you're barely relevant. Check yo' self.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Fareed Zakaira is more American than you

By "you" we mean anyone who is against the 9/11 Mosque. Zakaira is an editor of Newsweek and a host on CNN.

In case you missed it, Zakaira gave back the Humphrey Medal he was awarded a few years ago by the Anti-Defamation League. He did so because of their opposition to the Mosque/Cultural Center complex being built near Ground Zero.

Zakaira also happens to have been born in Mumbai, India. So how can he be more American than the god-fearing, gun-toting, born-&-Bred here, By-God Americans? Because he actually understands what America stands for and what is in our best interests.

Zakaira correctly points out that ever since 9/11, America has recognized the best way to battle radical Islam is to support moderate forces in Islam. The United States government has actively been funding mosques, schools and other centers around the world since 9/11 in an effort to delegitimize the radical and violent forces within Islam. EXCEPT, as Zakaira points out, if it is in our own backyard. Zakaira points out that if this mosque was being built anywhere else but here, the US government would be funding it. Instead, it's being built by a man who has spent his life pushing liberal interpretation of Islam. Liberal as in, "Allah doesn't want you to blow up non-Muslims." The guy's most recent book is titled "What's Right with Islam is What's Right with America."

See...Zakaira gets it. We should be embracing this mosque. We can never beat crazy. But what we can do is embrace the rest of the sane Islamic world to the point that their cries over the Great Satan fall on deaf ears because the world sees in America, we protect the freedoms of all. Not just of certain classes of citizens.

We don't always agree with Zakaira. But as far as this goes, brother Fareed is coming correct. Recognize.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Morpheus has failed....

We all know that the number one goal of any father is to keep his daughter off the pole. If that's the case, Laurence Fishburne has failed tremendously. His baby girl has decided to apparently fulfill one her lifelong dreams. can that be a failure? Shouldn't fathers want their daughters to fulfill their dreams? Seems reasonable. The problem comes in when the daughter's dream is porn.

Needless to say, Dad is not pleased.

Montana Fishburne, aka Chippy D, has already shot her porn film. Dad is so upset, that his pals (Neo and Trinity?) have been allegedly trying to buy all the copies of it from Vivid. NSFW dvd back cover here.

We imagine Daddy's response to this news was similar to his response when Goldblum's character shot that cop in Deep Cover: "You shouldn't have done that..."

Bill O'Reilly can't handle the truth...

In case you've missed it, Fox News' personality (and original "Eric Cantor") Bill O'Reilly has been engaged in a little back and forth with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Seems Bill doesn't like to be called a fear-mongering racist.

O'Reilly got his panties in a wad (is there anyone who doubts this man has tried on women's underpants? Frequently? Remember, he's a big fan of loofas) when Maddow noted, as the Shirley Sherrod matter was unfolding, O'Reilly's misguided role in pushing nonsense. Maddow then discussed how it was par for the course for Fox New, which seems to revel in pushing racial divisions. O'Reilly responded by boasting about his ratings, an argumentum ad populum. O'Reilly's illogical world, he thinks he is right because more people watch (and we suppose that means "agree") with him. In grown folks world, O'Reilly's argument is known as a logical fallacy, a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning in argumentation.

BTW, someone should point out to Bill that his argument would mean that The Situation is right about more than either he or Maddow since the Jersey Shore dusts both of their asses. (That's probably right...we all know the importance of a Grenade Free America).

But Bill-O apparently is so put upon by being called out as a racist fear monger, that he couldn't let it go.

O'Reilly followed up in his syndicated column, calling Rachel a "loon," and calling the notion that Fox News is trying to scare white voters "preposterous." He labeled Rachel's comments "paranoid dishonest rants," lacking even "a shred of evidence." O'Reilly added that Fox News has great ratings.
Maddow responded by pointing out just what "evidence" she had. Seriously, watch the video Benen has in this linked article. Specifically from 5:30 on. That would be the part where O'Reilly is, during one of his show segments, explaining that white people are afraid of the black people, because the black people want to take their money.

Now...maybe Bill O'Reilly and Fox News are not really racist fear mongers, although that is certainly what they engage in. Maybe they're simply just whores, willing to sell their souls for ratings and being racist fear mongers brings in the ratings. But...when you're a whore willing to do anything for money, you don't get to object when someone points out that you are, indeed, a whore.

Stay classy, Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, and keep trying to keep the brown down.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Auto-winery? That thing got any Thunderbird in it?

For those of you (including us) who thought South Cackilacky had the most retarded blue laws in the country, apparently Pennsylvania isn't ready to let us walk away with the title. We had no idea it was so hard to buy booze there. Perhaps this is why those people are so bitter and cling to their religion and their guns...

Seriously, how retarded is it that they've had to create these machines instead of just letting people buy booze? And this is the state where we had our constitutional convention to set up a government free from tyranny. Sad.

Somebody's braggin' on their own midget in the 12th Circuit...

SCNow ran an "article" today which appears to pretty much just be a press release by challenger Rose Mary Parham's campaign. We couldn't help but notice that half of the "reform" programs the release touts are expansions of programs the current Solicitor, Ed Clements, started (Adult Drug Court and expansion of the Worthless Check Unit into Marion County). Further, they're expansions Clements cited earlier on in the campaign as being goals of his administration moving forward. But, we suppose as long as it ain't coming from the incumbents, it's "reform"--a unattainable goal for incumbents, according to Pappy O'Daniel.

Then again, running on your opponent's ideas as "reform" is kinda like gettin' yourself a shorter midget...