Daily Archives: August 7, 2007

Links ‘n Stuff

So much good stuff today that I don’t have time to talk about that I couldn’t resist a little aggregating-type behavior.

*Mark Gisleson, just back from YKos, has a brilliant essay on the response to the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

This is about more than a bridge. This is about taking responsibility and returning to government for and by grown ups, not petulant children with bumpersticker platforms who throw hissy fits when the adults in the room try to get essential bills passed. Minnesotans don’t need to be reminded of Marty Seifert’s obstreperous obstructionism last session, and the Pioneer Press is engaging in hyperpartisanship with an editorial that seeks to ignore the obvious: three consecutive Republican governors [yes, fiscally Jesse was a Republican who worked with the Republicans] have neglected our infrastructure, finding money for new roads to outer suburbia but not for bridge repairs.

This will, after a brief mournful period, get pretty ugly. Already the bottom feeders are seizing upon every criticism of Republican policy as though this were putting politics before solutions. Hey, politics were placed before the solutions — where do these people expect to find the answers?

Go read the rest.

* The NYT is finally going to remove the TIMES-SELECT paywall they never should have erected in the first place.

* Carol Lay on anti-female language choices. (Watch the commercial; it only lasts 5 secs)

* eRobin on the now-proven security flaws in virtually all eVoting machines and the rancid behavior of the Dems over FISA.

* A discussion of same – along with possible impeachment – at newsrack blog, and some excellent links to basic information about the bill and responses to it from people who know.

* Scott Horton on the surprising (maybe) literary source of the govt’s Pat Tillman con game, plus a really surprising statement from Newt on how the GWOT that he helped to create is a fraud.

Go for it.

Authoritarian Democrats

The rap on the Democrats for a couple of decades now – and I’ve been as guilty as anyone on this – was that they were spineless wimps whose historic loss to Nixon in ’72 made them forever after afraid to challenge Republicans. Clinton’s two DLC-led wins in the 90’s, despite vicious Republican attacks accusing him of everything evil up to and including murder, seemed to confirm that the only way Democrats could win was to steal Republican issues and sell them to the public in a more palatable way, that they had become Republicans-Lite out of fear.

A few days ago I suggested that we’d better start looking at the possibility that maybe the Dems aren’t operating out of fear but have been so thoroughly captured by conservatives that a majority of them have actually come to believe in a sort of benevolent dictatorship that does the same disemboweling of the Constitution as the Cheney Administration advocates but doesn’t take it quite as far quite as fast.

A lot was riding on the final form of the FISA bill, as far as I was concerned. They were clearly going to pass one. The only question was, would they include Constitutional protections or not? The answer was unambiguous.

Not.

The final version of the wiretapping bill is an unConstitutional abortion of cherished American values and legal precedents in exactly the same way the Military Commissions Act was, and it is simply no longer credible to keep claiming that these votes were some sort of “accident” or the result of political cowardice. Faced with the choice of passing a law that didn’t even need to be passed – there simply is no reason for it, no “emergency”, no “threat” – and that would hand to an untrustworthy administration enormous power to spy on US citizens without warrants or oversight, or adding to it provisions that would check that power and require judicial approval and independent supervision, they fell all over themselves in the rush to do the former.

Continue reading

Gonzo the Scrivener

Here’s something you may never see again: a political cartoon from Pat Oliphant based on Herman Melville.

oliphant-bartleby.gif

Not true, of course, Gonzo is right where the Emperor wants him – covering his Master’s ass. Still, the reference is clever.

Parole Board Postpones Davis Case

The Georgia state parole board announced today that they’re putting off consideration of a clemency hearing for Troy Davis, convicted of killing a cop on eyewitness testimony that was questionable at best and coerced by angry police at worst. The postponement comes because on Friday, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed to hear Davis’ appeal for a new trial based on the recent recantation of witness’ testimony.

The hearing is now postponed until the board takes up the issue again. The 90-day stay of execution was also rescinded. In an order signed Monday, the board said its rules allow it to consider a clemency petition only when it appears all appeals through the courts have been exhausted.

On Friday, the state Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, agreed to consider Davis’ case. He is appealing a ruling in July by a Chatham County judge who denied his extraordinary motion for a new trial. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the appeal sometime this fall.

Frankly, what the Supreme Court should be considering is censure of the prosecutor who presented evidence from witnesses they had intimidated and then instructed in what to say. The story of this case is the story of a reversion by police to the bad old days when they used to routinely decide who was guilty and then manufacture the evidence to fit their conclusions. We thought we had moved past all that sort of “vigilante justice” and that police depts throughout the country had worked hard to bring more professionalism to their investigations.

In most places, that would seem to be the case, and perhaps it’s the case in Atlanta as well in a majority of instances. But in this case. they were investigating the death of one of their own. They were angry and determined to find a culprit, which is understandable, but in their eagerness they grabbed the wrong guy and fabricated a case against him.

It’s the prosecutor’s job to examine the evidence and its probable worth before trial. He clearly didn’t do that. He took the “evidence” at face value and may even have helped further intimidate the witnesses in order to get a quick verdict. That’s what created the travesty of justice that is the Troy Davis case, and at the very least he should be reprimanded.

Somehow I doubt he will be. Not in conservative Georgia. Not with a black defendant in a state whose legal motto seems to be “guilty until proven innocent”.