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Kelvin Mace

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 17,469

Journal Archives

More evidence an innocent man was executed

For those of you not up on the details of Cameron Todd Willingham, please go here:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

Short and sweet: A man was executed for committing arson that killed his children. He refused to plead guilty and was convicted based upon the testimony of "expert" arson investigators who turned out to have expertise based more on folklore than science.

As is usually the case, there was also a jailhouse snitch, who the prosecution INSISTED did not get a deal for his testimony. The evidence that this was a lie has now been revealed:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/us/evidence-of-concealed-jailhouse-deal-raises-questions-about-a-texas-execution.html?_r=2

In the 10 years since Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham after convicting him on charges of setting his house on fire and murdering his three young daughters, family members and death penalty opponents have argued that he was innocent. Now newly discovered evidence suggests that the prosecutor in the case may have concealed a deal with a jailhouse informant whose testimony was a key part of the execution decision.

... the biggest open question has been whether Judge Jackson and Mr. Webb had made a deal. Judge Jackson, who has retired from the bench, continued to insist there was no deal, even in an interview last year.

As he worked through the stack of papers, he saw a note scrawled on the inside of the district attorney’s file folder stating that Mr. Webb’s charges were to be listed as robbery in the second degree, not the heavier first-degree robbery charge he had originally been convicted on, “based on coop in Willingham.”

Judge Jackson did not respond to several requests for comment.

How sure are we that the science being used in Texas was "flawed"?

Over the past five years, the Willingham case has been reviewed by nine of the nation's top fire scientists -- first for the Tribune, then for the Innocence Project, and now for the commission. All concluded that the original investigators relied on outdated theories and folklore to justify the determination of arson.


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-08-25/news/0908240429_1_cameron-todd-willingham-texas-forensic-science-commission-willingham-case

This once again brings homes the point that despite claims to the contrary INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXECUTED IN THIS COUNTRY!

If people are going to insist that the need for vengeance outweighs the need for justice, then they must answer the question: How many innocent people is it OK to murder in order to satisfy the state's demand for vengeance?

Also, if we are going to have a death penalty, them we need to expand its use to include:

1) Police, prosecutors and judges whose misconduct causes the death of an innocent person.

2) Public corruption, since the abuse of power for self-enrichment should be viewed as treason.

3) Massive theft, fraud or environmental damage caused by the management of corporations since it damages the health and well being of society.

A special "fast track" due process shall be invoked if any person so charged with any of these crimes has expressed support at any time for the curtailment of the appeals process, or other safeguards against wrongful execution.

Yeah, yeah, I know, not going to happen (and shouldn't), but I am sick of these people's cavalier attitude toward other people's lives. But it would be interesting to have an "adaptive" legal system in which you are judged according to the standards you judge other people.

What opened the layoff floodgates?

Headlines in just the last few days:

Cox Communications and Sony Electronics cutting 900 local jobs
Best Buy to lay off 2,000 U.S. managers
IBM Union Expects Mass Layoff to Hit Workers (15,000 possible jobs gone)
Layoff Bells Toll at JPMorgan Again (8,000 jobs)
Teachers, students protest potential layoff of 1,000 educators at meeting
Indiana Limestone Co. to close, lay off 166 workers
Boise call center to lay off 1,600 workers in April
What will KentuckyOne layoffs mean for patient care?
Poland's Alior Bank to lay off 4% of staff (Poland, but still)
Westside manufacturer to lay off 133 workers
Sikorsky announces 600 layoffs over next several weeks
PHH Mortgage to lay off 135 workers in Amherst
Cenveo to lay off 133 in Jacksonville
U.S. Steel announces layoffs at Lorain Tubular Operations
GenCorp to lay off 61 in Rancho Cordova
City layoffs loom in Poughkeepsie (25 jobs)
Budapest Transport Company To Lay Off Over 900 Bus Drivers
City of Lebanon to layoff employees (10 jobs)
Endomines to lay off 18 employees
PepsiCo in Abilene to Lay Off Workers


Layoffs from earlier this month:

UNO to lay off as many as 30 employee
Deere to lay off 120 in East Moline
Mass layoff at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii (100 jobs)
Windstream to lay off 67 in Arkansas, 400 nationwide
Falling enrollment for online classes leads Everest to lay off 105 in Colorado Springs
Novartis to lay off 92 from East Hanover office, among hundreds nationwide
Eastern Michigan University layoffs: Majority of full-time education lecturers get notices
Disney Interactive expected to begin layoffs
Layoffs could happen at Detroit Metro as Delta switches work contractors
Challenger Report: Layoff Announcements Soared 47 Percent in January
Rumor Has It Dell Is Planning To Lay Off 15,000 Employees (Some layoffs, but probably not that high but Dell won't say)
OfficeMax, Specialty Foods (Nathan's Hot Dogs), and many more announce layoffs (1,000+ jobs)
Sony to sell PC business, reform TV arm, layoff 5,000 employees
Sprint to lay off 91 in Bellevue, Kirkland
500 layoffs expected today at Time Inc.
East Cleveland, on notice to cut spending, sends police layoff notices
Kodak to lay off 35 employees (Yes, I was amazed that Kodak was still in business too)
Barclays Stock Hammered, Bank Will Lay Off 820 Managers


Maybe it is just me, but this does not sound like a healthy economy. In fact, the fact that no one in government is commenting on this torrent of layoffs is VERY scary

Third prominent banker found dead in six days

Third prominent banker found dead in six days
http://www.housingwire.com/articles/28796-third-prominent-banker-found-dead-in-six-days

Bloomberg is reporting this morning that former Federal Reserve economist Mike Dueker was found dead in an apparent suicide near Tacoma, Washington.

Dueker, 50, a chief economist at Russell Investments, had been missing since Jan. 29 and was reportedly having troubles at work.

Normally HousingWire wouldn’t cover deaths in the industry, but what’s strange is that Dueker is the third prominent banker found dead since Sunday.

On Sunday, William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home, also an apparent suicide.

On Tuesday, Gabriel Magee, 39, vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM) London headquarters, apparently jumped to his death from a building in the Canary Wharf area.

Very odd. Makes one wonder if they knew something we are about to find out.

An apology to the group

This past weekend I responded to a post from this group that upset a few people and caused unnecessary discord. My carelessness in posting meant I failed to note that I was NOT posting in GD which is my normal haunt, but in this group where folk expect to be able to discuss President Obama without the acrimony that is arises from people less than happy with his policies or actions.

In mitigation, I did not directly insult the president, I indirectly insulted him by impugning his coming successor claiming that person would be as bad as the current president. When called to task on this, I got snarky with Irishayes, not realizing that I was in the wrong venue for my remarks (when I said forum, I was referring to DU, not this group) and came across as a troll. No matter my intent, my actions were unacceptable.

To say I am mortified and ashamed is a bit of an understatement. While I am no shrinking violet when it comes to "spirited" discussion on DU, I never would have posted in this group in the tone which I did if I had paid attention to where I was. I do not offer this as an excuse, but an explanation. The failure to know where the hell I am is mine, and mine alone.

My actions got me booted from the group, something that has never happened to me in the 10+ years I have been on DU, so I am doubly ashamed. I sent a PM to the group admin (SheShe2) and asked to be re-instated so I could apologize from my disruptive actions.

The danger of spending a lot of time on political forums like DU is that unless you are on your guard, you can become cynical and bitter. Unfortunately, I have allowed that to happen of late and allowed it to cloud my judgement and certainly my powers of observation.

So, I apologize for my childish actions and ask your pardon for disrupting your group. I apologize here to Irishayes and SheShe2 and promise spent more time pondering my words before hitting the "post" button.

My thanks to to SheShe2 for allowing me back on to try and mitigate my foolishness.

With respect and chagrin,

David Allen (no relation to Skinner)

So, Christie's defense can be summarized thus

Stoning for adulterers may become legal again in Afghanistan

Source: NBC News

Death by stoning for convicted adulterers is being written into Afghan law, a senior official said on Monday, the latest sign that human rights won at great cost since the Taliban were ousted in 2001 are rolling back as foreign troops withdraw.

"We are working on the draft of a sharia penal code where the punishment for adultery, if there are four eyewitnesses, is stoning," said Rohullah Qarizada, who is part of the sharia Islamic law committee working on the draft and head of the Afghan Independent Bar Association.

Billions have been invested on promoting human rights in Afghanistan over more than 12 years of war and donors fear that hard won progress, particularly for women, may be eroding.

Human Rights Watch reports that they saw a draft provision of the law which states that if a court finds that a couple engaged in sexual intercourse outside of legal marriage, both the man and the woman would be sentenced to “stoning to death if the adulterer or adulteress is married.” And if the “adulterer or adulteress is unmarried” the sentence shall be “whipping 100 lashes.”

Read more: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/25/21609525-stoning-for-adulterers-may-become-legal-again-in-afghanistan?lite



Why are we in this country again?

Oh, yeah... Freedoms

Deaths of almost 600 pets tied to jerky treats

Source: Salon.com

A mysterious illness has killed nearly 600 pets, mostly dogs, and sickened over 3,600 others. And the only thing investigators know about it, according to an FDA update released today, is that it has something to do with jerky treats imported from China.

The FDA hasn’t issued a formal recall, so they aren’t able to name the affected brands. They are reminding people that jerky treats aren’t essential to pets’ diets. Until they can figure out what’s killing the animals, it might be best to seek out a different way of rewarding your dog.

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2013/10/22/deaths_of_almost_600_pets_tied_to_jerky_treats/



I am at a loss for any logical reason to NOT issue a recall and BAN all foodstuffs, human or animal, which have caused illness in humans or animals.

The only reason I can see is GREED.

I have officially seen it all: Vagina cakes for baby showers



Seriously? We have women all over the world who can barely find enough food for themselves, never mind the baby they are delivering in squalor, and people in this country are making vagina cakes?

Somebody PLEASE tell me this is a hoax.

http://www.mommyish.com/2013/10/14/vagina-cakes/

Just remember, they didn't believe they lost the election either

The right-wing crazies were dead certain they were going to win last November and were almost incoherent when they lost. Even Karl Rove believed they were going to win, while those of us in the "Reality-based Community" knew we were going to win. The Fox News crowd reminded me of people who followed a doomsday cult the day after the world did not end and Jesus did not show up.

And now they are saying that defaulting on the debt will not cause economic calamity. In fact, it will "firm up the markets".

There is a growing likelihood of default and an economic meltdown on par with the Great Depression.

Averting that cataclysm rests in the hands of a handful of GOP "leaders" and whether they will have the courage to turn back, or whether they will put on the track suit, drink the Kool-Aid, and wait on the Hale-Bopp comet to return.

Boehner is in a "no win" situation.

If he drives off the cliff he is out next election, if not sooner, when the villagers show up with torches and farm implements.

If he does the sane thing, he will be crucified by the Koch Brothers and their ilk who will fund a primary challenger to defeat him in 2014. Also, he will likely be deposed as Speaker before then.

Their war cry will be "It would have all worked out if it hadn't been for the meddling orange guy".

Can someone address what seems to me a bald-faced lie about the train derailment?

From the story in the Toronto Star:

Burkhardt, chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said Sunday night that the train’s sole engineer shut down four of the five locomotive units on the train, as is standard procedure, in the neighbouring community of Nantes before heading to Lac-Mégantic to sleep. Burkhardt said the next engineer was probably due to arrive at daybreak.

But someone managed to shut down the fifth locomotive unit, he said. The railroad alleges someone tampered with the controls of the fifth engine, the one maintaining brake pressure to keep the train stopped.

“If the operating locomotive is shut down, there’s nothing left to keep the brakes charged up, and the brake pressure will drop finally to the point where they can’t be held in place any longer,” Burkhardt said.


Am I missing something here? My understanding is that is NOT how "airbrakes" work. When an airbrake loses pressure, the brakes engage. Airbrakes were the first example of a "fail safe" system in every course and article I have read. Pressure in the line keeps the breaks disengaged, or open. Loss of pressure causes them to engage. I had a recent example of this when a truck driver couldn't get a trailer away from our dock after a pressure line broke. The brakes locked tight and he would have had to literally DRAG the trailer to get it out of the way. After the line was replaced, the brakes disengaged and the the trailer could move.

What am I missing here? The description above is the exact opposite of how an air brake works. If someone shut down the engine causing the pressure to fall in the lines, then EVERY locomotive and car's brakes would have locked.

Is there are new kind of air brake designed by an idiot that functions as Burkhardt describes?
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