aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, July 13, 2007
Georgia denies Troy Davis more time for clemency case
The execution of Troy Davis is set for Tuesday. His clemency hearing is 9 a.m. Monday:
The state Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request from Troy Anthony Davis’ lawyers this afternoon for more time to make their case for clemency.
Lawyers had asked that the Monday meeting to discuss clemency be postponed. They had formally asked for a stay so they can have more time to gather witnesses and transport them to Atlanta.
Mike King, no bleeding heard liberal, makes the case for the parole board to intervene:
Davis, 38, was convicted of the brutal murder of Mark Allen MacPhail, a young Savannah police officer responding to a fight in a parking lot in 1989. Without substantive physical evidence—no gun, no DNA—prosecutors relied entirely on the testimony of witnesses. They found nine who implicated Davis. A jury found him guilty. He has been on death row since 1991, but Davis has maintained his innocence from the day he was arrested.
After his legal appeals were exhausted, however, significant developments occurred that demand closer examination:
> Seven of the original nine witnesses against Davis have renounced or contradicted their trial testimony. An alarming number now claim they were intimidated by the police. Of the two witnesses who have not recanted their testimony, one was implicated by two other witnesses during the trial as MacPhail’s killer, and by four new witnesses since then.
> Davis is caught in an untenable procedural bind. Because of a 1996 law aimed at speeding up death penalty appeals, federal and state courts have ruled they can’t consider new evidence in a death penalty case if the defendant should have brought it to the court’s attention during the appeals process. But in the Davis case, most of the witnesses didn’t recant their testimony until years later. Moreover, to get the courts to reopen the case, the defendant must be able to show that given the new evidence, no reasonable juror would convict him. That’s an impossibly high standard.
> Some of the witnesses didn’t get a chance to recant because the initial appeal in the Davis case was handled by attorneys from an underfunded state defender’s agency that lacked the resources to track witnesses down and investigate what they told police, as opposed to what they testified to at trial.
There will be a vigil in Savannah in support of Davis tomorrow at 6 p.m.
LATER: With sidebars on ten stories of men who languished in prison for crimes they didn’t commit and the Georgia Innocence Project 15 year anniversary, Time Magazine weighs in, “The pending execution of Troy Anthony Davis, scheduled to take place on July 17, is raising serious questions about his guilt - and about the Newt Gingrich-era federal law that has limited his appeals options and prevented him, say his supporters, from getting a fair shake.”
Crocs: a tinkertoy on steroids
As fans will tell you, Crocs aren’t just footwear; they’re the closest thing to religion that the foot has experienced. The company’s stock has skyrocketed in value over the past year, and Crocs is now poised to launch a new product line this fall. Yet Crocs are heinous in appearance. A Croc is not a shoe; it is a Tinkertoy on steroids. How did this peculiar shoe-manquÃƒÂ© achieve ubiquity-and can it possibly stick around?
Me thinks she doth protest too much. Much as I felt like a platypus the first time I wore mine I do remember the Earth Shoe and the Croc styling is just a holey modern iteration of it. Loud ugly shoes are nothing new; at least these are comfortable.
Obama references Genarlow
Obama drew the loudest cheers of the eight Democratic candidates at the NAACP Convention Thursday. There he referred to Georgia’s Genarlow Wilson:
Obama derided President Bush’s commutation of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term, noting black men routinely serve time.
“We know we have more work to do when Scooter Libby gets no prison time and a 21-year-old honor student, who hadn’t even committed a felony, gets 10 years in prison,” Obama said.
Aides said Obama was referring to Genarlow Wilson, a Georgia man serving a 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. A judge last month ordered Wilson to be freed, but prosecutors are blocking the order.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying and obstruction of justice in the CIA-leak case. He received a 30-month prison sentence, which Bush commuted last week.
OMG the kids got hats & saw gays kissing!
Does it surprise us that Bill O’Reilly didn’t like gay night at the Padre’s game? He blames Disney…
How to beat email overload
I tell people that if they want a quick response from me, don’t count on email; I’m not a slave to my inbox. Hardly an advanced email user (I want to move from a reliance on filters to smart mailboxes - but not enough to spend the time setting it up). I use the delete button liberally. I definitely do not feel overburdened by email.
If you do, Scott Rosenberg reviews the latest spate of how-to books for handling your bulging inbox:
Let’s just get this confession over with: My in box is not empty. At the moment, it contains 16,694 messages. Once, I suppose, my in box must have had a zero message count—maybe back in 1991, when I got my first e-mail account. It has not seen zero since.
Yet I do not struggle to empty my in box. Instead, when I scan new messages, I ruthlessly trash spam or irrelevancies, auto-filter mailing-list messages, and then flag ("label" or tag) any messages that require further response or action. The rest just flow on by after I’ve glanced at them.
My in box is not a desk that must be cleared. It is a river from which I can always easily fish whatever needs my attention. Why try to push the river? Computer storage is cheaper than my time; archiving is easier than deleting. At the end of every year I move the oldest 20,000 or so messages into their own folder. Then I let my in box fill up again. (Admittedly, I don’t use Outlook, which doesn’t always handle fat mailboxes gracefully.)
I use a similar strategy for my RSS feeds.
Rosenberg gives the email books a thumbs down, then gets on to the business of the books he likes:
The argument for the empty in box depends on the notion that a crowded in box is a psychic burden. But that’s only true if you feel that a crowded in box represents a failure. What if you don’t care—and you still Get your Things Done? What if you believe—as the book “A Perfect Mess” argued earlier this year—that neatness is overrated, and moderate disorganization is a sign of creativity and productivity? Messy is exuberant, and exuberance is beauty. A clean in box might be a proud badge of productivity. But it might mean you wasted hours every day fussing over your e-mail when you could have been writing your own “War and Peace,” building the next Google, or drinking a glass of wine.
The experts mostly agree that an empty in box is a must. I’m sure they would view me as a basket case. Then again, in this decade the most successful and innovative new tool for managing e-mail is Google’s Gmail, which is custom-made for my approach: Instead of expecting you to be your in box’s groomer and custodian, Gmail discourages the use of folders, archives old messages automatically and offers a great search tool. Rather than enslave you to your in box, it harnesses machine power to handle the machine-fueled flood.
“Bit Literacy” and “Send” both view e-mail—and online existence in general—as problems to be managed. There are plenty of good reasons for that defensive stance. But the Gmail example shows that other postures are possible. For instance, because Gmail pools the feedback from all its users about which incoming messages are spam, it’s superbly efficient at blocking that spam from your view. As “Everything Is Miscellaneous” author David Weinberger puts it, “The solution to the information overload problem is more information.”
Mark Frauenfelder’s new book “Rule the Web”—a hands-on guide to the latest generation of online tools for productivity and creativity—is for people who look at their fat in boxes and cry, “Bring it on!” Don’t over-worry about managing your information flow, “Rule the Web” implies; instead, check out these dozens of ways you can mash up your info-stream with everyone else’s. In other words, if you don’t like the bits you receive, go out and make some of your own.