“We are a quiet people,” recall founder Tim Knight told his victorious friends when the results became known at the Stargazers Theater. “You may be tempted to ignore us. Clearly, that would be a mistake.”
The war on poverty can be declared a victory.
96.1% of those in “poverty” have televisions, and 83% have some sort of DVR.
So, what’s our exit strategy?
Update: Edited to fix David’s name…my bad
I have to admit I’m surprised anyone got it from that horrible picture, and I had a couple of other hints already lined up to narrow it down, but they got it on the first go.
The picture is of the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The trip up was a bit hot at times, I got rained on for about 10 minutes outside Fredericksburg, and it took something like two hours to get through the border crossing (Sunday evening is not the best choice of crossing times), but it was still a good trip…however, the trip back was even better. It was cool and clear the whole way. I took back roads through New York and Pennsylvania and had some beautiful riding.
The only bad thing about the trip back was that it was so cool, it didn’t even occur to me to put sunscreen on my face so I’ve got the “raccoon tan” going on now, but that’s a pretty minor issue to have. It’s been a while since I did a long-distance trip so it was very much enjoyed.
Next time I go up there, The Wife’s going too and we’re going to spend a day at Niagra Falls on the way up and then another day exploring Toronto. Going up into the CN Tower is on the short list of things we want to do while there.
Thanks to everyone who played.
Any body wanna guess where I went?
Granted, not a great picture because it was from quite a distance and a moving motorcycle, but I’m trying to direct your attention to the big spire looking building in the middle of the shot. Anyone recognize it?
A million internet points to the one who gets it.
I didn’t take many pictures because anyone who’s been here before have seen plenty of motorcycle trip pictures, but I took my bike on a business trip in stead of flying. The business was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, so Sunday and Wednesday were travel days.
1513 miles in four calendar days, two travel days.
Having been raised as a “law and order” conservative, I used to strongly support the death penalty and would have strongly supported its use being expanded to include all murders and even heinous instances of rape and child abuse.
Things like this are what prompted me to change my mind.
[John Thompson] was wrongly convicted not once, but twice — separately — for a carjacking and a murder. He spent 18 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, 14 of them on death row. His death warrant was signed eight times. When his attorneys finally found the evidence that cleared him — evidence his prosecutors had known about for years — he was weeks away from execution.
But what most enrages Thompson — and what drives his activism today — is that in the end, there was no accountability. [bold added]
The particularly striking thing about [the] argument that self-regulation and professional discipline are sufficient to handle prosecutorial misconduct — is that even in the specific Supreme Court cases where it has been made, and where the misconduct is acknowledged, the prosecutors were never disciplined or sanctioned.
It’s a very long piece, that touches on some unrelated topics and raises a few points that I disagree with, but the overall premise is right on the money:
In our legal system, which rewards prosecutors for convictions rather than justice and in which there are absolutely no repercussions for prosecutors who bend, twist and mutilate the law to obtain those convictions, there are no guarantees that the person convicted of a heinous crime is actually the one who did it.
Between 1973 and 2002, Orleans Parish prosecutors sent 36 people to death row. Nine of those convictions were later overturned due to Brady violations. Four of those later resulted in exonerations. In other words, 11 percent of the men Connick’s office attempted to send to their deaths — for which prosecutors suppressed exculpatory evidence in the process — were later found to be factually innocent.
Our system of “innocent until proven guilty” and respect for individual rights is supposed to be engineered to err on the side of caution. Much better, our philosophy opines, that many guilty go free than for one innocent to be unjustly punished for a crime they did not commit.
The current legal system, with its protections against prosecutors (and other government officials) being held accountable for blatant misconduct, turns that philosophy in its head.
I have no problem whatsoever with the speedy, public, and graphic execution of those who commit murder or other horrific crimes, however when, in some locales, a conviction carries with it a 25 percent chance that the conviction was obtained illegally and an 11 percent chance that the convicted is DEMONSTRABLY innocent of the crime, then I’m very glad that our executions are not swift and I would strongly support the halting of them altogether until we can come up with better protections to ensure that only the guilty are convicted.
First among those protections should be prosecutors that are held accountable, are arrested and tried for misconduct and, if convicted, are as swiftly and harshly punished for such crimes as those that they prosecute.
“These people tried to eliminate me from the face of the earth,” Thompson says of his own prosecutors. “Do you get that? They tried to murder me. And goddamnit, there have to be some kind of consequences.”
But for the Grace of God go you or I.
The first thing I notice is that, even after the trial and all the evidence being spelled out in painstaking detail in court, virtually every article I’ve read that attempted to recount the events of that night got at least one major fact wrong. Most got several wrong.
Not surprising considering the state of Journalism today, but still aggravating and discouraging. And they wonder why we’re tuning out.
The second thing I notice is that every comment that I read by someone who disagreed with the verdict where they attempted to recount the events of that night, got most of what they said wrong. Apparently, the only requirement for disapproving of the verdict is not having any idea at all about what the evidence shows actually happened.
Some of the more common misconceptions:
Zimmerman wasn’t on a Neighborhood watch “patrol”. He was on his way home from Target. His activities had nothing to do with the Neighborhood watch other than his taking the initiative to call the police to report a suspicious person.
Zimmerman was not told to stay in his car. He was not informed that he “didn’t need to” follow Martin until well after he’d already exited his vehicle…in response to questions asked by the dispatcher.
Zimmerman was not following Martin immediately before the altercation began. As soon as he was informed that he didn’t need to follow Martin, he immediately replied “OK” and stopped. Any objective review of the non-emergency call between Zimmerman and the Dispatcher makes this abundantly clear. Shortly after replying “OK” to the dispatcher’s news that following wasn’t necessary, Zimmerman stated “he ran” (past tense…meaning it’s all over with and Martin is gone). Shortly after that, Zimmerman was reluctant to tell the dispatcher his home address aloud because “I don’t know where this kid is”.
Martin was not just trying to get home. Had he been trying to do so, he would have succeeded with plenty of time to spare. The top of the “T” sidewalk is only about 400 feet from the home Martin was staying in. One can walk 400 feet at a normal walking pace in less than 2 minutes. A 17 year old in decent physical shape (as Martin appeared to be) could run it in a flat out sprint in 12 to 15 seconds. Placing his gait at somewhere in the middle, call it a minute to get home and another minute to unlock the door and get inside.
Using the non-emergency call timeline, combined with the 911 call in which the shot could be heard, four minutes elapsed from the time Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and the fatal shot. By most accounts, the altercation lasted between 45 seconds and a minute. That means that Martin had at least 3 minutes to travel the 400 feet to the home he was staying in…yet the altercation started within a few feet of the top of the “T” (where Zimmerman’s keys and flashlight were found) and ended up no more than 30 feet from the top of the “T”. If Martin was only trying to get home and away from the “creepy ass cracker”, what was he doing during that 3 minutes that he was still right near the “T” as Zimmerman returned to his truck?
Zimmerman didn’t initiate the contact. Even according the the State’s star witness, the girl who was on the phone with Martin right up until the altercation began, it was Martin who initiated contact with Zimmerman.
And, Finally, if George Zimmerman was a “wanna-be cop”, why did he turn down an offer from the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator to take on a community policing position that would have had him wearing a uniform with a badge and driving a patrol car with lights?
George Zimmerman was the kind of neighbor most people like to have. The kind that takes an interest in their neighborhood and keeps an eye out for others. He WAS “minding his own business” that night…by keeping an eye out and reporting suspicious behavior in his neighborhood. He did exactly what he should have done and what I wish more people would do.
As many have said, no black (or white, or yellow, or green) “child” deserves to be shot and killed for nothing more than walking home from 7-11 with candy and a drink. But that isn’t what Martin was doing when he got shot. He was committing felony assault with a deadly weapon by pinning Zimmerman to the ground and pounding his head repeatedly against the concrete sidewalk. Sorry, but that absolutely IS grounds for being shot, no matter what skin tone you happen to have.
Listening to the closing arguments of the Zimmerman Trial I have to ask myself:
Is there a course entitled “how to ramble on for several hours at a time while saying as little as possible and making as little sense as possible 101″ in lawyer schoool?
Granted, I speak before groups of people for a living (I’m a technical trainer) and the object of my speaking is to provide them with information in as clear, concise, thorough and efficient manner as possible.
Both the prosecution and the defense closing arguments have been rambling, confused, and lacking in clarity.
I’m pretty sure it was completely intentional for the state, as they have no actual…you know…evidence. Their entire strategy was to emotionalize, confuse the issues and imply that non evidence and remote possibilities are actually evidence and probabilities. I was expecting their closing to be confusing and make little sense.
On the other hand, the case for the Defense is pretty clear cut and straightforward. The Defense’s case SCREAMS OUT for clarity, conciseness and a logical progression through the evidence.
O’mara had impressed me with the defense up to this point, but his closing, so far, has been painfully confusing and disjointed. Is it just that laywers are too smart for their own good and have trouble organizing their thoughts as a result? I just don’t get it.
This should be a slam dunk for the defense, but O’mara is turning the closing argument into a confusing mess of disjointed, rambling, seemingly unconnected thoughts.
I’ve never been overly impressed with the practitioners of our legal system based on my meager experience with it. This trial hasn’t done anything to disabuse me of the general low regard in which I hold such practitioners.
Listening to the Zimmerman Trial live.
Cross-examining a medical examiner expert witness right now.
ME testified that George Zimmerman’s injuries were consistent with a punch to the nose and then head striking concrete repeatedly, that Martin’s hand injury was consistent with punching someone and that the gunshot wound was consistent with shooting up into someone who is on top.
State’s cross: “Isn’t it possible that someone could get injuries by, say, bumping their head against a tree branch?” “Isn’t it possible that Martin may have injured his hand in some other way than punching?” “Isn’t it possible that some weird, implausible, million to one occurrence could have made the gunshot LOOK like it was fired up into someone on top, but really wasn’t?”
Apparently, the state’s case revolves around “it COULD have POSSIBLY happened in a way other than the way that all the evidence is consistent with, so obviously Zimmerman was lying”.
Every piece of evidence*, every witness (including the State’s witnesses…including their STAR witness) supports Zimmerman’s account of how the event took place.
So the State’s only recourse is to muddy the waters and imply that it might have POSSIBLY happened in some other way.
Apparently the State is unfamiliar with the premise that it is THEIR responsibility to prove the elements of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
I cannot imagine a jury that would find any defendant guilty with the evidence that’s been presented in this case.
*Possible exception: Sabrina Fulton (Martin’s Mother) testified that the voice yelling for help on the 911 tape was Martin, which would tend to disprove Zimmerman’s account of events…however, two other family members (Martin’s half-brother and Father) said variously that they weren’t sure, or it wasn’t Martin screaming, and then changed their stories later. The defense provided several witnesses who testified with conviction that the voice of the screamer was Zimmerman, so I feel that, at best, this single piece of evidence that might tend to disprove Zimmerman’s story is a wash and it is still unclear, based on the audio, who was screaming for help. There is significant other evidence that supports the claim that Zimmerman was the one crying for help…not the least of which was the witness who saw them fighting just before the fatal shot and testified that Martin was on top, apparently pummeling Zimmerman “ground and pound style”.
Not a single piece of other evidence has been presented by the state to disprove Zimmerman’s account…their entire case seems to be built upon “isn’t it possible that it could have happened in some way other than what Zimmerman claims and the evidence seems to support?”