Thursday, October 6, 2011

Davis, Dead Letters, and the Death Penalty

The Commander supported the death penalty most of his adult Life, on the assumption that some criminals:

deserve the final sleep when there is no doubt about their guilt (In my home state I would have volunteered to pull the lever on this individual.)

Recent results by the Innocence Project have soured my feelings on Capital Punishment, ex specially when the only evidence is eyewitness identification:

    Seventeen people had been sentenced to death before DNA proved their innocence and led to their release.
    The average sentence served by DNA exonerees has been 13 years.
    About 70 percent of those exonerated by DNA testing are members of minority groups.
    In almost 40 percent of DNA exoneration cases, the actual perpetrator has been identified by DNA testing.
    Exoneration's have been won in 34 states and Washington, D.C.
The Supremo's are in the process of the deciding the fate of Cory R. Maples and even Johnny the Robber baron, by no means a Friend of the Defendant; is troubled by this capital case.

Alabama does not provide taxpayer-funded legal assistance to death-row inmates seeking to appeal their sentence (South Carolina felt the same way in 1944, even for a 14 year old), so Mr. Maples found a couple of layers from New York, however:
    ..18 months nothing happened with his appeal, during which period his young lawyers left their firm without notifying Maples or the court. They did tell the mailroom. So when the Alabama court sent a ruling to his two lawyers indicating that his appeal had been denied, the mailroom stamped it “Return to Sender” and sent it back to Alabama. The county clerk stuck it in a file and Maples—who knew nothing of any of this—missed the 42-day deadline for filing another appeal. Maples’ local counsel, John Butler Jr., also received a copy of the ruling, but because he believed he was Maples’ lawyer in name only, he did nothing with it.
Sorry dude, you missed the appeal because of a postage stamp. See you at the Gurney (Yellow Mama was retired).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Voter Suppression, Voter ID, Vote not free

Voter Suppression rearing it's ugly head in Wisconsin. Ever since Johnny the Robber Baron and his conservative posse nullified the 24th Amendment by allowing voter ID laws, my Republican opponents have been doing their level best to make sure only the White, excuse me right people vote.

Brad Friedman has a video that shows how easy it is to get a 'Free' ID in the cheese head state so you can exercise the sovereign franchise (NOT!):

This ties in with a post I did 3 years ago when. I've reprinted it below. As Ms. Digby says in the end, Republicans, like all aristocrats, know that if enough average people vote, they will lose. Period.

The Supreme Court handed Johnny Mac a major victory today by upholding the voter suppression laws in Indiana (excuse me, voter ID laws):

    WASHINGTON — By a 6-3 vote in a closely watched election-year case, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld Indiana's strict voter-identification law, rejecting the claims of Democratic and civil-rights challengers that the law infringes on the right to vote.
    The decision by Justice John Paul Stevens, one of the most liberal members of the court, emphasized that the challengers had not presented sufficient evidence that voters were kept from the polls or otherwise hurt by the law Indiana says prevents fraud.
As noted by the blogger dday:
    This is, as we know, a solution in search of a problem. Voter fraud is a made-up conservative issue, backed by no evidence. While Stevens suggested that there are no "excessively burdensome requirements" imposed on voters who must show ID at the polls, he's answering an unknowable question. We simply have no idea how photo ID centers (if there will be any outside the DMV) in Indiana or anywhere else would be managed, whether the same groups that truck elderly and poor voters to the polls on Election Day will be able to do the same to get people their IDs, and so on. If they require the same documentation that the DMV does, many poor and elderly people simply don't have them. If it requires an application fee, how is that not a poll tax?
The Republican sheet heads who passed this modern version of Jim Crow had to add a provision that IDs would be issued free of charge to people without driver's licenses (can't have any appearance of a poll tax because of that pesky 24th Amendment). However, these are the combination primary and secondary documents needed for a "free ID":
This list the definition of what is an acceptable primary document:

I won't even bother listing the acceptable secondary documents. Bottom line is you need a birth certificate unless your military. Is a birth certificate free and easy to obtain in Indiana? You have got to be kidding:

    Birth records in the ISDH Vital Records office begin with October 1907. Prior to October 1907, records of birth are filed only with the local health department in the county where the birth actually occurred. Fees are established by law (IC 16-37-1-11 and IC 16-37-1-11.5 ). Each search for a record costs $10.00. The fee is non-refundable. Included in one search is a five-year period; the reported year of birth and, if the record is not found in that year, the two years before and after. One certified copy of the record, if found, is included in the search fee. Additional copies of the same record purchased at the same time are $4.00 each. Amendments made to the record are an additional $8.00.
Oh yeah, did I mention that you will need to show some ID to purchase a birth certificate:

But what the heck, it is not like any of this is a real burden to those that wish to vote. And if you believe that, I got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

The Master blogger Digby sums it up:

    First of all, let's not forget that this may be the biggest political land mine the Bush administration has set for Democrats. "Voter fraud" was, you'll remember, at the bottom of the US Attorney scandals and one of their main tools for suppressing the Democratic vote. This is the realization of a very long term plan to chip away at the Voting Rights Act. Republicans, like all aristocrats, know that if enough average people vote, they will lose. Period.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Special Elections, Suprise Openings and Stupid Reporters

Headline from AP reporter Michael Blood on 12 July 2011:

    Tight finish possible in Calif. US House race

    MICHAEL R. BLOOD, AP Political Writer

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A special congressional election Tuesday in California has given Republicans a surprising opening to seize a House seat in a Democratic stronghold and send a powerful message nationally going into 2012.

    Democrats hold a commanding 18-point registration edge in the district where Barack Obama notched a 31-point win in 2008, but the likelihood of a meager turnout, combined with widespread voter anxiety over the economy, could make for a tight finish.
Headline from AP reporter Michael Blood on 13 July 2011:

    Democrat Janice Hahn wins Calif. US House race

    MICHAEL R. BLOOD, AP Political Writer

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democrat Janice Hahn has defeated Republican Craig Huey in a bitter contest for a Southern California House seat, preserving her party's hold on the district and surviving an unusually tough race in a longtime stronghold.

    With all reporting, Hahn, a Los Angeles city councilwoman, had 41,585 votes, or about 55 percent, to 34,636, or about 45 percent, for Huey, who owns marketing and advertising companies and largely bankrolled his campaign with nearly $900,000 in personal funds.
Yeah, she crushes him by 10 points, a real tight finish. The new AP editor Liz Sidoti has a history of kissing ass to Republican Candidates:

Liz Sidoti and "Sprinkles" McCain

so it is not surprising that her reporters would continue the narrative; insisting that since Hahn only beat Huey by 10 points instead of 18, it was far from impressive.

Far more interesting is the collective amnesia over the racist, sexist ad run by a group called Turn Right USA (Crooks and Liars has the details). The Huey campaign was shocked, shocked and weakly disavowed it, but as C&L stated, all the usual suspects from the right wing noise machine are connected.

Expect the failure of the press to cover Super PACS with super money as the 2012 races approach. It does not fit The Village narrative of the serious people.