Getting It Wrong: Convicting the Innocent

By , April 13, 2011 6:29 pm

When he recently signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn noted a “grave danger” that the innocent could be executed. This past March, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Skinner v. Switzer, to expand the right to access DNA testing that could potentially prove a defendants innocence. Last week the New York Times published a firsthand account by John Thompson, an innocent man who came within hours of his own execution. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a $14 million jury award compensating him for the years he spent in prison. Public opinion surrounding the death penalty has been shaped, in recent years, by the possibility of innocents being executed. And DNA exonerations continue to regularly occur, although with little rigorous assessment of what went wrong.

via Who confesses to a crime they didnt commit: Frank Sterling and mistaken confessions. 1 – By Brandon L. Garrett – Slate Magazine.

Its the Inequality, Stupid

By , February 24, 2011 1:19 pm

Eleven charts that explain everything thats wrong with America.

via Its the Inequality, Stupid | Mother Jones.

Wisconsin Power Play

By , February 21, 2011 8:46 pm

Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”

via Wisconsin Power Play – NYTimes.com.

Farewell to Modernity in the New Age of Surveillance

By , January 30, 2011 9:16 pm

Terrorism was connected to a variety of ideologies and served a variety of purposes. Every now and then, bombs exploded in the world, hostages were taken and airplanes hijacked. Every now and then, innocent people were dying somewhere. It always caused terror and made it hard for those responsible for security to sleep at night, forcing them to develop ever-newer techniques and ways of protection against terrorism. It caused worry, and, moreover, forced the introduction of ever-increasing limitations of freedom in the name of improving security. Gradually, terrorism changed our mentality. Step by step, we have become accustomed to limitations of freedom undertaken for the sake of improving security. After the assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square, where the bullets of the Turkish hired gun hit the pope, the pope moved from an open car to a bulletproof display carriage – the popemobile – and we soon considered the strange vehicle to be normal. Years later, nobody remembered that it used to be otherwise, that the pope had driven in an open car and shaken the hands of random people, and that those who managed to push through to the front of the crowds could get close enough to touch his cassock. In the same way, we got used to personal control at the airports.

via Farewell to Modernity in the New Age of Surveillance.

Climate of Hate

By , January 10, 2011 12:03 pm

When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

via Climate of Hate – NYTimes.com.

How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? | TheLoop21.com

By , December 23, 2010 7:36 pm

In September of 1971, more than a thousand prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica , NY revolted in what eventually became one of the most famous prison standoffs in American history.  Before the insurrection was bloodily quelled on orders of then New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the prisoners demanded animprovement to the conditions that they were forced to live.  In the midst of the Black Power Movement, Attica became a lasting symbol for demands for human and civil rights, even among the incarcerated.

In the spirit of Attica, nearly 40 years later, prisoners at six prisons in Georgia, organized a non-violent labor strike to demand better conditions for themselves. Specifically the inmates demanded a living wage for their work, educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, opportunities for self-improvement rehabilitation, access to their families and just parole decisions.

via How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? | TheLoop21.com.

How to Be President in a Fact-Free America | The Nation

By , December 21, 2010 6:04 pm

The sad truth is that even when presented with concrete and irrefutable evidence, some people still prefer the reality they want over the one they actually live in. Herein lies one of the central problems of engaging with those on the American right. Cocooned in their own mediated ecosystem, many of them are almost unreachable through debate; the air is so fetid, reasonable discussion cannot breathe. You can’t win an argument without facts, and we live in a moment when whether you’re talking about climate change or WMD, facts seem to matter less and less.

via How to Be President in a Fact-Free America | The Nation.

Monitoring America

By , December 20, 2010 2:28 pm

Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nations history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

via Monitoring America | washingtonpost.com.

Anarchist group claims responsibility for Department of Corrections vandalism | Asheville News | Mountain Xpress

By , December 1, 2010 10:55 am

An anonymous group of anarchists has claimed responsibility for a Nov. 24 vandalism of the Department of Corrections building on McDowell Street. Police say the vandals slashed several vehicles’ tires and painted slogans like “Burn Prisons” on the building.“Nov. 24 in the dead of night, we attacked the Department of Corrections DOC: Division of Community Corrections on McDowell St. in Asheville, NC,” an anonymous member of the group writes on the website Anarchist News. “Six DOC vehicles were disabled. Their tires were slashed and their windows destroyed with glass etching fluid. “Burn the Prisons” and a circled A were scrawled across DOC building’s veneer.”

via Anarchist group claims responsibility for Department of Corrections vandalism | Asheville News | Mountain Xpress.

Obsolete Magazine: DISOBEY

By , November 15, 2010 9:19 am

Because of this growing disconnect between the people and their rulers, more and more citizens are choosing to practice “selective obedience”. By simply choosing not to observe certain laws, boundaries are stretched and eventually they become irrelevant. For example, many (if not most) young people in America today violate copyright laws. They download music and movies from pirate sites overseas, and most never experience any legal issues. It has become the norm. Persecuting a few poorly chosen individuals to make “examples” out of them simply makes the entertainment industry and their friends in the new Apparatchik look that much more foolish. Drug prohibition, clearly a long-standing example of the total failure of policy-making, serves only to profit the prison-industrial complex, while the vast majority of casual users continue to enjoy altering their realities un-hindered by big-brother. Speed limits? They only matter if you get caught. Taxes on barter, trade or cash payments? Yeah right.

via Obsolete Magazine: DISOBEY.

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