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Sep 222011
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That’s what it says.  The cause of death on Troy Davis’ death certificate is homicide. The legal definition of homicide is

The killing of one human being by another human being.

So that’s what this country has come to.  In the face of overwhelming testimony casting serious doubt on the guilt of Troy Anthony Davis, the Georgia state board of pardons and parole, the Governor of Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States all refused to grant a stay of execution.  So last night he was put to death.

He proclaimed his innocence one last time before being killed.  His final words, as witnessed by an AP reporter:

“I’d like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent.

The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth.

I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight.

For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls.”

I say to those who took his life that – if there is a God – he, she or it should have no mercy on them whatsoever.  Let the murder of this man be forever on their collective conscience and let karma treat deal with them with all of her might.  And let her take Ann Coulter along for the ride.

Why do I bring Ann Coulter into this?  Because this deather who, seemingly along with the rest of the Republican party of 2011, rejoices in the death of others.  Last night, Coulter tweeted the following:

AnnCoulter Ann Coulter
ONE TROY DAVIS FLAME-BROILED, PLEASE - bit.ly/qPQnV7
HOLD THE PICKLE, HOLD THE LETTUCE. FRYING KILLERS WON’T UPSET US. http://bit.ly/qPQnV7
S. Ct denies Troy Davis stay. MacPhail’s family gets justice after a 22 year wait. Lovers of Cop Killers Inconsolable.
Can MSNBC give us the full court press Troy Davis is getting for the next abortion by one of their employees?
It must be some measure of blood lust that allows these barbarians to delight in the death of others.
Although I’m vehemently against the death penalty, if someone were to kill my daughter or fiancé, I’d want to murder them with my own two hands.  That’s raw emotion speaking.  But I’d certainly want to make sure I was taking my revenge on the person who committed the murder!
I’m stunned that the MacPhail family watched Troy Davis put to death while there was so much doubt that it was, in fact, he who killed their father, brother, son.  Especially while another man – the one who actually killed him – is walking around free, even bragging to others that he was the one who murdered MacPhail!

Joseph Washington “I saw Sylvester Coles – I know him by the name Red – shoot the police officer. I am positive that it was Red who shot the police officer…

Tonya Johnson “Red then took both guns next door to an empty house and put them inside the screen door and shut the door …  he threatened me after this happened. He told me that he wanted to make sure that I did not tell the police about the guns he hid in the screen door that morning. This is why I did not testify about the guns at Troy’s trial because I was afraid of what Red would do to me if I did. I have not told anyone about this until now because I was still scared… But I have decided that I must tell the truth.”

Anthony Hargrove “I know a guy named Red, from Savannah. His real name is Sylvester Coles. I’ve known Red for years and we used to hang out together. Red once told me that he shot a police officer and that a guy named Davis took the fall for it. He told me this about a year or so after the officer was killed…”

Gary Hargrove “I am sure that Red was facing in the officer’s direction when I heard the shooting. … I was never talked to by the police or any attorneys or investigators representing Troy Davis before his trial. I didn’t go up to talk to the police that night because I was on parole at the time and was out past my curfew so I didn’t want my parole officer to find out about that.”

Shirley Riley “People on the streets were talking about Sylvester Coles being involved with killing the police officer so one day I asked him if he was involved… Sylvester told me he did shoot the officer …”

Darold Taylor “I remember reading in the paper once about how a guy named Troy Davis got sentenced to the electric chair… One day when I was in the parking lot of Yamacraw drinking beers with Red. I told him about how I’d heard that he was the one who killed the officer. Red told me to stay out of his business. I asked him again if he killed the officer and Red admitted to me that he was the one who killed the officer, but then Red told meagain to stay out of his business.”

April Hester Hutchinson “Red turned to me and asked me if I would walk with him up to the Burger King so ‘they won’t think that I had nothing to do with it’. That’s exactly what he said… I told [the police] that I saw Red talking to my cousin Tonya and that Red was real nervous. I did not tell them about what Red had said to me because I was scared he would hurt me. I was thinking that if he did that to a police officer, what would he do to me? I didn’t want to die like that officer, so I kept my mouth shut.”

Anita Saddler “When I saw Red and Terry, they were jumpy and couldn’t stand still. Their eyes were shifting around and they were looking everywhere. They walked up to us and Red asked us to go up to Burger King and see what happened. Like I said, they were real nervous and fidgety. Red had a gun which was stuck into his shorts. I saw the outline of his gun through his white shirt. I had seen him with a gun many times before.”

Peggie Grant (mother of April Hester Hutchinson) “A few hours later, April called me on the phone. She told me that she had had a conversation with Red where he asked her to walk up with him to where the officer was shot so that the police would think that he was with her and not think he did anything”

I usually wrap up my radio week on Thursday mornings with comedian John Fugelsang, and did just that today. But there were few, if any, laughs as we talked mostly about the killing of Troy Davis and the whole concept of capitol punishment.

I also spent some time this morning talking about the insanity of the “tea party” with Micheal Stinson (@symbolman on twitter). whose latest project is a reworking of the Lewis Carroll classic – but renamed mAlice in Wonderland: A Tea Party Fable.  Just in case the tea party isn’t enough of a weird drug trip already….

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Sep 202011
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Is it possible to feel great joy and terrible despair at the same time?  It is, and it’s happening today.  While the horrible policy that was Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is officially dead,  it looks like another innocent man is likely dead too.

Yes, today, as we celebrate the end of another ugly chapter of discrimination in America, we continue executing people – even in the face of overwhelming doubt of their guilt.

Tomorrow, Troy Davis will be executed by the murderous state of Georgia.  It’s looking more and more like that will be the tragic reality as this alert just arrived in my in box from the LA Times:

Two defense lawyers say Georgia’s board of pardons has rejected a bid to halt the execution of Troy Davis, who has attracted high-profile support for his claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

This morning, this was posted on the website of Amnesty International:

Outrageous.  Simply outrageous.

Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles has rejected Troy Davis’ clemency petition.  He faces execution on Wed., Sept. 21 at 7 pm EDT.  We do not accept this decision and we will not quietly sit by.  Join us by taking more action:  demand that the Board reconsider its decision and demand that Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency himself.

This appalling decision renders meaningless the Board’s 2007 vow to not permit an execution unless there is “no doubt” about guilt.  The Troy Davis case is riddled with doubt. Most of the witnesses who testified against him have recanted, while others have pointed to an alternate suspect as the real killer.

Nearly a million supporters of human rights and justice have called for clemency in this case, so far.  They believed in the common-sense notion that you should not execute someone when you can’t be sure they are guilty.

Death penalty supporters like Bob Barr, former Texas Governor Mark White,  and former FBI Director William Sessions also support clemency in this case, for the same reason.  And at least three jurors from Davis’ trial have asked for his execution to be called off. Putting Troy Davis to death would be a grave injustice to those jurors who believe they sentenced Davis to death based on questionable information.

The Board chose to ignore this huge number and wide range of voices, so we must raise our voices even more.  Demand that Georgia authorities Stop This Execution.

This morning, I’ll talk to Jasiri X,  a very socially conscious rapper friend of mine who recently recorded “I Am Troy Davis”:

It’s not only rappers singing out for clemency for Troy Davis.  Nellie McKay is doing it too:

It’s Tuesday, so we get to hang with The Political Carnival’s GottaLaff… we’ll talk about these stories and more:

VIDEO- BLUNT: GOP vs Social Security, Medicare

Orly Taitz may challenge Dianne Feinstein for U.S. Senate because “I do speak Spanish & I speak Hebrew.”

VIDEO: Poor GOP Rep. Fleming! “By the time I feed my family, I have, you know, maybe $400,000 left over.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus Works to Increase Influence

VIDEO- Death: Tea party: “Yeah!”… Mitch McConnell: Meh.

VIDEO: Donald Trump calls Rick Perry ‘Jim’

Quickie: What would cease to exist if the Tea Party got its way

Rick Perry’s Texas: Net jobs loss, unemployment highest in 24 years

“Our goal is to raise up a body of believers & that they elect a lot of godly leaders.” And Silicon Valley is helping.

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Sep 152011
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I’ve said it many times before, and repeated that assertion on my show this morning.

I got a bill in the mail yesterday from a collection agency.  Not from the imaging clinic where I had a thyroid ultrasound done in May, but from a collection agency.

Honestly, when I got the bill for $504.60, I couldn’t imagine what it was for. It certainly couldn’t be for  that simple ultrasound that took all of 10 minutes with a lab technician who was able to show me on the machine that my thyroid had completely atrophied.

But when I went online to MyUHC.com to check my claims, I found out that it, indeed, was what the bill was for.

I guess I’m fortunate enough to have health insurance through a part-time employer.  For that luxury, I get to pay over $1000 a month, and $2000 toward my “deductible” before the insurance company pays one red cent.  So, why on earth would I subject myself to that kind of debt?  Because if I didn’t, I’d be screwed even more, and not in a good way.

That $504.60 bill I got yesterday?  If I didn’t have insurance, that bill would have been for $841.00. You see, because I pay the monthly premiums extortion fees, I get the privilege of paying the amount they charge the insurance company  (the “network” fee).

A better example of this comes from last year.  On July 11, 2010, I broke the 5th metatarsal bone of my right foot.  It was a clean break and surgery was recommended.  Because I had insurance, my cost for the surgery was $1,085.70 – the remainder of the $2000 deductible that I had not yet paid.  The insurance company paid the difference - $2,748.30, bringing the total paid for said surgery to $3834.00.

But the total amount the hospital billed for the surgery was a whopping $21,500.39.  The insurance company gets a $17,666.39 discount?  Seriously?

If I didn’t have insurance pay the monthly extortion fee, I would have been charged $21,500.39 for the same surgery that the insurance company extortionists are charged only $3834?  If the hospital can afford to do this surgery and only charge the insurance company $3934, why can’t they charge everyone that amount?  Or are they overcharging the rest of us so that they can give the insurance company extortionists incredibly low rates in order to keep their business?

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that one out – a good thing, as we couldn’t afford the brain surgeon’s out of network fees.

By the way, even after paying the $504.60 for the ultrasound I had in May, I’m still $691.94 away from having my insurance company actually cover any of my medical bills this year.  I have 3 1/2 months to go before it starts all over again.

Can you say Medicare for All?

Which Way Will He Go?

This morning on the show, I also played the new game show “Which Way Will He Go?” in which we guess whether President Obama will actually do the right thing by the American people and prove he’s really a Democrat, or if he’ll finally jump the austerity shark and adopt the right wing talking points as policy.

The two sides are represented by the Financial Times of London and the Wall St. Journal.  I know, neither of them give you much confidence, but that’s what we have to work with today.

On Tuesday, Financial Times published a story with the sickening headline, “Obama to Propose Medicare and Medicaid Cuts“.  Follow the link to read the whole thing, but here’s the most important part of the story:

Barack Obama is expected to lay out a plan next week that would cut several hundred billion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, the large government healthcare schemes for the elderly and the poor, as part of a pitch to cut future deficits by more than $1,500bn.

Senior White House officials said the US president would base a detailed blueprint for fiscal reform, which is to be delivered on Monday, on an earlier speech he delivered in April on deficit reduction.

In the other corner, we have the Wall St. Journal, truly lacking  in credibility since the takeover by Murdoch’s NewsCorp.  But in this case, I hope their reporting is true.  This morning, the headline read, “Obama Plan Won’t Include Changes to Social Security,” and included these (somewhat) more encouraging  (but not by much) words:  (if that link doesn’t work due to the WSJ paywall, just google the headline together with Laura Meckler, one of the writers and click on that link)

President Barack Obama’s new deficit-reduction proposal will leave out changes to Social Security, and may exclude any increase in the Medicare eligibility age, people familiar with the discussions said Wednesday.

“As the president has consistently said, he does not believe that Social Security is a driver of our near- and medium-term deficits,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement.

Changing the inflation formula so Social Security benefits grow more slowly and raising the Medicare eligibility age were ideas Mr. Obama had been willing to accept this summer, when he was trying to strike a deficit-reduction deal with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio)…

Instead of raising the Medicare eligibility age, the White House is considering recommending cuts to providers and possibly increasing premiums for wealthier recipients, people familiar with the discussions say. It’s also possible the president would propose changing the inflation calculation for other government programs, which currently use the same measure as Social Security does. The White House declined to comment on those discussions.

I don’t know about you, but to me, both read with little optimism that Medicare and Medicaid won’t be cut.

The word Reform has now come to mean Destroy.  Entitlement Reform means they want to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and to hear President Obama say that he will work on Medicare Reform is a huge red flag for me.

Here’s the Medicare Reform I’d be happy with:

  • Open it to everyone! Allow anyone who wants to buy in to be able to. Rates would be based on age and income.
  • Ensure that prescription drug prices will come down by negotiating with the pharmaceuticals on prices based on Medicare enrollment
  • Ensure that prices for tests/procedures come down by negotiating with providers for those services based on Medicare enrollment
  • Fix the fee-for-service system we now have to a results-based fee system

I’m sure there’s more… but those are suggestions coming from a layman who knows next to nothing about the medical industry.  But if we really want to fix the health care system in this country, we need to stop thinking of it as an industry and more as a public service.  Get the profit our of our health care!

Today on the Show

It was a busy show. In addition to ranting about what I’ve just written, I spoke with a few great guests.

Alice Kim is one of the people behind a website encouraging educators to take some time this week to Teach Troy Davis. Thanks to the compassion-less audience at last week’s GOP Deather debate who applauded Brian Williams’ question to Rick Perry at the mention of the executions of 234 prisoners in Texas, our nation is finally talking about Capital Punishment.

We’re learning about Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed by Texas even after evidence was uncovered that cast serious doubt on his guilt – and then intentionally covered up by the state.   We’re signing petitions to keep Troy Davis from being executed by Georgia, who’s still planning to kill him on Wednesday - despite new evidence suggesting that eyewitness testimony used to convict him may be flawed.

Unfortunately, the discussion came too late to save Steven Michael Woods, Jr, who was killed by the state of Texas just two days ago…. convicted of capital murder under the insane Law of Parties, which states that a person can be criminally responsible for the actions of another if he or she aids and abets, or conspires with the principal.  Woods didn’t kill anyone; he was guilty of being in the car of someone who did murder two people and drove the car that helped him get away.  He didn’t kill anyone.

We’re also probably too late to save Duane Buck.  Texas is set to execute him later today after a jury was convinced that he was more apt to be violent again because of his race.

Unfortunately, the list goes on and on and on and on….

We’re not only killing people, but we’re also killing the planet (while the deathers deny there’s anything wrong with any of it).  Peter Sales joined me for a fascinating discussion this morning based on his new book, Our Dying Planet: An Ecologist’s View of the Crisis We Face.

And comedian John Fugelsang helped me end my broadcast week with a lively and, at times, funny discussion of all the things I’ve written about here, plus music and more!

Thanks for reading this far… Now click the player at the top of the post, if you haven’t already done so, and listen to the show!  I’ll talk to you Monday, radio or not!

 

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Sep 132011
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Poor CNN.  So desperately trying to find an audience they jump into bed with the tea baggers, so to speak.  How do they not understand that the tea party is even “less popular than much maligned groups like ‘atheists’ and ‘Muslims.’”

I promise you that I will not spend as much time watching or re-capping the multitude of these “who can out-crazy the other” so-called debates, which we’ll be subjected to once a week for the foreseeable future.  But I just couldn’t resist this one – billed as the “Tea Party Debate”!  If ever one of these side shows was destined to bring out the truly insane in the already crazy, this would be the one.  And it didn’t disappoint.

In hour one of today’s show – it’ll just be me, armed with lots of audio from last night’s insaneathon™, and a bit of snark.

Rick Perry had a fewcringe-worthy moments, most notably when he claimed “At the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.”  Hey Governor Perry, tell that to Cameron Todd Willingham!

In hour two, the snark will likely continue, as GottaLaff checks in from The Political Carnival to talk about these stories and more:

GW Bush: “It was the most nervous I had ever been.” Hint: This wasn’t about 9/11.

Rudy Giuliani: Noun, verb, 9/11, lie.

Actual CNN “librul media” chyron: “The Rick Perry Phenomenon”

Actually WAS “Censored” Doonesbury: “New book explodes myth of Sarah Palin not reading.”

AUDIO: Radio host laughs when caller refers to Michelle Obama as main character in Planet of the Apes

VIDEO: This is What Paul Ryan’s Contempt for the Unemployed Looks Like

10 alternative policies the U.S. could’ve pursued with money that has been spent on wars

Meet “the congregational version of the ‘tea party’”

Health Problems Persist Among 9/11 First Responders

VIDEO- The Loon Rangers: Birther Orly Taitz and Gov. Rick Perry heart each other.

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