Presidential debates, auto-tuned songified

From the Auto-Tune The News — excuse me, Songify The News — folks down under (Australia, the land where pretty much every animal has killed a human) comes Town Hall Debate Songified:

Everyone’s obviously curious about these “binders full of women” that Romney speaks of thumbing through, and I will affirm that Candy Crowley would certainly not ever be in mine, but whoever did the singing in lieu of her would.

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Are the presidential candidates smarter than a fifth grader?

The Commission on Presidential Debates has held three events so far this year, and I wanted to know if our next commander-in-chief (or the next in line) were able to beat out a fifth grader (hello, pop culture references). I sliced and diced the transcripts of each participant (including the moderators and audience) and ran them through a couple of algorithms.

The Flesch–Kincaid readability test and the Gunning fog index are widely recognized methods for determining the education level needed to grasp subject material — in this case the dialogue transcripts of the debates. The numbers shown indicate the grade level one would need to be able to comprehend each respondent.

The results are presented below:

First Presidential Debate (Denver, Colorado)

Kincaid Fog
Jim Lehrer (moderator) 4.1 8.1
Barack Obama 8.3 11.9
Mitt Romney 5.8 9.5

Vice Presidential Debate (Danville, Kentucky)

Kincaid Fog
Martha Raddatz (moderator) 4.4 7.9
Joe Biden 4.9 8.1
Paul Ryan 4.5 7.8

Second Presidential Debate (Hempstead, New York)

Kincaid Fog
Candy Crowley (moderator) 3.1 6.5
Barack Obama 6.4 10.0
Mitt Romney 5.7 9.3
All audience 7.8 11.5

UPDATE: Added the fourth debate (third presidential debate) and overall scores based on D/R, below:

Third Presidential Debate (Boca Raton, Florida)

Kincaid Fog
Bob Schieffer (moderator) 4.3 7.5
Barack Obama 7.6 11.1
Mitt Romney 5.6 9.0

All Presidential Debates (averaged)

Kincaid Fog
Moderators 3.9 7.5
Democrats 6.6 10.1
Republicans 5.3 8.8

Apparently the moderators are not smarter than fifth graders, and the candidates are barely eking by according to Kincaid standards.

However, it’s interesting to note that the debate audience at the second presidential debate — a town hall format — scored off the charts in smarts compared to all the candidates and moderators.

Maybe we should go ahead and elect one of them.

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Live(ish) Blogging the Second Presidential “Debate”


From time to time, here at Hammer of Truth one of us will liveblog a debate or something. This is what it looks like.

On Tuesday October 16th 2012, Democrat President Barack Obama met with Republican nominee former Governor Mitt Romney to lay into each other in the new public blood sport democratic process of getting to know our next commander in chief. Romney is still trailing far behind Obama in projected electoral vote counts, but walked away with a national poll bounce from the Denver performance (mostly due to Obama’s apparent boredom). Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate was not invited to attend due to not meeting the required 15% threshold, nor was Green Party candidate Jill Stein — who apparently showed up and was arrested, yikes.

An official transcript of the debate can be found here.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

[Though billed as a "live blogging" event, my time away from blogging has resulted in my complete inability to properly negotiate the back-end of this site without a time-consuming, self-taught refresher course. As a result, the comments below, while made in real time, were not posted until after the debate was over. This misstep indicates what I've long suspected——that "drunk-blogging" is a necessary requirement of "live-blogging"]

I can’t help but think of this “debate” as the video equivalent of the children’s game (also found in bars), in which players must discover the smallest details differing from one seemingly identical picture to the next. Yes, a President Romney would likely be a bit hostile to additional business regulations, though he wouldn’t fail to enforce the existing ones. And he may oversee the dismantling of Obamacare, but only because as a businessman, he hates people stealing his ideas.

The point is that it is merely diminutive details that separate these two men, one clamoring to become the American emperor, the other begging the masses to renew his licenses to kill, lie, and steal, and allowing him to continue his despotic reign. Sadly, these tiny differentiations will be underscored, played up, and shouted about; those who disregard them loudly styled blind, stupid, or both. The similarities, though not unlike those among identical twins, will be obtusely ignored, with those who point to them relegated to the fringe.

My synopsis of the silliness that passed for serious argument follows, replete with all the sarcasm and ridicule richly deserved by those who would pretend any legitimacy to such a charade. see more…

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Supreme Court To Decide “First Sale Doctrine”

On October 29, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. The case revolves around the “first sale doctrine” which allows the owner of a lawfully obtained copyrighted work to dispose of that copy without the approval of the owner of the copyright.

At issue in this case is a practice of buying cheaper foreign editions of college textbooks, then reselling them to students in the U.S. This is done under the first sale doctrine, but some copyright owners insist that federal law does not allow it.

Supap Kirtsaeng came to the U.S. from Thailand to attend college. He decided he could offset the costs of his education as a textbook dealer. His family would buy foreign editions of textbooks in Thailand and send them to him. He re-sold them to students and made a small profit.

The books sold by Kirtsaeng were published by John Wiley & Sons through an Asian subsidiary . Wiley sued him in federal court in New York, and Kirtsaeng sought to rely on the first sale doctrine. A federal judge rejected the claim, concluding that the doctrine does not apply to goods made in a foreign country. The jury found Kirtsaeng liable for infringing copyright on eight books, and found that it was an intentional violation of Wiley’s copyright. Wiley was awarded $75,000 in damages for each book, for a total of $600,000; even though Kirtsaeng only sold $37,000 worth of Wiley textbooks. The Second Circuit Court upheld the award, agreeing that the doctrine does not apply to a foreign-made product.

Three Circuit Courts have heard cases regarding the first sale doctrine, and each court has made a different ruling. The Second Circuit declaring that foreign-made works can never be resold in the U.S. without the copyright owner’s consent, the Ninth Circuit ruling that such a foreign-made product sometimes can be sold in the U.S. without permission, but only after the owner has approved an earlier sale inside the U.S., and the Third Circuit deciding that such a product can always be re-sold without permission, so long as the copyright owner had authorized the first sale that occurred overseas.

A brief filed by the American Library Association states: “By restricting the application of Section 109(a) to copies manufactured in the United States, the Second Circuit’s decision threatens the ability of libraries to continue to lend materials in their collections. ”

A brief filed by Goodwill Industries International, Inc. states: “In essence, the Second Circuit’s decision destroys first sale protection for all copyrighted works manufactured abroad [and] allows copyright holders to control the price of a foreign-produced copyrighted work no matter how many times it is resold. ”

While I do not necessarily support copyright in its current form, I do believe that the creator of content should have a say over the first sale and ONLY the first sale! Almost everything I publish, is done so under a Creative Commons License along with “copyheart.” I allow my content to be distributed by anyone under the condition that I be credited as the author/creator of the content.

I would like to see the Supreme Court make the right decision in this case, overturn the Second Circuit ruling and affirm the 1998 Quality King decision from the Ninth Circuit Court, “The whole point of the first sale doctrine is that once the copyright owner places a copyrighted item in the stream of commerce by selling it, he has exhausted his exclusive statutory right to control its distribution.”

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LIVEBLOG: Danville Kentucky CPD VP debate

From time to time, here at Hammer of Truth one of us will liveblog a debate or something. This is what it looks like.

On Thursday October 11th 2012, Democrat Vice President Joe Biden met with Republican nominee Congressman Paul Ryan to lay into each other in the new public blood sport democratic process of getting to know our next-in-line to commander in chief. Romney/Ryan are still trailing far behind Obama in projected electoral vote counts, but walked away with a national poll bounce from the Denver performance (mostly due to Obama’s apparent boredom). Jim Gray, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate was not invited to attend due to not meeting the required 15% threshold.

An official transcript of the debate can be found here.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

12:30AM (10/12): The Judge Jim Gray debate response livestream archive seems to have been made private for unknown reasons. I’ve reached out to the Johnson campaign to see what’s going on and will let everyone know what we find out. Unfortunately I was busy with the Biden/Ryan debate and have no idea if Jim Gray performed well or not, so I’ll reserve judgement for the moment (others aren’t so kind).

10:30PM: Liveblog portion over, here’s a link to Judge Jim Gray’s live responses (will archive shortly), which should be a source of entertainment to anyone disappointed with either of these D/R VP candidates.

10:21PM: Are either of you embarrassed by the “tone” of negative ads? Biden metaphorically waves a flag for the troops, then smacks Romney around for the 47% thing again. I think he’s missed the point.

Ryan proceeds to do the same thing. Wonderful bipartisanship.

10:15PM Candidates asked about their religious faith. Oh great, the wedge issue of abortion. Ryan says don’t kill babies in America (but gleefully kill them in the Middle East??) *barf*

Biden answers in the affirmative that he’s going to dodge this issue by claiming he’s Catholic pro-life but wouldn’t impose that on anyone else. But he’ll impose death? Yep. Another two-faced fucker.

10:14PM: Ryan asks what his criteria is for waging war. Answers, “strategic national interests of our country” which is diplomatic code for “resources”.

10:08PM: Now on Syria; Biden still angry; Biden wants you to know if it blows up and wrong people gain control the whole region is fucked. Let’s bomb, but not put American boots on the ground. Yes, that wins wars (not). “We are doing it exactly like we need to do to blah blah blah Sunni Shiite regional war. Pew pew pew, shoot more brown people with drones.”

10:03PM: Now Biden is arguing with the moderator over the effectiveness of the surge (bringing them home during the “fighting seasons”). Biden angry, drink. see more…

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Romney Bounce

David Rees at MNFTIU has released his latest Get Your War On video comic in response to the tightening polls in the wake of Barack Obama’s lackluster performance against Mitt Romney. The song is pretty catchy:

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LibertyManiacs presents the Veep debate drinking game

I’ll be live-blogging the Vice Presidential debate (sober, unlike the press in Kentucky), but friend of the site Dan McCall of LibertyManiacs has put out a timely rules chart for how you might want to “enjoy” the show the duopoly tag team has in store.

“If you’re going to drink the Kool-Aid, you might as well spike it.” Well said:

Also, one side-show to keep an eye out for is Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate Judge Jim Gray — who promises to make his own stand online by answering the same questions as the other candidates. Go ahead and drink if he mentions “Obamney”, “The Federal Reserve” or that neither party is “following the constitution”.

Yes, that drinking game is much more depressing.

Whether you’ll be drinking or not tonight, brace yourself, the internet is going to be slammed with drunk libertarians and independents…

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Confirmed: You’ll need to be drunk to cover the VP CPD debate

Washington Examiner reporter Susan Ferrechio tweeted the following picture, confirming our suspicions that the media covering politics has to be imbibing large quantities of alcohol to wash down the inanity of presidential and vice presidential debates:

We don’t see anyone giving it back, that would be silly in this economy. And hey, bully on Bulleit for getting their brand out there.

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14% of adult entertainment industry wants “someone else”

Not surprisingly, Obama leads the XBIZ poll with 68% to Romney’s surprisingly fatally low 13% support in the porn industry. This is a shock upset to an unnamed “other” candidate who garnered 14%:

Evil Angel founder John Stagliano, who overcame a federal obscenity prosecution that generated nationwide attention in 2010, pointed to his support of another presidential hopeful.

“The only candidate who protects our right to do business is the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson,” Stagliano told XBIZ, referring to the former governor of New Mexico who has garnered the most support of any of the third-party candidates heading into this election. “He was the only person dealing with the real problems we have, like war, the debt, censorship and inefficient government.”

Aside from economic considerations affecting voters’ decisions in November, the issue of federal obscenity prosecutions figures to be a major factor for adult film producers. According to the notorious pro-censorship organization Morality in Media, Mitt Romney earlier this year, along with other Republican candidates at the time, offered assurances that if elected, they would direct the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute porn producers for obscenity violations.

Republicans have traditionally been seen as meddlers in the industry, and our long-time readers may remember that primarily adult hosting company NationalNet was kind enough to give Michael Badnarik — the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential nominee — pro bono hosting during the final months of his campaign.

But with over 30% of the entire internet’s web traffic, porn producers could have a more sizable impact on elections than Republicans or Democrats are willing to admit.

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The hard truth about the Afghanistan war

You will be reading the hard truth about the Afghanistan war. This is the news you will not get from the Mainstream Media or Fox News. Brace yourself.

Michael Yon is most likely the most knowledgeable and experienced journalist who has reported on military combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He remained imbedded with direct combat troops and special operations teams for years, since the beginning of our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is reporting the truth which is now causing him problems with our politicians who parade around in their high ranking military uniforms and kiss the rings of the establishment Washington rulers.

Michael Yon is one person away from me. He is a friend of a very good friend of mine who retired from the Army Special Forces. Michael Yon is well qualified to report what is reality in war because he has been there as a former Army Special Forces soldier and as an imbedded internet blogger, reporter and journalist with the toughest of the tough in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Hopefully you understand what he is trying to tell us. I do because I have been there in a different disgusting political war, Vietnam.

He has experienced more combat in the past 11 years than the majority of soldiers and has lived to write about it.

What he is writing is a long read so get yourself a cup of coffee, beer or glass of wine and be prepared for the hard hitting truth. Many of us old Vietnam combat veterans fully understand exactly what he is saying as the canary in the coal mine.

It is undeniable our political generals and their allies in the Washington cesspool have totally screwed up both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences for generations to come. This is just more of the incompetence and corruption that President Eisenhower warned us about, the military/industrial complex.

Click here for the truth about Afghanistan: ALL THE KINGS HORSES

Remember, it is not the rank and file military responsible for this, it is the political generals, appointed bureaucrats and the elected politicians who must take responsibility for what they have managed to do to the Afghanistan and Iraqi people and to us as American citizens.

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A Milestone in America’s Indefinite Occupation of Afghanistan

October 7 marked the 11th anniversary of the American invasion of Afghanistan. During the past 11 years, 2,000 American soldiers and untold thousands of Afghani’s have been killed. The “surge” is over, and US officials insist that the mission was accomplished.

Of the 11 year occupation of Afghanistan, Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com wrote, the US is “looking down the barrel of an even bloodier civil war, according to some experts, who say that as NATO reduces its presence the Taliban may pick up the pace of attacks against the Karzai government.”

Ditz continues, “Now, the US says that they don’t expect any serious progress in talks with the Taliban for years.
For more NATO nations, the goal now seems to be to get out while the getting’s good.” By contrast, the US government has pledged to keep American troops in Afghanistan through 2024. The question is now: “how long will the American government continue to throw troops at a battle that the experts see ending with a Taliban victory?”

If history is any indicator, troops will remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. In the late 1800′s after the Spanish-American War, Cuba, Guam, Philippines & Puerto Rico were given to the USA for $20 million. Cuba became independent in 1902, Philippines was granted independence in 1946, however Puerto Rico & Guam are still American territories and American troops remain in each country (and territory). American troops remain in Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, France and most other European countries even though World War II ended in 1945. American troops remain in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and most other Asian countries, most of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Caribbean & South America.

The pro-interventionist crowd will say “we need to be in these other countries because they’re killing each other and want to kill us.” Based on that same logic, American troops should patrol Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, St. Louis, Birmingham, AL and most other medium/large American cities because of gang violence. Secondarily, the primary reason some people in foreign countries are belligerent towards the United States, is due to the fact that the American military is intervening in their country. How would you feel if the roles were reversed and Afghan troops were roaming the streets in your neighborhood?

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Libertarian Gary Johnson responds to debate, in real-time

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama squared off in the first Commission on Presidential Debates in Denver Colorado last night without inviting the only other candidate with the mathematical chance at also winning the highest executive office in the land — former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. But exclusion from the stage, a lawsuit and much ado about CPD sponsor boycotts didn’t stop Johnson from inserting himself into the election narrative… from a hotel room.

With obvious second-rate video and audio production, Johnson was still able to deliver first-rate responses in real-time as he watched the “debate” and live-streamed the affair to Americans who are not content with the duopoly’s choice for 2012.

Below is the embedded one-hour video, where Johnson made it abundantly clear he’s laughing just as incredulously as the rest of us at what wasn’t said by Obama and Romney.

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LIVEBLOG: CPD Denver debate

From time to time, here at Hammer of Truth one of us will liveblog a debate or something. This is what it looks like.

On Wednesday October 3rd 2012, Democrat President Barack Obama squared off against challenger Republican Mitt Romney to lay into each other in the new public blood sport democratic process of getting to know our next commander in chief. Romney has been trailing far behind Obama in projected electoral vote counts, so we’ll see if the economy, healthcare, and rule of law questions will work in his favor or against him. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate was not invited to attend despite apparent growing support and a lawsuit against the CPD due to not meeting the required 15% threshold.

An official transcript of the debate can be found here.

All times are in Mountain Daylight Time.

6:55PM: Jim Lehrer had his chair pushed in for him… aww, how sweet of his boyfriend assistant.

7:00PM: Opening remarks on the economy by both candidates, Obama is more interested in making sure we keep looking For war (d) instead of at the past four years of his record. Romney comes out and has a five point plan that focuses on business, but is more about making hay of Obama’s large government programs.

7:08PM: Obama rebuts by saying we need more spending on education.

7:11PM: Obama going after Romney on tax issues. Romney rebuts with “economy tax” that Obama is crushing people with.

7:12PM: Romney “I like coal”. He wants to cut taxes.

7:16PM: Red tie/blue tie, they are both empty suits and we’re officially declaring this debate a loss for America. Why the hell didn’t they invite Gary Johnson?

7:17PM: Romney saw a study on taxes, he’s seen lots of studies. Well then.

7:21PM: Lehrer notes that we’re way over the 15 minute time limit for this segment. Romney starts talking about the price of gas. Obama wants to change the subject.

Man, I wish I could power my car with the hot air these two are spewing. see more…

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White workers fired and win discrimination lawsuit

The Pueblo Chieftain is reporting fired white workers at a national motel chain in Craig, CO have been reinstated and paid back wages and fines up to $85,000.

The reason given for the firing by Century Shree Corporation, owners of the Hampton Inn in Craig, CO is “white people are indolent and lazy”.

According to Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, “Employers cannot choose employees based on the color of their skin or their ancestry. This form of blatant discrimination clearly violates federal law.”

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Gary Johnson crowd surfing in Utah

Have you ever seen a candidate with such literal support at a rally? Well Johnson is showing he’s actually a rock star that can rely on the people to have his back. {cue groans at puns}

Check out the video.

I’m betting if Obama or Romney tried this, someone would drop them.

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Does Obama pander to black people? Of course he does!

The Daily Caller has video clips from a 2007 campaign rally that is about as close as it gets to a Republican October Surprise against Obama:

“Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt twenty months later,” he begins, “there’s a law, federal law — when you get reconstruction money from the federal government — called the Stafford Act. And basically it says, when you get federal money, you gotta give a ten percent match. The local government’s gotta come up with ten percent. Every ten dollars the federal government comes up with, local government’s gotta give a dollar.”

“Now here’s the thing,” Obama continues, “when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, ‘This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars.’ And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, ‘Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family.’”

That’s not, Obama says, what is happening in majority-black New Orleans. “What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money?” Obama shouts, angry now. “Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!”

It’s a remarkable moment, and not just for its resemblance to Kayne West’s famous claim that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” but also because of its basic dishonesty. By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11.

Moreover, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.

As a sitting United States Senator, Obama must have been aware of this. And yet he spent 36 minutes at the pulpit telling a mostly black audience that the U.S. government doesn’t like them because they’re black.

This will only serve to confirm suspicions that Obama has been racially divisive in his rhetoric. But at least he’s been making it up by stepping up the ridiculous government programs to give those “unfortunate” folks gobs of cell phones. No really, GOBS.

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Man making gun parts with 3D printers gets lease revoked, interrogated by BATF

In early August, we presented a novel idea where a DIY maker was able to print upper receivers for handguns using a 3D printer.

Well it seems the manufacturers of Stratasys didn’t like this idea and have revoked a license and physically removed a printer from one customer. From CNet:

Stratasys has voided the lease for the printer Defense Distributed had rented, and sent representatives to physically reclaim it last week.

Further, Beckhusen reports that a visit to the Austin, TX branch of the ATF turned into an unexpected questioning session for Wilson when he went down to investigate the legal requirements of the Defense Distributed project.

Beckhusen also writes that, according to Wilson, “the ATF believes he’s not broken any laws, and that the agency believes 3-D printed guns fall into a regulatory gray area, but that he still needs to get licensed if he’s to manufacture a weapon.

Now legally, making gun parts from scratch isn’t something the BATF is able to regulate unless the parts are made available for sale, but we’re a little surprised that a 3D printer manufacturer would go to such lengths to reclaim a printer.

The lesson here is abundantly clear: if you’re going to use your 3D printers for things that fall into the gray areas of a license agreement (which you should probably read and heavily consider when shopping for printers) — then you’re probably better off keeping your mouth shut or using a pseudonym when sharing DIY schematics online.

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IPR: Resources for Contacting the Commission on Presidential Debates, Sponsors, etc.

Recently, I wrote about the third of what were originally ten sponsors pulling out of the CPD presidential debates which have invited only Obama and Romney. If the CPD removed the non-objective polling criterion for debate inclusion, leaving in place the criterion of being on enough state ballots to have a mathematical possibility of winning the election, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein would be the only additional candidates to be included. Many people have asked how to contact the remaining sponsors, and here’s a reply I found that has all that and then some:

See the list at Independent Political Report

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Defense, DNA and the Death Penalty

Terrance Williams has spent the last 26 years on Pennsylvania’s death row for the June 1984 beating death of Amos Norwood. Philadelphia Daily News reports, “Williams’ defense team argued in an emergency evidentiary hearing that Norwood molested Williams from the age of 13 until he murdered him at age 18.” During the 1986 trial, former Assistant District Attorney Andrea Foulkes kept that evidence from the trial defense attorney and jury and instead presented Norwood as a kindly, sympathetic figure who merely offered Williams a ride home.

On September 28, Pennsylvania Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina indefinitely stayed the execution, noting “two boxes of evidence just turned over this week from homicide detectives that, she said, corroborated the defense claims against Norwood and Herbert Hamilton. Williams, at 17, had a sex-for-money, abusive relationship with Hamilton and murdered him five months before killing Norwood.”

Williams’ first-degree murder conviction is unchanged by the ruling, meaning that the jury at his new penalty hearing will determine if he should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. However, the defense team for Terrance Williams is hopeful that the state Board of Pardons will now vote to recommend that Gov. Corbett commute Williams’ sentence to life in prison without parole.

This case, much like the case of Troy Davis (who was wrongly executed on September 21, 2011), has brought the subject of death penalty once again to the public forum. Information compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center shows 1307 people have been executed since 1977, an additional 141 people have been exonerated and freed from death row since 1973, 18 by DNA evidence. Damon Thibodeaux is the most recent person to be exonerated because of DNA evidence; the 300th exoneration achieved through DNA testing in the United States, according to the Innocence Project. Barry Scheck, a founder of the Innocence Project, said, “The 300th exoneration is an extraordinary event, and it couldn’t be more fitting that it’s an innocent man on death row who gave a false confession. People have a very hard time with the concept that an innocent person could confess to a crime that they didn’t commit. But it happens a lot. It’s the ultimate risk that an innocent man could be executed.”

I previously supported the death penalty; however knowing that countless innocent men and women have been executed, I no longer support this method of punishment. If, and this is a big “if”, if there was a way to ensure that no innocent person was ever executed, I would support the death penalty if that is the punishment desired by the family of the victim.

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Who Wins an Exclusionary Debate?

The Presidential election is just over a month away. Which means the scripted shows known as Presidential Debates will soon be televised. Of course, these so-called debates will only present two of the two dozen Presidential Candidates, despite the fact that four candidates will be on enough ballots to theoretically win the election. Ballot Access News reports, “On September 21, Gary Johnson, his running mate James Gray, and the Johnson-Gray Campaign filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the central district of California against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the Democratic National Committee, and the Republican National Committee. The lawsuit alleges that the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two major parties are restraining competition. To answer the complaint that anti-trust law only relates to business, the complaint points out that the salary of the president is $400,000, and that Johnson is seeking to obtain the job of President, so economics is involved… The lawsuit says that any presidential candidate on the ballot in enough states to theoretically win the presidency must be included in the debates. The venue is proper because James Gray lives in the central district of California… The lawsuit was filed a few hours after the Commission on Presidential Debates formally said only President Obama and Mitt Romney may participate in the first two debates.”

Richard Winger writes, “There have been lawsuits filed by excluded presidential candidates against the CPD ever since 1988. Lenora Fulani filed the most lawsuits, in federal courts in both Washington, D.C., and New York. Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, John Hagelin, and others have also sued the Commission on Presidential Debates. I don’t believe any of these past lawsuits raised Antitrust.”

When alternative candidates are excluded from the debates, alternative ideas and a wider array of topics are excluded, as well. Ross Perot pushed discussion of the federal deficit, the hazardous influence of special interests, and the loss of manufacturing jobs due to trade agreements onto center stage. Just six years later, Reform Party Gubernatorial candidate Jesse Ventura was allowed to debate his major party opponents and went from 10% in the pre-debate polls to winning the election with 37% of the vote. If the Minnesota League of Women Voters and Minnesota Public Radio used the CPD criteria, Ventura would have been excluded. If Ventura would have been excluded, he surely would not have won and Minnesota voters would not have been exposed to alternative views. Exclusionary debate criteria harm the minor party candidates that are excluded, and voters are harmed by not being exposed to alternative views on topics.

I would like to see debates including every Presidential candidate on at least one ballot. However, I’m pleased that Free & Equal will be hosting a Presidential debate in which all candidates who could theoretically win the election have been invited to participate. Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have yet to accept the invitation.

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Gary Johnson polls over 10% in Ohio

Great news for Libertarians, people are so disillusioned with Obama and the weak Romney effort that Gary Johnson is making a surprisingly strong showing in the Buckeye state:

Conducted September 21-22, a Gravis Marketing/Capitol Correspondent poll first asked the usual Obama or Romney question, which revealed a tight race. (The full results are here.)

  • Obama/Biden: 45.2%
  • Other/Unsure: 10.4%
  • Romney/Ryan: 44.3%

Then, Gary Johnson was added.

  • Johnson: 10.6%
  • Obama/Biden: 44.5%
  • Other/Unsure: 7.1%
  • Romney/Ryan: 37.8%

Not so tight, anymore. And Johnson’s numbers are up from September 7-8, when he pulled 4.5% in Ohio.

Johnson had optimistically pegged his chances during an AMA with reddit earlier this month, “We really don’t want to peak too early, so we have them right where we want them.”

If the current trend continues, Johnson could be more than the mere “spoiler candidate” this year in many states. Now if only the media would take note of the electorates’ thirst for a truly sane foreign policy.

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Third sponsor pulls out of presidential debates

Forwarded via facebook:

This is getting serious.

It was only a week ago that the Commission on Presidential Debates had ten sponsors for the 2012 debates.  

Today, they're down to seven.  Phillips Electronics has, as of this morning, pulled their sponsorship. 

What does this mean for us?

We're that much closer to seeing and hearing Governor Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray on the debate stage this autumn!

I know what you're thinking.  "It's entirely too late for the Commission on Presidential Debates to invite Governor Johnson to debate."  Fortunately, it takes very little effort to add a podium to a stage. It takes a whole lot of effort, however, to convince a multi-billion dollar corporation that you wield the power to hit them where it hurts worst — their pocketbooks.

Power.  That's the key word in this previous sentence.  YOU HAVE ALL THE POWER NOW.

Phillips Electronics
BBH New York
YWCA

That's three down, seven to go.

Get to writing those letters, guys!  This election cycle, you will CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY.   Change it for the better.

Power to the people!!

LIVE FREE,

Crystal Gross
State Director
Georgia for Gary Johnson 2012

Note from Paulie: Under the Commission’s guidelines for debate inclusion, other than the non-objective polling criterion, two additional candidates would qualify: Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green), the only candidates not invited to the CPD debates who are on enough ballots to win the Presidency and are Constitutionally qualified for the office.

Some unverified contact info for debate sponsors in the comments here.

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Californians buying most expensive website in world

Buried on the second page of a New York Times article on California Health Benefit Exchange’s gung-ho efforts to deliver a yet unnamed portal in preparation for the full effects of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are the costs:

The exchange itself has so far been financed by three grants, worth $237 million, from the federal government. Most of the money is committed to consultants, including Accenture, which has a $327 million contract to build and support the initial operation of the enrollment portal.

But who’s footing the bill? Only all of California’s nearly 38 million residents:

“It’s all good for consumers,” she said. “But somebody’s got to pay for it, and that’s going to go into the premium.”

Despite the full-throttle approach here, another uncertainty is the outcome of the presidential race. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has vowed to repeal the health care law and restructure Medicaid, not only scrapping the planned expansion but making the program much leaner. Even without a repeal, Republicans could undo the federal subsidies and other financing for the law if they won the presidency and even a narrow majority in the Senate.

“If the federal funding stopped,” Mr. Lee said, “we would be at a ‘press reset’ button.”

Move over $18M recovery.gov 2.0, California is set to dethrone the federal government when it comes ridiculously expensive website boondoggles.

And by the way, Accenture is indeed the same outfit that was previously called Andersen Consulting (Arthur Andersen). The same firm infamously tied to the Enron document shredding scandal is now in charge of delivering the world’s most expensive website to gullible Californians.

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