Too Much Doubt

Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.

-Gandalf (wizard)

If you’re going to kill a man you have to be sure, and there’s just no way to be sure with this guy.

Troy Davis, 42, was put on death row 20 years ago for the 1989 murder of a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah following a fight with a homeless man over a bottle of beer. Since then seven out of the nine key witnesses who implicated him have recanted their evidence, several saying they were cajoled by police into giving false eye-witness statements.

Another 10 have come forward to point the finger at a separate man present at the scene of the murder, Sylvester Coles. BTW, Coles was one of the 2 of 9 witnesses mentioned above who did not recant – go figure.

Meanwhile, no forensic or DNA evidence linking Davis to the shooting has ever been found, and nor has the murder weapon.

Amnesty International’s US branch, that has championed the case, said: “Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice. The case against Davis unraveled long ago.”

The public figures who have leant their names to the “Too much doubt” campaign to have Davis’s execution commuted include Pope Benedict, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former president Jimmy Carter, the former director of the FBI William Sessions, 51 members of the US Congress and many others. Bianca Jagger, who acts as the Council of Europe’s ambassador on the death penalty, said: “to execute Troy Davis in these circumstances would be a travesty. Executing an innocent man is a state-sanctioned murder.”

The parole board heard from one of the jurors who originally recommended the death penalty for Davis. Brenda Forrest told the panel she no longer trusted the verdict or sentence: “I feel, emphatically, that Mr Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But the Georgia Parole Board denied clemency yesterday and Troy Davis is scheduled to be put to death today.

– From the Guardian (UK)

[UPDATE]  A last minute appeal to the US Supreme Court delayed the execution about 4 hours.  But they denied it, and so the State of Georgia killed Mr. Davis a little after 11:00 p.m.  Davis maintained his innocence to the end.  Strapped to his gurney he lifted his head and according to execution witnesses, told the family of Mark MacPhail that he was not responsible for the officer’s death and did not have a gun at the time.

 

Soccer

For over 10 years, Brenda and I spent the majority of our weekends at Amanda’s soccer games.  When she graduated from high school, she stopped playing, so no more soccer games for us.

But she’s playing again, this time on a co-ed team.  The team is very good.  They made it into the playoffs, won all their games, and last night they had their “Super-Bowl.”  Brenda, Gabe, Julian and I went to cheer her on (and by “cheer her on,” I mean of course,  “embarrass her”) .  It was the first time I’d seen Amanda play since she was in high school.  The level of play is very high.  The combination of of the guys’ speed and power, and the finesse of the girls is fun to watch.  The teams were tied at the end of the game, so it came down to a shoot-out.  Sadly, Amanda’s team came up short and the other team won the game.  Stupid shoot-out!

I have no pictures of the game, but I do have these 9 year-old pictures of Amanda playing soccer.  And that’s pretty much the same thing, right?

 

Pain

I was putting hoses away this morning when I tripped and fell on a rock.  I probably bruised…no, fractured…no, wait, broke…yes, that’s it, I broke a rib.  The bone fragment is probably sticking out of my back where I can’t see it.  Consequently, I was forced to sit in a La-Z-Boy chair all day watching football…for medical reasons.  You understand.

I see where the mighty Lions had their most lopsided regular-season win in franchise history.  They beat the KC Chiefs 48-3. The last time the Lions won the NFL championship game was 1957.  I was 6.  They have never played in a Super Bowl.  This is the Lions’ year.  Go Lions!

It appears that my local sporting franchise also performed in a tournament  today.  The Washington Redskins beat the Arizona Cardinals by one point.  They went ahead with a minute and a half left to play, causing me to stop yelling at my TV.  The Redskins outplayed the Cardinals in all aspects of the game, and should have had a game similar to that of the Lions, and probably would have if they had a quarterback who didn’t throw 2 interceptions and have countless tipped passes.  Just sayin’…

Marshall

Brenda and I saw Marshall Crenshaw last night at what appeared to be a sold-out show at the Birchmere in Alexandria. It was part of the “30th anniversary” tour, that is, the 30th anniversary of the release of “Something’s Gonna Happen” on Shake Records – not the album;  that 30th anniversary will be in 2 years.

The show started out with St. Louis band, the Bottle Rockets playing a semi-acoustic set due to their guitar player being home with his wife who is having a baby.  Then, they plugged in and joined Marshall for an electric set.  I thought the show was terrific.   They started out with “There She Goes Again,” followed by “Cynical Girl,” and bang, bang, bang, one great song after another.   They played a couple songs off of Jaggedland, which I love and think is one of earth’s most under-appreciated records.  They played 3 covers. Richard Thompson’s “Valerie,” “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” and during the encore, “Rave On” – you just can’t go wrong with Buddy Holly, now can you?  After the show, Brenda and I stopped by the stage door & talked to a very sweaty but friendly Marshall for a few minutes.  It was great to talk to him again, and it was a great evening – thanks for the birthday present Brenda!

Here’s Marshall and the Bottle Rockets playing “Valerie.”

El Tigres

Detroit TigersI’m looking at the little model of Tiger Stadium sitting on my desk that Paul Fahrenkopf gave me.  As of today, the Tigers are #1 in their division.  The White Sox are #2 and 13 games back.  Nice!  Last time the Tigers played in the venerable old Tiger Stadium it was 1999, and they ended that year in the middle of the pack.  Things look much better this year.

Ty Murray sent me this link to aerial photos of the destruction of Tiger Stadium 2008-2009.  Very cool.  Sad, but cool.  Have a look.

Hello world!

Welcome to the exciting new “Sussmans”  website.  The old site was looking so 1995.  Now it sports a hot, new 2002 look and feel!  Nice!  I wanted to use a modern CMS (content management system) like Joomla, but I’m way too lazy and stupid overworked and busy to do that.  This WordPress Blog is easy to use and it looks okay.  And it displays a random picture every time you open it.  That’s cool, right?   It also allows you to comment on the dumb things I say.  So fill up the comments with your wisdom or it will just fill up with spam.  Let me know how you like it & how it could be improved.  Or, if you really hate it, here’s the old site.