Hyperbole is what ails America

Watching Michael Moore and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello on Bill Maher’s show reminded me how alike the fringes are.

Left and right, they share a victim’s mentality, along with an inflated sense of their own importance. The sky is always falling, and they never let facts get in the way of a partisan talking point.

To wit: the canonization of Troy Davis, deemed innocent, or guilty, by activists who haven’t bother to study the case. I’m opposed to the death penalty morally and practically but I’m not convinced Davis is innocent. I was bothered that even the slightest of doubt was dismissed.

Likewise, I’m troubled by the blowhards who choose certitude over study. Their minds can’t be changed because they’re never wrong. And increasingly their delusion dominates the narrative.

“I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, [and] to never do business in Georgia,” Moore said on his website this week.

The Academy-Award winning filmmaker and best-selling author also called on his publisher to pull his memoir, “Here Comes Trouble,” from every Georgia bookstore.

If Grand Central Publishing doesn’t pull the 427-page book, Moore said he will “donate every dime of every royalty my book makes in Georgia to help defeat the racists and killers who run that state.”

Think that’ll influence anyone? And let’s say the boycott was successful. The ones who would be most hurt by it are the working poor Moore claims to represent.

Morello, a self-avowed Marxist, would take it a step further, creaming at the thought of an armed rebellion that he can watch from the comfort of his pricey Hollywood Hills estate.

Time to rage against the extremists, left and right.

Conservative certitude

I thought government was always bad. Not when it comes to killing people, according to Ann Coulter.

There’s a reason more than a dozen courts have looked at Davis’ case and refused to overturn his death sentence. He is as innocent as every other executed man since at least 1950, which is to say, guilty as hell.

 

The devil’s right hand

Death penalty proponents should be especially troubled by Rick Perry’s reckless disregard for the truth.

In 2004, there’s reason to believe Texas may have executed an innocent man when it put Cameron Todd Willingham to death. When Willingham was convicted, prosecutors relied heavily on an “expert” who testified on the origins of a fire that killed Willingham’s daughters, and said Willingham was responsible. The problem, we now know, is that the “expert” apparently didn’t know what he was talking about.

But that’s only part of the story. As those familiar with the Willingham story likely remember, the Texas Forensic Science Commission, created to consider the competence of those who offer forensic testimony, hired an actual arson expert, to consider the evidence and report on his findings. He was scheduled to discuss what he found in early October 2009.

Rick Perry, who was governor when the state killed Willingham, was apparently afraid of what the truth might show. In the 11th hour, the governor started firing members of the Forensic Science Commission, ensuring that the panel couldn’t hold a meeting to discuss the case.

Even for Perry, this was brazen. He was so panicky that the facts would show Texas killed an innocent man, he went to ridiculous lengths to prevent the truth from coming out. Nearly two years later, the facts still haven’t been presented.

fresh off the wires — a win for troy davis

The Supremes, overruling a federal appeals court, have ordered a new evidentiary hearing for Death Row inmate Troy Davis. Background:

Eyewitness testimony was used to convict Troy Anthony Davis in the murder of a Savannah police officer. Seven of those witnesses later recanted their testimony.

At least three witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis (and a number of others who were not part of the trial) have since said that a man named Sylvester “Redd” Coles admitted that he was the one who had killed the officer.

Mr. Coles, who was at the scene, and who, according to authorities, later ditched a gun of the same caliber as the murder weapon, is one of the two witnesses who have not recanted.

The other is a man who initially told investigators that he could not identify the killer. Nearly two years later, at the trial, he testified that the killer was Mr. Davis.

reasonable doubt

Regardless of your feelings on capital punishment, consider this:

Eyewitness testimony was used to convict Troy Anthony Davis in the murder of a Savannah police officer. Seven of those witnesses later recanted their testimony.

At least three witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis (and a number of others who were not part of the trial) have since said that a man named Sylvester “Redd” Coles admitted that he was the one who had killed the officer.

Mr. Coles, who was at the scene, and who, according to authorities, later ditched a gun of the same caliber as the murder weapon, is one of the two witnesses who have not recanted.

The other is a man who initially told investigators that he could not identify the killer. Nearly two years later, at the trial, he testified that the killer was Mr. Davis.

The case has been appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, with no success. Davis is scheduled to be executed Monday, and with Gov. H. Dumpty in office, a stay is unlikely.

When a case is decided on the basis of eyewitnesses testimony, and 7 of 9 of those eyewitnesses prove unreliable, is it not reasonable to doubt the verdict?

I’m not convinced Troy Davis is innocent. Some who have followed the case closely say he is, in fact, the likely killer. But certainty is at a minimum in this case, and we should demand nothing less when putting someone to death.