"Lately it seems as if it's me against the world
Like it was before my life became a movie..."
After 37 Years in Prison, Innocent North Carolina Man Freed - ABC News: "For the first time in nearly 40 years, Joseph Sledge woke up behind bars with a chance of becoming a free man. The 70-year-old man needed one more win at an innocence hearing. As three judges listened to closing statements Friday about how Sledge was wrongfully convicted in the 1976 stabbing deaths of a mother and her adult daughter, he wrote down a few words on a yellow Post-it note — "closure," ''please" and "exonerated." A few hours later, carrying his belongings in plastic bags, Sledge emerged from a North Carolina jail, saying he was looking forward to what most people consider the most mundane of activities: "Going home. Relaxing. Sleeping in a real bed. Probably get in a pool of water and swim for a little while...
In 2013, the case was referred to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only state-run investigative agency of its kind. So far, Sledge is the eighth person exonerated after an investigation by the commission, which started operating in 2007. It has reviewed about 1,500 cases. Nationwide, The Innocence Project said there have been 325 post-conviction DNA exonerations. The North Carolina commission found there was enough evidence of Sledge's innocence to refer it to a panel of three judges, who were appointed by the state Supreme Court. The judges considered the commission's investigative file, and a DNA expert highlighted lab tests in her testimony Friday. Meghan Clement of Cellmark Forensics said none of the evidence collected from the scene — hair, DNA and fingerprints — belonged to Sledge. The key jailhouse informant, Herman Baker, signed an affidavit in 2013 recanting trial testimony. Baker said he lied at the 1978 trial after being promised leniency in his own drug case and he said he'd been coached by authorities on what to say. Testimony from another jailhouse informant was inconsistent, according to the commission documents. That informant died in 1991...
The only thing that's shown me US politics isn't completely worthless is the insanity of the politics of the last two countries I've lived in. Politics in Thailand: Groundhog day | The Economist: "SINCE seizing power in a coup last May, Thailand's ruling junta has promised to promote reconciliation over revenge. That went out the window on January 23rd, when members of Thailand's rubber-stamp parliament voted to impeach Yingluck Shinawatra, the former prime minister, for alleged impropriety during her three years in office. The ruling bans Ms Shinawatra, who was Thailand's first female leader, from political office for five years. Government prosecutors are now saying they will pursue criminal charges, which could eventually lead to a jail sentence of up to a decade. It makes a faint hope—that Thailand might swiftly return to democracy—look even more fanciful."
"Everybody abstracts a different reality. When you come through a room, you abstract the reality you're prepared to abstract. You pick up the signals that interest you. Your brain records them and organizes them. We all have our own reality tunnel, and in our reality tunnel we pick out some things and ignore other things. And we got 10 billion cells in our brain receiving hundreds and hundreds of millions of signals all the time. We just pick out the ones that fit into the established grooves in our brain, the reality tunnel that's been laid down by past experience. We all have our own belief system, and the signals that fit our belief system get in. The signals that don't fit our belief system get ignored, or if they keep coming back we go to a psychiatrist to get cured and make them go away." - Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson
5 Reasons the '60s Batman TV Show Is Better Than You Think | Cracked.com: "It would've been easy to hire a Batman that was simply content with letting Cesar Romero's Joker laugh in his face while he spoke random generalizations about justice. But those generalizations become effortlessly quotable when spoken by West, with his smugly cool way of letting the mentally unstable know that they'll be spending the night in the Gotham Penitentiary, and with his whiskey-smooth voice. Unless they're pesky Aunt Harriet, the show makes a habit of letting you know that the ladies of Gotham have a Top 2 list for whom they'd like to bang, and it's: 1) Batman, and 2) Bruce Wayne, but if he's not available, then Batman. Adam West's pheromones have not yet been properly researched, but that's because no scientist can be in the same building as him without asking if he's seeing anyone."
"No matter what proof you show them, and I mean documented proof, hard-nosed proof, there are always going to be skeptics who are going to call this a fraud, a hoax, a gigantic put-on. The world is full of people with a kind of deep-seated masochistic pessimism. They have an unconscious hatred and fear of life and a deep wish for its permanent cessation." -Max Ehrlich
American student arrested for Arabic flash cards in airport after TSA freaked out settles lawsuit - Boing Boing: "“Five years ago, the Philadelphia police thought that carrying Arabic-language flashcards was enough to warrant the arrest of an innocent traveler,” writes that traveler, Nick George. With help from the American Civil Liberties Union, he reached a settlement today in a lawsuit brought against the Philadelphia police department. America is safe once again for people who like to study foreign languages and read books on foreign policy in airports. Here's the text of the settlement [PDF] which awards him $25,000 and ends the long-running legal battle. Nick was heading off to start his senior year at Pomona College in California, back in August 2009, when cops detained, aggressively interrogated, handcuffed, and locked him in a jail cell for nearly five hours at the Philadelphia International Airport. Why was he targeted? Because Nick, a dual major in physics and Middle Eastern studies, was carrying a set of English-Arabic flashcards in for his language class--and Rogue Nation, a book critical of U.S. foreign policy that was written by a former Reagan administration official. “It should go without saying that this is perfectly innocuous, First Amendment-protected activity,” says Nick. “Turns out, it doesn't.”"
King Abdullah's Moderate Beheadings - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "From The New York Times' obit for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who just died at age 90: Still, Abdullah became, in some ways, a force of moderation. He contested Al Qaeda's militant interpretations of the faith as justifying, even compelling, terrorist acts. He ordered that textbooks be purged of their most extreme language and sent 900 imams to re-education sessions. He had hundreds of militants arrested and some beheaded. It's supposed to be "moderate" because he was doing it to "militants," I guess."
Lying and/or willful ignorance and/or utter lack of self-awareness & understanding. Or, to sum up, politics. GOP senator who boasted about her family's self-reliance received $460K in federal subsidies - Boing Boing: "Iowa Republican senator Joni Ernst gave her party's official response to the State of the Union address by boasting self-righteously about her humble origins and how her self-reliant, heartland-state family pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, but conveniently failed to mention that her family's farm was the beneficiary of nearly half a million dollars in federal subsidies. Senator Ernst's speech stressed how her family had "lived within its means" and she campaigned on a promise to "cut the pork" out of government.
The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003. The Sentinel cross-referenced the Environmental Working Group farm subsidy database with open source information to verify the Culvers’ interest in the Department of Agriculture’s crop support program. Sen. Ernst’s family’s financial interest notably came up once during her campaign. In October, Salon reported that Richard’s construction company was awarded $215,665 in contracts from the Montgomery County government in 2009 and 2010, while Ernst was the body’s auditor. The bids won by Culver included Federal Emergency Management Agency projects worth $204,794."