Thursday, December 24, 2009

A letter to the President

I sent the following the the President. I encourage everyone to contact our government.

Mr. President

Tonight look at your girls and ask yourself "what kind of world am I going to leave them?" Are you going to leave your children and me my grandchildren a world with nations drowning, or are we going to invest in repairing what we have done to the climate? Are we going to leave them with a world without glaciers, or are we going to accept our liability to the world.

You alone do not have the power to change our direction before it is too late. But, you do have the power to tell the people the truth. You do have the power to believe in our system of government; that a well informed public will make the right decisions. You can name names. You can point out that Hill & Knowlton, hired by Exxon to raise doubt about climate change, was hired in 1953 to counteract the claims that tobacco was dangerous. You can tell the world that they hire "Nurse Navirah" to present concocted testimony to congress leading up to the first Iraq war. You can point out that the studies raising doubt about climate change are being done by the same groups that raised doubt about the dangers of tobacco. Tell the world how many people have died from their actions. You have the stage.

As a child I remember singing in church James Russell Lowell's words:

Once to Every Man and Nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with false-hood,
For the good or evil side

Written with diminishing hope:
Stanford Smith

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Hard Rain's A-gonna Fall

In 1962 Bob Dylan performed A Hard Rain's A-gonna Fall for the first time one month prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963 in response to a question about if the hard rain was a reference to nuclear fallout. He answered with this.

"No, it's not atomic rain, it's just a hard rain. It isn't the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that's just gotta happen... In the last verse, when I say, 'the pellets of poison are flooding the waters', that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers."

The Copenhagen Climate Summit has come to an end with a weak non-binding agreement. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the agreement attempts to cap the warming to two degrees Celsius, though a leaked document from the same organization states that it could lead to a three degree rise.

Here is what was done to get this accord. 1. Invited participants from environmental groups were blocked from entering the conference, and in many cases were arrested because there was a suspicion they might break the law. 2. Developing and third world countries reported that they received extreme pressure from the U.S. and other developed nations to accept higher limit to CO2. This included Hillary Clinton offering a $100 billion fund to help developing nations, but only if a particular accord was accepted (the funding source was undefined). 3. Poor nations were not included in the final negotiations.

So, what do we have? Amy Goodman of Democracy Now reported this.

"In an all-night session that followed Obama’s announcement, delegates from around the world denounced the US-led deal as an undemocratic sham that sacrificed the interests of poor countries. Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, who chairs the largest grouping of developing countries called the G-77, though it represents more than 130 countries, condemned the agreement as 'extraordinarily flawed.'”

This agreement sentences nations to extinction. Maldives will cease to exist if we do not do more. Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands: the same. The number of climate refugees will increase as large parts or all of nations drown. The glaciers around the world will melt, turning off the tap for millions. History has told us that this will lead to more regional conflicts.

Unless the United State accepts that our use of fossil fuel is a form a genocide, selectively killing millions of people based upon national origin; unless the United States invests in improving the world rather than attacking sovereign states; unless the citizens of this country force our government and industry to change, if humanity survives my grandchildren will witness the greatest extension of species since the Ice Age.

Literally with tears in my eyes I give you this.

A Hard Rain's A-gonna Fall, Bob Dylan

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest dark forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The sources of CO2 Emissions
(The United States)

I had questions about the sources of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and attempted to find an answer on the Internet. My first question was what are the sources of CO2 emissions by percentage. In addition I had heard that driving a car produces less CO2 than flying. I wanted to confirm that, and also get an idea of how much more CO2 flying produces.

While looking for answer I found very good in-depth studies, and I found single issue studies. What was hard to find was an easy to follow summary of CO2 emission sources. This is my attempt.

My second part will be a single issue look, comparing driving versus flying. It is not in-depth.

Sources of CO2(1)

The most common CO2 reduction targets I hear are 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2020. Because the goals are in percentages I wanted to know, in percent where our CO2 emissions come from. Also because the goals are for CO2 only I will only examine the sources of CO2. There are other emissions that contribute to the green house effect, with methane being the second greatest.

CO2 emissions are almost completely from human activity. 94.0% come from fossil fuel combustion. (Graph on left)

eaking down the number further electrical generation and transportation are the major producers of CO2. (Graph below)

This graph is of the direct sources of CO2 emissions. For example, non-electric household heat is included in residential sources as it is burned on site, but electrical household heat is included in electrical generation.

Similarly the electrical generation does not include the secondary CO2 sources such as the mining, processing, and transportation of the fossil fuel.

Our emissions of CO2 are still increasing. Between 1990 and 2007 the emissions from electrical generation and transportation have increased. All other sources have remained almost stable. Stated another way, the only reason our CO2 emissions are increasing is our increases from transportation and electrical generation.

Electrical generation produces 38% of the total CO2 emissions. If we only look at fossil fuels, our electrical generation accounts for 36% of our fossil fuel consumption, yet it produces 42% of the (fossil fuel) CO2 emissions.

This next graph shows that the vast majority of the CO2 released in electrical generation is from coal powered plants. Coal is very dirty, and very high in CO2 emissions when burnt.
By rebuilding our electrical infrastructure from the generators to the end user we could meet the 20% CO2 reduction goal and almost meet the 40% reduction goal. (Please see my very important correction added as a comment.)

Plane vs. Car (2)

The chart to the right provides the total CO2 generated by different classes of transportation. The largest classes are, in descending order of the CO2 emitted, passenger cars, light-duty trucks, other trucks, and commercial aircraft. I will examine two classes in more detail; passenger car and commercial aircraft.

Passenger cars produce 33% of the CO2, and commercial aircraft produces only 8%. That does not account for the number of people carried. Taking that into account plane travel emits 0.000260 Teragrams (Tg) of CO2 per passenger mile while a passenger car emits 0.000249 Tg of CO2 per passenger mile. So, on average it is better to drive.

Planes produce more CO2 on takeoff than for cruising. A more accurate measure would be to compare a particular trip. http:\\ compared 100 people chartering a plane to fly from
Philadelphia to Boston with all 100 people driving alone in a medium-sized car. The cars each produced 104 kilograms (kg) of CO2 for a total of 10,400 kg. The plane emitted 18,400 kg of CO2. It was better for each 100 people to drive alone.

Journalist Pablo Päster calculated if it would be better to drive a family of 4 in a medium size car from San Francisco to Boston, or take a non-stop flight. He included all greenhouse gases, and included the extra detrimental effect of releasing the gases at altitude. Driving turned out to be better. Flying produced over 8 tons of emissions and driving (including stops in national parks) produced less than 2 tons. Comparing a single driver, flying would produce more than 2 tons of emission, and driving would be less than 2 tons. So, even driving alone would have been better than flying.

There are many more studies, and every one I found confirmed that it is better to drive a medium sized car than to fly.

To put this in personal terms, the 1955 Chrysler gets about 16 mpg on the highway. Other owners of cars like the Mercedes 300SEL 6.3 have found that mileage can be in the high teens, but the mid teens would be a better highway mileage figure. A mid sized car gets about 30 mpg highway. So, for these comparisons driving these classic cars with 2 people is about the same as driving a mid sized car alone. (The time to get there is not included in the calculations, nor the fun factor of driving.)

Foot notes:
(1) The data used for the first section came from the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory - 2009 which covers 1990 to 2007. All graphs are my own except for the Emissions Allocated to Economic Sectors which came from the inventory. On Dec. 3, 2009 a report was released covering 2008, but I did not see the extra value in rewriting what I had already done.
(2) CO2 data comes from the Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Passenger mileage date comes from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I sent the following message to the White House. I am probably only a check mark on a count, but without contacting them I would not even be that. The easiest way to contact the Executive Branch is at They only require your name and email address. (Geographical coordinates of your house are not asked for.)

Congratulations on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I hope winning this prize encourages you to work in action towards the goal you speak about. I hope winning this prize spurs you on to complete your promises to the nation when they elected you. I hope winning this prize wakes you up as to the danger we face if the crimes of the past and the present are not investigated.

We are still in an illegal war in Iraq. Both our nation and theirs want us out, yet we are still there and there continues to be talk of permanent bases. Peace is the end of war.

We are at risk of being in an endless war in Afghanistan. This is not a war that can be won without creating a permanent occupation and a U.S. run police state. We can not create a democracy by supporting a fraudulent election.

We attacked Iraq without cause. The previous administration was looking for a reason to invade Iraq within 24 hours of the 9/11 attack. That makes this a war of aggression; a war crime.

The United States has been guilty of torturing or hiring to torture for many years, possibly going back to prior to the Carter administration. We need an open investigation, and a clear message to the world that this is un-American and we hold those people responsible for their actions. This is the only legal action we can take, and inaction is possibly a war crime.

President Eisenhower warned us of the danger of the military industrial complex. We are seeing that danger play out today. We give criminal corporations hundreds of billions of dollars, much of which is used for lobbying, yet ACORN, not found guilty of anything has all funding cut.

Your efforts to be bipartisan, your efforts to be conciliatory have not resulted in a less divided nation. Rather it has given time to those who want to make us a Christian state time to galvanize resistance to you and the Democratic party. Another "man in the middle" election fraud, like the one used to elect Bush a second time could be used to unseat you, or to unseat Democratic congress men and women.

I write this in true congratulations, but also with hope. Hope that you will be the man we elected to office. Hope that you will change the direction this nation is going while we still have some freedoms remaining. Hope that you will be more than the spokesperson for the people of the world; that you will be a person of action.

Monday, September 21, 2009

An interesting link

I encourage you to look at the video linked below.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bill Moyers interview a successful Cigna executive who realized that “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain a neutrality” (Dante) and quit. (link below) This is an insider’s view into the insurance industry. It explains why our costs are so high. It covers the tactics the insurance industry is and will use to derail reform, and why the blue dog Democrats are obstructing real reform.

As always, regardless of if you agree or disagree with my opinions, support democracy by participating. Contact your Senators, Representatives, and President and let them know your opinions. That is the only way to counter the influence of high dollar lobbyist.

“The Medicare program that we have here is a government-run program that has administrative expenses that are like three percent or so.”

“(The insurance industry) spend 20 cents of every premium dollar on overhead, which is administrative expense or profit.”

“The satisfaction ratings are higher in our Medicare program, a government-run program, than in private insurance.”

“And that same thing happened, in the Nataline Sarkisyan case. You had a corporate bureaucrat making a decision on coverage. So, they are trying to make you worry. And fear a government bureaucrat being between you and your doctor. What you have now is a corporate bureaucrat between you and your doctor.”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Here are some interesting posts.

The owner of Blackwater may have committed murder.

Germany's experience with cash for clunkers.,1518,640572,00.html

This one is interesting. Did Obama intentionally upstage Hillary?,1518,636565,00.html

Thursday, July 23, 2009


There is no way I could paraphrase an article from the ACLU of Colorado newsletter. For that reason I will quote it word for word. My apologies to this great organization for ripping off their writing.

From the June 2009 issue of All Rights Reserved:

Between fighting to repeal the death penalty, representing the wrongfully arrested and suing on behalf of prisoners subjected to inexcusable abuse, we deal with pretty serious topics. Every once in a while, however, we come across a civil liberties issue that makes us smile.

It all started when a dedicated vegan Kelly Lee-Coffman wanted to express her joy of soy by displaying ILVTOFU on her license plate. Despite her willingness to pay an extra $50, plus an additional annual fee, the Colorado DMV rejected her application. Officials denied the plate on the grounds that some less-than-vegetable-minded observers might read "I LV TO F-U" which would violate the department's propriety standard, which bans anything deemed to be "offensive to good taste and decency."

Upon learning that anonymous DMV censors wielded ultimate power in determining the definition of "good taste," we started to wonder, "What else had they banned?" Our first open records request produced a complete list of rejected plates. Most were obvious variations on George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television, though Colorado DMV censors had expanded that list to at least a couple dozen. Some, like "2MFENAD" were simply inscrutable (if that's naughty, we're not clever enough to if figure out).

The censorship made even less sense once we compared the banned plates to the list of nearly 50,000 approved plates. We may not be the most qualified experts on decency, but we still can't figure out why "GEEK" was censored and "NERD" was allowed. Or why "NOCRAP" was in, but "CRAP" was out. "TOOSEXY" was banned, but "2SEXY" was just fine. "TOPLE55" - out, "TOPLESS" - in.

When word of our interest in vanity plates reached State Senator Greg Brophy, who represents the eastern plains, he did not share our concern over censorship. However, he suggested two plates that we're quite sure the Colorado DMV would not permit: "ACLUSUX" and "FUACLU". Executive Director Cathy Hazouri kindly replied that if Sen. Brophy would like to challenge the censorship of his preferred plates in court, we'd be glad to take his case! We're still waiting for an answer. In the meantime, the exchange has been covered nationwide, including the Rachel Maddow Show and the LA Times.

Beyond the quips and editorials, at issue here is the government's role in subjectively deciding what is and what is not allowed. In addition to the silly and arbitrary, there are some clear examples of political speech being banned, such as "BADUSA". Vanity plates may only have a marginal role in our daily lives, but they are nonetheless a facet of public speech bound by the Constitution.

Find out more about this issue by going to our website and clicking on the license plate. You'll find a list of banned plates, an explanation of the background, and our very own web game which will let you match your censorship skills against the DMV.

Back to me.

The site mentioned is

In the same newsletter they also wrote about their defense of a student at Dakota Ridge High School who wore a "NObama" t-shirt when Michelle Obama made a campaign stop at the school. When he refused to leave he was handcuffed, issued an order to appear, and held against his will. He was also suspended. After the ACLU discussed the case with the Jefferson County Sheriff's office all charges were dropped, and the school rescinded the suspension.

I support the ACLU because of it's willingness to defend all our rights, and every one's rights. If you limit what organizations you support, as I do, I hope that the ACLU is one that you support. Be it a mass murderer, Dick Cheney, the KKK, or a law abiding citizen caught in a web of circumstances, if the ACLU feels that that person's constitutional rights were denied they will defend them. (Oh, I forgot. Dick Cheney is a mass murderer.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

cash for clunkers

It appears that we will have a "cash for clunkers" law. Though I like incentives to encourage people to drive more efficient cars, I have several issues with the law as it is written. These include doubt as to the effectiveness at reducing green house gasses, the affect on car collectors, and the affect on lower income people.

CO2 emissions savings:

Assuming that driving habits do not change, this program will probably reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the future, but will raise the emissions in the short term. Building new cars take energy. Seikei University estimated that 12 percent of the CO2 use during the life of a car was pre-purchase. Toyota found that this can be as high as 28 percent. Volvo will be building the first carbon dioxide free manufacturing plant for their trucks, but even then, the trunks need to be moved to their point of sale.

All these studies have a problem. They are measuring the presale CO2 use as a percent of vehicle’s total life use. A better measure is tons of carbon dioxide per vehicle. A rough estimate of the pounds of CO2 used in manufacturing is 2.5 times the weight of the vehicle. So, a Prius weighing 2,890 pounds would use 7,200 pounds, and a Durango weighing 6,600 pounds would use 17,000 pounds. Another figure I have read is 14,000 pounds average. calculates 20 pounds of CO2 are released from burning a gallon of gas. For simplicity I will use EPA fuel ratings for cars.

Let G = gallons, M = miles, and lbs = pounds,
G/M * lbs/M = lbs/M
To simplify this, to get the CO2 in lbs release per mile, divide 20 by the MPG.

EPA rates the most efficient 1999 Dodge Durango at 13 MPG combined. This gives us 20/13 lbs carbon dioxide per mile. (About 1.538 lbs/mile)

EPA rates the 2009 Toyota Prius at 46 MPG combined. That gives us 20/46 lbs/mile (about 0.434 lbs/mile).

Trading in a 1999 Durango for a 2009 Prius save 1.104 lbs/mile of carbon dioxide. With a presale CO2 emission of 7,200 lbs, every mile after 6,522 miles saves CO2 emissions. If this was close to what we could expect from this program I would support it without issue.

The new regulations require an SUV to get at least two MPG better, and the old one must get less than 15 MPG. So, what happens if the 1999 Durango is traded in on a 2009 Durango. The 2009 Durango has an EPA rating of 16 MPG combined, or 1.25 lbs/mile. Now the savings are 0.288 lbs/mile. With a presale emission of 17,000 lbs it will take 59,028 miles to break even on CO2 emissions.

Assuming 15,000 miles per year average driving, we are trading increased CO2 emissions today for saving 4 years from now. But, the trade-in car most have been used for only one year, and the car must be crushed or shredded. A one year old car, a barely used car that emitted 17,000 pounds of CO2 presale is being crushed and another 17,000 pounds of CO2 are being emitted. Rounding 59,028 to 60,000, and allowing for the 15,000 miles on the trade-in, it will take 105,000 miles before there is any CO2 savings.

So, who will take advantage of this law? I claim that the majority of people will be those with late model cars and trucks that can afford, even in a recession to purchase a new vehicle. Thus the predominance of trade-ins will be those that minimize the CO2 emissions savings.

This is not a "green" law, it is another auto industry bailout law.

Car Collectors:

The cash for clunkers law requires that the trade-in be crushed or shredded. In this case the one year old Dodge is not my concern, but rather the cars from the 1980's and earlier. By definition these are vintage cars, and in practice people are buying them and using them as vintage cars.

If these cars are in good running and good body condition, a collector would probably want it. Unfortunately if traded in they will be destroyed. Suppose the car is in poor running and body condition. It is a parts car. And that is the problem. Vintage auto owners need parts to maintain their cars.

Impact on lower income people:

First, lower income car owners use wrecking yards or parts cars to maintain their vehicles. Crushing trade-ins reduces the supply of used parts. This will raise the price of used parts, or in some cases make used parts completely unavailable.

This program requires the person taking advantage of it to have the income to purchase a new car. Normally each new car purchased adds a used car to the market. Thus the more new cars sold the greater the supply of used cars, and the lower the prices. But, this program insures that the used cars are crushed, maximizing the price of used cars.


The cash for clunkers is in fact cash for late model used cars. The beneficiaries are the auto industry and those that can afford a new car without this program. It is being paid for by tax payer, and especially by car collectors and lower income car owners.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Extremism and Suffering Children

I am impressed with one of

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rather than post my father's obituary, here is the link to it.

He was a loving man who will be missed by family, friends, and people who knew of him.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia; a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence against him and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state's non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits (below) that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.

Restrictions on Federal appeals have prevented Troy Anthony Davis from having a hearing in federal court on the reliability of the witness testimony used against him, despite the fact that most of the witnesses have since recanted, many alleging they were pressured or coerced by police. Troy Davis remains on Georgia death row, and may be scheduled for execution in the near future.

One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles – the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

There are many cases of possibly innocent people on death rows across this nation. This case is so ridicules that it is a wonder it has gotten this far. He is still on death row because of a legal technicality. I am asking each of you to do what you can to save this probably innocent man's life. Write President Obama. Go to and click on Take Action Now. Forward this email or write your own.

Besides the obvious moral issue involved, the world is watching this case. Are we a savage nation?
Affidavits Recanting Testimony or Statements Given in the Troy Davis Case
(From: Amnesty International, ‘Where is the justice for me?’)

Kevin McQueen
“The truth is that Troy never confessed to me or talked to me about the shooting of the police officer. I made up the confession from information I had heard on T.V. and from other inmates about the crimes. Troy did not tell me any of this… I have now realized what I did to Troy so I have decided to tell the truth… I need to set the record straight.”

Monty Holmes
“I told them I didn’t know anything about who shot the officer, but they kept questioning me. I was real young at that time and here they were questioning me about the murder of a police officer like I was in trouble or something. I was scared… [I]t seemed like they wouldn’t stop questioning me until I told them what they wanted to hear. So I did. I signed a statement saying that Troy told me that he shot the cop.”

Jeffrey Sapp
“I got tired of them harassing me, and they made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I told them what they wanted to hear. I told them that Troy told me he did it, but it wasn’t true. Troy never said that or anything like it. When it came time for Troy’s trial, the police made it clear to me that I needed to stick to my original statement; that is, what they wanted me to say. I didn’t want to have any more problems with the cops, so I testified against Troy.”

Dorothy Ferrell
“From the way the officer was talking, he gave me the impression that I should say that Troy Davis was the one who shot the officer like the other witness [sic] had… I felt like I was just following the rest of the witnesses. I also felt like I had to cooperate with the officer because of my being on parole…I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn’t see who shot the officer.”

Darrell "D.D." Collins
“After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said. … It is time that I told the truth about what happened that night, and what is written here is the truth. I am not proud for lying at Troy’s trial, but the police had me so messed up that I felt that’s all I could do or else I would go to jail.”

Larry Young
“I couldn’t honestly remember what anyone looked like or what different people were wearing. Plus, I had been drinking that day, so I just couldn’t tell who did what. The cops didn’t want to hear that and kept pressing me to give them answers. They made it clear that we weren’t leaving until I told them what they wanted to hear. They suggested answers and I would give them what they wanted. They put typed papers in my face and told me to sign them. I did sign them without reading them.”

Antoine Williams
“They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling them that I didn’t know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. It all happened so fast. Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read.”

Robert Grizzard
“I have reviewed the transcript of my testimony from the trial of Troy Davis… During my testimony I said that the person who shot the officer was wearing a light colored shirt. The truth is that I don’t recall now and I didn’t recall then what the shooter was wearing, as I said in my initial statement …”

Michael Cooper
“I have had a chance to review a statement which I supposedly gave to police officers on June 25, 1991. I remember that they asked a lot of questions and typed up a statement which they told me to sign. I did not read the statement before I signed. In fact, I have not seen it before today. … What is written in that statement is a lie.”

Benjamin Gordon
“I just kept telling them that I didn’t do anything, but they weren’t hearing that. After four or five hours, they told me to sign some papers. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I didn’t read what they told me to sign and they didn’t ask me to.”

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 me again 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.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why I have this blog

As I was writing this I learned of my father's fall and hospitalization. I completely rewrote it because of that event.

I have been political since I was in Junior High School. I campaigned for Johnson without even telling my parents. I protested the Vietnam war, often volunteering to be a monitor. When the Berkeley Police and the National Guard started attacking demonstrations, I volunteered to staff first aid stations.

This all stopped because of drug use. I stayed somewhat political until I stopped drugs, and put my energy into getting my life back together. I got married, raised a family, got a divorce, and got married again. I ended up with a loving wife and 5 kids in my blended family.

In the back of my head I knew I was not doing enough for society. Then 9/11 happened. It was not the attack that woke me up, but our response. As I saw our liberties taken away, and innocent people dying, I knew I had to do more. One thing I started to do was to write about politics and post it on a blog. It was my wife's and my blog, and what I was writing reflected my ideas and beliefs. I understood that what I wrote on that blog could affect her. One time I asked her if she was OK with what I was thinking of posting. She said no. That planted the seed that has led to this blog.

I want to restate: This blog is my blog. It does not reflect the opinions of any one else, including my wife.

Once I decided I would create this blog I wanted certain people to know about it, including my parents. I know they were proud of me when I campaigned for Johnson. I know they were proud of me when I protested. They were both in my mind when I made the decision to create this blog. I don't think he will ever get to know about this blog.

My signature is sds. S.D.S. are my initials. S.D.S. are also the initials of Students for a Democratic Society, an organization that did a lot of good at the end of the 1960s.

I will end with an important issue that time will not allow to wait. It is likely that an innocent man is close to being executed. Seven of the nine prosecution witnesses in the case against Troy Davis have recanted their testimony. The Supreme Court has refused to intervene. Former President Carter, former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr and Pope Benedict XVI are just 3 of the people calling for the parole board to reduce the sentence to life in prison. Yet his time is running out. Please do what you can to save this man's life.