Bring Some Understanding Here Today

A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.

-Nelson Mandela, activist, South African president, Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1918)


Troy Davis is running out of time. On September 21st, the state of Georgia is set to execute Davis for murdering a white police officer, despite the fact that seven out of nine witnesses have recanted and the judge called his own ruling “not ironclad.”

Other witnesses have since come forward with conflicting accounts of the crime, and even pointed towards another man as the killer. And perhaps most shocking, there was never any DNA evidence linking Troy to the crime.

There is too much doubt to execute Troy Davis, and it is up to us to make Troy’s voice heard.

Start now by sending a message to the Georgia Paroles Board, which has a final hearing for Troy on Monday, September 19. Tell them there is too much doubt to execute Troy Davis.


My brother, Troy Davis, has been on Georgia’s death row for 20 years despite strong evidence of his innocence. His execution date is now scheduled for Wed, Sept 21. He has a hearing in front of the GA Board of Pardons & Parole two days beforehand.We need to tell the Board strongly and clearly: There’s too much doubt to execute Troy Davis!

The case against my brother Troy consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, seven out of nine witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis. Here is what one had to say:

“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.”

We need to tell the Board strongly and clearly: There’s too much doubt to execute Troy Davis!

Regardless of how one feels about the death penalty, we must all agree that the guilty party is the person who should be punished for crimes committed. Punishing innocent people certainly happens, but the death penalty should never, never be applied when doubts about guilt exist.

Please sign one or both of these petitions. What you say, what you do, matter.

Crossposted at Brilliant@Breakfast.

When I Last Saw You Laughing

Sunsets: puke-inducing kitsch when painted on a van, but flaming awesome when observed with one's own eyes on a balmy summer evening.

We got on a boat just past a sign that discouraged pirates from parking. Pete’s dad complained for whole minutes.

PDad: I don’t like my jacket. I’m not wearing it.

Tata: Put on your jacket, cranky!

I couldn’t decide if I were under-drunk or over-sober, but perhaps both. At no time did I hork over the side, no one whistled the Gilligan’s Island theme nor said anything about needing a bigger boat. Everyone in our party of eleven seemed off-balance, including the sleeping five-week-old. The boat putt-putted down a channel and out into a bay, where suddenly the sun seemed brighter and we all got better-looking as the whole venture turned fabulous. The boat zipped along parallel to a jetty then out toward a lighthouse. The minister’s wife sidled up to me. “It’s haunted,” she whispered confidentially. That seemed kind of personal. The captain turned the boat and we zipped off to another lighthouse, where the engines died and Pete’s dad married his longtime companion. The infant howled every moment the engines were silent. Just before the ceremony started, Pete handed me the camera and told me to go crazy. I put down my cane, slid all around the deck and took about seventy-five pictures, many of which we will regret, if we know what’s good for us. I held up the camera and took a picture of myself. Behind me, a voice asked, “You can take pictures of yourself?” I turned around and three cameras clicked pictures of persons holding them. This was before eight people drank four bottles of champagne. A pod of dolphins swam past us, on some vital errand, of course.

I am very funny. Perhaps you've heard.

You will be pleased to hear we stumbled off the boat and drove literally fifty feet to the restaurant, where a bar band launched into a lumpy, sour version of Nights In White Satin we heard from the parking lot.

PDad: What’s with the cane?

Tata: Sometimes I’m fine and sometimes I lurch a little.

PDad: Faker!

I grabbed a column and hung from it until I could breathe again.

PDad: The last person I said that to didn’t laugh.

Then I couldn’t breathe AT ALL.

Three hours later, after the band lost interest in horrifying us and wandered away, slices of wedding cake appeared at our places at the table. I took a few bites and sent up the white flag. Sober and over an hour away from my hotel room, I started barking orders since experience tells me that overtired drunks take growling for an invitation.

The bathrooms are full of country music, I said. Be careful!

Just package the cake in its original box, I said. Thank you!

The minister and his wife walked home. The rest of us piled into two cars. The bride and her daughter, also sober, drove us all home. We talked about Latin music and civil engineering. This was the first time in my life a wedding didn’t give me hives. I can’t say the same about the band.

That Accident Left Everyone A Little

Seriously. This is an unlikely development.

Friends in Atlanta sent a box of special, beautiful skeins of yarn. When I sorted by color and texture, patterns formed. The person who bought the yarn planned to make fuzzy winter scarves in rich jewel tones and baby blankets in pastel blue. We all have plans we might not get to see come to fruition.

So I asked my friends if they’d like me to make blankets out of the soft baby yarn and donate them to a shelter or agency. They said that’d be fine. A year ago, I worked up the nerve to knit baby blankets for complete strangers. I get stage fright. Sue me. This year, leading into the unnamed university’s anti-hunger project, I’m going to try to knit a baby blanket every few weeks, maybe one per month. In between, I’m going to race through half a dozen blankets for animal shelters. It’s a modest plan and not the first time during the cat blanket project a box of yarn drove home the fragility of our future.

They’re all just blankets. I’m just knitting. The world is spinning, spinning, spinning.

Invest A Dime

One hopes to discover as few things as possible in one’s basement. It’s early September now, so June, July and August’s fruits in jars start to both add up and make the head swim. Once I’d decided to make an inventory it took three weeks to mosey down the stairs and drum up a list. In my own defense, I was busy putting things into jars so I could count them, then I suffered a bout of ennui when August positively evaporated. I don’t know where it went, but at left here you can see the cinderblocks are still moist from the hurricane. Anyway, I finally had a look at the pantry and discovered a few things I didn’t remember jarring. Considering what I could have found down there, I feel strangely lucky.