No jury would convict.

    If ever there were a profound argument in favor of the principal that jurors ought properly to exercise their independent discretion to nullify a criminal charge, this would be it.

    In a truly stomach turning codicil to the James Foley saga, we learn that his family members were the recipients of explicit threats that payment of the ransom to save his life would make them criminally liable.

    Richard Day's picture

    JOLEE and remembrances of things past

    There was a memorial for my deceased sister today.

    I had sent my son a homily for her, and his sister ended up giving the homily.

    That was because he had to accompany his wife to the hospital where she delivered my second grand daughter.

    What is her name?

    Jolee Diane Day!

    I cannot stop crying. Diane was my sister!

    coatesd's picture

    Playing Defense and Still Losing

    You don’t win football games by only playing defense. And you don’t win mid-elections that way either. Perhaps somebody should remind the Democrats that winning elections, like winning games, requires you to take the game to the opposition, and to take it to them on your terms – not on theirs.

    Apology turns out to be useful alternative to shooting

    Follow-up to Murder in Michigan and Not-Murder Near Michigan.

    Again, this is not rocket science. People have confrontations every day and do not shoot each other. It's illegal, for one thing.

    Not-murder near Michigan

    I am posting this video for a couple of reasons:

    1. It is oddly entertaining.

    2. It is an example of (gasp!) a confrontation that was NOT escalated and resolved with gunfire.The people in the video get hot under the collar, shout even, but despite frustration and anger on both sides, neither party jumps to the unreasonable conclusion he is in danger of extreme bodily harm.

    See how easy this is?

    Good enough

    Our first child had autism. Which was then a sort of mystery. Or worse because the leading theory was that a child's autism had been caused by its unfeeling mother.

    Around 1960 this began changing and one of reasons was the work of a British psychologist who said of course mothers aren't perfect, who is? But mostly they're good enough.

    bslev's picture

    President Obama's Address to the Nation

    Tomorrow evening This evening at 9 a.m. eastern time,  President Obama will address the nation and is expected to focus on ISIS, the threat he believes ISIS poses, and the the outlines of a strategy going forward to deal with any threat he identifies.  It is a difficult speech, both for political reasons, but more importantly because he will be speaking to a number of very different domestic and international constituencies in this one address.  Notably, many of the president's base supporters, people who have stayed with him from the beginning, have done so in large measure because they have trusted him to avoid the urge to solve the world's problems through the barrel of a gun. As to the president, whatever one thinks of him overall, I think it is fair to say that he does not look to involve the nation's military unless he determines that there really are no other viable options. 

    Losing our heads (Here, in Iraq, and in Saudi Arabia)

    It took only the deaths of two American reporters to send our government (particularly in the person of the President) scrambling to cobble together a manifestation of bellicosity.

    Oddly, the prior deaths by way of bullet, bomb, or building collapse of far more American reporters more or less at the hands of the same cast of characters produced only weasel words, a dance around the subject, and gauzy  platitudes.

    The difference, of course, lay in high production values.

    Wattree's picture

    An Ugly Truth: Why Some Black People Are Still Waiting For Santa Claus

    Whenever I hear the Name Belafonte the first word that comes to mind is "Class." That’s the only word appropriate for the way Harry Belafonte represented Black manhood in the fifties and early sixties. During a time when the few other Black celebrities with the crossover appeal of Belafonte were trying their best to make the White world forget that they were Black, Harry Belafonte flaunted his Blackness with dignity and pride. This soft-spoken, intelligent, and self-assured Black man with the undulating body drove White women crazy for just a taste of forbidden fruit, while at the very same time giving the White establishment a glimpse of things to come.

    Reading Steven Salaita

    I have followed Corey Robin online for about a year through email notices to his frequent blogs at his own site. He also contributes at Crooked Timber and has done so at many other places including The New York Times. For about a month he has been pushing hard on an issue of academic freedom which I have followed there but was un-aware was gaining the traction it has. It is even being covered internationally, at least in England and Israel. As my title indicates, it is the issue of the firing of Steven Salaita by the University of Illinois.

    Murder in Michigan

    A news item about an apparent road rage shooting in Howell, MI, caught my eye today.

    A couple (the Flemmings) was driving to pick up their kids from school when they were allegedly cut off by a guy in a pickup truck (Martin Edward Zale.) When they all stopped at a stoplight, Flemming, age 43, approached the truck, presumably to yell at Zale, whereupon Zale, age 69, rolled down the window and shot Flemming dead.

    Orion's picture

    Open Mikes Q&A With Michael Maiello And Michael Orion Powell

    I said it in my last interview with him - Michael Maiello is one of my best publishing friends. He not only saw me through the hard and good times but also seemed to see something in me nearly from the beginning. Our regular "Open Mikes" Q&A idea was his own and he wanted to switch it up this time - asking me questions! Gosh gee, I didn't even know I had thoughts that anyone would find that interesting. Here goes.....

    bslev's picture

    Tough Choices -- Facing Genocide in the Levant

    There has been more debate among dagbloggers discussing ISIS, Syria, Iraq -- the Middle East -- than there has been in the Congress over the past couple of weeks.  It is election season and folks are back home raising money and kissing babies.  

    The president is on the job still but today, with commendable candor, stated that the United States did not yet have a strategy for dealing with ISIS.  Commendable yes, but not entirely reassuring when you hear it from the commander in chief.  That is not the point of this piece.

    Richard Day's picture


    Armitage Siren.JPG



    Daddy gets up and kiss kisses

    Precious: KISS KISS, okay go back where you were.


    (A true story)


    War Fever at NPR's Diane Rehm show

    I listened to the NPR August 25th Monday morning Diane Rehm Show and it was scarier than anything since, yes, since, 9/11/01:

    U.S. Strategy In The Battle Against ISIS

    ....the Obama administration is under growing pressure to strike ISIS on Syrian soil. A discussion of U.S. strategy to combat ISIS....

    Orion's picture

    Kshama Sawant, Jess Spear, and the Uncompromising “Free” Market

    In Seattle, socialist Kshama Sawant has been unusually successful in her progress as city councilwoman. While it will take a good while to apply, she did succeed in pushing $15 minimum wage for the city of Seattle. 

    The Socialist Alternative movement continued with Jess Spear, who ran a pretty stellar campaign against Frank Chopp for the position of speaker. Nevertheless, Spear was “overwhelmed,” as the Seattle P.I. put it, with Chopp raking it 80 percent of ballots, and the explanations why are pretty storied.
    Wattree's picture

    An Open Letter to America’s Black Journalists

    Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

    An Open Letter to America’s Black Journalists

    barefooted's picture

    State Of Emergency In Ferguson

    No shit.

    I have never been one to engage in conspiracy theories, and it is not my intent to start now. But I am starting to feel like we're in a dangerous time warp.

    This. Is. Wrong.


    Orion's picture

    Why War? The Military Industrial Complex Doesn't Care About You

    In a recent speech, Pope Francis said bluntly that "our economic system leads to war." In an interview with Michael Maiello that I did for this website, Maiello said in response to one of my questions that "capitalism isn't designed to care and no amount of socially conscious corporate governance or philanthro-capitalism can change that.  We picked a system that makes it possible to manage materials but that doesn't meet human emotional needs at all."

    Richard Day's picture



    Dionysos Louvre Ma87 n2.jpg


    I have written before about Mort Sahl and his comedy.

    Orion's picture

    Q&A With Michael Maiello On Robin Williams, Capitalism And Life

    Michael Maiello is probably at the top of my list of internet and writing/publishing friends. He is a regular contributor at Dagblog and the author of several books and a comical play about the Iraq war. I have known him for three years now and he has helped me a bit - gotten me published and helped me through some traumatic life events such as my rehabilitation from SSRI antidepressant use and the loss of my fiancé Jennifer Reimer. He did all of this online too! Maiello, like me, is a deep thinker, and through our talks we don't really seek to avoid but rather to inform. This one is short but filled with some very weighty topics that I know are on many minds. Here goes.

    Richard Day's picture



    I spent the weekend with my son again.

    I swore (to myself) that I would not discuss this subject again.

    But it will not go away; no matter how I try.

    So here goes:

    About Human Shields

    I lost a longer version of this and that is probably for the best. Here is the shorter version in which I don't try to cover every possible nuance but just hit the high points to make my point.

    The phrase “human shield" has, IMO, become Orwellian in its use in relation to the ongoing conflict between Israel and either Hamas or the Palestinian people as a whole. One aspect of actually using humans as shields is emphasized while another equally important aspect is ignored. The complete, true, and honest implications of the phrase itself, regardless of whether Hamas actually does use humans as shields, is intentionally obscured. A narrow and less than complete understanding of the implications of the charge is intended to be mentally embedded while the full implications are distorted or, hopefully, un-noticed.

    Wattree's picture


    Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

    The United States Postal Service’s Criminal Assault on the Middle Class, and the Illusion of American Justice
    Where's Jesse, where's Sharpton, where's Barack, but most importantly, where's justice? Where are the people who fight for the poor and middle class when they're out of camera range? Dr. Cornel West, where are you?


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