Our states keep innocent people in prison

It is refreshing and inspiring that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has recently made use of his singular power to grant absolute pardons to three wrongfully convicted men.

Bobbie Morman Jr., of Norfolk, spent 22 years in prison though an innocent man. Joey Carter, also of Norfolk, spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Emerson Stevens, of Lancaster County, served 32 years for a murder committed by someone else. That someone has never been caught because police framed the wrong man.

Pardons and exonerations are bittersweet. On the one hand, the years of hard work by innocence lawyers ultimately pay off, and some measure of justice is found as the wrongfully convicted finally make their dramatic walk out of the prison gates. On the other hand, it is infuriating that our criminal justice system is so broken that bogus convictions happen at all. Innocent lives are destroyed. The guilty roam free. And the police and prosecutors are almost never made to answer for their bad behavior. If the authorities played by the rules, virtually all wrongful convictions could be avoided.

Reforms of this criminal use of the law are overdue. It takes a truly distorted class of abusive prosecution to try to defend mistakes like these. Frankly, “mistakes” is likely a misuse of the word. My life’s experience tells me these folks ended up in jail because lazy, often bigoted, officials made up their minds and then tailored their so-called evidence to suit their prejudice.

Enough! End these practices, now! It’s time that freedom, law-abiding, all those high school civics words pay attention to the truth.

For what it’s worth…

Released a few months earlier, I didn’t hear this till early spring 1967. Driving to my maternal grandparents’ home in Milan, NY…a bit outside Red Hook in Duchess County. There was a family favorite coffee stop west of the Connecticut state line…and this was on the juke box.

Someone else had played it. I heard it and went to the juke box to see who this was, the name of the song. And played it another 3 or 4 times before we left and continued on to Milan.

Bought the 45 when I got back to Connecticut.

Couple guys we all eventually heard of, one from Texas, one from Canada, wrote a bunch of songs together, singing and playing in the band. Stephen Stills, Neil Young. Stills wrote and sang the lead on this one.

Ready to go – almost

Manufacturers are stacking up unfinished goods on factory floors and parking incomplete vehicles in airport parking lots while waiting for missing parts, made scarce by supply-chain problems…

Companies determined to keep factories open are trying to work around shortages by producing what they can, at the same time rising customer demand has cleaned out store shelves, dealer showrooms and distribution centers. As a result, manufacturers are amassing big inventories of unsold or incomplete products such as truck wheels and farm tractors. Companies that are used to filling orders quickly now have bulging backlogs of orders, waiting for scarce parts or green lights from customers willing to take deliveries.

AFAIK, my wife’s soon-to-be Maverick Pickup ain’t out there in that field of Fords. They just didn’t get it made, yet.

We hope.

Prevent disease? Start by removing sugar.

Cutting 20% of sugar from packaged foods and 40% from beverages could prevent 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events (such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests), 490,000 cardiovascular deaths, and 750,000 diabetes cases in the U.S. over the lifetime of the adult population, reports a study published in Circulation…

Implementing a national policy, however, will require government support to monitor companies as they work toward the targets and to publicly report on their progress. The researchers hope their model will build consensus on the need for a national-sugar reformulation policy in the US. “We hope that this study will help push the reformulation initiative forward in the next few years,” says Siyi Shangguan, MD, MPH, lead author…“Reducing the sugar content of commercially prepared foods and beverages will have a larger impact on the health of Americans than other initiatives to cut sugar, such as imposing a sugar tax, labeling added sugar content, or banning sugary drinks in schools.”

Say “Amen!”

Self-driving vehicles are ahead of flying cars


Clifton Li

On the “we-were-told-there-would-be-jetpacks” spectrum of protracted transportation breakthroughs, self-driving vehicles are slowly creeping up on flying cars…

But while Waymo, a unit of Alphabet Inc., was dealing with a departing CEO and training its algorithms to recognize traffic cones, a rival that you’ve probably never heard of quietly took the drivers out of its “driverless” rigs. Gatik, which hauls cargo for Walmart, Loblaws and a handful of other massive retailers, told me it made the switch recently on a few of its routes in Arkansas, putting it on a very, very short list of human-free transportation…

It’s important to note that Gatik’s autonomous goals are far more modest than Waymo’s. Like Nuro, it forgoes the passenger entirely, choosing instead to focus on schlepping around goods. And it further narrows its lane to middle-mile transportation, essentially shuttling its trucks to and from two fixed points, say, a distributing center and a big-box store…

Granted, Gatik still has human chaperones, one dedicated per vehicle, but they’re patching into the vehicle from a remote location. If the truck runs into any kind of trouble, it executes a “graceful recovery,” essentially pulling over and pinging its overseer, like a lost teenager dialing dad. The truck will suggest a workaround that the chaperone can approve or revise. Uber drivers may eventually be out of luck, but these chaperones, housed in the ride-hailing version of a call center, will soon be one of the hottest occupations going.

For a retail empire, the economics spool up quickly. Their supply chains will go driverless long before the airport taxi queue and the savings will be both immediate and easy to model. As the autonomous driving field narrows, Gatik’s sneaky move to the front will no doubt be noticed by investors, possibly some of the same crew that has poured $5.7 billion into Waymo since last summer.

I’m waiting for the first report in print of a traffic cop pulling over a driverless truck and getting into an argument with a chaperone over the radio.

Taliban Thanks American Taxpayers for all the Presents

How much U.S. military equipment does the Taliban now control?

We’ve made the Taliban into a major U.S. arms dealer for the next decade,” said Andrzejewski. “They now control 75,000 military vehicles. This is about 50,000 tactical vehicles, 20,000 Humvees they control about 1,000 mine-resistant vehicles, and even about 150 armored personnel carriers…”

“We found a Federal Audit that detailed up to $200 million worth of drones that had disappeared,” said Andrzejewski. “We don’t know where 600,000 weapons are within the country.”

The military-industrial corporations have all been paid-off. We picked up the tab for that plus shipping. Maybe we could get UPS to pickup every Congress-critter who voted to spend all this money and deliver them to Kabul. Leave them to wander around and try to find an honest job.

Toxic people to avoid like the plague!

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons.

As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy — and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife, and, worst of all, stress…

Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs…

It’s often said that you’re the product of the five people you spend the most time with. If you allow even one of those five people to be toxic, you’ll soon find out how capable he or she is of holding you back.

RTFA. Learn the difference between “those who are annoying or simply difficult from those who are truly toxic.” The article examines ten types of toxic drainers that you should stay away from at all costs.