Friday, May 25, 2007

Abolish death penalty; prevent the state from making fatal error

by Douglas Warney, Guest essayist

I witnessed the debate this month when the New York state Senate considered a bill to bring back the death penalty for cop killers.

For more than three hours, our elected representatives argued the pros and cons
of capital punishment. I listened as the senators talked about a subject that
has never personally affected them. At times, I really wished I could have put
in my two cents!

In early 1996, I became the first person charged capitally under New York's new
death penalty statute. The district attorney at the time said I was a monster
who deserved to die. Fortunately, the grand jury indicted me only for
second-degree murder. Otherwise, I could have easily received the death penalty.
I was sentenced to only 25 years to life for a murder I had nothing to do with.
In some ways, I was lucky.

The only evidence against me was a confession that I was forced to sign after
several hours of harsh interrogation. You might think that no innocent person
would confess to a crime he or she didn't commit. But if so, you have no idea
what it's like to be locked in a small room for many hours with cops who are
convinced you're guilty. I got to a point where I was willing to say anything
just to get out of there.

Fortunately, the Innocence Project got involved in my case. And when my DNA was
finally tested, it proved my innocence. But by then I had served more than nine
years in state prison.

To be honest with you, accountability means nothing to me if we fail to learn
any lessons from our mistakes. I would like to see our representatives in the
state Legislature do everything possible to prevent what happened to me from
happening to anyone else.

Recognizing that the system makes mistakes means that we can't have a death
penalty. There's just no way to correct a mistake after someone has been
executed. But it also means that we should take reasonable steps to prevent what
happened to me from happening to others.

I really perked up during the Senate debate when Sen. Eric Schneiderman,
D-Manhattan, offered an amendment to the death penalty bill to protect the
wrongly accused. His amendment would have required the videotaping of
interrogations, better preservation of DNA evidence and more careful handling of
eyewitness identifications. All of these are reasonable precautions given that
the vast majority of wrongful convictions occur because of eyewitness
misidentifications and because of coerced "confessions" like mine.

I couldn't believe it when the Senate voted to defeat Schneiderman's amendment.
Deep inside I was crying, "Why are they doing this?" Are they crazy?!"

Warney, of Rochester, was released from prison last year after serving more than
nine years for a murder he did not commit.

From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, May 22, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cerebus #1 Counterfeit detection tips

Appropriated from: because the page has been down from time to time.

There are a number of slight differences between the real and counterfeit versions of Cerebus #1. Here is a listing of them, special thanks to Chuck Costas, Rory Root, John Tinkess and Margaret Liss.

Real: Has Silver staples.
Fake: Has Bronze staples.

Real: Inside cover is flat, outside cover is glossy.
Fake: Both sides of the cover are glossy.

Real: Cover background is pure red.
Fake: Cover background is red, but has a slight orange-ish tint.

Here is a big picture to better show the differences via the red covers.

Real: Cover is of variable print quality (sometimes "smudging" appears around the right horn on Cerebus' helmet and the hilt of his sword).
Fake: Cover is always crisp.

Fake: Sometimes a black outline can be seen at the bottom of the cover.

Both: Verticle black smudge line appears on the back cover where the "Collector's Edition" banner ends (because the book was printed "golden age size" when the artwork was intended to be modern age sized)

So if you have a very good-looking Cerebus #1 it may be a counterfeit. It's sad to say but there are counterfeit comics out there. Especially for high value independent comics. If you are thinking of buying one, check around to see if counterfeits were made (and how to detect them) before doing the purchase.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Find your birthday and then find your tree

>>Dec 23 to Jan 01................ Apple Tree
>>Jan 01 to Jan 11.................. Fir Tree
>>Jan 12 to Jan 24.................Elm Tree
>>Jan 25 to Feb 03................ Cypress Tree
>>Feb 04 to Feb 08................Poplar Tree
>>Feb 09 to Feb 18................. Cedar Tree
>>Feb 19 to Feb 28.................Pine Tree
>>Mar 01 to Mar 10................ Weeping Willow Tree
>>Mar 11 to Mar 20................Lime Tree
>>Mar 21 (only)..................... Oak Tree
>>Mar 22 to Mar 31...............Hazelnut Tree
>>Apr 01 to Apr 10................ Rowan Tree
>>Apr 11 to Apr 20.................Maple Tree
>>Apr 21 to Apr 30................ Walnut Tree
>>May 01 to May 14...............Poplar Tree
>>May 15 to May 24............... Chestnut Tree
>>May 25 to Jun 03 .............Ash Tree
>>Jun 04 to Jun 13................ Hornbeam Tree
>>Jun 14 to Jun 23................ Fig Tree
>>Jun 24 (only)....................Birch Tree
>>Jun 25 to Jul 04................ Apple Tree
>>Jul 05 to Jul 14..................Fir Tree
>>Jul 15 to Jul 25.................. Elm Tree
>>Jul 26 to Aug 04...............Cypress Tree
>>Aug 05 to Aug 13.............. Poplar Tree
>>Aug 14 to Aug 23..............Cedar Tree
>>Aug 24 to Sep 02.............. Pine Tree
>>Sep 03 to Sep 12................ Weeping Willow Tree
>>Sep 13 to Sep 22.................Lime Tree
>>Sep 23 (only)..................... Olive Tree
>>Sep 24 to Oct 03...............Hazelnut Tree
>>Oct 04 to Oct 13............... Rowan Tree
>>Oct 14 to Oct 23...............Maple Tree
>>Oct 24 to Nov 11............... Walnut Tree
>>Nov 12 to Nov 21..............Chestnut Tree
>>Nov 22 to Dec 01............. Ash Tree
>>Dec 02 to Dec 11..............Hornbeam Tree
>>Dec 12 to Dec 21.............. Fig Tree
>>Dec 22 (only)................. Beech Tree
YOUR TREE(in alphabetical order)

>>Apple Tree (the Love) -- quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate partner.
>>Ash Tree (the Ambition) -- extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.
Beech Tree (the Creative) -- has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).
>>Birch Tree (the inspiration) -- vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.
>>Cedar Tree (the Confidence) -- of rare strength, knows how to adapt, likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.
>>Chestnut Tree (the Honesty ) -- of unusual stature, impressive, well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.
>>Cypress Tree (the Faithfulness) -- strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it , strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain knowledge, needs to be needed.
>>Elm Tree (the Noble-mindedness) -- pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.
>>Fig Tree (the Sensibility) -- very strong minded, a bit self-willed, honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when wants to be, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals, few sexual relationships, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great intelligence.
>>Fir tree (the Mysterious) -- extraordinary taste, handles stress well, loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them, hard to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness and laziness after long demanding hours at work, rather modest, talented, unselfish, many friends, very reliable.
>>Hazelnut Tree (the Extraordinary ) -- charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.
>>Hornbeam Tree (the Good Taste) -- of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.
>>Lime Tree (the Doubt) -- intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, can become a complainer, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.
>>Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.
>>Oak Tree (the Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.
>>Olive Tree (the Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind feelings,reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.
>>Pine Tree (the Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, low self esteem, needs affection and reassurance.
>>Poplar Tree (the Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership Seriously.
>>Rowan Tree (the Sensitivity) -- full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.
>>Walnut Tree (the Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.
>>Weeping Willow (the Melancholy) - - likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.