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light show

At the ocean depths not reached by sunlight, as many as 90% of life forms make their own light. They flash. They sparkle. They glow. Like the fireflies you remember chasing in your youth, they produce light by biofluorescence or bioluminescence.

Sometimes they reach the surface or live on land. Waves of phosphorescent algae crash on the shore and form the wakes of ships. This is as wondrous as a James Cameron sci-fi film… but it’s real.


















Ophiochiton ternispinus.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Isao Tomita performing Debussy’s “The Snowflakes Are Dancing”


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too little, too late

I should have run this story a week ago, but I didn’t. Why wait?

I am just so disgusted with the tardiness of the Supreme Court (in clarifying that its ruling on JLWOP was retroactive) and the slowness of the President to eliminate the excessive use of solitary confinement for youths in adult Federal prisons. Hell, the Feds shouldn’t even be incarcerating kids with adults in the first place.

Running this story after a picture of a dog’s ass demonstrates the respect their slow action deserves.


Black Arms in Cell.

End of Youth Solitary Confinement in Federal Prisons Long Overdue

President Obama, citing Justice Department data issued the ban, setting the stage for similar actions to be taken across the board

by Marcy Mistrett, Ebony

January 26, 2016

In an historic moment yesterday, President Obama used his executive authority to end the use of solitary confinement for youth in the federal prison system.

This action is incredibly important to the numerous youth who are prosecuted and sentenced as adults in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) each year. Youth housed in adult facilities are often subject to solitary confinement as a perverse means of “protecting” them from the adult population; making the abuse even more egregious for this population. Citing a Department of Justice review of the overuse and abuse of solitary confinement by the BOP, Obama called upon our “common humanity” to end this torturous practice.

The 53 recommendations drawn by the Department of Justice will apply to the BOP and the US Marshals Service, but also sends a strong message to states to create a less harmful environment for those in its care. The recommendations state that youth under age 18 “shall not be placed in restrictive housing.” They further state that in “very rare” circumstances when there is serious and immediate risk of injury to another person, a youth may be removed and placed in restrictive housing as a “cool down” period—but only in consultation with a mental health professional. While the recommendations stop short of articulating a specific maximum length of time allowed in those “very rare circumstances,” the recommendations clearly state that youth under 18 don’t belong in isolation, period.

But the recommendations go farther, and include recommendations for youth ages 18-24 that include training all correctional staff on young adult brain development and de-escalation tactics; developmentally responsive policies and practices including therapeutic housing communities and services to reduce the number of incidents that could lead to restrictive housing; and call to limit the use of restrictive housing whenever possible, and if used, to limit the length of stay and to identify appropriate services they can receive while in restrictive housing.

These recommendations are important first steps to ending the use of solitary confinement for youth. The harmful effects of solitary confinement are well documented. Individuals subjected to such extreme deprivation, locked in isolation for 23 hours a day for weeks, months, and even years, are linked to devastating, long term psychological consequences including depression, anxiety, and withdrawal from other individuals. For youth whose minds and bodies are still growing and developing, these consequences are amplified and too often lead to dire consequences including self-harm and suicide. In fact, the Department of Justice found that youth in solitary commit suicide at twice the rate of adults; and other research has shown that youth in solitary in adult facilities are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than if they were housed in the juvenile justice system.

In his announcement, President Obama stated, “We believe that when people make mistakes, they deserve the opportunity to remake their lives. And if we can give them the hope of a better future, and a way to get back on their feet, then we will leave our children with a country that is safer, stronger, and worthy of our highest ideals.”

While we certainly applaud President Obama for taking this momentous step forward, we urge him to take further actions to protect youth in federal custody, such as preventing them from being in adult facilities to begin with. In 2012, the recommendations made by the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, included the charge to abandon practices like solitary confinement, which traumatize children and reduce their opportunities to become productive members of society. However, the report also recommends “whenever possible, prosecute youth offenders in the juvenile justice system instead of transferring their cases to adult courts.” We urge the president to use his remaining time in office to implement this recommendation by “strengthening federal regulations and essentially prohibit states and localities from incarcerating any person younger than 18 in an adult prison or jail as a condition of federal funding.”

It is long past due that our country starts treating children like children. Ending the practice of placing youth held in federal prisons in solitary confinement is a critical step toward this broader goal. Now isn’t it time to ask why children are sentenced to time in federal prison at all?


Marcy Mistrett is CEO of the Campaign For Youth Justice, a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.



Groove of the Day

Listen to the Barenaked Ladies performing “Too Little, Too Late”


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jesus on dog's anus.

How could I have missed this? I’ve been wandering in the wilderness so long!

Had I seen it when Reddit released this image in June of 2013, I could have saved myself 2½ years of unnecessary anguish. I would have had the proof I needed as to why “dog” spelled in reverse is “god.”

It would have amply demonstrated to me that the deity permeates all creation.



Groove of the Day

Listen to the Royal Choral Society performing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”


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52° and Clear





Only in America: a rodent in Pennsylvania seeing (or yesterday, not seeing) his shadow is popularly considered more reliable than the prognostications of the majority of climate change scientists.

While 63% of Americans believed climate change to be a serious threat in November of last year, that is 6% lower than 1½ years earlier in the same survey, the ABC News/Washington Post survey. More US adults now believe Fox News (which claims climate change is a hoax), saying it is more reliable a source of information about climate change than President Barack Obama (who is a believer).

Americans are such sticklers for accuracy!

Groundhog “Punxsutawney Phil” usually predicts a longer winter. Since 1887, the Pennsylvania groundhog has seen his shadow 102 times and not seen it just 18 times. But shortly after dawn yesterday, Phil’s handlers said America’s most famous groundhog failed to see his shadow, meaning he predicts an early spring—and not the “six more weeks of winter” that so many people dread. Yet according to USA Today, which has tracked his predictions since 1988, the groundhog has been “right” 13 times and “wrong” 15 times, for an accuracy rate of only 46%.

“Staten Island Chuck,” whose accuracy rate of 80% crushes those of other groundhogs, may have the more reliable answer you’re looking for. Yesterday the New York groundhog also predicted an early spring.

Moving on to politics, what does the Iowa Caucus tell us about the future?

Bernie Sanders pronounced the results of yesterday’s race with Hillary Clinton to be “a virtual tie.” At least six Iowa precincts—maybe more (nobody knows for sure)—were determined by coin-tosses in yesterday’s caucus. Clinton got 23 delegates (with 49.9% of the vote) and Sanders got 21 delegates (with 49.6%).

On the Republican side, the results were less ambiguous. Texas nut-job Ted Cruz got 8 delegates (with 27.6% of the vote), to New York nut-job Donald Trump’s 7 delegates (24.3%), and Florida nut-job Marco Rubio’s 7 delegates (23.1%).

I know I’m conflating apples and oranges (and I’m sorry), but yesterday was Groundhog Day after all. Where were all the candidates at dawn yesterday? Did any of them cast a shadow?



Groove of the Day

Listen to The Watson Family performing “Ground Hog”


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60° and Clear


crimes of our fathers


The young men on the generals’ staffs are now dead or in their 90s, as are the dogfaced infantrymen Willie and Joe. The members of the “Greatest Generation” are almost all gone now, and the veterans of the Korean Conflict have taken their place as the most-senior survivors of war. Although we are quick to paint the Allies as heroes, isn’t it time that we at long last begin to look honestly at the war crimes committed against the soldiers and civilians of the Axis powers? Who can it bother now?

Some people will justify Allied actions by arguing that Nazi and Imperial war crimes, and crimes against humanity, were far worse than anything we did—yet this is at best hypocritical. A crime is a crime, regardless of the circumstances—a murder is still a murder, a rape is still a rape—and by justifying such actions you become equal to that of which you scorn.

For those who felt a twinge of discomfort at yesterday’s post, the following list documents ten cases (out of many) of Allied war crimes committed during WWII, ranging from the small, to the unjust, to the horrendous.

I don’t relish this. But isn’t it time that we are honest and view what happened in the full light of day?




As yesterday’s post suggested, almost all Allied nations carried out air raids on non-military, civilian targets throughout the war. It was a tactic used primarily to destroy morale. The practice began as a retaliatory strike against the Germans for a bombing of a limited number of London civilian targets as a result of a navigational error of one Luftwaffe plane—but this was the very excuse Winston Churchill had been waiting for to escalate his air war on civilian targets in Germany. The Germans retaliated in September 1940 with the Blitz. As the war thereafter progressed, strategic bombing by both sides regularly involved bombing areas inhabited by civilians; many bombing campaigns were deliberately designed to target civilian populations in order to terrorize, disorganize, and disrupt their usual activities.

The physical destruction to Germany is said to be greater than at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Around 600,000 German civilians died during the allies’ wartime raids on Germany, including 76,000 German children. In July 1943, during a single night in Hamburg, 45,000 people perished in a vast firestorm. Incinerated victims were stuck to the melted asphalt.

In his book 2003 Brandstätten (Fire Sites), Jörg Friedrich argues that the RAF’s relentless campaign against Germany during the final months of the war served no military purpose. Instead, he says that Churchill’s decision to drop more bombs on a shattered Germany between January and May 1945, most of them on small German towns of little strategic value, was a war crime.




It has been a taboo subject in France for 70 years: the terrible civilian casualties suffered by the French due to Allied bombing up to and during the liberation of France. According to research carried out by Andrew Knapp, history professor at the UK’s University of Reading, air raids by the British, Americans, and Canadians resulted in 57,000 French civilian losses. “That`s a figure slightly below, but comparable to, the 60,500 the British lost as a result of Luftwaffe bombing over the same period,” says Knapp.

France was the third country most-bombed by the Allies after Germany and Japan and it is hardly mentioned in our history books. “France took seven times the tonnage of [Allied] bombs that the UK took [from Nazi Germany],” says Knapp. “Roughly 75,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped on the UK [including Hitler’s V-1 and V-2 missiles]. In France, it’s in the order of 518,000 tonnes,” he says. As the French are finally daring to admit, the liberation of Normandy towns like Saint Lo (above), Caen and Le Havre turned them into wastelands of rubble and ash.

“It’s fairly clear,” says Knapp, “that on the basis of the treaties we have signed now—not the treaties we had signed then—some of these raids would be eligible for the category of war crimes.”

Knapp is the co-author, with Claudia Baldoni, of Forgotten Blitzes.



The London Cage, a MI19 prisoner of war facility in Kensington Palace Gardens in London, witnessed its fair share of war crimes during WWII, primarily torture.

The Cage was essentially a set of cells and rooms used to hold and interrogate captured members of the Schutzstaffel and Gestapo. Everything from starvation and sleep deprivation to brutal beatings was practiced within its walls, to extract information and, in some cases, confessions. At a trial in 1947 of eighteen Nazis accused in the massacre of fifty Allied prisoners, the Germans alleged starvation, sleep deprivation, “third degree” interrogation methods, and torture by electric shock.

Though undeniably a site of war crimes, no participants were ever prosecuted. The British government, for the most part, turned a blind eye to the abuse arguing that it was justifiable given the situation.




Committed during late May of 1945, the Kočevski Rog Massacre describes the systematic murder of members of the repatriated Slovene Home Guard and their families by special units of the Allied Yugoslav Partisans. They were killed without formal charges or trial. They were thrown into various pits and caves, which were then sealed with explosives.

British forces in Austria turned back tens of thousands of fleeing Yugoslavs, and Tito’s victorious forces took revenge on their real and perceived enemies. Several thousand victims (between 30,000 and 55,000, according to certain sources) were killed between spring and autumn 1945. No one ever faced prosecution for this atrocity.

Russian-British author Nikolai Tolstoy wrote an account of the events in his book The Minister and the Massacres. British author John Corsellis, who served in Austria with the British Army, also wrote of these events in his book Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II.




As American soldiers approached Dachau concentration camp, they bore witness to thousands of highly decomposed bodies sitting in open top freight carriages. Because of this, it can hardly come as a surprise that American soldiers summarily executed captured—and unarmed—SS guards, purely out of rage. Prisoners, too, were said to have beaten as many as 50 guards to death in retaliation for their treatment.

The photograph above is a still photo taken by Arland Musser, of the 163rd Signal Photographic Company, US Seventh Army, on April 29, 1945, the day that Dachau was liberated. It shows 60 Waffen-SS soldiers on the ground, some wounded, some playing dead, 17 actually dead.

Unfortunately, the guards who operated the camp and carried out most of the atrocities had fled many days before, and were replaced with members of the Waffen-SS, whose sole purpose was to surrender the camp to the Allied force without resistance. Thus, the men were unjustly executed for crimes they did not commit. No one was ever court-martialed for the massacre.

Flint Whitlock, historian for the 45th Thunderbird Division, reported: “The killing of unarmed POWs did not trouble many of the men in I company that day, for to them the SS guards did not deserve the same protected status as enemy soldiers who have been captured after a valiant fight. To many of the men in I company, the SS were nothing more than wild, vicious animals whose role in this war was to starve, brutalize, torment, torture and murder helpless civilians.”

You can read more about this incident here.


chinese atrocity.

It’s widely accepted that the Second Sino-Japanese War was perhaps one of the most brutal conflicts ever to have occurred in human history. With a history of intense rivalry and conflict, little mercy was shown from either side during this eight year long war. Although the Japanese were guilty of crimes that bordered on genocide, the Chinese are also reputed to have committed their fair share of war crimes.

Unfortunately, due to the volatile and vicious nature of the war, there was practically zero press on the ground to provide concrete evidence of atrocities (the photograph above, taken by Tom Simmen, is one of the few to have surfaced). Survivors, however, reported mass looting and pillaging, summary execution, and torture of POWs and Chinese civilians believed to have been collaborating with Imperial Japan—as well as mass rape within occupied settlements—to name but a few.



The Prisoners of War Temporary Enclosures, or Rheinwiesenlager, were a collection of 19 US-built prisoner of war camps constructed to hold German POWs during the Allied occupation of Germany. At the program’s height, the camps held up to two million prisoners, although the precise number of individuals imprisoned is unknown due to poor record keeping.

Due to the sheer size of these camps and the general neglect for the welfare of enemy POWs, the Allies failed to provide enough supplies for all the prisoners, which resulted in thousands of deaths. At one camp, prisoners died of thirst while a river flowed within sight, just outside the camp enclosure. Typical estimates put the number of deaths from starvation, exposure, and dehydration at up to 10,000. This figure has been heavily debated, however, with some researchers placing the death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

Regardless, these deaths would have been classed as a war crime under the 1929 Geneva Convention if it wasn’t for the fact that Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the prisoners to be classed as “Disarmed Enemy Forces,” in order to circumvent the treaty. Jacques Bacque argued that Eisenhower’s misdeeds led to the starvation of over 800,000 German POWs.

Speaking of Bacque’s allegations, Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose wrote: “I quarrel with many of your interpretations, [but] I am not arguing with the basic truth of your discovery” and acknowledged that Bacque had made a “major historical discovery”, in the sense that very little attention had hitherto been paid to the treatment of German POWs in Allied hands. In 1990 he said: “When those millions of Wehrmacht soldiers came into captivity at the end of the war, many of them were deliberately and brutally mistreated. There is no denying this. There are men in this audience who were victims of this mistreatment. It is a story that has been kept quiet.”



Once the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy and began to capture large swathes of occupied land, they had a problem: what to do with the thousands of captured POWs? Instead of shipping them off to camps, many were simply executed where they stood to save time and resources which were much needed on the western front. For many of the dead, their only crime was being German.

There is much worse, however. Although the veracity of the testaments is highly debated among historians, there were reports of the Allies using captured German soldiers as human shields—forcing them to walk through minefields to clear the way for advancing allied forces, and marching them headfirst into German encampments to avoid defensive gunfire.

While researching his book D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, Antony Beevor learned that Allied soldiers committed war crimes in Normandy to a much greater extent than was thought. The exact number of soldiers executed or killed after surrender is unknown, as the fatalities for the most part resemble normal war-time deaths.

Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds about a Jewish militia that killed Nazis in World War II is not that far-fetched. A real-life team of Jewish soldiers hunted down SS officers in Austria after the war in an operation called “Nakam” (revenge), reveals Chaim Miller: “We were soldiers in the Jewish Brigade group of the British army… we went in groups of 3 to secretly search them out. At first they thought they were simply dealing with the British military police. They got a shock when we later showed them our Stars of David. But by then, it was already too late for them. We took them to some woods… They remained in the woods forever.”



Though born out of desperation and perhaps necessity, the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is, arguably, a war crime. It is claimed that such drastic measures prevented the need for a land invasion of Japan, and the potential deaths of millions of individuals.

But this ignores the fact that the majority of deaths arising from an invasion would have been military combatants, rather then civilians. The Geneva Convention (and in particular the 1977 amendment: Protocol I) explicitly declares that the indiscriminate targeting of non-combatants, such as civilians, is a war crime. Given that the use of nuclear weapons on civilians populations today would be considered a war crime, as well as a crime against humanity, I can see no reason why one would not consider the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a war crime.



After the fall of Berlin, Germany was in ruins. Occupied by millions of foreign troops, none of whom had complete control over any given entity, Germany quickly descended into anarchic lawlessness. It is believed that the Soviet Army alone was responsible for the rape of up to two million women and children, as well as the subsequent death of 240,000.

Claimed to be the largest mass rape in history, many unfortunate victims were assaulted up to a hundred times, and often could not resist in the face of overwhelming Soviet numbers.

For the most part, these atrocities were driven by the lust for revenge, although in many cases it was simply because the Soviets saw themselves as conquers, not liberators. Stalin himself was reputed to have said that people should be understanding, “if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle.”

It wasn’t just the Soviets who were accused of this crime, however: German historian Miriam Gebhardt has published a new volume in which members of the US military are said to have raped as many as 190,000 German women by the time West Germany regained sovereignty in 1955. This is not on the same scale as the Soviets—but it doesn’t make it any less terrible.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Vera Lynn performing “When The Lights Go On Again (All Over the World)”


Weather Report

50° Clear and Windy




bombers over berlin


The havoc that was visited on Germany by the Allied Powers in World War II is vastly under-reported and misunderstood by most people who were not there. The destruction was so complete and hateful, there is little doubt that the Allies would have been charged with war crimes had the tables been turned.

This assertion flies in the face of our having been sold on World War II as the “Good War,” the conduct of which was totally justified. Yet many of the servicemen who served on our side knew at the time that they were being given orders and participating in acts which were morally wrong. Our readiness to attack anyone who reports the war from the opposition’s perspective attests to the power over us of wartime propaganda which still persists to this day.

Last week, while visiting with a friend, she shared with me this poem that was written by her father-in-law, David H. Jackson, a navigator who served in the Army Air Force which was tasked with bombing Berlin. She said that he returned from the war a completely changed man.

She told me that from his writings (including his love letters to her mother-in-law Helen), she learned he had left for war a warm and loving man. She told me the man who returned—the father-in-law she knew—was a cold, silent, embittered person.

This was at a time that we had only an emerging understanding of PTSD (shell shock or battle fatigue), even though it was an acknowledged problem since the First World War. Of the total Allied casualties on D-Day, fully a quarter of them were psychiatric. Yet, too many generals like George Patton famously believed that slapping soldiers around was the best cure for what ailed them.

This poem was presumably written by her father-in-law at the turning-point of this transformation; his handwritten poems were discovered by his widow in 1988.


Bombs Away

by David H. Jackson


Yes, we bombed Berlin tonight,

From twenty thousand feet,

Came on target by full moonlight,

I could see each tiny street;


We circled once then made the run,

Opening up the bomb bay,

A lurch a shudder the thing was done,

To a whispered command bombs away;


Far below little children slept,

In innocence unafraid,

And down from the sky rained sudden death,

A hell on earth man made.


Yes, we reaped our toll last night,

Two hundred children’s lives,

This is the enemy that we fight,

The victory we prize.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Gene Krupa & His Orchestra performing “Keep ’em Flying”


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70° Clear and Windy


return to manitowoc


‘Making a Murderer’ Town’s Answer to Netflix Series: You Don’t Know

by Monica Davey, The New York Times

January 28, 2016

MANITOWOC, Wis. — In the tourism office here, where workers are accustomed to cheery inquiries about Manitowoc County’s best jogging paths and beach views, the questions have suddenly turned dark: How could you possibly promote tourism in such a corrupt town? Why would anyone visit here?

Fury—by telephone, email and on social media—has also flooded the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, the Manitowoc City Police Department, Manitowoc City Hall and pretty much anywhere else with the name Manitowoc attached to it.

Even the Manitowoc County Historical Society’s executive director, Amy Meyer, has taken to answering the phones so that volunteers—better prepared for gentler inquiries about the region’s history of shipbuilding and its claims to creating the ice cream sundae—do not have to hear “all that yelling, cussing and swearing.” A recent post on the historical society’s Facebook page read, “Too bad your history includes ruining two innocent peoples’ lives.”

The release last month of a Netflix documentary series, “Making a Murderer,” about a decade-old murder case, has upended this county of about 80,000 along Lake Michigan.

Ten years ago, when I first came here, Steven Avery, the county resident now at the center of 10 Netflix episodes over more than 10 hours, had been arrested on suspicion of murder a few days before.

Mr. Avery’s past was what drew me to Manitowoc in November 2005: For months, he had been held up in Wisconsin as a symbol of everything wrong with the justice system, having served 18 years in prison for a sexual assault that DNA evidence later linked to a different man.

After Mr. Avery was released in the sexual assault, and as he was pursuing a $36 million lawsuit against the county officials who had wrongly sent him to prison, he was charged in the murder of Teresa Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer who had come to take pictures at his family’s auto salvage yard for Auto Trader magazine.

Back then, as I drove to the county seat and along the stark, rural stretches closer to the salvage yard, I found a close-knit community in mourning over a young woman’s death and an array of Avery supporters stunned by the turn of events.

28wisconsin3-web-articleLargeA pair of graduate student filmmakers in New York read the article I wrote and devoted the next decade to what became the Netflix series. In the end, Mr. Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, 16 at the time of Ms. Halbach’s death, were convicted in the killing—an outcome that some who watched the series were convinced was one more example of the justice system’s failure.

Here, many of the people who had watched the case play out in real time with intensive local news media coverage largely considered it settled.

But with a far broader audience now ravenously consuming the filmmakers’ take and raising pointed questions about whether those convicted were guilty, and whether the local authorities planted evidence and mishandled the investigation, a barrage of social media posts and calls is forcing Manitowoc to look back.

“We lived through this 10 years ago,” Jason Ring, the president of the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau, said from a counter covered in maps and brochures.

“We made our judgment, and the trial came to an end, and locally most people were in support of that,” Mr. Ring said. “Now it’s back—by no choosing or no doing of anyone in this community.”

“So that’s the first point of injustice,” he added. “That we have to live through it again.”

In downtown Manitowoc, the county seat, the talkative, curious people I had come upon a decade earlier were no longer surprised—or the least bit pleased—to see yet another reporter. Many avoided any talk about “Making a Murderer,” or simply spotted my notebook and walked away. The mayor declined to be interviewed. Business owners refused to discuss it: One said she had read online about a call for a protest in the town, and she was worried about safety.

“Look, we lived this whole thing like a juror,” Suszanne Fox, who lives not far from here, told me as she ate a burger at the Fat Seagull. “He was guilty as sin.”

Many viewers of “Making a Murderer” do not agree. Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions asking President Obama to pardon Mr. Avery and Mr. Dassey, to which the White House has responded that the president cannot issue pardons in state cases. And Governor Scott Walker has long pledged to issue no pardons while in office.

The series left viewers with unrelenting questions: Did Mr. Avery’s civil lawsuit for his wrongful sexual assault conviction motivate the Manitowoc County authorities to plant evidence against him in the second case, for murder? How was it that an old sample of Mr. Avery’s blood, which was found in the victim’s car, appeared to be tampered with while in the care of the authorities? Should Mr. Dassey, at his young age and with a limited intellect, have been questioned alone by investigators? Was his appointed lawyer working against his cause?

But Ken Kratz, who prosecuted the cases against Mr. Avery and Mr. Dassey, said the series was one-sided and omitted significant pieces of evidence, including DNA from Mr. Avery on the latch under the hood of Ms. Halbach’s Toyota RAV4, found in the Averys’ auto salvage yard.

“It’s not a documentary at all; it’s an advocacy piece,” Mr. Kratz said in a telephone interview from New York, where he said he was being put up at the Waldorf Astoria while taking part in television newsmagazine interviews in the wake of the Netflix series.

Since the trial, Mr. Kratz went into private practice after a text messaging scandal in 2010 and a prescription drug addiction in which, he said, he “pretty much lost everything.” His business line now rings endlessly. “I guess it’s a concerted effort to shut down my office,” he said.

Sheriff Robert C. Hermann of Manitowoc County, who was the undersheriff at the time of the Avery case, said his office had gotten emails and voice mail messages calling the department corrupt.

“It’s not how Manitowoc wants to be put on the map,” Sheriff Hermann said. He said he had few regrets, though he wished, given all he knows now, that only officials from a nearby sheriff’s office, without Manitowoc’s perceived conflicts, had held any role in the investigation.

The filmmakers, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, say they believe their series accurately portrayed the essential arguments the prosecutors made. The point, they said in a telephone interview, was to look at the Manitowoc cases as a window into the American justice system.

“We have empathy for Manitowoc because we know that people have been reaching out in unkind ways and posting things about the city and the county,” Ms. Ricciardi said. “That’s an unfortunate response, because we have always wanted the series to be constructive, not destructive.”

28wisconsin5-web-master18028wisconsin4-web-master180Mr. Avery, now 53, and Mr. Dassey, now 26, have not seen the series, their lawyers said. Prisoners do not get Netflix. But as Mr. Dassey awaits a federal court decision on claims that his confession was coerced and that he had a right to a lawyer who would mount a defense, Netflix viewers have barraged him with letters of support, said his lawyer, Laura Nirider of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern Univ.

“He is incredibly hopeful for the first time that when people hear the name Brendan Dassey, they don’t think of a murderer, they think of someone who has been wronged,” she said.

And a new lawyer, Kathleen T. Zellner, well known for taking on wrongful conviction cases, has since signed on to handle Mr. Avery’s next legal step.

28wisconsin2-web-articleLargeAt the auto salvage yard, along dead-end Avery Road, tiny, jittery dogs watch from a green trailer where Dolores Avery, Mr. Avery’s mother, says she is too tired for more interviews. Years ago, I sat with her, her husband and a brother in the living room here as they insisted that Mr. Avery was being railroaded for a second time.

Standing in her doorway this month, Ms. Avery, a constant presence in the series, said she hoped people now saw “the crooked things the county has done” to her family.

But all the renewed talk, the calls for interviews from around the world? “I’m too old for this,” she said. “It’s too much.”

Recently, tourists have been spotted on the property, with its row after row of forgotten, snow-topped cars, stopping in front of the yellow and black Avery’s Auto Salvage & 24 Hour Towing sign to snap selfies.


Monica Davey is the Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times. She has worked for The Times for the past ten years, covering much of the Midwest and story lines that have included efforts to limit labor unions in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, struggles over abortion rights in Kansas, and the rise and fall of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (and a bunch of other Illinois politicians). Before The Times, Davey worked at the Chicago Tribune, The St. Petersburg Times (Fla.), The Roanoke Times (Va.) and City News Bureau of Chicago. She received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Brown University.



Groove of the Day

Listen to The Fortunes performing “You’ve Got Your Troubles (I’ve Got Mine)”


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72° and Clear


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