Thursday, July 31, 2008

Women With Troubles - July 2008

Reported in the news during July 2008, here is the compilation of women with troubles. Each name is linked to an Interested-Participant blog entry displaying details.

For a more comprehensive listing, check the Women With Troubles category link.
(AL) Jessica Heather Defoor, 34,
teacher - Arrested for inappropriate contact with female student,

(AZ) Heather Marie Bruner, 36,
neighbor - Arrested for beating up 69-year-old woman,

(CA) Melody Ybona Gawliu, 24,
teacher - Pleaded no contest to oral copulation of female student, 16. Sentencing TBD,

(CA) Kimberly Hald, 34,
juvie guard - Arrested for rape and kidnapping of juvenile male inmates,

(CA) Roselyn Hubbell, 33,
school counselor - Arrested for inappropriate relationship with teen boy,

(CA) Anne Ichord, 34,
teacher - Sentenced to probation for sex with student, 17,

(CO) Irene Marie Gomez, 38,
neighbor - Gets probation for long-term sex with boy, producing two children,

(CO) Heather Trujillo, 16,
babysitter - Gets no jail for death of sister, 7,

(DE) Rebecca A. Harris, 35,
neighbor - Arrested for sex assault of two boys, ages 9 and 7, over two-year period,

(FL) Jill Goldsmith, 31,
neighbor - Charges reduced from sex crime to simple battery. As a result, Goldsmith gets pretrial intervention instead of punishment,

(FL) Denise Harvey (aka Denise Brooks), 40,
neighbor - Convicted of sex with boy, 16. Sentencing in August,

(FL) Kristie Mathis, 35,
neighbor - Arrested for unlawful sex with "certain minors,"

(FL) Jennifer Russell, 43,
neighbor - Arrested for providing alcohol to minors and prancing nude in public,

(FL) Aida Schomburg, 45,
teacher- Arrested for allegedly molesting girl, 4,

(ID) Janice Earline Gates, 20,
neighbor - Charged with lewd conduct with boy under 16,

(ID) Dawn Seekamp, 37,
daycare operator - Arrested for allegedly breaking infant's bones,

(IL) Yolanda Dipert, 46,
neighbor - Sentenced to life in prison for multiple child sex crimes,

(IL) Sara F. Thompson, 27,
health counselor - Gets probation for sex with female patient,

(KS) Katherine J. Harder, 31,
teacher - Guilty of aggravated endangering of a child. Sentenced to 12 months "immediate probation,"

(KS) Ashley N. Thompson, 23,
neighbor - Guilty of attempted indecent liberties with boy, 14. Sentencing in August. Also faces rape charges in Missouri involving same boy,

(LA) Jennifer Davis,
teacher - Arrested for alleged cyberstalking of boy, 14,

(MI) Janelle Batkins, 42,
teacher - Gets probation for sex with student,

(MI) Stephanie Ann Stein, 31
teacher - Sentenced to 3 to 15 years in prison for sex with student,

(MO) Cathy Heminghaus, 46,
teacher - Guilty of having sex with students. Sentencing in August,

(MO) Angela Hurt, 33,
church youth leader - Gets probation for rape and sodomy of boy, 15,

(MO) Laura D. Kirkland, 25,
teacher/babysitter - Accused of raping boy, 11,

(MO) Angela M. Trouten, 31,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with boy, 15,

(NC) Jeannie Michelle Hodges, 39,
teacher - Charged with rape of male student, 15,

(NC) Leanne Elizabeth Macklin, 26,
teacher - Arrested for alleged sex with male student, 17,

(NE) Stephanie Draper, 35,
teacher - Faces charges of sex assault of boy, 14,

(NE) Lis Glenn, 24,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with boy, 13,

(NE) Kelsey Peterson, 26,
teacher - Pleads guilty to crossing state lines to engage in sex with boy, 13. Sentencing in Sept.,

(NH) Francine Barron, 34,
neighbor - Accused of raping boy, 12,

(NH) Ashley K. Dwyer, 19,
neighbor - Gets no jail for sex assault of boy, 15,

(NJ) Victoria Blevins, 23,
teacher - Gets probation for mixing it up with female student,

(NJ) Michelle Morano, 34,
teacher - Sentenced to nothing for conviction of sex assault of special education student, 17,

(NM) Annette Martinez, 25,
babysitter - Arrested for sex with boy, 14,

(NY) Cara Dickey, 30,
teacher - Charged with unlawful imprisonment and promoting suicide involving male student, 14,

(NY) Heather Kennedy, 25,
teacher - Pleaded guilty to having sex with boy, 16, and then was arrested again while waiting to be sentenced. Kennedy now faces new counts of rape and other sex crimes,

(NY) Kadessha Mulgrav, 34,
jail guard - Under investigation for intimacy with alleged cop killer,

(NY) Cora G. Putney, 19,
neighbor - Gets 60 days jail for sex with three boys, ages 11, 13 and 15,

(NY) Mandi Weeks, 27,
teacher - Arrested for sex assault of disabled male student, 15,

(OH) Stephanie Stolz, 49,
neighbor - Arrested for arranging contract murder of husband,

(OH) Carolynn Hatcher, 25,
group home housemother - Charged with felony sex involving boy, 16, with whom she became pregnant,

(OR) Sarah Jayne Bridges, 24,
teacher - Gets 60 days for rape of boy, 14. Likely to serve no time due to jail overcrowding,

(PA) Keri Ann Brekne, 28,
teacher - Pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault of girl, 14. Sentencing in October,

(PA) Amber Brewington, 21,
neighbor - Accused of attempting to murder her 4-month-old son by poisoning,

(PA) Carrie L. Dana, 28,
neighbor - Convicted of repeated rape of boy, 11. Sentencing in August,

(PA) Mary Steck, 51,
teacher - Gets probation for heroin possession,

(PA) Brittany N. Steward, 19,
babysitter - Sentenced to 11 and one-half to 23 months prison for negligent deaths of two toddlers,

(SC) Shannon Fowler, 37,
teacher - Arrested for inappropriate relationship with female student, 14,

(SC) Kimberly Wooten, 43,
neighbor - Gets 15 years prison for arson,

(SD) Marchelle Dawan West-Boston, 28,
neighbor - Pleaded guilty to rape of boy. Sentencing in August,

(TX) Virginia Isabel Cammack, 35,
teacher - Arrested for improper relationship with student, 17,

(TX) Melvina Strickland-Terry, 35,
teacher - Indicted for alleged sex with two male students, both under 17,

(WA) Jennifer Kolar, 34,
environmental extremist - Gets five years in prison for arson,

(WA) Ryann C. Springer, 25,
teacher - Gets four months jail for sexual misconduct with female student,

(WI) Brenda Baillargeon, 40,
neighbor - Gets one year in jail for sex with male student, 16,

(WI) Anne Knopf, 39,
teacher - Gets 9 months jail for sex assault of boy, 13,

(WI) Ashley R. Miller, 18,
neighbor - Charged with sex assault of boy, 12,

(WV) Vickie Nestor, 58,
neighbor - Arrested for sex abuse of young boy.
Thanks, as always, to the tipsters and commenters.
Health Care in Cuba - Dr. Hilda Molina Report

A scathing report on the health care system in Cuba was smuggled out of the country and published on the Norwegian website, Civita. The report was written by distinguished Dr. Hilda Molina, formerly of the Cuban National Assembly, and it describes a system of apartheid where foreign medical tourists receive quality care that is denied to Cubans.

Beginning in 1989, the entire Cuban health care system was directed to established mechanisms to turn the medical system into a profit-making enterprise for the government. Cuban government representatives traveled worldwide marketing "health tourism" to attract foreign currency. For motivation, a kickback system of payments was developed for foreign associates, recruited to steer patients to Cuba. Hospitals were urged to accept foreign patients with payments going to the government.

From Civita:
There are several significant flaws in this new Cuban medical system. Foreign patients are routinely inadequately or falsely informed about their medical conditions to increase their medical bills or to hide the fact that Cuba often advertises medical services it is unable to provide. Patients are often forced to pay intermediaries fees in excess of the 10 to 20 percent benchmark established by the Cuban government. There is also a deficiency of medical attention for both foreign patients and Cubans.

The lack of adequate professional qualifications, the absence of medical ethics, and the drive toward financial enrichment also characterize Cuba's medical system and often yield unfortunate results.

At present, all the medical institutions that government leaders believe are minimally equipped to treat foreign patients have been informed that the government will no longer provide financial support. Instead, they are expected to support themselves by selling their services.
A priority system was established to define who gets treated and how. The highest priority rests with foreigners, followed by government officials/military, athletes with good performance records, dancers, and lastly, ordinary Cuban citizens.

Even with high priority, though, foreigners may actually have their health jeopardized by the system. They are frequently pressured to have unnecessary treatments or operations, often by doctors without prerequisite qualifications. Foreign patients are also forced into paying for overpriced and frequently unnecessary Cuban-made pharmaceuticals, many of indeterminate, sometimes even hazardous, value.

Dr. Molina's moderately-long report is not marred by hysteria or revenge. Therefore, I believe the report is an honest assessment which belies intimate knowledge of Cuba, communism, and how the health care system has been turned into a fraudulent, albeit appealing, postcard designed specifically to attract foreigners and their currency.

NOTE: This post is an updated republication of a June 2006 entry. The subject matter is considered important enough to warrant additional exposure.
Why Obama waffles so much

A small but pointed excerpt from "One Cosmos":

The other day, I heard a brilliant analysis of Obama by Rush Limbaugh. He was pointing out that the reason he is reduced to such a stuttering prick (to quote Tommy DeVito) when off the teleprompter, is that he is a deeply divided person, either consciously or unconsciously (and undoubtedly both, in my opinion). He is the polar opposite of, say, Ronald Reagan, who always knew what he thought and could answer any question, for it was simply a matter of returning to first principles and applying them to the problem. Very scientific, if you will.

But one of the intrinsic problems in being a liberal is that you can never reveal your first principles, because if you explicitly articulate them, people will be repelled at what a contemptuous and supercilious asshat you are. Therefore, you must always couch them in terms of "compassion," or "helping the little guy," or "healing the planet," or "unity," or some other such blather. So in that regard, Obama is dealing with a more general problem that is intrinsic to liberalism, which is How to Fool the Idiots. One must be very cautious, because even the idiots are only so stupid. Thus Obama's constant verbal ticks: "uh, uh, uh, let me, uh, say this, uh, uh, I've been completely, uh, consistent about this, blah blah blah."

Being that liberalism is the political embodiment of multiplicity (or of an oppressive "bad unity" to try to heal it), it should not be surprising that its adherents are so intrinsically inconsistent. It's not so much that they are dishonest, but that the whole ideology is dishonest -- it is a lie from the ground up. Which is also why, the worse your character (or the less your intelligence), the better you will fare as a liberal politician, because you will be able to lie with great ease and even fool yourself.

Anyway, in Rush's analysis, he was pointing out that Obama is running several campaigns simultaneously, and that it is obviously a struggle for him to keep them all straight in his head, thus the great difficulty in being consistent and giving straight answers. Because of this, he is always one gaffe away from a major meltdown. For example, he's running one campaign for blacks, but an entirely different one for whites. (I won't even review the whole list, because it would take too much time, and I've already made my point; here is a list of the various irreconcilable positions which Obama must hopelessly try keep straight in his mind.)


Posted by John Ray.
Zimbabwe Cutting 10 Zeroes from Currency

(Harare, Zimbabwe) According to an announcement by the central bank yesterday, Zimbabwe will slash 10 zeroes off the national currency as of Friday.
The Zimbabwe Reserve Bank's announcement comes just one month after the country introduced a 100 billion dollar note that is now not even enough for a loaf of bread.

"We are removing 10 zeros. Ten billion dollars today will as from August 1 be revalued to one zimdollar," Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono told a meeting attended by President Robert Mugabe.

"Appropriate measures are being put in place to address the current setbacks being faced on the currency front, as well as on financial and accounting systems," he said.

The Reserve Bank will be issuing a new 500 zimdollar bill, equivalent to 5 trillion zimdollars under the current system.

With the world's highest inflation, at 2.2 million percent, the revaluation is likely to prove only a temporary fix for the national currency problem. The U.S. dollar officially trades for around 45 billion zimdollars, but the black market rate is reportedly far higher.
Apparently, changing the numbers on worthless paper will adequately address setbacks in financial and accounting systems. The currency is still worthless but there are now no setbacks. So, be happy.

By the way, in 1983 the Zimbabwean dollar was 1=1 with the U.S. dollar.
Animal Activists Threaten Researchers

(Salinas, California) This is blatant intimidation.
Santa Cruz police said threatening animal rights pamphlets that were left at a local coffee shop Tuesday contained the names, home addresses and phone numbers of people thought to be involved in animal testing, including University of California Santa Cruz researchers.

The back cover of the pamphlet threatened animal abusers saying they know where they live, work and that activists will not back down until the abuse stops.
The FBI was notified. The authors of the threats are presently unknown.

[Update 8/4/08]

Animal rights extremists firebomb the home of UC-Santa Cruz researcher David Feldheim.
Female Teacher, 37, Female Student, 14

(Aiken, South Carolina) A 37-year-old eighth-grade math teacher at Paul Knox Middle School, Shannon Fowler, has been arrested for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old female student.

Fowler faces charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, of enticing an enrolled child from attendance in school, and of violating mandated state test security regulations and procedures.
In one of the warrants against her, it states Fowler would contact the student at all hours of the day, engaging in conversations that were, according to agents, adult-themed.

Another warrant says the teacher would take the student off-campus without the permission of the girl's family. Agents say Fowler encouraged the girl to make up an imaginary student to hide the relationship from her family.

In another violation, the warrant states that Fowler discussed questions contained within a state standardized test. They also say she talked about other students and school personnel matters.
Fowler was booked into custody and later bonded out.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

950 Lashes for Phone Sex

(Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) I'm not exactly sure what the criminal offense is but the punishment is harsh.
A Saudi man is facing 600 lashes and his 'lover' 350 after a phone-sex affair that led to the woman's divorce.

Today a Saudi appeals court upheld a jail and flogging verdict against the biochemist and his female student whose research contact was ruled to be a front for the affair.

The biochemist, Khalid Zahrani, said today that he found out this week from the court offices that three judges had approved the verdict.

He was sentenced last year to eight months in prison and 600 lashes and his student to four months in prison and 350 lashes for establishing a telephone relationship that the court said led her to divorce her husband.
The woman's husband filed a complaint saying that Zahrani sweet-talked the wife into divorcing him.

Also: The Jawa Report
Woman Arrested for Unlawful Sex with Boy

(Seminole County, Florida) A 35-year-old local woman, Kristie Mathis, was arrested yesterday for allegedly engaging in unlawful sexual activity with "certain minors."

The parents of a 17-year-old boy alerted authorities that their son was possibly having sexual relations with Mathis.
The teen admitted to investigators that he had sex with Mathis at least 12 times over the past three months, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. He also admitted to drinking alcohol with her on several occasions, and she bought alcohol for him in some instances, deputies said. [...]

During an interview with investigators, Mathis said that she was a youth counselor for nine years and was only friends with the teen.

She invoked her right to have an attorney present during the interview, so she was not questioned about the sex acts, deputies said.
Mathis was booked into custody at the Seminole County Jail with bond set at $22,000.

Tip: slwlion

[Update 8/2/08]

(Lake Mary, Florida) Kristie Mathis was charged yesterday with an additional count of lewd and lascivious molestation in connection with allegations she inappropriately touched a 14-year-old boy last March.
Aide to Sen. Jim Webb Found Dead

Very strange.
Authorities in Botetourt County this morning discovered the body of a well-known Democratic operative and U.S. Senate aide along U.S. 220, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

The body of Frederick W. Hutchins Jr., 26, of Roanoke was found shortly after 7 a.m. along southbound U.S. 220 by a Botetourt County deputy who had stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the highway's shoulder, according to the sheriff's office.

Hutchins was an aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, D-Va.

Hutchins had been shot in the head, and a gun was found beneath his body, Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said. The sheriff added that the official cause of death would be determined by the state medical examiner.

Hutchins' body was outside the car, which was north of Fincastle, on a small embankment beside the road. Sprinkle said the death occurred between 4:30 a.m., when an officer passed the scene and no vehicle was present, and 7:08 a.m., when another officer stopped to check on the parked vehicle.
Homicide or suicide?
Town Government Shuts Down, Few Notice

(Portage, Ohio) Mayor Richard Gill of the small community of Portage (pop. 426) was notified last Friday of a problem with the town's insurance coverage so he suspended all village operations. The local government effectively ceased to exist with no police patrols nor other town services. Crime scene tape sealed off the local public park.

The insurance problem was ultimately resolved and the government began functioning again yesterday.

Interestingly, it's reported that few people noticed the lack of government.

McDonald's is digging in its heels in support of homosexuality

As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, McDonalds has this year gone political. They have been leaning over backwards to support the homosexual agenda -- homosexual marriage etc. Christian groups have objected to that and called for a boycott of McDonald's -- but McDonald's is unmoved:
"McDonald's, however, has been unapologetic about its pro-gay stance, asserting that organizers of the boycott are motivated by a hateful agenda against homosexuals. "Hatred has no place in our culture," McDonald's USA spokesman Bill Whitman told The Washington Post.


McDonald's can of course argue in favor of whatever they like but Christian groups can also then argue against McDonald's and ask Christian people to boycott them. Burger King must be rubbing their hands with glee.

But claiming that objections to homosexuality are "hate" rather than loyalty to Bible teachings is really going out on a limb. As a conservative commentator says:
"However, when McDonald's steps up to the mic to address the media, a veritable rainbow of true colors is revealed. While referring to customers with traditional family values, spokesman Bill Whitman regurgitated this little McNugget to the Washington Post: "Hatred has no place in our culture."

Nice job, Bill. I'm sure the hundreds of millions of customers you've just smacked down with this little insult are itchin' for a Happy Meal now.

Get it? If you happen to support the historical definition of marriage - which is, and has always been male-female - then you're a drooling, inbred hatemonger.


You would think McDonald's to be in too much trouble from the food freaks and obesity warriors to insult the majority of Middle America as well.

I rather hope that enough people feel insulted for it to show up in McDonald's bottom line. The executives responsible for this nonsense might then be fired.

The latest reports however are that McDonald's are not budging -- and neither are the Christian groups. As well as asking for a boycott, some groups are now picketing McDonald's branches.

I have always defended McDonald's from the food freaks who claim that McDonald's food is "unhealthy" but I think in future I will leave McDonald's to fight their own battles.

Predictably, the media are ignoring the Christian campaign. Claims that McDonald's food is unhealthy always get plenty of coverage, however.

Posted by John Ray.
Burger - $4.99, w/fees - $84.99

(Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) Local owner of Akron's Country Diner, Ed Davidian, was so outraged at having been assessed $80 in court costs when paying a $10 parking ticket that he retaliated.

Davidian added a new food item to his Country Diner menu -- The Hoover Courthouse Burger. The namesake is Judge Kim Hoover.
It is described as a one-third pound Angus burger with fries and coleslaw. The price is only $4.99. But then he adds ''cook fees'' of $54, a ''computer fee'' of $6 and ''project fees'' of $20, bringing the total to $84.99.
Davidian is urging the public to protest outrageous unregulated fees assessed by Ohio's courts.
NH Woman Gets No Jail for Sex with Boy, 15

(Dover, New Hampshire) In Stafford County Superior Court yesterday, 19-year-old Ashley K. Dwyer pleaded guilty.
Ashley K. Dwyer, of 989 Suncook Valley Road, Alton entered pleas of guilty to two Class A misdemeanors of sexual assault, and as part of her plea the state nol prossed the three Class B felonies of felonious sexual assault for which she was indicted in March, alleging she engaged in sexual conduct with the same boy.

According to court documents, Dwyer pleaded guilty to having sex with the boy in August and November of 2007. The acts occurred in New Durham in August and Durham in November.

Judge Steven M. Houran sentenced Dwyer to 12 months in the House of Corrections for each offense, but if imposed to run concurrent. The entire sentence is suspended pending two years of good behavior.
Dwyer was also ordered to tour the county jail and undergo a sex offender program evaluation. She was also prohibited from having contact with young boys under 16.

* * * * *

NH Woman, 19, Accused of Sex with Boy, 15
[Previous 3/29/08 post bumped]
(Dover, New Hampshire) A 19-year-old Alton woman, Ashley K. Dwyer, was indicted by a Strafford County grand jury for allegedly engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy on three occasions last year.

Dwyer faces three counts of felonious sexual assault, each punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

In most places, as I recall, a 19-year-old mixing it up with a 15-year-old is not criminal.
Teacher Anne Ichord Gets No Jail for Sex with Student - Updated

(Yolo County, California) Last Thursday, 34-year-old teacher Anne Ichord pleaded no contest to felony and misdemeanor unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and was sentenced to three years of probation.

The prosecution's case, undisputed by Ichord, rested on the following assertions:
The first encounter with the student occurred one evening in August 2005 when Ichord invited him to her home, according to police.

From there, prosecutors said there were at least four other sexual encounters between the two in her classroom.

Prosecutors said the student admitted to the affair after being questioned by police.
Ichord was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.

Inexplicably, according to Deputy District Attorney Steve Mount, once Ichord completes her probation, her felony conviction will be wiped from her record. Consequently, she could be eligible to teach again.

In summary, Ichord is caught and convicted for engaging in sex with a student, in the classroom even, and the justice system imposes a hand-slap while telling her she has a chance to get back in the classroom.

Wow! It seems that Yolo County is a most-accommodating location for female teachers who commit sex crimes. Call your travel agent.

* * * * *

History Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes
[Previous 6/5/06 post bumped]
(Woodland, California) A 32-year-old history teacher at Pioneer High School, Anne Ichord, was arrested Friday by Woodland Police for allegedly having unlawful sex with a 17-year-old student. Police were alerted by a tip from district school officials.

Ichord was booked on four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, two counts of oral copulation, and one count of sexual penetration which allegedly occurred during five incidents, four on school grounds. Ichord allegedly engaged in the sex with the boy during the 2005-2006 school year.

She has been released on bail.

Tip: Don Morgenstern

[Update 10/24/07]

Ichord trial date set for March 2008.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Drowning Will Stop Baby From Crying

(South Australia) People who have children must learn to expect crying. It's not unusual.
A MOTHER put her nine-month-old daughter into an aquarium filled with water after failing to settle the baby's crying, a South Australian court heard yesterday.

The 22-year-old, who cannot be identified, has pleaded not guilty in the District Court to endangering the life of the baby at her Blakeview home in May, 2007.

The father, who also cannot be named, told the court he and his then-partner had been arguing on the night the baby was allegedly put into the aquarium.

He said the child had been crying and his partner was not able to make her stop. He saw his partner walk past their bedroom and then saw her walk back without the child.

"Five to 10 seconds later I heard coughing, spluttering, splashing and screaming," he said. "I saw (the baby) face up on her back in the tank splashing, screaming, panicking."

He said he picked the child up out of the freezing water, which was about 30cm deep.

He called police.
I don't understand why the parents cannot be identified. Maybe Australia has a parents' privacy law. In any event, drowning is not an acceptable response for a crying baby.

Tip: slwlion
British High Court Allows Sikh Jewelry in Schools

(London, England) The British High Court ruled today that a 14-year-old Sikh girl, Sarika Watkins-Singh, is excluded from the "no jewelry" rule at Aberdare Girl's School in South Wales.

Watkins-Singh will be allowed to show her devotion to the Sikh faith at school by wearing the kara, a slim steel bracelet.

The decision regarding Watkins-Singh contends that the school had breached her religious and racial rights and unfairly burdened the teenager's freedom of religious expression.

Interestingly, the latest ruling is one of several inconsistent positions taken by British courts regarding religious expression in schools.

Whereas Sikh schoolgirl Watkins-Singh can wear her religious bracelet, Christian schoolgirl Lydia Playfoot was prohibited by the British High Court from wearing a "purity ring" and teacher Aishah Azmi was dismissed for refusing to remove her veil in the classroom. And, teen student Shabina Begum was banned from wearing full Islamic dress at Denbigh High School but only after the House of Lords overturned an earlier court ruling.

Based upon the obvious inconsistency in rulings from the British judiciary, it's hard to dispute the contention that taking a case to a Brit court is like opening a box of chocolates. You don't know what you're going to get.

Companion post at EdWatch.
Brits Lose 3,000 Blank Passports

(Manchester, England) Carrying a price of about $3,500 on the black market, a total of 3,000 blank British passports and visas were stolen from a delivery van.
THE FOREIGN Office have admitted a 'serious breach of security' after thousands of blank passports and visas were stolen from an unlocked white van in Greater Manchester when the driver nipped into a shop to buy a chocolate bar.

An urgent investigation was underway today into how the documents were plundered as they were being transported to an RAF base near London.
Authorities said the delivery vehicle had no special protective features and it was less than a mile from the production factory when hijacked.
The Manchester Evening News can reveal that the driver nipped into Yogi's News, on Long Lane at 6.40am on Monday.

He was buying a newspaper and chocolate bar when the raider jumped into the driver's seat and forced the head of the passenger against the dashboard.

The van was driven off with the delivery man on board before being abandoned nearby.
The British Home Office usually handles passports and their transport is via armored vehicle. However, the stolen items were under the purview of the Foreign Office since the passports were destined for overseas embassies. The Foreign Office doesn't provide the same level of security as the Home Office does.

Nevertheless, a Foreign Office spokesperson said the passports contain computer chips which would render them useless on the black market.

I'd suggest that the blank passports have some value or they wouldn't have been the apparent focus of a targeted hijack operation.
Obama wants more Haitians in America

Voodoo immigration?

Last year, when Sen. Barack Obama was making the circuit of conventions for journalists of color, the question was whether the prospective candidate was black enough. This year, when he appeared before the UNITY: Journalists of Color convention in Chicago, the presumptive Democratic nominee joked, "I'm too black."

Obama appeared Sunday at the close of the convention in a session aired live on CNN to talk about his observations from his trip to the Middle East and Europe, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. economy and questions from the journalists about faith, affirmative action, immigration and apologies for slavery and to Native Americans.

Asked whether he thought too many immigrants had been allowed into the U.S. and "who should be allowed" into the country, Obama said the issue wasn't whether to let immigrants in but to develop an official policy that makes it easier to become legal and discourages illegal immigration and penalizes employers who use illegal immigrants to avoid paying fair wages. He also said there should be greater equity across the board for immigrants as well, pointing out that "it's much harder for Haitians to immigrate, despite similar circumstances in need" as other groups that have been admitted legally.


Posted by John Ray.
Los Angeles Doctor Arrested for Sex Crimes

(Los Angeles, California) A 37-year-old prominent local doctor, Dr. Kevin Antario Brown, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly molesting eight patients, including a 15-year-old.

Dr. Brown, a U.S. citizen, is the son of Bermudan Premier Ewart Brown.
Brown was arrested July 8 at his home a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles. He initially was charged with sexual battery and exploiting his position as a doctor in incidents involving a female patient and a female undercover police officer posing as a patient.

Brown quickly posted $50,000 bail, but investigators were just getting started. The Los Angeles Police Department appealed for other potential victims to come forward.

Six more accusers did, and Brown was arrested again Monday. He was charged with 19 felony counts, including a lewd act on a 15-year-old child, rape, sexual battery by fraud and sexual exploitation.

Bail was set at $4 million after prosecutors argued Brown was a flight risk to Bermuda, in the Atlantic, or perhaps an island in the Caribbean.
The charges against Brown go back to 2006 but investigators are researching allegations going back 10 years to Brown's residency at Martin Luther King Jr. Drew Medical Center.
Teacher's Aide Guilty of Sex with Girl, 16

(Daly City, California) A 24-year-old teacher's aide at El Camino High School, Melody Ybona Gawliu, has pleaded no contest to one count of oral copulation with a 16-year-old female student she met at summer camp.

Naked photos of the girl were found on Gawliu's cell phone.
Gawliu worked as a teacher’s aide at El Camino High School in South San Francisco when, between Sept. 1, 2007 and Jan. 25, she engaged in a romantic relationship with a teen student she met that summer while serving as a counselor, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Teachers reported the situation to Child Protective Services after becoming suspicious of Gawliu after she brought balloons to school for the girl’s 17th birthday and Daly City police reported finding nude photos of the girl on Gawliu’s phone as well as a text message telling the girl to say to authorities nothing happened between them.
According to the plea agreement, Gawliu will receive no more than a year in jail and she will not have to register as a sex offender.

I predict she gets probation when sentenced.
Ouch! Great Balls Afire!

(San Luis Obispo, California) Earlier this month, two men were sentenced to time behind bars after admitting that they set fire to a friend's crotch after a night of drinking. The incident happened in January and resulted in Elliot Tuleja's testicles receiving second-degree burns.

Matthew Craig Pillers, a 22-year-old parolee, and Jack Brent Nicholas Keiffer, 19, pleaded no contest to a felony great bodily injury charge. Pillers got two years in prison and Keiffer got 45 days in San Luis Obispo County Jail.

Drunk, Pillers and Keiffer poured an alcohol-based cologne on a passed-out Tuleja's crotch and set his jewels aflame. It was a practical joke. Heh.

Monday, July 28, 2008

200 Federal Agents Raid Cuyahoga County Offices

(Cleveland, Ohio) Local officials are being investigated by the FBI and IRS. Reportedly, 200 federal agents executed search warrants.
The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service this morning executed search warrants at the Cuyahoga County administration building, the office of the county engineer, the county data center and the homes of several county officials, the outgrowth of a long-term public corruption investigation.

Phil Okonek, a special agent with the IRS, said warrants were executed to search offices on the third and fourth floors of the administration building at Ontario Street and Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland. He said search warrants were executed at other offices and homes around the county, but he would not be specific.

Several sources, including commissioner Peter Lawson Jones, said the offices of county commissioner Jimmy Dimora and county auditor Frank Russo were among those searched.

News reports said warrants also were executed at the county engineer’s office on the Superior Viaduct and at the county information services center on Euclid Avenue at Playhouse Square. The reports also said the homes of Messrs. Dimora and Russo were searched.

The office and home of J. Kevin Kelly, director of the county’s geographical information system, also were believed to have been searched.
You know it's going to be a bad week when, literally, scores of federal agents show up at reception areas first thing on a Monday morning. It's also noteworthy that reporting of the federal raid fails to indicate that the Cuyahoga County government is populated with Democrats.
Muslim C & W Singer

Kareem Salama would seem to be a most-unlikely personality. He a Muslim of Egyptian immigrant parents, born and schooled in the U.S., who sings country and western songs in Arabic.
In his songs, he draws on elements of Rock, Pop, Country and Folk music, as well as Islamic themes, Sufism, poetry and issues ranging from chivalry and nobility to war. [...]

He draws a parallel between old Arabic music and country music. "Both talk about virtues. A lot of storytelling. Storytelling is a huge thing in country music. They are very similar," he said.

However, he is quick to point out that in his opinion, modern Arabic music does not have much in common with country music.
At least tune-wise, there's no comparison between the two. Arabic music I've heard had no boots and sawdust character about it at all. I also suspect it would be an insult to Islam for a Muslim to sing a country song about cowgirls, pickup trucks, beer-drinking and hunting dogs.

Nevertheless, I wish Kareem good fortune and, given the opportunity, I'll lend an ear.
17 Dead in Istanbul Bombings

(Istanbul, Turkey) Two consecutive explosions in a busy shopping district have killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 150. Fifteen people are hospitalized in critical condition.
A newspaper reported on its web site that three teens, aged 16 and 17, were found late on Sunday in the basement of an apartment close to the explosions following a tip from residents.

The paper reported the three claimed they hid in the basement because they were frightened from the explosions. It did not cite sources but Turkish police often leak information to newspapers. Authorities on Monday raised the death toll from the explosions to 17.

The city's governor called it a "terror attack" but officials did not blame any specific group and no one immediately claimed responsibility. A television channel, citing security sources, said police suspect Kurdish rebels may be behind it because intelligence reports had suggested the rebels were planning a bombing campaign in Turkish cities.

"There is no doubt that this is a terror attack," Governor Muammer Guler told reporters.

The first bomb went off in the residential neighbourhood of Gungoren in a busy square closed to traffic where people congregate at night, witnesses said. A number of people rushed over to help the victims when a second, more powerful blast hit close by about 10 minutes after the first.

Many of the casualties were from the second explosion, witnesses said. "The fact that there was a crowd in the area has increased the number of casualties," the governor said.
According to Governor Guler, the bombings were not suicide operations, rather explosives were placed in rubbish bins and detonated sequentially. "Damage on the sidewalks and dustbins suggest us that it was a fragment bomb, and we think it was not a plastic explosive,” said Guler.

The bombings, just before 10 PM local time, came on the eve of court proceedings to determine whether to ban the Islamic-oriented ruling party for attempting to undermine secularism.

Also: The Jawa Report
Muslim Cross-Dressers Jailed

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Apparently, being a transvestite is frowned on by Sharia courts in Malaysia.
AN official says an Islamic court in northern Malaysia has jailed four Muslim men for taking part in a transvestite beauty pageant.

Mr Mohamad Abdul Aziz Mohamad Noor, a senior official in the Islamic department in Kelantan state, says the men were sentenced to seven days in jail and given a 1,000 ringgit (S$423) fine on Sunday after they pleaded guilty to cross-dressing.

He says the men were arrested together with 11 others on Friday for participating in the beauty pageant at a resort.
Other cross-dressers are expected to be charged next month.

Offhand, I'd guess that being veiled up in a burqa doesn't count.

Also: The Jawa Report
McCain is a man of good character but no brains

"I believe there needs to be a thorough and complete investigation of speculators to find out whether speculation has been going on and, if so, how much it has affected the price of a barrel of oil. There's a lot of things out there that need a lot more transparency and, consequently, oversight." Those are the words of presidential candidate John McCain. This man is the Republican?

There's more: "I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they've made but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. They're making huge profits and that happens, but not to say, 'We're in this so we can over time eliminate America's dependence on foreign oil,' I think is an abrogation of their responsibilities as citizens."

Let me get this straight. A potential president of a putatively free country scolds companies for "obscene profits," failure to invest in competing products, and therefore irresponsible citizenship. Why? Is McCain running for national economic commissar?

This is not the first time McCain has displayed what I would call an anti-capitalist mentality. In an early presidential debate he countered former businessman Mitt Romney's claim to superior executive experience by saying, "I led the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy, not for profit but for patriotism". Why the put down of profit? It's clear McCain does not understand how markets work or why they are good. He certainly doesn't understand the role of speculators and other middlemen. He's not alone. Speculators are among the most reviled people in history. When they were members of ethnic minorities, they have been easy targets for economically illiterate people who were jealous of their success.

McCain wonders "whether speculation has been going on." He needn't wonder. Speculation always goes on. Speculation means to take a risk on what the future holds in hopes of making a profit. The world's stock and commodities markets are based on this principle. Sen. McCain must have meant it when he said, "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues".


Posted by John Ray.
Killing for Islam

(United Kingdom) Check out what happens when the religion of peace and tolerance is coddled by bend-over British political correctness.
Nearly one third of Muslim students believe it can be acceptable to kill in the name of religion, according to a survey published yesterday.

It also found that 40 per cent want to see the introduction of Islamic sharia law in Britain, 40 per cent think it wrong for Muslim men and women to mix freely together, and 33 per cent want to see a worldwide Islamic government based on sharia law.

The findings were described by researchers at the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, which commissioned the poll, as 'deeply alarming'.
More at the link.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Transgender Locker Room Dilemma

(Cleveland, Ohio) A 53-year-old transgender, Karen Deamons, presents as a female but still has male equipment. As a consequence, Deamons has created a controversy among the membership at a local swimming pool.

If Deamons uses the men's locker room to change clothes, youngsters ask their parents uncomfortable questions. If Deamons uses the women's locker room, complaints are lodged by women because of the presence of male genitalia.

A frustrated Deamons has now filed a formal complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, claiming discrimination at the city-run Cudell Recreation Center. Furthermore, Deamons is pursuing legislation to prohibit cities from discriminating because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Frankly, this is all very confusing to me. Apparently biological gender determination can now be trumped by feelings of being trapped in the body of the opposite sex and it appears that a person can claim transgender status without ever changing his or her biological makeup. Confusion and apprehension on the part of the public are understandable.

[Update 7/29/08]

From another source:
Originally Deamons changed in the private toilet stalls of the women's locker room for about five months without conflict. At some point, a few women complained to Cudell Recreation Center administrators that Deamons made them uncomfortable. [...]

After the complaints, Deamons met with city officials. When asked if she had undergone sex reassignment surgery, she answered truthfully. Even then, she tried to work with the city.

As she was still pre-op, she agreed to use the men's locker room, which, according to the city, recreation center workers were supposed to empty for her use when she needed to change her clothes. The rec workers seldom emptied the locker room.

For over a year, Deamons kept her side of the agreement. She used the uncleared, male-filled men’s locker room the best she could -- even though, unlike the women’s locker room, the bathroom stalls in the men’s locker room have no doors.

Then, last month as she was dressing, a little boy asked why there was a woman in the men's room. Rather than be publicly embarrassed, Deamons attempted to change in an enclosed area in a separate women’s restroom. Pool workers promptly banned her from the pool for a week.

When she returned, rec employees insisted she sign into the pool on the men's registration sheet.

Deamons said she fears gangs will beat her up after seeing her emerging from the men's room or signing the men's registration sheet.
I'm opening myself to get beat up,
Refusing to sign the men's sheet, she is not allowed to swim.
I can't do it anymore. Every time I go through there, it's tearing my insides out.
As the mandate applies to all city pools, there is no public pool available for her to use. On her limited income, she cannot afford the pools at private clubs.

Cleveland Law Director Robert Triozzi said
We are being as accommodating as we possibly can, given the request that's being made, given her own personal situation, given where she's at in life. We're trying to be sensitive.
When other women interviewed recently at Cudell said they understand the dilemma but they would be uncomfortable with a transsexual woman openly changing in the women's locker room.
Since the government is now involved, it's sure that the taxpayers will take a hit. There will be a damages award or new legislation or a mandate for a third category of locker rooms for public swimming pools or maybe something else. In the long run, it might be cheaper to buy Deamons a personal swimming pool to resolve the problem.

Also: The Jawa Report
Teacher Ryann Springer Sentenced - Updated

(Kitsap County, Washington) After pleading guilty to a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor, Ryann Springer was sentenced this week to six months in jail.

Judge Anna M. Laurie deducted more than sixty days for time served since her May arrest, meaning Springer has just under four months remaining on her sentence. Laurie also said that Springer could serve her sentence outside of jail in work release or home monitoring.
After apologizing directly to her victim for her “bad judgment,” a former South Kitsap High School teacher was sentenced in Kitsap County Superior Court Tuesday to six months in jail for sexual misconduct with one of her students.

“I should have been the adult,” said Ryann C. Springer to the 17-year-old, who was joined by dozens more students, colleagues and family members of the 25-year-old defendant in the packed courtroom. “This was a very selfish decision I made, and I want you to know that nothing was your fault -- it was all my fault.”
Judge Laurie also issued an order of protection for Springer's victim for three years from the date of sentencing. Even though the female victim soon turns 18, Springer is to have no contact with her.

* * * * *

Female Teacher and Female Student
[Previous 5/23/08 entry bumped]
(Kitsap County, Washington) A 25-year-old teacher at South Kitsap High School, Ryann C. Springer, was arrested this week by the Port Orchard Police Department for allegedly engaging in sex with a 17-year-old female student.
According to the certificate of probable cause filed by the POPD, School Resource Officer Bob MacFann received a complaint regarding suspicious activity between Springer and the student. The activity was alleged to be sexual in nature and included inappropriate text messaging, touching and other behaviors.

When the alleged victim was later interviewed by MacFann and a member of the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Assault Unit, the student admitted to having sexual contact with Springer on “multiple occasions and in multiple locations,” which included the high school and Springer’s home in Gig Harbor.

The teen described the contact as inappropriate touching that had occurred at the high school, and sexual activity that occurred at the Springer’s home.
Springer was booked into custody at the Kitsap County Jail with bail set at $250,000.
Supremes disallow 'hate crime' law

'Preaching about sin of sodomy should not be made illegal'
"The Supreme Court in Pennsylvania has declared the "hate crimes" laws used to jail the Philadelphia 11 in 2004 violated the state constitution. In a four-line statement this week, the court said the ruling from the lower Commonwealth Court "is affirmed for the reasons ably set forth in the opinion of the Honorable James Gardner Collins, which opinion is adopted as that of the Supreme Court."

"We are very happy that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled in our favor to stop the governor and a group of corrupt politicians from sneaking a 'hate crimes' bill through the Pennsylvania legislature," said Judge Roy Moore, of the Foundation for Moral Law. "Preaching to homosexuals about the sin of sodomy should not be made a 'thought crime' in Pennsylvania or any other state," he said.

Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America and a petitioner in the case, said, "Having been arrested, jailed and charged with a 'hate crime' for preaching the Gospel, I am elated that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling in striking down Pennsylvania's expanded 'hate crimes' law." ...

The group of Christians, who were given the title Philadelphia 11, had been giving their testimony on public property at the city's tax-funded celebration of homosexuality in the city's downtown in 2004. But based on a 2002 "hate crimes" plan then in force in the state, they were arrested, jailed and threatened with up to five decades in jail.

The criminal charges later were dismissed and the group members then challenged the law itself, suing over its adoption. The Supreme Court's ruling affirms the 4-1 decision in the Commonwealth Court that the amendments were unconstitutional.


Posted by John Ray.
Mexicans Arrested for Assaulting Officer

(Tombstone, Arizona) Two illegal aliens from Mexico, Eliaquim Lopez, 21, and Jesus Tapia, no age reported, were arrested after a traffic stop led to an assault on an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer.
The vehicle, which had been pulled over for unsafe lane use, stopped and then sped away as the officer approached the vehicle, stopping in a dirt pullout, according to the DPS.

The driver, also an illegal immigrant, tried to run, then the officer tried to restrain him, at which time the officer was attacked by a passenger who attempted to choke him. After the officer broke free, the men fled.

Six other illegal immigrants were in the vehicle and held at gunpoint by the officer until help arrived. The two men who fled were arrested by Border Patrol agents at about 11:20 p.m. Thursday.
Lopez and Tapia were booked into custody at the Cochise County Jail.

Since the reaction to a traffic stop is met with violence against the police, one might suggest that the run-of-the-mill illegal has no fear nor respect for law enforcement officers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama's Organizers Kumbaya for Voters

(St. Louis, Missouri) According to a report in the WaPo, voter registration volunteers for Barack Obama were told during St. Louis training sessions to canvas the public with a line of personal, heart-plucking stories about why Obama should be viewed as a prophecy fulfilled.

During training, the volunteers are "encouraged to perfect their stories, a short narrative suitable for doorsteps and living rooms about where they came from and why they care about Obama."

There have been 23 formal training sessions in 17 states, producing more than 3,000 Obama volunteers agreeing to work at least six 30-hour weeks bolstering the grass-roots effort.
More than 10,000 people applied for slots as "Obama Organizing Fellows" and about 5,500 were interviewed by telephone, answering such questions as "Why Barack?"
Obama state director Buffy Wicks and field director Peachy Myers run the recruiting effort out of St. Louis, screening and training the mostly 20-something volunteers. Neither Buffy nor Peachy disputed the contention that the Obama campaign is largely Kumbaya-themed. Buffy said, "for us it's about winning."

Also: The Jawa Report

Tip: C & S comment thread
Fined for Smoking in Private Vehicle

(Llanafan, Wales) The Brits are going too far with anti-smoking law enforcement.
FUMING Gordon Williams lit up a fag at the wheel of his van -- and was fined for breaking anti-smoking laws.

The self-employed painter and decorator was told by council officials he had broken the law by smoking in his work vehicle.

Dumbfounded Gordon, 58, who had finished work for the day and was popping to the shops for teabags, was fined £30.

He said he was pulled over by officials making random checks.

He said: "I was told that because my van is my place of work I had broken the smoking laws.

The van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work. It’s not my place of work -- I decorate houses not vans."
I'm guessing that Mr. Williams would not have been cited if he had said he was smoking medical marijuana.
Mick Jagger Now 65

Today is Mick Jagger's birthday so wish him the best. This means that he qualifies for free bus travel throughout England and a pension of about £91 a week ($180). Plus:
He can now look forward to free prescriptions -- helpful for a man who might have to call on Viagra with a girlfriend two decades his junior.

He will receive help with home insulation through his gas and electricity provider -- for those ageing joints.

Free dental treatment will now be available to keep his famous pout in order.

Free sight tests and vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses will be on offer too.

He is also entitled to council tax benefits, which should come in handy with his sprawling portfolio of British properties.

Plus he can claim social fund payments to help him with small one-off expenses such as buying a cooker or bedding, or funeral costs -- or perhaps a bunch of grapes for Ronnie [Wood] in rehab. He will receive winter fuel payments and child tax credit -- handy with his seven kids.
Happy birthday, Mick, you old fart.
Wikipedia versus "Knol"

I recently put up on Paralipomena an article about "Knol" -- the new Google alternative to Wikipedia. I imagine that most readers here are well aware that Wikipedia is totally unreliable on politically contentious matters. Anything opposed to Green/Left beliefs gets wiped rapidly -- sometimes within minutes. Try to find on Wikipedia anything much that argues against global warming if you don't believe me. Leftists have been devotees of political censorship ever since Napoleon. They just cannot afford to have people hear the whole story about their nonsense. And Wikpedia turns them loose.

One has to laugh at Wikipedia protestations of "neutrality". The bias is so bad that some people are predicting the demise of Wikipedia.

So an alternative that allows only the original author to delete stuff was badly needed. And Knol seems to meet that need. I thought therefore that I might help to get the ball rolling by putting up a few articles. The first one I put up is here.

I soon began to see the virtue of the Google approach. I have already received several steamed-up and ill-informed emails from a guy named Cyrus Robinson ( who objects to what I have written. Clearly, if I had put the same stuff up on Wikipedia, he would have deleted it immediately. But on Knol he cannot.

It's ironical that the Leftists at Google are doing something that may help conservatives so I wonder how long that can last. Will Google start finding pretexts to delete conservative comments? Time will tell.

Posted by John Ray.
Wheelchair Driver Pulled Over on Autobahn

(Berlin, Germany) A 96-year-old pensioner, Ludwig M., was pulled over by police yesterday afternoon for driving his wheelchair on the autobahn. He left his retirement home to get some flowers.
The pensioner Ludwig M. went rolling down the Berlin highway in his "Nevada"-model electric wheelchair, which travels at a top-speed of 15 kilometres per hour, the paper [tabloid daily B.Z.] reported. He travelled more than 4 kilometres over cobblestones and asphalt in heavy traffic to reach the flower shop on Tuesday, but ended up on the autobahn when he made a wrong turn on his way home.

"I just wanted to get some flowers for my apartment," he told B.Z. "But I didn't want to take the Autobahn."

Police stopped Ludwig M. around 2 pm as he made his way back home with flowers after he realized he'd taken a wrong turn and tried to negotiate his wheelchair between cars stuck in thick traffic before ending up on a highway to Königs Wusterhausen in the neighbouring German state of Brandenburg.
Police took Ludwig home without writing a ticket.

Friday, July 25, 2008

NJ Teacher Gets No Jail for Sex with Student - Updated

Teacher Michelle Morano, 34, was able to walk out of court today as Judge Donald J. Volkert Jr. sentenced her to no jail for a conviction of sex assault of a special education student. Despite a call by the prosecution to have Morano spend a year in jail, Judge Volkert gave her three years of probation.

The married, mother-of-two was stripped of her teaching credentials in New Jersey, however, so far there is no indication that she is required to register as a sex offender. It's quite a lenient resolution to the case, I believe.

* * * * *

New Jersey Teacher Accused of Sexual Assault
[Previous 3/24/07 post bumped]
(North Caldwell, New Jersey) A 33-year-old English teacher at West Essex Regional High School, Michelle Morano, was arrested yesterday for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student from late 2006 until January. Morano is charged with sexual assault.

Authorities were tipped to the relationship during the performance of an unrelated insurance fraud investigation. No elaboration was provided.

Morano was booked into the Essex County Jail with bond set at $200,000. A court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
Woman Accused of Prancing Naked with Teens

(Edgewater, Florida) A 43-year-old woman from New Smyrna Beach, Jennifer Russell, was arrested for providing alcohol to teens and allegedly running around a public park naked during a game of "truth or dare."
Russell was spotted running near a park bathroom carrying a shirt while wearing only a bra, according to Edgewater police investigators.

The teens who were with Russell said she provided alcohol and was going to expose her breasts to them, according to police.
Russell faces charges of lewd and lascivious behavior. She was booked and released on bail.

Tip: slwlion
Russian Skinheads on Trial

(Moscow, Russia) Two 17-year-old skinhead gang leaders, Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, are to be tried behind closed doors for murdering 20 migrants from Central Asia and the Caucuses.
The two on trial led a gang of seven others between the ages of 17 and 22. They videotaped the attacks and posted them on the internet, Russia's Vesti-24 channel reported.

"The criminal skinhead group is charged with 20 premeditated murders, 12 attempted murders and fomenting racial hatred," Moscow City Court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova said, according to Reuters.

There has been a jump this year in the number of racially motivated attacks and murders. In the first three months of 2008, more than 50 people were stabbed in Moscow alone.
These guys, if convicted, should be forever removed from society.
Judge Orders Name Change

(Wellington, New Zealand) A judge has ordered that a nine-year-old girl named 'Talua Does the Hula from Hawaii' be given a new name.
"It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap," Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt said, ruling that the nine-year-old be made a guardian of the court until she gets a new name.

The girl, subject of a custody battle between her separated parents, told the judge she was so embarrassed she had not revealed her given name, which was not officially registered, to her friends for fear of being mocked and teased, the Taranaki Daily News reported.

The judge told the paper that Family Court judges were "dismayed by the eccentricity of names" that parents were giving their children, citing twins named Fish and Chips and Benson and Hedges (a brand of cigarettes).

Other names included Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay, Fat Boy, Cinderella Beauty Blossom, Got Lucky and Sex Fruit, he said.

Tip: Brian Kissack
Old Women Sentenced for Murders

(Los Angeles, California) Last week, Superior Court Judge David Wesley sentenced Helen Golay, 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, to life in prison without possibility of parole for murdering two indigent men to collect on their life insurance policies.

They were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to murder for the deaths of Paul Vados, 73, and Kenneth McDavid, 50.
The women were convicted of a scheme in which they befriended homeless men, took out policies, and then killed them in murders staged to look like hit-and-run auto accidents.

Prosecutors say the women collected $2.8 million before the scheme was uncovered.

The judge said the two men they killed needed only food, water and shelter.

''They needed a helping hand. They thought they were getting this from you,'' Wesley said. ''Instead these unfortunate men were sacrificed on your altar of greed.''
Gloria Allred, a lawyer for the victims' families, said, "This is tantamount to the death penalty. They will die in prison. I think that's a just sentence.''

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
Delaware Women Accused of Child Rapes

(Dover, Delaware) A 35-year-old local woman, Rebecca A. Harris, was arrested this week for the alleged continuous sexual assault of two boys, ages 9 and 7, for a period of two years.

Harris faces 30 counts of rape, 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, and other charges. Police started investigating the alleged abuse after the boys provided information to the Division of Family Services.

Harris was booked into custody at the Baylor Women's Correctional Institution with bond set at $323,000.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
Racist to diss Obama -- says hip-hop artist "Nas" and 620,000 others

I guess Nas didn't really mean his song "Hate Me Now":
"At 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, Nas is joining the Web sites and to deliver a petition with more than 620,000 signatures demanding that the network end what the organizations call a "pattern of racist attacks against black Americans including presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle." "Fox poisons the country with racist propaganda and tries to call it news," Nas said in a statement. A spokesperson for Fox News could not be reached for comment at press time.

A press release announcing the event accuses the network of an alleged pattern of incidents, which "many believe are a veiled attempt to prey on racism and intolerance and cast the Obamas as `outsiders,' " citing as evidence an onscreen graphic that referred to the candidate's wife as "Obama's baby mama," a pundit who "confused" Obama with terrorist al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and then joked that both should be "assassinated," and the now-infamous comment by a Fox anchor who described the Obamas' fist bump as a "terrorist fist jab." It also cites an incident in February, when Nas nemesis Bill O'Reilly talked about calling a "lynching party" to deal with Michelle Obama.


I think the 620,000 would have a lot more reason to criticize Fox if Fox used the sort of language that Nas uses in songs such as "Shoot 'Em Up", "Got Urself A Gun" etc.

See here for the Fox response to the petition.

Posted by John Ray. THREE toons on OBAMA WATCH today.
Serial Bombings in Bangalore

(Bangalore, India) Earlier today, seven bombs exploded across Bangalore, home to most of India's information technology and outsourcing businesses. At least two people were killed and up to 20 are reported to be wounded.

The blasts occurred over the span of an hour, starting about 1:20 PM local time. Schools, theaters and shopping malls were closed.
"In all these cases they have created the blast using timer devices," Bangalore Commissioner of Police Shankar Bidri told reporters at the site of one of the blasts. "Explosives have also been used, in quantity equal to one or two grenades."
The devices were described as "crude" and bearing the hallmarks of the Bangladeshi terror group Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami.
Islamist militant groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh intent on fanning hatred between Muslims and Hindus in India, and damaging a fragile peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad, are often blamed for bomb attacks in India.

In May eight bombs, many strapped to bicycles, ripped through a crowded shopping area in the western city of Jaipur, killing 61 people and injuring hundreds more.
According to the Indian Intelligence Bureau, the SIMI (Student's Islamic Movement) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (Islamic Army of the Pure) may be responsible for the blasts. The usual suspects have been rounded up and are being questioned.

Also: The Jawa Report
Mosque Collapse Kills 8 in China

(Qinghai Province, China) A mosque being built in northwest China and nearing completion collapsed yesterday, killing at least eight people.

Authorities have ruled out earthquake damage and are investigating a possible support beam failure.
Meanwhile, police have detained a building contractor in connection with the accident, in which a child was among the dead.

"The child was an 8-year-old village boy who was playing around the construction site, when the mosque suddenly collapsed," said Han Lutai, the imam of Xiajiuzhuang Village in Qinghai Province, who raised the fund for the mosque building.

Both Han and the rescuers have confirmed 31 people, all villagers of Hui ethnic group, were at the construction site, when the accident occurred at 5:20 p.m. on Thursday in Taer Town of Datong Hui and Tu Autonomous County.

Seven died at the scene, and one of the four severely injured people taken to hospital died after failing to respond to treatment, said an official with the Qinghai provincial emergency rescue and fire brigade.
Taer town is home to more than 15,000 Muslim ethnic Hui people.
Mom Accused of Poisoning Infant Son

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) A 21-year-old local woman, Amber Brewington, was arrested last week for attempting to kill her four-month-old son, Noah King.

Brewington is accused of injecting saltwater into the infant's feeding tube. She has been charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

A judge ordered a psych evaluation at the Allegheny County Jail. Brewington's two other children are with a relative in Tennessee. The infant is in critical condition at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

On Wednesday, Brewington appeared in court for a preliminary hearing. Her lawyer said her psych evaluation was inconclusive, therefore, another will be performed. The preliminary hearing was rescheduled for August.

With respect to motive, there have been discussions regarding Brewington's relationship with her baby's father, Terry King, 39. It's been claimed that Brewington was brutally battered by King and she also suffered from post-partum depression. Additionally, the thought of Munchausen syndrome by proxy has been floated.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Denver's Super-Secret Convention Security Plan

(Denver, Colorado) Crowd control at the Democrat National Convention?

"No problem," says the Denver City Council, apparently. "We can do it with our hands tied behind our backs while bending over for the ACLU," members say or so it would seem.
Denver officials expect to spend more than $18 million on police equipment for the Democratic National Convention -- but the purchases apparently won't include high-tech weapons that use sonic waves to incapacitate protesters or goo guns to immobilize them.

That information, provided by the city to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an agreement to delay a public records lawsuit, marks one of the most detailed looks yet at the super-secret efforts to provide security for the convention, scheduled Aug. 25 to 28.
So, since the details of the super-secret security plan are being published a month before the convention, protest groups now know that they don't have to buy earplugs and anti-goo shields.

By the way, goo guns shoot out a substance that looks (link is video) like snot and the idea of seeing television images of snot-covered protesters would arguably be quite entertaining. Sadly, though, it's not to be. The City Council has put the kibosh on the goo gun.

Also: The Jawa Report

Tip: Charley Nestor
Why is the right happier than the left?

Summary and comments by Andrew Norton below followed by a few comments from me -- JR

So far as I am aware, every survey that asks about political orientation and happiness finds that right-wingers are happier than left-wingers. In the 2007 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, Liberal identifiers were a massive 13% ahead of Labor identifiers as describing themselves as `very happy', 40%/27%. At his blog, Winton Bates summarises a new article on this subject, by Jaime Napier and John Jost in the June issue of Psychological Science, this way:
The study suggests that some of the association between political orientation and subjective well-being is accounted for by beliefs about inequality. The authors examined the effect of introducing ideological variables - relating to beliefs about inequality and meritocracy- in regression analyses explaining life satisfaction in the U.S. and nine other countries. They found that when the ideological variable was introduced into the analysis it took some of the explanatory power away from the political variable. .

The authors conclude that "inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives, apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light"

I don't doubt that there is a statistical relationship between beliefs about inequality, meritocracy, and getting ahead that helps explain why leftists are not as happy as conservatives and others on the right. Even the new president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks, makes this point in his book Gross National Happiness.

But how likely is that when people are asked how happy they feel, their mind turns to ideological rationalisations of inequality? Why would some local income inequality disturb some respondents so much, and not all the people who are sick in hospital, or dissatisfied with their personal relationships, or any of the other things known to have big negative effects on personal well-being?

I think there is a better theory, one that is more consistent with the subjective well-being literature, which explains this result: that both lower average happiness and leftism have a common link to a weaker sense of personal control and optimism. Both these attributes are strongly correlated with happiness; and one of the tasks of the `positive psychology' movement (the clinical side of subjective well-being research) is to try to enhance these senses.

For example, in the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2005 those who agreed or strongly agreed that they had a good chance of improving their standard of living were more than twice as likely as those who disagreed or strongly disagreed to rate themselves at 9 or 10 on a 0 to 10 happiness scale. By lesser margins, those who thought that they could get a new job at least as good as their current one, and those who enjoyed having a lot of choices, were significantly happier than those who thought it would be difficult to get a new job or did not enjoy having choices.

When we tabulate these against party ID, Liberal supporters are 10 to 23 percentage points more likely to give answers suggesting that the respondents feel in control and optimistic about the future.

People who don't feel like they are fully in control of their lives or optimistic about their own prospects are more likely to support left-wing parties, which promise to look after them. But optimistic and in-control people are more likely to want the government to let them get on with their lives without interference, and support right-of-centre parties.

Societal inequalities may play a role in why people feel the way they do, but I would hypothesise that it has more to do with the how the respondent feels that it affects him/her personally than with inequality in general. Americans, for example, tend to be much more optimistic about their prospects than Europeans, even though actual social mobility is similar in both places.

But neither liberals nor conservatives (in the American senses of those words) are likely to directly consider inequality when asked about their personal happiness. Conservatives won't rationalise it because they won't think about it; and unless they are highly ideological (such as being a university academic) `liberals' won't think about it either. But their lack of control and optimism will affect their answer.


I am always surprised that the Left/Right happiness gap is not greater. Pervasive dissatisfaction with the world about one is the defining characteristic of Leftism. It is what Leftism is. That the gap is not greater probably shows that most people are not very political.

The academic explanation given above by Jost & Co. is absurd. They show that by removing ideology from the equation, the gap is less. So if you take most of the Leftishness out of Leftism, the gap is less. Big deal! True-by-definition or artifactual findings are of course exceptionally uninteresting but parading such findings as empirical fact is an old dodge of the intellectually second-rate. It's not the first example of extraordinarily poor scholarship from John Jost, of course. The relevant journal abstract is presented below: -- JR

Why Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals?

By Jaime L. Napier and John T. Jost

In this research, we drew on system-justification theory and the notion that conservative ideology serves a palliative function to explain why conservatives are happier than liberals. Specifically, in three studies using nationally representative data from the United States and nine additional countries, we found that right-wing (vs. left-wing) orientation is indeed associated with greater subjective well-being and that the relation between political orientation and subjective well-being is mediated by the rationalization of inequality. In our third study, we found that increasing economic inequality (as measured by the Gini index) from 1974 to 2004 has exacerbated the happiness gap between liberals and conservatives, apparently because conservatives (more than liberals) possess an ideological buffer against the negative hedonic effects of economic inequality.


Posted by John Ray.
43 Mexican Illegals Busted in Hawaii

(Honolulu) I would wager a paycheck that they didn't swim 2,500 miles to sneak into Hawaii.
Federal officials said they netted 43 illegal aliens in an immigration raid on O'ahu.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Officers executed search warrants over the weekend at the Oasis Apartments complex in Waipahu.

Agents said the aliens were employed by a company called The Farms which does agricultural work. The 43 men were all citizens of Mexico.
Immigration officials are investigating whether the Mexicans used fraudulent identification. I'd suggest they look at boats in Honolulu harbor that arrived from Mexico -- uh -- or San Francisco.

Also: Diggers Realm

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