Monday, June 30, 2008

Women With Troubles - June 2008

Reported in the news during June 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) Julie Pritchett, 34,
teacher - Charged with sodomy, sex assault for allegedly doing high school boys,

(AL) Charlene Schmitz, 55,
teacher - Sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for child enticement,

(AZ) Veronica Bullock, 29,
neighbor - Probation revoked. Sentenced to 5 years prison for sex crime,

(CA) Starkeisha Brown and Krystal Matthews, 24 and 21,
neighbors - Arrested for torturing Brown's son, 5,

(CA) Franca and Antonia Munoz-Juvera, 27-year-old twins,
teachers - Sentenced to 8 and 4 months jail, respectively, for sex with girl, 16,

(FL) Danielle Lynnette Jones, 32,
teacher - Arrested for alleged sex with two boys, 14 and 16,

(FL) Christine Jouini, 38,
teacher - Arrested for sex with boy, 16,

(FL) Adrienne Laflamme, 60,
teacher - Arrested for allegedly engaging in sex with male student, 17,

(FL) Angela Leavitt, 28,
neighbor - Faces charges of unlawful sex with boy, 16,

(GA) Shandrell Banks, 29,
neighbor - Sentenced to life in prison for murdering daughter, 2,

(GA) Tonya Craft,
teacher - Charged with illegal sexual conduct with four girls,

(GA) Tamesha Suarez (aka Tameisha), 33,
neighbor - Arrested for killing neighbor and kidnapping baby,

(IL) Cassie Hall, 32,
neighbor - Sentenced to 18 years prison for sex assault of boy, 8,

(IL) Tiffany Hall,
neighbor - Sentenced to life in prison for four murders and an intentional homicide,

(IN) Elizabeth C. Agee, 23,
juvenile care worker - Accused of sex with boy, 17,

(MA) Candice A. Kelly, 39,
teacher - Caught in drug sting,

(MI) Janelle Batkins, 42,
teacher - Pleaded no contest to criminal sexual conduct. Sentencing in July,

(MI) Tamara Lynne Poole, 38,
teacher - Sentenced to two to 15 years prison for home invasions,

(MI) Stephanie Ann Stein, 32,
teacher - Convicted of sex crimes by jury. Sentencing in July,

(NC) Shannon Lynn Best, 33,
teacher - Sentenced to nothing for sex with 18-year-old female student,

(NC) Shebana Rajput,
teacher - Arrested for sex assault of male student, 17,

(NC) Leslie Marie Troup, 23,
teacher - Faces sex crime charges due to relationship with male student under 18,

(NJ) Cecelia Schneider, 54,
teacher - Guilty of child porn charges. Sentencing TBD,

(NY) Kristina Caban, 23,
college student - Sentenced to 5 years prison for branding date with hot iron,

(NY) Cara Dickey, 28,
teacher - Accused of inappropriate relationship with 8th-grade boy,

(NY) Elizabeth Munn, 32,
teacher - Sentenced to 6 months jail for rape of boy, 15,

(OH) Amy Farrell, 40,
neighbor - Sentenced to 3 years prison for sex with foster son, 13,

(OH) Renee L. Frye, 28,
neighbor - Guilty of sex with boy, 14. Sentencing TBD,

(OH) Virginia Johnson, 38,
neighbor - Arrested for molesting daughter,

(OH) Maggie Laughlin, 23,
teacher - Arrested for allegedly performing sex acts on boy, 15, in classroom,

(OR) Sarah Jayne Bridges, 24,
teacher - Arrested for rape of middle school boy,

(PA) Angela Honeycutt, 38,
neighbor - Arrested for being naughty with six boys, ages 14 through 16,

(TN) Tabitha McKinney, 29,
neighbor - Accused of forcing boy into sex,

(TX) Dayna Crenshaw, 33,
girls' coach - Arrested for alleged improper relationship with girl, 18,

(TX) Veronica Herrera, 28,
neighbor - Sentenced to 80 years in prison for killing boyfriend's three-year-old son,

(TX) Emily Kate Janes, 21,
teacher - Pleaded guilty to engaging in sex with student. Sentencing TBD,

(UT) Jennifer Candida Gonzales, 33,
neighbor - Convicted of attempted forcible sex abuse. Sentencing in July,

(VA) Michele Lynne Auville, 35,
teacher - Arrested for possession of crack cocaine,

(WI) Jaime M. Foss, 32,
child care worker - Arrested for violating bail conditions in sex assault case,

(WI) Michelle E. Shufelt, 25,
educator - Sentenced to probation for misdemeanor sex with a child.
As always, thanks to the tipsters.
Lesbians On Motorcycles

(San Francisco) From Mercury News:
A lesbian motorcycle group dressed in wedding gowns and wearing bridal veils lent a matrimonial touch to San Francisco's gay pride parade Sunday as revelers celebrated their newfound freedom to marry.
The name of the lesbian motorcycle gang wasn't disclosed.
Average TV Viewer Is 50 Years Old

From Variety:
According to a study released by Magna Global's Steve Sternberg, the five broadcast nets' average live median age (in other words, not including delayed DVR viewing) was 50 last season.

That's the oldest ever since Sternberg started analyzing median age more than a decade ago -- and the first time the nets' median age was outside of the vaunted 18-49 demo.
The median age of all American households is 38.
Ahmadinejad Accuses U.S. of X-Ray Assassination Plot

(Tehran, Iran) According to Iran's former ambassador to Rome, the U.S. attempted to assassinate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with high intensity X-rays during a trip to Italy earlier this month.
"On the eve of the [Iranian] president's visit to Rome, we checked the radiation levels in his temporary residence," Abolfazi Zohrevand told Iran's IRNA news agency.

"We found out that the radiation was higher than normal and its intensity was rapidly increasing," he said, adding that several devices were used to avoid potential error in readings, but they all showed the same results.

Earlier, Ahmadinejad himself mentioned another assassination attempt during his March visit to Baghdad and said only changes to his schedule had foiled the plot. However, the West and even some inner Iranian circles dismissed his allegations.

The Iranian president pledged last week to provide proof that the United States was behind an attempt on his life in Iraq.
Using some sort of portable high-intensity radiation device for assassination doesn't make sense. Who is going to carry it around? Ten tons of lead would be needed to protect the operator alone. There are much more effective and quicker methods of killing a person.

I wonder if Ahmadinejad is a bit paranoid.

Also: Jawa Report
Teacher Gets Prison for Home Invasions

(Muskegon, Michigan) A 38-year-old substitute teacher, Tamara Lynne Poole, was sentenced this month after pleading guilty to invading homes to find prescription drugs.
"That is the insidious, pernicious nature of the whole drug scene -- that it leads to this," said Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti as he imposed sentence on Tamara Lynne Poole of Grand Haven.
Poole had been under police surveillance as a suspect in home invasions when she was seen leaving Mona Shores High School and entering a neighborhood house by the back door. Later, she was arrested trying to enter another house. According to prosecutor Tony Tague, Poole admitted to being addicted to painkillers Ultram and tramadol and she searched for those drugs.

Poole received two to 15 years in prison for second-degree home invasion and a concurrent one year in prison for attempted home invasion in a separate case. She receives credit for 111 days time served.
NYC councilman: Criticism of Mugabe is racist

We read:
"New Yorkers and longtime HA readers will know exactly which councilman it is. For the rest, it's Charles Barron, who dabbles in apologizing for the worst socialist degenerate dictators when he isn't busy calling black cops "house negroes" or fantasizing about slapping white people randomly for his mental health. He played host to Mugabe in NYC six years ago; these days he confines himself to denying that his pal's thugs are raping and murdering women from the opposition.


Video clip at the link above

Posted by John Ray.
Transportation Space Requirements

In Europe, the minimum space guidance specified for transporting people and farm animals on trains is as follows. Data are in square meters per kilogram of live animal/person.
Chickens - 0.02

Goats - 0.0086

Calves - 0.008

People - 0.0062
Therefore, if people complain that they are being packed in commuter trains like farm animals, they should be corrected. Farm animals are allocated considerably more space according to European Union and British government requirements.

Some animals are simply more equal. Chickens, for example, get to enjoy more than three times the space allocated for humans.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mom Accused of Beating Son

(Fayetteville, North Carolina) A 22-year-old mother, Rhiana Erica Lingham, has been charged with felony child abuse for allegedly beating her three-year-old son.

Investigators found numerous marks on the boy's torso, legs and groin.
Lingham initially was charged with misdemeanor child abuse but because of the severity of the marks and the pain they caused, investigators opted for the felony violation, the release said.

Lingham is charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury, the release said.

The boy has a congenital heart defect and is under the care of a cardiologist, the release said.
Lingham was booked into custody at the Cumberland County Detention Center with bond set at $10,000. A court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.
Brits Warned of Ambulance Bombs

From The Sunday Times:
Terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda may be planning to buy former NHS ambulances and police cars to mount suicide bomb attacks in Britain, MI5 has warned.

They may import a tactic already used in Iraq and Israel, according to a report by MI5’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre to chief constables.

In a statement to The Sunday Times, the Association of Chief Police Officers also warned of the risk of such an attack. It said ministers must legislate to stop the sale of such vehicles.

Its move has been backed by Lord Carlile of Berriew, the government’s terrorism watchdog. He said he feared terrorists could exploit a loophole which did not allow police sufficient powers to stop and search the drivers of suspicious vehicles.
Interestingly, the British Home Office asked eBay to quit selling used emergency vehicles, equipment and uniforms but were denied. Management at eBay said they won't act unless a new law is passed.
Teacher Caught in Drug Sting

(Quincy, Massachusetts) In March 2008, a 39-year-old first-grade teacher at Wollaston Elementary School, Candice A. Kelly, was placed on administrative leave by the school after being notified by police that she had been caught in a drug sting. She later resigned.
According to the police report, Quincy police detectives saw Christopher Frawley, 48, of Weymouth, stop his truck outside Kelly’s Quincy apartment in March. Kelly got into the vehicle, then a few minutes later, returned to her apartment, police said.

Police followed Frawley, who they say is a known drug dealer, after he left the apartment. They stopped him in Braintree and arrested him on multiple drug charges after finding cash and cocaine in his truck, the report says.

Police returned to Kelly’s apartment, where she allegedly turned over a bag of cocaine. She told police that she bought the drugs from Frawley for $50.

“When the officers went back to the apartment she was under no obligation to even respond,” said Quincy Police Chief Robert Crowley. “She cooperated fully. It bolstered (detectives’) case against the individual they arrested in Braintree. She had no criminal record and the officers at the scene at that time decided not to charge her.”
It's not clear whether or not Kelly will face criminal charges.
Anti-Obama blogs being treated as spam by Google

Some are being blocked altogether and on others you have to go through an onerous process to post. Since none of the blogs concerned have any of the characteristics of spam blogs, it seems most likely that false spam notifications from Obama supporters are the reason behind all the blocks. Uppity Woman (who is a Democrat but a mocker of Obama) has a big coverage of it.

The problem is so pernicious that a lot of bloggers have moved their sites to Wordpress and other locations. I reproduce below Uppity Woman's notes on that:

Old location: has been unfairly locked up as spam thanks to false "reporting". New Location:

Old Location: has also been locked out and falsely reported as "spam". New location:

Old Location: has been locked out for false reports that she is a "spam" site. This blogger has moved to her own domain at Hillary Or The Hillary or Bust site also lists the following additional blogs have been unfairly locked out due to false "spammer" accusations: (Native Americans Against Obama) (no new site as yet) Locked out, new site is: Locked out: Locked out, new site is here. was blocked but was reinstated earlier this month

It might be an idea to visit some of the blocked people at their new sites and give them some encouragement.

Posted by John Ray.
Complaint Against Mark Steyn Dismissed

Based upon previous decisions by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, this report is a little surprising.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed a complaint by a Muslim organization against Maclean’s, ruling that the views expressed in one of the magazine's articles were not “of an extreme nature.”

The Canadian Islamic Congress had alleged that the article written by Mark Steyn entitled "The Future Belongs to Islam" and posted on the magazine’s website in October 2006 discriminated and spread hatred against Muslims.

The article, an excerpt of a book authored by Steyn, talks about Islam being a threat to North American institutions and values. It used statistics to show higher birth rates plus immigration mean Muslims will outnumber followers of other religions in Western Europe.

"The writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike," wrote Lucie Veillette, secretary to the commission.

"Overall, however, the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature as defined by the Supreme Court."
Nevertheless, the fact that the Human Rights Commission acts as the official opinion police is extreme political correctness which serves little but injustice.

Tip: Garduneh Mehr

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Texas Woman Gets 80 Years for Killing Boy, 3

(San Antonio, Texas) A 28-year-old local woman, Veronica Herrera, was sentenced this week for murdering her boyfriend's three-year-old son, Andrew Joshua Fox Jr.

Herrera, who is mildly retarded, confessed to holding the child under scalding water in a bathtub. She then took the body to the swimming pool to make the drowning look accidental.

Herrera said she killed the boy because he kept asking for his father and she was frustrated.
Prosecutors had told jurors in closing arguments Tuesday that their sentence would send a clear message.

"You are the community today. The 12 of you are the voice of Bexar County. You're setting the price for this heinous act committed by someone mildly mentally retarded," prosecutor Scott Simpson said.

"You have to set the bar so high that when someone gets frustrated, they know this is what happens if you kill your child so people won't ever do it. That's why you don't want to give probation. Set the bar today. Set it appropriately high."
They did. Herrera received 80 years in prison. She will be eligible for parole after 30 years.
Iran Threatens to Block Strait of Hormuz If Attacked

(Tehran, Iran) The Iranians have threatened to trigger a worldwide energy crisis if attacked.
Iran reiterated that it would block the oil export route in the Persian Gulf if attacked, a Teheran newspaper reported Saturday.

'It is understood that a country would use all possible options against an aggressor if militarily attacked. In that case, Iran would also intensify control of the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz,' the commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards told Jam'e Jam daily.

General Mohammad Ali Jafari also warned neighbouring countries not to take part in any military strike plans against Iran.
Jafari also threatened to rain missiles on Israel if attacked. Although it has probably crossed President Ahmadinejad's, and Jafari's, minds, the "Mother of All Battles" cliche wasn't mentioned.
NY Woman Gets Prison for Branding Man

(New York City) A couple weeks ago, 23-year-old college student Kristina Caban was sentenced to five years in prison for branding a date with a piece of hot metal because he never called her after they had sex.

NY Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus called the crime "not remotely justifiable."
Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg told Obus that Caban was the "mastermind behind the plan" to sear the torso of Samir "Sammy" Sara, then 23, for having sex with her once in 2004 and never calling her again.

Caban enlisted new boyfriend Robert Testagrossa to help brand a four-inch-high "R" on Samir's abdomen in October 2006, the prosecutor said. She said Caban lured the former lover to a hotel room, where Testagrossa and another man grabbed him.

Blumberg said the men used a Taser to immobilize Sara in a room at the Chelsea Inn while Caban laughed at his distress and kicked him while he was down.

The branding "iron" was actually a length of metal wire fashioned into a "R" -- heated, and applied to Samir's torso, said Tracy Golden of the Manhattan district attorney's office. She said prosecutors did not know what the "R" stood for.
Testagrossa, 27, was sentenced to five years in February. Both Caban and Testagrossa pleaded guilty in August 2007.

Maybe the "R" was for rage or revenge.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy

Three in four likely voters - 74 percent - support offshore drilling for oil in U.S. coastal waters and more than half (59 percent) also favor drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

A majority of likely voters across the political spectrum support offshore oil drilling, with vast majorities of Republicans (90 percent) and independents (75 percent) in favor of drilling for oil off U.S. coastal waters more than half of Democrats (58 percent) also said they favor offshore drilling. Republicans (80 percent) and political independents (57 percent) are much more likely to favor drilling for oil in ANWR than Democrats (40 percent).

The telephone survey of 1,113 likely voters nationwide was conducted June 12-14, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.

More here

Posted by John Ray.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Crisis Intervention Teacher Punches Student

(Queens, New York) A 58-year-old crisis intervention teacher at Public School 54 in Queens, Scott Antwork, was arrested for punching and choking a 12-year-old student.

Antwork pleaded not guilty to assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on his own recognizance.

A court appearance is scheduled for July 31.
Sex Sting at Metro Station

(Washington, D.C.) Two female employees of the Metro system, Sharon Waters and Pam Goins, have been arrested for running a prostitution operation out of the Dupont Circle Metro station.
Sharon Waters, a Red Line station manager, told an undercover police officer at the Dupont Circle station June 4 that she could arrange meetings with local prostitutes for him, according to court documents.

The officer returned to the station at 11:45 p.m. June 11 and met with Waters, who told him she was organizing a “sex” party in the Washington area for a $100 cover charge, court records show.

Waters said she also could arrange for another, unidentified Metro station manager to meet the officer for sex, but that she couldn't find her at that time, according to the affidavit.

Waters then used the Metro loudspeaker system to page Pam Goins, a Metro custodian who Waters said would be interested, and the officer and Waters went to the Farragut North Metro station to meet her, according to the documents.

Goins told the officer she would have sex with him for $200, and the two agreed to meet in the officer's hotel room later in the week, after Goins grabbed his crotch and made several references to sexual acts she wanted to perform with him, records show.
Authorities continue to investigate.

Tip: slwlion
Two Men Indicted in Death of Marine

(Cleveland, Ohio) Last January, 21-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield was shot point-blank in the neck during a robbery at a Cleveland bus stop. Crutchfield was kept alive until May 18 when he died of an infection.

Yesterday, two men were indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury for Corporal Crutchfield's death. Ean Farrow, 19, and Thomas Ray III, 20, of Cleveland will face charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, and aggravated robbery.
Corporal Crutchfield, who was warned by commanders that he could be a robbery target as a Marine on leave with a pocketful of money, was carrying only $8, his military identification, and a bank card.

"It's sickening and appalling that this Marine, who put his life on the line fighting for our country, comes home only to face a deadlier enemy on our streets - a couple of thugs who have no regard for human life," prosecutor Bill Mason said.
Via emails and letters, Mason is being urged to seek the death penalty. I second the notion.

Also: Jawa Report

As regular readers here may be aware, I am a man of many blogs. I seem to have a blog for most things, even though some of them are "in hibernation". See the list here

Sometimes, however, I come across news reports that I find interesting, but which, amazingly, don't seem an immediate fit for any of my blogs. I don't like to let such reports escape me, however, so I have recently began putting them up on a special site which is really intended for me only. I call it "Paralipomena", which is Greek for "things left out". They don't always stay left out. After a while I often decide that I can make use of some of them elsewere.

Today, however, for some reason, there was a real rush of interesting reports for which I could not find an immediate home on any of my regular blogs. So "Paralipomena" is at the moment overflowing with what I think is interesting stuff. In the circumstances, I thought it might be reasonable to let readers know it is there. I have no intention of posting to it regularly but it is probably worth glancing through today.

Posted by John Ray.
Italy Moves to Fingerprint Gypsies

(Rome, Italy) About 150,000 Roma Gypsies, mainly from Romania, live in Italy. Approximately half are Italian citizens. The government is considering a proposal to fingerprint them all.
An Italian government proposal to fingerprint all the country's Gypsies, including children, has drawn stern criticism from members of the Catholic Church and from the opposition.

Gypsy children whose parents keep them out of school and send them to beg on the streets would be taken into care, under plans announced by the Interior Minister Roberto Maroni.

Maroni said the planned 'census' of Gypsies is not 'ethnic profiling' but aimed ensuring decent living conditions for all individuals who have the right to residency in Italy and expelling those who are here illegally.

He was addressing the lower house of Parliament's constitutional affairs committee.

"Does living among rats as Gypsy children do in their camps respect their rights?" he asked.

"As Italian citizens , we should be ashamed about this situation, which should not be allowed to continue."
Is it not ethnic profiling when you round up people in one ethnic group for fingerprinting? Okay. Special Gypsie Commissioners will be appointed to oversee the fingerprinting.
Hummel Figurine Production to End

(Roedental, Germany) This report is from last week and, frankly, given the popularity of Hummel doo-dads, I assume many people are interested.
No more dancing children or kitschy pets: German porcelain maker Goebel has announced that it will stop making its Hummel figures by the end of the year.

The producers in the Franconian town of Roedental said on Wednesday, June 18, that they were stopping production of the Hummel figurines due to a steep decline in sales.

According to Goebel's managing director Axel Hosek, demand has collapsed in recent months, despite the company's efforts to market the figurines.

"The trend that has prevailed in the last few years has unfortunately continued," he said in a statement.
Obviously, prices on the secondary market will grow.
Untouched WWII Bunker Found

(Copenhagen, Denmark) Part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall on the North Sea coast has been found, untouched for more than six decades. According to Jens Andersen, director of the Hansholm Museum, wind blew the sand off the bunker, allowing it to be seen.

When experts were able to enter the structure, located west of the town of Ringkobing on the Jutland peninsula, they found the interior had been undisturbed since being abandoned by German troops.

The archaeologists found bunks, chairs, cabinets, parts of uniforms and even bottles of ink that soldiers had left behind.

"It's fantastic," said Andersen. "I would have never thought something like this would have been possible."

According to the museum director, the bunker had probably been covered by shifting sands so quickly after the German surrender in May 1945 that there was no time to empty it of its contents.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pigeons Smuggling Drugs

(Marilia, Brazil) According to this report, contraband is transported into and out of prisons by pigeons.
Prison officers in Marilia discovered drugs and mobile phones were being carried to inmates.

The plot was uncovered when a jail stepped up security and found a visitor carrying two pigeons inside a box.

The guards then spotted several birds struggling to get off the ground because they were weighed down by tiny backpacks.

Pigeon trainer Wanderlei Gatti said: "Someone is breeding these pigeons inside the cells and they are being tamed inside the prison."
Marilia is a city northwest of Sao Paulo.

There's a video clip at the link.
Veggies Will Grow on Mars

Contrary to previous opinions, new data appears to indicate that the soil on Mars is good enough to grow vegetables.
Soil near the north pole of Mars is surprisingly Earthlike, with a pH not unlike many vegetable gardens, according to preliminary results from the Phoenix Mars Lander.

"You might be able to grow asparagus in it, but strawberries, probably not very well," said Samuel Kounaves, a chemistry professor at Tufts University, during a NASA press conference this afternoon.
Asparagus, eh? Well, it may help explain why most imagery of extraterrestrials has them appear green in color. They exist off of a diet of asparagus.
Gitmo Terrorist Legal Funding

Patrick Poole has an overview of how funding for the Gitmo detainees is provided. It's the usual suspects, including CAIR - Ohio.

The terrorist-supporting groups need to be shut down.
Abu Sayyaf Reduced to "Plain Bandits"

Good news!

(Manila, Philippines) Due to persistent pressure from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has been reduced to "plain bandits" experiencing a leadership vacuum.

According to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander B. Yano:
"We still look at them (ASG) as a loose organization with some splinter groups. In fact, some of them may be conducting their own operations and now has degenerated into a money-making group devoid of any ideology or cause," Yano said.

In a forum hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Yano said that the military has yet to monitor a "single and unifying leader" that the Abu Sayyaf acknowledged since the death of ASG chief Khadaffy Janjalani and second in command Abu Sulaiman two years ago.
Reportedly, without leadership, Abu Sayyaf has seen its funding sources dry up and now resorts to various moneymaking endeavors just like petty criminals.

Also: Jawa Report
Ralph Nader: Obama "Talking White"

From Rocky Mountain News:
Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to "talk white," Nader said: "Of course."

"I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," Nader said. "Haven't heard a thing."

Later in the interview, Nader said of Obama: "He wants to show that he is not a threatening ... another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."
The Obama campaign expressed disappointment and scoffed that Nader is just trying to get traction in his campaign.
Ohio Woman Gets 3 Years in Sex Case

* * * Scroll for update * * *

Legal Guardian Woman and Her Boy Sex Case
[Previous 2/29/08 entry]

(Cincinnati, Ohio) A 40-year-old local woman, Amy Farrell, has been accused of sexual battery for allegedly engaging in sex with a boy beginning at the age of 13.

According to the police, Farrell is the legal guardian of the boy and the sexual relationship lasted for more than a year.
The boy left his broken home, moving in with Farrell because he had nowhere else to stay.

Farrell became the boy's legal guardian, and then police say she began abusing him over a period of two years.

"In the defense of children's services, she's a very manipulative person," said Sergeant Eric Franz, Cincinnati Police. "She obviously conned her best friend into letting this young man stay with her. There was nothing on the surface that would have thrown a red flag."

Farrell has a history on Palos Street. She was arrested last year for allowing kids she was supposed to be watching to leap off the garage and into a swimming pool.

A neighbor thought it was dangerous and videotaped it.

Police began investigating sex abuse allegations after a neighbor reportedly saw Farrell and the teen having sex in that pool.
Farrell was booked into custody with bond set at $25,000.

Does it get more immoral and criminal?

[Update 6/26/08]

In accordance with a plea agreement, Farrell pleaded guilty today to three counts of unauthorized sexual conduct with a minor in return for seven related charges being dropped.

Subsequently, Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Kubicki Jr. sentenced Farrell to three years in prison to be followed by five years' supervised probation.
Farrell admitted having sex with the boy -- who was 24½ years younger than her -- while her husband and children were in the West Price Hill home they all shared. She filed for legal custody of the child in January 2007, five months after she started having sex with him.

“You are sick, twisted and disgusting,” the judge told Farrell today. “You’re not fit to be around children. Your contact with the victim has had a devastating impact on him.”

The boy, who now lives out of state, has attempted suicide since Farrell’s arrest.
Judge Kubicki also ordered sex offender treatment, counseling and a prohibition on drugs and porn. She was also ordered to stay away from her victim, his family and places where children congregate.
Just amazing: Executing Child Rapists is a "cruel and unusual punishment"?

Yet it is OK to execute murderers?

Sorry Justice Kennedy, but rape, especially the rape of a child, IS comparable to murder. Today's Supreme Court opinion, in another 5-4 decision, in Kennedy v. Louisiana demonstrates the fragility of the balance on the Court as we approach this year's election, meaning our choice matters. The five justice majority ruled it was unconstitutional to apply the death penalty to a child rapist. From the dissent authored by Justice Alito:
"The Court today holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically prohibits the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of raping a child. This is so, according to theCourt, no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator's prior criminal record may be. The Court provides two reasons for this sweeping conclusion: First, the Court claims to have identified "a national consensus" that the death penalty is never acceptable for the rape of a child; second, the Court concludes, based on its "independent judgment," that imposing the death penalty for child rape is inconsistent with "`the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.'" Ante, at 8, 15, 16 (citation omitted). Because neither of these justifications is sound, I respectfully dissent."

And, the dissent concludes:
"In summary, the Court holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically rules out the death penalty in even the most extreme cases of child rape even though: (1) This holding is not supported by the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment; (2) neither Coker nor any other prior precedent commands this result; (3) there are no reliable"objective indicia" of a "national consensus" in support of the Court's position; (4) sustaining the constitutionality ofthe state law before us would not "extend" or "expand" the death penalty; (5) this Court has previously rejected the proposition that the Eighth Amendment is a one-way ratchet that prohibits legislatures from adopting new capital punishment statutes to meet new problems; (6) theworst child rapists exhibit the epitome of moral depravity; and (7) child rape inflicts grievous injury on victims and on society in general."

The dissent accurately portrays the activism of the majority and the imposition of those justices' policy positions over the reasoned choices of the other branches in the state and federal governments.


Posted by John Ray.
France Signs Nuclear Agreement with Algeria

It appears that France wants to warm the chilled relations with its former colony by offering Algeria a nuclear plant.
France has signed a far-reaching nuclear agreement with its former colony Algeria. President Nicolas Sarkozy is committed to improving co-operation between Mediterranean countries and the European Union. However, not everyone is happy about Paris' attempts to find favour with Algeria.

'A memorandum of trust' is how French Prime Minister Fran├žois Fillon described the agreement that he signed last weekend. The French prime minister was in Algiers to persuade Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to take part in the Mediterranean Union, a project that is dear to President Sarkozy's heart.
Last year, Sarkozy promised that Algeria would be the first Arab country to profit from French nuclear technology.

Frankly, giving nuclear technology to Algeria sounds like a bad idea. Al-Qaeda terrorists are there and keeping themselves busy. Earlier this month, two attacks resulted in 13 deaths.

Also: Jawa Report

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chinese Missiles Deployed to Guard Olympics

From China Post:
BEIJING -- China has deployed surface-to-air missile batteries near its main Beijing Olympic venues as an apparent defence against airborne terror attacks on the Games.

An AFP reporter on Wednesday saw a pair of missile batteries in clear view under camouflage netting in a grassy area in northern Beijing about one kilometre (half a mile) south of the newly built National Stadium.

The stadium, known as the "Bird's Nest" for its design of interlacing steel beams, will play host to the opening and closing ceremonies and other major events during the Aug. 8-24 Olympics. China has embarked on a wide-ranging security crackdown ahead of the Games.
Heh. The missile batteries are hidden under camouflage netting to hide them while the media describes their locations with pinpoint accuracy.

Critics say that reported terror threats in China, primarily western Xinjiang Province, are exaggerated to provide the government with an excuse to crack down on dissent from the Chinese public.
Gaddafi Calls Obama Ignorant

(Libya) During a recent speech before thousands of Libyans, Dictator Moamar Gaddafi attacked Barack Obama for supporting Israel and said he was "ignorant of international politics."
Obama may be driven by an "inferiority complex" stemming from the fact that he is black, Gaddafi said, adding that if Obama is elected he may behave "worse than whites."

"This will be a tragedy," Gaddafi said. "We tell him to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him because if he sticks to this inferiority complex he will have a worse foreign policy than the whites had in the past."
Leave it to a Muslim to bring race into the campaign.

Also: Jawa Report
Jenga Skyscraper

(Dubai, UAE) On the design board is an 80-story, 1,378-foot rotating skyscraper comprised of 80 luxury apartments which spin 360 degrees around a central column. Power for spinning the apartments will come from wind turbines located between each floor.

Rotating tower to be built in Dubai
The apartments will take between one and three hours to make a complete rotation, and at 30,000 dollars (£15,254) per square meters, will cost between 3.7 million (£1.8 million) to 36 million dollars (£18 million).
Frankly, I suspect the building will be a noisy maintenance nightmare.
Sweden: Ending Free Education for Non-Europeans

(Stockholm, Sweden) The surprise here is that college in Sweden was free to start out with.
Sweden is to start charging tuition to non-European university students, according to comments by higher education minister Lars Leijonborg in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Today, Sweden is one of the few countries in the world which does not charge tuition to students from other countries.

The Social Democratic government examined how a tuition system would look, but never put forward a legislative proposal on the matter.

Leijonborg has thus far avoided taking a stand on the controversial question, but now says that the government is in total agreement on charging fees to university students coming from countries other than the EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
A system of stipends will be in place to help students who can't afford tuition.
Driver Arrested for Speeding 22 Times in 45 Days

(Scottsdale, Arizona) A 24-year-old Las Vegas woman, Jennifer Britton, was arrested Friday by Arizona Department of Public Safety officers for alleged criminal speeding, reckless driving and endangerment stemming from 22 separate speeding incidents.
During a 45-day period starting in May, the woman was captured by photo enforcement cameras on Loop 101 in Scottsdale 22 times, with her top speed at 92 mph, DPS officials said.

[ ... ]

“Photo enforcement exists to help slow people down, thereby ensuring the safety of everyone on the road,” DPS Director Roger Vanderpool said in a statement. “Sadly, some drivers have no regard for the safety of others as they continue to recklessly speed.”
Britton told officers that she "didn't know cameras were there."
Is there such a thing as a good phone company?

What I hear about American and British phone and cable companies is pretty appalling and my experience with such companies here in Australia is similar. I have put online some of my correspondence with three such companies as follows: TELSTRA, OPTUS, VODAFONE. I rather foolishly hope that others might learn from my bad experiences with the companies concerned and avoid some of the pitfalls. I have sometimes gone to quite extraordinary lengths to get the companies to address problems but even that has not always worked.

A story I heard today from my local cellphone retailer leads me to believe that the equipment providers are just as bad as the service providers. He tells me that some time ago he returned a cellphone to Nokia for repair under warranty. Rather incautiously, however, he left the memory stick in it when he sent it in.

When he got the phone back the memory stick had vanished. He asked for it back but was told it had been destroyed. Nokia had destroyed someone else's private property! He asked why. He was told that they did not inspect the content on the stick concerned but some sticks can have pornography on them so it is company policy to destroy the lot!

He took great umbrage at that and kept kicking at Nokia over it. Initially they would not even replace the stick pace any content on it. He eventually contacted the State Sales Manager, however, and pointed out that he was a retailer who did not HAVE to stock Nokia products. That breached the dam. They replaced the stick. It took him half a dozen calls over a period of months to get that result however.

Imagine how far up the creek you would be if you were just an ordinary customer who did not have a retailer onside! No apology for the lost content on the stick was ever received, of course.

Posted by John Ray.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reagan to the Rescue

(Western Pacific Ocean) The Gipper would be proud.
The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group could be in Philippine waters in the next 24-48 hours to help scour for victims of Typhoon Frank and help in salvage operations for the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars.

President Bush offered the help of the USS Ronald Reagan, the newest of the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, during his meeting with President Arroyo at the White House Tuesday morning.

The President later called on US Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon. The meeting lasted less than half an hour, but Philippine Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro was left behind to discuss details of Bush’s offer of assistance, as well as other security and military matters.
The USS Ronald Reagan battle group includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville; the destroyers USS Decatur, Gridley and Howard; the missile frigate USS Thach and, of course, undisclosed underwater escort boats.
Wisconsin Educator Gets Probation for Student Sex - Updated

* * * Scroll for update * * *

[Previous 2/26/08 entry]
(Columbus, Wisconsin) A 25-year-old director at Wisconsin Academy, Michelle E. Shufelt, has been accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. At an initial court appearance last week, Shufelt was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault.
Shufelt said the boy came into her office frequently, and the two began a relationship in December 2006 that included kissing and hand-holding, according to a criminal complaint. The pair also had sexual contact at least twice in her home, the complaint quoted her as saying.

The boy told deputies he and Shufelt were dating, but school staff and his mother ordered the two to stop spending time together, the complaint said.

Shufelt told authorities she knew it was illegal to have sexual contact with a minor, the complaint said.
Columbia County Circuit Court Commissioner Charles Church allowed Shufelt to go free on a $2,000 signature bond. It's reported that she has resigned from the school.

Wisconsin Academy is a private school for youngsters in grades 9 through 12 which was founded by the Seventh-day Adventists.

Most troubling about this case is that Shufelt was warned repeatedly about her behavior and she continued to act in the same manner.

[Update 6/24/08]

Last Friday, Shufelt pleaded no contest to misdemeanor sex with a child. Consequently, Circuit Court Judge Alan White sentenced her to two years' probation.

Misdemeanor sex with a child?
Grand Rounds

This week's Grand Rounds, the best of the medical blogosphere, is posted and it's nifty. Besides good information, the gang at Shrink Rap has done a lot of work to present the content in an iPhone format.

Tomorrow, a podcast of Grand Rounds is promised for those who like to listen.

Take a look. Cool stuff.
ChiComs Raze Mosque, Steal Qur'ans

(Xinjiang Province, China) A mosque near Aksu City was demolished by the government because no signs were put up to show support for the Beijing Olympics. Islam has been insulted.
“China is forcing mosques in East Turkistan to publicise the Beijing Olympics to get the Uighur people to support the Games (but) this has been resisted by the Uighurs,” World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement.

Beijing says Al-Qaeda is working with militants in Xinjiang to use terror to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.

Oil-rich Xinjiang is home to 8 million Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many of whom resent the growing economic and cultural influence of the Han Chinese.

Dilxat Raxit added that the mosque, which had been rebuilt in 1998, was accused of illegally renovating the structure, carrying out illegal religious activities and illegally storing copies of the Qur’an. “The Qur’an copies in the mosque have been seized by the government and dozens of people detained,” he said. “The detained Uighurs have been tortured”.

The Olympic torch relay passed through Xinjiang last week under tight security and tight controls over foreign media covering the event.
Frankly, I don't expect that the cartoonajadeen will be protesting. China acts with impunity against Muslims, and any other group, for that matter. Imagine what would happen if a European country tore down a mosque and stole all the Qur'ans?

Also: JAWA
McCain adviser sorry for 9/11 remark

We read:
"A top adviser to US Republican presidential candidate John McCain apologised today after he was quoted as saying a September 11-type attack before the November election would benefit Senator McCain. "I deeply regret the comments, they were inappropriate," Charlie Black said after Senator McCain said that if Mr Black had made such a comment, "I strenuously disagree" with it.

"I recognise that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country and placing its security before every other consideration," said Mr Black, one of Senator McCain's most trusted political advisers.

Fortune magazine said Mr Black, in discussing how national security was Senator McCain's strong suit, had said when asked about another terrorist attack on US soil that "certainly it would be a big advantage to him".


The guy was probably right, though. It's tricky to be honest in politics

Posted by John Ray.
Banned Word Alert

Scratch "brainstorm" from use. The word has been banned because it may offend the mentally ill. Use "thought shower" instead. "Mind fart" is acceptable but not recommended in polite company.
Man Guilty of Sex with Picnic Table

(Bellevue, Ohio) A 40-year-old Huron County man, Art Price Jr., pleaded no contest to public indecency charges stemming from sex acts with a picnic table a short distance from an elementary school.
Police said a neighbor secretly taped Price in the act four different times this year.

Police said the incidents were all out in the open on Price's deck and within eyesight of Ridge Elementary School and its playground.
Price was sentenced to six months in jail.

If any reader is cognizant of the mechanics associated with engaging in sex with a picnic table, by all means, please leave a comment. I haven't the foggiest idea.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Woman, 76, Accused of Contracting Hit on Husband

(Augusta, Georgia) In a cold case, a 76-year-old local woman, Betty Neumar, has been charged with hiring a hit man to kill one of her ex-husbands, Harold Gentry.

Gentry's body, with several gunshot wounds, was found inside the home he shared with wife Betty on July 14, 1986. Betty claimed she was out of town that day.

Police are investigating the deaths of five husbands of Betty Neumar, now considering them to be suspicious. All of the husbands were ex-military.

Neumar was booked into custody at the Stanley County Jail with bail set at $500,000.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
LAPD: Mom Tortures Young Son

(Los Angeles, California) A mother and her girlfriend, Starkeisha Brown, 24, and Krystal Matthews,21, were arrested last week for the brutal torture of Brown's five-year-old son. Brown is in custody without bail. Matthews is being held on $100,000 bail.

Starkeisha Brown_Krystal Matthews
The boy, who was in guarded condition at a local hospital, was rescued Monday by a stranger who found him abandoned and called authorities.

On that same day, the two women had an appointment with the Department of Children and Family Services and had brought the healthy child of a mutual friend and tried to pass him off as Brown's son.

Police said the women routinely beat the boy, forced him to put his hands on a hot stove, burned his body and genitals with cigarettes and often would not let him eat or drink.

At a news conference Friday [6/13], LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said that because of the burns from the stove, the boy no longer can open his hands.

Lt. Vincent Neglia of the LAPD's Abused Child Unit said in a statement Saturday that the abuse was "akin to a level of torture we hope our military personnel would never encounter."
Brown is a known gang member who has done time and has an outstanding arrest warrant for a parole violation. Interestingly, Brown was still able to collect welfare while the LAPD and the Department of Child and Family Services were looking for her. The community is outraged.

Tip: Brian Kissick
Eco-Arsonist Gets 6 Years in Prison

(Tacoma, Washington) Last week, a 32-year-old mother and radical greenie, Briana Waters, was sentenced to six years in prison for her part in the 2001 University of Washington arson committed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).
Waters, a violin teacher, is one of five activists alleged to have participated in the UW arson, which prosecutors say caused more than $6 million in damage while destroying rare plants, books and years of research.

She was convicted of two counts of arson, but not of other charges, including the use of a destructive device in a crime of violence, which carried a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence.

In discussing the case with jurors after the verdict, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Bartlett said some jurors had said their not-guilty vote on the other charges reflected their sympathy for Waters.

Waters was the first of 18 suspects indicted on charges of involvement in the Earth Liberation Front, a militant Northwest underground group that between 1996 and 2001 claimed it carried out more than a dozen acts of arson and sabotage against targets deemed a threat to the environment or animals.

Damage was estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. Targets included a slaughterhouse, timber-company headquarters and a ski lodge at Vail, Colo.
A sympathetic figure with considerable public support, Waters narrowly avoided receiving extra time for terrorism.
Woman Gets 18 Years for Sex with 8-Year-Old

(Edwardsville, Illinois) A 32-year-old local woman, Cassie Hall, pleaded no contest in March to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. The victim was an eight-year-old male family member.

Last Friday, Hall was sentenced to 18 years in prison in Madison County Court.

Hall's boyfriend, 24-year-old Jacob Fife, faces two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault. Status of his case is unknown.
Political Correctness Bans Wolf-Whistling Girls, Jails Men

(Tonbridge, Kent) Girls at West Kent College have been banned from wolf-whistling at male contractors at the school. They were notified by email to cease the harassment.
The email read: "It has come to the attention of the college that some female students have been making comments to, or whistling at, the builders both whilst on site and as they walk around the campus.

"Although we are sure no offence is meant, this constitutes harassment and is wholly unacceptable.

"We have asked the contractors' representative to pass on all instances of harassment to the college and we will take appropriate action which may include disciplinary action."

A spokeswoman for the contractors, Galliford Try, said: "We have no registered complaints on this issue."
So girls cannot whistle at guys. Understandably, it's probably disruptive and should be discouraged. However, if the situation is reversed, check out the criminal penalty facing a man who whistles at a girl.
Meanwhile new laws could see wolf-whistling builders placed on the sex offenders register. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill will create a new offence of "communicating indecently", punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

The legislation is intended to punish sexual harassment by text, emails and letters, but ministers also aim to include sexually explicit comments to strangers.
What is wrong with the British? Islamists regularly demonstrate in the street promising to behead Jews, Christians and other infidels. No foul, no crime. A man whistles at a girl, it's jail time.

Canadian Terror Trial Starts Today

(Ottawa) Under a brand new, post-9/11 anti-terrorism law, a Canadian federal court will try a defendant, starting today.

Software designer Momin Khawaja, 29, is accused of conspiring in an Islamic plot to bomb targets in Britain.
"The question is whether Canada can mount a complex anti-terrorism case," said Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa expert in security issues.

"Not only whether it can mount a successful case, but also whether it can be a fair trial -- because that's also something Canadians are going to be concerned about."
Khawaja faces seven terrorism counts in Ontario Superior Court.

This will give everybody a chance to see whether the Canadians can do as well in prosecuting terrorists as the Brits and the U.S.

Tax dangers

Robert Mundell isn't in the habit of making fruitless policy recommendations, though some take a long time ripening. Nearly four decades passed between his early work on optimal currency areas and the birth of the euro in 1999 - the same year he received the Nobel Prize for economics....

Democratic nominee Barack Obama regularly professes disdain for the Bush tax cuts, suggesting that those growth-spurring measures may be scrapped. "If that happens," Mr. Mundell predicts, "the U.S. will go into a big recession, a nosedive." One of the original "supply-side" economists, he has long preached the link between tax rates and economic growth. "It's a lethal thing to suddenly raise taxes," he explains. "This would be devastating to the world economy, to the United States, and it would be, I think, political suicide" in a general election.

Should taxes instead be cut again, I ask him, to stimulate the sluggish economy? Mr. Mundell replies that he favors a ceiling of 30% on marginal rates (the current top rate is 35%). He recounts how the past century experienced a titanic struggle over whether tax rates are too high or too low: from a 3% income tax in 1913; up to 60% during World War I; down to 25% before Congress and President Herbert Hoover raised taxes back to 60% in 1932 and "sealed the fate of our economy for a long, long time"; all the way up to 92.5% during World War II before falling in three steps, reaching 28% under President Ronald Reagan; and back to nearly 40% under Bill Clinton before George W. Bush lowered them to their current level.

In light of this fiscal roller coaster, Mr. Mundell says, "the most important thing that could be done with respect to tax rates now is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Eliminating that uncertainty would be more important than pushing for a further cut - in the income tax rates, anyway." One tax that he would cut, to 25%, is the corporate tax rate. "It could be even lower," he says, "but I think it would be a big step to lower it to 25% . . . I made that proposal back in the 1970s."

More here

Posted by John Ray.
"Dumb blonde" a no-no


"A primary school teacher accused of calling a pupil a "dumb blonde" is among those to be hit with discrimination complaints. A confidential payout and apology was made after the girl's furious mother consulted Victoria's discrimination watchdog, the Herald Sun has learned. The teacher, accused of repeatedly making demeaning comments in class about the girl being blonde, was counselled. The pupil was transferred to another class.

The case is among 488 education-related discrimination claims investigated by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in the past five years.


I am inclined to agree with that one. It sounds like it was the teacher who was dumb. I know of no correlation between hair colour and IQ. I think some people are jealous of blondes, however.

I myself rather admire red hair. The fact that my father was a redhead may have something to do with that. So I was quite horrified to read that redheads are discriminated against in Britain. I have never heard of such a thing in Australia or the USA.

Posted by John Ray.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Britain's High-Income Al-Qaeda Preacher

(London, England) Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, hate preacher Abu Qatada, is living a life of luxury in London.

The terrorist-recruiter was released from prison this week and now is forced to stay in England because, if he is deported to Jordan, he might be tortured which is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

In the meantime, 47-year-old Abu Qatada has a sore back so he qualifies for £150 a week incapacity benefit. That amount, of course, will be added onto £45,000 a year in child benefit, income support, housing benefit and council tax credit.

The income allows Abu to live in an £800,000 four-bedroom Edwardian house which, unfortunately, he can't leave because he's on house arrest. And, by the way, the house arrest for Qatada costs taxpayers £1million-a-year. In total, terrorist martyr-maker Abu Qatada is personally soaking the British citizenry for something around £50k ($100,000) per year plus the cost of keeping him on house arrest.

So, in the minds of the British authorities, Abu Qatada is not an al-Qaeda terrorism hate preacher deserving punishment and deportation, he's an average Brit with a bad back deserving of a taxpayer-funded annuity.

Burns my ass and I'm not British.

Also: Jawa Report
Florida Teacher Kisses Student and Resigns

(Delray Beach, Florida) A 24-year-old English teacher at Atlantic Community High School, Heather March, resigned her teaching position when it became known that she was under investigation for having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

March reportedly admitted to kissing the student with whom she had worked with on the school yearbook. She had worked at the school for one year.

The investigation was closed with the resignation. No charges have been filed.
IQ and ideology: A little puzzle

This is a bit of an old chestnut: Are Leftists more intelligent than conservatives? Leftists often assert that Leftists are brighter. Conservatives tend to see it otherwise. As Wray Herbert points out, it would be surprising if one did not see one's own views as more intelligent. So who is right? Is there a real difference?

One reason why the Leftist accusation that conservatives are dumb gains some weight is the great preponderance of Leftists among professors. That overlooks, however, that the situation was not always thus. Up until the 1960s, the professoriate was in general politically moderate. There were of course exceptions. The elite universities have always tended Left. The best known examples of that are England's two great universities, Oxford and Cambridge. We have all I think heard of the Cambridge spies (Philby et al.), and the Bloomsberries were far Left too. Such leftism can perhaps most economically be described as a "spoilt brat" syndrome. Less well known is the prewar fascination of Harvard with Nazism -- which was a popular form of socialism in its day.

The general moderation of the pre-1960s professoriate was however its undoing. Precisely because of its moderation, it came under ferocious attack from the 1960s student radicals and it responded in a typically moderate way -- apologetically. Curricula were revised in response to the radical demands and more and more Leftists were hired and promoted. And when in the course of time the radical academics so appointed rose in seniority and power, they behaved in a typically unscrupulous way and used their power to squeeze out as many conservatives from academe as they could. So smart conservatives these days go on to get rich in business while the Leftist academics fume away in their ivory towers!

Perhaps most amusingly, however, it should be noted that the Dems and the GOP split the college-educated vote about equally in the 2004 Presidential election. In other words, about half of the people whom the Leftist professors themselves have certified as academically able in fact vote GOP!

But education is not IQ so do we have more direct evidence on the question? Has anybody correlated IQ scores and politics in the general population?

For a long time the only study I knew of which did so was one that I myself helped to write up in the 1970's: Martin's study. That study looked at clearly Leftist attitudes such as the following:

* Most people who are leaders in the world today got there by crooked or sneaky means.
* There isn't really very much your parents or older people can tell you that will help you get along in the world nowadays.
* The best school system is one that is democratic and treats all the pupils exactly alike.
* Complete freedom is the best way to bring up a child if you want it to be free and active.
* Most so-called "juvenile delinquency" is really just "youthful exuberance" and should not be punished.
* One of the best attitudes a young person can learn is that "nothing is sacred."

So who tended to agree with statements like that? The smarties or the dummies? It was the dummies!

Time marches on, however, and another study has recently emerged which looks at the same question. Deary et al. (2008) did quite a powerful study of a British population which came to exactly opposite conclusions. Wray Herbert sums up the study in layman's language.

So how come? A clue is to be found in the fact that the Deary et al. study reported that education was a major factor in the relationship. It was the fact that more intelligent people had more education that produced the relationship. It was education that made you Leftist, not IQ. Anybody who knows how Leftist the educational system is these days will not be surprised to hear that all that Leftist brainwashing had some effect.

But education was not the whole of the story. There was still some effect on attitudes due to IQ alone. But what the education results alert us to is the importance of the overall mental environment of the people surveyed. Deary's sample were all born in 1970. The Martin sample was interviewed in the early 1960s and covered a representative age range but would on average have been born in the mid-1930s. That is a very different group of people -- people who have grown up into very different mental environments. And just the difference in interview dates -- the early 1960s versus the early 2000s -- would account for a lot. A lot has changed over the last 40 years.

In particular, the great attitudinal upheaval of the late 1960s had not happened for Martin's sample and the very expression "political correctness" would have been incomprehensible to them. In short, the cultural attitudes of the modern day world are very different from the attitudes that prevailed before the upheavals of the '60s. I was there in the 60s. I remember the upheavals concerned very well. And the defeat of Soviet Communism ratcheted up the cultural changes even further. When it became clear that Leftists had lost the economic argument (over socialism versus capitalism), they turned their energies onto cultural questions -- promoting homosexuality, attacking marriage etc. The end result is that we now live in a world where the prevailing cultural attitudes are MUCH more Leftist than they once were.

So it is clear why the Martin and the Deary results differ. Smarter people are more aware of the values that are regarded as "correct" in the world about them. What smarter people said in the 60s was conservative because conservative values were the default assumption then. What smarter people said in the 2000s was Leftist because Leftist values have now become the default assumptions in conversations about such things -- and the default assumptions in the media most particularly.

So what the Deary results show when taken in conjunction with the Martin results is not that smart people are Leftists but rather that smart people are more sensitive to the thinking of people around them.


Is the short list of attitudes from Martin's study above really Leftist? Libertarians would also agree with some of the statements listed. Libertarians are however only a tiny fraction of the population and libertarianism was essentially unknown in Australia at the time. It still largely is, in fact. So a libertarian influence on the results can be excluded.

The statements listed are very similar to other statements that were characteristically Leftist at the time. The underlying theme of the items was intended by their author to be a rejection of authority and it should be noted that another Australian questionnaire which systematically surveyed attitudes to authority in 1969 found that attitude to authority correlated even more strongly with political party choice (r = .43) than it did attitude to innovation (.33). Supporters of Australia's major Leftist party were, in other words, even more likely to be anti-authority than they were likely to be in favour of change. In the same study attitudes to authority also correlated very highly (.73) with a collection of radical attitudes generally. Leftists reject all authority that they do not themselves control and that rejection is a central part of their thinking.

Posted by John Ray.
Ohio Mom Accused of Molesting Daughter

(Uniontown, Ohio) In April 2008, a teen girl walked into the Summit County Sheriff's Office and accused her mother, Virginia Johnson, 38, and Stephan Brothers, 40, of sexually molesting her.

An investigation was launched during which detectives found that Johnson's long-time boyfriend, Brothers, had hanged himself in his garage.

This week, Virginia Johnson was arrested and arraigned on charges of rape, permitting child abuse, sexual battery, disseminating material involving a minor and unlawful restraint.

According to Sheriff Sgt. Dave Brown, the sexual abuse allegedly began three years ago.

Johnson was booked into custody at the Summit County Jail with bond set at $100,000.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lakoff reinvents the wheel

Poor old George Lakoff. There is a review of his latest book here. He is a linguist by trade but nobody takes him seriously there so he has for some years now been trying his hand at political psychology -- which happens to be my particular area of academic expertise.

It is no surprise to find that he has nothing original to say but it is sort-of sad that he gets some basic stuff ass-backwards. He buys into the compulsive Leftist myth that conservatives are "authoritarian", blithely ignoring that, from the French revolution onward, it has been Leftists (in the person of Communists like Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and Socialists like Hitler and Mussolini) who have been by far the biggest authoritarians. For a quick summary of how and why Leftists sustain the myth that it is conservatives who are authoritarian, see here.

It always amuses me that even outright Marxists often identify authoritarianism with conservatism even though one of their founders, Friedrich Engels (co-author of Das Kapital) was perfectly commonsense about the matter:

"Revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon". -- from his controversy with the anarchists.

With such a wilfully blind start, Lakoff cannot possibly have much to offer. I was, however, amused by this Lakoff prescription that I found in the review above:

What should progressives say? That conservatism is "fundamentally antidemocratic."

Once again poor old George is reinventing the wheel. Precisely that assertion was an integral part of the old 1950 Adorno work that started the "authoritarian conservative" myth. I guess Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were democrats! There have been many Communist movements worldwide over the years but not one could reasonably be called democratic. So Communism is conservative? Black might as well be white. And in the Western democracies today, Leftists never stop their attempts to censor and suppress conservative speech. See my TONGUE-TIED blog for almost daily examples of that. Is that democratic? It is an attempt to hobble democracy as far as I can see.

To cap it off, the original Adorno questionnaire that was used to characterize conservatives as anti-democrratic (the F scale) was in fact a compilation of beliefs that were common in the "Progressive"-dominated America in the first half of the 20th century. See here on the nature of the F scale questions and see here for the rather surprising details of America's "Progressive" era. So if there were any ideas that were shown by Adorno to be anti-democratic, they were in fact "Progressive" ideas at the time!

Another amusing Lakoff prescription: "progressives should rely less on facts and more on images and drama". Talk about preaching to the converted! Since when did Leftists EVER rely on facts? Appeals to emotions have been their stock in trade since the year dot. If they relied on known facts they would certainly have given up very rapidly and very long ago any notion that socialism was a cure for poverty.

The reviewer (Saletan) goes on to point out more of the huge holes in Lakoff's thinking so I will not go on. I have however had a close look at Lakoff's threadbare old ideas previously. See here.

Posted by John Ray.
Mugabe Now Burning People Alive

(Harare, Zimbabwe) President Robert Mugabe sent his so-called militiamen (thugs) to the home of a political opponent with orders to kill him. The were to be paid Z$25 trillion.

Fortunately, Councillor Brian Mamhova was able to escape. Unfortunately, Mugabe's thugs decided to torch Mamhova's home and family, killing his son Nyasha, 6, and his wife, Pamela Pasvani, 21. They were burned alive, Nyasha, all the way to ashes.

Turns my stomach.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Turkey: Honor Killings on the Rise

(Istanbul, Turkey) A Turkish government report released on Thursday indicates that over 1,000 honor killings have occurred in the country over the last five years and the rate is increasing.
According to the report, 220 people in different regions of Turkey in 2007 were victims of honor killings, while this figure was 150 in 2003 and 216 in 2006.
Most of the honor killings occur in big cities.
DHS Fugitive Operations Teams

Check out these numbers.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has unleashed a national dragnet that is hunting down "fugitive aliens." DHS has 75 Fugitive Operations Teams that are mounting raids across the country.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does the work as a DHS agency and there are nearly 600,000 ICE fugitives being tracked.

Therefore, 600,000 fugitives are to be rounded up by 75 seven-man teams. 600,000 divided by 75 equals 8,000 fugitives per team. And, 8,000 divvied up to seven team members equals 1143 fugitives each. Man! That's a whole lot of arrestin'!

The net result is that ICE fugitive teams need to perform massive sweeps and raids to make any progress against the backlog of known fugitives. Understandably, massive roundups sometimes capture the wrong people. It's claimed that "nearly" 30% of the wrong people are arrested (called collateral arrests).

On paper, the problem appears insurmountable. However, given the continuous flow of illegal aliens into the U.S. every year, it's logical to assume that there will be an influx of new fugitive aliens every year. Consequently, I believe the problem leapfrogs insurmountability to impossibility.

Great morale booster for those tackling the problem, eh?
Aussies Out-Fat Americans

(Australia) According to Australian Health Minister, Ms. Nicola Roxon, a recent report named Australia's Future Fat Bomb would come as a shock to the community. Statistics indicate that 26% of adult Australians are obese while the U.S. rate is only 25%.
"These are obviously pretty staggering statistics to show that we are the fattest, or one of the fattest countries in the world," Ms Roxon told reporters in Canberra.

Obesity was a national priority and the government hoped to have an effective nation-wide strategy implemented in the next 12 months, Ms Roxon said.
As is typical, nanny-state politicians are now calling for taxes on junk food and other taxpayer-funded measures to urgently act on the crisis.

Also: JAWA
Alabama Teacher Accused of Sex with Male Students

(Jefferson County, Alabama) A 34-year-old special education teacher at Clay-Chalkville Middle School, Julie Pritchett, has been arrested for allegedly committing sex crimes against two male students.

Authorities say that other students also had sexual contact with Pritchett but she wasn't charged because the boys were over the age of consent (16).

Pritchett has been charged with two counts of second-degree sodomy and one count of second-degree sexual abuse.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian said Pritchett was the sponsor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the Middle School along with being a special education teacher. She resigned her tenured teaching position last month after learning she was under investigation.
Sheriff's investigators identified eight male students who attend Clay-Chalkville High School with whom Pritchett is alleged to have had sexual relations, Christian said.

Pritchett was the sponsor for the high school's Diamond Dolls, the hostesses for the baseball team. It was through that position, Christian said, that she came into contact with some of her former students who were involved in the high school sports program.

Christian said Pritchett started a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old former student. That relationship led to sex acts with his friends, Christian said.

The sex acts were initiated by Pritchett, who used several methods of approaching the boys, Christian said. Some of the acts took place on the school's campus and others at the homes of the victims.
Pritchett is in custody with bond set at $66,000.

[Update 12/11/08]

Now 35, Julie Pritchett has been indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on sodomy and sexual abuse charges. Authorities say Pritchett had sex with at least eight boys between the ages of 15 and 19.
A little bit of fun

Read the following and see what you think

New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago. The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of "global warming" is comprehensively and urgently addressed.

The analysis of more than 386,000 earthquakes between 1973 and 2007 recorded on the US Geological Survey database proved that the global annual energy of earthquakes on Earth began increasing very fast since 1990. Dr Chalko said that global seismic activity was increasing faster than any other global warming indicator on Earth and that this increase is extremely alarming. "The most serious environmental danger we face on Earth may not be climate change, but rapidly and systematically increasing seismic, tectonic and volcanic activity," said Dr Chalko.

"Increase in the annual energy of earthquakes is the strongest symptom yet of planetary overheating. "NASA measurements from space confirm that Earth as a whole absorbs at least 0.85 Megawatt per square kilometer more energy from the Sun than it is able to radiate back to space. This 'thermal imbalance' means that heat generated in the planetary interior cannot escape and that the planetary interior must overheat. Increase in seismic, tectonic and volcanic activities is an unavoidable consequence of the observed thermal imbalance of the planet," said Dr Chalko.

Dr Chalko has urged other scientists to maximize international awareness of the rapid increase in seismic activity, pointing out that this increase is not theoretical but that it is an Observable Fact. "Unless the problem of global warming (the problem of persistent thermal imbalance of Earth) is addressed urgently and comprehensively -- the rapid increase in global seismic, volcanic and tectonic activity is certain. Consequences of inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures."

For further information please read Dr Chalko's scientific article published at NU Journal of Discovery. Dr Tom Chalko, MSc, PhD, former Melbourne University academic (between 1982-2001) is Head of Geophysics Division at Scientific Engineering Research, Mt Best, Australia.


It sounds sort of plausible, doesn't it? Until you think about it. How can minor changes in the atmosphere affect events deep down beneath the earth? I downloaded the story from a press-release service that Tom Chalko used to circulate it. So did quite a few other people. No need to think much more about it, however. It is pseudo-science -- as even a Leftist blogger pointed out.

The amusing thing, though, is that Associated Press -- the great grand fact-checking news service that newspapers worldwide rely on -- was also taken in and included it in their feed. And even the proudly-fact-checking CBS (remember Dan Rather?) was taken in. They have however now taken it down. If you have forgotten the CBS Dan Rather fun and games, see here. Once again pajamas beat the (largely mythical) media fact-checkers.

For yet another AP booboo see here (fifth picture caption).

Posted by John Ray.

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