Sunday, February 28, 2010

Women With Troubles - February 2010

Reported in news stories during February 2010, here is a 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. Links to month-by-month compilations are displayed on the navigation bar at left.

(AL) Amy Bishop, 45,
neurobiologist - Accused of murdering three people at University of Alabama - Huntsville,

(CA) Kimberly Lavon Fleming-McBeth, 34,
teacher - Arrested for harming student,

(CA) Eraelia Glisson, 35,
coach - Guilty of sex with minor. Sentencing in March,

(CA) Paulette Thompson, 59,
school principal - Gets probation for grand theft and misappropriation of public funds,

(CT) Barbara Marie Glynn, 50,
teacher - Arrested for prostitution,

(CT) Diane Krahm,
police officer - Accused of sexually harassing a fellow officer,

(FL) Tammy Renee Clinton, 39,
teacher - Accused of lewd conduct with boy, 14,

(FL) Brandie Michele Gilley, 22,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 15,

(FL) Sylvia Jennifer Hernandez, 32,
neighbor - Accused of cyberstalking,

(FL) Abigail Lee Nichols, 24,
teacher - Accused of sex with male student, 16,

(FL) Rachel Adele Schmeer, 25,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with boy, 16,

(HI) Cheryl Bisera, 47,
teacher - Arrested for drug crimes,

(IN) Taine Abdullah, 40,
teacher - Accused of sex with male student, 17,

(IN) Holly Rhodes, 36,
neighbor - Guilty of molesting child relative, starting at age seven. Sentencing in March,

(IN) Dawn M. Schwartzengraber, 37,
teacher - Arrested for inappropriate conduct with boy, 15,

(KY) Lori Ikner, 38,
neighbor - Accused of hit-and-run in toddler death,

(MD) Kristyn Nicole Breeds, 29,
teacher - Gets probation for sex with male student, 17,

(MD) Johanna Fout, 23,
neighbor - Arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into prison,

(MD) Tyra M. Greenfield, 26,
jail counselor - Gets one year in jail for sex with confined juvenile,

(MD) Thi Nguyen, 35,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 14,

(MI) Allanah Benton-Wells, 43,
teacher - Gets 25 to 38 years prison for sex with boy, 12,

(MI) Norma Elisa Lira, 32,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 13,

(MN) Melissa Diana Koehn, 31,
teacher - Gets 5 months jail for sex with girl,

(NC) Sherry Stella Bortz, 48,
prison nurse - Arrested for possession of weapons of mass destruction,

(NC) Shannon Herring, 33,
teacher - Gets no jail in student sex case,

(NC) Jennifer Geane Iannuzzi, 38,
teacher - Gets 90 days jail for molesting child, 12,

(NC) Christina Lee Shipp, 30,
teacher - Accused of raping boy, 15,

(NE) Stephanie Draper, 37,
teacher - Gets two years in prison in boy-sex case,

(NJ) Liz Kemp,
day care owner/PTO president - Arrested for pot farm and child neglect,

(NJ) Megan Laboy, 30,
teacher - Guilty in cash for grades scheme. Sentencing in May,

(NJ) Corrin Zenda Tempio, 41,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with boy, 16,

(NY) Damaris Ilirraza, 21,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 13,

(NY) Nicole L. Nelson, 26,
neighbor - Accused of engaging in sex with boy, 14,

(NY) Joey Strong, 36,
coach - Gets probation for sex with boy, 16,

(OH) Asuncion "Suzie" Avila-Villa,
neighbor - Accused of killing son, 3 months old, to hide fact that she had sex with father, 14,

(OK) Annamay Alexander, 43,
neighbor - Sought by police for stalking boy, 14,

(OR) Susan Alderson, 46,
teacher - Guilty of raping boy, 13,

(PA) Virginia Cipriani-Baustert, 35,
teacher - Sentenced to probation for corrupting minors,

(TN) Shawn Michelle Armstrong, 38,
teacher - Arrested for killing husband,

(TN) Megan Baumann, 27,
teacher - Accused of improper conduct with student,

(TN) Heather A. Pratt, 29,
teacher - Accused of inappropriate relations with student,

(TN) Mariah Shaffer, 27,
neighbor - Arrested for sexual battery of boy, 14,

(TX) Kristen Dill, 37,
PTO president - Arrested for sex with boys, 15 and 16,

(TX) Blair Dorner, 39,
teacher - Accused of DWI and possession of cocaine,

(TX) Lindsay Garcia-Yazdi, 33,
teacher - Arrested for sex with male student, 16,

(TX) Jennifer Hudspeth,
teacher - Gets 10 weekends in jail for online solicitation of boys,

(TX) Almita Nicole Lockhart, 34,
neighbor - Accused of allowing her daughter, 8, to starve to death,

(UT) Adorabelle Bonifacio, 45,
neighbor - Accused of long-term sex with boy, starting at age 12,

(WI) Emily Louise Patterson, 26,
teacher - Accused of sex assault of girl, 16.
Thanks to all.
Al Gore: Redeem Human Sin by Carbon Trading

In today's NYTimes, former Vice President Al Gore weighs in on the global warming debate by asserting that a scientific consensus on the issue has been achieved, despite minor problems with data manipulation which resulted from "make-work demands from climate skeptics."

In three pages, Gore repeatedly blames unrestrained exploitive capitalism for the impending demise of the planet. The answer to the climate crisis, he says, is cap and trade legislation enacted immediately to stave off unimaginable calamity.

And for a quotable nugget regarding cap and trade, Gore provides:
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
So, if cap and trade is not passed, humankind will not be redeemed. That's right. To free humankind from the bondage of sins, legislation capping and trading carbon credits is required.

Mr. Gore seemingly imagines himself as providing the path to redemption for all people. Quite theological, eh?

In any event, Mr. Gore's piece is largely three pages of attacks on capitalism and questionable scientific and economic assertions apparently pulled out of thin air while ending with a The-End-Is-Near plea for cap and trade legislation. In other words, the piece is pretty much the same old shoe polish.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Geert Wilders

Most readers here probably know Geert Wilders as the Dutch politician who dares to speak the truth about Islam. He is at the moment on trial in a Dutch court for doing just that -- but will probably be acquitted. A Dutch reader writes to tell me however that Wilders is also "The only firm anti-green in Western Europe".

A few days ago, however, the Dutch government fell, because of divisions between the coalition partners over Afghanistan -- which tends to discredit the parties involved. New elections will be held in June and Wilders is riding high in the polls. If his party gets more votes than any other, which seems possible, he would be in a very good position to become the next Prime Minister. Nederland has proportional representation so it is very unlikely that any party will get an outright majority in the Dutch parliament.

One can only dream but wouldn't it be good if a Dutch Prime Minister dismissed the global Warming hoax? Wilders is just the man to do so.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Suspicious Box Found

(Key West, Florida) Found by a housekeeper this week at the Marriot Beachside Resort was a suspicious black box containing a battery and wires. Manager David Lewin called the police.

According to an examination performed by Officer Deglys Chavarria:
"The black box had an on/off switch and a green indicator light on the exterior. On the bottom of the black box there were two-quarter size copper circles....

Next to the [nine-volt Duracell] I saw what appeared to be small-sized ball bearings held together by a clear glue-like material.

Next to the small-sized ball bearings there was a circular rope that attached to what appeared to be a magnet."

Meanwhile, the previous occupant of the room was contacted and he said the black box belonged to his friend and it was "a sexual stimulating device that was accidentally left behind."

Uh, okay, but I don't get it.

Tip: slwlion

Saturday, February 27, 2010

NC Teacher Gets 90 Days Jail for Molesting Boy, 12

(Franklin, North Carolina) In January, a 38-year-old teacher at Macon Middle School, Jennifer Geane Iannuzzi, was arrested for allegedly committing indecent acts with a 12-year-old child.

Iannuzzi was charged with indecent liberties with a child, felonious restraint and abduction of a child.

Yesterday, Iannuzzi pleaded guilty to molesting the boy and was sentenced.
She'll spend 90 days in jail on a 12-15 month sentence for the indecent liberties conviction.

She has to register as a sex offender and serve three years probation, and she can't have contact with the victim.

She will serve six months intensive probation and 36 months supervised probation on the remaining two charges. If she violates the probation, she'll serve 16-20 months on each.

She has to do 50 hours of community service and pay court costs.
Iannuzzi was also prohibited from teaching again.

I'll boldly contend that molesting a 12-year-old should be deserving of more punishment than 90 days in the county jail.
Anger Counselor Packs Heat

(Fairfax County, Virginia) Last month, a 57-year-old anger management counselor, Jose L. Avila, was arrested for allegedly pulling his SUV next to two Deputy U.S. Marshals and pointing a handgun at them.

Avila's lawyer, William Odio, said that his client vigorously denies having a gun in his hands. Nonetheless, after the marshals chased down and arrested Avila, he had a loaded 9mm pistol in his car.

In a detention hearing this week, U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr. ordered Avila held without bond despite assertions from Mr. Odio that Mr. Avila, a former Catholic priest with three college degrees, is a good guy without a criminal record. Judge Jones ruled that Avila is both a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Odio said he was disappointed by the ruling, but said he was preparing for Avila to be indicted and for an upcoming trial. He acknowledged Avila had his gun in his SUV, for which he had a concealed weapons permit because of possible anger from the people he counsels, but said he never pointed it at the marshals.
So, it boils down to he-said-they-said. Who do you believe, two U.S. Marshals or an anger management counselor packing heat.
Defamatory internet commenter hunted down and sued

"Legal counsel Martin Bennett has a short message for those who allow themselves to attack reputations over the internet, imagining they are safe under the cloak of anonymity. "You can be hunted down and found," he said yesterday.

Mr Bennett has done just that for a Perth client, winning $30,000 in damages and costs, an apology, and undertakings from a Colac man that he won't post any more defamatory comments.

The hunt for the man's true identity proved the stuff of private detective novels updated into the age of blogs. The action against Graeme Gladman began after highly uncomplimentary comments appeared last November under pseudonyms on the HotCopper website, a stockmarket forum. The postings related to technology security company Datamotion Asia Pacific Ltd and its Perth-based chairman and managing director, Ronald Moir. One posting appeared under the pseudonym of "witch".

Datamotion and Mr Moir hired Mr Bennett to launch defamation proceedings. But first Mr Bennett had to track down "witch". He asked HotCopper to reveal the identity of the person registered under that pseudonym, plus two others under different pseudonyms, but HotCopper refused. Mr Bennett then took court action, forcing HotCopper to turn over its files. "Unfortunately, the registered membership name appeared to be false," he said. "It turned out to be attached to an escort service in Geelong."

But Mr Bennett was not prepared to concede the trail was cold. He told The Age he did not wish to reveal the details of his next detective steps, but the upshot was a defamation action against Mr Gladman alleging that, as a result of his postings, Datamotion and Mr Moir had been "brought into hatred, contempt and ridicule and thereby suffered damage".

It was resolved last week, with Mr Gladman agreeing to pay damages totalling $20,000, taxed legal costs of $10,000, and to provide apologies and undertakings not to publish further defamatory postings. Mr Bennett has launched two more cases. Both are pending before the WA Supreme Court.


A warning that all commenters would do well to heed. Unless you are posting from an internet coffee-lounge or the like, you can probably be traced by anyone who really wants to.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Woman Gets 9 Years for Sex with Boy, 12 - Updated

(Teeside, England) Arrested in October 2009 and convicted last month, 36-year-old single mother Angela Sullivan has been sentenced by Judge John Walford to nine years in jail for engaging in a long-term sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy. Sullivan will also be placed on the Sex Offender's Register for life.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett summarized the case in Teeside Crown Court, describing first how Sullivan allowed the boy to get drunk at a New Year's party and then having sex with him.
The next day the boy - described in court as a ''young-looking 12-year-old'' - had a heavy hangover and Sullivan told him: ''I had sex with you and if anyone finds out it's classed as rape and everything''.

Mr Bennett added: ''The defendant groomed him by buying him gifts to keep him happy.''

She would send her own son, also aged 12, to stay with his grandparents so she and the victim had the house to themselves. ''The defendant's 12-year-old son had seen the defendant having sex with the boy,'' the prosecutor said.

''He had seen this in the house when the defendant wasn't aware he was there. He had also seen this on video footage recorded by the defendant on her mobile phone.''

Rumours began to circulate around the boy's school that he was in a relationship with Sullivan and that she was pregnant. ''He was given the nickname 'manballs' by his 12-year-old peers at school because of his apparent virility,'' Mr Bennett said.

Sullivan was ''quite indiscreet about the relationship'', sending friends texts or MSN computer messages about what she was doing.
Indiscreet, eh? That's an understatement. She virtually advertised. (h/t JRay)

* * * * *

Brit Bird Boffs Boy 200 Times
[Previous 1/19/10 post]
(Teeside, England) A 36-year-old single mom, Angela Sullivan, has admitted in Teeside Crown Court to a ten-month-long intimate relationship with a 12-year-old boy during which she and the boy had 200 sexual episodes.
She first seduced the boy by plying him with alcohol and performing a sex act on him, the court was told.

The pair went on to have a ten-month affair, which was only uncovered after rumours circulated at the boy's school about Sullivan being pregnant.

Investigators also discovered the schoolboy had been boasting to friends in internet chatrooms about his relationship.

The mother would often have sex with the youngster in her Middlesbrough home after sending her own son to stay with his grandparents.

When police arrested Sullivan in October, they found a diary filled with childish entries and 191 stars to mark each encounter.

She initially denied having sex with the boy and tried to explain away some of her diary entries - such as 'Angela loves (the boy's name)' - as innocent scribblings.

But when she appeared in court yesterday, Sullivan admitted ten specimen charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity - one for each month of the affair.
Sullivan was jailed without bail and psychiatric reports were ordered. Sentencing is scheduled for next month.

Tip: slwlion
Facebook Predator Gets 15 Years in Prison

(Waukesha, Wisconsin) In December 2009, a former student at New Berlin Eisenhower High School, Anthony Stancl, 19, pleaded no contest in accordance with a plea agreement to two felony counts of sexual assault of teen boys. In exchange, the prosecution dropped 10 other felony counts.

Stancl had originally been charged with sex crimes involving at least 31 boys he persuaded, by pretending to be a girl on Facebook, to send naked pictures of themselves to him. Stancl then blackmailed them into performing sex acts under threat that the pictures would be exposed to the rest of the high school. According to District Attorney Brad Schimel, at least seven boys were forced into sex acts with Stancl in rooms at school and at various places around town.

On Wednesday (2/24/10), Stancl was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 13 years of extended supervision.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis imposed the sentence because he said Stancl had proven he was manipulative, excessively self-centered and could still be dangerous.

"I am afraid of what he can and might do," Davis said. [...]

Davis banned Stancl from having any contact with the victims or their families, or the New Berlin School District, or any minors except with permission of his correctional supervisor. He must register as a sex offender and cannot use the Internet except with permission of his supervisor.
During the proceeding, Stancl apologized to the victims and their families, the school district and his own family. Afterward, he was hauled off to the big house to begin his punishment.

Tip: slwlion
No Jail in Day Care/Pot Farm Case

(Belvidere, New Jersey) Arrested last October, yesterday Liz Kemp was convicted of farming marijuana at the same location she was operating a day care for children.
The former operator of a Greenwich Township day care center admitted Thursday to growing marijuana on the same Route 57 property where she cared for children, court records show.

Liz Kemp, who also had been serving as president of the Greenwich Township Parent Teacher Organization, pleaded guilty to a second-degree marijuana charge and two counts of fourth-degree child neglect.

In exchange, prosecutors have agreed to her application for admission into the county's five-year drug court program. Participants in the intensive program must submit to frequent drug testing, appear in court for updates on their progress and meet numerous other requirements.

Authorities said if Kemp fails to comply with program requirements, she would face a possible three-year state prison sentence.

Her position as president of the PTO came to an abrupt end after the charges surfaced. PTO members quickly distanced themselves by firing Kemp.
In her defense, Ms. Kemp claimed she used marijuana to treat an anxiety disorder.

Curiously, I would question what came first -- the anxiety disorder or the pot farm. I suspect that anyone concurrently responsible for other people's kids and an illegal marijuana operation would logically be a bit jumpy.

One could surmise that Kemp became anxious because she was using and growing marijuana whereas beforehand she was quite composed.
"Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent"

The study excerpted below is amusing. It is coming out in a sociology journal but concentrates on psychology to the exclusion of sociology! Amazing what can happen when you have an axe to grind!

The article is mostly speculation and theorizing but it does have some actual findings about IQ on which to build its house of cards. But the writer totally overlooks the social context in which the findings were gathered. They are not IQ findings from adults but rather findings about adolescents. The fact that data about adults were not presented is of course the giveaway.

The study found that the more intelligent adolescents were more liberal. So what does that prove? As someone who has taught both psychology and sociology at university level, I have little doubt what it means: It means that more intelligent kids are better at picking up and absorbing the lessons drummed into them by our Left-dominated educational system. It means no more than that. The sociological context overlooked is, in other words, the fact that the individuals concerned were still at school. I think that can reasonably be called: "Overlooking the obvious".

For the findings among random samples of adults, see here. Much more pesky!

More intelligent people are significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years." ....

In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.

Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."

Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.



I see that Time magazine has picked up on the study above too. The "Time" article is surprisingly good and even points to evidence contradicting the headline claim. A small point, though: The author says that Leftists are more open to experience but the reference he gives for that shows nothing of the sort. The claim is however an old favourite of Leftist psychologists. My last look at the academic literature on the question is here. I conclude that, as psychologists usually define it, there is no political polarization on openness to experience. Leftists are however sensation-seekers. That might seem like a fine distinction but it is not if you look at how psychologists use the various terms concerned. The "openness to experience" claim is a way of saying that conservatives are rigid and narrow-minded whereas the sensation-seeking finding implies that Leftists like novelty for the sake of novelty.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Huge Cheese Heist in France

(Besancon, France) This week, it was discovered that thieves made off with 700 Kg of distinctive comté, raclette and morbier cheeses from cheesemakers in eastern France.

Police are investigating and thus far have not been able to finger the dirty rat thieves. Some are calling the thefts an epidemic.
Police believe that a number of people must have been involved in the theft since the cheeses weigh 40 kg. And they seem to have chosen their get-away vehicle with care, ensuring that it was able to transport the booty.

The co-operative has already been robbed twice, but previously of cash rather than goods.

Police, who are trying to track down the criminals, say that there has recently been a rise in the number of robberies of cheesemakers in the Jura and Doubs region.
Cheese was also reportedly taken from dairies in Chantrans and Besancon, where 40 Kg of butter also disappeared.

It's curious but not known why the thieves preferred cheese to cash. It's also not known where a thief would go to fence 1,500 pounds of cheese.
Voyage to Australia

Auction announced:
A hair-raising tale of drunken debauchery among officers and passengers on a ship taking them to settle in Australia in the 1830s has been revealed in a journal to be auctioned this month.

The detailed account kept by James Bell, a junior officer on "Planter", reveals the ship's captain shared his bed with two daughters of a preacher and that a gang of prostitutes also made the voyage.

The ship sailed from Deptford in London on November 25, 1838 and reached Adelaide on May 16, 1839.

The 225-page volume, which was bought for a few pounds at a book stall, is expected to fetch up to 4,000 pounds when it is auctioned at Bonhams in London on March 23.
Sounds interesting.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

U.S. Anti-Missile Project in Romania

Russia has expressed concerns regarding the news that Romanian President Traian Basescu has agreed to allow ground-based medium-range U.S. missile defense interceptors in Romania.
The plans call for the ground-based version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) with SM-3 missiles to be deployed in Romania by 2015.

This system cannot be said to threaten Russia's security interests since Russia has no ground-based medium-range (1,000km-5,500km) or short-range (500km-1,000km) ballistic and cruise missiles.

These missiles were all scrapped by June 1991 under an agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Nevertheless, the Russians complain that they have been kept in the dark about the logistical moves. This is contrary to joint statements made by Russian President Medvedev and President Obama indicating that the two nations would act cooperatively.

Furthermore, the Obama administration arguably displays an anti-Russian bias by moving forward on the missile defense project without any participation of Moscow or Russia's allies.

Expect the issue to be a chronic irritant in U.S.-Russia relations.
Florida Woman Accused of Sex with Boy

(Crestview, Florida) A 22-year-old local woman, Brandie Michele Gilley, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy, the son of a close friend.

Authorities were alerted after Gilley got drunk and told the boy's mother.

Reportedly, Gilley crawled into bed with the boy during the weekend of December 11, took off his clothes, had oral sex with him and then had intercourse. Gilley has been charged with lewd and lascivious battery.

A court appearance is scheduled for April 6.
Some Toyotas are better than others

I can't help noticing that the problem with runaway acceleration in Toyota cars affects drivers of automatic cars only. If my Toyota Echo started uncontrolled acceleration, I would just push in the clutch and move the gearshift into neutral: An entirely mechanical process under my complete control and the end of the problem. Another triumph for old-fashioned tried and true systems?

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Kentucky Teacher Acquitted in Sex Case - Updated

(Paris, Kentucky) After a three-day trial and three hours of deliberation, Bourbon County Circuit Court jurors found 52-year-old Kimberly Fryman not guilty of first-degree sexual abuse.

* * * * *

Kentucky Teacher Indicted for Sex Abuse of Student
[Previous 6/18/09 post]
(Paris, Kentucky) A 24-year veteran teacher with the Bourbon County School System, Kimberly Fryman, has been indicted on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse stemming from alleged sexual contact with a male student younger than 18.

During arraignment on Tuesday, Fryman pleaded not guilty.

Fryman has been suspended from teaching in her alternative classroom for troubled students at Bourbon County High School.

A court appearance is scheduled for August 7.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NC Woman Arrested for Rape of Boy

(Elizabeth City, North Carolina) A 30-year-old local woman, Christina Lee Shipp, was accused of sex crimes committed against a 15-year-old boy so she fled to South Carolina to avoid prosecution.
The alleged incidents with the boy took place at a private home last spring. The incident was reported on May 4th and Shipp fled to South Carolina after a warrant was obtained for her arrest.
Shipp was extradited to North Carolina last week and was subsequently booked into custody at the Albemarle District jail.

Shipp faces counts of statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a minor.
Maryland Teacher Gets Probation in Sex Case - Updated

(Anne Arundel County, Maryland) Earlier today, 29-year-old teacher Kristyn Nicole Breeds pleaded guilty in accordance with a plea agreement to one count of fourth-degree sex offense. As a result, she was given probation.
The Anne Arundel District Court judge agreed to give the former teacher probation before judgment. Breeds' lawyer says she has been punished enough.

"Her life as a she knew it formerly is over. She had planned her whole life to be a teacher. Obviously that career is gone," said Thomas Morrow, Breeds' lawyer.

The teacher admitted she and the student had sex at a Park and Ride, and also at her home as many as 10 times during his senior year.

The teen, who didn't graduate after the teacher's arrest in January, is now getting his GED and attending community college.

The prosecutor didn't fight the fact that there would be no criminal conviction and only probation.

"We did not want to have to basically retraumatize him by going forward in testimony, so I think it was appropriate that Ms. Breeds pled guilty, admitted what she'd done and it was inappropriate," said Michelle Smith, prosecutor.
It's hard to understand the logic. For the better part of a year, Breeds mixed it up sexually with a student and she gets probation without a criminal conviction. Arguably, a felony record and some form of punishment would seem to be warranted.

* * * * *

Maryland Teacher Accused of Sex with Male Student
[Previous 1/16/10 post]
(Anne Arundel County, Maryland) A 29-year-old special education teacher and track coach at Northeast High School in Pasadena, Kristyn Nicole Breeds, was arrested Thursday for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student. Breeds has been charged with three counts of fourth-degree sex offense.
The charging documents said she [Breeds] told police that she and the 17-year-old had sex at the park-and-ride lot on Leelyn Drive in Severna Park, at her Severna Park home and at Queenstown Park.

"She advised the sexual relationship started in the spring 2009 and continued until December 2009," the charging documents state.

At a brief bail review hearing, Annapolis District Judge Thomas J. Pryal ordered Breeds, who was initially held on $500,000 bail, released on recognizance.
Also on Thursday, Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell suspended Breeds with pay.
Voluntary Donation Test Completed

This is hardly surprising.
The Miami Herald has decided to end its test to determine whether the publication's online readership would voluntarily offer monetary contributions to the newspaper.

The experiment began in December of last year and ended today without explanation or information on how much money was raised.
I suspect the test results were not positive and suggest that the next test will comprise some form of non-voluntary donations.
Make the Call

It's speculated that the new logo for the U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency:

Was inspired by:


Readers can make the call.
ABC News Cutting Heads

(Washington) ABC News President David Westin announced that the company will undergo a "fundamental transformation" and hundreds of news staffers will be cut. Estimates of jobs to be lost vary between 300 and 400 in a news division numbering about 1,400.

A weak advertising market is being blamed for the cost-cutting moves.

I suspect the transformation will encompass the marriage of the walking department with the chewing gum department to achieve compatibility with the digital world where fewer people are needed to produce news reports.
UK National Health Care Problems

People are saying that the Brits have the good stuff and we need it in the U.S.
Patients at an NHS hospital where hundreds of people died in squalor suffered 'horrific experiences that will haunt them and their loved ones for the rest of their lives', a damning report has found.

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stafford Hospital, lost sight of its responsibility to provide safe care after becoming preoccupied with cost-cutting and targets, the independent report concluded today.

Patients were 'routinely neglected', with patients left unwashed - at times for up to a month - and food and drinks left out of their reach, the inquiry found.

The probe was launched into events at Stafford Hospital after another report last March from the Healthcare Commission revealed a catalogue of failings at the trust, which also runs Cannock Chase Hospital.

Appalling standards of care put many patients at risk, and between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period from 2005 to 2008, the commission found.

Today, inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC made 18 recommendations for both the trust and the government in his final report after hearing evidence from more than 900 patients and families.
Check the link for more complete description on the abysmal neglect patients can expect from the British national health care system.

[Add.] Check "unimaginable suffering" at SocGlory.
Kentucky Woman Faces Hit-and-Run Charge in Toddler Death

(Glasgow, Kentucky) In August 2009, a 38-year-old local woman, Lori Ikner, was accused of hit-and-run in the death of 23-month-old Shayla Wooten.

Ikner faces a charge of leaving the scene of an accident/failure to render aid plus a previous recent charge of driving under the influence. She was booked into custody at the Barren County Correction Center with bond set at $10,000.

Yesterday, in the latest development, Ikner's trial was postponed until completion of FBI analysis of a hair found on the wheel of Ikner's van. Estimated completion is "several months." Meanwhile, Judge Phil Patton ordered Ikner out of jail until her trial starts.
Platform Caution

Apparently, it's a common occurrence in Britain. (Source)

Hands up: Who has heard of Senator Joseph McCarthy? All hands shoot up. The Left make sure that we never forget him.

Hands up again: Who has heard of Richard Ichord? All hands stay down. Yet both men did much the same thing: Endeavour to expose crypto-Communists in America's public life. And Ichord's House Un-American Activities Committee ran for much, much longer than Senator McCarthy's inquiry.

So how come we hear so much of one man but hear virtually nothing of the other? Easy: McCarthy was a Republican. Ichord was a Democrat.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
A new retreat from the Warmists

These are getting frequent. Rats deserting a sinking ship again?

There appears to be another chink in the armor of manmade global warming supporters as a top science journal has withdrawn a study on sea level rise tied to global warming, after finding mistakes that undermined the projections.

The study published last year in Nature Geoscience predicted sea levels would rise by between seven and 82 centimeters by the end of the century. That backed up the U.N.'s climate change group.

Now The Guardian reports the scientists involved in the study say there are two separate technical mistakes in their research that led them to realize, "we no longer have confidence in our projections."


Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GAO Tests Border Security

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a series of undercover operations to test U.S. border security and achieved a 93 percent success (failure) rate. In a nutshell, people and contraband easily entered the United States.
GAO concluded that terrorists could use counterfeit identification to pass through most of the tested ports of entry with little chance of being detected.

In its most recent work, GAO shifted its focus from ports of entry and primarily performed limited security assessments of unmanned and unmonitored areas between ports of entry. The names of the states GAO visited for this limited security assessment have been withheld at the request of Customs and Border Protection officials.

In four states along the U.S.-Canada border, GAO covert investigators found state roads that were very close to the border that CBP did not appear to monitor. In three states, the proximity of the road to the border allowed investigators to cross undetected, successfully simulating the cross-border movement of radioactive materials or other contraband into the United States from Canada.

For example, in one apparently unmanned, unmonitored area on the northern border, the U.S. Border Patrol was alerted to GAO's activities through the tip of an alert citizen. However, the responding U.S. Border Patrol agents were not able to locate the investigators and their simulated contraband.
I'd suggest that the border is so porous that it's a misnomer to use the word "security." Maybe "border slalom" would be more accurate. Just avoid the gates and it's all downhill.
Texas Teacher Sentenced for Online Solicitation - Updated

(Livingston, Texas) Former fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Hudspeth has pleaded guilty to sending inappropriate text messages to 15- and 16-year-old boys.

As a result, she was sentenced to 10 weekends in the Polk County Jail, 200 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine and 10 years probation. Hudspeth was also ordered to register as a sex offender.
The former elementary school teacher was arrested more than a year ago. The grand jury found that she intentionally communicated in a sexually explicit manner with more than one minor.
According to prosecuting attorney Kaycee Jones, Hudspeth "never apologized for anything she did."

* * * * *

Texas Teacher Arrested for Online Solicitation
[Previous 10/28/08 post]
(Corrigan, Texas) A fourth-grade teacher at Corrigan-Camden Elementary School, Jennifer Hudspeth, has been arrested for allegedly sending naughty text messages to boys aged 15 and 16, attempting to solicit. Hudspeth has been charged with online solicitation of a minor.

Reportedly, authorities began investigating after being alerted by a parent.

Polk County Sheriff’s deputies booked Hudspeth into custody with bond set at $5,000.
NY Coach Gets Probation in Child Sex Case - Updated

(Queensbury, New York) School basketball coach Joey Strong, 36, has admitted to jumping the bones of a 16-year-old boy last year in a Queensbury motel. As a result, she was sentenced to probation.
Joey Strong of Au Sable Forks pleaded guilty to third-degree rape, a felony, for having sex with the teen one night last March after giving him beer. The teen was a friend of her son, and Strong had brought the boys to the area so they could see the state basketball tournament games at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Strong sobbed through much of the court proceeding Monday before Warren County Judge John Hall. She admitted having sex with the teen.
The probation Judge Hall imposed is incremental. If Strong stays out of trouble (does well is the reported criteria) for an interim six-month probation, she receives more probation. If not, she might go to prison. Either way, it sounds like a hand-slap while kicking the case down the road.

No information regarding possible registration as a sex offender nor stipulations on future involvement with minors was reported.

* * * * *

NY Coach Indicted for Sex with Boy
[Previous 9/15/09 post]
(Queensbury, New York) A 35-year-old volunteer girls' basketball coach at Holy Name Elementary School, Joey Strong, has been indicted on charges stemming from alleged sex with an underage boy.

Strong faces charges of third-degree rape, unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child. The rape charge carries a possible penalty of four years in prison.
She is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy after giving him beer one night in March.

Strong, who worked as a volunteer elementary school girls basketball coach in Essex County in recent years, had brought her teenage son and the boy to the Glens Falls area to attend a basketball tournament.
Strong is free on her own recognizance. Arraignment is scheduled for this week in Warren County Court.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bikini Teacher Arrested

(Okeechobee County, Florida) Thirty-two-year-old former "bikini teacher" Tiffany Shepherd cannot seem to stay out of trouble.
Former St. Lucie County school teacher Tiffany Shepherd's most recent photo doesn't come from the pages of a racey magazine, but from the Okeechobee Sheriff's Office booking blotter.

The photo was taken Wednesday when authorities there arrested her on charges of perjury, making a false police report, according to jail records.
Shepherd was booked into custody at the Okeechobee County Jail and later released on $1,500 bond.

Meanwhile, Ms. Shepherd seems to have found some stable work pursuing her new career as porn actress Leah Lust. (More ....)
Tennessee Teacher Allegedly Kills Husband

(Columbia, Tennessee) A 38-year-old first-grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School, Shawn Michelle Armstrong, was arrested Saturday for allegedly killing her husband, 42-year-old Maury Franklin Armstrong Jr.

She faces one count of second-degree murder.
Authorities were dispatched about 3 p.m. Saturday to Grannys Road, a dirt driveway that veers off Arrow Lake Road a few miles south of downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Maury Armstrong was shot in a wooded area off Grannys road.

The man was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where he later died from his injuries.

Law enforcement officials declined to discuss the motive for the shooting or what weapon was used. Helm said the Armstrongs were separated.
Armstrong was booked into custody with bond set at $500,000.
CT Teacher Busted for Prostitution

(Norwalk, Connecticut) A 50-year-old math teacher, Barbara Marie Glynn, was arrested last Thursday for alleged prostitution. Ms. Glynn is reported to be a crack cocaine addict who suffers from bipolar disorder.

She is accused of soliciting two detectives and offering to get "freaky" with them for $100.
Glynn allegedly approached an unmarked police vehicle that was driving at a slow rate of speed on Belle Avenue and asked the two detectives in the car if they wanted to get "freaky."

She told the officers that it would cost $100 for "everything," according to court documents.

The detectives agreed to pay her $100, and she got into the car, court documents state. She told them to take her to a vacant house near the Open Door Shelter, police said.

As they pulled into the driveway of the house, the detectives identified themselves and placed her under arrest.
Glynn was booked into custody at an Alternative Incarceration Center for substance abusers. A court appearance is scheduled for March 19.

It's notable that if the allegations are true that a crack-addicted, bipolar, street prostitute was hired as a teacher, the Greenwich Board of Education may want to reassess the adequacy of its background investigations process.
Stalin Billboards in Moscow

(Moscow, Russia) For the 65th anniversary of Victory Day on May 9th, commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, billboards of dictator Josef Stalin will be erected in central Moscow.
The billboards will be erected on the request of "numerous veterans organizations" in time for Victory Day on May 9 as part of the celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Germany in World War II, Moscow Advertising Committee head Vladimir Makarov said in an e-mailed statement Thursday.

Makarov, who is currently under investigation for purportedly giving illegal advertising discounts, was released from pretrial detention this week.
Many people are upset by the billboard scheme, recognizing instead that Stalin murdered more people than Hitler. Stalin should not be heralded.
Saudi Lingerie Shops

(Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) Two years after a Ministry of Labor deadline to begin replacing male clerks with women in Saudi lingerie shops, one firm, the Nayomi lingerie chain, has taken action by opening two experimental "family only" stores. According to Nayomi store manager Sarah bint Sahal, issues have been encountered.
If they employ women sales staff, especially Saudi women, do their establishments need to be converted into “women-only” stores or can men enter them if accompanied by a female relative?

Will they have problems with the religious police if they go for the latter and have Saudi women sales clerks attending male customers?

Nayomi will be the first lingerie outlet to find the answers to these questions after trying the “women-only” model and encountered problems. Having a “women-only” retail space requires investment in structural alterations to the premises including eliminating one of the most important elements: An attractive storefront display that invites customers inside. Stores that cater only to women cannot have windows where people on the outside can see in.

“We found it really hard to attract costumers in an ‘women-only’ shop since we couldn’t display our merchandise on the storefront,” she said.

These “women-only” establishments also require a security guard to keep men out.
I confess to not understanding the complexities of the problems with female lingerie store clerks. It's fairly simple to me, fire the male clerks and hire female clerks. Problem solved.

But that's not to be since the apparent roots of the lingerie shop issue are buried in rules of Islam. It seems that one would have to be a Muslim scholar to understand.
Evidence that Al Gore does not believe in the sea-level rise he preaches

Below are two real-estate advertisements. Would Gore invest in a seaside property if he thought the sea was going to rise and swamp him?


This private, peaceful ocean side haven offers bright blue waters and long stretches of beach, and is home to notables like Al Gore, John Edwards, and others who relish seclusion and natural surroundings. This 1,300 acre 5 mile island does not offer hotels, shopping centers, and tourism. However if bird watching, quiet walks and sunbathing is your strong suit you may find life here appealing. There are only 441 homes, no condos, but it does offer proximity to activity rich Wilmington, NC. Enjoy the myriad architectural styles of neatly cared for properties if you can get onto the island. If this is your style, Figure 8 Island may be your place.


Figure Eight Island is one of the places in North Carolina that is home to many celebrity houses. Celebrities like John Edwards and former Vice President Al Gore own houses on this island. The island has beautiful views as it is located between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. The entire island only has about 440 houses making it an ideal place for couples and individuals to relax. It is also home to many beautiful exotic animal species. If you are looking for a vacation house, check out the Figure Eight island real estate. Wrightsville beach real estate also offers many bargains and great houses.


Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How To Handle A Husband

The following academic guidance is provided to wives on how to properly care for their husbands.
In all things be led by your husband's wishes; do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy. Should your husband suggest congress then agree humbly all the while being mindful that a man's satisfaction is more important than a woman's.

When he reaches his moment of fulfillment a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had.

Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance by remaining silent. It is likely that your husband will then fall promptly asleep so adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night-time face and hair care products.
It's speculated that some women may depart from strict adherence to the guidance and implement variants of the theme.
Canadian Tall Ship Sinks Off Brazil

(Sao Paulo, Brazil) The SV Concordia, a Canadian sailing ship with 48 students and 16 crew members onboard, sank last Wednesday about 300 miles off the coast of Brazil. The ship was part of the Class Afloat program operated by West Island College International of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

All 64 aboard were rescued but not before spending about 40 hours adrift in the South Atlantic Ocean.

SV Concordia students rescued

Apparently, there was a communications mixup or indecision leading to a tardy response by rescuers. A distress signal was sent about 10 PM local time Wednesday but search aircraft didn't take off until 5 PM Thursday. An investigation is underway.

The three-masted Concordia is said to have capsized from a microburst, a sudden, violent downdraft. It sank in twenty minutes.
Questionable Family Functionality

(Lakeland, Florida) A nine-year-old boy, his 20-year-old sister, their parents and the wife's boyfriend, all living together, could not collectively pinch out sufficient IQ points to prevent packing an "inert" WWII grenade with black powder and a wick then lighting it and exploding it in the hands of the boy.

The boy, Edward George Weise III, is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.

Authorities said criminal charges are pending since marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found at the home.

Tip: slwlion

Saturday, February 20, 2010

School Accused of Cyberspying

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Administrators for the Lower Merion School District gave laptop computers to 2,300 students, each containing a remote-controlled webcam which allegedly allows spying on students at home.

One student's parents, Holly and Michael Robbins, have protested an incident of spying on their son, Blake, by filing a lawsuit in federal court.
"I don't feel that school has the right to put cameras inside the kids' home, inside their bedrooms and spy on children," Holly said.

The suit claims a Harriton High School official enabled the device, concerned the sophomore was "engaged in improper behavior in his home." An assistant principal later confronted the student, citing a photograph taken by the webcam as evidence.

"She thought I was selling drugs which is completely false," Blake said.
School administrators said they only used the remote webcam feature, now disabled, to track down stolen or missing laptops. Nevertheless, privacy advocates are outraged and it's reported that the FBI is investigating for possible wiretap violations.
Leftist Australian Prime Minister silences critic

A typical Leftist modus operandi. Stalin would understand.
"It was the night a young Lion roared but was seemingly silenced by the might of the public relations machine. A 19-year-old Lions service club volunteer who suggested the PM was "too stingy to buy a $2 scratchie ticket", was gagged within two hours of The Sunday Mail attempts to investigate her claims.

It all began with an email from the teenage fundraiser who was selling $2 footy doubles in the corporate dining area of last weekend's Indigenous All Stars game at Skilled Stadium. "We were going around the tables in the function room with most people buying tickets gladly to support the Lions Club," she said. "I then approached the table where the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was sitting. Not only was he too stingy to buy a ticket, he wouldn't even look me in the eye and completely ignored me. His was the only table that didn't buy any tickets. I am upset that he would treat a volunteer this way and was disinterested in supporting the Lions club."

Two hours later, after the intervention of the PM's office, the NRL PR machine and the Lions club, the teen changed her mind, saying she'd been reprimanded for speaking out.


Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Wisconsin Teacher Accused of Sex Assault of Girl

(Milwaukee, Wisconsin) A 26-year-old teacher and girls soccer coach, Emily Louise Patterson, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old female student. Patterson coached at Brown Deer High School and taught at Mukwonago High School.

Patterson faces one count of sexual assault of a student by school staff.
According to the complaint, Patterson and the girl became friends during the 2008-2009 girls soccer season and became physically involved in January of this year.

Patterson is charged with one incident that allegedly occurred when she spent the night at the girl's house.

According to the complaint, the incident involved Patterson and the girl groping and touching each other outside their clothing.
Authorities were alerted to the alleged relationship when rumors started circulating among Brown Deer High School students.
Cancers in Younger Iranians

(Tehran, Iran) Iranian health experts have raised alarm about an unexplained surge in malignant cancers within the 18-to-25 demographic group.
"Among all types of cancer, stomach cancer has spread the fastest to become most commonly diagnosed cancer case in the country," said the head of the Cancer Institute of Iran, Abdollah Fazlalizadeh.

"Oncologists believe drug consumption, genetic disorders and people's eating habits are the main factors behind the deadly malady," Fazlalizadeh noted. [...]

"Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among Iranian women, with breast cancer taking the second place," said the Iranian oncologist Mohammad-Reza Mir.
As I understand, cancer clusters are not uncommon, although infrequent, and they usually aren't associated with a whole nation. One must wonder if there is some link to the Iran-Iraq War which occurred about the same time as the individuals in the cancer demographic were born.
Muslims use barratry to chill free speech

"Barratry" is bringing repeated legal actions solely to harass. It is an offence in some jurisdictions.
"A federal judge has dismissed an attempt by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to re-file a lawsuit against Air Force special agent P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris, the father-and-son team that investigated and exposed the group's terrorist ties.

Defense lawyers are hailing the decision as a victory over CAIR's alleged plan to "chill" free speech critical of the organization through an avalanche of court cases and legal costs. "We briefed, counter-briefed, we spent thousands of dollars on the case," said Daniel Horowitz, one of the three lawyers for the defense. "Only then did they file this new lawsuit, which would have effectively forced us to start all over."

"But the new lawsuit didn't have anything substantively new," Horowitz told WND. "And yet, that's their whole goal. They know they can't win the case, but they can chill the First Amendment by making it so expensive to speak against them that no one can challenge Saudi-funded CAIR. In the end, they can just keep getting more and more money from overseas and burn out opposition with lawsuits."

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, however, "denied as moot" CAIR's request to re-file the case. CAIR now has until March 1 to re-file "an appropriate motion for leave to amend."

"The judge looked at papers and said, 'Look, you don't have a right to do this; everything was fully briefed; you had your opportunity,'" Horowitz explained. "In terms of the First Amendment, it's a powerful ruling," Horowitz continued, "because it recognizes that by chilling free speech, you undermine it, even if you lose the case in the end. CAIR was trying to exploit that to the max, and the judge said no."


Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ohio Stimulated at $294,000 Per Job

The Obama administration is trumpeting Ohio jobs created by stimulus money.
Ohio received $220.6 million in stimulus money for sewers and other water-pollution control projects -- the fifth most of any state. But Ohio had by far the largest number of projects, with 274 in 187 communities statewide, officials said.

The state also funded 62 drinking-water projects with $58.5 million in stimulus dollars, including $5 million for a new drinking-water system for Buckeye Lake.

Officials said many of the projects would not be going forward without the stimulus funding, and that combined they are responsible for nearly 750 jobs that otherwise wouldn't be in place.
Now, according to my el-cheapo calculator, each job required more than $294,000 of stimulus money to create. Kind of pricey, eh? Furthermore, the duration of the 750 jobs is not reported but they mostly appear to be short-term. Consequently, it's hard to dispute the contention that the stimulus money won't be doing much stimulating.
Iran Launches Home-Made Destroyer

(Tehran, Iran) According to Iran's state news agencies, the nation launched a new home-made guided missile destroyer today.
The new vessel, called Jamaran, has the capacity to carry about 120 people and is armed with surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes and modern naval cannons, Iran's Press TV reported.
Notably, Iran has been known to exaggerate when boasting of its military capabilities.
Unbelievable: Obama Shifting NASA Mission from Moon to Muslims

President Obama recently announced he would be diverting funds away from NASA's plans to return to the moon, but failed to mention what his plans for the future of NASA might look like.

According to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, President Obama has asked NASA to "find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries," in a push to make the agency a tool of international diplomacy.

The Orlando Sentinel reports: In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners,” said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students. Specifically, he talked about connecting with countries that do not have an established space program and helping them conduct science missions. He mentioned new opportunities with Indonesia, including an educational program that examines global climate change."

Canceling the Constellation program already threatens to put the U.S. behind countries like China and Russia. When did Kennedy's once undeterred vision of American space exploration transform into Obama's plan for an international science "welfare" program? When did NASA become a tool of diplomacy and an extended arm of the EPA?


Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Homeland Security Loses Guns

(Washington, D.C.) The Department of Homeland Security apparently has a problem with lost firearms.
The problem, outlined in a new federal report, has prompted disciplinary actions and extra training.

Most of the misplaced weapons — including handguns, shotguns and military rifles — were never found. "Most losses occurred because officers did not properly secure firearms," says the Homeland Security inspector general report.

At least 15 of the guns ended up in the hands of gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers, inspector general Richard Skinner found. His report documented 289 missing firearms from fiscal year 2006 through 2008, although not all were lost because of negligence. Some were lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and others were stolen from safes.

The report is the first accounting of guns lost by Homeland Security's 185,000 workers.
Maybe the system didn't work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Legal Polygamy

According to the Kurdish Herald, polygamy is legal and accepted in the countries indicated in red on the following map.

Legal Polygamy

Although polygamy is a societal norm throughout the Muslim word, it's important to note that the laws governing multiple wives vary from location to location.
Caning of Women in Malaysia

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) On February 9, three Muslim women were caned at the Kajang Women's Prison after being sentenced in syariah court for engaging in illicit sex.

Reportedly, it's the first time that women have been caned in Malaysia.

It's understandable that women's rights activists have expressed outrage.
All Women's Action Society (Awam) president Sofia Lim Siu Ching said the home ministry needed to explain why the punishment was carried out in secret.

"The expediency and the secrecy reek of bad faith and betray a troubling disregard for public opinion on an issue that has drawn attention around the globe," she said in a statement Thursday.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) executive director Hamidah Marican said the three cases constituted further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia, and asked if the men involved in these cases were similarly caned.

"It violates constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination as the whipping of women under Syariah criminal offences legislation contradicts civil law where women are not punishable by caning under Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code," she said.
In response, the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) President Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said that the women protesters are ignorant. He explained that syariah caning is not really a bad thing.
"It must be stressed again that the syariah caning is different from the civil caning. The syariah caning does not cause injury to the offender compared with the civil caning which leaves a scar," he said.
The debate regarding the caning of women remains heated in Malaysia.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Special Needs Teacher and Special Needs Student

(Indianapolis, Indiana) A 40-year-old special needs teacher at Pike High School, Taine Abdullah, was arrested yesterday for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student.

Reportedly, the school system was alerted to the allegation on Tuesday by a student. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was then notified and Abdullah was relieved of her teaching duties.

The situation continues to be investigated by Sex Crimes detectives and the school system.

Abdullah was booked into custody. A bail amount wasn't reported.
British Hospital Going Private

(UK) Here is a surprising report about a hospital in England, home of the much-heralded socialized health care system. It appears the National Health Service (NHS), for the first time, will be turning a big district hospital over to the private sector.
A debt-ridden NHS hospital is to be taken over and run by a private company in what will be a groundbreaking departure for healthcare provision in England. [my bold]

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, a district general hospital in Cambridgeshire, will be run by one of five private sector organisations from next year, after the withdrawal of the only NHS organisation bidding for the contract.

Stephen Dunn, director of strategy for the East of England health authority, told The Times that no other bids were being considered for the next stage of the vetting process. He said that the decision should not be regarded as controversial, given the pressures on the NHS, and would set an important precedent for the future financing and development of high-quality health services. He said that several other health authorities had approached him for information about how East of England was running the selection process.
Selected from five possible candidates, the successful bidder on the seven-to-ten-year contract will be announced in October. Interestingly, an NHS trust pulled out of the bidding, indicating it would cost time and money and they had better things to do with their time.

Companion posts at The Jawa Report and SocGlory.
How did religion evolve?

The article below is very limited. The authors rightly say that basic concepts of right and wrong have often previously been shown to be largely hardwired (inborn). They also rightly see that religion reinforces and refines moral and ethical ideas but does not cause them. So the authors only achieve a negative: They exclude morality and a need for co-operation as a reason for religious beliefs. The only positive conclusion they have to offer is the very vague statement that religion is a "byproduct of pre-existing cognitive functions". That tells us precisely nothing, it seems to me. So let me answer the question. I don't think it is hard at all. I would say that religious beliefs are a product of a very basic and distinctive human trait: A hunger to understand -- in particular, a hunger to understand the world about us. And supernatural beliefs answer questions that otherwise lack answers. Is that clearer than a "byproduct of pre-existing cognitive functions"?

Religion evolved as a byproduct of pre-existing mental capacities, and not because it fulfilled a specific function of its own -- though it can facilitate co-operation in society, a study concludes. The new study, published Feb. 8 in the research journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, takes a somewhat different track, exploring the link between morality and religion.

Some scholars claim that religion evolved as an adaptation to solve the problem of co-operation among genetically unrelated individuals, while others propose that religion emerged as a byproduct of pre-existing cognitive capacities," said study co-author Ilkka Pyysiainen of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Finland.

Pyysiainen and a co-author, evolutionary psychologist Marc Hauser of Harvard University, reviewed the two competing theories using the principles of what they call experimental moral psychology. "Religion is linked to morality in different ways," said Hauser. "For some, there is no morality without religion, while others see religion as merely one way of expressing one's moral intuitions."

But past studies, the authors said, show that people of differing religion or no religion show similar moral judgments when asked to comment on unfamiliar moral dilemmas. That suggests intuitive judgments of right and wrong work independently of explicit religious commitments, the researchers argued. "This supports the theory that religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation for co-operation, but evolved as a separate byproduct of pre-existing cognitive functions that evolved from non-religious functions," said Pyysiainen.

"However, although it appears as if co-operation is made possible by mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion, religion can play a role in facilitating and stabilizing cooperation between groups." This might help to explain the complex association between morality and religion, the scientists added. "It seems that in many cultures religious concepts and beliefs have become the standard way of conceptual moral intuitions. Although, as we discuss in our paper, this link is not a necessary one, many people have become so accustomed to using it, that criticism targeted at religion is experienced as a fundamental threat to our moral existence," said Hauser.

SOURCE (Journal abstract follows)
The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product?

By Ilkka Pyysiainen and Marc Hauser

Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins and evolution of religion. One proposal views religion as an adaptation for co-operation, whereas an alternative proposal views religion as a by-product of evolved, non-religious, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between religion and morality in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in moral psychology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in religious background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their moral judgments for unfamiliar moral scenarios. These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the problem of cooperation.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Leftist hate speech

Comments are enabled on all my blogs so almost every day I get a comment from a Leftist on one or another of them. I often think I should pass them for publication just to show what the Leftist minds out there are like but anger and abuse are so uninteresting that I always just delete them. Anger and abuse seems to be the limit of the talents of Leftist commenters.

The abuse can be amusing at times though. I am, for instance, often accused of being a Christian bigot. Seeing that I am an atheist, the lack of insight in such comments is remarkable.

Sometimes I am told that I am just an old man who cannot keep up with the modern world and resist change for that reason. I am now 66 but have been a conservative since my early teens so that is a bad guess too.

And it is amazing the number of organizations that I am "in the pay" of. That I am just a retired academic sitting in front of my computer in an upstairs room in a backstreet of a city that most people have never heard of doesn't seem to be envisaged. The last organization I was "in the pay" of was the University of New South Wales in Sydney in 1983, at which time I retired from academic employment. After that I just developed my business interests -- with a degree of success that would enrage leftists even more if they knew about it.

And, of course, the antisemites are often out, accusing me of being a dupe of the Jews etc. Since I have written at great length about Jews -- not all of it complimentary (See the sidebar of DISSECTING LEFTISM) -- and also about the history, psychology and sociology of antisemitism, I think I am at least not a "dupe". I read the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" in my teens and even then thought they were rather bizarre. Yet "The Protocols" are the Bible of antisemites (hugely popular in the Middle East) and I am often told that I should read them.

And so it goes. What I have listed is just a tiny sample of the hate-filled comments that I receive. Hate is really what the Left is about. Other conservative bloggers also occasionally mention the unreasoning hate they get from Leftists. Michelle Malkin seems to get it in spades.

That people who are so brimming over with hate are always alert to find something in conservatives that they can characterize as hate is, I suppose, understandable. It deflects attention from what they are.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rhode Island Town Fires All Union Teachers

(Central Falls, Rhode Island) The Central Falls School Superintendent Frances Gallo presented a plan to correct abysmal performance in the school system. Reportedly, the high school has a graduation rate under 50 percent and half of the students at the high school are failing all their classes.

Gallo's plan calls for the "teachers at a local high school to work 25 minutes longer per day, each lunch with students once in a while, and help with tutoring." Unfortunately, the teachers' union had a cow, refusing to accept the onerous demands placed on the teachers.

Reacting to the union's rejection of the proposed changes, Superintendent Gallo fired every teacher and administrator at the school. The decision has deeply divided the community.

Students and adult supporters have expressed solidarity with Superintendent Gallo and her plan. A rally was held Wednesday in downtown Providence.
Bahaba Big Bucks

(Guangdong, China) A endangered fish believed to have medicinal properties has been caught and sold for more than $500,000.
The 135-kilogram Chinese Bahaba (Bahaba taipingensis), the first fish of its species caught in at least a year, was thought to be more than 50 years old.

A fishery in Guangdong Zhanjiang purchased the fish for 3.45 million yuan.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Bahaba's swim bladder "is highly appreciated for its medicinal properties and as a general tonic for health."

Its use in traditional Chinese medicine resulted in the species being heavily overfished, to the point where any catch is widely reported in China's media.
With the high bounty on the head of the fish, it's probably not going to survive much longer.
Counselor Gets Jail for Sex with Juvenile

(Baltimore, Maryland) In October 2009, a 17-year-old juvenile sex offender escaped from the New Directions treatment program and subsequently spent the night in the home of a female counselor, Tyra M. Greenfield.

The youth was later returned to custody and Greenfield, 26, was arrested for child sexual abuse and harboring a fugitive.
The circumstances of the escape were surprising to police, said Lt. James DeWees, commander of the Golden Ring state police barracks, who investigated the incident.

"Very rarely do you ever think that someone inside a facility like that would go to the lengths that they went to, to assist him in escaping and then harboring and to ultimately be charged with a sex crime at the end of it," DeWees said.
Earlier today (2/17/10), Tyra Greenfield pleaded guilty to engaging in sex with a confined child and was sentenced in accordance with a plea agreement. Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox gave Greenfield one year in the Baltimore County Detention Center and three years probation upon her release.
Bishop Declares Hospital No Longer Catholic

(Portland, Oregon) The Diocese of Baker has decertified, as no longer Catholic, central Oregon's largest medical center.
Baker Bishop Robert F. Vasa said St. Charles Medical Center in Bend "gradually moved away" from church ethical and religious standards and can no longer be called Catholic.

"As bishop, I am responsible for attesting to the full Catholicity of the hospitals in my diocese, a responsibility which I take very seriously, and I have reached the conclusion that I can no longer attest to the Catholicity of St. Charles," Bishop Vasa wrote in the Feb. 18 issue of the Catholic Sentinel, diocesan newspaper for Portland and Baker.

The main point of contention is tubal ligation, a form of permanent female reproductive sterilization.
According to the bishop, the St. Charles board of directors believes that Catholic doctrine is merely a suggestion and, therefore, optional. Nevertheless, the bishop said that the medical center can keep the name and the cross on top of the building. Heh.
Court: Facebook gripes are free speech

Excellent verdict:
"A former Florida high school student who was suspended by her principal after she set up a Facebook page to criticize her teacher is protected constitutionally under the First Amendment, a federal magistrate ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Garber’s ruling, in a case viewed as important by Internet watchers, denied the principal’s motion to dismiss the case and allows a lawsuit by the student to move forward. …

Katherine Evans, now 19 and attending college, was suspended in 2007 from Pembroke Pines Charter High School after she used her home computer to create a Facebook page titled, ‘Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met.’”


I hope this costs the school a motza. Let's hope the principal can be sued personally.

Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Pro-Abortion License Plate

(Richmond, Virginia) The Virginia General Assembly has voted to create a pro-abortion license plate with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.
The Senate voted 26-8 to create the “Trust Women/Respect Choice” plates.

After the first 1,000 plates are sold, $15 from each $25 plate would go to Planned Parenthood.

The House voted 77-22 for the plate, but it diverted the proceeds to an unused fund that supports women with unplanned pregnancies.
Frankly, I find it disturbing that the State of Virginia is to provide fundraising for Planned Parenthood. Since when did fundraising for an activist group become a government function?

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