Thursday, July 31, 2014

Women With Troubles - July 2014

Here is a compilation of women with troubles reported in news stories during July 2014. 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) Karen Dyan Holt, 35,
teacher - Accused of sex with male student, 15,

(CA) Cynthia Watson, 51,
neighbor - Accused of child endangerment,

(CO) Shannon Maureen Conley, 19,
neighbor - Faces federal charges for trying to provide support for terrorism,

(CT) Danielle Watkins, 32,
teacher - Accused of sex with male student,

(FL) Kelly Mae Maass, 19,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 14,

(FL) Joy Leeann McCall, 36,
neighbor - Gets 10 years prison for sex with boy, 12,

(FL) Julia Orca, 50,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 15,

(IA) Mindy Jo Fetters, 22,
neighbor - Accused of sex abuse of boy, 15,

(IL) Nicole L. Starman, 31,
neighbor - Gets 120 days jail for aggravated sexual abuse of boy, 14,

(IN) Brooke Wilson, 27,
teacher - Accused of child seduction,

(KY) Theresa King, 42,
neighbor - Accused of molesting 5 teen boys,

(MA) Alexandra Romanos, 21,
teacher - Accused of aggravated rape of 13-year-old child,

(MD) Helene Murtha, 58,
religion teacher - Accused of sex abuse of student in 1980s,

(MN) Sondra Mae Huhn, 33,
dance teacher - Accused of sex assault of boy, 13,

(MO) Natalie K. Westefeld, 25,
neighbor - Accused of sex with 15-year-old boy,

(MS) Stephanie Adams, 34,
teacher - Arrested for gratification of lust for a minor,

(NC) Tiarra Neal, 26,
neighbor - Accused of indecent liberties with 15-year-old girl,

(NC) Amy Hogan Saffos, 42,
guidance counselor - Accused of sex with male student,

(NC) Michelle Smith White, 37,
teacher - Accused of inappropriate relations with female student, 15,

(NJ) Jaclyn Melillo, 25,
teacher - Gets 4 years prison for sex with two 16-year-old boys,

(NY) Amanda Matott , 24,
neighbor - Gets 60 days jail for sex with 13-year-old boy,

(OH) Jill Bouton, 37,
PTO president/treasurer - Gets jail for stealing $17K from Parent Teacher Council,

(OH) Julie Hautzenroeder, 37,
teacher - Gets 2-year sentence reduced to 6 months in student sex case,

(OK) Lynette Rae Sampson, 54,
neighbor - Arrested on methamphetamine charges,

(PA) Tiffany Leiseth, 26,
teacher - Accused of sex with two male students,

(PA) Lisa Marie Smith, 34,
neighbor - Accused of sex acts with 4 teen boys,

(SC) Jenna Lee Pate, 28,
neighbor - Accused of sex assault of 14-year-old boy,

(TN) April Littlepage, 40,
teacher - Accused of second public intoxication charge,

(TN) Brooke Amber Thornburg, 32,
neighbor - Accused of statutory rape of a teen boy,

(TX) Julie Ann-Priddy Bollinger, 34,
teacher - Accused of inappropriate relationship with 17-year-old student,

(TX) Alexis Botello, 17,
neighbor - Accused of participating in the death of her daughter,

(TX) Kristina Lynn Moore, 48,
teacher - Accused of 2-year sex assault relations with boy,

(TX) Tanya Ramirez, 29,
teacher - Accused of sexual conduct with male student,

(TX) Elizabeth Ramsey, 33,
neighbor - Accused of starving her stepson to death,

(TX) Shannon Richardson, 36,
actress - Gets 18 years prison for ricin threat to President Obama,

(WA) Meredith Powell, 24,
teacher - Guilty of sex with her students. Sentencing in August,

(WI) Karina Herrera, 41,
correctional worker - Gets probation for sex with inmate,

(WI) Amanda Rhyner, 27,
teacher - Accused of theft of laptop computers from school,

(WV) Gina Crawford, 33,
teacher - Arrested on drug charges,

(WV) Patricia Cullum, 26,
neighbor - Accused of sexually assaulting two boys.

Thanks to the tipsters.

Michigan Man Guilty of Sex with Boy

(Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Former Christian radio host John Balyo admitted Tuesday, July 29, that he photographed sex acts with a 12-year-old boy at a Kalamazoo County hotel.

The child was held to the bed in restraints.

“I performed a sexual act as described and I knowingly possessed the images on my camera,” Balyo, 34, of Caledonia, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody.

“I knew it was wrong.”

Balyo pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography, crimes that could put him away for up to 50 years.
Balyo was booked into custody without bond.

Fun!  With kidney stones!

AS soon as I had put up yesterday my demolition of the idiotic Warmist use of the latest kidney stone study, I tweeted a short  summary of it, with link.  Marc Morano retweeted my tweet,  as he often does.  And that generated further tweets.

One tweeter (Dennis Krupski @Dkrupski) tweeted that, instead of saying I had demolished the kidney stone claims, I should have said that  I *pulverized* the claims. That was rather witty.  Lithotripsy is the first line of defence against kidney stones and pulverizing the stones is what lithotripsy hopefully does.

But a much more amusing tweet was by a Solon going by the name of "Thetracker" (@IdiotTracker).  He is evidently a Warmist so wanted to disrespect my kidney stone comments. And he did it in a classic Warmist way:  By abusing me and appealing to authority.  He made absolutely no mention of the scientific points I had made.  And even his abuse was not clever.  He accused me of writing from "Mom's basement".  Since I am a 71 year old academic with a couple of hundred published academic journal articles behind me, that little speculation was way off.

It is rather saddening how often Warmists talk about "The science" as supporting their ideas but rarely mention one single scientific fact.  Actual science clearly freaks them. Skeptics, by contrast, post scientific facts about the alleged warming all the time.

And the appeals to authority which Warmists substitute for scientific debate are logically problematic anyway.  The "argumentum ad verecundiam" (appeal to authority) is well known to logicians as one of the classic informal fallacies in logic.  It is quite simply illogical. That Warmists rely on it is therefore pathetic.  They are poor souls indeed. Their pernicious cult is founded on speculation only -- JR

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ebola Threat

Liberia has closed most of its borders, banned public gatherings and announced quarantines of some communities in an effort to contain an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

So far this year there have been 1,201 confirmed, suspected or probable cases of the disease in west Africa. Over 670 people have died.
Fruit bats are thought to host the virus.

Mississippi Teacher Accused of Relations with Female Student

(Adams County, Mississippi) A 34-year-old teacher formerly at Adams County Christian School, Stephanie Adams, has been arrested and charged with gratification of lust of a minor.
Adams was allegedly texting a female student inappropriately when the student’s parent discovered the text messages and contacted police.

After investigating the text messages and speaking to the student and several witnesses, investigators believe the teacher and student were in a dating relationship involving inappropriate conduct that led to the teacher being charged.
Adams was booked into custody with bond set at $25,000.

Mass Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

(Somerville, Massachusetts) A 41-year-old teacher formerly at East Somerville Community School, Alexandra Romanos, has been accused of engaging inappropriately with a 13-year-old.

Romanos faces counts of aggravated rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.
Romanos was a teacher at East Somerville Community School for nearly seven years and holds a master’s degree from Lesley University from 2005, according to her LinkedIn profile.

According to authorities, at the end of June, they became aware of allegations concerning an inappropriate relationship between Romanos and the minor.

Somerville Police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office investigated and found that in late March the defendant had initiated a sexual relationship with the minor that occurred on and off-school grounds, they said.
Romanos was booked into custody with bail set at $50,000.
Kidney stone nonsense demolished

Warmists are chortling over a recent report that associated increased kidney stones with higher temperatures.  A close reading of the  press release that announced the findings is interesting, however.  First note the following excerpt:

"A painful condition that brings half a million patients a year to U.S. emergency rooms, kidney stones have increased markedly over the world in the past three decades. While stones remain more common in adults, the numbers of children developing kidney stones have climbed at a dramatically high rate over the last 25 years. The factors causing the increase in kidney stones are currently unknown, but may be influenced by changes in diet and fluid intake. When stones do not pass on their own, surgery may be necessary."

The study team also found that very low outdoor temperatures increased the risk of kidney stones in three cities: Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. The authors suggest that as frigid weather keeps people indoors more, higher indoor temperatures, changes in diet and decreased physical activity may raise their risk of kidney stones.

Then look at the international prevalence of stones  -- in Table 1.  We find that the USA in 1988-1994 had a kidney stone prevalence of 5.2% whereas Italy has a prevalence of 1.72% in 1993-1994.  We also find that Spain had an incidence of 2.0% in 1987 and a prevalence of 10.0% in 1991.

So what is going on?  It's hard to know where to start.  But let me draw attention to the statements highlighted in red.  They first admit that they DON'T know what causes stones.  Climate  change is simply a speculation.  Then they admit that LOW temperatures go with more stones in some cities.  Global warming does not affect Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia??  It's not very global in that case is it?

And, going to the statistics, why should the USA have a prevalence that is 3 times higher than Italy?  Is the USA 3 times warmer than Italy?  Obviously not.  And, finally, the Spanish statistics suggest that the whole thing is basically a mystery.  So the careful scientific conclusion by the authors that "The factors causing the increase in kidney stones are currently unknown" is well justified.  The Warmists have however ignored that scientific conclusion and hopped on to the speculations attached to it. -- JR


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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wisconsin Teacher Accused of Theft

Amanda Rhyner

(New Berlin, Wisconsin) A 27-year-old teacher formerly at New Berlin Eisenhower High School, Amanda Rhyner, has been accused of stealing several laptop computers from her school.
According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, Rhyner is charged with four misdemeanor counts of theft, accused of stealing three laptops and reselling another.

Prosecutors said surveillance video, which they have not released, shows Rhyner in the school on a Sunday in October stopping in various classrooms. She then leaves the school carrying a "laptop bag and a blue Rubbermaid-type bin."

The case came to light when a man Rhyner allegedly sold one computer to contacted Dell to register the machine in his name.

When Dell traced it, it discovered the laptop belonged to the school district. The buyer said he bought it from Rhyner on Craigslist for $100.
Details on booking not reported.

Plane Ugly

Passengers on a Delta Airlines flight from Beijing to Detroit last week were horrified when a Chinese child squatted on his seat and proceeded to defecate, World News, a U.S.-based, Chinese-language news site, reports. The child’s parents spread newspaper on the seat to catch the waste.

Passengers reportedly asked the parents to bring the child to the restroom, but the child’s grandfather insisted that his grandson finish his business at his seat.

Passenger Luolan Gang Wang told Chinese Sina News that an odor filled the plane and passengers were complaining and outraged.
Social media users in China claim that disgrace has been "thrown into the sky."

Facebook sides with Nazis

A Facebook page calling for the death of Israeli Jews does not violate the social network's "community standards," according to multiple messages sent by Facebook in response to user complaints.

The page in question, is named, "Death to zionst baby killer israeli jews." The page, which spells "Zionist" incorrectly, features an Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a vampire with blood dripping down his chin as he feasts on a child. It was started on July 25.

Individuals complaining about the page were greeted with the following message (screen captured below):

"We reviewed your report of Death to zionst baby killer israeli jews. Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards."

Last Thursday, a mob of more than a dozen men assaulted a Jew in his suburban Paris home who had been identified through a French Facebook page that listed the faces and identities of Jews to be attacked. The social network declined to remove the page until after the assault had taken place.

UPDATE: After a social media outcry,  Facebook has since removed the page.


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

New Jersey Teacher Gets Prison for Sex with Two Boys - Update

(Sayreville, New Jersey)
A former New Jersey high school teacher who sexually assaulted two 16-year-old male students is now headed to prison.

Middlesex County prosecutors say 25-year-old Jaclyn Melillo of Sayreville received a four-year state prison term when she was sentenced Monday.

She also has forfeited her teaching certificate, will have to register as a sex offender and will be on lifetime parole supervision once she's freed from prison.
Man, she really screwed up her life. One must wonder who paid for her education to become a teacher. Surely they are pissed. Thousands of dollars into the crapper, eh?

* * * * *

New Jersey Teacher Guilty of Sex with Two Boys - Update
[Previous 3/13/14 post]
(Sayreville, New Jersey) This week, Sayreville War Memorial High School teacher Jaclyn Melillo pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting two high school boys.
Under an agreement reached with Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christie L. Bevacqua, Melillo will be sentenced to serve four years in a New Jersey state prison.

Additionally, Melillo will forfeit her teaching certificate, will be banned from holding a public job, must register as a Megan’s Law sex offender and will be subjected to parole supervision for life.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 19.

* * * * *

New Jersey Teacher and Two Boys
[Previous 10/12/13 post]
(Sayreville, New Jersey) A 25-year-old special education and English teacher at Sayreville High School, Jaclyn P. Melillo, has been accused of sexually assaulting two 16-year-old boys,

Melillo faces two counts of sexual assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Following a joint investigation by the Sayreville Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, it was determined that Melillo sexually assaulted both boys individually on multiple occasions over the summer.

The school began investigating before handing the matter over to the police.
Melillo was booked into custody at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center with bail set at $200,000.

Tennessee Woman Accused of Raping Boy

(Carter County, Tennessee) A 32-year-old Elizabethton woman, Brooke Amber Thornburg, has been accused of raping a teenage boy.

Thornburg has been charged with aggravated statutory rape.
In a press release from the EPD, Sgt. Chris Bowers said officers had been investigating Thornburg since May 18 of this year.

The juvenile said he and Thornburg had consensual sex at least five times over the course of a few days, Bowers said.
Thornburg was booked into the Carter County Jail with bond set at $10,000.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tennessee Teacher Nets Second Intoxication Charge

(Rutherford County, Tennessee) A 40-year-old teacher at Wilson Elementary School, April Littlepage, has been accused of public intoxication … for the second time.

Littlepage was arrested at the Paddock Club Apartments swimming pool around 4:30 this past Friday afternoon.
When police arrived at the apartments, they observed Littlepage to have bloodshot eyes and she was reportedly unsteady on her feet.

The person who complained about Littlepage at the pool suggested she was annoying and she presented unwanted behavior in the pool area.
Littlepage has a court date in September.

WV Teacher Faces Drug Charges

(Sisterville, West Virginia) A 33-year-old 5th-grade teacher at Sisterville Elementary School, Gina Crawford, has been arrested on drug charges.

Details on the type of drugs and the specific charges have not been reported.
According to the Sistersville Police Department, Gina Crawford, a fifth grade teacher at Sistersville Elementary, was arrested on Saturday.

Crawford was arrested on drug charges and is currently being held at the Northern Regional Jail with bond set at $10,000.
A search of the West Virginia inmate database found no results for Crawford as of today.

What triggered the 2007-2008 financial crisis?

I have not previously heard of this but it does have explanatory power.  I should have guessed that government bungling lay behind it.  We all knew that the pricking of the housing bubble lay behind the financial collapse but what pricked the housing bubble?  The bubble peaked in 2006 and in 2007 the trouble  started, building up to the collapse of Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Bros. and AIG in 2008

In 2005, Americans who racked up an inconceivable amount of credit card debt realized they could file for bankruptcy to relieve themselves of any obligation to pay back debts.

There were those who exploited the system, of course, spending excessive amounts of money on credit cards, and then filing for bankruptcy the moment any bank started asking questions.

Banks wanted protection from this sort of abuse, so they lobbied for the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which made it costly to actually file for bankruptcy.

Everything was great, and smooth sailing after that, right?  Nope.

Turns out that there were people who were actually, you know, bankrupt.   The new law made it to where a large number of people didn't have the money to even file for bankruptcy.  As a result, these people had to default on all their debts, including their mortgages, which the banks had to foreclose.

So, now we have a situation in which all the banks have a bunch of houses they can't do anything with. What are they going to do with houses?  Well, they need to sell them, of course.

As it would turn out, though, all the banks simultaneously realized that the housing market was being flooded with houses from other banks doing the same thing.  Because of supply and demand, housing prices plummeted, causing even more people to default on their mortgages.

This also meant that the value of mortgage-backed securities dropped precipitously as well,  leading to more than $40 billion of writedowns for U.S. financial institutions.

Banks lost so much money that they themselves began filing for bankruptcy, including one of the prominent banks that lobbied for the law in the first place, Washington Mutual.  Nearly everyone lobbying for the law was subsequently punished: Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Charles O. "Chuck" Prince stepped down after losing $11 billion of writedowns on top of more than $6 billion in the third quarter of that year. Stan O'Neal was ousted as CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co., the world's largest brokerage, after an $8.4 billion writedown. Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest securities firm, had subprime losses that cut fourth-quarter earnings that year by $2.5 billion...


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Iced Tea Bottle Theft

(Zhejiang Province, China)
It all started when 43-year-old Zhang Hoa was scavenging for recyclable bottles around a warehouse in Wenzhou in China’s Zhejiang Province.

He noticed that the warehouse door was unlocked and, on taking a peek inside, discovered the recycler’s equivalent of the Holy Grail: 30,000 pristine plastic bottles.

The only trouble for Zhang was that all the bottles contained iced tea. So he enlisted the help of three friends who, over the next 12 hours, unscrewed every bottle and poured the iced tea into a drain outside the warehouse.

From there the plan was simplicity itself – the men called a local plastic bottle collection firm to take the loot off their hands, and made off with a tidy £11 for their work.

Split four ways over 12 hours, that’s £2.75 each, or a little under 23p an hour.

It has to be said at this point that bottles of the iced tea sold for the equivalent of 66p, so Zhang could have made more if he stole a mere 17 bottles and sold them to his friends at market price.

Fast forward to when 38-year-old Liang Feng arrived at his warehouse, planning to pick up a pallet of the iced tea to sell to a customer. It would have been one of the all-time greatest facial expressions when he discovered his ENTIRE warehouse empty.
Talk about dumb criminals!

Detroit Gang Bust

Detroit Police Chief James Craig announces the indictment

(Detroit, Michigan)
More than 30 members of a Detroit street gang have been indicted on federal drug and firearm charges.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced Friday five of the 33 Latin Counts members were also indicted on racketeering charges, including assaults, murder, narcotics, firearms and robbery.

She says the suspects were indicted on charges involving the distribution of heroin and cocaine, as well as various firearm offenses.
The Latin Counts allegedly use violence to intimidate rivals and ordinary citizens. Reportedly, the gang members are mostly aged 20 to 30 and they operate in Detroit and downriver communities.

Hitler lives  -- in America

A Israel defends itself against rocket fire and genocidal attack, the demonization of Israel and the scourge of raw anti-Semitism reappear

As Israel continues its dangerous incursion into Gaza to suppress Hamas terrorism and unceasing rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, predictably, the UN, the world media, and intellectual elites have initiated their collective denunciation of the Jewish state. More alarming have been the pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and other U.S. and European cities which quickly devolved into anti-Semitic riots, with protestors yelling such epithets at pro-Israel counter demonstrators including such vile comments as, “Jews back to Birkenau” and “Drop dead, you Zionazi whores.”

In Boston, student supporters of Israel were surrounded by angry demonstrators, physically assaulted, and called “Jesus killers,” asked how many babies they had each murdered, and told they would “burn” for supporting Israel.

During Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 incursion by Israel into Gaza, campus radicals rose up in a similar manner, demonizing Israel for defending itself, accusing Jewish students and other supporters of Israel of being racist oppressors and supporting the “genocide” of Palestinian Arabs, and sponsoring campus events in which Israel, Zionism, and Jews were libeled, assaulted, and attacked for simply trying to live in peace.

Facing a fall semester of radicalism and hatred

We know from history that this fall campuses will again be in turmoil as pro-Palestinian activists, radical professors, and Muslim student groups agitate for resolutions, sanctions, and aggressive censure of Israel, and will use the recent events in Gaza as a platform for their continuing campaign to demonize Israel and intimidate Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of the Jewish state.

SPME addressed this same anti-Israel activism last semester as well in events such as these:

* At San Francisco State University the General Union of Palestinian Students organized an event at which students sold a t-shirt lauding Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, and the GUPS president, Mohammad Hammad, expressed the wish for all Israelis to be killed. Students were encouraged to use a stencil bearing the image of a notorious terrorist and another that stated, "MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS KILLED COLONIZERS"

* At University of Michigan, pro-Palestinian radicals promoting a BDS resolution on campus yelled “dirty Jew” and “get off campus, kikes” at pro-Israel students

* At Vassar College, members of Students for Justice in Palestine physically blocked faculty and students, passed out fliers, and verbally assaulted them as they attempted to enter a classroom where an International Studies course was being held because the course involved a trip to Israel and the West Bank. After a school-wide meeting was called by the diversity office to discuss the “ethics” of the trip, campus radicals continued to demonize Israel, harass the two Jewish professors leading the trip, and argue for the necessity for boycotts against Israel

* The American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and other academic associations continue to propose resolutions to boycott Israeli academic institutions, making the claim that Israeli academic institutions-and only Israeli ones-should be targeted for a boycott that marginalizes Jewish scholars because of the policies of their government. Radical faculty within these associations hold secret meetings and enlist the support of well-known Israel-haters who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

Email from SPME

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Expensive New Drug Worries Government

Months before Gilead Sciences’ breakthrough hepatitis C treatment hit the market, Oregon Medicaid official Tom Burns started worrying about how the state could afford to cover every enrollee infected with the disease. He figured the cost might even reach $36,000 per patient.

Then the price for the drug was released last December: $84,000 for a 12-week treatment course.

At that price, the state would have to spend $360 million to provide its Medicaid beneficiaries with the drug called Sovaldi, just slightly less than the $377 million the Oregon Medicaid program spent on all prescription drugs for about 600,000 members in 2013. It potentially would be a backbreaker.

Faced with those steep costs, Oregon and several other states are looking to limit who has access to the drug that nearly everyone acknowledges is a revolutionary treatment for the disease affecting more than 3 million Americans.

Expensive specialty drugs aren’t new to health care. But Sovaldi stands out because it is aimed at helping millions of Americans who carry hepatitis C, and a large share of those infected are low-income and qualify for government coverage.
The revolutionary treatment is feared to be too expensive to provide without exploding health care budgets. Medicaid officials are debating how to stifle the anticipated costs.

Invertebrate populations have dropped by 45 percent in the last four decades

"Invertebrate" means "no backbone".  At that rate America has an ample supply of invertebrates -- in Congress. Seriously, though, how can anybody know how many beetles, wasps etc there are?  It's a fantasy.  They might as well have just made the number up  -- which they probably did

Much has been said about the loss of bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species around the world. By current estimates, at least 322 species have gone extinct in the last 500 years. And researchers estimate that 16 to 33 percent of the world’s vertebrate species — animals with developed spinal cords — are currently threatened or endangered. But a new article, published today in Science, paints an even more alarming picture, as scientists have found that the number of individual insects, crustaceans, worms, and spiders decreased by 45 percent on average over the past 40 years — a period in which the global human population doubled.

"We had strong suspicions that the problem was largely with the vertebrates," said Rodolfo Dirzo, an ecologist at Stanford University, in an email to The Verge. "But it was surprising to see this now, also, among the invertebrates," or animals without developed spines. Dirzo calls this loss of animal life "defaunation," and he blames it on humans. "The richness of the animal world of our planet is being seriously threatened by human activities," he said. Many species have gone extinct and the ones that remain — mammals, birds, and insects alike — are showing dramatic declines in their abundance.

In the article, Dirzo and his colleagues reviewed past studies, and compiled a global index of all invertebrate species over the past 40 years. Overall, they found that 67 percent of the world’s invertebrates have declined in numbers by an average of 45 percent. In the UK, for instance, there has been a 30 to 60 percent decline in the number of butterflies, bees, beetles, and wasps. This, the researchers write, is important because too often we measure animal diversity in terms of number of species, or in terms of extinctions. But an animal’s contribution is about more than the mere presence of its species on the planet — it’s also about local shifts in populations that could impact everything from agriculture to human health.


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

Kentucky Woman Reportedly Naughty with 5 Boys

(Walton, Kentucky) A 42-year-old local woman, Theresa King, has been arrested for allegedly molesting five teen boys.

King faces 11 counts of sodomy in the third degree and five counts of unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree.
Police say King provided alcohol to the teens and then performed oral sex on them at various times between April and July of this year.

Four of the boys were under the age of 16 when the sex acts happened, officials said.

Authorities did not specify King's relationship with the teens.
King was booked into custody at the Boone County Detention Center with bond set at $50,000.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Maryland Teacher Accused of Sex Abuse of Student

(Baltimore, Maryland) A 58-year-old religion teacher at Seton Keough High School, Helene Murtha, has been accused of sexually abusing a student in the 1980s.
She has not been charged in the incidents, according to online court records.

The allegations were forwarded to the Baltimore city and county police departments, archdiocesan spokesman Sean Caine said.

"We investigated it, and the suspect was not charged, based on the victim's wishes," said a Baltimore County police spokesman, Lt. Robert McCullough.[…]

The allegations date to when Murtha taught at the Archbishop Keough High School, an all-girls Catholic school, which she joined in 1977.

The school merged with Seton High School in 1987 to become Seton Keough, and Murtha remained at the school until 1992.

She moved to what was then the College of Notre Dame as associate dean for student life before returning to Seton Keough, first as a substitute teacher and then, beginning in 2011, as a full-time religion teacher and member of the school's Campus Ministry Team.
Although Murtha was fired from her teaching position, it's not known what happens next.

Minnesota Dance Teacher, 33, and Boy, 13

Sondra Mae Huhn

(Meeker County, Minnesota) A 33-year-old local dance teacher, Sondra Mae Huhn, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student.

Huhn faces a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The victim told police that on Friday, July 11, Huhn was driving him from a dance activity to the annual Watercade Waterball Fight, which is a summertime event held at the Litchfield Rescue Hall.

The victim said Huhn parked her van and then leaned in towards him and kissed him. He said she also took his hands and rubbed them over her breasts under her bra.
Details on booking unavailable.

Plume of Fire and Deafening Roar Aimed at France

Colin Furze with his fart machine

Colin Furze, a plumber and inventor from Stamford, Lincolnshire, has begun building the biggest fart machine ever, which he plans to place on top of the cliffs of Dover and aim across the Channel towards France. His hope is that the French, 21 miles away, will hear the blast.

The machine, which Furze will house in a pair of specially constructed buttocks, is a giant pulse valveless jet engine – as used in Nazi V-1 bombs during the Second World War – that creates a plume of fire to go along with its deafening roar. Furze hopes to mount the contraption on the cliffs of Dover on July 24, between 6 and 7pm.
Hard to believe, eh?

Oklahoma Woman Complains to Police About Her Methamphetamine

Lynette Rae Sampson

(Enid, Oklahoma) A 54-year-old local woman, Lynette Rae Sampson, has been accused of drug offenses after she called police and said she thought her methamphetamine was laced with something.

Sampson faces counts of possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, at 5:09 p.m. Monday Enid Police Department Officer Aaron Barber went to 308 W. Illinois to speak with Sampson.

Sgt. Tim Doyle had told Barber that Sampson had called him at the police department and told him she had methamphetamine in a tin container on her kitchen counter, according to the affidavit.

Barber knocked on the front door of the home and Sampson told him, “I’m glad you came,” according to the affidavit. Barber asked if he could speak with her, Sampson said yes and the two walked into the living room.

Sampson began telling Barber she thought her “ice” was laced with something, according to the affidavit. Ice is a common slang for methamphetamine.

Barber asked Sampson to show it to him and Sampson walked into the kitchen with the officer, showing him a tin container on the counter.
Sampson was booked into custody with bond set at $5,000.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Texas Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

(Houston, Texas) A 48-year-old teacher formerly at Thornton Middle School, Kristina Lynn Moore, has been accused of having an ongoing inappropriate relationship with a student.

Moore faces a charge of sexual assault of a child.
The victim’s mother said the relationship started two years ago when the boy was 14 years old, and it lasted over a year. The boy is now in high school.

According to court documents, the pair had sex at Thornton Middle School, the student’s house, Moore’s house and on a dead end road near a school.

Court documents state that another teacher observed suspicious behavior and reported it. Surveillance video is said to have confirmed what the teacher saw.

Moore denied the relationship, but the boy is said to have admitted to it.
Details on booking not reported.

Ohio Teacher Gets Early Release from Prison in Student Sex Case - Update

(Hamilton County, Ohio)
A former Colerain High School teacher will be allowed to leave prison early.

Judge Norbert Nadel granted Julie Hautzenroeder's request for early release Thursday morning, despite saying she was "irresponsible and stupid."

"I'm taking into consideration you have an 8-year-old daughter which you've been separated from. I indicated what you did was stupid and irresponsible, but I do feel that you've paid some debt to society," Nadel said.[…]

Hautzenroeder was sentenced and reported to prison in December. She was released from the Hamilton County Justice Center on Thursday afternoon.
So, Hautzenroeder's sentence was whittled from two years to six months even though the judge stated she was irresponsible and stupid. Interesting, eh? Frankly, I'd speculate that very few convicts become responsible and smart once awarded early release from prison.

* * * * *

Ohio Teacher Gets Prison for Sex with Student - Update
[Previous 12/11/13 post]
(Hamilton County, Ohio) Former Colerain High School teacher Julie Hautzenroeder was sentenced today to two years in prison.
Hautzenroeder was free on bond before today's sentencing. She'll be allowed to remain out of jail until she reports to prison January 13. She'll also have to register as a Tier 3 sex offender and spend 5 years on probation once she's released from prison. She must also pay court costs.
Hautzenroeder cried during the proceedings.

* * * * *

Ohio Teacher Guilty of Sex with Student - Update
[Previous 11/2/13 post]
(Hamilton County, Ohio) Former Colerain High School teacher Julie Hautzenroeder, 36, was found guilty by a jury yesterday on one count of sexual battery for having sex with a 16-year-old student.
“You were stupid and irresponsible ... ,” Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel told the teacher, Julie Hautzenroeder. “It is a very very sad situation.”

Nadel said he will weigh the fact that Hautzenroeder, 36, of Loveland is raising a 7-year-old daughter when he sentences her on Dec. 11. She faces up to five years in prison and is required by law to register as a sex offender.[…]

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Hautzenroeder brought two students to her home in May, gave them marijuana, alcohol and then had sex with them while her daughter slept nearby.
Hautzenroeder will remain free on bond until sentencing on December 11.

* * * * *

Ohio Teacher Indicted for Sex with Students
[Previous 7/26/13 post]
(Colerain Township, Ohio) A 36-year-old science teacher at Colerain High School, Julie Hautzenroeder, has been indicted for allegedly engaging in sex with two male students.

Hautzenroeder faces two counts of sexual battery.

The sacredness of a baby

An Israeli man instantly used his body to protect a baby

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

Pennsylvania Woman Accused of Sex with 4 Boys

(Mercersburg, Pennsylvania) A 34-year-old local woman, Lisa Marie Smith, has been accused of engaging in sex acts with 4 teen boys.

Smith faces 16 counts, including statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, furnishing alcohol to minors and corruption of minors.
Mercersburg Police said Smith admitted to buying liquor with the children's money and performing oral sex on two teenage boys back during incidents that occurred back in May, the website reported. However, Smith denied allegations that she had intercourse with the boys.

"She claimed she had a lot to drink and may have blacked out," the website quoted the affidavit as saying.

The incidents allegedly occurred May 18 and 25 and over the weekend of May 31 to June 1, police said.
An arrest warrant was issued on Monday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eating Faces

There is a company in Vermont named Burnt Impressions that is selling toasters that make bread selfies.

The price is a little steep -- $75. Or maybe not. After all, wouldn't being able to eat a slice of toasted bread with your face on it every day actually be priceless? You could even serve your burnt image to family and friends.
Interesting. If a selfie can be placed on a piece of toast, then any person's face could show up.

Islamists Kill Somali Protest Singer/Lawmaker

Saado Ali Warsame

(Mogadishu, Somalia) Veteran Somali protest singer and member of parliament Saado Ali Warsame was gunned down earlier today by Islamist assassins who blocked her car and sprayed it with bullets.
Believed to be in her 70s, she was renowned for songs that landed her in jail when she challenged the former dictator Siad Barre before he was toppled in 1991 and Somalia plunged into conflict.

Attackers from al Shabaab Islamist group, which has staged a series of assaults during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, claimed the killing.

"We are behind the killing of lawmaker Saado Ali Warsame and we shall eliminate them one by one," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters.
Islamists kill, again.

MH17: no link to Kremlin in plane downing - US intelligence  officials say no evidence of direct Russian government involvement

The report below is probably the best informed yet and should go some way towards damping down the hysteria about President Putin.  The plane was clearly shot down by Ukrainians -- Russian speaking ones.  Given that Ukraine has resisted their demands for independence and attacked them instead (have we forgotten that Americans also once fought for their independence?), they were clearly entitled to shoot back, and, equally clearly that was what they thought they were doing in attacking the plane.  The launcher appears to have been an early model, a BUK 1 so all they may have seen on their radar was a blip that could have been Ukrainian.  As far as I can see, the only guilt lies with the Malaysian managers who sent their plane into airspace where planes were already being shot down

Senior US intelligence officials have said that Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.

The intelligence officials were cautious in their assessment, noting that while the Russians have been arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

The officials briefed reporters on Tuesday under ground rules that their names not be used in discussing intelligence related to last week's air disaster, which killed 298 people.

The plane was likely shot down by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, the intelligence officials said, citing intercepts, satellite photos and social media postings by separatists, some of which have been authenticated by U.S. experts.

But the officials said they did not know who fired the missile or whether any Russian operatives were present at the missile launch. They were not certain that the missile crew was trained in Russia, although they described a stepped-up campaign in recent weeks by Russia to arm and train the rebels, which they say has continued even after the downing of the commercial jetliner.

In terms of who fired the missile, "we don't know a name, we don't know a rank and we're not even 100 percent sure of a nationality," one official said, adding at another point, "There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here," a reference to a fictional detective who solved mysteries.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the U.S. was still working to determine whether the missile launch had a "direct link" to Russia, including whether there were Russians on the ground during the attack and the degree to which Russians may have trained the separatists to launch such a strike.

"We do think President Putin and the Russian government bears responsibility for the support they provided to these separatists, the arms they provided to these separatists, the training they provided as well and the general unstable environment in eastern Ukraine," Rhodes said in an interview with CNN.

He added that heavy weaponry continues to flow into Ukraine from Russia following the downing of the plane.

The intelligence officials said the most likely explanation for the downing was that the rebels made a mistake. Separatists previously had shot down 12 Ukrainian military airplanes, the officials said.

The officials made clear they were relying in part on social media postings and videos made public in recent days by the Ukrainian government, even though they have not been able to authenticate all of it. For example, they cited a video of a missile launcher said to have been crossing the Russian border after the launch, appearing to be missing a missile.

But later, under questioning, the officials acknowledged they had not yet verified that the video was exactly what it purported to be.

Despite the fuzziness of some details, however, the intelligence officials said the case that the separatists were responsible for shooting down the plane was solid. Other scenarios - such as that the Ukrainian military shot down the plane - are implausible, they said. No Ukrainian surface-to-air missile system was in range.

From satellites, sensors and other intelligence gathering, officials said, they know where the missile originated - in separatist-held territory - and what its flight path was. But if they possess satellite or other imagery of the missile being fired, they did not release it Tuesday. A graphic they made public depicts their estimation of the missile's flight path with a green line. The jet's flight path was available from air traffic control data.

In the weeks before the plane was shot down, Russia had stepped up its arming and training of the separatists after the Ukrainian government won a string of battlefield victories. The working theory is that the SA-11 missile came from Russia, although the U.S. doesn't have proof of that, the officials said.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Powers said last week that "because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems," she said.

Asked about evidence, one of the senior U.S. intelligence officials said it was conceivable that Russian paramilitary troops are operating in eastern Ukraine, but that there was no direct link from them to the missile launch.

Asked why civilian airline companies were not warned about a possible threat, the officials said they did not know the rebels possessed SA-11 missiles until after the Malaysian airliner was shot down.


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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Intim Fest

Intim Fest participants listen to a lecture

(Kiev, Ukraine)
Kyiv's Truchaniv Island welcomed a very unusual festival on July 19 - 20. “Intim Fest”, the First international festival of sexology and relationships, offered some sixty master-classes just in two days.[…]

Some master classes were quite modest, talking about recipes for success and explaining general family psychology and looking more like commercial promos for some expensive sex schools, others dealt with spicier matters.

The master class which revealed the secrets of a female orgasm turned out to be the most popular.
It seems odd that a festival of sexology would be held at the same time that the country of Ukraine is under attack by the Russians. Ukraine has been characterized as a war zone.

Goodwill Industries Credit Card Breach

Financial institutions across the country report that they are tracking what appears to be a series of credit card breaches involving Goodwill locations nationwide. For its part, Goodwill Industries International Inc. says it is working with the U.S. Secret Service on an investigation into these reports.[...]

According to sources in the financial industry, multiple locations of Goodwill Industries stores have been identified as a likely point of compromise for an unknown number of credit and debit cards.
Financial industry sources say the breach may have existed for a year and possibly affects Goodwill stores in 21 states.

Hunt for oil and gas to begin off East Coast

The Obama administration opened up the Atlantic to oil and gas exploration for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday.

The announcement from Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) allows the use of air guns and sonic sensors to search off of the East Coast.

It is a major step toward allowing future drilling in the Atlantic, which has remained off-limits for over 30 years.

While the decision doesn't guarantee that lease sales for drilling in Atlantic waters will be included in the Interior Department's five-year plan for 2017-2022, it is a step in that direction.

"After thoroughly reviewing the analysis, coordinating with Federal agencies and considering extensive public input, the bureau has identified a path forward that addresses the need to update the nearly four-decade-old data in the region while protecting marine life and cultural sites,” acting BOEM Director Walter D. Cruickshank said.

Geophysical research companies contracted by the oil and gas industry will still need to apply for individual permits before conducting tests and undergo strict environmental reviews.

Still, the decision is a win for industry, which will get a chance to prove the potential in the Atlantic for oil, gas, and renewable energy.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, expressed frustration with the administration for allowing testing, which they argue is harmful to marine life in the Atlantic.

"For more than 30 years, the Atlantic coast has been off limits to offshore drilling. Today, our government appears to be folding to the pressure of Big Oil and its big money," said OCEANA spokeswoman Claire Douglass.

Green groups say the tests could kill thousands of marine mammals, injuring dolphins and endangered whales.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called seismic testing the "gateway drug to offshore drilling."

While the decision favors the industry, oil and gas companies aren't getting everything they want.

The American Petroleum Institute said Interior is keeping in place "arbitrary" restrictions that "lack scientific support," and that will "discourage" exploration.

BOEM doesn't expect surveys to begin until early next year but will consider permit applications as they come in.

After a permit is issued, the contractor will have one year from that date to conduct tests.

The decision comes after the release of an environmental impact study in February that detailed precautions companies should take when conducting tests.


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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Besties - Vladimir Putin and Steven Seagal

Russian President Vladimir Putin and actor Steven Seagal

(Estonia) Actor Steven Seagal has been dropped from the headlining slot at the Estonian blues festival called Augustibluus due to his bromance with President Putin.
Estonians were particularly upset over Mr. Seagal’s recent comments supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea as “entirely reasonable.” Mr. Seagal was also quoted in March as calling Mr. Putin “a friend” and “one of the greatest living world leaders.”

Estonia’s foreign minister, Urmas Paet, said Mr. Seagal had become active in politics in the last few months “in a manner not befitting a world which honors states based on the rule of law,” The Guardian reported.

Danish Sweet

(Copenhagen, Denmark)
A semi-naked woman's nonchalant stroll through one of Copenhagen's poshest neighbourhoods turned a lot of heads in the streets and is now quickly going viral. Watch the video here [NSFW] to see what the buzz is all about.
It was a stunt to advertise a new dating program.

One of the sadder examples of what the human race produces

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

Illegal News

Some of the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children who’ve recently entered the country could be coming to your community and you’d never know.

The White House is not informing governors or members of Congress when or where they are placing the children, because they deem the children’s privacy rights to be more important than your right to know where your tax dollars are going, or any public safety or health concern you might have.

During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said:
“The public does have a right to know what’s happening… [but] at the same time, there are privacy rights that are included in the law that this administration is committed to enforcing and following.”
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman – a Republican – recently discovered that 200 illegal immigrant children were sent to his state “without warning.” Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin was “alerted through the media” about 600 children coming to a military installation in her state.

And, Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (also a Republican – Coincidence?) found out about a shipment of children to his state from a local charity that was contracted by the federal government to provide housing and supplies for the children.
The estimated dollar cost of the child foreign invasion hasn't as yet been reported.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Texas Woman Accused of Starving Child

(Dallas, Texas) A 33-year-old local woman, Elizabeth Ramsey, has been accused of starving her stepson, Johnathan Ramsey, age 10, to death.

Ramsey faces a charge of injury to a child.
The boy’s father, Aaron Ramsey, was sentenced last year to life in prison for locking Johnathan in a bedroom of the family’s northeast Dallas home for months, feeding him only bread and water.

The boy’s skeletal remains were found in April 2012 in an Ellis County Creek bed. Medical experts estimated he died more than seven months earlier.

Dallas police detective Daniel Greene described the house where the couple lived as “dirty, filthy, animal waste in every room on pretty much every surface.”

Prosecutor Eren Price displayed police photos from the house on Clearwater Drive where Johnathan died. The rooms were packed with furniture, boxes and trash, and the entire house was infested with fleas. About 20 cats and four dogs also lived in the house with the Ramseys and another woman, Greene testified Thursday.

Johnathan died some time in August 2011.
Elizabeth Ramsey faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet; Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed

The Warmists at NOAA are clutching at straws here.  

1). They say that just three countries in the Southern hemisphere had record high temperatures. But if it's GLOBAL warming, shouldn't the high temperatures have happened in more countries than that? Nothing in the Northern hemisphere? If a phenomenon is not global it is local and of no use in upholding Warmist dogma.  There are plenty of local weather influences.

2). And it's a wonder that they mention the rise in CO2 at all, now at a level that was once predicted to be catastrophic.  Where is the catastrophe?

3). And they say that the global temperature  ranked "between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used". So which is it?  The ranking is obviously far from solid.

4). And they say: "sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record".  That means that there were 9 years when it was warmer.  So it actually COOLED in 2003.

I will comment no further on such hilarious garbage

In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online today by the American Meteorological Society.

Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlights, visuals, full report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice.

“These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.”

The report uses dozens of climate indicators to track patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system, including greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover. These indicators often reflect many thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets. The report also details cases of unusual and extreme regional events, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia in November 2013.


    Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2 threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.

    Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest.

    Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific had the largest impacts on the global sea surface temperature during the year. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.

    Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades.

    The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

    Antarctic sea ice extent reached record high for second year in a row; South Pole station set record high temperature: The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.56 million square miles on October 1. This is 0.7 percent higher than the previous record high extent of 7.51 million square miles that occurred in 2012 and 8.6 percent higher than the record low maximum sea ice extent of 6.96 million square miles that occurred in 1986. Near the end of the year, the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957.

    Tropical cyclones near average overall / Historic Super Typhoon: The number of tropical cyclones during 2013 was slightly above average, with a total of 94 storms, in comparison to the 1981-2010 average of 89. The North Atlantic Basin had its quietest season since 1994. However, in the Western North Pacific Basin, Super Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest cyclone of 2013 – had the highest wind speed ever assigned to a tropical cyclone, with one-minute sustained winds estimated to be 196 miles per hour.

State of the Climate in 2013 is the 24th edition in a peer-reviewed series published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The journal makes the full report openly available online.

"State of the Climate is vital to documenting the world's climate," said Dr. Keith Seitter, AMS Executive Director. "AMS members in all parts of the world contribute to this NOAA-led effort to give the public a detailed scientific snapshot of what's happening in our world and builds on prior reports we've published."


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

Massive Highway Accident in China

(Changsha, China)
At least 38 people are confirmed dead and another five injured after a vehicle crash triggered fire and explosion on a central China highway early Saturday morning, police said.

The accident happened at around 3 a.m. on a section of the Hukun (Shanghai to Kunming) Expressway in Hunan Province, when a freight van loaded with flammable liquid, probably alcohol, rear ended a passenger coach capable of carrying 53 people.

A total of five vehicles were destroyed in the accident. The driver of the van and a passenger in it died at the scene, according to the provincial traffic police.

The injured have been rushed to a local hospital for emergency treatment. Exact casualties are still under investigation.
Wow! At least 38 dead! Investigation teams have rushed to the scene.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Caption Unnecessary

Can America disengage?

I do not at all agree with the screed below but it represents a view that needs an answer.  And one point it makes is undoubtedly true:  It is sheer madness, not to mention cruel, to be arming and financing both sides of the Arab/Israel conflict.  Even the bleeding hearts must notice that it has led to over 100 dead Palestinians currently.  Is that what the supporters of the Arabs want?  It probably is -- the Left love death -- but they should be confronted with that consequence.  In my view, aid to all hostiles should be cut off while at the same time Israel continues to receive what she needs to defend herself.

So there is in principle no problem with aid to Egypt as long as it continues to honor its peace treaty with Israel -- something that Mubarak did and which the present military government has continued.

But the Palestinian authority is undoubtedly hostile to Israel so aid should be cut off until it too concludes an enforceable peace treaty with Israel.  I cannot see that there is any other moral course.

The second point below is that Israel is a no-account place that is not worth defending.  Many writers have pointed out ways in which Israel is materially useful to America but that is not the big factor of course.  The big factor comes down to morality, religion, values and feelings.  And in that sphere Israel is a giant among nations.  They wrote both parts of our holy book and even those who do not hold the Bible holy cannot avoid the fact that the Bible has been the principal foundation of our civilization. To give back to those who have given us so much seems again to me to be the only moral course.  As our own Bible tells us, they are a holy nation

“[The United States has] a fateful tie to the Israelis from which we have, in contradistinction to the Israelis, everything to lose, and nothing to gain.” George F. Kennan, Diaries, 25 April 1978.

“Our form of government, inestimable as it is, exposes us, more than any other, to the insidious intrigues and pestilent influence of foreign nations. Nothing but our inflexible neutrality can preserve us.” John Adams, c. 1809.

As the renewed Israeli-Palestinian war rages in Gaza, America is presented with an ideal moment to run — not walk — away from its suicidal commitment to both sides. Surely, no sane American — except the Neocons, whom it would be absurd to consider either sane or loyal Americans — could have missed the fact that what is going on in the current war has had absolutely no immediate impact on the United States.

The war is occurring in a far away place that is no longer of any strategic interest to the United States because the combination of Washington’s relentless, war-causing and Islamist-motivating interventionism and Obama’s cowardly surrenderism have already given the entire region to the Islamists and ensured — thanks to Jewish-American Neocons — Israel’s ultimate doom. Therefore it matters not a lick to any but disloyal Americans whether the Israelis kill all the Palestinians, the Palestinians kill all the Israelis, or, in the best case scenari0, they mutually destroy each other. At the end of the war they all simply will be dead foreigners of whom we had no need and for whom we need not bid any teary farewells. Peoples who want to fight religious wars deserve whatever they get, and these two peoples are determined to fight their religious war until one side or the other is destroyed. Well, so be it, let us get out of it now.

There is a rub for the United States, however, and that reality makes complete U.S. disengagement more urgent than ever before. That rub lies in the fact that each bomb or missile the Israeli air force uses in Gaza will eventually yield a dead American soldier or Marine and/or a dead civilian. This is not a fact that President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry will use to inform the American people about what is at stake for the United States in the long run, because they — along with most of their party and the Republican Party — really could not care less about our nation’s security as long as campaign contributions and media support keep flowing  from disloyal Israel First, U.S. citizens and their fundamentally anti-American organizations. As long as that graft keeps flowing their way from the Israel Firsters, they are all more than willing to motivate our Islamist enemies by backing Israel to the hilt.

All of these officials will seek to hide their corrupt relationship with U.S. citizen, Israel First leaders by blathering on about the need for a cease-fire, a two-state solution, and restraint from both sides. What is it, do suppose, that makes senior elected and appointed American officials live in the fantasy world that sees an amicable solution to this problem as a possibility.  The answer is bribery, as these people are all listed as members in good standing on Israel First’s bountiful payroll list. Because of the dire need to uphold what is left of the Constitution, we must permit these enemies of America to prattle on, but recognizing their flagrant disregard for genuine U.S. national interests we ought to just ignore them.

It is exquisitely clear, that Israelis and Arabs are going to fight each other until one or the other is annihilated, so let them fight.


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

Friday, July 18, 2014

IDF Enters Gaza Strip

(Gaza Strip)
As the IDF ground operation in Gaza moved forward and Operation Protective Edge entered into its 12th day, the IDF confirmed late Friday night that 260 targets have been attacked in Gaza since the beginning of the ground incursion exactly one day before.

These targets have included weapons stockpiles, rocket launchers, smuggling tunnels, the homes of terrorist commanders and more. Exactly 21 militants from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organization have been arrested in the Strip and taken in for interrogation by security forces and the Shin Bet. Dozens more have been killed in skirmishes with IDF soldiers.

As night fell Friday, reports filtered in of Israeli troops clashing with Palestinian militants in the area of Beit Lahiya in the northern Strip.

Flares lit up the night skies over Gaza and heavy artillery fire boomed, as the IAF continued its bombing campaign. The IDF is conducting a series of pinpoint actions to destroy tunnels designed for use by terrorists to strike Israel from Gaza, and track down the terrorists themselves.
As of this morning, a total of 21 smuggling tunnels have been uncovered.

Malaysian Airliner Disaster in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin

(Moscow, Russia)
Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed his condolences to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte over the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine and said the tragedy needs to be investigated objectively.

“The head of the Russian state emphasized that the tragedy that occurred once again confirms the necessity of a quick peaceful settlement to the acute crisis in Ukraine and said that all of the circumstances around the aircraft disaster need to be investigated carefully and objectively,” the Kremlin’s press service said.

Earlier, Putin also expressed his condolences to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near the town of Torez in the Donetsk Region on Thursday. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials are squarely putting responsibility for the plane disaster on Russia.

New York Woman Gets Jail for Rape of Boy - Update

(St. Lawrence County, New York) Yesterday, 24-year-old Amanda Matott was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 10 years probation.

* * * * *

New York Woman Admits to Rape of Boy - Update
[Previous 4/23/14 post]
(Canton, New York) Amanda L. Matott, 24, pleaded guilty yesterday in St. Lawrence County Court to having sex with a 13-year-old boy on the Fourth of July.

Matott was convicted of felony third-degree rape.
She was arrested Aug. 9 following a multiagency investigation that included the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services and Child Protective Department, which began in July and concluded that Matott, formerly of Canton Manor Apartments, served a 13-year-old alcohol before engaging in sexual activity.

In court Tuesday, she told County Judge Jerome J. Richards that she had sex with the minor on July 4. The admission was made as a part of the plea deal that is to include a split sentence of jail time and probation as well as sex offender registration. A no-contact order of protection was issued in favor of the boy.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 7.

* * * * *

New York Woman Arrested for Rape
[Previous 8/11/13 post]
(Canton, New York) A 23-year-old woman, Amanda Matott, has been accused of liquoring up and engaging in sexual relations with a 16-year-old.
Matott was charged with Rape, second degree, a Class D Felony, Sexual Abuse, second degree, Class A Misdemeanor, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class A Misdemeanor, and Unlawfully Dealing with a Child, a Class A Misdemeanor.

Canton police were involved because Matott lived in the Village of Canton when the investigation began in early July.
Matott was booked into custody at the Saint Lawrence County Jail with bond set at $10,000.

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