Thursday, March 31, 2005

UK Plans Knife Control Legislation

To combat an escalating problem of knife attacks in British schools, the government has announced planned legislation to increase the minimum age for buying knives from 16 to 18 and to offer an amnesty program for people to turn in their knives. The Schools Minister, Stephen Twigg, stated that the violent crime reduction bill, a major Labor Party agenda item, would give police and school officials more powers to confront knife crime among young people. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), both in conference this week, fully support any measure to deal with school violence.

The government's proposed action to raise the age for purchasing knives is probably not going to accomplish anything positive. Apparently, the decision-makers are unaware that convicts, throughout the world, are not allowed to buy knives at all yet they don't seem to have a problem getting their hands on sharp and pointy weapons. With regard to the amnesty program, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense because it's presently not clear what the requirements are to own a knife.

Nevertheless, national knife control will likely be ineffective.

Companion post at Our Life.
Al Jazeera Airs Hostage Video

Updating a previous report, the kidnappings in Iraq from the past several days include a naturalized American, born in Iraq, named Mohammed Monaf. It's still unknown who the kidnappers are. In any event, confirmation of the abductions came via an Al Jazeera airing of a video showing Mr. Monaf and the three Romanian journalists, Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, and Edward Ovidiu Ohanesian. Two kidnappers are also seen in the video, pointing machine guns at the hostages.

According to The Jawa Report, the Romanian media are aware of ransom demands. However, whether the kidnappers are terrorist thugs looking to fund insurgent activities or common everyday thugs is not known.

From a Romanian website, Nine o'Clock, Foreign Affairs Minister Mircea Geoana appealed to the Arab world in an interview on Al Jazeera for the safe release of the hostages. Also, according to Al Jazeera, one of three groups is most likely responsible for the abductions. To wit:
According to these three variants, it can be a "recognised" terrorist organisation, therefore known for this type of actions to which it resorts in order to create a political pressure in coalition countries; a less famous group, who wants to enter these events' "market" and build a name for itself in Iraq, using a foreign pretext for this kind of publicity; or Iraqi groups that are dealing with the kidnapping of foreign citizens, including journalists, trying to get a substantial ransom in order to reach their economical and criminal purposes, Mircea Geoana explained.

"I suspect in the first stage, we will reach an unofficial contact formula, through specialised information services channels or through natural means and I feel certain we will have information about our colleagues; we are all praying for them to be in good health and come back so that we can be together again," Mircea Geoana said.
Although the Romanian government has kept a lid on media coverage by enforcing a "law of silence," word has leaked that three negotiators left Bucharest yesterday to negotiate for the release of the hostages.
Gay Rights Passes in Maine

(Augusta, Maine) Last night, state lawmakers passed an amendment to the Maine Human Rights Act making it illegal to discriminate based upon sexual orientation or identity. With little debate, the measure passed both houses of the legislature by wide margins. However, some legislators said that "Mainers don't want this bill and believe the Legislature is arrogant by passing it without sending it to voters."

The Christian Civic League of Maine vowed continued opposition. Interestingly, it appears that the citizens of Maine have voted on repeated occasions against granting special rights to homosexuals, so the action by the legislature is considered directly contrary to public opinion. There's a belief that the gay population already has the same rights as other citizens and the passage of the amendment was to appease a small, albeit politically influential, minority. Some also sense that the amendment is a slippery-slope step towards legalization of homosexual marriage even though words were included saying it isn't so. (Ref: Kennebec Journal here and here)

Betsy Smith of Equality Maine, a homosexual advocacy group, said, "We're thrilled." Some have already applauded the passage of an amendment as opposed to a voter referendum on the belief that "righteous discriminators" use "every argument and tool at their disposal, especially quoting the Bible" to defeat proposed gay rights legislation. Oddly, this reasoning seems to purport supporting democracy, but only when voters are not participating.

Gov. Baldacci is expected to have the measure on his desk later today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Survived the Taliban, Get Robbed in Cleveland

(Cleveland, Ohio) Two women from Afghanistan arrived in Cleveland looking for opportunities to sell some Afghan products through retail outlets in Ohio. They had endured the Taliban for years in Afghanistan and survived only to be robbed by a common thief in Cleveland. As their luggage was being loaded into their van in a valet zone, the thief drove off with about $20,000 worth of jewelry, tapestries, and other products.
Dozens of Machine Guns Seized

(Fairview Heights, Illinois) An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has resulted in the arrest of 10 people and the confiscation of more than 50 machine guns. Also seized from multiple locations were silencers, hand grenades, a spring-loaded trap, and improvised explosive devices. While searching the property of one individual, Randal Brown, 53, agents found racist and neo-Nazi materials, however, it's unclear if others are linked to those materials.
Female Teacher Charged with Molesting Boys

(Saginaw, Michigan) Following up on a previous report, 30-year-old Laura L. Findlay, band teacher for Ricker Middle School, has been charged with 20 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 16. Findlay was arraigned yesterday before Saginaw County District Judge Darnell Jackson who set bond at $500,000.

Laura L. Findlay

According to Prosecutor Michael D. Thomas, investigators have identified five victims, including a 14-year-old eighth-grader who told his father that Findlay took him to the band room and performed oral sex. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 11 before District Judge M. Randall Jurrens. If found guilty of the charges, Findlay could be sentenced to life in prison.

[Update 07/07/06]

Findlay pleads guilty.

[Update 08/17/06]

Laura Findlay sentenced to seven years in prison.
Growing Weary of the Schiavo Story?

Try a different avenue of thought and change her story. Make Terri Schiavo a boy, brain-damaged, in bed with feeding and breathing tubes. Have her be Korean and an illegal alien in Ohio with everyone wanting life to continue. You now have the story of Jong Gin Choi.
Google Supresses Jawa Report for 'Hate Speech'

This news is disturbing.

For several months, Dr. Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report has been an approved provider of news reports for Google News. However, everything changed yesterday when Google notified Rusty that he was de-listed because The Jawa Report contained hate speech. The accusation of hate speech was not supported by evidence nor example. This is tantamount to the flight attendant stating:
"I'm afraid, Dr. Shackleford, you're doing something we don't like, so please get off the plane. We're not going to tell you what we don't like, but until you can guarantee it won't recur, your privileges are revoked."
It would be nice to claim a double standard exists for the definition of 'hate speech' but, in reality, there is no universal definition. 'Hate speech' is defined as a person desires. This explains why Ward Churchill's words are not hate speech, only contemptuous and defiant, even when he adds clarification by spitting in someone's face. At the same time, verses from the Bible are deemed hate speech by law. Consequently, I don't buy the explanation given by Google News. Without specifics, the definition of 'hate speech' is too mercurial to be a valid basis for anything. However, it works just fine as a catchall excuse.

As alternatives, I'd propose that one of the following reasons is actually the basis for removing The Jawa Report as an approved news source for Google.
1) The management of Google News disagrees with the content of The Jawa Report because it departs from the journalistic standards displayed by the New York Times and Al-Jazeera. This would be understandable were it that Google News fancies itself as part of the elite media and has adopted a policy agenda similar to the MSM. Unfortunately, in traditional terms, Google News is not part of the news media since, unless I'm mistaken, they have no writers. However, in contemporary terms, they have a major impact on the news media by functioning as an electronic traffic controller. As a traffic cop, Google apparently is taking on the responsibility for judging the acceptability of Internet content. I personally have a big problem with this concept.

2) Google News has received one or more complaints from individuals or organizations which disagree with the opinions expressed at The Jawa Report. And, it's entirely possible that Google received a threatening cease and desist letter. Neither complaints nor C & D letters are uncommon in the media. Even cooking shows receive them.

3) The legal advisors at Google News have expressed fears of imagined rulemaking by Congress or the FCC such that the patriotic conservatism of The Jawa Report would become an issue. A preventive move to drop The Jawa Report would then make sense if, and only if, the action were across the board. There's no evidence it is.
Despite my speculation on the reason for Google News dropping The Jawa Report, one thing is sure. One person made the decision. One unnamed person, influenced by something, decided. It would be nice to know that person's name. In my opinion, the action by Google News was an insult to Dr. Rusty Shackleford and The Jawa Report and someone should be accountable for the decision.

All in all, it was a pretty cheap shot by Google News.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Female Teacher Charged With Rape of Boy

(Lexington, Kentucky) A 35-year-old Bryan Station High School teacher's aide, Pamela Charles, was arrested yesterday and charged with third-degree rape and sodomy of a 14-year-old middle school student.

Pamela Charles
Pamela Charles

Charles was suspended with pay pending further investigation by Fayette County Superintendent Stu Silberman. After being alerted by Bryan Station High School employees of suspicious activity between Charles and the middle school student, police became involved resulting in yesterday's arrest. Charles appeared in court today and pleaded not guilty. She is currently free on bond with a return to court scheduled for April 14.
Arizona Takes Over 11 Failing Schools

(Phoenix, Arizona) Due to unacceptable performance by students on standardized tests, the Arizona State Board of Education unanimously voted yesterday to take over the daily operations of the state's first 11 failing schools. Five principals were booted, teachers were replaced and campuses were combined. Dramatic actions, of course, but sometimes they're warranted.
Romanian Journalists Kidnapped in Iraq

(Baghdad, Iraq) According to a BBC report, three Romanian journalists are missing and feared kidnapped in Baghdad. Marie Jeanne Ion and cameraman Sorin Dumitru of Prima TV, along with Romania Libera newspaperman, Ovidiu Ohanesian, had contacted coworkers to say that they had been abducted.

 Marie Jeanne Ion
Marie Jeanne Ion is reporting that Prima TV news editor, Dan Dumitru, received a hurried call from Marie Jeanne Ion prior to the disappearance and heard her desperately pleading with the kidnappers.
"I heard Arabic, English and Romanian words shouted," he said.

"I heard her imploring the attackers not to kidnap them because they come from a poor country which won't be able to pay the ransom."
The three had earlier completed an interview with interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Monday, March 28, 2005

U.S. Student Tutoring Outsourced to India

A little-known and somewhat overlooked provision of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law states that schools failing to meet achievement goals must offer free tutoring from an outside instructor to children from low-income households. Federal funds are available to pay for the tutoring, however, the schools are prohibited from using the federal money to start their own tutoring programs. As such, various specialized companies, such as Sylvan Online, have contracted to provide the tutoring, particularly in math.

The situation would be just fine if it were not for one controversial aspect. The companies contracted to provide tutoring services have been subcontracting to foreign business concerns, particularly companies in India such as New Delhi-based Career Launcher. Obviously, knowledge of the practice of outsourcing tutoring has produced complaints from the teachers unions. With $2 billion set aside for tutoring, the unions are appalled that the money will be going to companies outside the U.S. and not to American teachers.

The teachers unions express a variety of complaints about tutoring being performed by foreign companies. They include concerns that the tutors are not familiar with applicable standards, that the student doesn't know the tutor is on the other side of the world, that tutors don't have to be licensed, and that there is no way to monitor the tutors. Their arguments are fairly weak if desired results are achieved on proficiency tests which remains to be determined. Strictly from an economic standpoint, hiring American teachers as tutors is not as attractive as employing Indian tutors. A college-educated, full-time Indian tutor can be hired for a mere $230 per month. Unfortunately, probably the last time a teacher in the U.S. would work full time for that amount was around 1950.

To counter the practice of outsourcing tutoring, the unions have decided that they should get into the tutoring services business. Although schools are barred from providing outside tutoring, unions are not. In New York, the Rochester Teachers Association is an approved tutoring provider and, in Ohio, the Toledo Federation of Teachers is approved. Others are progressing towards approval. The overall result is that unions will be able to compete for tutoring contracts. As an aside, having teachers unions as contractors for the school system seems somewhat like hiring your brother-in-law. It remains to be seen how well their efforts will play out.

In conclusion, teachers unions are miffed that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being sent to India to provide tutoring for low-achievers. The unions believe the money should be spent in the U.S. on teachers that are out of work and have created companies to allow it to occur. We shall see.

I can't leave this subject without asking, why is there federally-mandated tutoring in the first place? I'm sure that the question would be answered by a flurry of fingers pointing in all directions. Nonetheless, no one could deny that tutoring is mandated because many kids are not learning in the classroom. Who is responsible for what is taught in the classroom? One thing is certain. It's not Indian tutors.

[Update] Phone Sex Outsourced

A related story concerning outsourcing caught my attention and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to piggyback. In addition to tutoring services, the growing list of telecommunications resources available from India includes phone sex operations outsourced from America and Europe. According to a report in India Daily:
Some Call Centers in Bangalore and Mumbai have received some bizarre requests from the Western countries. Some call center operators have secretly set up phone sex operations in India.

Callers from America or Europe or any other part of the world can dial a toll free number that gets routed through a western nation into call centers in India after the caller pays in dollars or euros. Then the callers get connected to some Indian lady who provide the phone sex service.
Although phone sex operations are illegal, they are also lucrative. As such, legitimate businesses sometimes function as fronts. Law enforcement agencies are trying to shut down the operations, but they are difficult to control. The ability to forward calls to cell phones significantly hinders Interpol and Indian authorities in tracing and locating the offenders.

Interestingly, the phone sex business pays the girls so much money that there are plenty of educated young women anxious to work in the underground operations. Consequently, when outsourced illegal phone sex services in India are viewed with regard to outsourced legitimate tutoring services, an inquiring mind has to wonder if there's a possibility for women to be employed by both businesses at the same time. If so, what are the odds that Ronnie from New Delhi tutors math to little Johnny in the afternoon and then provides a session of phone sex to Johnny's Dad in the evening?
Lingerie Shows Team Support

Lingerie manufacturer Triumph is marketing a line of female unmentionables in Japan that displays sports team logos. Pictured is the Rakuten Eagles Bra showing support for the new baseball franchise, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Sports Fan Lingerie
Sports Fan Lingerie
(Reuters Photo)

With any success at all in Japan, this idea will surely be replicated in the U.S. However, I honestly think that a Victoria's Secret see-through ensemble would lose some of its allure if it were emblazoned with "Hook 'em Horns!" or "Go Browns!" or "Buck 'em Broncos!"

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Campaign to Increase College Enrollment?

Prospective students will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that wine and beer are served in the school cafeteria. The Colby College administration says the program is to teach students how to drink alcohol. Apparently, it's an underserved educational discipline. Being skeptical, I suspect this idea came from somebody who sells wine and beer.

Interestingly, my experience was that knocking back a few made the cafeteria chow not too bad.
Homeless in San Jose Outnumber San Francisco

After the title of this post, the only thing worth knowing in the report is this quote from Mayor Ron Gonzales.
"We're going to continue to do everything we can, but the fact of the matter is that San Jose stands out in the region as a leader in providing homeless programs."
So, more services to the homeless draws more homeless to San Jose. Why is anyone surprised?
Driver Kills Boy, Distracted by Cellphone

(Toledo, Ohio) A 27-year-old woman was distracted by her cellphone while driving, resulting in the death of a 5-year-old boy who had just gotten off the school bus in front of his home. Angelique M. Dipman was charged yesterday with aggravated vehicular homicide for the death of Dameatrius McCreary, a kindergarten student at Coy Elementary School.

So, it's the cellphone's fault that she's an idiot.
Libya Advancing Internationally

Reflecting plans to expand electric energy development in the Middle East, the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) signed a long-term agreement of cooperation with state-owned General Electricity Company of Libya. Over the next six years, KEPCO will provide technology transfer, consultation, and on-site training.

Meanwhile, Libya is moving forward in boosting relations and cooperation with Japan. In meetings attended by the Japanese Ambassador and the Libyan Secretary of Foreign Affairs, bilateral cooperation in general trade and the oil industry was discussed.

With the U.S. dropping most trade and economic sanctions last year, Libya is trying to normalize its standing in the global marketplace. The country will continue to be impeded by the fact that it is a socialist nation still listed by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism. And, although the U.S. State Department warns citizens to "exercise a high level of caution" in going to Libya, it has become a trendy destination for American tourists.
Bird Flu Confirmed in North Korea

Recent rumors of an outbreak of avian flu in North Korea have been confirmed by an announcement from the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Quoting an anti-epidemic official, the KCNA stated,
"Two or three chicken factories, including one in Hadang, was recently hit by the avian influenza."

"We've already cremated tens of thousands of chickens," the official said. "Experts and scientists are also cooperating to eradicate the virus."
Another report states that hundreds of thousands of chickens have been destroyed. However, no human cases of bird flu have been identified, KCNA said. South Korean officials believe the outbreak will have no impact on South Korea because no poultry has been shipped into the country from North Korea.

Unfortunately, migrating wild fowl can carry the bird flu just about anywhere so, it's probably not unreasonable to expect the disease to show up in South Korea at some time in the near future.
Security for Woman Who Led Muslim Prayers

(Richmond, Virginia) On March 18 at an Episcopal church in Manhattan, a female Islamic studies professor at Virginia Commonwealth University led a mixed-gender prayer service. Amina Wadud was sharply criticized by Islamic scholars throughout the Muslim world for violating the traditional tenets of the religion of peace.

Flash forward to today's news. Virginia Commonwealth University has implemented enhanced security for Amina Wadud as a precaution against possible threats from devoted adherents of the religion of peace. Apparently, for a woman to lead a prayer service with men in attendance warrants a religion of peace death sentence.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mexico Ponders Creating Nuclear Waste Site

A federal official announced that Mexico is considering the creation of a nuclear waste repository in the State of Chihuahua, or maybe Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, or Durango. No timeframe was given for when the officials of the National Institute of Nuclear Research would make the decision.

The idea was quickly denounced by opponents in the U.S. and Mexico. Speaking for the Bi-national Coalition Against Radioactive and Toxic Waste, West Texan Bill Addington stated, "We'll definitely fight it." Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza's office said it didn't know anything about the proposal. Nonetheless, the governor will oppose the idea. And, naturally, Greenpeace of Mexico, through spokesman Alejandro Calvillo, said activists would go to Chihuahua to oppose the proposal. However, despite the volume, opposition to the proposal on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border can probably be silenced with cash. North of the border is a different story.

A few things have to be recognized with regard to Mexico storing nuclear waste. The country has a nuclear power facility at Vera Cruz, so there is a need for a nuclear waste repository. Also, no mention has been made of having low and high-level radioactive material transported in rickety trucks on rickety roads throughout Mexico. There's also the problem of site security in a nation known for endemic corruption.

So, the story develops ...
Legal Services For Sex

(Round Rock, Texas) Prominent lawyer and school board member, Steven C. Copenhaver, 56, was arrested for prostitution, attempting to barter legal services in exchange for kinky sex. He was booked and released on $750 bond.

Copenhaver offered to represent a woman's husband if she and her sister-in-law would have a threesome with him. The woman, Leigh Heavin, and sister-in-law, Malinda Tilley, met with Copenhaver who asked for the sexual favors unaware that there were witnesses hiding in an adjacent room. Police were called, Copenhaver was arrested.

Interestingly, trading legal services for sexual favors may not be unethical, although, according to Dawn Miller, chief disciplinary counsel for the State Bar of Texas, it might be a violation of the rules on fees.

My guess would be that Copenhaver has pulled this stunt before.
Blatant Anti-Semitism at Canadian School

(Ottawa, Canada) Two teachers have been suspended at the Abraar Islamic School (K-8) for actions glorifying martyrdom and violence against Jews. One teacher praised an anti-semitic essay written by a student while another teacher helped with artwork displaying hate-filled and violent images. The incident has prompted complaints from the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith Canada and an expression of shocked disgust from Mumtaz Akhtar, the local Muslim-Community Council President.

At issue is a student essay which told of avenging the death of a Hamas terrorist by ambushing and killing Israeli soldiers.
"Without thinking, Ahmed took his M-16 machine gun and threw the bombs and he showered the Jews, this resulted in the killing of the soldiers," the student wrote in one passage.

A teacher wrote on the title page "God bless you, your efforts are good," adding that Ahmed's story "is still alive and the end will be soon when God unites us in Jerusalem." A second helped with the artwork.
In addition to suspension of the two teachers, an investigation has been launched to determine the scope of anti-Jewish teaching in the school. The Ontario Education Department under Minister Gerard Kennedy wants to determine the extent of the problem and is researching the requirements for decertification of teachers and private schools.

Interestingly, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement saying "Canadian Muslims reject the glorification of violence or the promotion of hatred against any ethnic community." At the same time, however, Riad Saloojee, the Director of CAIR, justified the essay by stating that it was written by a boy whose family lives "under the jackboot of Israeli occupation." Maybe it's just me, but when a leader of an organization inserts the word 'jackboot' in a sentence, somehow all images of harmony and tolerance evaporate.

The incident at Abraar school has kindled heat between the Islamic and Jewish communities and it may increase. The head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Mohamed Elmasry, has accused Jewish schools of fostering hatred and believe that they should be investigated. Elmasry is concerned that Jewish Canadians are being taught that "Israel does not want to fight and the Palestinians wanted to push the Israelis into the sea." On the other side, Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker is disturbed that Muslim leaders are turning the issue into a tug-of-war when there is "blatant evidence of what's being taught in an Islamic school."

It's no secret that private schools and teachers in Canada are lightly regulated, so the investigation of the area should be enlightening and is probably long overdue. I personally believe that this incident is only a hint of a much larger problem. Whether the Islamic school is in Canada, the U.S., or anywhere else, I don't think it can be trusted to present a curriculum that is entirely devoid of hatred toward Jews.
St. Kitts and Nevis Block Gay/Nude Cruise Ship

(Basseterre, St. Kitts) When customs officials boarded a Windjammer Barefoot cruise ship, S.V. Polynesia, a 75-meter schooner, with mostly naked gay Americans onboard, they asked for assurances that the passengers would be clothed on shore. According to Nevis' Tourism Minister, Malcolm Guishard, no assurances were given so the ship was blocked from docking in St. Kitts and Nevis where public nudity is illegal. Minister Guishard deflected criticism that the ship was denied entry because it was carrying only homosexuals.
"If this ship had been chartered by a heterosexual clothing-optional group, our decision would have been the same," Guishard said.
Indicating some inconsistency, Windjammer Barefoot VP Shannon Manno said that local authorities told the ship's crew that "they had concerns about letting the ship in because it was a gay and nudist cruise." Manno also said that the company is working to resolve the issue with higher government authorities.

Nevertheless, one thing seems certain. Naked homosexuals shouldn't expect to be greeted with open arms in St. Kitts and Nevis. Hell, there are probably many locations that don't particularly care to have them, or any naked people, show up.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Female Teacher Accused of Sex with Male Student

(Castle Rock, Colorado) One look at the mug shot of social studies teacher Nicole Andrea Barnhart will tell you she has not been having a good week. The 35-year-old teacher at Ponderosa High School surrendered to police Wednesday and was held on felony charges of "sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and for demonstrating a pattern of abuse." She was released yesterday on $10,000 bond.
Nicole Andrea Barnhart
Nicole Andrea Barnhart

According to the Denver Post, Barnhart had sex with a 16-year-old student on several occasions in her house and in her vehicle. They apparently didn't keep their relationship a secret. The boy told his friends and his 13-year-old brother that he was having sex with Barnhart. They were also seen embracing at school and in public.

Barnhart was very popular because she was seen as not being a tough teacher. It's not known if her husband and two children feel the same. Her popularity with her family has probably waned.

[Update 12/20/05]

Nicole Andrea Barnhart accepts plea deal which sends her to prison for two years.
Marburg Virus Deaths Climb to 113 in Angola

(Luanda, Angola) The outbreak of the deadly Ebola-like Marburg virus in Angola has killed 113 people and more fatalities are anticipated. Almost all of the deaths, including two hospital nurses, have occurred in the northern province of Uige. According to the provincial governor, Antonio Bento Kangulo, two doctors have also been infected. World Health Organization officials believe the epidemic is isolated primarily to the northern border region of Angola.

Marburg is a rare but highly fatal form of hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and other primates. There currently is no specific vaccine nor treatment for the disease.
Deserter Jeremy Hinzman Denied Refugee Status

(Toronto, Canada) U.S. Army deserter Jeremy Hinzman, 26, was denied refugee status by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board. Hinzman did not prove his case that he would be persecuted if he returned to the United States. Hinzman's lawyer, Jeffry House, stated he will appeal the board's decision.

Hinzman's wife and son were also denied asylum by the board. It's interesting that they even applied since there's no apparent basis. If convicted of desertion in a court martial, Hinzman may be sentenced to five years in federal prison. Frankly, that seems like a light sentence for someone who deserts in a time of war.

Hinzman and his supporters argue that he is not a deserter, rather a war resister who traveled to Canada because the Iraq war was immoral and violated human rights. He deserted in January 2004, just before his unit, the 82nd Airborne Division, deployed to Iraq.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Picking Baby's Sex

From Xinhuanet comes a report that the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee may allow parents to choose the sex of their babies. British law currently allows parents to choose the sex of children only for medical reasons such as gender-linked diseases like hemophilia and muscular dystrophy. Opponents, including the Church of England, believe the welfare of a child is in jeopardy if "designer babies" become legal. Selection of sex is considered a precursor to selection of other characteristics, such as hair and eye color.
Official Recalled for Not Saying Pledge

(Estes Park, Colorado) Town Trustee David Habecker, 59, refused to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance so the voters had a recall election and booted him from office. Final tally was 903 to 605. A common complaint in the town was that Habecker was using his position to promote a political agenda that had nothing to do with the job of representing the residents.

God Bless America.
The Left Coast

Whitney Houston crawls into rehab again and Leonardo "The Gullible" DiCaprio has become a stereotypical lefty expert on the environment. His current focus is the "global water crisis."

Also, vultures are licking their beaks for Michael Jackson's carcass. After the trial, they want him at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. It's not known what's going to happen to Celine Dion. Of course, everything depends on Jackson coming out of his trial in one free piece.

District Attorney Steve Cooley apparently has twisted knickers and sour grapes. He said the jurors in the Robert Blake case were "incredibly stupid." He didn't mention anything about the prosecution being inept.
Wendy's Serves Up The Finger

(San Jose, California) According to this source,
Health authorities in California report a woman bit into a human finger while eating a bowl of chili at a Wendy's in (sic) Tuesday night. She immediately spit out the finger and warned others to stop eating. Then she got sick.
The finger was cooked but not decomposed and didn't come from anyone at the restaurant. Authorities believe it came from a supplier. The report doesn't mention which finger it was.

This incident has all the earmarkings of an inside setup. It wouldn't surprise me if an employee was found to be the perpetrator. In any event, there's a mystery to be solved. If it's a scam, where did the finger, apparently healthy, come from?

If it's not a scam, somebody is walking around having presumably lost a finger while working. If so, that person shouldn't be too hard to find.
Taking Water to Terri Schiavo

Don't try it. You will be arrested for trespassing.

(Photo - REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Attempting to take a glass of water to Terri Schiavo in the Woodside Hospice, Gabriel Keys was arrested yesterday by police. The photo illustrates how appallingly sad the situation has become. In its zeal to kill Terri Schiavo, the legal system places a boy under arrest for trying to do a good deed. It's one sick message to send out.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Gabriel Keys might have been allowed to take water to Terri a day earlier. Tuesday was World Water Day which celebrates the "Water For Life" advocacy of the World Health Organization. The purpose is to assure that everyone on the planet has clean, fresh water.

Hat tip: Mish Mash
Playmate Jennifer Lyn Jackson Arrested

(Westlake, Ohio) April 1989 Playboy Playmate, Jennifer Lyn Jackson, 36, was arrested Monday on a receiving stolen property warrant resulting from a burglary investigation.

Jennifer Lyn Jackson

Jackson and 39-year-old Stephan Santa are suspected as perpetrators in a February 10 burglary where tools valued at $600 were stolen. A search of Jackson's home recovered all but one of the stolen tools. The former Playmate posted $3,500 bond. A court date has been set for next month, exactly 16 years from when she appeared in Playboy magazine. Apparently, Jackson wasn't able to parlay her Playboy celebrity status into a career. It has been mentioned, though, that she has suffered from some medical problems since her days as a model.

[Update 07/03/07]

Jackson arrested for DWI, drugs and theft.

[Update 07/31/07]

Jackson arrested again.
River Booby-Trapped

(Portland, Oregon) According to this report, the popular summer pastime of tubing and rafting on rivers has become more hazardous since it's been discovered that they may be intentionally booby-trapped. Domestic environmental terrorists, possibly the ELF or ALF, are suspected.

The method being used is to drill or hammer long nails and spikes into rocks on the shallow river bottom to puncture and rip open rubber tubes and pontoons. The nails are visible just below the river's surface at low water levels. With increased flow, they become hidden, about the same time that kids flock to the river for floating fun.

This potentially-deadly mischief fits right in the category of hammering 10-inch spikes into trees to kill loggers.


Hat Tip: Random Nuclear Strikes

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Female Teacher Pleads to Sex With Boy

(St. Augustine, Florida) This past week, former Hartley Elementary School teacher Kelly Lynn Dalecki, 28, pleaded no contest to lewd and lascivious acts on a minor and distributing harmful material to a minor in incidents involving a 13-year-old boy.

Kelly Lynn Dalecki
Kelly Lynn Dalecki

Circuit Judge J. Michael Traynor set a formal sentencing date of late May. The plea agreement requires Dalecki to spend six months in jail, serve seven years probation, and pay $30,000. However, the final sentence will be determined by Judge Traynor.

Dalecki was caught when the boy's parents found pornographic emails and materials she sent to him.
Brightly Shining Light

(New York City) A 38-year-old teacher, Wayne Brightly, at Middle School 142, one of the worst-performing in the city, repeatedly flunked his state teacher certification exam so he paid $2.00 to a formerly homeless developmentally disabled man to take it for him. The state knew something was amiss because the stand-in test taker, 58-year-old Rubin Leitner, scored significantly better than Brightly ever had in previous tests.
"I was pressured into it. He threatened me," the bogus test-taker Rubin Leitner told the Daily News yesterday after Special Schools Investigator Richard Condon revealed the scam.
Of course, he also got two bucks.
"I'm tired of taking this test and failing," Brightly told Leitner, according to Condon's probe. "I want you to help me."

Along with being much smarter than Brightly, Leitner is 20 years older. He also is white and overweight while Brightly is black and thin. Yet none of those glaring differences apparently worried Brightly.

"He said no one would ever know," Leitner said outside the Brownsville, Brooklyn, building he has called home since briefly living on the streets.
Obviously, Brightly could conceivably lose his $59,000 per year job.

This story just cracks me up. It also strongly hints at one of the possible reasons Middle School 142 performs so poorly. At least one of the teachers is a complete moron.

[Update] Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has more.
Mud-Wrestling Soldier Gets Booted

(Asheville, North Carolina) Last month, news broke of the mud-wrestling party at Camp Bucca in Iraq where photos were taken and distributed to the media. As a result thus far, one soldier was demoted and then booted out of the U.S. Army, 19-year-old Deanna Allen.

Pfc. Deanna Allen
Pfc. Deanna Allen

An official investigation by the U.S. Army is not yet completed, however, Deanna Allen has already been given a general discharge which denies her from receiving some veteran's benefits. Allen believes she has been unfairly singled out for punishment and she may appeal the Army's ruling.

It might be appropriate to point out to female recruits that joining the military is not the same as Spring Break or Mardi Gras. Nevertheless, it seems that culpability for the mud-wrestling party should be shared by a number of individuals, not just the one unlucky enough to be caught on film.
Female Teacher and Male Student

(Rahway, New Jersey) A 25-year-old Spanish teacher at Rahway High School surrendered to police for having sex with an underage male student. Christina Gallagher was charged with sexual assault and released on $25,000 bond. Arraignment has been set for March 31. According to prosecutors, school officials notified police after it became known that the (unnamed) student was involved with Gallagher on a number of occasions after school. Gallagher has been suspended from her teaching position.

Gallagher's attorney, Howard Feintuch, believes the only reason the charges are criminal is because she is a teacher. "This is a 25-year-old young girl, and I believe the student who she's alleged to have had some contact with is 16 or 17, so it's not as though the allegation even suggests that she's preying on students in any way, shape or form," Feintuch stated.

Excuse me, counselor, would you describe similar circumstances involving a male teacher as merely a case of a 25-year-old young boy having contact with a girl of 16 or 17? I think not.

[Update 4/01/05] Published in the Home News Tribune:
Christina Gallagher, 25, of Jersey City made her first court appearance before Judge Joan Gross in Superior Court in Union County and denied the second-degree sexual assault charge.

Her attorney, Howard Feintuck of Jersey City, said Gallagher was released on $25,000 bond.

Another hearing in the case was scheduled for May 4 before Superior Court Judge Scott Moynihan.

Feintuck said Gallagher waived the reading of the charge against her. She could face five to 10 years in state prison if she is convicted of the charge.
Authorities stated that the student involved is cooperating with the investigation.

[Update 12/09/05]

Christina Gallagher gets no jail on sentencing after pleading guilty to sexual assault of student.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Corpses Replace Crash-Test Dummies

(Vienna, Austria) Although it's a crime to abuse a corpse, researchers at the Technical University of Graz are using real bodies instead of test dummies. The Medical University of Graz provided the corpses, apparently with permission of relatives. Authorities are investigating.

I don't think this is a good idea.
Johnny Cochran's Law Firm Defends Pagan Lesbian Teacher

(South Haven, Michigan) Last December, Baseline Middle School teacher Elizabeth Miklosovic, 36, was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old female student. Miklosovic, a seventh-grade language-arts teacher, allegedly seduced the girl and then married her in a pagan witchcraft ritual. She's currently in the Van Buren County Jail for first-degree sexual assault.

Elizabeth Miklosovic
Elizabeth Miklosovic

To defend her against sexual assault charges in both Van Buren and also Kent counties, Miklosovic hired Jon Shabluk of Johnny Cochran's law firm. Her lawyer has thus far claimed mistreatment by the jailers because they refuse to give her medication for "several life threatening diseases." Miklosovic's criminal trial is scheduled to begin next Monday.

For more detailed coverage, visit The Owner's Manual where Gary Cruse has followed the story closely from the beginning.

My take is that school systems are probably incapable of knowing when they hire pagan lesbian witches as teachers since it would violate equal employment opportunity regulations. Unfortunately, it appears that it's not a good idea to afford unrestricted equal opportunity for a position responsible for molding young minds.
Discrimination Lawsuit For Being Too Sexy

(Boston, Massachusetts) There may be a link between Spring Break and lawsuits against universities. Last week, assistant professor Nathalie Doucet filed suit against the University of Cincinnati claiming that she lost her job because she was "too French." This week, a jury will hear arguments in librarian Desiree Goodwin's lawsuit against Harvard University claiming she wasn't promoted because she was "too sexy."

Desiree Goodwin
Goodwin is a familiar name since she has been complaining, with the media reporting, for at least a couple years. My take on her lawsuit is that she seems to have a disagreeable personality and promoting her would probably cause friction. Sexy or not, Goodwin doesn't appear to display the personal skills necessary for a job with more responsibility and authority. With a history of continuously complaining about her job and running to the newspaper to whine, management would seem to have ample reason to decide against promoting her.

As for the contention that Goodwin is "too sexy," I've seen several pictures and I think she looks frumpy.

[Update - 04/05/05] Well, too bad for Miss Too Sexy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination dismissed her claims of discrimination after a federal jury deliberated for four hours. They found no evidence of discrimination.
Even though she lost in court, Goodwin said she is grateful that extensive media coverage of her case shined a spotlight on the issue of employment discrimination.
I would disagree. The media shined the light on her, yes, but not employment discrimination per se. Unwittingly, Goodwin made sure that false claims of employment discrimination got all the attention.

With her perennial whining and running to the media, along with filing formal complaints without adequate basis, Goodwin is stacking negatives on her resume which surely will be considered by future bosses and employers. Already it's been suggested that she's stacked enough.
Scott Peterson's Goatee

In case you were wondering, Page Six is reporting that thousands have been wagered on when Scott Peterson will regrow his goatee. It's generally agreed that his fellow inmates will ask him to wear one, probably to conform with unofficial death row grooming standards. Currently, the over/under is four months.
School Bans Peanut Butter

(Medina County, Ohio) According to this report, management by exception is becoming the rule.
Buckeye Local School District Superintendent Craig Bailey is trying to make Litchfield Elementary School nut-free because they cause life-threatening allergic reactions for one of the students.

"Under law, we have the responsibility to do what we can to ensure the child's safety in our building," said Bailey.

There are no plans to discipline students who ignore the ban, but Bailey hopes everyone will voluntarily leave the peanut butter at home.
So, it appears there will be a grace period before the school starts using nut detection portals or employs nut-sniffing dogs. In the meantime, let's all hope that the prohibition on nuts is extended to include the school administrators.
Colon-Cleansing Clinic

(Bogota, New Jersey) Three women were arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution at the Garden State Colon Hydrotherapy Clinic. Apparently, the clinic cleaned colons and clipped horns, the latter being illegal. The women were booked and released.
Female Teacher Investigated

(Saginaw, Michigan) The band teacher at Ricker Middle School has been suspended with pay while the Buena Vista Township Police continue investigating allegations of sexual misconduct with at least one student. The teacher has been identified as seven-year veteran Laura Findlay.

[Update 08/17/06]

Laura Findlay sentenced to seven years in prison.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Yahoo! Acquires Flickr

Details haven't been announced yet but, according to this report, the Flickr photo-sharing website and its owner, Ludicorp Research and Development Ltd. of Vancouver, have been acquired by Yahoo Corp. It's expected that no management changes will occur at Ludicorp and the Flickr service will continue its present course.
Girl-on-Girl Makeout Is To Attract Men

Because females outnumber males on college campuses, coeds realize some difficulty in getting noticed by men. To do so, some women get attention by resorting to making out in front of men at parties and on the dance floor.
"A lot of girls do it to get men going," said Jenny Sabella, 21, a junior at Columbia. "They'll be at a party and be drunk and start making out with another girl to get noticed."
This nugget of male-female interplay is according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times by Lori Rackl and Andrew Herrmann. In all candor, I've always thought that women team up with women because they get the hots for each other. Now I'm led to believe that women hit on women for the benefit of getting noticed by men. Pretty shrewd, eh?
"It works, too," said Columbia senior Andrew Greiner, 26.
You know what this means? The prevalence of lesbians in society may be reported higher than it actually is because some women pretend to like women just to attract men.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
John DeLorean, b. 1925 - d. 2005

Automaker John DeLorean died Saturday at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey, of complications from a stroke. He was 80.
French Pimps Busted

French police conducted a nationwide sweep of prostitution rings and arrested 72 pimps. Raids were conducted in Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyons, Nantes, and Orleans.

With the exception of streetwalking, prostitution is legal in France, however, pimping is not, creating a problem for the hookers. Since they can't solicit customers on the street, they are forced to rely on pimps. Consequently, although prostitution in France is legal, the business of prostitution is significantly restricted.
Google Sued by Agence France Presse

Agence France Presse (AFP), the French news service, has filed suit against Google in U.S. federal court in Washington, D.C. for copyright infringement. The suit claims that Google uses, without authorization, AFP's photographs, headlines and story leads. AFP wants Google barred from using any AFP content in the future and seeks $17.5 million in damages.
Bust Up Gum

A new product in the marketplace that's sure to garner considerable attention is Bust Up chewing gum. According to this report, the makers claim that gum enhances the size, shape and perkiness of the breasts. So, in addition to freshening the breath, reducing nicotine cravings, and whitening the teeth, consumers can chew their way to a more attractive chest.

The breast-enhancing properties of the gum are linked to the phytoestrogen in the Pueraria Mirifica plant, also called Kwao Krua, which grows in Thailand and Burma. Research found that treatment with Pueraria Mirifica can increase bust size by 80%. Study has also found the phytoestrogen has a positive effect on skin and hair.

Naturally, the gum will probably not have many consumers within the male population of society, but it's suspected that men may become pushers. (Hat Tip: Rob the Expat)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

National Health Care Computerized Apologies

From an AP report:
A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: "If the person named on this computer- generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."

The patient wasn't dead, according to the doctor who showed the letter to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
While telling the patients to wait, the system also apologizes for their deaths - in the same computer-generated letter. At least the health care bureaucracy is efficient - covering two equally-likely sets of circumstances with one piece of paper.

Probably next to be included in the letter will be congratulations on a person's birth.

Welcome to the world, please wait for medical treatment, we're sorry you're dead. (signed) Canada Health Care System
Prison and 200 Lashes For Insult

The Courier-Mail reports:
A Saudi academic has been sentenced to 200 lashes and time in jail for insulting an Islamist colleague, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported today.

Hamza al-Muzaini, a lecturer in linguistics at King Saud University, was accused by Abdullah al-Barak, a lecturer of Islamic culture at the same university, of defamation and insult, the London-based Al-Hayat reported.

Barak, who is described as a radical salafist - a strict form of Sunni Islam - reportedly accused Muzaini of "mocking long beards" and questioning his knowledge in an article published a few months ago, other reports said.

Muzaini was sentenced to 200 lashes, four months in prison and banned from publishing, a verdict he immediately appealed, the newspaper said.
I guess calling him an anal-retentive dirtbag would have been out of the question.
Trans-Erie Ferry Service

(Cleveland, Ohio) Using two conventional ferries, one based in Cleveland and one in Port Stanley, Ontario, the Trans-Erie Ferry Service is expected to carry 250,000 passengers and 67,000 vehicles yearly. Currently in development, the project resulted from several years of study which indicated a substantial demand for the service. Analysis also determined that a private company could operate the ferry service profitably. The spring of 2006 has been targeted for launch of the business.

After review of proposals submitted by seven ferry companies, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority announced that Royal Wagenborg, an experienced ship owner and operator based in The Netherlands, was selected to provide the service. In Cleveland, the Port Authority will build a terminal and lease it to Royal Wagenborg. With strong backing from Senators Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, Congressman Steven LaTourette and the Ohio Department of Transportation, there currently appears to be no major restraint to the project on the Ohio side of Lake Erie.

In Ontario, however, project development is lagging due to uncertainty regarding the Canadian Coasting Trade Act. The act restricts foreign companies to one-year business licenses. Royal Wagenborg has balked at the idea of investing millions of dollars if there is the possibility that it would lose its license to operate after only one year. Ongoing discussions between the Port Authority and Canadian officials will hopefully resolve the issue soon. Action required is a favorable interpretation or change in the law.

From the perspective of this Ohioan and even disregarding the economic and jobs benefit the ferry would provide, the thought of taking a boat trip across Lake Erie as opposed to driving for several hours through Detroit or Buffalo to get to Canada is attractive.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Survival Of The Anemic

I must preface this entry by stating that I'm not a medical professional, researcher, scientist, nor biologist. Therefore, my comments regarding this story must be considered uninformed. However, I'd like to believe that most people would have a similar opinion.

That said, Dr. Thomas Perls of the New England Centenarian Study contends that blood should be drained from the body to live long. He encourages people to become anemic and stay that way. While some scientists believe that the difference in expected life span between men and women is related to hormones, Perls' theory is that women live longer than men because women menstruate, regularly losing blood, and men don't. Consequently, at an international conference yesterday, Perls said:
"I menstruate but only every eight weeks. I do that by donating a pint of blood to the hospital.

"A little bit of that is altruism but I'm also actually seriously trying to make myself iron deficient."
Frankly, this is the most out-of-left-field theory I've ever heard. And, it's by the doctor who runs a respected organization. From my reading, the New England Centenarian Study has been doing some valuable work, but this makes me wonder.

Just from a common sense level, draining blood volume and becoming anemic do not produce images of healthiness. Like I mentioned, I'm no expert but, if you ask me, Dr. Perls needs some Geritol. He doesn't seem to be getting enough oxygen to his brain.
Wournos Didn't Suffer, Why Should Schiavo?

Not too long ago, a Florida court decided that Aileen Wournos should die after being convicted of committing multiple murders. Consequently, she was given a lethal injection and she quickly, painlessly expired.

Quite recently, a Florida court decided that Terry Schiavo should die because doctors believe she is in a persistent vegetative state. Consequently, she is going to be slowly, painfully starved to death.

If Terry Schiavo is to be killed, why should she have to suffer? Aileen Wournos didn't.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Andrea Yates Wants Grave Next to Her Murdered Children


That's my first and, so far, only reaction to the news that Andrea Yates will be buried adjacent to the graves of the five children she murdered. She specifically requested the cemetery plot as part of the divorce settlement from her husband, Russell Yates. The divorce was finalized yesterday.
Popular Pig Electrocuted

(Austin, Texas) At the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo, the pig known as "Big Red" was apparently electrocuted during a stunt dive into a heated pool which had electrical problems. Big Red was a featured platform diver for Virgil Randall's High Diving Pig Show.
Diving Pig

Officials are investigating the death. So far, no statement has been released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and it's believed they won't be attending the barbecue.
Teacher Melissa Michelle Deel and Boy

(Abingdon, Virginia) Melissa Michelle Deel, 32, an eighth-grade history teacher at Virginia Middle School, has pleaded guilty in federal court to crossing the state line to have oral sex with a student, a 13-year-old boy. According to prosecutors, Deel traveled from her home in Bristol, Tennessee, to have sex with the boy in Bristol, Virginia.

Melissa Michelle Deel
Melissa Michelle Deel

State charges were dismissed as part of her plea agreement. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 6 by U.S. District Judge James Jones. Deel is currently free on $10,000 bond.
Abortion for Cleft Lip

According to a report in The Guardian, doctors at Hereford County Hospital performed an abortion on a woman who was more than 24 weeks pregnant because it was determined the fetus had a cleft lip and palate. It seems that two doctors decided the child would be "seriously handicapped."

Well, now I'm spun up. (via You Big Mouth, You!)
Child Porn Smackdown in 12 Countries

Law enforcement agencies attacked a child pornography ring and arrested more than 500 people in 12 countries across Europe and Latin America. Over 20,000 video, photo, and audio files were distributed through a Spanish-language chat room. It was reported that images included "highly aggressive" depictions of very young children.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed on January 19 by a Spaniard in the northwest Galicia region who reported seeing graphic pornography involving very young children in a chat room.

Police started monitoring the chat room to determine who offered material for it and in just 15 days identified more than 900 addresses from which people logged onto the site.
Pedophiles were arrested in Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Chile, Argentina, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay. Eurojust, a European law enforcement body, and Ibered, a similar agency operating in Latin America, coordinated the operation.

Noticeably missing from the list of countries is the United States. I wonder why since I'm certain that the U.S. has at least a fair share of the world's pedophiles.
Aussies Closing Only Frog Hospital

(Cairns, Queensland) On the coast in Northern Queensland, Australia's only frog hospital is closing its doors. Deborah Pergolotti, curator and founder of the Cairn-based hospital, said that the cost of treating maimed and diseased frogs is prohibitive.
"We've run out (of money) entirely," she said today.

"Everything costs money and most of the frogs we treat cost more than $100 each to be well enough for release."

Ms. Pergolotti said unlike the family cat or dog, people expected to have the frogs who live on their property treated and given back to them free of charge.
Although Australia has a socialized health care system, it doesn't cover frogs - yet. Ms. Pergolotti said that industry and the government are giving the frogs a "bum steer" because they're not cute and cuddly like dogs and cats.

It seems the solution to the problem is to go to the laboratory and develop a mutant, cuddly frog. Then industry and government would support the frog hospital. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I suggest Ms. Pergolotti read a newspaper occasionally. If she did, she would realize that Australia is constantly juggling priorities to keep hospitals for humans in operation. As such, it's hard to convince rational people that Australia can afford the luxury of taxpayer-funded hospitals for wild animals.
Al-Qaeda Suspect Arrested at Manila Airport

The Courier-Mail reports:
A suspected member of Osama bin Laden's militant Islamic al-Qaeda network has been arrested at Manila airport on arrival in the Philippines from Saudi Arabia.

The suspect, whose name was on a blacklist of individuals with possible terrorist links, was detained upon disembarking from a commercial flight from Riyadh on March 15.
According to an ABS-CBN News report, the suspect is 34-year-old Nasser Alarifi, a Saudi Arabian citizen, who arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Riyadh on Philippine Airlines Flight 659. Notably, airport authorities have been on high alert for possible terrorist infiltrators.
'Male Enhancement' Company Busted

(Cincinnati, Ohio) Everybody has surely seen the television commercial with Bob, the office dork, who starts attracting women after "natural male enhancement" with a product called Enzyte. Well, Bob's supplier has been raided by the FBI, the FDA, the IRS, and local law enforcers. See the whole story before you place an order.

A special alert has been sent to the crowd at Basil's Blog, known to be spicier than Mama's marinara. Of course, none will admit to needing natural male enhancement.

Trackback to Wizbang.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Another Female Teacher Has Sex With Boy

(Warsaw, New York) According to this report, a former Geneseo Central School District substitute teacher has pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old boy. Rachelle Vantucci, 32, was investigated last fall after Wyoming County authorities were alerted by her husband. Under terms of the plea agreement, Vantucci will give up her teaching license, will register as a sex offender, and will be prohibited from contacting the boy.

It's time to update the Women With Boys list.
Light Posting

I'm aware that only a poor carpenter blames his tools and I'll admit to being a poor carpenter. That said, either Blogger, my ISP, or my computer catches the blame for my lack of entries. I suspect Blogger is fiddling while I burn. I feel like I've been kicking a mule.
Indictment In Rilya Wilson Case

(Miami, Florida) Remember Rilya Wilson? The 4-year-old daughter of a crack-addicted mother turned up missing while in state foster care in Florida which scandalized the Department of Children and Families. Two caretakers were investigated about her disappearance and prosecuted for child abuse, however, to this date, Rilya has not been found.

Well, it appears that one caretaker, Geralyn Graham, 59, incriminated herself to a jailhouse informant while serving time for the child abuse charge. She admitted that Rilya died from "smothering and/or suffocating and/or beating" and her body was left near a canal in South Miami-Dade. This allegedly occurred about 16 months before she was determined to be missing. A search by investigators found no body.

As a result of Geralyn Graham's admission, a grand jury indicted her for murder yesterday. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle stated, "No, we don't have a crime scene. No, we don't have a body. But we feel we have enough evidence." For the defense, Graham's lawyer, Brian Tannebaum, believes the evidence is dubious.
"You've got one of the most significant missing child cases in the world and you're going to rely on a jailhouse snitch?" Tannebaum said. "The bottom line is: Where is this child?"
Consequently, it appears the defense will contend that Rilya is still alive and not murdered.

If her body was placed next to a canal in South Florida a full 16 months before it was known she was missing, there's little chance it would have been found. The investigators would have lost out to the alligators.
Maureen Dowd Likens George Bush to Clark Gable

In today's NYT, columnist Maureen Dowd relays some thoughts on last Saturday's Gridiron Dinner in Washington. She writes,
I sat next to a presidential gag writer, Landon Parvin. He was saying jokes work best when Republicans make fun of Republicans and Democrats make fun of Democrats.

President Bush, looking spiffy in white tie and tails, swung by to talk to Mr. Parvin. He didn't look my way, but proceeded back up to the dais.

Suddenly, W. turned around, stopped and looked right at me. Then he flashed a wink, not a flirty wink but a mischievous Clark Gable "I've got your number and you think you've got mine but I win" wink.
This is telling. It seems that Dowd is an accomplished wink reader. Go figure. Now I've always thought that a wink was not much different than a simple nod of the head or a salutatory wave of the hand. But, no! According to MoDo, a wink can be compared to recollections of winks by movie stars to discern its subtle intricacies. In this case, Ms. Dowd saw President Bush as a "mischievous Clark Gable" communicating, "Frankly, Mo, I win."

I wonder. By conjuring up the image of tall, dark, handsome Clark Gable in a wink of George Bush's eye, is Dowd growing soft on the President? Does she now subconsciously see him as a sexy, leading man rather than a political adversary? Can we expect some kinder, gentler words from Dowd when she writes of the Bush administration? Maybe next we'll see some words about George Bush's broad shoulders and his disarming smile.

Nah! On second thought, probably not.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Lawsuit Claims Discrimination For Being "Too French"

(Cincinnati, Ohio) A former instructor at the University of Cincinnati, Nathalie Doucet, 46, has filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging discrimination after she lost her job at the school for being "too French." She seeks her job back or monetary damages. A university spokesman has denied Doucet's claims, stating she lost her job because she was not a satisfactory teacher and wasn't improving her skills.

Specifically, the lawsuit complains that:
Doucet was labeled anti-American by a student's parent and told by an administrator that she was "too French."

Doucet also was humiliated by an administrator who rejected her approach to a research project by saying that it was "not the way Americans do it," the lawsuit alleges.
Now a permanent resident alien living in San Francisco, Doucet was born in France, apparently in whine country.
Says It All

Local Pickpocket
Cleveland Graduation Rate Soars

Yippee! Break out the party hats and noise makers!

Cleveland Public School administrators will surely dance in the halls since it's been announced that the latest, albeit unofficial, data indicate a soaring high school graduation rate. Although the numbers need to be verified and won't be official until August, there's reason to believe that a high school freshman in Cleveland has slightly better than a 50-50 chance of graduating in four years.

Director Spike Lee Criticizes Rap Lyrics, Videos

(Toronto, Canada) On Monday night, film maker Spike Lee told a student audience at Ryerson University that "gansta rap craziness" in lyrics and video images has convinced young blacks that being smart equals white so they fail school on purpose. Instead, black students are lured into believing it's cool to be a pimp or a ho.
"These artists talk about 'ho this, bitch this, skank this' and all the other stuff. They're talking about all our mothers, all our sisters. They're talking about their own mothers, grandmothers."

"You have to have knowledge of self and knowledge of history. Because if you had that you would not use that terminology. You would not even be in that mindset. And we're in a time when young black boys and girls want to be pimps and strippers, because that is what they see. . . . Something is definitely wrong."
Lee received standing ovations at the start and end of his monologue which was scheduled to help mark the International Day For the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21. Lee joins entertainer Bill Cosby in being a prominent African-American speaking out against the current rap music culture and he encouraged consumers to send a message to the gansta rap industry by not buying its products.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

On The Ides Of March

Congratulations to Dr. Rusty Schackleford for attracting one million visitors to The Jawa Report.
Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Ruled Unconstitutional

(San Francisco, California) Boy, it seems that hardly a day goes by without somebody stirring the political pot in California. That's what happened yesterday when Judge Richard Kramer of the Superior Court of San Francisco ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage is contrary to the "basic human right to marry a person of one's choice."

Naturally, the ruling was celebrated by the gay crowd and criticized by conservatives. Logically, Kramer's decision is just the first volley in a lengthy legal battle and no reason to get too excited about right now. And, relying upon the opinion of one legal scholar, the California Supreme Court is "likely to hold that the opposite-sex-only requirement is indeed constitutional."
'Dead Woman' Comes Alive During Post-Mortem

(Kitami, Japan) According to a report in the Mainichi Daily News:
Police officers preparing to perform a post-mortem examination on a woman whose lifeless body was found near a river in Hokkaido were forced to halt the process after her heart began beating in the mortuary.

The 27-year-old woman, whose name has been withheld, was whisked to a hospital after it was confirmed that she was alive, and she later regained consciousness. She is reportedly making a recovery.
I don't easily get spooked, but I think this type of incident would do it.
School Board OKs Administrator Raises Despite Huge Deficit

(Akron, Ohio) To address a projected deficit of $6.7 million, the Akron School Board has laid off teachers and plans to place a school levy on the ballot later this year. Other cutbacks in spending are also planned. Nevertheless, the board voted yesterday to raise the pay of 160 school administrators at an estimated cost of $250,000 to $300,000. As a result, twelve administrators will be pulling in $100,000 or more in the next year.

This move by the school board members doesn't make a whole bunch of sense to me. It seems that using the $250,000 to $300,000 for classroom teachers would be more beneficial than having higher paid administrators. Obviously, I don't understand the process.
Glenn Beck Booted, Replaced by Jerry Springer

(Cleveland, Ohio) Effective March 21, NEWSRADIO WTAM 1100 will debut the Springer On The Radio program from 9:00 to 11:30am weekdays. Springer replaces Philadelphia-based conservative talk radio host, Glenn Beck.

It's unclear exactly why Clear Channel Radio has made the change. The only explanation provided is, "We've been listening to 'Springer on the Radio' since it launched, and have been positively impressed by Jerry's rapid development as an issues-driven talk radio host," according to Clear Channel VP, Kevin Metheny.

Whatever the reason, this change is the first I've heard where a conservative radio talk show host is replaced by a liberal, although Springer apparently prefers to be called a progressive, at a large broadcast station.
Laxative Prankster Arraigned

(Medina, Ohio) Here's a follow up on a previous report of night shift nurses feeding laxatives to patients to make the day shift nurses' jobs more difficult. One of the two Willowood Care Center nurses involved in the prank, Kim Koah, was sentenced to 10 months in prison last week after pleading guilty to patient abuse.

The other nurse, Susan Mejak, 38, was arraigned yesterday in Medina County Common Pleas Court before Judge Christopher J. Collier. Mejak pleaded not guilty to five counts of patient abuse and was ordered to appear for trial on June 27. She is free on bond.

Boy! They sure pulled a good one on the day shift nurses, eh? It'll be good to have something to chuckle about while in the slammer.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Read The Label

In the literature provided with the medication, the prescription information starts with:
Bicillin C-R (penicillin G benzathine and penicillin G procaine suspension), contains equal amounts of the benzathine and procaine salts of penicillin G. It is available for deep intramuscular injection.

Penicillin G benzathine is prepared by the reaction of dibenzylethylene diamine with two molecules of penicillin G. It is chemically designated as (2 S , 5 R , 6 R )-3,3-Dimethyl-7-oxo-6- (2-phenylacetamido)-4-thia- 1-azabicyclo [3.2.0] heptane-2- carboxylic acid compound with N,N' -dibenzylethylenediamine (2:1), tetrahydrate. It occurs as a white, crystalline powder and is very slightly soluble in water and sparingly soluble in alcohol.
Definitely not a page-turner, yet the information stream goes on for another few thousand sleep-inducing words before one gets to see this sentence.
This drug should not be used in the treatment of venereal diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhea, yaws, bejel, and pinta.
Consequently, it makes sense that some people may have used this medication, or any medication, prior to fully reading the accompanying technical literature. Obviously, individuals preparing medical prescription information do not write for the average reader, much less the sick average reader.

It is, therefore, entirely understandable that over 600 people were administered the wrong drug for syphilis by the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center before one person finally read the enclosed package insert. The clinic is trying to notify all individuals who received the medication, but it's believed that at least 200 people are still unaware. This is significant since the initial symptoms of a syphilis infection disappear after a time and the disease progresses. So, it's possible that some people who received the Bicillin C-R think they have been cured when, in fact, they're still carrying the disease.

Reasonably, one has to ask who is responsible for this incident? Hundreds of people, patients and health providers, didn't read the package insert. Of course, they are all to blame. Nonetheless, I can't shake the feeling that package inserts (and other medical information disseminated to the public) should and could be more reader friendly.
Women With Boys (Updated)

Since last December, the following women made news. Most are teachers, many are married, more than a few have children, and they all have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with boys. Links are to individual posts with all the prurient and salacious details.
(FL) Debra Lafave, 24,
married, teacher - Sex with male student, 14,

(ID) Lisa Suitter,
teacher - Sex with male student, 17,

(MA) Amber Jennings, 31,
teacher - Gave porn to male student, 16,

(CA) Sarah Suzanne Bench-Salorio, 28,
married, kids, teacher - Sex with boys under 14,

(TX) Janay Jill Willson, 31,
teacher - Sex with male student, 16,

(FL) Morgan Lee Brown, 25,
camp counselor - Sex with boy, 16,

(FL) Tammy Lee Huggins, 35,
teacher's aide - Sex with male student, 15,

(CA) Rebecca Ann Boicelli, 33,
teacher - Sex/impregnation, student, 16,

(CO) Sylvia Johnson, 40,
'Cool Mom' - Sex/drug parties with boys

(CA) Sheryl Jean Graham, 42,
PTA Pres., 5 kids - Sex with teen boys

(FL) Denise Bongers, 32,
married, one child - Sex with boy, 16,

(TN) Pamela Turner, 27,
married, teacher - Felony sex with boy, 13,

(TX) Kathy Denise White, 39,
teacher - Sex with male student, 17,

(MI) Susanne Eble, 35,
teacher's aide, married, 2 kids - Criminal sex with boy, 14,

(NC) Katherine B. Tew, 30,
teacher - Sex with male student, 17,

(MO) Bethany Sherrill, 24,
teacher - Sex with male student, 14,

(CA) LaDonna Rangel, 35,
teacher - Sex with student

(NJ) Angela Stellwag, 24,
teacher - Sex with male student, 14,

(TX) Adrianne Hockett, 25,
teacher - Sex with male special needs student, 15,

(NC) Nicole Pomerleau, 31,
married, 2 kids, teacher - Sex with male student, 16,

(CA) Margaret De Barraicua, 30,
married, child, teacher - Sex with male student, 16,

(MI) Stephanie E. Bissell, 34,
married, 4 kids - Sex/impregnation by boy, 14,

(WV) Toni Lynn Woods, 37,
teacher - Sex with several students under 16,

(FL) Carol Flannigan, 50,
married, teacher - Sex with boy under 12 and his father

(CA) Janet Kim Alexander-Low, 39,
married, teacher - Gave porn to student, 15,

(SC) Donna Carr Galloway, 33,
married, teacher - Caught naked with student, 17,

(AL) Melissa Daw Green, 35,
teacher - Sex with male student, 16.
The noticeable number of incidents in a short time frame would seem to indicate a cultural aberration. We'll just have to wait and see if it will continue.

Trackback to Beltway Traffic Jam.

[Update 3/23/05] Here are a few additions to the list of women accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with boys. Note that I have included one woman (Elizabeth Miklosovic) who is charged with inappropriate sexual conduct with a girl. It departs from the adult female molests boy theme but is consistent with the basic female teacher with student theme.
(NY) Rachelle Vantucci, 32,
married, teacher - Sex with 16-year-old boy,

(VA) Melissa Michelle Deel, 32,
teacher - Crossed state line to have oral sex with male student, 13,

(MI) Laura Findlay,
teacher - Suspended due to allegations of sex with at least one student,

(MI) Elizabeth Miklosovic, 36,
teacher - Criminal sexual conduct with female student, 14,

(FL) Kelly Lynn Dalecki, 28,
teacher - Pleads no contest to having sex and giving porn to boy, 13,

(NJ) Christina Gallagher, 25,
teacher - Sexual assault of underage male student.
As a general observation, it seems that the number of female teachers reported in the news as having sex with students equals and possibly exceeds the number of male teachers doing the same. I don't have data to support the observation and I've only been watching for about a year, so I could be dead wrong.

It's also worth mentioning that two names were intentionally not included on the list, Pamela Smart and Mary Kay Letourneau. I assumed that their high-profile stories were fairly well-known and both occurred a number of years ago. The list is meant to display recent incidents.

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