Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Man Commits Unintended Homicides During Suicide

(Manfield, Ohio) It appears that 69-year-old Edwin Arnold only intended to kill himself when he started his pickup truck in the garage and let it run with the door shut. Tragically, the carbon monoxide fumes migrated to the rest of the house and 49-year-old Timothy Arnold and three-year-old Callie Arnold also died. They were Edwin's son and granddaughter. Another son and Callie's father, Thomas Arnold, was treated and released from the hospital.

Sad story.
Ohio Farmhouse Shootings

(Bellefontaine, Ohio) Last Sunday's shootings at two Logan County farmhouses resulted in the deaths of Paige Harshbarger - age 14, Sheri Shafer - age 37, Megan Karus - age 19, Scott R. Moody - age 18, Sharyl Shafer - age 66, and Gary Shafer - age 67. It is now believed that Scott R. Moody committed five murders with a .22-caliber Marlin rifle before taking his own life. Wounded with a rifle bullet in the neck was Scott Moody's sister, Stacy - age 15, who was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center for treatment where her condition is described as critical.

From the Dayton Daily News:
The shooting followed a small graduation party Saturday evening for Scott Moody and fellow Riverside graduating senior Megan Karus, 19, who also died from the shootings.

Logan County Sheriff Michael Henry believes Scott Moody was the shooter in each case, based on the evidence at the scene. He said the murder weapon was a .22-caliber Marlin rifle, which is undergoing ballistics tests with the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation. The Montgomery County Coroner's Office, where the bodies were taken Sunday, also is assisting in the investigation.

Henry said deputies had responded to the property on nuisance calls, such as loud music, on several occasions in the past but not for any serious incidents.

The four victims in the farmhouse appeared to have been shot in their sleep, Henry said.
In a nutshell, Scott Moody killed his mother, Sheri Shafer; killed his grandmother, Sharyl Shafer; killed his grandfather, Gary Shafer; killed his high school classmate, Megan Karus; killed his girlfriend, Paige Harshbarger; killed himself; and critically wounded his sister, Stacy.

Sadly, news of the deadly shootings reached the students and faculty of Riverside High School during the latter part of the graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon in which Scott Moody and Megan Karus were to receive diplomas.

Notably, no drugs were found at the scenes of the crimes. Although no motive has yet been determined, it appears that Scott Moody's impetus may be linked to years of personal turmoil starting with his parents divorce a decade ago. He was overwhelmed with the responsibility of running a farm while still a schoolboy. Seemingly insurmountable and enduring problems burdened Moody. The investigation continues.

My take is that something specific and definable happened on Saturday or Sunday which caused Scott Moody to snap. The mental anguish notion is valid but I don't see it as the triggering event for the murder- suicide.
Breeding Harmony

(Stockport, England) From the Stockport Express:
STOCKPORT schoolchildren will be the first in the country to take part in a project to breed multi-racial harmony.

Council education bosses have teamed up with the Muslim Council of Britain to use new resource packs supporting the teaching of Islam in primary schools.

[ ... ]

Councillor John Pantall, executive member for diversity strategy, said: "If we can get to pupils at an early age we hope they can grow up understanding other cultures and religions and without prejudice."

"There is a great deal of ignorance about major faiths, resulting in dangerous and destructive myths. The use of the new materials will help develop understanding and encourage community cohesion throughout Stockport."
Well, isn't this nice? The education system thinks that its job is to breed harmony. I predict that the efforts to breed harmony will fail.

And, of course, to be consistent with the leftist view on how to solve all problems and create harmony, the program for teaching Islam will have to include a campfire with all the kids circled around singing Kumbaya.
U.S. Marines to Invade Scotland

(Glasgow, Scotland) According to this report, 2,000 heavily-armed United States Marines will deploy "to occupy high ground and farmland in a massive area" around Glasgow Prestwick Airport. The Marines will provide protection for President Bush when he flies into and out of the airport for the G8 Conference in July.
Rumblings of Major Chaos in Venezuela

(Caracas, Venezuela) What's with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez? From Babalu Blog, we learn about a buzz of speculation created by mixed rumors of a possible military coup, an assassination attempt, a heart attack, or maybe a dramatic staged set of circumstances to expose political enemies. In any event, Chavez has canceled public appearances and it's reported that people have gathered in the streets, but no military has been called in.

Reports (here, here, and here) from Communist Cuba are downplaying the rumors, saying Chavez's health is fine and everything is normal. Venezuelan government officials have stated that security measures have been taken to prevent any assassination attempt. Of course, from Fidel Castro's press, it's to be expected that all news would be supportive of a stable situation in Caracas. The Venezuelan press is stifled and no bloggers have posted on the situation yet.

If something major has happened or is happening, it won't remain hidden for very long. I expect some type of independent confirmation soon. Hopefully, the confirmation won't involve International Election Certifier, Jimmy Carter.

Hat tip: Dr. Sanity

Monday, May 30, 2005

Drug Lords Bribe U.S. Border Patrol

(McAllen, Texas) It shouldn't be surprising that drug traffickers try to bribe law enforcement officials, including U.S. Border Patrol agents. Bribery is a common business practice.

From HoustonChronicle.com:
The Border Patrol checkpoint on a remote stretch of South Texas ranchland was the ideal route for a drug trafficking ring to move tons of marijuana.

To make sure their product got through, traffickers paid $1.5 million to U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan Alfredo Alvarez, 35, to wave trucks loaded with a ton or more of marijuana through checkpoints outside Hebbronville, according to a plea bargain Alvarez agreed to earlier this month.

As Mexican drug cartels have transformed the Texas-Mexico border into one of the major transport corridors for marijuana, cocaine and heroin, traffickers have stepped up their efforts to bribe agents.

While attention has been focused on the wide-scale corruption of Mexican law enforcement officials by powerful drug organizations, recent investigations along the border have revealed corruption of several U.S. agents at key international crossings.
Alvarez awaits sentencing for a conviction for bribery. The U.S. Justice Department has made arrests in a number of other cases where U.S. law enforcement personnel have been corrupted by drug money.

Interestingly, in some cases the drug smugglers and law officers grew up together and went to the same schools in close-knit towns along the border. So, even though they are on opposite sides of the law, they know each other quite well. More.
Brits Told to Wear Underwear

The British Ministry of Defense has ordered military personnel to remember to put on underwear beneath their uniforms. Apparently, service members without underwear are showing up to be fitted for uniforms and embarrassing the tailors.

I would have imagined that going "commando" was more of a French tradition.

On the lunch menu at Basil's Blog.
World's First Internet TV Channel

The actual launch of the world's first Internet television channel, Glasgow.tv, occurred late last week. You'll need a Windows Media Player.

From Scotsman.com:
GLASGOW will today launch the world's first city internet television channel to a potential global audience of one billion people in 817 million homes.

Using the latest broadband technology developed in the United States, the city believes it is "a year ahead of the game" compared to any other big city, some of which are still only at the talking stage.

A soft launch of Glasgow.tv, broadcasting cultural and sporting events, has attracted hits from more than 50 countries around the world.
It's likely that Internet television will be more than a simple nuisance to cable and broadcast television. More likely, it will ultimately become a major competitor.
Woman Pleads Guilty to Child-Sex Charges

(Altoona, Pennsylvania) A 21-year-old woman, Amber Holland, gave birth to a child that was fathered by a 14-year-old boy who she had been having relations with since he was 12-years-old. Subsequently, she was arrested and charged with statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor for sex, and corruption of a minor. Last month, Holland pleaded guilty to the charges and, according to Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield, she will be evaluated to determine whether she should be considered a violent sexual predator pursuant to Megan's Law.

The boy's mother, Tammy Price, was charged with reckless endangerment for knowing about the sexual relationship and not acting to prevent or stop it.
American Indicted in Romanian Kidnapping Plot

Last March, it was reported that three Romanian journalists, Prima TV reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, cameraman Sorin Miscoci, and reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian were taken hostage along with their translator, Mohamad Munaf. There were many unanswered questions about why they were taken and who took them. About a week ago, they were released without much detail provided explaining the why and the who. It's all been a big mystery.

Until now, that is, because it appears the whole kidnapping plot was a scheme created by Omar Hayssam, described as a wealthy Arab immigrant to Romania. And, apparently the American translator, Mohamad Munaf, conspired in the plot with Hayssam.

Rusty has the scoop at The Jawa Report. Go visit or you can wait for the MSM to get the story.
Teacher Indicted for Affair with 13-Year-Old Boy

(Tuscaloosa, Alabama) A preacher's daughter and former teacher, Harriet Laquette Gordon, 30, was indicted last February on a rape charge for engaging in a sexual relationship with a boy she met when she was a special education teacher at Myrtlewood Elementary School in 2003.

Harriet Laquette Gordon
Harriet Laquette Gordon

After booking in the Tuscaloosa County Jail, she was released on $10,000 bail. Her case seems to have died in the halls of justice since her indictment. At some point, there should be reports of a plea agreement or trial.
Fidelity Written into Mortgage Contract

A Japanese couple were concerned that their faithfulness in marriage would be challenged by the corroding temptations of the flesh so they decided to put a fidelity provision in their mortgage contract.

From the Mainichi Daily News:
When they took out a housing loan they composed a written agreement to the effect that if either of them is caught in an adulterous relationship, the guilty party not only forfeits the right to live in the new condominium but also agrees to pay off the entire loan singlehandedly.
It's not clear as to whether the contract would be legally binding since it hasn't been challenged in court, however, the couple believes it to be a form of insurance.

It's also been suggested that marriage contracts be written to include requirements on frequency of sexual relations and prohibitions on bad-mouthing the in-laws.

Um -- that last one might be a deal killer.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Big Brother in the Cafeteria

(Marietta, Georgia) When I read the following story, I couldn't help but give a hat tip to the memory of George Orwell.
As Garin Hughes picks through his school-lunch burrito and unidentifiable apple-pear dessert, he has a secret. Hidden underneath the eighth-grader's right leg is a chocolate cookie in shrink-wrapped plastic. That's for dessert. In the past, his parents had no clue when he bought a treat at school. Now, thanks to a new school-lunch monitoring system, they can check over the Internet and learn about that secret cookie.
The monitoring system is called Mealpay and it's developed by Horizon Software International of Loganville, Ga. The probable next step in big brother intrusiveness has to be individual RFID chips in the food.

Personally, this type of surveillance makes me nervous.
Woman Accused of Manslaughter of Child and Sexual Assault of Boy

(Johnstown, Pennsylvania) Amy Livingston, 27, the mother of four who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the diaper-rash death of a son, has been charged with statutory sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy. In addition to statutory sexual assault, Livingston faces five counts each of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, and corruption of minors.

Amy Livingston

Since Livingston is charged with two major, yet unrelated, crimes with behind-the scenes legal maneuverings ongoing, the current status of each case is murky. The diaper-rash death has triggered an internal review of the Children and Youth Services Department to determine the adequacy of oversight. It's unclear at present when Livingston will go to trial.

[Update 6/29/05] According to this report, Amy Livingston pleaded guilty in Cambria County Court to manslaughter for the death of her 15-month-old son. She also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30.
'Stays In Vegas' Ad Campaign Prompts Investigations

(Las Vegas, Nevada) According to this report, a national advertising campaign that states "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" has created a blitz of business for private investigators. Nervous spouses and significant others have retained the private eyes to keep an eye on the activities of their loved ones.
Ed Norton, with Norton Consulting and Investigations says he's been getting more and more calls every week asking the same question. "My husband's coming into town. Would you follow them and see what they're doing?"

Norton believes it stems directly from the city's ad campaign promoting Las Vegas as an adult playground. "You know the advertisement we have here, 'What happens here, stays here.' Maybe people outside Las Vegas go 'hmm, my wife's going to Vegas or my husband/boyfriend.'"
Jason Porter, also with Norton Consulting and Investigations, stated that they followed the activities of a 60-year-old married man.
Porter explains, "We were contracted by this gentleman's wife ... sitting at a bar with a younger woman for three hours. They kiss as she says goodbye. The next day, this tape is mailed to his wife making sure what happens in Vegas doesn't stay here."
Although it's not cheap to hire an investigator, they do produce results. It's estimated that targeted individuals are found to do something suspicious about 80 percent of the time.

This is probably bummer news for some people.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.
Teacher's Aide Accused of Sex with Special Ed Students

(South Bend, Indiana) A former aide at Greene Intermediate Center, Schmeca White, 27, was arrested on nine felony charges of inappropriate sexual activities with special education students between the ages of 11 and 15. The specific charges include two counts each of child molestation and sexual misconduct with a minor, along with sexual battery, criminal deviate conduct, and battery. Bond was set at $10,000.

Schmeca White

According to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ken Cotter, White controlled the students using threats of harm while she stripped naked and performed various sex acts and forced the students to perform sex acts in the classroom during lunch period. On one occasion, White allegedly choked a 13-year-old girl to the point where an ambulance had to be called.

Schmeca White's trial has been scheduled to begin on August 22.

[Update 10/03/06]

White convicted.

[Update 10/26/06]

White sentenced.
Shootings Kill Six in Ohio Farmhouses

(Bellefontaine, Ohio) Outside Bellefontaine, four adults and two teens were found shot to death in two adjacent farmhouses this morning. The farmhouses, separated by less than a mile, had four and two victims, repectively, and are owned by the same family. Officials found multiple weapons at the scene and suspect that the gunman may be one of the dead.

No motive is presently known for the killings that probably occurred between 6am and 10am. A seventh victim, a female teen shot in the neck, survived and was flown by Careflight to Miami Valley Hospital. The Logan County Sheriff's Office is investigating the developing story.

[Update 1930 EDT] According to a FOXNEWS broadcast of a police press conference, the deceased victims have been identified as:
Paige Harshbarger - age 14
Sheri Shafer - age 37
Megan Karus - age 19
Scott R. Moody - age 18
Sharyl Shafer - age 66
Gary Shafer - age 67
The surviving victim was identified as Stacy Moody, 15, who has undergone surgery for the gunshot wound to her neck. Officials state that a rifle was used.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Michelle Sikes Sentenced

(Clinton, Arkansas) Updating a previous report, former Clinton Junior High School interpreter, 34-year-old Michelle Sikes, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree sexual assault in Van Buren County Circuit Court. The charges result from a sexual relationship Sikes had with a 15-year-old male student. At the time of the relationship with the boy, she was married with two children.

Michelle Sikes

Predictably, Sikes is no longer married and her ex-husband has custody of the two children. Meanwhile, Circuit Judge David Reynolds sentenced Sikes to 10 years of probation, a $5,000 fine, court-ordered counseling, and she must register as a sex offender. She has also been barred from teaching again.
Kelly Lynn Dalecki Sentenced

(St. Augustine, Florida) Last March, 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. In the plea agreement, the prosecution wanted Dalecki sentenced to six months in jail.

Kelly Dalecki
Kelly Lynn Dalecki

Interestingly, although the prosecution and defense agreed on sentencing, Judge J.Michael Traynor felt differently and Friday he sentenced Dalecki to 364 days in jail, effectively doubling the time specified by the plea.

From News4Jax.com:
In addition to the jail time, Kelly Dalecki, 28, was sentenced to seven years of sexual offender probation. Judge J.Michael Traynor also ordered Daleki to give up her teaching certificate and pay $30,000 in restitution to pay for a camp the boy is attending.
Frankly, I'm glad the judge upped the sentence, but I think that if she were a he, the punishment would be much harsher.
Parents Make Porn with Own Kids

(Durban, South Africa) A Russian couple has been convicted of producing child pornography on videotape and photographs with their own children, ages 9, 4, and 2. Their case is going through the penalty phase.

This is a most bizarre, sick, and depressing story and it reflects a level of depravity seldom encountered. Yet oddly, a psychologist, Dr. Louise Olivier, for the defense has testified that the couple (whose names are being withheld for some reason) is just a little quirky. Quirky? Not on your life, Doctor! These people are completely crazy and dangerous! Seriously, the professionalism of the psychologist needs to be questioned. She's trying to portray monsters as everyday folk.

I'd excerpt some of the lurid and sick details from the story, but I'm concerned that some of my readers would find them offensive. Hell! I find them offensive. Those interested can follow the link.

Visit the Carnival of the Trackbacks.
Zarqawi Reported Dead

From The Jawa Report, via LGF, via Hammorabi, it's reported (unconfirmed) that Zarqawi suffered massive infection after taking a bullet or schrapnel in the lung and died. The MSM hasn't mentioned anything yet.

Gateway Pundit reports that Zarqawi's Jordanian relatives are preparing for a funeral in Zarqa, Jordan. Vodkapundit says the USAF rumor mill supports the story of Zarqawi's death from its sources.

Assuming Zarqawi's essence is with the virgins, some other people have been left with his putrefying carcass. And, whoever is the keeper of the carcass is going to want to move it a few hundred miles to Jordan, presuming that there will be a funeral. I wonder, just from a logistical standpoint, how the body would be secretly moved. Also, given the customary state of medical facilities in war zones, especially war zones in hot, stinking deserts, it's not clear that his body has been properly refrigerated and embalmed. Surely, the location lends itself to rapid decomposition which means his remains are raising a stench that even Michael Jackson's modified nose could detect.
Rebecca Ann Boicelli Pleads No Contest

(Redwood City, California) Well, in the ongoing case (here w/photo) of Rebecca Ann Boicelli, 33, it appears that she has finally realized that she doesn't have any way out. With DNA evidence proving that a 16-year-old former student fathered her child, it's ridiculous to claim they didn't have sex. Yesterday, she pleaded no contest to one count of committing a lewd act upon a child at least 10 years younger than herself.

Boicelli remains in custody with bail set at $500,000. Sentencing is scheduled for August 19. According to the plea agreement, she faces a possible 3 years in prison and four years probation.
Teacher Charged with Sex Assault on Boy

(Spring Valley, Illinois) Hall High School biology teacher Gina Purvis, 29, faces aggravated sexual assault charges for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old male student. Purvis was indicted last December and since then her case has taken more twists and turns than a Cedar Point roller coaster. First, the judge was replaced, followed by new charges being filed. There have been allegations of withholding evidence, claims that the alleged victim was lying, accusations that another teacher is involved, and suggestions that the whole case is the result of revenge for something. The case has been somewhat of a test of stamina for the prosecution, the defense, and the court.

Frankly, I've become frustrated trying to figure out what the exact status is. The only thing I'm relatively sure of is that the court is as confused as I am. Purvis has pleaded innocent to the felony sex charges against her which, by the way, carry potential penalties of dozens of years in prison. All the legalities are supposed to be sorted out by the defense before June 16 with a trial date set for June 27.

In a nutshell, it appears that the allegations against Purvis may have been part of a gossip-prone, close-knit, small-town pissing-contest which started with something relatively minor and has grown to be a major court battle.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Man Gets Life for DWI

(Georgetown, Texas) Country singer Gary Gibbs, 49, was sentenced to life in prison after conviction for his eighth DWI since 1986. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
"Keep It Up and You'll Go Blind"

Many mothers have told their young sons that too much action for Mr. Happy would make them go blind. While most people scoff at the myth, there is now empirical data which suggests that impotence medicine, Mr. Happy's drug of choice, is linked to blindness.

From the Associated Press:
Federal health officials are examining rare reports of blindness among some men using the impotence drugs Viagra and Cialis, a disclosure that comes at a time when the drug industry can ill afford negative publicity about another class of blockbuster medicines.

The Food and Drug Administration still is investigating, but has no evidence yet that the drug is to blame, said spokeswoman Susan Cruzan.

This type of blindness is called NAION, or non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. It can occur in men who are diabetic or have heart disease, the same conditions that can cause impotence and thus lead to Viagra use.

The FDA has 42 reports of the blindness, 38 among users of Viagra and four among users of Cialis. There were no cases reported among users of Levitra, the third impotence drug.
I imagine the late-night television joke writers are working overtime on this theme.
Smuggling Cash into Mexico

(Laredo, Texas) Last Monday, Severiano Perez Molina was found guilty by a federal jury of trying to smuggle contraband out of the United States. After a routine traffic stop, a police dog alerted on Perez Molina's vehicle and a search found 50 bundles of cash worth $909,830 inside a modified gas tank.

From TEAM4NEWS.com:
Perez Molina denied having knowledge of the cash but said that he was being paid $1,000 to drive the vehicle from Monterrey, Mexico, to Dallas, where "something" would be put in the car.
He had no knowledge, my muscled caboose! My guess is he's probably made the trip dozens of times. After all, the drug traffickers can't use wire transfers, so their proceeds have to be smuggled out of the U.S.

Given that most resources are directed to stopping smuggling of people and contraband coming into the U.S., I get the odd feeling that people and contraband going out of the U.S. are subjected to considerably less scrutiny. And, since the U.S. is doing such a urine-poor job on the goesinta, I have to imagine that the goesouta is probably worse. In any event, people hauling million-dollar bundles of cash into Mexico are definitely in the drug trade. Migrant workers are not sending that kind of money back to their families inside modified gas tanks.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.
Terror Threat Causes Cancellation of USO Trip

(Naples, Italy) Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo warned Americans "to avoid crowded tourist areas in Cairo until the current threat environment diminishes." As a result, a planned trip by U.S. citizens has been scratched with cancellation charges assessed.

From the Stars and Stripes:
Scores of Naples residents are out nearly $250 after the Navy canceled two United Service Organizations trips to Egypt over the Memorial Day weekend because of security concerns.

"The bottom line was the safety of personnel and families," said Capt. Stephen Hoefel, Navy Region Europe's public safety director.

The cancellation ended up costing the 92 prospective travelers 192 euros each in last-minute cancellation fees imposed by Egypt Air and travel agencies.

Each person had paid at least 849 euros for the trip.

"We gave back [to the participants] everything we got back from the agencies," said Naples USO director Simona Keeler. She said she understands people's frustration over the cancellation and monetary loss.
Historically, Egypt has been dicey with regard to security and recent attacks in Cairo and in the Sinai has raised the level of concern. It's reasonable to be extremely cautious.
Woman Pleads Guilty to Sex with Boys

(Fairborn, Ohio) Yesterday, a 33-year-old woman, Kelly L. Smith, pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor for performing sex acts on three boys, two 15-year-olds and a 13-year-old, over a four-month period from September 2004 to January 2005. Smith apparently gave the boys rum, vodka, and the prescription drug Klonopin, an anti-seizure medication, when they visited her home. During the sessions, she performed the sex acts. Since she pleaded guilty, the boys won't have to testify.

According to Suzanne M. Schmidt, Greene County First Assistant Prosecutor, several charges were dropped in exchange for Smith's plea. However, she still faces a possible 25 years in prison for the crimes she pleaded to committing. Notably, her plea contained no agreement regarding sentencing.

A sentencing date of July 14 has been established by Greene County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen A. Wolaver.
Heidi Fleiss - Looking for Brothel License

(Las Vegas, Nevada) The infamous Hollywood Madam, Heidi Fleiss, who was put out of business and prosecuted in California, now has plans of opening a brothel in Nevada where prostitution is legal.

From KLAS-TV.com:
She has a long way to go before her brothel becomes a reality. Fleiss has spent months looking at other bordellos and properties in Nevada, from Reno to Pahrump and in between. Because of her criminal record, she will need to latch on with an existing licensee for a period. She's talked to several but hasn't reached a deal.

[ ... ]

In order to stand out from other brothels, and from the all-but-legal hooker rackets in Las Vegas, Fleiss has a grand design in mind -- a replica of the White House. She'll even call it the White House, but isn't trying to make a political statement, just a marketing one.

"It will work. They have the Eiffel Tower there, the Pyramids. So it's time for the White House. You build the White House and it will work. You want something the way it should be. Natural, beautiful, and that's what it is. It's just sex."
Apparently, Fleiss is planning on giving whole new meanings to the terms Oval Office and West Wing. She says she'll go on a worldwide recruiting tour, looking for fresh faces who are willing to be prostitutes. Her target market will be elite customers willing to pony up a $5,000 entry fee.

Five grand for a fresh face! I'm going to guess that customers will be wanting more than a face for that amount. Nonetheless, she claims to have backers prepared to invest millions in her White House.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Teacher's Aide Arraigned for Child Endangerment

(Hudson Falls, New York) A 31-year-old teacher's aide at Hudson Falls High School, Karlie Hall, surrendered to police today and was arraigned this afternoon in Hudson Falls Court. Hall was charged with child endangerment and public lewdness for allegedly exchanging sexually explicit emails with a 14-year-old student. The emails were so graphic that the news reporter refrained from even paraphrasing them.

Karlie Hall resigned her position with Hudson Falls School District and is currently in the Washington County Jail.

[Update 5/27/05] According to this report, Karlie Hall not only exchanged filthy emails, she also exposed herself to the 14-year-old and purchased cigarettes for him and his friend. Hall has been released on $2,000 bail and is scheduled to appear back in court on June 7.

[Update 05/30/06]

Karlie Hall sentenced.
Ninth DWI Arrest

CLEVELAND -- A west-side Cleveland man is arrested a ninth time for driving under the influence of alcohol.

David Gundel, 44, has mug shot after mug shot in the county records department. It's more like yearbook photos for him.

Now, Gundel is facing a possible felony charge punishable by prison time if he's convicted. Police records indicate he has eight DUI convictions in 19 years.
So, readers, what in the world does the justice system do with a guy like Gundel? He's a time bomb. And, whatever his punishment was the previous eight times obviously didn't work.
Japanese Train Disaster Blamed on Punctuality

(Amagasaki, Japan) Last month's train wreck in Amagasaki killed 107 people, including the driver, and injured more than 540. The chief cause of the accident has been determined to be that the driver, 23-year-old Ryujiro Takami, was speeding to make up approximately 90 seconds of time he lost by overshooting platforms on previous stops. However, the Japanese trait of relentlessly pursuing punctuality, to the second, is being mentioned as a factor that can produce dangerous circumstances. Obsession with punctuality is being called the fatal flaw.

Maybe it's me, but I get the impression that the analysts are trying to blame the schedule for the wreck.
Statesman From Ohio

Sen. George Voinovich

I watched Voinovich's whimpering speech on the U.S. Senate floor yesterday and was painfully, viscerally disgusted. He was talking about his intense dislike for President Bush's nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. His voice cracked, his chin quivered, and he pleaded like an infant. I felt so low. I voted for this prissy marshmallow.

That mistake will not be repeated.

And, frankly, although he was blubbering about Bolton, it made no difference what the subject of his pleading was. It was the way he talked, the way he looked, that was upsetting. Voinovich's actions were unprofessional, lacked propriety, and completely inappropriate for the putative statesman-like air of the United States Senate. I'm embarrassed that Sen. George Voinovich is from my state.

Don't for a second think that I'm not reminded of my embarrassment. I've already received a few calls from folks around the country asking if there is a shortage of real men in Ohio. And, thank you very much, when they weren't busting my chops about Georgy Girl, shots were thrown about Mike Dewine who decided to become the 'seven' in the Nitwit Seven.

What's most difficult to accept is the betrayal. I was deceived into thinking each possessed measurable testosterone. Adding to my dismay is the realization that these guys are not too bright. The people that elected them into office did so because of one thing -- they're Republicans. It wasn't because of their beauty or their charisma nor was it because they were war heroes or astronauts. No, it's because they were members of the Republican Party. So, what did these guys do when called to service? They decided to become free agents.

I'll follow their lead. When I see their names on a ballot, I'll be a free agent. In the meantime, I'd suggest that the esteemed U.S. Senators from Ohio look for opportunities to perform some extraordinarily heroic life-saving feat involving puppies and babies, make sure it's caught on camera, and use their contacts in the media to make sure I see the videotape over and over and over. Even so, there still isn't a snowball's chance in hell I'll ever vote for either again.

Pic purloined from The Country Store.
Sex Predators Have to Relocate

(Cincinnati, Ohio) A recent change in Ohio law specifies where sexual predators may reside with regard to schools and, as a result, some predators have to move. There will likely be some complaints lodged by advocacy groups. This news is estimated to affect 350 to 400 registered sexual predators in the Cincinnati area.

From The Cincinnati Post:
The city's attorneys will mail letters during the next week, notifying the violators that they have 30 days to move. If they fail to do so, officials will file for an injunction in court to force their removal, said Charlie Rubenstein, a city prosecutor.

Rapid enforcement of that edict is needed to enhance the safety of children, said City Council Member David Pepper.

"Our school zones are sacred ground," said Pepper, who heads the group's law committee.

The committee reviewed a map Tuesday of where sexual predators are living in the city and their proximity to schools.

"There are way, way too many dots on that map," said Council Member John Cranley.
Living within the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area, it's estimated that there are 1,500 registered sexual predators. Remember, these are predators, not offenders. With that large a number in one city, it seems that enforcement of the Ohio law regarding where they can live is daunting. Enforcement is also compounded by the fact that sexual predators, by nature, are sneaky and opportunistic criminals.

Of note is that the law does require that officials try to keep accurate tabs on the predators and, apparently, Ohio has somewhat of a handle on the problem. What's disturbing, however, is that 1,500 of these perverts are in one location in Ohio. Multiply that number by the number of cities in the state or the nation and one realizes that there is ample reason to be constantly on guard. They're everywhere.
Dr. Moonda Murder Case - UPDATE

(Entry brought forward) The plot thickens in the Dr. Moonda murder mystery. It seems that Donna Moonda was having an affair with a man she met at a drug rehab center. The man, Damian Bradford, 23, has been arrested for unrelated drug charges, but he is considered a person of interest in the Moonda murder.

Moonda & Bradford

Bradford is in the Beaver County jail on charges of possessing drug paraphernalia and violating probation from a sentence for receiving stolen property. Bond has been set at $50,000.

Notably, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a confidential informant told police that "Donna Moonda and a man named Damian were in drug rehabilitation together and that she is paying for his apartment."

[Update 5/26/05]

Whoa! It looks like Donna Moonda, aka Donna J. Smouse, likes to cozy up with convicted felons. Investigators have determined that, in addition Bradford, Mrs. Moonda had a close relationship with convicted burglar Thomas Kase Jr.

In a Pennsylvania State Police search of Kase's vehicles (2) and Bradford's apartment, a bank payment book was found indicating a vehicle loan was granted in the names of both Kase and Donna Moonda. The vehicle is a black 1995 Land Rover, which is generally comparable to the "van" reportedly driven by the killer of Dr. Moonda. Other items confiscated from Bradford's apartment included three pink bath towels with suspected biological stains, 19 $50 bills, clothing, four 200-milligram vials of the steroid depo-testosterone, five hypodermic needles, several cell phones, a pager, and a handwritten steroid price list.

The probable cause for the search of the vehicles and apartment was to find evidence of a financial or romantic relationship between Bradford and Donna Moonda. Obviously, the police are looking for additional evidence of the relationship so reliance on witness testimony won't be necessary. Unidentified informants have stated that Donna Moonda and Bradford were lovers and she planned to divorce Dr. Moonda and collect millions in a settlement. At this point, it's not clear the police found what they were looking for. What was found, however, makes Dr. Moonda's murder a much juicier mystery. Think about it. You have a murder of a prominent physician, a drug-addicted unfaithful wife, two ex-cons, a daylight robbery-murder on the turnpike that appears scripted, and two eyewitnesses that saw essentially nothing.

Donna Moonda has hired Cleveland attorney Niki Schwartz to represent her. Bradford remains in the Beaver County Jail on drug charges and is represented by Pittsburgh lawyer James Ecker. Notably, a friend of Bradford has stepped forward and provided him with an alibi for the time of the murder. There's no information on the status of Thomas Kase.

Trackback to Festival of the Fatwas.

[Update 07/06/07]

Donna Moonda found guilty of murder.

[Update 09/21/07]

Moonda gets life in prison.
Senate Opens Door for Reparations to American Indians

(Washington, D.C.) Sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, legislation to apologize to American Indians has been warmly received by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The proposed legislation would "acknowledge our past failures, express sincere regrets and work toward establishing a brighter future for all Americans." Sen. John McCain said he would help in getting the resolution to a vote.

The President of the National Congress of American Indians, Tex Hall, said that the legislation "will be meaningless if it is not accompanied by actions that begin to correct the wrongs of the past and the present."

"Accompanied by actions that begin to correct the wrongs" sounds like reparations to me. And of course, this greases the skids for a pantload of other groups wanting to be paid for "past failures."

I don't know what Brownback is thinking, but I really don't want my tax dollars to be applied to pay for failures that occurred before any of my ancestors even stepped foot on the North American continent.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Cat Eats Bird, Man Kills Cat, Police Arrest Man

(Elyria, Ohio) Here's a story of a guy who got so angry, he snapped. From The Chronicle-Telegram:
A 26-year-old man beat his own pregnant cat to death Tuesday afternoon and then cut the kittens out of the dead animal's womb, Elyria Police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said.

Neil Lanning, of Penrose Court at South Park Apartments, who has been charged with animal cruelty, told police he attacked the cat after it ate his pet bird.

"If it happens, you have an animal that is unwanted, there are other avenues that should be taken," Eichenlaub said.

A maintenance worker for the apartments said Lanning was skinning the cat behind the building when officers arrived at 1:41 p.m. Officers observed Lanning sitting next to the bloody cat, with a knife in his hand.

Lanning told officers he killed the cat because he was mad after it killed his bird, which cost a lot of money. The cat cost nothing, he told police.
Mr. Lanning sounds like somebody who possibly has a low tolerance for personal setbacks. Hopefully, this is an isolated occurrence.
HS Girls 'Huffing' During Class

From the Dayton Daily News:
School officials will recommend expulsion for two Xenia High School freshmen accused of "huffing" a household cleaner during an outdoor physical education class May 18, school assistant principal Karol Warden said Tuesday.

"We just don't put up with that at school," she said.

The girls have been suspended, Warden said. It was not immediately clear if they will face criminal charges.
I'd suggest that suspending the girls is less important than finding out how they came to be introduced to using inhalants in the first place. A close look at their friends, their classmates, and their neighborhood is more than warranted. Also, these kids may have learned to huff while in middle school.
Ken Jennings Show

Comedy Central announced that Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings will be the central figure in a new game show.

Isn't it nice to see somebody with smarts attain celebrity status?
Girl, 13, Raped in Classroom

(Dayton, Ohio) A 14-year-old boy is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl when she was left alone in a Dayton Academy classroom. The boy is in juvenile detention with a court date scheduled for next week.
Woman Charged for Sex with Boy

(Swansea, South Carolina) A Lexington School District bus driver, Crystal Fischer, 26, was booked Monday in the Lexington County Jail on two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Crystal Fischer
Crystal Fischer

According to Lexington County Sheriff's spokesman John Allard, Fischer is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old Sandhills Middle School student in the back seat of her car. The sex was not linked to her job as a bus driver. Bond was set at $30,000 and, thus far, Fischer's husband has not commented.

One question, shouldn't a student have advanced beyond middle school by the age of 15?
Three Mexican Top Cops Assassinated

Last Saturday, Carlos Bowser Miret, the Director of Public Safety for the resort city of Rosarito, Baja California, was assassinated near his home a few blocks from police headquarters. Miret was only six months into his job as the city's head of law enforcement and had vowed to eliminate drug houses and restructure the police department. A vehicle and spent cartridges were found at the murder scene. The unknown killers are at large.

Xinhua reports on another Baja California killing:
Unknown perpetrators Tuesday shot dead the director of a state jail in Mexico, prosecutors said.

Eduardo Villalobos, head of the jail of the northwestern Baja California state, was shot when heading for his office in an official vehicle, prosecutors said.

Villalobos was also Baja California's attorney general and director of the Special Anti-Organized Crime Unit of the state.

Nine-millimeter bullet shells which could have been used by a Uzi sub-machine gun were found at the spot of the murder, prosecutors said.
Witnesses counted four gunmen.

And last week in the eastern part of Mexico on the Rio Grande border, Nuevo Laredo Police Captain Juan Sergio Montes was killed by gunmen believed to be linked to drug traffickers. Montes was on routine patrol with a partner, Elvira Perez Corona, when his vehicle was ambushed and sprayed with automatic weapons. Corona was wounded and remains hospitalized with a bullet in the back.

To summarize, in less than a week, three high-level Mexican law enforcement officials have been murdered with strong indications that all were committed by organized drug traffickers. Thus far, no killers have been identified, much less apprehended. The criminals are killing cops with impunity. It's one helluva lousy trend.

Companion post at Conservative Thinking.
Another Church Sex Cult Arrest

(Hammond, Louisiana) A ninth person has been arrested in the Hosanna Church sex cult case. Patricia "Trish" Pierson, 54, was taken into custody as a fugitive by FBI agents and Baton Rouge police when she arrived at Baton Rouge Airport. She was transferred to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff and booked on a charge of sexual battery. Trish Pierson is the wife of Allen Pierson who was previously arrested.

Of the others arrested, only Lois Ann Mowbray has bonded out of jail. The other people are being held without bond since they are charged with capital crimes. In Louisiana, rape of a child can result in the death sentence. Police are continuing the investigation and there may be more arrests.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shooting Swans Authorized

(Indianapolis, Indiana) Property owners can now obtain a free permit to shoot gentle and graceful mute swans out of the air. Apply for the permit at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. There is apparently no actual hunting season nor bag limit. It just has to be determined that the swans are a health or safety concern or that they cause or they threaten to cause damage to property. Seems to me that every single mute swan in the state of Indiana meets that criteria. So, get a permit and load up. You can expect the carcasses to weigh in around six to eight pounds -- fine for Sunday dinner. And, they go so well with an orange-mint sauce.
The Filibuster Deal

If I thought it would help, I'd call the FBI and ask for a criminal investigation. Somewhere along the travel-path from Ohio to Washington, D.C., there is an outlaw medical practice that is performing surgery on Republicans. They all arrive with backbones removed and honorary memberships in the Democratic Party.

I'm angry and I feel personally betrayed by the Ohio Republican Senators. Before Mike DeWine and George Voinovich were exposed to be closet Democrats, they had my vote.

Never again.

Mike DeWine for this filibuster fiasco, (By the way, did you see him acting like an idol-worshipping groupie when McCain spoke at last night's press conference?) and George Voinovich for his Testosterone Monologue trashing John Bolton. Who are these people? The people I voted for were advertised as conservative, as loyal Republicans, but when it came time to show their conservatism, it wasn't there. Sure, I'm part blame because I voted for them. That was then.

Never again.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dr. Moonda Murder Case

The plot thickens in the Dr. Moonda murder mystery. It seems that Donna Moonda was having an affair with a man she met at a drug rehab center. The man, Damian Bradford, 23, has been arrested for unrelated drug charges, but he is considered a person of interest in the Moonda murder.

Moonda & Bradford

Bradford is in the Beaver County jail on charges of possessing drug paraphernalia and violating probation from a sentence for receiving stolen property. Bond has been set at $50,000.

Notably, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a confidential informant told police that "Donna Moonda and a man named Damian were in drug rehabilitation together and that she is paying for his apartment."

[Update 07/06/07]

Donna Moonda found guilty of murder.

[Update 09/21/07]

Moonda gets life in prison.
Drug Dogs Taught to Detect Talcum

(Canberra, Australia) Someone had switched the test package of cocaine with talcum powder at the beginning of the three month drug dog training program and nobody noticed. Consequently, seven police drug-sniffing dogs became proficient at finding talcum powder. According to Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Evans, they will have to be retrained even though they have "very soft, nice smelling noses at the moment."

My thoughts are that the dogs could have produced some very embarrassing moments if deployed screening passengers at the airport. Just think of the places people normally have talcum powder on their bodies. [Uh ... Ma'am ... We have to ask you to remove your underwear. Fido picked up on something.]
NY Republican Announces Candidacy

(White Plains-WABC, May 23, 2005) -- Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said Monday that she will not run for re-election this year. Instead, she's going bigger, and will run for statewide office in 2006.

Pirro told The Associated Press that she has not decided which office to seek. But she mentioned three possibilities: state attorney general, the office being vacated by Democrat Eliot Spitzer; the Senate; and governor, if Republican George Pataki decides against another term.

Asked if she thought she could beat Clinton, Pirro refused to answer directly but said, "I have never been afraid of challenges, no matter how daunting. I have really been a person who actually seeks out challenges. The more you say I can't do something, the more I want to do it. ... Whatever office I run for, I will run to win and for no other reason."
You just have to admire her confidence. It doesn't hurt that she's also a favorite of the White House political wizards.

She mentioned that she wasn't seeking re-election because she didn't want to deceive her supporters into voting for her, only to do an about-face a week later and run for another office. Someone needs to remind Pirro that honesty in New York politics is usually a losing combination. But, then again, there's always the remote possibility that it will work.
Endangered Koala Sterilization Program

From ABC News Online:
The South Australian Government has allocated an extra $4 million in Thursday's Budget to control koala numbers on Kangaroo Island.

The money will be used to step up the sterilisation program and to transport the animals to several spots in the state's south-east.

Premier Mike Rann says the campaign will avert an environmental disaster, but he has ruled out the possibility of a cull.
Being too cute to actually kill, the koalas will undergo a $160 operation to sterilize them. Notably, the koala sterilization program has been ongoing since 1996, so the practice is not new. However, with the new funds allocated, the story gets rerun on the front page.

The koalas being targeted live on predator-free Kangaroo Island, about 30 miles off the coast of South Australia, and there are too many for the environment to sustain. On the mainland, koalas have natural predators and human pressures to control the population. They also suffer from widespread infectious chlamydia which causes infertility in females.

Oddly, attempts to limit the population of koalas would be illegal in the U.S. since they are listed as an endangered species. This is despite the fact that the Australian government "sees no scientific evidence that it [the koala] is likely to become endangered anytime soon." Here's today's pop quiz. Since there are no indigenous koalas running wild in the U.S. and since, in Australia where they do run wild, the government sees no reason to believe that they will become endangered in the foreseeable future, then why would the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service place them on the Endangered Species List?

Interestingly, in a closely related story the House Resources Committee recently announced the results of a review of the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act. According to Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo,
"The ESA has not achieved its original intent of recovering species," the California Republican said. "In fact, there is little evidence of progress in the law's 30-year history."
The ESA was also faulted for containing a "wealth of erroneous data" on some species that has led to millions and millions of public and private dollars being wasted. One glaring example is the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse. Disregarding the fact that the vermin was obviously named by an Earth-Is-My-Mother biologist, the Preble's mouse was listed as "threatened" and millions of dollars were spent on stalled and canceled projects and creation of a protected habitat. After a second look it was discovered that the Preble's mouse was no different than any other grub-eating, burrowing, and hanta virus carrying field mouse. OOPS!

In summary, the Australian Tree-Killing Koala population is being reduced while the, rarer-than-Sasquatch, American Cuddly Soft Koala population is protected just in case they sprout wings and fly to the United States.
Sex Offenders Get Viagra Paid by Medicaid

(Albany, New York) According to Alan Hevesi, the New York State Comptroller, during an audit, the names on the state's sex offender registry were compared to the names listed as receiving Medicaid-paid Viagra. Results of the review indicate that almost 200 sex offenders, including child rapists, had received taxpayer-funded Viagra between 2000 and 2005.

Well, it didn't take long for the politicians to make a statement. Senator Hillary Clinton said that the news was "deeply disturbing" and that she would explore possible legislative action. Senator Chuck Shumer said he didn't think that giving sex offenders Viagra was done intentionally and, if necessary, he's prepared to introduce legislation to correct the situation.

It's certain that this story will get a lot of coverage and it should. The last thing society needs is to be the free-of-charge enabler for sex offenders to easily grow and sustain an erection. It's like putting gasoline on a fire.

In closing, it's noteworthy that this episode has demonstrated at least one unforeseen benefit of maintaining a sex offender registry.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Romanian Hostages Freed

(Baghdad, Iraq) Kidnapped in March, Prima TV reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, cameraman Sorin Miscoci, reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian, and translator Mohamad Munaf have been released by their captors. It still not clear who the hostage-takers were but, apparently, Romanian officials have been in contact with them for several weeks. Negotiations with the Romanian government, along with appeals from Romanian and Iraqi Islamic groups, are believed to have prompted the release of the journalists.

It's being reported that the Romanian government adamantly refused to negotiate foreign policy with the kidnappers nor would they pay a ransom. Bravo! However, I'm still a bit skeptical about whether we are getting the whole story on the kidnapping and release. Maybe it's because kidnappers are frequently proud of their hostage-taking and take credit. In this case, the kidnappers haven't been identified at all.

(via In The Bullpen)
Scholars Demand Islamic Trial for Koran Abusers

Gulf Times:
RIYADH: Eighteen Saudi Muslim scholars and thinkers demanded yesterday that those involved in the alleged desecration of the Holy Qur'an at the US detention facility of Guantanamo Bay be tried by an Islamic court.

"It won't do any good if the State Department (eventually) apologises or if it rejects this act, or if its authors are tried," they said in a statement.

"That would amount to throwing dust in the eyes as was the case in the trials of those who committed the crimes (of abusing prisoners at Iraq's) Abu Ghraib jail ... The Islamic nation will not settle for less than the trial (of the Guantanamo culprits) by an Islamic court," said the signatories.
So, it really doesn't matter at all if the allegations were true or not. The eighteen "Muslim scholars and thinkers" want heads to roll. Apparently, they won't be satisfied until the actual people responsible for what didn't occur are punished.

In all honestly, when the Muslim "scholars and thinkers" want to prosecute an offense that didn't happen, it becomes a little easier to understand why the everyday lay followers of Islam are exceedingly intolerant towards differing viewpoints. They are going to believe and will believe what they desire to believe. The truth and facts merely set the stage for their manufactured vision of reality.
Navajos to Regulate Power Plants

(Farmington, New Mexico) According to this report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is transferring regulatory authority governing emissions from a coal-fired generating facility, the Four Corners Power Plant, to the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (NNEPA). A signed agreement specifies that the Navajo Nation will monitor air-quality emissions only and the U.S. government will retain other regulatory authority.

Situated on the Navajo Reservation, the Four Corners Power Plant continuously generates over 2,000 megawatts of electricity by burning 28,000 tons of coal daily. Burning that amount of coal obviously creates a huge amount of effluent smoke and gases which are released to the atmosphere through the smokestacks. According to the agreement with the U.S. EPA, the Navajo Nation will be responsible for monitoring emissions from the facility to assure compliance with federal standards until the Navajo environmental agency establishes its own standards. At that time, the Navajo Nation will be the permit issuing agency for the power plants.

At first glance, this change seems fine except that it places a Native American tribe in an odd political position between the environmental extremists and the large corporations. Typically, Native Americans line up with the environmentalists so it will be a challenge for them to be in the middle. Of course, although it's not often mentioned, Native Americans have historically, traditionally, even spiritually, been pro-smoke. Think about it. The peace pipes, smoke signals, and tribal dances around a smoky bonfire provide a basis that suggests it's a good fit for the Navajo to be in charge of the smoke emissions from the power plants. However, their historical affinity toward smoke may portend less restrictive emissions requirements in the future.

Joking aside, the actual agreement signed by the Navajo leaders specifies that they will administer and enforce applicable provisions of the Clean Air Act and Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Also, the NNEPA operates on grant funds from the federal government so it will function more as a subcontractor than an independent body. All in all, it appears that the whole scheme just removes a chunk of work from the purview of Washington and sends it to a local group, the Navajo Nation.
Blogger on Flight Diverted Due to Terrorist Threat

I apologize for being late in relaying this story but, late or not, it's an interesting read. Nick Genes of Blogborygmi was aboard the trans-Atlantic flight last week that was diverted from its intended destination of Boston to Bangor, Maine, because one passenger had been identified as a possible terrorist threat. A man was escorted off the plane at Bangor and Alitalia Flight 618 continued on to Boston. The FBI said later that the man was not a suspected terrorist. [ed. note: He was for a while.]

Nick's post relays the sense of apprehension he and others experienced during the entire episode and cites some valid concerns about the way the situation was handled. As I mentioned, it's a worthwhile read. Be sure to visit.
Fred Flintstone's Voice

(Los Angeles, California) Veteran character actor and voice-over artist Henry Corden has died at the age of 85 from complications of emphysema. Corden was known for providing the voice of Fred Flintstone.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Teacher Has Sex With Mentally Disabled Student

(Logan County, Colorado) Donna Sue Lopus, 39, was working at a video store because she was fired from her teaching job at Merino Elementary School. School officials suspected that something inappropriate was occurring, but they couldn't prove it. Fortunately, the prosecutor thinks he can. Specifically, the prosecutor aims to prove that Lopus was sexually assaulting a mentally disabled student throughout 2004.

Donna Sue Lopus
Donna Sue Lopus

Lopus is charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. The alleged assault began in her classroom, behind a bookshelf, with groping and kissing when the 16-year-old came to her for homework help. It became more serious and advanced to late-night rides in her car, sex in the back seat, and sleeping together.

Interestingly, Lopus blames the boy for "coming onto her." Presumably, she found the magnetic charms of a 16-year-old mentally disabled boy (in elementary school, no less) to be irresistible. She also blames the boy for lying to her about his age. The boy, however, indicated that Lopus was the aggressor in the relationship. He told investigators that Lopus arrived in class once without underwear and placed his hands under her dress. Holy-moly! Not only are normal everyday kids at the mercy of sexual offenders and predators, but, with special education teachers like Lopus (assuming she's convicted), the mentally disabled are also at risk.

Lopus is being held without bond, probably to keep her from doing something even more stupid than she already has. Her husband hasn't weighed in on the situation thus far.

[Update 07/05/06]

Lopus sentenced to two years in jail.
Terrorist Dies in Custody From Self-Inflicted Wounds

ABC Online:
The suspected leader of a cell that attacked tourists in Egypt last month has died after sustaining self-inflicted injuries while in police custody, the prosecutor general's office said on Saturday.

The Interior Ministry had identified Ashraf Said Youssef as the man who recruited a suicide bomber who killed two French people and an American man in a Cairo bazaar blast on April 7.

"On the evening of May 19, the prosecutor was informed by a police report of the death of the accused Ashraf Said Youssef," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

A security source said Youssef died on Thursday, May 19.

"The prosecutor general's office was informed by a police report that the accused Ashraf Said Youssef was afflicted, while in the room he was detained in, by a state of agitation, during which he purposefully hit his head on the wall of the room," the statement said.
It's generally known that torture is used in Egyptian prisons. However, this story won't get much coverage because the U.S. wasn't to blame. I should be careful with my assertions, though, because the MSM may be able to figure a way to point a finger at President Bush. Nevertheless, the fact that the world has one less terrorist because he banged his head against the wall (or someone banged it for him) is good news.
Louisiana Church Sex Cult Arrests

(Ponchatoula, Louisiana) The FBI, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Ponchatoula Police Department are investigating allegations of cult-like deviant practices, including sex with children and animals, by members of the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula. Thus far, the following eight people have been arrested and charged.
Austin Bernard III, 36, was charged with allegedly forcing a girl under the age of 13 to perform a sex act and admitted to knowing about alleged sexual acts involving children, dogs and cats that occurred at Hosanna Church.

Nicole Bernard, 36, was charged with aggravated rape of a juvenile under the age of 13

Paul Fontenot, 21, was charged with aggravated rape of a juvenile under the age of 13.

Deputy Christopher Labat, 24, was charged on one count of aggravated rape, one count of crime against nature, and one count of malfeasance in office. Being a law officer, Labat was not put with the general prisoner population. He is, however, on suicide watch.

Louis Lamonica, 45, was charged with two counts of aggravated rape and one count of crime against nature after he confessed that he had sex with children and animals. The entire sex cult case broke wide open when Lamonica walked into the Sheriff's office and confessed. He is the former pastor of the Hosanna Church.

Robbin D. Lamonica, 45, was charged with one count of aggravated rape after a male victim told deputies that he had been having sex with Robbin Lamonica from the time he was 4 years of age until he was 13.

Lois Ann Mowbray, 54, was charged with obstruction of justice, failure to report a felony, and accessory after the fact to aggravated rape.

Allen R. Pierson, 46, was charged with one count of aggravated rape for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with a girl who was 9 or 10-years-old at the time. The victim is now 13.
The investigation continues and authorities believe there may be dozens of victims ranging in age from infancy to adolescence. Computers were seized and the crime lab expects to find pictures of sex acts involving children and animals.

Notably, the laws of Louisiana consider sex with young children a capital crime punishable by death. If the evidence is sufficient, Scott Perrilloux, the 21st Judicial District Attorney, may seek the death penalty. Execution shouldn't be inconceivable. The enormity of the alleged crimes is bewildering.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Nicole Pomerleau Sentenced for Indecency with Boy

(Charlotte, North Carolina) Last February, it was reported that former Olympic High School English teacher Nicole Pomerleau, 31, pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a 16-year-old student. She walked away with essentially a hand slap, some finger pointing, and a few tsk-tsks.

Nicole Pomerleau

Anyway, that's old news. However, I think something else must have happened and, for the life of me, I haven't been able to find out what. I base my assumption on the fact that I've received a rash of search engine hits in the last two days for Nicole Pomerleau. If anyone knows something fresh about her, please leave a comment.
Nine Die in Cleveland Fire

(Cleveland, Ohio) Nine people, including seven children, died in an early morning fire on Cleveland's east side. Eleven people were in the East 87th Street house at 3am when the fire started. Many of the children were there on a sleepover. One survivor is in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Sexual Seduction Case

(Wrentham, Massachusetts) About a week ago, FBI agents and local police arrested Jennifer L. Marshall, 34, for allegedly performing oral sex on a 15-year-old boy in Nevada. Las Vegas Metro Police plan to charge Marshall with statutory sexual seduction. In an updated report, Marshall pleaded innocent to a fugitive from justice charge and was released on $500 bail. Another court appearance is scheduled for June 8.

Interestingly, it's been disclosed that Marshall at one time accused former New England Patriot football player Ben Coates of assaulting her in a domestic dispute. The alleged assault case obviously isn't related to Marshall's current legal problems, but it's worth noting.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Student Newspaper Shut Down

(Marietta, Georgia) Principal Randolph Bynum of Pebblebrook High School in Cobb County has eliminated the school's journalism class and the student newspaper citing a "teacher shortage and the need to keep more popular courses like cosmetology." Bynum also admits to criticizing the paper for content that's unfavorable to the school.

Newspaper staffers believe that the shutdown decision was made to censor student opinion. As such, they approached the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., with their complaint. Mark Goodman, the executive director, said they would be happy to pursue the case.

Developing ....
EU Officials Expelled From Cuba

(Havana, Cuba) According to this report, two European Union politicians visited Havana to speak at a pro-democracy conference but, instead, they were seized Thursday by police, driven to the airport, and expelled from the country. Czech Senator Karl Schwarzenberg and German MP Arnold Vaatz had arrived to address dissidents opposed to the Communist rule of Cuban President Fidel Castro. Two former Spanish senators and a legislator were also expelled on Thursday and two Polish members of the European Parliament, Boguslav Sonik and Jacek Protasiewicz, were denied entry. Four journalists were taken into custody, three from Poland and one from Italy.

Notably, the Spanish Socialist government encouraged the European Union to upgrade its relations with Cuba and it did so in January. Consequently, Europeans show up in Cuba to develop and foster a closer relationship with the government and people of Cuba. Unfortunately, it seems nobody cleared the upgraded relationship with Castro and he's not having anything to do with it.

There's currently a flurry of jabbering in European diplomatic circles with lots of complaints and official protests, but you know that nothing will happen unless Castro says it will or dies. The intentions and initiatives of the European Union are meaningless as long as Cuba is under the murderous iron fist of communism.

The dissident rally was held as planned with a reported 200 people attending. Organizers believe a number of people stayed away for fear of being arrested. Interested-Participant applauds those bold and brave souls who attended with three words of caution -- watch your back.
Female Afghan 'Veejay' Murdered

(Kabul, Afghanistan) After the fall of the Taliban, Shaima Rezayee, 24, immediately discarded her burkha and became a 'veejay' (video journalist) for Kabul's answer to MTV. In this capacity, she hosted an hour-long music and chat show airing videos of Western singers which outraged conservative Muslims. Two months ago, Rezayee was fired due to pressure from Islamic mullahs. This week, she was murdered in her home by an unknown assailant. The killing is believed to be linked to her time as a veejay.

Obviously, living in a democracy doesn't automatically guarantee freedom of expression.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

[Update] The Gateway Pundit has a photo of Rezayee. Also, there's reason to believe that her family was instrumental in her death.
MS-13 Gang Member Arrested in Columbus

(Columbus, Ohio) Today, it's expected that a member of the dangerous El Salvadoran MS-13 gang will appear in federal court. David Henriques was apprehended in April after a chase during which he ditched a 9 mm AB-10, known as a "gang-banger" gun.

David Henriques
David Henriques

It's believed that Henriques will face multiple charges tied to murder, drugs, and possible terrorism. Notably, Henriques is the second MS-13 member arrested in Columbus this year. In January, it was reported that El Salvadoran Nelson Flores, 34, was arrested after a minor traffic accident. Flores is a violent, previously deported felon MS-13 gang leader who had been convicted of participating in a drive-by shooting in Nevada. Ominously, police said that there are upwards of a dozen other MS-13 gang members in the Columbus area.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.
Teaching Too Much Blamed for Dropout Rate

(Toronto, Canada) When students don't learn enough to pass required tests, what can educators do? Well, they can follow the example of the Arizona School System and arbitrarily lower the minimum grade required to pass. Alternatively, they can dramatically decrease the amount of subject material the student is required to learn which is the option that Canada has decided to pursue.

Toronto Star (Reg. req'd):
Ontario has unveiled a kinder, gentler math curriculum it hopes will stem the rising tide of high school dropouts.

The government has made sweeping changes to Grade 9 math, in the more hands-on applied stream where staggering failure rates have been linked to a growing number of dropouts since the tough new four-year high school program began in 1999.

Starting this fall, Grade 9 students in applied math will be expected to master nearly one-third less material while getting more practical lessons. As well, teachers will get more tips on how to make math relevant to teens.

Gone are subjects teachers deemed too abstract for many Grade 9 applied students, such as analytical geometry, the study of the steepness of "slopes" and lessons on the algebra needed to plot a parabolic curve.

When marking, teachers will be encouraged to give more weight to a student's overall comprehension of math concepts, rather than simply follow a lengthy checklist of individual skills.
According to Stewart Craven, Toronto District School Board math expert, the reduction in content is "a phenomenal improvement." Students' learning will be enriched because the "clutter of abstract concepts" is removed and, instead, new Grade 9 students will learn about how math applies to cellphone bills and video rental charges. And, even though course content has been reduced by one-third, it hasn't been "dumbed down." Rather, the changes have removed the "biggest roadblock to graduation for Ontario teens."

One could say that Ontario is spearheading toward education by osmosis. All that's necessary is to reduce course content to a low-enough level whereby a half-asleep student can still absorb enough knowledge to pass the final exam. Interestingly, in addition to removing course content, the teachers are given guidance to forget about giving marks based on a student's skills and pay attention to math concepts. But wait, didn't math expert Stewart Craven state that the clutter of concepts was removed? I'm confused.

With respect to whether the system is "dumbing down," you make the call. Eh?
Debra Lafave Pretrial Hearing

(Tampa, Florida) According to this report, the state's psychologist has determined that Debra Lafave was legally sane when she allegedly adjusted the horns of a 14-year-old student on several occasions in her home, in the classroom, and in her private vehicle. This finding is contrary to the defense's assertion last December when it was claimed that Debra was crazy during sex.

Debbie Lafave Bride

Nonetheless, Lafave's attorney John Fitzgibbons plans to continue pursuing the insanity defense against the charges of lewd and lascivious battery. Fitzgibbons is apparently relying upon an evaluation conducted by his own psychologist who determined that Lafave has "issues."

Debra Lafave Ride Debra_Lafave After Class

She obviously does, but that doesn't mean she's crazy. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman has scheduled another pretrial hearing for June 16. I fully expect that the defense will offer to plea either before or at that time. Nobody really wants Lafave to be tried before a jury and Prosecutor Mike Sinacore has indicated a willingness to find a "resolution" in the case. However, if no plea agreement is reached, a tentative trial date has been scheduled for July 18.

[Update 11/22/05]

Debra Lafave pleads guilty and gets no jail.

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