Monday, October 31, 2005

Nine Wolves Killed

Wildlife officials killed nine wolves in just over a month in southwest Montana. The wolves had killed several cattle and seriously injured two sheep dogs guarding flocks. There are about 900 wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming with Montana having the smallest number at 166.

New federal rules have allowed wolves to be killed legally by ranchers to protect their livestock. The cost of lost livestock to ranchers was explained best by Steve Pilcher, executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, in his question, "How would you feel if every week I went up and took $500 to $600 from your billfold?"

Nonetheless, wildlife advocates want non-lethal methods used to control the predators. Defenders of Wildlife representative Suzanne Asha Stone stated, "There needs to be emphasis on protecting wolves, not killing them every time they get into trouble." Stone also wants the state to encourage ranchers to adapt to living with wolves.

I sense that the protection of wolves, which have just killed and eaten a steer, is not something that immediately crosses a rancher's mind. With regard to adapting to living with wolves, I'm not sure how someone would do that other than get a gun with a scope.
Lack of Sleep Makes You Fat and Stupid

A lack of sleep makes you "fat, stupid and sick," according to German scientists.

Sleep researcher Professor Juergen Zulley from the Regensburg University Hospital in Bavaria said: "It makes you stupid because suffering from sleep deficiency diminishes your memory. Sick, because too little sleep can damage your heart, circulation, stomach and intestines. And fat because while we are sleeping are bodies release a hormone that reduces appetite.
I wonder if the opposite is true. In other words, if a person has always been fat and stupid, should I suggest that he/she get some sleep?
Solution for the Broken Border

From Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies, before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Mr. Chairman, you and your colleagues should deliberate on immigration policy secure in the knowledge that reasserting control over immigration requires no land mines, no machine guns, no tattoos -- none of the cartoonish images invoked by opponents of tight immigration controls. All that is needed is the consistent application of ordinary law-enforcement tools -- plus a rejection of measures that would undermine enforcement, such as amnesties or expanded foreign-worker programs.
Well said and it's such a simple workable plan. It has my support.
Bush to Nominate Judge Samuel Alito for SCOTUS

CNN and MSNBC are reporting that President Bush will formally nominate 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. Judge Alito has a strong conservative record and is often compared to Justice Antonin Scalia. Expect a battle from liberals during confirmation.

[Update 0655EST]

According to this report, President Bush will make the announcement of his nominee at 8am EST.
New Delhi Bombings - Update

(New Delhi) The number of dead from yesterday's three near-simultaneous bombings at locations in New Delhi has grown to over 60 with around 200 injured, some seriously. Investigators have detained over 20 suspects in raids of small hotels around New Delhi. It is now known that two of the bombs exploded amid large shopping crowds at Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar. The third bomb, however, was on a bus at the market of Govindpuri.
Police said they were looking for a man in his 20s who refused to buy a ticket on a bus and got off in the Govindpuri neighbourhood, leaving behind a large black bag. When some of the 40 passengers raised an alarm, the driver and bus conductor examined it and threw it out just as the blast occurred, injuring them both.
The media are in almost universal agreement that those responsible belong to a little-known small terrorist group.
A man saying he represented the terrorist group "Islamic Inquilab Mahaz," or "Front for Islamic Uprising," took responsibility for the bombings in a call to the Kashmir News Service in Jammu and Kashmir. The little-known group is tied to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, the most feared terrorist group in Kashmir, police said.

The caller, who identified himself as Ahmed Yaar Ghaznavi, said the attack "was meant as a rebuff to the claims of Indian security groups" that terrorist fighters had been wiped out by military crackdowns and the October 8 South Asian earthquake.
Not everyone, though, agrees that Islamic Inquilab Mahaz (IIM) is a little-known group as indicated by this report from The Times of India.
The group that has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s serial blasts in Delhi -- Islami Inqilabi Mahaz -- is neither unknown nor unfamiliar in India. According to terrorism analyst Ajai Sahni, it is just another name for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is based in Pakistan under the influence of ISI and is the best known successor organisation of Al-Qaida.
The ISI is Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency. A rogue element in the Pakistani government, ISI has strong links to Wahabism and radical Islamic political and military groups. Even so, a Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman stated that "the attack in a crowded market place is a criminal act of terrorism."

From the Mumbai Mirror:
A day after the deadly blasts shook the Capital, the security brass indicated it had reasons to believe it was the handiwork of familiar jehadi module -- Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence operatives.

[ ... ]

Notwithstanding Islamabad's prompt denouncement of Delhi's serial blast, the government agencies said they have compelling evidence to prove that ISI modules are working with official Pak patronage. "We had the information that three or four modules -- each module consisting of a group three or four men -- had entered the country some time ago."
A massive search and destroy effort was undertaken to stop the ISI modules. Unfortunately, the effort hasn't been entirely successful.

Although the investigations of the bombings in New Delhi are ongoing, I believe some certainties have surfaced:
- The bombings were terrorist acts by a radical Islamic group,
- The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is linked to the bombings,
- The ISI wields power largely independent of President Musharraf,
- The Indians are restless and expect a forceful government response, and
- By calling the group responsible for the bombings as 'little-known' or 'unknown,' the media demonstrate that they didn't do their homework.
In a directly-related development, the trial of Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq, believed to be a triggering circumstance for the New Delhi bombings, has concluded. Ashfaq was sentenced to death by a Delhi court.

Companion at The Jawa Report.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Female Teacher Charged with Rape of Student

(New York) Here's another teacher-student sex story but with a twist. Allegedly, a 22-year-old NYPD officer engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his teachers, Lina Sinha, at a Manhattan Montessori school starting nine years ago, when he was 13 and she was 29. The affair lasted until he was at least 17. This past week, the former student filed a criminal complaint and Sinha, 38, was charged with sodomy and rape.

Sinha was arraigned last Thursday in Manhattan Criminal Court and freed without bail on the condition that she surrender her passport. She has connections in India and is considered a flight risk. The case is scheduled for court in January.

Now, here's the twist. Sometime, presumably recently, Sinha and the former student got into an altercation and he allegedly smacked her. As a result, she filed an assault complaint. According to Sinha's lawyer, the officer retaliated by filing an underage sex complaint. So, if true, it's a case of "you complain about my behavior, then I'll complain about yours." This is a stupid game to play when there is great disparity in the gravity of the alleged crimes.

And, just to thicken the plot, the statute of limitations for the underage sex crimes expires next week. Therefore, one could speculate that the former student had been using the threat of exposure against Sinha for some time. If not, why didn't he speak up years ago?

[Update 05/31/06]

Lina Sinha charged with additional crimes.

[Update 02/27/07]

Sinha trial underway.

[Update 03/30/07]

Lina Sinha convicted. Sentencing scheduled for April 19th.

[Update 04/19/07]

Sinha sentenced to prison.
Teacher Accused of Sex with Boy

(Pensacola, Florida) After Escambia High School reading teacher, Janelle Bird, 24, was accused of engaging in a two-year sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy, Escambia County School District officials suspended her.

Janelle Bird

The boy's aunt reported that Bird started the relationship two years ago when she taught science at East Hill Christian School and the boy was her student. That would mean the boy was 14 years old at the time she allegedly first had sex with him.

The Escambia County School District and the Pensacola Police Department are investigating.

[Update 07/22/06]

Bird found guilty.
The IPO Price Slide

There's nothing new in asserting that investors should be somewhat skeptical of IPOs (initial public offering), in general, and IPO hype, in particular, but it doesn't hurt to provide the occasional reminder. The Independent reports on three recent examples of companies in the UK whose stock didn't meet expectations after initial issuance. The first is the RHM food group, sellers of Mr. Kipling cakes, whose management promised more than it could produce.
Shares in RHM, which returned to the stock market only in July at 275p a share, fell 8.6 per cent to close at 265p, after news that cake sales [Mr. Kipling] for the six months to the end of October would be 12 per cent lower than last year.
Assuming that if a nation's economy doesn't plunge into a major recession, one would imagine that the cake market would be rather inelastic for a brand name. Apparently not and it's because there has been a drop in the entire cake market, squashing expectations. RHM and Mr. Kipling are well-known brands with proven records yet they still suffered from the curse of 'Past performance is no guarantee of future results.'

Then there's this:
Jessops, the photographic retail chain, which listed in October last year at 155p, saw its shares dive to half their float price a few months later when the company warned that trading since the float had been difficult and it would not meet expectations for the year.
Jessops' dive has been explained to be a result of the emergent public scrutiny of its past performance which accompanies an initial stock offering. The company most likely was buffed up prior to stock issuance and, now, investors see the unbuffed value.

Looking from a distance, Jessops may be relying too much on film cameras and chemical photo developing for its sales base when that segment of its business should be in the rearview mirror. Agreed, the company has plunged into the digital photographic world, but it now is competing in the cut-throat consumer electronics industry which is an entirely different universe.

And the last example:
PartyGaming, the online-poker business that floated in July amid much hype about its growth prospects, also shocked investors with bad news not long after listing. It revealed in September that growth in online poker was slowing, causing its shares to lose one-third of their value.
One stock analyst says that, "PartyGaming stock is more of a bet than an investment." Interestingly, hype is cited as a contributing factor but, more importantly, one element is not cited. Anyone who spends time in the blogosphere knows that the competition for gambling dollars on the Internet is fierce, uncontrolled, and ubiquitous. Just look at the comment spam, the trackback spam, and the email spam.

I think prudent investors should avoid sinking dollars into any gambling business unless they have some convincing knowledge regarding the substance of the concern or they have a system (This doesn't mean, double up when you lose). However, despite everything, sometimes an investor just gets lucky.

In a nutshell, even with convincing foreknowledge, IPOs are risky business. Other cases are as predictable as rolling dice.
Elected Officials Make Policy, They Don't Hijack Policy

Here's some insight from Jerry Scharf at Common Sense and Wonder:
The other day Mr. Wilkerson, Colin Powell's assistant gave a speech wherein he claimed that Dick Cheney, et al "high jacked" American foreign policy to get us into the war in Iraq. But, how can the people elected to make decisions on foreign policy highjack that policy. The mindset needed to make such a statement shows that it is the State Department that feels it is the sole arbiter and definer of American foreign policy. The hubris of the bureaucrat writ large. There can be little doubt that the State Department and the CIA are deeply unhappy with President Bush's attempt to get control of two agencies that sometimes seem to act on their own and against the best interests of the US.
The arrogant bureaucracies of the State Department and the CIA need to be reminded that they are working for the people of the United States through duly elected officials. My reading of the Constitution indicates that the power to mandate foreign policy, directly or delegated, rests with their duly elected boss, President Bush.

Both the State Department and the CIA appear to be confused about their relative positions in the hierarchy of the United States government. Consequently, the President should implement a confusion-elimination program. In other words, eliminate those who are confused.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Bastardization of America

A harshly-worded title, yes, but sadly, statistics indicate that each year in the United States there are more children born out of wedlock than the previous year. In a report released yesterday by the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 1.5 million American babies were born in 2004 to unmarried women which is twice the number of illegitimate babies born in 1980 (see graph).

There has also been a doubling in the percentage of illegitimate births to total births (approximately 4.1 million) with approximately 18% in 1980 to approximately 36% in 2004. From another perspective, in 1980 fewer than one in every five babies were out-of wedlock. Last year, more than one in three were illegitimate.

Births to Unwed Women - U.S.
Births to Unmarried Women: United States, 1980 - 2004

Broken down demographically, the percentages of illegitimate births varies dramatically. Rounded to the nearest whole percentage point, by group:
- All races and origins - 36%
- Non-Hispanic white - 25%
- Non-Hispanic black - 69%
- American Indian - 62%
- Asian or Pacific Islander - 16%
- Hispanic (all races/origins) - 46%
All percentages listed reflect increases. Like clockwork, the percentage of births to unmarried women increases. It's 36% now. Trending forward, the illegitimate birth rate in the U.S. will exceed 50% by 2020. From a different perspective, when last year's newborns reach adulthood, most of the babies born in America will be bastards.
Christian Schoolgirls Beheaded

(Poso, Indonesia) Three Christian girls walking to school were beheaded earlier today by men in black clothes and masks near the Muslim town of Poso. The town lies about 1,000 miles northeast of Jakarta and is in a region of considerable Muslim-Christian strife. This story makes me sick.

National police spokesman Aryanto Budiharjo said up to six men in black clothes and masks attacked the students in Bukit Bambu village, on the eastern island of Sulawesi.

"The perpetrators wore black attire and veils and they used machetes to slash (the victims)," he told reporters in Jakarta.

The three headless bodies of the high school students, dressed in brown uniforms, were left at the site of the attack. Three heads were found at separate locations two hours later by residents.

Earlier, a police official in Poso gave a different account, saying two men wearing helmets on a motorcycle attacked the 16-year-old students.

He said the student who escaped said the attackers wore helmets and carried a two-way radio.
The killings have been condemned by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who called the murders "sadist and inhuman crimes."

Mac Powell has more details at In The Bullpen.

[Update 10/30/05, 0600EST]

For those with the stomach, DogPundit has photos of the beheaded girls. WARNING! The images are disturbing.

[Update 05/16/06, 0800EDT]

Note: The link to the photos at DogPundit is dead. However, Tim at has links to the photos. Go visit.
Blasts in New Delhi, Scores Killed

(New Delhi, India) Three powerful bombs were detonated today in crowded shopping areas of the capital city. The first blast occurred about 5:40pm IST at the main market in Paharganj, a popular meeting area for foreign tourists and backpackers. Another explosion followed in Sarojini Nagar, a busy shopping area popular among the middle class and foreigners. Soon after, the teeming market of Govindpuri was attacked. Police, fire brigades, bomb disposal teams, and anti-terror squads rushed to the scene as the whole city was placed on security alert.

Blasts in New Delhi
Blasts in New Delhi - 10/29/05

Thus far, reports on the number of casualties have been sketchy. The dead and injured are expected to be numerous. Most places were unusually crowded due to the upcoming Diwali festival, a major Hindu holiday during which families exchange gifts, light candles and celebrate with fireworks.

It's unclear who is responsible for the blasts, but Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal stated that the attacks were "handiwork of those who were backed by anti-India elements."
"From preliminary observations, it can be said the explosives were kept in a cycle rickshaw or a motorcycle. At least 40 are injured and six to eight people have expired," Delhi Police Commissioner KK Paul told reporters in Paharganj.
According to Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, an alert was sounded in all states for possible terrorist attacks during the Diwali season.

The Guardian reports that a bus was bombed in addition to the shopping areas.

Rediff India reports that 50 people are dead and 70 are injured. Also, the blasts are suspected to be the handiwork of banned Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Toiba outfit. reports that:
- 48 are confirmed dead,
- Police raid hotels in Paharganj,
- Home Ministry says RDX was used in blasts,
- Two suspects arrested at New Delhi Railway Station,
- Blasts being blamed on an intelligence failure.
A top advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the bombings were surely the work of terrorists but which group is unknown at present. Opposition from numerous terrorist groups constantly faces India. From fringe organizations to militarized Kashmiri rebels, India has its enemies.
Janet Jackson's Bushes

Janet Jackson

From The Sun Online:
JANET Jackson's lawyers were last night trying to stop websites showing a secretly-shot video of her sunbathing naked.

The 40-second clip shows the 39-year-old singer lying on a garden sunbed, rubbing lotion in and patting her bum.

The film was shot from bushes nearby.
Maybe it's just me, but if a person wants to suppress something on the Internet, it's probably wise not to make a big deal of it. The video was pretty easy to find.

[Update 1150 EDT]

Looks like the video link has died due to a cease and desist threat. I checked some others. They're dead too. Maybe it's available by email. I'm sure someone downloaded it.
'Guns2Thugs' Website Owner Jailed

(Nottingham, England) A 21-year-old man, Andrew Phillips, was sentenced to three years in jail for selling replica firearms over the Internet on his website, Guns2Thugs.
Yesterday Judge Dudley Bennett told Phillips: "You deliberately supplied very real-looking replica firearms to people you knew or believed wanted to convert them to fire live ammunition even though they could not.

"And what did you call this website? Guns2Thugs."

"No amount of eloquence on the part of your barrister will persuade me that is not a name that will not attract criminal attention."
Phillips was selling replicas that were designed to fire CS capsules or flares, which is illegal in the UK. As a result, he is going to jail. Of course, he didn't help his case by naming his website as he did. Phillips' lawyer probably said it best, "Guns2Thugs was a name of monumental stupidity."

All is not lost though, an Online Petition group has called for his release. When I checked, the group had collected 15 signatures. Feel free to sign up.

His mother, Pauline Phillips, also weighs in on another website with an appeal for his release based on the fact that he had no sinister intentions and he didn't realize it was illegal to sell blank firing replica guns. In fact, collecting replica guns was his hobby. Phillips only started selling them when he saw how cheaply he could buy them in France.

In summary, a young guy gets caught up in a set of circumstances that are crosswise with the letter of the law and the British judiciary decides he deserves three years in prison. My take? At most, Phillips should get a hand slap and probation. He never had a real gun. Yet he gets a hefty jail term, more for being stupid than committing a major crime. If the Brits are locking people up for being stupid, why is George Galloway still walking around?

Companion post at Conservative Thinking.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Woman Gets 18 Months for Sex with 11-Year-Old Boy

(Hagerstown, Maryland) Washington County Circuit Court Judge Donald E. Beachley sentenced Danielle Nicole Frye, 19, to 18 months in state prison after she pleaded guilty to one charge of second-degree sexual assault. Frye admitted to presenting herself unclothed before the 11-year-old boy and directed him to have sex with her. According to the plea agreement, Frye was sentenced to ten years in prison with all but 18 months suspended.

Frye's boyfriend, Anthony Barger, 19, has also been charged in connection with the sex incident. He faces counts of second-degree sex offense, sexual abuse, third-degree sex offense, and second-degree assault. Barger is scheduled to go to trial on November 10.

An interesting aspect of this case is that Frye apparently told Smithsburg Police Department Chief Michael Potter that she stopped the contact with the 11-year-old boy because it made her feel like a 'child molester'.

Well, DUH!

[Update 07/22/07]

Frye violates probation after completing her 18 months and gets sent back behind bars.
Woman Arrested for Rape of 14-Year-Old Boy

(Kernersville, North Carolina) A 35-year-old Kernersville woman, Angela Christine Irizarry, was arrested yesterday and charged with three counts of statutory rape of a victim at least six years younger. Irizarry allegedly engaged in sex with a 14-year-old boy multiple times in June 2005.

Last night, Irizarry was detained in the Forsyth County Jail with bond set at $500,000.
Danes Arrest Muslims for Terror Plot

(Copenhagen, Denmark) Four male Middle Eastern Muslims, aged 16 to 20, have been arrested in Denmark on suspicion of planning a suicide terror attack in Europe.

From the BBC:
The arrests were linked to a recent inquiry in the Balkans in which arrests were made and large quantities of explosives were found, police said.

No details were given of the intended target of the group's alleged plot.

"We suspect the four young men of being participants in preparation of terrorist acts somewhere in Europe," said police spokesman Joern Bro.
The suspects are closely linked to three men arrested previously in the Balkans for planning an attack on the British or American embassies in Sarajevo. A tipster in an unnamed Balkan nation led to the arrests.

Notably, most of the reporting on this story is referring to the suspected terrorists as 'men.' In my opinion, 16-year-old boys are not men and at least one of the suspects is 16. The thought of having boys running around Europe with terrorism on their minds is frightening. Boys usually can mingle anonymously in society since they are not old enough to have graduated from school, nor to have a work history, nor to have been in the government or military. Typically, there are no photographs nor fingerprints. Spooky.

(Somerville, Massachusetts) This post is dedicated to Arlo Guthrie for his famous song Alice's Restaurant.
You can get anything you want

At craigslist if you hunt
From the Somerville Journal:
A quick search of the Boston craigslist Web site using "Somerville" as a search term revealed a posting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from a Somerville woman offering oral sex in exchange for five or six "perks or vikes" - slang for powerful painkillers Percocet and Vicodin.

Somerville Police got involved when the man answering one of the craigslist posts went to the woman's East Somerville apartment, he said she took his drugs, but did not perform the act, police records said.

Police investigated the bawdy barter at the Maine Avenue apartment, and the mother of the alleged solicitor told Sergeant David Fallon it wasn't her daughter's first time offering an X-rated exchange.
What a shock! A man gets burned when he was looking to be stroked and nothing about the whole transaction was legal. Except, that is, the advertising. Maybe the man can sue craigslist for the return of his pills or the promised knobber.
Illegal Mexicans Arrested in British Columbia

(Burnaby, British Columbia) In this suburb of Vancouver, the Burnaby Royal Canadian Mounted Police Problem Oriented Policing (POP) team arrested five Mexicans for violations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

According to Constable Kalinda Link of the Burnaby Police, one illegal alien admitted being unemployed while carrying a large amount of cash, explaining it was sent to him by his parents in Mexico. Now, that would be a first. I surely don't believe his story and neither did the police. His arrest led to the apprehension of four other illegals, all between 20 and 25 years of age.

Police also seized drug paraphernalia and it's believed that the men belong to an organized crime ring involved in trafficking. The Canadian Border Services Agency has the Mexicans in custody.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Sex Trial of Gina Purvis

(Spring Valley, Illinois) The trial of former Hall High School biology teacher Gina Purvis, 29, is underway -- finally. The year-long back and forth legal maneuverings have come to fruition with a bench trial before Circuit Court Judge Chris H. Ryan. Purvis faces four counts of criminal sexual assault for allegedly having sexual relations with a 15-year-old student in the spring of 2004.

Gina M. Purvis
Gina M. Purvis
(Photo - Gonzo)

In the court room, the defense has been trying to build a convincing case that the 15-year-old male victim is a liar. Purvis' attorney Steven Glink of Naperville has cited inconsistencies in the victim's testimony.

Based upon his investigation of the case, Spring Valley Police Chief Doug Bernabei testified in support of the victim's version of events. The prosecution has also presented testimony that Purvis confided that she was dissatisfied with her marriage and had told a cousin of the boy that he was "good in bed."

The trial continues. More later ...

[Update 11/01/05]

Gina Purvis has been found NOT GUILTY.
Circuit Court Judge Chris H. Ryan, who presided at the bench trial, said he did not think the boy was a truthful witness, ultimately unraveling the prosecution's case, which relied heavily on the boy's testimony.

Ryan said he had suspicions after the boy repeatedly said he couldn't remember or recall details to answer many of the defense's questions.

"The truth is very easy to remember," Ryan said. "Believe me, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. It's obvious someone didn't want to get caught up in details."

State's Attorney Pat Herrmann said that in his 24 years of trying criminal sex cases, he has never had more corroboration of witnesses' testimony.

During closing arguments, Herrmann mentioned evidence of a romantic relationship, including gifts and telephone records indicating Purvis and the boy talked for more than 2,000 minutes in February and March of 2004.

The defense argued the two spent time together because Purvis was mentoring the boy. Defense attorney Steven Glink argued testimony from the prosecution's witnesses was inconsistent, and therefore unbelievable.

Glink repeatedly said the boy was a liar who got caught spreading very serious rumors.
Judge Ryan didn't believe the boy nor did he believe the defense witnesses. He did believe there was a close, inappropriate relationship but indicated, "That doesn't necessarily mean a sexual relationship occurred."
Bail Ordered in Lodi Terror Case

(Sacramento, California) Umer Hayat, the 47-year-old Muslim charged with lying to the FBI with regard to a terrorism investigation, will be allowed to go free on bail. After months of wrangling between the prosecution and the defense, U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. reluctantly ordered Umer Hayat released on $1.5 million bail, secured by five Lodi properties in which several Hayat relatives have equity.

The prosecution expressed disappointment with the ruling, arguing that the pledged properties don't provide adequate incentive for Hayat not to flee. Judge Burrell demonstrated his reservations with releasing Hayat by placing tight restrictions on his freedom. Hayat will be on home confinement with his movements electronically monitored by a court officer and all telephone calls at Hayat's Lodi residence will be monitored. The reasonableness of Judge Burrell's decision to release Hayat likely won't be known until he's expected to show up in court.

Hamid Hayat, Umer's 23-year-old son, remains in jail without bail. He is charged with providing material support to terrorists by attending an al-Qaeda training camp and returning to the U.S. to wait for instructions to perform jihad against America. Hamid Hayat is considered a clear danger who faces a possible 30-year prison term if convicted. Umer Hayat faces a possible eight years if convicted.

My guess would be that Umer skips the country and disappears in Pakistan.

[Update 12/21/05]

Bail ruling appealed by federal prosecutors.
Teacher Gets 6 Months for Sex Crimes

(Redwood City, California) According to a previous report, 28-year-old Spanish teacher Joan Marie Marquez-Sladky (aka Joan Marie Sladky) was arrested on criminal charges for having an extended-term relationship with a student.

Yesterday, she was sentenced by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Mark Forcum to six months in the county jail. Sladky pleaded no contest to four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, penetration with a foreign object, and oral copulation with a 16-year-old male student.

Joan Marie Sladky
Joan Marie Sladky
Gets 6 months for sex with student

Sladky will spend three years on probation after finishing her term but will not be required to register as a sex offender. She starts serving her sentence on December 2nd. Until then, she's free on $175,000 property bond.

The lenient sentence is considered justified since Sladky came forward and admitted the sexual relationship and has been adequately remorseful.
Miers Withdraws as Supreme Court Nominee

(via FoxNews) President Bush announced the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. The President reluctantly accepted her letter of withdrawal.

[Update 0945 EDT]

It's being reported that Miers talked to President Bush last night and asked if she could withdraw.

From the Chicago Tribune:
President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers -- and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."
Washington is stunned by the news since the withdrawal of a nominee is quite unusual. It has occurred with only seven of 150 nominees in the history of the Supreme Court.
Goldfish Bowls Banned for Animal Cruelty

(Rome, Italy) Animal rights activists have convinced the Rome City Council that goldfish in bowls go blind so a law was passed banning goldfish bowls. The law also makes it illegal for fish or other animals to be given away as carnival prizes. It's unknown whether the law applies only to live animals or whether it includes toy animals such as teddy bears.

The law in Rome comes on the heels of legislation in the northern Italian city of Turin which mandates that dogs must be walked three times a day. Violators will be fined 500 euros (about $600).

It's not clear how these laws are going to be enforced. For example, unless people punch a clock, how could compliance to the dog-walking law be verified? GPS? The Pet Police outside a person's door? I don't know. And, are the goldfish bowls going to be considered contraband with smugglers jailed? Who knows? My guess is that these laws are going to be law enforcement headaches.
Judge Orders Release of Gitmo Records

Lawyers representing hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay detainees have convinced U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler to order the government to inform detainees' defense lawyers at least 24 hours before any force-feeding and to provide the lawyers with medical records weekly.
Julia Tarver, a lawyer for three of the detainees, asserted in court papers that when she visited her clients she found them weak and sometimes able to speak only with difficulty because of throat lesions they said were caused by having the feeding tubes forced in. Ms. Tarver said one detainee, Yousef Al-Shehri, told her that a feeding tube had been roughly inserted through his nose into his throat, causing him to spit up blood.
Notably, without the forced-feeding, the detainees likely would have died and, according to the government, none have.

Judge Kessler acted on an emergency petition because it was "deeply troubling" that detainees had feeding tubes inserted without sedatives or anesthesia.
"If the allegations are true - and they are all explicitly, specifically and vigorously denied by the government - they describe the conduct of which the United States can hardly be proud," the judge wrote.
Although Kessler directed the government to provide notifications and records, she denied the request for the lawyers to have immediate telephone access to the detainees.

It seems that Judge Kessler's decision is based exclusively on the adequacy of the medication administered to the detainees prior to inserting the feeding tubes. Her ruling indicates that the detainees are not sufficiently drugged before having a tube shoved up their noses and down their esophaguses. I must assume that there have been past cases where judges have determined the amount medication to be administered. I'm personally uncomfortable with the idea. In my estimation, no amount of legal training and experience prepares a judge to practice medicine.

Nevertheless, ordering the release of medical documents will surely prompt the detainees' lawyers to start searching for other issues to litigate. The latest wrangling over the medication issue is part of an ongoing campaign by human rights advocates to force the government into giving the detainees more legal rights.

It's unknown whether the government will appeal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Odd Sibling Cities

The mayors of San Francisco, California, and Bethlehem, Israel, are in discussions to become sister cities. Obviously, any relationship would be symbolic as opposed to evolutionary since it would be difficult to find any similarity between the birthplace of Jesus Christ and, arguably, the most non-religious city in America.
Hoops Star Comes Out

Shocking news! WNBA Most Valuable Player Sheryl Swoopes came out today as a lesbian.

Just kidding. I'm actually surprised this story is considered news.
Germany Jails 4 Terrorists, Osama's Bodyguard In Witness Protection

It sure seems that the Germans are not taking the Islamic extremist threat as seriously as they should. Four of Zarqawi's followers were sentenced to moderate jail terms for planning attacks against Jewish sites in Germany.
The prosecution described the men, two Jordanians, a Palestinian and an Algerian, as the "most important members" of the German cell of the Islamic group Al-Tawhid, headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is wanted by the US as the leading militant behind the insurgency in Iraq.

The two Jordanians and the Palestinian were convicted of belonging to a terrorist organization and given sentences of between six and eight years. The fourth defendant, was found guilty of supporting the terrorist group and handed a five-year jail term.

They were detained in April 2002 following a phone-tapping operation and were accused of planning to detonate a bomb near the headquarters of the Jewish community in Berlin and of plotting hand grenade attacks against Dusseldorf restaurants which are owned and patronized by Jews.
The key witness in the convictions was Jordanian Shadi Abdallah who was arrested along with the four and granted immunity for his testimony.
Abdallah claims to have been Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, and has confessed to having been instrumental in plotting targets for attack in Germany. In his testimony, he said the terror cell had attempted to get hold of hand grenades and a pistol with a silencer in order to carry out the attacks.

The defense dubbed Abdallah a "notorious liar," but the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office rewarded him for agreeing to testify against his former associates by releasing him from jail after less than a year. He is now living in Germany under a witness protection scheme.
Consequently, an admitted terrorist is in the German witness protection program. I think this action is dangerous.

Companion post at In The Bullpen.
Wal-Mart Health Care Proposal Attacked

In an effort to reduce employee health care costs and enhance profitability, a memo recommending the hiring of more part-time workers and discouraging the hiring of unhealthy people was drafted for submittal to the Wal-Mart Board of Directors. In draft form, the memo was intercepted and anonymously sent to Wal-Mart Watch, a union-backed activist group, which claims that a 'secret memo' was uncovered. On the other hand, it appears that Wal-Mart just considered the memo to be an internal document which was freely released in updated form when it was asked for.

Nonetheless, the union-backed team at Wal-Mart Watch is attempting to demonize Wal-Mart in its seemingly reasonable attempt to develop ideas and methods to reduce health care costs. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything wrong with part-time workers or discouraging the hiring of unhealthy workers. Nor do I see anything wrong with trying to enhance profitability.

Without scrutinizing the Wal-Mart memo, it's impossible to determine the reasonableness of the proposed changes. On the surface, it appears to reflect nothing more than a day in the operation and administration of a business. Unfortunately, and I've witnessed it already, the mainstream media have been characterizing the memo as an indication of a sinister and evil conspiracy to discriminate and subjugate.

Interestingly, Wal-Mart Watch defines its mission as a campaign to make Wal-Mart "a better employer, neighbor, and corporate citizen." For the life of me, I don't know what the hell that means. However, I do know that the campaign has all the appearances of a union-organized effort to get the public to protest Wal-Mart in every regard and negatively impact its business. And it's because the unions have been unable to organize Wal-Mart workers. If Wal-Mart were union, there would be no Wal-Mart Watch.

My take is simple. There's no need to watch Wal-Mart as long as no laws are being broken. And, if a person doesn't like the health care plan, he/she can go work somewhere else. If a community doesn't like Wal-Mart as a neighbor, ban the stores at the ballot box. It's been done before. And, lastly, I still don't know what it means to be a good corporate citizen. It's apparently something different from being a United States citizen. But, what do I know? I'm just a blogger.
Teacher Smokes Reefer in Class

(Fresno, California) A 23-year-old former substitute teacher at Fresno High School, Christopher Bochin, pleaded no contest to five counts of providing marijuana to minors. Both the court and Bochin's attorney were surprised. The charges resulted from an incident in February when Bochin sent two students from his class out to his truck to retrieve dope and a pipe. When they returned, Bochin lit up and passed the pipe around.

Christopher Bochin
Teacher Christopher Bochin
(Smoked marijuana with students in class)

According to one student, half the class was smoking dope before authorities were alerted. Bochin has since apologized to the students and the community.
"As a teacher, it was my responsibility to tell students that marijuana is a dangerous and illegal drug. Instead I selfishly shared my own problem with them," said Bochin.
In addition to apologizing, Bochin has undergone drug and alcohol treatment which his attorney hopes will keep him out of prison. Bochin faces a possible 10 years in prison at his sentencing in December.

Not said about this case is that it's another example of a dope smoker acting dopey. Marijuana users, especially habitual users, have the tendency to lose touch with reality. Bochin obviously wasn't thinking clearly when he decided to light up in class.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Woman Arrested for Sex with 14-Year-Old Boy

(Altus, Oklahoma) A 37-year-old woman, Faith Marie Barrick, was arrested on charges of molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly having sex with one 14-year-old boy along with providing alcohol and cigarettes to him and another 14-year-old boy.

Faith Marie Barrick
Faith Marie Barrick

Barrick (AKA Faith Colvin and Faith Sotelo) was released on $15,000 bond and ordered not to associate with anyone under 18, other than her own biological children. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 31.
Cindy Sheehan's Next Stunt

Chris Short has the details on Mother Sheehan's next stunt. She's not going to tie herself to the White House fence, rather, she'll be doing some type of fake death routine.
Printers Put ID Code on Documents

(San Francisco) After it was reported that makers of color laser printers, in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, have designed printers to put tiny dots on every printed document, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) cracked the code on a Xerox printer. By deciphering the dots, EFF was able to read the serial number of the printer that produced the document.

The dots are yellow and almost invisible, however, amateur document analysts can see them with a magnifier and appropriate lighting. Interpreting them apparently takes some skill. (Source)

Interesting, but not a problem, unless you're a counterfeiter or preparing a ransom note or writing a letter which threatens the President. Privacy advocates also may be troubled since the encoding of printed documents is a form of spying.

From what I know, the little dots won't impact me, but I wonder if those mysterious documents that sometimes show up in the hands of the media (i.e. RatherGate) could be traced to the originator using the spot-the-dots method. Chasing malfeasance would sure take less time.
Woman Sues Partner for Denying Orgasms

A patriarchal court system probably won't allow this type of lawsuit to get too far.
A Brazilian woman is suing her partner for not giving her orgasms.

According to Terra Noticias Populares reports, the unnamed 31-year-old filled (sic) a complaint at Chacar Urbana Police station in Jundiai, in the state of Sao Paulo.

She complained that her 38-year-old partner reached an orgasm and then simply stopped the sexual intercourse.

Police chief Jose Roberto Ferraz is investigating the case.

A police spokesperson said: "We will look into it, we will treat it as an ordinary complaint and let the judge decide." (Source)
It's interesting that she's not suing her husband, rather, her partner. Just imagine the hilarity if society were to reward women who filed denied-orgasm lawsuits against partners and husbands. Nevertheless, it's a she-said he-said situation since there's no way to prove a woman didn't have an orgasm. Just like there's no way to prove a woman did.

Uh ... Right?

[Update 0800 EDT]

In a somewhat related report from Xinhua, a nation-wide poll of Chinese women this past weekend found that "nearly one-in-eight women, 12.4 per cent, said they rarely or never experienced sexual pleasure." Furthermore, the poll also found that about "25 per cent of wives are disappointed with service between the sheets."

Jeez! Twenty-five percent of the married women in a country of 1.2 billion people has got to be at least tens of millions of desperate housewives. To put the number in perspective, it appears that there may be more frustrated women in China than the entire population of France.

In all candor, I'm flummoxed by reports of unsatisfied women. Even though my personal sample size is statistically insignificant, I've heard not a single complaint.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Death Warrant Signed for Crips Gangster

(Sacramento, California) For murders committed in 1979, Crips co-founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams will be executed in 2005. That's assuming the death warrant signed by Superior Court Judge William Pounders is carried out as scheduled on December 13.

Williams attained a level of celebrity while sitting on Death Row. After eight years as a condemned murderer, he became enlightened, renounced gangs, and started writing books which warned children about the gangster life. Subsequently, people were so impressed and enamored that Williams was nominated for the Nobel Prize.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Williams' latest appeal as did the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it's notable that the Ninth Circuit Court was impressed with Williams becoming civilized and indicated that his works could be the basis for clemency by the governor. Williams' lawyers must file a clemency request to Gov. Schwarzenegger by November 8.

My take is that there should be no clemency. Williams committed the crimes, was convicted, and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers. The fact that he found enlightenment on Death Row should have no bearing on the administration of the verdict. After all, what else was he going to do on Death Row? Not only that, but it took him eight years in confinement before he gave up his loyalty to the gang.

Taken to the extreme, no person would ever be executed if he/she found enlightenment in prison. The length of the appeals process makes it possible. Locked in a cell for more than two decades, Williams proved that if one writes books, one can get sympathy. Now, if the appeals process could be whittled down to a reasonable four years or less, then there wouldn't be time for convicts to gather Nobel Prize nominations and supporters from the general public nor encouragement from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.
Jimmy Carter's Son Sniffs Senate Seat

(Las Vegas, Nevada) John William ''Jack" Carter, 58, son of former President Jimmy Carter, is aggressively researching the feasibility of running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate against Republican first-termer, John Ensign. Senator Ensign is seeking re-election next year.

Jack Carter apparently is running with the blessing of his daddy even though he doesn't seem to have any experience at being elected nor working as an elected official. He is an equities investor which, presumably, means he buys and sells property. It's probably safe to assume that Carter won't rely on his vast equities investing experience to convince voters that he can competently represent them in the U.S. Senate.

It's also probably safe to assume that he won't rely upon his military service to convince voters. If anything, his electability may be hampered by the fact that he was discharged less than honorably from the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program for smoking marijuana. To make sure he was discharged, Carter readily admitted to using LSD and THC also. His decision to avoid serving his country happened at the Idaho Falls Nuclear Prototype facility in 1970. As an aside, I would bet that there are some in the blogosphere that remember him when he was in nuke training.

Consequently, with no experience at elected office and a stained military career, one would think that Jack Carter doesn't have much to offer the voters. And, if you throw in the fact that he probably inherited the spongy Carter intellect demonstrated by his father, I predict a state-wide malaise to his candidacy by the voters of Nevada. Of course, I'm certain that there are people who would disagree with my logic. (H/T Country Store)
Zawahri Calls for Muslim Aid to Quake Victims

(Dubai) Ayman Al Zawahri has released a videotape calling for Muslims to help the Pakistan earthquake victims. The tape was made on October 9th and was shown on Al Jazeera satellite television yesterday, October 23rd.

From the Daily Times:
"I call on all Muslims in general and I call on all Islamic humanitarian associations in particular to move to Pakistan to provide help to their Pakistani brothers, and that they do it quickly," he said. "All of us know the vicious American war on Muslim humanitarian work."
I'm confused. Zawahri calls for Muslims to help "quickly" yet it takes him two weeks to get his video aired. There must be a problem with Islamic Express deliveries. From the mountains to the coast shouldn't take two weeks.

And, I would appreciate someone explaining to me anything about the "vicious American war on Muslim humanitarian work." What "vicious war" is he referring to? The best I can figure is that he can't come out of his cave in the mountains to help the quake victims because the Americans are sure to nab him. Somehow that equates to a vicious war on humanitarian work.

[Update 0740EDT]

Chad Evans has more on videotaped Zawahri's appeal for Muslims to aid quake victims at In The Bullpen. Also, there's a new rumor of Osama Bin Laden's death. This time it's alleged that Osama died in Kandahar and is buried "in the shadow of a mountain." How poetic.
Islamic Jihad Leader Killed

During arrest raids in Tulkarim, Israeli troops killed Luai al-Saadi (Louie Sa'adi), leader of Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades in the West Bank. Saadi masterminded the suicide bombing at the Stage nightclub, the Netanya suicide bombing outside Sharon mall, and an attempted attack in Shavei Shomron.

Islamic Jihad has called for revenge of an unprecedented scale. Spokesman Abu-Abdullah promised, "Our response to this crime will be unprecedented, in accordance with the status of the man."

The Israelis also killed Majed al Askar (Majid al-Ashqar), a gunman with the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which is linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

The deaths occurred during Israeli sweeps of the West Bank in which 800 wanted Palestinians have been arrested.
Saudi Anti-Terror Program: Perfume On A Pig

(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) According to a report in the Arab News, an unnamed source said yesterday that a sweep of a Riyadh neighborhood resulted in the arrest of 13 terror suspects believed to be members of al-Qaeda. Notably, the group is primarily boys under 16, one is a 13-year-old boy, and one is the brother of an al-Qaeda member who is on the government's most-wanted list.

Notwithstanding the importance of rounding up any and all terror suspects, a rational observer has to be somewhat skeptical of the Saudi anti-terrorism commitment given the following:
The arrests in Riyadh coincided with reports of the release of a number of suspects involved in terrorist operations who had given shelter to terrorists after they repented their wrongdoing, said Abdul Mohsen Al-Obaikan, a member of the Shoura Council and the committee of scholars assigned to hold dialogue with the militants.
Therefore, if the terrorists say that they are sorry to a group of scholars, everything is okay and they are free to go. Great! Scholars ask a bunch of fanatics that are schooled in dishonesty to truthfully say they are sorry. I have no confidence that this criminal justice technique produces anything but laughs.

Consequently, it seems that the Saudi efforts to combat terrorism are more cosmetic than substantive. The efforts are also inconsistent since the Saudis have historically chopped off body parts for less significant crimes. If the terrorists lost a body part every time they were implicated, I guarantee that the glory and honor of terror would be greatly diminished and recruiting would suffer dramatically. No longer would people be predisposed to worship the memory of glorious martyrs in heaven enjoying their 72 virgins. Instead, they would see the martyr-in-training with one arm, one leg, or better yet, missing his manhood. In fact, the loss of manhood would be the recruiting deal-killer since the promised reward of 72 virgins would be meaningless. That is, unless the martyr-in-training found it appealing to have 72 women that he couldn't mount chewing on his ear for eternity.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Kofi Annan Doctored Hariri Report

Following up on a previous post, some of the most damaging allegations within the Hariri report were deleted by UN Secretary General Annan just before release. Mac Powell has the details. Don't expect the mainstream media to make an issue of it.

It is beyond me why Kofi Annan is tolerated. It's way past time to put the spotlight on the guy as the most significant problem with the UN.
Finger Lickin' Chinese

(Shanghai, China) Food giant KFC, owned by Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc., recently opened a milestone franchise in Shanghai, bringing the total KFC outlets in China to 1,500. The new outlet is a drive-in, only the second drive-in in all of China after Beijing. Interestingly, Beijing also has the distinction of hosting the largest KFC restaurant in the world in Tiananmen Square.

It's taken KFC seventeen years to grow to the benchmark 1,500 stores with its expansion growing at an increasing rate. Approximately 300 restaurants were opened in the last ten months. KFC and other Yum Brand outlets are now in 200 Chinese cities.

Notably, KFC's success at selling chicken in China comes at a time when there is considerable global concern regarding bird flu which, by all accounts, originated in or near China. Vice Premier Hui Liangyu even said that the bird flu situation is a grave threat. Oddly, KFC succeeds.

In the past, some would say the Chinese have overreacted to health warnings concerning food. As an example, KFC stopped providing french fries as part of set meals in response to warnings that deep fried potatoes contain the potentially carcinogenic chemical acrylamide. Consequently, it seems somewhat incongruous that the threat of bird flu hasn't been translated into reduced sales of finger lickin' chicken.

Of course, the Chinese have always been described as inscrutable.
Nigerian Plane Crashes, 116 Aboard, 50 Survivors

(Lagos, Nigeria) A Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 took off in bad weather from Lagos for the capital Abuja at 7:50pm local time (1450EDT) and quickly vanished from the radar. The flight carried 110 passengers and six crew members.

Hours later, the wreckage was found near the small community of Kishi, about 400km north of Lagos and on the flight path to Abuja. Military search and rescue teams were dispatched to the crash site. Initial reports indicate that 50 or more people survived the crash.

Notably, the plane carried several senior Nigerian officials and officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). No names will be released until the next of kin are notified.

[Update 1500EDT]


It's now reported that nobody survived. According to Abilola Oloko, spokesman for Oyo state, all the people on board died. Confusion caused earlier inaccurate reports.

No-one could have survived the impact when the Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 hit the ground at such speed that the wreckage was 'completely buried under ground,' NEMA [National Emergency Management Agency] spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye said.

The statement followed a similar report by the Nigerian Red Cross, which was working with NEMA on the ground at the crash site in Lissa village, a short distance north of Lagos near the farming town of Otta.

'No survivors have been identified so far ... The plane is actually beyond recognition,' Abiodun Orebiyi, secretary general of the Nigerian Red Cross, told Agence France-Presse.
The number of people onboard was revised upward to 117, 111 passengers and six crew.
Air Force to Dump 1,715 Officers

(Arlington, Virginia) Call it lack of foresight or poor planning, either way the U.S. Air Force has found itself in a quandary with regard to junior officer staffing levels. There are simply too many.

From the Stars & Stripes:
Almost all active duty Air Force officers with less than three years in uniform will face a new "force shaping board" in April that will send about 1,715 officers back to civilian life with an honorable discharge and a final salute.

The officers selected for "involuntary discharge" -- 1st and 2nd lieutenants who were commissioned in 2002 and 2003 -- must depart the Air Force no later than Sept. 30, 2006, the end of the federal fiscal year, Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Stephens said Friday.

The cull is necessary because overenthusiastic officer recruiting and unusually high retention rates after Sept. 11, 2001, have left the Air Force "with an imbalance of junior officers," Stephens told Stripes in a telephone interview.
Lieutenants in several career fields are exempted from the Force Shaping Board review. These include pilots, navigators, air battle managers, missile specialists, combat controllers, pararescuemen, and developmental engineers. The board is expected to notify those selected for separation by June 1, 2006.

Okay, what is going on? The mainstream media, in its constant scrutiny of the entire recruiting process, regularly remind the nation that the military is overextended and needs more people. At the same time, the Air Force is dumping over 1,700 junior officers. Once again, the media don't get the story quite right.

Companion post at Conservative Thinking.
Bullet in Pork Casserole

(Ormond Beach, Florida) Apparently, someone decided to quit shooting the bull and, instead, shot the pig. Simply, woman finds bullet in pork loin after cooking. Few details are provided which make me think it might be a hoax. Nevertheless, an investigation seems appropriate. Finding anything strange in the food supply should be investigated.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Dead Babies Found

(McKeesport, Pennsylvania) Many people wonder what happens to the dead fetuses, stillbirths, miscarriages, and abortions produced during normal operations of hospitals and clinics. Well, after the police were alerted by a call from an ex-wife, many were found in the detached garage of a house where Robert B. Winston Jr. once lived.

A former funeral director, Winston contracted with Magee-Womens Hospital to dispose of the remains by cremation but, instead, he collected them in his garage. Initially estimated at over 300, the exact number of human remains is unclear since they were commingled. However, according to the contract with the hospital, Winston was paid to remove 170 fetal remains of over 16 weeks and the remains of 19 live-born infants.

Consequently, Winston was charged with 19 counts of abuse of a corpse and theft by deception.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Tranquilli said the criminal charges resulted from remains of babies that were born alive, but lived only briefly -- generally for only a few hours.

"They're all births that took a breath or were still alive when they were born," said Lt. Christopher Kearns, of the county homicide division.
In my estimation, this case indicates that controls over human remains need improvement. If they can be thrown into the garage and forgotten about, they could show up anywhere. Also, with actual births, would there not be a birth certificate? And should not the death be followed with a death certificate? The whole process seems to lack definition.
The Freedom of Speech Award

(Washington) At a dinner on Wednesday night, The Media Institute bestowed its Freedom of Speech Award on Roger Ailes, the architect of Fox News. Ailes unapologetically discussed the success of Fox News while hinting at the key difference between Fox and the rest of the mainstream media.
"So, at Fox we investigate anything, finding the truth we'll report it, but we don't get up every morning assuming our country is guilty."
Whoa! That sounds like the start of a truthful tagline. All the news that's fit to prove America's guilt."

It's catchy too. However, does anyone really think that the NYT, WAPO, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and the others will pick up on the key to success? I don't. Innocent until proven guilty is an unworkable philosophy for the leftist MSM.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Improvised Poached Egg Corset

An Australian man attempted to smuggle poached cockatoo and other protected species eggs out of the country using an improvised egg corset (IEC).

Poached Eggs
Improvised Egg Corset
(Photo - AFP)

According to customs officials, 51-year-old Keith Miller was arrested at Sydney airport in November last year trying to board a flight to Zurich with multiple eggs concealed in his underwear. He received a two-year sentence.

Hat Tip: AbbaGav
Illegals Arrested for Sex with Young Girls

(Bismarck, North Dakota) Two illegal aliens were arrested Monday and each charged with one count of engaging in a sexual act with a minor under 15. Carlos O. Martinez, 30, and Julio C. Alverez, 21, both of Mexico, were apprehended in connection with the disappearance of two 13-year-old girls who vanished Thursday from Kirkwood Mall and were found Sunday in north Bismarck. Both men are being held without bond.

Interestingly, Bismarck has experienced a significant influx of illegal aliens recently. Within the past week, 28 have been taken into custody and await processing by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Bismarck Police, ICE, the U.S. Border Patrol, the North Dakota Highway Patrol, and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been collaborating on the roundup.
Shark Caught with Whole Seal in Stomach

(Raglan, New Zealand) A great white shark about 15 feet long and weighing more than 3,000 pounds was caught near Raglan on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island yesterday.

Great White Jaws
Fisherman Warwick Harris
holding the jaws of yesterday's catch.

The shark had a whole bull seal weighing about 200 pounds in its stomach. It had been eaten in two pieces. According to marine scientist Clinton Duffy of the Conservation Department, the great white was a juvenile female which would have grown to more than 21 feet in length at maturity.

Arsenic in Holy Water

Here's a religion of peace health warning. Don't drink the holy water.

From The Daily Record:
Muslims are being warned not to buy bottles of water said to come from a sacred well in Saudi Arabia after high levels of arsenic were found in one brand, Zam Zam.
I wonder why they aren't just taking Zam Zam off the market.
Geisel Promoted

(Albany, New York) Thomas Geisel, husband of sex machine teacher Beth Geisel, has been promoted by KeyBank to the newly-created position of president of the Northeast Region. Seven district presidents throughout New York, Vermont, and Maine will report to Geisel.
Illegal Alien Arrested After Gun Background Check

(Cedar Rapids, Iowa) A 26-year-old Mexican, Cipriano Ortega-Villasana, was arrested by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent after he unsuccessfully tried to buy a gun at Wild Bill's Gun Shop in Lime Springs. Ortega indicated on the required Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) form that he was a U.S. citizen and he presented an Illinois driver's license. Fortunately, the purchase was disallowed when it was determined that he was an illegal alien, previously deported.

Ortega, an admitted member of the Latin Kings street gang, was previously arrested in 1990 and was released pending an immigration court hearing. He didn't show up for the hearing. Imagine that.

At large until January of 1994, Ortega was finally detained in Chicago and deported. At a point in time between 1994 and now, Ortega returned to the United States. Imagine that.

The Latin King, and licensed driver, is currently detained on immigration violations. Now, imagine that he'll be released pending an immigration hearing and imagine that he won't show up and, the, imagine he'll be arrested again.

While you're imagining, pretend that President Bush is attempting to shore up the border between the U.S. and Mexico. He isn't and, frankly, I'm angry that the geographical security of the U.S. is being wantonly breached and the government refuses to act. Some say that there will be no politician brave enough to tackle the problem unless we experience another devastating attack which can be directly tied to inadequate border controls. I'm not so sure, primarily because 'bravery' and 'politics' are entities that typically never wed.

Companion post at Conservative Thinking.
Gunmakers Granted Immunity by Congress

(Washington) By a vote of 283 to 144, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday that gives gun makers and dealers immunity from civil lawsuits. Considered a major victory for the National Rifle Association and its allies, the measure is supported by President Bush who only needs to sign for it to become law since the Senate previously passed it.

The bill will stifle frivolous lawsuits from groups that believe the manufacture and sale of firearms drives violence in communities. The measure excludes from liability protection those that knowingly sell firearms for the commission of crimes. And, although child safety locks will be required under the new law, gun control advocates are displeased and have vowed to challenge the law's constitutionality.

Across the pond, the Brits have weighed in with the opinion that President Bush succeeds only at protecting big business while stumbling through every other effort. I think that Britain needs a Bill of Rights. Maybe then they wouldn't be so quick to criticize what they don't understand.
Hariri Killing Called Terrorist Act

Released yesterday, the UN report of the assassination of Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri indicates that it was a terrorist act planned by high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officers. Frankly, the report only voiced what everyone knew or strongly suspected. Hariri and 15 others died when a six-car convoy was bombed in downtown Beirut. It wasn't an accident nor a suicide.

Chief UN investigator Detlev Mehlis identified several Syrian and Lebanese suspects;
Syrian Major General Asef Shawkat,
Syrian Lt. General Rustom Ghazali,
Syrian former Presidential Aide Farouq Al-Sahraa,
Lebanese Major General Jamil al-Sayyed,
Lebanese Brigadier General Mustapha Hamdan, and
Lebanese Major General Ali Hajj.
Each of the suspects has a history of high-level political and military nefariousness. And, one particularly damning entry in the report, Brigadier General Hamdan accused Hariri of being pro-Israel and is quoted as stating, "We are going to send him on a trip -- bye, bye Hariri." Belligerent? I'd say.

In response, Syrian Information Minister Mehdi Dakhlallah stated that the UN report was "politicized," "false," and "far from professional." Damascas is obviously embarrassed and expects the investigation results will lead to increased international pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to cooperate with the inquiry, to quit helping Palestinian terrorists, and to stop supporting instability in Lebanon and Iraq.

Four pro-Syrian security chiefs in Lebanon have been arrested and charged with murder on the recommendation of UN investigator Detlev Mehlis. Already, an anti-Syrian member of the Lebanese Parliament, Jibran Tueini, has called for President Emile Lahoud to step down.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

WWII Airman Found Frozen in Sierras Glacier

(Kings Canyon National Park, California) Two hikers found the frozen body of a WWII-era airman, still strapped in a parachute, at the 13,000-foot level of Mount Mendel. His plane is likely an AT-7 navigational training plane that crashed on November 18, 1942. The National Park Service and the military are attempting to identify the individual.

The recovery team chiseled ice for about six hours to free the body which was then taken to the Fresno County Coroner's Office.
Barbara Boxer's Debut Novel

Centuries ago, William Shakespeare wrote:
The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
With slight modification, the applicability and meaning of Shakespeare's words hold true in 21st Century America. To wit:
The novel's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the senator.
With that in mind, there should be no surprise characterizations in Senator Boxer's novel, "A Time to Run." Billed as a suspense tale where Democrats are saints and Republicans are snakes, Boxer acknowledged the book has "a point of view."

Although scheduled for release today, reviews are already out. The SacBee saw a proof copy last month, remarking:
"Suffice it to say, this effort reads more like a cross between a bad romance novel and a soap opera script. The Congressional Record might be more entertaining. And it's free."
'Cheeseburger Bill' Passes House

(Washington) By a margin of 306 to 120, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure which would ban obesity-related lawsuits in state and federal courts. The bill was initiated to counter lawsuits filed by avaricious trial lawyers trying to blame food makers and restaurants for what some fat asses put in their mouths. Cases involving deceptive advertising or misrepresentation are not affected by the legislation. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

In my opinion, the 120 congressmen who voted against the bill should be asked to justify their votes. It is ludicrous to expect businesses to be able to control and be responsible for the quantity of food people eat.
Wild Pussies Squeeze Statehouse Rats

(Columbus, Ohio) In 1861, the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus was officially completed and President Abraham Lincoln spoke before a joint session of the Ohio Legislature in the House Chamber. Since that time, the venerable and historic building has been the enduring center of law for the people of the State of Ohio.

Unfortunately, during the same time period, the Ohio Statehouse also became home to an enduring infestation of rats. For well over a century, Ohio's elected lawmakers have lived in uncompromised harmony with buck-toothed, omnivorous, and disease-carrying rats.

That is, until about a year ago, when a dozen or so stray pussycats started making themselves at home on the Statehouse grounds. Despite their cozy coexistence with the legislators, the rats could not get along with feral felines. So, the rats moved. According to spokeswoman Pat Groseck, of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Commission,
"The cats have done a yeoman's job. There have been no rat-sighting reports since the cats have been there."
Consequently, the Statehouse strays are now being fed, sheltered, and given health care by state employees and volunteers. The rats are gone and everything is hunky-dory.

Or, is it? There are no reports of how the influx of feral cats have affected the songbird population. Typically, a vigorous feral cat population will eradicate all songbirds in the area. Gone are the sweet chirps and calls of cardinals, robins, and chickadees. Call it an unintended consequence.

In closing, I'm skeptical of the assertion that all of the rats have left the Statehouse. If true, how come my taxes keep going up?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

British Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq

The UK Guardian is reporting that its Baghdad correspondent, Rory Carroll, 33, is missing and it's believed he was kidnapped by a group of armed men. Carroll, an Irish citizen, is one of the more experienced journalists for the Guardian and he has been based in Iraq for the last nine months.
Equality for Hookers

You don't have to be an old, skanky, male-to-female transgendered whore to find this interesting. Apparently, there are enough hookers in Europe to form a union.
Saudi Report: U.S. Politicians Easy to Bribe

In a piece by Amr Faisal of the Arab News, it's recommended that the Saudi Kingdom refrain from investing in U.S. government securities and, instead, spend its petrodollars bribing senior U.S. politicians. According to Faisal, bribing U.S. officials would provide a much better return on investment than "simply buying a bunch of ultimately worthless US securities." Faisal also says:
I am constantly struck by the small amounts of money it takes to purchase the friendship of some US politicians -- even those of high rank. They accept paltry sums that would be insulting to any high-ranking government official in this part of the world.

US politicians are thankfully quite reasonable in their demands and we can pay them in US dollars thereby avoiding currency risk.
So, in the Arab world there's a belief that not all Americans are greedy infidels. Some are politicians that can be bought for insultingly small sums of money. Of course, Faisal doesn't provide any details to support his assertions that American politicians can be bribed with peanuts. I'd like to know some names.
Arab League Plans Iraqi Reconciliation Conference

(Cairo) Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa travels to Baghdad this week, probably Thursday, to formalize plans for a reconciliation conference of all of Iraq's factions to be held in Cairo on a future date. The conference is backed by the U.S., and Iraq's neighbors have been asked to lend diplomatic support.

In response to the planned conference, Al-Qaida in Iraq, according to Aljazeera.Net, issued a statement on a "website known for hosting fighters' material" saying:
"Arab League initiative is a new conspiracy to save their American master under the pretext of national reconciliation, maintaining Iraq's unity and protecting the Sunnis against falling under Iranian influence."
The al-Qaida in Iraq denouncement of the Arab League has not been authenticated. However, since it goes on to say:
"The Crusaders have found themselves drowned in a bottomless swamp ... they have found no better allies than the old Arab agents and their League."
I'm led to believe the message is genuine. It sounds just like something a radical Islamist would say. Obviously, al-Qaida doesn't like the idea of Iraqis generally agreeing with each other.
UN Weapons Ban Is Toothless

(Sana'a, Yemen) In a report from last week, it was confirmed that the Yemeni government sold weapons to Somalia in violation of a UN imposed ban. Discussions of the issue between the UN Security Council Weapons Experts Committee and the Yemeni government have consisted primarily of bickering over semantics with no consensus. Furthermore, according to the following entry in the Yemen Times, there will likely be no consequences.
The difference of opinion is getting Yemen into hot water, but with international resources already so overstretched international grumbling is unlikely to have any real teeth.
Of course, the international grumblers are the UN weapons experts.

In summary, the government of Yemen knowingly violated a UN imposed weapons ban by selling arms to Somalia. When accused of the violation, the Yemeni officials merely argued, fully expecting no further action by the toothless United Nations. To add insult, the country's major newspaper publishes the fact that the UN is considered to be just a bunch of grumblers and there's no expectation that it will do anything.

I think the Yemenis are on to something.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

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