Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Teacher Gets No Jail, $100 Fine for Sex Charges

Traci Tapp(Mays Landing, New Jersey) Last September, 28-year-old teacher Traci J. Tapp was arrested on charges of official misconduct and sexual crimes involving three male students. Ultimately, Tapp was charged with one count of sexual assault, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual contact and three counts of official misconduct.

From CourierPostOnline.com:
Between January and February 2001, Tapp sexually fondled a 17-year-old male student whom she invited to her office in the girls' locker room at the high school, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz.

Tapp invited another 17-year-old boy to her home, where they engaged in sexual activities under her direction in June 2001, Blitz said.

Tapp also invited a 16-year-old student to her home in 2003 and they engaged in multiple acts of sexual intercourse one night, according to the prosecutor's office.
In summary, Tapp regularly had sex with students over a period of years. Had Tapp been convicted of the charges against her, she could have received a possible 50 years in prison.

Strangely, Tapp pleaded guilty yesterday to harassment by offensive touching in accordance with a plea agreement and was fined $100. The prosecutors asked for a probationary period but Judge James Isman declined. However, Isman directed revocation of Tapp's teaching credentials. All in all, Tapp pays a few dollars and walks.

I am at a loss for words to describe my astonishment.

[Update 1630EST]

It appears that Traci Tapp has read this post and decided to comment. For the sake of discussion, I'll reproduce her unedited comment here.
Just to let you all know... I decided to take the plea b/c my lawyer told me there is always that 20% chance of going to jail. I guess this is strange that I only loss my lic and a small fine but the truth is this should not have even went that far. To me, (on what i know) think they would not have even had a case, but that "what if" ...jury finds me guilty on 1 count. The system is too screwed up to take chances.Its hard to trust others with your life. I have too good of a family to not see them everyday, esp my neices and nephew. These kids that made these accusations will never care how much they can affect ones lives b/c either they all wanted money, didn't like me, i didn't give them a chance, but whatever it is it will come back to haunt them.There is no protection for teachers. Everyone will believe what they want but I can move on, not deal with these types of kids. Though I will always wonder if i made the right choice. I just felt like for those of you who helped me needed to know this.

tt | 01.31.06 - 1:12 pm
Thanks for commenting, Traci. I appreciate that you are going through a very difficult period right now.

According to your comment, you pleaded guilty to a lesser charge primarily to avoid the chance of being sent to prison. And, based on available evidence, the lesser charge was offered because the prosecution did not have a strong case supporting the charges initially filed. All this makes sense.

However, with regard to your accusers, you state that their actions will come back to haunt them but you didn't actually deny their truthfulness. This leaves an observer to wonder if there was actually any basis for the allegations. If the boys lied, there should be some followup corrective action. Arguably, few professionals are as vulnerable as teachers to allegations of sexual impropriety. It's important that all teachers be extremely vigilant in avoiding circumstances that could lead to false accusations.

Nevertheless, as a disinterested observer, I still have no feel for whether there was any substance to the allegations. I don't know whether you're innocent or guilty. I don't know whether the boys lied or not. All I know is that a 28-year-old woman was charged with sex offenses regarding relations with three students and she was sentenced in court to be fined $100. The gross disparity between the seriousness of the charges and the ridiculousness of the final outcome is the basis for my astonishment. And, to my knowledge, the court discussed no significant mitigating factors.

I'm a believer that teachers who engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with students should be treated harshly. I also believe that female teachers and male teachers should be treated comparably when convicted of inappropriate sexual behavior. Frankly, Traci, if you were a guy who was guilty of harassment by offensive touching of high school girls over a period of years, I don't think you would walk away with a $100 fine.
Earwax-Derived Genetics

If a scientist swabbed your ear and examined the earwax, the result would indicate whether you are European, African, or Asian. And, although seemingly unrelated, the pungency of your armpit would also be known.

Junk science? You make the call.
Iraqi Tribesmen Detain 270 Al Qaeda

Chad Evans at In The Bullpen has the report. It's not clear how the tribesmen were able to capture a force of 270 armed terrorists but there must be an interesting story behind it.

Everyone has come to know al Qaeda as largely a fight-to-the death organization so walking them down the road in captivity is quite unusual. Involvement of tribal leaders in the security of Iraq is a necessity and, as attested to by these latest captures, very effective.
Wife of Imam, Infants Killed Outside Baghdad

(Baghdad) Here's a Deutsche Presse-Agentur report of three seemingly senseless murders.

From M&C:
The wife of an Imam of a Sunni mosque was killed with her two infants was killed [sic] when gunmen broke into her house and opened fire in Muqdadiya, 100 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, hospital sources said Tuesday.

The sources said the attackers broke into the house of the Imam of Rasoul Allah Mosque in the city, Qasim Daham al-Hamadani, and killed the woman and her two small children, aged two and five, late Monday.

Witnesses said Hamadani was away when the massacre took place.
These killings just don't make a lot of sense to me. There seems to be absolutely no rational benefit to be derived from the murders. Even if fellow Sunnis were mad at Hamadani or al-Qaeda was after Hamadani, why kill his wife and kids? Hopefully, there'll be a followup report explaining the motive.
Men Want Jessica Alba

Jessica-AlbaUsually, public opinion polls are disputable. I think this one has merit because it's what Mom would want for her son also.

From BostonHerald.com:
"Fantastic Four" gal Jessica Alba is the woman most men want to bring home to meet Mom, according to AskMen.com.

Jess is "long-term relationship material," according to the Web site's 2.5 million readers and staff surveyed for the annual Top 99 List.
Angelina Jolie was a runner-up and, oddly, Britney Spears didn't even make the list. Also, no veiled ROPMA women were in the Top 99 List. Imagine that.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Mexicans Arrest Four Illegal Iraqis

(Mexico City) Four Iraqi citizens entered Mexico illegally and were on their way to enter the United States when they were arrested by Mexican federal agents.

From WashingtonPost.com:
Wasim Francis Schamoun and Ivan Yalda, both 23, and Refon Chlil Oraha and Thaer Salem Yelda, both 27, were found on a bus in the northern city of Navajoa after police received an anonymous tip, the attorney general's office said in a statement.
Mexican officials are investigating. The AP reports that many Iraqis have been captured in Mexico, but none have been linked to terrorism.

I guess we should all feel safer because there hasn't been an instance of a terrorism-linked Iraqi being caught. Sorry. The fact that "many Iraqis" have been caught is unnerving. If "many Iraqis" are able to sneak into Mexico, I imagine a few Saudis, Yemenis and Iranians could also sneak into Mexico.

Couple the capture of illegal Iraqis with the news that Mexicans are hurling gasoline-soaked rocks and taking shots across the border and I don't feel better at all.

And another thing, the level of corruption in Mexico would lead a prudent observer to believe that the results of any Mexican investigation would be entirely dependent on the amount of cash available for bribes. Consequently, I don't automatically believe that Middle Easterners captured in Mexico are not linked to terrorism.

Hat tip: Area417

Companion post at Diggers Realm.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Teacher Indicted for Indecent Liberties with Boy

(Greenville, North Carolina) Substitute teacher Jacquelyn Faith Garrison, 19, allegedly made significant overtures, some sexual, through telephone calls and text messages toward a 15-year-old student, making him uncomfortable. Consequently, the boy alerted South Central High School authorities who commenced an investigation and notified the police. According to court documents, Garrison was arrested on January 6 and, last week, she was indicted for having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

It's noteworthy that, at 19, Garrison is only four years older than the student yet she was able to teach because there is no minimum mandated age for teachers and she met the school system requirement of having completed 32 college credits. Garrison attends East Carolina University in pursuit of a teaching degree.

Garrison's case is scheduled for trial on February 26 and, if convicted, she faces a possible eight months in prison.

Incidentally, South Central teacher Garrison was indicted for taking indecent liberties with a student on the same day that former South Central teacher Katy Tew was found guilty and sentenced for taking indecent liberties with a student. Somebody needs to analyze the water at South Central high School.

Tipped by Jason Cann.

[Update 02/02/07]

Garrison given "time-out."
Dell Grows 5,000 Jobs in India

Today, Dell Inc. announced plans to add 5,000 jobs over the next two years at existing and new facilities in India. Existing call centers in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mohali will get new hires. A new call center in Gurgaon, outside New Delhi, is scheduled to launch in April with 700 to 1,000 new hires. And the product testing center in Bangalore will see a doubling of staff, adding 300 engineers.

The growth will result in a total of 15,000 Dell workers in India.
Ten-Year-Old Girl Pregnant by Stepfather

(Abbeville, South Carolina) A neighbor says 26-year-old William "Billy" Edward Ronca should be hanged in the city square for raping his 9-year-old stepdaughter who, now 10-years-old, is seven months pregnant. The girl is reportedly doing fine, that is, if a 10-year-old in the third trimester of pregnancy can be considered fine. The girl's mother has filed for divorce from Ronca.

Ronca, on the other hand, is locked up in the Abbeville County jail, charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor. A DNA test confirmed Ronca as the father. He could be facing 35 years in a South Carolina prison.

Police made a point of mentioning that Ronca is originally from Boston and has only lived in South Carolina for five or six years. His bail has been set at $250,000.

[Update 04/25/07]

Ronca sentenced to 25 years in prison. He asked for mercy from God and the court.
Unchecked Violence Against Women

Gender abuse and violence in Malawi are rampant.

From NationMalawi.com:
If the girl-child manages to make it to school, she is likely to face the advances of the male teachers. High marks at the exams for girls are dangled as carrots to a horse in exchange for sex. If they say no, the girls face the teacher's barbaric wrath, which may take many forms -- physical, psychological and even mental.
Where are the reporters? Where is the outrage from women's rights groups?
Ottawa's Gun Amnesty Program

(Ottawa, Canada) As a reminder to our Canadian readers, Ottawa's gun amnesty program ends on February 15. Although the program officially began last week, Ottawa Police collected 55 firearms before it launched. This probably resulted high fives and sticky skivvies for Mayor Bob Chiarelli and Chief Vince Bevan, the rocket scientists behind the idea.

The way the program works is the public can call the police to pick up any firearm, ammunition or explosives they want to turn in and, if the weapon isn't tied to a crime, no charges will be filed for having an unregistered firearm. Notably, the police demand that weapons be picked up as opposed to having the public deliver them to police stations. It's unsafe to transport firearms through the community, say the police.

Okay, where do I start? Historically, gun amnesty programs have done nothing more than make do-gooders feel good and capture a few headlines. Taking guns away from the law-abiding public only reduces the ability of citizens to defend themselves against criminal elements, which I guarantee are not going to turn in their guns.

Kevin Haggerty, Director of the University of Alberta's criminology program, agrees and goes one step further. Haggerty asserts that gun amnesty programs are little more than waste disposal. How true. It's been generally proven that guns being surrendered in amnesty efforts are mostly garbage, decades-old pieces of rusted or broken junk that someone found in a tool shed or attic. Logically, the sheer volume of guns turned in makes it likely that something of value would surface. In Ottawa so far, the haul has included an 80-year-old German Walther .380 and a rusty antique breechloader from the 19th century.

Sadly, unlike other amnesty programs, the cheapskates in Ottawa are not giving anything in return for the surrendered weapons. No gift certificates, no cash, no free meal at KFC. The only beneficial result is groups of do-gooders will get to feel warm and fuzzy. My take? Liberal do-gooders have a remarkably successful track record of wasting taxpayers' money while not making things gooder.
Oil Workers Freed

(Yenagoa, Nigeria) Earlier today, Briton Nigel Watson-Clark, American Patrick Landry, Bulgarian Milko Nichev and Honduran Harry Ebanks were released by their kidnappers. They were flown to the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The men were taken hostage earlier this month when about 40 armed men attacked an oil industry service vessel named Liberty Service. A previously-unknown group called the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for the attack and the kidnappings.

A source said that 100 million Nigerian Naira ($771,000) was paid as ransom for the hostages release.

Companion at The Jawa Report.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Teacher Jailed for Boffing Boy

(Wytheville, Virginia) A 41-year-old English teacher at Scott Memorial Middle School, Karen Susan Patton, was arrested for allegedly engaging in sex with a 13-year-old student. Patton is specifically charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, carnal knowledge of a 13-year-old, and having oral sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Apparently, the boy's mother had noticed sexual references in instant messages between her son and Patton which prompted her to alert the police. Patton resigned her teaching position with the school on Friday.

Reportedly, she is married with two children. Patton is being held without bond at the New River Valley Regional Jail. A court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

[Update 08/08/06]

Patton waives preliminary hearing. Case goes to grand jury.

[Update 10/18/06]

Patton indicted.

[Update 03/13/07]

Patton pleads no contest.

[Update 06/26/07]

Patton sentenced.
Camels With Arms

(Pakistan) Regional police of the Kurram Agency raided a smuggler's den about 4am Saturday in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. After a firefight, the smugglers fled, leaving behind 12 camels laden with weapons and ammunition. Confiscated were kalashanikovs, light machine guns, bags of gunpowder, and a large quantity of ammunition.

Typically, one would expect smuggling to be an activity that is hidden, conducted on the sly. A caravan of a dozen camels hauling several tons of arms would likely not fit that characterization. It's more like smuggling in plain view and I'm sure a Predator unmanned eye-in-the-sky could track the camel train all the way across the mountains. The bigger questions are: Where do the arms originate and how are they paid for?
Heroin Girl, 11, Collapses

(Glasgow, Scotland) An 11-year-old girl is recovering in the hospital after collapsing in class from heroin intoxication. According to authorities, the girl didn't accidentally ingest the heroin. Evidently, she told doctors that she had been smoking the junk for about two months, not thinking it was anything out of the ordinary.

I think there is definitely something wrong with this little girl's family and neighborhood and a thorough investigation is warranted. Afterward, someone should be prosecuted.
Flight of the Dentists

Dentist FlightAn insensitive running joke on American late-night television is presumed poor dental care of citizens in the United Kingdom. Jay Leno, David Letterman and others regularly make fun of the apparent lack of dentists serving the Brits. Unfortunately, the joke is a reality. Currently, more than a quarter million patients in Scotland alone must forego dental treatment due to lack of dentists.

From Scotsman.com:
THE number of newly graduated dentists staying to treat patients in Scotland has plummeted, according to official figures.

The alarming statistics, revealed by the Scottish Executive, show that in 2004 a third of all students graduating from Scotland's dental schools left the country to work elsewhere. In 2003 only 11% left.

Dentists' leaders claim the appalling state of NHS funding for dental services is putting many graduates off working in practices north of the Border.

Health officials fear the fall in numbers will make it harder for the Executive to meet its target of recruiting more dentists to cut the country's dental crisis.
Hundreds of dentists are walking away from working for the socialized National Health System (NHS) and, instead, are opening private practices. The chief complaint is money. The socialized dental care scheme of the NHS apparently can't compete with the capitalist rewards of private practice. Consequently, not only are established dentists leaving the NHS, but one-third of those graduating from universities are leaving the country.

The Scottish dental crisis is not new. Last year, the government allocated increased funding of 295 million British pounds ($521 million) to encourage dentists to keep NHS patients. Apparently, it didn't work.

The British Dental Association insists the government needs to do more. This means more money and training more dentists. In the meantime, financial incentives are being offered to lure dentists from less-developed countries such as Poland.

In summary, the socialist scheme to provide everything to everybody for nothing results in the NHS leaving over 250,000 Scots with no dental care.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Border Alert: 5 Mexicans Headed to S.F. to Sell Explosives

A U.S. Border Patrol "Intelligence Alert" issued to law enforcement authorities on January 12 warned of five Mexican nationals traveling to San Francisco to sell explosives to an unknown Iraqi national. The memo provided specific details.

From DailyBulletin.com:
"The source stated that five individuals would attempt entry by foot with an unknown quantity of plastic explosives hidden in the soles of their shoes. The report indicated the group's final destination is San Francisco. Once in the city, they are to sell the explosives to an unknown Iraqi national," the memo stated.

On Jan. 11, at about 5 p.m., Tucson, Ariz.-sector headquarters received information from a "source of unknown reliability" that the five individuals would travel from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, en route to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, according to the document.

The source also stated that the five individuals would be driving in a white Nissan Maxima that has Sonora license plates. The source indicated to law enforcement officials that one of the individuals is named Vicente Banuelos, who is a Mexican citizen from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. The intelligence alert asked officials to watch for Banuelos - a photograph and fingerprints of a man by the same name were issued with the alert. But it is uncertain whether those are from the same individual authorities are seeking.

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, would not comment on the documents late Friday evening.
Apparently, a copy of the memo was obtained by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin this week. Since customs and border officials declined to comment, it's assumed that the alert for the five Mexicans is still in effect. Notably, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke stated there are doubts regarding the credibility of the threat.
Female Teacher Charged with Sex Assault

(Cornwall, Ontario) A 40-year-old teacher at Rothwell-Osnabruck Public School in Ingleside, Jennifer Dorland, was charged Wednesday with sexual assault of a 13-year-old male student. Police confirmed that the sexual incidents occurred at the school.

Dorland, a mother of two, is scheduled to appear in a Cornwall court on February 6 to face charges of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, and sexual interference.

[Update 02/13/07]

Dorland has hearing, finally.

[Update 12/21/07]

Dorland found guilty. Sentencing in February.
San Francisco Dumping Homeless

(San Francisco) City officials created a program last year to give homeless people one-way bus tickets out of town. Thus far, more than 960 homeless have left San Francisco under the program, Homeward Bound.

Apparently, San Francisco is passing the buck or officials have been deluded into thinking that derelicts become valuable contributors to society after being dumped in a new location. Either way, the program is merely a conveyer out of town. San Francisco's homeless problems are just being farmed out to other locations with the hope that somebody else accepts responsibility. The program has been called Greyhound Therapy. Unfortunately, there have been complaints.

From SacBee.com:
City welfare officials have agreed to stop sending homeless people to Humboldt County without notifying their counterparts in the far northern county.

The agreement reached Friday resolves a dispute that began after Humboldt County officials learned that San Francisco had sent at least 13 homeless people north on one-way bus tickets over the past year.

San Francisco officials said they will start informing Humboldt officials whenever homeless people are sent over its borders through the city's Homeward Bound program. They will also verify beforehand that the person is actually from Humboldt, located about 200 miles north along the coast.
Shipping vagrants out of town is nothing new. Communities have been doing it for ages. And, it's much better for San Francisco's taxpayers than the previous program which paid every vagrant and attracted newcomers.

I'm hoping that San Francisco gets into a homeless dumping duel with another city. Imagine the fun.
Border Patrol Hires Illegal Aliens?

Here's the story. A Mexican from Tijuana, Oscar Antonio Ortiz, sneaks into the United States, obtains a fake birth certificate, and gets hired by the U.S. Border Patrol. He's assigned to patrol east of San Diego and commences to smuggle people through his patrol area into the U.S. during every shift. Astonishingly, it took more than a year for someone to figure out what was happening and, fortunately, last August Ortiz was arrested.

From MercuryNews.com:
(San Diego) An illegal immigrant pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to smuggle people into the United States while working as a Border Patrol agent, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Oscar Antonio Ortiz, 28, admitted to conspiring to smuggle at least 100 people when assigned to the Border Patrol's El Cajon station, east of San Diego. He also pleaded guilty to making a false claim to U.S. citizenship.

Ortiz applied for the Border Patrol job in 2001 with a fake birth certificate that said he was born in Chicago even though he is a Mexican citizen who was born in Tijuana, Mexico, according to the federal complaint. He resigned after his arrest in August.
So, big deal. We have one illegal alien smuggling other illegal aliens. Hardly earthshaking, I'd say.

But what about the Border Patrol screening process? Evidence strongly indicates that the Border Patrol has a significant problem in hiring people. And, what's this crap about he "resigned after his arrest?" His illegal carcass should have been immediately terminated upon arrest. This has to be a case of gross ineptitude or corruption. It's not simply one illegal smuggling other illegals.

Personally, I think the Border Patrol roster should be reviewed to see if there are any agents named Abu or Muhammad ostensibly born in Chicago.

Companion post at Diggers Realm.
Big Ice on Alaskan Coast

(Barrow, Alaska) I learned a new word today. Ivu. Ivus are walls of ice that surge onto the coast like frozen tsunamis. The comparison to a tsunami is figurative rather than literal since ice moves much slower than water.

Anyway, ivus are in the news because two of them have slammed onto the northern Alaskan coastline this week. Automobile-sized ice cubes surged on shore, putting fear in the minds of hunters and residents. Barrow officials were caught by surprise by the phenomenon -- named "ivu" in the Inupiaq language.

Alaskan Ivu
Beaufort Sea ice pushed into Barrow, Alaska
(Photo - John Tidwell)

From Washingtonpost.com:
The ivus crashed ashore Tuesday after strong winds from Russia and eastward currents began pushing pack ice toward Barrow last weekend, said North Slope Borough disaster coordinator Rob Elkins.

By late Monday, thick, old sea ice known as multiyear ice had shoved younger, thinner ice onto shore.

Witnesses here said the northernmost ridge was about 20 feet high and 100 feet long and contained car-size blocks. Ice left a coastal road with only one lane, they said.
According to Lloyd Leavitt, a 49-year-old whaler and Barrow city administrator, the ice easily blocked a road 250 feet from the sea.

From News-Miner.com:
The ivu is the first since 1978 when ice pushed more than 450 feet inland, Barrow residents said. Leavitt said ivus happen every 30 to 40 years. There was another in 1976 and elders remember more in the 1950s. Leavitt said he spent part of his day allaying the fears of worried officials. He categorized the ivu as relatively minor considering what could have been.

He said much of the ice pushed ashore was first- or second-year ice--3 feet thick at most. If the sea around Barrow had been filled with multiyear ice, the push might have caused damage in the city of 4,500.

"As soon as (young ice) hits land, it breaks into small pieces," Leavitt said. "If it was 8- to 12-foot thick like we used to have before global warming, it would have been a problem."
Wait a minute! We've got a 49-year-old whaler and city administrator who is also a climatologist and expert on weather phenomena that occurs every 30 to 40 years? Huh? Besides being a genius, where does he find the time?

Nonetheless, our whaler-city administrator-climatologist-weather phenomena expert says that the ivu, a natural disaster, was mitigated by global warming. This means that the ivus were worse before President Bush created global warming. Just a guess, but I bet Bush won't get any credit. He should. After all, he got the blame for the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the Indian Ocean tsunami.

As an aside, for years I've had to contend with something akin to an ivu but on a much smaller scale. After shoveling my driveway clean of snow, the highway department snowplow invariably zips by and shushes a three-foot wall of ice and snow right across the entrance. It's guaranteed that I won't curse the snowplows any less, but I'll have a word to use in describing the wall blocking the driveway. An ivu.
Woman Gets 10 Years for Molesting Little Boy

(Bozeman, Montana) This case sickens me. A 19-year-old woman, Patricia Lynn Cook, pleaded guilty in Gallatin County District Court to molesting a 7-year-old boy in exchange for 10 years in the Montana State Women's Prison and 20 years probation. At a trial, Cook would have faced life in prison and, given the details of her crimes, I think a life sentence was certain.

From Bozemandailychronicle.com:
She told police on Aug. 11 she began touching the boy inappropriately six years ago when he was 8 months old, according to court records. The touching began while changing his diaper and progressed from there.

She continued touching the boy and felt "a little bit sexually aroused," according to court records. She said the molesting continued for several years.

She also said she had been sexually abused as a young child.

Cook punched the boy in the stomach, spanked him and slapped him to keep him from telling anyone.
Cook was arrested after telling police that she was homicidal and suicidal.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 7. Meanwhile, Cook is locked up in the Gallatin County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Woman Gets 9 Months for Sex with Boy

(Skowhegan, Maine) Earlier this month, 25-year-old Jessica Bowring pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy. Yesterday, Bowring was sentenced in Somerset County Superior Court to five years in prison, with all but 9 months suspended. She'll also serve three years probation and have to register as a lifetime sex offender.

It's unclear what will transpire with the other charges against her; two counts of gross sexual assault, tampering with a witness, terrorizing and two counts of violating her conditions of release. I sincerely hope that the prosecutors aggressively pursue adjudication of those additional charges.

[Update 12/16/07]

Bowring faces new charges related to the same boy.
Female Teacher Has Student's Love Child

(Strongsville, Ohio) With the prevalence of teacher-student sex episodes in American schools, one would imagine that the last thing needed is a "Win A Date With Teacher" contest. Strangely, that's exactly what was offered by 36-year-old Strongsville High School teacher Christine Scarlett and the winner, 17-year-old Steven Bradigan, won not only the date but also regular sharpenings of his pencil.

Upon notification of the sexual relationship, Strongsville City Schools officials acted quickly and fired Scarlett. Here are some details.

From Cleveland.com:
At first, Bradigan kept quiet about his dinner date with the teacher. But a week later, Scarlett arranged for a secret meeting with Bradigan at his friend's house and brought along a six-pack of beer. The friend's father discovered Scarlett hiding in a bedroom closet and blew the whistle to Bradigan's parents.

Schools Superintendent James Gray said he fired Scarlett as soon as he heard about the closet incident, and two weeks later he called the Department of Children and Family Services to report Scarlett, which agency Director James McCafferty confirmed.
Although not surprising, the Scarlett-Bradigan sexual relationship, which reportedly lasted for two years, ultimately resulted in offspring, a baby boy. DNA tests confirm that Bradigan is the father.
In an interview, Steven Bradigan and his parents became emotional as they talked about the repercussions of the affair. Someone at the school scribbled profanity on his locker. Classmates taunted him in the cafeteria. Teachers mentioned the affair in class, and a coach asked Bradigan what it felt like to have sex with Scarlett, Bradigan said.
Frankly, I'm skeptical. My guess would be that Bradigan was BMOC and probably enjoyed every minute of his celebrity.

Jump forward to present time. Bradigan, now 20, and his family are pressing a case for custody of his son in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Concurrently, the family has notified Strongsville City Schools and the Strongsville Police Department of its intent to sue, claiming both organizations were negligent in not pursuing a criminal investigation of Scarlett. Notably,
Steven Bradigan thinks his case will be bolstered by X-rated photos of the couple snapped by his high school buddies.
Holy moly! This is reading like a teen coming-of-age movie. 'Coming soon! Star quarterback boffs hot teacher while football buddies take pictures.'

On the other hand, Scarlett, now 39, is shocked and mortified by the situation and very sorry. Currently, she works part time at a furniture store and lives with her supportive new husband, her son, and a 9-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

Tipped by Jason Cann.

Companion post at Conservative Thinking.

[Update 05/28/06]

Steven Bradigan and Christine Scarlett agreed to share custody of their son.

[Update 06/26/06]

Christine Scarlett arraigned on 18 counts of sexual battery.

[Update 05/13/07]

Scarlett pleads guilty to avoid trial. Sentencing in June.
Taliban Attacks Afghan Girls' School

(Kabul) The Taliban has been intensifying its campaign against girls' schools.

From Xinhuanet.com:
Suspected Taliban militants set fire on a girls school Thursday night in Afghan eastern province of Laghman, a local police said.

"Last night at about 12 p.m. (8:30 p.m. GMT) some suspected Taliban militants blazed a girls school in Haidar area, but there is no casualty of school staff," Hizbullah, the spokesperson of the governor told Xinhua.

The spokesperson blamed Taliban to carry out this kind of attack, and said the investigation is still going on.

According to some reliable resources, four school staff have been kidnapped by the militants, but the spokesperson denied.
There are no details about the four hostages.

In the southern Kandahar Province where the Taliban previously had a stronghold, attempts to intimidate teachers and students at girls' schools have been ongoing. With these attacks against women, I wonder how in the world the feminists can consistently come out against the global war on terror. Logic would indicate that women's rights advocates should be first in line to support the Bush administration and its efforts to defeat the Taliban and other terror groups.
Teacher Gets No Jail for Child Sex

(Shediac, New Brunswick) Last August, a 27-year-old teacher at Ecole Pere Edgar T. LeBlanc, Renee Florence Gaudet, was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old male student.

In November, Gaudet pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Yesterday, Gaudet was sentenced to two years house arrest and told to go to a mental health clinic for assessment and necessary treatment. She was also restricted from having any contact with the victim, his family, or anyone under 14 years of age. A DNA sample must additionally be provided to the sex registry.

Harsh treatment? I don't think so.

[Update 11/04/06]

Appeals court sends Gaudet to jail.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

ACLU vs. Patriot Act

(New York) This latest lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union attacks the Patriot Act presumably for the benefit of one Muslim scholar.

From UPI.com:
Acting on behalf of a prominent Muslim scholar, the American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to amend the Patriot Act.

The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to knock out the clause that bars foreigners who endorse terrorism from entering this country.

The suit cited Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim scholar who has been barred from the United States because of that clause.
And, justifiably so if you take into consideration that Ramadan has a history of being uncomfortably cozy with terrorists, extremists, and jihadists. He also doesn't recognize the bombings in Bali and Madrid, nor the horror of 9/11, as terrorist acts. Bali, Madrid, and 9/11 were "interventions," says Ramadan. (Source)

Nevertheless, even if Ramadan had pristine bona fides, the ACLU filing suit against the Patriot Act to benefit one person doesn't seem to make any sense. I'd compare it to seeking changes to the U.S. Postal Service charter because a package was delivered to the wrong address or was lost. It's either that or the ACLU doesn't believe endorsement of terrorism should disqualify foreign nationals from entering the United States.

The more significant question I have is why is the ACLU involved with the Ramadan case in the first place? Ramadan is a foreign national, not an American. Whether or not a foreign national's civil liberties are offended shouldn't be the ACLU's concern. Should it?

Join the Stop The ACLU Blogburst, mailing list, and blogroll. Send an email to Jay@stoptheaclu.com or GribbitR@gmail.com.
Female Teacher Arrested for Sodomy

(Ferguson, Missouri) A 46-year-old special education teacher at Ferguson Middle School, Cathy Heminghaus, has been charged with nineteen (19) felony counts of statutory sodomy resulting from allegedly engaging in oral sex with some of her students. Heminghaus apparently told her friends that she had performed oral sex on students since October. Her friends told school officials. The incidents occurred at the school and at one outside location.

Special School District officials placed Heminghaus on administrative leave. Heminghaus was booked into the St. Louis County Jail. Bond was set at $500,000.

Tipped by Jason Cann.

[Update 07/09/07]

Heminghaus pleads no contest. Sentencing in September.
Muslim Terrorist Jailed for Murder Plot

Abu ManshaHere's a case of a young guy, a citizen of the United Kingdom, who had been inculcated at an early age to be an extremist, willing to commit murder for Islam. For planning to kill a decorated British soldier, he gets six years in prison.

From Scotsman.com:
British-born Abu Mansha, 21, who was obsessed with al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, obtained an address for Corporal Mark Byles after he led a "perilous" bayonet charge, killing up to 20 Iraqi rebels.

When Mansha's flat was searched, police found a blank-firing gun in the process of being converted to shoot live rounds and a newspaper cutting detailing the soldier's exploits.

A stash of DVDs brimming with "virulent anti-western propaganda" was also recovered, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

While some featured bin Laden, another depicted the beheading of British hostage Ken Bigley.
In my opinion, dramatic and wide-sweeping measures are needed to rid Britain, and other countries, of home-grown Islamic extremists. A start would be to refute political correctness in its entirety. If the religion of peace is actually the culture of death, it should be dealt with accordingly.

And, just so you know, I'll forever be pissed off by the senseless and barbaric murder of Ken Bigley.

One final observation, if you look at his picture closely, you'll notice that it looks like he's had his nose broken. Also, his left eyebrow has an apparent permanent lift and his left eye seems to be wandering. I'd guess his facial modifications resulted from an altercation with someone of a differing viewpoint.
Playboy Is Porn, Sellers Should be Arrested

Indonesian Playboy Protest(Jakarta, Indonesia) The planned publication and sale of Playboy magazine in majority-Muslim Indonesia has prompted angry protest from several groups. It's believed the magazine will destroy the morality of young people and the nation.

From Antara News:
The Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) Chairman Tarman Azzam has said every effort should be taken to prevent the publication of the Indonesian version of playboy magazine or the sellers should be arrested should the pornographic magazine reaches the children.

"If the magazine publication comes into being and their circulation reaches the children, the producers as well as the sellers should be arrested, and bring them to the court to make them afraid," Tarman said after inaugurating the temporary board members of the PWI here on Tuesday.

Several rejections to the planned publication of the Playboy magazine among other things came from Youth Affairs Minister Adhyaksa Dault, and the country's two largest Muslim organizations respectively Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).
Opposition groups are calling for arrest and prosecution under pornography and child protection laws. Pretty extreme, I think. According to Ahmad Rofiq of the Association of Muhammadiyah Students (IMM), assertions by the publisher that the magazine would contain only lifestyle, conventional issues, culture and politics and no nude pictures are not believed.

Interestingly, the Indonesian public protest and debate of a free press issue is in stark contrast to the way the Chinese communists deal with free speech. In Indonesia, a democratic (albeit Muslim) country, the controversy is open to public discourse and, presumably, a decision will be made in a democratic manner. Conversely, China, a police-state dictatorship, yesterday specified the manner which Google would censor information on Internet searches. No debate and no discussion allowed. It makes no difference what the public wants in China.

The Indonesian version of Playboy was licensed in November 2005 and is planned to hit the news stands starting in March for 40,000 rupiah (about $4.30).

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

1960s Feminism Is Officially Dead

On the heels of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, women began asserting themselves, claiming their rights had been denied by a male-dominated society. Women were enraged and took their message to the streets, to the courthouses, and to the politicians. They cast off the shackles of generations of male dominance and, in mass, they took off their bras and burned them. Bra-burning protests and rallies were held on city streets and college campuses. The feminists demanded equal rights, proudly sauntering in public with their breasts flopping, the signature feature of their political identity. Bra-burner and feminist became synonyms.

Slowly, over the past four decades, bras have found their way back into women's wardrobes and, slowly, feminism has been fading as a political identity. The bras returned out of necessity. Active women in a vibrant society need supportive undergarments.

All the while, the feminist movement over 40 years made great strides in breaking down barriers, changing attitudes, and achieving equality. In fact, some people believe such great progress has been realized that women now are virtually equal in society to men in most regards. As a result, there are not the same big 'equality issues' from the 1960s which originally sparked the feminist movement and, consequently, support has vaporized. People saw the end coming. When and how? Nobody knew. But 1960s feminism had served its purpose and the sun was setting.

Drew BarrymoreAnd then it happened. And it came in the form of a rejection of the defining image of 1960s feminism, the braless woman. Thank Drew Barrymore. Not for being braless, but for allowing society to unanimously disapprove of her appearing on stage at last week's Golden Globe Awards ceremony without one.

Throughout the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, Barrymore would have been heralded as a feminist leader, an individual proud of her womanhood, her body, and her self. She would have been praised by younger feminists for being bold and fearless.

But not in 2006. Barrymore walked on stage in a long green dress, braless, to present an award. That is all. If she had set herself on fire, she probably wouldn't have created a bigger stir. All because she was braless. Every media outlet from Hollywood to New York to London to Rome to Tokyo to Sidney to Singapore to Bombay led off their reporting with a plea to Drew Barrymore to put on a bra. I've read dozens and dozens of reviews and, without exception, they carry the same disapproving message.

To be clear, no one disapproved of Barrymore's physique. In fact, I got the impression that most people found her to be physically pleasant. The complaints were directed exclusively at her not wearing a bra. Two or three decades ago, there would have been no complaints. Nobody would have protested or even commented. She would have been seen as a typical bra-burning feminist showing defiance to the status quo by flaunting her lack of underwear. Society accepted feminists and their signature characteristics. No comment necessary. Not in 2006. Now society comments, everywhere and at length, when a women goes braless.

If society no longer recognizes the need for 1960s feminism, then it's over. Just like Seinfeld and M.A.S.H. and NYPD Blue, it's over. It's been a good run, but now it's time to turn out the lights.
Carlos the Jackal Wants Out of Solitary

Carlos the JackalArguably one of the nastiest terrorists in history, Carlos the Jackal, wants out of solitary confinement. Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, appealed through his lawyer to the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday. A Venezuelan by birth, Carlos claims the eight years he has been held in solitary confinement in a French prison violates a European human rights treaty.

As a reminder, Carlos was a free-lance mercenary and terrorist who committed murders, bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings for pay throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for three decades. He was captured in 1994, tried in France and sentenced to life in prison. Now, in prison, he believes his human rights are being violated.

That's a shame.
Chris Penn Found Dead

Chris Penn(Santa Monica, California) Actor Chris Penn was found dead in his condominium yesterday. It's been reported that there is no indication of foul play regarding the death. The 43-year-old brother of Sean Penn was best known for performances in "Footloose" and "Reservoir Dogs."

Even though there has been some confusion about Penn's age (some say he was 40), it's clear that he died early. And despite assertions of no foul play, one has to wonder what caused a presumably healthy man to die at such a young age. My wild guesses would be a drug overdose or an undiagnosed heart/respiratory ailment. We'll know soon enough.

Rest in peace.
Dan Rather Ponders Next World War

(Portland, Oregon) Dan Rather visited Portland on Monday to speak at the World Affairs Council of Oregon's 2005-2006 International Speaker Series. In a 45-minute speech, he shared some opinions about trans-Pacific geopolitical issues.

From OregonLive.com:
If there's another world war, it's likely to ignite among nations in the North Pacific region, rather than Europe, as past widespread conflicts have.

That was among the prognostications presented to a Portland audience Monday night by Dan Rather, the longtime CBS News reporter and former anchorman.

North Korea, China and Russia have nuclear weapons and all three have leaders with ambitions for greater influence, Rather said.
Frankly, I expect that Rather's assessment is not anything new to military and political strategists.
Westinghouse Offers Bounty for Nuke Workers

From Post-Gazette.com:
Apparently feeling good about its prospects under Japanese ownership, Monroeville-based Westinghouse Electric Co. yesterday hoisted a big help-wanted sign, offering a $1,000 bounty to employees for referring successful job applicants for the 400 or more openings it expects to have this year.

The nuclear power plant designer, which employs almost 9,000 worldwide, is looking to hire at least 400 people a year corporate-wide over the next six to seven years, with many of the openings in the Pittsburgh region where it employs about 3,000.

The employee referral program was launched a day after Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. was identified as the winning bidder to buy Westinghouse from British Nuclear Fuels Plc. Toshiba's reported $5 billion offer is expected to win final approval at a BNFL board meeting tomorrow.

Toshiba may have different ideas about hiring, of course. Still, the engineering and electronics giant yesterday indicated it envisioned a bright future for Westinghouse.
Google Bows to Beijing

(San Francisco) When Google opened a research office in Beijing last year, the obvious purpose was to convince the communist government that the company could adequately deny Chinese citizens access to information. Well, guess what? Google succeeded.

From Reuters:
"In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn in response to local law, regulation or policy," Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy counsel, said in a statement.

"While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission."

Google, known for its "Don't do evil" mantra, is developing its China approach as it seeks to strike a balance between the freedom of information it champions and the censorship demanded by Beijing, which controls access to China's 111 million Internet users.
John Palfrey, an Internet censorship investigator, estimated that tens of thousands of search terms will be blocked to Chinese Web users. However, according to Rebecca MacKinnon of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, if the average Chinese user is adequately informed of the censorship, "That is defiantly a significant step toward transparency and honesty with the users." I think MacKinnon is justifying Google censorship in China by indicating it's a "foot in the door."

One question that hasn't been answered thus far is whether Google will be providing information to the government about the users who search for censored information. Google has refused to comply with a similar request from the U.S. government.

Notably, Google will not offer email or blogging services until it can figure out how to strike a "balance between user interests and local conditions." Whatever that means.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Maps For Illegal Aliens

(Mexico City) The Mexican government is providing detailed maps for foreign nationals to sneak into the United States.

From AZCentral.com:
The maps were designed by a Tucson-based group, Humane Borders, which plans to hold a joint press conference today with the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico City to announce its strategy.

The maps are the latest effort by activists to aid undocumented immigrants as they trek across the border, helping to fuel a raging debate over illegal immigration in Arizona and other parts of the United States.

Two rights commission officials confirmed the quasi-governmental agency had agreed to print and distribute the maps through its state offices to reach Mexican migrants before they ever leave their hometowns.
Although the National Human Rights Commission is called a quasi-governmental agency, I don't buy it. It couldn't be more governmental if Vincente Fox, cowboy hat and all, were driving truckloads of Mexicans to the border himself. In response, the U.S. should have trucks waiting to collect them for deportation.
Sniper Rifles to Iran

Here's an ominous report dated ten days ago.

From Telegraph.co.uk:
Britain and America are furious with Austria for exporting to Iran 800 sniper rifles that could be used against their troops in Iraq.

HS50 Steyr-Mannlicher .50 calibre rifles can pierce body armour from up to a mile, shoot down helicopters and penetrate Humvee troop carriers that have not been fully reinforced.

The weapons are highly accurate and fire a round called an armour-piercing incendiary, a bullet that the Iranians manufacture.

There are fears in the Pentagon that some will reach insurgents fighting allied forces in Iraq.
Austrian officials didn't see any reason to question the deal.

Obviously, Austrian officials don't read the newspaper. The current geopolitical climate should warrant increased scrutiny of any weapons transactions involving Middle Eastern countries.

More coverage at In The Bullpen.
Anti-Nudity Law Ruled Unconstitutional

(Daytona Beach, Florida) U.S. District Judge John Antoon ruled that the anti-nudity laws of Daytona Beach violate the 1st and 14th Amendments and are, therefore, unconstitutional. The laws suppress free expression and deny equal protection, according to Antoon. City officials are considering an appeal.

I'm not sure this is a good idea. Although I haven't been to Daytona Beach recently, my recollection from years ago is that there are occasional problems with keeping the peace. In fact, over the years there have been some riots. Naked folks walking around would surely complicate the police officers' jobs.

Now, strictly from a personal perspective, I wouldn't mind planting myself in a lawn chair, after ordering up a tall cool beverage, and watch an afternoon's worth of attractive beach-goers pass by. It would be perfectly academic, mind you, and, of course, the anti-nudity custom would remain in effect for all males.

With regard to the law being unconstitutional, I'm going to guess that the ruling by Judge Antoon would be overturned by Judge Alito if he had to decide on appeal. From a 1st Amendment standpoint, it would seem that allowing nudity in a city bulging with hormonal youths would not be unlike shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

From an equal protection standpoint, it's stickier. Men and women are different, but the Constitution doesn't do a good job recognizing it. Probably the best method to address the disparity in clothing required for men versus women would default to "community standards" or some other boilerplate. What's interesting historically, though, is that the women who push the equal protection basis for clothing on the beach are typically the women one would least like to see unclothed. Frankly, many times they look better in a muumuu.

Anyway, if there is an appeal, I think Judge Antoon will be overruled.
The Horror of Saddam's Torture

Rusty Shackleford has compiled some videos and images of the torture committed by Saddam Hussein and the Baathist regime. Don't view if your sensibilities are easily offended. If, however, you think the United States military is involved in torture, by all means, take a look at Saddam's work and compare. If you're honest, you'll realize that any rhetoric which states or implies that Americans are committing the same acts is rubbish. From the source comes this warning.
These images are brutal and disturbing - they are not intended for all audiences. But for those who want to understand the evils of the Saddam regime, and especially for anyone inclined to excuse or minimize the crimes committed, these videos demonstrate that Saddam was a ruthless mass murderer and a threat to all humanity.
If you can handle the truth, take a look.
Conservatives in Canada Win

Congratulations to Stephen Harper and the conservative Tories on their election win. Harper is known as a free-marketeer who strongly supports the Bush administration. Leading the conservatives, Harper promises to clean up corruption, lower taxes, and make government smaller.
Deep Freeze in Russia

Cold Snap in Russia(Moscow) The body count is increasing from Russia's coldest winter in 25 years. Seven people died of hypothermia over the weekend resulting in a total death count of 135 since October.

From Mosnews.com:
The cold has severely strained the nation's crumbling infrastructure, with electricity use surging to record levels as towns and cities struggled to keep indoor temperatures up and Russians turned to supplementary heating sources, including electric radiators to keep warm.
In far eastern Russia, a blizzard on Kamchatka Peninsula stranded 18 people in a truck convoy for four days. Rescuers reached the snowbound drivers yesterday.

All in all, this winter has been particularly nasty in Russia and there has been occasional mention of the conditions in the news. Interestingly though, the miserable cold doesn't deter the hardline global warming cultists.

In an early morning news program I watched on Fox News yesterday, Molly Hennenberg (sp?) asked the resident weather scientist (didn't catch his name) to explain the deathly cold Russian winter. True to form, he blamed global warming. Evidently, it makes no difference whether the temperature goes up or whether it goes down, global warming caused it, dammit! And, of course, President Bush is responsible.
Ex-Teacher Gets Probation for Indecent Liberties with Student

Katherine B. Tew(Greenville, North Carolina) Former English teacher at South Central High School, Katherine B. Tew, 31, was convicted of taking indecent liberties with a student and given a prison term of six to eight months, suspended, and two years probation.

After her sex-toy student boyfriend, 17, spilled the beans last February, an investigation was launched which resulted in finding that Tew, known as "Katy" Tew, was engaging in an extended-term, passing-love-notes relationship with the boy. The nature of their relationship explained behavior that included late-night prancing in pajamas while pulling plugs from a bottle of tequila. Tew was arrested and released on $10,000 bail.

Tew denied the charges, however, she was unable to explain why her cell phone records indicated that she had talked to the boy 129 times in a two-month period when she had only talked to her husband 67 times during the same period. Tew could not refute the boy's testimony that the relationship was serious. As a result, the jury convicted her of taking indecent liberties. Tew was found not guilty of the more serious charge of having sexual relations with the student.

Judge William C. Griffin Jr. of Williamston also ordered Tew to undergo psychological evaluation and perform 36 hours of community service. Tew additionally loses her license to teach for a period of two years and will have to register as a sex offender.

It's my belief that teachers convicted of having inappropriate relationships with students should always be treated harshly. This would include some time, however minimal, behind bars. Incarceration forces a wrongdoer to reflect on his/her transgressions. In that regard, Tew skated.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Substitute Teacher Arrested for Sex with Student

(Tooele, Utah) A 29-year-old substitute teacher at Tooele High School, Cameo Patch, was arrested Friday and booked on suspicion of unlawful sexual conduct, a third-degree felony, and lewdness, a class A misdemeanor.

It's alleged that Patch met with a 16- or 17-year-old student one evening and had sex. Subsequently, the boy talked about it at school and, after a resource officer learned of the incident, police were alerted. When interviewed by police investigators, the boy acknowledged the sexual contact.

[Update 08/30/06]

Patch pleads guilty to reduced charge according to agreement with prosecution.

[Update 09/19/06]

Patch gets probation.
Brits Spying in Moscow?

(Moscow) This story is breaking world wide but little has come out of Russia.

From Reuters:
Russia's intelligence services accused British embassy officials on Monday of spying in Moscow after state television said diplomats had used a transmitter in a fake rock to secure state secrets.

"Yes. I can confirm that everything that was shown was true and based on our information," a spokesman for FSB intelligence told Reuters.

"The diplomats were shown to be involved in activities that were incompatible with their diplomatic status," he said, using diplomatic jargon to refer to spying.
The Foreign Office in London has denied the allegations. However, according to ABC News Online:
"Four British diplomats are suspected," a Federal Security Service (FSB) spokesman said. "I am not ready to give their names yet but this is all being investigated."
The FSB admitted seeing one of the diplomats near the fake rock which they thought was a dead drop. Later, they found the rock to be a high-tech receiving and transmitting communications device. One FSB officer said:
"This was absolutely new spy technology."
No doubt, designed by Q. I'm sure Ian Fleming would be proud.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Teacher Allegedly Had Sex 200 Times With Boy

(Rockland, Maine) A 33-year-old married teacher at Warren Alternative School, Amy Bramhall, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly engaging in sexual relations with a 15-year-old student.

According to court documents, teacher and student would party together with Bramhall bringing the booze and the boy providing marijuana. On one occasion, Bramhall's cuckolded husband caught the pair doing the horizontal mambo in the couple's home.

According to the court affidavit, the affair lasted nearly a year and the boy alleges he had sex with Bramhall 200 times. Ultimately, the relationship soured, only to have the boy get upset when Bramhall started dating again. The 15-year-old then alerted his father who, presumably, notified the police.

After her arrest, Bramhall was released on $200 bail with the condition that she not have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16.

[Update 12/21/06]

Bramhall sentenced.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

When I Was Your Age

A reporter at News.com noticed an extremely unintentional inside joke with Apple's closing share price today. On the very day the company officially announced its first Intel-based product, Apple's stock price closed at $80.86. If you don't get it, it's time to read up on your computer history.
From Ozguru.
Cleanup in Aisle 2!

This must have happened at a big box store.
A woman collapsed in a supermarket when her vibrating panties made her faint with pleasure.
There's more.
Eco-Terrorists Seek Bail

(Sacramento, California) Three members of the Earth Liberation Front, designated as an "eco-terrorist" movement by the FBI, were arrested last week after federal agents observed them scouting potential arson targets. It's reported that the FBI has extensive evidence supporting a case of domestic terrorism against them.

From SacBee.com:
Lauren Weiner, one of three people charged in Sacramento federal court with plotting domestic terrorism, once said, "The government blows up stuff, why can't we?" an FBI agent testified Friday. [Emphasis mine - ed.]

His testimony came at a bail hearing for the 20-year-old Weiner, who is charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring to use fire or explosives to damage property as a protest against what she perceives as an erosion of the environment in America.

After listening to nearly two hours of testimony and lawyers' arguments, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows said he hopes to rule next week on whether to grant bail.

Co-defendants Eric Taylor McDavid, 28, and Zachary O. Jenson, 20, are scheduled for bail hearings Tuesday before Hollows.
There is a real risk of flight by eco-terrorists. They operate in small secret and mobile groups that eschew any home base. Communication is esoterically conducted via the Internet. Bail should be high.

If convicted, they should be given substantive prison terms. It would allow them the opportunity to recalibrate their thinking away from destroying private and public property. Eco-terrorists have a demonstrated history of not being able lead their lives without being a danger to others.
Female Officer Accused of Sex with Juvenile

(Fresno, California) This story is about two weeks old.

From FresnoBee.com:
A former Fresno County probation officer has surrendered to police on charges of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old ward whom she met while working at Elkhorn boot camp.

Adriana Renee Rivera, 28, is free on $17,500 bail. She will be arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court on Jan. 23.

A criminal complaint charges Rivera with felony sexual intercourse with a minor and felony accessory in that she allegedly harbored and concealed the boy from authorities after he ran away from the Elkhorn facility.

Rivera also faces misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and of obstructing or delaying a peace officer.

Rivera faces up to five years and eight months in prison if convicted of all four charges, Assistant District Attorney Bob Ellis said.
The boy is described as a "gangbanger with tattoos" and Rivera claims he threatened her. Even so, it appears that Rivera is unsuited for law enforcement work.

[Update 08/20/06]

Rivera accepts plea deal.

[Update 09/20/06]

Rivera sentenced to probation.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hamas Hires Spin Doctor

With generations of Jew-hating suicide bombers as members, Hamas has been perceived as a group of fanatical murderers. This apparently conflicts with a desire to be seen as a peaceful community outreach organization. As a result, Hamas has hired a spin doctor to establish a new image among the Europeans and Americans.

From the Guardian:
The organisation, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, has hired a media consultant, Nashat Aqtash, to improve its image at home and abroad because it expects to emerge from next week's Palestinian general election as a major political force, and wants recognition and acceptance by the US and EU.

"Hamas has an image problem. The Israelis were able to create a very bad image of the Palestinians in general and particularly Muslims and Hamas. My contract is to project the right image," said Mr Aqtash, who also teaches media at Birzeit University in Ramallah.
That's it. Hamas has an image problem because it was created by the Israelis. Mr. Aqtash may have difficulty selling that notion.

Aqtash has encouraged Hamas' leaders to quit saying they want to destroy Israel and to stop celebrating suicide bombings. Unfortunately, the destruction of Israel is in the founding charter of Hamas. Take it away and there is no reason for Hamas to exist. With regard to stopping celebrations after murders, good luck. Hamas has successfully created a whole culture centered on weapons, explosives, and hatred of Jews.

Nevertheless, Mr. Aqtash will reportedly get $180,000 for his efforts. It's not clear whether he has to achieve results to get paid. On a related note, if Mr. Aqtash is getting paid to paint Hamas in a positive light, one has to wonder how much the BBC, Reuters, NYTimes, WaPo, Ass. Press and others are collecting.
Swine Program Teacher Arrested for Sex with Boy

(Orange, California) A 26-year-old teacher in the 4-H programs offered by the University of California Cooperative Extension Program, Lilian Pennington, was arrested by Orange Police Department officers for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student. The boy's parents became suspicious of Pennington and alerted the police.

According to Susan Schroeder of the Orange County DA's Office, Pennington was charged yesterday with statutory rape and oral copulation of the boy. The sex acts allegedly occurred multiple times at her home and in her car since last July. Pennington pleaded not guilty to the charges before Orange County Superior Court Judge David Hoffer. Bail was set at $100,000. If convicted, Pennington could face five years in prison.

Pennington was the 4-H Club "Market Swine Project" leader and the extra-curricular activities director for children between the ages of 6 and 18. Deputy District Attorney Heidi Garrel stated that Pennington met the boy when he was 12 and began a 'romantic relationship' with him when he was 15.

To be tasteless, one might render that there was foul husbandry in the swine project.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Father Arrested in Deaths of Twin Daughters

(Matthews, North Carolina) This story is an example of evil and it's sickening. I can't stop the sadness I feel.

From News14Charlotte.com:
Two twin girls were stabbed to death Friday at their home on Creek Pointe Drive, police said.

The father of the 5-year-olds, David Lauren Crespi, has been charged with murdering them.

Medic reported that Crespi, 45, called 911 at 12:45 p.m., saying he fatally stabbed his daughters. He also threatened to kill himself, Medic said.

When police arrived at the scene, Crespi was waiting for them outside the home. The children were inside, and there was nothing paramedics could do to save them.
So, while many of us were having lunch today, David Crespi apparently stabbed his little girls.
"We're not anywhere where we can talk about a motive in this, or any reasons why someone would take the lives of two little girls," said Keith Bridges, a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

[ ... ]

"I can't describe to you how horrific this is and how sad," he said. "It has been a toll on the police officers who were the first on the scene and got control of it."
The twins' mother and three older siblings were not at home when the murders occurred. They are currently being counseled by chaplains at police headquarters. Crespi is an executive for Wachovia.
Nasty Comments Shut Down WAPO Blog

It's always entertaining when the mainstream media (MSM) gets puckered by the real world. In this case, it's the Washington Post.

From Editor and Publisher:
Jim Brady, executive editor of The Washington Post's Web site, who took down a popular reader blog Thursday after it overflowed with harsh messages about Ombudsman Deborah Howell, said the blog would likely return in the future. But, he said the Web site would have to find some better screening technology to filter out obscenities.

"We got about 1,000 posts and at least 150 to 200 were using either profanity, hate speech or personal attacks," Brady said about the responses to Howell's controversial column last Sunday, in which she stated that indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to both political parties, when most research shows he only gave directly to Republicans.

Brady said the comments forced his staff to spend hours time reviewing the responses and tossing out those that were unusable for the blog. "We don't allow profanity or name-calling and we need to figure out a way to keep it clean," he told E&P late Thursday. "It was a real burden."
Brady is trying to figure out how to solve the problem. In the meantime, he feels like he's being picked on.
[I] t is a little frustrating to be accused of not taking criticism when I think we did a good job of that," he said.
Sniff ...

Companion post at Diggers Realm.
Jawa Nabs Jihadist

Congratulations to Dr. Rusty Shackleford!

Through his efforts at The Jawa Report, the FBI was alerted to jihadist Mohammed Radwan Obeid, a Jordanian-born American living in Dayton, Ohio. Obeid was attempting to form a terror cell to conduct "a big operation that will make 9/11 nothing but a little bit of headache." The FBI arrested Obeid and charged him with immigration violations and, later, for lying to federal investigators. Notably, the FBI case against Obeid necessitated the use of evidence gleaned from public library records as provided for by the Patriot Act.

Read Blogoversary Surprise and raise a toast to Dr. Shackleford.
Latinos Shut Out on Free Credit Reports

An unintended consequence of the government requiring each credit bureau to provide Americans with one free credit report each year is that the credit bureaus communicate in the English language. Not all Americans do. Consequently, if a person doesn't speak English, navigation through the website, Annual Credit Report, is impossible.

From KansasCity.com:
Consumers Union said it is getting calls from Latinos in the United States and in Puerto Rico asking for translation assistance to navigate the new Web site where Americans can get a free annual credit report.

The consumer organization, which publishes Consumer Reports, is asking the three big credit bureaus that operate the Web site to voluntarily make this information available in a bilingual format.
The credit agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, are not required to be bilingual so the consumer organizations are starting to apply pressure. So far, letters have been drafted to request the change. If they don't get results, I expect the consumer advocates won't stop there. Ultimately, some politician will probably get involved and pressure the system to change.

I wonder if other non-English-speaking segments of the population will demand the same concessions? There are people who speak Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Portuguese and other languages in the U.S. also. They would probably like to see their credit reports.
Teacher Gets No Jail for Lesbian Sex with Student

Amy_Gail_Lilley(Lecanto, Florida) Updating a previous report, 36-year-old teacher and coach at Lecanto High School, Amy Gail Lilley, was arrested last November for engaging in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student. Subsequently, Lilley resigned her teaching position.

Yesterday, as part of a plea agreement, Lilley pleaded no contest to a charge of lewd and lascivious battery of a child under 16 and was sentenced to two years house arrest and eight years probation. Terms of the probation require Lilley to permanently surrender her teaching certificate and to undergo counseling as a sexual offender. Lilley could have received up to 15 years in prison.

From FirstCoastNews.com:
Circuit Judge Ric Howard agreed to what he called a significantly reduced sentenced based on statements from Assistant State Attorney Rich Buxman and Lilley's attorney, Michael Blackstone.
Judge Howard also prohibited Lilley from having any contact with the victim. Oddly, it appears that Judge Howard will not require her to register as a sex offender.

It's worth noting that Lilley is the divorced mother of two and possibly the judge took that into consideration when he decided that she would get no jail. After all, who would take care of the kids? I can understand ... somewhat.

But I can also understand that Lilley is a 36-year-old college-educated woman, previously married, with kids, teaching and coaching for at least a decade, who had a sexual relationship with one of her students. She committed a serious felony. She should have known better. Much better.

This is not a May - December love story. Lilley was an adult in a position of authority who molested a young girl. Lilley should have been sentenced to some time behind bars, maybe not 15 years, but something. She should also be required to register as a sex offender.

In closing, I'll beat a dead horse. What would have been the sentence had a 36-year-old male teacher molested a 15-year-old girl? No jail? I think not.

Companion post at Conservative Thinking.
Teacher Winkis Faces Multiple Child-Sex Charges

(York County, Pennsylvania) Updating a previous report, 30-year-old female English teacher at Central York High School, Robin Winkis, resigned her position as an employee of the school district, effective December 21. The school board voted to accept her resignation on Monday.

On Tuesday, Winkis waived her preliminary hearing before District Justice Barbara Nixon. Winkis is scheduled to enter her pleas to multiple charges on February 17 in York County Common Pleas Court. She currently faces ten misdemeanor and four felony counts related to corruption of a minor and child sex abuse.

Hat tip: Jason Cann

[Update 04/06/06]

Winkis pleads guilty.

[Update 07/19/06]

Winkis sentenced to prison.
Health Plan Requires Sex Pledge

Homosexual partners or just roommates? Take the pledge.

From Gainesville.com:
University of Florida employees have to pledge that they're having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university.

The partners of homosexual and heterosexual employees are eligible for coverage under UF's plan, which will take effect in February. The enrollment process began this month, and some employees have expressed concern about an affidavit that requires a pledge of sexual activity.
Some people believe that pledging to an active homosexual relationship "could potentially bar an individual from participation in organizations like the Boy Scouts or the military."

I guess having to sign an affidavit that one is a homosexual inhibits future mendacity.
Cleveland Named America's Smartest City

Yeah, I couldn't believe it either. But, apparently, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a New York think tank, chose Cleveland among seven finalists globally for the Intelligent Community of the Year Award. No other American city was among the finalists.

The ICF chooses the cities based on the prevalence of high-speed Internet service. The winner will be chosen at a June conference.

This shows how nutty the world is. Last I checked, Cleveland has a school dropout rate hovering around 50 percent.

Even so, WOO-HOO! Hurrah for the home team!

Linked to Samantha Burns.

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