Monday, December 31, 2007

Women With Troubles - December 2007

Reported in the news during December 2007, here is the compilation of women with troubles. Each name is linked to a blog entry displaying details. For a more comprehensive listing, check the Women With Troubles category link.
(AL) Sharon Linton Rutherford, 32,
teacher - Gets 3 years prison for sex with male student. Awaits trial on murder-for-hire charge,

(AL) Stacey Robinson Weir,
teacher - Arrested for drug possession,

(AR) Jennifer Cisco, 30,
school nurse - Arrested for sex with male students,

(AR) Melinda Haas, 48,
teacher, bus driver - Arrested for selling liquid morphine and Xanax,

(AZ) Gay Lyn Turley, 42,
teacher, coach - Charged with sexual contact with minor girl, 16,

(CA) Jessica Ashley Kahal, 22,
teacher - Guilty of sex with male student, 17. Sentencing in Feb.,

(CA) Rita Sativa Kraft, 21,
neighbor - Charged with attempted murder for throwing baby son off balcony,

(CA) Larissa Schuster, 47,
biochemist - Guilty of murdering husband in barrel of acid. Sentencing set for Jan. 16,

(CO) Darcie Esson, 33,
teacher - Gets 90 days in jail for sex with male student, 17,

(CT) Sandrama Lamy, 33,
neighbor - Charged with sex assault of mall Santa, 65,

(FL) Angie Michelle Hawkins, 31,
neighbor - Accused of child neglect for leaving kids home alone,

(FL) Debra Lafave, 27,
former teacher - Arrested for violating probation,

(FL) Eunice Lopez, 26,
neighbor - Arrested for marrying 10 men in five years,

(FL) Jaymee Wallace, 30,
teacher, coach - Gets 3 years prison for sex with girl, 14,

(GA) Kaniz Fatema Jahid, 45,
babysitter - Gets 10 years prison for shaking toddler, 2, causing brain damage,

(GA) Madonna A. Whitus, 42,
live-in caregiver - Charged with murder of woman she was caring for,

(IN) Johana Marie Kalinowicz, 31,
neighbor - Gets 10 years prison for sex with boy, 14,

(KS) Tabitha Adams, 35,
teacher - Arrested for sexual exploitation of young girl,

(KS) Whitney L. Goracke, 21,
preschool aide - Arrested for sex with boy, 15,

(KS) Meredith L. Kane, 24,
teacher - Gets 59 months in prison for sex with male student, 15,

(KY) Jeni Lee Dinkel,
neighbor - Released from jail after completing 60-day sentence for rape of boy,

(KY) Christy Michelle McCartt, 25,
teacher's aide - Accused of sex with two male students, 16 and 17,

(KY) Crystal Wells, 33,
teacher - Indicted for rape of male student, 15,

(ME) Jessica Bowring, 25,
neighbor - Faces new charges of sex with boy,

(MN) Kellie Ann Lundon-Cormican, 38,
teacher - Accused of sex with boy, 14,

(MO) Sherri Lohnstein, 34,
neighbor - Guilty of manslaughter for killing her baby. Sentenced to treatment for hooch addiction,

(MS) Edna Mae Sanders, 47,
neighbor - Charged with murdering husband with boiling oil,

(NC) Kerry L. Balentine,
psychiatrist - License suspended for allegedly giving sex and drugs to patient,

(NJ) Celeste Adamski, 27,
teacher - Sentenced to probation for mixing it up with four male students,

(NJ) Pamela Balogh, 40,
PE teacher, coach - Guilty of sex assault of girl, 15. No sentencing date set,

(NJ) Mary J. Kaminski, 54,
teacher - Arrested after being caught drinking and hammered in class,

(NJ) Christine Sigall, 32,
neighbor mom, 2 kids - Charged with sex assault of boy, 13,

(NV) Brittany Baxter-Stuchell, 19,
preschool teacher - Arrested for trafficking in cocaine,

(NV) Joanna Marie Plants, 18,
neighbor - Sentenced to life in prison for murder of stepmother,

(NY) Maria A. Conklin-Matthie, 40,
neighbor mom - Gets 30 days in jail for allowing a woman to have sex with her son,

(NY) Caryn A. Consilio, 29,
neighbor - Charged with animal cruelty for killing husband's dog,

(NY) Dena Greene, 36,
neighbor mom-of-three - Guilty of sex with boy, 15. Sentencing in Feb. 2008,

(NY) Christel C. Gravlin, 33,
teacher - Charged with rape of boy, 15,

(NY) Deborah Knauber, 44,
nurse, Sunday school teacher - Gets 1 to 3 years prison for rape of foster son, 13,

(OK) Crystal Dawn Outlaw, 27,
neighbor - Charged with sex assault of girl, 13,

(OR) Jan Elizabeth Gleaves, 39,
teacher - Arrested for having sex with and giving liquor to school boys,

(OR) Jasmine Nguyen, 30,
youth counselor - Indicted for rape of boy, 15,

(PA) Patricia J. Gamber, 37,
neighbor - Caught by police in the act with boy, 15,

(PA) Chytoria Graham, 28,
mother, 5 kids - Gets 5 to 10 years prison for swinging her 4-month-old baby like baseball bat and fracturing his skull,

(PA) Dawn Herb,
neighbor - Charged with disorderly conduct for cussing at her toilet,

(PA) Tina Martinez, 42,
counselor - Ordered to register as a sex offender for sex assault of inmate,

(SC) Jenny Lynn Davis, 29,
neighbor - Charged with illegal sex with deaf boy,

(SC) Tippy Retana, 37,
neighbor - Charged with murdering boyfriend for snoring,

(SD) Michelle Alexander, 47,
neighbor - Guilty of sex with boy, 15. Sentencing on Jan. 7,

(TN) Katie D. Fults, 18,
neighbor - Accused of sex with boy, 12,

(UT) Amber Childs, 31,
neighbor - Gets 30-days for probation violation after hand slap for sex abuse of boy, 5,

(WI) Sara M. Schneider, 28,
neighbor - Arrested for soliciting boy, 15, over Internet,

(WV) Lana Jo Rinehart, 28,
teacher - Gets hand slap for sex with boy, 13.
As always, thanks to the readers and the tipsters.
Russian Rat Shortage

(Moscow, Russia) With President Putin clamping down on the political system in Russia, one would think that there is no way that there would be a shortage of rats.
Moscow pet shops are reporting a run on rats, as keen astrologically-minded Russians snap them up ahead of the New Year, which is the Chinese Year of the Rat, Interfax news agency reported.

Desperate shoppers are even resorting to buying mice, hamsters or gerbils in lieu of a real, domestic rat, according to one shop in the capital.

Chinese astrology is closely followed in Russia, which shares a long border with China, and where many newspapers deliver daily horoscopes - and advice on how to care for new pet rats given as presents on December 31.
New Fertilizer Law in Florida

Effective January 1, there is a new law governing fertilizer in the state of Florida, but full compliance is not required for 18 months. As a result, the new law won't have an appreciable impact on the 2008 elections. Voters can expect the same old fertilizer from the candidates.

Oh, wait a minute. Now I see that the new law addresses fertilizer used on lawns. My mistake.

By the way, the new law says fertilizer producers have to dilute their products, put labels on, blah, blah blah. So, this means everyone will have to fork over more money to buy more fertilizer for the same result.
Burglars Party Before Capture

(Kitchener, Ontario) After completing a job, two burglars were confronted by police as they were leaving the residence. Immediately, they raced back inside and barricaded themselves. Then,
Surrounded and with a trip to jail looking inevitable, police say the two men decided to help themselves to the home owner's liquor.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Thaler says they started drinking when they saw they were trapped and "were pretty inebriated by the time we got them out."
"Er, what's the officer, problem?"
Fake Sugar Embarrasses EU

(Gaza Strip) It seems that terrorists are disguising their explosives shipments as sacks of sugar from the European Union.

Expressing condemnation, EU diplomats have voiced an official "Harumph!"
"We condemn any abuse of humanitarian aid for non-humanitarian purposes, and those who commit such acts do so to the detriment of the Palestinians," an EU diplomatic official said.

"If this was an attempt to misuse the name of the EU or European Commission it would be an isolated criminal act and we condemn it," the official said. "But this criminal act cannot put into question the efforts by the EU to provide aid that is vital for the most vulnerable Palestinians."

The IDF released a statement Saturday saying a truck carrying 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate, a substance banned because it is used to manufacture explosives and Kassam rockets, was caught at one of the crossing points in Judea and Samaria. The statement said the potassium nitrate was disguised in sugar bags marked as being part of the humanitarian aid provided by the EU.
Frankly, I don't think that anyone should be surprised to learn that the terrorists are a bunch of sneaky bastards.
Is the Music Industry Overreaching?

Sit down for this.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) "maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer."

Stretching? I think so. And somehow I can't get the thought out of my mind that the recording industry is researching a way to extract royalties from people who sing in the shower.
State-Run Health Program in Jeopardy

(Phoenix, Arizona) The state-run Arizona Healthcare Group subsidizes the health care costs of tens of thousands of people with large infusions of taxpayer funds despite its intended goal of being self-sustaining on premium payments.

The program insures everyone for similar costs regardless of any pre-existing conditions. As a result, the number of seriously sick people signing up far outnumber the healthy people and costs have soared. Jeez, imagine that.

From AZCentral:
"I think the intention was noble," said Rep. Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, who co-chairs a legislative committee investigating problems with the program. Adams wants to scrap Healthcare Group in favor of a program for the state's sickest, uninsurable residents. "What they were trying to accomplish was correct, but it failed."
Interestingly, the comment thread accompanying the article largely blames anchor babies and the Iraq war for the failure of the government-run health care program. Obviously, the commenters have issues.

However, the reason the Healthcare Group is failing to achieve its goal is simple. In every socialized medical scheme where the government promises to give everything to everybody, sooner or later it's realized that the government has only a finite capacity to give whereas the capacity to want is infinite.

So, the government depletes its resources to give while the people continue to want and the net result is rationing, typically by extraordinary waiting times or the blanket denial of selected health services. In the case of Arizona, it appears that the Healthcare Group scheme is to be scrapped for a new and improved scheme.

Companion post at socglory.
But of course! It's Bush's fault!

Bush Derangement syndrome strikes again

"Just as the dictator was allowed to neglect the task of tracking down Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida operatives within his country, just as he was given a pass when Pakistani officials shared nuclear secrets and technologies with rogue states, just as he was allowed to thwart democratic initiatives in his country and the region, Musharraf never faced a serious demand from the Bush administration to protect Bhutto. And in the absence of that demand from the government that props him up as what Bush once referred to as "our guy," Musharraf - who has survived many assassination attempts himself - failed to take the steps necessary to save Bhutto or to foster democratic processes. The Bush administration failed Benazir Bhutto and now she is dead. With her died the prospects of stability and democracy"

More here

Posted by John Ray

Sunday, December 30, 2007

British Catholic Schools Under Fire

(London, England) Teaching the fundamentals of Roman Catholicism in Catholic schools in northwest England has riled anti-religious groups. As a result, Catholic bishops are being summoned to appear before government authorities.

From The Observer:
Roman Catholic bishops are to appear in front of a powerful committee of MPs amid fears that they are pushing a fundamentalist brand of their religion in schools. Bishops have called on parents, teachers and priests to strengthen the role of religion in education.
The bishops have been accused of trying to indoctrinate students which, according to Keith Porteous of the National Secular Society, is contrary to the goal of providing a well-rounded education in British schools.
"I do not think the state should be funding Catholic indoctrination," Porteous said.
In summary, there appears to be entirely too much Catholic teaching going on in Britain and the government wants answers.

Fortunately, there's no news of other religious groups indoctrinating British youngsters in fundamentalist philosophy. Only Catholic youths are being stuffed full of dangerous thoughts.


Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Man Auctions Snowbank on eBay for $3,550

(Montreal, Quebec) On December 18, Michel Levesque put his front yard snowbank up for sale on eBay with a starting bid of 99 cents. When bidding closed and a deal was stuck, Claude Fraser of Longueuil, Quebec, agreed to pay $3,550 for the snowbank.

Levesque plans to give the proceeds to charity.

For those who have never seen a pile of snow, there's a pic at the link.
California Schoolchildren to Decide Their Own Sex

The lawmakers in Sacramento have apparently decided that California schools have achieved such stellar academic results that now is the time to use them for radical social experimentation.

From NCTimes:
Forget everything you learned in kindergarten about the difference between boys and girls. According to Gov. Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature, schoolchildren can now choose their own sex.

I'm not talking about choosing "sexual behavior or sexual preferences." Kids are going to be taught that they have the right to completely ignore their physical anatomy and choose the status of being "male" or "female." [ ... ]

In October, California Senate Bill 777 was signed into law. Senate Bill 777 eliminates Education Code 212, which currently defines "sex" as "the biological condition or quality of being a male or female human being." And worse yet, SB 777 redefines the term "gender" for all schoolchildren by adding Education Code 210.7, which will read: "'Gender' means sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth." In short, this redefinition of gender states that you are what you choose to be regardless of your anatomical make-up.

SB 777 also uses this redefinition of gender to forbid educators from discriminating against any individual employee, student or other person based upon that individual's unspoken claim of being male or female, regardless of his or her actual sex.
And then there's this:
The Los Angeles Unified School District has already adopted policies allowing boys to use girls' restrooms and locker rooms ---- and vice versa! You can read LAUSD's Reference Guide 1557 on the district's Web site.

It even tells teachers they need to refer to students using the student's preferred pronoun. And of course, it prohibits the teachers from disclosing a student's chosen gender to the student's parents.
Given a choice, I'm not conflicted as to which pronoun I'd prefer, however, the scamp in me wants to say ,"First choice, call me Who and I'll play first base. Second choice, make it What and put me at second base."

Levity aside, the legislation is a serious attempt to blur the lines between male and female and thereby attack the cultural institutions of America through redefinition. The delineation of sex on a birth certificate becomes meaningless as society waits until children grow old enough to voice a pronoun of preference.

Intentionally breaking down and eliminating the enduring cultural, legal and biological norms in society regarding males and females is obviously special interest agenda-driven. Anyone care to guess which group's agenda is behind SB777, Education Code 210.7 and LAUSD's Reference Guide 1557?

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Those Hurtful Christmas Wishes again

We read:

"In Central Florida, like so many other places in our politically correct nation, it's become upsetting to wish people a Merry Christmas. It hurts their feelings, and we wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. That's not the Christmas way.

An employee in my father's company was reprimanded for sending an email addressed to everyone in the office address book. The email not only contained the feeling-hurting "Merry Christmas" but a short Bible verse as well.

Apparently many feelings were in fact hurt by this insensitive email. How dare someone wish another person a Merry Christmas or use such profane language as "God" or "Baby Jesus."

So now "Merry Christmas" is out, and "Happy Holidays" is in. And so far, no one's feelings have been brutally disregarded or violently hurt. I know I'll sleep much sounder knowing that my ignorant wishes of happiness and joy to my fellow man will not be the cause of any intolerance or pain.


A bit of healthy sarcasm at the end there.

Posted by John Ray

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Woman Jailed for Throwing Son Off Balcony

(Santa Cruz County, California) A 21-year-old mother, Rita Sativa Kraft, is in the county jail awaiting formal arraignment on charges of attempted murder and inflicting injury on a child under the age of five.

Kraft is accused of throwing her 18-month-old son, Connor, off of a 21-foot balcony last September. Connor suffered multiple skull and facial fractures.
The boy, who suffered significant brain trauma, was unconscious and not breathing after landing on the packed dirt below the balcony.

He was resuscitated by a housemate who had medical training, then airlifted to a trauma center over the hill.

The child has since been released from the hospital into his father's custody. Doctors say it may be some time before the full extent of his brain injuries are known.
The incident was initially thought to be an accident but, in October, Kraft confessed to her counselor that she threw the boy off the balcony and the counselor alerted the police. As a result, Kraft was arrested.

This week, Kraft waived her right to a preliminary hearing, saying it would be too emotional for her. Kraft remains in jail with her arraignment scheduled for January 14.

Defense attorney Jon Minsloff indicated that Kraft suffers from postpartum depression and has a history of mental illness in her family.
South Carolina Town Official Arrested

(Atlantic Beach, South Carolina) A 58-year-old town councilwoman, Retha Pierce Sturdivant, was arrested on Christmas night near Myrtle Beach for allegedly driving erratically and causing other drivers to do the same to avoid collisions.

According to the arresting officer, Robert Dale, Sturdivant tried to flee and ignored commands to stop. She faces charges of reckless driving, resisting arrest and failure to signal.
Sturdivant disputes swerving and that she was trying to run. She said she quickly got out of her van to try to make it to a nearby hotel bathroom.

"He hollered something really harshly. I said, 'I'm about to wet my clothes.' The next thing I knew, he slinged me across the car real hard," she said.

Sturdivant, who was elected mayor by one vote last month, said she has a bladder problem.

"He actually hurt me when he pushed me up against the car. He jerked my arm behind me and put handcuffs on me too tight," she said. "It was turmoil and agony and confusion."

Horry County police have started an internal investigation, said Deputy Chief David Beaty. "She made some strong allegations against the officer," he said.
Sturdivant's mayoral victory is being challenged and town officials have ordered a new election. It's not known whether she will fight the criminal charges.

[Update 01/27/08]

Judge Bradley Mayers found Sturdivant guilty of two charges. She was sentenced to pay a fine of $375 or serve 30 days in jail for reckless driving, and to pay $150 or serve five days in jail for using an improper signal.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
Topless Woman Used in Sting Operation

(Columbus, Ohio) Police in Columbus have been conducting a "sting" operation in the city's parks targeting public indecency.

Some people are opposed to the stings, considering them to be "dangerously close to entrapment." In my opinion, the operation appears more like a bait, cajole and snare ploy than a sting.

From ABC News:
Robin Garrison, an off-duty 42-year-old firefighter, was walking in Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio, in May when he saw a woman sunbathing topless under a tree.

He approached her and they started talking and getting comfortable, the woman smiling and resting her foot on his shoulder at one point.

Eventually, she asked to see Garrison's penis; he unzipped his pants and complied.

Seconds later, undercover police officers pulled up in a van and arrested Garrison; he was later charged with public indecency, a misdemeanor, based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park.

While topless sunbathing is legal in the city's parks, exposing more than that is against the law.
Jeez, it seems that just about any guy who is on the smart-alecky side of thinking things through would get caught. Hell, starting in grade school, I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours has been a popular boy-girl game. Not only that but she asked! The guy was simply being a gentleman by honoring the lady's request. Chivalry has been rewarded with handcuffs.

Without knowing the local laws and all the details of the sting operation, I'm not sure it isn't entrapment. But I'm leaning in the direction that it is. Readers may disagree.

Tip: slwlion
Learning to Read by Empowerment and Self-Esteem

(Nogales, Arizona) According to Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS), a standards-based test, student performance caused the local Wade Carpenter Middle School to be ranked as "under-performing" by the Arizona Department of Education.

Wade Carpenter Principal Lisa Montiel indicated that eighth-grade reading scores are a weakness that dragged down the AIMS results.

To improve the situation, Montiel has placed more emphasis on reading. Also,
All the teachers are working to empower their students and improve their self-esteem, Montiel said.
Montiel believes that creating a "long-lasting, positive environment" will result in higher test scores.

Call me uninformed, but I don't understand the relationship between empowerment and reading nor self-esteem and reading. Logically, one would think that the way to improve reading scores is to teach the students how to read.

Of course, one must ask what happens to those students who never learn to read but become empowered and acquire high self-esteem?
Benazir in perspective

The mainstream press is tending to eulogize the tragically assassinated Benazir Bhutto but lots of conservative blogs are pointing out the reservations that should be borne in mind about her. She was the socialist heir to a socialist dynasty and would almost certainly have done more harm than good if she had regained power in Pakistan. Ralph Peters is, as usual, the most acerbic in his comments.

Posted by John Ray

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Accidents After Driver Education Course

(Toronto, Ontario) According to an audit by the Transportation Ministry, driver education courses and instructors are substandard in Ontario. Apparently, people completing driver education programs are less capable drivers than those who never attend a course.

One problem identified is that driver education instructors are statistically worse drivers than the general public.
Auditor General Jim McCarter found that 360 of Ontario's 5,500 instructors have demerit points for driving infractions.

That's a rate of 6.5 per cent, well above the 1.4 per cent rate for the motoring public.
Actions are planned to assure better-qualified instructors are employed. Details were not disclosed.
The ministry will also regulate all beginner driver education courses in the wake of an alarming auditor's finding that new drivers who took the courses were more likely to be involved in collisions than those who did not.
This is the first study I've heard of regarding the effectiveness of driver education programs. Since licensing and insurance rates are often tied to completion of such courses, it would seem prudent to verify by some measure that all programs are effective.

Maybe there's a need for No Driver Left Accident-Prone legislation. Of course, it would be comical to have instances of drivers asking their insurance companies for a discount because they didn't complete driver education.

Companion post at EWI.
Sheriff Arpaio Stumps for Romney

(Des Moines, Iowa) One must wonder if Sheriff Arpaio's enduring battle with Sen. McCain (R-AZ) influenced his decision to assertively support Romney.

From The Arizona Republic:
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio stumped for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday in this crucial presidential state, burnishing his own national anti-illegal-immigration credentials while subtly sticking it to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Arpaio, who has long feuded with McCain, is Romney's honorary Arizona chairman and was invited to Iowa by the campaign, which paid for the trip. Next Thursday, Iowa will hold Republican and Democratic caucuses that mark the official start of the races for the 2008 party nominations.

"He's a great guy and going to be the next president," Arpaio said of Romney, now locked in an increasingly bitter battle with McCain in New Hampshire, which hosts the nation's first primary five days after the Iowa caucuses. "He's a great organizer, great businessman. Has a great team. Believes in my philosophy that you can't know everything, so he surrounds himself with good people. That's what he did in Massachusetts."
Frankly, a great businessman doesn't necessarily make a good leader so I disagree with Arpaio. After all, Warren Buffett is a good businessman and he wants to see taxes raised.
Man Snores, Woman Fatally Shoots Him

(Bishopville, South Carolina) A 37-year-old local mother, Tippy Retana, was arrested yesterday for fatally shooting her boyfriend, 30-year-old Kenneth Wilson. Wilson's body was found Christmas morning.

According to Lee County Sheriff's Capt. J.D. Dillinger, investigators were frustrated for two days by a lack of evidence before Retana confessed.
"She indicated that this had been an ongoing domestic situation that just kept going until it just escalated to this tragic event on Christmas morning," Dillinger said.

In a written confession, she told deputies that at about one that morning, she put both the baby and her teenaged son in the car, went back in the house and shot Wilson three times. Originally, though, she said she left the house because Wilson was snoring.

"She was just fearful and didn't know what to do and she took her kids and left and went back to her mother's and just thought and worried about what she was going to do and somewhere along the line that story came up, and she tried to stick with it," Dillinger explained.
Since he was snoring, it appears that Wilson was asleep when Retana plugged him with three shots.

This situation reminds me of the Mary Winkler case. Wait until the old man goes to sleep, then shoot him. Mary Winkler walked away from a homicide with a virtual hand slap. Boy, I sure hope we're not seeing a fashion trend in judicial rulings.

A thorough prosecutorial examination of Retana's thinking would find how much she relied upon the Winkler verdict as she intentionally blasted Wilson's sleeping body with lead.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy

[Update 01/14/08]

Retana's bond set Friday at $100,000.
Gay Pedophile Gets 18 Years

(Northern Ireland) In September 2007, two male homosexual lovers were convicted in Reading Crown Court of molesting a young boy, starting when he was an infant and lasting until he was four and one-half years old.

Former soldier Alan Howitt (pictured), 39, and mannequin-dresser James Rae, 34, persuaded a female friend to allow them to babysit her son. The men were found guilty of repeated sex crimes against the boy.
The depraved pair, from Ridgeborough Court in Castle Hill, Central Reading, took it in turns to perform sex acts on the child with Howitt also forcing the boy to do the same to him, the court heard.

The court earlier heard Howitt and Rae had known the boy's mother for several years and may have begun the abuse when the child was just six months old.

Speaking about her son, now aged eight, the mother added: "He is a happy little boy and has been doing very well at school. 

"He is pleased they are not going to come out for a long time and they are never going to hurt him again.

"I thought it may have affected him but it is difficult to know if that will change as he grows up and I am scared and frightened of childcare and leaving him and his brother with anyone.

"I am so relieved that at last it is over. It has taken over three years for this case to be tried and come to sentence and has been so hard on all the family. You see this kind of thing in the news but you never think it will happen to your family. I often wonder why this happened to my child."

Judge Christopher Critchlow sentenced Howitt to a minimum of 18 years for seven counts of indecent assault, sexual assault by penetration, sexual assault on a child and perjury along with six counts in relation to the making, possessing and distributing of indecent images.
Rae was sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier this year after admitting to videotaping Howitt abusing the boy as he simulated sex with the four-year-old and performed a sex act off-camera.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Counselor Ordered to Register as Sex Offender

(Greensburg, Pennsylvania) In September 2007, a drug counselor at the Greensburg State Prison, Tina Martinez, was sentenced to probation for a conviction of institutional sexual assault. A jury found Martinez guilty of gobbling the goose of a convicted murderer during a therapy session.

Earlier this month, a judge added Megan's Law provisions to Martinez's sentence. The 42-year-old former counselor will now have to register as a sex offender for a period of ten years.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
Duct Tape Rapist Sentenced

(Chambersburg, Pennsylvania) A 36-year-old man, Pov Srun, was sentenced by Franklin County Judge John R. Walker to 34 years in prison yesterday for the kidnapping and rape of two women.

A stunned Srun, already serving a 35-year term in Maryland for similar crimes, called the sentence "way too harsh" and stated, "If I didn't know any better you would think I killed two people."
Srun forced his way into the Jeep of a 16-year-old Smithsburg girl in a Kmart parking lot in Waynesboro on Sept. 16, 2004, drove her to a different site and assaulted her. Twelve days later, the same thing happened to a 20-year-old woman who was abducted from a supermarket parking lot in Chambersburg, police said.

Srun, who police said used duct tape or a ski mask to disguise himself, was convicted of the attacks in October.

His wife asked Walker for leniency, saying her husband was molested as a young boy, and that she had also physically and mentally abused him. She said her husband was in the parking lots searching for her on the days of both Pennsylvania attacks.

"Well, by golly, he should have looked longer," the judge replied.
Srun will serve his 34 years in Pennsylvania after completing his 35 years in Maryland.
Yugo Up For Grabs

(Belgrade, Serbia) The only carmaker in Serbia, Zastava, produced 15,000 Yugos last year which is much less than the designed production capacity of 60,000 Yugos a year. Consequently, the company is looking for a buyer.

In an advertisement published in the Politika daily, Serbia's Privatization Agency said nearly 90 percent of the company's shares will be sold in April.
Venture capitalists with a few extra farthings may want to consider investing in the Yugo. Already, two major international companies (not named) have expressed interest.
Man Arrested for Rape of 70-Year-Old Woman

(Mansfield, Ohio) A 48-year-old ex-convict, William Bounds, was arrested on Christmas Eve for allegedly raping and robbing a 70-year-old woman at knifepoint.

The rape allegedly occurred last week (Dec. 19) at the woman's apartment.

According to Mansfield Police Capt. Marijan Grogoza, officers have been single-minded about catching Bounds.
"Afternoon watch got tips about his whereabouts, but they couldn't catch up with him," she said. "Every time we got close, he'd be gone. Night watch finally got an anonymous tip that led them to him. We are so glad that we got this guy and locked him up. Merry Christmas, Mansfield, from the patrol bureau."

Grogoza said officers chased Bounds all day Sunday.

"We almost got him on Greenlawn (Avenue) that day. Our dogs tracked him, but he was gone when we got there," she said. "Our shifts really wanted this guy, but he was pretty difficult to find. We appreciate the citizens who helped put him behind bars."

Grogoza said Bounds also was caught with a bag of marijuana.

Lt. John Wendling said that during the attack, Bounds allegedly had a knife and threatened to kill the woman.
Bounds previously served 21 years in a Massachusetts prison for rape. He now faces rape and burglary charges.

One might conclude that Bounds wasn't properly rehabilitated during his 21 years in prison.
Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

(Rawalpindi, Pakistan) At the close of a planned political rally, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was shot and killed.

Reports are sketchy and conflicting, however, it's believed that Bhutto was shot several times just prior to a suicide bomber detonated himself.

From Hindustan Times:
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, her party said.

"She has been martyred," said party official Rehman Malik.

Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up.

"The man first fired at Bhutto's vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up," said police officer Mohammad Shahid.
Bhutto was reported to have been shot as many as five times, including in the neck and the head. Upwards of dozens of people were killed and injured in the bomb blast.

Anti-democracy elements in and near the government are being blamed although no suspects have been named thus far. Bhutto was a friend of the West and regularly received death threats from Taliban and al-Qaeda supporters. There have been previous attempts at her life.

According to Wasif Ali Khan of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, the 54-year-old leader died at 6:16 p.m. local time. Bhutto is survived by her husband Asif Ali Zardari and two children.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tsunami aid money spent on Leftist politics

I give a lot of money away but I almost always give it direct to the intended beneficiary. The story below is one of many which shows why. Even though I am a former registered dog breeder, I do NOT intend to remember the local dog's home (RSPCA) in my will for fear that the money could fall into the hands of "animal lib" fanatics.

I used to donate to World Vision until they came out with one-sided criticisms of Israel. I tried to donate to World Vision on condition that the money go to a needy Jewish child in Israel but they would not take my money under such conditions. Because of her huge military burdens, Israel is still in many ways a poor country so there are many needy Jewish families there. I am afraid that ALL the well-known "aid" organizations must be regarded as very dubious conduits for actual aid. There are however Jewish charities which aim to help poor Israeli families and my negative remarks must not be taken as applying to them.

THREE years after Australians donated $400 million to rebuild Asian lives devastated by the 2004 tsunami, aid groups are under attack for spending much of the money on social and political engineering. A survey by The Australian of the contributions by non-government organisations to the relief effort found the donations had been spent on politically correct projects promoting left-wing Western values over traditional Asian culture.

The activities - listed as tsunami relief - include a "travelling Oxfam gender justice show" in Indonesia to change rural male attitudes towards women. Another Oxfam project, reminiscent of the ACTU's Your Rights at Work campaign, instructs Thai workers in Australian-style industrial activism and encourages them to set up trade unions.

A World Vision tsunami relief project in the Indonesian province of Aceh includes a lobbying campaign to advance land reform to promote gender equity, as well as educating women in "democratic processes" and encouraging them to enter politics. Also in Aceh, the Catholic aid group Caritas funds an Islamic learning centre to promote "the importance of the Koran". This is seen as recognition of the importance of Islam in a province that has been the scene of a long-running and bloody independence struggle against the secular central Government....

More here

Posted by John Ray
Oklahoma Woman Faces New Child Sex Charges

(Bartlesville, Oklahoma) In September 2007, a 27-year-old local woman, Crystal Dawn Outlaw, was arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old boy. Outlaw was charged with second-degree rape.

Outlaw was booked and released on bond.

In the latest development, Outlaw has also been charged with sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl.
Outlaw appeared in court last Wednesday before Special Judge Kyra Williams on charges of rape by instrumentation.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by police, the 13-year-old female told police that Outlaw had sexually assaulted her in two separate occasions between July and August 2007.

She said that the first time it happened she was afraid and “didn’t want Outlaw to do the things to her that she was doing but she did not know what to do.”

The girl told police that the second time Outlaw assaulted her, she said that she was lying on a couch preparing to go to sleep when Outlaw came in and lay beside her on the couch. She said that Outlaw said “don’t be scared. It will feel good.”
Bond for the new charges was set at $20,000. Outlaw has a court appearance scheduled for January 11.

Tip: Don Morgenstern
Woman Accused of Illegal Sex with Deaf Boy

(Laurens, South Carolina) A 29-year-old local woman, Jenny Lynn Davis, has been arrested for allegedly performing sex acts on a deaf child.

Davis has been charged with the obscene exposure of her private parts in a lewd manner, committing a lewd act and criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Notably, the alleged offenses occurred in 2002 and 2003 and before Ms. Davis was sent to prison in 2004 for committing a lewd act on a minor. Ms. Davis was added to the sex offender registry in 2005.

Davis was booked into custody at the Anderson County Detention Center with bond set at $51,000.
SF Zoo Tiger Escapes, Kills, Mauls

(San Francisco, California) Police continue to investigate how a Siberian tiger named Tatiana was able to escape its enclosure in the zoo and have not ruled out criminal activity.

The 300-pound cat was shot dead by police after killing one man and injuring two others.
The tiger - the same animal that chewed a keeper's arm during an attack last December - was shot to death outside a zoo cafe by four officers who managed to distract the animal as it mauled one of its victims.

The horrifying violence, which occurred just after the zoo's 5 p.m. closing time while dozens of patrons were still inside, began when the tiger somehow managed to gain its liberty from the grotto.
Tatiana did not leave its grotto through the normal door, officials said. With a 15-foot moat and a 20-foot concrete wall, its unclear how the grotto was breached.

Last December, Tatiana chewed the flesh off of zookeeper Lori Komejan's arm during a public feeding demonstration.

Is it possible that an animal rights activist freed the tiger?
Urination Question Riles Detroit Hindus
We read:

"An embarrassingly derogatory remark against Hindu women by a Canton Township, Detroit official has angered many among Hindu Americans, especially the Indian community in Detroit.

Catherine Johnson, a 71-year old planning commissioner in Canton Township has now offered to resign after she asked at a public forum whether Hindu women urinate in public as part of any Hindu religious ritual. Her shocking and grossly ignorant remark, she claimed, was prompted by neighbors around the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS Temple) told her that during the Temple's groundbreaking ceremony in 2000, several women attending the ceremonies were seen urinating behind the Temple, and so wanted to know if it was some sort of ritual.

According to The Detroit News, Johnson, who has served as a member for 27 years on the panel, said she's quitting because Supervisor Thomas Yack asked her to -- not because she said anything wrong. "It was a valid question. It was something that a few citizens contacted me at home about," she said. "I try to ask questions about what citizens in the community would want to know." The appalled Indian community said the question was an unfair characterization of their culture and a lie, and said the remark underscored stereotypes about cleanliness in India.


It is customary in Indian villages to go out into the fields to relieve oneself. It is a valuable form of fertilizer. Maybe some remnant of that custom was what was observed.

Post by John Ray

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


The image above is by talented Australian conservative cartoonist Zeg

A friendly Koala above

Post by John Ray

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in Bethlehem

From AFP:
Several thousand people filled Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity hours ahead of the traditional midnight (2200 GMT) mass.

Loudspeakers belted out English-language Christmas songs such as "Dashing through the snow" (Jingle Bells) while the festive crowds sang along.

Steam billowed from carts selling boiled corn and stands sold tea and coffee to the holiday makers gathered in the crisp temperatures under garlands of colourful lights strung across the square.

Palestinians hope the number of tourists and the income they bring will make it the best Christmas since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000 and the building of Israel’s massive barrier through the West Bank.
Tourism is estimated to have doubled from last year as thousands of pilgrims were joined by Palestinians to celebrate Christmas. Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh said, "All the hotels are booked. I think this Christmas brings more joy to all the citizens of Bethlehem."

Security in Bethlehem is described as extremely tight. The Fatah-run Palestinian administration sent in hundreds of armed police over the weekend to patrol the streets.
The motorcade carrying the Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch, Michel Sabbah, arrived in Bethlehem via a huge steel gate in the Israeli wall to prepare for tonight’s midnight mass in the Church of the Nativity.

Sabbah is the highest Roman Catholic official in the holy land
According to a report from Voice of America, a group of Muslim scholars sent holiday greeting to Christians throughout the globe. Curiously, the group wasn't identified.
It's not News Unless it's Reported by a Mainstream Journalist

The Leftist "Media Matters" is scandalized because Fox News reported an anti-Greenie story that was originally put on the net via a blog rather than by one of the mainstream news organizations. Fox was reporting -- HORROR -- that a group of 400 scientists have rejected the "consensus" view that the world is warming up. The scientific "consensus" on global warming has unravelled and we can't have that!

How pathetic they are. They couldn't question the truth of the story -- because it is true. The only thing to criticize that they could find was who reported the event. We must bow down to the Leftist media and let them tell us what to think, apparently. We are naughty children from whom some information must be kept hidden. They are in for a lot of disappointment from now on, I would say.

The blog concerned was run by the GOP side of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- which makes the squawk from Media Matters all the more absurd. How did putting the info on a blog differ from putting out a press release? I suppose the difference is that the media have the chance to ignore a press release. An important difference to be sure.


The Greenie site called "Grist" is also in mourning. Excerpt:
"One final (depressing) note: How effective is Inhofe's media outreach compared to that of the entire community of climate scientists? Well, according to technorati (PDF), as of today, Dec. 21, the IPCC Synthesis report has had 278 blog reactions since its release November 17, whereas Inhofe's "report," issued just yesterday (Thursday), has already had over 300 blog reactions."

Grist was also sad that the NYT ran the "consensus-shattering" news -- a sort of "betrayed by our own" feeling, apparently.

The only substantial point in the Grist article was what we have come to expect of the Green/Left -- attempts to discredit the personalities concerned. They said that some of the scientists were not "prominent" enough -- even though some of them were very prominent indeed.

That the Grist post was a "watermelon" (Green on the outside, red on the inside) effort was shown by its footnote: This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund

Another typically abusive Leftist response here


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Parents Attempt to Sell Their Baby for $30

(Pensacola, Florida) Two people, Robert G. Ellingson, 23, and Maghen Duvala, 25, were each charged yesterday with four counts of child neglect after they attempted to sell their two-month-old baby for $30. Two people who were approached by Ellingson in a parking lot called police.

Ellingson and Duvala were booked into custody at the Escambia County Jail. The child is with the Department of Children & Families.

Tip: slwlion
Clinton Legacy in Jeopardy

In today’s NYT opinions, Maureen Dowd takes some shots at Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, contending that Bill is a mix of positives and negatives for Hillary and their entire relationship can best be described as a soap opera. Regarding the ’08 campaign, the former prez just can’t seem to get out of his own way.
While making a speech in Iowa, The Associated Press’s Ron Fournier reported, Bill used the word “I” 94 times in 10 minutes, while mentioning “Hillary” just seven times. At a London fund-raiser, one Hillaryite said, it took him nearly half an hour to mention her.
But, who's counting? Heh.

It occurred to me that Bill Clinton has to be quite conflicted about the possibility of his wife becoming spouse in chief. For the last seven years, Bill and his supporters have worked overtime trying to massage history to assure he has a legacy. Tripping on his tongue now won’t help.

Furthermore, if Hillary becomes the prez and fails in the job, does a Carter so to speak, wouldn’t it reflect negatively on Bill? On the other hand, if President Hillary does a superb job, wouldn’t it also reflect negatively on Bill? In fact, any actions by Mrs. President would automatically invite immediate comparisons to what husband Bill did in similar circumstances. As a result, every day the public would be reminded of Bill Clinton’s decisions, good and bad. Accentuating any of the negative will not help a legacy.

It’s a dilemma. If Hillary becomes prez, Bill Clinton’s legacy will depend on his ability to tattoo his name on positive developments while distancing himself from any errors. With Bill’s legacy at stake, I predict a Hillary White House will be a rumble. Maureen Dowd is right.

In any event, I don’t see a Hillary win as anything but a net negative for Bill Clinton’s public service track record. Maybe that’s why he appears to lack focus on the campaign trail.
Hi there from a newcomer!

Mike has kindly invited to blog here from time to time. So I thought that for starters a good graphic might go down well:

Above pic via Peg Kaplan

John Ray Joins Interested-Participant

Be apprised that well-known Australian thinker and writer John Ray has been added as a contributor to Interested-Participant. John is recognized as one of the more prolific writers in the blogosphere, maintaining several websites with daily updates while also contributing to several others.

I’m confident my regular readers will welcome John’s contributions.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Woman Nabbed for Soliciting Boy Over Internet

(Pickens County, South Carolina) A 28-year-old woman from Fond Du Lac, WI, Sara M. Schneider, was arrested for soliciting a 15-year-old South Carolina boy over the Internet for sex.
According to the news release, beginning in summer this year, Ms. Schneider solicited sex on the Internet and over the telephone from a person she knew to be a 15-year-old boy. Ms. Schneider arranged to meet the boy for sex.

The boy's family became aware of the situation and asked the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office for help. The Pickens office is a member of the South Carolina Attorney General Office's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Ms. Schneider was arrested when she arrived at the boy's home in Liberty, according to the news release.
Schneider has been charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Homeless Numbers Update - Connecticut

According to a report from
- 33,000 homeless people in Connecticut (pop. approx. 3.4 million),

- 1,400 homeless people in Bridgeport (pop. approx. 140,000),

- 3.5 million homeless people in U.S. of which one-fourth are veterans.
Therefore, about one percent of Connecticut's population has no home.
Huckabee: I’m the Man, I Am, I Am

(Des Moines, Iowa) Here’s a report on candidate Mike Huckabee stumping in Iowa.
His appeal is mainly to people who like the idea of "a man of convictions," not one who behaves like a conventional, pandering politician. But there are times when even the purest of truth-speakers must bow before the demands of a campaign for the highest office.

"Who is your favorite author?" Aleya Deatsch, 7, of West Des Moines asked Mr. Huckabee in one of those posing-like-a-shopping-mall-Santa moments.

Mr. Huckabee paused, then said his favorite author was Dr. Seuss.

In an interview afterward with the news media, Aleya said she was somewhat surprised. She thought the candidate would be reading at a higher level.
Kansas Teacher Accused of Sex with Girl

(Dodge City, Kansas) A 35-year-old second-grade teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral School, Tabitha Adams, was arrested this week for allegedly having sexual contact with a female student.

Adams faces charges of sexual exploitation of a child, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
Police say someone turned in digital pictures of 35-year-old Tabitha Adams and a 28-year-old Nebraska man engaging in sexual acts with a young girl.

Authorities believe the pictures were taken inside the man's home in Falls City, Nebraska.
Adams was booked into custody with bail set at $500,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 27.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Prankster Orders Electro-Shock of Teen Boys

(Boston, Massachusetts) Seven staffers at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center, a group home for developmentally disabled youngsters, have been fired for unknowingly participating in a hoax last August when two boys were given dozens of electric shocks.

A prank caller ordered the shocks be given in the early morning hours of August 26th. After the two boys, ages 16 and 19, were awakened in the middle of the night, their arms and legs were bound and shocks were administered.
From 2 to 4:45 a.m., one teenager received 77 shocks, while another got 29, according to the report by the state Department of Early Education and Care, which licenses group homes.

As the two youths screamed, other residents woke up and insisted the accused teenagers had violated no rules. One even told staff that the caller might be a prankster.

Staff members did not realize their mistake until one of them called the central office and determined that no punishment orders had been given for the teenagers.
The Rotenberg staff members were fired for failing to stop the cruel treatment even though there was sufficient reason to doubt the validity of the caller's orders.

Fortunately, authorities have identified the prankster and are considering the possibility of criminal charges.

Notably, the Rotenberg facility is believed to be the only special education center in the U.S. that employs electro-shock treatment. Although it remains controversial, many officials and parents are convinced that the treatment is effective for hard-to-teach children.

Outrage is essentially absent which is the exact opposite of the avalanche of worldwide outrage that thundered when American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison pretended to use electro-shock on terrorist detainees. Maybe readers can reconcile the difference.

Tip: slwlion

Companion post at Education Watch International.
Journalist Gets Tsk-Tsk for Computer Crime

(Clark County, Washington) A 54-year-old veteran reporter for The Columbian, Don Hamilton, was accused of attempting to access an ambulance's computer and, subsequently, pleaded guilty before Clark County District Court Judge Rich Melnick to misdemeanor attempted computer trespass in the first degree.
On July 18, Hamilton was covering a SWAT standoff in which a Vancouver police officer had been shot. Hamilton went to Southwest Washington Medical Center, where he found the ambulance that had transported the wounded officer.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jim David said Hamilton got in the vehicle and looked at its computer screen to try to ascertain the name of the officer or any other information regarding the standoff.

Melnick questioned whether an ambulance employee showed Hamilton how to use the computer.

"I'm curious how he was able to do it," Melnick said.

Defense attorney Steve Thayer said that has been a point of contention.

Thayer said an American Medical Response employee let Hamilton look at the computer. The state, however, would have called witnesses at trial to testify nobody gave Hamilton permission or showed him how to use the computer, Thayer said.

Rather than go to trial on what would have been a felony computer trespass charge, Hamilton opted to take advantage of an offer to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, Thayer said.
Judge Melnick sentenced Hamilton to five days of community service and $347 in fines and fees.
Goat Sex Scandal

(Dibble, Oklahoma) A local woman, Carol Mendenhall, has been fined because her pet goats were observed mating in her back yard. The law makes it illegal for animals to have sex within city limits.

South of Oklahoma City and eight miles due west of Woody Chapel, Dibble is a small community of about 200 people.
Teen Indicted for Child Rape

(Warren County, Tennessee) An 18-year-old local female, Katie D. Fults, has been accused of engaging in sex with a 12-year-old boy. The episode allegedly occurred earlier this year in a room full of sleeping children.

Last week, Fults was indicted by a Warren County grand jury on a charge of child rape.

Tip: Don Morgenstern
WWI Vet Dies, Only Two Remain

(North Baltimore, Ohio) According to the Veterans Affairs Department, one of the three known remaining U.S. veterans of World War I has died.

J. Russell Coffey enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1918, a month before the Allied powers and Germany signed a cease-fire agreement. Coffey died yesterday at the age of 109 according to the Smith-Crates Funeral Home in North Baltimore. Funeral services are tomorrow.

Only two known surviving American soldiers of WWI remain, Frank Buckles of West Virginia and Harry Landis of Florida.

Rest in peace, soldier.
Illegal Document Operation Busted in Florida

(Hillsborough County, Florida) The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Attorney's Office announced the arrests of 18 people involved in an illegal document production and distribution operation.

The illegal document operation was run out of auto sales and title companies and seven additional suspects who worked for the companies have been indicted.

The companies involved included Inter Car and Truck Sales, Jimaguas Auto Sales, April Lopez Title Co. and Julia Garcia Title Co., all of which operated openly, even boldly advertising their document services.
"Do you need to obtain a tag or title for your car or truck?" one flier said. "We can do it with a license from Mexico or any other country, a voter's registration, a consulate ID, an international DL, or any official ID."

The businesses weren't lying. Investigators learned they gave undocumented immigrants fake driver's licenses, Social Security cards, insurance cards or other licenses, which the companies handed to the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's Office in exchange for authentic titles and vehicle registrations.
The suspects have been charged with a laundry list of offenses including producing fraudulent vehicle identification numbers, applications, certificates and papers; uttering a forced instrument; false or fraudulent motor vehicle insurance application; fraud and misuse of documents, visa or other permits; fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents or Social Security cards.
And the Tax Collector's Office couldn't be blamed, detectives found, because state guidelines limit clerks from checking IDs - exposing a loophole the sheriff says only legislation can fix.
Since the Tax Collector's Office doesn't have the capabilities, nor the apparent authority, to check the authenticity of identification documents presented, the is no administrative mechanism to stop the scammers. The Tax Collector's Office employees are forced to accept any bogus piece of paper put in front of them.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said a legislative fix is needed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sailors Get Bowl Tickets

(San Diego, California) Tonight's Poinsettia Bowl (9PM EST) will have a handsome contingent of United States Naval personnel rooting for the good guys.
When the Naval Academy Midshipmen take on the Utah Utes in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Thursday, there'll be a sizable Navy crowd in the house, thanks to a retired admiral who wanted to be sure the Mids had a cheering section away from home.

Retired Rear Adm. Kenneth Slaght, now vice president and general manager of maritime systems for defense contractor General Dynamics Information Technology, arranged for his company to buy tickets to the game for 1,300 sailors from the San Diego-based carriers Ronald Reagan and Nimitz.
Kudos to Rear Adm. Slaght and "Go Navy!"

By the way, the Midshipmen (8-4) are eight and one-half point underdogs to the Utes (8-4).
Fatality From Live Round in Dummy Ammo

It's heartbreaking when preventable accidents cause a young American soldier to die. In the following case, there was improper control of the ammunition prior to a training exercise and a violation of muzzle awareness principles.

From Army Times:
Pvt. Daniel Patrick Fisher, of Bassett, Va., died Oct. 4 when a machine gun accidentally discharged and struck him in the abdomen on the Army post's East Range.

The training was intended to teach new soldiers in basic training how to load and unload the weapon using only dummy ammunition. Live rounds weren't supposed to be involved.

Maj. Gen. Peter M. Vangjel, commanding general of the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, said trainees unknowingly loaded into the weapon a live .50-caliber round that had inadvertently become mixed with dummy ammunition.
Administrative and disciplinary actions were taken to preclude recurrence.

Condolences to the family and friends of Pvt. Fisher.
Boiling Oil Murder Case Again Delayed

(Bay St. Louis, Mississippi) In August 2006, a local woman, Edna Mae Sanders, was arrested for the gruesome scalding murder of her husband, Sherman Sanders, 53.

Edna Mae allegedly poured boiling oil on Sherman as he slept on July 28th, 2006. Sherman died in the hospital about a week afterward from 2nd and 3rd-degree burns. Just before he died, Sherman reportedly fingered his wife in the crime.

The murder case against Edna Mae was scheduled to be tried in August but was delayed until December at the request of defense attorney Brian Alexander.

But now there is a new development as Hancock County Circuit Court Judge Roger Clark granted an additional delay until February 2008.

Meanwhile, Edna Mae Sanders, 47, is free on $200,000 bond.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
Woman Accused of Killing Pomeranian

(Farmington, New York) A 29-year-old Rochester woman, Caryn A. Consilio, was arrested last Sunday for allegedly breaking in to her estranged husband's residence and killing his Pomeranian.

Consilio is also accused of stealing a laptop and checks and causing extensive damage to the residence. She was charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree aggravated cruelty to animals and fourth-degree grand larceny.

Consilio was booked into custody at the Ontario County Jail with bail set at $25,000.

The incident probably would have been handled as a simple domestic squabble until she killed the dog. As Michael Vick would likely confirm, that's a no-no.

Tip: SuidaeEmpathy
Britain's Music Police

(Norfolk, England) The Brits are very strict about protecting the creative property rights of musical artists.
Under the law, playing music outside the home constitutes a public performance and two separate licences are needed: one to PRS [Performing Right Society] to cover copyright in the music and lyrics, and the other to Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) to cover the actual sound recording.

In a statement, PRS stressed that it was a not-for-profit organisation acting on behalf of its 50,000 musician members.

"By buying a PRS music licence you have access to 10 million pieces of music and at a competitive rate. The money from PRS music licences goes directly to writers and composers, the people who created the music. A PRS music licence can cost as little as 34p a day.

"PRS will take all reasonable steps to ensure those playing copyright music in public are made aware of the need for a licence. We regularly contact businesses to help ensure they are not infringing copyright.

"Failure to obtain a licence for the use of music in public may result in civil action against businesses for copyright infringement and they may be liable to pay damages and costs."
So, it appears that when you take your radio to the park or the beach, be sure to carry two licenses or you may be cited by the music police.
Teacher Meredith Kane Gets Prison

(Lawrence, Kansas) In March 2007, a 24-year-old first-year teacher at Lawrence High School, Meredith L. Kane, was arrested for engaging in sex with a 15-year-old male student.

In July 2007, Kane pleaded guilty before Douglas County District Court Judge Stephen Six to one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a student in accordance with a plea agreement where one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of sodomy were dropped.

In August 2007, while awaiting sentencing Kane violates her bail conditions and is put in jail.

Yesterday, Judge Stephen Six sentenced Kane to 59 months in prison and ordered her to register as a sex offender.

Defense attorney James Rumsey asked that Kane be given probation so she could be treated for bipolar disorder and because Kane's victim didn't want her in prison. Judge Six denied the request, holding Kane responsible for her actions.

Tip: Don Morgenstern
South Carolina's Multiple Choice Homeless Census

(Columbia, South Carolina) The Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless issued a census report on the number of homeless in South Carolina (6,759) which includes 1,091 total in Richland and Lexington Counties.

However, if you don't like those numbers, there's this:
But, illustrating the confusing nature of the numbers, they are based on a broader definition of homeless than the federal government's. "Therefore, this report does not offer an exact count of individuals who are homeless -- instead it provides multiple estimates," the report says.
So, instead of relying upon a nationally-recognized definition of "homeless," South Carolina census takers made up their own and then blamed "multiple estimates" on "the confusing nature of the numbers."

I'm fairly convinced that a count of heads using one definition would produce only one result. Furthermore, the validity of any census must be questioned when a variety of results are achieved.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Woman Caught in the Act with Boy

(West Manheim Township, Pennsylvania) A 37-year-old Maryland woman, Patricia J. Gamber, faces charges after being caught in flagrante delicto having sex with a 15-year-old boy at 2AM last Friday.

Police found the two without clothes in the rear hatch area of Gamber's Jeep. Gamber reportedly admitted to the sex.
Gamber is charged with statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor and trespassing.

Gamber and the boy are co-workers at a restaurant, Wildasin said.

The alleged sexual assault happened in a parking lot off of Grand Valley Road, which is closed to the public from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Gamber allegedly told police that she was going through a divorce and "didn't know what she was doing," according to court documents.
Gamber faces a preliminary hearing on December 24th.

[Update 02/12/08]

From Evening Sun:
Patricia Jean Gamber, 38, of New Windsor waived her right to a preliminary hearing Monday before Magisterial District Judge James Miner on charges of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor and trespassing.

The charges were forwarded to York County court as a result.

Tip: Don Morgenstern

[Update 1/09/09]

Gamber guilty. Sentencing in February.
Homeless Given Computers

(Rockville, Maryland) The Montgomery County Students Information Technology Foundation, Inc. Network Operations group has given revamped computers to homeless men at the Chase Partnership House Men's Shelter.

The gift was announced, apparently with some flair, at the Computer Lab Gifting Ceremony on November 29th at the Thomas Edison High School in Silver Spring.

According to the Director of Volunteer Services of Community Ministries, Karen Napolitano, the homeless men ...
"... will utilize these computers as an opportunity to explore job resources, computer skills, keyboarding skills, and online instruction."
Hey, what a great idea! Homeless men with computers accessing the Internet couldn't possibly have a downside.
Brit Airways Suspends Steward for Eating Muffin

(London) Heavy-handed is an understatement regarding this report. More appropriate would be gross mismanagement.
British Airways have suspended a cabin crew steward for eating a muffin that was discarded on a passenger's meal tray, it was reported today.

BA are treating the incident as theft after he was reported at Heathrow airport on Monday.

The man's collegues are furious with the decision, branding the airline 'heavy handed' and accused them of acting like a 'police state'.

One BA worker told The Sun: "The cabin crew member on a long-haul flight took a muffin destined for the bin.

"Now his career hangs in the balance. Everyone is up in arms - it is a disgusting way to treat a member of staff."
One must wonder who would report the alleged "theft." Is it possible that British Airways has a Gestapo-like spy observing employees during work hours?

Nevertheless, there is disagreement regarding the situation with British Airways denying that it occurred even though a spokesman for the company confirmed that it had.

Arguably, BA managers are recognized as sticklers and it's not unheard of for flight attendants to fancy other people's muffins, so I lean toward believing the story as reported.
Class Project Teaches How to Illegally Immigrate

(Columbus, Ohio) For the fifth straight year, a high school Spanish teacher has assigned her students a three-week project to devise a workable plan for a Latino to sneak into the U.S., plus find shelter and food to survive.

From Columbus Dispatch:
Try it legally, Erica Vieyra told her 40 senior Spanish students at Olentangy Liberty High School. Fill out the correct documents, follow the proper steps. And then, after they spent days completing the actual paperwork from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, she took out her red ink pad and stamped a big, fat DENIED across every request.

Now, she told the students, come illegally. Forge your documents, find a way across the border. Then, research real ads and find a place to live in Columbus. Figure out what it would cost, how to get food. Plan how to survive.

The students had to go to real businesses and ask for Spanish-language job applications. They had to visit a bank and ask for new-account documents written in Spanish.

Vieyra promised them that the process -- even in make-believe -- would frustrate them. But they would gain, she hoped, an understanding of what is one of the most important political and humanitarian issues facing the U.S. government today.
Kind of one-sided, I'd say. After all, instead of having the students simulate being generic, non-descript Latinos, Vieyra could have them pretend to be MS-13 gang members sneaking into the U.S. to develop crime networks.

Alternatively, Vieyra could have the students imagine themselves as intelligence operatives for Venezuelan marxist thug Hugo Chavez, charged with infiltrating the U.S. government to conduct espionage.

However, it's not to be. Vieyra's teaching of the Spanish language has taken a back seat to propagandizing the students with her leftist political beliefs. She cautions, though, that she's not trying to influence the students, rather just teach them "a little empathy."

As such, I'd recommend renaming the course from "Spanish V" to "Empathy for Illegal Aliens in the U.S."

Tipped by a very unhappy Olentangy Schools taxpayer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Statute of Limitations on Murder

(Lake County, Indiana) Here's a good news report from northwest Indiana.

A 40-ish man, David Bowen, has been arrested for the brutal murder of an 8-year-old boy in 1979.

Cold case detectives for the Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Gary Police have linked Bowen to the murder using DNA evidence, technology that wasn't available in 1979.

Kudos to the investigators. Details at the link.
Teachers Sentenced in Student Prostitution Ring

(Guizhou Province, China) A middle school teacher, Chi Yao, has been sentenced to death and another teacher, Hai Long, received 11 years in prison for their roles in a sickening prostitution ring involving young teen girls. The teachers' wives, Zhao Qingmei and Li Huiyan, operated the ring and one of them was also sentenced to death.

Reportedly, the ring forced 23 girls, six being younger than 14, to have sex with men during the period from March to June 2006. More than 20 young girls were given to men seeking virgins and 22 of the girls were local primary or middle school students.

From Shanghai Daily:
Zhao Qingmei, 28, the mastermind, was sentenced to death in Weining County last Friday, the report said. She sold snack food on campus after working as a temporary teacher at the Central Primary School in Xinfa township of Weining, the report said. Her husband Chi Yao was a teacher at the township's middle school.

In March 2006, Zhao planned with a local woman identified as Wei Yaqin, who is still on the run, how to earn money by forcing teenage girls into prostitution.
Interestingly, Zhao's husband, Chi Yao, was also sentenced to death but with two years' probation. However that works?

Fourteen other people were also prosecuted for their involvement in the ring and received prison sentences from one year to life. Many were hostel owners.

Companion post at Education Watch International.
Police: Woman on Crutches Gropes St. Nick, Ho-Ho-Ho!

(Danbury, Connecticut) Reportedly on crutches, a 33-year-old local woman, Sandrama Lamy, has been accused of sitting on a mall Santa Claus' lap and groping him. According to Danbury Police Detective Lt. Thomas Michael, the mall security officer reported that "Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted."
Police quickly found and identified Lamy because the woman was described as being on crutches, said Capt. Bob Myles.

A call seeking comment from Lamy was answered by a recording Tuesday morning. A woman later called back and said: "It's a false report and I don't have any idea."

Police did not give the name of the disconcerted Santa, but they said he is 65 and felt badly because children were waiting to see him. "He was apparently shocked and embarrassed by the whole incident," Myles said.
For allegedly groping the 65-year-old Santa, Lamy was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and breach of the peace.

Two things: I think it's strange that a 33-year-old woman would want to sit on Santa's lap under any circumstance and I think it's even stranger that a 65-year-old man complained when a 33-year-old woman jingled his bells.

Tip: slwlion and Travis Evans
Alabama Teacher Nabbed for Drugs

(Shelby, Alabama) A second-grade teacher at Shelby Elementary School, Stacey Robinson Weir, was arrested a week ago last Saturday by Pelham Police for allegedly possessing drugs.

Weir was charged with unlawful possession/receiving of a controlled substance. The specific drug(s) involved was not disclosed.

Weir was hired by the Shelby County School system last August. School spokesperson Cindy Warner stated that there will be no official comment until the case is adjudicated.

She was booked into custody at the Shelby County Jail and subsequently released on $5,000 bond.

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