Sunday, November 30, 2008

Women With Troubles - November 2008

Reported in news stories during November 2008, here is a compilation of women with troubles. Each name is linked to an Interested-Participant blog entry displaying details.

For a more comprehensive listing, check the Women With Troubles category link.

(AR) Deanna Bobo, 40,
teacher - Loses appeal, must serve 12 years in prison for sex with boys,

(AZ) Checkie Hessel, 33,
neighbor - Arrested for child abuse and DUI,

(AZ) Elizabeth Livesay, 26,
teacher - Arrested for sex with girl, 16,

(CA) Carlie Rose Attebury, 29,
teacher - Arrested for sex with male student, 15 or 16,

(CA) Cheryl Bush aka Busch, 39,
neighbor - Arrested for fatally shooting 18-month-old daughter,

(CA) Olivia Geatian, 33,
neighbor - Arrested for meat-cleaving husband's head,

(CA) Kaisha Hill, 29,
juvie counselor - Arrested on drug and weapons charges,

(CA) Crissy Torcella Hisey, 28,
teacher - Gets weekends in jail for oral sex with female student under 18,

(CA) Margarita Oropeza, 30,
neighbor - Arrested for making a boy, 13, perform oral sex on her,

(CA) Kay Sorg, 55,
teacher - Admits to sex with girl, 14. All charges dropped,

(CO) Melissa Snow, 27,
teacher - Arrested for sex assault of male student,

(CO) Christina Elizabeth Szele, 35,
neighbor - Guilty in flight rage case,

(FL) Donna L. Andree, 43,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with boy, 15,

(FL) Sarah Elizabeth Joel, 32,
teacher - Gets two years of house arrest for sex with boy, 15,

(FL) Angela Leavitt, 28,
neighbor - Guilty of sex with boy, 16. Sentencing in January,

(FL) Valerie Elaine Sabarese, 27,
teacher - Arrested for dealing heroin and cocaine,

(IA) Shannon Michelle Rew, 37,
neighbor - Gets 10 years in prison for sex with boy, 15,

(IN) Maria and Michelle Stancati, 35,
twin teachers - Arrested for meth lab in home,

(KY) Melissa Morris, 30,
teacher - Arrested for being high on drugs at school,

(LA) Anna Huck Davis, 32,
teacher - Arrested for sex with boy, 15,

(LA) Tina Schlegel, 28,
teacher - Arrested for illicit relationship with boy, 15,

(MA) Mara L. Escobar, 35,
neighbor - Arrested for rape of niece, 16,

(MA) Lindsay Rogowski, 24,
child caseworker - Gets probation for repeated sex with boy being counseled,

(MA) Pattie Sherman, 33,
neighbor - Arrested repeatedly for huffing,

(MD) Sarah E. Ellison, 31,
daycare mom - Indicted for sex abuse of boy, 14,

(MD) Carole Leigh Mayers, 41,
teacher - Arrested for improper relationship with student,

(ME) Tina Mason, 31,
teacher - Gets 30 days jail for sex abuse of boy, 13,

(MI) Kelly Abdo, 27,
teacher - Charged with indecent exposure,

(MI) Jennifer Rae Merriman, 31,
neighbor - Gets 6 months jail for sex with boy, 15,

(MO) Kathy Moegle, 55,
teacher - Arrested for DUI,

(MS) Loni Marie Folks, 25,
teacher - Gets probation for sex with male student, 16,

(NC) Maria Esther Castillo, 45,
neighbor - Arrested for interfering with flight crew,

(NE) Tiffany K. King, 20,
neighbor - Gets prison for sex with boy, 14,

(NE) Tammy Walnofer, 38,
neighbor - Gets 18 to 26 months prison for sex with boy, 14,

(NH) Francine Barron, 34,
neighbor - Bail in child sex case revoked due to failed drug test,

(NH) Nicole Belonga, 27,
neighbor - Convicted of manslaughter in death of daughter. Sentencing in January,

(NH) Cathleen Crowley, 29,
youth counselor - Crowley backs out of plea deal in boy sex case because it included jail,

(NH) Kimberly A. Robinson, 32,
neighbor - Warrant issued for arrest in boy sex case,

(NJ) Josette M. Taylor, 53,
neighbor - Guilty of sex with boy, 15. Sentencing in Jan.,

(NY) Marcy Cole, 35,
teacher - Gets one to three years in prison for several DUIs,

(NY) Lynn Taliento, 44,
teacher - Guilty in massive fraud case. Sentencing in Jan.,

(OH) Carolynn Hatcher, 26,
group home worker - Gets 3 years prison for sex with boy, 16,

(OH) Barbara Joly, 68,
grandma - Arrested for bank robberies,

(OH) Timi Robertson, 36,
neighbor - Gets 10 years in prison for sex with boy, 12,

(OK) Valerie Posey, 27,
neighbor - Gets eight years in prison for sex with boy, 13,

(PA) Ashley Banks, 25,
neighbor - Gets 2 to 4 years in prison for sex with boy, 12,

(PA) Heather Ann Moyer, 22,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with boy, 15,

(PA) Susan Romanyszyn, 46,
teacher - Sentenced to prison for making terroristic threats,

(SC) Deidre K. Goff, 44,
daycare worker - Arrested for allegedly fracturing 3-month-old baby's skull,

(TX) Victoria Chacon, 27,
teacher - Arrested for sending topless pics to boy, 14,

(TX) Alice Morales, 44,
lawyer - Arrested for selling meth,

(TX) Candra Dee Payton, 32,
teacher - Guilty of sex with boy, 15,

(TX) Mayra Lizbeth Rosales, 27,
neighbor - Arrested for murder of nephew, 2,

(TX) Julianna Sauls, 38,
teacher - Accused od sex assault of male student, 18,

(TX) Gina Thomas,
teacher - Arrested for drugs,

(UT) Lenae Anderson,
teacher - Arrested for meth possession,

(UT) Kimberly Arigot, 40,
neighbor - Arrested for sex with teen neighborhood boys,

(WA) Sarah M. Credeur, 25,
neighbor - Gets community service in boy sex case,

(WV) Tammy Lynn Smith, 43,
neighbor - Arrested for abusing daughter, 6.
As always, thanks to the tipsters.
NH Woman Fails to Appear for Boy Sex Trial

(Laconia, New Hampshire) In December 2007, a 32-year-old local woman, Kimberly A. Robinson, was indicted on five counts of felonious sexual assault for allegedly engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy.

The crimes allegedly occurred in July 2005. After her initial arrest, Robinson was freed on $50,000 bond.

On Wednesday of last week, Robinson was scheduled to appear in Belknap County Superior Court for the start of her trial. She failed to appear. As a consequence, her bail was revoked and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
St Andrew's day

I mentioned yesterday that St Andrew's day is Scotland's national day and am pleased to report that Anne and I did do something towards celebrating it. We had Forfar Bridies for our evening meal and listened to Scottish music both then and afterward. And the songs we listened to were the in the main the old favourites that are so deeply felt among the Scots -- Scottish Soldier, My Ain folk, Loch Lomond, Skye boat song, Scots wha hae etc. etc.

I have spoken a little lately of how conservatives have few inhibitions about group loyalties (such as patriotism) and mentioned the Eton Boating Song as an instance of how such loyalties can be deeply felt. And I also noted at the time that loyalty or a feeling of connectedness to your own group does not necessarily imply contempt for other groups or a wish to dominate them. And the Eton Boating Song exemplified that well. And so does the Scottish song I put up yesterday. Although it is called "Scotland the Brave", it again contains no aggression or hostility towards others. It just talks about Scottish people and the beloved Scottish landscape. But it is still capable of bringing tears to Scottish eyes. The feelings it conveys are intensely felt.

So I am going to press the point a little further by putting up the words of another beloved Scottish song: Scottish Soldier. I am sure that any Leftist would immediatey assume that such a song must be glorying in the crushing, dominating and extermination of other people. But it does none of that. As a song about a soldier it does indeed refer with pride to his distinguished military past but the song is not about that at all. Once again it is about his memories of his own country whilst serving aboad and how his dying wish to be buried in Scotland was honoured.

Scottish Soldier

1). There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier
Who wandered far away and soldiered far away
There was none bolder, with good broad shoulders,
He fought in many a fray and fought and won
He's seen the glory, he's told the story
Of battles glorious and deeds victorious
But now he's sighing his heart is crying
To leave these green hills of Tyrol.

Chorus: Because these green hills are not highland hills
Or the Islands hills their not my lands hills,
As fair as these green foreign hills may be
They are not the hills of home.

2). And now this soldier, this Scottish soldier,
Who wandered far away and soldiered far away
Sees leaves are falling, and death is calling
And he will fade away, on that dark land
He called his piper, his trusty piper
And bade him sound away, a pibroch sad to play
Upon a hillside but Scottish hillside
Not on these green hills of Tyrol


3). And now this soldier this Scottish soldier
Who wanders far no more, and soldiers far no more
Now on a hillside, a Scottish hillside
You'll see a piper play this soldier home
He's seen the glory, he's told the story
Of battles glorious and deeds victorious
But he will cease now, he is at peace now
Far from these green hills of Tyrol


A point I was waiting for people to bring up was the fact that, right up to JFK, Leftists were patriotic too -- almost crazily so in the case of people like Theodore Roosevelt and the followers of Hitler. And Scots too are a very socialistic people. So how come they are so patriotic?

I think Obama worship gives us the answer. Because Leftists are more emotional, their POTENTIAL for group loyalty generally and patriotism in particular is unusually great. But the more there are things that they hate in the world about them, the more they are inhibited from giving rein to any such feelings. But when something arises that they can give undivided loyalty to, they go overboard -- as we saw in Fascism, Nazism and now in Obama worship.

So the Leftist is in perpetual conflict: He WANTS connectedness but so many things in the world about him are unsatisfactory to him that he ends up as a rejectionist rather than as a participant. In the past, it was only "The Bosses" who were the focus of his ire and he could kid himself that most of the people around him were not responsible for the "injustices" that bother him so much. Now, however, when it appears to him that even "rednecks" and "NASCAR dads" are on the side of what upsets him, he is completely alienated. He once felt that "the workers" were on his side and appointed himself as a spokesman for them. That illusion is now gone and the whole country is on the wrong track from his viewpoint. So how wonderful for him it was when the Obamessiah came along to rescue him from that dreadful dilemma and offered the prospect of reshaping the country into his desired mould!

In the case of Scotland, however, the old illusions live on. Scots still hate "The bosses" but most of all they hate England. The song that comes nearest to being their national anthem is "The Flower of Scotland". It was written quite recently but is concerned with something that happened in the 14th century! So what is going on? The secret is hatred of England. The event referred to is the Scottish victory over the King of England, Edward II, at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Very few English people would today know anything about the North/South wars of the 13th and 14th century but the Scots have not forgotten. So again for a Scot the enemy is externalized and he can happily be patriotic. Hitler found the Jews useful in the same way. The English are Scotland's Jews.

In case I seem to be just blowing smoke in saying above that Leftists tend to see patriotism as implying hostility towards others, I might mention that there is a very large academic literature in psychology which assumes exactly that -- starting with the work of Adorno et al. (1950) on "ethnocentrism". I might also mention that my own survey research into exactly that question showed repeatedly exactly what I have asserted above -- that patriotism does NOT in general imply hostilty towards others. See e.g. here.

Reference: Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950). The authoritarian personality New York: Harper.

Posted by John Ray.
Michael Phelps' Pal

Olympic Gold Medal Winner Michael Phelps took his new girlfriend, Caroline "Caz" Pal, home to Maryland for Thanksgiving. Pal is a 26-year-old casino cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. What a pair they make.

Michael Phelps & Caroline Pal

Notably, Pal has a less than squeaky-clean image which appears to conflict with the boy-next-door sports hero credentials of Phelps. The champion swimmer met the drink slinger while extending his competitiveness to the poker tables in Las Vegas.

Pal is an exotic-looking woman with an apparent love for tattoo needles. Essentially her entire back has some sort of graffiti emblazoned in ink. Knowing how time-consuming it is to acquire expansive tattoos and the pain involved, one must believe that it is an obsession with Pal.

It's questionable as to whether the Phelps/Pal relationship will endure. Kellogg or Subway or other sponsors may express some heartburn about a scantily-clad and tattooed bar waitress possibly smudging Phelps' All-American sports hero image.

Odds are that smoochy-smoochy loses in a contest with cha-ching.

NSFW images of the tattoos are at The Jawa Report.
Advertising on School Test Papers

(Rancho Bernardo, California) Rancho Bernardo calculus teacher Tom Farber came up with the idea of selling space on exam papers to defray school administrative costs.
Farber said he came up with the idea over the summer. He saw ads on public buses and sponsorships at Qualcomm Stadium and decided to promote his idea at Back to School Night in September. He collected $270 from parents at that event.

“I haven't heard any negativity,” he said.

Farber said he has sold about $350 in ads, more than enough to make up what the school budget doesn't pay for. He said he still has ad space for next semester, and whatever extra money he collects will go to the math department for other teachers to use. Checks are made out to the department.
Students have become accustomed to seeing exam headers like "Eat. Gas. Sam and Ella's QuikStop. Central Ave," while other Rancho Bernardo teachers ponder the idea. Ads cost $10 for quizzes, $20 for chapter tests and $30 for semester exams.

Unless someone questions the appropriateness of the advertising, the practice may likely become widespread. In all candor, though, I frankly fear that before long, the ads will cease selling products and services and start propagandizing pupils.

Companion post at EdWatch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slug-Infested Christmas Trees from Oregon

(Honolulu, Hawaii) A shipment of Christmas trees from Oregon has been denied entry into the Hawaiian Islands because of a slug infestation, said Leslie Iseke of the Department of Agriculture.
Iseke said plant quarantine inspectors have so far looked at 130 or so containers and have 70 more to go. A container could contain hundreds of trees, she said.

Each container is opened for a visual inspection, and if pests are found, trees are pulled for a better look, Iseke said. "Sometimes we pull them out to spot-check, even if we don't find anything."

Trees are shaken and pounded on the ground "so hopefully whatever organisms are on the tree are shaken out on white maps," she said.

Some slugs are so tiny it is hard to see them just by spreading the branches open, so "the best thing is shaking," she said.
I must confess that whenever the subject turns to slimy, slow-moving invertebrates, I automatically think of Congress.
Fake Penis Makers Guilty of Conspiracy

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) The owners of California-based Puck Technology, manufacturer of the Whizzinator fake penis device used to cheat on drug tests, have been convicted in federal court.

George W. Wills, 65, and Robert Dennis Catalano, 62, pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia.

On the market for at least five years, the Whizzinator is a prosthetic penis attached to an undergarment resembling a jock strap which connects to a pouch containing dehydrated urine. Water is added to the pouch and a heat pack is used to keep the urine close to body temperature. It's highly recommended by parolees and probationers.

Wills and Catalano are scheduled to be sentenced on February 20 when they each face a possible eight years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Tip: slwlion
Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress Sidelined

(New York City) In only the first season of a five-year, $35 million contract with the New York Giants, Plaxico Burress is sidelined. He has been bothered by a hamstring injury compounded by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Details are not available but it appears that Burress, while night-clubbing, decided to demonstrate his wide receiver skills by catching a bullet.

What a guy.
Chinese Illegals Caught at Border

(Tucson, Arizona) This week, 14 Chinese national citizens were caught in two incidents trying to sneak into the U.S. In both cases, the Chinese were riding in vehicles driven by Mexicans.
Global Warming Losing Support

(Paris, France) According to a survey of people in 11 countries conducted by the HSBC financial group, the Earthwatch Institute and other environmental groups, support for global warming initiatives has fallen.

People are less likely to spend time and money or be alarmed by environmentalists' hysterical cries that the end is near.

The polling results were released ahead of a major international conference on global warming to be held in Poland ... in December ... with cold northern European wind.

Health Alert! Junk Food Causes Alzheimer's

I'd say to take this news with a grain of salt but some researcher somewhere would claim that I cause high blood pressure.
Researchers in Sweden looked at the effect of a junk food diet on mice genetically altered to be prone to Alzheimer’s.

The creatures’ brains were tested after they were fed a diet laden in fat, sugar and cholesterol for nine months.

Researcher Susanne Akterin, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said: ‘On examining the brains of these mice, we found a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain.’

Her tests showed the food altered the formation of a protein called tau which forms tangles inside the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, causing brain cells to shrink and die.
Eat at your own risk.
Amazing Japanese Prime Minister

This gives me new respect for Japan. I don't agree with what he said but am delighted that someone in his position felt free to say it.

"He has ridiculed doctors, mocked the mentally ill and made light of wartime atrocities, but this time Taro Aso may have taken things too far: the Prime Minister of the world's fastest-ageing nation has condemned Japan's elderly as a bunch of "hobbling malingerers".

Having shattered a sacred taboo, the nationalist Mr Aso, who is 68, added: "I pay my taxes, so why should I pay money for people who laze around eating and drinking and never do anything?"

Members of Mr Aso's own party told The Times that the attack on seniority and ill-health was "completely irresponsible" in a country where one in five voters is over 70 years old, where the healthcare system is in crisis and a general election is looming. "He seems to be saying that old people should feel guilty for visiting the doctor," said one ruling coalition MP. "He must have said it without realising how many people that would upset."

Others believe that the comments were entirely predictable, given Mr Aso's previous form. His attack on old people for their lack of exercise and for "always tottering off to the doctor" was blurted out during a ministerial meeting on the economic crisis and marks probably the most spectacular gaffe of a political career strewn with increasingly baffling clangers.

Doctors, he said recently, tended to lack common sense; Japan, he declared on another occasion, should make itself attractive to "rich Jews". He was once made to apologise for a joke about people suffering from Alzheimer's, and quipped to victims of a flood that it was lucky for everyone that the city nearby had not been hit.


Posted by John Ray.
Recycling Scrapped in Britain

Waste managers have decided to stop recycling rubbish because the prices of recycled rubbish materials have plummeted. The demand for recycled materials has disappeared. As a consequence, the end product is worthless.

According to recycled waste spokesman Mark Blaker, recycling facilities are being closed.
'They are being removed as a result of the credit crunch basically.

'Much of our paper goes to China, for example, to make cardboard boxes. But at the moment, those boxes are not being made and exported to America like they were, so what's happened here is a knock-on effect.

'Prices in the summer for recycled material were at an artificial high, which is why the drop seems so dramatic, but now the product's price is pretty much zero pounds.'

Recycling banks are worst affected by the drop in prices because their contents are ' contaminated' with other materials that are processed together.
In summary, recycling doesn't work when there is zero economic benefit. Environmental slogans aside, the recycling operations are being shut down simply because they are a drain on companies' finances.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mexican Law Enforcers Largely Unfit for Police Work

(Mexico City) Background and security tests administered to 56,000 Mexican policemen have resulted in a 49 percent failure rate nationwide. In Tijuana and Baja California, the failure rate is 89 percent.
The tests - which involved lie detectors, drug tests, pyscohological (sic) profiling and tests of personal wealth, among other measures - were intended to root out corrupt, incompetent and unfit officers.
To a certain extent, these results explain why Mexico appears to be trending toward a complete breakdown of law and order.
Flip-Flops for Drunks in High Heels

(Devon, England) The popular resort of Torbay does its best to accommodate drunk visitors. Police hand out condoms and sex advice and force public urinators to clean up after themselves. Most recently, city police officers are handing out flip-flop shoes to drunk women so they don't have to walk home in their high heels.

Funding for the scheme comes from British taxpayers -- to the tune of £30,000 from the Home Office.

Isn't that special? Maybe next they'll be directing people to after-hours clubs while serving up hot breakfasts. Levity aside, it's nice that the community strives to be extra pleasurable to tourists but I think that local businesses should pick up the tab, not the entire British taxpaying public.
One Dead in Wal-Mart Stampede

(Valley Stream, New York) A 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was bowled over and apparently trampled to death this morning during the annual Black Friday bargain-hunting frenzy. (h/t Ron)
Sometimes the real thoughts behind the correctness leak out

Contrast the impeccably correct first statement below with the one that follows it. The first statement is the first paragraph on the home page of Barnardo's -- a British children's charity
"Some might say that children who are troublesome or engage in anti-social behaviour can be difficult to believe in. Barnardo's argues that it is these children who need our support. Most children in trouble are trapped in a cycle of disadvantage. Children who start down a path of bad behaviour can be helped to change direction"

And the second paragraph below refers to the horribly tortured and killed British toddler known as "Baby P", pictured below before his maltreatment by his negligent mother's boyfriends:

"It saddens me that the probability is that, had Baby P survived, given his own deprivation, he might have been unruly by the time he had reached the age of 13 or 14. At which point he'd have become feral, a parasite, a yob, helping to infest our streets"

So who said that? The head of British Nazi Party? No. It was Martin Narey, the chief executive of Barnardo's

Posted by John Ray.
Mumbai Update - 125 Dead, 327 Wounded

This is interesting. Two terrorists holed up with hostages at the Oberoi Hotel and the Nariman House in Mumbai made cell phone calls to India TV. Check out the press release with transcripts of the calls.

Identified as Shadullah and Imran Babar, the two terrorists openly admitted the strength of their groups, seven at the Oberoi and six at the Nariman. Call me perplexed. It's usually not a good idea to reveal your strength to an opponent.
Shadullah claimed that he belonged to Deccan Mujahideen, a little known outfit which had claimed responsibility of the terror strikes in Mumbai on Wednesday night.

The anchor repeatedly asked whether he was from Hyderabad, India, or from Hyderabad, Pakistan, to which he replied in his heavily Pakistani accent that he belonged to Hyderabad of the Deccan. Shadullah carried on with his litany of perceived injustices meted out Muslims in India.
Shadullah demanded the release of all mujahideen from jails in exchange for the hostages. Otherwise, "We will get rid of them in such a manner that their sons will become orphans," he said.

Imran Babar, on the other hand, discussed his outrage that the Israeli Army Chief of Staff was allegedly working with the Indian Army concerning tactics and strategy in Kashmir. Muslims are ballistic about Israelis having anything to do with India.

In other news, CNN reports that the death toll is 125 and 327 people are wounded. The dead include at least six foreigners and 14 police officers.

Tip: Stable Hand
Rape As Weapon of War

(Goma, DR Congo) Doctors Without Borders estimates that 5,700 women and girls have been raped this year in the Nord-Kivu region.
Since fresh fighting broke out in August between government troops and rebels, sexual assaults on women in Congo have risen to levels not seen for many years, according to The International Rescue Committee (IRC), a New-York based humanitarian group.

As Laurent Nkunda's National Council for the Defence of the People continue to fight, much of the Nord-Kivu region remains lawless, plagued by widespread looting and violence.

"Women and girls are once again threatened by sexual violence that has hit new heights in Nord-Kivu in a context of instability and the huge displacement of civilians," the IRC said.
According to Susan Spencer of the IRC, "Rape is being used as a weapon of war."

It's predictable that someone will recommend sending in UN troops to quell the violence. Unfortunately, based on reports of previous UN involvement in Africa, the prevalence of rape would likely increase rather than diminish.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

For decades, Bob Hope traveled to war zones with the USO to entertain American and allied troops. Each time, he took along and showed beautiful women to, in Hope's words, "remind you what you're fighting for."

In that spirit, I provide those service members who read my blog with this reminder.

The Girl Next Door - Jessica Alba

I'm forever thankful for being born an American and the individual freedom it represents. The American military is to be thanked for defending that freedom. I toast those defenders of liberty.

In a similar vein, a fellow Internet-user has published a series of images of "Girls We're Thankful Aren't Puritans." Based on my purely academic review, the 16 women probably wouldn't deny their steamy sensuality.

Changing tone, I'd like to call out to all those people whose entire lives are a series of complaints. You know who you are. Instead of saying the turkey is too dry or Uncle Frisky is drinking too much or football is too boring or the kids are too loud, make Thanksgiving the one day in the year without complaints. Remember, you've got 364 other days, every year, to piss and moan. Make Thanksgiving something special and don't complain.
NC School Employee Fired Over Facebook Posting

We read:
"A school employee has been fired after posting an offensive message on the social networking site Facebook, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools officials say a teacher could be next. School system spokeswoman Nora Carr said the after-school staffer was an "at will" employee who couldn't appeal the firing. He was among seven employees investigated because of Facebook entries.

A kindergarten teacher at Thomasboro Elementary School also could face termination after writing on her Facebook page that she was "teaching in the most ghetto school in Charlotte." The teacher met Monday with Superintendent Peter Gorman, who recommended she be fired. The teacher's attorney, John Gresham, said his client didn't intend to offend her students and was telling the truth about the resegregated school, where only 3 percent of students are white and 93 percent qualify for lunch subsidies to low-income families.

Gresham said if the teacher is fired, she will be entitled to a hearing by a case manager and an appeal to the school board. He said the school system also cited photos of her at a bachelorette party.

Carr, the district spokeswoman, also said a high school special education teacher was suspended after writing on her site, "I hate my students." CMS is also recommending that teacher be fired. Carr said four other employees have received lesser punishments for photos or comments....

The Facebook issues have become a hot topic among many teachers. Mary McCrary, who heads the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, said teachers shouldn't be punished for what they write on private Web pages....

Carr said the issue isn't free speech but whether anything a teacher does damages their reputation. "Does it impede or impact your ability in a negative way to do your job?


I agree with the criterion ""Does it impede or impact your ability in a negative way to do your job?" but I see no sign that that was the actual criterion used above.

Posted by John Ray.
Mass Graves Found in Congo

(Kinshasa, Congo) An estimated 2,000 dead have been found in two mass graves in eastern Congo.
Justice Minister Luzolo Bambi told reporters the graves were found Saturday in the town of Bukavu in a plot of land formerly owned by a member of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, or RCD, a Rwandan-backed rebel group.

At one point, the RCD controlled much of eastern Congo, but it became a political party in 2003. Many of its top leaders were integrated into the government, taking jobs as vice presidents and army chiefs.

Constantin Charhondangwa, the head of civil society in the Bukavu region, said the parcel of land owned by the ex-rebel was sold to a resident. The new landowner discovered the remains when he dug up the land put in a septic tank, Charhondangwa said.
UN officials are calling for a "serious investigation." Johnny-on-the-spot, they are.
Russians in Venezuela

(Caracas, Venezuela) Russian warships arrived in La Guaira harbor outside Caracas this week in preparation for war games starting December 1st with Venezuelan armed forces.
Russian and Venezuelan warships will conduct a series of joint naval exercises in the Caribbean, involving sea rescue operations, maneuvering, and live-ammunition artillery drills.

"Three frigates, a transport amphibious vessel, four patrol boats, and four coastal defense vessels will take part in the exercise on the Venezuelan side," Rear Adm. Salvatore Cammarata said.

He added that a total of 700 Venezuelan servicemen would take part in the drills. [...]

The task force, led by the Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser, is on a planned visit that follows a two-month tour of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which saw Russian ships visiting Libya, Turkey and France.

The group includes the Udaloy class destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two support vessels with a total of about 1,600 naval infantrymen on board.
Additionally, Russian President Putin Medvedev arrived in Caracas yesterday for meetings aimed to fortify ties with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Medvedev flew to Caracas from Brazil, and previous to that, he visited Peru. The Russian President will close out his good-buddy tour with a trip to Cuba.

U.S. State Department sources say the Russian presence does not represent a challenge to U.S. influence in the region. It's not a surprise that the U.S. State Department again provides support for the contention that implementing an affirmative action program for hiring morons is not a good idea.
Bangkok Under Siege

(Bangkok, Thailand) Throughout past months, supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have campaigned to topple the government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat by paralyzing all functions.

Government House offices in central Bangkok were seized in August. Just recently, two airports, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the Don Mueang Airport, were shut down, stranding thousands of tourists and business travelers.
The PAD launched their campaign to topple the democratically-elected government six months ago, accusing it of being a puppet of ousted and exiled premier Thaksin Shinawatra -- Somchai's brother-in-law.

The group has the backing of elements in the palace, military and Bangkok's old elite that want to purge society of the influence of Thaksin, who is adored by the rural poor but remains in exile to avoid a jail term for corruption.

As both sides refuse to back down, concerns deepened for the kingdom's economy, vital tourism industry and diplomatic ties.

"Several countries are seriously concerned with the incidents happening in our country now -- there is no rule of law," foreign minister Sompong Amornviwat told AFP by telephone from Germany.
Outbursts of violence have occurred and it's feared they may escalate.
Gunmen Torch Buses

(Lingayen, Pangasinan Province, Philippines) Gunmen in two vans arrived at the local Victory Liner bus terminal late Wednesday and set fire to five buses. Six police officers were wounded and one security officer suffered severe burns.

Police blame the usual suspects.
Blast in Kabul, Close to U.S. Embassy

(Kabul, Afghanistan) A suicide car bomber blasted Kabul this morning near the U.S. Embassy.
Initial reports said that four civilians died in the attack, which coincides with a fact-finding visit to Afghanistan from a delegation of the United Nations Security Council.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zmarai Bashiry told the Times: "There are three killed and seven injured. All the casualties are civilians. The target of the attack was foreign (Western) forces." [...]

The blast left several cars and a bus badly damaged, a large pool of blood was splashed across the road and a nearby tree was set ablaze. The body of the suicide bomber lay near the mangled remains of what appeared to have been the car bomb.

There was no immediate claim of responbibility, though the Taliban or its increasingly radical 'Haqqani Network' offshoot will be the prime suspects.
Hospitals have received 15 injured.
Mumbai Terror Update

Status of the situation inside the city is still chaos at about noon IST (Indian Standard Time). Reportedly, hostages are being held at the Taj Hotel, the Oberoi Hotel and maybe other locations. Casualty estimates are at 101 dead and 314 injured.
Latest reports indicate that terrorists, about 10-12 in number in Taj alone, have made some ransom demands but Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil said no demands have come from them.

He said five of the dozen terrorists in Taj have been killed while one has been captured and was being interrogated. Claiming to have some "vital leads", the minister expressed confidence of breakthrough soon.

An unspecified number of foreigners including Americans, Israelis and Canadians are believed to be among the those in the two hotels and in Nariman House, a residential complex with an old Jewish prayer hall, where also a hostage situation prevailed.

As the day broke, gunbattles raged between terrorists, believed to have come in a boat to the Gateway of India, opposite Taj hotel, and commandoes and fresh explosions rocked the two hotels after the night of terror targeting ten places.
Notably, a BBC correspondent says the claims of responsibility by the previously-unknown group, Deccan Mujahideen, could be a hoax or an assumed name for another group.

* * *

I just heard Deepak Chopra interviewed on CNN. He blames the United States for the terror attacks in Mumbai. Seriously, this guy is a broken record.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai Under Attack

(Mumbai, India) India's financial capital came under terrorist attack today with a series of explosions at multiple locations.

According to Mumbai General Railway Police Commissioner A. K. Sharma:
The terror strike which began at 1033 PM at Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus(CST),formerly known as the Victoria Terminus (VT), claimed 10 lives in the premises of the station alone, police said. Three persons were killed in a bomb explosion in a taxi on Mazegaon dockyard road and an equal number were gunned down at Taj Hotel. The victim in the hotel were its employees.

The lobby of the Oberoi hotel was on fire and the hotel evacuated, eyewitnesses said. Maharashtra DGP A N Roy said tonight's attack in "at least seven places" is a "terror strike."

Sharma said 30 persons were injured in the CST incident. Commandoes were rushed to the CST which wore a deserted look and train services suspended.

Some people were injured in the firing in Oberoi hotel, and taken to a nearby hospital in police vans and ambulance. Firing was also reported in Taj hotel.

Firing was reported at Colaba, Nariman Point and near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal, formerly Victoria Terminus and it was still continuing.

Firing was also reported at Cama Hospital in south Mumbai, police said, adding that a blast was reported in a taxi under a flyover in suburban Vile Parle. A bomb went off in a taxi in Mazegaon dockyard road.
Current casualty estimates are 80 dead and over 250 injured.

Groups of heavily-armed gunmen are reported to be holding Westerners hostage at several locations as police try to get the situation under control.

[Update 4PM EDT]

Unconfirmed information from various media sources.
- Terrorists entered the luxury Taj, Trident and Oberoi Hotels, rocking them with multiple grenade blasts. Fifteen people are reported to be held hostage at the Taj Hotel, half are believed to be foreigners. Police have surrounded the Taj Hotel.

- Terrorists entering the hotels were looking for people with American or British passports.

- Mumbai's Anti-Terrorist Squad Chief was killed by gunfire.

- Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamote died when he attempted to capture two terrorists.

- Seven Mumbai Police Officers have died so far.

- The Indian Army and Navy in Mumbai have been put on alert and 65 Army Commandos and 200 National Security Commandos are being dispatched to the city. The Indian Army has reportedly already entered the Trident Hotel.
More later

[Update 4:45PM EDT]

From Mid-Day Mumbai:
Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are the only militant outfits capable of carrying out Fidayeen (suicide) attacks in the city. It is not the handiwork of Indian Mujahideen, claimed the police.

A senior police said a specially trained squad carried out the attack, which began at 9.40 pm yesterday. The use of AK assault rifles and grenades hint at a highly specialised group, that may have been trained in Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Sources say that the attackers were part of a suicide group backed by operatives.

[Update 5:40PM EDT]

Indian blogger Ultrabrown is following with real time entries with photos from India. Ultrabrown reports that the methods used by the terrorists indicate domestic group not al-Qaeda. Also mentioned is how slow the American media were in reporting the story.

Stop The ACLU is collecting details and reactions.

Current blame is conflicted. Experienced sources are pointing the finger at Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) while another group called Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility.

FoxNews is reporting that four terrorists have been killed, nine have been arrested. Also, terrorists attacks have occurred outside the city of Mumbai and it will be some time before the full scope of the terror campaign is known.
What Thanksgiving has in common with Eton College!

A few days ago, I put up a post which characterized Leftism as the politics of rage. But all I said about conservatives was that they are cautious. But caution is not really an emotion. It is a disposition and some emotions have to go with that but I think I should say a little more about what those emotions are.

What I did mention is that conservatives are always shown in research as being happier than Leftists and that leads into what I think is important. Because conservatives are NOT full of rage, they feel free to enjoy whatever is around them. And one of the great satisfactions in human life is fellowship: Feeling part of a group of people whom you like or respect. So instead of screaming "racism" at every sign of group loyalty, conservatives can simply enjoy their group loyalties. They are untroubled patriots, for instance.

So American conservatives can feel warm inside to be Americans and they can greatly value the fellowship they find in their church. And where conservatives diverge most strongly from Leftists is that they can also feel a sense of fellowship and belonging with their ancestors and forebears. We often see this very strongly expressed among American conservatives when they talk about the "Founders" of the nation and the wisdom the founders bequeathed in the Constitution etc. And such thoughts are of course often to the fore on Thanksgiving day. And I have put up a "Thanksgiving" edition of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH that shows how much hostility Thanksgiving now attracts from the Left. Thanksgiving is of course a continuation of traditional harvest festivals. Human beings have always joyously celebrated a successful harvest and given thanks to their Gods for it. It takes the hate-filled modern-day Left to find any fault with that.

And another common expression of solidarity with the past is of course the great respect that conservatives pay to those who have died in war in the service of their nation. In my country, Australia, that day of remembrance (which we call Anzac day) is our only really solemn national occasion. Leftists have tried to laugh at it from time to time but it goes from strength to strength, with young people as well as old participating in the services of remembrance.

And there is no doubt that the army is always one of the most solidly conservative bodies of people that exists in any community. And the degree of fellowship in the army must be very close to maximal. If you pass a member of your old army unit in the street, you always stop to say a few words at least. There is a lasting bond between men who have fought together that outsiders can only dimly understand. My time in the Australian army was most undistinguished (though very fondly remembered) but I was an army psychologist so perhaps I have a little more awareness of what the army is about than most. I am certainly pleased to say that I have worn my country's uniform.

All these sorts of fellowship that conservatives feel are generally felt pretty strongly. There is often a swelling of pride and gratitude associated with such feelings. And the poor sad old Leftist is basically left out of all that. Their hate and rage bars them from feeling some of the most basic human emotions.

And I now want to give a vivid example of that: Something that Leftists will hate viscerally but which most conservatives should understand and enjoy. I reproduce below the Eton Boat Song. Eton is of course Britain's most elite school and British private schools are famous for fostering a sense of fellowship among their pupils. And you will see that vividly below. Listen to the music as you read the words and I will add a few comments afterwards. The song refers of course to competitive rowing regattas:

Jolly boating weather,
And a hay harvest breeze,
Blade on the feather,
Shade off the trees;
Swing, swing together,
With your bodies between your knees.

Rugby may be more clever,
Harrow may make more row:
But we'll row forever,
Steady from stroke to bow,
And nothing in life shall sever
The chain that is round us now.

Others will fill our places,
Dressed in the old light blue;
We'll recollect our races,
We'll to the flag be true;
And youth will be still in our faces
When we cheer for an Eton crew.

Twenty years hence this weather
May tempt us from office stools:
We may be slow on the feather,
And seem to the boys old fools:
But we'll still swing together,
And swear by the best of schools.

I went to a totally undistinguished school in a small Australian country town but that song does tend to bring a tear to my eyes. It is a powerful expression of being part of something bigger and better, and something that transcends time. I hope some of my readers get that powerful feeling too.

And note that is also a humble song. It talks of pride in a great identity but without any thought of dominating others -- which is the Leftist preoccupation. It talks of the singers as being "old fools" sitting on "office stools". There is no Fascist aggression there at all. In characteristically English style, it actually spends quite a lot of time talking about the weather! No egotistical "Tomorrow belongs to me", "We are the people we have been waiting for" or "Yes we can" there.

Yet it is a song that expressed a powerful feeling. British officers in World War I were known to go "over the top" in the dreadful charges of that war singing the Eton Boat song. That to me is a sort of nobility which I know that no Leftist egotist will ever understand.

Leftists do of course still have the normal human need for fellowship so when they do at last find an outlet for it that passes muster with them we get the completely over the top hysteria of Fascism, Nazism or Obama-worship. (Anybody who has been conned into believing that the National Socialist Hitler and the Marxist Mussolini were Rightists should read here and here)

Note: The above is a slightly expanded version of the original post

Posted by John Ray.
Teacher Guilty in Massive Fraud Case - Update

(Rochester, New York) Forty-four-year-old teacher Lynn Taliento interrupted her trial in Monroe County Court yesterday with a guilty plea.

She pleaded guilty to second- and fourth-degree felony grand larceny and first-degree felony scheme to defraud and a misdemeanor of petit larceny.
In exchange for the plea, which was accepted by the prosecution, Judge John J. Connell promised a sentence cap of two to six years in prison. As a condition of the plea, the judge allowed Taliento to remain free from custody pending her sentencing Jan. 9.
Her husband, Ralph Taliento, faces the same charges as his wife. No date has been scheduled for his trial.

Those who were defrauded are seeking restitution but it seems unlikely. Reportedly, the Talientos gambled away much of the stolen funds.

* * * * *

Teacher Arrested for Massive Fraud
[Previous 6/7/07 post]
(Rochester, New York) A 43-year-old teacher at Ninth Grade Academy, Lynn Taliento, has been arrested for allegedly defrauding an elderly woman out of $745,000.

Police found evidence indicating that Taliento scammed a 72-year-old Rochester woman out of the money in schemes dating back to mid-2004. State Police Investigator Jim Newell said there are potentially more victims of Taliento's schemes.

The Rush-Henrietta School District notified parents of Taliento's students by email and letter of her arrest. Parents were also "advised to check their children's credit histories because there is a possibility that this teacher may have solicited student social security numbers on a form that was used in the classroom."

Taliento was booked into the Monroe County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond. She has been charged with second-degree grand larceny.

[Update 1/23/09]

Lynn Taliento gets 2 to 6 in prison. Ralph to be sentenced in April.
National Guardsmen Get Prison for Smuggling Illegals

(Brownsville, Texas) A 26-year-old Texas National Guard Sergeant, Julio Cesar Pacheco, has been convicted and sentenced for smuggling illegal aliens into the U.S.

Pacheco and two other guardsmen, Clarence Hodge, Jr., of Fort Worth, and Jose Rodrigo Torres, of Laredo, were caught in June 2007 transporting 24 illegals in an official vehicle on I-35 north of Laredo.
The National Guard sergeant was taking part in “Operation Jumpstart” when he recruited two fellow guard members and others to sneak immigrants through a highway checkpoint in a National Guard-leased van.

Investigators say the conspirators took thousands of dollars in exchange for using their position to divert Border Patrol agents so their vehicles passed uninspected.
Pacheco has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison. Pacheco apologized to the court and said he had embarrassed his family and the whole country.

Clarence Hodge Jr., 36, was sentenced in February to 38 months in federal prison. Jose Rodrigo Torres, 27, was sentenced in September to two years in prison.

In summary, three National Guardsmen sent to assist the Border Patrol have been sentenced to a combined total of eight and one-half years in prison for operating a sophisticated smuggling ring credited with effecting the successful undetected passage of more than 100 illegal aliens into the United States.

Meanwhile, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were given terms of 11 years and 12 years in prison, respectively, for the nonfatal shooting of a Mexican drug smuggler occurring in the course of doing their jobs. Individually, Ramos and Compean will do more time than the entire alien smuggling ring.

It's irrational but sometimes I sense that the feds are just out to frost my cookies.

Companion post at Diggers Realm and The Jawa Report.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NEW! Anti-Sniper Device

A new palm-size acoustic device designed by the British company Qinetiq calculates the exact position of rifle fire and an electronic voice alerts the soldier on bearing and range.

Called EARS for Early Attack Reaction System, the device allows the soldier to jump to safety and return fire.
The device, which costs around £2,500, works by isolating the crack of the sniper rifle thanks to four microphones, a GPS system and a powerful microprocessor.

It takes less than a tenth of a second and provides the results in audio and visual formats. It can even send a grid reference via radio to supporting artillery and aircraft.

The system, which weighs less than 6oz, is so sensitive it can tell the difference between outgoing friendly fire and incoming enemy fire and can distinguish a sniper even in a gun battle.

It also works when the soldier is travelling at up to 50 mph on a vehicle.

The device has already been road tested in Iraq and Afghanistan to claims of great success.
The full range and accuracy of the gunshot localization system are understandably kept secret. Expect the device to be on the battlefield starting in January.

Tip: Dissecting Leftism
Crazed Samurai Fatally Shot by Scientology Security - Scroll for update

(Alternate title: Don't Take A Knife To A Gunfight)

(Los Angeles, California) Yesterday, a bald, tattooed 40-ish-year-old man arrived at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood waving a samurai sword in each hand.

A security guard pulled out his semiautomatic handgun and shot the swordsman who was later pronounced dead at the County-USC Medical Center.

The security guard said he was protecting himself and two colleagues.
"The evidence is very clear the security officers were defending their safety," said Deputy Chief Terry S. Hara of the Los Angeles Police Department.
No names have been released.

[Update 11/25/08]

(Florence, Oregon) According to this report, the deceased was 48-year-old Mario Jay Majorski, a resident of Florence for several years. Majorski is identified as a former member of the Church of Scientology who had a storied arrest history in Lane County.

Majorski has arrests for criminal trespass, harassing a police officer, stalking, menacing and disorderly conduct. Sources say he had mental health issues.
Woman Accused of Sex with Boy, 15

(Lebanon County, Pennsylvania) A 22-year-old local woman, Heather Ann Moyer, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy.
Detectives allege that after meeting the boy through the Internet, Moyer met him in Palmyra, where she bought him liquor that they drank to intoxication. This occurred multiple times over the following weeks and progressed to a sexual relationship, according to the release.

Detectives said Moyer knew the boy’s age and knew that the relationship was illegal.

Moyer was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, statutory sexual assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors, recklessly endangering another person and furnishing alcohol to a minor, detectives said.
Moyer was booked into custody and released on $25,000 bond.
For the Blonde Keyboarder

Keyboard for Blondes

It's pink and the perfect gift for that blonde someone who never knows when she's insulted. The Space Bar is called The Big One.

European-made, the keyboard's current price is about $60 delivered. More here.
U.S. Government-Run Health Care Pays for Bad Drugs

(Washington) About 72 million prescriptions for unapproved drugs are filled every year with a cost to Medicaid, and the American taxpayer, of at least $200 million.
The availability of unapproved prescription drugs to the public may create a dangerous false sense of security. Dozens of deaths have been linked to them, records show.

The medications date back decades, before the Food and Drug Administration tightened its review of drugs in the early 1960s. The FDA says it is trying to squeeze them from the market, but conflicting federal laws allow the Medicaid health program for low-income people to pay for them. The FDA says there may be thousands of such drugs on the market.

The FDA and Medicaid are part of the Health and Human Services Department, but the FDA has yet to compile a master list of unapproved drugs, and Medicaid -- which may be the biggest purchaser -- keeps paying.
Since the FDA hasn't even been able to compile a list of bad drugs, what confidence can we have that the FDA is capable of identifying good drugs?

So, we have an anecdote which strongly hints at what we can expect if the government takes over the entire health care system in the U.S.

However, the demonstrated inability to properly administer the Medicaid program will be insignificant when the U.S. government displays its incompetence with a nationalized medical care system. Expect to be wishing for the good old days.

Companion post at SocGlory.
Noise Violators Get Manilow Punishment

(Fort Lupton, Colorado) Fort Lupton Municipal Judge Paul Sacco has adopted a novel strategy for disposing of cases involving noise ordinance violations.
About four times a year, those guilty of noise ordinance violations are required to sit in a room and listen to music from the likes of Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur, and The Platters' crooning "Only You"

"These people should have to listen to music they don't like," said Judge Paul Sacco for a segment about the program that aired Friday on Denver's KUSA-TV.

Sacco began the program years ago when he noticed that many of the repeat offenders simply showed up at his courtroom to pay their fine with cash.
Cute but I question the long-term effectiveness of the policy. Now, if the violators had to spend a full, continuous 8 hours in a jail cell listening to Barney the Dinosaur or Barry Manilow while staring at concrete walls and sitting on cornflake-thin mattresses, I suggest they would more likely become true believers in complying with the law.

Tip: CN
The tolerant church

It is a commonplace for non-Catholics to portray the Catholic church as narrow and dogmatic. By contrast, I am sometimes amazed at how broad and tolerant the church is. It certainly does not insist on strict theological conformity among its clergy. The very different views of Hans Kung, who rejected the infallibility of the Pope, did eventually lead to him being barred from teaching theology but he is still a priest within the church.

And there is here a close look at the writings of Australian priest Fr. Peter Dresser, which reveals a man who could hardly be more heretical. He clearly denies the divinity of Christ, which is central to all major Christian denominations. Even the Sydney Methodists put Ted Noffs on trial for heresy over similar views. Rome, however, seems content to let Fr. Dresser ramble on.

Fr. Dresser would however make a good Anglican. Bishop Robinson, author of "Honest to God" said that God is "the ground of our being" back in the 60s and Bishop Spong also seems to have similar vaporous beliefs.

I might add, however, that, as an atheist, I have no dog in the fight concerned.

Posted by John Ray.
Cleveland 2008 Gun Buy-Back - Scroll for update

(Cleveland, Ohio) Cleveland Police and the Cleveland Cavaliers are two of the groups banding together for tomorrow's gun buy-back program. Mayor Frank Jackson and Chief of Police Michael McGrath announced the program on Tuesday.
The buy-back will be held on Saturday (Nov. 22) at the Cleveland Convention Center.

In exchange for operable handguns, citizens will be given a $50 gas or food gift card and two tickets to an upcoming Cavaliers game. They will also be entered into a raffle with a chance to win up to $1,000.

"This effort will help us to avert a tragedy in the city of Cleveland," Chief of Police Michael McGrath said. "I can't tell you who and I can't tell you when, but someone's life will be saved because of the event."
Last year, 423 guns were bought during the buy-back.

[Update 11/25/08]

It's reported that the Cleveland 2008 Buy-Back program netted 324 firearms. In contrast, a similar program in Akron netted 780 firearms.

According to Rev. Marc Neal, the buy-back programs are thought to help prevent accidental shootings in the U.S. Not said is that there is absolutely no evidence to support that assertion. It's a hope-type thing.

Also not reported is the fact that many people believe gun buy-back programs are merely ploys to enhance the political stature of community leaders by pandering to the do-gooder segment of the electorate.
Woman Flushes Newborn Down Toilet

(Cardiff, England) In a disgusting story filled with secrecy, deceit and lies, a 32-year-old woman, Claire Jones, was convicted and sentenced for attempting to conceal the birth of a child. Jones received a suspended sentence.

Reportedly, Jones gave birth to a 7lb 8oz son, Daniel, while sitting on the toilet and subsequently flushed the newborn. Seeing only a foot, Jones grabbed her son out of the toilet and she claims that she attempted to revive him. Jones asserts that her child had died so she put him in a garbage bag and tossed him into the trunk of her car.

As a result, Jones walks away from court with probation for two years.

With the exception of the part about flushing the newborn down the toilet, the story of Claire Jones is filled with so much mendacity and contradiction that it is virtually impossible to discern the truth.

There are way too many unanswered questions and, for what it's worth, Mrs. Participant doesn't believe a word of Claire Jones' story.
Teacher Gets Prison in Peeping Case

(San Francisco, California) In March 2008, a 35-year-old English teacher at Mills High School, David Lista, was arrested and charged with drug possession and videotaping girls in the main bathroom at school. He allegedly installed pinhole cameras above bathroom stalls and under classroom desks.

Lista was booked on felony and misdemeanor charges and released on $125,000 bond.

Interestingly, Lista was first discovered to be videotaping girls in the bathroom when a technical coordinator for the San Mateo High School District noticed that a network server was overloaded and traced it to Lista's videotaping. Unless I'm missing something, it appears that Lista was filming the girls in the bathroom and uploading it all to the school's computer system. That is not a good idea.

In May 2008, Lista was arrested for driving impaired and found to be in possession of cocaine. He was booked and released on $10,000 bond.

In August 2008, Lista pleaded no contest to felony counts of drug possession and child pornography and misdemeanor improper peeping. The plea deal was offered to preclude victims from having to testify.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Lista was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mom Accused of Boy Sex While Daughter Watches

(Manatee County, Florida) A 43-year-old Bradenton mother, Donna L. Andree, was arrested Saturday for allegedly engaging in sex with a 15-year-old boy while her daughter and a friend observed.

Andree has been charged with lewd and lascivious battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The arrest was made about 11:30 p.m. Saturday by Manatee Sheriff’s officers who were called to the home in the 6800 block of 2nd Street West after Andree’s estranged husband found her in bed with the boy, and both were naked.

Andree later told authorities she knew her daughter and friend were at the foot of the bed while she had sex with the boy. She told officers she thought the boy was 19.
Andree also allegedly gave alcohol to the boy, her 15-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old girl.
Militant Nudists Allegedly at War with Swingers

(Cap d’Agde, France) Militant, hardline nudists, also called naturists, have become suspects in three recent wife-swapper nightclub fires. Root cause is believed to be tensions developed between the nudists, who believe in being naked and healthy without sex, and the swinging wife-swappers, who seek sex with multiple partners.
Investigators suspect “fundamentalist” naturists of harbouring a grudge against the échangistes, or swingers, who are drawn to the town by the promise of sex.

A so-called boîte échangiste, or wife-swapping club, called Glamour, where couples engage in group sex, was the first to be razed, in April. The next day the Palme Ré, another orgy venue, went up in flames. In September the Tantra club and Zen, its neighbouring bar, were destroyed in blazes.

Nobody was hurt but the fires have shocked a community whose crime rate has been dominated until now by cases of exhibitionism. [...]

Some in Cap d’Agde attribute the fires to fundamentalist “mullahs of chaste nudity”, as one magazine called them, who have often harangued holiday-makers venturing onto nudist beaches in bathing costumes. Others denied that naturists could have been involved.
Therefore, the conflict simmers at the finger-pointing stage with investigations continuing.

From a cultural standpoint, it appears the controversy stems from a perception of the fundamental naturists that the swingers are giving them a bad name. Imagine that. People who run around naked want to protect their reputation from being sullied by other people who run around naked and have sex.

Tip: CN

Companion post at The Jawa Report.
Couple Busted for Selling Crack in Marin County

(Richmond, California) A Richmond couple, 35-year-old Bruce Everette Reed and 31-year-old Danielle Arlene McClinton, were arrested last Thursday for allegedly selling crack cocaine in Marin County. Their arrests culminated an operation by the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force.
Reed had been selling crack to undercover detectives for about a month in Terra Linda, so investigators set up a sting on Thursday at one of the gas stations on Del Presidio Boulevard, said task force Sgt. Bruce Baker.

When police moved in for the arrest, Reed took off and jumped a fence at the gas station, Baker said. Detectives were posted on the other side of the fence, and they arrested Reed after subduing him with a Taser electric stun gun.

Reed was taken to Marin General Hospital for evaluation before being booked into the county jail on suspicion of transportation or sales of a controlled substance and possession of cocaine base for sale.

McClinton, who was with Reed, was booked on suspicion of transportation or sales of a controlled substance, possession of cocaine base for sale and conspiracy.
Reed and McClinton were booked into custody at the Marin County Jail.

This case is notable since the residents of Marin County, reportedly one of the richest counties in the nation, customarily prefer to imbibe in recreational substances taken from the hoity-toity side of the drug abuse buffet. Crack cocaine, on the other hand, is usually the fixture in low-income, urban communities.
Woman Indicted for Embezzling $1.6 Mil

(Modesto, California) A 37-year-old local woman, Lisa Shae Allen, has been indicted by a federal grand jury of embezzling more than $1.6 million from her employer, G. Hedgecock Inc., a grading and paving company.
The 47-count federal grand jury indictment accuses Ms. Allen of mail fraud, money laundering, and criminal forfeiture.

Ms. Allen used an elaborate method to conceal her embezzlement from her employer, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stanley Boone and Ian Garriques, who are prosecuting the case.
Allen apparently just spent the money on herself.

Curiously, the G. Hedgecock company must have deplorably weak financial controls if Allen could get away with $1.6 million before she got caught. You'd think that someone would have noticed after a couple hundred thousand turned up missing.
Wow! A piece of psychological research that favours Christians!

In the report below, it was found that Calvinist Christians were more perceptive. But I doubt the speculative explanation of that given below. So let me meander towards what I think is a more likely explanation. I had a Calvinist upbringing myself, though not a strict one.

I suspect that the real explanation has something to do with the type of people who are capable of being Calvinists. There are a lot of restrictions inculcated (on gambling, alcohol etc.) in that and in other strict Protestant religions. But I took to it like a duck to water. I became a VERY strict Protestant in my teens. I suspect that I am a born Calvinist, even though I am an atheist these days. I still occasionally pop in to a service at my old church -- which was originally "Wee Free", a very strict sect (No dancing, no "graven images" etc.).

So I am inclined to think that you are to a considerable extent BORN a Calvinist (or some similar strict Protestant religion). Calvinists and other strict Protestants are perfectly at home with Matthew 7:14. Note that the word there is "strait", not "straight". Maybe I am still a dour old Calvinist at heart, though I do have rather a weakness for Mr. John Walker of Scotland these days. But I still don't gamble! Bottom line so far: It is a lot more demanding to be any sort of strict Protestant than to be an atheist and perhaps that shows up in a general mental superiority among strict Protestants. Heh!

In case my reasoning above seems obscure, let me offer an Irish contribution to the discussion: In Ireland they always ask (if they don't know you) whether you are a Protestant or a Catholic. And if you say that you are an atheist, they ask you: "But are you a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist?" Which is a PERFECTLY reasonable enquiry. It is an enquiry about one's origins and background. I am a Protestant atheist, and delighted to be one.

The idea that there could be a genetic difference underlying religious differences will of course seem preposterous to many but, as revelations about genetic influence pile up in both the medical genetics and behaviour genetics literature, the more one tends to throw up one's hands and exclaim: "EVERYTHING is genetic"!. Read here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here just for starters. And note that among the research revelations is a strong genetic influence on political orientation. And there is in fact specific confirmation of a genetic influence on religion.

And if one looks at the distribution of religions in Europe, the Catholic/Protestant divide is still very largely a North/South one -- with the native populations of the most Northerly (Scandinavian) countries being something like 98% Protestant (though mainly nominally so these days). And there are also clear North/South racial differences. Inhabitants of Naples and inhabitants of Oslo tend to look and behave very differently. Clearly, genetics is not the whole of it but I am still inclined to the generalization that Protestantism is a form of Christianity that the Northern Europeans evolved to suit their own natural inclinations. Luther survived where Savonarola did not because Luther's surrounding population were immediately sympathetic to his views -- and that included his King (Frederick the wise of Saxony) -- who zealously protected Luther from all those who wished him ill. And in another largely Saxon country (England) the Lollards long preceded Henry VIII.

I write at great length about apparent Teutonic (Northern) psychological differences here
It might be cliched to say that religious people see the world differently, but new research finds that Dutch Calvinists notice embedded visual patterns quicker than their atheist compatriots.

Culture has long been known to distort visual perception, says Bernhard Hommel, a psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who led the new study. For example, one previous experiment found that Asians tend to dart their eyes around a photograph, while North Americans fix on specific people. To see if religious differences might skew perception, Hommel's team tested 40 Dutch atheist and Calvinist university students, who, religion aside, had similar cultural backgrounds.

On a computer screen, Hommel's team showed participants a large triangle or square made of either smaller triangles or squares. The volunteers had to focus on either the big object or its component shapes, and indicate whether they were square or triangular. Both groups recognised the large shapes more quickly than small, embedded ones, but the Calvinists picked out the smaller shapes 30 milliseconds faster than atheists, on average - a small, but significant, difference.

This could reflect a greater focus on self than external distractions for Calvinists, says Hommel. He suggests it may even be a cognitive consequence of their religion and speculates that Calvinists might be more inward looking than atheists because they have lived their whole lives with an emphasis on minding their own business.

In the future, Hommel plans to give the same test to Catholics, as well as Muslims and Jews, but he must first figure out how to eliminate other cultural differences that could mask any insights. "It doesn't make any sense to compare Iranian Muslims with Dutch atheists," he says.

"This is a thought-provoking study," says Ara Norenzayan, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. "Their finding is consistent with the literature on cross-cultural cognition - that cultural traditions involving independent view of the self, such as Calvinism, encourage a more feature-based processing style."


Posted by John Ray.
Naked Internet Pics of Wife Prompt Lawsuit

(Fayetteville, Arkansas) Seeking damages for suffering, embarrassment and moving to a new home, Philip Sherman and wife Tina are suing McDonald's. The couple claims that McDonald's employees put nude pictures of Tina Sherman on the Internet after finding a cell phone with the pictures left behind at the local restaurant by Philip Sherman.

The Shermans seek $3 million.

With millions of dollars involved, the skeptical side of me says not to overlook the possibility of a con job.
Fatone Inaugurates Toilets with First Flush

(New York City) Broadway star Joey Fatone will perform the ceremonial first flush of spiffy holiday toilets in Times Square today. Sponsored By Charmin, the free toilet program is in its third year.
The plush potties feature flat-screen televisions, attendants dressed in tuxedos and plenty of Charmin.

The loos are so luxurious that Charmin promises Times Square tourists will feel like kings sitting on their thrones before making their royal flushes.
With Christmas Day as an exception, the deluxe toilets will be open to the public throughout the holidays.
President Pelosi for Two Months

In a New York Times opinion piece this weekend, the call has been voiced for President Bush to resign so that Obama could start governing. Here's how the scheme would work.
"Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing."
So, there you have it. A desperate, but not crazy, opinion maker proposes making Nancy Pelosi the President of the United States for two months while hoping that all changes come from President-elect Obama.

I'm certain that President Bush is giving the proposal its doo consideration.

(Apologies to all the doggies for the lousy pun.)

However, just for entertainment's sake, if Pelosi became President then she would logically have to resign from Congress and a replacement for Pelosi's seat in the House of Representatives would be chosen by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Just for fun, I recommend Cindy Sheehan be named the new representative for the San Francisco congressional district.

Just think. Come Inauguration Day, Pelosi would be relegated to sitting on her political legacy and the extreme leftists in San Francisco would have an incoherent, babbling Cindy Sheehan to represent them in the U.S. Congress. Good times!
The Border Mess

The following 20 items are simple headlines to recent stories regarding the violence along the southern U.S. border and other areas of Mexico. Thanks to the mainstream media, the average American hasn't an inkling of the level of lawlessness preparing to flood the U.S.
- Mexico news reports that “only” 814,000 Mexicans left the country last year

- Interpol to send a team to Mexico to investigate possible misuse of their information systems

- Mexico crimewave yields 32 deaths in one day

- More than thirty Tijuana police officers desert their posts and flee

- Twenty-one police officers arrested

- President Felipe Calderón appoints Gomez Mont to post of Secretary of Government

- Mexico hopes to convince President-Elect Obama to embrace open migration

- Mexico: Confrontations result in 33 deaths in less than 24 hours

- Mexico: First fifteen days in October the year’s most violent

- Formal Travel Alert to Mexico Issued by U.S. Department of State

- US confirms illegal Mexican military incursion

- Mexico: Past three days most violent period this year with 84 execution-sytle murders

- Tijuana becoming a no man’s land - very dangerous place to be

- Mexican drug cartels are extending their tentacles in Latin America

- Lawlessness and organized crime spiraling out of control in Mexico and Latin America

- Organization of American States Secretary General decrys drug traffic

- Creation of a new drug cartel in Tijuana

- Mexican Counsul Guillermo Reyes asking his fellow citizens not to emigrate to the United States

- Tijuana crimes on the rise! Thirty-six murders in the past week

- Mexico: Majority of homicides commited go unresolved (sic all)
Remember, these are only headlines of stories which contain even more disturbing details. Check for more.

Any rational person must question why the level of lawlessness and mayhem isn't given prominence by the American elite media. Think about it. During one weekend last month, there were 84 execution-style murders in Mexico and I would bet a paycheck that none of your acquaintances knows the story. Meanwhile, virtually everyone in the English-speaking world knows that the Republican Party spent $150,000 on clothes for Governor Sarah Palin.

I don't think it's merely curious to want to know that mass murder is being committed just down the road from where I live. The elite media have abdicated their responsibilities to inform the public. One might say that it conflicts with their agenda.

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