Saturday, March 11, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Too late for rethinking
Woman is jailed by prosecutors until she agrees to testify in court against ex who she said threatened her


March 11, 2006

It was for Delaine Williams' own good that Suffolk prosecutors said they had her spend a night in jail for not cooperating in a domestic abuse case, in which authorities said she was the victim.

"They treat me like a dog!" an enraged and handcuffed Williams, 41, of North Amityville, said to her attorney as he interviewed her in the courtroom Friday. Her ex-boyfriend, Earle Foster, 36, was on trial, charged with violating an order of protection by threatening her in August. "They threw me in jail then took me away from my 2-year-old."

After testifying that she didn't remember many details of the night she had Foster arrested for threatening her, a jury acquitted him. Foster had six prior convictions for violating past orders of protection filed by Williams.

Prosecutors said Williams had been uncooperative since filing charges against Foster, the father of her son, and testifying before a grand jury. Williams admitted in court Friday that Foster's family lived nearby and had threatened to come to her house and "jump" her.

Suffolk Chief Trial Prosecutor John Collins said putting her in jail was a last resort and noted that, while rare in domestic violence cases, arresting material witnesses was a common prosecutorial tactic. She was not criminally charged.
Don't they arrest material witnesses because there's a danger he or she might flee, or worse, get killed?

Isn't it her choice whether she decides to testify against the creep or not? Now, I can see the arguments of the other side: he's a known offender, he's got six strikes against him, she filed the complaint which costs the county money and the DA really wants to put him away, and he'll likely violate the OP again until he's put away.

Fair enough. But is it really necessary to spank the victim one more time to do it? Embarass her in front of her children, scare the living hell out of them in order to effectively extort her testimony? How likely is it she's ever going to file another charge against this or any other offender, knowing this has happened to her?

I'm fairly sure the last thing we want in this country is people to be afraid of the law.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Republican National Committee Should Hire This Guy

Father 'drugged child tennis rivals'

By Pierre Sauvey in Mont-de-Marsan
Published: 02 March 2006
A retired soldier has gone on trial in south-west France for allegedly drugging his children's tennis rivals to worsen their game, leading to the death of one player.

Christophe Fauviau, 46, appeared in court in the town of Mont-de-Marsan on charges of unintentionally causing a death by administering toxic substances.

M. Fauviau, whose 15-year-old daughter, Valentine, is considered a rising star of French tennis, is accused of drugging his children's opponents 27 times in tournaments across France from 2000 to 2003.

Prosecutors point to evidence they say shows that M. Fauviau drugged 21 opponents of Valentine and six others faced by his son, Maxime - at times using the anti-anxiety drug Temesta, which can cause drowsiness.

In the investigation, all of those opponents complained of various ills during the matches: weak knees, dizziness, nausea or fainting. Several were hospitalised.

In July 2003, Maxime Fauviau defeated 25-year-old Alexandre Lagardère, a local primary school teacher. M. Lagardère complained of fatigue after the match and slept for two hours. While driving home, he crashed his car and died. Police believe he fell asleep at the wheel. Toxicology tests showed traces of Temesta in his system - allegedly delivered by M. Fauviau.
Sacré bleu! Zee Franch 'ave balls, aprés tout!

In all seriousness, that one has to cheat to have one's child win tennis matches does neither the sport, nor your child, any good. Poor Maxime, thinking he was at the top of his game, when it turns out he had help of a very sinister kind. Imagine how much better his tennis could have gotten if his father had let him learn the game the hard way. And eventually, he's been found out, and so now what?

Hell, imagine how much better Alexandre Lagardère could play tennis!

Likewise, in winning elections by cheating, what have you accomplished? Have you made a statement about the country? Have you improved the political dialogue? Have you let the voice of the people ring true?

Or have you merely started a time-bomb ticking, in which people will stop trusting government? Have you merely exposed your fear of truth, that your agenda hurts people?

Yes, short term, you get to put your agenda forward, and guess what? The apathy, as George Orwell pointed out, works to your advantage as ultimately your power is about warring on your own people, not on others. It's easy to war on people who aren't fighting back.

But eventually, you'll be sussed out, and the time will come when the bills come due. And that distrust of government...YOUR government, will mean that you will never hold power again.

Ultimately, what the Bush administration (and the neo-cons) has done is brought us to the brink of tyranny over our own people, if not by the Bushies themselves, then by the Democrats. Neither scenario seems particularly palatable to a patriot like myself.

See, I'm not afraid of the Bush administration. I see them for the gutless cowards they are. But I am afraid of the next guy who will have better nerves.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Write Your Own Caption!

"Oh, God, Please let me wake up and Al Gore is President..."

What Is It With Republican Women?

Or maybe the emphasis should just be on "Republican"?
'Amateur' filing dents image of latest Hil foe


WASHINGTON - The election filings of Sen. Hillary Clinton's latest opponent certainly aren't par for the course, revealing a political novice claiming golf outings as campaign costs, in apparent violation of the law.
Papers examined by the Daily News revealed that GOP society matron Kathleen Troia (K.T.) McFarland has spent $844 in campaign money to take ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani golfing at least twice at the exclusive Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, L.I. That cash also paid for Giuliani to bring his wife along once and for caddies.

"It would seem that under the regulations, this is not allowed," said Larry Noble, head of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Those regulations specify that campaign funds can't be spent for entertainment or club fees - with a reference expressly barring caddies - unless it is part of a fund-raising event.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said neither outing was a fund-raiser. "They talked politics," Mindel said. "That was it."

McFarland admitted she did not know of the rules, and insisted she would stay out of the rough in the future. "That is ignorance on our part," she said.

Besides the apparent violations, the filings betray an unfamiliarity with campaign finance, listing in unneeded detail McFarland's dozens of meals at the tony Union, Sky and Brook clubs in Manhattan, costing about $2,800.

Veteran political hands chuckled over the filing.

"This screams amateur," said one Republican, joking that the party may be wishing Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro hadn't quit the race.

See, I think at the national level, Republicans have a mechanism that automatically kicks in when things go awry, a Winston "The Wolf" Wolfe if you will, that comes in to clean up the bloody messes. Here in New York, the "mob bosses" have decided it's only small potatoes, nothing larger is at stake, so there's no need to send in a clean-up crew when the jackasses screw it up.

Another possible scenario is...well, New York politics has an history of back room dealings, like when Mario Cuomo and Alfonse D'Amato cut a deal not to impede on each other's turf, which held up for nearly twelve years until D'Amato ran his gloryhole boy, George Pataki for governor. But the half-hearted campaign that Cuomo ran that year told me that the fix was in; like a Bret Hart wrestling match, Cuomo was going to go down in an humiliating defeat.

Bill Clinton has not been visible in Hillary's re-election campaign, but he has made some quiet inroads into influencing her campaign opponent (altho this particular blogger draws a different conclusion than I do.) It would stand to reason that a political animal like Bill Clinton could not stand idly by in a deeply political environment and not do something.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Finally, A Legislator Gets It!

My good friend Fantod has an amazing post up. I urge you to go read it...Teaser:
Ohio lawmaker to propose ban on GOP adoption
Knight Ridder Newspapers

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Glorifying Stupidity

You want to understand how dumb Middle America can get? Here's video of exhibit A:

Ain't that America?

Now, I'm all for plucky cheerleaders helping their teams overcome enormous odds and keeping school spirits raised high in the rafters, but where the hell were the EMTs to tell her "Look, idiot, you've fallen on your back, fer Crissake! Would you stop moving until a doctor's checked you out? You don't want to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, do you?"

No. Instead, this idiot is given a standing ovation by a bunch of liquor-fueled morons who were hoping she'd forget to smooth out her skirt (she didn't) so they could get a cheap look at her hooha while she lay their, semi-conscious, legs akimbo.

To reward them, she does a little stretcher dance. And check out the grinning cow in the still I posted...doesn't look particularly concerned, does she?

Eeesh. Dumb as a button, this one.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

File This Under "U" For "Ewww! Ewww! Ewww!"

Trump Jokes About Dating His Daughter

NEW YORK - Donald Trump joked that he would date his 24-year-old daughter, Ivanka - if he weren't her father.
Trump and Ivanka, a vice president of real estate development at the Trump Organization, appeared Monday on ABC's "The View" to promote her five-episode stint as a boardroom adviser on "The Apprentice."

When asked how he would react if Ivanka, a former teen model, posed for Playboy, Trump replied, "It would be really disappointing - not really - but it would depend on what's inside the magazine."

He added: "I don't think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I've said if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her."

His comments drew laughs from the audience, and prompted "View" co-host Joy Behar to crack, "Who are you, Woody Allen?"

Trump's representative, Jim Dowd, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Trump "was absolutely joking."

"He was making fun of himself for his tendency to date younger women," Dowd said. "It's a sense of humor that people don't see (from him) all the time."

Ivanka and her brother Donald Jr. are filling in for Carolyn Kepcher and George Ross for multiple episodes of "The Apprentice" reality show, which airs Mondays on NBC (9 p.m. EST).

Trump's 35-year-old wife, Melania, is expecting the couple's first child this spring.

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I Wonder Sometimes If They Really Understand What They Say

Limbaugh on Hillary Clinton: "She sounds like a screeching ex-wife. ... Men will know what I mean by this"

During a segment in which he assessed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) presidential chances, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh stated that Clinton "sounds like a screeching ex-wife." Limbaugh made his remark during the March 3 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show. After Limbaugh characterized how he thought Clinton "sounds," he qualified his statement, saying, "And -- and -- and I don't say that -- there's nothing against ex-wives or women. I'm just trying to be descriptive here for you." He went on to add, "Men will know what I mean by this."
So many paths, so little bandwidth...

I'm going with "So does this mean only real men get divorced, Rush? And how does that play with your family values audience? More to the point, what does that make of the hundred million men or so currently married to their first and only wives?"

Listen here: Rush's Idiotic Comment

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Mucking The World (Un)Safe For Democracy

Afghan-Pakistani Relations Deteriorating

Associated Press Writer

March 7, 2006, 8:34 AM EST

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A rift between Afghanistan and Pakistan deepened Tuesday as Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said intelligence about Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives allegedly hiding in Pakistan was "very strong and accurate."

Karzai's spokesman Karim Rahimi said his government will present Islamabad with further intelligence about the militants' whereabouts and that it was "hopeful that measures will be taken" against them.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan -- key allies of Washington in its war on terror -- have deteriorated sharply since Karzai gave Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf last month a list of Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives he said were hiding in Pakistan.

Afghan and Pakistani officials told The Associated Press the list included Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and top associates, and that Afghanistan also shared the locations of alleged terrorist training camps.

[...]Pakistan has accused Afghanistan of leaking the list to the media because Kabul did not trust Islamabad to act on it. "The bad-mouthing against Pakistan is a deliberate, articulated conspiracy," Musharraf was quoted as saying Monday by the state-run news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan.

Musharraf said nobody should question his commitment to fight terrorism and that his security forces have captured terrorists and will continue to do so. He added that he discussed the matter with President Bush during Bush's visit last week to Islamabad.
Well, now, this is an interesting predicament, wouldn't you say?

Whom would you support, Pakistan, the country that has publicly vowed to assist you in capturing terrorists, and who has risked the life of its President to turn over key intelligence and captives, or Afghanistan, a country you pounded into submission, and installed a puppet government?

"Sibling rivalry" leaps to mind, however this isn't a case where we're talking about a few toys misplaced. Pakistan has nukes. Afghanistan is destablizing as we watch, with remnants of the Taliban gathering strength in the hills of Afghanipakistan.

We seem to be making friends wherever we go, don't we? I know the PNAC objective was to destablize the Middle East, allowing us to force march freedom down the throats of the "Ayrabs" there, but this is getting a little silly. Afghanistan and Pakistan were strong allies during the reign of the Taliban (and it's no secret that the Taliban is a Pakistani-sponsored regime), but even prior to that, any friction between the two peoples was centered on the fact that Afghanistan was a buffer between the British and Soviet empires in the region. Both nations are so poor that it was useless for them to have any outward conflicts (save some water rights issues on transnational rivers, understandable in this region.)

Chalk another potential war to the Bush administration.

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Erratum Literature

Believe it or not, even I make mistakes.

On Feb. 26, 2006, I wrote a post called "Race On Ice," in which I misattributed a column written about the Shani Davis/Chad Hedrick dispute in speedskating to Jay Mariotti, an altogether reprehensible character (you may have seen him on various ESPN talk panels. If you have, you know what I mean.)

Instead, credit should have gone to Christopher McIntosh on the Athens Exchange website. In the interests of correcting the record (and since several hundred of you read that piece as originally posted), I have not only corrected the original article, but have taken the liberty of posting this acknowledgement of my error and apology to Mr. McIntosh anew on the front page, rather than weasel out in archives alone.

Given Mr. Mariotti's nature, I can thoroughly understand Mr. McIntosh's distress and dismay that his words were so erroneously misattributed, and I thank him for his obvious restraint in bringing this unintended insult to my attention. As a citizen-journalist, I should have taken more care in proofreading my article (the error is glaring, as not even Mariotti would refer to himself in the third person in his own column), and as a creative force (four of the nine muses) in my own right, it's important to me that credit is given where due.

Mea culpa, Mr. McIntosh, and to my audience, I fucked up.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Brokeback Mountin'

Write Your Own Caption

(Hat tip to my rival in Koufaxing, Gort42, for the photo)

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Iran In Place To Get Away From The World

I've pretty much avoided commenting on the whole Iran nuke issue because there wasn't enough of a critical mass of data to make any value judgements. Until today:

Vienna, 6 March (AKI) - (Ahmad Rafat) - The board of governors of the UN atomic watchdog will decide in Vienna on Monday whether to refer Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council or just inform it of the country's violations of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The decision ends years of intense diplomatic activity which have led to no concrete result. The Islamic Republic has insisted on its right to pursue nuclear activities and claims its programme is purely for civilian use. However, in the past few days, Iran has been more open to dialogue to delay a referral to the Security Council.

Sanctions potentially imposed by the Security Council on Iran would have an impact on the energy market and would be disastrous for Iran's fragile economy.
(emphasis added)

Doesn't all this smack of Saddam Hussein and a policy of containment? The distinction to make here is a) the neo-cons are in office now, as opposed to fifteen years ago when that policy was affirmed by two consecutive presidents, and b) there's blood in the water in enacting the PNAC avowed goal of transforming the Middle East to "democracy".

You'll note that throughout the debacles over Iraq and the recent Dubai controversies, the one organizational roster that has remained completely in agreement with Bush's fumbles and flops has been the PNAC roster.

This "decision" today by the el Baradei led IAEA board of governors could have been strongly influenced by the current US administration's war time footing (and horrendously clumsy bullying), as evidenced by the comments of John Bolton yesterday in front of the AIPAC.

Yea. There's a backdrop to talk reconciliation and negotiated settlement of a Muslim crisis: the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee...

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Glad I Scuba Dive

Antarctica Cannot Replace Ice Loss
Study finds continent is shrinking faster than it can grow. Experts say changes to the global water cycle could hasten the pace of sea-level rise.

By Robert Lee Hotz
Times Staff Writer

March 3, 2006

The ice sheets of Antarctica — the world's largest reservoir of fresh water — are shrinking faster than new snow can fall, scientists reported Thursday in the first comprehensive satellite survey of the entire continent.

Researchers at the University of Colorado determined that between 2002 and 2005 Antarctica lost ice at a rate of 36 cubic miles a year, rather than growing from heavier snowfalls as had been predicted. That amount of ice is equivalent to about 30 times the fresh water used by Los Angeles every year.

By previous calculations, Antarctica's coastal glaciers shed enough meltwater every year to raise sea levels by 0.02 of an inch, even as new snow falling in the interior locked up the same amount in the icecap. The result was that sea level remained more or less the same from year to year.

"A little bit of change in one of these things could throw it all out of balance and, evidently, that is what is going on," said University of Colorado geophysicist John Wahr, who helped analyze the new satellite measurements.

Portions of the Antarctic coast are 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 60 years ago, research has shown.
Naturally, what this indicates is that the Great Conveyor, a worldwide heat tranfer method generated by deep-ocean currents, will be cut short. Currently, (no pun intended) it comes all the way up the east coast of the United States, mitigating our temperature extremes a little, and crosses over towards Europe as a result of the Coriolis effect, warming up Ireland and England as well as much of northern Europe.

For example, Rome is roughly at the same latitude as New York City, yet suffers none of the very cold weather that we do. Should the conveyor stop, or cut short, the cold arctic air that is kept at bay from Europe by the warm air rising off the Gulf Stream would dig deep into Europe, and the Arctic air that is kept away from the east coast, save for the occasional Alberta Clipper we see, will knife into the heart of the most populous megalopolis in the world.

Something to think about on this unusually cold March morning.