A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.
Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.
They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana.
Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.
The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.
No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.
In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.
District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree.
Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands.
A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections.
“I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said Deschamps, who called a recess.
Archive for the ‘Idiot Activists’ Category
Israeli forces seized a Gaza-bound aid vessel without meeting resistance on Saturday, preventing it from breaking an Israeli maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory days after a similar effort turned bloody.
The military said its forces boarded the 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie cargo ship from the sea, not helicopters. The takeover stood in marked contrast to a violent confrontation at sea earlier this week when Israeli commandos blocked a Turkish aid vessel trying to break the blockade.
At the time, Israeli commandos rappelled from helicopters and a clash with passengers left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.
Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich says Saturday’s takeover took only a few minutes and that the vessel was being taken to Israel’s Ashdod port.
At the headquarters of Human Rights Watch, more than 30 storeys above the noise and bustle of Manhattan, there is so much high-mindedness hanging in the air you can almost taste it. This is the epicentre of a certain type of socially smart, progressive activism — the kind that persuades Hollywood grandees, power lawyers and liberal financiers to dig deeply into their pockets.
When the story broke that one of the organisation’s most prominent and vocal members of staff might be a collector of Nazi-era military memorabilia it felt like some sort of sexual scandal had erupted in the Victorian church. For a lobbying group accustomed to adulatory coverage in the media, it was a public-relations catastrophe. Human Rights Watch is one of two global superpowers among the world’s myriad humanitarian pressure groups.
It is relatively young — established in its current form in 1988 — but it has grown so quickly in size, wealth and influence that it has all but eclipsed its older, London-based rival, Amnesty International. Unlike Amnesty, HRW, as it is known, gets its money from charitable foundations and wealthy individuals — such as the financier George Soros — rather than a mass membership.
And, also unlike Amnesty, it seeks to make an impact, not through extensive letter-writing campaigns, but by talking to governments and the media, urging openness and candour and backing up its advocacy with research reports. It is an association that is all about influence — an influence that depends on a carefully honed image of objectivity, expertise and high moral tone.
So it was perhaps a little awkward that a key member of staff was found to have such a treasure trove of Nazi regalia.
Millions of dollars in Western aid for victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 was siphoned off by rebels to buy weapons, a BBC investigation finds.
Former rebel leaders told the BBC that they posed as merchants in meetings with charity workers to get aid money.
They used the cash to fund attempts to overthrow the government of the time.
One rebel leader estimated $95m (£63m) – from Western governments and charities including Band Aid – was channelled into the rebel fight.
The CIA, in a 1985 assessment entitled Ethiopia: Political and Security Impact of the Drought, also alleged aid money was being misused.
Its report concluded: “Some funds that insurgent organisations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes.”
Tired of that old Bible or Koran?
Members of the Atheist Agenda, a student organization at the University of Texas at San Antonio, are encouraging students to trade in religious texts for pornography this week with their “Smut for Smut” campaign.
In the view of club members, religious texts are as smutty as pornography because they contain violence and torture and spark religious wars. But mostly, it’s a public relations stunt meant to ignite debate and attract new members to the club.
As in past years, the campaign did not disappoint, drawing hundreds to UTSA’s Sombrilla Plaza Monday to either cheer, protest or inquire about the event, and to debate the role of religion in society.“It’s a First Amendment right,” said Bradley Lewis, 18-year-old freshman from Pearland who said he plans to join the Atheist Agenda.
“If religious groups can put out missionaries and go knock on my door and wake me up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I can put a table outside of the college.”
Robin Lorkovic, an 18-year-old freshman from Houston, disagreed. Lorkovic stood near the “Smut for Smut” table holding a cardboard sign that said “God Loves You! Keep your Bible and learn from it!”
Chanting “We ain’t got no tickets!” and “Homes Not Games,” more than 1,000 protesters swept through downtown Vancouver toward the Olympic opening ceremony Friday but were held back by police before they could block spectators from entering the celebration.
Billed as an action “against capitalism and colonization,” the first of two major street rallies mobilized demonstrators ranging from aboriginal rights groups to advocates for the homeless, all aiming to mount one of the biggest-ever organized protests against the Olympic Games.
“There’s never been an Olympic protest like this. This is a first,” said Chris Shaw, spokesman for 2010 Watch, which claims Canadian citizens are bearing the brunt of the multibillion-dollar cost of a sporting event they say will benefit land developers and corporate sponsors.
“It was one of the largest rallies in Vancouver history, and the protest led right up to the door of the [International Olympic Committee],” Shaw said.
While past Olympics have been magnets for protests over issues such as aboriginal rights in Australia and oppression in Tibet, the Vancouver Winter Games are preparing to host one of the biggest displays ever of organized opposition to the Olympics themselves.
Building on years of disgruntlement over the increasingly corporate nature of the Games — and widespread alarm over a projected $5.6-billion price tag — a resistance network has vowed to post thousands of protesters outside venues, some of whom aim to disrupt the events.
Security analysts have warned that such domestic protesting is as great a threat to the seamless unfolding of the Games as the possibility of a terrorist attack. Canadian officials, however, have promised to give the demonstrators as much leeway as possible, backing off plans to ban signs, cordon off protesters and use high-tech sonic weapons to disperse unruly crowds.
That open door reflects not only British Columbia’s tradition of tolerance and commitment to free speech, but also an acknowledgment of Vancouver residents’ reservations about hosting the Games, the infrastructure for which will probably take years to pay off.
In recent weeks, politicians and small-business owners have been among those raising questions about whether the two-week event, which begins Friday, can possibly be worth the large public expenditures, traffic disruptions and environmental damage.
A man set himself on fire after pouring gasoline on himself outside Nicholas Ungar Furs at 12th and Yamhill Wednesday morning before police used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
He later died from his injuries at the hospital, police said.
The man was identified as 26-year-old Daniel Shaull from Kansas, according to the Multnomah County medical examiner.
It was not immediately clear whether Shaull was protesting against the store, which has had problem with animal rights activists in the past, but witnesses said he was screaming about the treatment of animals.
“There are animals dying! Animals dying!” witnesses said Shaull was screaming as flames engulfed his body and shot above his head.
The average New Yorker uses one-half to one-third the electricity of other Americans. Our carbon footprints are just 29 percent of people who live outside the five boroughs, and City Hall has practical plans to reduce even that amount by nearly a third over the next two decades.
No wonder that this month, in a talk at the New York Academy of Science, Rohit Aggarwalat, the mayor’s chief adviser on sustainability, said the city was “the most environmentally efficient society in the United States.”
So it makes perfect sense that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is going to Copenhagen on Monday and Tuesday to address the international conference on climate change: his administration is working to head off problems that will not emerge until long after he is gone.
A strong case can be made that when it comes to energy and climate issues, Mr. Bloomberg is the most visionary public official in the country. And a strong argument can also be made that on a personal level, he ranks among the worst individual polluters ever to hold public office. Mr. Bloomberg owns a helicopter and two jets, both Falcon 900s. He flies everywhere on private jets, by far the least efficient form of transportation on or above the earth. He takes his jet to Bermuda many weekends. He has flown around the globe on it. He uses it to go to Washington. He is planning to get to Copenhagen for the climate conference by private jet, too.
The carbon math works out like this: by taking his Falcon 900 to Denmark, Mr. Bloomberg will be responsible for the release of 37 times the carbon dioxide than if he and his entourage flew on a scheduled commercial flight. The calculations were done at my request by Dimitri Simos, the developer of software used by the airline industry to assess aircraft emission and performance.
Mr. Simos said that a Falcon 900 carrying eight people from Newark to Copenhagen would produce 21.6 tons of carbon dioxide. By adding eight people to the scheduled Scandinavian Airlines flight, the aircraft, usually an Airbus A330-300, would produce an additional 0.58 tons of carbon dioxide. Mr. Bloomberg’s routine trips to Bermuda are even more carbon costly: the private jet produces 130 times more emissions than going commercial. On those jaunts, Mr. Simos said, the Falcon produces 4.3 tons of carbon dioxide; putting another two people on an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 that flies to Bermuda would produce only 66 more pounds.
A leading human rights group has suspended its senior military analyst following revelations that he is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia.
The group, Human Rights Watch, had initially thrown its full support behind the analyst, Marc Garlasco, when the news of his hobby came out last week.
On Monday night, the group shifted course and suspended him with pay, “pending an investigation,” said Carroll Bogert, the group’s associate director. “We have questions about whether we have learned everything we need to know,” she said.
The suspension comes at a time of heightened tension between, on on side, the new Israeli government and its allies on the right, and the other side, human rights organizations that have been critical of Israel. In recent months, the government has pledged an aggressive approach toward the groups to discredit what they argue is bias and error.
Injected suddenly into that heated conflict, word of Mr. Garlasco’s interest seemed startling to many. The disclosure ricocheted across the Internet: Mr. Garlasco, an American, was not only a collector, he has written a book, more than 400 pages long, about Nazi-era medals. His hobby, inspired he said by a German grandfather conscripted into Hitler’s army, was revealed on a pro-Israel blog, Mere Rhetoric Mere Rhetoric, which quoted his enthusiastic postings on collector sites under the pseudonym “Flak88” — including, “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”
The scandal surrounding the left-wing activist organization ACORN has spread to New York, with employees at its Brooklyn office caught on video helping supposed ladies of the night get loans for their dream houses of ill repute.
Rather than reminding the women that prostitution is dangerous and illegal and advising them to change their careers, counselors at the social-services group shockingly offer suggestions on how they can launder their earnings.
“Honesty is not going to get you the house,” a loan counselor at the offices told two activists posing as a mortgage-seeking pimp and prostitute. “You can’t say what you do for a living.”
ACORN workers in two other cities, Baltimore and Washington, DC, had already fallen hooker, line and sinker for the hidden-camera sting operation by two conservative activists.
People who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming, says a team of researchers, who claim that many ideas about sustainable living are a myth.
According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.
Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: “Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights.”
Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts, he added.
Three residents of the Greek island of Lesbos have lost an attempt to ban the use of the word “lesbian” to describe gay women.
The residents argued that using the term in reference to gay women insulted their identity.
But an Athens court ruled there was no justification for their contention that they felt slighted, saying the word did not define the islanders’ identity.
Greeks often refer to the island as Mytilene, after its capital.
“This is a good decision for lesbians everywhere,” Vassilis Chirdaris, lawyer for the Gay and Lesbian Union of Greece, told Reuters news agency.
A lawyer who fervently contested the result of the 2000 presidential election and started an organization advocating voter reform used it to hide profits from another venture, the police say: a strip club that offered more than dancing.
The lawyer, Louis Posner, ran the Hot Lap Dance Club out of a fifth-floor loft in Hell’s Kitchen, where the police said the wealthy clientele paid as much as $5,000 for sex with dancers in private rooms.
The authorities raided the loft on Thursday night and arrested Mr. Posner, his wife, Betty, and 19 others on charges that included money laundering and promoting prostitution. No clients were arrested.
Just before the president of the United States makes an appearance at a speech, a usually tall, muscular person with a machine gun hanging under his suit coat quietly walks on stage and hangs the presidential seal on the podium front.
It’s an impressive looking thing that conveys a sense of the power of the top elected office in the land and, indeed, the free world.
But Barack Obama’s crowd has decided not to wait for any of the formalities like a presidential election, an inauguration or even a nomination, which he still hasn’t actually officially won yet. Though even Hillary Clinton admits to the math now.
Obama now has his own Great Seal already. And it is really, really big. It’s big like the tires on those elevated pickups in the parking lot at NASCAR races where you look out the car window and see nothing but fist-sized lug nuts.
Obama’s new seal looks really presidential, which is probably a coincidence, don’t you think? Obama’s seal has an eagle just like the president’s seal and he or she is holding arrows to signify war, which Obama was against before it even started.
And it’s got olive branches, which stand for peace, which we haven’t really had since 9/11 but DailyKos promises will come as soon as we shoo out Bush and Cheney.
The seal’s also got a terrifically impressive motto in Latin — “Vero Possumus” — which means “The possum speaks truthily.”
In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.
“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”
In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.
In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore’s Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.
After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.
I am on the bridge of the massive Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, and the tension is palpable. We have hit ice – thick ice.
We are travelling from the northeastern corner of Russia, across the Bering Sea and the top of Canada to Resolute Bay in Nunavut. At least that’s the plan. We haven’t even reached Canadian waters and we are already in trouble.
The ice master studies the mountains of white packed around the ship while the 24,000-horsepower diesel engines work at full throttle to open a path. The ship rises slowly onto the barrier of ice, crushes it and tosses aside blocks the size of small cars as if they were ice cubes in a glass. It creeps ahead a few metres, then comes to a halt, its bow firmly wedged in the ice. After doing this for two days, the ship can go no farther.
The ice master confers with the captain, who makes a call to the engine room. The engines are shut down. He turns to those of us watching the drama unfold, and we are shocked by his words: “Now, only nature can help this ship.” We are doomed to drift.
What irony. I am a passenger on one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world, travelling through the Northwest Passage – which is supposed to become almost ice-free in a time of global warming, the next shipping route across the top of the world – and here we are, stuck in the ice, engines shut down, bridge deserted. Only time and tide can free us.
German historians want Adolf Hitler’s infamous manifesto, “Mein Kampf,” to be republished in the country before the copyright lapses in 2015.
Though the book is widely available in the English-speaking world, its publication has been banned in Germany since World War II and its resale is tightly regulated.
But German copyright law dictates that an author’s work enters the public domain 70 years after his or her death, and that deadline is fast approaching. Hitler killed himself in his Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945.
Before that anniversary, historians want Bavaria – which controls the copyright because Hitler’s last official address was in Munich – to authorize an annotated version of “Mein Kampf.” They say a thorough, academic presentation that places Hitler’s work in historical context would be the best defense against radical right-wing groups and neo-Nazis who might want to use the book to advance racist agendas once the copyright expires and anyone is free to publish it.
The cemetery next to the Flower Mound Presbyterian Church was a peaceful, well-kept place until Tuesday night. An overflow of voters trying to join the caucus next door ended up leaving muddy tire tracks through the cemetery. One vehicle’s tire actually got stuck in a recently filled grave.
Many voters parked on the shoulder of a gravel road winding through the cemetery, right next door to the church where the voting was taking place. One witness says motorists either didn’t notice — or didn’t care — they were parking just a few feet from buried bodies.
To make matters worse, recent rains left the ground soft, and the tires kicked up plenty of mud. Carved angels, flowers, mementos and other decorations on some of the graves were splattered with grit and dirt clods.
A policeman alerted hundreds of families to the danger-drug Strawberry Meth – despite the fact it does not exist.
Pupils and parents at 80 schools in Oxfordshire were warned of the possible risks of the fruit-flavoured drug, also known as Strawberry Quick, by the unwitting officer.
The spurious alert came after the officer sent an email via a special system connecting police and schools without checking it with colleagues.
A virulent anti-smoker in Germany was so angry when his girlfriend lit up he emptied a fire extinguisher to put out the cigarette, caking her and their apartment in powder.
“My colleagues said it looked like a bomb had gone off in there,” said a spokesman for police in the western city of Bielefeld. “He managed to put the cigarette out though.”
Hat tip to Steve!
Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, today accused Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) of committing “plagiarism” in a speech in Milwaukee on Saturday night.
Wolfson made the explosive charge in an interview with Politico after suggesting as much in a conference call with reporters.
On the call, Wolfson said: “Sen. Obama is running on the strength of his rhetoric and the strength of his promises and, as we have seen in the last couple of days, he’s breaking his promises and his rhetoric isn’t his own.”
“When an author plagiarizes from another author there is damage done to two different parties. One is to the person he plagiarized from. The other is to the reader,” said Wolfson.
Back in the 1988 campaign, Mike Dukakis’ campaign chief of staff, John Sasso, secretly leaked a video of Joe Biden plagiarizing Neil Kinnock. Back then, things like honor and character mattered a bit more than they do today, and Biden was driven from the race. Later, Sasso was exposed and Dukakis had to sack him.
It looks like Team Hillary is so devoid of inspiration that they feel the need to plagiarize a winner like President Dukakis.
TERRIFIED teddy bear row teacher Gillian Gibbons was being held in a secret jail last night — after a 10,000-strong armed mob took to Sudan’s streets screaming: “Kill her, kill her.”
The Liverpool mum of two — convicted of insulting Islam by calling the bear Mohammed — was sneaked out of the capital Khartoum hours after being jailed for 15 days.
School security guards in Palmdale, CA have been caught on camera assaulting a 16-year-old girl and breaking her arm after she spilled some cake during lunch and left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning it up.
A poster advertising a cult UFO conference in Glastonbury was taken down after concerns that a swastika featured on it was causing offence.
The symbol is part of the logo for the Raelian movement which believes that humans are descendents of aliens.
…The Live Earth event is, in the words of one commentator: “a massive, hypocritical fraud”.
For while the organisers’ commitment to save the planet is genuine, the very process of putting on such a vast event, with more than 150 performers jetting around the world to appear in concerts from Tokyo to Hamburg, is surely an exercise in hypocrisy on a grand scale.
Matt Bellamy, front man of the rock band Muse, has dubbed it ‘private jets for climate change’.
A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that far from saving the planet, the extravaganza will generate a huge fuel bill, acres of garbage, thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, and a mileage total equal to the movement of an army.
The most conservative assessment of the flights being taken by its superstars is that they are flying an extraordinary 222,623.63 miles between them to get to the various concerts – nearly nine times the circumference of the world. The true environmental cost, as they transport their technicians, dancers and support staff, is likely to be far higher.
The total carbon footprint of the event, taking into account the artists’ and spectators’ travel to the concert, and the energy consumption on the day, is likely to be at least 31,500 tonnes of carbon emissions, according to John Buckley of Carbonfootprint.com, who specialises in such calculations.
Throw in the television audience and it comes to a staggering 74,500 tonnes. In comparison, the average Briton produces ten tonnes in a year.
THE BBC is institutionally biased, an official report will conclude this week. The year-long investigation, commissioned by the BBC, has found the corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion.
It concludes that the bias has extended across drama, comedy and entertainment, with the corporation pandering to politically motivated celebrities and trendy causes.
As he’s done nearly every morning for decades, mink farmer Robert DeMatteis headed to his pens early Wednesday to feed thousands of the sleek animals his family has raised since the 1930s in Butler County.
Moments later, Mr. DeMatteis, 48, was staring in horror at the aftermath of an overnight rampage: smashed and toppled cages, carcasses of trampled minks and the bloody bodies of his children’s two pet dogs.
“It was just total death everywhere, with minks loose or stomped and both dogs dead,” said his wife, Kim DeMatteis, 43, as she wept yesterday at the family’s Oakwood Mink Farm in Marion. The farm is one of nine where minks are raised for sale in Pennsylvania.
“Whoever broke in brutally injured or killed baby minks, nursing mothers, and totally tore the whole ranch apart. Whoever could do something this cruel and vicious to animals [is dangerous].”
Intruders set loose nearly 2,800 minks, resulting in the deaths of at least 443 animals, after slipping in and opening the farm’s pens late Tuesday or early Wednesday. They also nearly severed the heads of the family’s 19-year-old sheepdog, named Sy, and 2-year-old sheepdog-beagle mix, named Sandy, by shooting or bludgeoning them with something sharp. Mrs. DeMatteis said.
At 8 o’clock on a recent Saturday morning, more than 250 men gathered at New Life Christian Church in Morton, Illinois, for a breakfast of porn and pancakes.
The event, not as titillating as it sounds, is the brainchild of Craig Gross, founder of the online Christian ministry, XXXChurch.com. Gross concocted the idea of “Porn & Pancakes” as a way to get Christians and church officials to talk about pornography addiction.
It’s a problem, he said, that is growing, among Christian communities.
A Chattanooga Internet firm doctored a photo of White House aide Karl Rove to show him holding a folder with the company’s logo, fueling speculation in the blogosphere that the president’s top adviser is running White House correspondence through a nongovernment e-mail system.
”It’s easy for people to plant disinformation and misinformation out there,” said Josiah Roe, executive vice president of Coptix, based in St. Elmo.
Mr. Roe said the company altered the photo and placed it on the Internet after bloggers implied that Coptix was involved in a “vast right-wing conspiracy” because the company — along with another local firm, SmarTech — provides an Internet service for the Republican National Committee.
A man has had a slice of ham and pineapple pizza tattooed on his head.
Need more be said? Click through and laugh for yourself
Tiny, fluffy and adorable, Knut the baby polar bear became an animal superstar after he was abandoned by his mother. He rapidly became the symbol of Berlin Zoo, whose staff bottle-fed him and handed out cuddles in between
At three months old, however, the playful 19lb bundle of fur is at the centre of an impassioned debate over whether he should live or die.
Animal rights activists argue that he should be given a lethal injection rather than brought up suffering the humiliation of being treated as a domestic pet.
SCHOOLCHILDREN staged a revolt after the teachers and parents planned a balloon race to help raise funds for playground equipment. The young eco-warriors dug their heels in and said they would not take part because of the damage balloons can do to marine life. The pupils also insisted that a ban on balloon races is written into the school’s green constitution. The children discovered that balloons can be eaten by dolphins, turtles and other wildlife, causing death in many cases.
Three California cyclists on an international ride to promote environmentalism have been sentenced to jail and banned from national parks after admitting they ran afoul of a rule designed to protect the environment by riding through the Grand Canyon.
The cyclists were tracked down in Tucson after National Park Service rangers discovered pictures and a journal on the trio’s Web site, www.ridingthespine.com. Bikes are prohibited on hiking trails.
Sean Monterastelli, 23; David Yost, 24; and Jacob Thompson, 24, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff. They received 48 hours in jail, a five-year ban from national parks, fines and probation.
The problem today is not only the draconian sentences that white-collar offenders are receiving, but the fact that because of the elimination of parole they will actually have to serve them. [Oh the Horrors! Imagine that! Ed.]
For example, if Michael Milken had been sentenced under today’s sentencing regime, and if he had been made to serve his entire sentence, he might not have been able to found the Prostate Cancer Foundation or FasterCures, two organizations that have made serious inroads in the treatment of diseases. Without the freedom to undertake this extraordinary work in the fight against cancer, he might never have earned Fortune Magazine’s title of “The Man Who Changed Medicine.” [Shocking! Shocking! Ed.]
Not surprisingly, the sentences in white-collar cases have matched Congress’s desires. Look at the case of Chalana McFarland, a first-time offender who received a thirty-year prison term for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme that skimmed twenty million dollars from the sale of over one hundred homes from 1999 to 2002.
Congress might want to be tough on crime, but does Congress really want McFarland to serve more time than John Walker Lindh, who received a twenty-year sentence for supplying services to the Taliban”? Is there a legitimate reason for white-collar offenders to receive longer prison sentences than a traitor?
Federal authorities yesterday charged the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, who serves as a leader of youth sports organizations in the state, with receiving and possessing child pornography.
Charles Rust-Tierney, 51, of Arlington, was named in a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria and was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Arlington County police.
His arrest was announced by Arlington police after an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry R. Poretz. The arrest, according to court documents, came after ICE agents and Arlington police — armed with federal warrants — searched Mr. Rust-Tierney’s home.
Hybrid cars have been hailed as the answer to a litany of problems in the U.S., from global warming to gas prices. But now one group is labeling them as something else: a threat.
According to the National Federation of the Blind, hybrid cars, which run on an energy efficient mix of gasoline and electricity, are problematic for children, elderly pedestrians and the blind.
Why? Hybrids are much quieter than their conventional counterparts, so silent that the NFB says that they can be difficult to hear coming down the street. The group conducted tests to try to prove their point.
Hat tip to Kara!
A Dutch journalist asked an Amsterdam court on Friday to convict him for eating chocolate, saying by doing so he was benefiting from child slavery on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast. Teun van de Keuken, 35, is seeking a jail sentence to raise consumer awareness and force the cocoa and chocolate industry to take tougher measures to stamp out child labor.
In a bizarre attack, a well-known author and Holocaust scholar was dragged out of a San Francisco hotel elevator by an apparent Holocaust denier who reportedly had been trailing him for weeks.
According to police, the suspect accosted Wiesel in the hotel elevator at around 6:30 p.m., saying he wanted to interview him. Wiesel said he would do the interview in the lobby. That’s when the attacker pulled him out of the elevator, police reported.
In a posting Tuesday on the anti-Zionist Web site ZioPedia, a writer using the name Eric Hunt takes credit for the attack: “After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor. I pulled Wiesel out of the elevator. I said I wanted to interview him.” Wiesel grabbed at his chest and yelled for help, according to the posting. “I told him, ‘Why don’t you want people to know the truth?’ His expression changed, and he began screaming again. …” the posting reads.
Police reported that the suspect tried to force Wiesel into one of the rooms, but ran away when Wiesel started yelling. The online posting states that the writer intended to “bring Wiesel to my hotel room where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his non-fiction Holocaust memoir, Night, is almost entirely fictitious.” Later in the posting, the Holocaust is portrayed as a “myth.”
Color me unsurprised by this act and the city in which it happened. This is what happens when you embrace hate in the name of “progressive” thought.
An initiative filed by proponents of same-sex marriage would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years or else have their marriage annulled.
Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. That group was formed last summer after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.
A German Web site has come up a novel niche market — renting out demonstrators for public protests. Good-looking protestors can help an organization get its political message to the public for as little as €145 a day.
A school program to fight childhood obesity that includes yoga is drawing complaints from some Christian parents in the Quesnel area in B.C.’s Cariboo region. They say yoga is a religion, and shouldn’t be taught in public schools.
“There’s God and there’s the devil, and the devil’s not a gentleman. If you give him any kind of an opening, he will take that.”
House Democrats tried to unveil their lobbying reform package today, but their press conference was drowned out by chants from anti-war activists who want Congress to stop funding the Iraq war before taking on other issues. Led by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain soldier, the protesters chanted “De-escalate, investigate, troops home now” as Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., began outlining the Democrats’ plans to ban lobbyist-funded travel and institute other ethics reforms. The press conference was held in the Cannon House Office Building in an area open to the public.
SOME 600 people gathered in the western French city of Nantes to protest the new year’s arrival today Lashed by rain, the organisers said even the weather was against 2007, as they milled about under banners reading “No to 2007!” and “Now is better!” “The world will come to understand that it must stop this mad course towards the future and we demand the governments of the world and the United Nations declare a moratorium to stop this December 31 the future,” said one of the organisers.