Monday, December 31, 2007

Don't All 44 Year Olds Celebrate Their Birthday By Getting Smashed And Hopping Behind The Wheel?

When you're Jim Leyritz, former World Series (of baseball) hero, and you're out bar-hopping with a tasty Playboy model, perhaps you forget that you are human, and that you are just as capable of being tomorrow's headline as anybody else.

This all happened on Friday, but I stayed away from it at first. I didn't want to use his name as an excuse to publicize his stupid act. But a young mother is dead now - rumors are that they had friends in common - and the details of Leyritz's senselessness keep coming in.

NY Daily News has been keeping track of them:

Bottom line: Leyritz is facing serious time in jail.

When will we learn? Don't get smashed and get behind the wheel. Just do not do it.

Rest In Peace, Rosetta Peacock, 12/31/1977 - 12/30/2007

Rosetta Peacock would have turned 31 today. Instead her saddened family will be making her funeral arrangements. The Irvington, NJ woman was standing in her bedroom last night when a stray bullet pierced the wall and then her head, killing her instantly.

Irvington is just west of Newark. NYTimes has the facts:

Who says New Jersey no longer has a death penalty?

You Drink, You Drive, You Cause Incredible Death And Destruction

Michael Gagnon, a 24 year old Michigan man, was partying with siblings and cousins on Sunday night, December 30. The party was an early New Year's celebration, and a room had been rented so the partiers could enjoy themselves without worrying about driving home.

Too bad they didn't collect the car keys. After pumping up his blood alcohol to .254, Mike bolted the party, badly in need of some Taco Bell. Doing the right thing, employees notified police that an obviously intoxicated driver was at their store. Police arrived too late to detain Gagnon, who soon managed to enter I-280 outside Toledo going

the wrong way.

And now five members of a Maryland family are dead.

BaltSun has a full account, including an interview with Gagnon's stunned brother:,0,144080.story?coll=bal_tab01_layout

Toledo Blade was on the scene and has a grisly photo to prove it:

We'll keep posting these stories. Will you see yourself or someone you know in one of them, and do the right thing?

Oh Those Whacky Republicans

Not to paint every Republican with the same broad brush; it is theoretically possible that there are some GOPers who (a) understand the whole separation of church and state thing and (b) acknowledge the existence of forms of religion other than Christianity.

It would be difficult to draw that distinction based on the Iowa polls, where Huck and Mitt duke it out before Thursday's caucuses. Mitt of course is Mitt Romney, the used-to-be-liberal and now died in the wool conservative Mormon former Massachusetts governor. Mitt will be damed if he'll let anybody accuse him of being a lesser Christian, just because some label his religion a cult.

Anybody? Well, Huck for one. Huck is Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister, who has been less than warm toward Mitt's church in some of his comments along the campaign trail. ("Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?").

So, things are pretty crazy in Iowa these days. The radios, TVs and newspapers are blanketed with ads from the contenders (can you name them all?)

What's at stake is, who will carry the conservative (read: bible thumping) flag against McCain/Giuliani. The theory is there will be one strong conservative and one strong centrist Republican left after South Carolina. The hand to hand combat at these early stages will be fierce.

I've been wrong so many times in presidential politics, but I have to continue to hold out hope that Republicans would rather have a strong centrist candidate than a man who carries a religious pledge into the White House.

We will all know soon enough.

WashPost with a home grown analysis, complete with scary quotes:

Welcome Home! Here's Your Cell...

More details emerge from the saga of the Zoe 6. They have in fact been jailed upon their return to France; the local prosecutor has no intention of seeking to have the sentences or the charges dropped; the 6 appear in court January 14 so the judge can alter the "hard labor" portion of their sentences, which is against French law. Any alteration to the sentences must, according to treaty, be acceptable to Chad.

The lawyers for the 6 howl about 'totalitarian justice', as in, how could France abide a Chadian sentence? Of course this thing is much bigger than the Z6; there are international relations to consider.

Also, it really does seem true: they were kidnapping a hundred Chadian children, not saving Sudanese orphans. Perhaps they were duped; perhaps they are part of an international children smuggling ring. In any case, if that was your child or mine, you'd be inclined to see justice served on those who were toting the child to the airport to be whisked out of the country.

The Z6 may be patsies; probably some of them are. New prediction: new trials for all, and some will go free. Some will not, because they were in positions where they should have known what they were involved in. They were the ones who met with the intermediaries and took responsibility for the children.

WashPost (via AFP) keeps us up to date:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Daddy, Why Did You Let The Planet Melt?

Twenty years from now we will all be looking our children and grandchildren in the faces and trying to answer that question. That is, those of us who are still alive. Forget all this talk about population reaching 9 billion; we will start to measure the loss in population within these next 20 years.

Why? Because there will be no place to live, and not enough resources. Not enough energy. Not enough food. Not enough land. There will be plagues and massive death inducing events, and living conditions for every human will be worse than they are today.

If there is still an internet and still a Blogger in 2027, this testimony will prove perhaps too soft.

The planet is in fact melting. Or evaporating, to be more accurate. Sure there's been plenty of rain and snow, but it dries right up again. Mountains are losing permanent ice, which means their rivers will eventually run dry for part of the year. Those rivers already fail, in some cases, to reach the sea anymore, so tapped are they along the way. This will become more common. The western states' new Colorado river sharing agreement will prove to be a fantasy, within five years.

The artic will be close to ice free in summer by 2011. I made that prediction two years ago.

It's called acceleration, folks. The more things melt, the faster they melt. You know it's true. You see it when snow melts. Once it gets started, it picks up speed. Same thing with the northern latitudes and elevations, and to a lesser extent in the southern latitudes. Why the difference? Because the only land which rests within the antarctic circle is Antarctica itself, which has very high elevation due to the enormous snow pack. Also, the ozone hole keeps things cooler. Also, it is surrounded by a very cold ocean with very strong winds. Still, there are coastal parts of Antarctica which have lost ice mass, enough so that the continent as a whole is shrinking, ever so slowly. But remember that thing about picking up speed?

So, these are easy predictions to make. One more prediction: we will, within ten years, be talking seriously about seeding the atmosphere with particles which either dim sunlight or remove CO2. We will not - not - get there with emissions reductions, and the concept of making carbon based fuel more expensive has a real chance to devastate common folk, who can barely afford their energy costs now.

Time to get in the game. We need to remember who serves who here. We serve the planet; she does not serve us. If we don't stop being so rude to her, she will have no choice but to slap us down.

Read this Yahoo story (via AP, of course), and really understand what it clearly lays out. It is time to get in the game.;_ylt=An6U2tf1E0azYS5hkOoQFqYE1vAI

The Eyes And Ears Of Big Brother Are All In Place...

...and are known as the national cell phone network. Several days ago a Hindu woman from Chicago disappeared from along the banks of the Des Plaines river while discarding a broken idol in accordance with tradition. Police and search and rescue personnel scoured the area, looking for the woman's body.

The police also did some investigating. Like, had she used her cell phone recently?

She had, all throughout the day she had gone missing. Most of the calls were to a single number. The police tracked down the owner of that number. It was a young man, who had the woman with him. Seems the woman simply wanted to get away from it all, and staged her own disappearance. She did not contact any member of her family while she was away, including her husband.

In days gone by, she'd simply be another missing person. After a couple of weeks, the police would declare her body unrecoverable. After a year, the state would declare her dead. She would have a chance at an anonymous new life, which she clearly sought.

Not anymore, kiddies. That little cell phone you carry with you everywhere you go is actually a tracking device. Using triangulation, you can be located at any moment to within a quarter mile, and your movements within that area can be monitored. They'd be waiting for you at the county line.

You don't even have to use the phone. It responds to pings from cell towers, which then log the connection.

Did you know any of that? So, here's the lesson: before you embark on a mission which you wish to keep secret like, forever, ditch the cell phone. Buy one of those paygo deals - with cash - and don't use your freaking ATM or credit card.

Do you even realize how plugged in you are?

ChiTrib rundown on the Hindu woman:,0,2273284.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout

Friday, December 28, 2007

FOVSS (Friend Of Very Strange Stories) and a strange man in his own right, Keith presents us with his latest brainstorm, the Metacafe Joke Of The Month. Note the production detail :-)

Dirty Joke! - Click here for more home videos

WIll The French Find A Way To Blame Us For This?

Starting January 2 (well, January 1 but they don't feel like enforcing it on a holiday), France becomes a fully non-smoking country. Not quite. They take the extraordinary step of banning smoking in cafes. Bars and restaurants, too. But cafes? One more ubiquitous hallmark of Franch style and fashion bites the dust.

They have studies which show that half of all smokers die from smoking-related illnesses. They've already banned smoking in hospitals and airports, and now this final step.

Makes one wonder why the U.S. can't get together and pass one uniform clean indoor air law. Surely the French have obnoxious, well funded lobbyists just as the U.S. does?

America stands for freedom! You want to destroy your lungs, who has the right to intrude?

Ah, it's the second hand smoke that gets you. You have no right to exhale your pollution in the air I may also have to breathe.

For my money, the indoor ban is sensible and long overdue anywhere. That companies are allowed to profit from the sale of these death sticks is bad enough. To force others to breathe the foul air is too much, and has gone on for too long.

Enough is enough already. It's time for the U.S. to follow France (and much of Europe) and make it a national standard: no smoking in common, indoor spaces.

Yahoo (via A.P.) writeup here:;_ylt=ApqdIhhX.Bl02EFBwf_G.vgE1vAI

Move Over! I'm In A F#$!IN ESCALADE!

Her last words were actually "Oh Sh##!", but her actions spoke loudest, and now Jennifer Carter of Frederick, MD, is dead at 27. Why? Because she thought her Escalade owned the road as well as the shoulder. While weaving back and forth, she clipped the back of another car and plunged into the opposite lane. So, what happened next?

Head on collision and two more dead, a Fairfax, VA, father and son.

Words escape me at times like this. Kind of like how I feel when a jilted boyfriend kills the girlfriend and then kills himself.

Why not just kill yourself?

Jennifer Carter got what she deserved, driving a 4,000 pound missile like a jet ski on U.S. 15 during rush hour.

(Why do they call it that? Because it's a baaaaad time to be in a rush...)

It's just, so damn unfair that a father and son, doing who knows what during Christmas break, had to pay for her senseless, reckless act. And of course, she leaves bereaved all around her. All in all, quite a frickin' mess.

Way to go out with a bang, Jennifer.

WashPost with the sickening story, still unfolding:

Glad To Be Leaving Chad?

The 6 French aid workers (awkward turn of phrase, for sure) have, as suspected, been turned over
to French authorities and will be leaving Chad. Still technically guilty of the charges against
them, the workers will still need to be dealt with by the French legal system. They won't be doing
hard labor, but will they be released outright?

Since guessing only counts if you do it before the fact, here's mine: Yes.

NY Times update (via AP) here:

Meet The Man Who Ran Into The Fire

Ryan Parker, a 21 year old man. What a man.

Thanks to Parker, his 8 year old niece is alive today. She was moments from death by smoke
inhalation when Parker dove through the basement window of their burning house, found her in the
dense blackness, and managed to find the window he came through and get her out. He doesn't
remember how he got out.

WashPost with the amazing details:

Here Kitty (Isn't It Cute How Mad He's Getting?)...Here Kitty....Holy SH**!

Well, this tiger story just gets more remarkable. Maybe the wall wasn't quite high enough; the
moat was dry; something may have been dangled over the edge (a shoe?)...the three men were
together in the zzoo, at the tiger enclosure, when this scene unfolded. Taunting is suspected,
which may have triggered an unusual feat of strength by the big cat.

Now the Examiner tells us that the dead man was trying to save his friend from being mauled.
Details remain sketchy, but presumably the survivors know what happened. Here's the latest from
the Examiner:

Good Christians Can Look Remarkably Like The Devil

It almost brings tears to your eyes, doesn't it? The killer's mother saying "He's a good
Christian!", so how could he have helped his girlfriend gun down her parents, her brother, his
wife and their two children?

Well, money is suspected. Such a shock. A good christian moved, by mere money, to take the lives
of 6 innocent people?

Joseph Thomas McEnroe, all of 29, met Michele K. Anderson through an as yet un-nmed online dating
service five years ago. What transpired between then and now to convince them that the path to
financial security was to take heavy caliber handguns, truck over to the folks' house on Christmas
eve, and...

Yahoo (via AP) has the facts, as known so far:;_ylt=Ai5WPLaifA7x7SAeG7nbWbIE1vAI

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Evidence That Beasts Live Among Us

Why do women choose bad men? Fabian Hands, a 46 year old pathetic excuse for a human being, killed his girlfriend and her sister before raping and assaulting the 20 year old daughter of the dead girlfriend. When police arrived at the scene, the 20 year old emerged from a bedroom complaining of the rape and assault. Hands followed her out of the bedroom and, in front of police, assaulted her again. He's been arrested and charged with the crimes, which are of course "alleged" at this point. We suspect the Omaha P.D. got their man...

WashPost account (via AP) here:

One Last Walk Together Before I Knife You To Death...

David Winters, age 18, home for the holidays in the suburban Washington, D.C. area after completing Marine boot camp, went for a walk with his proud Dad Andrew, who was wearing his USMC sweatshirt in his son's honor. Somehow, this newly minted Marine snapped, and when all was said and done, father Andrew was dead of knife wounds. At first David claimed that both men had been assaulted by unknown assailants, but that story quickly folded. The Marines teach you to kill well, not to lie well.

WashPost coverage here:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lest We Forget Their Suffering

The NRA holds steadfast to the principle that the government had no authority to disarm the citizens of New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina. In a situation where there was effectively no law enforcement, possession of a weapon would likely have been the only means available for defense of self and property.

The city denies the allegations, saying police took only stolen or abandoned guns.

The NRA seeks a delay in the trial to give them more time to find actual victims of the seizures.

From Yahoo (via AP):;_ylt=Airn88mYz40Bc.hshtW5qaJH2ocA

Welcome To Chad, Doctor. Here's Your Sledge Hammer.

Surely coming as no joke to the six members of a French foreign aid organization known as Zoe's Ark, a court in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena sentenced them to eight years each at hard labor. Their crime: attempting to "export" 103 children who were not, evidently, the Darfur orphans the group claimed. Rather, they were found to be Chadian children, many from stable families.

The organization claims not to be mercenary but humanitarian. They have yet to explain why they were essentially kidnaping well off children.

There are heavy political over- and under-tones to the saga. The entire region is embroiled in sectarian war, and France is a player in the diplomatic efforts to forge a truce. It is implied that there will be a deal cut to send the aid workers back to France.

Reuters S.A. files this report:

You Mean This Stuff Actually Happens? Zoo Tiger Runs Amok, Kills 1

Maybe you've had this paranoid fantasy; I know I have. You're strolling along in the zoo, minding your own business, casually wondering what it must feel like to live in a zoo instead in your own natural habitat, when all of a sudden an orange blur pounces on you and starts chewing...

Yes, this sort of thing actually does happen. Well, it happened yesterday in San Francisco, when Tatiana, who has already tasted human flesh, somehow escaped from her enclosure and went on a mini-rampage. Before it was over Tatiana was dead, shot by a police officer, and three zoo visitors, all young men, had been mauled, one fatally.

Examiner (via AP) write-up here:

Juror Remorse. What Now?

A Long Island, NY, judge is in a very tough spot, as two of the twelve jurors who convicted a Suffolk County man of reckless manslaughter have come forward, very publicly, with tales of pressure and coercion. It seems they really didn't want to convict John White of shooting of 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro Jr. on Aug. 9, 2006. They believed that reasonable doubt existed as to whether or not White, a black man, was reckless in confronting a group of white teenage boys who had driven to his home in search of his son, who they intended to assault. None of the facts of the case appear to be in dispute; rather, ten jurors were certain that White was reckless to emerge from his house, gun in hand, to confront the teens instead of calling the police. The other
two were equally certain that the law permitted White to use lethal force to protect his home and person. The judge, determined to avoid a hung jury which necessitate a retrial, kept the jurors in session late into the night of Saturday, December 22, and made clear his intention to keep the jury in session every day until a verdict was reached.

The New York Post has this today:

This raises some serious questions. First: in a unanimous jury system of determining criminal guilt, what's wrong with a hung jury? The prosecution was required to convince twelve people that there was no reasonable doubt as to the charges. The prosecution failed. That is a rational result, especially in a case as ambiguous as this. Should the judge place so much pressure on the jury to reach a verdict that two of them act against their oath? And what now, of that verdict? It can't possibly stand. Either the judge sets it aside and declares a mistrial, or this thing gets bounced on appeal.

Stay tuned...

Let's Go Kayaking On December 24. In New York. With No Life Vest. Or Cold Weather Gear.

...and end up dead.

December 26, 2007 -- ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - A Coast Guard crew located a missing kayaker, but the man was dead.

Robert Guadiosi was found in the water of Little Egg Harbor on Christmas Eve.

The 22-year-old from Little Egg Harbor had been reported missing earlier Monday.

The Coast Guard says he was not wearing a life jacket or survival gear for cold weather.