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: