Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Tizona Post

It’s bad enough that Abraham Lincoln is revered in this country, notwithstanding the Constitutional wreckage his presidency left behind. But most Americans – including, until yesterday, me – aren’t aware that another Constitution-wrecker is being given special posthumous honors on an annual basis.

Read more at The Tizona Group.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The best Christmas EVER!

There are Christmas gifts, and there are Christmas gifts. Some of those gifts are tangible items you can hold in your hand and touch. Then there are those gifts that are more abstract, but also more likely to last a lifetime.

Sunday my family got one of those gifts when my son Tyler asked his girlfriend to marry him.

The setup was perfect. My oldest son, Kyle, asked Tyler if he got everything he wanted for Christmas. Tyler replied, "No, not quite everything." He then dropped to a knee and asked Amber to marry him.

To say that this was one of the most joyous moments in my life is to grossly understate what I felt -- what we all felt -- in that moment. We love Amber, and already consider her part of the family. Tyler and Amber have been friends for over 5 years - long before they fell in love. It's a relationship that's made to last.

So when I'm asked if I had a good Christmas, I can only say that it's the best Christmas ever....well, with the exception of the first one, that is.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Tizona Post

Ron Paul's self-inflicted wound
And here I was worried that the media, the Team Elephant establishment, and the other GOP candidates were going to take down Ron Paul. It appears he's pretty good at it himself.
Read more at The Tizona Group.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Tizona Post

And it begins...
The pattern has been played out over and over. A potential Team Elephant presidential candidate starts to rise in the polls. A bulls-eye is affixed to that candidate. A combination of Republican elites, their allies in the punditocracy, and Big Media (the BM for short), which simply can't help itself when an opportunity to dump on a Republican presents itself, begin hammering on any and all perceived defects of said candidate. Next thing you know, the new frontrunner is cast on the scrap heap, either to quit (like Herman Cain) or to flounder haplessly trying to regain momentum (like Michele Bachmann and Governor Perry Gardasil).

Now that Newt Gingrich is dropping faster than shares in Freddie Mac, Ron Paul has surged into a virtual tie and perhaps even the lead in Iowa.

That's bad.

Read the rest at The Tizona Group.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Soliciting nominees for Wiener of the Year

In two short weeks I will be naming the Wiener of the Year. As such, I am soliciting nominees for the "honor" from readers.

Among this year's candidates are Il Duce, Big Media (the BM for short), Congress, the TSSA*, the inaptly named "justice" system, the Occupy movement, Team Elephant, plus a mystery nominee I'm keeping to myself.

Feel free to add your nominees via the comments link, or email me.

* You can't abbreviate Schutzstaffel without the double 'S'.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Tizona Post

This isn't an election we're witnessing. It's a coronation, at least on the Team Elephant side of the ledger.

Why would I call it a coronation? How could I call it a coronation when there is no clear front-runner and the first primary hasn't even occurred yet? Follow along as I read the tea leaves.
Read the rest at The Tizona Group.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vulture's amazing Thanksgiving adventure

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a minute knows that the Vulture loves him some 49ers. The 49ers have been my team since I was 12...not to put too fine a point on it, but that's a LOOOOOOOONG time ago.

The past few years have been cruel ones for 49ers fans. Okay, make that the past 8 years. But this year is different. This year the Niners are good. REALLY, REALLY good.

I was looking forward to watching the 49ers-Ravens game on Thanksgiving because (a) the Ravens are a dominant team, (b) good teams get better by facing other good teams, (c) there are TONS of Ravens fans in Frederick, what with it being equidistant from Baltimore and Washington. You know, bragging rights and all that.

So imagine my shock, bordering on catatonia, when my brother-in-law, a Ravens season ticket holder since the team came to B'more in 1996, surprised me with an invite to go to the game with him while we were at his home for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone in the family knew he was going to surprise me with the ticket, meaning that (a) they're very, very good at keeping secrets, and (b) I can't trust a one of them. [/kidding]

You have to understand how huge this was for me. I hadn't seen the 49ers play in a regular season game in-stadium since the early 70's. During the team's glory years, when I still lived in Sacramento and could have, in theory, gone to the 'Stick and seen the team, a combination of (a) every game was a sellout, and (b) I was poor, conspired to make that impossible. Needless to say, I was CISED to see my boys in person in a year when the team is actually really, really good again.

It's hard to describe the atmosphere. Unless you've been to a game at M&T Bank Stadium, you can't imagine the electricity of that place. Ravens fans are as rabid as any in the NFL, and they're rabid without being assholes like the fans in Philly.

The 49ers lost the game, 16-6, but it was tied 6-6 at the start of the 4th quarter. Two factors contributed to the loss. The short week left little time to prepare to face one of the premier defenses in the NFL. And an injury to starting guard Adam Snyder meant that human turd Chilo Rachal had to play. Rachal's penalty for chop block (technically assessed against Frank Gore, but Gore engaged first before turd-boy fell on the Raven player) negated a 79-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Ted Ginn. And Haloti Ngata played turd-boy like a fiddle. The offensive line was overwhelmed -- especially once the Ravens took their final lead -- and surrendered 9 sacks.

It was so great to see my boys in person, even in defeat. We went toe-to-toe with one of the NFL's best teams on one of the craziest home fields in the NFL on a short week. And I got to see for myself, in person, just how good that 49ers defense is.

To see pictures of my excellent adventure, hit this link. Note: the picture at the top of this post is a screen capture from the NFL network telecast of the game. That's right, the Vulture was on the telly, scowling as one would expect from a Vulture.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The perils of an extensive vocabulary

Ah, first-world pains. I used a word that means exactly what I meant to convey, but, because it so closely resembles another word -- a not-very-nice word -- it was, shall we say, cause for unintended offense.

Our story begins...

I accepted a position with a new company back in October, with the intent of starting that new job on October 24th. I started that job yesterday. Yeah, I know - yesterday wasn't October 24th. What pushed back my start date was a call from the old employer telling me that if I wasn't actively employed by the company on November 15th, I would forfeit my utilization bonus for Q3. Since we're talking about a pretty sizable chunk of change, I wasn't happy.

Fortunately, both the hiring company and the new customer were understanding and agreed to push my start date back to November 16th.

In the interim, my supervisor from the old company wanted me to talk to him about what had made me decide to leave the company after 14 years. I sent him an email detailing the things that had left me dissatisfied. On the subject of the "stay until 11/15 or lose your bonus" matter, I wrote:
I was informed that my earned Q3 bonus would be forfeited if I weren’t on the payroll 6 weeks after having earned it. That is seriously the most niggardly policy I’ve ever seen.
I used the word "niggardly" because it conveyed exactly what I thought of their policy.
niggardly - adjective
1. reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly.
2. meanly or ungenerously small or scanty: a niggardly tip to a waiter.
I sent it off to my supervisor and cc'd my HR rep.

On Tuesday I had my exit interviews with the old company. As I was wrapping up the interviews, I ran into the Director of Professional Services, a man I've known for several years. For the purposes of this tale, I'll refer to him as "Bob". To further assist you in understanding how this conversation started and where it went, I will further note that "Bob" is a black man.

"Bob" said to me that he appreciated the candor of my "why I left" email...but he was troubled by my choice of wording. Puzzled was I. What exactly had troubled him? He pulled up the email and read back the offending passage.

Niggardly. Yeah.

I explained to him what I meant by it, but he still seemed puzzled/concerned. I finally got through to him when I described it as "mean-stingy - like Ebeneezer Scrooge". It was as if a light bulb turned on over his head. He finally grocked that "niggardly" had nothing to do with "nigger".

At that point his whole demeanor changed. He wished me the best of luck and expressed his wishes for me to one day return to the company, etc, etc.

Words have meaning. But sometimes a word that sounds too much like another word can really bust your balls. Fortunately for me, "Bob" went to me directly and asked me about it man-to-man. But what if "Bob" wasn't a measured, intelligent man? It could have gotten sticky, I suppose (although one has to wonder, what was he going to do, fire me?).

Would I use that word again to describe a similar affront? Possibly. But it's a dangerous world these days. Check this out to see how use of the word "niggardly" can be hazardous to your well-being.

The moral of the story is: just because you know what a word means doesn't give you license to drop it like a grenade in the midst of people who don't know what it means.

Unless, like me, you enjoy that sort of thing.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Windows 7 fail

I've had an interesting run with the old laptop over the past month or so. First the hard drive became corrupted. Rather than buy a new laptop and incur that expense, I decided to install a new solid-state hard drive.

The new drive is awesome. REALLY awesome. Breathtakingly fast.

However, because my OEM install for Windows Vista was so old, there were literally hundreds of updates that had to be applied post-install. Okay, not an issue, right? Wrong! One of the updates kept breaking Vista and throwing a blue screen of death on boot up.

Again, undaunted I was. I purchased an OEM copy of Windows 7 64-bit to install on the old laptop. Everything was ducky. The software installed, outstanding updates applied quickly, and I was ready to rock and roll.

Or so I thought.

I began to notice that my wireless connection would drop at random intervals. Oh sure, it's easy enough to fix using the troubleshooter's drop-and-reset functionality. But not having a reliable wireless connection makes large downloads an adventure, and makes maintaining a consistent system backup (you know, like the one that saved my bacon when the hard drive became corrupted) impossible.

I made the rounds all over the Interwebs and discovered that I wasn't alone. No, far from it. It turns out that literally hundreds of Windows 7 users have had this issue, and Microsoft refuses to acknowledge that it's their problem. They blame the ISPs, the routers, the router firmware, the wireless cards, the wireless drivers...everything except the position of the moon and the stars. But they will not acknowledge that their operating system might have anything to do with it.

Listen up, Redmond! It IS your operating system that is causing the issue. There are too many people from too many walks of life with too much prior OS experience having the exact same problem regardless of laptop manufacturer, router manufacturer, wireless card make and model, or ISP. In my home alone the following operating systems are actively running without any wireless connectivity issues:

Windows XP
Windows Vista
Ubuntu (Linux)
Mac OS X
iOS 4 (iPhone and iPad)
Android (3 different phones running Gingerbread, Honeycomb, AND Ice Cream Sandwich)

The driver software on my laptop is current. The router firmware is current. The ISP is a national carrier.

My sons and I have over 50 years of experience with computers between us, including 10+ years building custom PCs. I think we know what we're doing here. I think we know how to diagnose and troubleshoot.

The problem is Windows 7, Redmond! Fix the problem. Now. Because you're making Linux look like a more attractive solution with every dropped connection.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Fox News wants us to be upset because the number of deaths of law enforcement officers increased by 17% this year, from 48 to 56. Meh.

Understand, I garner no joy from the death of a police officer. Many have families. Many are good people trying to do the right thing. Not all cops are flaming assholes, though I would submit that the majority -- particularly campus and traffic cops -- are.

But I can't get too worked up over 56 police deaths when you compare it side-by-side with the statistics of those killed by police officers.

Between 2003 and 2009 (the most recent statistics on the interwebs), 2,844 people were killed by police officers. Of that number, 2,684 were shot dead by the police. That's 406 deaths per year, 383 of those shot dead by the police.
You don't have to be a math whiz to figure out that 406 > 56.

"Come on, Vulture! You can't equate criminals being shot in the commission of a crime with law enforcement officers!" You're quite right. I wouldn't for a moment claim that there weren't some -- hell, maybe 90% or more -- of that number who desperately needed killing and whose shootings were 100% legit.

But what if 10% of those killed by police were innocents, people in the wrong place at the wrong time. People mistaken for someone else. People like the guy shot because a cop mistook his lighter for a handgun. People killed during the execution of a no-knock warrant who weren't involved in any crime.

Hey, Fox News. If you want me to care more about police deaths, how about you hold the police accountable when they bash in grandma's door and gun down grandma and her sleeping grandkids during a no-knock raid where some puke informant gave them the wrong address. In fact, how about you simply get behind the cause of abolishing blatantly unconstitutional no-knock warrants.

When the police start to behave like peace officers instead of law enforcers (trust me, there's a big difference), then I'll be more sympathetic when one of their number is killed. In the meantime.....meh.


Friday, October 21, 2011

New Tizona Post

While the sheeple pretend to live in the freest nation on the face of the Earth, the police state expands. TSSA - coming to a highway near you.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who saw this coming? Not me!

Nobody knows anything. Certainly not me. Who could have predicted that the 49ers would be 5-1 going into their bye week? Who could have predicted that they would knock off one of the last unbeaten teams on the road with a 4th quarter comeback on a 4th down play?

I said before the season started that the 49ers would go 5-11. I couldn't have been more wrong. The 49ers are the second-best team in the NFC and getting better as the season progresses.

The so-called experts at ESPN picked the Niners to finish 3rd in the West. So did I. Nobody knows anything.

So what's a fan to do? I'll tell you what - ENJOY IT!!!!! The 49ers have been bad for 8 years. Now they're pretty good, maybe borderline great. Enjoy it. Bask in it. Love every minute of it. This is the stuff we took for granted for 17 years of nearly unbroken excellence. I'll never take it for granted again.

For once I'm glad I was wrong about something. Go Niners!


Monday, October 17, 2011

New Tizona Post

New Tizona post - Will TSSA parody become illegal?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Top ten reasons why the Vulture hasn't posted

Some of you are probably wondering what happened to the Vulture and his blog? Well, it seems that life sometimes gets in the way of things.

Here are the top ten reasons why I haven't posted in the past month.

10. I've had a song stuck in my head and can't make it go away. Worse, it's a song by Celine Dion (shoot me, please!).
9. I discovered Twitter.
8. My current work assignment has me this close to burnout.
7. Late-onset puberty.
6. Early-onset senility.
5. Two wrongs don't make a right.
4. Someone has incriminating pictures of me with Paris Hilton (or is that Paris, Idaho?).
3. The 49ers keep winning, leaving me at a loss for words.
2. I've been in rehab for Angry Birds addiction.
1. I'm a lazy f***.

Okay, there are some REAL reasons why I've been noticeably slothful in posting. I was in Arizona visiting with my parents and sick brother for the past week. And, truthfully, news and current events just haven't been terribly interesting lately. I'm either too burned out to care, too jaded to be stirred to righteous indignation, or I just stopped giving a damn. Or.......wait for and current events just haven't been terribly interesting lately.

I'm really going to try to get untracked and back in the saddle again, I swear. No, really!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Annual NFL Predictions

It's that time again, kiddies! Time for the Vulture's Guaranteed-to-be-wrong picks for the the NFL Season. Last year I picked the Saints to repeat as league champions, with the Ravens as runner-up. Wrong! The Saints wheezed out in the Wild Card round, and the Ravens were defeated by eventual AFC champion Pittsburgh in the Divisional round.

I didn't do so great in my general playoff predictions, either. I predicted that the 49ers would win the West at 10-6; they under-achieved to a 3rd place, 6-10 finish.

Overall, I predicted one division winner (Colts - like THAT was hard) and one Wild Card (Philadelphia). I can take half credit for picking New England as Wild Card and New York as Division winner, since both made the playoffs, just in opposite order. Okay, maybe not.

Even with that complete display of ineptitude, I still feel a need to make predictions. I guess it's just part of The Season.

NFC East: Eagles (13-3)
NFC North: Packers (12-4)
NFC South: Buccaneers (11-5)
NFC West: Rams (8-8)
NFC W/C: Saints (11-5) and Falcons (10-6)

AFC East: Patriots (14-2)
AFC North: Ravens (12-4)
AFC South: Texans (10-6)
AFC West: Chargers (11-5)
AFC W/C: Steelers (11-5) and Jets (9-7)

NFC Championship Game: Packers at Eagles
AFC Championship Game: Ravens at Patriots

NFC Champion: Eagles
AFC Champion: Patriots
Super Bowl Champion: Patriots

And what of the 49ers? No lofty predictions this year. New coach, new offensive and defensive systems, same old sorry-ass Michael Crabtree. The 49ers will finish 5-11 this year, but will get better as the season progresses. Jim Harbaugh will have the 49ers in contention next year. That's a guarantee. In the mean time, there's still too much to overcome for a young team that desperately needed an offseason together. Curse you, lockout!

Kick-off is in 30 minutes. "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Tizona Post

A huge victory for the cause of freedom: a Federal court has ruled that cops can no longer treat videoing them in the course of executing their duties as a criminal offense.


With regard to my prolonged absenses

Not that my detractors would care, but I haven't been posting much in the past month or so. Okay, that's a major understatement: I've barely been posting at all. The problem? My current work situation. I've been handling responsibilities once performed by 4 people by myself for 16 months. I had once considered myself burnout-proof. I've since learned that no one is burnout-proof. Some of us are burnout-resistant. But no one is burnout-proof. So the combination of an insane workload and a long-ass commute have left me too beat to post on weekdays and too brain dead to post on weekends.

That situation is approaching a resolution, however. Not to disclose any details (don't want to count those chickens before they've hatched), but I am quite confident that I'll return to doing the work of a single person very shortly.

This, of course, means that soon I'll once again be contributing to the incivility of our national discussion. Deadeye can hardly wait.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

How not to fix a wrongful prosecution

On Friday the news broke that the "infamous" Memphis 3 -- Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were freed

Freed, but not cleared. 

The trio, convicted nearly 20 years ago for the brutal rape and murder of three cub scouts in Arkansas, have spent half their lives imprisoned despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence. So why were they freed but not cleared? If you don't know the answer to that question, you haven't been paying attention to the horror that is the modern American "justice" system.
[A] 1996 HBO documentary titled "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" drew the attention of celebrities including Vedder and Maines. Joined by other stars, they helped fund a legal team that sought a new trial.

Last fall, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for the three, asking a judge to consider allegations of juror misconduct and whether new DNA science could aid the men or uphold the convictions. Then, suddenly, there was the plea deal.

It involved an unusual legal maneuver that allowed the men to maintain their claims of innocence. But with murder convictions still on their records, supporters say they've got to find whoever's responsible for the boys' deaths to clear the men's names.
Just to clarify that last paragraph (the AP must have an affirmative action program that requires them to hire the mentally challenged as reporters). The three were forced to make an Alford plea, "admitting" guilt as "overwhelming evidence", before the execrable Arkansas "legal" system would free them. Actually, as bad as that sounds, it's worse than that. One defendant was told to take the Alford plea or his friend wouldn't be freed from Death Row!

These are not the actions of a justice system. These are the actions of predatory prosecutors who are only interested in keeping their won-lost record intact, the innocence of those prosecuted be damned. This was about prosecutors covering their ass rather than administrating justice.

This is, to put it bluntly, a complete miscarriage of justice.

Either give the three fair trails in which to prove their innocence, or pardon them, or exonerate them. But don't pull this obscene abortion aimed at deflecting attention away from criminal prosecutors (take that naming either way you choose) who are utterly disinterested in justice and only interested in winning.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Response to a troll

CalJim, aka CaJim, Jammin, and "Guest", takes umbrage to comments I made in response to comments he made (re-read it - it'll make sense on the second pass). For those of you who don't know about good old Jimmy, let me introduce you.
  • Old Jimmy is a butt-buddy of the Caput a Palos
  • Old Jimmy is a prominent voice for the FLDS persecution club (FLDS Texas)
  • Old Jimmy still refuses to believe that Greg Prickett is the Caput a Palos
  • Old Jimmy thinks that the Vulture is guilty of journalistic malpractice
  • Old Jimmy has reading comprehension issues
Let's address old Jimmy's gripes, one by one.
I have never called you a pedophile nor even inferred it, your need to broad brush many topics might work for you but don't accuse me of such simple minded thought processes. Come on Vulture admit it, I never called you a pedophile.
You, Jim, may not have ever called me a pedophile. But how would I know, since so many of you over there at FLDS Texas and the (thankfully) dead Caput Penitus Culus post as "anonymous".

But that's not even the point. I said, "Your side categorizes my side as being pro-pedophilia." Your side != you personally. There's that reading comprehension problem again.
Your preoccupation with 'Due Process' I've criticized, especially now in the light that minor children brought to the YFZ Ranch from Canada definitely were sex trafficked from British Columbia.
Really? Children brought to the YFZ Ranch from Canada were sex trafficked? See, I did a Google search under "News" (so as to filter out wild accusations from bloggers like little Greggie), for "FLDS sex trafficking Canada" and I didn't get a single hit. Not one.

That's how your side works. Some blogger repeats gossip and it's fact to you, because it's what you want to believe. Legitimate news operations risk lawsuits if they print wild accusations. That's why there's no mention of any of that under "News" on Google. Even Big Media (the BM for short) wants no part of allegations that might get them sued.
You, however, stay mute on anybodies rights other than FLDS Church Priesthood men and their Prophet. Howze that? The women and children of this fanatical sect are look upon by their tenets of faith as literal property but you somehow clam up on that topic. Does equality stop at the MENS room door for you?
First, it's "anybody's", not "anybodies". Do try to be articulate when you write.

Second, you want to talk about a "broad brush"? The very idea that my interest in Due Process starts and ends with the FLDS is ridiculous on its face. See the right hand column, where it says "Labels"? See how it starts with various amendments, includes categories such as "bad law", "constitution", "crime", "Das Überwachenden", "Der Staat", "DHS", "F'ing lawyers", "Free Speech" - I could go on and on. The FLDS? Child please! They're way down on my list of priorities. I've spent way more time railing about cops, prosecutors, and politicians who violate the public trust than I have on the FLDS - and a lot of the FLDS posts were to defend myself against the likes of you and your execrable cohorts.

Tell me, when I write about black men who spent decades in prison because of planted evidence, prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence, or other malfeasance, does that mean I don't care about white men in the same situation? Or do you simply choose to only see what you want to see? I suspect the latter.
Scott Ledbetter republished your opinion pieces and his 'Ye Olde Journalist' blog fancies itself as a mainly journalistic site fighting yellow journalism and you allow him to pass off your writings as news content and it has never been labelled as editorial nor opinion column.
For the love of Pete! This is the exact same argument he raised months ago when Greggie's story appeared in the UNT student newspaper. Apparently old Jimmy expects Ye Olde Journalist to adhere to some kind of high standard of journalism, like The Washington Post or The New York Times. As if! Jimmy, those fishwraps regularly print opinion masquerading as news! Virtually every story about Global Warming is nothing but propaganda and political posturing slathered on like mustard on a ball park frank, masquerading as legitimate "news". What's the difference between Dana Milbank of The Post writing a Page 1 "news" article that says that Republicans are obstructing "progress" and me writing - well, anything? Get a clue, son. There is no "pure" journalism. Stop whizzing on Scotty. He can put anything he wants in his blog because....wait for's HIS BLOG.

You're nothing but a troll, Jimmy. I don't know why I wasted my time responding to you. Nobody gives a rat's stinking tuchus what you think about anything. Your own mama doesn't even listen to you. Give up. Please.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Long time, no time

I've been extremely busy at work, and unmotivated with regard to posting in my free time these past two weeks. I know that my biggest fan, CalJim, missed me. I'd like to think others did as well, but I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. I am going to try to get back into the swing of things and post more regularly.

But it's not like I missed anything the past two weeks. The debt ceiling Kabuki dance? Child, please! Like anyone didn't know that it would play out that way. "We averted default! Yay for us!" Yeah, you averted default. You kicked the can down the road. You bought us what? Maybe 3, 4 years tops. Like a ship with a great gaping hole in the side, we continue to sink. We're headed for the same fate as Rome and all the other great empires that preceded us. And yet...I don't much care.

Warren Jeffs is on trial...hey, how 'bout that? [/sarcasm] Yet another Kabuki dance. Texas LE has a major hardon for the FLDS, and Jeffs is going down hard. Maybe he deserves it, I dunno. The fact that a great deal of the evidence to be used against him was obtained as fruit of the poisoned tree (the military-style raid on YFZ) should bother me...but it doesn't.

I think my "give a damn" tank is on 'E'.

There is one thing on my radar, and I hope to make the time to do it justice. That's the (should be) scandal surrounding Operation Fast and Furious.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Did I mention that I'm right?

Piling on more "I told you", I cite another source certain that creating law under the influence of emotion is a bad, bad idea.
Within minutes of the Casey Anthony verdict, much of America devolved into the mass media equivalent of a mob bearing torches and pitchforks. Twitter lit up with calls for vigilante justice, and proposals that we revoke the Fifth Amendment's protection against double jeopardy (or at least that we revoke it for Casey Anthony). Nancy Grace nearly spit fire, proclaiming, "The devil is dancing tonight." Conservative syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro wants to change the jury system entirely.

Even as DNA testing continues to exonerate wrongly convicted people, including people who were nearly executed, it's this rare case -- in which a jury recognized that there was no physical evidence linking Anthony to her daughter's murder -- that has America questioning its justice system.
Laws named after crime victims and dead people are usually a bad idea. They play more to emotion than reason. But they're disturbingly predictable, especially when they come after the death of a child. So it's really no surprise that activist Michelle Crowder is now pushing "Caylee's Law," a proposed federal bill that would charge parents with a felony if they fail to report a missing child within 24 hours, or if they fail to report the death of a child within an hour. What's surprising is just how quickly the petition for Caylee's Law has gone viral. As of this writing it has more than 700,000 signatures, and is now the most successful campaign in the site's history. For reasons of constitutionality and practicality, it seems unlikely that Caylee's Law will ever be realized at the federal level. But according to the AP, at least sixteen state legislatures are now considering some version of the law. That's troubling.

This is a bad way to make public policy. In an interview with CNN, Crowder concedes that she didn't consult with a single law enforcement official before coming up with her 24-hour and 1-hour limits. This raises some questions. How did she come up with those cutoffs? Did she consult with any grief counselors to see if there may be innocuous reasons why an innocent person who just witnessed a child's death might not immediately report it, such as shock, passing out, or some other sort of mental breakdown? Did she consult with a forensic pathologist to see if it's even possible to pin down the time of death with the sort of precision you'd need to make Caylee's Law enforceable? Have any of the lawmakers who have proposed or are planning to propose this law actually consulted with anyone with some knowledge of these issues?
These excerpts just scratch the surface of Mr. Balko's arguments. Please read the entire article. He makes the best case imaginable to avoid making Caylee's Law a reality.


Friday, July 8, 2011

I hate being right

In my last post, I wrote about my dread about bad law resulting from a knee-jerk reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict. I hate being right.
Michelle Crowder of Durant, Oklahoma is calling for Caylee's Law, a piece of legislation that would make it a felony for a parent to fail to report a missing child to law enforcement. And people are listening. Important people.
This won't help Caylee directly. But it will help America's kids.

It will help the quarter of gay teens who are kicked out of their homes by their parents simply for admitting they love someone of the same gender, kids whose parents leave them to rot on the sidewalks. As it stands, parents CAN kick their kids out, and with rules that don't require they report them missing, abdicating their duties to love and protect their children isn't a felony.
Caylee's Law, or whatever you call it, would help us make sense of how a system will punish a parent with child abuse charges for leaving children unattended for a long period of time (and rightly so!) but let a parent skate for not reporting a child missing. It can't be one but not the other, America. That's why we need a law.
Did I not tell you? Yet another law "for the children". Ye gods!

But the law of unintended consequences always rides shotgun with these kind of emotion-laded knee-jerk laws. Exhibit A: your 16-year-old daughter runs away with a musician after trying to poison you for the insurance money. You want this back in your life? You figure, "Eh, goodbye and good riddance." But if you don't report your daughter missing and take her back with open arms when she is returned by the cops, you're guilty of child abuse. Of course, if you do take her back, you'd better sleep with one eye open.....but I digress.

And where did this statistic about one quarter of gay teens being kicked out of their homes come from? Sounds fishy to me. I'd wager they're including "boy toys" who ran off with an older man who promised them goodies in exchange for butt sex in that obviously embellished tally. But that "leaving them to rot on the sidewalks" line? Priceless.

Emotions and law make bad bedfellows. But politicians pandering for your vote don't care. They'll pass whatever ridiculous law you tell them you want.

And you wonder why you are less free every day.....


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trial by Media

Deadeye watched the Casey Anthony trial with rapt fascination over the past six weeks. I would venture that there is no one out there as knowledgeable about that case (outside of the attorneys, that is) than Deadeye. When Casey Anthony was found not guilty on all charges except lying to police yesterday, Deadeye was dumbfounded. She has officially lost all confidence in the jury system.

While I would tend to agree with her the the cumulative evidence should have led to a verdict of guilty, I'm less concerned with the verdict and more concerned about a growing trend that became apparent during this trial. Call it what you will, it boils down to trail by media.

The worst offender was Nancy Grace, of course. Were it up to Ms. Grace, Casey Anthony would be dead already. Nancy Grace has spent the past three years proclaiming the guilt of "tot mom". I thought that the "not guilty" verdict might elicit some sort of contemplative pause from her. As if! She said in response to the verdict that "the devil is dancing tonight". On her show last night, she spent an entire segment excoriating the defense team for having the audacity to celebrate their victory. Claiming "I never did that as a prosecutor", she heaped derision on Casey's attorneys. Being ever cynical...and knowing Nancy's predilection for playing fast and loose with the law during her career as a prosecutor...I would guess that the reason she never celebrated was because she didn't want to draw too much attention to her tactics.

If it were just Nancy Grace acting this way on the airways, you could dismiss this is as one bitter crank amid a sea of babble. But it's not just Ms. Grace. It's Jane VOLUME-Mitchell. It's Vinnie Politan. It's the hosts of In Session on Tru TV. The babble from this Tower of Babel is not just harmless words. If you listen to the comments of people around the country, they are convinced that the jury flat out blew the case. They're convinced that Casey Anthony is GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. And the reason they're so convinced is because they've been harangued for three solid years by people selling sensationalism for ratings.

Still not convinced it's all that dangerous, Vulture. Okay, indulge me for a second. What happens when a sizable segment of the populace is worked up into a frenzy about something or other? Answer: laws get passed. Bad laws. Laws that make us less free and more susceptible to unwarranted incarceration. THIS is what concerns me. THIS is what I see as the danger.

Here's hoping that the Casey Anthony verdict does NOT have the effect of giving politicians a premise for abolishing or negating trial by jury.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Tizona Post

A Leopard cannot change his spots. Nor a libtard his libtardedness.

Governor Jerry Brown of Kahleefornia must have felt that he hadn't left enough wreckage his first stint as Governer (1975-1983), during which he earned the moniker "Governor Moonbeam" as a result of his wacky libtard ways. Apparently he learned absolutely nothing in the ensuing 28 years, because he's still finding new and inventive ways to ruin the Golden State.

On an unrelated note, I've decided to stay on Blogger. The post editor for Wordpress stinks. It ate my first draft of the Jerry Brown post. That makes me...searching for words here...a little bent.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Input needed

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while. There's good reason for that -- I've been pondering the future of this blog. Not whether or not I will continue to post; that's not changing. Rather, I've been contemplating whether or not to switch from Blogger to Wordpress.

Why switch? Comments.

I used and was very happy with Haloscan during the early years of this blog. Then those rotten bastards at JS-Kit bought out Haloscan and implemented the gawdawful abortion that is Echo in its place. I hate Echo with a hatred that burns white hot 24x7.

I put up with it because (a) this isn't exactly a comments-heavy site to begin with, and (b) I was too lazy to look into what I needed to do to replace it.

But when my beloved, Deadeye, told me that she was unable to enter comments the other day due to Echo, that was the last straw. Nobody disses Deadeye. Nobody.

So I began exploring a replacement for Echo in earnest. Blogger native comments was never an option; been there, done that, hated it. After exploring the interwebs, I installed Disqus on this site because it is very highly recommended.

But that creates a dilemma. Echo makes it impossible to export comments w/o prior experience with their API. They really are assholes, in every sense of the word.

Okay, so I lose 3 years of comments - so what? There's nothing been said in those comments that amounts to a hill of beans. But there was an argument not so long ago around the topic of deletion of comments from those bigots at FLDS Texas. They claimed I delete comments from trolls just like they do. The problem for them is: I don't. To this point I've deleted only one comment on this site, and that was to protect the commenter from themselves (overt racism with your real name attached to it = not smart). Ultimately, I decided that I don't give a tinkers damn what those subhumans think. Lost comments? So what.

Then I was taken with another idea. Why not cut the cord to Blogger entirely. So I started playing around with Wordpress. I really like the layout I built, the color scheme, etc. It bothers me that it's not customizable to the extent I would like, but I can live with that, I suppose.

So here's the deal: This is your chance to weigh in. Stay with Blogger and the status quo, or move over to this? Click here to vote. As in Chicago, you can vote as many times as you like.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Tizona Post

Weiner pulls out.

The schadenfreude has been beyond blissful. A creepy libtard is caught flashing his namesake. Caught lying about it. Accused of asking a former prØn star to lie for him.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not a dummy after all

Vox Day wrote a post about Big Media's surprise at Sarah Palin's writing ability. Her overall level was 8.5 on the Flesch Kincaid scale. However, it was Vox's own rating that piqued my attention, not Sarah's.
Out of curiosity, I popped my most recent column into the Readability Calculator: "Flesch Kincaid Grade level: 13.10". And my recent email to KW came in at 14.74.
It made me curious. So I popped a few of my blog posts in to see how I fare. This is the scorecard.

The Eisenhower Warnings - 10.50
An idea whose time has come - 10.07
Taking credit - 8.74
Prosecutorial misconduct - Texas style - 8.39
Maryland's Lost Icon - 7.61
Who to believe? - 8.38
The Circus is in Town - 9.00
A Retraction of Sorts - 8.59

That last one was a puzzler to me. I used the words "plausible deniability" and "habitue" in it! And STILL couldn't make a 9th grade level! My average score for the 8 posts was 8.91, not a whole lot higher than Sarah Palin's. And these posts were more or less cherry picked; I only included longer posts with minimal slang in my sampling. Sarah Palin's sampling was 24,000 fricking pages!!!!

If my writing, which hardly qualifies as simplistic, can't make it out of High School, what's a moron like Al Gorebells score? 3rd grade?

Kinda puts all of those "stoopid Sarah" stereotypes in perspective, doesn't it?


Vulture wisdom

Those who can, do.
Those who can't, schedule meetings.

- Vulture


Monday, June 13, 2011

Like I couldn't have guessed it

I was shocked -- SHOCKED -- to find out that Leftists are behind the big push for Net Neutrality. [/sarcasm]
Documents made public yesterday by Judicial Watch describe extensive collusion by Federal Communications Commission officials with a left-wing advocacy group in a campaign to expand government regulation of the Internet.

The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch in a December 2010 Freedom of Information Act request, were created after Democrat appointees solidified their 3-2 control of the agency in March 2009.

The coordination between FCC officials and Free Press, the advocacy group, supported a proposal for the agency to regulate access to the Internet as if it were a public utility, in the interest of ensuring "Net Neutrality."

Proponents said doing so would assure equal access for all Internet users by barring companies from offering preferred rates for higher delivery speeds. Other users, especially in communities with limited Internet access, would be forced to accept poorer service.

But critics said the proposal would actually give the FCC a tool to regulate content, and they argued that the FCC has no authority over the medium in the first place. It would be akin to forcing FedEx and UPS to treat all packages the same way the U.S. Postal Service does.
Anyone with half a brain knows that (1) any effort to regulate the interwebs, regardless of stated purpose, is an attempt to regulate content, and (2) Leftists are the primary movers and shakers behind any effort to restrict speech.

Next thing you know someone will report that Leftists are behind efforts to ban handguns, or some other piece of obvious information.


Monday, June 6, 2011

New Tizona Post

Romney. *shakes head ruefully*

Yeah, he’s trying to appeal to everybody. He certainly appeals to the Elephant Elitists, who have all but anointed him as The Chosen One. But if you really examine who he is and what he represents, he certainly won’t appeal to YOU.


Friday, June 3, 2011

From each according to his ability...

Welcome to Amerika!
Americans break into two roughly evenly matched camps on the question of whether the government should enact heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth in the U.S. Forty-seven percent believe the government should redistribute wealth in this way, while 49% disagree, similar to views Gallup found four years ago.

Republicans and Democrats have sharply different reactions to the government's taking such an active role in equalizing economic outcomes. Seven in 10 Democrats believe the government should levy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while an equal proportion of Republicans believe it should not. The slight majority of independents oppose this policy.
I'm not at all surprised that 70% of Donkeys support wealth redistribution. I wish I could say that I'm surprised that 30% of Elephants support wealth redistribution...but I'm not. See McCain, John.

Of particular interest is the way men and women view wealth redistribution. Only 42% of men, regardless of political party, approve of it, while 52% of women think it's just ducky.

That any American citizen finds wealth redistribution acceptable saddens me. It is yet another example of how the public schools have failed us. Stealing from the productive does NOT end poverty. It just spreads it.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Tizona Post

Some guys just never learn. Sean Salisbury. Brett Favre. And now aptly-named Congress-critter Anthony “wanna see my” Weiner.

Read the complete post here.


Monday, May 23, 2011

The rapture that wasn't

As a Christian, I find folk like Harold Camping.........challenging. Why in the name of all that is good do Camping and other deceivers like him troll about proclaiming that they have "secret knowledge" regarding the Second Coming, when scripture very clearly states, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32)?

I get a little bent over it, because of the impact it has on the deceived and the opening it gives militant atheists to bash Christians. But don't worry -- old Hal Camping is going to have his own little taste of hell over the coming weeks and months. Getting in the first shot is Ed Stetzer.
Harold Camping needs to publicly apologize for being wrong about his doomsday prediction and leading people astray, said a Southern Baptist leader.

The California radio broadcaster’s wrong prediction about the rapture and the end of the world reflected poorly on Christians, said Ed Stetzer, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s missiologist in residence.

Stetzer issued a series of tweets about Camping’s eschatological prediction on Saturday, among which one noted that there was no earthquake in New Zealand after 6 p.m.

“Harold Camping, pls update w/your repentance statement & instructions to your now-broke followers,” Stetzer tweeted.

An hour later he tweeted again, “6pm here in Turkey. I’m standing at the Temple of Athena waiting for the Rapture. Nothing happened. ;-)”
Of course, given that Camping has made this self-same WRONG prediction before, in 1994, I wonder if he's capable of shame. Given that many of his followers blew their life's savings backing his lunatic assertion, I would say that anything short of donating every penny he has to his followers to make them whole again will fall far short of genuine repentance.

Or maybe he'll try again. Third time's the charm. [/sarcasm]

UPDATE: It seems my sarcasm was wasted: Camping IS going for a third time.
And, he decided to give it another go: on Monday night, in his first radio broadcast since his May 21 prophecy proved a bust, Harold Camping conceded he didn't plot his rapture prediction "as accurately as I could have." But, nevertheless, the elderly pastor rejiggered his apocalyptic calculations for five months from now: October 21st. So, look forward to rehashed Camping coverage beginning two weeks prior to the next non-event.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Eisenhower Warnings

Frequent Tizona Group commenter J.M. Heinrichs made the following comment in reference to a comment I made about Ron Paul being the only Team Elephant candidate who would take on the military-industrial complex.
People keep forgetting that Eisenhower issued two warnings, and the Mil-Industry one was the lessor.
That got me thinking. Everyone who knows anything about history is familiar with Eisenhower's admonition about the military-industrial complex. But another warning? I was intrigued. I googled Eisenhower's speech and found this.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite(emphasis mine)
Does that sound familiar to you? It should.

The War on Man-made Global Warming (AGW) is just one example of what has become a symbiotic relationship between left-leaning politicians, left-leaning bureaucrats, and left-leaning academics. Science has been co-opted by this nefarious troika to the detriment of both science and humanity.

Government money is allotted to those scientists who come up with the "results" that government wants to see. Public policy is made on the basis of these "influenced" findings. And politicians leverage these "facts" to demogogue against those who question their agendas.

It's a pity that this Eisenhower warning wasn't given the same weight as the other, equally important warning. Only time will tell whether it will be the military-industrial complex that is our undoing or the scientific-technological elite.


Friday, May 20, 2011

New Tizona Post

Former media stalwarts call out current White House press corps. No, really!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Tizona Post

Coming soon to a country near you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


The "Justice" system fails again

I have a bad rap with so-called "Law and Order" types because I won't bend to their fawning "our cops and prosecutors, right or wrong" view of law enforcement. This story (hat tip: Debra Farver) puts into perspective exactly WHY I think the system should be examined with higher scrutiny.

First, the basics of the story.
The festive atmosphere of Fourth of July celebrations turned somber as Tacoma police were called to investigate the kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl. Zina Linnik was last seen walking in an alley behind her parents house at around 9:45 p.m. on July 4, 2007.

A witness heard a girl scream, looked in the alley and saw an unknown Asian male get into an older model, gray van and drive away. Authorities issued an AMBER Alert. Police say that the Washington license plate of the van contained the numbers 677 or 667.
An Amber alert was issued the next day (more on that later). But it was for naught.
Tacoma Police announced they found the body of 12-year-old Zina Linnik in Pierce County. The information came from a sex offender arrested earlier this week.
Sad. Very sad.

But "sad" wouldn't be the dominant emotion for long. First, that little passage about Zina's death -- the information came from a sex offender. That's a story all by itself. Meet Terapon Adhahn, child rapist and murderer.
Thai national, Terapon Dang Adhahn, a 42-year-old construction worker, who has legal US residency on a green card...a convicted sex offender and pedophile
How'd he get the label "sex offender" in the first place?
Adhahn...was convicted of incest in 1990 for violently raping his 16-year-old half-sister.
Yeah. You read that correctly. He violently raped his own sister.

And how did our "Justice System" deal with Mr. Adhahn after he brutalized his sister? After all, he had committed a heinous, violent crime. And, while he was a legal alien, he was STILL an alien, subject to deportation. Not to worry, sez "Justice".
During therapy, when he was again diagnosed as having an “extremely problematic” personality, it is considered that the authorities were negligent in not recognizing the danger. He was only classified as a level I, or low risk sex offender.
Not deported. Not classified as a dangerous offender, notwithstanding the considered opinion of Psych professionals. Not given an appropriate jail sentence (only 2 months behind bars).

After he was arrested for the murder of Zina Linnik, he was linked with still more acts of violence and murder.
According to the Pierce County Proescutor’s Office , Adhahn was booked into the Pierce County Jail on one count of kidnapping and three counts of first degree child rape for the May 31, 2000 kidnapping and rape of an 11-year-old girl who was found duct taped to a tree at Fort Lewis.

Adhahn has also been booked on one count of first degree rape, three counts of second degree rape and three counts of third degree child rape involving a girl who lived with him in Spanaway between 2001 and 2005. Probable cause documents indicate the girl told investigators that she was raped once or twice a week and that the total number of rapes was somewhere between 150 and 200. In some of the cases the girl, who lived with Adhahn between the ages of 12- and 15-years-old, told police she would sometimes be restrained. She said she ran away after the last rape in which she allegedly told Adhahn “No, I’m not doing that anymore.” The documents say “the defendant pointed a gun on her and told her to ‘shut up and just do it.”"
More allegations followed.
The man suspected of killing 12-year-old Zina Linnik has been named as a person of interest in the death of Adre’Anna Jackson, who was found dead in a Pierce County field in 2006.

Lakewood Police Lt. Dave Guttu said officers went back and showed Terapon Adhahn’s photo to residents in the Tillicum neighborhood where Adre’Anna lived, and several people said they saw him in the area around the time Adre’Anna disappeared.
All this because he wasn't given an adequate jail sentence, nor was he deported, nor was he recognized by law enforcement as the vile sociopath he is.


But the "Fail" had only begun by that point. Remember the Amber Alert? It wasn't issued until SIX HOURS after the girl was reported missing. Why? The official reason given back in 2007 was "continuing police work".

Uh, about that.
Police Department spokesman Mark Fulghum was on-call during the early morning hours of July 5, 2007, when he went back to sleep instead of issuing the [Amber] alert as requested.
You read that right. He went back to sleep. FFS.

Surely he was fired, or at minimum suspended without pay, or reprimanded, or something, right? NOT.
Tacoma Police Sergeant Mark Fulghum won't be disciplined in any way following an on-the-job nap that delayed the issuance of an AMBER Alert for Zina Linnik by six hours after she was kidnapped and later killed by deranged sex-offender Terapon Adhahn in 2007.
It was only after the public outcry reached Biblical scale that a reprimand was issued. Sort of.
In a sudden about-face, Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson announced Friday that he has reprimanded Police Chief Don Ramsdell for withholding information regarding the Zina Linnik investigation.

The reprimand does not concern the chief’s misleading of the news media about why the issuance of an Amber Alert was delayed after the 12-year-old girl was abducted July 4, 2007.
A reprimand against the Chief for lying to the City Manager, NOT for lying to the general public. No reprimand against Sgt. Fulghum for sleeping on the job, either. Nice.

And what of Sgt. Fulghum? Has the public outcry caught up with him. Not exactly.
Fulghum...remains on duty while the internal investigation runs its course. He has not been disciplined for his handling of the Amber Alert.
Nor do I expect him to be. Lapdog local media will be complicit in it: his "exoneration" will be buried in the paper on page D-11, next to the Want Ads, where John Q. Public will be most likely to miss it. Local TV news might mention it 15 minutes into the broadcast in what should be about a 20-second news item. Not a knock on the media. It just won't strike them as news-worthy. Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are out there doing something more important, after all.

"Our cops and prosecutors, right or wrong"? Not me. Law enforcement needs to get its house in order before that will ever happen for me or anyone thinking past the end of their nose.


Monday, May 16, 2011

New Tizona Post

Stacy Allgood emailed me a link that resulted in this new Tizona Post. Enjoy.


Friday, May 13, 2011

New Tizona Post

See who's been a naughty jihadi.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An idea whose time has come

I'll let the article speak for itself, then explain why I believe that this is an idea whose time has come.
A long-simmering movement by liberal stalwarts in southern Arizona to break away from the rest of the largely conservative state is at a boiling point as secession backers press to bring their longshot ambition to the forefront of Arizona politics.

A group of lawyers from the Democratic stronghold of Tucson and surrounding Pima County have launched a petition drive seeking support for a November 2012 ballot question on whether the 48th state should be divided in two.

The ultimate goal of the newly formed political action committee Start our State is to split Pima County off into what would become the nation's 51st state, tentatively dubbed Baja Arizona.
Can I get an amen from the congregation?

Why do I think this is an idea whose time has come? Because I, too, live in a divided state.

Like Arizona, there is a predominant political philosophy that is heavily weighted towards one region of the state. The other, less-populated areas of the state are of a different political philosophy, and as such have no voice in state government nor in the election of the President because we are squeezed out, just as Liberals are in Arizona.

My state is Maryland -- AKA the People's Republic of Maryland. I live in Western Maryland, politically more conservative than Bawlmer and the counties surrounding DC. The area of the state known as the Eastern Shore is similarly inclined towards conservative beliefs.

I think it's a valid desire for Pima County to petition for statehood so their political wishes can be given representation in keeping with their political leanings. I also think it's valid for Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore to be granted similar status.

Arizona may well agree to let Pima County go off and become its own state. After all, Arizona doesn't need their libtard asses.

But places like Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore will never be granted freedom from the People's Republic in which they stand. The looters need them to pull the wagon and keep the gravy train going.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

And it begins...

You knew it was coming. After all, you can't just kill Usama bin Laden and declare victory. Oh no. You have to milk the sumbitch for all it's worth. Welcome to 2001, the sequel.
An advisory has been sent to law enforcement officials advising them to be vigilant about train security based on information uncovered after the death of Osama bin Laden, officials said.

Officials stressed the advisory is general in nature and the information apparently uncovered from the bin Laden compound dates back more than a year.

According to NBC News, U.S. officials say they have not found reference to specific plots. Instead, they say they've found what they call "aspirational" items -- events al-Qaida operatives were interested in trying to make happen.
I see. So...we're in a heightened state of alert and expected to endure God-knows-what in the name of "security" based's wishlist????

*bangs head on wall*


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Tizona Post

Click here to view.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tizona update

See my first post (just an introduction, nothing fancy) here.


I'm big down under

No, there's no double-entendre there. Let me explain.

Since around the time I went on vacation last month my site hits have been way down. Way down. Like, just barely out of the single digits. I thought that the numbers would come back up once I was back into a regular pattern of writing again. But no. The numbers are every bit as bad this week as last week as the week before.

I was starting to get a little dejected about this. After all, my blog is over 3 years old and I should be WAY past the days of daily hits in the teens. Hell, in the previous months my hits were routinely in the 30-70 range. WTF!!!

I was starting to consider that maybe I'd never establish any sort of real following and even toyed with the idea of hanging up my soapbox. Then I received an email that changed my mind.

You've been invited to The Tizona Group at as an author.

If you don't care, just ignore this email. :)

WHA?!!?!? That's freaking awesome!!!!!

A little history. The Tizona Group is big down under. Again, no double-entendre. Tizona is a group blog featuring notables such as bingbing, spot_the_dog, thefrollickingmole, 1.618, and the Beef of God - Angus Dei. The Tizona Group is popular - approximately 2M site hits since its inception. The Tizona Group got more hits in one day - over 72,000 - than my blog has received in over 3 years!!!

Technically, Tizona is an "International Group Blog". It lives up to that status certainly, with bloggers located in South Korea, the US, and, if I recall correctly, the UK as well. But the vast majority of the contributors are Aussies, and the flavor of the blog is quite Australian. Fortunately, I speak the language.

I've been a follower of The Tizona Group for quite some time. I've....hinted....from time to time that I would love to be a contributor. And now it's finally happened.

This is the second blog to which I have been extended "author" rights, the other being Ye Olde Journalist, to which I've contributed from time-to-time since December of last year.

Much like a virus, I'm spreading. Damn it people, I'm gonna get you to read my shit one way or the other!!!! [/tongue-in-check]


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prosecutorial misconduct - Texas style

When last I opined on the subject of prosecutorial misconduct, it was in the context of a fictional event from a television show. This is most assuredly NOT a made-for-TV miscarriage of justice. This is the real thing, and it cost a man 18 years and came this close to costing him his life.
For eighteen years Anthony Graves insisted that he had nothing to do with the gruesome murder of a family in Somerville. That’s exactly how long it took for justice to finally be served.
This is a tale of four prosecutors: one worthy of the harshest penalties society can mete against the wicked, one who showed himself to be a complete slimeball, one who showed himself to be a front-running publicity whore, and one who deserves to be praised from the rooftops.

Prosecutor Charles Sebesta is the worst kind of human scum. Let me count the ways.
  • Sebesta suborned perjury. Co-defendant Robert Carter was told that unless he testified, his wife would face criminal charges for capital murder as well.

  • Sebesta hid exculpatory evidence. Carter recanted his claim that Graves committed the crime with him before a grand jury well prior to Graves' trial AND the morning before he testified in the trail. Graves' defense was never made aware of this fact.

  • Sebesta used the power of his position to intimidate an alibi witness. Sebesta said in live court regarding that witness, "Judge, when they call Yolanda Mathis, we would ask, outside the presence of the jury, that the court warn her of her rights. She is a suspect in these murders, and it is quite possible, at some point in the future, she might be indicted.” No such allegation had been levied prior to this statement nor subsequent to the trial. This was bald-faced and cynical intimidation. Nothing more, nothing less. Needless to say, the witness fled the courtroom and never returned, nor did she testify.

  • Sebesta fabricated evidence. Graves' close friend Roy Reuter was asked if Graves owned a knife. Reuter, foolishly, said yes, that he had given Graves a knife just like one he himself owned. He - again foolishly - allowed the police to take possession of the knife. No surprise, the police "expert" found that the knife "fit the holes" in one of the victim's skull. Never mind that the knife in question was so flimsy it would have shattered upon contact with something as hard as a human skull, or that any one of a thousand knives would "fit" in a MF'ing hole. This, to Sebesta, was "evidence".

  • Sebesta employed the old tried-and-true "jailhouse snitch" technique, getting two skels to claim they heard Carter and Graves speaking in their cell and admitting their guilt. I can't believe that juries still fall for this. But they do, and cynical prosecutors know it. For the record, both snitches recanted later.
The Texas Rangers weren't exactly circumspect in their conduct in this case, either. But this isn't about them. This is about a public official that is expected to act in the public's interest and administer justice fairly.

Due to the work of a journalism class project and amazing investigative reporting by Pamela Colloff of Texas Monthly magazine (see here for the best pre-release details), Graves was freed from Death Row after 14 years in prison. The Federal appeals court issued a scathing rebuke of Prosecutor Sebesta.
In a unanimous opinion, the panel held that the state’s case had hinged on Carter’s perjured testimony. Had Graves’s attorneys known of Carter’s statements to the district attorney, wrote circuit judge W. Eugene Davis, “the defense’s approach could have been much different . . . and probably highly effective.” The court reserved particular criticism for Sebesta for having prompted two witnesses to say on the stand that Carter had never wavered, other than in his grand jury testimony, in identifying Graves as the killer. (Sebesta had done this not only with Carter but with Ranger Coffman as well.) Wrote Davis, “Perhaps even more egregious than District Attorney Sebesta’s failure to disclose Carter’s most recent statement is his deliberate trial tactic of eliciting testimony from Carter and the chief investigating officer, Ranger Coffman, that the D.A. knew was false.”
One would think that the Fifth Circuit's stinging rebuke of Sebesta coupled with their decision to free Graves would be the end of the issue. One would think. But remember, this is Texas we're talking about, and Texans are nothing if not persistent when it comes to being assholes.

The criminal justice system (heavy emphasis on the "criminal" part) decided to take one more bite of the Anthony Graves apple. The successor to Charles Sebesta decided to retry Graves. Never mind that the Fifth Circuit had stated as a point of fact that Carter's testimony was perjured. This is Texas, gawd-durn it, and when we say someone is guilty, they're guilty! In 2007, a special prosecutor, Patrick Batchelor, who, like Sebesta, had a penchant for convicting the innocent, was appointed to handle the retrial. One of his first actions was to try to pass the original case's transcript through a jury to get a rubber-stamp conviction. This action was rightfully disallowed by a judge.

For four more years Graves remained imprisoned, this time in County Jail instead of Death Row, awaiting his retrial. Seriously, four years? WTF?!?!?

In 2010, a new special prosecutor was appointed when Batchelor had to withdraw due to "health issues".  Unfortunately, those "health issues" weren't fatal.

The new special prosecutor was Kelly Siegler. Kelly Siegler is a superstar among prosecutors. She is 19-and-0 in death penalty cases. But she is also a courageous and ethical individual; after a complete review of the "evidence" against Graves, she moved to dismiss all charges. She herself said that Graves is "an innocent man". Courageous and unusual behavior for a prosecutor.

Not unusual was the behavior of District Attorney Bill Parham.
At a press conference at the D.A.’s office in Brenham—just across the street from the courthouse where Graves’s retrial was to have taken place early next year—Parham told reporters that he was “absolutely convinced” of Graves’s innocence after his office conducted a thorough examination of his case.
His office?!?!?!? If not for the courageous actions of outsider Siegler, HIS EFFING OFFICE would have rammed through another death sentence for Graves. What a tool!

Siegler wasn't done, not by a long shot.
Former Harris County assistant district attorney Kelly Siegler, who has sent nineteen men to death row in her career, went even further in her statements. Siegler laid the blame for Graves’s wrongful conviction squarely at the feet of former Burleson County D.A. Charles Sebesta. “Charles Sebesta handled this case in a way that would best be described as a criminal justice system’s nightmare,” Siegler said. Over the past month, she explained, she and her investigator, retired Texas Ranger Otto Hanak, reviewed what had happened at Graves’s trial. After talking to witnesses and studying documents, they were appalled by what they found. “It’s a prosecutor’s responsibility to never fabricate evidence or manipulate witnesses or take advantage of victims,” she said. “And unfortunately, what happened in this case is all of these things.” Graves’s trial, she said, was “a travesty.”
Yeah, about that. Surely criminal charges have been filed, right? After all, Sebesta is technically guilty of attempted murder!

Silly Vulture! This is TEXAS.
In 2007, Houston attorney Robert Bennett filed a bar complaint saying Sebesta and two assistant district attorneys acted unethically in the prosecution.

The State Bar dismissed the complaint, and officials said Sebesta has no disciplinary record.

But wait! Texas STILL isn't done effing with Anthony Graves!
Graves should have plenty of money -- about $1.5 million -- what Texas state law says 18 years of wrongful imprisonment is worth.

Graves told CBS News, "They stole 18 years of my life man for something I didn't even know anything about -- and they tried to murder me."

He'd at least have the money, Schlesinger said, if it weren't for a paperwork snafu. The prosecutor who dismissed the charges and set him free did not write that there was evidence of "actual innocence," and because he didn't use those two words, Graves doesn't get one penny.

"Two words, two words -- they're holding me hostage behind two words," Graves said. "They're holding my future hostage behind two words."
Texas. Effing Texas. Be glad you don't live there. Be very glad.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maryland's lost icon

There are certain people one associates with Maryland. Cal Ripken. H.L. Menken. John Unitas.

One of those people synonymous with Maryland passed yesterday.
William Donald Schaefer, the dominant political figure of the last half-century of Maryland history, died Monday after a "do-it-now" career that changed the face of Baltimore while bringing a burst of energy to the city he loved. He was 89.
William Donald Schaefer was Maryland. No one before or since has dominated Maryland politics like Schaefer did in his heyday. He served 4 terms as Mayor of Bawlmer, 2 terms as Governor, and a couple of terms as State Comptroller for good measure. And he did it with a style all his own.

Schaefer transcended political labels. I voted for him every time he ran for whatever office he was pursuing. His party? Which office? Didn't matter. Willie Don Schaefer flat out got things done. Positive things.

Schaefer converted Baltimore from "Cleveland by the Bay" into the kind of place that actually attracts tourists (and their money). He acted to keep businesses in Maryland when his fellow Dems were actively trying to tax the bejeesus out of anything that moved (Maryland motto: "If you can imagine it, we can tax it").

But the most important thing WDS did, IMO, was take Maryland's third-world quality highway system and convert it into the East Coast's finest in the span of only 8 years. This is no exaggeration. Baltimore/Washington International Airport used to only be accessible via a 2-lane highway (actually a paved-over cattle trail) in the 1980's. Seriously, can you think of anything more third-world than that?

Willie Don could be a buffoon, to be sure. But it was calculated buffoonery. It was his self-deprecating way of calling attention to Maryland, and particularly to Bawlmer, HIS city.

RIP Willie Don. There'll never be another one like you.


I had to share this

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture, courtesy of Theo Spark, is worth as least that many.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Law and Order UK

The other evening I was relaxing in Vulture Manor with Deadeye watching an episode of Law and Order UK. The BBC version of this venerable franchise is, IMO, every bit as good as if not better than the original was back in the 90's.

Okay, I watched TV. What does that have to do with anything?

The episode in question unfolded with what police at first thought was a copycat murderer mimicking a convicted white supremacist serial killer (hereinafter referred to as "Whitey"). When they found the killer, they received quite a surprise: the murderer was a black Jamaican, the murders weren't racially motivated at all (the killer was channeling "commands from God"), and, the biggest bombshell of all, he wasn't a copycat. He was the killer behind all of the murders for which Whitey was convicted!

This is where the course of justice, UK version, diverged sharply from the course of justice, USA version.

Whitey was freed right away. That makes perfect sense, right? Except that in the US, once it's been established that you're innocent, you're lucky if you don't wait months for someone to get around to issuing orders for you to be freed. If at all.

Then the solicitor (attorney) for Whitey dropped an accusation that the Crown Prosecutor (DA) had spiked exculpatory evidence in Whitey's original trial that would have cast doubt about his guilt in the murders. The CP was actually brought up on criminal charges of perverting the course of justice as a result of this single accusation. Stop for a moment and ponder that. A prosecutor was charged with the crime of perversion of justice as a result of an accusation of withholding exculpatory evidence. Whoa!

It got me thinking. Why in the name of all that is holy is there no such statute on the books in any jurisdiction in the US for the crime of perversion of justice? Why is it that DA's in the US can run roughshod over the rights of the accused, prosecute individuals they know to be innocent, and hide or manufacture evidence without fear of any sort of consequences? Lest you think I'm exaggerating or simply spewing hyperbole, I suggest you take a nice long look at actual evidence of prosecutorial mischief. Spend a half hour at Will Grigg's place. Or at William Anderson's place.You'll swear that I've understated the problem by half.

Until US prosecutors are held to the same high standard as Crown Prosecutors, we can expect innocents to continue to be sacrificed on the altar of some scumbag prosecutor's career aspirations. One day it might be you.