Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Few Updates...

The past couple of weeks have provided a lot of fodder for my blog, and a lot of these stories have progressed significantly since I first discussed them. While I cannot do a follow-up on every story here (I just do not have the time anymore) I would like to select a few stories to check up on, because I feel that they are significant.

The Pot Calling the Kettle...Gay?

Senator Larry "Wide Stance" Craig continues to stay in the spotlight. He renegged on his promise to leave office and is trying to get his guilty plea removed from the Minnesota court where he admitted to trying to get some bathroom nookie at the airport. Now, it appears, he is also using campaign money to help defend himself before the Senate ethics committee. I bet all those anti-gay marriage Republicans who donated to his campaign are thrilled with how the money is being used!

The Defense Screws Up and the People Pay for It

The trial for alleged slaveholders Mahender and Varsha Sabhnani has seen several delays, including an extensive jury selection period due to the significance of the case and several contentious issues it raises. The latest delay is coming from a technical glitch in some videotaped testimony that the prosecution intends to use. Apparently one of the defense attorneys is complaining that one cannot hear his objections because he was too far from the microphone. The judge plans to look over the tape and decide which parts can be used. Oh yeah, and the Sabhnanis have been out of jail this whole time.

Keep Your Eye on this One

Well, I must apologize for not getting on this one earlier, but apparently Ed and Elaine Brown, the couple hiding out in Plainfield, New Hampshire evading a hefty federal prison sentence for tax evasion, were arrested without incident on October 4. Despite all of Ed Brown's talk of massive amounts of violence and defending his property to the death, it took a small undercover team to end the "standoff" that was going on.

He Tased You, Bro

Andrew Meyer, the University of Florida student who was tasered at a John Kerry forum, turned out to be his own worst enemy. Not knowing he was being recorded, he told the cops in the police car following his arrest that they did nothing wrong and was recorded on the phone at the jail being all giddy that the incident had gained so much media attention. Because of this, the cops were cleared for tasering him and were reinstated. I'm sure the next student tasered who is not trying to pull a publicity stunt will be thrilled with Meyer's self-serving actions.

Ahmadinejad Speaks

You would think that a month after Ahmadinejad's speech on campus, that the student news organizations would not be running front-page articles on him anymore. Not so. The Eye, Spectator's magazine, ran a front-page article on the fallout that has beset President Bollinger since the Iranian president's speech, using photos of President Bollinger giving random speeches (not his introduction to Ahamdinejad). Did I read the article? No, because the speech was a month ago and there are more interesting/pressing things going on in the world.

Ahmadinejad-Mania Continues

Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), the man who has no chance at winning the presidential race in 2008 and who introduced the inane "Restoring Patriotism to America's Campuses Act", is still showing us why he should never be in a public office again. While I haven't heard shit about his legislation (I'm assuming it died as soon as his presidential hopes) , he is a supporter of Blackwater USA, as he consulted with them in their quest to create Blackwater West (more on that later), which should be enough for people to realize how wrong the man is.

And the Lies Continue...

Ciara Durkin, the Army specialist with a desk job in Afghanistan who died on a secure Army base there of a single gunshot wound to the head, was laid to rest as her family continues to look for answers. The Army initially lied about Durkin's death, saying that she died in combat, but later renegged on that statement, saying she died on the Army base, but refusing to provide other details. The Army has confirmed that they are treating the case as if it were a murder, but they continue to refuse to declare it a homicide. Durkin's family, in a brilliant move, got a private autopsy for Ciara Durkin to compare to the Army's findings. Hopefully the truth will come out for the Durkin family, as the Army's treatment of the whole investigation thus far has been sickening.

Blackwater continues to screw up. Besides the Christmas Eve murder everyone is aware of, more and more begins to surface about the private military contractor. It has come to light that their tax practices may not be up to code and they allegedly tried to steal two Iraqi aircraft. With their future in Iraq gloomy at best, Blackwater now has their eyes on border security in America. I will quote Representative Bob Filner (D-CA), whose district could be the home of Blackwater West, "The border is a sensitive area," he said, "and if Blackwater operates the way they do in Iraq -- shoot first and ask questions later -- my constituents are at risk."

Ahmadinejad-Mania Part II?

Today was David Horowitz's speech at Columbia and, as could be expected, there were small protests on campus. Additionally, there were many flyers around campus between pro-Horowitzites and anti-Horowitzites. While a lot of campus dialogue surrounded Horowitz's visit, it was nowhere near the level for that of Ahmadinejad. Horowitz got a better reception here than he did at Emory, but reading the Spec article it doesn't sound like his speech was life-changing in the least. After spitting some rhetoric about nooses being figuratively hung on College Republicans' doors, Horowitz refused to answer a question (all questions were moderated by the College Republicans) about American fascism saying, "People who think there's an American fascism are delusional." Way to answer the question and prove that there is not American fascism without insulting the person asking it.

Something Just Doesn't Add Up II

It has been nearly a month since Revere Police Officer Daniel Talbot was killed but a bullet to the head and an intensive manhunt began. Questions were initially raised about why Talbot, his fiance, and several fellow officers were behind Revere High at 1 am in the morning off-duty. Those questions have yet to be answered and so much about the case is unknown at this point. It is being reported that the authorities have gotten a confession from a suspect in the slaying - which suspect, you ask? No one is saying. The suspect who made the confession "was whisked away to another facility." The secrecy surrounding this case is ridiculous and urges people to assume the worst as time goes on without answers. Additionally, the sealing of the search warrant in the case turned out to be illegal and was overruled. The search warrant is discoverable and thus the defense should be allowed to see it, as the ruling states.

Racism a Daily Occurrence at Columbia?

Teacher's College seems to be the host of another bias incident, as ABC is reporting that two Jewish professors at the school received anti-semitic material. The name of the professors as well as the content of the materials is being kept secret as the incident is investigated. The noose incident has yet to be solved, as the Department of Justice and the FBI get in on the act and the NYPD plans to test the rope for DNA evidence. As time moves on and no suspects are named, the likelihood of anyone being caught for the crime declines, at least in my mind.

Justice for the Tirado Family?

Jayson Tirado's shooting is just the latest chapter in the NYPD's book of shootings of unarmed "suspects." Sean Sawyer, the undercover Queens narc who killed Tirado following a road rage incident that Sawyer allegedly started by threatening to kill Tirado and his passengers, has yet to face a grand jury for his actions. Most people charged with felonies have 144 hours (6 days) to face a grand jury before they must be released, but Sean Sawyer is no regular person. He is a cop and has already been released, which means that the DA will not be rushing to get a grand jury together. Of course, there are rumors of self-defense, but shooting a man dead does not seem justifiable to someone pointing a finger at you, but maybe that's just me. Also, the New York Sun ran an article about cops and drinking, but I don't think it's fair that cops should be expected to be able to be on duty 24/7, so I don't see a problem with it unless they a) show up to work drunk/hungover and cannot do the job to their best potential or b) do something stupid while drunk and get a good chance at getting away with it because they are a cop.

There have also been calls for a new law to make it illegal for a cop not to report to the authorities whenever he/she fires their gun. I was floored to find out that there was not a law in place that already said that, as it seems like it would be common sense. Also, Al Sharpton has offered his "services" to the Tirado family. It's really too bad that Al Sharpton has the whole Tawana Brawley thing hanging over his head, because he can be admittedly charasmatic. However, his refusal to apologize to Steven Pagones for his part in helping out the Brawley camp hurts his legitimacy. While the majority of people who come out to say something against Sharpton tend to be conservative whites who generally disagree with Sharpton, there are those out there who recognize that racism is a large part of society today and that a lot needs to be done about it but feel that Sharpton's presence only makes whatever issue he is speaking about more divisive. My advice to Sharpton: step out the limelight and become a behind-the-scenes consultant for someone who does not have the Brawley bullshit on their record. My advice to the Tirado family: you guys have a pretty good case, find someone other than Sharpton who will help you out without alienating a large number of people.

So no grand jury date and Sawyer gets to live his life in the meantime (minus the job and a car) while the Manhattan DA ponders whether or not a NYPD police officer who started a confrontation with someone while off-duty will face charges for taking the life of another person.

Photos - Top to bottom: Senator Larry Craig's mugshot (, Ed Brown, the tax evader vowing the go down shooting, who now is in a federal prison after an uneventful takedown (, Duncan Hunter (R-CA) (, Derek Lodie being escorted by police (, Former NYPD Officer Sean Sawyer (

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