Category Archives: News

DEA Debacle

Daniel ChongBy now I am sure you have heard the Daniel Chong, DEA debacle story.

Here’s the deal… Daniel got swept up in a DEA drug raid on April 21st.  Investigators believe the student was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. They hauled him back to DEA HQ and questioned the young man at length as they did many others arrested that night.

They placed Daniel in a holding cell and told him they would be back shortly to see that he got sent home.

He waited.

And waited…

And waited…

Hours turned into days and by day 5, Daniel Chong was delirious, suffering signs of kidney failure and reduced to recycling his own urine to hydrate. It was a nightmare of the worst kind.

They forgot him — FOR FIVE DAYS!!! That’s pretty much felony stupid.

Chong was transported to a local hospital for treatment and was held in recovery for five days.

The top DEA agent in San Diego, William R. Sherman, said in a statement that he was “deeply troubled” by the event and has ordered an extensive review the DEA policies and procedures for prisoner accountability. Sherman also issued an apology to the student, though Chong said he was not personally contacted by Sherman or the DEA.

For the whole affair Chong’s attorney has filed suit against the DEA for $20 million plus attorney fees.

In case you are interested that works out to be $166,666 per hour.  They could lock me up a week for half that and I’d be okay with that. I could catch up on my reading but I am not drinking piss.

Frankly, if the judge awards it, I think the DEA got off light.

This is just another case of government law enforcement run a muck and the innocent suffer.

 

 

 

 

 

Dogs Against Romney

Dogs Against RomneyThe website is Dogs Against Romney. The story – Seamus rides the roof, otherwise known as “Crate-Gate.”

With as big an issue as the media has made this, you would think Romney was hauling around his dog on the roof of his campaign bus, in a blizzard, with no food and water, and won’t let him down to pee… ever.

The fact of the matter is this happened in 1983 when the GOP candidate was still a relatively young man at 36.  How many of us were well into our thirties and occasionally still guilty of doing stupid stuff. I dare say stupidity happens for all of us, including presidential candidates and presidents.

I know everybody in this presidential race not named Romney wants to find an issue they can hang around the neck of their rival, hoping to drag them down the polls of popularity. It’s amazing to me that the whole Dog-On-The-Roof affair continues to hold traction with some voters.

In the language of magicians this is called “Misdirection.” It’s the practice of drawing eyes away from reality so the sleight of hand goes unnoticed. For some people it works. For most it doesn’t.

Most people knows there are more important issues out front in this election besides the Romney family vacation in 1983 and whether the dog was on the roof or behind the wheel. The truth be known, the Romney’s loved Seamus and the dog lived a long time after crate-gate, still loving, and being loved by, his family.

Dogs Against RomneyI can find plenty of fault with every candidate that has nothing to do with animals, appearances or spouses. One quick look at their voting record tells me every thing i need to know about the things they think are important — or worse — not important.

As we head towards the November elections, remember this. It is the season of the magician, otherwise known as campaign managers. The trick will be sorting out  reality from misdirection.

Headlines

headlinesI read a lot of headlines. I may not read the story within but I scan headlines constantly just to get a flavor of the news of the day. I’m not an information snob where I will only scan sports headlines or financial headlines. Nor am I locked into one source for my headlines. I don’t put blinders on and focus on one outlet. I’m all about information diversification.

Therein lies my quandry.

Anyone who has ever written a book or an article for a school paper knows what it’s like to push your work through an editor. As I compare news headlines it makes me wonder who are these people that pick and choose what their lead story is out front. News reports are a powerful thing whether they are true or not.

Case in point – The October 9, 1871 issue of the Chicago Evening Journal ran a piece which said, “The fire broke out on the corner of DeKoven and Twelfth streets, at about 9 o’clock on Sunday evening, being caused by a cow kicking over a lamp in a stable in which a woman was milking.” Illustrations that accompanied that story or appeared soon after also painted Mrs. O’Leary as the cause.

Everyone came to accept that fact that the Great Chicago Fire was started by Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow kicking over a lantern. However, modern historians have dug into the facts surrounding the incident and believe the cow was a scapegoat and Mrs. O’leary, a poor immigrant, was a good target for blame. Court records, transcripts of testimony, and land records, make a pretty good case that fault for the fire is elsewhere. Because of the article the cow has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

Ah, the power of the press.

Anyway, Lead stories today include:

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MSNBC

Clean your plate: 30 to 50 percent of food thrown away[/box]

The lead story at MSNBC is food waste? Really????

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CNN

Afghan protesters demand U.S. soldier be tried in Afghanistan[/box]

At least this one seems newsworthy.

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HUFFINGTON POST

CONGRESS CREATES JOBS!
(For Fraudsters, Shills And Wall St. Analysts)
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I like the spin on congress in the headline. It’s too true to be a lie.

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FOX NEWS

‘Obamacare’ to Cost Twice as Much?[/box]

Good to see Fox News is on board with something most Americans knew two years ago. (ObamaCare was signed into law on March 21, 2010.)

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NY TIMES

Public Rebuke of Culture at Goldman Opens Debate[/box]

We’re still talking about Goldman? Why can’t we all just get along?

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WASHINGTON POST

A year into uprising, Syrian protesters say they won’t give up[/box]

Current and newsworthy out of our Nation’s capital. What about across town?

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WASHINGTON TIMES

Plotting against Iranian nuke sites[/box]

I had to make sure this piece was not the lead story on the Entertainment page.

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LA TIMES

Airports get in-flight movie rentals for PC[/box]

The headline does seem to be very … west coast.

And that’s my spin around the news services for Thursday, March 15.

Enjoy your day.

Pick and Choose Journalism

WatchdogI like to refer to Webster’s dictionary when I see something evolving away from its original intent, becoming something very different.

For example, take the word journalism.

According to Webster it is: the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.

I suppose you could say most news outlets are doing that. They are editing and reporting the news. In today’s society news outlets are the chief purveyor of information and events to the public. The pool of outlets is larger than it has ever been.

A hundred years ago the primary source of news came from newspapers. Reporters in those times, for the most part, stuck with the facts, the who-what-when-where-how of any particular event.

Today you have the big networks and their news engines – CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, CNN, etc… Add to that the talk show crowd, the Becks and Shultz’s of the world. Then you have hundreds of thousands of bloggers (like me) with views as diverse as books sold on Amazon.

Journalism in the 21st century has taken a stop backwards and not in a good way. Reporters are no longer the source of facts. The facts are being filtered through the political lens of the outlet reporting them.

What I find very interesting on a regular basis is how differently a story gets told between the different outlets or stories considered newsworthy on one outlet doesn’t warrant one single drop of ink on another.

As bad as it is during normal times it jams into another gear in an election year. It makes me crazy and not in a good way (as if there is a good way to be made crazy.) It gets to where you don’t know what to believe.

Perhaps I’m just getting cynical but I am beginning to believe there is no such thing as good news. At least that’s what the mainstream media would have you believe.

The question I ask myself when I skip through the news outlets of the day is: “Just how news worthy is this, or continue to be?”

Like I have had it up to here with Rush Limbaugh. I get it. The guy is an extraordinary idiot. He overstepped civility when he used the S word to describe the Georgetown U student. He’s a bad, bad man. I get that.

But considering everything wrong in the world and the issues at our collective throats, it amazes me that news outlets have invested more time in reporting RushGate than the Kennedy assassination. I think there are plenty of other real issues deserving of close external scrutiny. Huffington Post still had at least three news items related to Limboob on their front page today. Fortunately most other outlets have moved on to more critical issues like Lindsey Lohan’s SNL hosting debacle and Super Tuesday.

I’m starting to believe we are becoming a country of Lemmings, blindly following the mass media down the paths they want to take us. The hook is being set and we are getting closer and closer to the boat… hook, line, and sinker.

Don’t believe everything you read. Investigate on your own. Draw your own conclusions. Separate fact from fiction, spin from truth, dissent from destruction. An opinion shaped by falsehood is as dangerous as the lie that created it.

Ask yourself this… Who’s watching the watchdogs?

Funny Headlines

Funny HeadlinesEvery once in a while from time to time a newspaper headline will just jump off the page. Not for its athletic prowess or shyness but for its shear absurdity. You have to wonder if the journalist or editor responsible for said headline had their head in a crack pipe that morning. Did they know what they were doing or were they purposely that farcical. Whatever the case these creations for headline banners are priceless if only for their entertainment value and comic relief.

You don’t have to look much past the internet to find funny headlines.

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Taipei (Taiwan) Times


BUSH URGES USE OF CONDOMS BASED ON UGANDA EXPERIENCE
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The Jakarta Press (Indonesia)


THOUSANDS OF FALSE EYELASH FACTORY WORKERS RUN AMOK
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Fox News Website


TWO MEXICAN MIDGET WRESTLERS KILLED BY FAKE PROSTITUTES
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Nine to Five Magazine


AFRICA: GLAMOUR. DECADENCE. MURDER.
HUNDREDS OF SECRETARIAL OPPORTUNITIES.
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Petersburg (Virginia) Progress-Index


SKYDIVER LANDS ON BEER VENDOR AT WOMEN’S COLE SLAW WRESTLING EVENT.
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Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune


VIRGIN HOLDS OFF 10,000 IN PEACHTREE
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The Wenatchee (Washington) World


FIVE-HEADED COACH TO LEAD WASHINGTON SCHOOL
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Evening Herald (Dublin, Ireland)

WOMEN IN SUMO WRESTLER SUIT ASSUALTED HER EX-GIRLFRIEND IN GAY PUB AFTER SHE WAVED AT MAN DRESSED AS SNICKERS BAR.[/box]

BOA 80 Penny Foreclosure

Tom MudieIs it any wonder there’s a “Them vs. Us” mentality these days? Them being big banks and high-finance types at the top of the American money pyramid.

Meet Florida’s Tom Mudie. This guy is like many in our country these days. The economy tanked and Mudie had to renegotiate his mortgage. Millions of homes have been under foreclosure the past couple of years.

Families are living in their cars wondering what happened to the American dream.

Tom caught a break. He recently got word that his loan modification had been approved and his mortgage payment would reduce by $200. That may not sound like much but when you are struggling to buy groceries a couple of c-notes makes all the difference in the world.

He got on his phone recently to make a mortgage payment. Tom accidentally entered a “0” instead of an “8” and ended up shorting his payment by 80 cents. He immediately noticed the shortfall and called his mortgage holder, Bank of America.  The customer service there told him, “No problem Mr. Mudie, just send us a check for the $0.80 and will take care of it.”

So he did just that thinking the problem was solved.

So what does Bank of America do? They send back Mr. Mudie’s check attached to a letter that read, “Your loan is not eligible for the Fannie Mae modification program because you did not make all the required trial period plan payments by the end of the trial period.”

“Holy, living in the streets, Batman!!” For 80 pennies Bank of America is ready to put this guy in the streets.

Mudie also received a “home transition guide” from United Way Charities advising on ways to prepare for his foreclosure. “When you start seeing that,” Mudie said, “you start thinking charities and stuff. So I knew that I am in trouble.”

If there is any company in America that doesn’t need any bad press its Bank of America with their CEO, Ebenezer Scrooge. They are still reeling from the $5.00 debit card fee and the South Carolina branch manager ripping up American Flags set along the street by her bank to honor a fallen soldier. That bonehead move had people lined up the next day to withdraw their money from the big bad BOA.

It appears that Bank of America is very much like the Tin Man. No Heart.

But all is not lost. Someone showed up with common sense and took the horses off the foreclosure wagon. Tom Mudie may not lose his house after all. At least not today and not over 80 cents.

5.6 Earthquake Rolls Through Oklahoma

QuakeI’ve taken everything mother nature has to give out— Hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme heat, Lady Gaga and The Cable Guy.

And now I can add earthquake to the list.

It was nearly 11:00 last night when I felt the first little bump and the whole house started shaking back and forth. The ceiling fan began to sway, the dogs sorta freaked out, and my heart went into overdrive.

According to the US Geological Survey a 5.6 earthquake struck central Oklahoma at 10:53 p.m. There were not reports of injury or major damage. The 5.6 sets a new state record. A magnitude 5.5 struck El Reno on April 9, 1952.

An aftershock of 4.0 rolled through at 3:39 but we slept through that one.

Although that might explain my earthquake dreams all night.

We have a new crack in one of the walls and I have a new respect for mother nature. I still haven’t forgiven her for The Cable Guy.

Boys Will Be Boys

That used to mean something rather benign. It meant you stomped through mud or played with frogs. It meant you got into a tussle with your best friend right before (or after) you laughed together at a pack of little girls. At worst ‘boys being boys’ meant cutting school to go to a movie or stealing candy from a store shelf.

As Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changing.”

stop the violenceIn the news, two 12 year old boys dropped a shopping cart four stories unto a shopper below. She remains in critical condition. A 10 year old pulled a pistol on a woman threatening to take his Halloween candy. A 12 year old sits in a Florida jail, the youngest person ever charged in that state with capital murder. He killed his two year-old brother. In Indiana an 11 year-old shot and killed his 6 year-old brother.

These stories just go on and one. It makes me wonder where we are going. What will it be like in 20 years if it keeps getting worse. What is the solution? Better parenting? Stable environment? Is it found in the schools or the home? The problem is so complex I’m not sure anyone really knows where to begin to stop the flow of violence by our children.

I’m going to offer an opinion here, something I typically hesitate to do. I think our children are getting programmed to violence by the things they see around them, on TV, in the news, in movies and video games.

When you are a 6-grader sense of right and wrong is a very fragile thing. That has to start at home. The schools can’t be responsible for instilling values in our children. That must be done by the parents. It has to start somewhere.

Marion Salmon Hedges, the victim of the shopping cart incident lies in a hospital bed clinging to life. Her family and the boy’s families have their lives upended by a stupid prank. A community is shocked and bewildered at how something like this could happen. Police report that the boys were laughing and telling jokes as they were being taken into custody. The arresting officer repeated that the boys were just “Doing it for fun.” I suspect the fun ended when the steel doors slammed shut and the prospect of years locked away started to creep in.

My fear is this issue is a symptom of a much bigger problem, a society so immune to stories like this that people can’t even see the problem much less admit there is one. The status-quo is not good enough and if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Food for thought—this is not someone else’s problem. We all own it.

Hurricane Irene Was a Bit of a Biotch!

Hurricane IreneHurrican Irene pounded the east coast over the weekend and continues to flood New England in epic fashion.

She lashed the South Carolina coast last Friday as she made her way offshore to a Saturday morning landfall along the Outer Banks. At that time Irene had all the makings of a major catastrophe.

As bad as the flooding in the northeast and the projected eight billion in damages we should be counting our blessings for what didn’t happen rather than moaning over what did. Yes, the relatively few lives lost was tragic, but given a slightly different path or a slightly different travel speed that sent Irene right up the Hudson River and we could be looking at an entirely different aftermath; hundreds or possibly thousands of lives lost.

My prayers go out to my east coast neighbors struggling to deal with the property damage and personal loss.

As always the American Red Cross steps forward as the preeminent global disaster relief organization to reach into the affected communities and provide a helping hand in the face of tragedy.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaS5WK7BXqc]

Nothing Says Diplomacy like a good Bench Clearing Brawl

An exhibition basketball game between the Georgetown Hoyas and a Chinese men’s team ended abruptly when an all out brawl consumed the facility.

I went to a fight and a basketball game broke out.

Both benches cleared and it was upper-cuts, jabs and folding chairs for the ensuing melee. The fight broke out at the 9.5 minute mark remaining in the 2nd quarter. The rest of Georgetown’s game against the Bayi Rockets was canceled.

The Hoyas are scheduled to play the Rockets again on Sunday night in Shanghai.  Ringside seats are still available.

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