Tag 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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Right to Privacy

George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 described the Government of Oceania, a country of perpetual war, around the clock government surveillance, and citizen mind control. It was a place watched over by Big Brother where you could be imprisoned for thought crimes. It’s a society of socialism where propaganda rules the airways and everyday is a lie. No right to privacy.

It’s nearly 30 years beyond 1984. You might think in a free society such as the USA constant government monitoring an a total loss of personal freedom is not possible.

Is it?

A blog ran at MSNBC yesterday, a  frightening report of privacy invasion and violation of our fundamental rights living in a free society. It is possibly an early volley in our journey to Oceania.

The headline read:

[box] Govt. agencies, colleges demand applicants’ Facebook passwords[/box]

It’s becoming common practice for employers and colleges to demand that applicants reveal their Social Media passwords during the interview process. In Maryland, applicants to the Department of Corrections are sat in front of a computer, told to access their Facebook account and allow the interviewer to look over their shoulder as they scan through wall postings, photos, videos and friend list.

Before the ACLU filed a complaint last year the Maryland DOC was asking applicants for their user name and passwords so they could scan your account at their leisure.

It seems the government isn’t letting something as simple as constitutional rights stand in the way of their thirst to invade your privacy.

It’s amazing to me that any free thinking American would think for a minute this was acceptable. I’m not convinced it’s even legal. There is such a thing as the First Amendment, right to privacy and free speech.

I’m going to be watching this one closely. The Patriot Act was just the beginning and the question is – where does it end?

Before it’s over I could be at the Minitrue rewriting history with Winston Smith at my side.

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?

More Whoppers or just Politics as Usual?

On June 3rd Obama said…

“And today, I’m proud to announce the government has been completely repaid for the investments we made under my watch by Chrysler because of the outstanding work that you guys did. Because of you. Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes the American taxpayer from the investment we made during my watch. And by the way, you guys repaid it six years ahead of schedule.”

Hmmmm…..

So what’s with this headline at the Huffington Post?

In Chrysler Bailout, Taxpayers Likely
To Lose Up To $1.3 Billion: Treasury

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/21/chryslerbailout

You have to dig into the words to find the financial shell game. Sounding much like a Used Car salesman, Barry was careful with the content of his speech. The key phrase — “Under my watch.” What that means is he is not counting the $4 billion given to Chrysler 18 days before taking office. (Source: FactCheck.org)

Now I don’t know if the Chrysler bailout was a good thing or not. I don’t know where the losses would have piled up to in the collateral of a total Chrysler meltdown. The job losses from plant closings and dealerships would’ve been extensive, not to mention the affect on other peripheral businesses.

I do know $1.3 Billion could have funded a lot of other stuff like three days in Afghanistan. But that’s a whole other topic!

London World Naked Bike Ride

June in London brings out the full moon. Several of them actually.

The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) has become a cultural phenomenon in the British, normally stiff upper-lip, society. We hope the upper-lip is the only thing that is stiff.

The WNBR is an international clothing-optional bike ride where participants ride together en masse on some form of human-powered transport. Usually a bicycle but you do get the occasional skateboard or inline skating aficionado to join in the festivities. The purpose is to “deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.” I don’t know. but it sounds to me it’s just an excuse to show off your assets.

Now in it’s eighth year, the event has seen participation grow from 58 in 2004 to 1,200 in 2009. Taking a route that passes many of London’s most famous landmarks, the ride allows those participating to decorate their body with messages of protest against oil dependancy and motor vehicle usage. And along the way you get to show off your attributes.

Other cities around the world celebrate WNBR according to local laws and bohemian leanings.

In a bit of twisted coincidence, International Thigh Chaffing Day is celebrated at the same time.

Now the question is… What category do I file this post under – entertainment, environment, sports or social networking?

Casey Anthony: Not Guilty

Like much of America, today at 2:15 pm, Eastern, I was glued to an internet feed waiting for the judge to read the verdict.

I had pretty much figured out, because of the short time the jury had deliberated, that “Murder in the First” was not going to happen. You don’t come to that verdict in this case in ten hours. It just didn’t seem very likely.

Like many others I figured she’d get guilty of aggravated manslaughter. I was wrong.

Guilty of four misdemeanor counts of lying to law enforcement. Not guilty on all the rest.

Okay, I get it. Our legal system comes down to this. You have two teams. The prosecution and the defense. It’s kind of like chess. You try to counter every move the other team makes.

In this case I believe the defense did a much better job on the counter-offensive. They poked enough holes in the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence and handed the jury enough “Reasonable” doubt to acquit. I can’t blame the jury. They did their job based on what the two teams gave them.

The aftermath of the verdict is what is puzzling me.

I’ve been watching #caseyanthonyverdict on Twitter for the last hour or so at the rate of a tweet every 3-5/tenths of a second since the verdict. I’ve seen some of the most vile hateful comments about the jury, about the lawyers, about the judge, about the system, and the worst of the worst about Casey Anthony. I’ve seen it turned into race and sex issues. I’ve seen people literally at their worst.

Not minimizing the death or Caylee Anthony or the impact this has had on the community of central Florida, but I question how a society that can generate such emotional energy in bursts so vile and then can’t come seem to get up the energy to solve other, more disastrous circumstances facing our immediate future.

Media types like Nancy Grace and Geraldo Rivera, combined have enough media clout to really change things for the better. Yet they let their personal feelings and agendas play-out on camera and deflect from the serious issues communities and families face everyday regarding the youth of America.

  • Child hunger
  • Child abuse
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Juvenile Crime
  • Runaway
  • Parental kidnapping
  • Childhood Obesity
Those issues aren’t sexy enough and headline grabbing enough to hold our collective attention. It takes a baby girl in Florida to be murdered, her mother the prime suspect, to grab our attention.
The sad fact is, it’s never been about Caylee. It’s been about ratings. It’s been about dishing to the public the ugliness of the evening news.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46bBWBG9r2o]
And you know… I don’t even blame them. It’s us, you and me. We have created that negative media mentality. As they say…. “If it bleeds, it leads.” Shame on us.

Groom Says Love is Ageless

Well, what do you expect him to say when he’s 51 and she’s 16 — “I like the way she she looks in pigtails and plaid skirt.”

Actor Doug Hutchison, 51, best known for the character Percy Wetmore in Stephen King’s “The Green Mile,” married 16 year-old  aspiring country star, Courtney Alexis Stodden, on May 20th at a ceremony in Las Vegas. (Of course it was Vegas — it might be illegal in Atlanta)

Her mom signed the waiver allowing the minor child to marry.

I don’t exactly know who’s the most creepiest here — the knocking on social security, washed up actor, or the star struck mom who thinks allowing your high school sophomore daughter to marry a man three times her age is a good idea?

It all sounds very third world arranged marriageish. Even by Hollywood standards it’s pretty creepy.

I’m not convinced the senior and the sophomore have done the math. When he’s 65 she’ll be 30. (which, by the way, does sound a whole lot better than 51/16.) When I was 30 I dated some 30 year-olds. I think Percy will be way out of his league.

A few questions immediately comes to mind:

Does she have a driver’s license?

Will her new husband drive her to school or will she have to ride the bus?

Now that she is married can she still get the child rate at Disneyland?

Since the bride is considered a minor was her mother required to sign the prenup?

Was she attracted to his huge…… bank account?

How long have they been dating? Two or three years?
(Wrap your head around that one)

Now that she’s legally married does she still need her mom’s consent to get implants, or can hubby sign off on that one?

I wonder who will do laundry… mom?

Being a 16 year old, Courtney Alex was born in 1995.  That means:

Her future husband was filming “A Time to Kill” when she was born.

Forest Gump won best picture.

Bill Clinton was in the White House.

Chelsea Clinton was 15.

Madman Timothy McVey destroyed the federal building in OKC with a homemade bomb.

In a bit of irony, the Congress passed the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act, requiring that producers of pornography keep records of all models who are filmed or photographed, and that all models be at least 18 years of age.

 O. J. Simpson is found not guilty of double murder for the deaths of former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Was it only a short 16 years ago? My, how time flies.

Actor Doug Hutchison was 35 years old.

Who does he think he is — Hugh Hefner?

FDA Goes for Shock and Awe

Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States. These warnings mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and are a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking.

Now I don’t know about you but I think we all have heard the message. When I smoked I saw all the ugly lung pictures and heard the doctor’s warnings about smoking and it never phased me.

On their website the FDA says: “The introduction of these warnings is expected to have a significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers, resulting in lives saved, increased life expectancy, and lower medical costs.” I think that’s (cough)(cough)bullshit(cough). If the FDA thinks putting ugly pictures on cigarette packages is going to make a bit of difference to cigarette smokers then they are smoking something besides cigarettes.

The only thing that is going to get cigarette smokers to quit is the cigarette smoker. You have to want to quit and I don’t mean you look in the mirror and say to yourself I want to quit — before lighting up the next one. I mean right down in the core, down in the addiction machine inside the smoker where you have to flip the quit switch. It’s there but most smokers have a tough time finding it. I know I did. (I’ve been cigarette free since Nov 2002.)

It wasn’t about the warning on the pack, the ugly lung picture or the thought that my second hand smoke was affecting someone else. It was simply “I wanted to be a non-smoker more than I wanted to be a smoker.” At the end of a smoke filled day it really has to come down to that.

For a rundown of all the new FDA photos go HERE.

Man Robs Bank of $1.00 to Get Health Care

Last week a North Carolina man walked into a branch of the RB&C Bank in Gastonia intent on robbery.

James Verone is not your typical bank robber. He was not armed. He didn’t wear a mask. He did have a note asking for $1.00. After getting the dollar he told the teller he would be waiting in the chair by the door.

In a simple act of desperation, 59 year-old Verone robbed the bank hoping the means would justify the end. Broke and needing medical attention he came up with a plan. It went something like this:

  1. Rob bank of $1.00.
  2. Serve 3 years for bank robbery.
  3. Get out at age 62 and file for Social Security.
  4. Move to Myrtle Beach and work on tan.

In some ways you have to admire his willingness to work the system. They make movies about guys like this.

The story behind this story is the one that really grabs me. We can put a man on the moon. We are the richest country on the planet. We arguably have the best colleges and universities putting out the brightest and the best.

And we can’t figure out how to get health care for the needy. Between the greedy insurance underwriters, lawyers and drug companies, we have created a medical behemoth that is strictly for the haves — the have nots be damned.

There might also be a fly in Mr. Verone’s ointment. Because he only took a dollar hs is not being charged with bank robbery, only larceny, so his sentence may fall way short of three years. Guess he might have to misbehave and hope for a tack on.

On a side note the prison doctor has accused Verone of manipulating the jail system. To that I would ask…. “Your point being?”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwrE0s6ovS0]