Wednesday, August 31, 2005

If the bitches would just stay at home where they belong . . .

The Army & Navy academies have cultures that devalue women; this, apparently, makes it for rape & sexual harrassment to occur there. Interestingly, the culture that seemed to enable the litany of sexual assaults at the Air Force Academy existed concurrently with one that allowed conservative Christians to basically run the place. Coinkydink?

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I had to put her someplace, a'cause I had company coming over

Two seconds after I commented on Nick's post about the hazards of getting romantically involved with murderers (including a reference to the exchange that must have made Dan Abrams' mamma proud), I heard a news update on the Latoyia Figueroa case.

During a court appearance today, Stephen Poaches' confession to the murder of Figueroa and the couple's unborn child was read aloud by Detective Charles Boyle [emphasis & link added]
"I accidentally let the temper get the best of me, resulting in La'Toyia's death. We had an argument, a couple of blows. I didn't hit her in the stomach, or that.

"She was hitting me on the shoulders and face. That's when I grabbed her neck to try and stop her from hitting me. I squeezed a little too long," Boyle said Poaches told him.

"La'Toyia hit me in the face and shoulder. I was surprised. I grabbed her with both hands around the neck and squeezed. I kind of freaked out when she stopped hitting."

"I panicked. I was tapping her, calling her name. She was lying on the floor. . . . She's dead - that was it. . ." [Philadelphia Inquirer]

You squeeze "a little too long" and the person passes out; you have to want to kill someone if you strangle them to death with your bare hands. Despite this, Poaches claims he is not a murderer
"I feel terrible for the act. I don't feel I am a murderer. This was not premeditated." [KYW News]
He said he panicked and hid Figueroa's body under the bed because he was expecting company (his other girlfriend, who'd already given birth to his child). It was later that evening he wrapped Latoyia's body in garbage bags and called a friend who helped him dumped the body in nearby Chester, PA.

Poaches attorney tried to get the charges reduced to 3rd degree murder because the death was not premeditation because it was the result of his client's "
temper tantrum". The judge, apparently, didn't buy it: Poaches was ordered to stand trial for two counts of murder and will be arraigned September 21.

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During yesterday's jamboree in Coronado, King George drew parallels between the US invasion of Iraq and WWII, while relying on his trusty "we did this because of 9/11" deoffense.
"As we mark this anniversary, we are again a nation at war. Once again war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood," he said at a naval base here, referring to Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

He said that as in the time of World War II, the United States now faces "a ruthless enemy" and "once again we will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure."

Bush invoked the memory of his father as a young Navy pilot shot down over the Pacific and of an optimistic Franklin Roosevelt calling on Americans to defend liberty. He portrayed Roosevelt's vision as similar to his own -- a commitment to spreading freedom even when U.S. allies were not convinced it was the best course.

"Franklin Roosevelt refused to accept that democracy was finished," Bush said. "His optimism reflected his belief that the enemy's will to power could not withstand our will to live in freedom."
Bushevikian freedom = Sharia law
This week, the administration also had to defend the proposed constitution produced in Iraq at US urging. Critics fear the impact of its rejection by many Sunnis, and say it fails to protect religious freedom and women's rights. [Boston Globe]
Georgie also (kindasorta) admitted oil was a mitigating factor in this war too [emphasis & links added]
If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. ''They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition." [Boston Globe]

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I stayed out of the Katrina fray since the devastation received wall-to-wall coverage that left my stomach in knots. Diane & family are OK, Kate's keeping everyone as up-to-date as possible & Matt is compiling the rest of the information we need to know in a constantly updated post aptly called "Atlantis".

Conditions are horrendous through-out the Gulf Coast, neighboring areas have been hit with extensive flooding, the infrastructure of New Orleans has pretty much collapsed and the water is rising.

In addition to everything else these people have lost, they now face a lack of food, little if any sources for safe drinking water and water borne illnesses that can be deadly if left untreated. The hospitals are swamped - those that can operate are doing so under the harshest of conditions; those who can not are trying to find a way to transfer patients to facilities that can take them.

Those who can get messages out are doing so, but communications are sparse at best, last night Bill Quigley got a message to The Heretik

There are well over a 1200 people still in the Tenet Memorial Hospital on Napoleon in New Orleans. Predictions are that flood waters will continue to rise to another 9 feet tonight. Latest info is that they have started helicoptering out people, but verY small numbers, less than 100 since 1 pm. Giving you this update because we may have no electricity before long. Our phone numbers are 504.897.4531 and 504.897.4530, we cannot call out. Feel free to call us or give numbers to media to call us. They are estimating that it may take several days to evacuate these people - water electricity food security all will be gone by then.

Please help by notifying the press and the government. People are hoping that friends around the country can help out. Thanks for giving people hope.

Peace, Bill Quigley

all the while, over at AMERICAblog, shades of Nero

People in affected areas need help & need it badly: now to save lives and will need more to rebuild for the future. Disaster Recovery & Relief Effort Information:
UPDATE (new links added) :
UPDATE 8/31/05 @ 1:40 EST (from Matt, who has a pretty comprehensive list of informational links & resources at Tattered Coat):
  • Katrina Check-in
    A place to connect people affected by Hurricane Katrina to those their loved ones (includes “I’m Okay” and “I’m Searching for” forums

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Further proof that recreational drug use is kinda "square"

In yet another lame Summer re-run, Art Garfunkle has been busted for smokin' doobies again.

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Scalia: SCotUS shouldn't decide moral issues

But that won't stop him from doing so when given the opportunity.
Scalia said he was saddened to see the Supreme Court deciding moral issues not addressed in the Constitution, such as abortion, gay rights and the death penalty. He said such questions should be settled by Congress or state legislatures beholden to the people.

"I am questioning the propriety -- indeed, the sanity -- of having a value-laden decision such as this made for the entire society ... by unelected judges," he said. [CNN]

In all fairness, Scalia doesn't think Supremes like him are deciding to impose conservative religious views, they're just ruling to allow others to enact religious based legislation to force compliance on non-adherents.

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12-year old still missing with registered sex offender

12-year old Jodie Renee Collie is still missing and presumed to be with Phillip Daniel Denkler, a 27-year old registered sex offender who served a prison sentence for taking indecent liberties with a child.

According to Collie's mother, Kim Baker, the family new of Denkler but that no onein the family was aware of his criminal record or that he and Collie had been engaging in telephone conversations for the past few months.
"We're still hoping and praying," [grandmother] Dorothy Collie said Saturday. "I just don't know where this child's head was. I've never known her to do something so stupid.

Kimberly Baker, Jodie Collie's mother, said that her daughter met Denkler last year while visiting a relative. Denkler worked at a store near the relative's house, Baker said.

In the past week, Jodie spoke with Denkler over the phone almost every day, Baker said. Her family did not learn of the conversations until Friday, when they began inspecting phone records. Now, Baker thinks Jodie and Denkler planned their escape together. [The News & Observer]
Police say the abductor, Phillip Daniel Denkler, 27, is a registered sex offender. Denkler is 6-foot-1 and 150 pounds, with short black hair (there are conflicting reports whether his eyes are brown or green).

Denkler's beige 2005 Hyundai Sonata with North Carolina license plate number NMN-2630 (it is possible the license plate may have been switched to PSA-2000) was spotted in Barrow County Georgia and the search for the couple has now been expanded to cover Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama. Authorities have also contacted the Mexican Border Patrol.

Anyone who has information about this case is asked to call the Rocky Mount Police Department at (252) 972-1411 or 911.

UPDATE (8/30/05 9:20 PM EST): As mentioned the other day, Missing & Abducted has been trying to get Fox News to cover Amber Alerts, Jodie Collie's in particular. After 4 days, the email sent to has been deleted w/o being opened. The only email that was read at Fox is the one to Alan Colmes - and that one appears to have been ignored. I guess the O'Lielly likes to complain about sex offenders and enforcement of Megan's Law at his
Make Your Head Spin Zone, but was not willing to cut into coverage in Aruba prior to Katrina taking precedence (and only cut into Katrina coverage for Natalee Holloway updates).

Luckily, it's just been reported that police have located Jodie (alive) in Des Moines, Iowa. Convicted child molester Phillip Denkler has still not been apprehended.

Related @ DF

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Hip-Hop/Rappers come through for Latoyia - so why not for other women?

Hip-Hop & Rap are extremely popular but they're also known for a level of negativity and antagonistic behavior towards society at large. Hip-Hop culture glorifies crime, is derisive towards homosexuality and degrades women. Kanye West has recently decided that, since he has a gay cousin he loves, it's none too cool to dis the 'mos. West has even addressed the issue on by telling his colleagues and fans "Yo stop it".

Due to this it was with great interest that I read a column in todays Daily News praising alleged attempted-murderer and Hip-Hop star Beanie Sigel for coming through for Latoyia Figueroa by not only donating $5,000 to the Citizen's Crime Comission, but also getting mogul Damon Dash to kick in 5 grand as well. As word spread, other rappers/Hip-Hoppers followed suit.
Sigel, 31, continued following the Figueroa case in newspapers while finishing his one-year federal sentence in Fairton, N.J., for illegally carrying a loaded .45-caliber handgun and having drugs in a SUV.

"I just wanted to find the girl," he said."I have children. I have sisters."

Sigel is dismayed that more rich Philly Pholks (Philly entertainers & sports stars, in particular) didn't pitch in and help out. I'm dismayed that Sigel didn't take the opportunity to use this tragedy to pull a Kanye and tell his community to tone down the misogyny. While domestic abuse and murdering your baby mama is nothing new in American culture, the rap/Hip-Hop degradation of women as bitches and 'hos doesn't really help the community view women as worthy of respect/respectful treatment.

Come on Beanie, make your mama proud and pull a Kanye on this one. While you're at it, there are some other sisters who could use your help too.

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Rick Santorum did too stand up to the administration once (sorta)

Lil' Ricky's been doing the "did so" stomp for about two weeks now, claiming he has (uh-huh have too!) been critical of some of the tactics we've used in the Iraq War. Now after initially reporting that even they couldn't find anything to substantiate Santorum's claims, his office has finally been able to produce evidence [emphasis added]

The transcript of Santorum speaking last Sept. 21 at an impromptu news conference outside a private luncheon of GOP senators in Washington was overlooked during a search of an electronic database and office files, spokesman Robert Traynham said.

"There are concerns - I have concerns - about tactics and decisions that were made," Santorum said, according to the transcript, made bythe Federal News Service. "I think you'd find a lot of Republicans who are very willing to second-guess our tactics in Fallujah, for example."

At the time, during the heat of the presidential campaign, several GOP senators had criticized the military decision to turn over security in Fallujah to poorly trained Iraqi troops after a U.S. invasion of the city in April 2004.

The criticism - that lack of a strong U.S. presence in Fallujah had allowed insurgents to regroup - came after several grisly suicide bombings there.

"And in my opinion, it was not the right call, but you know what? That's not my decision," Santorum said in the Sept. 21 news conference. At another point, he told reporters that too much "Monday morning quarterbacking" of military commanders would not help the war effort.

According to Santorum media consultant, and Karen Santorum's occasional boss, John Brabender, this shows lil' Ricky is not afraid to stand up to the administration. Take that W (and all you liberals who think Rick Santorum won't stand up and criticize the administration - because he made that one teeny, tiny and apparently very obscure comment about having some sort of concerns which shows what an independent thinker he is)!

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Monday, August 29, 2005

What's he been drinking?

According to The Pink Sheet, Robert Temple (Director of the Office of Medical Policy at the FDA) told attendees at the International Conference of Pharmacoepidemiology & Therapeutic Risk Management that he doesn't think there's a conflict of interest for someone on the medical advisory board to also conduct the clinical trials for manufacturers.
"A lot of the conflicts that people on our advisory committees have are that they did trials for these people," he said, "I don't think that's such a bad thing. . . I don't think it necessarily conflicts you."
Does he really think that some companies would refrain from paying significantly more to those physicians on the advisory board (and allow them greater latitude with protocol deviations/violations, etc.) if those same investigators were in a position to rip the data supporting their application? He must, because he also seems to think folks on advisory committees would look closely enough to question data that may be confounded by deviations they, themselves, committed (or ones similar to their own infractions) or admit that they agree a studythey willingly performed wasn't well designed and/or didn't have adequate safety protections built in.

Temple also went on to say he doesn't think these sorts of conflicts materially influenced the outcome of the COX-2 meeting
"Some of the people on the COX-2 [committee] I think were people who were just doing the studies."
He did, however, acknowledge that advisory committee members could be "biased by association" because they like and value the companies as well as the potential future rewards. This is all the more reason to keep them from conducting the trials (and to keep thought leaders, who've aided in development of a protocol or program from conducting those trials; they have their own agendas that can insert unnecessary bias and/or cause deviations that can cause confounding of the data).

I shudder to think what the Wall Street research firms would do to get some inside info from an investigator who just happens to also be on the advisory committee.

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Pity their coffee sucks

The Concerned Women for America are concerned about Starbucks [emphasis added]

"Corporations have deeper pockets and therefore more influence than individuals do," said Maureen Richardson, state director of Concerned Women for America of Washington.

"I think it's wiser for them to stay out of these issues so that they don't offend conservatives and people of faith."

To these companies, she says: "If you want my money, support some of my causes."

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Male puritanism: it's all about their seed

They really do want to have their cake and eat it too. [emphasis added]
The latest research suggests the mechanics of sexual intercourse and the shape of the human penis evolved as a countermeasure to the infidelity of our female forebears. Men may not be aware of it, but during sex they may be instinctively using their penises as "sperm displacement devices," says evolutionary psychologist Todd Shackelford of Florida Atlantic University.

Biologists have known for years this kind of thing happens in animals, says Shackelford. "It's only shocking when applied to humans."

The evolutionary advantage of male sluttishness is obvious - it spreads your genes around. But evolution also may favor females who cheat. Often such behavior helps her beget offspring with better genes.

That in turn creates a pressure unique to males: the threat of cuckoldry - evolutionary doom. He who fails to impregnate his mate or who inadvertently brings up another's brood won't pass on his genes.

I guess this explains their problem with evolution too.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Anti-War Protests: a lot's changed since Viet Nam

According to an article in the Pensacola News Journal, the Freepers & other assorted anti-peace activists get it Wrong on how Cindy Sheehan and other anti-war demonstrations are being taken by most veterans. The vets are fully aware that, unlike during the Viet Nam era, the anti-war protesters are demonstrating against BushCo policies not against the troops [emphasis added]

"I have run into people who don't support the president's views on Iraq or our objectives, but I haven't run into a single person who said (he or she) doesn't support the troops," said Jason Crawford, a Purple Heart recipient who was shot in the face by opposition forces in December 2003 while in Iraq. "I think our society learned from Vietnam that it's not the men and women who sacrifice their lives and signed on the dotted lines who make up the plans and objectives. I think pretty much everyone supports the troops."


While many troops wish more Americans would support the war effort, some said it's heartening to know the folks back home wish them nothing but the best.

"They might not agree with (the war)," said Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Bentele, 29, who returned from Iraq in May. "But they show us respect."


Army Reserves Lt. Col. Alice Bell, 46, who spent 10 months in Kuwait in support of the Iraq invasion, said she has heard nothing but praise since returning home.

"It's not like in Vietnam, when they spat on troops coming back," she said. "Some people don't agree with the mission itself. But even if they're against the war effort, they're for the troops. They realize we're doing what we have to do, what we've been ordered to do, whether we agree with it or not."

Among the overwhelming majority of Americans who support the right of protesters to openly voice their dissent with government policies is Army National Guard Sgt. Shelton Johnson who spent nearly a year in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 [emphasis added]
"As long as they're not defiant against the troops or the president, then I think it's actually healthy for our society and government," he said.

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Cindy Sheehan: the biggest threat to marriage since the days of 'mo marriage blues

Well over at Pandagonland, the trusty leadership of the Church of the Mouse & Disco Ball has opened our eyes to yet another liberal threat to that sacred institution known as marriage.

The Pumps & Pearls set are understandably
aghast at the damage this Cindy Sheehan person could do to a marriage that, like all marriages of bereaved parents post the death of a child, was rock-solid. Thank heavens we have such an abundance of good influences like priests, family-values oriented politicians, and the darling of the Christian music scene to set such fine examples of the sanctity of marriage and ensure the family is inviolable in the face of such horrific influences. Can I get an Amen?

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Well yes, it is a federal crime

It looks like Tom DeLay's buddy Jack Abramoff had a little help from his friends - the ones at the Department of the Interior, that is. Abramoff sent emails in 2002 claiming that J. Steven Griles, had vowed to block an Indian Casino that would compete with Abramoff's tribal clients.

Abramoff told associates that he believed Griles was "committed" to blocking an effort by the Gun Lake Indian tribe to build a casino near Grand Rapids, Mich., according to the content of e-mail messages reviewed by The Washington Post. Abramoff said the blocking would involve an environmental challenge to the project, a tactic also proposed by Michigan business leaders opposed to the casino. Abramoff fought the project because it would draw business from a casino operated by his clients, the Saginaw Chippewas.

Environmental concerns ended up delaying action on the Gun Lake casino. The project was cleared last May by the Interior Department.

Gun Lake was not the only casino that Abramoff tried to derail through his departmental contacts. The Post has reported on e-mails indicating the lobbyist enlisted Griles to stop a Louisiana tribe's proposed casino, which threatened another Abramoff client. [WaPo]

At the same time, Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig LLP was in negotiations to hire a guy named J. Steven Griles who just happened to work as Deputy Secretary of the Interior at the time. [emphasis added]

A federal task force investigating Abramoff's activities has conducted interviews and obtained documents from Interior Department officials and Abramoff associates to determine whether conflict-of-interest laws were violated, according to people with knowledge of the probe. It can be a federal crime for government officials to negotiate for a job while being involved in decisions affecting the potential employer.
Really? Someone ought to tell SCotUS nominee John Roberts about those conflict of interest laws. Oh wait he knew, he must have just forgotten he was involved in the Hamdan case at the time - it's not as though guys like Cheney, Gonzales, Card or Rove would have had any interest in the case or brought it up or anything.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fox News Network: the make your head spin zone

See the Amber Alert ticker I have? As I type this, the alert is still on for Jodie Renee Collie, a 12-year old NC girl that authorities fear may be with a registered sex offender. Oddly, it seems as though the Fox (all Republican "family values", all the time) News network doesn't give a shit. The folks at Missing and Abducted have been trying to get Fox to cover current Amber Alerts with no luck, despite the fact other news outlets do carry & cover Amber Alerts [emphasis added]

Text of an email sent to Fox News

To: ; ; ; ; ; ;

Subject: Please have Fox get on the ball and cover active AMBER ALERTS like the one right now!!!!!!!!

There is a current Amber Alert in NC, a registered sex offender that has a 12 year old girl Jodie Renee Collie. Every night Bill O’ Reilly talks about Jessica’s law and the outrage, and now the network you all are on doesn’t even report Amber Alerts as a Fox News Alert. We have breaking news all day about Natalee Holloway who’s seach has had millions in resources and even more in media exposure. At least cover the Amber Alerts.

M & A report receiving a read receipt from Alan Colmes (or someone on his staff) 15 minutes prior to his show, so they watched. . . and waited. . . and not a word.

There are 2 pictures available for Jodie Renee Collie. She's described as a green-eyed blonde, so I gather the picture on the left is the most current one (though, I would not put it past a kidnapper to dye her hair if everyone's looking for a blonde). She is 5'4" and 114 pounds.

Police say the abductor, Phillip Daniel Denkler, 27, is a registered sex offender. He is described as a white male with straight, short, black hair and brown eyes.

The two were last seen in a beige 2005 Hyundai Sonata with North Carolina license plate number NMN-2630. Anyone who has information about this case is asked to call the Rocky Mount Police Department at (252) 972-1411 or 911.

UPDATE: It seems as though Jodie received a phone call from Denkler early Friday morning to make arrangements to pick her up. The 12-year old left a note saying she “needed to spend some time away and to please not call police.”

[Kim] Baker [Collie's mother] said she believes Denkler and Collie met at a convenience store near Baker’s house earlier this year. “I think he remembered her from then, and he started calling her when he got out of jail,” Baker said. “He was under house arrest with the bracelet and everything, but apparently, that didn’t stop him.”

UPDATE 8/29/05: Alabama authorities have now joined in the search for Jodie. If they took a normal route from Rocky Mount, NC to Alabama, they probably would have driven SW through the Carolinas and west through GA into AL (depending on which part of AL they're heading to).

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So I tweaked it

I love dark, rich, warm colors so it was with chagrin I'd read some commentary indicating some people don't like dark color schemes w/light text on blogs because they think they make them unreadable. I was hoping I could have a little of both worlds and have the posts containing a background that matched the color of the headings and the side bar links with dark text (trying to keep with that whole forest theme). I was frustrated when my senility prevented me from figuring out how to program different colors for the links in the posts vs. the rest of the blog (without going through each post to manually code individual links). Then I remembered, I've always pretty much sucked at this (and I'm not quite in the position that paying Lauren for one of her incredible redesigns is really appropriate).

So, whaddya think. . .keep it as is, or go back to square 1?

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Chupacabra Blogging

I have no freaking clue what it is, but then, neither does anyone else.

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FDA and EC: Politics as usual

The FDA, which had stated it would make a final decision on the Rx-to-OTC switch of Barr's Plan B by September, has postponed a decision for another 60 days.
Maker Barr Pharmaceuticals criticized the decision, questioning how the agency could agree that scientific evidence backed nonprescription sales and yet not allow those sales to begin.
I guess they're waiting for the Repubevangelical counterpart to Sharia law to be implemented here.

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While the nation's attention was focused elsewhere, a bunch of folks vanished

While the nation was transfixed on the discovery that "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks was only the victim parental overindulgence to the point she was incapable of making rational decisions in the face of stress, another Philadelphia woman disappeared. That woman is Ta-neke Daniels of South Philly, a 27-year old mother of three boys ages 2 - 10, who was last seen leaving her boyfriend's house May 12th. Her boyfriend, who is currently not a suspect and is reported to be cooperationg with police, was due in court to face charges of abusing against Daniels.

The Philadelphia Daily News ran articles about her June 30th and another on August 3rd, neither article appears to have a picture of Daniels (though, granted, they were archive pieces by the time I saw them) - a critical element to any missing persons story. I first heard about Daniels in an email from Tulin last week (he'd picked up the story and posted in August). Thanks to the lovely and talented DeJuana Price, we now have a face a put with the name.

Ta-neke is 5' 7" and weighed approximately 118 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She has a scar on her left ankle and tatoos: lower back "TARIQ"; right shoulder/arm "DAMON". If you have any information about Ta-neke's whereabouts and/or what's hapenned to her, please call Philly PD's South Division at 215-686-3013/3014.

Thanks to DeJuana, I've also received information about a missing Staten Island mom-to-be, Shameeka Dixon-Gordon, who disappeared April 21, 2004. The only information local press wanted from her family was a reaction to the discovery of a body in a landfill (that turned out not to be Shameeka).

UPDATE/ADDITIONAL INFO: The 21-year old was wearing
a black hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants, black "Nike" athletic shoes, black "Norface" jacket when she was last seen leaving her aunt's former residence on Van Buren St. in Staten Island. She is 5'5", 120 pounds & approximately 4 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, and had a tatoo "Shameekah" on her right shoulder and "Rasheen" across her lower back.

If you have seen Shameeka or have any information regarding her disapperance, Please call the New York authorities at 718-981-2583.

As I said here, I don't expect every case to garner constant national media attention. Frankly few, if any, cases warrant that kind of borderline pathological spotlight, but I do expect local/regional media to highlight regional cases like this in a timely fashion.

Amanda Jones' disappearance has gotten some national attention this past week. She is the 26-year old Hillsboro, MO woman who was last seen 2 weeks ago en route to meet with the father of her unborn child (Tuesday was her due date). The very cynical part of me wonders if she gets a little less attention that the usual white damsel in distress because she's pregnant but not married - but that's neither here nor there.

These women are our sisters, our daughters, our friends and at the very least local and regional media and the police should start publicizing the cases as soon as it's believed that a vanishing game is out of character for the person who is missing.

By focusing this post on missing pregnant women, I in no way mean to understate the need for local/regional and yes, sometimes national, media to do what they can to aid frightened and confused people in search of missing loved ones. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to cases of missing pregnant women, it seems as though some people seem to think these women should be dismissed because they've made bad choices (especially if they're unmarried) and I'm more than a little bunched up about that.

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War, lies and newsprint

Via that Mojo-laden DED: The students at SIU's Carbondale campus, especially the staff on the newspaper The Daily Egyptian were hit hard by the death of a soldier last week. Over a two year period, they had come to know Sgt. Dan Kennings and his sweet little daughter Kodee. Introduced to the Daily Egyptian by a letter then 7-year old Kodee wrote about how anti-war protests upset her since her father was a soldier deployed in Iraq, student reporter Michael Brenner contacted the little girl to find out more.

The story appeared in the Daily Egyptian on May 6, 2003, detailing an 8-year-old's struggles saying goodbye to her father, who was shipping off to Iraq with the 101st Airborne. Kodee, according to the story, had lost her mother years earlier, so Kennings was her only blood relative.

"I don't have a mom," Kodee was quoted saying in the newspaper story. "If he died, I don't have anywhere to go."

Upon Kennings' departure, Kodee came under the care of a young woman named Colleen Hastings, the wife of Kennings' adoptive brother. Outgoing and affable, she forged a friendship with Brenner and, he says, seemed to think the attention was helping keep Kodee's mind off her dad.

Brenner, then the editor of the paper, started publishing unedited notes that Kodee would write about her dad, or about things happening in her life.

Last week, the DE newsroom was crushed by news that Sgt. Dan Kennings has been killed in Iraq and the little girl they'd established personal bonds with was now an orphan. The Chicago Tribune was so interested in the story, they went to Carbondale to learn more

Over seven days of reporting, the Tribune learned the real story, one of elaborate fabrications and lies intricately spread out over two years. There is no soldier named Dan Kennings. The charming girl people came to know as Kodee Kennings is someone else entirely, a child from an out-of-state family led to believe she was playing a part in a documentary about a soldier.

Using role players, including an employee of a local Christian radio station, the woman at the center of the hoax spun a remarkable wartime tale so compelling it grabbed the hearts of young journalists, university faculty members and readers, and left them blind to the possibility it could all be a ruse. There appears never to have been a monetary motive. In fact, the reasons behind all the lies remain unclear.

The DE, it seems, was duped.

Jamie Reynolds, the woman at the center of the "story", was a broadcast journalism major at SIU who graduated in 2004. She claims the fabrication was all Michael Brenner's idea, something that was done to help with the difficulties he was having in his career.

"Mike is my best friend," she said. "In the last couple of years, he's had a hard time with his career. He asked me if I would help him out. I said I would. It just got a little bigger than he told me it would. I went with it because supposedly he was my best friend. This needs to be over with. I don't want to lie anymore. He just wouldn't let it go."

She also said she fell in love with Brenner, making it that much harder for her to stop the lie.

Brenner denied Reynolds' accusation and said her claims were outrageous.

"Jesus Christ, that is completely not true," Brenner said when he heard about the allegations. "Obviously she is making that up. I swear I'm telling the truth. The last two years of my life, I don't know what to believe. It's ridiculous. I feel stabbed in the back. They had an elaborate hoax. I'm telling the truth."

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Marriage: the picture of Christian salvation

I guess it's a good thing I'm still single since I'm definitely not Christian and U.S. Rep. John Hostettler says "the picture of marriage is the picture of Christian salvation" and that any "diminishing of that notion" is something public policy must fight. He also likened divorce to gay marriage, which is a "degradation of marriage".
Hostettler, who spoke to an Indiana Family Institute program at Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, also said religious faith needs to have a greater presence in public policy decisions.
I guess Hostettler says this because religious faith can ensure the stability of marriage, just like it did for Christian music star Jaci Velasquez who married Darren Poteck 16 August 2003 [emphasis added]

When my husband and I started out as newlyweds, we were like all newlyweds, wanting that dream marriage," Velasquez said. "Somehow, things took a turn and we have ended up in divorce."


"I sought counseling," said the 25-year-old singer, "but the painful truth is that our marriage didn't work out. I've had such a difficult time with this. My heart hurt so badly that I felt like I wanted to crawl under a rock and just die. I can't say that I have ever felt such pain before. My heart literally felt like it was breaking in half."

For some reason, I can't help but disagree with Hostettler.

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People just don't understand how hard it is for a man to have 2 pregnant lovers

Man likes sex but doesn't want to be tied down in one mutually exclusive monogamous relationship. Man gets one woman pregnant and continues a sexually intimate relationship with a different woman knowing she wanted to have more children. Man does not use condom, figuring second woman will just abort if she gets pregnant.

Lo' and behold, second woman gets pregnant. During the 5th month of her pregnancy, man accompanies lover #2 to a prenatal check up. After the couple return home, man sweetly asks woman to terminate the pregnancy & then woman gets herself killed.

via Pax Romano, who has info on Latoyia's Memorial Service [emphasis added]

Friends say Poaches may have killed Figueroa because he had also gotten another woman pregnant. However, the suspect told police he murdered Figueroa, who was five months pregnant at the time, because she wouldn't have an abortion.

Investigators have told reporters that Poaches admitted he strangled the young woman in rage when she told him she didn't agree with having an abortion. []
Poaches waited until the middle of the 2nd trimester to discuss abortion with Latoyia and then gets mad enough to kill her in a sudden fit of rage for refusing to terminate? It sounds to me like Poaches went to the pre-natal exam with Latoyia to intentionally make it appear as though he was supporting the pregnancy because he knew full well he'd be the primary person of interest if she met with foul play.

As for the theory that Latoyia is somehow culpable for her own murder, Philadelphians with brains & hearts know better.

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As Bob Casey, Jr. pointed out

Sometimes what you don't say is as important as what you do say.

Compare and contrast

UPDATE 25AUG05 (11:21 PM EST): you can vote Pennacchio v. Casey at dKos, where the comments continue with the "must go for Casey because he's the only one who can beat Santorum" but the voting shows 66% (of 112 voters) selecting Pennacchio. You can tell Chuck and his staff what you think about this theory here.

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Santorum: for once he didn't say it (though he claims he did)

Bob Casey, Jr. finally spoke about Santorum last Friday (until then, he let little Ricky do his job for him) and very politely called Santorum out for playing the Republican version of "Monkey See, Monkey Do".
"The U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who is third in the leadership, says one of the reasons people should vote for him is because he is in leadership," Casey said in an interview Thursday. "But he is not asking the tough questions."
Santorum quickly disputed Casey's allegations that he is capable of acting independently, but instead of giving accurate examples of where he differs with the WH in public (I don't recall even W making statements indicating a return to the 1830s would be ideal), he claimed he has questioned some tactics in public and private.
"I have a very clear track record of being supportive of the policy, but not necessarily all of the tactics," the two-term senator said. "That shows a level of involvement and sophistication that my opponent has not grasped... . I still have concerns about our level of activity with respect to fighting the insurgency, and the number of former Baathists who are put in positions of power in the country and their relationships with Iran. I have expressed those concerns publicly and privately."
Today, Santorum's people had to admit that even they have no record of Santorum making any public statements questioning the Iraq War as claimed by little Ricky. In true Santorum fashion, he used the old playground response of "have too!" to support his claim (this is the converse to yesterday's pre-apology "Nuh uh" issued by
Pat Robertson).
"I do a lot of interviews on TV, on radio, with print reporters who don't happen to write everything I say," Santorum said yesterday. "The fact that it hasn't turned up in print doesn't mean I haven't said it."
It seems as though the (not so) Honorable Senator Rick Santorum has failed graps a few things about the media such as, the most important thing to them is the bottom line met by ratings/readership and the best way to attract these numbers is by sensational items such as the #3 guy in the senate dissenting with the rest of the Bushevicks. Radio and TV interviews are recorded, so if any exist to support his claim of dissent they could easily be located. As for reporters not writing down everything he says (which is a shame, because his statements provide so many of us with the best comedy routines not to use foul language since Bill Cosby's story about the Great Snowball War), it's hard to believe any reporter would deem any statement from Santorum that did not support BushCo policy 100% unworthy of documentation and reporting.

UPDATE 7:48 PM EST: It looks like the FBI has confirmed Lil' Ricky's been lying to his constituents (what kind of evil bastard would lie to a sweetie like Matt?) about how they've been putting the Patriot Act to use.

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"Grass roots" pro-war/pro-Bush group manufactured in Republican PR company

Much ado has been made about the supposedly grass roots group known as the "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" to counter the evil Cindy Sheehan's crusade to hold King George accountable for the debacle known as the Iraq War Viet Nam 2: The Best Honor For A Dead Soldier Is More Dead Soldiers. While it shouldn't be a surprise that this "grass roots" organization is manufactured rather than organic, it goes to show the arrogance of the Republican Party that the manufacturer is none other than Move America Forward or, more accurately, GOP PR firm RM & R.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I bet Dorothy wishes she stayed in Oz

via Lauren. Phil Kline, who is AG for a state that legalizes statutory rape via marriage, has sued the state to make abortion illegal regardless of the circumstances (even if the fetus is not viable post delivery and the mother's life is endangered by the pregnancy) [emphasis added]
The attorney general of Kansas filed a lawsuit last week against Governor Kathleen Sebelius, arguing that use of state money to finance abortions violates the state constitution. Medicaid currently pays for abortions resulting from rape, incest, or when the pregnancy poses a threat to the mother's life. Kansas' constitution, however, protects individuals' "inalienable natural rights," among which are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In his lawsuit, AG Phill Kline says using Medicaid to pay for abortions is contrary to those protections, and he also requests that the court agree that life begins at conception. A spokesperson for the Kansas attorney general says Kline is simply doing what the state legislature instructed him to do in 2002 when the State House voted to ask the courts to determine the legality of state funding for abortions. Kline's lawsuit has the backing of pro-life state representative Lance Kinzer and the group Kansas Right to Life. [Jody Brown]
In all fairness, I thought it best to read the Constitution of the State of Kansas and noticed something about the rights in Section 1 referenced by Kline
All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
By men, is the constitution stating only male human beings or using the term to refer to the generic man as meaning person? This can actually get quite complex because nowhere in Kansas' Constitution does it refer to life during gestation. When determining the age of a citizen for the purposes establishing rights and privileges determined by age, we calculate that age from date of birth (and for someone to achieve that age, the birth would have to be a live birth), not date of conception, implantation or any other period during gestation. The constitution was amended in 1975, shortly after the controversial Roe v Wade decision. Considering the debate at that time, why did they not add a caveat to define a zygote as a human being from the moment of conception then?

If they were to grant personhood starting at conception, with a full complement of rights under Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution, they will run into many cases in which there are two beings with conflicting rights, especially as a zygote/embryo/fetus is uniquely disadvantaged by the inability to support its own physiological processes necessary for development to a point in which it could, under normal circumstances do so. To make matters worse, unlike a living baby that is a physical independent being that can be cared for by any capable being, a zygote/embryo and the majority of fetuses are fully reliant on the physical body of another person to develop to the point it has the chance of a live birth (and only 1 specific person is capable of providing use of her body for that purpose). This pits the rights of people that would theoretically have equal rights under Section 1 against each other. To subjugate a woman and forcibly require use of her body against her wishes, while violating her rights under Section 1 of the constitution, is a violation of her rights under Section 6
There shall be no slavery in this state; and no involuntary servitude, except for the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted
I guess the taxpayers of Kansas don't mind paying for Kline to continue in his political grandstanding (or, as Blue suggests, his early campaigning for the next Governor's race). Of course based on King George's assertion that women are assured rights under a new Iraqi Constitution that derives civil law from Sharia, we can put what the Bushevicks consider rights for women to be in perspective. Yes women will have some rights in Iraq but they will not even be close to equal those of men; why anyone is suprised that's OK by BushCo is beyond me - women's rights under Sharia are exactly what the Repubevangelicals are trying to ensure for women here in the US.

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