Posts Tagged ‘criminals’

15-Year-Old Beaten and Gang Raped for 2 Hours After Homecoming Dance

October 27, 2009

I just heard about a story out of Richmond, CA that really made my blood boil. On Saturday, a 15-year-old girl was beaten and gang raped for 2 hours after she left her school’s homecoming dance. After leaving the Richmond High School homecoming dance around 9:30 P.M. to get a ride home with her father, the girl ended up meeting up with some kids on the school campus who were drinking.

Richomnd Police Lieutenant Mark Gagan told reporters, “The series of events that occurred over the next two and a half hours got more severe and more vicious to where she was ultimately gang raped, beaten and her injuries were so severe that she had to be sent to the hospital in a helicopter.”  The victim is still in the hospital, currently in stable condition.

There’s been some controversy over whether or not the school is safe.  After being asked by reporters if he thought the school was safe, one male student said, “No it’s not. Not at night time.”  Charles Ramsey, a Richmond school board member disagreed, saying, “It is a safe school, 95 percent of the students here perform well, do what they’re expected to do, but do we have a part of the campus element here that is out of control?  Yes.  We do understand and are not putting our head in the sand around the fact that Richmond has a lot of issues and problems in terms of safety.”

The school district spokesman, Marin Trujillo said, “There’s just so much control that one can do after that, once they leave the sidewalk we can’t follow them home,” regarding the safety of the homecoming dance.

Since the attack, 2 arrests have been made: a 15-year-old student, as well as a 19-year-old former student, Manuel Ortega, who was caught as he tried to flee the scene of the crime.

Gagan said that police arrived as the 2+ hour-long rape was still taking place, and that “we’re looking at four to seven active participants of sexual assault and extremely violent felonies.  We’re also suspecting there were up to a dozen people who witnessed what had happened and their involvement is unknown.”

The 15-year-old male was arrested after being pulled from class for questioning.  Another student was pulled out of class for questioning, but was released.

What I’d like to know is how the heck could 12 people stand by and watch this happen?  What kind of sick twisted person wouldn’t call the police!  The people who joined in and raped and attacked this girl need to be arrested and locked up for the rest of their lives.  I would argue that they should probably be given the death penalty, considering how heinous of a crime this was, but the death penalty isn’t an option in rape cases any more.  But they should certainly be locked up for the rest of their lives.  A crime this heinous and disgusting deserves a harsh punishment.

And while those who watched may not be charged with any crime (depending on whether or not they cheered it on, they could possibly be charged as conspirators or accomplices in the crime), they need to take a look at themselves and ask, “What the heck is wrong with me?”  How could you sit by and let something like this happen to a 15-year-old girl!  What’s wrong with you!

It’s stories like these that make me begin to lose hope in humanity. When 4-7 people gang rape a girl, and 12 people sit around and watch, there’s something wrong with what’s going through our children’s heads.  I don’t know what, but something needs to be done.  Sitting by and watching something like this is unacceptable, and the people who watched this rape are should have to live with a whole lot of guilt for the rest of their lives.  I hope they realize how despicable it was for them to just sit by and watch.

And I hope the other attackers are caught and arrested.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victim of this attack – hopefully she recovers soon, but I have no doubt that she will be mentally scarred for years to come.

UPDATE: Somebody from Newsy, a video news website asked me to embed their story covering the gang rape:

more about “Newsy | Girl Gang Raped While Others …“, posted with vodpod 

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Live Analysis of Governor Granholm’s Michigan State of the State Address

February 3, 2009

The Michigan State of the State address is about to begin.  I will be live blogging the event, giving my analysis (so my apologies for any spelling errors – I’ll fix them eventually).

Alright, she’s entering the chamber (I’m not sure if this is the House or Senate – probably House since  it’s bigger).

Oh – my roommate (Democrat) just about made me die of laughter – he said, “Where is she?”  I said, “Right there.”  And he goes, “Oh, I thought that was a dude.”

Alright – she’s making her way up to the podium – about half the room is still clapping – probably the Democrats.  There’s Lt. Governor John Cherry up in his chair.

There’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D).

She’s saying welcome and thank you.  She’s welcoming and congratulating the new representatives.

She’s now welcoming Supreme Court Justice Dianne Hathaway, elected this year.  And she’s congratulating the longest serving president of the State Board of Education.

Now thanking the servicemen and women from Michigan as well as the first responders.

We just gave a moment of silence for those who lost their lives defending this country and state overseas.

“I will not sugar-coat the crisis facing this state. … Our auto companies fought for their very existence, and as the bottom fell out of the national economy” Michigan “went from bad to worse.”  She’s absolutely right about that.  “Any honest assessment of our state’s economy must recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. … Things will get better … because Michigan citizens are resilient … because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most: fighting for more good paying jobs in Michigan, educating and training people to fill those good paying jobs, and protecting out people.”

“This is not time for pet projects or special interests.”

Now talking about Michigan now having “a friend in the White House who now shares our agenda.  I say this based on pragmatism, not upon partisanship.”  BULL CRAP!

She’s talking about him being focused on energy jobs, education, and protecting people.  COME ON Madame Governor, the Republicans are interested in all of those things too!

“We’ve made many tough choices in our budget.”  True, but you could have done a lot more to fix the state, but you didn’t, and that’s why we’re as bad as we are now.

“I have a veto pen, and I will use it. … The President’s economic plan is a one-time opportunity.”  Really?  Because so far, I count THREE bailout bills.  What’s to stop three more?

She’s saying that our problems will be here after the economic stimulus money is gone.  Lt. Governor Cherry will be in charge of downsizing government, reducing number of departments from 18 to 8.

Something about we can’t have “9-5 government in a 24/7 world.”  Good point there – I’ll give her that one.

Her and Cherry are reducing salaries of all elected state officials in Michigan by 10%.  That’s a good move – I COMMEND HER on that, but I don’t really see how she can directly do that.

“Already, I’ve cut more than any other Governor in Michigan.”

She’s saying that a national survey showed that MI has done more to cut spending than other state in the country.  I’d like to see the details of the survey, but if it’s all true, I commend her on that.

She’s cutting funding for the state fair – because it’s not essential to government.  GOOD CALL!

Talking about preserving our wetlands.

Talking about reducing corrections spending.  We’re going to close 3 more facilities in the coming months.  Reinvest in more law enforcement on the street.  More law enforcement is good, but I’m not too keen on closing 3 facilities – that means more criminals on the streets, since our prisons are already TOO FULL!

Funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems – um, we’ve needed that for the past FEW years!

We can focus on jobs when we spend within our means.

We need to diversify, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our number one industry, the auto industry.  When pundits and ill-informed politicians take cheap shots at the auto industry and its workers, we (she’s saying this) will defend the auto industry.

Talking about the green auto industry being great.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost since 2000.  “These losses have fueled our determination to bring new industry to Michigan.”  Good – we can’t JUST depend on the auto industry anymore.

Talking about film and TV project coming to Michigan after the tax breaks to film companies.

Three major announcements:

  • Wonderstruck Animation Studios – $86 million in Detroit.
  • Stardock Systems (digital gaming) – build in Plymouth
  • Motown Motion Pictures – $54 million in Pontiac (former GM plant)

Motown MP alone will create 3,600 jobs.  That’s great news – especially for the Pontiac area.

“But our success with the film industry is not an isolated example.”  Talking about renewable energy industry – solar panel production companies are building here in Michigan.

Just like the auto industry “it creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.”  And that’s a good thing – I am VERY enthusiastic about renewable energy, as long as it’s not expensively forced on the people.

She’s talking about wind turbines (and wind power is something I have always been really excited about – that  and nuclear power).

Jobs for manufacturers and engineers – for solar panels and electric car batteries.

She’s getting really intense about this.  “The fact that these jobs are in Michigan is no accident.”

We bring them here by beating out other states and countries.

We passed incentives to make sure those batteries are made in Michigan.  Within weeks of passage, GM said that they’d make batteries for the Volt automobile will be made here in Michigan.  5 million electric car batteries to be made a year, creating 14,000 jobs.

She’s saying that we want electric cars researched and designed here as well as all kinds of renewable energy companies.

She set a goal for becoming more dependent on renewable energy.

  • 3 wind turbine manufactures to expand in Michigan.
  • Unisolar to build solar panel factory in Battle Creek.
  • HSC – $1 billion for solar panel expansion
  • Dow-Corning – more solar panels.
  • Great Lakes Turbine to build in Monroe (where my roommate’s from!)

“We all know that  we need more jobs – a lot more.”  I agree with you there.

President Obama has demanded more use of renewable energy.  This will increase jobs in Michigan.

“By 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45%. … We’ll do it through increased renewable energy and gains in energy efficiency.”  Sounds like a good idea to me, but I think 45% is high.  I have no problem with it as long as it doesn’t jack up prices.  But if it makes energy unaffordable, don’t do it.

Instead of importing coal, we’ll spend energy money on Michigan wind turbines and solar panels and energy efficiency devices, all installed by Michigan workers.

Ask Legislatures to allow for Michigan homeowners to become entrepreneurs by installing solar panels on roofs and selling money back to power company.  Sounds good to me – it’s giving people the choice to do this, and enables people to eventually make that money back.

Asking utility companies to invest in energy efficient products.  Good.

Unlike the coal we buy right now, the money that we will spend on energy efficiency will create jobs in Michigan.

Create Michigan Energy Corps – creating jobs and turning natural resources into renewable fuels and weatherizing houses.

Saying that we’ll need less coal power  plants here in Michigan.

I’m kinda mad that she hasn’t said anything about more nuclear here in Michigan.

Talking about how she’ll bring new jobs to Michigan – that she’s gone all over the world to get jobs.  Yeah, well you haven’t been too successful so far.  You can go places to bring jobs here, but that doesn’t matter until you bring some here.

Saying she’ll require (I think it was universities) to buy Michigan.  I have a problem with that though, because she wants a tuition freeze in order for universities to get stimulus money.  How can they do that if you FORCE them to buy Michigan-made (more expensive at times).

Saying people should buy Michigan products.  Buy everything from Ford to Faygo.

Talking about the Michigan $4,000 putting college in the reach of all students.  Um, $4,000 really doesn’t do that much.

Michigan will be the first state to replicate the Kalamazoo promise on a large scale.  Something about free education, and I missed the rest.

#2 in the country for well qualified teachers in the classroom.  How are we #2 with the Detroit Public School system?

No Worker Left Behind: Talking about free college tuition – $5,000 per year for 2 years.  Training people for jobs, such as nurses, electricians, computer technicians.  52,000 people.  Helping us to remake Michigan.

Added more resources to the unemployment system – THAT’s what we need – to allow more people to rely on welfare!

Asking universities and colleges to freeze tuition for the next year.  The problem with that is, what if THEY can’t afford it?

Give people 90 days without the fear of foreclosure.  That’s absolutely insane.  If people buy a house that they can’t afford, then they should lose it.

Talking about asking auto insurance companies to freeze rates on auto insurance.  Sure, if they want to, but don’t make it mandatory.

She’s saying we’ll use every administrative tool to ensure that affordable rates are given to consumers.  That should be up to the companies, not the government.

Saying that we shouldn’t strip people of health coverage in order to reduce spending.  We shouldn’t HAVE state sponsored health care!  She’s saying we should protect those whom people of faith often call “the least of these.”  Well, people of faith need to step up and help the poor.  That’s their duty as good Christians (as it is my duty), NOT the governments.  When did Jesus ever say that the government should help the poor?  He didn’t!  He said his followers should – that’s why it makes me angry when people give that as a reason that Jesus would be a Democrat!

And wouldn’t “the least of these” refer to the unborn babies as well?  I don’t see you protecting them, Madame Governor!

“Is it harder to balance the state budget or the budget of a family who went from 2 paychecks to 1?”  Talking about the harships of family being much greater than the hardships of politicians as leaders.

She’s now giving an example of a guy on unemployment who used No Worker Left Behind to go to a university and now he’s working for Dow Corning.

Sorry – my news station just stopped covering it – ABC needed to go back to “regular scheduled programming.”

OK – I’m back.

Talking about hope and strength.  “We together will build a better Michigan.  God bless you all, and God bless the great state of Michigan.”

Tim Skubik is on now – saying that “Doom and Gloom” only got 2 paragraphs.  He’s right – I think she could’ve shown that things are bad more than she did instead of just saying, “This is what we WILL do,” since she’s been saying that for YEARS now.

She never really said exactly how much she wanted to cut out of the government.  I will commend her for some of her pro-energy efficient plans, but I think she may wind up driving up costs at a time that we can’t afford it.  Allowing people to sell back energy from solar panels is a GOOD thing, because it gives individuals the choice to do it, instead of  mandating it.

And now Mike Bishop’s response:

He’s saying that “we all want what’s best for our state.”

“Each one of us has felt the effects of this economy.”

Saying that the Governor wants to use federal funds to fix the state, but a quick infusion of money “will never be the antidote. … You can’t increase spending and debt and somehow hope to resolve a serious budget crisis.”  The Republicans will submit a plan in the next 45 days for instant stimulus – it incentives job providers instead of increasing spending.

The House must pass Senate Bill 1.  Get rid of the 22% business surcharge.

Talking about manufacturing complexes and other companies coming in due to tax cuts, proving that business tax cuts DO work.

The second part of the plan would bring property taxes in line with home values.  Third, a tax credit for purchases of new homes will be created.  This would spur the housing market.  And he’s absolutely right – that was one of the things my parents looked into was the huge jump in taxes we would’ve payed if we moved this past summer.

Review each item in the state budget and find savings – good!

We must “be certain that state resources are used efficiently.”  Absolutely!

Talking about opportunities coming with adversity – leaders need to rise up and “take the reins that will lead us back to prosperity. … Time for us to fix Michigan. … Thank you … God bless you, our families, and our great state of Michigan.”

Alright – I’m off to a meeting – I’ll spell check this and finish my analysis when I get back.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Illinois House Votes to Impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich

January 9, 2009

The Illinois House of Representatives, just in the past hour, voted to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich (D), 114-1.  The only representative voting against impeachment was Milton Patterson (D-South Chicago).  Representative Elga Jefferies (D-Chicago) voted “present.”  Typical Cook County politics, if you ask me.  I commend the other 114 representatives who voted in the affirmative to impeach Governor Blagojevich.  This will no go to the Senate, who will decide whether or not to remove Blagojevich from office.

Let’s get some quotes:

  • House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), chair of the House panel that held the impeachment hearings, said, “Due to his conduct, the governor has failed to uphold the oath of office.  He is no longer capable of defending our liberties.  He should be impeached.”
  • Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) characterized the situation as a “plague” on the state.  He later said, “Our duty is to clean up the mess and stop the freak show that has become our government.”
  • Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) said, “My Illinois is not the Illinois of George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Our Illinois is the Illinois of Abraham Lincoln and Paul Simon and Barack Obama.”

This vote comes after the House investigation committee voted on Thursday, 21-0 to proceed with impeachment for Blagojevich’s abuse of power.  The committee issued a report, saying, “The citizens of this state must have confidence that their governor will faithfully serve the people and put their interests before his own.  It is with profound regret that the committee finds that our current governor has not done so.”

Blagojevich has remained mostly silent for the day, but is expected to release a statement at 2:00 P.M. (I’m assuming that will be in Central time).  Personally, I think for the sake of his dignity (or what’s left of it), and for the sake of Illinois, Blagojevich should resign.  He still maintains his innocence, but I don’t see how he can avoid embarrassment if he goes through with it.  I think Blagojevich will step down this afternoon (or at least announce his resignation – who knows when it’ll go into effect).

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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2 Michigan Teens Arrested for Throwing Rocks at Cars

December 18, 2008

Yesterday, 2 cousins from Eastpointe, Michigan, both high school freshmen, were arrested for throwing rocks on cars driving along I-94 in Saint Clair Shores.  The teens claimed that they did it because they were bored of playing  video games.  In all, 16 cars were damaged, and in addition to probably paying for the damage, the teens have been charged as juveniles with malicious destruction of property.  Here’s a FOX 2 video report on the incident:

Now, these teens should have known better.  And they did know better.  Freshmen in high school aren’t stupid.  If you drop a rock on a car, that’s going to shatter the windshield if it hits it (as it did) or put a dent in the metal.  What happens when your windshield shatters?  Somebody could die.  And people have died in the past.

These teens need to be taught a lesson and need to be given a strict punishment.  Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 750.377a (Act 328 of 1931) states:

750.377a Willful and malicious destruction of property; personalty.

Sec. 377a.

(1) A person who willfully and maliciously destroys or injures the personal property of another person is guilty of a crime as follows:

(a) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(i) The amount of the destruction or injury is $20,000.00 or more.

(b) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(i) The amount of the destruction or injury is $1,000.00 or more but less than $20,000.00.

(c) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(i) The amount of the destruction or injury is $200.00 or more but less than $1,000.00.

(d) If the amount of the destruction or injury is less than $200.00, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

I’m guessing that most of the damage is going to fall under subsection (c), meaning that the teenagers could face  up to 1 year in prison or a fine of $2,000 (since I’m guessing that most of the repairs won’t be more than a few hundred dollars).

Personally, I’d be locking both of them up for 16 years (as long  as all the damage was over $200 for each car).  They knew better, and they need to pay, in both a criminal and civil court (civil court would be where the teens would have to pay for the damage, probably around $500/windshield if it’s totally busted, so they’re looking at a few thousand dollars depending on what all was done to the different cars).

Make an example out of these teens to show that you don’t play around with dangerous stuff like this.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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John and Revé Walsh Hold a Press Conference on the Solving of Adam Walsh’s Murder by Ottis Toole

December 16, 2008

Today, the Hollywood, Florida Police Department announced that the case of Adam Walsh’s murder had been solved and that Ottis Toole, a long-time suspect was indeed the killer.  This decision was made by Police Chief Chad Wagner, the Hollywood Police Department, the Broward County District Attorney’s office, and the Walsh family.

After Adam was murdered, John and Revé Walsh, Adam’s parents, became advocates for missing children and founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  The Walshs also helped in getting the Missing Children Act of 1982, Missing Children’s Assistance Act of 1984, and Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 passed.

Here’s 3 clips of today’s press conference (all courtesy of MSNBC).  The first is Chief Wager’s statement:

And here is Revé’s statement to the press:

And lastly, here is John’s statement at the press conference:

Well, I am happy that this case has  finally been solved.  I’ve always watched America’s Most Wanted, and I have a lot of respect of the Walsh family and what they do.  I am glad that justice was finally served for little Adam.  My thoughts and prayers are with all the other families who have gone through what the Walsh family has gone through these past 27 years.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Arrested on Corruption Charges Regarding Obama’s Senate Replacement Selection

December 9, 2008

This is currently a developing story–this morning, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) was arrested and charged with corruption.  His chief of staff, John Harris, was also indicted this morning.  This is the result of a 5 year investigation of corruption allegations.

A copy of the affidavit, from the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois can be found here.  Parts of it are actually pretty funny, if it wasn’t so sad that this is a government official we’re talking about.

Here are the two counts that Blagojevich has been charged with:

Count One

From in or about 2002 to the present, in Cook County, in the Northern District of Illinois, defendants did, conspire with each other and with others to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois of the honest services of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, in furtherance of which the mails and interstate wire communications would be used, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341,1343, and 1346; all in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1349.

Count Two

Beginning no later than November 2008 to the present, in Cook County, in the Northern District of Illinois, defendants ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, being agents of the State of Illinois, a State government which during a one-year period, beginning January 1, 2008 and continuing to the present, received federal benefits in excess of $10,000, corruptly solicited and demanded a thing of value, namely, the firing of certain Chicago Tribune editorial members responsible for widely-circulated editorials critical of ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with business and transactions of the State of Illinois involving a thing of value of $5,000 or more, namely, the provision of millions of dollars in financial assistance by the State of Illinois, including through the Illinois Finance Authority, an agency of the State of Illinois, to the Tribune Company involving the Wrigley Field baseball stadium; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666(a)(1)(B) and 2.

He has been accused of saying, “I want to make money” as a result of his Senate appointment to replace President-Elect Barack Obama.  The job of replacing the former Senator falls soley on the Governor’s shoulders, under Illinois law.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that Blagojevich (it gets easier to type after you’ve done it a few times) “put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States Senator.”

The affidavit even cites a recording where Blagojevich said, “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain.  You hear what I’m saying.  And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.”

According to the affidavit, there are 5 candidates in the running.  The affidavit makes  it sound like Obama (who is referred to as “President-elect”) wants “Candidate 1″ to get the seat.  The affidavit shows conversations between Blagojevich and Harris and others where Blagojevich wants to make a deal with the President-elect, but there are no accusations (or evidence) that Obama knew about any of this.  All the affidavit indicates is that Obama had indicated who he wanted to replace him, and that’s a perfectly legal and normal thing.

So far, the Obama transition team has not returned any phone calls to the press.

I’m going to give you some quotes from the affidavit (warning: the following does contain some harsh language) (the page numbers are the pages of the actual affidavit, not the PDF, which contains 2 introduction pages which are not numbered):

  • On November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Deputy Governor A. … “if . . . they’re not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it.” (p. 58)
  • Later on November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Advisor A. By this time, media reports indicated that Senate Candidate 1, an advisor to the Presidentelect, was interested in the Senate seat if it became vacant, and was likely to be supported by the President-elect. During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, “unless I get something
    real good for [Senate Candidate 1], shit, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying.” … “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.” … “[the Senate seat] is a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.” (56)
  • ROD BLAGOJEVICH analogized his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to various teams, stating “how much are you offering, [President-elect]? What are you offering, [Senate Candidate 2]? . . . Can always go to. . . [Senate Candidate 3].” Later ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he will make a decision on the Senate seat “in good faith . . . but it is not coming for free. . . .It’s got to be good stuff for the people of Illinois and good for me.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states “[President-elect], you want it? Fine. But, its got to be good or I could always take [the Senate seat].” (57)
  • On November 5, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Advisor A about the Senate seat. … In regards to the Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.” (59)
  • HARRIS suggested a “three-way deal,” and explained that a three-way deal like the one discussed would give the President-elect a “buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo for [Senate Candidate 1].” (61)
  • ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor of the State of Illinois). ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he needs to find a way to take the “financial stress” off of his family and that his wife is as qualified or more qualified than another specifically named individual to sit on corporate boards. According to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, “the immediate challenge [is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.” (63-64)
  • ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that if he appoints Senate Candidate 4 to the Senate seat and, thereafter, it appears that ROD BLAGOJEVICH might get impeached, he could “count on [Senate Candidate 4], if things got hot, to give [the Senate seat] up and let me parachute over there.” HARRIS said, “you can count on [Senate Candidate 4] to do that.” Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.” (66)

So, as of now, it’s really unclear who all is ivolved in this, but it does appear that some of the potential Senate appointees were involved.  I’ll keep updating this as we find out more abut who all was involved.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Parents of 2 Suspended Cheerleaders File Lawsuit Over Nude Photos

December 8, 2008

Alright, so here’s a story I heard about that’s supposed to be featured on the news tonight, but I figured I’d go digging and just do the story now: On Monday the parents of two Bothell High School cheerleaders filed a lawsuit in the King County Superior Court against the Northshore School District (in Washington).  The suit alleges that school officials acted unfairly when they suspended the girls from the squad earlier this year after nude photos of the teens circulated through the student body via text messages.

Here’s the background on the case (according to the lawsuit):

  1. Summer, 2005: A topless photo of one of the cheerleaders is taken and sent to her then-boyfriend’s phone.
  2. Summer, 2005: The picture is accidentally sent to other BHS students.
  3. June, 2008: The other teen’s photo was taken when she and another cheerleader used their cell phones to take totally nude pictures of themselves.  Those photos were later accidentally sent to other BHS students.
  4. Shortly after the June pictures were taken: BHS school officials heard rumors the pictures were circulating the student body, especially within members of the football team, so the school sent a letter to all of the cheerleaders’ parents.  That letter said that if inappropriate photos were found, the consequences could be suspension from the squad.
  5. Football players were also told to delete the pictures from their cell phones if they received them
  6. August: BHS administrators received copies of both photos.
  7. Some dispute has arisen over who contacted the police first, and whether or not the school properly notified the girls’ parents about the photos.
  8. One girl is suspended from the squad for 30 days.  The other is suspended from the squad for the year.

Attorney Matthew King, representing both families, told reporters that  the lawsuits allege that BHS administrators violated the girls’ due process rights by needlessly sharing the photos with other school staff members and failing to promptly report the matter to police as child pornography.  King also said that it was unfair that the teens were suspended, but that football players and other BHS students who sent/received the texts were not punished.  King told reporters, “We’re not technically challenging the sanctions as being too strict, we’re saying they weren’t evenly enforced across the school.  There should have been some punishment meted out to those who were in possession of the photos. … It seems like the girls are getting the brunt of it.”  King wants the disciplinary action expunged from both girls’ school records.  Additionally, he wants the girl who was suspended for the whole year to be reinstated to the team, and he is demanding an apology from BHS officials for their lack of discipline on other students.

Northshore spokeswoman Susan Stoltzfus disagrees, saying that the school acted appropriately, reporting the photos to the police and giving the girls a chance to appeal their suspensions to both a disciplinary committee as well as the School Board, saying, “Everyone along the line agreed the discipline was appropriate.  Obviously, we take these things seriously, but we really don’t believe this [suit] has a lot of merit.”

King also claims that the district’s student handbook doesn’t specifically prohibit what the girls did, and that it doesn’t outline outline potential disciplinary action for a case like this.  He told reporters, “My clients fully realize what they did was stupid,” and that they never wanted the photos to be distributed.  King said that he still does not know how they were accidentally sent out.

Northshore officials again disagree, saying that the girls violated the district’s athletic code  According to Stoltzfus, “When you sign up to be a cheerleader–or for any student activity–you agree to certain codes of behavior.We consider them student leaders, and we want them to be role models.”

I took a look at the athletic code, and although it doesn’t expressly prohibit the production or distribution of child pornography (or any pornography), it does state the following:

Northshore School District
Student Athletic Code

The opportunity to participate in the athletic program in the Northshore School District is a privilege available to all students. Because of the public nature of athletic programs sponsored by the district, students choosing to participate are expected to conduct themselves at all times during their season of participation and between consecutive seasons in a manner that will reflect the high standards and ideals of their school and community. These high personal standards for conduct promote maximum achievement, safe performances, commitment to excellence in health and conditioning, and fulfill responsibilities as student leaders by setting a positive example for other students.

The regulations below are included in the Addendum of the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities Concerning Pupil Conduct. In addition to this Code of Conduct, individual schools may establish other expectations specific to their own individual programs.

Students must meet the standards for interscholastic eligibility as outlined in Article 18 of the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association handbook, the KINGCO League and the Northshore School District and their individual school. Copies of these rules and regulations may be obtained from the school Athletic Director upon request.

The expectations for being a participant in a schoolʼs athletic program, including specific eligibility requirements, training rules and team rules shall be communicated to team members at the beginning of the season of participation. All program expectations and team rules shall be in writing.

Any athlete in a District-sponsored athletic activity who willfully performs any act that substantially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of the Districtʼs athletic programs shall be subject to discipline. As participants in extracurricular programs, students are faced with choices. If a studentʼs choices interfere, impede, hinder their personal or group/team performance or render the individual as unfit to serve as a representative(s) of the districtʼs schools, they forfeit the privilege to participate. Misconduct by participants in the athletic program at any time, on or off campus, school related and/or non-school activities during the season of participation and between consecutive seasons of participation constitutes cause for discipline including denial of participation in and/or removal from the athletic program. Seasons begin with the first turnout and conclude with the season ending recognition/awards program in the individual sport.

II. Consequences for Athletic Code violations;

A. Student Athletic Code violations are accumulative during grades seven and eight and then again in grades nine through twelve. Any ninth grade student shall be considered a high school student.

B. Consequences for specific violations:
Probation is a period of time in which an athlete may be given time to correct deficiencies that could result in denial of participation for a given period of time or removal from athletic team participation. Denial of participation means that the athlete is allowed to practice but not compete in games. The loss of athletic eligibility, which may carry over to subsequent sports seasons, means the athlete will not participate in interscholastic competition or be in uniform. During the period when a student is assigned a suspension from school, the student is not eligible for any form of participation or attendance at school activities including athletic program participation.

So, although it doesn’t expressly ban what the girls did, I think what they did falls s under “any act that substantially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of the Districtʼs athletic programs.”

So, where do I stand?  I stand on the side of the girls; however, I disagree with what they want done.  I agree that BHS officials were way too easy on pretty much everybody other than the 2 girls.  I think that the girls should be suspended (or have other disciplinary action taken against them) for failing to follow the athletics agreement.  In addition, ANYBODY who possessed the pictures (other than the administrators, who I’ll discuss in a minute) should have been charged with possession of child pornography, and should have had disciplinary action taken against them if they were in a sport (but it had to be a sport that was in season at that time).  Obviously, it would have to be proved that the person kept the pictures.  I wouldn’t charge anybody just because they received the pictures.  The administrators, if they really did report it to the police, did nothing wrong.  HOWEVER, if additional copies were passed around for no reason, those responsible should be charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.  I do think that BHS officials are wrong in not punishing the football team and other students; however, the way to solve this is NOT to expunge the records of the girls, but to punish ALL who were responsible.

EDIT: I’ve been talking with some people about this, and the argument has come up that perhaps the girls were of age so that it wasn’t child pornography.  In addition to the fact that the names are not being released because the girls are minors, I found this photograph from July 4th, 2005, courtesy of the Woodinville Rotary Club.  Now, of course this isn’t official, but to me, none of those girls looks 18 (except maybe the one on the left in the front row).  Additionally, the one picture was taken in 2005, so we’re guaranteed that that girl wasn’t 18 when the picture was taken:

bothell_parade_07_04_05_019_-_bhs_cheerleaders

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan Restaurant Offers Free Pizza for McCain Signs

October 22, 2008

Alright, so I saw this clip from my hometown news station, FOX 2 from Detroit.  Watch the video and I’ll talk about it below:

Alright, so you have Salvatore’s Pizzeria (Warren, Michigan) who’s offering free pizza to people who bring in yard signs.  Diana Franzoni, the owner claims that she just wants people to turn in their signs since McCain left the state.  OK, people aren’t going to do that.  Honestly though, if I worked for the Republican party, I’d be doing that as a means to get food for my campaign headquarters.  The state party would save so much money doing that that they could’ve cut down rent for the McCain stuff that’s still in Michigan.  If I were in the McCain campaign – I’d give my volunteers a set of 1,000 signs, which would be $1,000-$2,000, but it’d absolutely kill Salvatore’s.

Although I think the restaurant is encouraging people to steal signs, I don’t think they can or should be prosecuted.  They’ve done nothing wrong.  If they were saying, “Go steal signs,” I’d say we should prosecute them.

Who should be prosecuted are the people who steal the signs, like the teenager they talked about.  I don’t care WHO you are.  If you steal a yard sign, that is a federal crime, and you need to be prosecuted.  And I’m talking to you people who steal Obama signs too – you’re committing a federal crime, and you deserve to be punished just as much as the kid who stole the McCain sign.  If I ever catch somebody stealing one of my signs, you can be sure he/she’ll be prosecuted.

EDIT: I just had a friend bring up this possibility: Charge the restaurant with possessison of stolen property and knowingly accepting stolen property, but proving that they knew it was stolen would be impossible unless it was a set-up.  Having a McCain person do a little sting operation would be pretty clever though.

Even the Obama supporters I’ve talked to about this have said that they think she’s doing it so that people will steal them.

I think it’s a shame that this kind of crap is happening, but there’s nothing illegal with what the restaurant is doing.  I think it’s dishonest, and I think their motives are to have people steal signs, but obviously they won’t say that.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Pleading Guilty to Charges, Expected to Resign

September 4, 2008

This is happening live.  Kwame Kilpatrick is about to plead guilty, and he’s expected to resign as Mayor of Detroit.

The judge (supposed to be Judge David Groner, but I never saw anything that said anything today confirming that’s who the judge was) is now informing him of what right’s he is giving up (trial by jury, being assumed innocent until proven guilty, being able to testify, being able to cross examine witnesses, appeal this case).

He has  just said that he will waive those rights and plead guilty.

He has just said that he is pleased with the job his lawyers have done.

He has just said that he is ready to plead guilty today, saying, “I’m here,” implying that he wants this done as soon as possible.

They’re now showing the courtroom around him and wow, there are a LOT of people there.

Kwame Kilpatrick has just reentered.  The court is now officially in session.

Judge: “Mr. Kilpatrick, on the dates of October 11,  2004, at a civil deposition in the City of Detroit … and on August 29th … in the Wayne County Circuit Court, did you do something wrong that causes you to plead guilty today.”

Kilpatrick: “Yes, I lied under oath … regarding information that was relevant to claims made by [the police officers]. … I lied under oath … for the lawsuit.”

“The Court is satisfied and will accept the plea for the 2 counts of obstruction of justice.”

The Judge is now setting a sentencing date of October 28 at 2:00 P.M.  The judge has now gone on to another case for Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick is to plead no contest to charge 1 and charge 2 will be dismissed (I’m not sure what charges these  are for now), and he is to tender a letter of resignation no later than September 18, surrender his law license, as well as 120 (I think that’s what he said) days in jail.

The judge is saying the charges are: public officer assaulting/obstruction.  So this was the case where he shoved the cop off the porch.  He’s pleading no contest to charge 1.  He will be convicted of this charge, and at the sentencing hearing, the 2nd charge will be dropped.

The judge is now making sure that Kilpatrick understands the rights that he’s giving up, just like he did with the perjury charges.

The prosecutor now gave the factual basis for the case, and the judge accepted the plea.

The sentencing date for that will be the same as for the perjury charges.

The judge is commending all lawyers on both sides of the case, including Prosecutor Kym Worthy, saying that he’s glad we could settle this today.

And they’re done.  Kilpatrick is now  hugging somebody – I think it’s his wife, but it might be his sister.  Kilpatrick is now leaving the court room.  Kilpatrick has  left the court room.

Well, that’s honestly something I didn’t expect I would see.  I figured it’d go to trial.  I’m glad to see that Kwame finally gave in.  They were saying something about pleading “No contest” and the possibility of a civil suit, so we’ll see what happens.

I’ll keep you updated if anything else develops.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s Guilty Plea Postponed Until Tomorrow Morning

September 3, 2008

This is developing news coming out of Detroit right now.  Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had been expected to plead guilty to charges in the original text message scandal case at 5:15 P.M. EDT today before Judge Edward Ewell Jr., the presiding judge of the Criminal Division of Wayne County Circuit Court.  Apparently the details of the plea deal hadn’t been completely ironed out by 5:15, so the decision was made to postpone the court appearance until 9:00 A.M. tomorrow, where he’ll appear in front of Judge David Groner.

At this point in time, I have to say that this has not been confirmed.  All that we know for sure is that Kilpatrick will be in court tomorrow morning.  One of Kilpatrick’s defense lawyers, Joseph Niskar, told reporters, “I can tell you it’s a not a bond motion.  We’ll see.”  He specifically did not answer the question of whether or not Kilpatrick will be taking a guilty plea.

After reporters headed over to the Wayne County court due to rumors that a plea deal was to be made around 5:00, Maria Miler, a spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told reporters, “We believed a plea was imminent. … We believe it may take place [Thursday].”

Kilpatrick’s attorney, James Thomas, told reporters, “It is apparent that they are close” to a plea deal.  Thomas had been at forfeiture hearings that Governor Jennifer Granholm had been holding today to possibly remove Kilpatrick from office.

Now, I fail to see why a guilty plea is even being offered here.  It’s CLEAR that he perjured before.  I see no reason that we should let him off easy.  I say take it to court and if he pleads guilty, then he pleads guilty, but I wouldn’t be offering a plea bargain here.  I think there’s enough evidence to avoid this.  Of course, I don’t know ALL of the facts, but just from what’s been released, I don’t think any jury could find REASONABLE doubt to not find him guilty.  Then again, weirder things have happened in Detroit.

I’ll keep you updated as anything more develops (and if I get time, I’ll try to get some transcripts from today’s hearing by Governor Granholm).

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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