Iraqis started voting in their war-shattered nation's second parliamentary election since the US-led overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, as mortars and bombs rocked Baghdad. Under a blanket of tight security designed to thwart insurgents attacks, Iraqis went to the polls on foot Sunday in an election testing the ability of the country's still-fragile democracy to move forward at a time of uncertainty over a looming U.S. troop drawdown and still jagged sectarian divisions.( Collapse )
March 8th, 2010
Roland S. Martin, national columnist | Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010 4:50 am
All this month we will see thousands of college students jumping up and down, yelling, pumping fists and painting their faces. That’s the annual scene we see when college basketball teams are clawing their way to be one of the precious 65 seeds that enter the NCAA Tournament.
Yet these same students should say the heck with the games and put their energy, zeal and passion into two of the most fundamental issues posing the most dramatic barriers to gaining a college education: the rising cost of tuition and the lack of financial aid.
On Thursday, we saw students begin this process by leading rallies in cities nationwide to protest rising tuition costs. While our political leaders in Washington, D.C., are decrying the rising cost of health care, college tuition is exploding across the nation. Education leaders say it’s all about the economy. But when the cost of tuition is jacked up as high as 30 percent in some states and many parents are without jobs or facing wage cutbacks, their children see no hope. And oftentimes, the decision is to postpone school or cut back on how many hours to take per semester, which delays that student from being able to graduate and find a well-paying job.
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By RON CLAIBORNE and DAN PRZYGODA
Chelsea King was the focus of intense media attention and law enforcement effort, with hundreds of officers and thousands of volunteers joining the search for her.
Almost exactly a year earlier and about 10 miles from where King was last seen jogging, 14-year-old Amber Dubois left home to walk to school, never to be seen again. Yet, Dubois' case got far less media attention and seemingly fewer law enforcement resources.
Hundreds of thousands of children are reported missing every year. A hundred or so turn out to be the result of foul play, and only a handful of those get the kind of media scrutiny that King's case got.
Ernie Allen, president of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says the cases that get the most attention tend to involve pre-teen children where it's immediately apparent that foul play by a stranger, not a family member, is suspected.
"Chelsea's case received enormous media attention because it was dramatic and sensational. The child goes jogging in a park area and doesn't come home. With Amber Dubois, nobody saw her disappear, and there's no tangible physical evidence," Allen said. "She just disappeared."
There have been countless high-profile cases involving young girls, including the disappearances of Caylee Anthony, Jessica Lunsford, Somer Thompson and Madeleine McCann, whose story went global because of her telegenic look and her media-savvy parents.
Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, explains that the reason the media tends to go in a frenzy around these types of cases is really because of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"Once one of these stories is decided to be covered, there's no turning back," Thompson said. "You've sent your reporters and your trucks to it, and you become invested in it. You start building interest in the story, and your audience wants to hear more about it, so you keep everyone there to continue reporting on it."
Critics Site Racial Inequality in Press Coverage
Many African-Americans and Latinos also perceive a racial bias to the coverage. Some believe more attention is paid to missing white children than to black or Hispanic children. Critics point to several examples.
The 2003 kidnap and murder of African-American college student Romona Moore from Brooklyn, N.Y., was eclipsed by the disappearance of Svetlana Aranov, a white woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side .
LaToyia Figueroa, a young African-American and Hispanic woman, who disappeared while pregnant in Philadelphia in 2005, only got a fraction of the news coverage as Natalie Holloway, a white teen who vanished in Aruba around the same time.
Kathy Times, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists explained, "If you're white, wealthy, cute and under 12, then you're more likely to get the eye of the national media."
Quoting from a Scripps Howard study, Times continues, "One study showed that about 35,000 kids went missing one year, and a little more than half of those were white, but about 67 percent of stories covered by The Associated Press were about white children."
And then there was the case of 13-year-old Laura Ayala, a Latina teen, who vanished near her Houston home in 2002 as she went down the block to buy a newspaper for a class assignment.
"The Hispanic media was wonderful," Allen said. "The mainstream media wasn't as interested. Is that because her mom couldn't tell her story in English? I don't know."
SURELY YOU JEST!
IN OTHER BREAKING NEWS: sky is blue, water is wet, pope is catholic, etc.
At an Ohio Right to Life fundraiser Friday night, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin once again defended the notes she wrote on her hand during last month's Tea Party Convention. She said she didn't have a good answer to media criticism at the time, but now she has one: God did it too.
A supporter sent her the biblical passage Isaiah 49:16: "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
"If what was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand, it's good enough for me, for us," Palin said. "In that passage he says, I wrote your name on the palm of my hand to remember you. And I'm like okay, I'm in good company."
by Germaine Greer
If anyone reading this believes that I am disappointed in today's women, let me hasten to disabuse him. I have been talking to predominantly female audiences from one end of Britain to the other every week or so for the past 20 years, and they never, ever disappoint me. They are articulate, affectionate, independent, feisty, funny and brave. They are the best evidence that something fundamental has changed, but don't imagine for one moment that I believe that I'm the one who changed it.
If women had not been changing in 1970, my book The Female Eunuch would have sunk without trace. Of the original printing of a 5000 only 2500 were bound. There had been no hype, no publicity of any kind, yet they were sold out on the day of issue. So begins the long story of the making of a book by the women who wanted to read it. It was the best book I could write at the time; I have written better since. If I feel any disappointment at all it is that The Female Eunuch is still in print. A tide of better books should have knocked it off its perch within a few months of its first appearance.
The most important change in the past 40 years is the gradual and apparently irreversible collapse of the patriarchal family. This was not triggered by a book, but by economic change. Wage-earners found themselves unable to finance the improvement in their standard of living, otherwise known as the rise in their level of consumption. Hire purchase of vehicles, whitegoods, furnishings and the other trappings of the good life increased the burden of debt on every household.
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raq is counting votes Monday, a day after millions braved threats of insurgent violence to participate in Iraq's second parliamentary election since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Iraqi officials estimate the turnout in Sunday's vote at between 55 and 60 percent. They say early vote tallies show the Shi'ite-led State of Law faction of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki leading in Shi'ite regions of the country. Official results will not be released for several days.
The main challengers to Mr. Maliki's faction include his former Shi'ite religious allies in the Iraqi National Alliance and the secular Shi'ite-Sunni Iraqiya faction led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
The grouping that wins the most seats in Iraq's 325-member parliament will nominate a prime minister. But no single faction is expected to win an outright majority. The largest faction will need to put together a coalition government, a process that could take months.
Insurgents tried to disrupt the election with rocket and bomb attacks that killed 38 people. U.S. President Barack Obama said Iraqis had shown courage and resilience by defying threats to advance their democracy.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised Iraqi forces assigned to protect voters, saying election-day violence appeared to be less than expected. U.N. envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert called the vote a triumph of reason over confrontation and violence.
Former Prime Minister Allawi questioned the credibility of the commission that managed the election. He accused the commission of failing to accurately and objectively check and count the votes.
Iraq's next government faces the challenge of overseeing the withdrawal of U.S. troops, scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.
The woman in the white hijab doesn't look like she looks forward to counting all those boxes.
Fingers crossed for the Iraqi people!
Environmental authorities in Bogota are calling for all of the capital's residents to take part in a city-wide voluntary blackout on Monday night to cut down on the effects of wasted electricity on global warming, reported Colombian media.
The blackout will take place between 8 and 9 o'clock on the night of March 8, and will initiate a monthly event on the 8th day of every subsequent month.
The scheme was approved by the Environmental Council of Bogota in 2009 under the agreement 403, which describes it as a voluntary strategy for saving energy and aiding the reduction of the harmful effects of global warming on the planet.
"Although Bogota contributes only 0.2 percent of greenhouse gases, the city should adopt responsible habits. By turning off lights in homes and offices once a month for an hour we're taking the first step," said Juan Antonio Nieto Escalante, Environment Secretary District.
According to Caracol radio, a similar event that took place last year in Sydney, Australia, saw 2.2 million people take part in the blackout, which meant that energy consumption was reduced by 12.2%.
At the end of this month there will also be an environmental blackout occurring worldwide, in which Colombian homes are encouraged to take part.SOURCE
They want to change how and what is taught in public school classrooms.
N.Y. Times: Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets
By LESLIE KAUFMAN
Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools.
In Kentucky, a bill recently introduced in the Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss “the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,” including “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”
The bill, which has yet to be voted on, is patterned on even more aggressive efforts in other states to fuse such issues. In Louisiana, a law passed in 2008 says the state board of education may assist teachers in promoting “critical thinking” on all of those subjects.
Last year, the Texas Board of Education adopted language requiring that teachers present all sides of the evidence on evolution and global warming.
Oklahoma introduced a bill with similar goals in 2009, although it was not enacted.
The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general.
Yet they are also capitalizing on rising public resistance in some quarters to accepting the science of global warming, particularly among political conservatives who oppose efforts to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases.
I've read quite a few comparisons between climate change deniers and creationists, which was not intended to be flattering. It seems that both groups have recognized their similarities and decided to make common cause. IMHO, this is not good for science education.
Much more at the link in the title.
Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), who is resigning later today, said on his radio show Sunday that he made an "inappropriate" sexual remark to a male aide at a New Year's Eve wedding party.
It's the first time Massa has given a detailed account of the events that he says led to the allegation of sexual harassment against him. Politico has reported that the married Massa "made unwanted advances toward a junior male staffer."
In Massa's telling, he was at a wedding party and sat down with a group of bachelor staffers, after his wife went home sick and after Massa danced with the bride and a bridesmaid. Here's what Massa says happened next, Roll Call reports:
"One of them looked at me and as they would do after, I don't know, 15 gin and tonics, and goodness only knows how many bottles of champagne, a staff member made an intonation to me that maybe I should be chasing after the bridesmaid and his points were clear and his words were far more colorful than that. And I grabbed the staff member sitting next to me and said, 'Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you.' And then [I] tossled the guy's hair and left, went to my room, because I knew the party was getting to a point where it wasn't right for me to be there. Now was that inappropriate of me? Absolutely. Am I guilty? Yes."
The congressman, a Navy veteran, has previously said with regard to the allegations: "I'm a salty old sailor. That's that."
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what kind of frakkery is this. People are now saying he lied about cancer. if it was just teasing why'd he lie? AND WHY'D HE USE BSG FOR EVIL?
The vocal opponent of health care reform in the U.S. steered largely clear of the topic except to reveal a tidbit about her life growing up not far from Whitehorse.
"We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada," she said. "And I think now, isn't that ironic."
Also, apparently the thing about God and writing on one's hands is her new catchphrase.
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By Nikki Roberti - First lady Michelle Obama joined Sportacus from the TV show “Lazy Town” at a soccer clinic for about 50 children Friday as part of her campaign against childhood obesity.
Washington, D.C. - infoZine - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - Her campaign against childhood obesity is called "Let's Move!" and Michelle Obama demonstrated some moves herself Friday morning at a soccer clinic for about 50 children.
Clad in black sports gear, the first lady kicked soccer balls into the middle of the indoor field where two teams of children raced for the ball in a short scrimmage. Later she participated in running, dribbling and weaving drills with the children.
"You all have to exercise, and soccer is one of my favorite ways of doing it," Obama said to the children. "Soccer is one of those sports that teaches you all the fundamentals that helps you with every other sport you're interested in."
The first lady told the children how her two daughters have been playing soccer since they were young, although Sasha prefers basketball.
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Just blatantly abusing an excuse to share one of my obscure pet fandoms with this comm. LazyTown is one of the most well-made childrens' shows I've ever seen, and I think it'd help put a dent in childhood obesity if it started airing in the USA again. That, and I'm amused that Michelle's awesome enough to keep up with Mr. Flipityflipityflip.
Anti-abortion advocates coined the moniker "pro-life" because they wanted to connect with the majority of Americans who supported abortion restrictions. A new poll shows just how anti-abortion the "pro-life" movement really is.
The new poll, by Gallup, shows that, since the nineties — and the wholesale adoption of political evangelicals into the Republican Party — anti-abortion Republicans have become increasingly opposed to abortion. In a bit of good news, the increasingly crazed rhetoric from those people has seemingly driven more Democrats to the pro-choice position.
Since 1990, however, Republicans polled by Gallup increasingly have grown more conservative about the issue while Democrats have become more liberal.
By 2009, more Republicans — by a 21-point margin — said abortion should be illegal "in all circumstances," and more Democrats - by a 19-point margin — said abortion should be legal "under any circumstances."
In all circumstances these days — if the Stupak Amendment for the health insurance "reform" bill is any guide — means they believe that abortion should also be illegal in the case of rape, incest, life of the fetus or health of the mother. For many anti-abortion advocates, it also means opposing Plan B emergency contraception, IUDs, birth control pills, the patch, the ring, women who fall down the stairs and probably any woman caught thinking bad thoughts about babies.
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NEW DELHI – India's government introduced a bill to parliament Monday that would reserve one-third of the legislature's seats for women, angering socialist lawmakers who tore up papers and tried to tear out microphones.
The protests stalled debate and voting on the proposal until at least Tuesday. The bill has faced strong opposition since it was first proposed more than a decade ago, with many political leaders worried that their male-dominated parties would lose seats under a female quota system.
But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, which was re-elected last year, is confident it has enough support this time and presented the bill to parliament on International Women's Day.
The bill is an attempt to correct some of the historical mistreatment of women in this South Asian country. Most Indian women receive far less education than men and are weighed down by illiteracy, poverty and low social status.
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videos: 1 | 2
Over the past year, Samasource has trained 16 Somali and Sudanese refugees to use the Web at a computer center run by the charity CARE. U.S. firms then hire the recruits to perform simple online tasks such as compiling lists of corporate Web sites and tagging roads on maps. The jobs, too menial for Americans, can pay $2 an hour, quadruple the daily wage for breaking rocks in a nearby quarry. (Samasource hopes to train 60 more refugees in Kenya this year.)
Ex-World Bank staffer Leila Janah (below, training a worker) founded Samasource in 2008 after realizing the talents of many Africans "weren't being tapped simply because they live in poor countries." Refugee-camp residents are especially marginalized, though some have enough education to perform skilled tasks -- and to do work for clients including Google and Stanford University Library.
Samasource booked $300,000 worth of work last year. It now helps hundreds of people in Asia as well as Africa. In doing so, it has pioneered something once thought impossible: outsourcing with no losers.
Love is in the air at Andrew Breitbart satellite blog Big Journalism, where ACORN gumshoe Hannah Giles (the “prostitute” to James O’Keefe’s “pimp” and woman who exposed Max Blumenthal’s booger problem) is exhibiting some strangely moderate behavior. After a light-hearted crash course in the early life of a future CPAC superstar, Giles explains that she is not alone in being a young journalist out to find the big story, but she wouldn’t mind being a little less lonely at dinnertime. And she’s willing to reach across the aisle to find her Prince Charming. Ezra Klein, sounds like you have some cooking to do.
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his girlfriend's response was lol
Steele Featured Heavily In New RNC TV Ad
The Republican National Committee released an ad today prominently featuring its sometimes controversial chairman Michael Steele.
The ad, which according to CNN will run on Fox News in certain Republican-leaning areas, suggests that Democrats may destroy freedom.
"Today, our freedom is threatened," Steele says over footage of the Statue of Liberty. "President Obama and Nancy Pelosi are experimenting with America. Massive government expansion. Government takeovers. Redistribution of wealth."
"And staggering debt to countries like China and the Middle East," he continues, over a photo of Obama bowing to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
"It's wrong. We can't afford it. It threatens our freedom," Steele says, before making an appeal for donations.
This comes as the Democratic National Committee announced it is running an ad targeting the RNC for its controversial fund-raising presentation obtained last week by Politico. The DNC is specifically targeting Steele, running it in cities he is scheduled to visit.
Gunman Apprehended At Texas Air Force Base
Wichita Falls, TX, United States (AHN) - A gunman was apprehended at Sheppard Air Force Base in northern Texas Sunday night.
In a statement, the base said security forces from the 82nd Training Wing disarmed the man at 9:20 pm. Officials had received a report that a man with a weapon was walking outside building 776 of the base. Security forces later discovered that the weapon was a shotgun.
Building 776 houses dormitories for airmen.
The base, located five miles from Wichita Falls, re-opened after lockdown before midnight. Airmen were allowed back into their rooms after officials confirmed that all personnel in the dorm were accounted for.
Sheppard Air Force Base denied in a Twitter message reports of casualties or an exchange of fire. It did not confirm reports of a hostage situation.
The gunman had threatened a training squadron and a hostage situation had taken place, according to reports on Free Republic.
Sheppard Air Force Base is home to the 82d Training Wing, which provides specialized technical training, medical and field training for officers and civilians of the military including the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard.
The incident at the base comes after 13 people were fatally shot in another Texas base. An Army psychiatrist fired at fellow soldiers in Fort Hood in November in what officials have said was not a terror attack.
Movies and TV shows with gay characters could be ineligible for a "family-friendly" tax credit in Florida under a little-noticed provision tucked into a $75 million incentive package that Republican House leaders hope will attract film and entertainment jobs to the state.
The bill would prohibit productions with "nontraditional family values" from receiving a so-called family-friendly tax credit. But it doesn't define what "nontraditional family values" are, something the bill's sponsor had a hard time doing, too.
"Think of it as like Mayberry," state Rep. Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando, said, referring to The Andy Griffith Show. "That's when I grew up — the '60s. That's what life was like. I want Florida to be known for making those kinds of movies: Disney movies for kids and all that stuff. Like it used to be, you know?"
But the head of a coalition of 80 groups that advocate for equal rights said Precourt's bill would "subsidize discrimination" and marginalize gay and single-parent families.
"Instituting 1950s-style movie censorship does nothing to support real-life families or help Florida's struggling economy," said Ted Howard, executive director for Florida Together.
Precourt, whose district includes Walt Disney World, said he was not targeting the gay community by including the term "nontraditional family values" in his bill. But when asked if shows with gay characters should get the tax credit, he said, "That would not be the kind of thing I'd say that we want to invest public dollars in."
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Mon Mar 8, 12:15 pm ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Most African-Americans like to pray just before they do it, white Americans like to do it with their pets, Asians tend to do it best and Hispanics fret about work just beforehand.
It is sleep and the 2010 Sleep in America poll released Monday by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that sleep habits differ depending on what ethnic group you belong to.
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New book showcases the lives of leading Solomon Islands women
Providing inspiration to the next generation of women leaders of Solomon Islands was the key reason for compiling the first ever book on Solomon Islands female leaders, says its co-editor, Dr Alice Aruheeta Pollard.
Being The First: Storis Blong Oloketa Mere lo Solomon Aelan tells the stories of 14 Solomon Islands women who have broken through barriers, charting their journeys to positions of leadership in their country.
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During an interview this morning with Bakersfield's KERN radio, Ashburn acknowledged he is gay, saying the public deserved to know what happened that fateful Tuesday night when the California Highway Patrol pulled him over.
Speaking of well-known people coming out, Roy Ashburn, the California state senator pulled over last week on DUI charges after leaving a gay bar, sets the record gay: he's family.
"I have been arrested for driving and drinking and I hope that I do pay the consequence for that in the same manner that anyone would," he says. "It's wrong, it's very dangerous behavior."
But one thing he's not flinching on: his voting record. While voting to affirm Prop 8 and refuse to recognize gay marriages from outside the state, Ashburn says he was only voting the will of his constituents. Which is the most reasonable excuse he has — but it's still not a rationalization. Because voting for discrimination (or against its removal) is never okay, no matter what you think voters believe.( Collapse )
What a horses' ass. I resent the author referring to him as 'family' - just because he's decided to admit to himself that he likes dick, that doesn't make him my family, ok? Idk about the rest of the gay community, but I don't want him at my pride parade tyvm
ETA - Sorry for the screened comments, this is only my second post and I am not great at this :( Also, anyone who has not seen Outrage should find it online now and watch it, it talks about homophobic closeted legislators and is amazing
Also, shameless self promotion of my tumblr yet again: http://closetedantigaysenatorsfuckyeah.tumblr.com/
Megan Mariah Barnes, 37, crashed into another vehicle on Cudjoe Key after giving her ex-husband the wheel as she shaved her private parts.
Barnes was driving to meet her boyfriend in Key West and told authorities she wanted to be “ready for the visit,” WJZ.com reported.
But Florida Highway Trooper Gary Dunick was not surprised when he came to the scene of the crash.
Dunick has had some crazy experiences pulling over drivers but said “If I wasn't there, I wouldn't have believed it. About 10 years ago I stopped a guy in the exact same spot ... who had three or four syringes sticking out of his arm. It was just surreal and I thought, 'Nothing will ever beat this.' Well, this takes it.”
Barnes crashed into the back of a 2006 Chevrolet truck being driven by David Schoff, KeysNews.com reported.
Schoff had slowed down to make a right hand turn when Barnes' 1995 Thunderbird hit it at 45 mph - within the speed limit.
FHP spokesman Alex Annunziato said that Barnes then allegedly drove a half mile further down the road where she switched seats with her ex-husband Charles Judy so that it looked like she had not been driving.
Dunick said that Judy had burns from the passenger side air bag that proved he had not been in the driver’s seat. The air bag in the driver’s seat had not deployed.
Barnes should not have been driving in the first place. The day before the accident, she had been convicted and sentenced to nine months of probation for DUI and driving with a suspended license.
Her license was revoked for five years and she was ordered to get her car impounded.
Dunick said, “My phone has been ringing off the hook all day, and I know there's a funny side to this, but it's also deadly serious. This is a scary road and a lot of bad wrecks are caused by dumb stuff like this. It is unbelievable. I'm really starting to believe this stuff only happens in the Keys.”
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/woman_crashes_car_while_shaving_yaK4mwcjeIHGsgLlz5jt9K#ixzz0hd5rApCB
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Germans were shocked by revelations last month of abuse at Jesuit schools, and the scandal grew when the Church on Friday revealed charges of priests beating and sexually abusing boys in at least three schools in Pope Benedict's native Bavaria.
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This isn't only about the Jesuit schools, so many abuse cases related to the catholic church have popped up in the past weeks and the debate is rageworthy.
Despite the huge media/polician pressure right now and church officials saying something along the lines of "Yeah, we'll look into it, we will enforce some rules yadda yadda", there STILL won't be any change. The catholic church basically has their own law here. They don't have to report abuse accusations to the police straight away, but "investigate for themselves" to see if the allegations are true (like hell they do) so basically nothing ever gets done, they just transfer the abusers to another location. And they don't want that system to change, they aren't even willing to discuss the cases or measures that could be taken in the future.
(not to mention the various catholic bishops in political talkshows SITTING NEXT TO ABUSE VICTIMS while grinning arrogantly. Fuck them in the ear.)
By Nathan Gorenstein
Inquirer Staff Writer
Two administrators and two caseworkers from a city-funded social service agency were convicted yesterday of health-care fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from the death of Danieal Kelly, the 14-year-old with cerebral palsy who died of bedsores and malnutrition at her mother's apartment.
While the verdicts ended a monthlong federal trial, they are not the final legal acts stemming from the West Philadelphia girl's death in August 2006 and the ensuing investigations into the agency, MultiEthnic Behavioral Health Inc., and the city's Department of Human Services.
Mickal Kamuvaka, 60, a MultiEthnic founder who served as day-to-day manager, had no reaction as the verdict was read and declined to comment afterward. She still faces a city charge of involuntary manslaughter, as does caseworker Julius Juma Murray, 52, who was assigned to the Kelly family and also was convicted yesterday. Murray also faces trial on federal immigration charges.
An overhaul of the Department of Human Services that started after The Inquirer's reporting of treatment failures in Kelly's death is continuing. DHS used federal funding to have MultiEthnic provide in-home care for the teen and other at-risk children.
The U.S. District Court jury of seven men and five women also convicted Solomon Manamela, 52, another agency founder, and caseworker Mariam Coulibaly, 42.
Coulibaly was acquitted on three of 20 charges, and Murray was acquitted on three of 19 charges.
The four face sentences ranging from three to more than seven years in prison.
According to testimony, the federal investigation started after William McDonald, a criminal investigator from the state Department of Health and Human Services, read a lengthy article in The Inquirer about Kelly's death.
The fallout from that death, and other failings earlier reported by The Inquirer, prompted then-Mayor John F. Street to fire the commissioner and top deputy of DHS. Mayor Nutter later discharged other employees and installed a child advocate, Anne Marie Ambrose, as DHS commissioner.
According to Murray and agency records, he visited the West Philadelphia home on July 24, 2006, less than two weeks before Kelly died Aug. 4. But prosecution witnesses testified that the odor from Kelly's massive bedsores - the odor of decaying flesh - would have been impossible to miss.
The jury found that the defendants fabricated paperwork for home visits that never happened, and that when a federal investigation started, they tossed out or shredded documents sought by the government.
"Danieal Kelly starved and, to put it bluntly, rotted to death in her bed," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bea Witzleben said after the verdict. Deliberations extended over parts of two days.
From July 2000 through December 2006, the city paid MultiEthnic about $3.7 million for services it was supposed to have provided to more than 500 families.
Some of those services were delivered, defense witnesses testified.
"We've never alleged they provided no services at all," said Witzleben, who prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Vineet Gauri. Rather, she said, agency workers encountered some cases "that were very difficult to work with . . . and they chose not to do so."
Kelly's mother, Andrea, was caring for eight of nine children in the first floor of a rowhouse in the Mantua neighborhood. She pleaded guilty in state court to third-degree murder and child endangerment, and was sentenced to up to 40 years in state prison.
Yesterday, Ambrose said DHS, which has 1,800 employees and 100,000 children receiving varying degrees of care, has overhauled the in-home services program, established new oversight policies, and is setting up a program to expand checks on families receiving care from private contractors.
"We've tried to really create a culture of responsibility," she said.
The head of a nonprofit agency that offers legal representation to children in DHS said the agency still had issues to resolve - including how complex cases like Kelly's are managed - but agreed there had been extensive improvements.
Frank P. Cervone, executive director of the Support Center for Child Advocates, said that the circumstances of Kelly's death were an aberration, but that the agency's failure to adequately oversee contractors was not unusual. He said that shortcoming had been improved under Ambrose.
"I feel much more confident," he said.
Testimony from coworkers described Kamuvaka and Manamela as frequently failing to provide training and supervision to agency workers. Kamuvaka, in particular, was said to have condoned the creation of false records.
Her attorney, William Cannon, said Kamuvaka "was very disappointed" by the verdict and repeated his courtroom defense that she and other managers had been the victims of their own staff, "social workers who did her in" by faking reports and not providing services.
Paul J. Hetznecker, Manamela's attorney, said his client had been "scammed" by his own employees, though he conceded there was "significant" mismanagement.
"But that doesn't take away from the dedication Solomon Manamela has had" to social work, Hetznecker said. Kamuvaka holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, and like Manamela has had a career in social work.
Manamela and Coulibaly also declined to comment. Murray is being held on the federal immigration charges.
Jon Scott Ashjian, Harry Reid's Tea Party Challenger, Owes More Than $200,000 in Back Taxes
The chips may already be stacked against Jon Scott Ashjian, the man who recently filed as a Tea Party candidate for Harry Reid's Nevada Senate seat.
A report last week uncovered that the successful business owner owes more than $200,000 in back taxes. On top of that, recent polls appear to confirm Republican worries that a Tea Party candidate might skim enough conservative votes to change the election in the Democrats favor.
In a profile in the Las Vegas Sun, J. Patrick Coolican reports that Ashjian "has an IRS lien on his property because he owes more than $200,000 in back taxes, according to the county recorder."
Coolican also reports that Ashjian's company, A&A Asphalt Paving Co., is currently dealing with a complaint about a $1000 bad check issued to a vendor last year. Though Ashjian shut the company down a month later, he now faces charges of failing to "provide a financial statement or other evidence of his financial responsibility," and could lose his business license following a hearing later this month.
Ashjian told the Las Vegas Sun that he was unaware of both the back taxes and the complaints against his asphalt company. Financial problems like this are to be expected of small business owners like him, he said, and were actually a big reason behind his decision to launch a Senate bid.
"This elitist crowd doesn't have any clue about the pain and suffering experienced by the average American," he told the Sun. "Every small-business owner is in the same boat."
A federal appeals court dismissed the suit on First Amendment grounds and threw out a $5 million award against the protesters, who are members of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and maintain that God hates homosexuality and that the death of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is God’s way of punishing the United States for its tolerance of it.
The fallen Marine was Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, and his funeral was held in Westminster, Md., in 2006. His father, Albert Snyder, testified at trial in 2007 that the protests continued to haunt and disturb him.
“For the rest of my life,” Mr. Snyder said, “I will remember what they did to me, and it has tarnished the memory of my son’s last hour on earth.”
He added that he became angry and tearful when he thought about the protest and that the memory of it had caused him to vomit.
The protesters complied with local laws and instructions from the police about keeping their distance. They did not know the Snyders, and they had staged similar protests at other military funerals.
Mr. Snyder’s central claim is that the protesters intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him.
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So Khury called the office of Oakland County Circuit Court judge Leo Bowman at 8 a.m. and told a clerk she had no child care. He warned her that she would be arrested if she didn’t appear by the time jury selection resumed at 9 a.m., so she took her children with her, arriving at 9:25. The judge excused her but ordered that she sit through every day of the trial (which is expected to last two weeks) as an observer, and then spend 24 hours in jail for contempt of court after the trial ended .
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