October 24th, 2010

bird dj

What goes around comes around?

Jennifer Petkov, the 33-year-old woman who cyberbullied terminally ill seven-year-old Kathleen Edward and her dead mother, was arrested on today on charges of assault using a dangerous weapon and reckless driving after allegedly trying to use her car to run over a neighbor, reports myFOXDetroit.com.

Tana Boling was crossing the street on her way to Kathleen Edward's grandmother's house on Oct. 13 when Petkov darted out of her driveway.

"Her car was in her driveway. I didn't notice if anyone was inside, it's just there. When I got so far into the street, she came speeding out of her driveway right toward me. If I didn't get out of the way she would have hit me, there is no doubt," Boling told myFOXDetroit.com.

Petkov remains in jail, pending a bond of $75,000 or 10 percent paid for release. She faces up to four years in prison if convicted of felonious driving.

Petkov admitted to posting a picture of Edward's face with skull and crossbones on Facebook, as well as a picture of her mother with the Grim Reaper. She also painted her truck to look like a hearse. Both Kathleen and her mother were diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, a debilitating disorder, which progressively destroys the mind and control of the body.


Shortly after Jennifer and current husband Scott Petkov made international news a couple of weeks ago, with their admission of tormenting and bullying a dying 7 year old child, the father of two of Jennifer Petkov’s children filed for an emergency custody hearing.

This week a Wayne County Probate Court judge ruled that Jennifer Petkov’s five year old son and eight year old daughter from a previous relationship will be living with their father until further notice.


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donk... donk... donk...

A Culture of Poverty

In 2008, I was sent out to the Democratic convention to work on a piece for this magazine about Michelle Obama. I had just been hired on as a contributing editor, and was ecstatic. There was a community of young bloggers out there--Chris Bodenner, Alyssa Rosenberg, Dayo Olapade etc. Just a lot of good folks. But most of the week, I'd either been blogging, following Michelle Obama, or exploring Denver's beautiful trails.

Toward the end of the week, Alyssa invited me over to the National Journal tent where a lot of the reporters were watching some speeches, and having a few drinks. I had a couple myself and was generally having a good time. Also out there was my old buddy David Carr who, a few media tents over, was covering the convention for the Times. I was supposed to meet Carr after the speeches and grab dinner. But while I was in the National Journal area a person who I'd written about (not an employee of Atlantic Media) came into the tent and aggressively challenged me on something I'd written about him.

We spent ten frankly embarrassing minutes jawing back and forth. That's fine. People should aggressively challenge you. Toward the end, Carr, wondering where I was, came in and saw me in mid-argument, which by this point had gotten heated. He gave me that "you damn fool" look and said "I'm going to be there, [whatever the restaurant was] either you're coming or not. But this is stupid." He left, and shortly thereafter I started walking away with Alyssa and few of the other bloggers who were hanging out. The gentleman kept after me, even following me out the tent, and by this point, taunting.

At the door of the tent, and I looked at him and said, "You really need to back off."

He looked back and said, "Or what."

I closed in on him, and quietly but seriously, responded, "You really want to find out?"

He walked back inside.

I think as a younger man, I would have been proud of that moment. For surely, I had adhered to Article 2 of the Code Of The Streets--"Thou Shalt Not Be Found A Punk." Had the gentleman stepped outside, I had already made the decision that I was going to swing. I didn't believe in threatening people and then not following through. Perhaps as 14 year old, on the streets of West Baltimore, back at Mondawmin Mall, the response would have been correct. In fact, I was a 33-year old contributing editor at a well-regarded magazine who'd just implicitly threatened someone on the property of my brand new employer.

I had thought as far as the dude stepping outside--but I hadn't thought any further. I hadn't thought about getting arrested. I hadn't thought about the implications of a 6'4 260 pound black dude assaulting a 5'11 (maybe?) white dude. I hadn't thought about all of this playing out against the backdrop of Obama's nomination. I hadn't thought about losing my job. And, most criminally, I hadn't thought about my family , who were depending on that job.

A few minutes later, I caught up with Carr. He is a man who's seen more of the streets than almost (almost) anyone I know. He's also great at getting to the point. When I told him the rest of what happened, his response was not, "You showed him." It was "You dumb motherfucker." By then the full horror of what had almost happened was dawning on me. We went to dinner that night with some of Carr's old music buddies from Minnesota, and the great Tom Morello who wore an awesome Dungeons & Dragons tee-shirt. Toward the end, Boots from The Coup showed up. But I wasn't there. I spent that night wondering how I could be so foolish, and almost ruin what I knew then, and what I know now, to be my big break.

I thought about all of this yesterday while reading this Times' piece on return of the culture of poverty. When we talk "culture," as it relates to African-Americans, we assume a kind of exclusivity and suspension of logic. Stats are whipped out (70 percent of black babies born out of wedlock) and then claims are tossed around cavalierly, (black culture doesn't value marriage.) The problem isn't that "culture" doesn't exist, nor is it that elements of that "culture" might impair upward mobility.

It defies logic to think that any group, in a generationaly entrenched position, would not develop codes and mores for how to survive in that position. African-Americans, themselves, from poor to bourgeois, are the harshest critics of the street mentality. Of course, most white people only pay attention when Bill Cosby or Barack Obama are making that criticism. The problem is that rarely do such critiques ask why anyone would embrace such values. Moreover, they tend to assume that there's something uniquely "black" about those values, and their the embrace.

If you are a young person living in an environment where violence is frequent and random, the willingness to meet any hint of violence with yet more violence is a shield. Some people take to this lesson easier than others. As a kid, I hated fighting--not simply the incurring of pain, but the actual dishing it out. (If you follow my style of argument, you can actually see that that's still true.) But once I learned the lesson, once I was acculturated to the notion that often the quickest way to forestall more fighting, is to fight, I was a believer. And maybe it's wrong to say this, but it made my the rest of my time in Baltimore a lot easier, because the willingness to fight isn't just about yourself, it's a signal to your peer group.

To the young people in my neighborhood, friendship was defined by having each other's back. And in that way, the personal shields, the personal willingness to meet violence with violence, combined and became a collective, neighborhood shield--a neighborhood rep. And so it was known in my time, for instance, that "North and Pulaski" or "Walbrook Junction" or "Cherry Hill" were not to be fucked with.

I think one can safely call that an element of a kind of street culture. It's also an element which--once one leaves the streets--is a great impediment. "I ain't no punk" may shield you from neighborhood violence. But it can not shield you from algebra, when your teacher tries to correct you. It can not shield you from losing hours, when your supervisor corrects your work. And it would not have shielded me from unemployment, after I cold-cocked a guy over a blog post.

I suspect that a large part of the problem, when we talk about culture, is an inability to code-switch, to understand that the language of Rohan is not the language of Mordor. I don't say this to minimize culture, to the contrary, I say it to point how difficult it is to get people to discard practices which were essential to them in one world, but hinder their advancement into another. And then there's the fear of that other world, that sense that if you discard those practices, you have discarded some of yourself, and done it in pursuit of a world, that you may not master.

The streets are like any other world--we all assume an armor, a garment to suit that world. And indeed, in every world, some people wear the armor better than others, and thus reap considerable social reward. In the main, it's been easy for me to discard the armor of West Baltimore, because I wore it so poorly. I was never, as they say, truly built for the streets. And still, even I struggled to take it off. But I know others who were masters. (My own brother, for instance.) Inducing them, and those in between, to change class, to trade their plate for robes, to trade the broad-sword for a spell-book, is the real work.

mus | like a bird in a cage

Tale of gay woman forced to marry to protect 'honour'

"I took off my hijab, and I threw it on the floor and my brother got really mad. It's the worst thing I could have done to offend my religion, aside from burn or tear the Koran.

"My mother, she kind of stood still, and started listening, and it was very liberating that she finally wanted to hear what I had to say.

"I told her about my sexuality and I said 'that's right, I do meet girls, and I love it' and I told her that she had been hurting me really badly, and I will never forgive her."

Now 20, Reviva - not her real name - recounts the day she finally came out to her family, her pupils flash and the flat, matter-of-fact delivery of her story-telling becomes briefly animated.

This, you realise, is the pivotal moment in a disturbing journey of self-discovery which encompasses family estrangement, exorcism, and attempted suicide.

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Juan Williams Inspires "Muslims Wearing Things" Tumblr.

Former NPR analyst Juan Williams, among other ignorant people, has an irrational fear of Muslims, and thinks you can identify them based on what they look like. Here I will post pictures of Muslims wearing all sorts of things in an attempt to refute that there is such a thing as "Muslim garb" or a Muslim look.

For example...

Prince Abdullah

Prince Abdullah (now King Abdullah II) of Jordan, wearing a Starfleet uniform in a 1996 episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

More pictures of Muslims in their incredibly terrifying garb after the cut.

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Captions are not mine, they are all from the sauce, which contains so many more awesome pictures it was really hard deciding which ones to put in this post.

Israeli presence on Palestinian land 'irreversible'

A UN human rights rapporteur has said continued settlement construction will probably make Israel's occupation of Palestinian land irreversible.

Richard Falk said the peace process aimed at creating an independent, sovereign Palestinian state therefore appeared to be based on an illusion.

He said the UN, the US and Israel had failed to uphold Palestinians' rights.

Israeli officials said Mr Falk's report on the Palestinian territories was biased and served a political agenda.

Nearly half a million Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are held to be illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

'De-facto annexation'

In a report for the UN General Assembly, Mr Falk said Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had become so extensive it amounted to de-facto annexation of Palestinian land.

He said this undercut assumptions behind UN Security Council resolutions which said Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967 was temporary and reversible.

Such assumptions are the basis for the current peace process aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

This now appears to be an illusion, said Mr Falk.

Israel said the report was utterly biased and served a political agenda, criticising its author for making no mention of what it called Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Mr Falk told journalists that his mandate was to report on the Israeli occupation, not on the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said he based his conclusion not only on the deepening expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but on the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and the demolition of their homes.

Peace talks sponsored by the United States have stalled since Israel ended a partial 10-month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank. Washington wants the negotiations to resume.

But Mr Falk said both governments and the United Nations had failed to uphold Palestinian rights.

He urged the UN to support civil society initiatives, such as campaigns to sanction or boycott Israel for alleged violations of international law.

coffee lol

Jesus: Soft on Defense, Wrong For America

In recent debates between tea party-endorsed Senate candidates and their Democratic opponents, faith has emerged as a campaign issue.

Calling himself "a pro-life Christian" in opening remarks, Kentucky candidate Rand Paul said, "I'm disheartened that my opponent has chosen to attack my religious beliefs," referring to Jack Conway's campaign ad that questioned Paul's beliefs on the bible, faith-based initiatives and 'Aqua Buddha.' (For more on 'Aqua Buddha' click here.)

Jesus: Soft on defense. Wrong for America.

In recent debates between tea party-endorsed Senate candidates and their Democratic opponents, faith has emerged as a campaign issue.

Calling himself "a pro-life Christian" in opening remarks, Kentucky candidate Rand Paul said, "I'm disheartened that my opponent has chosen to attack my religious beliefs," referring to Jack Conway's campaign ad that questioned Paul's beliefs on the bible, faith-based initiatives and 'Aqua Buddha.' (For more on 'Aqua Buddha' click here.)

In the Delaware debate between Senate candidates, Christine O'Donnell said, "I would argue there are more people who support my Catholic faith than his Marxist beliefs," alluding to a column written by Chris Coons two decades ago which he characterizes as 'a joke.'

With polls showing that voters rank the economy as a top issue, why are the faith lives of candidates up for debate?

The faith lives of candidates are up for debate because our faith is a defining factor of our personhood. It is not the only factor, but it is one. It is a part of the complex mix of who we are and the values that we hold. However, in the heat and muck of a political campaign the faith positions of candidates can hardly be presented in full. It is easy to distort a candidate's beliefs for political gain. If Jesus were running during this election cycle, he would be subject to attack ads.

Imagine the possibilities. Imagine that the various towns named in biblical texts were in somewhere USA.

On foreign policy:

A shot of the World Trade Center towers falling.

Voiceover: 9/11. The nation suffers the worst attack on its soil in history. But Jesus says that we ought to love the people who did this. He says: "do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who misuse and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) Love al Qaeda? Do good to the people who attacked us? This is no plan to keep us safe. Jesus. Soft on defense. Wrong for America.

On guilt by association:

Scene: Nighttime on a city corner where prostitutes and drug dealers are doing business. Cut to Jesus having dinner with the same people.

Voice: People are known by the company they keep. Jesus is friend to prostitutes, drug dealers, tax collectors. Is this the kind of man we want in the United States Senate? Jesus. He's just not one of us.

On family values:

Scene: Children outside playing in the yard, happy and carefree. The father is washing the car while the mother watches from the kitchen window. Everyone is happy and contented.

Voice: Strong families are the backbone of America. Faith and family are what make this country strong.

Next scene: Father and son are screaming at each other. A daughter stomps out of the room, slams the door and leaves the mother looking lost and bewildered.

Voice: But Jesus wants families to be at war with each other. He said: "For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be those of his own household." (Matthew 10: 35-36) Is this what we want for our families? Is war in our homes a family value? Keep Jesus in Nazareth and in the carpenter's shop. We do not need him in Washington.

On Jesus' patriotism:

Scene: Jesus is speaking to a large audience. He says: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the Day of Judgment than for you." (Matthew 11: 21-22)

Voice: Why does Jesus hate America? Do we really want someone who hates his country so much making laws for us? Real America, tell Jesus no on Election Day.

On socialism:

Scene: A scene from the movie Dr. Zhivago when he comes home from the war to find strangers living in his house. The woman says there was room for many families here. Freeze frame.

Voice: Karl Marx says that the government ought to take from each according to his abilities, and give to each according to his needs. This is socialism. This is communism. Jesus agrees with Marx. He says to be saved, you have to give your hard-earned possessions away. He said: "Go and sell whatever you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven."(Mark 10: 21) Jesus. Socialism. Dangerous for America.

Our elections have been about which candidate seems to be the less monstrous. For some of us, a return to party loyalty is the lens through which we view the campaigns and the various attack ads. Our side tells the righteous truth, and the opponent airs only distortions. Negative advertising seeks to show that the opponent is extreme and dangerous, a person who is not one of us, who does not share our values. However, even Jesus can be portrayed as some kind of monster.

What is worse than the negative advertising is the superficial discussion of issues. Our leaders talk to us in poll-driven bumper-sticker slogans. Our elections are an insult to the intelligence of the American people. We get stuck in the muck. The media gets stuck in the muck because we allow it. Rich candidates think they can buy elections. Outside groups spend money from undisclosed sources. We elect candidates that have neither the knowledge nor the experience to hold high public office. In a representative democracy, we get the leadership we deserve.

The solution is to end the perpetual campaigns and punditry that asks only what this or that policy will mean for the next election. We need shorter campaigns and a ban on paid political advertising. Require media outlets to give free time and space for a more substantial discussion of the issues. Perhaps then, the electoral process will attract people with better ideas and qualifications who do not now participate because they do not want to be the targets of false advertising. Perhaps when Jesus comes back, we can persuade him to run.

By Valerie Elverton Dixon  |  October 21, 2010; 11:37 AM ET

Edited because of YouTube embed failure. -Simona



Q // And My Journey Ends Here With You

Rob Ford runs anti-gay ad on Tamil radio station

A rough translation from the video.

1st Person: Mani Anna, Who you voting for in the Mayoral Election?

2nd Person: [Laughs] What kind of question is this? I am Tamil. We have a religion and culture. Take Rob Ford for an example, His wife is a women. Thats not only it, he said will reduce Land transfer taxes and other taxes.

1st Person: What about Immigration?

2nd Person: [Laughs] Thats a federal government issue. So, the white people can get our vote.

1st Person: I am also going to vote for Rob Ford.

DISCLAIMER: This is a paid Advertisement


Rob Ford, I say this as someone who is both gay and Tamil and fiercely proud of both with Tamil family and friends who are just as proud, fuck you and your racist, homophobic bullshit. How fucking dare you assume that Tamil people are that close-minded, how fucking dare you try and brush aside the fact that you don't think we belong here in the first place. Fuck you, you bigoted piece of shit.


All credit for the lulz and awesomeness goes to oaktree89

ETA 2, Wife of the ETA: You can send in a link to the youtube vid to CTV news and a comment about why it's offensive. For my twitter bbs you can also tweet @CityNews, @spaikin, and @CBCToronto and hopefully someone will respond.

Greece man charged with threatening to kill Bush, Cheney


A little heads-up from the OP: Greece is a town in Upstate NY, outside of Rochester. Just in case anyone got confused and thought this dude was trying to drive from Europe.

A Greece man loaded his car with a shotgun, hunting knives, a flare gun, baseball bat and handcuffs and set off en route to Washington, D.C., with plans to engage law enforcement and possibly kill former Vice President Dick Cheney, according to the Secret Service.

The Secret Service detained the man, Ian Rotunno, on Oct. 7 and this week charged him with threats against a former president. Rotunno told Secret Service agents that, as well as planning to kill Cheney, he intended to go to the Texas ranch of former President George W. Bush and murder him also, according to a criminal complaint.

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(no subject)

The Distorted Rules Of “Manhood”

In the last few weeks, more than half a dozen gay or lesbian youngsters have taken their own lives in response to bullying or harassment. It's important to recognize the role that homosociality plays in the harassment of GLBTQ youth.

Homosociality is a primarily male phenomenon, particularly common among young American guys. Simply put, it's the idea that the approval of male peers (and male authority figures) is the driving factor in men's lives. Well documented by sociologists, the theory of homosociality suggests that winning approval from other men is more important to young men than anything else, including validation from women.

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mus | like a bird in a cage

Military bosses will still access staff records

The Canadian Forces says it will not change the way it handles the private information of staff even after it was revealed Russell Williams abused his military authority to target one of his victims.

Over four days of gruesome evidence and heart-wrenching victim statements, court heard that Williams — as then commander of Canada's busiest airbase, CFB Trenton — used his authority to learn Cpl. Marie-France Comeau's schedule and address.

Williams, who was stripped of his rank of colonel Friday, used that information to break into her home, where he repeatedly beat, raped, and ultimately murdered her.

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There Is Now Compulsion In Religion... If You're Catholic

Thou shalt not defect: baptism is forever

CountMeOut was caught out this week amid uncertainty about whether Catholics can still defect from their church, writes KITTY HOLLAND

IT IS NO LONGER possible, it would seem, to leave the Catholic Church. Although the church in Ireland has been accepting applications to defect, many on foot of applications printed from the user-friendly CountMeOut website, it said on Tuesday that it would no longer process them. The website, which has helped disillusioned Catholics leave, has suspended offering the defection papers “until the situation has been clarified”.

In a somewhat ambiguously worded statement the Dublin archdiocese set out the situation for all dioceses: “The Holy See confirmed at the end of August that it was introducing changes to canon law and as a result it will no longer be possible to formally defect from the Catholic Church.” But, it continued: “This will not alter the fact that many people can defect from the church and continue to do so, albeit not through a formal process. This is a change that will affect the church throughout the world.”

It said the archdiocese planned to maintain a register “to note the expressed desire of those who wish to defect”. Last year, it said, 229 people had defected formally from the church through the archdiocese; the figure for this year so far is 312.

Among those who wanted to defect this year is Alan Grace, a 25-year-old from Wicklow, who sent his formal application in July. “They had all the paperwork by July 27th. They sent me a letter saying they got it, but they haven’t formally accepted the application. I’d be very angry if I now couldn’t leave.”

The reasons for canon-law changes are set out in Omnium in Mentem, an apostolic letter issued in April. It removes from the code of canon law all references to formal defection that were introduced to it in a 1983 revision. Included in that general revision was a look at the sacrament of marriage. It introduced a dispensation so that the marriages of estranged former Catholics – who had defected, it was deemed – could be considered valid. This, however, caused pastoral difficulties throughout the universal church, as it became unclear what formal defection actually entailed.

Consultations began in 1997, resulting in the Omnium in Mentem letter. What its removal of all references to formal defection means for people wishing to leave is “totally unclear”, says Paul Dunbar, a founder of CountMeOut. “Essentially, from our point of view, it looks like defection is wiped out.”

The website, which was set up last year, had an online form that applicants could fill in, print out and send to their dioceses. It claims that more than 12,000 people have filled in the form. Asked whether people who want to leave the church would care whether it recognises their defection, given that they presumably don’t believe in its teachings, Dunbar says that, in fact, many people take its teachings seriously and want nothing more to do with them.

“For many it is very important that the church recognises they have left and removes them from the baptismal register. We have several questions now for the church, which we will be hoping to have clarified next week.”

Among these are whether those who have already defected can continue to consider themselves non-Catholic, and what exactly the church means when it says people can still defect, “albeit not through a formal process”.

A spokesman said the church was clearly stating “the truth that being a baptised a member of the church cannot be undone”. While the baptismal register can be amended, the baptism cannot. “A Catholic can formally register disassociation from the church but the reality of baptism stands. Baptism leaves an indelible mark.” In other words, it would seem that though one can still decide not to participate in the Catholic way of life, the church views baptism as irrevocable.

Alan Grace believes this has implications for freedom of religion and expression, and says babies should not be baptised when they have no say in the matter. “I would never have my children baptised. I don’t believe Jesus Christ would want a church like the Catholic Church.”

(Link to "Count Me Out"'s page on this issue)
(Initially found on "The Friendly Atheist")

The reason why people are defecting now is clearly over the various scandals in the Church and the failures of Church leadership. Also, don't forget that in some countries you need a document proving you've defected in order to avoid a Church tax (and there's also the marriage issues mentioned above). I think it would be pretty naive to presume that formal defection is being ended simply out of a wish to preserve the sanctity of Baptism. The Catholic Church has never been keen on allowing people to leave and I guess they felt it was getting too easy considering the numbers mentioned above.
Q // And My Journey Ends Here With You

Rob Ford response to homophobic ads “I can guarantee you we’ve had nothing to do with these ads,”

Smitherman the target of 'homophobic' ads

Things are turning nasty in the final hours of the Toronto municipal election, after defamatory signs and radio ads targeting George Smitherman popped up overnight.

Signs appeared along Danforth Avenue, near Victoria Park, on Sunday suggesting Muslims should not vote for George Smitherman because he is a homosexual.

"Should Muslim vote for him who married a man?" the crudely designed signs read. Attached to the sign is a photograph of Smitherman and his husband Christopher Peloso, and a clipped newspaper headline referring to their adoption of a child.

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Rob Ford shuns support from homophobic Tamil radio ad

With less than 24 hours to go until the polls open in Toronto, mayoral candidate Rob Ford is condemning a Tamil radio ad that encouraged voters to cast a ballot for him in part because he’s straight.

“I can guarantee you we’ve had nothing to do with these ads,” Mr. Ford told reporters outside his campaign office Sunday. “I found out about them this morning. It’s absolutely wrong.”

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This time with proper sauce. The CTV link has a video of a news report on the ads, although I don't know why 'homophobic' is in quotes. I can easily believe that Ford didn't pay for it but I have no doubt that he agrees with it's message. My parents were furious when I told them about it, and I know a lot of other Tamil people are as well. I'm eagerly awaiting all the white people who, if Ford wins, will blame poc and immigrants for it, saying that we didn't vote for Smitherman because he's gay and you know how backwards those immigrants are.

Assembly hopeful Frank Sparaco says he's not connected even though mob-tied firm is a big donor

Source: NY Daily News

An assembly candidate whose father was a mob hit man has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from car dealerships owned by a reputed Colombo soldier, records show.

Republican Frank Sparaco says he has nothing to do with "the life," yet he makes much of his livelihood from those mob-connected dealerships, where he services candy and soda vending machines through his company, Pop's Vending.

"He has put me in a precarious position," Sparaco said, referring to his father, Frankie (Blue Eyes) Sparaco. "I wasn't a part of that life."

Sparaco also has gotten hundreds more campaign dollars from a company run by Michael Persico, the indicted son of the Colombo family boss.

"I always knew Michael [Persico]. He was the good one. He was the businessman," Sparaco said.

Sparaco's father was a soldier in the Colombo family. He pleaded guilty to several murders, turned informant and is a protected witness, officials said.

Though he insists he's had nothing to do with the mob, members and associates of his father's crime family have had something to do with Sparaco, a Rockland County legislator running against incumbent Democrat Kenneth Zebrowski.

Sparaco has gotten $10,000 in campaign money from Long Island car dealerships owned by reputed gangster John Staluppi, records show.

The FBI has identified Staluppi as a member of the Colombo family. Informer Salvatore Micciotta told the FBI Staluppi switched sides during an internal family war in 1992 after the boss he'd been aligned with was arrested.

The same year, New Jersey casino regulators rejected Staluppi's request to let his company, Dillinger Charter Services, run helicopter flights to Atlantic City due to his mob ties, records show.

Asked about Staluppi, Sparaco said, "I don't know John Staluppi. I never heard of the man."

He acknowledges his company services vending machines at several of Staluppi's dealerships, a job he says he got through "word of mouth" - not his father's "connections."

Sparaco says he asked the dealerships for contributions because he'd heard they made donations. He said he met with a manager for many of the dealerships, but never met Staluppi.

"One guy was manager for about 20 auto dealers. I only got money from like 10," he said.

On July 1, 2009, his Assembly campaign got six checks from Staluppi dealerships totaling $10,000. This "bundling" skirts campaign laws that bar donations of more than $2,000 every two years.

"There was no wrongdoing. These people have given thousands of dollars to candidates," he said.

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movies | The Sound of Music

ONTD_Political's PotD: October 24, 2010.

Haiti: Difficult Decisions | "Marie Lud Francois had been thinking about this day for nearly two months, ever since she handed her two oldest children over to an orphanage. Marie Lud ached to see them, but was wary. No emotion ran clean anymore. Nothing was right after the earthquake. Her husband, Bernard Charles, gave her the money for the trip, about $3.50. He had been saving for several weeks. Bernard, who sews and fixes mattresses, had to stay behind and look for work. Marie Lud wished he could come with her. She wished that, for at least a moment, they could all be together."

Full 6-page article:
"Aftershocks of a mother's wrenching decision"
Joe Mozingo | June 19, 2010 | LA Times
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..Ya might cry. Just sayin.