Monday, July 28, 2003

It's Monday night, there has been some lighting, thunder, and rain tonight. I hope it cleans off my car a little.

I had a great weekend. A wedding and reception kept me out way too late one night and I had to be up too early the next day. But I recovered.

= = =

Speaking of recovery, Liza Minnelli and her latest husband, David Gest, are splitting. My goodness, what took them so long? It's been a year, after all.

= = =

The big news, of course, is the passing of Bob Hope. The word "legend" does not do that man justice. He's left quite a legacy. You can check out his official site at http://www.BobHope.com.

= = =

Finally, a parting comment about a story I saw on the evening news. It kept mentioning "gun violence", which is a biased term to begin with. They never talk about "fist violence" or "knife violence". Anyway, there is a bill working its way through Congress to protect gun manufacturers and dealers from being named in lawsuits on behalf of "gun violence" victims IF the gun was functioning properly and it was sold in accordance with applicable laws. Negligence and other criminal activities will still be actionable. This makes sense, but people are whining because they won't be able to reach into the deep pockets for payoffs. Well boo frickin' hoo. You can only sue the hoodlums who actually hurt you. How does this not make sense? If juries are going to make stupid decisions, laws like this are needed. It is sad that society has deteriorated to this extent.

Okay, I'm done for today.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Here we go with another big update.

In this news round up:
Man Turns Tables on Telemarketer
Blunder Leaves Woman Awake for Surgery
Mutilated Cat Cases
We Like Who We're Like
Newborn Emerges Alive 16 Hours After Burial
Baby Survives 7-story Fall
Husbands Chopping Up Wives
Man Lies Dead in Bed for Nearly Three Years
Gory Fight Between Two Women
Father, Daughter Swim for Hours After Boat Capsizes
Forbidden Romances Bloom in the Iraqi Desert
Older Women, Younger Men
Female Teacher Sentenced in Rape of Boy
Organizers Say Teens' Nudist Summer Camp is Innocent Fun
New Zealand Legalizes Brothels
Assistant Principal's Sex Trial
Male Teacher Gets 10 Years For Sex with Male Students
Woman Pleads Guilty to Sex With Boy, 16
Virgins Meet in Sin City, Tout Abstinence
Nation's Birth Rate Falls to Record Low
Culture of Entitlement
Clinton Says Gains Made Under Him Being Erased
Strom Thurmond 1902-2003
More On Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction
A Shameful Chapter in Mormon History
Are We Accidental or Intended?
Two Stories of Incest and Related Crimes
and MORE!

===============================================================================

This is great.

Man Turns Tables on Telemarketer
Exasperated Student Turns Tables on Telemarketer, Calling It More Than 100 Times in Two Days
The Associated Press
DULUTH, Minn. July 2
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>An exasperated resident turned the tables on a company that hounded him with telemarketing calls, calling it more than 100 times in two days.

Marc Plaisted said he started calling Minnesota Auto Glass after the St. Peter-based company's telemarketers called him up to three times a day even after he asked them not to.

Plaisted had figured the calls would stop when he signed on to Minnesota's "do-not-call" list months ago.
[snip]
"I just called them every five minutes and let them know that, no, I don't have a crack in my windshield, because this seems to be something they are very concerned about," Plaisted said.<<

===============================================================================

Oops!

Millions of Bees Freed in Traffic Accident
Bee Experts Are Working to Get Millions of Bees Back Into Hives After Traffic Accident Set Them Free
The Associated Press
CLAYCOMO, Mo. June 24
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>Bee experts working around the clock were making progress on the "miserable job" of getting millions of bees back into hives after a weekend traffic accident set them free.

Shortly after 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a tractor-trailer hauling 520 hives from Oklahoma to Wisconsin slid off a ramp linking Interstate 435 to Interstate 35.
[snip]
The hives, weighing 60 to 100 pounds, accommodate up to 50,000 bees each. The bees are bound for Wisconsin to be used in pollinating cranberries.

The recovery activity attracted the attention of passersby, but not for long.

"You'd be surprised how many people stop, get out of their car and walk up to us," Johnson said. "But once they figure out we're dealing with honeybees, they're pretty quick to turn around."<<

===============================================================================

More Oops!

Blunder Leaves Woman Awake for Surgery
06/30/03 - Reuters

Quote:
>>VIENNA (Reuters) - A woman lay awake during surgery for 45 minutes, unable to move or call for help, after staff forgot to hook up the machine pumping out anaesthetic, the Austrian daily Kurier reported Monday.

The woman was temporarily paralyzed because she had been given a muscle relaxant, and her ordeal ended only after a replacement doctor who came into the operating room saw tears in her eyes and noticed the machine was not connected properly.<<

===============================================================================

Mutilated Cat Cases Rise to 39
Area's yearlong string of killings grows with discovery in Denver park
By Julie Poppen, Rocky Mountain News
June 30, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>Another mutilated cat was found in Denver Sunday, bringing the total of cat mutilations in the metro area over the past year to 39, according to Aurora police.
[snip]
In most of the cases, the cats have been sliced open and their internal organs removed.
[snip]
The cat mutilation cases are being taken so seriously, in part, because animal mutilation is one of three childhood symptoms that criminologists say are major danger signals that someone could grow up to be a serial killer.

The other two are bed-wetting and fire-starting.<<

Well, then thank goodness I don't mutilate cats!

===============================================================================

We Like Who We're Like
By Associated Press
Article Published: Monday, June 30, 2003 - 6:51:48 PM PST
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>WASHINGTON (AP) - People like people like themselves.

That's the conclusion of a study by Cornell University researchers, who asked 978 people what qualities they valued most in a potential mate, and then asked them to rate themselves on the same qualities.

Surprise! The researchers found that mate choice "seems to be based on a preference for long-term partners who are similar to one's perception of self."

The researchers, led by Peter M. Buston, asked people in and around Ithaca, N.Y., to rate potential partners on a scale of one-to-nine on such qualities as financial resources, physical attractiveness, faithfulness, parenting qualities, social status, health, devotion, ambition, family bonds and desire for children.<<

People with low self-esteem are less picky.

>>Other theories of mate selection have been based on the idea that opposites attract or that people look for someone who ranks high in child-rearing qualities, the team noted.

But they concluded that a bigger factor in marriage quality and stability is similarity in personality traits.<<

===============================================================================

Attempted Baby Murder, Part One

Newborn Emerges Alive 16 Hours After Burial
Wed Jul 2 2003 02:08:29 ET
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>New Delhi (dpa) - A newborn baby girl buried by her father - who did not want a daughter - emerged alive 16 hours later from her grave in central India, a report said Wednesday.
[snip]
The matter became known to police, and district officials ordered the grave dug up. To their surprise the girl was found alive, and the child was admitted to hospital. The father absconded.

Birth of female children is looked down upon in many areas of India while sons are prized. Girls are seen as a drain on the family's resources, as they must be married off with dowry while boys are viewed as providers.

As a result, female foeticide and infanticide are quite common in many rural Indian areas.<<

===============================================================================

Attempted Baby Murder, Part Two

Baby Survives 7-story Fall
Tuesday, June 24, 2003 Posted: 5:32 AM EDT (0932 GMT)
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>PEEKSKILL, New York (AP) -- A man was arrested Monday and charged with tossing his baby daughter out a seventh-floor apartment window, police said.

The 10-month-old girl survived the 80-foot fall, crashing through several tree branches before landing on the ground. She suffered only cuts and bruises.<<

Talk about angels watchin' over ya.

>>Police said Willie Williams barged into his ex-girlfriend's apartment late Saturday in a bid to persuade her to get back together with him.<<

Tossing a baby out a window is sure to help reach that goal.

===============================================================================

Another set of ringing endorsements of marriage. Then again, you're unlikely to ever find a story with the headline "Married Couple Gets Along Great and Has Lots of Joy". This guy really put his foot in his mouth. Figuratively, of course.

WHY I CHOPPED OFF MY WIFE'S HEAD
By LAURA ITALIANO
July 3, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>"I lost my head."

That was the unfortunate choice of words by a Queens man, allegedly telling cops how he decapitated his unfaithful wife.

The dramatic police confession of jealous husband Oscar Pilamunga, 24, was released yesterday as the Ecuadoran immigrant kitchen worker pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom.

It's a blow-by-blow description of the fatal final moments of a nine-year marriage that began when Pilamunga was 15 and his ill-fated wife, Beatrice Yually, was only 13.<<

Yes, getting married that young is always such a brilliant idea in today's world.

>>Yually, who sold ice cream and ices on the streets of Brooklyn, wound up discovered by passers-by on May 31, stuffed in a suitcase, headless, on a Harlem street, where her husband allegedly admitted he dumped her. Her head - which he told cops he bagged and stuffed into a Corona Dumpster - has never been found.

"No, I don't recognize that photo," Pilamunga told cops when they first questioned him, showing him a picture of his wife. Cops had been led to him by a phone number found in the clothing of the headless body.

But under masterful police questioning, Pilamunga eventually went from not recognizing his wife's picture to allegedly spilling his whole story in a statement, written in Spanish.<<

===

Man Cuts Wife in Half, Goes to Work -- Police
Thu Jul 3, 7:51 AM ET - Reuters

Quote:
>>HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Finnish man killed his wife on Saturday and cut the corpse in half so it would fit into a single plastic bag. He turned up for work on Monday but left early to confess to police.<<

At least he went in to do some work.

===

Man Killed by Wife Over Paint Argument, Police Say
Thu Jun 26, 8:23 AM ET - Reuters

Quotes:
>>BERLIN (Reuters) - The color of your home's walls can be a matter of life and death, as a German man found out when he was fatally stabbed by his wife after they had an argument about what color to paint them, police said Wednesday.<<

Two words for husbands about home decorating: "Yes, dear." Face it- she's never going to agree to those pin-ups.

>>The dispute flared as the 53-year-old man and his Polish wife of 30 years were redecorating their house. Angered and frustrated by the escalating feud, the man got a kitchen knife and suggested to his wife she use it on him, police said.<<

Oh, so it his fault. She was just obeying him. Hey, with today's euthanasia movement and his consent, how can we say a crime was committed?

>>The 50-year-old woman then grabbed the knife and plunged it into his heart. Rescue services were unable to save the man. Both had been drinking alcohol, according to police.<<

====

Now here is something worth arguing over.

Man Accused of Pointing Gun at Wife Over Net Porn
Friday, June 20, 2003 Posted: 12:23 PM EDT (1623 GMT)
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>PONTIAC, Michigan (AP) -- A city firefighter has been accused of pointing a gun at his wife when she tried to stop him from watching Internet pornography.

Lavoisier D. Washington, 38, of Pontiac, was arraigned Thursday on charges of felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon. He was released on $5,000 bond.
[snip]
Oakland County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Deborah Carley said Washington's wife confronted him after finding him viewing a pornographic Web site for the second time in as many days.<<

They include that in the story as if it is unusual.

>>"She was especially upset because he was accessing the site while the children were asleep in the same room," Carley said.<<

What an idiot.

>>"She told him she was going to cut the cable to the computer and went to get scissors.

"He got a gun and pointed it at her temple."<<

===============================================================================

Offer to Kill Woman During Sex Ends in Arrest
06/30/03 - Reuters

Quote:
>>HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas man got 10 years' probation for offering to strangle a suicidal Wisconsin woman whom he met over the Internet, lawyers said on Friday.<<

Again, I can't imagine this will be illegal for long, what with "consent" being the standard of the legality of private behavior and the euthanasia movement becoming more and more mainstream.

===============================================================================

Man Lies Dead in Bed for Nearly Three Years
Mon Jun 30, 8:54 AM ET - Reuters

Quotes:
>>BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man lay dead in his bed for almost three years before being found, police said Friday.<<

What's really amazing is when it happens at work.

>>A post mortem revealed the man, in his 50s, had suffered serious head injuries, suggesting murder.
[snip]
Police have arrested a 30-year-old careworker who used to look after the wheelchair-bound man.

Police discovered the remains of the corpse Thursday after breaking into the man's apartment when neighbors complained of a strange smell.<<

It's always the smell.

>>Germany often reports cases of people lying dead in their homes for months or years before discovery, a phenomenon sociologists attribute to mounting social isolation and the disintegration of the family.<<

I wonder how long you can leave your Instant Messenger on after you're dead?

>>The efficient banking system also means people's bills and pensions can continue to be paid long after they die.<<

The lesson here is to pay your bills manually and late sometimes to prove you are still alive.

===============================================================================

Catfight!

Gory Fight Between Two Women
Article Published: Monday, June 30, 2003 - 11:28:15 AM PST
By Wendy Thomas Russell - Staff Writer
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>LONG BEACH -- Two Long Beach women were covered in blood Sunday night after a brawl began in an apartment and spilled out into oncoming traffic, police said Monday. Nailah Baker, 25, and Porshcett Ward, 19, were apparently arguing over a shared boyfriend when one attacked the other in Baker's apartment in the 6300 block of Paramount Street, Long Beach Police Sgt. Paul LeBaron said. "It was like a scene from a movie,' said LeBaron, a department spokesman. "Blood everywhere.' <<

Is there something special about this guy? What an ego trip for him.

>>Baker was treated for cuts to her head caused by shards from a broken brandy bottle. Ward was treated for stab wounds to both arms and fingers. She had also been bitten, LeBaron said.
[snip]
When investigators inspected the home, they noticed "blood in virtually every room in the house,' LeBaron said. It was spattered and smeared on walls, floors, doors, beds and mirrors.<<

===============================================================================

Father, Daughter Swim for Hours After Boat Capsizes
Jun 23, 11:29 PM
By James Dean - FLORIDA TODAY
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>A father and daughter who swam through the ocean for several hours after their 8-foot sailboat capsized were found Monday evening on the shores near Floridana Beach after a daylong search, police said.

Benjamin Dilalla Jr., 42, from the DeLand area, and his 11-year-old daughter were found by Melbourne fireman Danny Willman and his son around 6:30 p.m. lying on the beach near Bon Steel Park, said Agent Gary Harrell of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. Neither was wearing a life jacket.

Dilalla and his daughter, Celeste, were suffering from hypothermia. They were taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center, where Dilalla was unable to communicate with police late Monday, though his daughter was doing well and talking, Harrell said.
[snip]
After it overturned, she said she and her father held on to the hull until they could see land, then the two began what became a grueling five-hour swim to shore.<<

===============================================================================

Forbidden Romances Bloom in the Iraqi Desert
By Betsy Pisik - THE WASHINGTON TIMES
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>BAGHDAD - Fatin may have fallen in love with her soldier the very first time she saw him.

She was part of the desperate line of Iraqis trying to get into the hotel where foreign journalists were staying. He was manning the checkpoint, a figure of authority and strength clad in military camouflage.

"He was not like the other soldiers; he was trying to help people, to solve their problems," said Fatin, an Iraqi Kurd who speaks perfect English. "And John was so beautiful, so patient. It took a long time to get inside, but I just watched him at work."
In the weeks after the fighting subsided in Baghdad, Fatin and her soldier had the only kind of relationship possible under the circumstances: discrete, delicious and chaste.<<

Well, the chaste part just kills the chances of this becoming a movie.

>>He would scan the morning crowd to find the dark-haired translator with the dancing eyes. She would hide love notes in the handbag he was obliged to search.

"We would talk and talk, in the Palestine [Hotel] lobby or the coffee shop," said Fatin, 32. "I didn't want to be more alone with him. That is not the way here. But it was like we were all alone when we were together. He is my first love, so you see how painful this is."

John - she doesn't know his last name, his rank nor his military unit - was ordered by an irate captain to stop seeing Fatin. When he told her goodbye, she cried for hours.<<

===============================================================================

Go, Demi, Go
What’s the Big Deal With a Older Woman With a Younger Man?
Commentary by Heidi Oringer - July 3
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>I am shocked that Demi and her new paramour, Ashton Kutcher, have made the cover of virtually every entertainment magazine and the first five minutes of every infotainment show. What's the big deal?<<

Their publicists are good. That's the big deal.

>>As far as her having children almost Ashton's age, that's not quite the case.<<

Ashton isn't her child's friend either. She didn't raise him, or know him as a child. Psychologically and socially, it is very different.

>>But let's leave publicity and reality aside. I just think it's nice to see an older woman with a younger man. I say, "Why not!"

We've accepted the old man/young woman thing for years.<<

Exactly. There was a biological/traditional roles excuse for that - particularly young woman = fertile, older man = established and secure. However, much of society has moved beyond this. Women no longer "need" men to provide for them.

>>The couple married in 1980, when she was 38 and he was 20. I don't know what she had at 38 that he wanted at 20, but I bet I know what he had at 20 that she wanted at 38. I'm 38 and I say, "Bring it On!"<<

Not all men need a woman to be young. Why can't an "older" woman be sexy and attractive? She can definitely have the same interests as him and a personality that works well with his. If he marries someone his own age, she is going to eventually be that age anyway, right? You might as well ask the question "Why do some men stay with their wives instead of divorcing and going for younger women?"

>>So, be it wisdom, sex appeal, desired tabloid scandal or Social Security benefits, there's a trend happening here, and the middle-aged ladies of yesterday are reeling in the freshest catches of today.

Only one thing to say to that: You go, girls!<<

Sometimes, the frame of mind an "older" woman is in, especially if she has already had a marriage and family, is appealing to a younger guy. Some guys aren't looking to have kids, and they find that women their age are either busy with their careers or want to settle down and have kids. Older women are more likely to be into finances, politics, and leisure. Also, maybe the guy wants to feel like the young trophy for a change, and older women are more likely to treat the relationship as "fun".

===============================================================================

GAL TEACHER SENTENCED IN BOY-RAPE
By JOE McGURK
June 20, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>A former Catholic high-school teacher who had sex with a 16-year-old student got a slap on the wrist yesterday despite an anguished letter from the boy's family.

Mildred Colon, 34, was given a five-month sentence for statutory rape in Bronx State Supreme Court for her tryst with the boy last year at a Bronx motel.

"You're a teacher," Justice William Mogulescu told her. "What you did was wrong, and you have to pay the consequences."

But he ruled that the sentence could be served concurrently with the seven-month term Colon was given in May after she pleaded guilty to having sex with the boy in her car on the Upper West Side.<<

I wonder if a male teacher would have gotten the same deal.

>>Colon said nothing during the hearing, but the victim's family addressed the judge in a letter. "We couldn't be in the same room as the teacher who left our only son with severe psychological scars," it read.<<

Did it really traumatize him? Maybe. Some kids his age would have had a blast. Still doesn't make it right.

===============================================================================

Man, I only ever got to go to swimming camp. Dang.

Organizers Say Teens' Nudist Summer Camp is Innocent Fun
BOB LEWIS - Associated Press
Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 - Posted on Fri, Jun. 20, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>RICHMOND, Va. - Activities for kids this summer at Camp White Tail: swimming, volleyball, arts and crafts, splattering a fellow camper's nude body with pudding.

White Tail, a nudist park in southeastern Virginia's Southampton County, opens its first summer camp for the 11-to-18 age group Saturday - only the third such au naturel camp for juveniles in the nation, according to the American Association of Nude Recreation.
[snip]
Also unusually, counselors outnumber the kids. They range in age from 19 to 25, and all have been thoroughly trained.

"There's 1 1/2 counselors for each camper," Roche said.

The camp is modeled after the AANR's Youth Leadership Camp, which has operated for 11 years near Tampa, Fla., said Carolyn Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Kissimmee, Fla.-based organization. The other youth nudist camp is in Arizona.
[snip]
For children, peer pressure discourages sexual conduct.<<

Uh yeah- because peer pressure keeps so many teens AWAY from sex. Sure.

>>"Most of these kids have grown up together and they're more like family than friends. So it would be like going to a family reunion and hitting on someone. It's just not the thing to do," Vickers said.

There's nothing illegal about gathering in the buff on private property, even for children, as long as being nude doesn't mean being lewd.

"To be illegal, the line that has to be crossed is lascivious intent," Murtaugh said. "Rest assured that law enforcement will be very aware and vigilant about this."<<

Not that you'd want to, of course, but you can find the American Association of Nude Recreation on the Web HERE.

===============================================================================

New Zealand Legalizes Brothels
Wed Jun 25, 8:07 AM ET - Reuters

Quotes:
>>WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Brothels will now be legal in New Zealand -- its parliament narrowly voted on Wednesday to overturn the country's 100-year-old sex laws which ban soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitution.<<

I've been meaning to take a trip to that area.

>>There are an estimated 8,000 prostitutes in New Zealand.

According to police figures, there have been 279 prosecutions for soliciting in the last five years and 14 for living off the earnings of prostitution.<<

===============================================================================

Here are three stories about a sordid local case I think we've covered before.

Assistant Principal's Sex Trial Begins
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press on Wednesday, June 25, 2003.
By JESSICA LOGAN - Valley Press Staff Writer
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>LANCASTER - Gilbert John Lara, Antelope Valley High School assistant principal, enticed a 17-year-old student into sexual acts in exchange for lavish gifts, Deputy District Attorney Rouman Ebrahim said in opening statements Tuesday.

Defense attorney Michael Eberhardt countered that the victim trumped up the allegations for financial gain.

Lara, whose trial began Tuesday after 1.5 days of jury selection, is accused of committing oral copulation on a former student. The longtime school administrator and teacher was arrested in January and subsequently charged with four counts of oral copulation on a minor over the course of six months.

The victim, now 18, reportedly was offered shelter and four vehicles by Lara during their relationship.
[snip]
During a break, many in the courtroom gallery encircled Lara with encouragement and support, and he offered the attendees a warm reception.
[snip]
During the school year, when the then-student was 17, Ebrahim said Lara committed at least four acts of oral copulation on the teen and showered him with pricey gifts including ski equipment, collectibles, toys and stereos and made available or gave him four vehicles, including a Jeep, a pickup truck and a Mitsubishi Diamante.

The alleged victim turned 18 in the summer of 2002, after he graduated from high school, and the relationship continued until December. By that point, Ebrahim said, the teen had moved into Lara's house.<<

Sounds like he really felt victimized. So victimized, he moved in.

>>When the relationship turned sour in December, Ebrahim said Lara kicked the teen out of the house, and the young man told his father of the relationship. The father called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Eberhardt told a much different story.

He told the jury Lara was a devoted educator who gave 15 years of his life to teaching and tried to help his students educationally, emotionally and sometimes financially. He characterized Lara as the kind of teacher who had "always gone the extra mile."

Eberhardt said the alleged victim pursued the charges because he wanted to extract money from his one-time mentor.<<

===

Teen Tells Jury of Relationship With Accused
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press on Thursday, June 26, 2003.
By JESSICA LOGAN - Valley Press Staff Writer
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>LANCASTER - Speaking softly into the microphone, an 18-year-old man told a jury how his former assistant principal at Antelope Valley High School, Gilbert John Lara, engaged him in an illicit sexual relationship while the teen was still a student and detailed the myriad gifts Lara showered on him, including several vehicles and other pricey presents.

Meanwhile, a throng of Lara's supporters packed the Lancaster courtroom and two people held large signs in front of the courthouse pronouncing their support for the longtime teacher and administrator.
[snip]
The witness said that as a senior at Antelope Valley High School, he ingratiated himself immediately with Lara, who arrived at the school as the new assistant principal in October 2001.

The 18-year-old said he worked that year as an assistant in the office where he came into close contact with the veteran educator, who transferred from Lancaster High School.

Later that year, the alleged victim said, he asked Lara if he would act as mentor for his senior project in which students shadow a professional and research his or her career.
[snip]
The next incident occurred on the afternoon before the school's prom in May, the witness said. The teen had told Lara that he didn't have a car and Lara offered him his Mitsubishi Diamonte.

But the teen said the car came with an unexpected price tag.

He testified Lara said, "You're borrowing my car; what am I getting out of it?"

Lara again performed oral sex on the teen and sent him on his way to the prom after changing the frame on his license plate, a detail the teen said he did not disclose until recently.
[snip]
But under cross-examination, the former student said he remembered other alleged sexual encounters that he had not mentioned in previous court hearings.
[snip]
The teen's story became more complicated under cross-examination as defense attorney Michael Eberhardt challenged his accuracy and veracity.
[snip]
Eberhardt also asked the alleged victim why Lara would set him up with his niece if they were having a relationship.<<

===

And finally:

All Charges Against Lara Dropped
Applause breaks out when judge makes announcement
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press on Friday, June 27, 2003.
By JESSICA LOGAN - Valley Press Staff Writer
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>LANCASTER - Gilbert John Lara fell into his supporters' arms and wailed uncontrollably as they praised G-d after the judge announced all charges against him had been dropped.

After Judge Randy Rogers made the announcement Thursday, applause erupted from the courtroom full of supporters, including teachers, friends and family.
[snip]
Deputy District Attorney Rouman Ebrahim's bombshell was just as shocking as the popular Antelope Valley High School administrator's arrest in January.

Citing insufficient evidence, Ebrahim dropped all charges against the longtime educator just before the third day of the trial was set to begin in North District Lancaster Superior Court.
[snip]
The youth's repeated replies of "I don't know," "I don't remember," created more and more questions and doubts about his credibility.
[snip]
The school district will pay Lara's back salary. He has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest.
[snip]
Even though the student said he felt manipulated, he said that Lara was "a good friend and a good mentor," before their falling out.

Despite the events of the last six months the 18-year-old said he still plans to become a school administrator.<<

===============================================================================

This educator wasn't so fortunate.

Ex-Teacher Gets 10 Years
July 1, 2003
By Jenifer Ragland, Times Staff Writer
This piece was found HERE.

Quote:
>>A former Camarillo High School teacher and coach who engaged in sex acts with several of his male students was sentenced to 10 years in state prison Monday after emotional pleas for justice by the teenagers and their families.

Chad Wenzlick Pridgen, 31, pleaded guilty in November to 20 felony and misdemeanor counts involving 11 teenage boys, most of whom were students at Camarillo High when Pridgen taught upper-level science and coached boys' tennis and soccer there. The incidents took place from 1999-2001.<<

Soccer. You gotta watch out for soccer.

>>Pridgen - who pleaded guilty to half of the original charges against him - spoke for the first time in his own defense, saying he was sorry for the crimes he committed but insisting that many of the charges had been exaggerated or made up altogether.
[snip]
His attorney, Paul Takakjian, went a step further and accused one of the victims in the case, who was 17 at the time, of blackmailing Pridgen in order to maintain a sexual relationship with him. Takakjian told the court that the boy insisted that Pridgen "bring other boys in" or he would expose him and their relationship.
[snip]
Monday's sentencing is not the end of Pridgen's legal troubles. He is named in a lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in damages from the Oxnard Union High School District, where Pridgen was employed as a teacher and coach for six years before his arrest.

Before pleading guilty last fall, Pridgen faced 39 felony and misdemeanor counts, including charges that he gave minors alcohol, showed them pornographic videos, masturbated in front of them and engaged in oral sex with them during weekend and after-school parties in his Camarillo home.<<

===============================================================================

I believe I ran a story about this case before. If so, here's an update.

Woman Pleads Guilty to Sex With Boy, 16
July 1, 2003
The former counselor, 32, was charged with 10 felony counts stemming from her relationship with the minor. She could face a prison term.
By David Reyes, Times Staff Writer
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>A former Orange County group home counselor accused of a relationship with a 16-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to 10 felony counts of having sex with a minor.

Trisha Lee Watkins, 32, of Santa Ana pleaded guilty before Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey on Friday to five counts each of oral copulation and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. A judge will determine if she should receive probation or a prison term.
[snip]
According to court documents, the encounters occurred between June 2 and Sept. 29 of last year in Watkins' car, at her home and at other locations after she and the boy developed a romantic relationship.

Watkins, who was a counselor at Olive Crest Group Home, told authorities the sexual acts between her and the boy were consensual, court documents said.<<

That only works for adults. So far.

>>Olive Crest staff were aware of "boundary" issues between Watkins and the boy as early as June 2002, when she was observed in the boy's room with the lights out. She showed favoritism toward the boy, whom she began visiting on her days off, the documents said.

She took the boy out for his birthday and later the two had outings together, including going to a concert, the beach, movies and shopping trips.

On July 7, 2002, Watkins was discovered rubbing the boy's back in his bedroom by a house manager who gave her a warning and told her to leave. Watkins was "receptive and apologetic" about the incident, documents showed.

But the next day at 9 p.m., the two were discovered by campus security in the back seat of her car in a fourth-floor parking structure at Chapman University in Orange. Watkins, whose clothing was described by the security officer as "disheveled," said she and the boy were having a counseling session, according to court documents.<<

I'll bet!

===============================================================================

Virgins Meet in Sin City, Tout Abstinence
Sun Jun 29, 7:54 AM ET - AP
By CHRISTINA ALMEIDA, Associated Press Writer

Were any thrown into the volcano at the Mirage? I’ll bet that convention isn't as fun as the one held in January every year.

Quotes:
>>LAS VEGAS - In a city known more for sin than virtue, a group of virgins from around the country gathered this weekend to send a message: wait until marriage.

It was a clash of the "Good Girls" and the sin-seekers as about 200 teens, parents and youth counselors descended on the Strip to pass out cards promoting abstinence.<<

Now that's really going to a mission field.

>>About 750 people traveled to Las Vegas to attend the seventh annual National Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference, which runs through Sunday. Featuring seminars on the history of abstinence and the consequences of premarital sex, the convention's theme is "Beyond the Neon: Creating a Culture of Character."<<

Considering we're all here, I'd say total abstinence doesn't have much of a history at all.

>>Convention exhibitors displayed various abstinence items, including "Keep It" underwear depicting a large red stop sign with the message "No Trespassing."<<

Heh- you've got to be kidding.

>>"(Abstinence is) a very important message to spread to teens all over," said Grimm, who works for the Abstinence Clearinghouse. "A lot of kids don't know about the dangers of premarital sex."<<

This is true. And a lot of them don't care. Whether it is what a pregnancy can do to your life, what diseases are out there, or what happens to you emotionally, it is not something to take lightly.

>>The reception was mixed Friday night as the virgin brigade passed out about 5,000 "Good Girl Cards" to mostly female passerbys, many clad in short skirts and low-cut tops. The event was designed to counter dozens of people who routinely hand out color ads for scantily clad entertainers and escorts on the Strip.
[snip]
But Clare Rose disagreed with the group's message, saying it should focus more on sex education.<<

There's already other people providing sex "education". Why not somebody offering a message of self-control?

>>"They're being narrow-minded and naive," said the 21-year-old who was walking by with friends. "People in this day and age are not, not going to have sex."<<

And they're not not going to speak clearly, either, right? The truth is, there are virgins of various ages out there. There are people who marry as virgins, and there are more people who wish they had. "Everybody's doing it" is not true.

>>But the movement has grown in recent years, with more than one million teens and college students registering their virtue with True Love Waits, one of several abstinence campaigns. While True Love Waits is a faith-based organization, the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Abstinence Clearinghouse is not.

Many supporters cite increases in sexually transmitted diseases as reason enough to wait until marriage. Studies show that in the United States there are about 45 million cases of herpes, 20 million cases of human papillomavirus (HPV) and 900,000 people living with.<<

Fun stuff.

>>"There's no condom on the face of this earth that can prevent HPV. It's so highly contagious," said Melodi Hawley, a 21-year-old director of a sex and family education office in Denham Springs, La.<<

Director? At that age, you know it is just her working out of her bedroom. And why not? Nothing else is going on there!

>>A national study published last week by the conservative Heritage Foundation found that girls who begin sexual activity at age 13 are twice as likely to become infected by a sexually transmitted disease as girls who begin having sex at the age of 21.

The study also found nearly 40 percent of girls who start having sex at ages 13 and 14 will give birth outside of marriage. And they're more than three times as likely to become single mothers.

"The earlier a girl had begun sexual activity, the less likely she was to be happy in her life many, many years later," said Robert Rector, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a speaker at the convention.<<

I'll just take this opportunity to mention how great the Heritage Foundation is. Check them out HERE.

>>For Luis Galdamez, a 36-year-old abstinence educator from Wildomar, Calif., it was important to stress that anyone can practice abstinence until marriage, even if you're no longer a virgin.<<

This is true. It is less likely that they will, but it is always an option.

Two related sites to check out: National Abstinence Clearinghouse HERE; True Love Waits HERE.


===============================================================================

Speaking of reproductive activities:

Nation's Birth Rate Falls to Record Low
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON June 26
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>America's birth rate fell to a record low last year as both teenagers and women in their prime childbearing years had fewer babies, the government said Wednesday.<<

That is a problem. We're going to have more old people than we'll have young people to take care of them. Hope you like immigration.

>>The birth rate was 13.9 per 1,000 persons in 2002, the Health and Human Services Department announced. That compares with 14.1 a year ago. The most recent high was 16.7 in 1990.
[snip]
A major factor in the decline has been the reduction in births to teenagers in recent years, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said. He called that "a significant accomplishment."<<

Depends on how that is being achieved. If it is through chastity, it is wonderful. If it is because they are following the example of Monica Lewinsky and/or getting pregnant but not giving live birth, I'd say that's not a good thing.

>>Hamilton noted that women in their prime childbearing years have been choosing to have fewer children and, as the population ages, there are fewer women in their 20s and 30s.

Overall, there were 4,019,280 births in the United States in 2002, down from 4,025,933 the year before.
[snip]
The birth rate for unmarried women declined last year to 43.6 per 1,000 unmarried women, but this group still accounted for more than one-third of all births.<<

Pregnancies among unmarried women are a serious problem.

===============================================================================

Deserving
Article Published: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 1:58:39 PM PST
Dennis O'Hoyt
Long Beach
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>California children deserve a high-quality education. Retirees deserve prescription drugs. Homeowners and businesses deserve police protection. Minorities deserve remedies against discrimination. Everyone deserves access to necessary medical and legal services.<<

Who decided everyone deserved all of this?

>>It seems nobody in our society is getting what they feel they deserve.<<

Maybe some people have a warped sense of entitlement.

>>Why is it that we hear the most whining from the most affluent members of society?<<

I don't think we do.

>>Their anti-tax mantra drones on like a broken record. These are the very individuals who have the least to complain about. Yes, they feel that they deserve to keep more of what they earn, but they are no more entitled to it than anyone else.<<

If someone works for something, shouldn't it be theirs? Why should the "wealthy" have a higher percentage of their earnings taken?

>>Having climbed the socio-economic ladder, they would pull it up after themselves rather than endure the imposition of having to invest back into the society that helped cultivate their success.<<

I think you'd find that most wealthy people want to see others do well, too. The more money the less wealthy make, the more they have to spend on the products and services offered by the wealthy.

>>If higher taxes means they have to cancel that expensive trip to Europe so that the elderly can receive hot lunches, then show them no sympathy.<<

Why would the elderly rely on tax money for hot lunches? What about planning for the future; friends, family, and peer groups?

===============================================================================

Clinton Says Gains Made Under Him Being Erased
June 25, 2003
BY COURTNEY K. WADE - Staff Reporter
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday pointed his finger at the Bush administration, saying it is erasing accomplishments that he worked hard to achieve.<<

Yeah, well, as the current administration, they have the right to erase "accomplishments" of previous administrations.

>>Clinton said the United States cannot be strong abroad, a reference to the war on terrorism, and weak or divided at home over social issues<<

Of course we can be divided on those. We always have been, because we are a free and open society where people can openly dissent.

>>"Minority students, especially African Americans and Latinos, are disproportionately less likely to have a level playing field in public schools in the years running up to college," Clinton said.<<

Especially since you and your party made it harder for them to receive assistance to go to schools where they'd find a better education. Public schools are a sinking ship anyway.

>>"If we had equal spending and educational quality in every single public school in this country, we wouldn't need affirmative action for college admissions anymore," he said.<<

So, we can never get rid of some system that favors some people based on their skin color? I mean really- how do you make every school equal? You can't.

>>Clinton also spoke about President Bush's tax cut plan that, for him, will equal an estimated $80,000 windfall.

He said he'd rather not get a check if it means cutting education, health care, after-school programs and raising the cost of student loans.<<

Then send the money to private organizations that assist with things like that. NONE of those things listed are the tasks of the Federal government, according to the U.S. Constitution, so it is wrong to take money by force from people for those things. Any refund of that money is a step towards justice.

>>He encouraged the mostly black audience to vote for leaders who have their best interests at heart.<<

How about leaders who will care about the nation as a whole?

===============================================================================

Thurmond was a real character.

STROM THURMOND 1902-2003
June 27, 2003
Longest-Serving Senator Led Segregationist South
By Edwin Chen and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>WASHINGTON - Former Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a onetime symbol of fierce Southern resistance to integration and the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, died Thursday night. He was 100.
[snip]
Thurmond, a Democrat-turned-Republican who first came to the Senate in 1954, bade farewell to his colleagues last November. "That's all," he told the Senate chamber in his last appearance. He remained in Washington until the official date of his retirement in early January.
[snip]
Thurmond, who was born Dec. 5, 1902, had been in frail health.<<

He was born exactly a year after Walt Disney.

>>Thurmond's ardent opposition to the growing civil rights movement in the late 1940s established him as a national figure - and created a legacy for which some never forgave him.

Initially a Democrat, he bolted the party in 1948 to protest the national convention's inclusion of a civil rights plank in its platform. Serving as South Carolina's governor at the time, he ran for president in the general election as a "States' Rights Dixiecrat," winning Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Preaching a segregationist creed, he declared defiantly during the campaign: "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our eating places, our schools, our churches, our swimming pools and our theaters."

Thurmond returned to the Democratic fold after winning his first Senate term in 1954 as an independent write-in candidate - a feat unique in U.S. history. But he continued to find himself at odds with the party as the issue of equal rights for blacks gained momentum.

In 1955, Thurmond initiated the "Southern Manifesto," a petition he circulated in Congress calling for all-out resistance to the Supreme Court's 1954 decision outlawing segregation in schools.<<

Seems so strange now. I can't imagine life without the diversity I experience (and enjoy) in southern California.

>>In 1957, he set what remains the Senate record for longest filibuster, talking for 24 hours and 18 minutes against a civil rights bill. After he finally sat down, the measure passed, 60 to 15.<<

He was about 55 years old back then.

>>In 1964, he helped lead opposition to that year's landmark Civil Rights Act, which banned discrimination in public accommodations. He denounced it as a traitorous measure promoted by "Negro agitators spurred on by communist enticements."

Later that year, Thurmond officially switched parties, becoming a Republican and campaigning for GOP presidential nominee Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona. As he changed parties, he altered his agenda, focusing less on race and more on traditional conservative issues, such as opposing "big government" and championing a strong national defense.

An astute politician, Thurmond also adapted quickly to the changed reality of Southern politics - the sudden influx of black voters after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 swept aside the discriminatory laws that had kept them from the polls.

Thurmond opposed the measure but wasted little time attempting to court black support. He became the first senator from the Deep South to hire black staff members and appoint blacks to patronage jobs. He brought home federal projects that benefited black communities. He voted for renewal of the Voting Rights Act and the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.<<

Indeed. That's called representing your voters.

>>Thurmond, since 1996 the oldest person to serve in Congress, at one time held the largely honorary post of Senate president pro tempore, which put him behind only the vice president and the speaker of the House in the line of presidential succession.<<

Imagine that.

>>Although slowed in recent years by age, Thurmond was a lifelong physical fitness buff. A teetotaler, he ate mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly turnip greens.

He also engaged in strenuous exercises - swimming, lifting weights, doing push-ups and running. In a legendary 1964 confrontation, he handily wrestled a colleague, Sen. Ralph Yarborough (D-Texas), to the floor of a Capitol corridor in a dispute. Both men were then 61, but Yarborough was 20 pounds heavier.<<

Hard core! I can only imagine what Bob Dornan would have done if left in the House.

>>Thurmond also was known for his fondness for women, which he rarely failed to display, as many female Capitol elevator operators over the years could attest.

During a celebration of his 96th birthday, Thurmond found himself surrounded by enthusiastic cheerleaders at a football game; clad in a jersey that bore the number 96, a beaming Thurmond declared in his thick Southern drawl: "I may be 96 years old, but I still like young women!"<<

That man had to have a lot of testosterone.

>>During the long hours of Clinton's impeachment trial, when all senators were required to sit in silence during the presentation of evidence and arguments, few seemed to pay more attention than Thurmond, who cast his vote against the president.

He was born and raised in Edgefield, where today a statue of him stands in the middle of the courthouse square. Although a small town, it is the birthplace of nine others who served as South Carolina governors; Thurmond worked there as a teacher, coach and school superintendent.

He studied law under his father and was elected a state senator at age 29, launching a political career that also included a judgeship.

During World War II, as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, he parachuted into Normandy on D-day in June 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his military service. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.<<

Amazing.

>>As governor, he was the subject of a three-page photo spread in Life magazine in 1947. The occasion was his marriage in the governor's mansion to his young secretary, Jean Crouch. It was Thurmond's first marriage; he was 44, she was 21.<<

Right-on!

>>Jean Thurmond died in 1960 of a brain tumor. They had no children.

Thurmond remarried when he was 66. His bride, Nancy Moore of Aiken, S.C., was 22 and a former Miss South Carolina in the Miss America contest.<<

Man, if he hadn't been such a powerful bigot at one point, he'd be my hero. If he truly repented, I guess he could be.

>>They had four children, two daughters and two sons, before separating in 1991.<<

She probably couldn't keep up with him.

>>Three of Thurmond's children survive him - J. Strom Thurmond Jr., Julie Thurmond Whitmer and Paul Thurmond - as does his first grandson, Martin Taylor Whitmer III, born June 16. His eldest child, Nancy, died in 1993 after being struck by a drunk driver. Her death intensified Thurmond's opposition to efforts to liberalize laws regulating alcohol use.<<

What a life.

===============================================================================

Article Published: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 3:35:38 PM PST
Prager's Complaint
V. Livingston
Rancho Palos Verdes
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>Dennis Prager really got his knickers in a knot this time (Comment, June 24). His villain is liberalism itself, and liberals. And oooh -- such a lot of loathing and contempt, coming from a man of deep moral values.<<

You say that as if loathing and contempt are antithetical to moral values, which couldn't be more wrong.

>>Not to mention a striking lack of gratitude for freedoms won by liberals and the tradition of liberal thought. If liberals are so terrible, subtracting them from the last 200 years should make things look quite peachy:<<

Uh, I think he's talking about present-day liberalism, which is a far cry from traditional liberalism.

>>There'd be no public radio or PBS<<

Good!

>>no free press and no news but FOX<<

Now that's just nonsense.

>>Without liberals the tiny percentage of tax revenues now paid by corporations would be zero instead.<<

Hey, how about sales taxes and user fees?

>>Ditto workplace protections, unemployment pay, pension laws, 40-hour weeks, overtime and minimum wage.<<

If you don't like what a company offers, don't work for them.

>>More zeros for Medicare, Social Security<<

Good. Pyramid schemes. You'd be arrested for trying the same thing.

>>safety nets<<

Ever hear of churches, temples, charities, families, friends, insurance?

>>court-appointed lawyers and social services.<<

Not true.

>>No unions<<

If you don't like what a company offers, don't work for them.

>>and no book, theater or film industries as we know them.<<

Huh?

>>Without liberals forget free speech only half of us could vote and of course no abortions.<<

Less than half of us do vote, free speech would be fine, and let's not touch abortion in this section.

===============================================================================

June 26, 2003
LETTERS TO THE TIMES
Will Racial Entitlements Be a Permanent System?
This piece was found HERE.

Jim Redhead
San Diego

Quote:
>>In its two long-awaited decisions, the Supreme Court simply validated the 1978 Bakke case, in which Justice Lewis Powell justified using race as a factor in university admissions as part of a compelling state interest in achieving greater student body diversity (June 24).

In writing for the new majority opinion, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote that "we expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."

If we have not been able to eliminate race as a consideration in the last 25 years, why does O'Connor think that we will be able to successfully do so after the next 25 years?

Unfortunately, we have now established a permanent system of racial entitlement in this country, especially because the achievement of a "critical mass," or "greater student body diversity" will always be elusive goals and because those who benefit from these decisions know that chief executives, college administrators and governmental officials will never have the courage to say "enough!"<<

That is one of the big questions. When is enough enough? When is it okay to discriminate on the basis of "race"? -That's another.

===

Allan Kokin
Los Angeles

Quote:
>>It appears as if the Supreme Court has ruled that universities can select their sports teams strictly by talent and capability, but when they select potential doctors and lawyers, it is acceptable to use some other standard.<<

Nothing to add to that.

===============================================================================

Lifting the Fog
A.0. Kragh
Arcadia
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>Pat Topping (letters, June 23) is not surprised at no weapons of mass destruction having been found yet in Iraq, but claims to be confused about the conflict there. Let me see if I can clear the fog for Pat.

First: that no such weapons have been found is indeed not surprising since the Baath regime had several weeks to hide them, move them out of the country, or dispose of them while coalition forces deployed in Kuwait and Qatar. Precursors of such weapons have, however, been found as well as two mobile bio-labs. In addition, Iraq is known to have possessed and used such weapons and to date they have not all been accounted for.<<

The burden of proof was on Saddam. We stopped bombing Iraq in 1991 because he agreed to destroy his "illegal" weapons and prove that he did.

>>Second: President Bush did not warn Saddam Hussein to rid the country of WMD "or there would be a war.' Twelve years of United Nations resolutions did. Security Council Resolution 1441 warned of "serious consequences' if Iraq was not forthcoming about such weapons. That enforcement of 1441 fell primarily to the United States and Great Britain is only logical since there is no other democracy with the ability or the will to enforce it.<<

===============================================================================
WARNING: The following story is about stuff the Mormon church doesn't like to publicize. If you are a member of a monolithic, exclusivist, controlling church that advises you not to read something portraying its early leaders in less than flattering light, you may not want to read this.
===============================================================================

History is fun.

A Shameful Chapter in Mormon History
By Cecilia Rasmussen, Times Staff Writer
June 29, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>The Mountain Meadows Massacre took place in southern Utah nearly 150 years ago, but it touched Southern California's history too, leading to the demise of a fledgling Mormon community in San Bernardino.

Early on a Monday morning in September 1857, about 140 men, women and children on a California-bound wagon train were slaughtered under a flag of truce by Mormons who apparently considered the act a long-delayed vengeance, or "blood atonement," for persecution of their faith.

In the 1830s and '40s, Mormons were often tarred and feathered or even killed, and their homes and businesses were burned. Their founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered in 1844 in Illinois, and Mormons retreated into the western wilderness.<<

Yeah, people didn't take so kindly back then to people who said all other churches were corrupt and wrong and that only a new church started by a guy who went around digging for buried treasure was valid.

>>When the 1857 massacre occurred at a popular resting place for wagon trains in a valley on the emigrant trail, the Mormon Church blamed Paiute Indians.<<

Nice.

>>It was not only the number of dead that horrified a westward-moving nation; it was the gruesome butchery. Army troops visiting the site almost two years later reported finding skulls, scraps of clothing and clumps of hair still strewn around.

As evidence emerged over time - most recently in an excavation in 1999 - the massacre was shown to have been the handiwork of about 50 Mormons, many of them disguised as Indians. They were commanded by John Doyle Lee, a prominent and wealthy Mormon and a friend of Brigham Young, who was Joseph Smith's heir and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.<<

Interesting. Courts determined that true heirs were the church that was until recently known as the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, not the Utah church.

>>Lee, considered by many to have been a scapegoat for Young, was convicted for his role in the murders and executed by firing squad 20 years later at the Mountain Meadows Massacre site.

Sally Denton tells the story in horrifying detail in her new book, "American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857." She draws on official reports of the time, including interviews with witnesses, and on the evidence from the 1999 dig.
[snip]
In 1851, Young sent 437 pioneers from Salt Lake City on an arduous 800-mile trek across harsh desert to settle at the base of the Cajon Pass. Within a year, the Mormons had agreed to buy the 40,000-acre Rancho San Bernardino.

Among the pioneers was Biddy Mason, a slave who would become one of California's richest women and founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. She fought her Mormon owner to win her freedom.

The pioneers built a boom town free of liquor and gambling. It served as a major link in the church's supply line between San Pedro's harbor and Salt Lake City, and as a way station for missionaries and converts heading to Salt Lake. The town's population soon swelled to 3,000.

In 1853, San Bernardino broke away from Los Angeles County, becoming a county in its own right. The town was incorporated a year later.<<

Los Angeles County used to include San Bernardino, Orange County, and parts of what is now Ventura County.

>>President Buchanan declared Utah in open rebellion and sent troops to replace Young with a non-Mormon territorial governor. Young responded by placing Utah under martial law and preparing to go to war.

Against this backdrop, about 200 prosperous and optimistic emigrants left Arkansas for California by wagon train. They passed through Cedar City, Utah, and made camp 35 miles beyond, at Mountain Meadows.

Local Mormons, angry over the recent killing of one of their "apostles" near Arkansas and by the approach of Army troops, viewed the wagon train as a hostile force and refused to sell food to the travelers.

On Sept. 7, 1857, the emigrants were basking in the early morning sun when gunfire rained down upon them. Seven men were killed in the first volley. The others quickly moved the wagons into a barricade. But snipers began picking off settlers one by one, wounding 46 others that day. A bullet tore through the earlobe of a 3-year-old girl.

On the third day of the siege, desperate for water and "hoping to appeal to the humanity of their enemies, the emigrants dressed two little girls in 'spotless white' and sent them with a bucket toward the spring," Denton wrote. "Both were shot dead in an instant."<<

Good times.

>>On the fourth day, a Mormon with a white flag approached the weary, hungry and thirsty immigrants. The travelers were being attacked by Indians, he said; Lee was a federal Indian agent who could escort them safely through Indian territory if they would lay down their weapons and hand over their possessions.

The settlers agreed, only to be betrayed. The men were slaughtered first - shot, stabbed and clubbed. Then the killers fell upon the women and children.

Two teenage sisters who promised to love and obey Lee in exchange for their lives were stripped of their clothes, raped and brutally murdered.

Seventeen children younger than 8 were allowed to live because the killers believed they were too young to tell credible tales. All were placed in Mormon homes. Some remembered their new "relatives" wearing the clothes and jewelry that had belonged to their slain mothers.

Two children, Rebecca Dunlap, 6, and her sister, Louisa, 4, would be among the first witnesses to report having watched the Mormon killers, disguised as Indians, wash off their war paint in a stream. Rebecca later recounted that they were taken to a ranch with a little boy who had been shot in the leg. He was crying. "The men stopped the wagon. One got out took the little boy by the feet and knocked his brains out against the wagon wheel."

Before returning home, the killers pledged to stand by one another and promised to maintain that the massacre had been the work of Paiute Indians.

"This was the advice of Brigham Young too," Lee wrote in a tell-all book while awaiting execution. The book, "Mormonism Unveiled or Life & Confession of John D. Lee," was published in 1877 and became a best-seller.
[snip]
In late October, as anti-Mormon fury spread in California, San Bernardino colonists were recalled to Utah. Two-thirds of the members obeyed.

The rest refused, not wanting to leave the prosperous and comfortable settlement, yet knowing they would be excommunicated for staying. Some would later join a splinter branch of the church that bore no allegiance to Young. It would be another 60 years before Mormons established an official presence in San Bernardino.<<

There are so many splinter groups. That's the kind of thing that happens after the death of a movement's founder, especially because he isolated his church from all others, had a view that the Scriptures were still being added to, and claimed total authority.

>>A memorial erected two years after the massacre was pulled down in 1861, by Brigham Young himself.<<

How did he have time with all of those wives he had?

===============================================================================

Are We Accidental or Intended?

Decide About God
Barbara Huffaker
Whittier
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>Robert Canales, in his recent letter regarding chimps and humans, brings up some interesting points until he discusses evolution, where he misleads.
[snip]
He surmises mammals are ancestors of humans ‘‘as evident in the fossil records.'' The fossil record shows no such evidence; evolution's an interpretation of the record.<<

This is true. The fossil record can tell us some things, but it does not "prove" macroevolution as the means to the origin of the species. It simply shows which forms of life where trapped in which strata.

>>He apparently believes in that evolutionary scapegoat, ‘‘millions of years.'' The term is used for convenience, as in no proof required since it happened so long ago.<<

I do not believe that time+matter/energy = life. Humans have not witnessed such an equation in action. What we do see all of the time is information+matter/energy = life.

>>The fact that evolutionary theory defies laws of physics and mathematical possibility are concealed by this catch phrase as if physics and math are as changeable as the theory itself.

There is no proof of the biblical creation story either, yet unlike evolution its separate components have never been disproved. On the contrary, science continually confirms statements in the Bible, often centuries later. The Bible has a long-standing history of accuracy.

Evolution is a theory created by humans to deny G-d.<<

Actually, Darwin didn't invent evolution. The theory has existed in various forms for a long time. However, it is true that it is now often approached with the assumption that there is no G-d and yet here we are.

If you look at the universe with the presupposition that there is no G-d, the only "possible" explanation for the cosmos is everything must have started from simple things and gotten more complicated. Unfortunately for that idea, things don't seem to work that way, nor do things seem to pop into existence from nothing. Scientists are also finding example after example of "irreducible complexity" - systems within an organism or systems between two or more organisms that depend on complex parts working together, or the whole is totally ineffective, even destructive. How could such systems "evolve"?

Regardless of what you believe about how long life has been around or what stages it has passed through, it boils down to the fact that either a higher intelligence was involved in making our universe what it is, or it wasn't. People who believe there was no higher intelligence involved must believe that humans and all animals, all forms of life are the product of a series of impossibly unlikely beneficial mutations, that nonliving materials somehow became living materials, that all of the matter and physics that makes up the planet, solar system, galaxy, and universe have either always existed or somehow came into existence from nothing.

On the other hand, how does anyone know there is NOT a higher intelligence capable of designing, making, and/or directing any of it? So who is expressing unreasonable faith?


===============================================================================
WARNING: The rest of this news round-up deals with incest, statutory rape, child pornography, and related illegal and/or immoral activities. The stories are disturbing but true, from reputable news sources, and my comments are not light-hearted, though some are sarcastic.
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The Supreme Court of the United States of America, and many people, believe there is an actual right to privacy to the extent that consenting adults should have the right to do whatever sexual/genital activity they choose to in private. Somehow, people believe this does not include a right to adult incest, but I do not see how such a restriction on this "right" could withstand the standard of "consent". After all, aren't two adults, closely related or not, able to decide for themselves? Furthermore, I would not find it shocking if the age of consent is lowered. After all, how can birth control and abortion be provided to "underage" people without parental consent unless these "underage" people have a right to privacy extending to their consent to sexual behavior?

Please understand that I'm not saying two men or two women should be prosecuted for amorous activities in their bedrooms. I'm simply saying that there are other ways to allow that besides ruling that there is a Constitutional right to privacy that extends to such activity. It is like using a bomb to kill a fly.


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Article Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 - 7:28:26 PM PST
Found Fetus Linked to Incest
Probe centers on teen boy, sister
By MELISSA PINION-WHITT, STAFF WRITER
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>BLOOMINGTON -- Sheriff's detectives investigating the death of a fetus found in an alley arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of committing incest with his sister, the baby's mother.<<

The death of a "fetus"? That's a stage of development. We're talking about a human being.

>>The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office will determine whether the 22-year-old who gave birth to the child will also be charged with incest, sheriff's officials said. Incest is a felony.<<

Why? "Who are we to judge?" Don't people have a Constitutional right to do whatever they want to in their bedrooms? San Bernardino, for anyone who doesn't know, is a geographically large county stretching from Los Angeles to California's eastern border, and it has a growing population.

>>"They're going to submit the criminal case and the coroner's report to the District Attorney and let the D.A. determine if any charges will be filed," said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers.

Children playing in an alley in the 18400 block of Ninth Street discovered the premature newborn 7:24 p.m. Monday evening, Beavers said.

Deputies discovered that Jennifer Alvarez had given birth to the boy more than nine hours earlier and left him in the alley, not informing anyone about the fetus until deputies arrived.

Detectives estimated the boy was born between 3 to 5 months premature.

The woman's brother, whose name was not released because of his age, was booked into San Bernardino County Juvenile Hall.<<

Why was he arrested before his sister? He's the younger one.

>>San Bernardino County coroner's officials determined the child died of natural causes in the womb.<<

Was there a genetic problem? Did this woman not take care of herself? What?

>>Alvarez's relatives said they had no idea she was pregnant and were even more shocked to learn Alvarez had been having sex with her brother.

"I don't know what was going through her head" said Roseanne Granillo, Alvarez's aunt. "It's just shocking to me that she just had a baby in the back like that."

Granillo said Alvarez and her brother had been in separate foster homes much of their lives. She began taking care of her niece three years ago when she got out of foster care.

Alvarez got to see her brother twice a year when he received a pass to visit family members, Granillo said.<<

So, there's a history of turmoil and not an ideal sibling relationship.

>>Family members discovered blood around the house on Monday, but it wasn't until later in the day that Alvarez admitted she had given birth.

Alvarez was taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center for treatment and later released. She remained at her aunt's home in the late afternoon.

Granillo, who talked about the ordeal while cleaning up behind the home on Tuesday, said the incident has been a strain on her family.

"You hear about a lot of things out in the world and you don't expect it to happen to you. It's just shattered my family," she said.<<

I would think so, but I can see society moving in a direction where no arrests would be made in this situation and no newspaper would cover it.

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There are three articles discussing another situation below. This is more disturbing than the previous story.

Trial Reveals Child Porn, Incest Charges
July 10, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>WATSEKA (Illinois)-- "He's one of the cooler older people in our town."

The Thawville teen smiled warmly as she made this assessment in Iroquois County Circuit Court on Wednesday of accused child pornographer Richard Mirto.

Yet the topless photo of her on Mirto's computer is one of the bits of evidence State's Attorney Jim Devine and Sheriff's Detective Randy Eimen say could put the 34-year-old Mirto in prison for up to 80 years.

Testimony continued this morning in Mirto's sparsely attended trial, a process which has thus far proven a seamy revelation of teens and tots filmed naked and in some cases engaging in sexual intercourse with adults.<<

Are you aware that there is a serious movement afoot to grant "rights" to children (working incrementally down from 17 years of age) to engage in sex with people of any age? It might outrageous now, but all it takes is enough people in the American Psychiatric Association to agree to either dismiss or refine the definition of pedophilia and related terms. Then, advocates can work on getting media, academia, religious communities, and judges/legislators to tow the line.

>>But more than that, it's displayed a perverse way of life which can thrive unseen even in the sleepy small towns of the conservative Corn Belt.

Mirto is accused of possessing hundreds of "kiddie porn" photos, both those manufactured by himself and acquaintances and those fetched from Internet sources.<<

Never, never, never allow your child to use a networked terminal without supervision.

>>But he's also accused of breaching a social compact, a timeless taboo recognized and enforced by virtually every society -- incest.

She's just 16.<<

That's legal age in some states.

>>And when the lithe young woman with the honey-colored hair took the stand Wednesday afternoon, careful observers couldn't help notice her mouth a silent "I love you" to her father, seated a score of feet away.<<

See? She thinks she loves him. Isn't that enough?

>>Mirto smiled in response, seeming almost relieved despite knowing the stories which would follow in the next moments. Mirto's daughter is now in a foster home, far removed from the local area.

She told of approaching her father last summer when the two were alone in his Thawville home, then asking him for sex. She said she wanted to experience it with a grown man.<<

This is where a reasonable, sane, moral father would seek professional help -from therapists who would still frown on incest AND 16-year-olds having sex with adults- for his daughter.

>>In the minutes which followed, in his bedroom/computer room, father and daughter disrobed and discarded the taboo.

But the pretty teen's memory faded when Devine asked her to repeat the videotaped testimony she'd given earlier to Eimen and Detective Jonathan Rieches.

Devine shoved the video cassette into the Sony and those present heard her tell of yet another event. In this instance, she and a 16-year-old female friend engaged in sex as a group.<<

Again, "Who are we to judge?"

>>According to police, the tape also reveals yet another event in which the girl engages in sexual relations with both her father and her mother, Laura Kozicki, 35, at Kozicki's Onarga home.<<

See? Parental consent and supervision.

>>All of it was allegedly videotaped by Ms. Kozicki's boyfriend, Brian Pakula, 34, of Onarga.<<

So, her mother and her father are having sex, but the mother also has a boyfriend. I guess if you are having group sex with your own children, that wouldn't seem so strange. Did they have any pets?

>>Both Kozicki and Pakula are in jail awaiting trial on that allegation, so Devine stopped the tape before her descriptions of the incident could unfold.

There is no jury. Mirto chose to take his chances with the ruling of Judge Gordon Lustfeldt.<<

A jury might have been better for the defense. You can convince some juries of anything.

>>Mirto rejected a plea which would have seen him serve 20 years in prison.

As a consequence, if he loses today, his prison time is likely to burgeon by half, say police.

Wednesday's testimony included the story of how Mirto's world began to crumble when another teen who, Mirto's daughter testified, had sex with her and her father came to police at the urging of her mother.<<

The more people you include in your crime, the more likely someone will talk.

>>Eimen retold of interviews conducted with 15-year-old Piper City girls at Tri-Point High School and with another juvenile teen at Iroquois West High School in Gilman.

Nude and semi-nude photos of the Piper City girls were entered in evidence. Those photos and others which came to police attention early in the investigation came not from forensic investigation of Mirto's computer, but from Mirto's kin.

His sister, Kim Kissee of the Plato area on the Iroquois River east of Ashkum, told of finding the forbidden pornographic images when she browsed her brother's computer as he bathed in an adjoining room.<<

That's got to be the last thing she wanted to see.

>>She told him nothing of her discovery, but instead told her mother, who lived nearby.

Ms. Kissee, glancing toward her brother from time to time, broke down intermittently.

She told the court she later warned him to remove the illegal images from his computer and he told her that he had.

One of the images, according Eimen's testimony, included a boy of about three years of age receiving oral sex from an adult female. "That got our attention," he said.<<

I have no idea how some people can't see that there is something amiss about the current state of humanity.

>>She said her mother, worried over the revelation, called her and said she had to know the truth.

So with her husband, mother and her nephew, Ms. Kissee went to Mirto's home when he was gone. Her mother, she claimed, had a key and permission to enter the home.

She said the family sleuths took "about 40 computer discs" to her mother's house, where several of the family viewed the images they contained.

"What did you see?" Devine asked.

"What didn't I see!" she responded.<<

Of course, buy possessing and viewing the material, weren't they also in violation of the law?

>>She said they duplicated some of the discs onto blank discs and she presented these to Eimen.

Defense attorney Mark Thompson sought to reinforce the point that she lacked specific permission to take the discs and that the illegal images were then loaded on to discs she owned, presumably making her the legal possessor of illegal images.

According to Eimen's testimony, Mirto's computer was taken by Eimen and Rieches with his permission. Some of the images it contained were viewed at police headquarters. The computer was then delivered to Springfield crime lab capable of fully examining the computer's memory. Expanded testimony on its contents is expected today.<<

The story continues:

Sex Case Details Sordid
Mike Lyons , The Daily Journal
July 11, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>WATSEKA -- Once she weighed 300 pounds.

A 15-year-old castoff from a dysfunctional family, she sought affection and acceptance where she could find it.

She found it, or what passed for it, in the Thawville home of accused child molester and pornographer Richard Mirto, 34.

Now 19, the newly slim and attractive young woman walked into the Iroquois County courtroom Thursday as though she'd walked through the gates of Hell itself.

Her shoulders bowed, her hands raised to her face, she sobbed almost from the moment she took the stand to testify against the man she had once relied upon for support.

Mirto, in the final day of a trial which could see him jailed for decades, rocked incessantly in the straight-backed courtroom chair.

This was the teen who started his house of cards tumbling.<<

Thank G-d for her.

>>This was the girl who, upset by his apparent affection for another,<<

Who DIDN'T this guy lust after?

>>told Mirto's sister about his alleged illegal sex with under-age girls, his production of child pornography and his possession of hundreds of such images from the Internet.

This was the girl who first told of participating in a three-person sexual encounter, which also included Mirto and his 16-year-old daughter.

And this is the girl who first went to police to report the crimes unfolding in a modest home in a quiet country town in Iroquois County.

Judge Gordon Lustfeldt will render a verdict Monday, after a full weekend to mull mounds of evidence and evaluate the testimony of eight prosecution and three defense witnesses.<<

I don't envy that job.

>>Few in the courtroom Thursday will forget the images of the three girls struggling with the humiliation of taking the stand to tell the world the most intimate details of their early teen sexual experiences at the hands of an adult man.

Their experiences allegedly included his photographing them in various stages of nudity and storing those images in his computer.

"I hope he lives a long, healthy life in prison," the mom of one of the victims said outside the courtroom during a brief recess. "So he can know what it's like to be raped!"<<

Oh, he's going to get passed around like a joint.

>>"I was raped at age 11, so I know what she's going through. I can still smell his breath," she says of her attacker fully four decades since the event.

Back inside Lustfeldt's courtroom, her pixie-like daughter -- just 14 when the 33-year-old Mirto is alleged to have violated her -- has just completed painful testimony of her chance friendship with Mirto's five children. About going to Mirto's mother's home to swim. About nude photos. About a stay-over when Mirto sent his five children upstairs to bed, then rolled onto the 14-year-old as she was attempting to sleep on the living room sofa.

"She can't sleep. She has anxiety attacks and she's seeing a psychiatrist," said her infuriated Piper City mom.

It's like that with another teen as well. Now living out of the area, the slender blond told of being photographed nude, then, later, violated in Mirto's home.

Public Defender Mark Thompson, the former state's attorney, put Mirto's 16-year-old son on the stand, a move apparently intended to at least partially deflect pornography charges by having the teen son of the accused admit to the being the photographer. He had, for a time, dated the slender blonde girl.<<

Yeah, that's it- try to drag your son down, too.

>>But Lustfeldt halted the teen before any incriminating admissions could be made, statements which would brand him a felon and tarnish his chances for a decent life.

Proceedings were halted as attorney Dale Srough was brought to the courthouse to counsel the youth. When court began again, the teen chose to exercise his right not to testify and incriminate himself.

Suddenly, just outside Lustfeldt's courtroom Mirto's mother, Frances Shampine, collapsed. She suffers from multiple sclerosis and collapses with fair regularity, a family acquaintance noted. Minutes later she was strapped to a gurney and rushed to Iroquois Memorial Hospital.

The collapse came just minutes after she testified for her son. She says the former 300-pound girl once stayed with her but had a fixation on her son and visited him constantly.<<

He's the adult. It is his responsibility to maintain proper boundaries.

>>Finally, Mirto himself took the stand. He, not surprisingly, denied sexual contact with any of the girls, admitting to only one sex act and that was when the girl had turned 18 and could legally decide sexual matters.

He said the pornography found on his computer could have come from others having used it. He claimed that the image of a 3-year-old boy receiving oral sex from an adult appeared mysteriously through the Internet, that he'd complained to chat room managers who advised him to hang onto it pending investigation.<<

If true, he was in idiot for following such advice.

>>Even if Lustfeldt convicts Mirto on Monday, the seamy tale won't end there. Mirto's former live-in girlfriend, Laura Kozicki, 35, of Onarga, is to go on trial for having had sex with Mirto and their daughter during a three-way encounter at Onarga. That encounter was videotaped by Ms. Kozicki's current boyfriend, Brian Pakula, 34, of Onarga.

Pakula recently pleaded guilty to child pornography and was sentenced to three years probation.<<

Finally, somewhat of a "happy" ending:

Man Ruled Guilty on 13 Charges in Sex Case
July 15, 2003
This piece was found HERE.

Quotes:
>>WATSEKA -- Richard Mirto of Thawville is facing decades behind bars following his conviction Monday for pornography and child molestation charges.

Judge Gordon Lustfeldt found Mirto guilty on 13 of 16 felony counts including criminal sexual assault and abuse, indecent liberties with a child and pornography.

Mirto, 34, was found guilty of taking nude photos of underage teen girls and having sex with a number of them at his Thawville home. One of them was his 16-year-old daughter.<<

He was supposed to nurture and protect her, and provide a model of masculinity for her. Instead, he violated his duties in the worst way.

>>He also kept large quantities of "kiddie porn" and other pornographic images on his home computer.

In rendering his decision, Lustfeldt noted the damning testimony of Mirto's sister and daughter. His daughter coolly told of approaching her father for sex, to experience it with an adult male, then detailed the encounter to a numbed courtroom audience.

"I feel sorry for the children. I feel sorry for all the children in this world that's going through the same thing and are afraid to come forward,'' said a Piper City woman, the mother of one of Mirto's youngest victims, an eighth grader at the time of the assault.

Mirto now faces a sentencing hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22.<<

I'll check back to see what he gets.