Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Plaxico Not The First ‘Star’ to Shoot Himself in the Foot

December 2, 2008

From Michael Vick to Jim Brown there is a parade of “Bad Boys” from the NFL, other sports and Hollywood.  We are not saints; just people.  Now Plaxico Burress gets 15 minutes of fame not for a Super bowl touchdown but for shooting hemself in the foot, er, leg….

Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick(R) leaves ... 
Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick(R) leaves Surry County Circuit Court after entering a guilty plea on two felony counts connected to dog fighting in Sussex, Virginia. Under a plea agreement, Vick, who is currently serving a term in prison for federal dog fighting charges, will serve one-year of probation for the state charges.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Geoff Burke)

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The weekend self-injury of New York Giants star badboy Plaxico Burress, who sustained a personal injury gunshot in the leg when an illegally concealed weapon accidentally went off may have a few others in hot water.

In New York state, it is a misdemeanor for a hospital not to report a gunshot wound to the police, and according to reports, that is exactly what happened.  It appears that several employees of New York-Cornell Hospital, who treated Burress, did not contact the police. The New York State Department of Health is investigating to see if information was deliberately hidden to protect Burress. Additionally the hospital itself has admitted it has suspended an employee for not following procedure.  The hospital says it is their policy to contact the police in regards to all gunshot patients.

New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, center, arrives ... 
New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, center, arrives in Manhattan Supreme Court in handcuffs, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, in New York. Lawyer Benjamin Brafman says Burress planned to plead not guilty to a weapon possession charge during a Monday afternoon court appearance. Burress accidentally shot himself at a Manhattan nightclub Friday evening.(AP Photo/David Karp)

Meanwhile Antonio Pierce, another New York Giant who was with Burress at the club Latin Quarter during the injury and aftermath, is being sought for questioning by police.  It appears, however, that he ditched the cops yesterday in favor of a paid radio appearance.  Pierce also is reported to have spoken to NFL security about the incident without a lawyer present which could get the league itself tangled up in the investigation.

Link to:

http://lawofhollywoodland.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/plaxico-burress-
weekend-shooting-puts-others-in-laws-sights/


Above: Mug shots of Ryan O’Neil and son Redmond when they were booked by police on drug charges….


Jim Brown was my hero when he played for the Cleveland Browns and he is again my hero now.  But there was a time there when he was just about nobody’s hero…..
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For U.S., Pragmatic Pair Chosen to Confront Terrorism Threat

December 2, 2008

Justice, Homeland Security picks have excellent credentials but not much direct experience.

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 2, 2008; Page A11

In nominating former federal prosecutors to lead the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, President-elect Barack Obama yesterday selected two Democrats with sterling law-and-order credentials but less experience in detecting threats and gathering intelligence in the age of international terrorism.

Eric H. Holder Jr., the candidate to lead the Justice Department, served as the law enforcement agency’s second in command during the waning years of the Clinton administration, overseeing pursuits of violent crime, drug cartels and public corruption offenses. Janet Napolitano, who will run the sprawling Homeland Security bureaucracy, has served since 2003 as governor of Arizona, a border state at the forefront of the nation’s immigration debate.

U.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect ... 
.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama announces the nominees to staff his national security team, including Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as his nominee for Secretary of State and Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)

Yet neither nominee boasts much direct experience with the most significant and pressing counterterrorism matters that will cross their desks if they are confirmed by the Senate and take office after the January inauguration.

Among them: how to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and assess the danger of detainees; how to reorient a domestic wiretapping program once branded as unlawful even by some Bush administration insiders; whether to expend scarce resources prosecuting the intelligence officers and lawyers who developed the framework for policies that Democrats have roundly criticized; and how to prioritize and allocate resources toward the top domestic threats.

At a news conference in Chicago yesterday, Holder played down the tension between protecting American citizens and respecting civil liberties, signaling that he would work to achieve bipartisan consensus in Congress for policies to attack national security threats.

Napolitano promised that the new Obama team will coordinate across all levels of government to ensure a “fast, sound, level-headed and effective” response to natural as well as terrorist-inflicted disasters.

President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor ... 
President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, his choice for homeland security chief, speaks at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois. The Department of Homeland Security was born in the US government’s greatest reorganization since World War II after the September 11 attacks of 2001 made the threat of terrorism very real.(AFP/Getty Images/Scott Olson)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/12/01
/AR2008120102892.html?hpid=topnews

Somali pirates try to hijack British ship; demanding $10m ransom for captured Saudi supertanker

November 19, 2008

Somali pirates who captured a Saudi supertanker have narrowly failed in hijacking a British tanker.

The British tanker Trafalgar was suddenly surrounded in the Gulf of Aden by at least eight speedboats.

By David Willaims
The Mail (London)

Negotiations over the Sirius Star, packed with two million barrels of crude oil worth $100million (£67m) – enough to supply the whole of France for a day – were said still not to have opened formally.
An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

Above: The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

Meanwhile a Greek carrier and a Thai fishing vessel were the latest to be captured by pirates this week.

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-
1086658/Now-Somali-pirates-try-hijack-British-s
hip-demanding-10m-ransom-captured-Saudi-sup
ertanker.html

It was rescued when the German frigate Karlsruhe on patrol 12 miles away sent a helicopter to scare off the pirates who fled at high speed.

The latest audacious attack by Somali pirates comes as they are expected to a record ransom of more than $10million for the release of the Saudi oil supertanker hijacked off the Kenyan coast.

“Audacity” Of Somali Pirates No Surprise: Their Nation is in Turmoil, Piracy Makes Them Wealthy in “Pirate Towns”

November 18, 2008

From NPR

Pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker earlier this week were nearing a Somali port on Tuesday, where they were expected to begin negotiations for the release of the crew and cargo.

The Sirius Star is three times the size of an aircraft carrier and believed to be carrying more than $100 millions worth of crude oil.

Piracy is a multi-billion dollar industry off the coast of Somalia, where commercial ships are routinely seized for the value of the cargo and to ransom the crew.

This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the ... 
This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the MV Sirius Star a Saudi oil supertanker which has been hijacked by Somali pirates. The owner of a Saudi oil supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates over the weekend said the 25 crew members are safe and the ship is fully loaded with crude — a cargo worth about US$100 million at current prices. Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd., a subsidiary of Saudi oil company Aramco, said in a statement Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, that company response teams have been set up and are working to ensure the release of the crew and the vessel.(AP Photo/Fred Vloo)

Despite anti-piracy efforts by the U.S., NATO and other European powers in the Gulf of Aden, the pirates have widened their field of operation. The Sirius Star was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, 450 miles off the coast of Kenya.

The vessel reportedly appears to be heading for the coastal village of Eyl in the semi-autonomous province of Puntland — a known pirate base.

The attacks have driven up insurance costs, forced some ships to go round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal and secured millions of dollars in ransoms.

Hear the radio report:
http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=97124768&m=97124740

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“They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day,” says Abdi Farah Juha who lives in the regional capital, Garowe.

They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns,” he says.

“Piracy in many ways is socially acceptable. They have become fashionable.”

Most of them are aged between 20 and 35 years – in it for the money.

And the rewards they receive are rich in a country where….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7650415.stm

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen gestures during a ... 
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says the hostages held at sea by pirates makes military intervention difficult and dangerous…..(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

From AFP

The top US military officer said Monday he was “stunned” by the reach of the Somali pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker off the east coast of Africa, calling piracy a growing problem that needs to be addressed.

But Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were limits to what the world’s navies could do once a ship has been captured because national governments often preferred to pay pirates ransom.

“I’m stunned by the range of it, less so than I am the size,” Mullen said of the seizure of the Sirius Star Sunday by armed men.

The huge, oil laden prize, which is three times the size of a US aircraft carrier, was some 450 miles east of Kenya when it was boarded, he said.

That is the farthest out at sea that a ship has been seized in the latest surge of piracies, according to Mullen.

The pirates, he said, are “very good at what they do. They’re very well armed. Tactically, they are very good.”

“And so, once they get to a point where they can board, it becomes very difficult to get them off, because, clearly, now they hold hostages.

“The question then becomes, well, what do you do about the hostages? And that’s where the standoff is.

“That’s a national question to ask based on the flag of the vessel. And the countries by and large have been paying the ransom that the pirates have asked,” he said.

Mullen said the number of successful piracies have gone down, but the incidence of ship seizures were way up.

“It’s got a lot of people’s attention and is starting to have impact on the commercial side, which I know countries raise as a concern,” he said.

“And so there’s a lot more focus on this. It’s a very serious issue. It’s a growing issue. And we’re going to continue to have to deal with it,” he said.

An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

The crew of 25, including British, Croatian, Polish, Filippino and Saudi nationals, are reported to be safe.

U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Cmdr. Jane Campbell said the super tanker weighs more than 300,000 metric tons and “is more than three times the size of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.”

Oil industry insiders say a tanker of this size can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil, and the ship’s operator, Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd, says it is fully laden.

A U.S. Navy spokesman said the tanker is approaching Eyl, Somalia, on the Indian Ocean coast. It is routine procedure for pirates to take hijacked ships to shore, where they will keep them while they discuss negotiations.

A multinational naval force including vessels from the U.S., the UK and Russia has been patrolling the Indian Ocean waters seas near the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, following a sharp increase in pirate attacks in the region.

Related:

Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil
.
Somali Pirates, After Grabbing Biggest Prize, Negotiate for Loot

Read the rest from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/17/
kenya.tanker.pirates/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Happy hours and cheap alcohol should be banned, say Brit MPs

November 10, 2008

Alcohol and drug use have become more than a problem in Britain.  Some say there is now a crisis….

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent
The Telegraph, London
.
A damning Home Affairs Select Committee report said that alcohol-related disorder was placing a “heavy burden” on police and diverting officers from fighting serious crime.

Police chiefs blame the Government’s decision to relax licensing laws, drinks promotions in pubs and clubs, and the cheap availability of alcohol in supermarkets and off licences, it said.

The report also criticised Whitehall-imposed targets for distorting police priorities, leading them to focus on “trivial misdemeanours” and meaning that forces across the country were “hitting their targets but missing the point”.

Opposition leaders said that the findings exposed the Government’s “reckless” approach to 24-hour drinking laws and a top down target-driven agenda that has proved “an expensive disaster”.

The report, “Policing in the 21st century”, unveiled the strain that alcohol-related violence had put on police resources.

In Devon and Cornwall, Chief Constable Stephen Otter said there has been a “fairly significant increase in the proportion of violent crime where we can be absolutely sure there is an alcohol-related aspect” in the past four years.

The committee called for a ban on selling alcohol as a loss leader and the setting of a minimum price for all drinks.

Chairman Keith Vaz said: “We cannot have on one hand a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder, and on the other the police diverting all their resources to cope with it.”

The report cited research that found 45 per cent of victims of violence described their assailant as being under the influence of alcohol.

There has also been an increase in trouble in suburban areas, because people are drinking locally at weekends, where pubs now stay open later, rather than paying the cab fare and entry fees of pubs in town centres.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/3411958/Happy-
hours-and-cheap-alcohol-should-be-banned-say-MPs.html

Vietnam Hub Of Illegal Timber Trade

March 19, 2008

The BBC

Vietnam has become a major South-East Asian hub for processing illegally logged timber, according to a report from two environmental charities.

The trade threatens some of the last intact forests in the region, say the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Indonesia’s Telapak.

Because Vietnam has increased measures to protect its own forest, producers are getting timber from other nations.

The authors add that some of the timber is reaching the UK as garden furniture.

“Over the last decade, governments around the world have made a raft of pronouncements regarding the seriousness of illegal logging and their determination to tackle it,” the authors of the Borderlines report say.

The cost of such unfettered greed is borne by rural communities in Laos who are dependent on the forests for their traditional livelihoods.

Julian Newman,Head of forest camaigns, EIA, said, “The stark reality is ‘business as usual’ for the organised syndicates looting the remaining precious tropical forests for a quick profit.”

The report says that an increase in the price of raw timber has prompted some wood producing countries, such as Indonesia, to take steps to combat illegal logging.

But, they explain, as tougher measures were enforced by one country, the problem shifts to another.

Uncertain future

EIA and Telapak say they have gathered evidence that “Vietnam is now exploiting the forests of neighbouring Laos to obtain valuable hardwoods for its outdoor furniture industry”, which contravenes Laotian laws banning the export of logs and sawn timber.

They add that they also obtained evidence that timber traders from Thailand and Singapore were also securing raw materials from Laos.

Many rural communities’ long-term survival depend on forests.

The researchers who compiled the report said they met a Thai businessman who openly admitted paying bribes to secure a consignment of timber with a potential value of half a billion dollars.

“The cost of such unfettered greed is borne by rural communities in Laos who are dependent on the forests for their traditional livelihoods,” said EIA’s head of forest campaigns, Julian Newman.

“They gain virtually nothing from this trade; instead, the money goes to corrupt officials in Laos and businesses in Vietnam and Thailand.”

The authors estimate there are about 1,500 wood processing enterprises in Vietnam with a total processing capacity of more than 2.5m cubic metres of logs a year. They believe outdoor furniture accounts for about 90% of the country’s total wood exports.

Although the Vietnamese government has been tightening controls on logging since the early 1990s, it is also encouraging the wooden furniture industry to expand.

EIA said the nation had relaxed regulations concerning ownership in order to facilitate foreign investment, and it was also actively promoting the sector in overseas markets.

Mixed message

The groups said that ultimate responsibility had to rest with western markets that imported products made from the uncertified timber.

Illegal logging is a long-standing concern for environmentalists”To some extent, the dynamic growth of Vietnam’s furniture industry is driven by the demand of end markets such as the European Union and US,” the report concludes.

“Until these states clean up their act and shut their markets to wood products made from illegal timber, the loss of precious tropical forests will continue unabated.”

The team found that many leading brands and retailers had “taken the necessary steps” to ensure that certified and legal timber was used in products they sourced from Vietnamese producers.

But researchers, posing as furniture buyers, found that a number of companies operating in the UK had failed to take the appropriate measures to ensure illegal timber was not entering the country.

Stemming the flow

In an effort to prevent illegal timber entering its borders, the EU developed an initiative called Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (Flegt) in 2003, aimed at forming partnerships with timber producing countries.

The scheme is underpinned by Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), which involve establishing a certification system to ensure only legally sourced timber enters EU markets.

Global demand for wood products is driving the trade, the report saysMalaysia began negotiations in 2006 to establish a VPA, and Indonesia embarked on a similar process in 2007.

EIA says the system focuses on direct shipments from the country, and does not take into account the fact that raw timber can pass through several countries, eg from Laos into Vietnam.

“Another problem with VPAs is that end products such as furniture are currently not included on the list of timber categories to be controlled,” the report says.

Gareth Thomas, the UK’s International Trade and Development Minister, said the report raised a number of concerns.

“Through the EU, we will be raising this with the Vietnamese government. I personally will be raising this with my Vietnamese counterpart,” he told BBC News.

“We will explore with G8 colleagues whether there is G8 action we can take in this area.”

Thailand: “Haven for Criminals”

March 9, 2008

The Bangkok Post
March 9, 2008

By Wassayos Ngamkham

A comprehensive network of communications, transport facilities and hospitality have made Thailand a sanctuary for the world’s criminals and other fugitives, said police.

Panaspong Sirawongse, the head of Interpol’s Liaison Office Bangkok, said foreign criminals pick Thailand as a hide-out or a venue to negotiate illegal deals apparently because the country is a hub of communications and transport.

Also, Thailand is a world tourist destination where fugitives from crime can easily slip in and mingle with foreign tourists, he said.

“I believe they chose us because it is convenient for them to make contacts here,” Pol Col Panaspong said.

He referred to the latest arrest involving Russian Viktor Bout, 41, dubbed the ”Merchant of Death”, on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel. The fugitive was wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration for allegedly selling arms to terrorists.

Police escort international arms dealer Viktor Bout as he arrives ...
Police escort international arms dealer Viktor Bout as he arrives at the Bangkok Criminal Court March 8, 2008. Bout, dubbed the “Merchant of Death” of the clandestine arms trade and who was arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand, has told police he was in Bangkok for a holiday and not to transact any weapons business, a police officer said on Saturday.
REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

Before that, Thailand was also in the spotlight for the much-publicised arrest of Nurjaman Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, in Ayutthaya in 2003. Hambali was suspected of being Southeast Asian terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)’s operations chief and the architect of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

His capture, according to a recent US report on terrorism, suggested that Thailand was a transit point for regional terrorists.

Following Hambali’s arrest, a number of other wanted fugitive criminals have been apprehended in the kingdom. They include Christopher Paul Neil, 32, who was arrested days after Interpol issued an unprecedented worldwide public appeal for help in identifying the suspected paedophile.

In mid-February, Morgan Michelle Hoke, 21, known as the ”ponytail bandit”, was arrested at a guesthouse in the Bang Lamphu area. She was wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a series of armed bank robberies.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) deputy chief Petcharat Saengchai agreed with Pol Col Panaspong that communications and transport facilities are among the factors criminals consider before they choose to flee to Thailand.

Pol Col Petcharat, the head of the task force involved in the arrest of Mr Bout, is chief of a new crime suppression division which has been specially set up to tackle international crimes.

He said Thai people’s friendliness and hospitality are also a drawcard.

“Thailand is their heaven. Thai people are also friendly so the criminals like Thailand, especially Bangkok, which is a large and complex city. It is an ideal hideout, even for local criminals,” he said.

CSD commander Pongpat Chayaphan agreed that the character traits of local people can be a double-edged sword.

“Thai people are kind and friendly. So the criminals feel at ease here,” he said.

City Outlaws Cyber-Harassment

November 22, 2007

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. (AP) – City officials unanimously passed a measure Wednesday making online harassment a crime, days after learning that a 13-year-old girl killed herself last year after receiving cruel messages on the Internet.

The six-member Board of Aldermen made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. Mayor Pam Fogarty said the city had proposed the measure after learning about Megan Meier’s death.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20071122/D8T2HHGG5.html

To Oprah and All Her Fans: Everything is Relative

November 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 5, 2007

Oprah Winfrey, “Who hasn’t had a bad day in her life,” according to celebrity disaster control and public relations consultant Peter Shankman of Manhattan, issued a teary-eyed apology to her South African school’s students and their parents after allegations of child sexual abuse by a matron were uncovered.

Ms. Winfrey, the highly regarded mega-millionaire, has invested some $40 million into an South African education center for about 150 young women, which is highly commendable. 

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah said whenever a child has the courage to come forward, adults should listen.

Oprah also said the revelation of the allegations had sparked “one of the most, if not the most devastating experience of my life.”

Now, child abuse and any sexual abuse is insidious, life-changing and often devastating.  It is not to be belittled.  But it is not death, cancer or the life that refugees face either.

Oprah Winfrey said, “This has shaken me to the core.”

This is as bad as Oprah’s life has ever gotten?  Or will ever get?
Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey smiles as she arrives for the Chicago premier of 'The Color Purple' in a  Thursday, May 3, 2007 photo. Winfrey has pulled a discredited children's book, Forrest Carter's 'The Education of Little Tree,' from a list of recommended titles on her Web site, blaming an archival 'error' for including a work considered the literary hoax of a white supremacist.  'The archived listing was posted in error and has been removed,' Winfrey spokeswoman Angela DePaul told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, adding that she did not know long 'Little Tree' had been on the site. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)

Oprah Winfrey

We think what really brought Oprah to tears was the revelation that Jay Leno wouldn’t be able to talk about her dilemma because his writers are on strike. We heard one PR queen say, “She cried like a baby when she heard the story broke on a night with only late night re-runs. Now THAT’S a TRAGEDY.”

And by emphasizing her own emotional distress, Oprah seemed to cover over the people really hurt and wronged.  The students.  Her students.  A PEOPLE Magazine editor we spoke to said, “Oprah is partly to blame.  She put her name on that school then didn’t ensure a safe environment.  She needs to step up.”

Even Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote, “I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa ‘one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life’ — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims.”

On the November 6, 2007 TODAY show on NBC, feelings were expressed, but in very muted tones.

Oprah promised to love, cherish, comfort and care for her “little ones” and she handed out her cell phone number.

She told the media she was their “Mamma Bear.”

But when you are 5 or 6 time zones away and in a different culture and on a different continent, the amount of hugging and helping has to be done through accountants.

We believe, if a crime committed in Africa is the worst thing ever to happen to a Chicago-based multi-millionaire and TV personality; then life is just about as terrific as it can be. Oprah apparently has no clue about what is going on in cancer treatment centers, refugee camps and millions of other places filled with tragedy, crime, unlawful death, pain and agony.

Heck, in Thailand and Cambodia they just don’t abuse little girls, they sell them to predators first.  Try human trafficking as a real cause for celebrity interest.

Oh, Oprah has HEARD all the stories, and even visited some slums in her limo: but she is always free to travel home to her Ivory Tower.

Fifteen minutes in the slums of Bombay or Manila, we bet, would make Oprah lose her lunch.  She’d have no fluids left for tears.

We are tired of teary-eyed divas with few worries worth noting. 

Paris Hilton cried after she was sentenced to a Hollywood slammer for, what, 23 days? Ellen cried because she had to send a puppy (that she had already given away to someone else) back to the adoption agency.  

And Heather Mills cried, I guess, because she might only screw Paul McCartney out of $60 million: not the full $300 million she thinks she deserves.  And besides, says Heather, the newspapers have been “simply wicked.”
Photo

Well my heart is broken.

Lord Have Mercy! These are DISASTERS? Whoever is listening to this drivel and thinks these are real tragedies should run, not walk, to the nearest neighborhood AA meeting and hear an hours worth of real life problems. Heck, in Vegas there are guys that have lost more money gambling than Oprah has ever MADE. Now that’s a tragedy. And a fifteen minute visit to a communist prison in Vietnam or China, we’ll bet, would more than quadruple the trauma Oprah is experience because of sexual abouse 5,000 or more miles away.

And ladies of America, if you have sympathy for these hugely rich people with bad nail and manicure tragedies: go find someone with real heartache and lend a hand. Don’t stew for one second over these charlatans.

Remember “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”?  The song about the tragedy of Evita Peron? Well, she slept herself into South American stardom and didn’t deserve one tear drop.

At least Marie Osmond figured out that tears had been shed over, and over, and over again.  So she fainted!

Evita and Marie deserve no tears.

And neither do any of the above mentioned show people of dubious intentions and questionable tragedies.

Related:
Rich, Good Looking Doesn’t Make You Happy: So Crying on TV Gets Attention?
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Oprah the Avenger

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
November 6, 2007

I  can’t summon any schadenfreude for Oprah Winfrey, just sympathy — both for her good intentions and her determination to live up to them. And I pity anyone foolish enough to stand in her way.

I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa “one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life” — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims. Still, my heart refused to harden.

I recalled that when Winfrey opened the $40 million school in January, I criticized her dismissal of inner-city kids here in the United States as only interested in “an iPod or some sneakers.”

I thought that insult was gratuitous and wrong. But I couldn’t argue with her basic point that South Africa has desperate poverty and a rudimentary educational infrastructure, and I applauded her attempt to give a few special girls an opportunity beyond their wildest dreams.

Now that the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, I’ve got to applaud the way Winfrey is handling the situation. I have the sense that she wouldn’t hesitate to do a little “enhanced interrogation” of some staff members if that was what it took to get to the bottom of what really happened.

A now-fired dormitory matron at the school, Virginia Mokgobo, 27, was arrested last week. She pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of assault, indecent assault and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts and was released on bail.

Police said that at least seven students had submitted statements in support of the allegations, but it was not known how many were alleged victims of abuse and how many were witnesses.

“When I first heard about it, I spent about a half-hour going around my house crying,” Winfrey told South African journalists yesterday, speaking from Chicago in a video news conference.

All about Oprah? Not a fair question, when you recall that Winfrey has disclosed that she was the victim of sexual abuse as a young girl. There’s every reason to believe that the allegations of abuse at the school have, as Winfrey said, “shaken me to my core” — not her celebrity core, but her real core.

Since first hearing of the allegations in early October, she has flown to South Africa twice. She put the school’s headmistress on administrative leave and has since said that she will not renew the woman’s contract — the first step in what she described at her news conference yesterday as “cleaning house from top to bottom.”

She apologized personally to angry parents, telling them, “I’ve disappointed you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” She has hired her own investigative team to assist South African authorities, and if someone is found guilty of the charges, I wouldn’t be surprised if Winfrey offered to build a new prison.

Of course, we don’t yet know if any abuse actually took place. The magistrate who released Mokgobo on bail told her, “These kind of offenses are very prevalent in this court” — an acknowledgment that sexual abuse of girls, usually by male teachers, is far too common in South African schools. But in the case of Winfrey’s school, we don’t yet know the specific allegations, much less whether there is evidence to support them.

We know that students complained months ago about not being allowed to eat junk food — hardly a red flag. But we also know that some parents began complaining in March, just two months after the Leadership Academy opened, that the school was too strict in limiting visits, telephone calls and e-mail contact with their children. In retrospect, that might have been an important warning.

Winfrey’s school — lavishly appointed, with state-of-the-art science labs and a yoga studio — is meant to be an island of unlimited possibility. But isolating the school’s 450 students so thoroughly from negative influences may also have kept out needed sunlight — and may have allowed problems to fester in the dark. As Winfrey cleans house, I think she might want to restructure the model and allow more of an organic relationship between the school and its community.

She gave the students her private phone number and e-mail address so they can contact her immediately with problems and concerns. Winfrey may not be an expert on running a school — yet — but I’m confident she understands the most important thing: There is no more sacred trust than caring for other people’s children.

The writer will answer questions at 1 p.m. today here. His e-mail address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

Infamous return: O. J. Again in the News

September 18, 2007

By Phil Taylor
Sports Illustrated.com
September 18, 2007

It’s as if O.J. Simpson was afraid that Michael Vick or Adam “Pacman” Jones was a threat to his title of America’s Most Reviled Sports Figure, so he decided to get himself back in the news and remind us that when it comes to athletes who have ruined their once-good names, Simpson is still the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Read the rest:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/phil_taylor/09/17/
simpson/index.html?section=si_latest

Related:
Early Odds in Vegas: Don’t Bet on Juice Futures