Archive for the 'Headlines/Current Events' Category

Man dead for over a year – sitting in a chair – TV still on

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

I read the following story which is sad beyond measure – that a person could be dead for over a year and NO ONE missed him or checked on him:

NEW YORK (Feb. 19) – Police called to a Long Island man’s house discovered the mummified remains of the resident, dead for more than a year, sitting in front of a blaring television set.

The 70-year-old Hampton Bays, New York, resident, identified as Vincenzo Ricardo, appeared to have died of natural causes. Police said Saturday his body was discovered Thursday when they were called to the house over a burst water pipe.

“You could see his face. He still had hair on his head,” Newsday quoted morgue assistant Jeff Bacchus as saying. The home’s low humidity had preserved the body.

Officials could not explain why the electricity had not been turned off, considering Ricardo had not been heard from since December 2005.

Neighbors said when they had not seen Ricardo, who was diabetic and had been blind for years, they assumed he was in the hospital or a long-term care facility.

And if the water pipe had not burst, how much longer would the body have remained in that chair – I wonder.

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House Resolution Slams Bush’s Troop Reinforcement Plan

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Okay, let me get this straight.  This resolution makes NO difference in policy.  It is non-binding.  It doesn’t stop the troop REINFORCEMENT plan.   And  yet the Democrat-controlled House felt it was important to publicly declare that they don’t support OUR president.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

House Resolution Criticizes Bush War Policy



WASHINGTON (Feb. 16) – The Democratic-controlled House issued a symbolic rejection of President Bush ‘s decision to deploy more troops to Iraq  on Friday, opening an epic confrontation between Congress  and commander in chief over an unpopular war that has taken the lives of more than 3,100 U.S. troops.

The vote on the nonbinding measure was 246-182.

“The stakes in Iraq are too high to recycle proposals that have little prospect for success,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi , leader of Democrats who gained power last fall in elections framed by public opposition to the war.

“The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home,” Pelosi vowed after leading the House in a moment of silence as a sign of respect for those who are fighting and their families.

Citing recent comments by Democrats, Bush’s Republican  allies said repeatedly the measure would lead to attempts to cut off funds for the troops. Outnumbered, they turned to Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas to close their case – and the former Vietnam prisoner of war stepped to the microphone as lawmakers in both parties rose to applaud his heroism.

“Now it’s time to stand up for my friends who did not make it home, and for those who fought and died in Iraq already,” he said. “We must not cut funding for our troops. We must stick by them,” he added, snapping off a salute as he completed his remarks to yet another ovation.

Bush made no comment on the developments, and his spokesman said the president was too busy to watch the proceedings on television.

After a secure videoconference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush said the Iraqis reported providing troops to fight alongside Americans, making sure that no ethnic or religious factions are ignored in the security operations, providing $10 billion toward reconstruction and working on an oil revenue-sharing law.

“That’s good news for the Iraqi people. And it should give people here in the United States confidence that his government knows its responsibilities and is following through on those responsibilities,” he said.

More than 390 of 434 lawmakers spoke during four days of a dignified debate – an unusual amount of time devoted to what Republicans and Democrats alike said was the most significant issue confronting the country.

Supporters of the nonbinding resolution included 229 Democrats and 17 Republicans – fewer GOP  defections than Democrats had hoped to get and the White House and its allies had feared. Two Democrats joined 180 Republicans in opposition.

Moving quickly, Senate  Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., set a test vote for Saturday on an identical measure, and several presidential contenders in both parties rearranged their weekend campaign schedules to be present.

Republican senators said in advance they would deny Democrats the 60 votes needed to advance the resolution, adding they would insist on equal treatment for a GOP-drafted alternative that opposes any reduction in funds for the troops.

Even so there were signs of Republican restlessness on the issue. Only two members of the GOP rank and file sided with Democrats on an earlier procedural vote; the total figured to be higher this time.

The developments unfolded as a new poll showed more than half those surveyed view the war as a hopeless cause.

A sizeable majority, 63 percent, opposes the decision to dispatch more troops, although support for Bush’s plan has risen in the past few weeks from 26 percent to 35 percent, according to the AP-Ipsos poll.

The House measure disapproves of Bush’s decision to increase troop strength, and pledges that Congress will “support and protect” the troops.
Bush has already said passage of the measure will not deter him from proceeding with the deployment of another 21,500 troops, designed primarily to quell sectarian violence in heavily populated Baghdad.

Already, troops of the Army’s 82nd Airborne have arrived in Iraq. Another brigade is in Kuwait, undergoing final training before proceeding to Iraq. Three more brigades are ticketed for the Baghdad area, one each in March, April and May.

In addition, the Pentagon is sending two Marine battalions to Anbar province in the western part of the country, the heart of the Sunni insurgency.

Bush and his allies in Congress calculated days ago that the House measure would pass, and increasingly have focused their energy on the next steps in the Democrats’ attempt to end U.S. participation in the war.

“I’m going to make it very clear to the members of Congress, starting now, that they need to fund our troops,” Bush said earlier this week, a reference to legislation that requests more than $93 billion for the wars in Afghanistan  and Iraq.

Democrats have made clear in recent days they will use Bush’s spending request to impose certain standards of readiness, training and rest for the troops.

“That stops the surge (in troops) for all intents and purposes, because … they cannot sustain the deployment,” Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said recently.

Republicans pointed to Murtha’s remarks repeatedly during the day as evidence that despite their claims to the contrary, Democrats intend to cut off funds for the troops.

“This is all part of their plan to eliminate funding for our troops that are in harm’s way. And we stand here as Republicans … committed to making sure our troops in harm’s way have all the funds and equipment they need to win this war in Iraq,” said Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader.

Up until a few years ago I was a happily independent voter.  I studied each candidate’s position on issues and voted without regard to party affiliation.  Since 2001, though, the Democrats have astounded me with their level of childishness and putting politics over integrity and country.  It is a sad situation.

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The story of Anna Nicole’s baby’s daddy – Can it get any weirder

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

All the possible fathers of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby are popping out of the woodwork , and it is getting weirder and sleazier  I personally am hoping that it turns out she got pregnant via frozen sperm from her dead but rich husband.  At least Dannielynn would then have some money to help protect her from all the vultures that are after her.

All the others who are jumping into the ring claiming paternity are just slime-balls – with the possible exception of Larry Birkhead who seems like the least sleazy of the bunch.  But that’s not saying much.   And have you ever seen anyone creepier than Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband?  What a complete low-class jerk.   He obviously was just looking for a story to latch onto to get some publicity.  Such a sleazy charcter.  Zsa Zsa should kick him to the curb.

My heart goes out to Dannielynn.  She’s only a few months old, and people are already tearing each other apart in order to get at the possible money and definite notoriety of being her father.

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Barack Obama announces his candidacy

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

I’m watching Barack Obama announce his candidacy for the office of President of the United States.  He’s an excellent speaker, and he certainly is putting on a good show with this speech.  He’s a man who is very aware of the importance of symbolism.   Of analogies. Of location.   He is giving the speech in Springfield, Illinois where Abraham Lincoln gave his “house divided against itself” speech.

His rhetoric is very much about working together.  For example: “That’s why I’m here.  Not just to hold an office but to gather with you to transform a nation.”

He ended his speech with a phrase you don’t hear very often from politicians.  “I love you.”  I don’t know why that struck me as almost funny.  When he talked about how he has been against the war in Iraq since the beginning, he was getting in a dig at Hillary Clinton who voted for the war.

I think Obama hit a home run with the speech.  He touched on all the major “progressive” talking points.  He mentioned his Christianity and God often enough to calm anyone who questions his religion.  His wife and two daughters were there with him – presenting a nice family unit. 

As a conservative, I believe that Obama would be more formidable opponent in 2008 than either Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. 

And yes, he WAS clean and articulate, too.

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Anna Nicole Smith – “I wish I had prayed for her”

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith died yesterday, and I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve thought about it.  When her son died last September, my heart broke for her.  I hoped that maybe she would get the paternity of her new daughter straightened out and go on to form some positive relationships.  Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

I’ve read several posts about Anna Nicole’s death, and found one that was particularly good.  At least it expressed what I wish I could express.

Baldilocks is an insightful writer, and I’ve enjoyed reading her since I first started blogging in the fall of 2005.  Yesterday she wrote about Anna Nicole Smith.  I hope you’ll read it – it’ll be worth the click.

Tiara-tip to Beth.

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Barack Obama and Will Smith – Separated at birth?

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Will Smith — I’m No Barack!

Will Smith spoke today at the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington D.C. Mr. Smith told the crowd a hilarious story.

It happened this morning on his way to the event. An older couple approached Smith and said, “We love what you’re doing. You’re so great for the country!”

In true Hollywood fashion, Smith said, “Thank you!”

As the star walked away, the old man said, “And we’ll be sure to vote for you.”

Come to think of it, Will and Barack have never been seen together. Coincidence?

I don’t see the resemblance, do you?  One of the commenters to the article above said that maybe it had to do with their ears.  I think it takes more than similarly large ears to make people look alike.  Maybe it’s because they both look so “clean.”  Another commenter said that the story was made up – just something to get a laugh at the beginning of a program.   Then again, maybe this story is part of Will’s strategy to play Obama in a movie.

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Father Uses Stun Gun on 18-month old; Father poisons children to get money from soup manufacturer – There are some seriously messed up people in this world

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

In reading over the news, I came across two stories that horrified me.  In one, an Oregon father of an 18-month old child used a stun gun on his child “multiple times.”  In the other, a Georgia father forced his two young children to eat soup laced with lighter fluid and drugs – hoping to extort money from the Campbell’s soup company.  (Tiara tip to Linda for pointing out this story)  Add to that the story of Michael Devlin, the sick pedophile, who kidnapped two  young boys, and it makes you wonder at the kind of world we’re living in.

Is it any wonder that so many kids are growing up with serious psychological problems?

Dad Accused of Using Stun Gun on Baby


ALBANY, Ore. (Feb. 5) – An Albany father used a 100,000-volt stun gun on his 18-month-old son, police said Monday. Rian Whittman, 23, has been accused of assault and criminal mistreatment. Police said he used it “multiple times” over three weeks. A police spokesman said there were up to 10 instances.

Police said Whittman’s wife, 21, who was not named, reported the abuse on Saturday.

The child was treated at a hospital, police said, and then taken into protective custody by the state Department of Human Services.

Capt. Eric Carter said the police haven’t established a motive for the abuse, nor why it began about three weeks ago.

He said the device was not a Taser weapon, named for the manufacturer, but an older model that’s applied directly to someone’s skin.

 I am just so saddened at what some people will do.  You add to that all the atrocities being committed by Islamic terrorists worldwide, the killing in Darfur and throughout the world.

Ga. Dad Admits Poisoning Children’s Soup

By Associated Press

February 6, 2007, 10:26 PM EST
ATLANTA — A man admitted Tuesday that he tampered with his children’s soup in an attempt to get money from Campbell Soup Co., a prosecutor said.

William Allen Cunningham’s 3-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter were hospitalized twice in January 2006. He forced them first to eat soup laced with hot peppers and lighter fluid, and the second time used the prescription drugs Prozac and Amitriptyline — both used to treat depression — to poison the children, authorities said.

Cunningham, 41, pleaded guilty to communicating false claims, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. Under terms of a plea agreement, he faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced April 19.

“He admitted that he put potentially life-threatening foreign substances into soup, which he fed to his two young children and then placed a call to Campbell Soup Co. falsely claiming that the soup had been contaminated,” Nahmias said.
According to prosecutors, Cunningham called Campbell and threatened to sue. Authorities say there was no evidence the soup was tainted when it was bought.

I don’t know the answer.  I don’t even know the questions – other than WHY? and How can we stop things like this from happening?

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Michael Devlin – May He Rot in Hell

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

The Missouri man who was arrested after two kidnapped boys were found in his apartment has been charged with molesting them 70 (that’s SEVENTY) times.  And for 15-year old Shawn Hornbeck who was held by this gross disgusting animal for four years, it was probably many many more times.  What kind of warped sense of the world will either child have now?

Missouri Man Charged With Molesting Boys



CLAYTON, Mo. (Feb. 6) – A Missouri man accused of kidnapping two boys and holding one for more than four years was charged Monday with molesting them nearly 70 times.

The charges were the first time authorities have openly accused Michael Devlin of molesting the children.

Devlin, a 41-year-old pizzeria manager, was charged with 69 counts of forcible sodomy, all felonies and each punishable by up to life in prison.

St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said 17 of the counts related to 13-year-old Ben Ownby, who disappeared Jan. 8, and the remaining counts were related to Shawn Hornbeck, now 15, who was abducted in 2002.

McCulloch said the evidence includes interviews with all of the people involved. “Devlin acknowledged committing these acts,” McCulloch said.

Both boys were found inside Devlin’s apartment in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood on Jan. 12.

The charges allege that Devlin forced Ben to have “deviate sexual intercourse” four times each day for the four days he was held.

The charges also allege that after kidnapping Hornbeck in October 2002, Devlin kept Shawn isolated in Devlin’s apartment for the first month. The boy was forced to have intercourse with Devlin throughout that month and at least once a month until Shawn and Ben were found in January.

Authorities refused to discuss other details of the allegations beyond what was described in the charges.

Less than a week after the boys were found, Shawn’s parents appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, saying they believed he had been sexually abused during the ordeal.

In a written statement, defense attorneys Ethan Corlija and Michael Kielty said they have explained the charges to Devlin and that he understands they are “very serious.”

“We have also told Mr. Devlin that we have received no evidence from any of the prosecutors about any of the charges,” the statement said. “Common sense and the Constitution would suggest that everyone should wait to hear any evidence before reaching any final judgment.”

Devlin has pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping charges.

Authorities have said Devlin used a gun to threaten Shawn when he was abducted in 2002.

Scott Sherman, a lawyer representing Shawn and his family, said Shawn is willing to testify if the case goes to trial.

“I think he’s committed to justice, as painful as it might be,” Sherman said.

Shawn was 11 when he vanished while riding his bike near his home in Richwoods. Ben disappeared after he got off the school bus in Beaufort. A white pickup seen speeding away led police to Devlin, authorities said.

While it is The Associated Press’ policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the story of Shawn and Ben has been widely publicized and their names are now well-known. Also, their families have gone public, conducting several media interviews.

My heart breaks for these two boys whose lives have been forever changed by the actions of a sick and warped pedophile.  I hope justice prevails and at the very least Devlin never sees even a glimmer of freedom again.

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Mary Winkler – out partying, smoking and drinking?

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Apparently Mary Winkler has not been shamed into quietly fading into the background as she awaits her trial.

According to a Memphis area TV story,  she has been partying it up at a local bar:

Mary Winkler – The Secret Pictures

Feb 2, 2007 08:28 AM CST

Since August, Mary Winkler has lived and worked in McMinnville, Tennessee.

That’s four hours away from the Selmer home where prosecutors say she shot and killed her husband Matthew last March.

We went there to see how Mary Winkler spends her days.

While there we were approached by a man who offered us cell phone pictures of Winkler that – he said -show how she spent her nights.

Many say it’s behavior unbecoming of a preacher’s wife.

For months, Mary Winkler has lived the life of the accused.

She’s out on bond, working at a local dry cleaners.

It’s just one way Winkler bides time while waiting for judgment on charges she killed her preacher husband with a shotgun blast to the back last March.

But working at Cleaners Express isn’t the only way Winkler stays busy.

Click HERE to see the video for yourself.  I couldn’t get it to work here at TMS.

In the pictures featured above, you can see her bellied up to a bar, cigarette in hand and a bottle of beer in front of her.

She’s seated on the left, next to the blonde. Picture after picture shows the same thing.Luis Correa says he was shocked when he saw Winkler sitting across the bar from him and his wife.

He took the photos with his cell phone and shared them exclusively with Action News 5. “She was, you know, having a good time, with everybody in the bar,” he told us.

It’s a far cry from the meek widow we saw protected by her attorneys the day she bonded out of jail in McNairy County.

Winkler’s been living and working in McMinnville ever since.

It’s part of her pre-trial supervision and apparently it’s not all work and no play.

“I think perhaps, maybe, she exercised some poor judgment,” said Correa’s wife Libby St. John, who recognized Winkler at the bar because she’d seen her on the front page of the paper the very same day.

It was New Year’s Eve and McMinnville’s most popular downtown hangout had a special guest.

“She was smoking and drinking and appeared to be pretty light-hearted,” she said.

The couple left the bar around two o’clock on New Year’s morning and – they say – Mary Winkler was still seated at the bar, smoking and drinking.

“I would be too upset about being separated from my children–that sort of thing–to be able to go out and celebrate in such a fashion,” said Libby St. John, who adds the encounter has given her second thoughts about the woman she once pitied.

“I think it’s important for other people to see who they’re supporting.”

Members at McMinnville’s Central Church of Christ have given Winkler money while she awaits trial.

The editor of McMinnville’s Southern Standard says others have given Winkler gifts and jewelry. “People seemed to have opened their arms to her, for whatever reason,” said James Clark.

Luis Correa believes his cell phone pictures may change things. “I don’t know if the people in the congregation still support her–but they got to know where they spend their money.”

On this night – witnesses say – it was at a bar near McMinnville’s town square.

We paid Luis Correa for his cell phone pictures, just as we would any other amateur photographer.

The owner of the New York Grill, where those pictures were taken, tells us Winkler has had drinks at the bar three of four times over the past few months.

A patron told us Mary Winkler celebrated her birthday there.

Winkler did sign a pre-trial supervision order, agreeing not to drink alcohol in excess or to enter an establishment that primarily sells alcoholic beverages. You can read it here.

The New York Grill is licensed as a restaurant and Winkler’s probation officer says it doesn’t appear she broke any rules of supervision.

Mary Winkler is the only person who knows the whole story of what happened last March when she killed her husband. Maybe she’s trying to enjoy her last few weeks of freedom, or maybe she just got tired of staying at home.  But going out drinking and smoking is sure not going to help her win over potential jurors.  And even if she hasn’t broken any rules of supervision, it’s not a very smart thing for her to do.  But then, killing her husband wasn’t a smart thing to do either.

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Super Bowl – Chicago Bears back in 1986 – The Super Bowl Shuffle

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

I don’t keep up with football much, but I THINK the last time the Chicago Bears were in the Super Bowl was back in 1986 when RT and I lived in a Chicago Suburb.  Not that our living in Chicago had anything to do with it, but I was glad that it happened while we were there.  It was so much fun to get into the enthusiasm of such an exciting event.  All of the greater Chicago area was at a manic pitch of excitement for week leading up to the Super Bowl.  The Super Bowl Shuffle played practically non-stop on TV. 

By the way, it is obvious I don’t keep up with football much because until I was watching the pre-game festivities on TV about 30 minutes before the Super Bowl started, I didn’t even know the Chicago Bears were in it this year.   Since Peyton Manning is an ex-University of Tennessee player, I knew that Indianapolis was in it, but I didn’t know who they were playing.

Do you remember “The Super Bowl Shuffle”?    Really, who could forget the “Super Bowl Shuffle”?  I admit – I loved it.  It was all part of the team loyalty fun time of that Super Bowl winter of ’86.  Somewhere, deep in one of my storage rooms is a tape of the Bears doing The Super Bowl Shuffle.  I remember our son, Joey, had the song memorized.   Actually, we all did.  He idolized Refrigerator Perry and McMahon and Walter Payton.  (Did I get all the names right?)

So I’m conflicted.  I really like Peyton Manning – but I have residual loyalty for the Bears.  So who to cheer during the game?  As I type this, it’s the first quarter, and Chicago is leading 14 to 6.  I think I want the Bears to win.  After all, no other team has ever done a Super Bowl Shuffle. . . have they?

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