Apr 29, 2008

Defense's doctrine

During their first conversation, Kelly Farley said he was attracted to "younger girls," including his own 12-year-old and 10-year-old daughters. He said he was online looking for a child to have sex with, because having sex with his own girls was "too risky with wife," according to the formal federal complaint filed by Detective Joanne Southerland.

Repeatedly, during the online chats, Southerland asked Farley if he was just interested in talking about pedophilia, just interested in the fantasy, or if he wanted to engage in the explicitly described acts "for real." Farley said he had sex with children before and was very interested in having sex with "Steph" and her daughter, "Sydney."

Farely's attorney, Vionnette Reyes Johnson, argued that it was "legally impossible" for Farley to be guilty, since "there is not an actual child in the case."

The defense's doctrine of "legal impossibility" was used, successfully, in 1976, in a case where a man said he would sell heroin, but sold instead novocaine, which is commonly used by dentists. The federal court found it could not infer intent to sell heroin "because he in fact did something else," court documents show. In 2002, however, the federal court rejected the doctrine of legal impossibility in a case involving allegations relating to an undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl. Johnson asked the court to approve the doctrine, reversing the 2002 decision, but was unsuccessful.

Johnson also argued that Farley's sexually explicit conversations about pedophilia are protected by the First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom of speech.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Father of 3 found guilty of attempted pedophilia, blames 'progression of porn.'

Apr 28, 2008

Plan for failure

"SECULAR writers would make a mess of this, as they made a mess of most of the reports of the demise of Richard Nixon. For it takes a belief in, and some comprehension of, Original Sin, before you see enough of Richard Nixon to both remove him and then ask that he be attacked no more. Original Sin is a cruel and vicious doctrine, subscribed to mainly by conservative members of the Catholic Church, but a doctrine which at this time appears needed by all human beings. For a belief in Original Sin is constant acknowledgement of the dark side of man. Born with it, he walks with a darkness always in his nature. The Catholic form is to search for forgivementss of Original Sin, and for a means to control it over a lifetime, through the Grace of Confession. These ceremonies of the religion -- the Confession, the liturgical services -- form a third party intermediary; but with no way to externalize his evil, Nixon had only himself. Therefore, with no outward doctrine calling for the continual planning for failure, for sin, Nixon was unprepared for failure. Always, secular writers point out that Richard Nixon was a born loser and that he continually acted as such. This theory is in opposition to reality. Nixon's true fault was that he had no way to plan for failure, no way to extenalize evil.
                -- Jimmy Breslin, in How the Good Guys Finally Won

Apr 27, 2008

Orange jumpsuit

Kenneth Schmidt, 38, pulled a woman over while on duty, a little after midnight on April 6. While giving the woman a "courtesy ride" home, he allegedly took her to an abandoned parking lot, called her an offensive- and racial-charged name, and raped her. Schmidt's attorney, Michael G. Kam, contends the sex was consensual.

When the former officer walked into magistrate court wearing an orange jumpsuit Friday morning, his mother made a motion of pushing up her chin. Schmidt smiled slightly.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Former officer accused of rape gets bond

Apr 25, 2008


Willie Hines will wake up early Monday morning, even though he doesn't have to.

He won't have to get up in the dark and put on his dark blue slacks and his limp, shapeless ball cap.

He might not even set his alarm, but he'll wake up, anyway, and he'll lie there and think, "Now, I am retired."

Down the street, in Grantville, Ga., his older brother, 66-year-old Oscar Hines, will get a start on some remodeling projects, getting up and going into his kitchen.

He's going to re-do the floors, now that he's retired.

What the Hines brothers won't do on Monday morning is get into Oscar's Chevy Scottsdale and drive 50 miles up Interstate 85 to go to Jonesboro, to the Clayton News Daily, to work in the pressroom.

After 44 years of full-time printing, the Hines brothers retire on Friday, April 25.

"When Martin Luther King was assassinated, we were printing then," said Willie, 65, "and when the planes flew into the towers [in the 2001 terrorist attacks], we were out there in the pressroom. Every day, we were printing, but it's different every day. I love printing. I'm pleased with my work that I've done here. I'm proud that I was able to reach this point and can leave on my own."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
The Hines Brothers

Apr 23, 2008


At one point, the lawyer asked Cassells what he had told an internal investigator, about what he told a polygraph examiner, about what he told the sheriff.

"I just said, 'OK,'" the former chief deputy replied.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Civil Service Board clears Cassells

This doesn't look like a prank, me on Wikipedia, but it certainly feels like one. I suspect "Beavis000" is using me to bolster another, to-be-created Wikipedia page, meaning I'm just a layer of the cover-up in the conspiracy of a prank, but . . . whatever.

(Look: I'm profoundly paranoid! And passive-aggressive.)

Wikipedia's (self referential) cultural importance
Passive aggressive notes
Social impact of technology
Single sentence stories
A canon maker
Fed up on the subway
A subway semicolon
Campaign artifacts
Buttons for sale
Obama's half-eaten waffles
Obama bus stop
Adapting James Ellroy
Rise of Pat Robertson
DNA was ignored for 12 years
Soldiers' toilet graffiti
Afghans giving up opium
Religion is media
Religion is not moral matters
'I'm a big fan of Radio Control'
Why does poetry sound like that?
The color of plants
Graphic novels as blogs
The graphic novelist explosion
The lives of elevators
Superman will always suck
Manic gloom/failure/poet
Matthews is serious
What happened to Jesse Jackson?
Zukofsky's memorial, intro and prod
"I myself hate people who take too long. I hate them so much that I want to push them down and throw their change on top of them."
Deconstruction: "the villain of a cultural melodrama produced and starred in by Allan Bloom, Dinesh D’Souza, Roger Kimball and other denizens of the right, even as its influence was declining in the academic precincts this crew relentlessly attacked."

Apr 21, 2008


The defense attorneys argued for accidents and alternate theories, in the conclusion of the murder trial of a father and a son.

"This is a very traumatic situation," said attorney Moore Ibekwe. "It's very, very tragic, regardless of what happened. Sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes, crazy things."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Final arguments made in father, son murder trial

Apr 18, 2008

Vance Donald, narcotics agent

The undercover narcotics agent, with hair down to his shoulders and a full, scruffy beard, was trying to buy 1,000 hits of LSD.

It wasn't going very well.

For one thing, the wire he was wearing wasn't working.

Two, his back-up, the take-down team that was supposed to rush in on his signal and arrest everyone and make sure he got out safely, had somehow gotten lost, leaving him alone.

Three, the woman selling the drugs was particularly paranoid, and was quizzing him about his made-up phone number and his made-up father's name.

"So, I knew this was a hairy situation," says Vance Donald, recounting a decades-old operation as he prepares for his pending retirement. "I knew this buy wasn't working, so I pulled my gun and said, 'Police, everybody down.'"

Donald, commander of the Clayton County Police Department's Drug Task force, joined the police force 31 years ago, on April 18, 1977. He spent most of that time in narcotics, he said, first going undercover in the early 1980s.

Recalling some of the situations and some of the operations, sitting in his office on Thursday, Donald had to shake his head and laugh a little.

"We were stupid back then," he says.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
After 31 years of 'hairy situations,' Donald retires

Apr 17, 2008

A flim-flam man or charlatan

A 54-year-old real estate broker was found guilty of securities fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison and 33 years probation.

Richard Dale Lavigne, of Henry County, took about $140,000 from two men in a land deal, but instead of investing the money, he spent it, a Clayton County jury found on Wednesday.

"He played a con game using Christianity as a means to get to these people," said Jeff Lacy, a Clayton County assistant district attorney.

Lacy told the jury that Lavigne was an old-fashioned scammer, a flim-flam man or charlatan, who played a "big, huge, shell game" hiding and stealing other people's money.

Lavigne represented himself as a upstanding church member, who attended Sunday school, tithed generously, and asked people to pray for him, Lacy said. He owned a construction company, a real estate company and a number of other corporations, and regularly solicited area church-goers for investments in real estate deals.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Real estate dealer, who preyed on Christians, found guilty
Eugene Ehrlich, who wrote 40 lexiconigraphical books, who fought speed-reading programs and the "effects wrought by the forces of linguistic darkness," taught English, had four children, and once worked as an Army interrogator, died on Saturday, April 5. He was 85.

May he rest in peace.

Apr 15, 2008

Scrubs of bush and twists of mesquite

There's something terrible and truly alien about the Texas prairie landscape.

The long shot of a 1,700-acre polygamist cult's commune, shown repeatedly on CNN, shows this. The long sight-lines are filled with dust roads wiggling over the uneven land, and scrubs of bush and twists of mesquite gnarling under the heat, hiding deadly snakes. It's the kind of country that can kill cows, drive men more mad, and make the scent of shade, and a glimpse of water, seem like the secrets of heaven.

As women and children in calico clothes and old fashioned hair were escorted away from land of the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints in Southwest Texas, I thought of other Texas communes and other April raids on Christian cults. The scene is so alien, so strange and so familiar.

Read the full column @ the Clayton News Daily:
Yearning for Zion

Apr 11, 2008

Powerless, voiceless and embarrassed

She tried to say she wasn't guilty. She tried to say there must be some mistake.

But there was a warrant for her arrest, so Diana Philippe went to jail. She stood in the Clayton County jail on Saturday night: Under arrest, stripped naked, powerless, voiceless and embarrassed.

She started to cry.

"I felt like I was raped," said Philippe, a 25-year-old nursing student. "I felt like I was nobody. The justice system failed me."

The warrant for Philippe's arrest was, in fact, a mistake.

According to court documents, the 25-year-old single mother was wanted for violating a probation, but another court document shows the probation sentence had been suspended. The warrant said she was also wanted for failing to pay a fine, but court records show she had already paid.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
'Justice system failed me'

Apr 8, 2008


There are two pins holding my faith together. One, humans are horrible: violent and vicious, greedy and god-awful, depressing and desperate. Two, I hope that every human, even the most grotesque monsters, will get grace and salvation.

Really, for me, the entire atheism vs. theism debate ends up irrelevant. I choose to try to live as if there is hope for all of us, and, for me, that's the whole thing.

I thought maybe I should have been offended at being mistaken for an atheist, but I've learned how to hope from some atheists. Some atheists are throwing teenage tantrums and some are just mean, arrogant and bigoted, I know. I don't want to come off like that. But I wouldn't mind being mistaken for Kurt Vonnegut.

Read the full column @ the Clayton News Daily:
Mistaken for an atheist

Apr 7, 2008

When she wandered off

She seemed lost.

Before Steve Rotella was a detective and before Jennifer Lee Chambers was the victim of a violent murder, the Clayton County Police officer would see the petite teen on the streets at night.

He would say, "Hey sweetheart, what're you doing out here?" He would say, "You shouldn't be out here at night," or "Why aren't you home?"

Rotella knew the brown-haired girl was living a rough life, was mixed up with drugs, prostitution and older men, but he hoped he could say something to her. He hoped that when she wandered off into the dark, she would go home and things would be OK.

"Jennifer ... didn't seem to have that one person, that guide, that guardian angel," Rotella said. "Of course, that's every cop's fantasy, to be a guardian angel."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Detective still seeking closure

Apr 5, 2008

Apocalypse, culture and death

            I wound up being a fireman for three years - in the forestry service, way out in the sticks on the border between Mexico and California. I learned how to dig a hole in the ground and bury myself so the fire would burn over me. Never had to use it since, but I'm ready.
                        -- Tom Waits

Naming an American war.
James Earl Ray and the question -- who killed Martin Luther King?
Radicalized by the death of MLK.
Descent to torture.
Attempting to rescue John Steinbeck.
Coming out of the cave, after doomsday didn't happen.
Asking a judge to save the world, stop physics.
Homicides in Orlanda, Fla.
A welter of faddish solutions for the problems of body and soul.
Faces of life and death.
Poverty is less a matter of having few goods than having lots of problems.
Information is not knowledge.
Bad words of book reviewing.
D.B. Cooper party.
Non-EuropeanPh.d's punished in Germany.
A man and his church.
Pre-murder monologues.
Coffee and the mug.
Idaho and a statewide chess curriculum.
Death of Sherman McCory
Ruse wedding.
It's not you, it's your books.
Art about Communism in Germany between the two world wars.

Apr 2, 2008


"If you would pray," the old lady said, "Jesus would help you."

"That's right," The Misfit said.

"Well then, why don't you pray?" she asked trembling with delight suddenly.

"I don't want no hep," he said. "I'm doing all right by myself."

          -- Flannery O'Conner, A Good Man is Hard to Find.