Nov 21, 10:32 AM EST
U.S. Forces Mistakenly Fire on Vehicle
By ANTONIO CASTANEDA
Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. forces mistakenly fired on a civilian vehicle outside an American base in a city north of Baghdad on Monday, killing three people, including a child, the military said. "It was one of these regrettable, tragic incidents, said Maj. Steve Warren, a U.S. spokesman.
In the largely Shiite southern city of Basra, insurgents killed a Sunni cleric, Khalil Ibrahim, outside his home, police Capt. Mushtaq Talib said. Ibrahim was a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a group of influential Sunni clerics that has been sharply critical of the Shiite-led government.
In the shooting of the three civilians, a U.S. soldier thought the vehicle was moving erratically outside the base in Baqouba and fired warning shots, Warren said.
Dr. Ahmed Fouad of the city morgue and police officials gave a higher death toll, saying five people driving home from a relative's funeral had been killed, including three children.
The U.S. military said the differing toll may have been a result of a car bomb that targeted U.S. Humvees in the same area, killing five civilians and wounded 12 bystanders in the town of Kanan outside of Baqouba. The blast was the latest in a series of attacks that have killed more than 150 people in the last four days.
In the nearby city of Tarmiyah, four policemen were killed and another wounded by gunmen, police 1st Lt. Ali Hussein said.
Earlier Monday, U.S. forces left a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a weekend gunfight, and the White House said it was "highly unlikely" that terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
During the intense gunbattle with suspected al-Qaida members in Mosul on Saturday, three insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves to avoid capture, Iraqi officials said. Eleven Americans were wounded, the U.S. military said.
Castaneda reports American troops are no longer surrounding the site of an attack which may have killed some al-Qaida members.
On Saturday, police Brig. Gen. Said Ahmed al-Jubouri said the raid was launched after a tip that top al-Qaida operatives, possibly including al-Zarqawi, were in the two-story house.
However, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said Sunday that reports of al-Zarqawi's death were "highly unlikely and not credible."
"I don't think we got him," said U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, answering questions from reporters about whether al-Zarqawi had been killed in Mosul. Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said there was "no indication" the terror leader had been killed.
U.S. forces said they nearly caught him in a February 2005 raid that recovered his computer.
In Baghdad, three people, including one police officer, were killed Monday by gunmen, police said. Another body with was found in a southern district of the capital with a note saying the man had been killed by insurgents, morgue officials said.
Over the weekend, an American soldier near the capital and a Marine in the western town of Karmah were killed in separate insurgent attacks, the military said. A British soldier was also killed Sunday and four others wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra.
The U.S. military also said Sunday that 24 people - including another Marine and 15 civilians - were killed the day before in an ambush on a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in Haditha, west of Baghdad in the volatile Euphrates River valley.
The three American deaths brought to 2,094 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the war began in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that commanders' assessments will determine the pace of any military drawdown. About 160,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq as the country approaches parliamentary elections Dec. 15.
The Pentagon has said it plans to scale back troop strength to its pre-election baseline of 138,000, depending on conditions. Rumsfeld said Iraqi security forces, currently at 212,000 troops, continue to grow.
Rumsfeld also said talk in the United States of a quick withdrawal from Iraq plays into the hands of the insurgents.
"The enemy hears a big debate in the United States, and they have to wonder, 'Maybe all we have to do is wait and we'll win. We can't win militarily.' They know that. The battle is here in the United States," he told "Fox News Sunday."
In Egypt, Iraq's president said Sunday he was ready for talks with anti-government opposition figures and members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party, and he called on the Sunni-led insurgency to lay down its arms and join the political process.
But President Jalal Talabani, attending an Arab League-sponsored reconciliation conference, insisted the Iraqi government would not meet with Baath Party members who are participating in the Sunni-led insurgency.
"I want to listen to all Iraqis. I am committed to listen to them, even those who are criminals and are on trial," Talabani said, but he added that he would only talk with insurgents if they put down their weapons.
In Baghdad, hundreds of Sunnis on Sunday demanded an end to the torture of detainees and called for the international community to pressure Iraqi and U.S. authorities to ensure that such abuse does not occur.
Anger over detainee abuse has increased sharply since U.S. troops found 173 detainees, mainly Sunnis and some malnourished and bearing signs of torture, at an Interior Ministry prison in Baghdad's Jadriyah neighborhood.
Iraq's Shiite-led government has promised an investigation and punishment for anyone guilty of torture.
dont these piggies have any real criminals to arrest. im sorry i forgot its a jobs program for highly paid cops who wouldnt have jobs if they werent doing this
Nov 21, 3:44 AM EST
Authorities Crack Down on NYC Poker Clubs
By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- On a busy night at the New York Players Club in upper Manhattan, vice squad officers wearing bulletproof vests and raid jackets dealt the underground poker scene a losing hand.
The team entered unannounced at 11 p.m., detaining dealers, snatching up piles of cash and sending dozens of card players home with empty pockets. Downtown, another popular card club, Playstation, also was shuttered. In all, police arrested 39 employees and confiscated $100,000.
The raids on May 26 - dubbed "Black Thursday" by one poker Web site - and two more last month have sent a chill through the city's clandestine poker scene.
Several members-only card clubs closed their doors after 13 arrests on Oct. 16 at the Broadway Club in the Flatiron District, where the Yankees' $25-million-a-year third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, reportedly had played. On Oct. 28, a second-floor parlor on the Upper East Side, the EV Club, became the site of more vice squad arrests.
Regulars at the Manhattan clubs, including professional card player Phil Hellmuth, have questioned the crackdown while predicting the popularity of poker and its potential for profit make it unlikely the chips will be down for long.
"People just want to play poker, and because there are no legal clubs in the city, they turn to underground clubs," said Hellmuth, a former World Series of Poker champion.
Authorities elsewhere also have taken a hard line.
In Passaic County, N.J., police converged on a shopping center basement that allegedly was home to an illegal parlor posing as a soccer club. They arrested dozens of people and seized about $60,000.
An undercover investigation in Palmer Lake, Colo., led to the arrest of the owner of a Mexican restaurant that held a Texas Hold 'em tournament. And in Baltimore, police arrested 80 poker players in the biggest gambling raid in the city since Prohibition, only to have prosecutors drop the case.
In Manhattan, at least a dozen clubs - with names like Ace Point, High Society, Hudson and All-In - once operated up to 10 tables in rented offices, back rooms and other nondescript locations, according to regulars. Countless others have sprung up in the outer boroughs and Long Island, offering local alternatives to casinos in Atlantic City and Internet games.
The clubs, unlike casinos, don't take a percentage of the pot. Instead, patrons pay about $5 per half-hour to sit at tables and play Texas Hold 'em and other card games with buy-ins as low as $40. Their ranks include Wall Street brokers, lawyers, teachers and other professionals, along with the occasional celebrity.
The Daily News has reported that A-Rod has been warned by Yankee officials to curb his enthusiasm for poker parlors - something his agent denied. Rodriguez later spoke publicly about the clubs, saying, "In retrospect, it's probably a place I shouldn't have gone."
The clubs typically ban alcohol but provide other perks: Playstation served Oreo cookies; New York Players Club offered valet parking; and the Broadway Club featured plasma televisions and a glassed-in room for high-stakes games. Front doors are unmarked, and manned by bouncers.
It is a world reminiscent of the 1998 movie "Rounders," which was set largely in underground New York poker clubs and is credited with jump-starting the poker craze.
Hellmuth said he was "a bit shocked anyone's making a big deal over the New York's poker scene" - a reaction shared by an attorney for a club operator who was arrested.
"This is not the crime of the century," said the lawyer, Michael Rosen.
Indeed, playing poker isn't criminal. However, it's illegal to profit by promoting it.
Authorities say the clubs, along with evading taxes, could be funneling tens of thousands of dollars to drug traffickers or mobsters. The sizable cash flow is certain to entice armed robbers, police said.
"We realized that this was the start of a problem because there is lots of money involved," vice squad Lt. Pasquale Morena said at the time of the Players Club takedown. "We don't know where the profits from the gambling are going."
Hellmuth suggested officials simply start licensing existing clubs.
One proposed law in New York would decriminalize poker in bars and restaurants that sponsor low-stakes games, although it would not protect the poker rooms now under siege.
"Poker's so commonplace now," said state Sen. John Sabini, who sponsored the bill. "Businesses should be allowed to cash in on it."
cops having stun gun fun kill another man
Nov 20, 8:09 PM EST
Fresno man dies after police shoot him with Taser in San Jose
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A man shot several times with a Taser stun gun during a fight with police lost consciousness and later died, authorities said.
Jose Angel Rios, 38, of Fresno, died Friday night outside a San Jose apartment complex. Police said the cause of death won't be disclosed until Monday at the earliest.
The struggle started when an off-duty officer saw Rios and his wife arguing. Police say the officer saw Rios trying to grab his 4-year-old son and thought Rios might be trying to kidnap the child.
Rios refused to back down, and the officer used pepper spray, authorities said. The spray had little effect on the 6-foot, 330-pound Rios, according to police.
After four other officers arrived, Rios was stunned at least twice and hit by a baton. Police said he continued to fight as he was handcuffed and placed in an ambulance.
Rios eventually lost consciousness. It wasn't immediately clear if he died on the way to the hospital.
The names of the officers involved will not be released before Monday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California recently criticized the use of Taser stun guns by police and sheriff's officers as unregulated.
Nov 20, 5:35 PM EST
Phoenix officers shoot knife-wielding man
PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix police shot and killed a knife-wielding man Saturday afternoon after they said he attacked a man, deflected arriving officers' Taser darts and brandished a knife.
The incident near Southern and Central avenues unfolded at about 2:45 p.m., when a man flagged down officers and said a man with a knife had attacked him and sliced his ear, Sgt. Andy Hill said.
Two officers approached the man, who began swinging the knife and threatening them, Hill said. They shot him with their Taser stun guns, but the unidentified man used his knife to disarm the device's darts.
Hill said the man began to cross the street, but then turned and brandished the knife again at the officers, who both fired three shots. The man collapsed and died on the scene.
The two officers, James Ward and Chad Williamson, are on routine paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.
you could get a ticket if you decorate a government forest tree during the christmas season.
Nov 21, 9:59 AM EST
Forest Service: Don't decorate trees along forest highways
SEDONA, Ariz. (AP) -- The Coconino National Forest is asking people not to put Christmas decorations on trees that line forest highways.
Over the past several years, decorating trees along well-traveled roads has become increasingly popular.
But the Forest Service says the decorations distract motorists and also pose a threat to wildlife that might eat them or become entangled in them.
This year the Forest Service will remove decorations and the people who put them up could be issued violation notices.
Catholic monsignor arrested
November 21, 2005
Monsignor Dale Fushek
PHOENIX - The former vicar general of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was arrested Monday. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which disclosed the arrest and scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon, would not immediately say what Monsignor Dale Fushek was accused of.
Fushek resigned as pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Mesa in April after someone claimed to have recovered a repressed memory involving sexual improprieties by Fushek in 1985.
Those allegations followed one by a man who said that when he was 14, Fushek watched another priest sexually assault him. Fushek has denied the allegations, and it was not clear Monday whether his arrest was related.
1952 - Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but raised in Phoenix.
1970 - Graduates for Central High School, Phoenix.
1978- Master of divinity degree, St. John‘s Seminary, Camarillo, Calif.; ordained priest May 13.
1978-81 - Associate pastor, St. Jerome Parish, Phoenix.
1984 - Master of theology/liturgy, University of Notre Dame.
1985 - Named pastor of St. Timothy’s Catholic Community, Mesa
1985 - Co-founded Life Teen Program with Phil Baniewicz, and served as president and CEO
1987- Coordinated Mass of Pope John Paul II at Sun Devil Stadium.
1989 - Coordinated Valley visit of Mother Teresa.
1990 - Given Pope Paul VI Award for Evangelization.
2000 - Named vicar general of the Diocese of Phoenix.
2002 - Granted honorary ecclesiastical title of monsignor.
Dec. 29, 2004 - Fushek put on administrative leave from parish and diocesan duties after William Cesolini, claiming repressed memories, brought complaints of sexual improprieties by Fushek and others in 1985.
Jan. 27, 2005 - Cesolini names Fushek and diocese defendants in civil lawsuit claiming Fushek facilitated in a sexual attack on him by seminarian Mark Lehman, while Cesolin was age 14 and gave the boy alcohol.
April 2, 2005 - Fushek resigns, effective June 30, saying he wanted to protect St. Timothy’s parishioners from the "ordeal."
Nov. 21, 2005 - Fushek is arrested on undisclosed charges.
Former top official in Phoenix diocese arrested
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 21, 2005 11:33 AM
A charismatic priest who once held a high position with the Diocese of Phoenix was arrested this morning.
Monsignor Dale Fushek, once the highly popular, magnetic pastor of St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa, was being booked at the Madison Street Jail, according to Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
An official with Maricopa County Superior Court says Fushek is facing 10 misdemeanor counts. He is charged with three counts of assault, two counts of indecent exposure, and five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Fushek founded Life Teen, a popular Catholic youth ministry that swept the nation, in 1995. He also served as vicar general under former Bishop Thomas O'Brien.
FitzGerald said a news conference is scheduled at 1:30 p.m.
Fushek was suspended and placed on administrative leave by the Diocese on Dec. 29, 2004 after a former parishioner accused him of watching as the boy was sodomized by another priest in 1995.
The former parishioner filed a civil suit against Fushek in January and he stepped down from the Diocese.
In his resignation letter, given to the diocese in early April, Fushek, 52, said he was not admitting guilt but that because it takes months to deal with such allegations, "it would be selfish of me to force the community to go through this ordeal."
Fushek was the top aide to former Bishop O'Brien and organized the pope's visit in 1987.
But he lost that job after Thomas J. Olmsted was named bishop last year. O'Brien resigned in 2003 after he was convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident.
Bill Clinton - "I did not have sex with that woman"
George W Bush - "We do not use torture"
CIA Director Porter Goss - "This agency does not do torture. Torture does not work"
Posted 11/20/2005 11:46 PM Updated 11/21/2005 12:05 AM
CIA chief: Interrogation methods 'unique' but legal
By John Diamond, USA TODAY
LANGLEY, Va. — CIA interrogators use "a variety of unique and innovative ways" to collect "vital" information from prisoners but strictly obey laws against torture, CIA Director Porter Goss said.
In his first interview since the clash this month between the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Senate on restricting interrogations, Goss said the CIA remains officially neutral on the proposal by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to ban "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of detainees by CIA or military officers. But Goss made clear that techniques that would be restricted under McCain's proposal have yielded valuable intelligence.
"There is a huge amount of misinformation swirling about on the subject of detainees. That would include alleged activities of this agency," Goss said in an interview Friday in his office at agency headquarters in Northern Virginia.
"This agency does not do torture. Torture does not work," Goss said. "We use lawful capabilities to collect vital information, and we do it in a variety of unique and innovative ways, all of which are legal and none of which are torture."
Goss declined to describe interrogation methods exclusive to the CIA. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the problem with McCain's proposal is that the restriction on "degrading" treatment might bar psychological techniques, such as calling a prisoner a coward or isolating a detainee in a very small room. Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is a close ally of the administration in the interrogation debate. (Related story: Lawmakers: Interrogators feeling threatened)
The Senate included McCain's measure in two annual defense bills, the House in neither. The two branches must work out the issue. The White House has threatened to veto any bill that includes McCain's measure.
Goss echoed administration arguments about the need for flexibility in fighting terrorism.
"An enemy that's working in an amorphous network that doesn't have to worry about a bunch of regulations, chain of command, rule of law or anything else has got a huge advantage over a stultified, slow-moving, bureaucratic, by-the-book" organization, Goss said. "So we have to, within the law and within all the requirements of our professional ethics in this profession, develop agility. And that means putting a lot of judgment in the hands of individuals overseas."
Goss declined to discuss reports by The Washington Post and Human Rights Watch alleging that the CIA maintains secret detention centers at military bases in Central European countries. He said media leaks about allies helping the CIA in capturing and interrogating detainees may provoke reprisal terrorist attacks.
Cooperation from allies is essential to intelligence operations, Goss said. "I don't have any arrest authority overseas. If you want to disrupt a terrorist, you've got to have local law enforcement help you."
Exposure of allied cooperation with the CIA has already prompted several European governments to launch investigations into alleged CIA activities in their territories. Such diplomatic complications are among the reasons Goss is pressing for the CIA to improve its ability to operate on its own overseas. (Related story: Goss: CIA maintains influence)
"Sometimes other sovereign nations have somewhat divergent views or opinions, and so it's a good idea — even with your best friends ... to have a secret," Goss said.
osted 11/20/2005 9:06 PM Updated 11/20/2005 9:46 PM
Staying is not the answer
By John Murtha
Staying the course in Iraq is not an option or a policy. I believe we must begin discussions for an immediate re-deployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. I believe it can be accomplished in as little as six months, but it must be consistent with the safety of U.S. troops. (Related: Our view)
The public is way ahead of Congress and is thirsting for a new direction. Sixty-six percent of the responses I have received are in favor of my plan. The public knows this war cannot be won with words. Most agree the insurgency cannot be won militarily. The Iraqis themselves must be the driving force. Yet we have lost their hearts and minds. America wants and deserves real answers. What is the clear definition of success? Is there a plan? How much longer and how many more lives? In short, what is the end game?
Aside from the fact that the original plan to win the peace was flawed, two-and-a-half years later the indices that would determine the ultimate success of a stable Iraq have not improved. Electricity and oil production are below pre-war levels, unemployment remains at 60% and insurgent incidents have increased from 150 to more than 700 per week. Average monthly death rates of U.S. servicemembers have grown since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal from one per day to almost four. Despite the addition of more troops, more equipment and more money, Iraq and the region have become less stable over time. Global terrorism has risen. What is more of the same going to do for Iraq or the region?
Some claim the answer is to put even more troops on the ground, but many of our troops are already on their third deployment. Our Army cannot recruit to its current target, even as recruiting standards are lowered. We cannot do this without a draft. My plan calls for a more rapid turnover of Iraq to the Iraqi people. Gen. George Casey said in a September hearing that "the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency." We have become a catalyst for violence. A recent poll showed that 80% of the Iraqi public are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops; 45% believe attacks against Americans are justified.
The Iraqis are a smart and proud people. They must take control of their country. My plan motivates the Iraqis to take control, sooner rather than later.
Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha is the top Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee.
Priest accused of sex crimes
Phoenix monsignor arrested on 10 counts
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
Monsignor Dale Fushek, once one of the most popular and powerful priests in the Phoenix Diocese, was accused Monday of sexual misconduct with teenage boys and young men.
In announcing Fushek's arrest on 10 misdemeanor criminal counts, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said, "It's troubling any time a person in a position of public trust violates that."
Thomas said the investigation is continuing and that more serious charges are possible.
Fushek, 53, is accused of indecent exposure, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and assault involving five minors and two young adult men.
His attorney, Michael Manning, said Fushek insists the incidents "never happened" and will fight the charges. . The teenage boys and young men appear to have been associated with Life Teen, a popular youth ministry that Fushek founded in 1985. Authorities say the incidents occurred from 1984 to 1994 and took place at St. Timothy Church in Mesa. Fushek was an influential and well-liked pastor there for 20 years.
Fushek, who later became one of former Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien's two key lieutenants, was not available for comment. Manning said Fushek "will never settle" or agree to a plea bargain in the case.
Fushek was arrested Monday morning at his central Phoenix residence.
Deputy County Attorney Barbara Marshall asked that he be held on $50,000 bond.
"Based on past experience with similar defendants, we feel that flight is a serious risk," Marshall said.
At least three priests accused of sexual abuse in the Valley - Patrick Colleary, Joseph Henn and Joseph Briceno - fled the country and have refused to return to face charges.
More than a dozen Catholic priests in Phoenix have been accused, either in civil lawsuits or criminal complaints, in the nationwide sex abuse scandal that erupted in 2001. In 2003, O'Brien signed an agreement granting him immunity from criminal charges in exchange for his admissions that he allowed priests accused of sexual misconduct to work with minors and that he transferred clergy accused of sexual abuse without telling their supervisors or parishioners of the allegations against them. . The bishop later resigned after he was accused in a hit-and-run auto accident, for which he was later convicted.
Instead of bond, Maricopa County Commissioner Barbara Hamner ordered that Fushek be placed under house arrest at his home and wear an electronic monitor. She ordered Fushek not to have contact with anyone under the age of 18. He was released from jail Monday evening after surrendering his passport. The assault counts accuse the priest of touching or fondling three different individuals. The indecent exposure counts say Fushek exposed himself to two people.
In the contributing-to-delinquency counts, Fushek is accused of initiating "numerous sexually related discussions" with five minors, then misrepresenting some of the talks as part of the Catholic sacrament of confession.
Thomas said Fushek initiated all the incidents "as a means of self-gratification."
None of the accusers could be reached for comment.
Monday's charges contained only misdemeanor counts. Thomas said the one-year statute of limitations, triggered when the victims alerted authorities, was about to expire on the misdemeanors. But the investigation is ongoing. Thomas declined to elaborate.
The investigation began in the wake of a civil lawsuit filed in January. William Cesolini accused Fushek of witnessing a sexual assault against him by another priest, convicted pedophile Mark Lehman, in 1985. Cesolini was not named in the criminal complaint.
Diocese attorney Mike Haran, who worked for Fushek at St. Timothy for several years, said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted is cooperating with the investigation.
He said the bishop is "saddened" by the news.
Olmsted suspended Fushek from public duties as a priest in December 2004, when Cesolini came to the diocese with his allegations. Fushek resigned as pastor of St. Timothy six months later. He remains on paid leave.
Haran said the diocese was unaware of any of the accusers except one, who settled a sexual harassment allegation against Fushek for $45,000 in 1995.
Life Teen, the popular international youth ministry that Fushek and others founded in 1985, brought young people back to the church with meetings focused on youth concerns and special Masses that appealed to teenagers.
No Life Teen representative would talk on Monday. Donna Killoughey Bird, the organization's legal counsel, declined comment.
Paul Pfaffenberger, head of the local chapter of SNAP-Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Fushek was the first priest he heard complaints about after starting the SNAP chapter in June 2002.
"It was all in connection with an overly sexualized environment in the Life Teen program," Pfaffenberger said.
Republic reporters Jim Walsh and Michael Kiefer contributed to this article.
decorate a tree go to jail.
Feds: Don't decorate trees along the forest highways
Arthur H. Rotstein
Nov. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
Coconino National Forest officials are urging people to cool it with the Christmas decorations on trees lining forest highways in Red Rock country.
Decorating trees along a scenic five-mile stretch of Arizona 179 between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona has become popular in recent years, as well as on sections of Arizona 89A between Sedona and Cottonwood and along switchbacks at the north end of Oak Creek Canyon.
"We're not trying to be Scrooge here, but it's to the point that so many decorations are put up that there are a couple of problems," said Karen Malis-Clark, a spokeswoman for the forest.
The sometimes-tasteful, sometimes-offensive decorations - tinsel, paper plates sometimes bearing alien faces, CDs and other ornaments - typically start showing up over the Thanksgiving holiday.
They frequently become windblown litter.
The decorations also can distract, attract or disrupt wildlife and can pose safety issues for motorists and those hanging them.
"Our strategy is to remove the decorations as quickly as possible so that it doesn't encourage more," said Connie Birkland, spokeswoman for the forest's Red Rock District.
Between 50 and 80 trees were decorated last year, down from nearly 200 the year before, Birkland said, "but it has become a community issue," with area residents calling to ask why decorations are not allowed.
Anyone caught who does not remove the decorations could face a federal misdemeanor fine for littering the forest of $150 to $5,000 or up to six months in jail.
Often, volunteers or forest staff members are left to clean up because the decorators don't return to do so.
Ex-DeLay aide pleads guilty to bribe charges
Nov. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Michael Scanlon, a former partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress.
At the same time, it was disclosed that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, has been cooperating in a widening criminal investigation of members of Congress since June.
Investigators are looking at half a dozen members of Congress, current and former senior Capitol Hill aides, a former deputy secretary of the Interior, and Abramoff's former lobbying colleagues, according to sources familiar with the inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Because of his central role in much of Abramoff's business, Scanlon could be a key witness in any trials that arise from the case.
Scanlon entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle and was ordered to pay restitution totaling more than $19 million to Indian tribes that he admitted had been defrauded while he and Abramoff represented them.
Abramoff and Scanlon were paid more than $80 million from 2001 to 2004 by six Indian tribes with casinos.
One of Scanlon's lawyers, Plato Cacheris, disclosed outside the courthouse after the plea that his client has been cooperating for the past five months.
In an eight-page statement of facts, Scanlon agreed that he and an unidentified person referred to as Lobbyist A "provided a stream of things of value to public officials in exchange for a series of official acts."
The items to one unidentified congressman or his staff included all-expense-paid trips to the Northern Marianas Islands in 2000, a trip to the Super Bowl in Tampa in 2001 and a golf trip to Scotland in 2002.
Based on information already placed on the public record by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Lobbyist A is Abramoff and the congressman is Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio.
On Friday, Scanlon was charged with conspiracy.
On Monday, the Justice Department's statement of facts that Scanlon signed went considerably beyond the earlier charging document, revealing that items of value went to other public officials besides Ney in exchange for official acts.
Washington Post contributed to this article.
ok kevin this article is not about the cops beating up someone or a government goon taking bribe but about weather ballons. your a metoroligost of however the f*ck its spelled. just what are weather ballons uses for and how do they work? what makes the ballons float? and could terrorists use weather balloons to do evil stuff???
Weather plays role at Proving Ground
Nov. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
YUMA - Conducting tests at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground takes more than parachutes and bullets. It also is important to know which way the wind is blowing.
That's where YPG's meteorology department gets involved.
Dean Weingarten, meteorology team chief, said collecting meteorological data is a crucial part of weapons testing.
"It's essential for combat artillery testing and air drop testing, for things like parachutes," Weingarten said.
When firing projectiles, the wind can also play a factor.
"You need to figure whether the wind is a factor to know where it is going to hit," Weingarten said. "You want to predict where it is going to hit so it lands on a drop zone, not along Highway 95 on someone's RV."
Test directors don't want to have data showing that it landed in the wrong spot without realizing how the wind influenced those results.
"Winds are critical and they change quite a lot," Weingarten said.
For that reason, the 11-person crew in the meteorological department launches about 2,600 balloons, or radiosondes, a year. That's more launches than the National Weather Service. They only launch twice a day for a total 730 per year at their sites.
"We are the busiest, busier than any other place in the world," Weingarten said.
A radiosonde is a large 100 gram white balloon with an instrument box attached to collect the temperature, humidity and pressure data. As it rises, the instrument transmits the information to a computer at the site.
The ascent of the balloon allows them to figure out wind speed and direction.
Their launching schedule is dictated by the testing at YPG. At least one balloon launch is done per day.
"Then it depends on the mission," Weingarten said. "At times it has been many as 16 a day."
When asked if the increase in the testing at YPG is affecting their department, Weingarten said "absolutely."
"Yes, we get busier as more tests are done," Weingarten said.
The meteorology department has been a part of YPG for 50 years.
Currently they have 12 permanent surface collection sites and 10 mobile sites. They have three places where they are collecting upper air data and three 300-feet-high meteorological towers. All are solar powered.
Monday November 21, 2005
Police officers involved in shooting are identified
Phoenix – Two policemen who fatally shot a knife-wielding man when he wouldn’t put down his weapon have been identified as officers James Ward and Chad Williamson.
The man had not been identified as of Sunday.
A citizen flagged the officers down about 2:45 p.m. Saturday near Southern and Central avenues to report a man who he said attacked him with a knife
Ex-Mesa priest named in sex offenses
By Lawn Griffiths and Mike Branom
November 21, 2005
Monsignor Dale Fushek, a dynamic, fiercely popular East Valley Catholic leader once eyed as the next Phoenix Diocese bishop, was arrested Monday on 10 charges of sexual misconduct with men and boys.
Fushek, 53, is the highestranking official in the Phoenix Diocese accused of sexual misbehavior. Under Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien, he held the No. 2 leadership role as vicar general.
He also is co-founder of Life Teen, the largest international Catholic program for youth, headquartered in Mesa. It reaches more than 125,000 young people in 950 parishes in 18 countries.
"This is like seeing Mary’s Jesus crucified," said Yvonne Gefroh, a parishioner of St. Timothy’s Catholic Community in Mesa, where Fushek served for more than 20 years. She and a couple of hundred others came to a special Mass at the church Monday night to pray for him. Some wore buttons reading, "I support Msgr. Dale."
At the Mass, a tearful priest said that in this day and age, people are guilty until proven innocent, and that was proven on the news Monday. He asked that at least one parishioner be in the church at all times to pray until the case is resolved. The congregation applauded.
"I’ve known him all my life and I defend him," said parishioner Adam Henricksen. "I challenge anyone who can look me in the eye and say this is true."
Fushek was indicted on three counts of assault, five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of indecent exposure, all misdemeanors. If convicted of all, the priest faces three years and nine months in jail.
No bail was set for Fushek, but he will be on house arrest and must wear an ankle bracelet, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesman Bill FitzGerald said. He will need permission from the court to go anywhere. A gate attendant at his Phoenix home said he was not taking visitors Monday night.
The alleged incidents happened on St. Timothy’s campus between 1984 and 1994. Fushek is accused of fondling the men and boys, walking around naked in front of youths, and of questioning them about their sexual experiences, saying it was part of confession.
According to the five-page indictment, Fushek invited a minor into his bed for kissing and snuggling, and another to join him in a hot tub. He rubbed a youth’s back even after he was told to stop, kissed a youth’s face and neck, and put his hands on a youth’s underwear line.
"It’s troubling anytime a person is in a position of public trust and is alleged to have violated that trust to prey upon vulnerable people, particularly younger people," Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said.
Thomas said after reviewing the law and the facts, he was surprised to learn his office possessed only enough to charge Fushek with misdemeanors and not felonies.
"But in the end, I’m not a lawmaker — I’m a prosecutor. I’m left with the laws that are written by the Legislature," Thomas said. "Knowing that we had evidence of these crimes, I felt we needed to go forward and needed to charge this defendant, and hold him accountable."
Fushek’s attorney, Michael Manning, was vacationing out of the country and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, his office said.
Fushek was arrested about 9:15 a.m. at his Phoenix home. At his initial appearance Monday afternoon, he was ordered to surrender his passport. Three priests from the diocese accused in unrelated sexual abuse cases are fugitives in Mexico, Ireland and the Vatican.
His arraignment was set for Dec. 6 at a justice court in Gilbert.
Thomas said the diocese has cooperated in the investigation.
"It is a striking contrast from the behavior of the prior bishop, and his regime of stonewalling and avoiding responsibility for the crimes committed on his watch," Thomas said, referring to O’Brien. O’Brien could not be reached for comment.
Thomas’ predecessor, Richard Romley, openly clashed with the diocese over sex abuse allegations when it was headed by O’Brien.
In 2003, O’Brien agreed to relinquish some power as part of a settlement to avoid prosecution on obstruction of justice charges in the priest abuse investigations. O’Brien resigned not long after when he was accused — and later convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run.
Fushek was put on a leave of absence Dec. 29, 2004, after William Cesolini named Fushek and others in a lawsuit alleging that he, at age 14, was molested in 1985 by the Rev. Mark Lehman, then a seminarian, while Fushek stood by and that Fushek later gave him alcohol. Fushek’s resignation from St. Timothy’s was effective June 30.
Michael Heran, attorney for the diocese, said Fushek remains on administrative leave from his diocesan duties and the diocese would cooperate with all civilian authorities "any way we can."
"Bishop (Thomas J.) Olmsted is praying for Monsignor Fushek, his family, those bringing charges against him and the people of St. Timothy’s parish," he said.
Along with his leadership at St. Timothy’s and with Life Teen, Fushek organized the papal Mass at Sun Devil Stadium in 1987 when Pope John Paul II visited the Valley. Seventeen months later, Fushek coordinated Mother Teresa’s visit to find a site for a Missionaries of Charity house and accompanied her in her search.
Fushek also was instrumental in overseeing construction of the Diocesan Pastoral Center in downtown Phoenix four years ago.
His leadership was further rewarded when O’Brien elevated him to a vicar general post and then the honorary title of monsignor. Fushek has written four books, including "The Mass Never Ends," "Dear Father Dale,’ and "Your One Stop Guide to the Mass."
Contact Lawn Griffiths by email, or phone (480) 898-6522.
Contact Mike Branom by email, or phone (480) 898-6536
hmmm.... they have been holding this guy for 3 years with out coming up with any criminal charges. now to avoid his case going to the supreme court they just magically make up some criminal charges.
the only real criminals here are the government rulers who have flushed the constitution down the toilet so they can carry out their war against non-existant terrorists
Nov 22, 11:31 AM EST
Dirty Bomb Suspect Jose Padilla Indicted
By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for three years as an enemy combatant suspected of plotting a "dirty bomb" attack in this country, has been indicted on charges that he conspired to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas.
A federal grand jury in Miami returned the indictment against Padilla and four others. While the charges allege Padilla was part of a U.S.-based terrorism conspiracy, they do not include the government's earlier allegations that he planned to carry out attacks in America.
"The indictment alleges that Padilla traveled overseas to train as a terrorist with the intention of fighting a violent jihad," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at a news conference in Washington. Gonzales declined to comment on why none of the allegations involving attacks in America were included in the indictment.
Padilla, a Brooklyn-born Muslim convert, has been held as an "enemy combatant" in Defense Department custody for more than three years. The Bush administration had resisted calls to charge and try him in civilian courts.
With the indictment, Padilla will be transferred from military custody to the Justice Department. Gonzales said the case would go to trial in September of 2006. Padilla faces life in prison if convicted on the charges.
The indictment avoids a Supreme Court showdown over how long the government could hold a U.S. citizen without charges. The high court had been asked to decide when and for how long the government can jail Americans in military prisons.
"They're avoiding what the Supreme Court would say about American citizens. That's an issue the administration did not want to face," said Scott Silliman, a Duke University law professor who specializes in national security. "There's no way that the Supreme Court would have ducked this issue."
Padilla's lawyers had asked justices to review his case last month, and the Bush administration was facing a deadline next Monday for filing its legal arguments.
"The 'evidence' the government has offered against Padilla over the past three years consists of double and triple hearsay from secret witnesses, along with information allegedly obtained from Padilla himself during his two years of incommunicado interrogation," his lawyers said in their earlier appeal.
The Bush administration has said Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, sought to blow up hotels and apartment buildings in the United States and planned an attack with a "dirty bomb" radiological device.
Padilla was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2002 after returning from Pakistan. The federal government has said he was trained in weapons and explosives by members of al-Qaida.
Although the Justice Department has said that Padilla was readying attacks in the United States, the charges against him and four others allege they were part of a conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country and provide material support to terrorists abroad.
The others indicted are: Adham Amin Hassoun, Mohammed Hesham Youssef, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, and Kassem Daher. Hassoun also was indicted on eight additional charges, including perjury, obstruction of justice and illegal firearm possession.
Hassoun, a Palestinian computer programmer who moved to Florida in 1989, was arrested in June 2002 for allegedly overstaying his student visa. Prosecutors previously described him as a former associate of Padilla.
Padilla has been held at a Navy brig in South Carolina. Following the indictment, which was handed up last Thursday, President Bush sent a memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordering Padilla transferred to the federal detention facility in Miami.
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 01:19:01 -0700
Subject: [lpaz-discuss] New Zealand: North Island Tour
After a month and a half of living in New Zealand we finally decided to play tourist a bit and visit the middle and south parts of the North Island. The area pictures are here: http://photos.yahoo.com/auvenj . We were away from Waiwera for five nights, and coming back to it felt "homey" if not exactly "home". :-)
First a general comment about the roads - they were somewhat better than we expected. We were prepared for the fact that as soon as you get outside of the Auckland area they're all two-lane roads. But they do have very frequent passing lanes, relatively light traffic, and few slow drivers by American standards for two-lane roads. This means we spent most of the trip going the speed we wanted or the speed dictated by the limit instead of the speed dictated by a car in front of us. Road work zones were about as frequent as in the states, and about as annoying, but no worse.
The motels were a huge surprise. I looked on the net for motels that would sleep the four of us comfortably at reasonable cost, close to where we wanted to be which were tourist attractions. We stayed in Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington (two nights) and New Plymouth. From the descriptions on the net they all sounded surprisingly well equipped and I was not disappointed. In the states when you book a clean, budget-oriented family motel near a tourist area you pretty much know what you're going to get, and I absolutely hate it: two double beds in one rectangular room with a TV on the side and a bathroom at the back. If you're lucky, there might also be a mini-fridge and/or a table with a couple of chairs. Not so in New Zealand, where it seems that any motel room that sleeps more than three people comes much better equipped. Every single one of the motels we stayed at here had at least one separate bedroom, one had two separate bedrooms. Every one had separate twin beds for the kids so they didn't have to sleep together in one double bed. Every one also had a fully functional kitchen: fridge, microwave, cooktop, sometimes an oven, and full place settings -- so we ate all our breakfasts and some dinners in the room instead of restaurants (which also saved money). The motel in Rotorua had a full-size four person spa tub, and the one in New Plymouth even had two bathrooms. They were all clean but by no means upscale - like most places in New Zealand, Americans would consider the aesthetic style of most of these places to be "retro" at best. That was totally fine with us; the functionality of these places blew away anything I've ever stayed in the US that wasn't at least twice the effective cost or more, and I frankly don't care much about the style. The price of these rooms was between $110 and $145 per night, in New Zealand dollars, tax inclusive. That's equivalent to something like a $65 - $95 USD nightly hotel rate because of the exchange rate and the fact that US hotels add tax on top of their rates, which is about what you'd pay for the standard "two double beds and a bathroom" in a tourist area of the US. To get the sort of functionality in the US you get in NZ, you would have to upgrade to a much more upscale hotel (if you can find it at all) costing at least twice that. We are now definitely spoiled and will find US motels even harder to accept than we already did.
One other thing we learned on this trip is the fact that "pay after you eat", sit-down type restaurants almost never bring you a check like American restaurants do. You're supposed to just walk up to the cash register when you're done eating and they just know how much to charge you (it seems a bit of a mystery how they keep track of it all). We ate in probably 6 restaurants before we figured this out...we'd finish our meal and just sit there waiting for like a half hour, finally flagging down a waitress and asking for our check figuring they must be terribly slow. The problem is they were all TOO nice to us! They just said "sure" and printed out a receipt from the cash register for us like they'd just forgot to do it or something, and brought it to us at the table rather than telling us that's not how things are done in New Zealand. So we would then pay just like in an American restaurant, and the same thing kept happening over and over. Finally when we asked for a check someone told us they didn't do checks, and I asked if that was normal and they said almost no restaurants in NZ bring checks!
As I have mentioned previously we are not really touristy type people. We also aren't very adventurous, both in basic temperament and also because right now the kids ages (4 and 7) don't fit well with extreme activities. There were a lot of activities such as bungy jumping, skydiving, zorbing, and jet boats we passed on for this reason that others might have taken advantage of.
Anyway, here's a summary of the highlights of our tour:
Waimangu was our first stop and one of our favorites - you take a couple hour walk on a path that goes by a bunch of thermal pools and such, then take a boat ride to see the vents and geysers that can only be seen from the lake. Inferno crater had the bluest water I have ever seen. The place was really uncrowded; we saw no one on our walk down and only one other couple was on the boat ride with us. Perhaps because of this the captain let both the boys drive the boat, which they loved.
Whakarewarewa, the thermal village in Rotorua, had most of the same natural features as Waimangu (hot water pools, vents, and geysers) but a village had been built by the Maori to make use of all those natural features. They had carved baths into the rocks and channels to get the water to fill them up every day, and ovens to cook food in the
ground. They also gave a performance of Maori singing and dancing there, which the kids couldn't stop imitating (especially the part where they stick out their tongues).
Next we went to a volcanic activity centre (really more of a children's museum) that was OK but nothing stellar. The highlight of the place was an earthquake simulator that seemed to be a fairly realistic physical recreation of a 6.2 earthquake. The Te Papa museum in Wellington also had an earthquake simulator that claimed to be a 7 magnitude. It had video and sound (which the volcanic activity centre did not), but was much less physically violent and therefore (I suspect) not actually realistic in terms of the motion.
The next day we did a sailboat cruise of Lake Taupo on a ship called The Barbary. None of us had ever been on a sailboat and the most surprising thing about it was the degree that the boat tips. The captain assured us it couldn't fall over, but it sure felt like it would. Taupo itself was beautiful and we also saw some interesting rock carvings there.
We took a four-wheel drive tour of Wellington that took us to the south coast to look at seals. The comparison of Wellington to San Francisco is not too far off, though in my estimation Wellington lacks the energy of San Francisco. Also, unfortunately there were only a very few seals and it was rather disappointing compared to what I have seen in San Francisco where there were hundreds of seals. Our guide said most of the seals are off breeding this time of year. As I mentioned we also visited the Te Papa museum, which had a bunch of interesting exhibits and things for the kids to do related to New Zealand spread across five huge floors. However, the most interesting thing about it to me was a panel discussion held in the evening which I'll discuss later. We wrapped up our time in Wellington with a trip on the cable car to the Botanic Gardens, which was pleasant enough though the kids didn't really get into the plants all that much.
New Plymouth was mostly just a stop over on the way back to Auckland rather than drive the whole way in one day. However, we did get a good view of Mount Taranaki there which was impressive and still snow covered.
I mentioned a panel discussion I attended at Te Papa in the evening. I was flipping through the museum's event guide and noticed a listing for a panel discussion taking place that evening, on the interaction between art and science. It was sponsored by a group called "The Royal Society", and I thought it might be interesting. So Sharon and the boys kept looking at other things in the museum (as I said it's huge and would take a couple days to see it all) and off I went. Bear in mind that the Te Papa museum itself was very uncrowded - I had perhaps seen 30-50 people in it the whole day. So I'm expecting a discussion in a little room with maybe 10 or 20 people watching. No, it was held in a very good sized auditorium and it was mostly filled -- there had to have been 200-300 people in there. I was astonished. There was no obvious ulterior motive for the attendance like a group of school kids or something, and it didn't seem to be mostly retirees, or tourists like me either -- it seemed like a local crowd. So I figured there must be some kind of celebrity or something -- but no, just three physics professors and three writers, all from New Zealand, none of whom I had heard of. The discussion itself was interesting enough, certainly at or above the intellectual level I am used to seeing at that sort of event in the states. The moderator was also one of the best I've ever seen -- asking the right kind of probing questions without dominating the discussion. It definitely wasn't the sort of discussion I'd expect the average person to be interested in attending in the first place or able to follow even if they somehow stumbled in. What I just can't figure out is why there were so many people there. I'm told Wellington itself has a couple hundred thousand people in it, and if you include the surrounding areas it's still under half a million. I'm comparing this to attendance levels in Tucson. Tucson itself has almost half a million people in it and the surrounding area brings it up to almost a million - roughly twice the size of Wellington. Yet if a panel discussion of this sort had been held in a museum in Tucson at 7pm on a weekday, I would never expect an attendance of more than 30 people unless, as I said, there were some other "lever" being used to get people there like bussing in school kids or University students or if there was some kind of celebrity on the panel.
Maybe someone on the New Zealand lists I'm posting this to can explain why the event was so well attended. Are New Zealanders just way more interested in intellectual discussions than Americans (or at least Tucsonans) are, or was there some other "lever" in use that got people there that wasn't readily evident?
Waiwera, North Auckland, New Zealand
photos of jason new zeland vacation are at
"VIRTUAL" CHILD SEX: IN SEARCH OF A "VICTIM"?
"VIRTUAL" CHILD SEX: IN SEARCH OF A "VICTIM"?
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
A rather strange news story out of Arizona provokes this week's column. At first glance, the subject matter may seem a bit racy for family entertainment – though that has seldom stopped me before …
Actually, though, there are some pretty serious questions, regarding both civil liberties and the definition of what a "crime" should be, that make even this rather salacious story worth analyzing, for what it might say about the "police state" under which we live today.
I'll begin with the story itself: It seems that, according to a news-piece by student reporter Brian Indrelunas in the Arizona State Press, somewhat deceptively entitled "Student arrested in child sex case," http://www.statepress.com/issues/2005/11/10/news/694871, a 22-year-old ASU student was arrested last week, and charged with sex crimes: two counts of luring a minor for the purposes of sexual exploitation and three counts of furnishing obscene materials to minors.
However, there is much more to this story. The student, a computer systems engineering major named Jed Daniel Poulson, had been in online communication for some time, with what he presumably THOUGHT was a 13-year-old girl, to whom in the course of which he'd apparently sent some questionable pictures. He was apprehended in Arizona City, about 60 miles south of Phoenix, while entering the house he'd been invited to visit by this supposed barely pubescent teen – allegedly with the intent of, as the kids say these days, "hooking up."
But when he got there he found, not the expected oversexed little adolescent, but tv cameras and floodlights, along with a police officer or two. The whole thing was a combination sting-operation (engineered by an Internet nanny-watch group) and "sweeps week" ratings-booster (for a local tv station). At least one reporter and several staff members at Tucson's KVOA Channel 4 had been fishing on Internet chat rooms, looking to nab some unsuspecting wanderer for accosting children for sex, to make into a "special investigative report" – and Mr. Poulson fell for the bait: hook-up invite, seductive line and … perhaps sinking his future.
One more point before I start analyzing: As Sgt. Mark Robinson of the Tucson Police Department put it, "We would not be a part of their investigative report ... but we treated any kind of material they got as a tip, as if it were coming from the community." In other words, they acted as if they were protecting a "victim" from an "assault" … even though they knew perfectly well no such person existed, and no complaint had been registered with the department.
* * *
Okay … so my question is this: WHAT IS THIS YOUNG MAN GUILTY OF? What actual crime did he actually commit? And if he is to be charged with any real crimes, what precedent does this set for the ACTIONS (and I use that word advisedly, as you will soon see) of the rest of us?
Let's begin with a review the facts, asking: What did this guy actually DO – not what did he THINK he was doing, but what did he DO?
Well, he THOUGHT he was pursuing an underage girl, perhaps even hoping at some point to have sex with her. He might be a serial offender; they may discover he has a sordid history to make not only his own mother ashamed, but that would be considered both exploitative and just-plain-wrong – by pretty much anybody with a sense of decency. (I'll get into the constitutional questions, regarding the justification for such a search into his privacy, in a moment. For now, let's grant there's some concern raised that might warrant such an invasion, and if they find this guy's got a history for this sort of thing, that it might put him away for a long while.)
But that's only what he THOUGHT, not what he actually did. Aside from sending some pictures over the Internet (to what was actually one or more adults, not the "child" he may have thought "she" was … Again, let's stay in the actuality of all this!), he wrote some e-mails, perhaps parts of which were also somewhat inappropriate (again, we don't know this from the story). At any rate, he was eventually invited to come visit "her" in a private home, presumably one day when "my parents aren't home."
(Note: This probably happened way too quickly, given the exigencies of television budgets and scheduling; had Poulson been paying proper attention, thinking with his other head, he might even have suspected something. We can easily envision the tv station folks as being as enticing and alluring as possible, once they had their fish on the line.)
So he drove over, parked his car, walked into the house expecting this young tootsie, and was instead met by … cameras and reporters and cops, oh my!
I ask again, WHAT DID HE DO? He communicated with some ADULTS on the Internet, got invited to come to a particular house, showed up and walked through the door! He didn't touch anyone, of whatever age; he didn't even SPEAK TO an actual "underage child" (Note: If anyone reading this thinks that word describes the average 13-year-old young lady these days, you need to turn off the computer and get out in the world! I could also make points about the archaic "age of consent" tyranny that still shackles our society, but that's for another column …) – because no such person existed to address!
On the other hand, the TV station personnel involved with this whole thing:
Completely misrepresented themselves on the Internet – That's electronic fraud in any book!
Enticed a man to come to a house with the promise of sexual favors – That's one legal definition of solicitation, which is also in fact illegal, so the police officer involved in this should by rights have arrested THEM on the spot! (Admittedly, among adults at least, this a "victimless" crime that should not be on the books in a civilized society, but the cops are supposed to enforce the existing law.)
Made improper use of a law enforcement officer, to abet them in both the fraud, the soliciting and the "publicity stunt" ratings-booster. (Clearly, the people of Pima County, Arizona, should not be paying taxes so their police can participate in this crap!)
Meanwhile, the police sergeant who made the arrest declares, according to the news story, that "the fact that Poulsen was actually communicating with adult investigators from the TV station and watch group does not invalidate the charges … He thought he was sending [obscene material] to a minor, he thought he was setting up a date with a minor, and that was against the law whether you are or aren't."
So now we see the bottom line: The mere THOUGHT of doing something considered illegal … is tantamount to committing the crime itself! Calling George Orwell and the thought-police! (Note: My own spiritual tradition considers it a truism that "thoughts are things"; however, we do not consider those "things" to equate to crimes – unless one then acts upon the mere thought. At any rate, I guess I'd better keep my THOUGHTS … out of Arizona!)
Okay, now we've addressed the issue of the actual "crime" involved here, and found that there really is none on the part of the alleged "culprit." So let's consider for a second who this fellow might be – based only on what little we actually know about him, and not the presumptions that his arrest bring along. Let's actually begin with the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" for a change:
Picture a 22-year-old college student (a computer engineering major, no less), with perhaps "no life to speak of" (instead of out socializing, he's been sitting in his room, staring at his computer-monitor, chatting with what he thinks is a young teenage girl.) So here he is, wandering on the Internet, seeking some virtual affection.
Maybe he had a girlfriend once, who dumped him; maybe he's never had one at all; perhaps his entire "sex life" consists of these clandestine chat-room encounters, which harm nobody human, because that is all they are. (For the sake of argument, let's let him even have secret fantasies about younger girls, like the ones who maybe snubbed him when he was that age and just beginning in the dating game?)
So he wonders what having a healthy relationship might be like, and goes exploring, He stumbles onto some websites, specifically dedicated to attracting those younger interests – though they proudly proclaim their models are "barely legal" … while recruiting small-framed, light-haired 18-year-olds who don’t at all look their age, to preserve the illusion!
After a while, he's moved to seek out an online chat-room or two, for a more personal connection, where he encounters (perhaps even after several unsuccessful attempts with girls more his own age?) this very perky (and certainly precocious?) respondent who, after only a few exchanges (with a lot to talk about, and "she" seems really friendly, whoever she is), they strike up a more intimate conversation. And maybe after a while longer "she" lets it slip that "like, I'm really only 13 …"
And maybe in the course of the chat, this "little girl" reveals that she lives in a nearby town, which intrigues him a little more. After all, these dedicated news investigators smell a story from the gitgo, so they'll keep setting their traps until he bites – what do they care that they might be enticing some perfectly innocent guy, who just wants to talk to somebody? (Remember, we don't KNOW he's a slimy creepoid lowlife, only that he is now being treated as such!)
And then someone – I'd strongly suspect the newsies, like every agent provocateur who ever lived (cf. the Weathermen, Black Panthers, militia groups and almost every other "infiltrated" organization of the past?) – brings up the topic of sex, and things progress further. He sends a picture, maybe "she" does too. (Gee, I wonder if the news staff could be guilty of yet another crime, sending illicit material into cyberspace. You don't suppose they might have used pictures of an underage girl to get his attention?) Anyway, after all too short a time (if he were really paying attention?) "she" types, "come onna my place," and our pigeon's just about cooked for sure.
Now I admit it: I don’t KNOW this is what happened – but I don't know it did NOT, either! And based on the presumption of innocence we have in our legal system, this is at least as logical as the scenario the news stories have set up.
Which brings us to the final indignity: the fact that this young man is now being searched and destroyed, and his home and possessions scoured and examined meticulously … on the chance that they may find more examples of his "perverse" behavior and presumed illicit actions. The police are quoted in the article as saying that this process "could take months." (Visions of CSI's Gil Grissom looking on – as his underling pores over the hard-drive of Jed's computer, seeking out fragments of deleted files – spring instantly to mind.)
What if, for example, Jed has made the mistake of downloading some pictures of underage girls having sex. These are, after all, quite easily available (and not only in thumbnail-versions) even without "member access" in some of those places. The videos are also accessible, in full-motion glory, using any of the file-sharing sites like Kazaa (or until recently the late lamented Grokster) …
Now even if they find something of this sort, and discover that young Jed not only possessed such materials on his computer, but had bought them, and maybe even sold them to others … the case could be made that any such evidence found … should be considered "tainted," since there really was no "crime" committed prior to his arrest, only the suspicion of such.
It should be no more legitimate that they could use something they find in this search, than it would be finding an unregistered gun in a car-trunk, opened (against the will of the driver) during a routine traffic stop for a broken taillight. Okay, it's not that cut and dried, but the evidence could indeed be considered suspect under constitutional restraints.
In short, our boy Jed might be as innocent as anybody walking the streets, the victim of a bloodthirsty news crew, an overzealous police force and a societal attitude that looks for the worst in any situation … "for the children." He could also be a budding child-molester who just never got caught until now, but somehow that just doesn't add up to these eyes. Until we know a lot more details (and finding them is itself an invasion of this man's privacy!) we can only presume his innocence.
And stop and think, whether this kind of media behavior should be encouraged … or slammed down hard by any self-respecting news editor, police chief … or private citizen.
hmmmm..... a 44 year old babe as a porn star???? nope i think i will pass on this one and look at the next jenna jamison movie instead.
Former Mrs. America ponders porn role
Nov. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
She was a Mrs. America, she was married to a millionaire on Good Morning America and she owned an auto-glass company.
Now Valley resident Jill Scott, 44, is in talks to become an adult-film star.
Scott, you may recall, was married on national TV to, and later divorced from, Empire Glass founder Rick Chance, who was murdered three years ago in Tempe. She opened her own glass company, Monarch Glass, last year, but it went out of business. advertisement
Wait, it gets weirder.
If the film deal goes through, she will co-star with Phoenix agent/publisher/producer David Hans Schmidt, whose list of second-tier celebrity clients has included Olympic skater Tonya Harding, reported presidential paramour Gennifer Flowers and Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown, noted for her encounter with actor Hugh Grant.
Schmidt said Tuesday that he is in talks with Hustler's Larry Flynt and other adult-film distributors and that porn star Ron Jeremy has agreed to direct the film.
Flynt was out and didn't return the Buzz's calls, but he did confirm to the Los Angeles Times that talks were under way.
Schmidt, who never shies away from overselling himself or his clients, almost can see his name in the credits.
"Our goal is to shoot the film before the holidays and release it on DVD early next year," Schmidt said.
He said the film will feature a "full-scale love scene" between the pair, with Scott playing herself and wearing her Mrs. America crown and sash. Schmidt's character would be a quarterback named Dirk Hans Schmidt.
When word of the possible film leaked out recently in Los Angeles, the founder of the Mrs. America pageant threatened to sue if Scott wore the crown and sash.
But Schmidt said there won't be a problem because she will be called the ex-Mrs. America. "Or in this case," he said, "the triple-X Mrs. America.
catholic church hates gays!!!
Vatican paper toughens stance on gays as priests
Nov. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is toughening its stand against gay candidates for the priesthood, specifying in a new document that even men with "transitory" homosexual tendencies must overcome their urges for at least three years before entering the clergy.
A long-awaited "Instruction," due to be released next week, was posted Tuesday on the Internet by the Italian Catholic news agency Adista. A church official who has read the document confirmed its authenticity; he asked that his name not be used because the piece has not been published by the Vatican.
Conservative Roman Catholics who have decried the "gay subculture" in seminaries will likely applaud the policy because it clarifies what the Vatican expects of seminarians and their administrators.
Critics of the policy warned that, if enforced, it will likely result in seminarians lying about their orientation and will decrease the already dwindling number of priests in the United States. Estimates of the percentage of gays in U.S. seminaries and the priesthood range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a research review by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, an author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood.
The document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education says the church deeply respects homosexuals. But it also says it "cannot admit to the seminary and the sacred orders those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support so-called gay culture."
"Those people find themselves, in fact, in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women. One cannot ignore the negative consequences that can stem from the ordination of people with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies," it said.
"If instead it is a case of homosexual tendencies that are merely the expression of a transitory problem, for example as in the case of an unfinished adolescence, they must however have been clearly overcome for at least three years before ordination as a deacon."
For many gay rights activists, the Vatican's distinction between deep-rooted and "transitory" homosexuality is without basis.
"For decades now, the scientific and medical community have said that sexual orientation is an immutable trait, what some of us might call a gift from God," said Harry Knox, director of the religion and faith program at the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
"This new policy causes candidates for the priesthood to be deceptive, and that should not be what the church should be about."
Vatican prohibitions on sexually active gays becoming priests are not new, and a 1961 document says homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood. But the issue came to the fore in 2002, at the height of the clergy sex-abuse scandal in the United States.
A study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found most victims of abuse since 1950 were adolescent boys. Experts on sex offenders said that homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest young people but that that did not stifle questions about gay seminarians.
another political prisoner
U.S. student convicted in assassination plot
Man joined al-Qaida in 2003
Nov. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An American Muslim student was convicted Tuesday of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President Bush.
The federal jury rejected Ahmed Omar Abu Ali's claim that Saudi authorities tortured him to extract a false confession.
Abu Ali, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen born to a Jordanian father and raised in Falls Church, Va., could get life in prison on charges that included conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing support to al-Qaida.
The jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days. Abu Ali swallowed hard before the verdict was read but otherwise showed little emotion. He did not testify at his trial.
"Obviously the jury has spoken, but the fight is not over," defense attorney Khurrum Wahid said. "We intend to use the justice system to prove our client's innocence."
Abu Ali told authorities shortly after his arrest at a Medina, Saudi Arabia, university in June 2003 that he joined al-Qaida and discussed terrorist plots, including a plan to kill Bush and to establish himself as a leader of an al-Qaida cell in the United States.
But the defense countered that he was tortured by the Saudi security force known as the Mubahith.
Wahid suggested that an al-Qaida member arrested by the Saudis falsely fingered Abu Ali to protect other cell members.
"You think the al-Qaida guys are going to give up a fellow al-Qaida, or did they pick some patsy from the University of Medina?" Wahid said in closing arguments.
Prosecutors said Abu Ali was never mistreated and confessed voluntarily.
Prosecutors said Abu Ali went to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to become a terrorist and later met al-Qaida's No. 2 man in Medina.
"The true focus of his education quickly became apparent," prosecutor Stephen Campbell said. "Instead of studying Islamic law, he began attending secret terrorist training sessions."
Jury awards $4.2 million in sex abuse case against Mormon Church
Two college-age sisters have been awarded $4.2 million in a lawsuit against the Mormon Church, a judgment prompted partly by the way a bishop dealt with sexual abuse committed by their stepfather while they were children.
Jessica Cavalieri, 24, and her younger sister, Ashley Cavalieri, were abused at their home in suburban Federal Way during the 1990s. The decision Friday by a King County Superior Court jury could be a landmark in sexual abuse litigation against religious institutions in Washington state, lawyers said.
It's the first sex abuse verdict by a jury in a lawsuit against a church in the state and could affect settlements in other abuse cases, including those against the Roman Catholic Church, said Timothy D. Kosnoff, a lawyer for the Cavalieris.
"The size of the verdict is particularly newsworthy. I think the jury is making a statement," Kosnoff said.
James S. Rogers, a lawyer who has represented people claiming they were abused by Catholic priests, agreed.
The Mormon Church would "aggressively pursue an appeal," said Gordon Conger, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Settlements in several abuse cases involving Catholic priests have averaged less than $1 million per victim. The Boston Archdiocese reached an $85 million settlement with 552 victims in 2003, the diocese of Orange, Calif., settled 90 abuse claims for $100 million last year and the Archdiocese of Seattle has settled about 100 cases for an average of about $100,000.
The sisters, both enrolled in college, told The Seattle Times on Monday they feel vindicated by the verdict but remain troubled by the abuse.
Jessica Cavalieri said she hoped the case would help the church deal better with such situations.
"They don't know how to handle abuse victims and pedophiles," she said. "They're just completely naive."
The jury found the church liable for intentional misconduct and negligence and responsible for damages of at least $2.5 million. The church also must pay another $1.7 million for damages assessed to the girls' stepfather, Peter N. Taylor, who was a Mormon priest when the girls were children.
Taylor was sentenced to four years and three months in prison after he pleaded guilty to child molesting in 2001.
One juror, Nikki Easterbrooks, said the issue boiled down to whether church officials should be allowed to treat an abuse complaint as a confidential confession or be required to report it to civil authorities.
"I think abuse happens way more frequently than we think, and it gets handled internally," Easterbrooks said.
Conger said he was shocked that the church was held liable for damages. He said the girls were molested at home and denied that Taylor used his church position to take advantage of his stepdaughters.
Jessica Cavalieri said she told her congregational leader, Bishop Bruce Hatch, in 1994 that Taylor had been abusing her since she was 7.
Hatch invited Jessica and her mother to speak with him, Kosnoff said, telling her mother the meeting was about tension between daughter and stepfather. When Jessica went in alone first, Kosnoff said, Hatch told her to be glad she had not told civil authorities, who would try to destroy her family.
Hatch then met with the mother and Taylor, but told the mother only that her daughter had spoken of tension in the family and then encouraged them to work out problems through worship, Kosnoff said.
Cavalieri said she was unaware that the bishop had not informed her mother of the abuse and wound up feeling ashamed and too scared to tell anyone else, even when Taylor began abusing her younger sister, according to court documents.
In 1998 the older sister wrote a friend about the abuse in an e-mail message which the friend forwarded to her own parents, who then alerted Stan Wade, Hatch's successor as bishop. Wade summoned the family for an interview, Taylor confessed and church officials said civil authorities would be notified, Kosnoff said.
After learning Taylor had abused the younger sister as well, the mother called authorities and learned neither church leaders nor a Mormon social service therapist who discussed the abuse with Jessica Cavalieri had reported the abuse of the older sister, the sisters' lawyer said.
Wade and other church officials refused to cooperate with a police investigation, Kosnoff added.
A church lawyer, Von G. Keetch, disputed Kosnoff's account, noting that Hatch testified that he never had any confirmation of abuse. He also cited testimony by one of the older sister's friends who said Jessica told her she initially lied to the bishop by denying she had been abused.
"Our position was Bishop Hatch did not know." Keetch said.
Mormon church ordered to pay for sex abuse
SEATTLE, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A jury in Washington State has ordered the Mormon Church to pay $4.2 million to two sisters abused by their stepfather.
Peter Taylor, also a defendant in the lawsuit, served four years in prison for the crimes. The sisters claimed two bishops in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints covered up the sexual abuse.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports lawyers for the sisters argued that the bishops were functioning as family counselors, since, under Washington State Law, clergy are not required to report sexual abuse.
One sister said she and her parents had a meeting with a bishop who called her in alone first and told her she should be thankful she had not reported her stepfather's actions to police because that would have destroyed the family.
CDC wants to create its own version of the police state Patriot Act to keep us from getting sick.
CDC rule could allow traveler quarantine
By Rick Weiss
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released a phone-book-thick proposed rule that would give the federal government new powers to track the comings and goings of individual travelers and expand the circumstances under which passengers exposed to a serious communicable disease could be isolated or quarantined.
The proposed changes are the latest in a series of preparatory moves aimed at solidifying federal health officials' legal authority to act to slow the spread of emerging contagious diseases, such as pandemic flu.
The new provisions call for greater scrutiny of passengers for signs of illness and greater efforts by airlines and others to obtain personal contact information from travelers. They also broaden the list of symptoms that would make people subject to quarantine.
While the rules strengthen federal authority to isolate passengers suspected of being infected, they also spell out in unprecedented detail key legal rights, including appeals processes, for citizens. The agency will accept public comment for 60 days before issuing a final regulation.
Officials said they were confident that most Americans would support the changes so the government could better protect them from a major outbreak, whether naturally occurring or from a bioterrorist attack.
"We're not talking about quarantining anybody for a sniffle or a cough," Martin Cetron, director of the CDC's division of global migration and quarantine, said in a conference call with reporters.
While more personal information will be asked of passengers, he said — including phone numbers and e-mail addresses — the goal is simply to be able to contact people if it becomes apparent they sat near an infected person while traveling.
"There are some very rigorous standards of privacy with which this information will be treated," Cetron said.
Many of the proposed changes are the result of lessons learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak, when federal and international health officials realized how hard it was to track down passengers who had shared flights or other transportation with an individual who later proved to be sick with the contagious disease.
Flight manifests are sometimes destroyed within days, they found, and customs documents — being on paper — were not easily transmitted to health authorities and often illegible.
The proposed regulation requires airlines operating out of major airports and international cruise operators to request detailed contact information from passengers; maintain that information, along with the passenger's seat location, electronically for at least 60 days; and transmit it to the CDC within 12 hours of a request.
As currently proposed, passengers could refuse to give personal contact information and still travel. The agency would destroy the information after a year, by which time it would no longer be useful for tracing disease.
The rule also demands that ship and plane captains report to the CDC any deaths or signs of significant illness on board, preferably before arriving at their destination. Existing requirements are less explicit.
Current federal law allows the government to quarantine people "reasonably expected to be infected with or exposed to" any of nine diseases: cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers (including Ebola), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and pandemic flu.
Under the new proposal, the criteria used to presume infection are broadened to include a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in conjunction with other symptoms.
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company
im sure most christians will get a belly laugh out of reading the weird stuff these folks beleive. what they dont know is these folks also get a belly laugh when they read about the weird stuff christians do.
Nov 23, 10:52 AM EST
Nepal Boy Called Reincarnation of Buddha
By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA
Associated Press Writer
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- A teenage boy has been meditating in a Nepalese jungle for six months, and thousands have flocked to see him, with some believing he is the reincarnation of Buddha, police and media said Wednesday.
Ram Bahadur Banjan, 15, sits cross-legged and motionless with eyes closed among the roots of a tree in the jungle of Bara, about 100 miles south of the capital, Katmandu.
He's supposedly been that way since May 17 - but his followers have been keeping him from public view at night.
A reporter for the Kantipur newspaper, Sujit Mahat, said he spent two days at the site, and that about 10,000 people are believed to visit daily.
Soldiers have been posted in the area for crowd control, officials said.
A makeshift parking lot and cluster of food stalls have sprung up near Banjan's retreat, an area not previously frequented by visitors.
Many visitors believe Banjan is a reincarnation of Gautama Siddhartha, who was born not far away in southwestern Nepal around 500 B.C. and later became revered as the Buddha, which means Enlightened One.
Others aren't so sure.
Police inspector Chitra Bahadur Gurung said officers have interviewed the boy's associates about their claim that Banjan has gone six months without food or drink.
Officers have not directly questioned the boy, who appears deep in meditation and doesn't speak.
"We have a team ... investigating the claim on how anyone can survive for so long without food and water," Gurung said.
Local officials have also asked the Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology in Katmandu to send scientists to examine Banjan.
Mahat said visitors can catch a glimpse of Banjan from a roped-off area about 80 feet away from him between dawn and dusk.
Followers then place a screen in front of him, blocking the view and making it impossible to know what he is doing at night, Mahat said.
"We could not say what happens after dark," Mahat said. "People only saw what went on in the day, and many believed he was some kind of god."
Buddhism teaches that right thinking and self-control can enable people to achieve nirvana - a divine state of peace and release from desire. Buddhism has about 325 million followers, mostly in Asia.
War protesters gather again near Bush ranch
Nov. 23, 2005 06:45 AM
CRAWFORD, Texas - More than a dozen war protesters returned to a roadside near President Bush's ranch before dawn Wednesday, defying two new local bans on roadside camping and parking.
About an hour after the group pitched tents and huddled in sleeping bags and blankets, a McLennan County sheriff's deputy arrived and warned the group to leave or face arrest.
Protester and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright told the deputy that most of the group would stay because they believed the bans restrict their free-speech rights. The deputy said the group would have two more warnings before he started making arrests.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan wasn't among the protesters Wednesday because of a family emergency in California, but she planned to arrive at the camp later in the week. The protest was set to coincide with Bush's Thanksgiving ranch visit.
"We are proud to be here," Dede Miller, Sheehan's sister, said Wednesday as she huddled in a blanket at the campsite. "This is just so important. What we did in August really moved us forward, and this is just a continuation of it."
In August, hundreds of demonstrators camped off the road during a 26-day protest led by Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. But a month later, county commissioners banned camping in any county ditch and parking within a 7-mile radius of the ranch, citing safety and traffic congestion issues.
Earlier this week, three demonstrators filed a federal lawsuit against McLennan County over the two local bans.
But the demonstrators said their protest would continue, even if they were arrested. The peace activists have set up camp at a private 1-acre lot that a sympathetic landowner let them use the last several weeks of their summer protest. The land is about a mile from Bush's ranch.
Charges against priest darken rising star
By Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
November 23, 2005
By 2003, Monsignor Dale Fushek’s star was rising so fast, the Tribune named the Mesa priest one of the "10 People to Watch" in the coming years. It may have been prophetic. The pastor of the dynamic St. Timothy’s Catholic Community was preaching to 8,000 a weekend.
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He had just gained the coveted monsignor title and had been been advanced to vicar-general for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. He oversaw construction of the stately Diocesan Pastoral Center. He co-founded the international Catholic youth program, Life Teen, and launched the highly
respected Paz de Cristo homeless kitchen and ministry in Mesa.
He designed the worship service for Pope John Paul II’s Mass in Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium in 1987, then chaperoned Mother Teresa in 1989 in her Valley search for a Missionaries of Charity house site.
And it looked as if Fushek, with his sparkling credentials and personable gifts, was the heir-apparent for bishop appointed by the pope for this diocese.
It was not to be.
Now, the 53-year-old priest is under house arrest in his Phoenix apartment, ordered to have no contact with youth, stripped of his passport, and no longer holding an assignment in the diocese.
On Monday, he was booked on 10 misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct with boys and men between 1984 and 1994. They include three counts of assault, two of indecent exposure and five of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 6.
"I am hanging in there. It’s unbelievable," Fushek said Tuesday by telephone from his home, but declined to be interviewed. He said he was awaiting the Monday return of his attorney, Michael Manning, who is out of the country.
Manning was the diocese’s lawyer two years ago when it was being challenged to come clean about past sexual misconduct by priests.
Fushek resigned last spring from St. Timothy’s on the heels of a civil lawsuit alleging he had participated in an sexual assault in 1985 on a Life Teen youth.
Still, Fushek’s supporters stand by the priest.
"This man is guided by the Holy Spirit. He is filled with the spirit," said Maruja Vargas of Chandler, who went to the Life Teen Masses on Sunday nights. "The man at every Mass was saying ‘I love you.’ This guy’s strength is because he is guided by the Holy Spirit."
"I pray the truth comes out soon and that no one forgets the thousands and thousands of wonderful things monsignor did for the teens and families of Mesa in the past 20 years," said Nancy J. Ross, who worked in Life Teen retreats.
"I saw many, many miracles during those retreats. Monsignor always spoke the truth to the kids, even when the truth was not what they wanted to hear. He taught the entire parish what a blessing our teens are to us and to the community," Ross said.
Fushek’s strength was "that he always led with the truth," said Vince Roig of Gilbert, chairman of the Life Teen board of directors. "He is a very charismatic individual who, I think, represents the Catholic Church very, very well and has in the past," he said.
Roig credited the priest’s successes to consistently "being up-front." He credits Fushek for influencing at least one youth not to commit suicide.
The priest came to the parish in 1985 "at a difficult time and frankly worked marvels," Roig said. "As a parishioner I was very, very pleased with the way he shepherded the parish."
"He inspired confidence in people," said Sue Ringler of Tempe, the first director of Paz de Cristo, which got its start in 1987 out of Fushek’s passion to serve the poor.
"He truly cared about people, he truly wanted folks to understand how faith makes you really be able to embrace your life and maybe take risks you wouldn’t take," said Ringler, who said she has no sympathy for sexual abusers. She was a victim in her childhood. She said the priest had a real love for wanting teens to feel closer to God.
Phoenix attorney Jim Cunningham negotiated a $45,000 out-of-court settlement for a young male who accused the priest of sexual harassment. At that time, in 1995, he said he warned the diocese that Fushek’s behavior could be an ongoing problem.
"Of course, nothing was done," Cunningham said.
Cunningham is the brother of the Rev. John Cunningham, who was suspended in April 2004 from his pastorate at St. Mary Magdalene parish in Gilbert on a complaint that he permitted a non-Catholic priest to concelebrate Mass at a wedding, in violation of canonical law. It was Fushek who delivered the bishop’s suspension papers to John Cunningham.
Contact Lawn Griffiths by email, or phone (480) 898-6522
What's Eating Crow?
Our eagle-eyed scribbler talons Commander Crow, the Dalai Lama's merchandisers, columnist Jon Talton and the artful Phoenix City Council
From the beak of The Bird to the ear of Robrt L. Pela
Published: Thursday, November 24, 2005
Arizona State University president Michael Crow's stepped up his campaign to turn the most populous main campus in the nation into America's most sterile institution of higher learning.
Having already neutered ASU's unruly fraternity community and squashed any display of politically oriented window decorations in dorm windows (because college kids should be studying quantum physics, not promoting a safer environment or backing a political candidate -- what do they think this is, the '60s?!), the pugnacious prez has set his sights on making sure students keep their rooms neat and tidy.
Last month, officials from the university's Residential Life division pumped up inspections of campus dormitories and began nosing around for sanitary, security and safety violations. Where these pop quizzes previously occurred during winter break (when most students have taken their trashy selves back home to Mommy), ResLife officials now plan to sniff sheets once every semester.
Don't believe what you hear about birds of a feather flocking together, because Crow didn't return any of this prying pigeon's phone calls on the subject. Crow crony (and Associate Vice President for Public Affairs) Virgil Renzulli referred this acerbic avian to Residential Life spokesperson Susan Mulligan, who blathered that "President Crow wants to enhance safety, security, and sanitary conditions all around campus, so [the inspections] are an initiative we undertook to address that."
Mulligan says ResLife is on the lookout for grimy countertops, spoiled food, and piles of trash (read: the contents of most college dorm rooms) more than it is weapons, drugs, or alcohol (read: all the things that make college fun). Does this mean Joe College can hide his bong in plain sight? Potential scofflaws, Mulligan claims, will have a week's notice to disappear any unkempt or illicit activities.
In other words, stash your stash, kiddies! Students who don't will be subjected to an Orwellian behavior education system that requires paying a fine and completing multi-hour interactive computer courses on the evils of drugs, alcohol and other college staples.
Dorm rat mutterings have been heard, most of them pertaining to this "invasion of privacy," which this middle finger extended takes to mean the kids are angry because -- just when they thought they'd gotten away from Mom and chores! -- they still have to clean their damn rooms or be grounded.
"And anyway," The Bird can imagine these teens whining, "where will we find time to devote to Emperor Crow's big-money scientific studies if we have to take the trash out?"
Indeed. And shouldn't Crow and company be less concerned with turning out good little housekeepers and more concerned with Big Brother's latest attempts to muscle his way onto campus?
Word has reached The Bird that the computer nerds from ASU's Information Technology division are being bullied by both the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission into a billion-dollar systems upgrade that would permit wiretapping of computer networks at universities nationwide. Because, as any fool knows, the best place for a potential terrorist to hide out while he plans the destruction of our nation is in Professor Goldfarb's Anatomy 101 class.
William Lewis, ASU's chief disinformation officer, says America's favorite party school has jumped onto a multi-college lawsuit filed in the federal court that will make ASU exempt from this nosy upgrade.
But Lewis, like all the college kids who must shirk their studies in favor of housekeeping duties, is wasting his time. Doesn't he know that Commander Crow sits on the board of trustees for In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit research organization created by the CIA to find and develop cutting-edge technology?
If The Bird were running this dirty-dormed school, it would just call Crow's connections and ask the feds to back off from potentially sorting through ASU students' e-mails. Or maybe, instead of asking students to change their underwear more often, ASU eggheads could use their recent research in implanting microchips into the brains of rhesus monkeys and zap them into the noggins of average college slobs.
Well, Hello, Dalai!
No doubt about it: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has had a hell of a run, what with marauding Communist Chinese chasing him out of Tibet and killing thousands of his friends and followers in the process.
In fact, if the Chinese had their way, "Mr. Lama," as a local TV station recently dubbed him, would be in another phase of his eternal reincarnation: He'd be dead.
But here he was this fall, a delightful and brilliant older gent spinning ancient yarns and considering eternal truths in the tony surroundings of Tucson's J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort. Tickets for the long-awaited three-day event sponsored by Arizona Teachings, Inc. started at $285, a price tag that didn't dissuade the thousands of supplicants who filled the huge banquet room for six two-hour sessions.
Out in the lobby, The Bird heard dozens of vendors hawking Buddhist-themed merchandise: "Hey, get your prayer wheels! Two-for-one sale!" Tee shirts and $12 ball caps that commemorated the spiritual leader's Tucson appearance sold out quickly, despite the fact that, according to the label sewn inside each of them, these billed caps were "Made in China."
Now there's some bad karma!
Getting Our Phil
The Bird loves Jon Talton. In fact, this owlish beaker can't figure out how Talton gets away with writing such a coherent, entertaining public policy column in the Arizona Republic. Perhaps Talton's editors don't read his copy, and therefore don't realize he's not keeping up the snooze-inducing standards of that newspaper, which The Bird often lines its cage with.
Too bad Talton was a no-show at a recent speaking engagement where he planned to dish the downtown dirt on the "dynamics of the downtown Phoenix transformation." Sounding more like Norma Shearer than a daily news columnist, Talton told The Bird that he skipped his appearance at something called the Phoenix AM Breakfast Discussion Series because he "had the most ghastly stomach flu!"
Talton's replacement? Mayor Phil Gordon. Which The Bird finds hilarious, and not only because Gordon advocates the city's "If you build it, they will come" view of downtown reclamation, while Talton campaigns for a more cautionary approach to same. (So much for checks and balances.)
"Look, you know, as a politician, he has to put as positive a face as he can on things," Talton tweeted about Mayor Phil. "And I think he absolutely gets what we need to do downtown. [But] government is not particularly good at either creating inspiring architecture or the fine-grained human connectivity that make a downtown delightful."
Fine-grained human connectivity?! Never mind.
So how come Talton recently wrote that Gordon is "one of the few denizens of City Hall who 'gets' urban," a dubious opinion considering Phil was quoted on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ-FM last week as saying graffiti is "psychologically damaging." Find The Bird a city where "urban" doesn't include gangsta tagging, and it will quit squawking on the subject. Apparently, despite Talton's pro-Phil huckstering, the good mayor is planning a downtown renovation that's urban but not messed up by evidence of urban brown-skinned people. Can't wait to see how he pulls that off -- round-the-clock graffiti spies? Twenty-four-hour repainting crews?
Talton stands by his man, telling The Bird that Phil was a perfect replacement. "It was no conspiracy; it was no breach of protocol. If Phil and I were in cahoots, that might be another matter."
Okay. But if Phil and Talton aren't "in cahoots" (The Bird really likes the sound of that word), how come Talton is asking Phil's people for permission to present the politician in the best possible light regarding recent police-inspection troubles in the downtown arts district known as Roosevelt Row?
In an August 8 e-mail to Ed Zuercher, Phil's senior deputy chief of staff, Talton wrote, "Can you give me any 'tone help' for a column I am working on? Don't want to beat up the city. But also don't want to see Roosevelt Row crushed." To which Zuercher replied, "As far as tone . . . we have to work hard to rebuild trust now."
You certainly do, Jonny.
Just Plane Artsy
What do you do if you want to buy $9 million worth of old military airplanes, but you don't have an extra $9 million lying around?
If you're the Phoenix City Council, you just call the planes "art."
Since 1987, The Bird discovered, the city's earmarked a whopping 1 percent of all new capital-improvement-project money for public art. A group of wanna-be docents calling itself the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission picks the projects and the artists meant to spruce up our fair city -- which, because we're talking about 1 percent of the capital improvements budget, usually buys stuff made from old shoestrings and used plastic spoons.
Anyhow, no matter how cool a bunch of old planes may be, they're not likely to catch the eye of an Arts Commission. Especially when they cost $9 million. Which might explain how Councilman Dave Siebert got the bright idea of starting an Aviation Museum at Sky Harbor Airport. And why, when he decided that the percent-for-art budget was an easy source of money, he sidestepped the Commission entirely.
In April, the City Council transportation committee quietly gave the idea of using percent-for-art money to buy the planes a preliminary okay. A few months later, the Aviation Department hired a consultant with that same money, inking a contract for just under $40,000, because anything higher than that requires full City Council approval.
And last week, faster than The Bird could say "pandering to veterans," the four transportation committee members unanimously voted to move the plan forward. Now they're hiring an appraiser and getting ready to buy a bunch of rusted-out dive-bombers.
This is wacky shit, even for Phoenix.
And while this feathered fiend loves anything with wings, it's hard to imagine that art or airplane fans will deal with the rigors of airport parking to get to a museum. Fact is, museums have hardly been an easy sell in the Valley; just two years ago, Mesa's 22-year-old Champlin Fighter Museum closed its doors and shipped its planes to Seattle, citing poor attendance.
But here's the real question: Why did council members authorize using our already-limited arts money for such an airheaded project?
Susan Copeland, a member of the arts commission, thinks she has the answer: Because they can.
"If this project, in its current vague state, had gone before any one of our bond committees, it would not have been approved," Copeland snarls.
But the City Council was an easier sell. After all, it's only arts money.
At the council meeting the other day, members Siebert, Peggy Bilsten, Claude Mattox, and Doug Lingner appointed a new ad hoc group to oversee the project. And who's surprised to learn that this nine-member committee has just one arts commission member on it? Not The Bird. (To be fair, Phil Jones, executive director of the city's Arts and Culture Office, will also be a member. That brings the arts-to-slobs score to 7-2. And Mattox probably has a paint-by-numbers kit stashed in his coat closet or something.)
Jones told The Bird that this "fly me" project has him baffled:
"To some people, this is art. We've always used the definition that art is created by artists. If they'd asked me, I guess I'd have said that airplanes could be considered cultural artifacts, but not art."
But, of course, no one asked. The Bird guesses that's because they didn't much care to get an answer.
"I'm not going to qualify what is and isn't art," came Councilman Lingner's zingy final statement on the subject.
Okay, Doug. Don't. But isn't that the point of sending projects to the arts commission?
arizona attorney general terry goddard, maricopa county attorney general andrew thomas and a several other government agencies spread a bunch of lies about the drug war to convince us that we should continue the stupid drug war, jail moms who take drugs, and have the state seize the children of these moms and put them in government foster homes.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Arizona moms are abusing meth more than any other drug. Want to get them clean, save the family and save tax dollars? Try dangling their kids as the carrot
By Robert Nelson
Published: Thursday, November 24, 2005
Maggie Voss cried as her 7-year-old son, Ryan, received a Student of the Month award from his school's principal recently. The weeping was a little weird, but the other parents didn't seem to notice. Some suburban moms tend to overreact to their babies' accomplishments. That's a given. It's better than the alternative.
The reason Maggie Voss was crying, though, was precisely because she used to be the alternative; the scourge, the blight, the problem, the drain on our resources, the decay of our society.
Think crank whore, and Voss was it.
A pistol-packin', trash-mouthed meth mama who kept getting knocked up by the next guy who knocked her around. Three dads, four kids, even more felonies. (See "Meth and Sex" about the relationship between meth addiction and sex addiction.) In most people's eyes, she was hopeless, irredeemable, evil.
And that kid up at the podium? He's a "meth baby," the modern equivalent of the dreaded "crack baby," born to a meth-addicted mother, stigmatized by our culture at birth as messed up, hopeless, sure to be a lifelong drain on the public coffers.
But the truth is, Maggie and Ryan are living proof that methamphetamine addiction can be overcome. They also prove that meth-addicted moms can be good moms again, that kids are more resilient than we think, and that kids, in general, are better off with mom than with a foster mom.
And much better off with mom than with an institution acting as mom.
Right now, though, some Arizona policymakers are working in the opposite direction. Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is working with legislators to craft a bill to give mandatory minimums and lengthen prison time for mothers who use meth while pregnant. Governor Janet Napolitano's well-meaning and often successful "Protect Children First" mandate to Child Protective Services workers is succeeding at getting children out of dangerous situations, but doing far less to help remove the drug problem from the home torn apart by drugs.
Essentially, the program Napolitano started as attorney general in 1999, the Arizona Drug Endangered Children program, has done well at getting drug-abusing parents and their children into the system. It's just not doing a very good job of getting them out.
At the same time, the state Attorney General's Office, as well as certain Valley governments, including Phoenix's, are releasing sometimes erroneous and sensationalized information regarding the effects of methamphetamine on the children of meth-addicted mothers or meth households. It is, many health officials say, a replay of the "crack-baby scare," the politically motivated, short-on-science hysteria of the late 1980s and early 1990s that damaged the lives of children much more than the crack cocaine ingested by their mothers.
The stakes of bad meth policy are extremely high for Arizona.
According to a February 2005 report, methamphetamine is the most common drug abused by individuals entering the Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T. program, the five-year-old state-run program for substance-abusing families entering the child welfare system.
Of the 1,763 individuals referred to the program, 40 percent reported methamphetamine use, beating out pot (26 percent), cocaine (13 percent), and even alcohol (32 percent) for the most-abused drug.
These are stunning numbers that suggest methamphetamine is hitting Arizona like no other state in the country.
Consider these national statistics: According to a report by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, meth was the drug of choice for 7 percent of those who sought treatment, while alcohol abusers made up 42 percent, marijuana users 16 percent, and cocaine abusers 14 percent.
The problem, experts say: Only 10 percent of those parents with drug problems in Arizona were given residential drug treatment. And of those, fewer than 1 percent received residential drug treatment in which they had full access to their children.
In the case of methamphetamine -- arguably the toughest addition to kick -- research shows that mothers placed in long-term residential treatment along with their young child or children have the highest rate of recovery.
Under intense and often yearlong supervision, often with the threat of serious prison time hanging over them, mothers learn to be, and learn to take pride in being, sober and responsible parents again.
Look at Maggie Voss.
Voss is clean, seven years now. She owns her home, has a good job, has all four kids living with her. The kids are successful. And from all appearances, they're happy as hell and getting along great.
Voss got clean in a Salvation Army long-term residential care facility, where her children could be with her during treatment. The treatment center has since been shut down for lack of funds.
Voss went through what national experts say is the rehabilitation protocol most likely to be successful.
Right now, there is only one such program operating in the Valley of the Sun for indigent meth-addicted mothers, with a total of 24 beds.
One Phoenix Rescue Mission official estimated that those 24 beds are all that exists for an estimated 10,000 Arizona women with children who could benefit from such a program.
Under current policies, and even under proposed new ones, Voss likely would have gone to prison for years, and her ties with her children would have been severed.
One more prison inmate to pay for in a critically bloated prison system. Four more kids to support in a critically bloated foster-care system. Research suggests that when Voss would have gotten out, she quickly would have used again. (Why not? What would she have had to live for?) Research also suggests that her children would languish in foster or institutional care, likely ending up in the same life cycle as their mother.
A California study posited that it costs seven times more to imprison a mother and take away her kids than it does to break her of her addiction with long-term residential treatment.
And to be blunt, that cost just spirals over generations. Because drug moms may be really bad mothers, but they are really good at making more babies.
This, then, is a cycle begat by strictly punitive measures based on politics and bad science.
"People like me are really tough for a community," Voss admits. "Hell, they had every right to throw me in prison and take away my kids. I was a disaster.
"But I was incredibly lucky to be given a real shot at recovery and redemption. That's rare here, trust me. But the payoff is huge. There are thousands more out there like me. What's the potential savings there?
"For me, what was saved was my life. For my kids, their mother and their home were saved."
According to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, 362 Arizona children have been "rescued from meth labs" in the past four years.
Of the meth-lab busts in Arizona since 2000, children were present in about a third of the cases.
Since 2000, 218 children have been taken into temporary custody by Child Protective Services at the scenes of meth-related busts.
To be sure, there are real horror stories.
Earlier this year, the Phoenix Police Department busted a house with a meth lab in which the air was so toxic it took six hours of airing the place out to make it safe enough for investigators to enter without oxygen tanks. Living in the house was an 18-month-old baby, who now lives with relatives in another state.
Last year, Phoenix police had trouble entering a meth-lab home because a mountain of trash blocked the door. Inside, they found seven years' worth of garbage. The home had no electricity or water; the owner was stealing water from a neighbor's garden hose.
Two children lived in the house. Their father had set up a mattress in front of the television set in the living room. The kids slept and ate and spent their days on that mattress. They only left the mattress to urinate in bottles and defecate in buckets that were strewn throughout the house.
Since 2000, two children have died in the Valley from ingesting waste from the meth labs their parents operated.
Nobody is saying mixing methamphetamine and children isn't a degrading, dangerous and sometimes lethal combination.
What is wrong, many drug-addiction researchers and treatment experts say, is that police, prosecutors and political leaders often use horror stories to make sweeping arguments that parents must be dealt with punitively, which lands their kids in foster care.
Attorney General Terry Goddard, in the "Methamphetamine Fact Sheet" on his office's Web site, lists "facts" that many researchers argue are not facts at all.
For example, the AG states: "Prenatal exposure to meth causes infants to be six times more likely to be born with birth defects such as spina bifida, club foot, intestinal abnormalities and skeletal abnormalities."
Also: "Children found in meth labs often suffer from developmental delays and have likely been abused or neglected."
That line is followed with: "Justice Department statistics show that neglected or abused children are 50 percent more likely to be arrested as juveniles, 40 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime as adults and 33 percent more likely to be substance abusers."
Ergo, meth-exposed kids can end up as drug-addicted criminals who resemble the Elephant Man.
"That stuff about the children being more likely to have defects is just absolutely not true," Dr. Barry Lester, probably the nation's leading researcher on the effects of meth and crack cocaine on children, tells New Times. "That statement comes from some early, early research done on animals. Nothing in any human tests shows anything like that."
And the attorney general's other claims?
"There are no published studies of children in meth-lab homes," he says. "The jump from meth to general research on abuse and neglect? None of that is valid.
"It's just like what we saw in the 1980s with crack cocaine," he says. "It's not science. It's politics."
Lester, the director of Brown University's Center for the Study of Children at Risk, who heads a massive National Institute of Health study on drug-addicted parents and children, knows the science better than anyone.
In the course of his research, though, he's also had to learn the politics of addiction, of which there are two basic camps.
The liberal persuasion looks at drug use as a public-health problem requiring compassion and understanding. From this perspective, he says, drug use during pregnancy, or in the presence of young children, must be treated in the same manner as depression or mental illness.
The conservative view of drug use during pregnancy is that the mother is committing a voluntary and illegal act against the rights of the fetus. From this view, women who use drugs when pregnant are willfully hurting their children, a crime that deserves significant punishment. The same goes for a parent who uses or manufactures the drug in the presence of their children.
Throughout history, American voters have generally liked the idea of punishing drug users better than the idea of treating them.
And to be honest, punishment is just about as effective at changing behavior as the average short-term outpatient treatment program.
The problem is, in meth-afflicted families, punishment of the parents usually ends up punishing the children while doing nothing to solve the core problem.
Especially damaging was the political response in the late 1980s to the rise in the use of crack cocaine, particularly among women with children.
"So many lives were ruined during that time based on bad science or no science," Lester says. "We can't let that repeat itself with the response to methamphetamine."
Lester conducted the nation's most comprehensive long-term study on the effects of crack cocaine on mothers and their children.
"For cocaine, we now know that early scientific reports were exaggerated and portrayed children who were exposed to cocaine in utero as irreparably doomed and damaged."
In fact, Lester's research showed that crack-cocaine-exposed children did have deficits in intelligence and language skills, but those deficits were minor and often easily overcome in special-educational settings. Also, crack-exposed children did show increased difficulty paying attention and handling abstract thinking problems. Again, though, the problems were minor and conquerable.
They were nothing close to problems experienced by children with fetal alcohol syndrome.
In addition, University of Florida researchers studied two groups of infants born with cocaine in their systems. One group was placed in foster care, the other with birth mothers able to care for them. After six months, the babies were tested using all the usual measures of infant development: rolling over, sitting up, reaching out.
Consistently, the children placed with their birth mothers did better.
"For the foster children, being taken from their mothers was more toxic than the cocaine," says Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.
But that was exactly what most policymakers in the 1980s and early 1990s wanted to do: Immediately separate mother from child. Also, throughout the crack scare, increasingly popular across the country were laws greatly increasing prison time for crack-addicted mothers.
At the same time, Lester says, children exposed to crack as babies were stigmatized within the educational system. Often, these children were "expected to fail," he says, "and when you're expected to fail, you usually do."
While everyone focused on crack cocaine, Lester says, they ignored the reality of the average substance-abusing household. Typically, in such a family setting, more than one drug was getting abused. And beyond those drugs, there were often myriad other forms of neglect and abuse coming from directions other than the crack-addicted mother.
Now, Lester says he is seeing the same sort of political storm brewing around methamphetamine, creating the same sort of erroneous information and damaging legislation.
And so far, Lester's research on in utero methamphetamine use shows it has nearly identical long-term effects as its first cousin, crack cocaine.
"If the meth effect is anything like the cocaine effect, which in the early stages it appears to be, it is mild and treatable," Lester says. "I just don't want us to make the same mistake with meth that we made with crack."
Which is why Lester and 90 other physicians, scientists and treatment experts released a statement in July imploring the nation's policymakers to address the methamphetamine problem with great care.
"We are concerned that policies based on false assumptions will result in punitive civil and child-welfare interventions that are harmful to women, children and families," the group's statement read.
The physicians called for policymakers to base their decisions on "the best research" and to focus on promoting the proven solutions -- "ongoing research and improvement and provision of treatment services."
Whether that will happen -- especially in regions of the country like Arizona, where law-and-order demagoguery wins elections -- is anyone's guess.
"You get these 'tough-on-crime' guys who have no idea how to actually be tough on crime," Lester says. "What they end up doing is just ruining lives and perpetuating crime over generations."
Detective Tim Ahumada is tough on crime. Has been for a quarter of a century.
He's still working on being smarter on crime, though. That is a lifelong process. And that is the only way you ever win any ground in the drug war.
"I know we need to do something more as a community, but I'm still not exactly sure what it is," admits Ahumada, who works with the Phoenix Police Department's Crimes Against Children Detail, a job that increasingly takes him into the homes of meth abusers with young children.
"As a police officer, I'm the intervention. I'm the quick fix. But I'm not the answer."
Ahumada, like a lot of veteran cops in the drug wars, is a dichotomy of hope and cynicism. He doesn't see that his 25 years have put a dent in drug use. In fact, he has plugged away as a new and bigger scourge has grown exponentially around him.
"Meth is the worst drug I've seen on the family." he says. "If you're on it, all you want is the drug -- period. The idea of taking care of kids goes right out the window."
He has charged into the worst of houses, babies lying in days' worth of their own feces next to explosive meth-lab chemicals, 5-year-olds running households because mom has been in bed for three days. In a recent home, the child's main chore was to get the meth pipes for the adults.
And Ahumada doesn't mind stacking charges on parents. In the chain of law enforcement, judicial and health-care officials involved in the attorney general's Drug Endangered Children program, it is his job to give those down the road in the system the biggest stick possible.
So he's tough on crime.
But his great hope, he says, is that the case he builds on parents ultimately leads to the rebuilding of that family. No doubt, some of the people he busts are just plain scumbags. But very often, he says, he finds hope for the future in the oddest places.
For example, he often comes across parents who say they only smoke meth once their kids are in bed. One dad would only cook when his children were at school. If they came home and the batch wasn't cooked, "mom would take the kids to the mall."
Maggie Voss insists she never let her kids go into the room in which "the hard-core users" were shooting meth into their veins.
While it's true, Ahumada says, "that tweakers don't parent their kids at all, it's also true that many of these people, if you can get the drug out of the house, have a good chance at rebuilding the home."
"This may sound weird, but I can often see the parenting values still there buried under the horrors of the addiction," he says. "What that is is a glimmer of hope. If we can do the job right after I'm done, there's a chance I won't have to come back."
And the children?
Yes, there's damage, but kids are also resilient, and "in some cases, they've learned to take care of themselves in ways most kids of today can't even imagine," he says. "If you can just get the drug out of the family setting, there's hope. And in many cases I've seen, there's plenty of hope not just that these kids can get by, but that they can thrive."
What that means for a community, Ahumada says, is providing the proper carrot to go along with the stick provided by police.
It was 7 a.m., and here was this rough-looking guy cruising around on a motorcycle with a rough-looking woman hanging on. You can see why the cop pulled over Maggie Voss and her boyfriend. They screamed methamphetamine.
When the cop ran Maggie's name through the system, it came back that she had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.
Well, of course she didn't get to court that day. Her previous boyfriend had locked her up in a bedroom of his house. He boarded the door and told Maggie that if she and her daughter tried to leave, he would kill them.
But she did leave. And the guy did stalk her. And then she found this new guy. And he was pretty nice to her, and he did not lock her up for days on end and did not beat her and threaten to kill her every day.
"You know, he didn't pulverize me," Voss says. "So I was hooked."
Unbeknown to her, in her belly that morning was her fourth child by the third different guy.
Her other three kids were with her parents and sister.
She had taken them to her sister's years before. Voss told her sister she was hard up for money and needed a few weeks to get back on her feet.
The weeks turned to months, the months to years, and pretty soon, her sister and other family members stopped bringing the kids by for visits.
Her family wasn't exactly sure what was happening -- they did not know about meth. Voss had been raised in a healthy, happy home -- "no cycle perpetuating itself there," she says. "But that meant they weren't exactly sure what I was up to. They just knew it was bad."
Throughout the late 1990s, she bounced from meth house to meth house. Back then, it was pretty much only a white-trash drug, lots of biker dudes, lots of tattoos, a few Aryan Brotherhood members.
In time, Voss was dealing. At first she was bad at it. Her volume was not only too low to support her habit, but she lost her house and everything else.
So she took her kids to her sister's and moved in with a new guy. She started dealing more and getting ripped off less. She always carried a pistol and was known around town as a ferocious bitch to cross.
"If you met me then," she says in the cafeteria of the hospital where she now works as an administrator, "you would not have seen hope. You would have wanted to put me away for life."
But the judge in her case, with the help of her family, did see hope. He gave her a choice -- long-term residential treatment that she had to complete successfully, or prison. If she succeeded at treatment, she could be reunited with her children. If not, they were gone.
A giant stick. A giant carrot.
She went into the Harbor Light program of the Salvation Army, a yearlong inpatient drug treatment program that most closely modeled what national meth-abuse experts say is the most effective treatment protocol for meth-addicted parents.
Voss was one of the last to graduate from the program, which -- as is common with treatment programs in Arizona -- was shut down in 2000 because of lack of funding.
Also, when her baby was born, she was allowed to keep the infant with her at Harbor Light. The center had its own child-care facility.
It takes months for meth to clear the system and for brain chemicals to begin flowing normally again. During the first stages of withdrawal, addicts are alternately lethargic and jittery, their brains craving the drug that, as addiction set in, provided equilibrium.
After a few months, Voss began learning how to function in the real world again. The whole time, too, she was learning to mother again.
Any time she considered getting high, she had to consider losing the baby in her arms.
"You don't know how powerful a deterrent that is until you've been there," she says. "It's hell fighting this addiction. But it was worth it because I could see the rewards. These beautiful children. I had to be there for them."
Once the overwhelming mothering instinct could again be discerned, meth addiction was beatable.
After 12 months essentially locked up at the Salvation Army, Voss began her return to society. But again, as the top research shows, this foray into the real world needs to be supervised. Voss was in a halfway-house setting, with constant counseling at hand, for six more months.
The trick here, treatment experts say, is to help the recovering addict build new friendships and life patterns free of chemicals.
Voss began working again. In time, her older children returned to her. She cleaned up her credit. She bought a car, she bought a house.
Now it's Voss and her four kids taking on the world.
She has her two oldest boys, Brandon, who has graduated high school, and Donnie, who is excelling in high school, both of whom spent much of their childhood living with Maggie's sister.
She has Megan, who is a star student despite spending her early years catering to Maggie's drug friends, and later, running for her life from her mother's violent boyfriend.
And, of course, Ryan, conceived in a meth haze but born drug-free, a born leader at school who has only known his mother as the rock of the family.
"We're a team," she says. "I'm so proud of them, it's crazy. And we're proof that it can be done and that a little extra work from the community is worth it.
"What scares me is the thought of how many women there are who won't get the kind of help I got," she says. "What, thousands of mothers, thousands of children? They can be saved. The community just has to come together to do it the right way."
In their February assessment of Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T., the statewide program for families entering the child-welfare system with substance-abuse problems, University of Arizona researchers made several recommendations for making the program more effective.
They were heartened by the fact that 48 percent of the parents entering the program received at least six months of treatment, mostly on an outpatient basis, an improvement over past years.
"The patterns are promising," researchers said, "given that research on substance-abuse treatment emphasizes that the longer a client remains in treatment, the more likely it is that treatment will result in long-term behavior change."
But that six months of outpatient care is far from reaching a standard of treatment proven effective in households in which meth has taken hold.
In 2004, Dr. Lester's team at Brown finished the most comprehensive analysis yet of drug treatment programs for pregnant women and women with children.
Their first discovery: that women are underserved by treatment programs compared to men, and that pregnant women are grossly underserved.
They also discovered that scarcely little analysis has been done of the effectiveness of the treatment programs that do exist.
That said, though, in limited studies of comprehensive female treatment programs in Hawaii and Los Angeles, it became clear that inpatient programs that allowed mothers to remain in contact with their children provided the greatest chances for success.
"Mothers admitted to the programs with their children had better treatment retention and higher rates of successful treatment completion than women admitted without their children," Lester wrote.
"The authors also suggest that the inclusion of children could strengthen mother self-esteem and mother-child bonds while also improving post-treatment outcomes."
And, he wrote, "results suggest that an intensive day treatment model is more effective than a standard outpatient treatment model for a variety of reasons."
Some other findings:
The more intense the penalties for drug-addicted mothers, the less likely they are to enter themselves into intensive treatment for fear of losing their children.
It is imperative that programs are modeled specifically to meet the needs of females, and especially, females with babies or young children.
That the best programs offer comprehensive care in one location -- "one-stop shopping," as Lester called it. This, research shows, allows mothers to develop a relationship with a consistent team of providers, which has shown to reduce dropout rates.
Offering parenting classes is a must.
Family members should be included in treatment whenever possible.
"Most professionals agree that a comprehensive program is best for mothers," Lester wrote. "Services should be family-centered, community-based, multi-disciplinary, individually tailored and promote competency of the individual."
Again, while Arizona has succeeded at creating a multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional approach to getting drug-addicted parents into the system and drug-affected children to safety, the state's leaders have generally failed at building the infrastructure needed to get the drug out of the household and get the family functioning again.
"I'm definitely the exception right now," Maggie Voss says. "The vast majority of women in Arizona aren't given a realistic shot at recovering from this drug."
It is hard to argue against Governor Napolitano's "children first" mandate to the child-welfare system. The basic idea: Get children away from dangerous situations.
The mandate was a response to a sickening litany of stories about children who had been returned by CPS to dysfunctional homes and later died at the hands of their abusers.
"It was the right thing to do," says Jeff Taylor, a counselor and program advocate for the Phoenix Rescue Mission. "But there is fallout. It's a policy that goes against the ideas that work best in treating mothers and reuniting families once the drugs are gone."
Taylor came over to the Phoenix Rescue Mission when the Harbor Light program was shut down at the Salvation Army. The closing of Harbor Light, Taylor and several other counselors say, was a sad day for Arizona.
"It just plain worked," he says. "It breaks my heart to think how many mothers have been denied the help they need since it closed."
The only statistics regarding the Harbor Light program are by no means of scientific quality. But they are intriguing.
In the last three years of the program, when Harbor Light offered full-time child care and full-scale residential treatment for pregnant meth-addicted mothers, 27 of the 28 women who came into the program pregnant delivered a drug-free baby.
Also, 60 percent of mothers who went through the intensive yearlong program returned two years later for an annual reunion picnic held for patients.
"Nothing scientific," Taylor says, "but you don't come back and celebrate with your counselors if you're actively using. You just stay away."
Compared with all men or women with or without children who went through the program, the mothers had the highest return rate at the reunions, he says.
Taylor also ran the Harbor Light child-care facility. There, he says, he saw as much hope as in the treatment facility for mothers.
"I don't know where this idea of 'meth kids' comes from," he says. "These kids were bright, engaged, full of love. The child with real emotional or developmental problems was very much the exception."
Once Harbor Light closed, Taylor says, only one program remained in the Valley for long-term residential treatment for indigent mothers in which their children can stay at the facility with them. That program, run by the Center for Hope, has 24 beds available.
"We know there are thousands of mothers out there addicted to meth," Taylor says. "So right now, we're giving about one-tenth of 1 percent the kind of treatment known to work. That's not good at all."
The Phoenix Rescue Mission is in the planning stages of a new facility for residential treatment of drug-addicted mothers, he says.
When that's completed, perhaps 100 women per year will have a shot at the kind of treatment that gave Maggie Voss and her four children their lives back.
Taylor and other advocates around the state will be asking the governor and legislators to work toward expanding these sorts of treatment programs for drug-addicted parents.
"Right now, the direction has been away from getting treatment for the family," Taylor says. "The governor was right to run with the idea of a child's safety first. But now, we need to look at the idea of putting foster care at the end of the line. If the parents fail, then it's foster care. If they succeed, the family is saved."
Support for this sort of reform isn't just coming from the experts in treatment. It's also coming from the experts in incarceration.
"We're still falling short on the treatment end," says Phoenix police Detective Ahumada. "Everything we do is a waste if the cycle continues. I know we can do better. And considering how important this is to so many lives, we absolutely must do better."
Volunteers are needed to help the government shake down old people for money
Volunteers are needed to prepare tax returns
Nov. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE - The Civic Center and Via Linda senior centers need volunteers to prepare income tax returns at no charge for seniors and low-income residents in the community.
Volunteers will receive training, and the service is offered through AARP Tax-Aide, the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service for qualified recipients.
To volunteer, call toll-free, 1-888-227-7669 or use the online registration form at www.aarp.org/taxaide. advertisement
does this mean machine gun toting thugs will be patroling the malls????
SWAT to patrol malls in Valley
By Katie McDevitt, Tribune
November 24, 2005
They operate special weapons, negotiate hostage situations and use explosives. They shoot with precision and are one of the most highly-trained units at the sheriff’s office.
They are the SWAT team.
Starting Friday, they’ll be patrolling Valley shopping malls.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is beefing up its holiday patrol, adding 30 SWAT members to the deputies and volunteer posse members already out around the holiday season. The SWAT team will patrol 11 Valley malls including Scottsdale Fashion Square, Chandler Fashion Center and Arizona Mills.
"I send them out on certain specialty operations that I feel are necessary," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
"I feel the protection of the people at the malls is necessary," he said.
Mall officials declined comment or could not be reached for comment.
The SWAT team will still be available to mobilize for other situations requiring them and their response time will not be any longer, Arpaio said. The team has been on patrol for months and will add the shopping malls into its normal routes.
Ronell Bolden sat on a bench outside Mesa’s Fiesta Mall on Wednesday. He, like several others questioned about Arpaio’s mall plans, believed the extra SWAT patrol was good, but perhaps a bit overboard for a quiet mall such as Fiesta.
"It’s already a good place," Bolden of Mesa said. "Right here, it’s pretty cool."
He visits the mall frequently and said he’s never seen trouble there.
Another shopper, Tim Yohe of Mesa, agreed.
"If something does happen, then, yeah (it’s good)," Yohe said. "But I don’t see anything happening."
The sheriff ’s office has been patrolling malls starting the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas since 1993 and uses canine units, mounted posse, deputies on motorcycles and bicycles, and posse members on foot to deter and prevent crime.
"If we have a SWAT situation at the mall like in Washington, naturally we’ll be mobilized quickly," Arpaio said.
In Tacoma, Wash., a 20-year-old man was charged with eight counts of first degree assault, four counts of kidnapping and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after he used a pair of assault rifles to shoot six people Nov. 20 inside a mall and held four people hostage for about four hours.
Two shoppers Wednesday at the Fiesta Mall felt Arpaio’s move to add SWAT members was reactionary.
"He goes to extremes," said Pam Throckmorton of Chandler.
"That would make me uncomfortable," said Renee Butcher, also of Chandler. "I wouldn’t come here if they had SWAT teams here. . . . That’s an isolated incident (in Washington). Doesn’t he have any other place to put them?"
Throckmorton added, "Thanks for warning us."
Contact Katie McDevitt by email, or phone (480) -898-633
Sheriff's Office posse will patrol malls during holiday season
Lindsey Collom and Brent Whiting
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
Shoppers will not be alone in flocking to the malls Friday for the start of the holiday rush.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office posse members will start patrolling nearly a dozen Valley shopping meccas. This year, they have help, and some serious firepower.
Sheriff's officials announced Wednesday that armed members of the agency's SWAT team also will be present to deter criminal activity. advertisement
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that while there have been no major acts of violence at Valley malls with posse members on guard, "it's prudent to have more firepower out there just in case."
He said the extra enforcement is a response to the recent mall shooting in Tacoma, Wash., which injured six people and left one person in critical condition.
"I'm not trying to scare anybody," Arpaio said. "There's been a lot of publicity, and I don't say there are copycats out there, but it does alert you to be proactive. I'm just ready to go.
"I'll be using a SWAT team to protect the public and make sure people know there's someone out there looking out for them."
Arpaio said the safety effort is just part of daily operations for SWAT members, who have been involved in patrol and special assignments since a revamp in 2004. SWAT members are still on-call and will respond to situations as necessary, he said. About 300 posse volunteers will participate in the program launched in 1993. It will last through Dec. 24.
Arpaio began the mall posse patrol after a series of carjackings. Since, posse members have used horses, foot patrols, bike patrols, canines, squad cars and motorcycles to patrol mall parking lots.
"People really look forward to this," he said.
The sheriff will launch the operation at 5 p.m. Friday at Park Central Mall in central Phoenix.
government of the people by the elected officials and government buerocrats, for the elected officials and govenrment buerocrats (and special interest groups that give them money)
Tempe justice courts moving to Chandler
Move would save county money, bog down city courts
by Emilia Arnold published on Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tempe City Council is protesting the planned move of local county justice courts to Chandler, a move Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said would burden city courts and inconvenience ASU students.
Misdemeanor cases cited by ASU police are handled at Tempe justice courts, but Maricopa County Superior Court is moving the facilities to downtown Chandler.
"The county can move those courts just about anywhere they want to, but I just don't think it's right," said Councilman Hut Hutson.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors decided about a year ago to consolidate county justice courts to reduce costs.
The courts will move from rented space to county-owned buildings, which will save the county an estimated $50 million over the next 10 years, said J.W. Brown, communications director for county court.
Some services, such as orders of protection, can be requested through city or Maricopa County justice courts, Hallman said. With the justice court in Chandler, Tempe courts will have to handle a larger load of these cases, he added.
The additional cases would be costly for Tempe, Hallman said.
"The county is merely saving money at Tempe's expense," he said.
At an Issue Review Session last week, the council authorized Hallman and Hutson to work on the issue until a conclusion is reached, according to city documents.
The council also agreed to send a letter of protest to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the chief judge of the Superior Court and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
Hutson said he and Hallman are trying to set up a meeting with the County Board of Supervisors to discuss the issue.
Maricopa County court officials have said the decision has already been made.
Chandler has finalized the donation of 1.6 acres of land and the groundbreaking was earlier this month, said Dave Bigos, a spokesman for Chandler.
But Hutson said it isn't too late for Tempe to speak up.
"[County officials] haven't gone far enough that they can't stop," Hutson said. "I never say never."
Tempe city officials want to keep the two justice courts in Tempe so residents don't have to travel to Chandler to use court services.
Justice courts serving Mesa and Gilbert will also be moved to Chandler because of the donation.
Chandler offered the land so the complex would be near the Chandler Municipal Court and the police department, Bigos said.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com
Sacude nuevo escándalo a la Diócesis de Phoenix
La Diócesis de Phoenix se encuentra envuelta en un nuevo escándalo, tras el arresto de quien fuera su vicario general durante varios años, el padre Dale Fushek.
El sacerdote fue detenido el lunes en su casa y presentado a la Corte donde le leyeron los cargos, 10 en total, que incluyen agresión, contribución a la delincuencia de un menor y exposición indecente.
Fushek, de 53 años, tiene rango de monseñor y llegó a ocupar la posición más alta en la Diócesis local, sólo por debajo del obispo.
En conferencia de prensa el mismo lunes, el procurador Andrew Thomas dio a conocer el procesamiento del padre Dale Fushek, quien señaló que el sacerdote realizaba confesiones engañosas por medio de las cuales obtenía detalles sobre la vida sexual de las víctimas.
El fiscal resaltó la colaboración que está teniendo de parte del obispo Thomas J. Olmsted para poder llevar a cabo las investigaciones.
Cabe señalar que el ex vicario general de Diócesis fue puesto en arresto domiciliario y le colocaron un brazalete electrónico en el tobillo para monitorear su ubicación.
Además, le ordenaron entregar su pasaporte a la Corte y le prohibieron terminantemente tener contacto con personas menores de 18 años.
Le informaron que será el 6 de diciembre cuando se abra formalmente el caso en su contra.
De acuerdo a los documentos que los fiscales entregaron a la Corte Superior del Condado Maricopa, Fushek cometió esos actos delictivos entre 1984 y 1994 en la parroquia St. Timothy’s, de Mesa, y las presuntas víctimas fueron siete jovencitos y niños.
El acusado, señalan dichos documentos, “utilizó una relación de confianza para realizar actos delictivos, incluídos pero no limitados a actividades sexuales, discusiones sexuales inadecuadas y contacto físico con las víctimas”.
Específicamente, las acusaciones dicen que el sacerdote acariciaba, besaba y manoseaba a los niños y jovencitos.
Además, les preguntaba detalles de su vida sexual, por ejemplo cómo se masturbaban y qué posición les gustaba más, y les decía que podían confiárselo porque era parte del secreto de la confesión.
No está claro por qué las víctimas no denunciaron entonces lo que estaba pasando y qué los motivó a hacerlo hasta ahora.
Entristece a obispo arresto de ex vicario
Monseñor Olmsted dijo que está rezando por todas las partes involucradas en este asunto.
A través de sus representantes y también de una declaración escrita, el obispo de Phoenix, Thomas J. Olmsted expresó su profunda tristeza por el arresto del padre Dale Fushek, quien fuera vicario general de la Diócesis cuando estaba el obispo Thomas J. O’Brien. “El señor obispo está muy triste por esta situación y nos pide a todos que recemos para que se haga justicia”, dijo a PRENSA HISPANA el vicario David Sanfilippo, al término de una conferencia de prensa en la que también estuvo presente el representante legal de la Diócesis, Michael Haran. Sanfilippo leyó una carta del Obispado dirigida a los medios de comunicación y a la opinión pública.
La misiva dice: “El señor obispo Thomas Olmsted y la Diócesis de Phoenix fueron informados que la Procuraduría del Condado ha presentado cargos contra monseñor Dale Fushek.
Esto produce una tristeza grande en el corazón del obispo, por el dolor de estas acusaciones y él reza por la sanación de todos. En este caso la Diócesis de Phoenix continúa en cooperación con la oficina del procurador. Monseñor Fushek queda en suspensión administrativa con sueldo pagado”. En la carta la Diócesis enfatiza que el obispo ora incesantemente por el sacerdote acusado, por su familia, por las personas que presentaron los cargos en su contra y por los feligreses de la parroquia de St. Timithy, en Mesa. Pero de manera especial, dice la carta, “el obispo está rezando para que nuestro sistema judicial, para que asuma que una persona es inocente hasta que su culpa esté probada”.
El abogado Michael Hara y el vicario David Sanfilippo dijeron que no podían hacer comentarios específicos sobre las acusaciones contra Fushek, porque dijeron que el asunto está en las Cortes.
También comentaron que en 1995 la Diócesis entregó una indemnización de 40 mil dólares a un hombre que acusó al mismo sacerdote también por cuestiones de índole sexual; fue parte de un arreglo para no tener que ir a los tribunales.
Señalaron que el padre Fushek seguirá percibiendo su salario hasta que las cosas se aclaran, es decir, aún no está probado de lo que se le acusa.
Acusan a sacerdote de crímenes sexuales
Por Valeria Fernández
Noviembre 23, 2005
Monseñor Dale Fushek, que ocupó el puesto de vicario de la Diócesis Católica de Phoenix, fue acusado de comportamientos sexuales inapropiados con menores el pasado lunes.
La Procuraduría del Condado Maricopa presentó diez cargos en su contra por delitos menores contra adolescentes y niños como resultado de una investigación de varios meses que todavía continúa y podría derivar en cargos más fuertes.
Fushek de 53 años es fundador de “Life Teen” uno de los programas más grandes de la nación para adolescentes católicos. También fue reconocido por su rol en la visita a Phoenix del Papa Juan Pablo II quien le diera el título de “monseñor” y la madre Teresa.
El sacerdote que ocupó un elevado puesto de confianza como vicario bajo la administración del obispo emérito Thomas O’Brien fue acusado de abusar de su relación de confianza con varios jóvenes para perpetuar actos criminales.
Una queja oficial sometida en la corte por la procuraduría alega que Fushek hacía uso de sus poderes como confesor para entablar pláticas inapropiadas sobre sexo, y sostener contacto físico con siete jóvenes y menores.
Los incidentes de los que se lo acusa ocurrieron en el periodo de 1984 a 1994 cuando el ex vicario trabajaba en la Parroquia de Saint Timothy de la Ciudad de Mesa.
En 1995 una de las personas que figura en la queja, Jim Partsh levantó acusaciones de acoso sexual contra Fushek que resultaron en un acuerdo privado con un monto de compensación cercano a los 50 mil dólares.
La investigación se inició poco después de que William Cesolini, quien no forma parte de la queja interpusiera una demanda civil en enero contra Fushek.
En la demanda que todavía está pendiente Cesolini acusaba al religioso de presenciar como el sacerdote Mark Lehman abusó de él sexualmente. Este caso salió a la luz poco después de que Cesolini recordará las memorias reprimidas sobre ese incidente.
Autoridades de la procuraduría arrestaron a Fushek el lunes por la mañana después de avisarle a funcionarios de la Diócesis Católica de Phoenix. Una juez permitió que el acusado quedara en libertad con arresto domiciliario y la condición de mantenerse alejado de menores de 18 años.
El obispo Thomas J. Olmsted expresó su tristeza ante las noticias a través de sus portavoces y aseguró que la Iglesia cooperaría con la Procuraduría.
Michael Haran, abogado de la Diócesis de Phoenix dijo que de las 7 personas en la queja contra Fushek sólo reconocieron el nombre de Partsh pero no pudieron distinguir otros nombres relacionados con acusaciones en el pasado.
“No hay nada que nosotros podamos hacer para asegurarnos que esto no se vuelva a repetir”, dijo el abogado en una conferencia de prensa.
Haran enfatizó que la Diócesis ha hecho muchos cambios desde la firma de un acuerdo con la Procuraduría del Condado Maricopa en el 2003.
“Si nosotros encontramos una acusación que es creíble la reportamos”, agregó.
En este acuerdo el entonces obispo Thomas J. O’Brien admitía haber trasferido a sacerdotes pederastas de una parroquia a otro sin informarles a los oficiales de esa parroquia del peligro que ese individuo podía representar para sus niños.
Según Paul Pfaffenberg, líder de la Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Sexual por Sacerdotes (SNAP por sus siglas en inglés) no es para sorprenderse que Fushek haya sido presentado con cargos, ya que desde hace mucho tiempo se escuchaban quejas en su contra por parte de víctimas.
“Lo bueno es que las víctimas hayan salido a la luz para contar su historia y que la Procuraduría decidiera seguir adelante y presentar los cargos”, agregó.
Fushek fue uno de los últimos sacerdotes en un alto puesto de confianza en la administración de O’Brien en ser presentado con cargos.
“Creo que (el obispo) Olmsted ha logrado cambios muy importantes”, aseguró.
Hasta el cierre de esta edición no se conocía una fecha para la primera audiencia en el caso.
Contacte al reportero: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commuting By Bus In Denver? Papers, Please.
Next Stop: Big Brother
Meet Deborah Davis. She's a 50 year-old mother of four who lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Her kids are all grown-up: her middle son is a soldier fighting in Iraq. She leads an ordinary, middle class life. You probably never would have heard of Deb Davis if it weren't for her belief in the U.S. Constitution.
Federal Public Transportation Pass This is not America. When honest, law-abiding citizens can't commute to work on a city bus without a demand for their 'papers', something is very, very wrong.
One morning in late September 2005, Deb was riding the public bus to work. She was minding her own business, reading a book and planning for work, when a security guard got on this public bus and demanded that every passenger show their ID. Deb, having done nothing wrong, declined. The guard called in federal cops, and she was arrested and charged with federal criminal misdemeanors after refusing to show ID on demand.
On the 9th of December 2005, Deborah Davis will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in a case that will determine whether Deb and the rest of us live in a free society, or in a country where we must show "papers" whenever a cop demands them.
Commuting By Bus In Denver? Papers, Please. DEB DAVIS LIKES to commute to work by public bus. She uses the time to read, crochet or pay bills. It's her quiet time. What with the high price of gas, she saves money, too: a week's worth of gas money gets her a month's worth of bus rides.
Deborah Davis and Son
Deborah Davis defends freedom at home while her son serves abroad in Iraq. The bus she rides crosses the property of the Denver Federal Center, a collection of government offices such as the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and part of the National
Archives. The Denver Federal Center is not a high security area: it's
not Area 51 or NORAD.
On her first day commuting to work by bus, the bus stopped at the
gates of the Denver Federal Center. A security guard got on and
demanded that all of the passengers on this public bus produce ID. She was surprised by the demand of the man in uniform, but she complied: it would have meant a walk of several miles if she hadn't. Her ID was not taken and compared to any "no-ride" list. The guard barely glanced at it.
When she got home, what had happened on the bus began to bother her. 'This is not a police state or communist Russia', she thought. From her 8th grade Civics class she knew there is no law requiring her, as an American citizen, to carry ID or any papers, much less show them to anyone on a public bus. She decided she would no longer show her ID on the bus.
The Compliance Test
On Monday, September 26th 2005, Deb Davis headed off to work on the route 100 bus. When the bus got to the gates of the Denver Federal Center, a guard got on and asked her if she had an ID. She answered in the affirmative. He asked if he could see it. She said no.
Visitors Welcome (to be arrested). The entrance to the Denver Federal Center. When the guard asked why she wouldn't show her ID, Deb told him that she didn't have to do so. The guard then ordered her off the bus. Deb refused, stating she was riding a public bus and just trying to get to work.
The guard then went to call his supervisor, and returned shortly with a federal policeman. The federal cop then demanded her ID. Deb politely explained once again that she would not show her ID, and she was simply commuting to work. He left, returning shortly thereafter with a second policeman in tow.
The Second Compliance Test
This second cop asked the same question and got the same answer: no showing of ID, no getting off the bus. The cop was also annoyed with the fact that she was on the phone with a friend and didn't feel like hanging up, even when he 'ordered' her to do so.
The second cop said everyone had to show ID any time they were asked by the police, adding that if she were in a Wal-Mart and was asked by the police for ID, that she would have to show it there, too.
She explained that she didn't have to show him or any other policeman my ID on a public bus or in a Wal-Mart. She told him she was simply trying to go to work.
Suddenly, the second policeman shouted "Grab her!" and he grabbed the cell phone from her and threw it to the back of the bus. With each of the policemen wrenching one of her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, the contents of her purse and book bag flying everywhere. The cops shoved her out of the bus, handcuffed her, threw her into the back seat of a police cruiser, and drove her to a police station inside the confines of the Denver Federal Center.
Once inside, she was taken down a hall and told to sit in a chair, still handcuffed, while one of the policemen went through her purse, now retrieved from the bus.
The two policemen sat in front of their computers, typing and conferring, trying to figure out what they should charge her with. Eventually, they wrote up several tickets, took her outside and removed the handcuffs, returned her belongings, and pointed her toward the bus stop. She was told that if she ever entered the Denver Federal Center again, she would go to jail.
She hasn't commuted by public bus since that day.
The Legal Case
Deborah Davis' case is about one thing: the right to travel. The reason why she was charged has absolutely nothing to do with security. The guard at the Denver Federal Center wasn't checking IDs against a 'no ride' list: there is no such thing. The demands made against Deb Davis were nothing more than a compliance test, a demand that she kowtow to officialdom. And lest we forget, having to show your ID is a search without a warrant.
By 'Welcome', they mean 'Show us your papers'. Yet more signs at a Denver Federal Center entrance. The significance of Deb's case was readily apparent to the < http://www.aclu-co.org/>American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, who immediately arranged free legal
representation. The first-rate legal team of ACLU volunteers Norman Mueller and Gail Johnson attorneys from the prominent Colorado criminal defense firm of < http://www.hmflaw.com>Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman, P.C. are mounting a vigorous defense on Deborah Davis' behalf.
Deborah Davis responded to this compliance test in a way that would have made the Founding Fathers proud. She is being prosecuted for no reason other than being 'uppity' in the face of authority.
When Deb is arraigned in U.S. District Court on the 9th of December, she will most likely be charged with the following federal criminal misdemeanors: 41 CFR § 102-74.375 (Admission to Property) and 41 CFR § 102-74.385 (Conformity to Official Signs and Directions).
Through these charges, it appears that the Feds are claiming that people were on notice that they had to show ID. Nowhere is this evident, unless 'Public Welcome' flags are bureaucratese for 'Papers, please'. In addition, Deb wasn't even visiting the Denver Federal Center. That the public bus transits the facility isn't her fault. If the Center really is Denver's answer to Area 51, then public buses should be driving around not through the Center.
What's Wrong With Showing ID?
"There are good people with bad papers; and bad people with good papers." - Bertold Brecht
What does an ID, any ID, do for security? The honest answer is 'not much'. If anyting, relying on ID for security purposes actually makes things worse. Showing ID only affects honest people. If you're dishonest, you can obtain false documents or steal the identity of an honest person. If a 19 year-old college student can get a fake ID to drink, why couldn't a bad person get one, too? And no matter how sophisticated the security embedded into the ID, wouldn't a well-financed terrorist be able to falsify that, too? The answer to both questions is obviously 'yes'.
Honest people, on the other hand, go to Pro-Life rallies. Honest people attend gun shows. Honest people protest the President of the United States. Honest people fly to political conventions. Honest people also commute by public bus to work. What if those with the power to put people on a 'no ride' list decided that they didn't like the reason for which you wanted to travel? The honest people wouldn't be going anywhere.
Bad people, besides using fake IDs and stolen identities, can also make the system of checking IDs work in their favor. The Carnival Booth effect, as described by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, means that terrorists can probe an ID security system by sending a number of people on innocent trips through the system and noting who is flagged for extra searches and who isn't. They then send only those who the system doesn't flag on terrorist missions.
Still, some Americans think that "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." Were the Founding Fathers criminals trying to protect themselves when they inserted the 4th and 5th amendments into the Bill of Rights? After all, nobody who hasn't done anything wrong needs to worry about being searched or being forced to testify against himself.
Over the years, Americans have become accustomed to showing ID in any number of circumstances. Few have asked the question, 'Why?'. The Department of Homeland Security has attempted to institute programs predicated on the use of ID to improve security. The fact of the matter is that demands for ID do nothing for security while making honest Americans less free.
Legal Documents Deborah Davis: Defendant Other legal documents from Deb's case will be added to this page as they become available. Deb's personal information has been redacted.
Gail Johnson, a volunteer ACLU lawyer and respected criminal defense attorney from the law offices of < http://www.hmflaw.com>Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman, P.C., is defending Deb's right to travel freely in her own country.
Admissions to property citation issued by arresting officer: < http://www.papersplease.org/davis/_dl/Admission_Viola ion.pdf>U.S. District Court Violation Notice
26 September 2005 (128 KB pdf)
Conforming with signs and instructions citation issued by arresting officer: < http://www.papersplease.org/davis/_dl/Conforming_Vio ation.pdf>U.S . District Court Violation Notice 26 September 2005 (128 KB pdf)
Statement of the arresting Homeland Security Department law enforcement officer: Department of Homeland Security Offense/Incident Report 26 September 2005 (46 KB pdf)
TSA Homeland Security Officers strip search alleged 2 year old female terrorist!
Tot strip-searched, grandma says
Nov. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
Before boarding a Southwest Airlines flight to Portland, Ore., on Nov. 18, my daughter's 2-year-old daughter was strip-searched.
It took her a long time to get through security here at Phoenix.
Now I remember the reason I don't fly anymore - security!
My daughter ended up having to strip down her little girl to her diaper. The security thought something was suspicious with that poor 2-year-old.
My daughter asked at the first thing, "Do you want me to take off her belt and shoes?"
They said, "No, she is under 12, so she doesn't need to."
Then the alarm went off again and again as each piece of clothing was removed. They wanted to pat the little girl down. My daughter refused to let them do that. Good.
This is so ridiculous.
Jean A. Smith
Look lady if you turn up your music too loud and bother your neighbors we will send the Mesa cops over and jail your sorry ass quicker then you can say "turn down the music".
But on the other hand if the City of Mesa wants to force every citizen that lives within a mile of the Mesa Amphitheatre to listen to the concert put on by the city of Mesa that too badddddd. We don't have to obey any stinking distrubing the peace laws.
Amphitheater too loud
I sent an e-mail to Mesa's mayor, council members and city manager asking for help with a problem I encountered last week.
I live about a mile from the Mesa Amphitheatre at University Drive and Center Street. Last week the noise coming from that facility was so loud that I could hear it rather loudly in the back bedroom of my home with the door and all windows closed.
I don't believe it is unreasonable to ask that the volume be lowered when so many residents are affected by it. I received a reply this week from Rhett Evans, director, Commercial Facilities Division, who said, "The shows held this past week (although loud) were both in compliance."
I just don't find this an acceptable solution to this problem. If you are affected by this, please let your city officials know about it.
don't think of it as a bribe! its just a friendly cash gift of a few thousand dollars for helping out.
Lawmakers helped tribes
Took donations from Indian clients of lobbyist Abramoff
John Solomon and Sharon Theimer
Nov. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - More than a dozen members of Congress intervened to help Indian tribes win federal school construction money while accepting political donations from the tribes, their lobbyist Jack Abramoff or his firm.
The lawmakers hailed from both parties, including House Appropriations subcommittee Chairman Charles Taylor, R-N.C., and Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Abramoff. Also writing a letter was Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz.
Most wrote letters that pressed a reluctant Bush administration to renew a program that provided tribes federal money for building schools. Others worked the congressional budget process to ensure it happened, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
And most received donations, ranging from $1,000 to more than $74,000, in the weeks just before or after their intervention. One used Abramoff's restaurant for a fund-raiser a month after a letter.
As a group, they collected more than $440,000 from Abramoff, his firm or his tribal clients between 2001 and 2004, when Abramoff represented the tribes.
In Washington, special interests with business before Congress commonly provide donations to lawmakers as they lobby.
But ethics rules require lawmakers to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest while performing official duties. Lawmakers said their letters had nothing to do with Abramoff and instead were prompted by their desire to keep the government's Indian school building program alive so tribes in their own states might one day benefit. The timing of donations, they said, were a coincidence.
"It really had nothing to do with Jack Abramoff. Senator Dorgan had a personal interest in the program and how it benefits tribes at large and the Three Affiliated Tribes in his state," Dorgan chief of staff Bernie Toon said, echoing comments from many lawmakers.
A former federal prosecutor said the size of the donations and their proximity to official actions could impact the current Justice Department investigation of Abramoff. The lobbyist has been charged with fraud in a Florida case and an associate has pleaded guilty in Washington and is cooperating with investigators.
Dorgan, along with Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., signed a Feb. 11, 2002, letter asking the Senate Appropriations Committee for a "long-term extension" of funding for the Indian school-building program.
One of Abramoff's client tribes, the Mississippi Choctaw, was using the program, and his team was lobbying furiously to extend it for other tribal clients, including the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan. The Saginaw prevailed the next year. The Burns-Dorgan letter specifically mentions the Choctaw.
Nine days later, Dorgan's campaign got $2,000 from the Choctaw and by late spring Dorgan's political action committee had received $17,000 more from three other Abramoff tribes and his firm. In all, Dorgan got nearly $95,000 in Abramoff-related money between 2001 and 2004.
Burns also benefited handsomely. In all, Burns collected nearly $150,000 in Abramoff-related donations between 2001 and 2004. Two of his Senate staffers also accepted an Abramoff-arranged trip to the 2001 Super Bowl in Florida.
The Montana senator's office said he wrote the letters at the request of Michigan lawmakers who represented the Saginaw and wasn't influenced by tribal largess. As they lobbied to win school funding, Abramoff and his team kept a tally of congressional assistance. One e-mail noted a Dorgan staffer planned to contact the Interior Department to discuss the issue.
A top agency official "is actively trying to kill" the funding, Abramoff was told. That e-mail identified a half-dozen letters written or signed by 14 lawmakers on behalf of the tribes.
One was written Jan. 23, 2003 by Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Republican Rep. Dave Camp, all of Michigan, on the Saginaw's behalf.
Stabenow got $2,000 from the Saginaw in March 2002, around the time Burns sent his first letter requested by the Michigan lawmakers. She later thanked Burns in a Senate speech for his help. She received $2,000 more from the Saginaw about six months after her 2003 letter.
Camp got $7,500 in donations from Abramoff's firm and the Saginaw shortly after the 2003 letter, and a total of $24,500 between 2001 and 2004. Levin got small donations from Abramoff's firm and the Saginaw in 2001 and 2002.
"There's no connection between the donations and the letter," Stabenow spokeswoman Angela Benander said.
Another letter, according to Abramoff's e-mails, came from Hayworth and Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee, who run a congressional group on tribal issues. Hayworth got about $64,520 and Kildee $10,500 in Abramoff-related donations between 2001 and 2004.
"I can assure you the letter was not related to the contributions he had accepted previously or following that letter. He does not do quid pro quo business," Hayworth spokesman Larry VanHoose said.
Taylor, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees tribal funding, signed the 2003 Burns letter and confirmed he sent an earlier letter on March 18, 2002 signed by several colleagues. Twelve days before, Taylor received $2,000 from an Abramoff tribe.
Taylor's office said he did have contact with one of Abramoff's associates.
Cops!! We would be better off without them. Sure they catch lots of pot smokers but they can't catch real criminals like this rock burglar
Rock Burglar on long hiatus
But residents urged to take care over holidays
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
NORTHEAST VALLEY - Twelve years and 337 burglaries later the most notorious thief in the Northeast Valley - the Rock Burglar - is still eluding police.
Despite the 12-year hunt, police are not sure how or when the Rock Burglar is casing luxury homes, or when the unidentified burglar or burglars will strike again.
The Rock Burglar's erratic patterns have long stumped investigators, who have tried to anticipate the window-smashing heists that have netted the culprit more than $10 million, mostly in stolen jewelry and cash.
Scottsdale police Detective Sgt. Eric Rasmussen said the Rock Burglar is no more active during the holidays than any other time, though homeowners leaving town for Thanksgiving or Christmas are urged to take extra precautions to safeguard their properties.
The Rock Burglar primarily targets residents of affluent neighborhoods in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Carefree for expensive jewelry.
"If you meet those criteria, you should be a little more alert coming home at night," said Rasmussen, who oversees Scottsdale's burglary unit.
"If you hear glass break in your neighborhood you might think about calling police to take a look," he said.
Since January 2003, the Rock Burglar has hit 41 homes in Scottsdale, as many as 10 near Carefree, and two in Paradise Valley, police said.
The most recent incident in Scottsdale was March 12, on 124th Street south of Shea Boulevard.
Paradise Valley was hit the hardest by the Rock Burglar from 1993 to 2002, but investigators said the suspect's focus has seemingly shifted to Scottsdale.
The Rock Burglar has struck every month of the year, and does not seem to follow any specific patterns.
Investigators describe the suspect as organized, dedicated and meticulous about the robberies.
"One of the things that has made this person, or this group of people, successful is the randomness of their acts," said Paradise Valley police Lt. Alan Laitsch, a member of the Rock Burglar task force.
"They've gone several months without committing a burglary," he said. "It makes it difficult for law enforcement to do things like surveillance and stakeouts."
Donna Cleinman said her Paradise Valley home was robbed by the Rock Burglar in 2002 after she and her husband made last-minute plans for the Fourth of July weekend, and did not suspend their newspaper deliveries.
Police recommend that homeowners take the time to get neighbors or friends to help keep their homes clear of any signs that point to them being out of town, such as piles of newspapers, mail or packages.
The Rock Burglar entered Cleinman's house by smashing a bathroom window with a patio chair that was put exactly back in place. Other than glass in the bathtub, and her missing jewelry, she said she would not have known she was robbed.
"It's almost like they're respectful of your property," Cleinman said.
"For the most part, there were a couple of doors ajar," she said. "But if nothing had been broken, you might have to really look to see if something was taken or disrupted."
Reach the reporter at michael.ferraresi@scottsdale republic.com or (602) 444-6843.
Voters tangled in new ID law
Older license not valid at state polls next year
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
Thousands of Arizonans with older driver's licenses could have trouble registering or casting ballots at the polls next year because of new voter identification rules.
A provision of Proposition 200, which state voters approved last year, was supposed to prevent non-citizens from voting. But U.S. citizens may also have problems, and the obstacles could cut across party lines.
Under the new rules, anyone registering to vote must provide proof of citizenship. The handiest form usually is an Arizona driver's license issued after Oct. 1, 1996, when the state began demanding evidence of legal U.S. residency to get a license.
But one in 10 Arizona motorists, or more than 400,000, have valid licenses issued before that date, and those are not acceptable as a form of voter registration ID.
The older licenses are in circulation because the state, as a convenience and cost-cutting measure, decided in 1994 to set driver's license expiration dates on a driver's 60th birthday. Five years later, the expiration date was changed to a driver's 65th birthday.
Changes of address
The new rules do allow a valid Arizona license, regardless of date of issuance, to be used as positive ID at the polls if the home address on the license matches the voter's current address. But more than 100,000 Arizonans carry licenses with old addresses.
The net effect: People trying to register with an older driver's license may be turned away, and if they show up at the polls to vote with an outdated address on their license, they will be offered a provisional ballot that will have to be verified within five days by county elections officials.
As word gets out about the new rules, many voters are likely to react like Charlie Hendrix.
The Mesa businesswoman, who had used a post office box as her address for years, realized she would have an ID problem in the next election cycle. So she reregistered to vote at her residential address and plans to get a new driver's license reflecting that address. Then, her ID will match her voting address.
"I'm glad to see a little more security in the voting process, but I hope they'll take the time to educate people . . . to make sure people can get through this," she said.
Other potential problems loom because alternative forms of identification acceptable for registration or voting can be difficult for some U.S. citizens to provide. These other forms of ID range from U.S. passports and birth certificates to utility bills and property-tax statements.
Native Americans present a special issue because they often live in remote areas without addresses and do not always have access to birth records or other documents showing ownership or financial attachments.
Young voters often live in shared rental housing and may not have licenses, utility bills or other acceptable forms of identification.
Married couples often have bills and ownership documents in just one name, so only one of the pair can use the papers as identification.
And elderly voters in assisted-living or nursing-care facilities often do not have a driver's license, let alone utility bills, vehicle registrations or other forms of alternative identification.
"If they (elderly) come to the polling place, that's a toughie . . . because I don't know how they would prove who they are," said Karen Osborne, Maricopa County's elections director.
Unable to register
So far, improper documents already have resulted in more than 12,000 people being turned away from registering in Maricopa and Pima counties since January. Though some of those would-be voters were able to return later with proper documentation, county elections officials say it is a sign that Arizonans do not understand the identification requirements.
Pima County Registrar of Voters Chris Roads said 199 people were turned away just before Tucson's Nov. 8 municipal election because identification questions could not be resolved by the registration deadline.
Mark Lewis, a Scottsdale Republican active in election issues, predicts there will be fewer identification-related troubles in March's municipal elections than in the fall primary and general elections, when more people go to the polls.
"There will be a lot of people upset if they go to the polls and there's some kind of snafu," Lewis said.
The scenario haunting county recorders is that many voters without the necessary identification at the polls would vote provisional ballots that must be verified by hand after the election. Further complications could arise if many of those voters were told to show up on the county's doorstep a day or two after the election to provide proof of identity.
Osborne noted that if just 1 percent of Maricopa County voters must show up in person, that's 6,000 people. And those votes could decide some races.
Nonetheless, the identification rules were the best that Secretary of State Jan Brewer, Gov. Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Terry Goddard and the U.S. Department of Justice could agree on after lengthy negotiations. Supporters of Proposition 200 argued for the toughest measures possible.
Federal officials approved the plan despite objections by Roads and others that it could disenfranchise some voters.
"Republican Party leaders are very much in favor of the ID requirement . . . because of the view that this will impact Democratic voters more," Roads said. Yet when he explained at a recent GOP meeting that problems producing valid ID could affect voters of both parties, Roads said, "people were visibly shocked."
Tom Irvine, a Phoenix attorney who represents Democrats and Republicans in elections-related litigation, called the plan "an unmitigated disaster." He predicted a voter backlash and political fallout next year if many ballots go uncounted as a result.
But Brewer said fears of disenfranchising voters are overblown. She said "very, very broad" rules were adopted to avoid turning away anyone at the polls. In addition, her office and the county recorders plan to roll out voter education campaigns next year to instruct people on forms of identification that are necessary to register and to vote.
In the end, their saving grace could be early voting, which simply requires a signature with no other form of identification.
Voters may have a ballot sent to them, vote, then sign the envelope and send it in. If they wait too long to mail it, they may deliver it by hand to their regular polling place on Election Day.
No ID is needed because their signature on the envelope is compared with a registration signature in county computers. Signature verification by trained county staff is considered a form of positive identification.
"Over 1 million people overwhelmingly voted for it (Proposition 200), so it's the law," Brewer said. "Hopefully, people will learn more with all this discussion. We don't want anyone disenfranchised."
Non-believers organize to promote awareness
Arizona Daily Star
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
TUCSON - Weary of feeling silenced by a culture dominated by organized faith, non-believers in southern Arizona and nationwide are coming out.
Atheists, agnostics and others who fall outside mainstream religion are forming their own organizations. Non-believers say it's time to step up and get some respect.
"I hear people wonder how atheists can be moral. I just think things are getting really ridiculous," said 26-year-old Mary Adde, a University of Arizona graduate student and atheist who is part of a new campus club for non-believers.
A local chapter of the international Center for Inquiry, a support and education group for non-religious people, also formed this year.
Tucson Atheists became an official chapter of the national American Atheists Inc. in March and also plans more local visibility.
"It is a way for non-believers to come together and not feel so isolated. I'm an atheist, and I'm proud of it," Tucson Atheists spokeswoman Jasmine England said. Hartford Seminary in Connecticut on Nov. 2 opened its Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture to increase understanding of the contemporary significance of secular values.
And Lori Lipman Brown, a lawyer, atheist and former Nevada state senator, in September became executive director of the Secular Coalition for America in Washington, a lobbying group with goals of keeping religion out of government and winning respect for the non-religious.
"We want to change the national conversation, to make it unacceptable to make us invisible," Lipman Brown wrote in an e-mail.
Some of the issues she has weighed in on include opposing the federal government's reimbursement of churches that helped survivors of Hurricane Katrina and endorsing the removal of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
The number of non-believers organizing in southern Arizona is small, with three groups totaling about 160 total members.
Studies and polls that attempt to pinpoint the number of non-believers in the United States vary widely. The American Religious Identification Study in 2001 said 1 percent of Americans, about 3 million people, identify as atheist or agnostic, though Gallup surveys in 1996 showed 4 percent to 6 percent of Americans, about 12 million to 18 million, say they don't believe in a higher power.
But critics doubt non-believers will have much clout, even with a louder voice.
Most Americans do not share the groups' views, said Colby May, director of the Washington office of the American Center for Law & Justice, founded in 1990 by televangelist Pat Robertson as a non-profit public-interest law firm.
"The vast majority of Americans have a faith," May said.
a time tested way governments use to deal with and solve problems - lying.
Chinese officials lie after chemical spill
Benzene leak threatens drinking water of city
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
BEIJING - When a chemical plant leaked poison into a river in northeastern China this week, regional officials employed a time-tested strategy to quash the bad news: They lied.
First, they denied that the chemical plant along the Songhua River had leaked anything other than water and carbon dioxide.
When a 50-mile slick of cancer-causing benzene approached Harbin, the largest city in China's northeast, threatening its drinking water, officials shut down the water system.
Officials told the city's 3.8 million residents that the four-day water cutoff was for maintenance.
Only when panic and public suspicion overwhelmed officials Wednesday did they admit that 100 tons of toxic chemicals had leaked into the river and acknowledge the danger to public health.
As the weekend began, the toxic benzene had mostly passed through Harbin, but another benzene spill occurred after a factory explosion in southwestern China. Benzene, a solvent and a component of gasoline, isn't soluble in water and can cause liver damage and cancer.
As the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident did in the Soviet Union, the government's lies and attempts to cover up the disaster have underscored how brittle government credibility is in a one-party state.
As avian flu outbreaks erupt almost daily, and other health, labor and environmental problems fester, some Chinese wonder whether they can trust officials on public-safety issues.
In an apparent attempt to deflect attention, state-run Chinese media lashed out Friday at the Jilin provincial government and the Jilin Petrochemical Plant, a subsidiary of China's largest, state-owned oil company, for failing to apologize for their lies.
"We do not know what is behind the cover-up. It might be because they were afraid that they would have to pay money for the losses the pollution has incurred in Harbin, and it might be because they were afraid of losing face," the English-language China Daily newspaper said in an editorial.
"But the fact is that they have brought shame on themselves by covering up the truth."
Gov. Zhang Zuoji of Heilongjiang province promised to drink the first glass of water from Harbin taps once water is restored, maybe today, to show that officials care about residents' well-being.
i must say these guys are pretty clever :)
Baltimore thieves take poles
30-foot-tall lights likely are junked
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
BALTIMORE - City streets are getting darker because thieves are stealing 30-foot light poles, authorities said.
About 130 aluminum light poles have vanished this fall throughout the city, despite the difficulty of carting off the 250-pound objects.
The culprits have even dressed up as utility crews, city officials say, and placed orange traffic cones around the poles they are about to take down to avoid making motorists suspicious. Police have no suspects in the thefts.
Police say the thieves could be stealing the poles, which cost the city $750 each, to sell as scrap metal. For at least a decade, authorities suspect drug addicts have ripped metal pipes, radiators and wires out of vacant houses to pay for their next fix.
Scrap aluminum brings 30 to 35 cents a pound, according to local metal dealers.
Local salvage yards haven't reported seeing any of the stolen poles, perhaps because of a city ordinance requiring scrap-metal dealers to record personal information of people bringing in metal goods.
Some who work there, however, say they wouldn't be surprised if the poles were being sold somehow.
"They steal everything here in Baltimore," said Lynn Smith, manager at Modern Junk & Salvage Co. "Nothing's too kooky to me anymore."
The problem is not new. In 1988, authorities in New York accused two men of prying off pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge and selling them to a scrap-metal dealer. Damage to the historic span was estimated at $37,000.
Anti-war mom back in Texas for protest
Vows to continue demonstration near Bush ranch
Rosalind S. Helderman
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
CRAWFORD, Texas - Cindy Sheehan has returned to the dusty town of Crawford, where she was transformed from a grieving mother into a symbol of the movement against the Iraq war.
She arrived Thursday night to the cheers of supporters and on Friday presided over the unveiling of a permanent sandstone monument in memory of her son, Casey, a soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
The monument is the central feature of a small garden of cactus and yucca plants anti-war demonstrators have planted in front of the Crawford Peace House, the headquarters of their effort in the town near President Bush's vacation ranch.
Standing arm in arm with her sister, Dede Miller, and Juan Torres and Bill Mitchell, two fathers who lost sons in Afghanistan and Iraq, Sheehan said her protest, begun during Bush's stay here in August, had not ended.
"We're not going away," she told supporters gathered under an overcast sky. "We don't hate anybody. We just want people to be held accountable, and just because someone is president of the United States, it doesn't guarantee them immunity from accountability. And we're still looking for that."
Bush arrived at his ranch Tuesday, spending the week with his family and on Friday celebrating his twin daughters' 24th birthday.
Sheehan's supporters, meanwhile, have been arriving all week as well, in hopes of regenerating the attention they received when Sheehan camped outside the president's ranch for 26 days in August.
On Thanksgiving Day, they gathered under a large tent erected on private property adjoining Bush's property to eat what they described as a "simple Iraqi meal." In lieu of turkey, it included tea, lentils, tilapia and curried vegetables. A group was arrested Wednesday after erecting tents on public land, now prohibited by a new county ordinance.
Vietnam War opponent Daniel Ellsberg, one of those arrested, sat in the front row of lawn chairs set up in front of the new monument Friday. After the ceremony, he said his arrest was a way to challenge the constitutionality of the new county rule.
"I came here to protest the war, but we got two for one here," said Ellsberg, who said he has been arrested more than 70 times while protesting since he gained fame by leaking the "Pentagon Papers" about the Vietnam War in 1971. "We're also protesting this administration's intention to narrow down freedom of speech and assembly."
As in August, Sheehan's visit here once again brought out counterdemonstrators.
One group stood in the parking lot of the local coffee shop behind a sign reading "Score - Cindy 3, USA 403." The sign was a reference to a recent House vote in which only three lawmakers supported a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
does this mean no more "stun gun fun" for sadistic cops???
Nasdaq may delist Taser
Stun-gun firm gets warning on delayed financial reports
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
Embattled Scottsdale stun-gun maker Taser International Inc. could have its stock barred from trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market unless it can persuade regulators to grant the company more time to file its third-quarter financial reports.
Taser said it is working diligently to complete the filing but that it must first correct errors that have come to light in its first- and second-quarter reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nasdaq requires listed companies to file financial reports on a timely basis, and it notified Taser on Tuesday that it was out of compliance with the rule and faces delisting.
Taser said Friday that it would appeal and requested a hearing before Nasdaq's listing qualifications panel. The request stays any delisting until the panel can review the case and make a determination. Taser said it was confident the panel would rule in its favor.
The news sent Taser's stock into a slump Friday. Shares dropped 90 cents, or 12 percent, to $6.50. A year ago the stock traded at more that $30 a share. Since then the company has been hit with problems ranging from a stock manipulation investigation to safety concerns about its stun guns and a spate of wrongful death lawsuits.
Taser Vice President Steve Tuttle said the company was working as "quickly and diligently" as possible to file the financial statements for the quarter that ended Sept. 30.
But, Tuttle said, the company can't file the third-quarter results until it straightens out discrepancies in its first- and second-quarter financials.
A new accounting team that took over in September for fired auditors Deloitte & Touche LLP found that in the second quarter Taser had recorded certain legal expenses that were incurred in the first quarter.
As a result, the company must restate its first-quarter earnings to reflect an undetermined increase and the second-quarter results to show a decrease.
Tuttle said the company incurred a significant increase in legal costs in the first quarter and many of the invoices didn't arrive until the second quarter.
Taser also was delayed in filing its first-quarter report due to the required restatement of its year-end 2004 results to correct an accounting error relating to stock options.
While the case is under review, an "E" has been added to Taser's trading symbol to reflect the company's non-compliance with listing requirements. Until the matter is resolved, Taser shares will trade under the symbol TASRE, instead of TASR.
Meanwhile the Securities and Exchange Commission continues an investigation into allegations of illegal manipulation of the company's stock price and into the safety claims the company has made about its stun guns.
The guns shoot a dart with an attached wire that can deliver a debilitating jolt of electricity. Since 1999, there have been at least 144 deaths after police Taser strikes in the United States and Canada. Of those, medical examiners cited Tasers as a cause of death in four cases and a contributing factor in 10 others.
Iraq's former interim prime minister complained Sunday that human rights abuses by the puppet American government are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein.
Ex-Iraqi interim premier cites human rights abuses
By ROBERT H. REID
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's former interim prime minister complained Sunday that human rights abuses by some in the new government are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein.
Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite Muslim, told the London newspaper the Observer that fellow Shiites are responsible for death squads and secret torture centers and said brutality by some members of the Iraqi security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police.
"People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam, and now we are seeing the same thing," the newspaper quoted Allawi as saying.
In Canada, meanwhile, a Parliament official said four international aid workers, including two Canadians, had been kidnapped in Iraq, but the official refused to name the aid group or say where they were seized.
Britain's Foreign Office identified one of the four as Norman Kember, a Briton, but provided no further details.
Elizabeth Colton, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said the United States was investigating whether an American also was among the missing.
Most international organizations fled Iraq last year following a wave of kidnappings and beheadings of foreign and Iraqi hostages. Many of them were carried out by Al-Qaida in Iraq, led by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The U.S. military reported that a Marine was killed Saturday when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb near Camp Taqaddum, 45 miles west of Baghdad. At least 2,106 U.S. military personnel have died since the war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Allawi's allegation of widespread human rights abuses follows the discovery this month of up to 173 detainees, some malnourished and showing signs of torture, in an Interior Ministry building in Baghdad.
"People are doing the same as Saddam's time and worse," he said. "It is an appropriate comparison."
His remarks appeared aimed at winning favor among the Sunni Arab minority as well as secular Shiites ahead of the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. Allawi is running on a secular ticket that includes several prominent Sunnis.
During his tenure as prime minister, Allawi lost the support of many Shiites because he brought former members of Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime back into the security services to bolster the fight against insurgents.
There was no comment from Shiite politicians on Allawi's interview. However, the leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite party said the torture allegations were distortions and might be designed to draw attention away from Saddam's war crimes trial, which resumes today after a five-week break.
"At the time of the Saddam trial, the issue of the torture in Iraqi detention centers is being exaggerated," said Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. "When it comes to the crimes committed by Saddam for decades in which millions of Iraqis were affected, there is complete silence."
In an interview published Sunday by the Washington Post, al-Hakim also complained that the U.S. government is tying Iraq's hands in fighting the insurgency and said one of the country's biggest problems "is the mistaken or wrong policies practiced by the Americans."
Before dawn Sunday, about 350 Iraqi soldiers in 50 vehicles carried out an operation in a Sunni Arab area near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. A similar operation two weeks ago brought strong protests from Sunni leaders.
Iraqi army Maj. Karim Al-Zihayri said 15 people were arrested on suspicion of planting roadside bombs, attacking checkpoints, kidnapping and stealing.
anyway you put it saddam trial is a kangaroo court
Former attorney general joins Saddam's legal team
Los Angeles Times
Nov. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
BAGHDAD - High-profile American lawyer Ramsey Clark came to the aid of Saddam Hussein on Monday, formally joining his team of attorneys. But although the former U.S. attorney general may have found the ultimate platform for his vehement opposition to the Iraq war, legal experts were divided over whether his participation would hurt or help the deposed dictator's case.
The 77-year-old Clark has long been a champion of controversial causes and has had a roster of notorious clients, including a leader of the Rwandan genocide, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Clark, who met with Saddam briefly before the 2003 U.S. invasion, has for months played an advisory role in the ousted dictator's defense on murder charges.
Based on the Dallas native's past performances in high-profile trials, legal observers say he'll almost certainly avoid addressing the specific allegations against Saddam and instead will try to turn the proceedings into a forum for airing his grievances against U.S. foreign policy.
In a Jan. 24 opinion piece he wrote for the Los Angeles Times, Clark said he was willing to take up Saddam's cause because the court trying him "was illegitimate in its conception, the creation of an illegal occupying power that demonized Saddam Hussein and destroyed the government it now intends to condemn by law."
Officials of Iraq's government said the tall Texan will distract attention from what should be the trial's main focus: The Iraqi people's case against Saddam.
laro this may suprize you but a few of the people you are in jail with are actually really criminals!!!! i doubt you will get to meet him. they will probably send him off to a country club prison - something political prisoners like you dont get. only real ex-government criminals go to the country club prisons
Calif. congressman admits graft, resigns
Nov. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
SAN DIEGO - Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., an eight-term congressman and hotshot Vietnam War fighter jock, pleaded guilty to graft and tearfully resigned Monday, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes mostly from defense contractors in exchange for government business and other favors.
"The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office," Cunningham, 63, said at a news conference. "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family."
Cunningham could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Feb. 27 on federal charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud.
He is the first congressman to leave office amid bribery allegations since 2002, when former Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of racketeering and accepting bribes.
Investigators said Cunningham, a member of a House Appropriations subcommittee that controls defense dollars, secured contracts worth tens of millions of dollars for those who paid him off. Prosecutors did not identify the defense contractors.
Cunningham was charged in a case that grew out of an investigation into the sale of his home to a defense contractor at an inflated price.
The congressman had already announced in July, after the investigation became public, that he would not seek re-election next year.
But until he entered his plea, he had insisted he had done nothing wrong.
In court documents, prosecutors said Cunningham admitted receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes paid in a variety of forms, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, antiques, rugs, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.
Among other things, prosecutors said, Cunningham was given $1.025 million to pay down the mortgage on his Rancho Santa Fe mansion, $13,500 to buy a Rolls-Royce and $2,081 for his daughter's graduation party at a Washington hotel.
"He did the worst thing an elected official can do: He enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there," U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said.
Cunningham was allowed to remain free while he awaits sentencing.
The case began when authorities started investigating Cunningham's sale of his Del Mar house to defense contractor Mitchell Wade for $1,675,000. Wade sold the house nearly a year later for $975,000, a loss of $700,000 in a hot real estate market.
no wonder they hate us!!! our convoys drive down the middle of the road for safety - which causes traffic jams for the locals. these congressmen were hurt in a traffic accident that could have been avoided. of course if they were driving normal they could have been killed by an road bomb :)
U.S. politicians injured in Iraq accident
Nov. 27, 2005. 10:58 PM
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — A military vehicle carrying three congressmen overturned on the way to the Baghdad airport, injuring two of them, the U.S. Embassy said Sunday.
Representative Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) was airlifted to a military hospital in Germany for an MRI on his neck, and Representative Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) was sent to a Baghdad hospital for evaluation, said Representative Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), who was also in the vehicle but was not hurt when it overturned Saturday.
"I was supposed to come tour the hospital to talk to the wounded. I didn't think I'd be among them," Murphy told Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV by phone from Germany. He said he expected to be home Monday night.
Skelton's spokeswoman Lara Battles said she believed Skelton was doing well but declined to comment further.
The politicians were riding in a convoy that was driving in the middle of the road, a common practice used by the military in Iraq to deter oncoming motorists. Shortly after dark, an oncoming tanker truck refused to yield, the embassy said.
"Then all of a sudden brakes get slammed on. Then we hit something and go off the side of the road and tip over," Marshall told The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph by phone from Baghdad.
Marshall said that as the vehicle toppled over, he held onto Skelton, who has limited use of his arms due to childhood polio. The embassy said the driver's quick reaction "probably averted disaster."
The delegation had travelled to Afghanistan for Thanksgiving with the troops and then on to Baghdad to meet with troops there.