Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weird world of crime and the courts

When it comes to crime, the court system and people's greed and stupidity, if you think you've seen everything, just wait a little bit. Some examples:

– You've probably heard by now about the Michigan woman who claims she was asleep on a plane when she was left behind and locked in the United Express airplane for several hours on the tarmac in Philadelphia. Of course, Ginger McGuire (shown above) is suing. Her attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, the guy who came to fame by representing Jack Kevorkian, will be bringing a suit alleging false imprisonment, emotional distress and negligence. This whole story smells funny to me. How does one stay asleep through the landing of the aircraft and the resulting hubbub of people banging their luggage out of overhead bins and deplaning? And this woman didn’t stir for four hours after the plane was empty? I have my doubts.

– There’s a hearing going on in Ohio for a chief master sergeant who has been accused of sexually harassing nine female subordinates. William Gurney, who once was the top enlisted man at the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base but has been reassigned since the allegations cropped up, was accused by one of the women of having sex with her against her will. But here again, this story has some odd twists. The woman claims she was afraid of Gurney because he was a “powerful man.” But she testified that they had kissed in previous meetings, and she admitted that Gurney never made any threats or used force as they had sex. Gurney’s lead defense attorney, Maj. Gwendolyn Beitz, said the woman had never described the sex as anything but consensual until she was faced with telling her husband that she might be demoted for having an affair. Gurney also is married. I certainly don't condone forcing someone to have sex, or engaging in any sort of sexual harassment, but weak accusations like this one hurt the cases of women who really have been wronged.

– There’s some really nasty video circulating on the Web that was disseminated by a group called Mercy for Animals. The video purportedly shows cows at Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. near Marysville, Ohio, being punched, kicked and poked with pitchforks. And those are the nicer things. Also shown are workers holding down newborn calves and taking their boots to the calves’ heads. Another snippet depicts a cow’s nose being wired to a metal bar close to the ground while another metal bar is used to beat the animal bloody. Just lovely. One worker faces a host of criminal charges in the case. Conklin Farms says it does not condone animal abuse, and it fired the worker facing charges. But the farm doesn’t do itself any favors when it announces that it wants veterinarians to independently review the video. For what purpose? Are they planning to defend some of these actions? And according to an Associated Press story, Conklin also said the undercover video fails to include “context of how the farm is operated responsibly.” Doesn’t that seem almost the same as saying, “Yeah, some animals were tortured, but we’re usually not that mean”? Conklin would do better to just quit trying to engage in damage control and do everything it can to help authorities identify and prosecute each and every farm worker guilty of cruelty and abuse.

– Speaking of digging a bigger hole for oneself, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, who never has come off as the sharpest tool in the shed, made the mistake of going on “Oprah” in an attempt to explain how she ended up being secretly videotaped by an undercover tabloid reporter while offering to sell access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, for about three-quarters of a million dollars. Ferguson attempted to explain her influence peddling by saying it started as an attempt to get $40,000 for a friend in need. How did that escalate to $724,000? Well, she really wasn’t too sure about that. She also told Oprah that she proceeded with her dealings with the “businessman” even though she had her suspicions that he was an undercover reporter. That's about as dumb as the guys who got nabbed on “To Catch a Predator” and admitted seeing previous installments of the anti-pedophile program. As for Ferguson’s future plans, she says bankruptcy is a possibility. I have to assume that it’s fiscal bankruptcy, since she’s clearly already morally bankrupt, and dumb as a box of rocks, to boot.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to be put off eating meat ever again, watch the documentary "Fast Food Nation." What they do to chickens, cows and pigs on corporate "farms" is downright disgusting. And the sanitation at slaughterhouses leaves a lot to be desired. I gave up read meat some time agao, but after seeing chickens raised to be twice as big as they should be in half the time -- so fat they can't even walk -- I may give up chicken too.

June 2, 2010 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Funny you mention that, anon... My wife and I went vegetarian and THEN started watching food-related documentaries and reading food-related books... A lot of people get revolted by things they see in Food, Inc. and Fast Food Nation and that leads them to give it up. I never had any illusions that factory-farmed meat was repulsive, so those films didn't shatter any false reality for me. And honestly, we happily eat meat on occasion... maybe once every other month or so... It really changes the experience...

June 2, 2010 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

How about the mother of Richard Poplawski (the alleged Pittsburgh police killer) suing Allegheny County because her home was destroyed by gunfire. She claims that the shooting took place because the 911 dispatcher never told police that her son had assault weapons. There are no words to describe this.


June 3, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

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