Posts Tagged Texas

Courageous Judge Has Serious Problem With Minorities, The Retarded

Posted by Matt on Friday, June 7th, 2013

Jonesin' For Some Executions!

Jonesin’ For Some Executions!

5th District Court Of Appeals Judge Edith Jones was reportedly on the Bush Administration’s Supreme Court Short List.  Looks like you lost out America.  The longtime Roe v. Wade opponent recently spoke about capital punishment to the University of Pennsylvania Law School and traversed a wide swath of subject areas. Now Jones is the subject of a judicial-misconduct complaint.

Here are the highlights.

That certain “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” are “’prone’ to commit acts of violence,” and get involved in more violent and “heinous” crimes than people of other ethnicities;

She did not comment on whether law enforcement is “predisposed” to arrest blacks 4 times more than whites for drugs despite similar usage rates.

That Mexican nationals would prefer to be on death row in the United States rather than serving prison terms in Mexico, and it is an insult for the United States to look to the laws of other countries such as Mexico;

Judge Jones is hard on crime.  Just not “Mexico-hard.” Wha?

That Defendants’ claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness, and violations of international law and treaties are really nothing more than “red herrings” used by opponents of capital punishment;

[Since reintroduction of death penalty in Georgia in 1972] In 2000 homicides, black defendants were 1.7 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants and that murderers of white victims were 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks.  One herring  is 4.3 times redder than the other.

What about America’s capstone for capital punishment?  The 5th District’s very own State of Texas:

Since 1976, Texas has carried out 470 executions (well more than a third of the national total of 1,257). You can count on one hand the number of those executions that involved a white murderer and a black victim and you do not need to use your thumb, ring finger, index finger or pinkie.

that means ’1,’ folks.

Blacks. Mexicans. Other Hispanics. Foreign Nations of Earth.  Who’s next in your Burn Book, Judge Jones? (*please say ‘the disabled,’ please say ‘the disabled’*)

That claims of “mental retardation” by capital defendants disgust her, and the fact such persons were convicted of a capital crime is itself sufficient to prove they are not in fact “mentally retarded.”

“That’s the standard of review we’re looking for in an appellate judge!” said no reasonable person ever. While this flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which prohibits the execution of individuals with intellectual disabilities, plant that flag and tell the Court to ‘grow a pair.’

All this astute legal mind needs to boldly underline her bigoted argument is to wrap it all in a Jesus-ribbon.

[T]he imposition of a death sentence provides a positive service to capital-case defendants because defendants are likely to make peace with God only in the moment before their imminent execution.

Ahhh. That’s the stuff.

Jonathan Turley lends some background on Judge Jones and her history of judicial conduct. She sounds like a gigantic Seaward, but this is the 5th District, so it’s all relative.

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Texas’ Thou-Shall-Not-Meter: Steal > Murder > Solicit Prostitution

Posted by Matt on Thursday, June 6th, 2013

not guilty by reason of legal defect.

not guilty by reason of legal defect.

This is, um…This is pretty messed up.

A Bexar County jury on Wednesday acquitted Ezekiel Gilbert of murder in the death of a 23-year-old Craigslist escort.

Gilbert testified earlier Tuesday that he had found Frago’s escort ad on Craigslist and believed sex was included in her $150 fee. But instead, Frago walked around his apartment and after about 20 minutes left, saying she had to give the money to her driver, he said.

That driver, the defense contended, was Frago’s pimp and her partner in the theft scheme.

The Texas law that allows people to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft was put in place for “law-abiding” citizens, prosecutors Matt Lovell and Jessica Schulze countered. It’s not intended for someone trying to force another person into an illegal act such as prostitution, they argued.

Even a prude like me knows the flat fee is for the company and “additional services” are negotiable.  Furthermore, you can’t contract for illegal services.  It’s not enforceable.  That’s the risk you take when you get creepy lonely and ring up an anonymous internet escort.  So how this law, which is messed up on its face, can even apply in this case is beyond me.

If you steal $150, you deserve to die. Lesson learned.

So if you go into a jilted rage after someone swindles you on Craigslist for something like bogus concert tickets or if a casual encounter steals your self-respect, make sure it happens at night so you can use deadly force against the person (in Texas).

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Record EEOC Award For Abused Disabled Plant Workers Doesn’t Really Assuage The Horror

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

"Henry testified about his own health problems, including five heart attacks."  6th one is on the house.

“Henry testified about his own health problems, including five heart attacks.” 6th one is on the house.

The EEOC is the primary government agency enforcing labor laws that deal with discrimination.  While still understaffed from the Bush years, in my experience the EEOC can investigate workplace issues with the best of them. I can’t imagine some of  the details they uncovered in this case.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A jury on Wednesday awarded $240 million to 32 mentally disabled men for what government lawyers say was years of abuse by a Texas company that arranged for them to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant and oversaw their care, work and lodging.

The award handed out by a federal jury in Davenport was the largest ever given in the 48-year history of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit against Henry’s Turkey Service.

The jury determined that the now-defunct Goldthwaite, Texas, company had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by creating a hostile environment and imposing discriminatory conditions of employment on the men. It found that Henry’s acted with “malice or reckless indifference” to their civil rights, and awarded each man $7.5 million in damages.

These men worked there since the 1970s and received $65/month (or .41 cents/hour).  No raise. Because capitalism.  During this time, no one from the company developed a conscience and alerted authorities.  Maybe because the perks were so awesome?

The abuse was uncovered in 2009 after one of the men’s sisters tipped off Iowa officials to the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the rural bunkhouse where the men were housed. State inspectors found the building, which is a several miles from the West Liberty plant where the men worked, to be falling apart, infested with rodents and full of fire hazards, so they shut it down and placed the men with new caretakers. The EEOC later sued.

Social workers testified that the men described a life of constant abuse by their Henry’s handlers. They said they had been forced to work through illness and injuries, denied bathroom breaks, locked in their rooms, kicked in the groin and, in one case, handcuffed to a bed. [...]

Rain entered their bedrooms through failing windows and made their beds wet. Supervisors forced them to walk in circles carrying heavy weights as punishment. Supervisors picked on a man who had a brace on his leg, often pushing him down. Another man had been kicked in the groin and was found with “testicles that were quite swollen.” Others were often locked in their bedrooms at night, said [Sue Gant, a developmental psychologist who interviewed the men.]

So how does something like this happen?

Henry’s began employing mentally disabled men in the 1960s and 1970s who had been released from Texas mental institutions. Hundreds of them were sent to labor camps in Iowa and elsewhere in the coming decades, where they were supplied on contract as workers to local employers. Company officials argued the arrangement was a benefit to the men, and that they were once praised for giving them employment opportunities.

Huzzah Henry’s! So don’t worry guys, criminal charges won’t be filed.  Just ask company president Kenneth Henry (that’s the company’s name!). The defense’s only witness testified that he didn’t know anything for 40 years except for the terrible things he knew about.

Kenneth Henry, 72, of Proctor, Texas, also denied allegations that the workers — whom he repeatedly referred to as “the boys,” although most were in their 40s, 50s and 60s — were routinely abused or neglected.

But when asked whether he had exercised good judgment by allowing one of his supervisors to continue working with the men after others said they had witnessed the supervisor physically abusing workers, Henry replied, “Probably not.”

The company president also revealed that a worker who lived in the Iowa bunkhouse froze to death in the 1980s.

I see. You “didn’t know about it” just like Joe Paterno “didn’t know about it.”  Well maybe you can get cancer and die soon too!

“I never had any complaints from the boys,” he testified. “If something was going on, I feel they most definitely would have said something to me.”

It’s their fault for being mentally disabled and their fault for not speaking up in a timely manner and their fault for not knowing how to report abuse to authorities. Rot.

Well at least the silver lining is that this company will be soaked, the victims compensated and future corporate abuse and malfeasance will be deterred.

The defunct company isn’t expected to be able to pay anywhere near the full amount of damages. The EEOC will work with the U.S. Department of Justice to examine company assets that could be seized to pay toward the judgment, including more than 1,000 acres of land in Texas worth up to $4 million, [EEOC attorney Robert] Canino said.

and we wept.

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While Two Murderous Shitbirds Took The Country Hostage, Texas Happened.

Posted by Matt on Monday, April 22nd, 2013

i think the word you're looking for is 'negligence.' it'll come to you buddy.

i think the word you’re looking for is ‘negligence.’ it’ll come to you buddy.

This week, Rick Perry will visit Chicago in an attempt to poach Illinois businesses from the Land of Lincoln.

Surely he’ll tout lower tax burdens, a lax regulatory environment, and um, he’ll probably forget the 3rd one, but I’m pretty sure it could relate to zoning, workers’ comp requirements, or possibly the dangerous lack of potable water climate.

Maybe Exhibit #1 should be the explosion at Adair Grain Inc.’s Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas.

While vocal politicians and media members are quick to blame the Boston bombing on the whole of Chechnya, the Muslim World, and Russia (let’s throw in the Czech Republic for the hell of it because we’re idiots), most have merely shrugged instead of shedding light on the Texas tragedy that is responsible for at least 14 deaths and 200 hundred injuries.

While the cause of the fire is still unknown, preliminary investigations into the West, Texas explosions indicate the following:

  • OSHA hadn’t visited the plant since 1985.  You would think an agency with a $500 million budget would be able to inspect…um, no that’s about right.  It’s almost as if there was someone in an important position of power around that time who loved to villainize government workers. (OSHA also lost 8% of its budget in the sequester);
  • Complaints of ammonia smells triggered state investigation in 2006;
  • “In its report to the EPA in 2011, West Fertilizer said its worst-case scenario was a release of one of its storage tanks of anhydrous ammonia “as a gas over 10 minutes.” It said nothing of fire risk. It also said nothing of ammonium nitrate at the site.” [NPR]
  • But aw shit, looks like they didn’t look for that ammonium nitrate behind Door Number #AllOfThem.

But according to records from the Texas Department of State Health Services obtained by StateImpact Texas, the plant had as much as 270 tons of ammonium nitrate at the site in 2012. To put that in perspective, the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 and injured hundreds, used 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate mixed with other chemicals and diesel fuel, or about 2.4 tons.

  • Math:  This is 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). So National Security, too!! Still…*crickets*
  • In February, a school in West evacuated because of a fire at this fertilizer plant. [LGM]
  • A school, you say?
  • Actually 2 schools are located across the street. Lax zoning laws allowed a school and homes within a pigskin’s toss of the plant and a nursing home is located 4 blocks away.
  • The plant was fined by the Environmental Protection agency in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards, an EPA report shows.  A whole $2,300.
  • Did I already point out that The Dallas Morning News uncovered an EPA report revealing that West Fertilizer Co. reported the “worst possible scenario … would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would or injure no one?”

Again – at least 14 dead. 200 injured.

Media members and political vultures are quick to swoop in on any hint of terrorism driven by misguided Muslim ideology.  After all, there’s a pattern that emerged in the mid/late 90s that can’t be ignored (like the similar pattern of right wing terrorism that is ignored.)

But while we’re looking for patterns, and more importantly the roots of such patterns, let’s look at the state sold by the elected officials and purchased by Big Business.  A state that touts ‘tort reform,’ a lack of meddlesome unions, and that employers don’t have to own Workers’ Comp insurance:

Texas leads the nation in workplace fatalities, with 433 deaths in 2011. That’s nearly a hundred more than California, which has six million more people in its workforce.

Tragic but predictable?

West, Texas and Boston, MA have more in common than at first glance.  The striking similarities concern the innocence of the victims and the bravery of the first responders.  While we don’t know the precise motivation for the bombings or the exact cause of the explosion, the tragedies tore up their respective communities, though I’m guessing Small Town Texas will take longer to heal.

While the coverage of Boston quickly devolved into nauseating speculation and repetition, at least the public stayed generally informed.

So whenever the Media and our elected officials want to lend their powerful pulpits to the Texas tragedy, please proceed, because it’s long overdue.

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Really Nice Moment At High School Basketball Game Probably Not Appreciated By Those Uber-Competitive Parents

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

El Paso, Texas.

 

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Another Retarded Man To Be Executed By Land Of The Free

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Gross.

Warren Lee Hill was found by a court in 2002 to be intellectually disabled. He has scored below or close to the standard diagnostic threshold on tests of mental capability. Yet despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that executing people with imited cognitive capacity is unconstitutional, Hill will be executed [Wednesday].

Outshone by Texas’ willingness to execute the innocent or mentally disabled,  Georgia has instituted unique evidentiary standards that are fucking stupid and confusing to the Writer, who thought the Supreme Court ruled the execution of retarded people to be unconstitutional.

Georgia is the only state that requires defense attorneys to meet a “beyond a reasonable doubt” test to prove their client is disabled. Many other death penalty states use a less stringent “preponderance of the evidence” test, which was employed in the 2002 holding in Hill’s favor. However, according to Ken Levine, who teaches law at Emory University, Georgia’s standard places a near-impossible burden on defense attorneys:

“Beyond a reasonable doubt can never be met if you’re simply not sure  which side is unequivocally telling the truth and which side is not,”  said Levine, who has no connection to the Hill case. “The issue with  Georgia setting its mental health standard as high as it’s set is that  it requires such a high level of certainty that even scientists will  rarely reach.”

Not to be outdone, Texas will also execute someone on Wednesday because they are sadistic attention whores.  Rick Perry has long followed in the Texan tradition, “it’s better to execute a hundred innocent or retarded men than to let one guilty man go free.”  So of course their inmate is also of questionable mental capacity.

 Heyns said there was evidence to suggest that Hearn, who faces execution in Texas, suffers from psychosocial disabilities, “including an expert opinion that he is affected by structural brain dysfunction likely to have been caused by his mother’s alcohol abuse during pregnancy”.

Predictably, the “Pro-Life” crowd is all over this *crickets*

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States Continue To Shrink Government To Size Where They Can Put It In Your Vagina

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

First it was Texas. Now it’s Virginia – which is for Lovers, but not women and their doctors.

This week, the Senate passed a bill, largely along party lines, that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and wait as long as a day for the procedure.

The ultrasound requirement may evoke images of the abdominal sonograms standard in most pregnancies, fuzzy black and white pictures conjured by a wand passed across a woman’s stomach.

But those ultrasounds are ordinarily done fairly late in pregnancy. In the beginning, particularly the first weeks, an abdominal ultrasound may not be sensitive enough to detect anything.

That’s why doctors in many cases use a transvaginal ultrasound. In plainspeak, they insert a condom-covered probe into a woman’s vagina to obtain an image.

At this point the law requires the doctor to slyly utter, “you’re welcome…”

In addition to the ultrasound, the bill mandates a waiting period of at least 2 hours and as long as a day before a woman can have an abortion. That waiting period has no medical necessity at all.

The legislature rejected an amendment allowing women to opt out of the invasive procedure because…well, what would be the point of that? Next session, house Republicans plan to propose a law requiring women interested in Plan B to go through a timed Double-Dare type obstacle course, culminating in a mad search for the pills in a kiddie-pool sized KFC Gravy Bowl. For their own good.

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Judges Say It’s Cool For Texas To Stick Unwanted Object In Your Vagina. I Think There’s a Name For That…

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Don’t tread on me? 

A panel of federal appellate judges has authorized Texas officials to enforce a controversial abortion sonogram law while its constitutionality is being challenged in court.

In an opinion, the judges said the measure’s opponents “failed to demonstrate constitutional flaws” in the measure, which they said was “fatal” to their effort to prevent it from taking effect.

The transvaginal ultrasound transducer...for freedom

The abortion sonogram law, which lawmakers passed last legislative session, requires doctors to perform sonograms and describe what they see, including the size of the fetus and the length of its limbs. The measure has been in court almost since it passed, with opponents arguing it violates doctors’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to disclose information that isn’t medically necessary and that the woman may not want to hear.

The big problem here, other than all of it, is that most abortions occur early in pregnancies, when the cell clusters are too small to detect without inserting an ultrasound machine into the woman. 

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Austin District Judge Sam Sparks’ temporary order this morning, preventing the sonogram measure from taking effect.

According to the appellate judges’ opinion, “the required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information.”

Acitvist Misogynist judges should tell doctors how to practice and shame and belittle women as much as possible. That’s what Sam Houston would’ve wanted.  There will be no exceptions for rape or incest victims. surprise!  Although there will be obvious exceptions if you have a lot of money for ”discrete procedures” with the right doctor, or in other jurisdictions.

Here’s a petition. Mess with Texas before they mess with your vagina, or the vagina of someone you love.

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Fringe NFL Player Caught Trying To Prepare For Life After Football

Posted by Matt on Thursday, December 15th, 2011

In the off-season, the Bears’ front office came up with an outstanding plan – Sign cast-offs from the biggest collection of clowns in pro football – the Dallas Cowboys.

Roy Williams:  Awesome at mimicking the first down signal. Terrible at catching footballs. He’s a Wide Receiver.

Marion Barber:  2 huge mistakes cost the Bears’ the game (and probably the playoffs) against God’s Broncos.

Sam Hurd:  Who? Well the special teams player and rarely used WR made his mark today:

Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was arrested Wednesday night in Chicago on federal charges after allegedly attempting to purchase drugs from a North Texas supplier, the Dallas Morning News reported.

According to a report filed by a special agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Hurd told an undercover agent that he wanted up to 10 kilograms of cocaine and a half ton of marijuana per week that he could distribute in the Chicago area, the Morning News reported.

It’s clear Hurd has really taken to Chicago and is looking to give sell something back to his community.  Moving all that weight would’ve kept him in great shape during the off-season.

Alas, it’s back to you Dane Sanzenbacher.

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Health Clinic Bombed. Media Yawns. I Wipe Pizza Sauce On My Shirt Because I Don’t Want To Get Off The Couch And Get A Napkin

Posted by Matt on Monday, August 1st, 2011

Planned Parenthood is the ACORN of the 2010′s.  But instead of stealing elections via voter fraud registering people to vote, PP is stealing the precious liberties of our womens by providing them access to pap smears.

Holly Morgan, director of media relations and communications for Planned Parenthood in Dallas, said their McKinney health center located on Eldorado Parkway was “attacked” between 10 and 11 p.m. Tuesday with an incendiary device.

The person or persons involved in the attack threw a Molotov cocktail, consisting of diesel fuel in a glass bottle with a lit rag, at the building. Morgan said the device did not penetrate the front of the clinic but did cause some serious damage.

I’ve seen no media coverage of this other than on “progressive” outlets like Jezebel. This is pretty typical, as attacks on PP aren’t necessarily uncommon. Maybe they’re busy watching some wingnuts walk back their defense of Norweigian murderer and glamour-shot-addict Anders Behring Breivik’s ideologies, if not his actions.  Whether clad in a turban, cowboy hat or wool scarf, a right-wing extremist is a right-wing extremist.

BTW, this clinic didn’t perform abortions.  As fabricated attacks on ACORN were transparently anti-poor, so are the PP attacks anti-women.  That is, unless your idea of women-as-womb-property/sandwich-maker remains.

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