An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Texas’

Texas Judge Imprisons Honor Student for Missing Class?

It’s no surprise that the latest of the abominations against taste in this country comes from Texas.  It has become a routine with them.  First there was Gov. Rick Perry talking about them seceding from the Union (if only they would).  Then there was Gov. Rick Perry completely ignoring the 1st Amendment and have a state-funded and state-run prayer gathering in a stadium.  Then there was the story about the school in Texas that kicked a disabled girl out of school for having to have a walker.

And now, there is a 17 year old honor student named Diane Tran who was sent to jail for missing too much class.  Tran is a an AP student, taking college courses, and works a full-time and part-time job to support her two siblings, along with herself.  She does that along with dealing with the social issues of being a 17 year old girl.  Since her parents got divorced and both moved out of state, she is all alone with no help.

The judge, Lanny Moriarty (what a fitting last name to his character, or lack thereof), sent her to jail for 24 hours and charged her a $100 fine.  He did this because apparently, she didn’t heed his warning a month earlier for her not to miss class.  This makes the whole affair worse because this judge saw her full her plate is, but still thought that it was wrong for her to miss class.  So, why did the judge think that this was a worthwhile thing to do?

If you let one run loose, what are you gonna do with the rest of ’em?  Let them go too?  A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence.

No, it isn’t a death sentence, but it is a jerk thing to do.  This judge knows how much she has going on, and how hard she is working, since he gave her a “warning” over a month earlier, and he still did this?  Yeah, because this girl was such a social miscreant, supporting her family and dealing with life all on her own at 17.  He’s so right, it shouldn’t be tolerated.  We should force these people to just die on the street.  That seems more compassionate.

But this doesn’t stop there.  When he was asked if he could revoke this sentence, the Judge had another lovely tidbit to say –

Ya, probably could.

So, the person followed up, asking if he would, he replied,

I haven’t thought on the issue because it could turn me soft.

Yeah, it could turn you soft, or it could turn you human.  Joe Bereta on SourceFed is right, Judge Lanny Moriarty, you’re a dick!  You are a complete jerk, forcing this girl into this situation when she clearly is working so hard already.  Now she has a criminal record to go on with her for the rest of her life.  You think that won’t hurt her when she is a graduate and trying to find a career?

This judge needs to be made an example of, and thanks to the internet, he is not going to get away with this without a lot of social indignation, and like every other cause the internet has backed, the internet does not forgive, and the internet does not forget.  What you have done, Judge Moriarty (can’t help how fitting that name is), will follow you forever, and if it gets you the indignation and jerk-status from everybody who knows you, that would be just fitting.

Diane Tran, you should sue the state of Texas.  This is ridiculous, and I think you could make a legitimate cause of action here.  If somebody can sue a toaster company for getting electricuted, you can sue Texas for making you have to live with this insult.  And maybe they can make up for it by making it easier for you to help your two siblings.  That would be fitting justice in this horrible case of Texas once-again showing how backwards and pathetic it really is.

I wonder if Mexico wants Texas back.  Nah, probably not.  Nobody does…

GOP Authorizing Rape Before Abortions

The language in the title may sound excessive, but if you listen to what is said, and you see what is affiliated with it, then really, there can’t be any other way of looking at it.

For those who are unaware, Virginia has recently passed a law that makes is so that a woman has to get an trans-vaginal ultrasound before they get an abortion.  But why call it rape?  For one thing, this totally destroys the Constitution of this country.

It’s been on the block for years.  It’s kind of nice to know that America is finally killing it.  The Patriot Act destroyed the 4th and 1st Amendment.  SOPA and PIPA would have totally obliterated them, but they failed.  Now ACTA is trying to finish them.  Of course, that doesn’t even matter because the government did what SOPA and PIPA would have done anyway, when they took down MegaUpload.

And the Republican delegates of Virginia don’t even care.  Delegate Todd Gillbert basically made the case that a majority of abortions are a matter of “convenience.”  That this is all fun and games for women.  Not only is that an offensive statement, but in lieu of what is happening, it makes this whole affair even worse.

This is what the GOP wants to shove into rape victims

If one has ever seen the probe (featured right) that is involved with trans-vaginal ultrasound, it basically looks like a dildo.  These things are now going to be forced into the uterus’ of women in Virginia.  But the really sad part is that it doesn’t stop there.  In Texas, states all over the Lower 48, and now here in Alaska, similar legislation is being presented.

This is a total violation of the rights of women.  And the reason it is being done is even more insidious.  It is in order the shame these women.  To coerce them into not having this procedure.  Not only is forcing a woman to do something like this beyond humiliating, but it is being done for the express purpose of making them do what the GOP wants.

It is kind of interesting that this “family values” crowd is making such a big reappearance in the last few years.  Groups like the American Family Association have been coming back.  This coincides with the picking up speed that Rick Santorum is getting in the GOP primaries.  The far-right conservative base is making another appearance, and this is what it brings with it.

Legislation that would force invasive procedures onto women who could have been raped.  They were raped once, and now the GOP in Virginia has legislated that they be raped again.  As Americans, we cannot stand idly by and let this happen.  There needs to be some action.  People like elected officials are making the case that abortions are done for “convenience.”  They are shoving devices that look like dildos into women.  This is NOT how a government operates in a civil society.

But the bigger issues is – if this government thinks that this kind of thing is appropriate, does America have a future?  It is getting harder and harder to answer that question, because there doesn’t seem to be as huge outrage.  Granted, that may be because this is new.  A Category-5 Storm of media lambasting and online attack may still come.  And if it does, that’s good.  There needs to be another Komen for the Cure level reaction to this, because these people are not “moral crusaders.”  They are charlatans who wear the clothes of kind people.

This legislation is unconstitutional, it is unethical, and it is un-empathetical.  And above morality, empathy is what is needed.  Clearly, the GOP candidates who backed this in Virginia, and anybody who will back it her in Alaska doesn’t have ANY of that whatsoever.

Peace out,


Are We in Danger From the Law?

There was a story that I wrote for the latest article I submitted to the paper.  It examined a topic that I actually think is pretty serious.  The typical American is told when they are born that the police officer and the soldier are your friends and that you should trust them.  They are told that they are the people who protect you in times of trouble.  This is a lesson that everybody is given, and that people are seeming to agree with blindly.  Part of the problem these days is that people don’t want to be critical of law-enforcement personnel and soldiers.  But that is something people should be critical of, and there are some very good reasons why.

A few weeks back, in Miami Beach, Florida, a man named Narces Benoit was out with his girlfriend.  He got to see a rather awful event unfold in front of him.  Nine cops were firing with abandon at Raymond Harisse.  He was sitting in his parked car.  The evidence points to him not having shot back.  The cops claim that there was a gun hidden in his car.  If that is the case, how would have have been able to shoot at the cops, get hit numerous times, and have hidden the gun?  There is a logical disconnect happening with their story.

These nine cops, if they were firing a standard-issue Glock 22, potentially fired 135 rounds.  One bystander reported that their guns were clicking on empty.  That’s 135 rounds that not only went in Harisse, but also into four bystanders are the scene.  These cops killed this man in cold blood, and why?  Because he had run over a police officer earlier that day.  Instead of taking him to jail, these cops decided to outright murder this man.

The police are a unique thing to watch right now.  Here is an interesting practice that happens in this country – the cops will take people’s stuff and sell it.  For real, this isn’t a joke.  To make up for the unbelievably low wages this country forces our cops to accept, they have started routinely taking people’s stuff without even charging them for a crime.  They take people’s stuff who aren’t able or who don’t have to money to fight for what is taken.  They typically target low-income persons with a couple of charges under their bealt, so they won’t choose to fight.  This is a fairly common practice among police officers in this country.

And brutality isn’t really just an every once in a while occurence either.  A young black man in Houston, Texas was running from the cops.  However, when his path was cut off, he got on the ground and put his hands behind his head in surrender.  He has submitted, and the cops, instead of just handcuffing him and throwing him in the back of a car, they just, for 30 to 40 seconds, just beat him mercilessly.

And these are just some local examples.  Then there is what American soldiers have been doing overseas.  The biggest, and worst of these stories being one that appeared in an article in Rolling Stone magazine.  It talked about a group of soldiers in Bravo Company that they dubbed “The Kill Team.”  These guys not only killed, completely in cold blood, four Afghani civilians, but they were planning to kill more.  Had they not have been stopped, the killing would have continued.  One idea that they were throwing around was to go up to a bunch of kids and thrown candy out the windows of their vehicle.  Then, when the kids came to grab it, they would open fire on them.  But one of them thought – why waste the bullets?  Why not just throw candy out in front of their vehicle and run them down?

These are American soldiers.  These are people who are supposed to be able to respect the lives of others.  And we have a group of men who killed and mutilated four people.  One of them was from Wasilla, Alaska, the town I grew up in.  There were pictures of them with severed heads.  This is not the activities of a civilized society.  And the sad fact is that all of the areas of law enforcement are becoming that way.

The TSA’s new pat-downs have been a source of controversy in this country for some time.  But recently, it has taken an even uglier turn.  The TSA told the daughter of a 95 year old leukemia patient to take off her soiled adult diaper.  The elderly woman’s mother, was very stoic.  The daughter bursted into tears.  She had every reason to hate this.  Not only is this not dignified, the fact that our government has given a branch of law enforcement the power to do something like this is just plain sick.  That’s a fact – it’s sick.  To even ask somebody to do this is wrong.  The head of the TSA should have apologized, but they didn’t.  What did they do?  They said it didn’t happen.  That was their response – to deny the allegation completely, and pretend it didn’t happen.  And with the government pretty much giving them a blank ticket anymore, they can do that and it can work.

And of course, the great example of how the law can have unlimited power and can suffer no consequences – The Patriod Act.  This is a hopelessly abused weapon of the system designed to keep an eye on the common man.  Using it, they have been able to detain people for no reason, tap phones and enter homes without a warrant.  They have even been able to torture people and have the military not be able to be prosecuted for this.  It has been proven over and over that torture doesn’t work.  A skilled interrogator who is good at reading people is worth more.  But instead of following historical evidence, they decide to just keep at this broken system.

The big quesiton that needs to be asked – are we in danger from the law?  The answer is looking more and more ugly.  And what happens when this abuse happens to people?  Who is made to pay for the violation of rights that is occuring?  When a cop maces a 15 year old girl who he has pinned down on the hood of his car, with her hands cuffed behind her back, who gets retribution?

The problem is that so many people don’t allow these kinds of discussions to happen.  They simply choose to say that the law is right, no matter what.  Questioning if something is right is never a bad idea, never.  People need to realize that, because if cops can shoot a man in cold blood and the complain about the media attacking them because it would hurt their case, who is being helped?

Peace out,


Texas Sets a New Low

There comes a time in the life of every political commentator when one is forced to sit back and to rethink one’s position on the major issues surrounding the world.  Then there are other times when they are forced to wonder something even more important – how can I make fun of this?  Certain events that happen in this world are so hopelessly stupid that it’s just beyond the ability to be satirized.  It is beyond the possibility of being parodied in any significant way.  Some events are so ridiculous that to even try and make fun of them makes you look stupid for your efforts, because they are that dumb.

Governor Rick Perry, of the state of Texas, has finally decided to completely abandon rational thought of any kind, and go off the train of crazy into a different universe where humanity has even less sense.  He has announced an event that is going to happen on August 6, 2011, in Houston, Texas, where people will gather in a massive stadium and all pray for America’s problems to be solved.  He has said that these problems are just “too big” for people to solve, so he wants as many people as he can get, to come to the Reliant Stadium, to pray for America’s problems to go away.  He is basically saying that we should just abandon our human efforts to fix things, and instead just hope some supreme being does it.

Forget the fact that this flies in the face of the First Amendment of the Constitution of this country.  Forget that this is not the first time that he has done something like this (does anybody remember the Pray for Rain days?).  Forget that this is insulting to all the people of this country who aren’t Christian, who could be Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, you name it.  Forget all the very good logical arguments against this for a moment.  Instead, think about this – how stupid is this?!  How ridiculously stupid is this plan and everything that it represents?

The GOP, or as Politicususa calls them, “God’s Own Party,” has been morea nd more embracing the radical Christian fundamentalist right-wing of this country.  It is no surprise that they are against women’s reproductive rights, for the military, or for having this country be recognized as  a “Christian nation.”  These things are all perfectly understandable.  They are ridiculous and unintelligible, but they at least make sense.  But this little day-long event is just the icing on the cake of the intellectually void nature that Texas seems to want to pass on.

I mean, read for yourself what Perry said about his event –

We believe that America is in a state of crisis. Not just politically, financially or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles. According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene. The Response will be a historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America

Does that seem like that statement of a rational person?  Since most of America is Christian, they probably agree.  But for those of the religious community who have some sense, this should be viewed as madness.  Perry isn’t just calling on the people of Texas to come together and pray for our problems to magically disappear, he wants all of America to come as well.  He wants the entire country, or as much as he can fit into his stadium, to be there to canonize giving the finger to the Constitution!

Honestly, one can’t be funny about this.  One cannot sit in a place and try and rationalize this kind of thing, because this is beyond any kind of humor.  Not only is this unConstitutional and annoying, it is just sad.  There are real problems facing this country right now.  And saying that we should just stop trying to make human effort and simply put all of this in the hands of a some invisible supreme being is just madness!  I’m not dogging on people who have faith, I am dogging on abandoning sense, and reason, and rationality, and the drive to make the world a better place.

Texas has a really bad history of having some really bad laws go down.  They have had laws making sodomy a felony, along with gay marriage.  Something so stupid and so bigoted that it hurts.  They have made repeated threats of seceding from the Union (if only they would.   Anybody want to take bets on how long before they came crawling back?).  As Bill Maher put it, “they wanted to be their own country, and perhaps they should have been.”  What else can you say?

What people believe in is their business.  That is a right given to this country that should never be contested.  As much as I have a problem with people who say that just because something is in the Constitution, that immediately makes it right, this is an area that I think should never be contested.  However, we also must recognize that coming out openly and saying that America is a Christian nation, and that God, the Christian God, is the only way our problems will be solved is insulting to everybody who has a different opinion.  And honestly, that is what the First Amendment was made to protect – the different opinions.

The mob has never needed protection.  The majority doesn’t need an Amendment to protect them.  The minority does.  The minority needs to be protected from craziness.  But people are ignoring the idea that people should be left alone if they believe differently.  If they believe in a different god than you do, leave them alone.  Telling the rest of the world that we are of one mind about things is a slap in the face of what this country was founded for – tolerance and acceptance.  Of course, don’t say that in Texas.  You’d probably get hanged.

Peace out,


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